HVAC Maintenance Contracts: Terms and What to Watch For

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC Maintenance Contract

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

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC

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.

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

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC

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

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC unit

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?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling thermostat settings

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?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling new furnace

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?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling not blowing hot air

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.

Important Tips to Prepare Your HVAC Unit for a Winter Snowstorm

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC UnitBefore the temperature drops to freezing and you crank your thermostat up, take a few minutes to inspect your HVAC unit, change your air filters, and prepare your home for the long, cold winter and snowstorm months ahead. A couple of simple techniques will get your home’s heating system in top shape, so it can do its job to keep your home warm. Besides helping to make sure that you don’t end up in the middle of the cold season with a broken heater or furnace, these tips can also save you money on those expensive heating bills.

Look for Leaks

One of the first steps that you can do is inspect your home’s windows and doorways for leaks where the air is moving. If you find these, and chances are you will, caulk or install some weather stripping to seal up the exposure. It may take some time going to each window to perform this maintenance, but it’s a great way to get familiar with the challenges that your HVAC system has to overcome to keep your home comfortable. These tiny gaps around windows and doors may seem insignificant, and they likely are when viewed singly. But combine them, and you can watch your heat flowing straight out of your home – along with a couple of dollars from your wallet too. If the heat in your home is escaping through cracks around window frames and sills, or openings around your doorways, your heater has to work extra hard to maintain the thermostat’s temperature. Sealing these cracks will save unnecessary work on your HVAC system, and undue strain on your wallet.

Change Home Air Filters

Air filters trap particles of dust, debris, and germs and can get pretty nasty fast. Once you are spending a lot of your time indoors this winter, make sure the air that you’re breathing is as clean as it can be. Not only will you help combat allergies, but clogged air filters will also put a strain on your home’s heating system. Once the air filters get clogged, air ceases to flow through the filter properly making it harder to keep the temperature in your home regulated. A clean air filter means your heating unit can push warm air through your duct system quickly and effectively, and you can make sure the air you are breathing is clean.

Know Your HVAC Unit

Finally, research your home’s HVAC unit. Take the make, model, and year number and perform a little background research. You’ll discover common problems, DIY fixes, the average lifespan, and you’ll find replacement parts and tips to keep the machine running optimally. Get to know the heating and cooling unit that does so much to keep your family comfortable!
If you want to call a professional to give your home’s heating and cooling system a checkup, consider asking your HVAC company to inspect your home’s duct system to see if it needs cleaning. This process is a simple process, and HVAC companies are incredibly familiar with it, especially around the season changes.

Good Deals Heating & Cooling can perform all routine maintenance efficiently and give you some extra tips on keeping your family warm, and your HVAC unit happy, this winter.  For more information call 215-947-1166.

Save Money on Energy with a Programmable Thermostat

Good Deals Heating and Cooling programmable thermostatWhen the seasons change, so does the temperature, and that means that it is time for people to adjust the thermostats in their homes. But regulating the temperature in a house can lead to higher utility bills as it takes a lot of energy to reach and maintain an interior temperature that is different from the exterior. Fortunately, there is a way to heat and cool one’s house without spending a fortune on utility bills: installing a programmable thermostat. Installing this device will drastically cut down on energy bills because it can be set to a more efficient cycle rather than just leaving the house at one set temperature all day long.

With a traditional thermostat, one has to set it to the desired temperature manually, and then adjust it or turn it off whenever a change is needed. In this situation, the easiest (or laziest) course of action is to put it at one temperature and leave it alone. However, doing this becomes a massive waste of both energy and money. If no one is home, the temperature does not need to be nearly as warm (or cool, depending on the season) – as it would be when everyone is home and awake. There is the potential for considerable savings to have the temperature lowered when no one is home and only raised when everyone is there to feel it.

A programmable thermostat solves this problem and makes being energy efficient easy and affordable. Even the simplest of models will allow the user to set the temperature on a cycle, so that in the winter, for example, it is appropriately warm during the morning and evening when people are home and awake, but cooler during the day when everyone is at work and night when everyone is asleep and under blankets. In the summer, the settings can be flipped, and the temperature can be cooler while people are home and warmer when they are at work.

Any programmable thermostat model will work, from the low-priced models that work on a cycle to the more expensive models that can be adjusted remotely through an app. Some utility companies offer rebates for purchasing a programmable thermostat, which will help to lower the initial cost of procuring and installing one. Whether or not rebates are offered, most programmable thermostats pay for themselves quickly.

For more information about a programmable thermostat and its benefits contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

What To Do If Your Heat Goes Out On Christmas Day

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC repairWinter ushers in Christmas and New Year’s Day which are times for fun and celebration. Unfortunately, winter is also the time of year when the weather can take down power lines or overstress a furnace resulting in a breakdown. So what should you do if it’s cold outside and the heat stops?

Being prepared is always a good idea. Having a power generator, a kerosene heater, a toasty fireplace with plenty of wood or a wood/pellet burning stove, are all great ideas. Unfortunately, having ready sources of backup heat is not always an option, and many of us are caught unprepared when the furnace goes silent. What should you do to stay warm while waiting for the repairman to come?

The first thing to determine why the furnace stopped. Is it due to a power outage? Call the power company and find out how long you may be without power. Knowing what you are facing helps you plan the actions you should take. If the problem is with the furnace, call an HVAC repair service. Once again, determine when a service provider will be able to come out and do the repair.

Next, assess what you have to keep warm. Gather blankets, sleeping bags, winter clothing, and any warming aids (chemical hand and body warmers) that you can find. Do you still have hot water? Empty glass bottles make great warmers when filled with hot water.

Insulate to Keep the Heat In and the Cold Out

Wear layers of clothing to maintain warmth. Start with a base layer, ideally thermal underclothes. These garments are designed to trap air against your skin to keep you warm. On top of the thermal underclothes, add a wool sweater or thick sweatshirt. For the legs put on denim jeans or wool pants. This second layer should be breathable fabrics that still allow airflow. If it is extremely cold, top off these clothes with a jacket or coat – a garment that “seals” the heat. Remember your extremities so add gloves, scarves, a woolen hat, ear muffs, and even boots.

Drink Warm Liquids

Ingesting warm liquids in the form of tea or soup helps the body stay warm. Staying hydrated will help the body generate the heat required to function. Avoid drinking alcohol because the “warming effect” you feel is false. Alcohol does not contribute to warming the body.

Pick a Room

Is there a room in your house or apartment that can accommodate everyone and can be closed off from the rest of the house/apt? Set up camp in that room. It will be much easier to stay warm together in one place than spread out. Whenever possible, bundle up in blankets, sleeping bags, and extra clothing.

Don’t Block Your Radiators

If your apartment has radiators, they should always be kept clean – any amount of dirt and dust sitting on top of them will absorb some of the heat that is produced. You should also remove any radiator covers when the heat is on, as covers can block the airflow through the radiator in addition to absorbing heat.  Move your furniture so that all chairs, couches, bookcases, entertainment units, desks, beds, etc. are not too close to your radiators or heating convectors. Don’t let your drapes or curtains cover them either, as they will divert heat to the windows (and therefore out of your apartment if they aren’t adequately sealed) instead of into the rest of the room.

What Not To Do

  • Don’t use your oven to warm the house.
  • Don’t use propane heaters or charcoal stoves in the house (or garage). Staying warm is important, staying alive is even more so. Carbon Monoxide is toxic and accounts for hundreds of deaths every winter.
  • Don’t use hot showers or baths to warm up as your body temperature will drop to a lower level afterward. When in doubt, stick with extra clothes, sleeping bags, blankets, hot water bottles, and shared body warmth to keep you warm.

Prepare yourself and then have a beautiful, happy, peaceful, and safe Christmas. Enjoy the break and recharge your batteries for work in New Year.

Contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling for emergency HVAC repair.  Call 215-947-1166.