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Winter Heating Tips

Winter is upon us! It can bring joy in many forms, why not bring the joy of money saving into the mix so we can save up a little from our winter shopping endeavors? The worst thing that can happen during a freeze is our heating systems jamming up or becoming inoperable. With these tips and tricks, you can save on the headaches (and chills) that come from the effects of winter heating, HVACs and furnace problems in the winter.

Ease your worries with these winter furnace maintenance tips.

Gas Furnace Inspection

A technician is ideal in providing a furnace tune-up & inspection.

An important one to stress is to make sure you undergo annual inspections of all of your units! Regular inspection can prevent the pitfalls that neglect would have on your entire unit. Problems concerning proper activity, if not inspected regularly, can range in severity depending on the situation.

Here are examples of two scenarios out of many that can arise if your furnace is leaking water in the winter.

  1. If you have a high-efficiency (PVC/plastic) furnace, it could be that the tubing is damaged or clogged from the condensation it gives off.
  2. If your system has a humidifier attached to it, the likely reason is that it’s gone faulty. This type of case often arises when your furnace has not been undergoing it’s annual maintenance as it should. If the leak is coupled with the fact that your furnace hasn’t been inspected in years, a bigger issue is the result of your problem and an inspection is recommended immediately as you may need to replace parts altogether.

The best way to avoid any surprising escalations of mishaps are to do routine check-ups, just like humans do with doctors.

During your annual furnace maintenance, be sure to request a winter furnace tune up, some steps of which are listed below.

Furnace Maintenance Checklist

  • Have furnace serviced at least once a year (include a tune-up)
  • Examine and clean all parts
  • Clean air filter, vents, blower & fan
  • Check the heat exchanger & metal flue for cracks, rust or holes
  • Perform combustion analysis (soot & build up should be removed; look for seam separation, leaks & corrosion which can lead to gas escape)
  • Adjust and check gas pressure
  • Check and clean the burners
  • Check system static pressure

How can I save money on heating in winter?

The first thing to do is scheduling heating maintenance with your local shop. A resolution that can be provided to save can be as simple as cleaning out the dust bunnies in your ducts, just this much of a change will save you big bucks as your unit won’t run as hard.

Ideal Average Temperature

The ideal temperature to save costs in the winter time is to set your thermostat to 68°F.

Want to keep warm but afraid of the implications of cost if you crank the thermostat too high? An ideal average house temperature in winter is recommended to be 68° Fahrenheit. If you want to take baby steps, a good idea is to have your home’s temperature be a few degrees lower than normal in 8 hour intervals.

Other ways of how to conserve heat in your home is by controlling humidity. As winter air is dry naturally, the moisture from your skin evaporates quickly, leaving you feeling more chilly than usual. It is therefore recommended to either install a humidifier for the whole house or in certain rooms. (An added bonus is that is you have dry skin, this will also benefit you in assisting that.) Doing this will additionally allow you to set back the temperatures of your thermostat by a few degrees than normal.

Another option to consider are insulated curtains. They have a reflective film layer that will bounce back heat into the room as well as a vapor blocking coating. These types of curtains will keep cold air away from your windows while also providing a barrier from heat from escaping your home. If you would like to use curtains you already have, an alternative would be to use thick, tightly-woven textiles such as suede, velvet, tapestry, tweed etcetera.

An important thing to keep in mind that is often overlooked is to make sure your roof has proper insulation and your attic proper ventilation. Not only will this allow you to avoid emergency roof repairs that come from ice dams and snow build up that form as a result, these conditions will also evenly distribute and maintain the heat in your home.

Winter HVAC Tips

  • Schedule an inspection (have them annually)
  • Check your roof’s insulation & attic ventilation
  • Comprehensive Duct Inspections (tears & separations that deter ventilation)
  • Clean or replace air filters (so unit doesn’t run as hard)
  • Cleaning of whole heating unit such as burners, coal and gas valve
  • Lower your thermostat by a couple of degrees in 8 hour intervals
  • Ideal temperature to set your thermostat is 68° Fahrenheit
  • Incorporate humidifiers so you can maintain body heat & lower thermostat
  • Install insulated curtains to keep heat in and cold out (or hang thick, tightly-woven textile curtains)

These winter heating tips can save you a lot of repairs, money and time if you are diligent and aware. Inspections are the key to catching neglected problems from escalating into large repairs and replacements. It is recommended that you undergo annual check-ups so you can stay cozy in the winter. If you find yourself questioning anything or if there is an immediate problem, do not hesitate to give us a call at 281-802-0872

What is a Geothermal Heating System?

Geothermal Heating System Outside

A Geothermal Heating System Can Save You a Lot Of Money On Your Energy Bill.

Have you been toying around with the idea of having a geothermal heating system installed in your home? The idea that a geothermal heat pump can save you 65% more on your energy bill than you are now makes it a hard to pass deal doesn’t it? Let’s start with what a geothermal heating system even is. This heat system, also known by being called ground source heat pumps, have the ability to cool, heat, and supply a home with hot water by taking the heat from the ground and sending it up into your home. This may sound like a new high tech technology, but it has actually been working for over 50 years. You may be wondering how geothermal units work. These systems work really well by essentially pulling the heat out of the ground and using that instead of just traditional electricity. They work in any kind of climate and not just places that are warm year round. Many people wonder how deep do the pipes need to be? This is because they are worried about digging up their yard or how geothermal heat pump maintenance works when the system is that far below the ground. The system is dug into the ground at around 30 feet and then uses the constant underground heat to warm your home. When maintenance needs to be done, a professional will have to handle it. The installation process is very important and needs to be done correctly by someone who knows exactly what they are doing. Dirt and other debris can get into the system and cause a lot of damage so it needs to be carefully installed and protected.

Why are Geothermal Heat Pumps Efficient?

The simple answer to this question is yes, geothermal heat pumps are very efficient, the most efficient actually. They are clean for the environment and around 70 percent of the energy that the system uses, is coming from energy in the ground. Another common question that gets asked is if geothermal heat pumps use electricity? This is a common misconception that these systems do not use electricity, but they actually do, just not very much. For every five units of cooling, a geothermal heat pump only uses one unit. This is how it saves so much money because it still gets help from some electricity, but overall, the heat from the ground can do the rest.

Can a Geothermal Heating System Be Used With Radiators?

Currently no, a geothermal heating system cannot be used with a radiator because it does not have the power to bring hot water to the temperatures that are needed for that type of system.

Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pumps

Better Comfort – A great bonus when you get a geothermal heating system is that they offer prime dehumidification into your home. This provides better air quality and because the air is never recycled, you are safer from the quality of the air in your home which is better for people who have allergies or asthma in your home.

Quiet – These systems were designed to be quieter and without large outdoor systems, you no longer have to be worried about getting outdoor security lights to shine on the system so nobody messes with it. Your neighbors won’t even know anything is on and you won’t hear it either.

Affordable Operation – This system is more expensive to have installed, but once that is done, the savings just keeps coming. You will see a lower bill ever single month and over the next 10 years, the system will pay for itself in savings. Your system draws all of its energy from the ground so your electricity isn’t working overtime to keep your home cooled or warmed. This translates to you with around 70 percent less on your energy bill, can you imagine?

Eco – Geothermal home heating and cooling are extremely friendly when it comes to the environment. They do not produce any kind of carbon monoxide or gas that would add pollution to the air. In the day of trying to be as green as possible, this system excels.

Hot Water – Are you tired of waiting for hot water and then running out and having to take a cold shower? You wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore when you have a geothermal heat pump installed. You will have a constant flow of hot water that doesn’t run out and the best part is that your system isn’t working overtime to provide that for you, it just gives it to you without any negative effects like a higher bill.

Blue Heat Pump

Call Us To Talk More About Your Geothermal Heat Pump.

There are so many benefits when it comes to getting a geothermal heating system. As you can see above, the only thing that would stop you is the price, but when you consider the savings over time, the price doesn’t look that bad. If you are interested in geothermal home heating in Houston, TX, call Strong Tower Air Conditioning and Heating at 281-802-0872 and we will be more than happy to go over it with you to help decide if this is right for your home.

Is an Electric or Gas Furnace More Efficient?

When it comes to having warm air in your home, there are two options to pick from: an electric furnace or gas furnace. Most American households have an electric furnace if they already have electric lines installed, and same for gas furnaces with gas lines. With they both perform the same outcome in delivering hot air, they operate in different ways which drastically skews the pros and cons of each type of energy. One of the benefits of having a gas furnace is its energy efficiency. Because it uses a flame, furnaces heat air quicker than electricity but pose more risks since there is chance for gas or fire disasters. There is more to a gas furnace than just the gas, so if your furnace does stop working, call Strong Tower Air Conditioning and Heating at 281-802-0872 for gas furnace repair in Houston, TX and a technician can determine if you need HVAC and furnace repairs or gas line service.

Gas Vs. Electric Furnaces

the inside of a gas furnace

Call Us For Gas Furnace Repair Today and Get Back To Enjoying Warm Air

Gas Furnace

  • Provides more powerful heat than electric furnaces.
  • Heats up air quicker and transfers it.
  • Saves you tons of money on your energy bill as fire heats air quicker.
  • If you don’t have gas lines already installed, it is expensive.
  • Will have to have a carbon monoxide detector in the home and regular gas line tests for safety.
  • Needs an air conditioner to provide cool air, so rates are increased.

Electric Furnace

  • No natural gas is needed, so no gas lines need to be installed.
  • An HVAC unit has both heating and cooling elements, so there is no additional purchases.
  • Takes longer than gas furnaces to heat air, which raises electric bills.
  • Creates original heat, and doesn’t transfer it.
  • Cheaper installation and purchase fees.
  • Lasts 10 years longer than gas furnace units.

Why HVAC Maintenance Is Important

HVAC Maintenance

Consistent Maintenance on Your HVAC System Will Result in Fewer Part Failures.

Many people make an investment in a HVAC system, yet fail to maintain proper upkeep. An HVAC system is similar to that of a car – it needs consistent care and maintenance to function properly. A properly functioning heating and cooling system is one that will keep your place cozy and comfortable for many years to come, which is why HVAC maintenance is important.

Lower Utility Bills

Saving money is one of the main reasons a person should maintain their HVAC unit. A unit that is running efficiently (in a well-insulated home) means less money spent on electricity, heating and cooling costs. HVAC maintenance is also important to prevent the need for major repairs or early replacement.

Healthier Air

A properly maintained HVAC unit will not only keep a place warm or cool, but it will prevent problems with air quality. Clean filters and coils mean better breathing for the entire family. A neglected HVAC unit is a breeding ground for dirt, mold, and bacteria, all of which can create or worsen respiratory problems for those living in the home.

A Longer System Life

The better a person maintains their HVAC unit, the longer that unit will be able to function well and provide cooling and heating to a home. With proper HVAC maintenance, a unit can last well over 10 years. Considering the amount of money a person spends to install an HVAC unit, it makes sense they would want to keep that unit running well for as long as possible.

Better Efficiency

As with the life of the system, a well-maintained HVAC unit will run much more efficiently. Research shows that dirty or unmaintained units need to work 20 percent harder to produce the same amount of cooling or heating as a well-maintained machine. For a consistently cleaned and serviced HVAC system, less energy is expended during run times, which means less stress on the components of the machine over the years. Minimal wear and tear on the machine means simple maintenance during the spring and fall months. Maintenance will be much quicker and smoother if a person takes the preventive steps to keep a system running in tip-top shape.

Fewer Emergency Repairs

Most HVAC units may need emergency repairs from time to time. Well-maintained systems are less likely to fail during months of continuous use (June through September and December through March). Keeping a unit up-to-date on all inspections and maintenance checks means less worry that the unit will break down when it is needed the most. If you’d like to learn more about what’s involved in the standard maintenance process, or if you’d like to schedule a checkup for your HVAC unit, our team at Strong Tower Air Conditioning and Heating would be happy to oblige! Just give us a call at 281-802-0872 to get started!