Winter

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How Often Should My Furnace Be Cleaned and Serviced?

 

The last thing anyone wants during a cold winter night is to have their furnace stop working. If you’ve ever lost the ability to heat your home, you know it can be one of the most unsettling experiences imaginable. You’re left to scramble for a solution as the temperature inside keeps dropping, and in most cases that furnace breakdown can be attributed to being negligent when it comes to your furnace maintenance.

 

Issues like a clogged furnace filter, faulty pilot light, or a cracked heat exchanger can end up creating a serious and even potentially dangerous situation. But these and other problems can be addressed by having your furnace cleaned and serviced on a regular schedule.

 

When Should I Get My Furnace Serviced?

 

Having regular furnace maintenance will help you save on your energy bill and will contribute to a more energy-efficient home. Ideally, you’ll want to have your gas furnace serviced once in the spring and once in the fall. However, if you can stick to an annual schedule, that should still keep everything running smoothly until the next visit.

 

When you think of the time your furnace works its hardest, it is in the summer when your A/C is running and in the winter when you need constant heat. With this heavy workload, dirt and dust pile up and little things can start to go wrong. By having your furnace serviced and cleaned just before the busiest times of the year, you can feel secure knowing they are ready for the heavy usage that lies ahead.

 

What Happens on a Service Call?

 

During a furnace maintenance call, technicians will thoroughly inspect your furnace to ensure it’s in good working condition and safe. We will clean or exchange the filters as well as clean the blower’s fans and condenser units. We will replace any belts that show signs of wear and tear, check the coolant levels, inspect wiring, pumps, burners, and ignitors, and test all the motors and fans.

 

We will also clean and sanitize the equipment and check carbon monoxide levels to make sure there isn’t a leak. Even though we will take care of your furnace filter on each visit, it’s also recommended that homeowners clean or replace their filter every month or so for optimal performance.

Benefits of Regularly Scheduled Furnace Service


As a homeowner, the number of benefits you’ll receive offsets the expense of having scheduled furnace service. Regular maintenance visits will:

 

  • Increase energy efficiency and lower your current utility bills
  • Extend the life of your HVAC equipment, saving money on replacements
  • Improve the air quality in your home
  • Improve the overall comfort levels in your home
  • Prevent the need for extensive, costly repairs
  • Make your home a safer place for your family

 

It’s easy to see how having regular furnace maintenance will help you save on energy bills and provide a safer, more energy-efficient home. If you’d like to learn more or want to schedule a visit from one of our technicians, get in touch with us at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today.  

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How a New HVAC System Can Both Save You Money & Increase The Value of Your Home

Most homeowners thinking about home improvement will go for the most visible, big-ticket items. Renovating kitchens and bathrooms, for example, is a pretty noticeable way to show that a home has had some major improvements.

But there are many other critical ways in which a home improvement project can involve a significant investment that will certainly pay out in the long term. Waterproofing a basement, insulating a home, or even putting in new, modern electrical wiring are all less “sexy” ways to upgrade your space. But one area that can yield a high impact is improving your HVAC system by installing a modern unit. How does this help? We’ll explain.

You Will Lower Your Bills

The first and most obvious way that getting a new HVAC system can save you money is by lowering just how much you pay every month in your heating and cooling bills. Gas burning furnaces and centralized air conditioning are built to run for decades when properly installed and maintained. This regular service can mean that some older homes may still have heating and cooling systems that date back to the 1980s or even the 1950s!

But while this equipment may operate reliably, it works far less efficiently than modern hardware. The contemporary gas-burning furnace, for example, can achieve over 90% efficiency. This figure means that nearly all of the heat it creates is dispersed throughout the home and not lost to the exterior or in other ways. A furnace from the 1950s, on the other hand, is lucky to achieve 65% efficiency, even with excellent care. That means 35% of your bill is heat that was lost, but you’re paying for anyway.

You May Get Rebates That Lower the Cost

It’s always a matter of watching for particular government or even company offers, but rebates can make a big difference! Paying attention to special offers means getting money back after a proper evaluation and installation, assuming you qualify.

Through this process, you will be saving even more money as your investment in new equipment gets paid back thanks to programs that offer rebates for people upgrading to new, energy efficient systems. Everybody wins when you take advantage of this discount.

You’ll find more information on rebates here.

You Increase Home’s Appeal and Value

Finally, if you decide to put a new HVAC system in your home, the unit can increase your home’s property value as well as make it a more enticing buy! People looking for new homes are always trying to cut down on the amount of extra work they need to perform in a house.

If you have a new HVAC system, this means potential buyers now know they don’t have to worry about the HVAC system in the home for years. They also know they will enjoy the same lower energy bills that you are currently experiencing! This update adds a lot of value and peace of mind for people on the market for a new home.

Upgrade your HVAC system for not only the environmental impact but also for increased comfort in your home and the benefits to your bank account! That’s what we call a “win, Win, WIN!”

For a free HVAC quote and home energy audit please contact RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning.

 

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Is Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat Worth the Money?

With any consumer decision, you should always do your research before spending a large amount of money. One home investment that many experts recommend is installing a smart thermostat in your home. But what are these devices? How do they work, and are they even worth the hassle and money? Continue reading to learn everything about smart thermostats before you make the decision to upgrade:

What is a Smart Thermostat?

Everyone knows that the thermostat is the part of your heating system that controls the temperature of your home. Older thermostats use a mercury switch that triggers itself once the temperature in the home reached a certain level. Today’s smart thermostats are much more sophisticated.

A smart thermostat is essentially a unit that allows for extensive automation. This means the thermostat is programmable, in some cases, it can learn your habits, and it can also “communicate” with you by alerting homeowners to specific maintenance issues and more.

What do They Cost?

The cost of a smart thermostat is completely dependent on the model you choose, but most of them range in price from $150-$300. Some of the factors that contribute to the price include whether or not it’s a learning thermostat, if there is remote access, and more. However, one thing you should consider is that the upfront cost of the smart thermostat will most likely quickly pay for itself when it comes to energy efficiency and savings on your heating bill.

What is the Best Model to Choose?

The answer to this question depends entirely on your unique needs. Higher end smart thermostats will offer more features and include sophisticated automation, learning, and mobile access while more basic models will simply allow for extensive programming. Some of the best smart thermostats in a wide range of prices come from companies such as Nest, Honeywell, Ecobee3, and SensiSmart.

Can I Install it Myself?

As with most home projects, installing a smart thermostat on your own is completely doable. However, it’s not always advisable. Installing a new thermostat involves connecting it to the HVAC system. With this, come questions of compatibility, wiring, and more. Getting a professional to install your new smart thermostat is the best idea because then you know it is installed correctly and the work will probably be covered by a warranty. Many smart thermostats also connect your home’s Wifi, so it’s a good idea to work with an expert to select and unlock the full potential of the new thermostat.

What are the Potential Savings?

This is where upgrading to a smart thermostat gets interesting. Everyone wants to save, and the bottom line is that a smart thermostat can save you a lot of money. Almost all models, even the low-end smart thermostats, will come with upwards of 30 percent energy savings. This translates to more money in your pocket and less money wasted on inefficient heating.

To learn more about smart thermostats, contact the experts at RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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Simple Ways to Make Your Home More Comfortable and Energy Efficient this Winter.

Every homeowner aims to keep their houses clean, comfortable, efficient, and safe. These traits will ensure a happy family, a safe family, and reduced energy bills. During the winter months, when things start to get cold, it gets harder to keep the home energy-efficient and comfortable.

Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you stay warm, safe, and efficient all winter long:

Mind Your Doors and Windows

Part of your fall home checklist should include closing the doors and windows and making sure they are all adequately sealed. An excellent way to check if your doors and windows are properly shut is to go around the home and use your hands to feel for a draft. If you feel cold air blowing on your hand, you may be dealing with a door or window that is not properly closed or sealed. If this happens, you may need to invest in some extra weather stripping.

Use the Sun

Have you ever seen your pet dog or cat lounge luxuriously in a sunbeam in your home? The sun is a great tool for homeowners to use during the winter. During the day, open your curtains and get as much sunlight in as possible. Your windows will act almost like a greenhouse effect, trapping warmth in the home, supporting your heating system. In the evening, make sure the curtains and blinds are closed. This will help keep the home warmer overnight.

Check the Registers

If your home uses a forced air heating system, it’s vital that you make sure the registers are clear of any debris or anything else that could block them. Make sure there is no furniture on the registers and that the air is flowing freely. If you discover that the registers are blowing weakly, you may have a blocked duct that needs cleaning. Invest in regular duct cleaning and keep your air filters clean to ensure that the registers are blowing at full-strength.

Layer

Even though your home should be warm and comfortable in the winter, if you are able to comfortably wear shorts and a t-shirt in the house, you are probably keeping your home too warm. This will result in a higher energy bill. So, even though, your instinct may tell you to crank the heat, it might make more sense to simply put on a sweater and some nice wool socks to stay warm at home. Slippers are also recommended for homes with hardwood or laminate flooring since your feet might get colder with this style of floor.

Insulate the Attic

Is your attic completely insulated? One area that is often forgotten when it comes to attic insulation is the attic door. This is a medium-sized area that could let out a lot of warmth and have a big effect on the comfort and efficiency of your home. Insulate the attic door to make sure you are completely covered.

Make Upgrades

Are you living with an old thermostat? Older heating systems are less efficient, and ultimately cost more to operate. Upgrading to a new smart thermostat could help you save money and stay more comfortable. These units are completely programmable. You can set them to come on at a specific time, which is helpful if you decide to go on vacation or if you only want the thermostat to kick in once the kids are home from school. Many smart thermostats will also notify you when the air filter needs changing or if there is anything else that could be impacting the efficiency of your heating unit.

For more information on keeping your home safe, comfortable, and efficient contact the experts at RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

 

 

Heating your home with a gas fireplace is efficient, economical and attractive. It also gives your space a cozy and warm feeling that encourages family and friends to gather together. However, gas is a combustible substance, and it is also toxic, so it is very important that you familiarize family members with how the gas fireplace works and how to stay safe while the unit is in operation. It is vital that you have the unit maintained professionally at least once a year, preferably in the autumn, so that any repairs can be made before winter sets in.

One of the most important things to teach family, friends, babysitters, pet sitters, cleaners and anyone else who might be using the fireplace is how to use it properly. Before you allow anyone in your home to turn on the unit, make sure that you show them how to turn it safely on and off and how to troubleshoot or problems in case of an emergency. Also, you should review the following safety measures with every person that might be using it.

Here are five more gas fireplace safety tips:

1 – Watch Out For Damaged Units

Never turn the gas fireplace on if the glass is cracked or if any other part of the unit is damaged. Cracked glass can leak gas, possibly causing carbon monoxide poisoning. Avoid using a unit with a damaged thermometer as that can make it hard for you to tell if the furnace is turned on or off. If your fireplace is damaged contact a qualified heating contractor immediately!

2 – Hands Off

Don’t touch any part of the fireplace while it is in operation. The glass and metal parts of the fireplace are very hot and touching them can burn the skin. Be sure to keep children and pets from accidentally touching or brushing against the unit’s heated glass front. If you have young children, a barrier is recommended.

3 – Keep Flammable Items Away

Keep flammable materials away from the fireplace. Newspapers, magazines, pet beds, rugs, and clothing can ignite if placed too close to the hot fireplace. Don’t touch the outside of the gas fireplace for at least an hour after it has been turned off. Touching the unit before it cools down can cause burns.

4 – Be Mindful About Cleaning

Don’t try to clean a fireplace until it is completely cool. If you try to use water on a fireplace that still has hot glass, it could crack and allow gas to escape into your home.

5 – Never Leave the House Before Turning it Off

Make sure that your fireplace is turned off completely before you go out. A gas fireplace should never be left burning unattended when you are not home.

A little bit of annual maintenance also goes a long way to keep your unit safe for all to use, preventing sudden combustions due to dirt or the dangerous degeneration of the gas log set inserts that can cause indoor air pollution.

Gas Fireplace Safety, Service, and Repair

Hiring a professional to perform regular gas fireplace safety service and repair is a good idea to make sure that it is always running at optimum levels. A qualified gas fireplace inspector makes sure that the glass is not cracked or chipped. There will also be an inspection of the ignition mechanism to make sure the gas fireplace is working correctly as well as clean up any dirty parts or vents that might be affecting the unit’s efficiency. A certified gas technician can also help you install a carbon monoxide detector, which can help detect a malfunctioning gas fireplace. If you are in need of a heating contractor in Timmins or fireplace service, repair or replacement, contact  RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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6 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe This Winter.

When it comes to keeping a safe home in the winter, it’s a good idea to start practicing a bit of preventative maintenance by having your home inspected by a licensed heating and air conditioning professional. It is best to have this done every autumn, before the winter chill sets in, so that you are not dealing with a malfunctioning or broken furnace when it is the least convenient. This is also a way of establishing a good relationship with your local heating and air conditioning contractor, who will also keep parts in stock for your furnace or gas fireplace. The same inspector can also ensure that the blower on your furnace is working and that your ducts and vents are clear and clean.

  

Aside from having your furnace and gas fireplace professionally cleaned, which is the most important tip of all, there are five main things that you can do on your own to make sure that all of your heating and ventilation systems are working properly:

1 – Don’t Forget the Chimney

A full chimney inspection is necessary if you use wood fires to heat your home. It is important that a certified chimney cleaner inspect your chimney for creosote, damage and debris to make sure that it can be used safely over the winter months. A blocked chimney can result in smoke flowing into the home or even a fire due to a chimney collapse.

2 – Test Smoke Detectors

Test your smoke detectors and change the batteries. Make sure that your smoke detectors are fully functional, especially if you are burning wood fires in a brick fireplace or using space heaters to spot warm areas of your home.

3 – Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide

Install C02 detectors. This is important because if your gas furnace or gas fireplace malfunctions, it could leak carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide gas is toxic can overcome your home and cause fatalities, especially at night when everyone is sleeping.

4 – Check Your Electrical Outlets

Avoid overloading one electrical outlet with too many space heaters. Buy a grounded outlet and only purchase space heaters with three-prongs to avoid electrical shocks and fires in wall outlets.

5 – Don’t Leave Space Heaters or Fireplaces Unattended

Be careful around space heaters and fireplaces.  Make sure you have a sturdy, secure screen in front of wood-burning fireplaces and never leave a burning fire unattended. Keep pets, toddlers, and others away from gas fireplaces, which have glass facades that can very hot and burn skin. It is also a good idea to place space heaters out of the reach of children and make sure that cords are placed in a way that people do not trip over them.

Bonus Tip: Consider Upgrading to a High-Efficiency Furnace

If your furnace is quite old, it might be time to invest in a high-efficiency unit. This measure will help reduce the cost of your utility bills so that you are not ever anxious about cranking up the heat when you most need it. New appliances are also safer than older ones, which are prone to breaking down. Financing plans are available for homeowners or landlords who want to upgrade their property with a heat efficient furnace. For those who need to live a few more years with an older furnace, you can also purchase energy-efficient gas fireplaces, space heaters, and garage heaters.

If you are looking for a furnace assessment and quote then contact RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning today. We are a heating contractor in Timmins who specializes in new furnace sales and can help upgrade your current heating unit or replace it with a high-efficiency furnace so that your home is warm and cozy all winter.

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Save Money and Avoid Major Breakdowns by Servicing your Furnace Annually.

Why Have Your Furnace Serviced?

As fall is upon us and the leaves begin to fall, many homeowners turn their thoughts to the winter months, and more specifically, their furnace. It’s no secret that a furnace breakdown in the middle of a cold winter night can spell disaster, which is why you need to protect your investment with timely furnace service. Here are a few reasons to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment.

Savings on Your Heating Bills

When you have your furnace serviced each year before the cold weather shows up, it helps you save money in a few different ways. First, the technician can perform any minor furnace repairs that are needed, so you won’t have to suffer through more extensive heating repair in the future.

Second, your annual maintenance visit will help keep your system running as efficiently as possible, saving you money throughout the winter. Something as simple as a clogged furnace filter can cause your system to work harder, reducing its efficiency and adding to your monthly bill.

Comfort All Winter Long

Without a functioning furnace, the temperature inside your home can drop fast, making for an incredibly uncomfortable situation. When you have your furnace serviced before the winter, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that it has been checked over by a professional and it will continue to keep your family warm regardless of the outdoor temperature.

You’ll also notice an improvement in your indoor air quality with a freshly maintained furnace because all that dust and debris that was in your filter and around the system will be gone. When your furnace is congested, it will blow particles of dust and debris through the ductwork and into every room of your house.

Prevent a Worst-Case Scenario

Naturally, your family’s safety is paramount when it comes to maintaining and managing your home. And with your furnace, the potential for a carbon monoxide leak is always in the back of your mind. Having a properly functioning CO2 detector is critical, but preventing a leak from happening in the first place is even better.

How Often Do I Need Furnace Serviced?

Ideally, you should have your furnace serviced once per year; preferably in the fall after it has been sitting dormant for several months. This way, you know it will be clean, and any issues can be addressed before you need to use it on a regular basis. If your furnace is older, you may need a new furnace installation to help avoid costly HVAC repairs during the winter. Whatever the situation, regular furnace service allows you to get your furnace ready before it will be working its hardest, so you and your family will be comfortable and safe.

If you’d like to schedule professional furnace maintenance for peace of mind this winter, contact us at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today, and we will get the process started.