Ominous Dangers of Space Heaters

Space Heater Danger

The dangers of using space heaters should not be underestimated. Using electric space (portable) heaters can be a viable option for heating your home or room in an emergency or short term situation. Yet there are many dangers to be aware of. Space Heaters cause an overwhelming number of house fires (over 25,000 residential fires per year) so great care must be taken when operating them.

Specifications

The electric space heater must be specified they can be used indoors. They must be UL (underwriter’s laboratory) labeled and auto shut off if tipped over. Newer models carry these features. Important features to consider are:

  • UL Tested and Labeled
  • Auto Switch Off if tipped
  • Proper size for the room you intend to heat, check the manufacturer’s specs.
  • An overheat sensor which shuts off if the unit becomes too hot.
  • Variable settings to allow for minimal setting for desired level of heat

Some safety tips:

  • Only plug electric space heaters into wall outlets, never into an extension cord.
  • Place the heater on the level floor at least 3’ away from any carpets, furniture, curtains, fabric.
  • Do not leave on when unattended.
  • Make certain your smoke and fire detection equipment is operation, has batteries.
  • Oil filled units do not have an exposed element which can ignite airborne debris and can be safer to use.
  • Make sure the unit remains clean and free of debris and dirt, replace unit as needed.

Be safe and avoid Space Heater dangers. Electric space heaters can be costly to operate and pose a real fire and safety threat. Please exercise all caution when using this type of heating option. We at Air Doctor Heating and Air are here to help you heat your home safely.

Protect your HVAC Warranty

Void Warranty Risk

Protect your HVAC Heating and Air Conditioning equipment and their warranties. There are certain things every homeowner should know. How long is the warranty coverage? What does it specifically cover? How you avail yourself of the protection. Is it limited and if so, how limited?

HVAC Warranties are very important and valuable to you. They can save you a lot of expense over the years. It is important to know if your HVAC equipment is under warranty. If it is under warranty then know the conditions of the warranty. There are many things which can void an HVAC warranty such as:

• Failure to properly register your equipment with the manufacturer
• Not transferring a warranty upon purchase of new home with an HVAC warranty
• Improperly maintaining the equipment
• Use of Non OEM parts, Alteration to the equipment or components
• Incomplete service records

Register the Equipment

Registering the new HVAC equipment when it is installed is an important function. This identifies the owner of the equipment (and the protection), the date of installation and the unique identifiers of the equipment. Your certified installer should be able to advise you on how best to handle this.

Transferring a Warranty

Some warranties are transferable so a new owner can have the same protections for the equipment. Ask before purchase. If the warranty is transferrable, then the manufacturer must be informed within 30 days of purchase. Even with purchasing a new home with a new system, the equipment warranty must be transferred to the new owner. Contact the manufacturer for specific instructions.

Properly Maintaining the Equipment

Most all HVAC manufacturers require that the equipment be professionally service at least once a year in order to satisfy the warranty requirements. Failure to do so can void a warranty entirely. Any tampering with the equipment by a non certified person can put your warranty in jeopardy.

Some warranties only cover manufacturer defects. A certified, professional HVAC technician would need to certify that the problem is caused by a defect.

Always have your equipment serviced and evaluated by a certified HVAC professional. Air Doctor Heating and Air offers a Service, Maintenance contract that is the best way to make sure that your equipment is kept running properly and that your warranty is protected.

OEM Parts, Alterations

Almost all warranties will require that replacement parts and components be OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. This is very important since non-OEM parts can be substandard and cause other parts or functions to fail. Rely on your Certified HVAC specialist to advise you before using any non-OEM parts.

Keep Records

Keep receipts for all service to your equipment. The manufacturer may require specific information in order to honor your warranty. With new installations, Air Doctor Heating and Air will keep records of all installation, maintenance and work done to your system. With our 10 year Parts AND Labor warranties your equipment will be protected for many years to come at minimal cost.

Why Does My Heat Pump Have Ice, Frost?

Iced Heat Pump

Have you ever seen ice or frost on your Heat Pump in the Winter? This can often be normal to see from time to time. Your heat pump is designed to extract heat from outside and transfer it inside. As it pulls heat from outside, moisture will collect on the coils. If the exterior temperature is below freezing then frost and/ or ice will collect.

Normal Operation

Normal frost or ice at times is not a concern. At programmed intervals your unit will go into a defrost mode and will melt the frost or ice. Normally your unit can defrost at 30, 60 or even 90 minute intervals.

During defrost mode your unit will sound louder. Some units can be noticeably louder. In defrost mode, the coils will heat up to almost 60 degrees in order to melt the frost or ice.

The colder the weather the longer duration your heat pump will run. Unlike a furnace, which heats the air, your heat pump actually transfers heat. This extraction/ transfer operation requires nearly constant operation in very low temperatures. Your heat pump is designed to operate that way.

Icing Problems with your system

There are several icing problems which may indicate a problem. Some problems with over icing and not defrosting are:

• Faulty controls- There are many controls, relays and sensors utilized by your system. A failure of any of these components can cause your system to not operate properly. A sensor failure can cause your system not to defrost.
• Reversing Valve Failure- This can be a problem with the reversing valve itself or an electrical problem. Either way, it can cause your system to remain engaged in heat mode and bypass the cooling/ defrost mode.
• Refrigerant is low- Low refrigerant can cause the system to not produce enough heat to defrost the coils. If this happens, your system will also not produce heat and your will be running on your backup system.
• Exterior Fan Not Operating Properly- If the fan fails then excess ice form and the system cannot properly defrost.

These problems will necessitate a professional HVAC technician to assess the issue. Contact Air Doctor Heating and Air for a complete assessment and any necessary repairs or service.

Transferring HVAC Warranty for New Home

Warranty photo

Transferring an HVAC Warranty for a new home purchase is an important consideration. Be aware of this when purchasing a new home. The HVAC Equipment is generally registered with the builder as the owner. In order to transfer ownership as far as the manufacturer’s warranty goes, you must register your system with the manufacturer within 30 days from closing.

Manufacturer

This is important to know since the manufacturer will generally have a 10 year warranty. The builder likely has a 1 year warranty. Unless the new homeowner contacts the manufacturer to register they will have only the 1 year builder’s warranty. If they register with the manufacturer, they will have the full 10 year warranty. Additionally, they will have the builder’s 1 year warranty and be much better protected.

Parts

Parts for your HVAC equipment are very costly. If your system is under a manufacturer’s warranty, it can be a big savings for the homeowner.

Homeowners should be aware of this. Real estate sales agents can inform the new homeowners so their systems can realize their full warranty potential. It is a great selling tool for a real estate agent to inform the new homeowner of their warranty protections.

Service/ Maintenance

Maintaining your new system is essential to it running optimally and efficiently. A Service/ Maintenance Contract is a the best way to secure and protect your warranty. Air Doctor Heating and Air is pleased to assist you and we monitor warranties on all our new installations.

Prevent Common Household Fire Hazards

Flames

Prevent common household fire hazards. Many things in and around your home can potentially be fire hazards. With the beginning of the new year, it is a perfect time to check to make sure your home is safe from devastating fire hazards.

Smoke Detectors

Be sure to check your smoke detectors. Smoke detectors should be checked once a month and have the batteries replaced every six months. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that your home needs smoke detectors at least in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on each level of the home including the basement.

The Kitchen

The most common area in a home where fire starts is in the kitchen. Never leave the stove or oven on when not attended. Clean your oven and stovetop frequently. According to the National Fire Protection Agency 88% of the oven fires begin within the first fifteen minutes of baking. Also, don’t forget the coils on the back of the refrigerator, they should be vacuumed every three months since debris can collect and pose a potential fire hazard. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions for plugging in and operating all appliances.

Electrical Circuits and Appliances

Make certain that you do not overload your electrical circuits. Be especially careful if you are using space heaters. Appliances like space heaters should only be plugged into wall sockets and not into power strips or extension cords. If you are using appliances or devices that emit heat, be sure to keep a three foot clearance surrounding the device. Always remove lint from your dryer prior to each use.

Candles

Never leave candles unattended.

Fireplace Chimney

If you have a fireplace the chimney should be checked or serviced once a year prior to the first use of the season.

HVAC Equipment

Make certain your HVAC equipment is kept clear of debris and clutter. Have your HVAC system serviced each year. Air Doctor Heating and Air will professionally service your equipment to ensure safety and proper operation.
Be sure to have a working fire extinguisher readily available in areas prone to fire hazards like the kitchen, the garage, each level of the house including the basement and near your HVAC equipment.
We at Air Doctor Heating and Air hope you have a safe 2019!

Benefits of Service/ Maintenance Contracts

Service Contract Graphic

The benefits of an HVAC Service/ Maintenance Contract

Performance

An HVAC service, maintenance contract can benefit you in many ways. The most important benefit is knowing that your system(s) are performing properly, safely and at their peak efficiency. Ideally it is best to have your air conditioning system inspected in the Spring before warm weather use and your heating system inspected in the fall before your cold weather use.

Discounts and Longevity

Having a maintenance contract automates this process for you and allows you to take advantage of special discounts applied to maintenance contract customers. They include a discount on Parts and Labor. The twice yearly inspection will include a comprehensive 23 point (heating) or 18 point (cooling) performance “Tune Up”. This can increase the longevity of your equipment.

Protecting Warranties

A maintenance contract is very important in protecting any warranties you may have on your eligible equipment. Most new equipment warranties are honored so long as the equipment has been properly and professionally maintained over the course of the warranty. Unless this is done, your warranty may be at risk and not honored should you encounter a failure. Air Doctor Heating and Air monitors warranties on all new installations and includes a two year service contract at no added cost. Most warranties are void if you have any alterations, adjustments or repairs by anyone other than a licensed, certified professional.

Saving Energy

Saving energy costs are a big benefit to having your HVAC systems performing optimally. This will ensure that you are maximizing your HVAC system’s efforts. For other cost saving ideas, visit our Air Doctor Heating and Air blog- How to Increase HVAC Energy Efficiency.

Older Equipment vs New Systems

We offer Service contracts on new or older equipment. While your older equipment may no longer have warranty protection, Air Doctor Heating and Air can still keep it running is best. If you ever decide to replace your system, Air Doctor Heating and Air can provide you with a Free Estimate. A new system from Air Doctor will include a service contract for two years at no added cost.

Warranties

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How to Increase HVAC Energy Efficiency

Cooling Heating Graphic

How do you Increase your HVAC energy efficiency?

Your HVAC systems represent a large energy expense. Some of that energy may be wasted if your systems are not running efficiently or if you are losing heat or air. There are things you can do to save energy and energy costs. The department of energy estimates that you can improve energy savings by as much as 35% by increasing your energy efficiency.

Insulate, Reduce Air Loss

To increase energy efficiency make sure you are not losing your conditioned air (heated or cooled) through doors, windows, attic. Adding insulation if there not enough can help keep your conditioned air where it belongs. Additionally, it can be beneficial to check exposed pipes, outlets and ductwork for air loss. Insulated wrap can be applied to these areas to properly seal them.

Your Air Flow

Replacing your Air Filters and keeping your indoor and outdoor unit(s) free of dirt and debris can help your air flow. This can help increase energy efficiency. Your systems require proper airflow in order to operate efficiently. Air filters should be checked every month and replaced at least every three months.

Programmable Thermostats

Installing Programmable Thermostats is a great way to reduce your energy costs. They enable you to heat or cool specific areas at specific times of the day. This can result in energy savings by reducing your energy use in those areas.

Upgrade Your Equipment

If your existing system is older, but well maintained it may benefit from an upgrade. Replacing components on otherwise well maintained systems may be a good option for you. Components such as compressors, controls or other parts are a less expensive replacement option to complete system replacement.

Invest in High Energy Rated Replacement HVAC Systems

There have been great improvements in the HVAC industry with the focus on energy efficiency. These systems can greatly reduce your energy costs and improve your indoor air quality at the same time. Air Doctor Heating and Air will provide you with a free quote. Our installations are a safe investment with our Ten Year Warranty on Parts and Labor. Financing options are available for up to ten years for safe, deferred payments.

HVAC Maintenance

Regular HVAC Maintenance is will increase energy efficiency. It is very important to keep your systems properly maintained. HVAC maintenance assures that your systems are performing properly and at their peak efficiency for maximum results. Air Doctor Heating and Air offers a maintenance contract which has us inspect your systems twice a year- heating in the fall and air conditioning in the spring. Our comprehensive inspection will ensure your systems are operating at their best.

A Calibrated Door Blower Test detects energy loss

Door Blower Test

The calibrated door blower test (air leakage test) allows an analysis of heat or cold air loss in a house. These leaks occur through doors, windows, vents or holes. Air leakage results in energy loss and higher energy costs. This test can detect even small leaks which could be costing quite a bit over time and make your HVAC systems work harder. A Door Blower Test measures ACH (Air changes per hour).

Manometer

The testing equipment consists of an exhaust fan mechanism with a sealed doorway block. These are mounted usually at the front door and depressurizes the interior of the house. When this happens the now greater outside air pressure tries to seep in through any opening regardless of how small. A manometer is used to measure air pressure once negative air pressure is achieved. A technician then goes room to room throughout the house to locate these seepages.

Properly Sealing your home

Once the areas of seepage are identified then a plan can be enacted to properly seal the home. An attic is a very common place to lose heat. Often testing begins there before proceeding to the main floor and the rest of the home. Fixes may include filling holes, adding or replacing insulation and seals for doors and windows.

IECC Energy Code

The IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) is a measure of a building’s thermal envelope (air tightness). These codes are energy conservation specific and are required in some new building codes for new construction. These codes are required in order to meet energy conservation requirements. In order to comply with these codes this testing becomes necessary.

The Calibrated Door Blower (Air Leakage) test can benefit everyday homeowners when they are trying to reduce their energy costs. Reducing energy costs are very beneficial, but limiting air loss can also help your HVAC systems work less. Air Doctor Heating and Air can help you assess your home’s need to have the test.

How and why to reduce humidity in your home

Mold

High humidity in your home can cause mold and make your air unhealthy.  The term humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. Humidity can be uncomfortable and unhealthy when it is too high.

High Humidity

Excessive humidity contributes to mold growth. When mold accumulates over time you can often visibly see it. Hidden mold issues can still negatively impact your health. Mold is a fungus which grows in certain humid environments. Warm humidity creates an environment that mold grows well in. There are different types of mold, but all release mold spores which can become airborne. These spores can damage your lungs, sometimes permanently.

Mold

Unhealthy Mold can grow when there is more than 50% humidity. Lowering the relative humidity in your home can help keep mold from growing. A Dehumidifier will reduce the humidity in your home by actually removing the water vapor. This can be very beneficial especially when you have a particular space with high humidity like a basement.

Lower Your Humidity

Reducing humidity can help reduce mold growth. There are other things to consider when trying to lower humidity in your home such as:

  1. Windows should close properly and not allow air and moisture in.If your doors are not sealed properly they will allow air and moisture in.
  2. Make sure seals are in tact.
  3. Look for and repair any leaks in pipes, around appliances like your refrigerator, around sinks and toilets.
  4. Check to see that your home is properly insulated.
  5. See that all rooms in your house are well ventilated and circulate the air.
  6. Avoid carpeting in restrooms and basements since carpeting can attract and hold moisture.
  7. Remove wet or damp materials.

A home may experience higher humidity during certain times of the year. Even during the day as the humidity outdoors changes so can the humidity inside your home.
Dehumidifiers are often a good choice for reducing the humidity in your home. Air Doctor Heating and Air can help with options for your specific needs and conditions.

The high cost of Heating with Propane

Propane Clip Art

The high cost of propane used for heating a home is a concern. It may be time to consider other alternatives. Propane is a fuel made from natural gas or petroleum. It is a gas in it’s natural form, but converted to liquid in order to more easily store and utilize it.

Forty eight million households in the United States have something that runs on propane. Whether it is a furnace, stove, grill or other appliances. Ten million homes in the United States heat their homes with propane.

The biggest problems with heating your home with propane are the high and fluctuating costs and supply.

Oftentimes these cost variations are unknown to the consumer when they receive their deliveries. You should understand the cost of the propane before taking delivery each time. Prices can fluctuate at any given moment and without warning.

Propane fuel is not government regulated and so the prices can vary greatly and can lead to overcharges of as much as $500/ year for an average home.

Consumers who own their own propane tanks will be better able to price shop from various suppliers. The downside is they would need to maintain their own tanks. By leasing a tank, their supplier options are more limited.

Propane supply can be subject to supplier shortages and for customers who are locked in to their supplier (either by contract, tank lease or geographical limitations) this can mean no propane delivery for periods of time which can prove a major hardship when heating fuel is needed most.

Propane Heat Alternatives

This year it is estimated that propane and heating oil may be up to 10.5% higher than last year. Forbes (Aug 2018) reports that there can be significant savings by converting existing oil and propane furnaces to electric or natural gas heat. Natural gas is most efficient and the least volatile on a dollar to BTU (British Thermal Unit) comparison. The BTU measures the amount of energy required to produce heat.

Contact Air Doctor Heating and Air so we can provide you with a no cost estimate to convert your home to an energy efficient and lower heating cost heat pump system.