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HVAC Tips to Keep Your House Warm This Winter

Adorable Baby and Dad

Keeping your home cozy warm in the winter can be hard. With a proper HVAC, this should not be a problem, but most people don’t realize that their HVAC is not efficient.

In essence, HVAC must be maintained. If it’s not, it starts to perform worse. To resolve this issue, you need to know what to look out for.

In this article, we will cover some useful winter HVAC tips, so that you can ensure that this winter, your home does not get cold. 

Whenever you’re ready to alleviate the challenges of a poorly functioning HVAC, keep reading and let’s see if we can help.

Get an HVAC Inspection

The first thing you should is to get your HVAC inspected. In general, this should be done on an annual basis before winter actually starts. Regular maintenance will ensure that your HVAC is living up to its potential longevity, but also running efficiently. 

Like anything in life, the better and more you care for something, the more likely it is to last longer. The same applies to HVAC systems.

If you are not sure if you will remember to get your inspection, you should sign-up for a maintenance agreement that will make sure you get your inspections done. 

Change Air Filter

To work properly, your HVAC system must be clean. Throughout your home, dust and dirt gather in your vents and then make their way to the furnace. These particles are caught in your filter. 

Replacing your filter every 3 months will ensure your HVAC is optimally clean. A clogged filter will depreciate heat spread throughout the home, which is something to avoid.

Furnace filters come in a variety of sizes and shapes. It can be hard to determine which is best for you. That’s why it’s best to delegate this task to your preferred company, which will send you the right filter at the right time, depending on your replacement interval.

Isn’t that a convenient and easy way to ensure your house is warmed properly throughout the winter?

Clean & Seal Air Ducts

Your air ducts are essential to warm air delivery in your home. If you have lots of dust on your flooring and furniture, this can be a sign of dirty air ducts. Having air ducts cleaned and sealed properly will ensure that your home contains a stable temperature, but also improved air quality.

During your inspection, your HVAC specialist will tell you if your ductwork is properly done. If your ducts are not sealed, you can be losing over a third of the air generated by the furnace.

A professional company should be able to seal your ductwork with a special sealant, after which you will notice less dust and a more stable temperature in each room of your home. This also leads to decreased energy bills.

Thermostat Upgrade

Advanced technologies make life more convenient, efficient, and accessible. Your HVAC system is not an exception. There have been great advances in thermostat tech that will help you save money. 

With many smart changes, you can monitor and set your temperature from your mobile devices. You can also set a schedule that will run without your intervention.

When you’re working, you can set the home heat lower, and then make it rise as you are getting back. Another one of the greatest HVAC tips is to set your temperature at 68 degrees when you’re home, but lower it when you’re not asleep or not home.

It’s approximated by the Department of Energy that you can save almost 10% each year on your energy bill by turning your thermostat by 10 degrees for 8 hours each day.

Consider A New System

Before winter starts, you should consider getting a new HVAC system. First, find out how long your system has been installed. If it’s been over 10 years, it’s probably a good idea to change.

Outdated and old systems will run at half performance almost always, whereas a new system is designed to deliver over 90% efficiency. Not only is this not optimal, but it might be costing you a fortune.

Thus, a replacement now might be costly, but it will pay off in the long-term.

Prevent Drafts

Another thing you can do is go through your home and check for any drafts. If you feel an air draft, this is probably due to poorly sealed doors and windows. This will make it very difficult for you to keep a stable temperature in the home.

This can easily be resolved with rubber seals for door frames and specialized window seals. This can be DIY, so it will only take you a couple of hours. But the pay-off is well worth it.

Energy Bill HVAC Tips

If your energy bill is running higher than usual, there’s probably some sort of issue directly related to your HVAC. Throughout the winter, keep a very keen eye on your usage of energy and then cross-compare against previous bills throughout the years.

I find something that’s unusual, check your air filter. If that’s not the problem, call over a specialist to come and take a look. It might seem like a wasted expense, but it pays off if a problem is located and resolved.

Depending on the climate that you live in, winter can be very harsh. Don’t get caught in the cold with a poorly performing heater that will spike your costs and malfunction regularly.

Show your HVAC some care and love by following these HVAC tips and it will take care of you in return during the times when it matters most.

HVAC Assistance for You

Now that you have discovered some winter HVAC tips, you are well on your way to ensure that your system is running at its best potential. As long as you care for it, it will care for you. It’s a mutually-beneficial relationship.

If you’re interested in an HVAC inspection or any other specialized HVAC service, get in touch with us and we will happily accommodate your needs.

Fall is Here, Time to Focus on a Comfortable, Cozy Michigan Home

Fall Leaves in Dexter, Michigan

October is quickly moving toward November, temperatures are chilly, and you can already smell the pumpkin pie you will have for Thanksgiving. Keeping your home warm and cozy is important, but it does require a little effort on your part to keep costs down. Our SE Michigan HVAC professionals have a few suggestions for a cozy, energy efficient home.

Ensure your heating system is functioning at its best.

Before the frigid temperatures set in it is a good idea to schedule a fall HVAC maintenance check. Our professional heating technicians will thoroughly inspect all components of your system and ensure it is clean and operate at maximum efficiency. Additionally, your fall check-up will make it possible to catch any small issues that could potentially turn into a huge (and costly) headache, so that you can enjoy warmth and comfort all fall and winter long.

Consider a Lennox Ultra Smart Thermostat

As a Lennox dealer, we know the advantages of Ultra Smart Thermostats for the ultimate in comfort and energy efficiency. When your family is at home and up for the day, set the thermostat at the lowest temperature that doesn’t compromise your comfort. When you are away at work, sleeping, or out for the day, you will enjoy saving approximately 10% annually on your utility bill by merely turning the thermostat down 10 or 15 degrees over an eight-hour period!

Learn how to save on energy room to room

From turning the lights off and making the switch to LED or CFL bulbs instead of fluorescent and using light dimmers, you can find more ways than you could imagine to save on energy consumption and costs all around the house.

Also keep in mind that it is a good idea to close the damper on the fireplace when you are not burning wood, as warm air escapes right up to the chimney when you leave it open, similar to an open window. Close the flue if you have a wood burning stove when not using it.

Air leaks around windows & doors are a significant factor

Even the tiniest crack, hole, or leak can compromise your comfort and result in higher utility bills. Check around all windows and exterior doors for air leaks, and use caulk to fill any gaps or cracks. Weather stripping should be replaced when worn, and don’t forget to use door and window snakes to keep out cold drafts. Heavy drapes or curtains also prevent heat loss, and window insulation film keeps you warm while keeping cold air at bay.

Let the sunshine in

In areas of your home that face the sun, open up the curtains or blinds and let the sun warm your home naturally. Leave curtains closed over windows that don’t allow sunshine in, then close all of the drapes as the sun begins to set to hold in the warmth the sunshine generated during the day. Free heating!

For more tips or to learn more about the iComfort® S30 Ultra Smart Thermostat and other Lennox products, give Haley Mechanical a call today!

Benefits of Commercial Air Curtains for Restaurants, Bars & More

Air curtain being used in a restaurant

Restaurateurs, bar owners, and others in the foodservice sector are all too familiar with some of the challenges related to these types of businesses. From saving on energy costs to keeping out dirt, debris, and pests and giving the customer a great experience, it can be tough.

One of the best investments you can make that provides you with many benefits is in a commercial air curtain. Properly installed, an air curtain helps you keep out the dirt, debris, and other things you don’t want in your establishment, helping you maintain high sanitation standards. Air curtains also enhance customer comfort, help keep energy costs lower, and keep employee turnover to a minimum. And this is just the beginning!

Here are some of the most important benefits you will enjoy by installing a commercial air curtain in your restaurant, bar, or other food establishments.

Reduced energy costs. Placed right over your door, air curtains are invisible, so they don’t detract from that welcoming “open door” feel customers enjoy. They create a significant barrier against unwanted hot or cold air infiltrating your indoor spaces, keeping energy costs down as your conditioned air stays indoors where it belongs. While you enjoy more comfortable spaces, your heating and cooling equipment won’t have to work overtime to compensate, which means less wear and tear on your HVAC equipment, lower energy bills.

Greater comfort for your customers. Customer satisfaction is your top priority as a restaurant or bar owner, and spaces that are too cold or warm compromise your patrons’ comfort. During southeast Michigan’s cold winter months, air curtains prevent warm inside air from spilling out of an open door and allowing cold air to come inside. Whether during summer or winter months, customers will be happy to sit close to the door or wait on an open table because their comfort won’t be affected by an open door. Keep customers inside your establishment longer and expect higher profits.

Reduce the work on your current cooling or heating systems. Heat loss (or gain, depending on the season) is dramatically reduced when you use an efficient air curtain, meaning less work for your existing heating or cooling system. When your equipment doesn’t have to work as hard to heat or cool your indoor spaces, it will not only function more efficiently but last longer.

Enjoy a healthier, cleaner environment. Air curtains make it difficult for outdoor air to come in as they are designed to recirculate the air in your establishment, creating an effective seal. This means they are effective for keeping out dust, dirt, pollen, flying insects, traffic fumes, and more, helping your customers and employees enjoy a healthier, cleaner environment.

Keep employee complaints, turnover, and absenteeism to a minimum. When employees are happy, they tend to complain less and stay with their jobs. Comfort is a huge part of employee satisfaction, just as it is for customers. Whether in the kitchen, service entry or back-of-the-house, air curtains keep the various rooms and sections of your restaurant comfortable and draft-free. You will see less absenteeism and more motivation and job satisfaction in your employees.

Invite new business to your restaurant or bar. Open doors are inviting to those who pass by your establishment, no doubt about it. Potential customers know your restaurant is open for business and they will come in not only to enjoy your food, but the great atmosphere and comfort air curtains provide.

A commercial air curtain could be a cost-effective solution for those who are tired of an uncomfortable environment and spending too much on energy costs. We invite those in Ann Arbor and surrounding cities in SE Michigan to learn more about air curtains and their many benefits by contacting Haley Mechanical today!

Furnace Not Working? Perhaps it’s Time to Change Thermostat Batteries

Picture of batteries

Recently, we’ve been receiving numerous phone calls from southeast Michigan homeowners regarding furnaces that are not working. What we’ve found is that in many cases, it’s simply a thermostat issue – dead batteries.

If you have a digital thermostat, it may be the batteries that’s causing the problem, particularly if your thermostat has warned you about low batteries. The process if fairly straightforward, a task you can likely take care of yourself.

How can you change the batteries? Depending on the brand, here are two recommendations:

If your thermostat has an external battery compartment. Here’s how you change the batteries.

  • Look straight on at your thermostat; you will see a place where you can press down to release the compartment on the top right side of the thermostat.
  • Press down at this area, then tilt the battery compartment to the right; this will allow you to remove the plastic compartment. Change the batteries out, and you are ready to put the compartment back in place.
  • To replace the compartment, begin with the side where you put the batteries in (the open side of the compartment) facing toward the wall. Insert the compartment into the slot holding it at a 45-degree angle. Tilt the compartment fully back to the left; when inserted properly, you will hear it snap back in place. The screen should come on at this point.

While your thermostat settings should have been saved, double check to ensure they are still set.

If your thermostat does not have an external battery compartment

In some thermostats, the thermostat faceplate must be removed to locate the batteries.

  • The majority of thermostats with no external battery compartment release from the bottom of the wall plate first, then the top. Carefully pull the thermostat from the wall plate while holding it firmly in place. Depending on your thermostat, there may be screws that need to be loosened, or there may be a tab at the bottom you will need to press in. Look for screws if it feels like you are having to force it.
  • If you can see the batteries either in the thermostat or on the wall plate and the wall plate remains attached to the wall, you are on the right track.
  • After replacing the batteries, snap the thermostat back into place, taking care not to force it. The thermostat has pins on the back you want to avoid bending or breaking!

Replacing the batteries in a digital thermostat is fairly easy, however, if you have problems don’t hesitate to contact us at Haley Mechanical. After replacing the batteries, if your furnace still doesn’t operate properly give heating repair experts call at 734-424-9170!

Furnace Not Working? Try These Things Before Calling in the Pros

Picture of a furnace filter

Anyone who lives in Ann Arbor or SE Michigan knows temperatures often get downright frigid during the winter months. The last thing you want is to come home to a house that’s freezing, only to find the temperature indoors is colder than where you set the thermostat.  Before you pick up the phone to call in the pros, try these tips!

Make sure the furnace is getting power.  Check to make sure the furnace is turned on, check the circuit breaker, and look at the fuse box.  You would be surprised to know the number of times technicians have gone out on a call only to find a blown fuse or tripped breaker!

Change the filter.  Sounds too simple to be the fix, doesn’t it?  When the air filter gets clogged with all of the dust, dander, pollen, dirt, and other debris it’s protecting your family from, it makes airflow difficult.  This could be the problem if your furnace does come on, but shuts off before your home warms up to the temperature you set the thermostat on.  Changing your filter regularly often prevents issues with the furnace.

Check to ensure the pilot light is lit/gas turned on.  The gas valve must be turned on for your gas furnace to get the fuel it needs to work.  If your furnace is older than 20 years, be sure to light the pilot light.

Take a look at the thermostat.  For your heat to come on, it must be set to the “heat” position and the temperature set to your desired point, but one that’s higher than the current temperature in the room.  Check the battery if you have a thermostat that operates on one, and the scheduled times if you have a programmable thermostat.  It’s a good idea to replace the thermostat battery at the beginning of the heating season.

Check air registers, vents, grilles, and ducts.  You will want to check the air registers and vents inside your home first to ensure they aren’t blocked by anything such as furniture or rugs.  Once you determine there is nothing restricting airflow, take a look at the ducts to see if there is a build-up of dust, dirt, or other debris. You will also want to see if there may be a leaky duct that is allowing the heat to escape before it comes into your home.

Inspect your furnace for dirt and corrosion.  After turning the power switch off, remove the front panels and inspect for dirt, dust, spider webs, corrosion, or rust on components, anything that could be causing problems.  Use a vacuum or compressed air to clean away the debris and call a technician who can replace any corroded parts.

Check outside exhaust and intake.  Airflow issues are often caused by debris, leaves, or even birds.  If you are comfortable doing so yourself, clear away any blockages; if not, call in a professional.

Check for a clogged drain line.  Flue gas condensate is carried away with drain lines in both boilers and high-efficiency furnaces. Your furnace will not function if the drain line is clogged with mold, dirt, or sediment, so if you think this is the problem, flush out the drain line.

Turn off the furnace to reset it.  The majority of newer furnaces equipped with electronic ignitions have a lockout mode should the ignition sequence fail.  Rather than waiting for the ignition to reset on its own, turn the furnace off, wait for a minute or two, and turn it back to the “on” position.  Low gas pressure and electrical brownouts/blackouts can result in lockouts, which may be your problem if any of these have occurred.

Have an HVAC technician come and inspect/service your furnace. Sometimes you can’t resolve the issue yourself, or you may not feel comfortable performing some of these tasks.  In this event, call in our Ann Arbor HVAC professionals to ensure a warm, cozy home all winter long!

HVAC Maintenance Helps Improve Indoor Air Quality

Lady Relaxing on Couch

Is the air inside your Southeast Michigan home as clean and healthy as it could be?  Regular HVAC maintenance makes a big difference – and when you ignore your heating/cooling system, it can result in health or respiratory issues.  How can you ensure the air inside your home is a clean as possible?  We have a few tips.

Check/replace the filter each month.  The filter is the component of your HVAC system that air circulates through first, capturing dust, dirt, pollen and other irritants.  Check your filter every month and change if it’s dirty, as a clean filter equals cleaner indoor air.

Have the ducts cleaned.  In most cases, if you’re vigilant about changing the filter, the ducts won’t get too dusty or dirty.  However, if you’ve neglected to change the filter over a period of months, having the ducts cleaned by one of our professional technicians will ensure cleaner air circulating throughout your SE Michigan home with less dust or other debris.

Choose a filter with a high MERV rating.  Pleated filters with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of 5 to 8 is recommended to filter out irritating dust and debris.  Filters with a MERV rating of higher than 8 are not recommended as they can impact the efficiency of your HVAC system.  Cheaper fiberglass filters common in many homes and rated between 1 and 4 are not effective against the infiltration of pet dander, dust mite waste, or other common airborne contaminants.

HVAC maintenance and repair is critical to the health and well-being of your family, ensuring the air you breathe inside your Ann Arbor home is the freshest air possible.  A clean system also impacts efficiency, which affects how much you pay for heating or cooling.  Give Haley Mechanical a call today!

Do Furnaces Work Harder in Colder Weather?

Beautiful Healthy Home

You know those days in Southeast Michigan when the weather isn’t fit for anything but staying indoors and reading a good book or napping. Cold temperatures that make your teeth chatter, slippery ice and snow – and if you don’t have a garage, scraping ice from the windshield as you try to get the door open.

Even then, you wonder if your vehicle will start up or if it does, whether it will keep running until you get to your destination and back. When temperatures drop to single digits or even below zero, does it make your furnace work harder as well?

Your Furnace Doesn’t Work as Hard When Temperatures are in the Deep Freeze

For most people, it makes sense that when temperatures are moderate on winter days (30 or 40 degrees), the furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to keep their homes comfortable. It doesn’t run non-stop, so that must be easier on it, right?

No. The fact is, it’s easier on the furnace when it does run for a longer, sustained period of time. Think about your vehicle; constant starts and stops cause wear and tear on many of the components. If you’ve ever checked your gas mileage after driving at a constant speed on the interstate vs. driving in the city at various speeds with lots of slowing at stoplights before accelerating back up to speed, you know gas mileage is better on the interstate or highway.

Your furnace works in much the same way; when temperatures plummet to zero or colder, it runs for a more extended period to make your home comfortable. When temperatures are 30 or 40 degrees, an average for SE Michigan, the furnace doesn’t kick on all that often and runs just a short time before shutting off again.

It’s late winter now, and most of us enjoy the sunshine that warms up our homes during the daylight hours in February and March. The furnace doesn’t run too often once the sun is up in the sky and coming through the windows while heating the roof, siding, and other components. Once it starts getting dark and the sun sinks below the horizon, it’s a different story – the furnace goes back to work again. It’s those stop-and-go days when temperatures are moderate that is really hard on your furnace.

When temps are frigid during the day, so cold you don’t even want to open the door let alone step foot outside; it is a good day for your furnace! There is nothing better for it than running in long stretches when it comes to extending the life of the motor and other components.

Have questions about your furnace or heating system? Give the Ann Arbor heating experts at Haley Mechanical a call today. Creating comfortable indoor weather is our business!

Furnace Issues? Get Familiar with Possible Causes

Lady Relaxing on Couch

Whether your furnace was having problems toward the end of the last winter season, or you experience issues when you fire it up in the coming weeks, there are some simple (and not so simple) possible causes for malfunctioning.  It’s never a good idea to do it yourself when it comes to furnace repair, as the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning simply isn’t worth it.  This is an issue which should be left to your Michigan HVAC contractor!  However, it’s good to be aware of what the potential causes may be, so here’s a little information for you.

If your furnace is a typical standard-efficiency type, air temperatures produced go up to 170 degrees before flowing through your ducts and into your home.  Here are a few indications that something may be wrong.

Inadequate airflow at supply registers

  • Slipping blower fan belt or dirty blower fan
  • Air filters that are clogged or dirty.  Your filter may be damaged as well; your technician can show you how to change it each month so that your furnace performs efficiently.
  • Ductwork issues.  If your ducts have come apart at the joints, have collapsed, or are blocked it will affect airflow to the supply registers.
  • Blocked cooling coil.  A refrigerant coil used for the A/C function on combination heating/air units can become obstructed with dirt buildup or mold, inhibiting airflow.
  • Insufficient return air.  Air pressure imbalances in your living area or undersize/leaking return ducts can result in insufficient return air, meaning inadequate airflow.

Cycling on/off frequently

  • Obstructed blower fan or clogged air filters can result in your furnace running excessively long to maintain your desired temperature because of reduced airflow over the heat exchanger.
  • If your thermostat is defective or improperly calibrated, the result will be a furnace that shuts on and off constantly.
  • Too much heat energy may be produced if your furnace is not properly matched to the heating load of your home.

Lack of airflow

  • Automatic safety cut-off switch has disabled the furnace
  • The improper functioning of blower fan motor
  • Major duct trunk may be disconnected or blocked

Serving SE Michigan homeowners in Ann Arbor, Dexter, Ypsilanti and surrounding areas since 1998, Haley Mechanical is dedicated to outstanding service and products for all of your home comfort needs.

Furnace Issues Southeast Michigan Homeowners Should Tend To This Spring

Woman sitting on couch in beatiful home

You are probably thinking about now, “but it is just turned spring, why should I worry about the furnace now with summer fast approaching?” While it may seem spring is not the time to worry about your furnace, it is important to realize that HVAC repair applies to cooling and ventilation as well as heating issues. Essentially, your HVAC system takes care of all of your comfort needs, providing heat in winter months, and cool air in summer months. It is an entire package, so to speak – and that “package” is connected, so taking care of it even during spring months when you do not use it often is important. Tackling any minor issues now can help you avoid a massive headache later!

Our HVAC certified furnace repair technicians are perfectly capable of handling serious problems, problems, or repairs homeowners should not attempt themselves. However, there are some easy things you can take care of to ensure your HVAC system operates efficiently and gives you years of service. Some of the things you can do are to change the furnace filter on a quarterly basis, as a clogged, dirty filter impedes airflow and can cause your furnace to operate inefficiently. Filters are not too costly, and changing them yourself is simple, no need to call in a technician! Just check the filter every three months and if it is dirty/clogged, replace it.

Springtime is when HVAC systems get a “rest” from the heavy use typical in summer and winter months, but it still doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you want to be able to rely on your air conditioner this summer or the furnace next winter, regular maintenance and inspections are necessary. By having your system inspected every three months, any minor issues can be addressed now, and components replaced when necessary. Frequent inspections and maintenance help you avoid serious (and costly) service!

Your home is your biggest investment – and your HVAC system is an essential component of your home. Shouldn’t you have skilled, highly trained technicians care for your heating and cooling system? At Haley Mechanical, our team is comprised of experienced, qualified professionals who are experts at what they do – and we would not expect southeast Michigan homeowners to settle for anything less!

During a routine inspection, you can expect our technicians to thoroughly examine every aspect of your system including filters, burners, condensate drains, electrical components, compressor, condenser, and more. Running a full range of diagnostics is essential for diagnosing potentially serious problems; we also lubricate moving parts, ensure proper fitting filters, and give your furnace the TLC it deserves for a long, efficient life.

Wouldn’t you rather be prepared now than face an unpleasant and potentially expensive problem when you need your HVAC system most? When the cold months strike this coming winter (and they will), and your furnace does not fire up as it should, will you regret that you did not perform a little upkeep and have your system inspected? Sure you will – so don’t put it off.

Homeowners in Ann Arbor and all of SE Michigan can trust Haley Mechanical to take care of your furnace so that it will look after your family!

Before You Choose a New Furnace, Consider These Factors

Woman sitting on couch in beatiful home

furnace does not last forever, so it is important to keep your eyes (and ears) open for indications it may be on its last leg, especially if it is ten years old or older. The last thing you want is for your family to be left out in the cold in the harsh southeast Michigan winters! If you suspect your heater is on its way out, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before you make a final decision.

Energy ratings. Energy efficiency is critical when you want your home to stay warm, and save on utility costs. Look at products labeled ENERGY STAR, and pay attention to the ratings. A great rating means great products that are efficient and will perform optimally.

Location. The weather you typically experience during winter months and where you live may determine the type of heating you use. For instance, it may be permissible to heat with wood using a fireplace or wood burning stove in your area. In some locations, the ground conditions (space for digging) may be ideal for a geothermal system.

The size of the space you want to heat. The square footage of your home is one factor in determining the size heater you need. A heater that’s too small won’t adequately heat your home and will cost more to operate as it will run more often. Also, make certain there’s space in the furnace room for the size/type of heater you are considering.

What is your budget? Many homeowners in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and other areas of SE Michigan have limited budgets. It is important to know how much you can afford and to be prepared to spend just a bit more than you anticipated if you want a quality heater that will save you money and provide comfort for your family over the long-term.

Tax credits. Certain heaters make you eligible for a tax credit, which saves you money on the purchase. Our professional heat & air contractors can advise you regarding which models offer tax credits.

Need help finding a heater with a high ENERGY STAR rating or that offers tax credits? You may not be sure what size heater you need, or if it will work in your home. Call Haley Mechanical for further guidance in selecting the perfect heater for your home.