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Heating

Is it time to replace my Air Conditioner?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

How Do You Know If It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Sometimes it seems like our homes are a moving target. Just as soon as you get one part of the house just like you want it, something needs tending to in another area. So, for most of us, we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing that’s going to show up – invited or not – on our “home maintenance” to-do list.

Now, when “air conditioning system replacement” comes up on that list, that’s quite a significant situation. Home comfort systems are a sizeable part of your home investment, so it’s never something to take lightly. But when it’s time, three things should be on your evaluation list:

System Age – If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, you could save up to 20 percent on cooling and heating costs if you replaced it with a unit that has earned the Energy Star label.

Repair/Energy Costs – A home comfort system has what’s called “operational” costs. If your system is racking up repair bills and guzzling up your energy dollars, you may be overdue for an efficiency upgrade.

Uncomfortable Environment – A home comfort system is supposed to create a comfortable home environment, right? Well, if you’re not comfortable, take note. Are some rooms too hot or too cold? Does your home have humidity problems? This could be a sign of poor or improper equipment operation.

All of these issues when compounded can result in you spending more than you should on your power bill. For as little as $55 DOLLARS PER MONTH you could be saving the 20% which may even cover the system. Call or email us today for your free in home evaluation!

Dont pay more because its Hot!

Friday, April 10th, 2015

 

What Everyone Should Know About Contractor Scams

We’ve all heard these stories and seen the images. When a natural disaster hits a community, friends, neighbors and charities rush in to help. It always warms the heart to see the outreach in services and donations. And yet … there’s that other side of the response. There are selfish people who try to take advantage of a bad situation and use the natural disaster as an opportunity to scam.

Often during these times, law enforcement agencies make announcements about what you should and should not look for when hiring someone to work on your home. People become aware, alert. And yet … scam artists come into communities and neighborhoods even when our fellow citizens are warned to be hyper-vigilant, even when the skies are blue, and the wind is calm, and the weather is perfect.

In other words, contractor scams get more attention during natural disasters, but they can occur at anytime, anyplace. And that means right here in the great city of Atlanta. Oh, I don’t mean to scare you about any particular situation. I’m not reporting news, just tendencies. I’m talking about possibilities that call for wise practices. For example, here are some of the tips the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends for hiring someone to work on your home:

  • Get recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, insurance agents or claims adjusters.
  • Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. Check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been lodged against any contractor you’re considering.
  • Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. Remember to ask if there’s a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home.
  • Take your time about signing a contract. Ask for explanations for price variations, and don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder.

Please know, we’ll be glad to help you with whatever home comfort problem you may be experiencing. At Henson Mechanical, we’re proud to have grown a business through referrals and recommendations from satisfied customers, and we hope our list of satisfied customers includes you too. So, if you need us, just email or call.

Do I need to replace my furnace when I replace my air conditioner?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Do I need to replace my furnace when I replace my air conditioner?     Our homes comfort system that provides heating in the winter and cooling in the summer have certain functions and equipment they share (and not just the thermostat). Energy Star is a program of the federal government that promotes efficiency in appliances and makes a point about this connectedness when discussing its recommendations for cooling: ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioners: have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings, making them over 15% more efficient than conventional models. The central air conditioner also needs a blower motor – which is usually part of the furnace – to blow the cool air through the duct system. The only way to ensure that your new air conditioner performs at its rated efficiency is to replace your heating system at the same time. It’s especially recommended if your furnace is over 15 years old. If you purchase a new energy-efficient air conditioner but connect it to an older furnace and blower motor, your system will not perform to its rated efficiency. So, heating and cooling are connected – at least within your home comfort system. But you’ll also find that your heating and cooling efficiency is connected to the whole-house environment. As Energy Star adds: No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, energy-efficient equipment alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling — and reduce environmental emissions — from 20%-50%. When we install your new system it will with an AHRI certificate that will have your specific model numbers listed which will produce a SEER rating. So that’s why you have to replace your furnace to achieve the SEER ratings on your air conditioner. If you’d like to learn more about how the energy efficiency of your home is impacting your energy bills, let us conduct an energy analysis and show you ways you could be saving. To schedule your free energy analysis, just call or email Henson Mechanical today!

Wanna Save some Money?

Monday, April 6th, 2015

 

Here Is a Method that Is Helping Homeowners Save More Energy with Better Comfort

 

Most of the time we think that life has us running in circles. But the truer view is that life runs in cycles. For example, each season brings certain opportunities and obligations, and spring has a definite “caretaking” flair.

So, in a sense, it’s the same thing year after year: you take care of important home maintenance projects in order to preserve your investments. But the good news is that this “same old, same old” can make your home comfort equipment seem just like new.

Here’s how.

One of the best benefits of regular tune-ups is that your systems get cleaned, inspected, filter gets changed, and reset to factory specs – almost like we turned back the hand of time. The result for homeowners is improved energy efficiency (saves on energy bills), better operating equipment (not as likely to break down at an inconvenient time) and better overall comfort.

But how can you make this happen? Actually, there’s one method that makes routine maintenance very routine: enroll in a maintenance agreement program that brings a Henson  Mechanical Professional to your home to provide routine maintenance on your air conditioner and heating system – during twice-a-year intervals when the weather is mild.

You get the benefit of extended equipment life, savings on tune-ups and repairs, priority service – and overall peace of mind.

Ready to make this method a part of your routine cycle? To learn more about the energy-saving, comfort-improving, equipment-prolonging benefits of maintenance agreements, just call or email and ask us about our Ultimate Service Agreement today!

Government Attack on your Air Conditioner

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

 

U.S. Government Breaks Your A/C System

Most of us probably don’t think about the ozone day in, day out. But some folks do. And the groups and agencies who keep a close eye on environmental concerns have prompted some actions in recent years that will ultimately affect the operation of central air conditioners across this country.

The issue is the refrigerant, R-22, also known as Freon, which has been the predominant refrigerant used in air conditioners for the last 40 years. The federal government has begun a phase-out of equipment that uses this refrigerant because of concerns about ozone depletion. So, as of 2010, no new R-22-based equipment has been manufactured. Sure, the pre-2010 systems can still be operated and repaired, but you’ll still be looking at some logical limits.

The R-22 refrigerant can’t be produced or imported after 2020 (only recycled), and the reality is that will affect the cost and availability of this replacement refrigerant as well as the availability of replacement parts for equipment that is no longer being manufactured. Visit hensonmechanical.com to learn more about how we can assist you with these changes.

 

Why do I need to perform maintenance on my air conditioner?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Every spring you will see advertisements on maintenance agreements or tune ups. You may be wondering why do I need that? Every time the weather changes we have a rash of calls with breakdowns. Some are major and some aren’t. Most all of them could have been prevented. Its usually something very small that caused something so big. Regular cleaning and maintenance will normally prevent major breakdowns. You could be told about problems a year before it really becomes a problem. Its like going to the doctor and them telling you to start exercising and eating right now before they have to put you on medication. Its easier to plan your repairs than to have it become an emergency. So if you haven’t had your HVAC system serviced lately, get it done this spring!

What should my thermostat be set at in the winter?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

One of the most argued topics every winter is back! One family member wants it up and one wants it down. Who is right and who is wrong? So instead of “Honey your right”, here you go! The recommended setting for your thermostat when you are at home is 68 degrees. Now, for everyone that says no way, its fine! Here is the difference. One percent saved on your power bill for every degree that you can stand. When you are away you should reduce it 10-15 degrees more. A common misconception is that you use more energy to catch up to your comfortable “at home” setting. The closer to the actual outdoor temperature it is inside the less heat loss you will have. So the longer your home’s temperature is closer to the outdoor temperature the more money you will save. If you can have the temperature down for eight hours or more then it will overcome whatever energy it takes to raise the temperature back up. At higher indoor temperatures you lose heat faster to the outdoor conditions causing your system to work harder all day long and you are not there to enjoy it. So drop the temp inside to around 58 degrees or as low as you can stand and start saving today!

3 Myths About Heating

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Heating a modern home takes special technical knowledge and years of training. Unfortunately, spreading false information about heating a modern home takes nothing more than a computer with an Internet connection. Myths about home heating have existed for centuries, but they spread much faster now, and finding accurate advice can be difficult.

Let’s look at 3 common myths about home heating that you may encounter, and then get to the truth. Whenever you need professional help that cuts away all the misinformation about heating in Athens, GA, call the specialists at Henson Mechanical Inc.

1. Keeping the heat at the same temperature while you’re away will save money

A heating system requires the most amount of energy when it starts up. This has led to the mistaken belief that it’s better to let a heater keep running at the same temperature while you’re away during the day than to turn it down and then turn it back up when you return home. It isn’t true: for most systems, the energy waste is far higher from leaving it on. With programmable thermostats, you can have your thermostat turn down the temperature after you’ve gone and turn back up before you return so you won’t have to worry about forgetting to turn the heater down or coming home to a cold house. How much you should set back your heat depends on your system and your house, so talk to your contactor about what will work best for you.

2. Turning the thermostat up higher heats up your home faster

This myth comes from a basic misunderstanding of what a thermostat actually does. A thermostat is a switch, not a throttle, for most systems. When you set the thermostat to a higher temperature, it does not make your heater work faster, it only makes it work longer until it reaches its target temperature. However, this is not true for variable speed furnaces and heat pumps with back up heat, which will use more energy to heat your home faster if you turn the thermostat way up. But, no matter what type of system you have, turning the thermostat way up means energy waste and an uncomfortably high temperature. Maintain a comfortable lower temperature while you’re home during the daytime, and set it back when you’re asleep for the maximum energy efficiency and reduction of stress on your heater.

3. Heaters only need maintenance every 3–5 years

No matter how durable a heating system you have, you cannot ignore yearly maintenance. Your system will go through significant stress every winter, leading to components wearing down, the internal mechanisms gathering dust and dirt, and the beginnings of repair needs. This will lead to a system working less efficiently after only a year, and increases the chances of malfunctions of even a full breakdown. You should have maintenance scheduled every year for your heater, preferably in the fall.

Don’t put your trust into anything you read about heating that comes from an unreliable source: make sure you take your advice from trained professionals, such as the NATE-certified technicians at Henson Mechanical Inc. Contact us today for all your concerns about heating in Athens, GA.

The Difference Between a Pilot Light and Electronic Ignition in a Furnace

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The popular image of the operation of a gas furnace is a continually burning pilot light standing ready whenever the gas turns on. Even if the electrical power goes out, the furnace can still fire up to provide heat. However, standing pilot lights appear in home furnaces less and less today, and new electronic ignition systems are replacing them. Although this means a furnace won’t come on during a black-out, the new igniters save money and increase the safety of a gas furnace.

Whether your gas furnace in Atlanta, GA uses a pilot light or an electronic ignition system to activate your heating, you can trust that Henson Mechanical Inc can handle all necessary repairs and maintenance to keep it working safely and effectively for you. Call us any time of the day or night for fast service.

What’s the difference between a pilot light and an electronic ignition system?

The standing pilot light is a flame that burns using the gas from the natural gas line that enters a home. When the thermostat signals for the burner jets to turn on, the heat from the standing pilot light ignites them. Pilot lights can go out because of strong drafts or dirt across the burner unit, and when this happens the combustion chamber could potentially fill up with gas and pose an explosive hazard. Thermocouples or mercury sensors detect if the pilot light goes out and shuts off the main gas line.

Electronic igniters replace the standing pilot light with systems that only turn on when necessary to light the burners: this saves energy and is one of the reasons that newer furnaces have higher AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings than older models. They use only a small amount of electricity to operate.

Electronic igniters come in two types: hot surface igniters and intermittent pilots. The hot surface igniter is the more common. They are made from silicon nitride or silicon carbide, and work similar to a light bulb: when current passes through the igniter, its surface turns hot. Only when the surface is hot enough will the gas valve activate to turn on the gas jets. Hot surface igniters are safe and dependable, but will need to be replaced every few years during regular maintenance.

The less common intermittent pilot still uses a pilot light. But the pilot only comes on when needed, and an electrical spark from the igniter turns it on. When the burners turn off, so does the pilot light.

Whatever system you have, make sure you maintain it

Regular maintenance is key to making sure your pilot light or electronic igniter works correctly, keeping you safe and warm. To sign up for maintenance to care for your furnace in Atlanta, GA, contact Henson Mechanical Inc.

Safety Devices of a Gas Furnace

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The gas furnace is a common piece of equipment in most modern homes, burning natural gas to create heated air that is then blown into your home through a series of ducts. It’s a safe, clean and inexpensive way of heating your home, and services dedicated to heating repair in Athens can usually handle any issues that arise. In addition, most modern furnaces have multiple safety devices there to ensure that they function exactly as they should. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the more prominent safety devices of a gas furnace.

  • Thermocouple. The thermocouple works alongside the pilot light or ignition system, and in some cases is actually part of the same component. It controls the flow of gas into the furnace, and if the ignition isn’t functioning for whatever reason, it won’t turn on. This prevents unlit gas from flooding your home.
  • Limit switch or spill switch. These are essentially the same device; they simply go under different names depending upon the make and model of the furnace. They monitor the area around the burners for excessive heat or lit gas: signs that the gas is escaping the burners and constitutes a threat. In that event, they cut off the flow of gas to the furnace and usually shut the unit down completely.
  • Pressure switches. This is a series of switches and valves designed to ensure that the pressure is even in all parts of the furnace, preventing high pressure from building up too much in the system.

All of these safety devices can seem like a nuisance at first, since they often shut off the furnace entirely when they detect a problem. Tis is actually a good thing: not only preventing further damage to the system but keeping your home and family safe in the process. A qualified technician like the ones at Henson Mechanical Inc can correct the problem and restore power to the system once the safety devices of a gas furnace have been triggered. We handle heating repair in Athens, GA and throughout nearby communities, so don’t hesitate to call on us today!