Air Conditioning and Your Summer Vacation

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Summer is here and this is the time people start traveling on vacation. Holidays are exciting, but a few preparations around the house will allow peace of mind while relaxing. Items to include on the list are: arrange to have the mail held or picked up, contact a pet sitter, place lights on timers, and compile a packing list for the trip. When making this list, don’t forget about the HVAC system. Preparing the air conditioning system for the house to be empty for an extended period will save money and avoid problems while you’re away.

Turn Up the Thermostat

Summer heat can have a significant effect on wood flooring, doors, and cabinets. Don’t make the mistake of turning the AC system off in a bid to try and save energy. The summer heat and humidity can cause hardwood floors to expand and buckle, and wood doors to expand and not close properly. Save yourself the cost of repairs by turning up the thermostat setting to between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range will not damage plants or fabrics, and by keeping the HVAC running, the humidity will be controlled. If there is a programmable thermostat, program it to have the house return to a comfortable temperature a hours before returning.

Consider Surge Protection

While on vacation, losing power is a possibility. In case there is a power surge or outage in your area, and no one is around, the HVAC system might get damaged. Install a surge protector for the system to avoid that problem.

Schedule General Maintenance

Have a technician check the HVAC system before the summer season. A service technician will check the following: refrigerant levels, coils, air filters, electronic connections, and the system is producing the correct temperature across the evaporator coil. Knowing the HVAC is in optimal working condition while on vacation will lessen any worries.

Air Filter Routine Maintenance

Clean air filters before leaving. Clogged air filters cause the HVAC unit to overwork. Clean air filters prevent the system from malfunctioning while no one is around.

Reduce the Load

Computers and other electronics produce heat when they are running. Turn off or disconnect these items while away to reduce heat generated within the house. The HVAC system will turn on less frequently.

When anyone goes on vacation, they want to have some time away from home to relax. Follow these simple tips for, and you’ll have a worry-free vacation.

For more information on air conditioning maintenance, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

HVAC Maintenance Contracts: Terms and What to Watch For

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So you have decided to take care of your HVAC system by entering into an HVAC Maintenance contract. You know this is a good way to keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter before you sign know what to look for in that contract. You wouldn’t buy a home without having all the facts, you wouldn’t buy a car without a car history, and you shouldn’t enter into an HVAC contract without doing some research. Here’s a few items to watch for when reading the service agreement.

The Bad

The contract is too short. This contract is a serious legal document that should spell out just what products are covered when the company should perform maintenance, and what is included in terms of emergency repair and maintenance. That can not be done on one single page. Good maintenance agreements are typically a few pages, and you should read every single one of them. A reliable company with a good contract will give you the time to read it.

Beware of the fine print. This statement is true with any contract; the devil is always in the details. Be sure to take your time and go over any fine print in the contract. If there is an overwhelming amount of tiny print, they are hoping you won’t go through all of it line by line!

The Good

The contract will list out all equipment covered under the contract. This one seems like common sense, but some organizations skip this step. Do not leave it up to a verbal agreement or explanation of what is typically covered. Everything they do for you and what you agree to should be right there in black and white.

The contract should have every task that is completed as part of routine maintenance. Do not accept the term “routine maintenance” as an umbrella term for everything that is done as part of the contract. Any work done by the company under the guise of the contract should be spelled out, so you know precisely what you get for the money you are paying. Also, look for exclusions – what doesn’t the contract cover. Those repairs will be coming out of your wallet.

When will the work be done? Do you need to be home for it? What hours are included in the contract? Does it cost more to call outside of those hours? Those are all questions that need to be answered before you put your name to paper.

For more information on HVAC Maintenance Contracts contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

4 Reasons to Clean your HVAC in Philadelphia

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The time of the year has come when your HVAC system requires cleaning. There is no need to wait until you wake up one summer morning sweating to make that call. If it has been a while since your air conditioning system was checked, it’s time to call Good Deals Heating & Cooling. Having your HVAC system running efficiently is our priority before it gets to becomes an emergency. Let’s dive in and see some of the reasons why cleaning your HVAC system is essential:

Saves Energy

When using a dirty HVAC system, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used either for cooling or heating is wasted. The contaminants in the system cause it to work harder causing it to consume more energy and also shorten the life of the system. A clean system doesn’t work so hard to maintain the desired temperature. It is efficient in energy use.

Makes the System Run Efficiently

A clean HVAC system runs more efficiently as compared to a dirty one. No contaminants are present in the system, and it lets out fresh air easily maintaining the required temperature. Some HVAC systems tend to overheat when dirty as they work forcefully.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

A lot of pollutants and contaminants accumulate overtime in any building. These pollutants include dust, chemicals, and dander, an HVAC system circulates them around the building approximately 5 to 7 times a day. While these pollutants aren’t unsafe for the average person, they can cause health issues for people with environmental allergies, respiratory health problems or autoimmune disorders.

Saves Money

Reduced spending is one of the significant benefits of a clean HVAC system. If your air conditioning system is not clean, it doesn’t perform at optimal efficiency level. The HVAC system is forced to use a lot of energy and work hard to filter the contaminants and pollutants and circulate the air around the building. A clean system as it functions smoothly and at the maximum efficiency.

If you want to extend the life of your HVAC system in Philadelphia and make it run efficiently call Good Deals Heating & Cooling at 215-947-1166. Let the professionals check and clean your system. Let us help give your HVAC system in Philadelphia the care it needs.

Why Should I Get an HVAC Maintenance Agreement?

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So you went out and bought an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) unit, and now you are faced with an essential question. Should you protect that purchase with an HVAC Maintenance Agreement? There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding HVAC Maintenance Agreements. There are sound reasons for getting a maintenance agreement, but the most critical question to ask yourself is: Do I feel comfortable not having one? If the HVAC system needs repairing or replacement, can your budget absorb those costs without much difficulty? A service agreement brings peace of mind that you’ll never be without heat or cooling.

Let’s start by learning what exactly comes with an HVAC Maintenance Agreement. An HVAC Maintenance Agreement is a contract between the customer and the service provider where the customer pays a set amount, and the provider performs routine maintenance on the HVAC unit. Some contracts include a priority treatment clause, which will come in handy if the HVAC dies at the worst possible moment (think mid-summer or mid-winter). The customer with an agreement jumps to the front of the line.

One of the most significant benefits to the HVAC Maintenance Agreement is regular maintenance on the unit. Just like a car needs regular maintenance done to catch small issues before they become expensive problems, the same is true with an HVAC system. Through routine maintenance, you can rest easy knowing that your purchase is being cared for and protected for when you need it the most.

The final case for an HVAC Maintenance Agreement is the preventative cost measures associated with the plan. Customers typically have several plans presented to them through their HVAC provider. Many of them will include repairs being fully or partially covered. If the technician detects a problem during routine maintenance or repairs are needed on a cold or scorching day, the fixes are included in the cost of doing business. Older HVAC units are no longer under warranty, so the best way to save money is to have regular maintenance before peak seasonal use. Plus it is comforting to know that when disaster strikes, the repairmen will be visiting your house first.

The HVAC Maintenance Agreement, provides security, financial coverage, and peace of mind.

If you have questions about an HVAC Maintenance Agreement contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Is It Safe For My HVAC To Use Both Heat And A/C In One Day?

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This year isn’t the first year that spring seems to be confused. One day the weather will be winter chilly, and the next day the weather will be hot. With this influx of outdoor weather keeping your home at a comfortable temperature becomes a challenge. Some people think that it isn’t safe to run the HVAC in both heat and air conditioning modes on the same day.
Is this true? Will I kill my HVAC system?

Will It Kill My HVAC System?

The plain and simple answer is that running both the air conditioner function and heat function of your HVAC system in one day won’t kill it.

Your HVAC system is designed to keep your home at the desired temperature, whether that means heating or cooling. If you couldn’t run both on the same day, then the system wouldn’t be able to do its job. Frequently switching between the two won’t hurt.

One important note to keep in mind is that you need to let the HVAC system finish its session before switching. The compressor needs to come to a complete stop and shut off before you adjust the temperature.

Pay Attention For Signs Your HVAC System May Have Problems

Instead of worrying whether or not to run your HVAC system on both heating and cooling in the same day, you should focus on signs that your HVAC system may be having problems. Here are several symptoms that the HVAC system may be having issues:

  • A circuit breaker keeps tripping when HVAC turns on
  • The unit is continuously running with no pause or shut off
  • Failure of the system to meet the set temperature
  • The air coming out of the vents has an odor
  • An noticeable increase of contaminants (i.e., dust) in the home
  • The unit stops turning on when it usually would

Schedule Regular Maintenance

An HVAC system is designed to have regular maintenance. For most units that means at least once a year. By staying on top of routine maintenance allows the HVAC system to run at peak performance. It will also help to prevent unit failure by catching and repairing small problems.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning units are designed to help control the climate in your home. Because these units are designed to operate in both the summer and winter, they are very flexible. You don’t have to worry about switching between the heating and air conditioning. What you do need to worry about is keeping your system in good working order to ensure that it is ready to go when you need it.

To schedule a routine maintenance service call for your HVAC system, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

5 Spring Maintenance for HVAC Unit

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With the spring months here, some people don’t know where and when to start preparing their home for the spring and summer seasons. There are several things you can do, but the most crucial one is HVAC unit maintenance. Having the HVAC serviced now will prevent any problems during the hot days of summer. Here is what an HVAC service provider will do.

Exterior Check

The first thing a service technician will do is check the exterior of the unit for dirt or damage. Any debris up against the unit or yard waste piled around the unit will have to be cleared. The technician will advise you of any trees or shrubs that need to be cut back to allow air circulation around the unit. Looking for any rust, dents or cracks in the exterior shell will also be noted.

Coil and Fan

The HVAC technician will check the coil and fan and clean them if necessary. Dirt built up on the coil and fan can make them less efficient and place stress on the entire HVAC system.

Ductwork

A hole or crack in the ductwork can allow hot air to circulate in the system causing the unit to run longer to achieve the desired interior temperature. Sealing those holes will keep the house cool and have the unit run less often.

Coolant

The level of refrigerant (usually freon) is checked. If the coolant level is low, the technician may look for a leak in the system. A leak in the system may or may not be repairable depending on where it is located. If needed, coolant is added when needed.

Electrical Connections

Part of any service visit includes inspecting the electrical connections. Wiring and cable connections are checked for misconnections, worn insulation, or fraying. Any damaged wires or cables are repaired.

HVAC spring maintenance is a vital aspect of making sure the unit works well. Maintenance should only be done by a qualified technician to make sure the procedure is completed thoroughly and correctly. Also, keep in mind that these service visits will help your unit to run efficiently during both the spring and summer seasons. Under some circumstances, they will need to replace damaged components of the unit if necessary.

Contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling to schedule your HVAC unit spring maintenance visit. Call 215-947-1166.

What are the Ideal Thermostat Settings?

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Thermostat systems provide the ultimate comfort especially when the outdoor temperature is uncomfortably hot or cold. With increasing energy costs, there must be a balance between comfort versus cost. The best way to reduce energy consumption and lower the utility bill is putting the thermostat at its ideal setting. Adjusting the thermostat settings can offer a huge plus when it comes to saving energy and money on utility bills. But, what are the best thermostat settings for the home?

Recommended Thermostat Settings

During the summertime, it is recommended to keep the temperature at 78F degrees, which to some families may seem high, but the difference will be reflected in the next utility bill. Keeping the air conditioning temperature close to the outdoor temperature prevents the unit from overworking.

If the indoor temperature is currently maintained at 70F degrees, families can begin gradually increasing the temperature one degree per day. Additionally, turn on the fan to keep air circulating. That air circulation helps keep the indoor temperature comfortable making up for the adjusted thermostat setting.

In the winter, a temperature no higher than 68F degrees is ideal for optimizing savings and significantly reducing utility bills. If you lower the thermostat setting by just 5-8 degrees, there is significant savings on utility bills.

During an unusually cold winter, this may seem quite cold, but there are ways to help keep the home warm while keeping the thermostat settings at its ideal temperature. Having a humidifier helps maintain a comfortable house by adding moisture which holds heat.

Programmable Thermostats

Instead of having to remember to adjust the thermostat settings install a programmable thermostat. Using a programmable thermostat will increase savings and reduce utility usage. These thermostats automatically change and adjust the home’s temperature while at home, work, or on vacation. For working families, the thermostat can raise or lower the temperature during the day when no one is home but adjust the household temperature in the evening for a good night’s sleep.

Programmable thermostats are also convenient when it’s vacation time. Whether going away for the weekend or two weeks, the thermostat can be programmed for the minimum of energy consumption.

For more information on thermostat settings, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

How Much Does A New Furnace Cost?

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All good things must come to an end, and this includes household appliances. If repairs have become more frequent, it may be time for you to put in a new furnace. Replacing a furnace is a significant household expense. Let’s look at how much this project may set you back.

The cost of the new furnace depends on the type chosen. If you select a furnace that uses natural gas, expect a price between $2,250 and $3,800 for the unit. The installation cost (which varies depending on local labor costs and the unit location in your home) is added to this amount.

Although oil furnaces are less efficient compared to the gas furnaces, they are still sold in some areas. When installing an oil furnace, the unit cost will run around $2500. If ductwork is required, that will be an additional cost. However, you should remember that more efficient unit with more complex ductwork can cost $10K.

If you select electric heat, the cost would be between $1,800 to $2,700. Electric heaters are not the most efficient option when it comes to heating large spaces.

Another alternative to consider is a heat pump. A heat pump is a unit that draws heat from the air or ground. These units come with refrigerant coils to use to create cool air in the summer. Heat pumps work best in temperate climates. These HVAC units function decently during summers; however, during frigid weather, their efficiency is limited.

Labor costs are a significant portion of this project. The fee not only covers installing the new furnace but disconnecting and removing the old one. Do not expect a flat rate. Average hourly rates for a licensed installer run about $75 per hour. If the installer has a helper/assistant expect another $50 per hour. The total labor cost will include time needed to installation of ductwork, electrical or gas hookup, and even drywall repair.

It is difficult for a homeowner to judge how long each of these jobs will take, so before starting any work, obtain an estimate from at least three HVAC installation services. For your protection, always use a licensed and bonded contractor for this type of work.

A new furnace will have two warranties; manufacturer’s warranty and contractor’s warranty. These costs are included in the total budget. However, if you want an extended warranty from the contractor, that will be an additional cost.

For more information on the cost of a new furnace, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Why Is My Furnace Not Blowing Hot Air?

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It is cold outside and you return home with the expectation of comfortable warmth, and the last thing you need is to discover that your furnace is not blowing hot air. With that said, here are some common reasons for that occurrence. Some of the cases can be fixed by yourself with a little bit of patience. But there are some instances where you need to go for a furnace repair through a professional.

Furnace Fan Is Always Running

Take a look at the thermostat. If the fan is programmed to be “ON,” the fan will constantly operate, even when there’s no warm air. The cold air you feel is the breeze that is generated by the fan. Switch the fan to “Auto” from “ON” and the fan will only come on when there is hot air to circulate.

Air Filter

The furnace may be producing hot air, but a clogged air filter may be blocking the air from circulating properly. To fix this issue, all you have to do is to change the dirty filter. As long as the air filter is dirty, the furnace doesn’t get sufficient air supply. A clogged air filter also may result in your furnace to running more frequently – shortening its lifespan. Make cleaning or changing the air filters a regular part of your house maintenance routine.

Pilot Light

For gas furnaces, check the pilot light. If it is out, check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to relight it. If unable to ignite the pilot, contact an HVAC service company.

Flame Sensor

A gas burner doesn’t light if the flame sensor is not clean. A dirty flame sensor will continuously switch on and off your furnace. Check your owner’s manual for instructions on clearing the flame sensor.

Insufficient Gas Supply

If there is not a sufficient gas supply, the furnace will not generate heat. Warm air will not be produced as a result. More importantly, insufficient gas supply can even make the furnace lockdown (as a precaution). Have the gas company check the gas pressure.

Drain Line Issues

Furnaces have drain lines to remove condensation. Clogged drain lines can hinder its performances. It is essential to clean the lines to bring back their peak performance.

Damaged Air Ducts

Damaged ducts are another common reason behind a malfunctioning furnace. Holes in the air ducts can allow cold air to be circulated. Depending on where the air ducts are located, the inspection can be by the homeowner or an HVAC service.

Wrong Size Furnace

The selection of a wrong-sized furnace can poorly heat your house. This situation can often happen when adding an addition to the home without upgrading the furnace. A furnace that is too small will never keep a home warm. The only solution is to upgrade to the properly-sized furnace.

If after troubleshooting, your furnace is still not blowing hot air, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling to schedule a service visit. Just call 215-947-1166.

Backup Power Generator Safety Tips

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With storms on the horizon, many backup power generators are sold every year. These generators are used as a household electrical backup. And because of the electrical power they generate, safety is a critical issue. It is a fact that generators made by well-known manufacturers conform strict safety rules. But if not properly installed or operated even the safest generator can become a hazard. This article will give you some safety tips and how to avoid the most common mistakes.

Owner’s Manual – Read the Owner’s Manual that came with your generator. It is essential that you know the basics of operating the generator. If you have read the manual before an emergency, you will be better prepared to use the generator when needed. So read the manual NOW. If you misplaced the manual, then download a copy of it at the generator manufacturer’s website. Have the model and serial number on hand (this is found on the generator), so you can download the correct manual.

Proper Installation – A qualified, licensed electrician should install backup power generators to ensure that they meet local electrical codes. Power from an improperly installed generator can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs.

Grounding -Make sure your backup power generator is properly grounded. The manual will describe how to do this.

Water – Keep the generator dry. Water is an excellent electrical conductor.

Extension Cords – Make sure extension cords used with a generator are rated for the load, are free of cuts and worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.

Proper Load – Generators are rated to carry a certain load. Do not overload the generator. A backup power generator should be used when absolutely necessary and only to power essential appliances or equipment.

Ventilation – Never operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Backup power Generators produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, which can be deadly in poorly ventilated areas. Also, do not place generators near any air intake vents to the home.

Circuit Interrupter – Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install.

Fuel – Make sure fuel for the generator is stored safely, away from living areas, in properly labeled containers and away from fuel-burning appliances. Always make sure the generator is off and let it cool down before refueling.

Shutting Down – Turn off all appliances powered by the generator before shutting down the generator.

Children and Pets – Keep children and pets away from power generators at all times.

These safety tips will help you safely use your backup power generator when there is a power outage due to a storm.

For more information on repairs to your heating and cooling system, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.