Don’t Get Burned: DIY Furnace Repair Risks Explained

Don’t Get Burned: DIY Furnace Repair Risks Explained

  • Heating
Don't Get Burned The Dangers of DIY Furnace Repair - Northshore Home Energy

If you’re like many homeowners, you might be tempted to try your hand at furnace repair to save money. However, DIY furnace repair can be dangerous and costly. In this blog post, we’ll explore the risks of DIY furnace repair, as well as the importance of proper furnace maintenance and knowing when to call a professional.

The Risks of DIY Furnace Repair

There are several risks associated with DIY furnace repair. These risks include fire hazards, electrical hazards, and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Fire Risks

One of the biggest risks of DIY furnace repair is the risk of fire. Furnaces generate a lot of heat, and any mistake during a repair can result in a fire. This can be especially dangerous if your furnace is in a small, confined space like a closet or utility room.

Electrical Risks

Another risk is electrical hazards. Furnaces use electricity to power various components, and mishandling these components can result in electrical shock or even electrocution.

Poisoning Risks

Furnaces can also produce carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can be deadly if inhaled in large quantities. Without the proper training and equipment, it can be difficult to detect carbon monoxide leaks and fix them properly.

Financial Risks

Finally, there are financial risks associated as well. If a repair is done improperly, it can cause even more damage to your furnace, resulting in costly repairs or even the need for a full furnace replacement.

Who to Call To Repair Your Furnace

Given the risks associated with DIY furnace repair, it’s important to know when to call a professional. If you’re experiencing any issues with your furnace, such as strange noises, lack of heat, or frequent cycling, it’s best to call a professional furnace repair technician at North Shore Home Energy.

Proper Furnace Maintenance

To avoid the need for frequent furnace repairs, it’s important to properly maintain your furnace. This includes changing your furnace filter regularly, keeping your furnace clean, and scheduling regular maintenance appointments with a professional technician. Proper maintenance can help extend the life of your furnace and prevent costly repairs.

Other Risks

Outside of the physical risks associated with DIY furnace repair, there are warranty and quality risks as well. Click here to learn more.

In conclusion, DIY furnace repair can be dangerous and costly. With the risk of fire, electrical hazards, carbon monoxide poisoning, and financial risks, it’s important to know when to call a professional furnace repair technician. By properly maintaining your furnace and scheduling regular maintenance appointments, you can help prevent the need for repairs and keep your furnace running efficiently and safely. Don’t get burned – leave furnace repair to North Shore Home Energy! Give us a call today and check out our Google reviews! 

By nshec

Homeowners: Are You Guilty of These 10 Common Furnace Mistakes?

Homeowners: Are You Guilty of These 10 Common Furnace Mistakes?

  • Heating
  • Miscellaneous

Taking care of the systems in the home is part of being a good homeowner and this is especially true in regards to your furnace. Failing to properly use or maintain the home furnace can result in safety issues, an increased risk of furnace or flue fires, higher than normal utility bills, unexpected repair costs to correct the problem, inefficient heat, shortened lifespan, or even a complete furnace failure. If you are in charge of caring for your home’s furnace, this list of ten common mistakes homeowners often make with their furnaces will help you avoid future problems and ensure that your home stays safe, cozy, and warm all winter long. 

Filter change issues 

Before the furnace can provide heat to comfort a room, the warm air must first travel through a filter system. This filter system benefits the occupants of the home by removing dust particles and other contaminants from the air, making the air quality of the home healthier and helping the home stay free from contaminants and dust. Over time, the filter becomes clogged and the air can no longer travel efficiently through the filter to warm the room to the level specified by the thermostat setting. this causes the furnace to work harder to try and reach that level and results in higher utility bills and premature aging of the furnace components. To ensure your furnace does not suffer these problems, make sure that you use the filters specified by the furnace manufacturer or installer and ensure that they are changed on schedule. In addition, if the home is subjected to severe winter weather causing the furnace to work harder, changing the filter more frequently will help to keep it running properly. 

Failing to schedule annual maintenance by a qualified professional 

Even furnaces that are running perfectly can benefit from having an annual maintenance checkup. In addition to cleaning and adjusting your furnace to improve efficiency, your furnace professional will be able to look for signs of developing issues and make proactive repairs to prevent failures and mechanical issues during the winter heating season. 

Setting thermostats too high 

Setting the thermostat too high forces the furnace to work non-stop to attempt to reach the temperature of the thermostat setting. Instead, choose to keep the thermostat on a normal setting and look at making other changes in your home to help your furnace run more efficiently, such as adding more insulation, covering exposed windows with insulated draperies or blinds, and having a heating professional assess your home to see if your furnace is sized correctly and working as efficiently as it should. 

Failing to upgrade or replace aging systems

 Postponing furnace service, upgrades, or replacements is not a good way to save money. In most cases, a furnace that is 15 years old or older will run far less efficiently than a newer system, making the utility bills rise sharply. Planning to replace an aging system before it fails or causes utility bills to skyrocket is an excellent way to get the best value from your home’s furnace. 

Using cost as the only guide when choosing a new system 

When looking for a new system, cost should only be one factor in choosing the replacement system. A quality furnace that offers improved efficiency will end up being less expensive over its lifespan than one that costs less to purchase but results in higher utility and maintenance costs.  

Failing to adjust the heat when nobody’s home 

Most homeowners can see real savings on their utility costs by installing a programmable thermostat and taking the time to set it to reflect the family’s schedule. While mom and dad are at work and the kids are at school, or the family is sleeping, the thermostat can automatically reduce the temperature in the home creating a significant savings on the utility bill and prolonging the life of your furnace. Your furnace professional can help you select and install the best programmable thermostat for your particular system.

Allowing clutter to build up around the furnace components 

Since furnaces are often located in basements, closets, attics, and other seldom used spaces, clutter can really build up around them. This not only creates a potential fire hazard, it also prevents the furnace from having proper air flow which can shorten the life of the system and make it work less efficiently. A good way to keep this from happening is to take a few moments during each filter change to vacuum the area and clear away any clutter near your furnace components. 

Disregarding potential signs of trouble, such as odd odors, noises, or visual clues that something may be amiss 

Most families become so familiar with their furnaces that they fail to notice when it is actually operating. If a normally quiet furnace begins to make unfamiliar sounds or there are any odd odors, noises, or visual signs that something is different, contact your furnace professional immediately for a maintenance checkup. Noticing these signs and attending to them can be the best way to prevent an emergency failure and costly repairs later.

Failing to keep the furnace components clean or eliminating contaminants 

Like any other appliance, your home’s furnace will operate safer and more efficiently when it is kept clean. Allowing dust or other contaminants to build up in or on the components can shorten the lifespan and create conditions that could result in a fire. Using a shop vacuum or a soft, clean cloth to clean the surfaces will help to prevent this type of problems. 

Not following manufacturer’s instructions for use, care, and maintenance 

Failing to read or follow manufacturer’s instructions for use, care, and maintenance is one of the most common mistakes homeowners make. Furnace models, sizes, and fuel types vary greatly and each one will have specific requirements for peak efficiency and lifespan. To get the most from your system, make sure that you learn what the manufacturer recommends and follow the instructions carefully.  

For more information about using or maintaining your heater, ask your heating professional to assess your system, answer your questions, and help you develop a good maintenance plan. 

For More Information on All Things Heating Maintenance, Call NSHEC Today!

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By nshec

A Homeowner’s Guide to Furnace Maintenance 

A Homeowner’s Guide to Furnace Maintenance 

  • Heating
furnace maintenance

Let’s face it: Nobody likes being without heat during the winter. A cold home is profoundly uncomfortable and when the weather turns frigidly cold, it can even be dangerous. Not to mention that without heating, you could get frozen pipes, which could cause a whole host of problems. As a homeowner, therefore, it’s important to have a basic understanding of furnace maintenance so you can keep your heating system in good working order throughout the year. 

How a Furnace Works

In order to properly maintain your furnace, you need to understand how a furnace works. Air is mixed with either gas, propane or oil and ignited in a specially-designed combustion chamber. Filtered air is blown across the heated chamber to heat. The heated air is then led into the air ducts, from where it’s distributed throughout the home. 

Step-by-Step Furnace Maintenance

To keep your furnace in good working order, follow these steps:

  • Check the pilot light. Regardless of the type of fuel your furnace uses, the pilot light should be blue. If it’s yellow of some other color, it indicates that too much carbon monoxide is being produced, and you need to call a technician right away.
  • Listen for strange sounds. If you hear clunks, squeaks, or any other unusual sounds, it’s a sign that something could be amiss, so call a technician before trying to do any maintenance.

If the pilot light is blue and there are no strange noises coming from the furnace, you can proceed with the actual maintenance:

  • Switch off the power and shut off the fuel supply. This is imperative to your safety, so never forget this all-important step! Usually, the power shut off is located close to the furnace and the fuel shutoff valve will be on the gas pipe or oil tank.
  • Clean the combustion chamber. The combustion chamber quickly gets covered in soot, which can corrode its sides over time. To remove the soot, scrape it out gently with a wire brush and vacuum up any dust. 
  • If you have an oil furnace, change the filter. The oil valve needs to be closed so you can remove the old filter and replace it with a new one.
  • Clean or change the air filter. Check whether the system uses reusable or disposable air filters. If the filter is reusable, follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual to clean it. If it’s a disposable filter, remove the old one and replace it.
  • Inspect the flue pipe for damage. Any corrosion or holes in the flue pipe could potentially be hazardous, as they can leak carbon monoxide. Visually inspect the flue pipe for damage. You can cover small holes with foil tape, but if you see corrosion or larger holes, you’ll need to replace the pipe.  

It’s important to keep your furnace well-maintained, as it will keep your heating costs low and ensure your furnace lasts a long time. That’s why, in addition to performing regular maintenance yourself, you should schedule professional cleaning and maintenance at least once a year. Before hiring a technician, make sure that he or she is specialized in the type of furnace you have and has good reviews on Angie’s List, Yelp, Google+, and the Yellow Pages

For More Information on All Things Furnace Maintenance, Call NSHEC Today!

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By nshec

Winter is Coming: Everything You Need to Do To Prep for this Year’s Heating Season 

Winter is Coming: Everything You Need to Do To Prep for this Year’s Heating Season 

  • Heating

The leaves are changing, the wind is getting brisk, and pumpkin spice flavoring has emerged from its year-long slumber. Fall is back, and it’s only a few weeks until you need to fire up your heater for the cold winter months. But at North Shore Home Energy, we favor a proactive approach to home heating, which means that the fall season is the perfect time to ready your system for the workout it’ll be getting when the thermometer starts dropping below sixty. 

There’s a lot you can do over the next few months to ensure you don’t have any nasty surprises when it’s time to fire up that furnace. Here’s a short checklist of things to consider before winter starts in earnest.

Call a Licensed Maintenance Technician for a Tune Up

Obviously one of the best things you can do is call in the pros at North Shore Home Energy. Our team members are certified HVAC experts and we know the value of regular maintenance. Having a professional get eyes on your system on a regular basis is the optimal way to ensure that your system is ready for anything the winter weather throws at it. Regular professional tune-ups can detect threats before they become substantial, costly problems.

Upgrade Your Equipment

Fall is a great season: it’s not too hot, not too cold. A lot of folks would argue that it’s a prime time of year for comfortable weather. That makes it the perfect time to consider upgrading your older HVAC system. The average system lasts about ten years with good maintenance. Replacing it while the weather is agreeable means you don’t have to worry about sweltering or freezing during the process. 

Change Your Filter

This is a pretty simple step you can take. The amount of dirt and debris that gets stuck in your HVAC system’s filter would shock and amazing you. A dirty, used-up filter will almost always result in problems and breakdowns of your system, especially considering how simple of a fix it is to just swap in a new one. 

Fire Up The Furnace for a Dry Run

Taking things out for a test run is never a bad idea. You do it with cars, do it with your HVAC system. Before things get really cold, it’s a good idea to fire up your heating system and see if it works properly. If there’s any issues (cold spots in the house, no heat, etc) you can call out a professional to deal with it before you’re left out in the cold.

For More Information on All Things Heating, Call NSHEC Today!

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By nshec

Thermostat Tips That Can Save You Cold Hard Cash 

Thermostat Tips That Can Save You Cold Hard Cash 

  • Heating
thermostat tips

In the old days, the heater was a simple matter controlled by a manually adjusted thermostat. Too cold and you moved the need to the red side. Too warm and you moved it to the blue side. It was a pretty simple affair that even kids could figure out. No surprise, the thermostat was usually installed at a height that kids couldn’t easily get to as a result. However, today’s modern thermostat, even without an Internet connection and all the digital possibilities, is a complicated mechanism. And it can be an extremely efficient control of temperature and climate in a home if used correctly. We’ve compiled some thermostat tips to help you get the most out of your home’s HVAC capabilities while paying the least. 

Not proactively using one’s thermostat consciously creates a number of problems. Aside from expense, the home usually ends up heating unevenly. That can frequently create hot spots and cold spots, causing everyone to lose the value of the entire home and clump up where it’s warmer. Secondly, the increased demand can cause increased strain on a home heating system which eventually triggers larger repair bills. Finally, heavy demand causes everyone’s costs to go up in a community as demand increases versus supply.

The main advantage of the modern thermostat is its programmability. By using the feature alone, a homeowner can save hundreds of dollars a month in heating. Here’s how:

  • If No One is Home, Don’t Run It – When the house is empty, there is no point in running the heater. It literally involves wasting a lot of energy that translates into a monthly bill for an empty home. Turn the dial down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This will avoid freezing in the home but eliminate wasted heating as well.
  • Don’t Battle Your Heater and Freezer – A hot house makes your refrigerator and freezer work that much harder. If you keep the house a bit cooler, it will easily translate into savings with less electrical demand from the cooling appliances.
  • Adjust Slowly – Ever wonder how people can walk around in a T-shirt in Alaska? They adjust. If you adjust your own thermostat one degree lower a week, you will save more money and slowly adapt to a cooler temperature without feeling an abrupt cold change in your comfort level.
  • Schedule a Cooler Evening – People generally sleep better when their environment is cooler. Reduce your home heating to around 70 degrees at night and you will have a better night of sleep with a blanket and a smaller heating bill.
  • Reduce Your Thinking – Use a programmable thermostat. This is one of the biggest advantages of temperature control, allowing a homeowner to literally schedule out temperature around the house the entire week, day and night.
  • Let the Crowd Generate Hot Air – If you are going to have a party with lots of people, use their heat to boost the room temperature instead of your heater. Every person is putting out hot air, literally, and crowd of 10 or 20 will heat up a room naturally. Take advantage of that fact and save some money on party night.
  • Don’t Forget the Batteries – Programmable thermostats only work well when they are on, so if the battery runs out, it defeats the entire purpose of the machine. Keep the batteries fresh and replaced annually.
  • Winter Thrifty – Don’t let your heating limit get above 68 or 70 during the winter. It’s a comfortable level of heating and a simple sweater can avoid running the system higher and spending $20 that night in heating.
  • Maintain your System – Expensive heating problems happen because people ignore their systems. Maintain your heater with a technician check at least once a year if not twice. And change your system filter monthly. Just a clean filter alone will prolong the heater life considerably.
  • Use a Fireplace – The heat generated from a fireplace can be considerable for the room it is in, entirely negating the need for heating. Just make sure that you burn on an allowable night as many neighborhoods now have non-burning nights due to new ordinances.

With rising energy prices in heating oil, gas and electricity, your home thermostat can literally be your best friend in personal cost control. However, the homeowner needs to be proactive in using it effectively. A thermostat won’t change and adjust to winter settings on its own (at least not yet although there are some amazing new ideas on the horizon for smart home settings). Your bank account will appreciate the attention when it comes time to pay the monthly bill, and your heating system will last a lot longer from less strain and demand as well.

For More Information on All Things HVAC, Call NSHEC Today!

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By nshec

10 Questions to Ask Before A Furnace Replacement

10 Questions to Ask Before A Furnace Replacement

  • Heating

When chilly weather rolls around, nothing could be more important than being comfortable in your own home and having peace of mind. Having the right home heating system for your home and specific needs can provide that comfort and peace.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, home heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the average homeowner’s utility costs. If your home has an outdated, inefficient older furnace, it could be needlessly raising your energy bill. Likewise, if you purchase a new, energy-efficient furnace model that is incorrectly sized for your home, you could still be at risk for higher costs.

Careful consideration when selecting a new furnace provides many benefits. Your new furnace will be able to handle the comfort needs of everyone in your family, reduce your utility bill, improve your indoor air quality, and extend your furnace’s lifespan, allowing you to enjoy a warm, stress-free fall and winter for years to come.

Various characteristics of your new furnace unit, such as type, size and efficiency, affect the amount it will cost to keep your home toasty when the temperature drops, as well as how long your furnace will continue operating at peak levels after years of use during the peak heating season. Purchasing the incorrect furnace for your home will result in a variety of potential issues that will cause stress instead of keeping you warm and comfortable during the winter months:

  • Poor system efficiency – Each home has its own specific heating needs. The incorrect system, even an energy-efficient model, can be inefficient in your home due to size or type.
  • Increased repair and maintenance costs – When you install the wrong size or type of furnace for your home’s size or needs, it can put stress and strain on the unit to keep your home comfortable, resulting in more frequent maintenance and need for repairs.
  • Shortened furnace lifespan – When your furnace struggles to keep up with your heating needs, it will cycle on and off frequently, increasing wear on your system, and eventually require replacement, whereas a unit suited to your home will provide years of service.
  • Inconsistent heating during fall and winter – Your furnace needs to be carefully selected for your home and your geographical location to ensure that it not only provides sporadic heating during cooler fall months, but can handle constant use during frigid winters.
  • Increased safety risks – Installing a furnace that is incompatible with your home’s specific size and needs can greatly increase the chance of residential fires as well as heighten risks of carbon monoxide exposure.

For More Information on All Things HVAC, Call NSHEC Today!

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By nshec

7 Essential Furnace Parts

7 Essential Furnace Parts

  • Heating

If you’re like most homeowners, you know that your furnace is responsible for heating your house.  How it does this,  however, is a mystery to the general population.  When your furnace stops working however, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how it operates in order to try simple troubleshooting and (if needed) understand what your HVAC technician needs to do in order to get it fixed.

If you don’t understand how your furnace works, regular maintenance can become a real challenge.  Poorly maintained furnaces have a tendency to accumulate more dirt and dust, making other issues much worse and accelerating the degradation of some parts.  When a technician is called, not understanding how your furnace works makes it more difficult to understand what type of work needs to be done immediately.

Educating yourself on the basic components of a furnace isn’t too difficult, and it will make it easier to maintain your unit, saving you a lot of money over the next several years.

1. Thermostat

Your thermostat is able to detect the temperature in a room and determine if that temperature is below the level you have set.  When the temperature is lower than the one you have set, the thermostat sends an electrical signal to the burner to turn on.

2. Pilot Light

On a gas furnace, this is a small flame that is always burning a small amount of excess gas.  In an electric furnace, the pilot light is lit by an electronic ignition when it’s time for the furnace to turn on.  If the pilot light becomes blocked by debris, however, the flame will die out.  When this happens, turn off the gas (or turn off an electric furnace at the breaker) and use a small brush to clean the pilot light.  In most modern furnaces, the pilot light will come back on automatically when the power or gas is restored.  If the pilot light valve is clear but the light still isn’t coming back on, have a professional check for gas leaks.  On an electric furnace, a professional can diagnose whether or not there is a problem with the ignition switch or the pilot light itself.

3. Burner

In a gas furnace, the burner is activated by the pilot light.  In an electric furnace, this is done with an electric ignition.  The burner creates heat inside a combustion chamber, which in turn creates heat in the heat exchanger.  When this component is broken, it will not heat the air.  In some cases, this may mean that the air is taking a longer amount of time than usual to heat, while in other cases the air may not heat at all.

4. Heat Exchanger

Air is pulled into the heat exchanger and heated.  Cold air is replaced by the warm air created by the burner.  This warm air is then pushed into a long tube or pipe by the blower motor.

5. Blower motor

The blower motor is a component of the furnace that is responsible for pushing the warm air through the ductwork and out of the vents.  These motors are typically sized in accordance with the size and layout of the home they need to heat.  Larger motors are used in homes where the air needs to travel long distances.  In  some cases, more than one blower motor is installed as part of a heating system in order to force air through particularly long distances. As this component starts to break down, the furnace will still produce warm air, but there is a noticeable temperature difference between vents located close to the furnace and those located farther away.  In the event of a total breakdown, there will be virtually no air coming out of vents that are far away from the furnace.

6. Furnace Belt

In order to blow the warm air through the house, the blower motor will turn a belt known as the furnace or blower belt.  much like similar belts in your car or vacuum cleaner, these belts will wear out over time.  A loud squeaking or squealing from the blower motor is usually an indication that the belt needs to be replaced.  If your motor is easily accessible, this is often just a matter of turning off the power, removing the old belt with a wrench or screwdriver, and replacing it with a new part.  If you cannot access or remove the old belt, however, call a professional.

7. Vents

After being pushed through the ducts, the warm air comes out of the vents located throughout the house. To help air flow, make sure that these vents are kept clear of dust and are not blocked by furniture or other items.

For More Information on Furnaces of All Shapes and Sizes, Call NSHEC Today!

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By nshec

3 Different Types of North Shore Heating Options

3 Different Types of North Shore Heating Options

  • Heating
North Shore Heating

3 Different Types of North Shore Heating Options

For most American homeowners, keeping interior spaces comfortable is the single largest energy expense for their home. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for 48% of a typical home energy budget. With that much of your monthly budget at stake, it’s clear that the type of system your use for north shore heating in your homecan have a major impact on your home comfort levels as well as your overall energy costs.  If your present heating system is more than 20 years old, you are probably spending a significant amount just to keep it running – funds that could be better spent on a new, more energy-efficient system. Choosing a new heating system can really pay off in terms of both comfort and operating costs. 

Understanding Heating Systems

Can you remember the last “big” purchase you made? Maybe it was a car, your house, a surround sound system…whatever it was you probably did a lot of research comparing prices, durability, and the overall quality before you decided to take the plunge and finally purchase. As with any sizable purchase, selecting an appropriate heating system that is best-suited for your geographical location and needs requires a basic understanding of the differences between different heating systems. This includes their efficiency ratings as well as long-term operating costs. Installing the wrong system for your climate or heating requirements could end up costing more in the long run. Knowing the difference between furnaces, ductless heating, and heat pumps can help you avoid issues such as:

  • No heat
  • Reduced efficiency
  • Frequent system failures
  • Not enough space for proper installation
  • Increased repair and maintenance costs

On the other hand, choosing the best type of system is an investment that will pay for itself in benefits and bring you peace of mind due to:

  • Reduced energy costs
  • A long-lasting, durable system
  • Reliable heating
  • Increased home value
  • Reduced carbon footprint

Types of North Shore Heating Systems

Knowing the differences between gas furnaces, ductless systems and heat pumps will help you determine which system is the perfect match for your family’s needs. When shopping for a new heating system, look for a high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating measures how efficiently your heater utilizes its fuel. The more efficient your furnace is, the more heat it will return per unit of fuel.

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are fueled by either propane or natural gas, and typically cost less to install than heat pumps. A new high efficiency furnace consumes more than 30% less fuel than less efficient, outdated furnaces. Due to rising oil and natural gas costs, it is important to select a system that helps you reduce your heating energy consumption.

Newer gas furnaces aren’t just more efficient – they are much quieter than older models, provide even heating, and maintain a more constant temperature level. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, high-efficiency gas furnaces feature a second heat exchange, sealed combustion and a 90% to 98.5% AFUE.  

Ductless systems

Ductless heating systems move air through different areas or ‘zones’ in your home. They are easy to install, but typically cost more to install than a furnace. Ductless systems, also called split-systems, multi-split systems, and split-ductless systems, offer highly flexible solutions for a range of home comfort issues. While heat pumps force heated and cooled air through ducts, a ductless system delivers air directly to a specific zone.

Ductless systems are smaller than comparable forced-air systems, meaning they operate on less power, and are more efficient, since the temperature-controlled air is delivered directly where desired. Ductless systems allow homeowners to only heat specific occupied rooms or zones within the home. Because they don’t have ducts that can attract dust and allergens ( and they offer multi-stage filtration) they can increase indoor air quality by reducing dust, pollen, bacteria and allergens in the home.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps operate by using electricity to heat and cool indoor spaces. They are the best option for temperate climates, though they typically cost more to install that furnaces. Electric heat pumps are one of the most efficient heating systems available. They operate as a furnace during chilly weather, absorbing warmth from the ground or atmosphere, multiplying it, and delivering it to the home. Conversely, they work as an air conditioner during the hotter months, transferring heat from the home. Heat pumps can be operated on gas or electricity.

Heat pumps don’t generate dry heat, so there’s no need to use a humidifier during operation. Heat pump systems are less expensive to use than systems fueled by natural gas, and don’t experience the fluctuations in temperature commonly seen in other types of systems. While the initial installation may cost more than other systems, and they require more maintenance, they are more environmentally friendly.

If you are considering purchasing a new heating system or replacing an existing one, scheduling an energy audit can help you make the right decision. An energy audit measures a variety of factors, including heat loss through doors and windows, the integrity of existing ductwork, the overall efficiency of your present heating system, and insulation levels. Also take into account any federal or state tax credits or utility rebates offered by Energy Star partners for installing a new, energy efficient heating system. 

Possible Results From Not Maintaining Your Heating System

As the weather turns colder, you’ll become best friends with your heating system faster than a child running to the ice cream truck. You’ll come to rely on your home being heated quickly and efficiently. Properly maintaining it now can ensure that you have heat all fall and winter and make it less likely that you’ll need to have your heating system repaired. An improperly maintained heating system results in a decrease in its energy efficiency, which means you’ll see an increase in your utility bills. In addition, you’ll have an increased chance of fire as well as a higher likelihood of exposure to carbon dioxide.

Benefits of Calling for Home Heating System Service Now

Calling a local company with experience in providing heating system inspections, tune-ups and repairs provides you with an extensive array of benefits. These begin when you make that call to schedule an appointment and last for long after the heating season is over. You’ll have peace of mind that you, your family and your belongings are protected. You will also increase the lifespan of your heating system and improve the safety and value of your home. Not only will you see a reduction in the cost of your utilities while still remaining cozy and comfortable, you will also leave behind less of a carbon footprint. 

A company that specializes in heating systems is the best source of information and service for your home. Contacting them now to schedule an appointment means that you can be proactive about the entire process. Schedule an appointment for them to come to your home and thoroughly inspect your heating system. Replacing worn or old parts now — before you need your heating system on a regular basis — helps reduce the likelihood that you will have issues with your heating system later in the season. Making that call now also means that you won’t find yourself in crisis mode due to lack of  heat or another repair issue. You can schedule a visit at your convenience around your work schedule and other activities. Just keep in mind, it is more likely that the heating company will be able to offer you a choice of days and times for the appointment now — before their busy season begins. 

Homeowner Tips for Your North Shore Heating System

There are simple and effective tips that homeowners can take advantage of to improve their heating system. 

  1. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on a monthly basis by following the testing method for each device. Put a reminder in your phone and have it repeat each month so you don’t forget. 
  2. change and replace your air filters on a regular basis to improve the efficiency of your heating system
  3. keep all your belongings at least three feet away from your heating system to reduce the chances of them catching on fire
  4. always turn off any portable heaters when you leave the room or go to bed for the night to prevent them from accidentally overheating or falling over and causing a fire
  5. install a metal or glass fire screen in front of your fireplace to reduce the chances of a stray spark catching your floor or the surrounding area on fire

While the above tips are ones that most homeowners can do themselves, the following tips are often best left to the professionals to perform:

  1. get your chimney inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis by a professional who is experienced, licensed and bonded to do so
  2. have your ventilation system cleaned to reduce the dust and allergens your heating system is putting into your living spaces
  3. call a reliable heating company to thoroughly inspect your heating system
  4. have the heating company test the gas connections that are used for any appliance that heats your home to ensure that they are in good repair
  5. call an electrician to test all electrical connections on a regular basis to reduce the likelihood of an electrical fire

Getting your heating system in good working order now can save you stress in the long run. 

What to Consider When purchasing a North Shore Heating System

You’re in the market for a new high-efficiency heating system. There’s pros and cons to most heating systems, and it will pay in the long run to choose a new system carefully. Before investing too much on the wrong system, it’s a good idea to consider the following question: What are the benefits of purchasing a higher quality system? You’ll get substantial money savings on both energy bills and repairs, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint – every little bit helps to slow down climate change. You’ll appreciate quieter operation and better protection against the cold weather. A higher quality heating system will protect the finishes in your home. When air is too cold, too warm, too dry, or too humid, it affects wallpaper, wood, paint, and drywall, causing deterioration that reduces the value of your home. High efficiency heating systems can save you 30% or even more on monthly bills, which can add up to thousands during a 10 to 20 year timeframe, so buying a heating system that works efficiently AND effectively is the best way to go. Finally, you’ll benefit from more comprehensive and longer lasting warranties.

What are the cons of hastily purchasing a heating system that turns out to be wrong for your house? 

First, missed rebate opportunities. Better units frequently are eligible for rebates from the State or the manufacturer. Some States may even offer up to $1500 in rebates! Second, don’t ignore SEER. If your unit has a lower SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating, you’ll spend more money each month heating your home. You should purchase at the very minimum a heating unit with a 13 SEER rating. Third, going for the lowest price is frequently a recipe for disaster! You might pay about $800 more for a better quality heating system, but that system can also save you about $300 a year in energy costs. Finally, by buying a lower quality unit, you’ll be exposing your family to a higher risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, you’re certain to have increased spending on maintenance and repair, you’ll have a greater risk of having to replace the system earlier, and in the end, your heating requirements won’t be met.

What else should you consider before purchasing a north shore heating system?

First, what are your heating needs? If you live in a warmer environment buying a heat pump might be your best bet. Heat pumps are safe and quiet, and don’t burn fossil fuels, and that means that your pump won’t be producing any carbon monoxide or greenhouse gases inside your home. The newer heat pumps have a heating efficiency of almost 400%, and you can choose from an air-source heat pump, a ground-source, or geothermal heat pump. If you’re in the market for a furnace, you can choose between 3 options – oil furnaces, gas furnaces, or electric furnaces. An oil furnace uses oil delivered in bulk, and is stored in large tanks either inside or outside your home. These tanks must be monitored to make sure they don’t become depleted. Gas furnaces burn propane or natural gas to create heat. Natural gas is relatively economical, and is supplied by a local company via a utility hook-up that’s installed in your home. Electric furnaces utilizes heating coils powered by electricity, but are much more expensive than gas in most parts of the country.

Second, what size heating system do you need? It’s most important not to oversize, which raises the cost of initial installation, and provides inefficient operation. You’ll need to know the level of insulation in your home, the types, sizes, and location of your windows, what is the local climate, and how many people live in the house. DON’T buy a new heating system based on reading the nameplate alone! 

Third, what north shore heating system is best for your home? Carrier is rated first on most lists for a reason. They’re made of only the finest quality materials, and are built with stricter quality control than the majority of other manufacturers. It will cost more initially, but it will last longer. Our second choice is Goodman. All of their products have reliable warranty programs, they’re built solidly out of the best materials, and they’re more affordable. Our third choice is Lennox. Their company offers some heaters that have 98% efficiency levels. They also sell systems that use both gas and a heat pump. These systems cost more upfront, but they’ll pay for themselves over time in quality and efficiency. Finally you’ll need to consider getting a comprehensive maintenance schedule, and location in terms of where exactly to install the system so that you’ll reap the most benefits.

After considering all the options listed above, do yourself, your family, and the environment a favor by purchasing a higher quality heating system for your home!

Contact North Shore Home Energy Today!

Check Out Our Current Specials!

Read The Great Things That Your Neighbors Are Saying About NSHEC.

By nshec

You May Call for the Wrong Service: Do You Need Furnace Repair or Replacement?

You May Call for the Wrong Service: Do You Need Furnace Repair or Replacement?

  • Heating
Furnace Repair Or Replacement

You May Call for the Wrong Service: Do You Need Furnace Repair or Replacement?

When a furnace has begun struggling or shut down completely, most everyone would prefer to choose the simplest and least expensive option, and that depends on whether it is a furnace repair or replacement. A quick fix may not be that perfect solution, however. Heating professionals should never simply recommend a furnace replacement just to sell more equipment. To the homeowner, the question is a matter of weighing short-term costs, the life expectancy of the equipment, and the quality of heating and energy efficiency that you expect.

Before assuming that either furnace repair or replacement is right for you, let’s examine the issues at play and how to weigh your options.

When Repairing the Furnace Isn’t Enough

Between furnace repair or replacement, the wrong choice can hurt you in the long run. In some cases, you could notice setbacks just days later. The technician can probably get your broken furnace to turn on again by replacing some small parts. But what if the furnace is now running very inefficiently? You’re now paying spiked utility bills. 

Furnaces that need to be replaced will also perform poorly. This causes hot and cold spots around the house, poor indoor air quality, and odd noises or odors. An inadequately repaired furnace might even present a heightened risk of house fire or carbon monoxide exposure.

It’s also best to avoid jumping to the conclusion that replacement is the best option. While a new furnace will almost assuredly be more energy efficient, don’t expect the furnace to pay for itself anytime soon unless you are replacing older equipment.

The Benefits of Accurate Troubleshooting

By making all necessary repairs or determining that a full furnace replacement is the best option, you’ll be sure to enjoy better heating:

  • Maximum energy efficiency to save you money on fuel
  • Reliable heating for the rest of the fall and winter
  • Avoiding the extra costs of repeated repairs or unnecessary replacement
  • Better indoor air quality
  • Safety and peace of mind

When one thing goes wrong with your furnace, other problems may pop up. In older equipment, wear and tear can cause multiple parts to break down around the same time. If the furnace has been running with a worn out part, other parts may have been overtaxed and are now damaged, too. 

All of this makes it important to get advanced diagnostics. By finding the root issues and examining all of the many parts, the heating technician can add up everything that needs to be repaired or replaced. This way you avoid spending a small fortune on a new furnace you don’t need, and you won’t have another breakdown just a week later.

How to Decide Between Furnace Replacement or Repairs

After a heating expert has diagnosed the problem, the homeowner can look at a few options before deciding. You can anticipate what to expect based on the conditions described below.

Repairs will typically solve your heating trouble in these circumstances:

  • The system is less than 10 years old. Life expectancy for a furnace typically ranges from 12 to 25 years. The younger the furnace, the less likely a major breakdown has occurred and the more likely a repair will be most cost-effective.
  • There are no recent changes to system efficiency. Struggling furnaces are more likely to have massive systemwide problems calling for replacement. If the furnace has simply stopped turning on, you probably just have a broken part or connection.
  • You have clogged air filters. Cleaning the filters should get things working smoothly again. If the filters get clogged faster than they should, other changes may be needed but the furnace itself is not likely the culprit.
  • You are experiencing thermostat problems. Electrical problems and broken thermostats can make it seem like your furnace is broken. The thermostat may just need tightened connections or recalibration, or you might upgrade to a modern smart thermostat.
  • Ductwork needs professional cleaning. Are rooms getting heated unevenly? Does the vent let out dusty or lukewarm air? Furnace efficiency depends on clean ductwork.

Telltale signs that you should replace your furnace include:

  • The furnace is older than 15 years. Take the current problems as a sign. Old furnaces cost you with inefficiency and will likely need more repairs soon. Replacement may actually be your cheapest option when all is said and done.
  • You notice higher costs on energy bills. Compare your bills to the same months from previous years to see how much the costs have been spiking. At some point in a furnace’s life cycle, cleaning and tune-ups cannot restore the equipment’s maximum efficiency. Older furnaces can continue to work while gradually losing efficiency. The problem only gets worse until eventually the furnace fails completely. 
  • Your system is emitting carbon monoxide. Furnaces produce carbon monoxide as they burn fuel, but the lethal fumes are supposed to be safely escorted away through the flue. If the airways get clogged or the heat exchanger cracks, the carbon monoxide gas can leak out. The amount may be small at first, but no amount is safe. Replace it before this turns into a life-threatening problem.
  • Your furnace is improperly sized. Undersized furnaces have much shorter lifespans because they get overworked. Either the home will always be insufficiently heated or your energy bills will be much higher than they should be. Oversized furnaces can be problematic, too. They achieve the desired temperature very quickly, then cycle off. All that on-and-off cycling wears down the parts rapidly. 
  • Breakdowns and repairs have become frequent. Each repair may seem minor, but something is wrong if your furnace can’t make it through the rest of heating season without another repair.

Figuring out the best solution for a furnace problem requires some troubleshooting and advice by an HVAC professional. Before you invest in a new furnace or try to get by this winter with small repairs, make sure to have your heating equipment looked at by a friendly expert that you can trust.

For Furnace Repair Or Replacement Call The Experts At North Shore Home Energy

North Shore Home Energy LLC is a local and dedicated HVAC, Refrigeration, & Generator company in the North Shore providing excellent service to homes, businesses, and restaurants. We are a proud participating contractor with the Mass Save program. Our professionals are trained, certified and use only top-notch equipment and industry leading technology to ensure that our customers are satisfied.  With over 25 years in the industry, North Shore Home Energy is here to educate our customers on maintenance and strive for 100% customer satisfaction. Our attention to detail, on-demand service, and fair pricing will keep your heating and cooling running smoothly year after year.

Contact North Shore Home Energy Today!

Check Out Our Current Specials!

Read The Great Things That Your Neighbors Are Saying About NSHEC.

By nshec

5 Reasons to Choose a Home Backup Generator Over a Home Battery Backup 

5 Reasons to Choose a Home Backup Generator Over a Home Battery Backup 

  • Generators
backup power

5 Reasons to Choose a Home Backup Generator Over a Home Battery Backup 

Finding the right backup power source for you home can be a tough investigation. With so many different options in a very abundant market, the everyday consumer can become easily overwhelmed. Any time your home loses power, you’re going to want a power source that can keep the appliances in your house operational, from the refrigerator to the microwave to the washing machine. In this case, we can confidently state that investing in a home backup generator is ultimately the right decision to make over a home battery backup. When nature rears its ugly head and takes you off the grid, you want to make sure you’re able to keep you food preserved, your heat, ac, and water running, and your family safe.

Here are 5 reasons why a home backup generator is the right choice to make over a home battery backup: 

1. More Support

Both home backup generators and home battery backups supply electricity to your home when you are taken off the grid, but home backup generators can support many more appliances in your home than a battery backup. Whereas generators steadily output a continuous max amount of power, home batteries can only supply a fraction of the total amount of energy they are currently holding. Batteries do this to protect how long the battery can last. This means only supporting a fraction of the appliances that a home backup generator can support when the power goes out.

To elaborate, each of your appliances requires a certain amount of wattage to operate. A backup generator with 15 kWh of energy will be able to consistently output those 15 kWh’s to your home as long as its hooked up. On the contrary, a battery with the same amount of energy that generator will only be able to output about 20% of that energy, so around 3 kWh. Therefore, on a backup battery, you will have to be a lot pickier on what you decide to power and leave off. Assuming you want to keep your refrigerator running, your options become very limited.

2. Cost Effective

Comparing the costs of generators vs. batteries requires the consumer to consider long term investment. At the preliminary purchasing period, both options seem very similar in pricing. It’s only after you factor installation, consultation, and power inversion that a backup generator becomes the obvious choice.

Whereas you will only need to pay for the installation and the generator itself, getting a backup battery entails buying the battery, the installation, another installation of a power inverter (normally tacking on an extra $2,000), and then any replacements you will have to make in a few years or sooner depending on use. Not to mention, going back to the first point, if you’re trying to get the same amount of output out of your batteries as a generator, you’ll end up paying much more due to the limited kWh output of your regular battery.  

3. Accessibility

Buying a backup battery is a much easier and readily available option to attain for your home than a home battery backup system. The home battery backup market is not yet developed enough to contain any full-scale distributors that have the products ready to go. Finding one is almost equally as difficult as getting it installed in your house. Especially in an emergency, buying a backup battery system is impractical at best.

Meanwhile, home backup generators can be found across the US at local appliance and hardware stores. For instance, a Generac home backup generator is supported by more than 5,200 certified dealers and there is no scarcity of trained installers ready to get one set up in your house at a moment’s notice. They even offer a support network line and a way on their website to find your local dealer. 

4. Longevity

To compare the length of time a backup battery will function next to a backup generator is a true “David and Goliath” situation. Simply put, with proper preparation a generator can last if you need it to with proper fueling. It’s not even a matter of how long, but how many resources you have. On the contrary, a backup battery, assuming a full charge, is estimated to run for 3-5 hours. This sort of duration in the event of an emergency power outage is unacceptable, and will not ensure your safety. Most power outages resulting from hurricanes and other natural occurrences take much longer than 3-5 hours to be fixed, which leaves you in the dark once that time is up. Not to mention the fact that with your home backup battery, you’re only limited to two or three appliances to power, tops. As far as longevity is concerned, there is no real competitive comparison between the two options.

5. Creation vs. Storage

When all’s said and done, the difference boils down to how energy can be continuously created with a backup home generator, whereas a home battery backup system can only tap into stored energy. When that pool of stored energy is depleted, you will be left with not very many options besides some blankets and candles. Meanwhile, if you have a fuel source for your generator, you will have power indefinitely. Generators produce power while batteries distribute it. 

Get A Free Generator Installation Estimate Today

North Shore Home Energy LLC is a local and dedicated HVAC, Refrigeration, & Generator company in the North Shore providing excellent service to homes, businesses, and restaurants. We are a proud participating contractor with the Mass Save program. Our professionals are trained, certified and use only top-notch equipment and industry leading technology to ensure that our customers are satisfied.  With over 25 years in the industry, North Shore Home Energy is here to educate our customers on maintenance and strive for 100% customer satisfaction. Our attention to detail, on-demand service, and fair pricing will keep your heating and cooling running smoothly year after year.

Contact North Shore Home Energy Today!

Check Out Our Current Specials!

Read The Great Things That Your Neighbors Are Saying About NSHEC.

By nshec