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What to Expect When You Have a Furnace Installed

Woman relaxing in her comfortable home

Most homeowners only purchase a furnace once, or at the most twice, over their lifetimes. If you are a southeast Michigan homeowner who is having a furnace installed, wondering what to expect on the day of the installation can leave you feeling a little nervous. Do you need to prepare, and what should you expect? At Haley Mechanical, we have made it all a little less stressful by providing the information you need below.

Get Your Home Prepared

As much as possible, clear out the clutter so that technicians have an unobstructed path to where the furnace will be located. This will make it easier for technicians to make their way through without worrying about possibly breaking any of your possessions.

Moving items that make the area particularly cluttered not only makes it possible for technicians to work more efficiently, but you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your valuable are safe from potential damage.

Purchase some touch-up paint. Thermostats are not always the same size or shape, so the new thermostat installed with your furnace may be different from your old one. Touch up paint in the same color as the wall will make it possible for you to cover the bare areas left uncovered by a different size or shape thermostat. Your technician may also be able to help you tackle this little chore.

What to Expect on the Day of Your Furnace Installation

Depending on the size/scope of the job, the installation of a furnace can take a couple of hours or a few days. After consulting with a professional about your furnace installation, you should have a fairly clear idea of how long the installation will take. While all heating and cooling companies are different, most will make an effort and take the time to protect your home during the process by using drop cloths to protect carpets/floors and wearing booties. Ultimately, professionals want to leave your home in the same clean condition they found it before the installation of your new furnace.

How Can You Help?

Of course, a homeowner is never expected (or even allowed) to help with the installation of a furnace, but since they will be in your home for a prolonged period, it is courteous to offer a glass of ice water or tea or a cup of coffee depending on the season. Also, be sure to direct the way to the restroom.

Having a furnace installed is not a frightening or complex process. Use common sense, move anything that may obstruct technicians’ progress, and extend a courteous hand. That is it!

Need a new furnace installed? At Haley Mechanical, our SE Michigan heating and air professionals use only the best equipment, and professional, courteous, highly trained technicians. Give us a call today for all of your home comfort needs!

Five Reasons Your Ann Arbor Heating Bill is Too High

Person Working on Bills

Your heating bills might be the most expensive part of maintaining a comfortable home this winter. Many factors determine how much you are going to spend to keep your place warm and cozy this year. While you cannot do anything about some of them, here is a look at five of the most common reasons why heating bills are higher than they should be.

Poorly Sealed Windows and Doors. One of the most common reasons behind high heating bills, poorly sealed windows and doors happen to every homeowner. It is essential to inspect your windows and doors at least once a year to ensure they are adequately sealed. Weather, aging, and pests do much damage over the years to caulk and sealing agents, so you should expect to replace these items every few years to maintain a secure seal between your home and the cold air outside of it.

Leather, Plastic, and Glass. Believe it or not, when you heat your home, the only thing that is thoroughly heated is the air. Items closest to the heating vents feel warm to the touch, but most of your other furnishings will not become hot enough to retain any real semblance of heat. This is particularly true of leather, glass, and plastic. Cloth, on the other hand, warms up more readily, and it can help to make you feel warm. Consider adding blankets and pillows to the leather sofa or seat cushions to the kitchen chairs.

Insufficient Insulation. If your home is not insulated well, a lot of your heated air is making it outside through the attic, crawlspace, and basement. Unless you have radiant heating, the air that you heat rises to the ceiling and continues going upward through the attic and out of your home through vents, cracks, and holes. It is important to ensure your attic is insulated well. If you are not up to the task, hire a professional to come in and do it for you. Older homes, in particular, are at greatest risk of needing new insulation due to the detrimental effect that aging, dirt, and pests have on older styles of insulation.

Higher and Higher. The air in your home is not the only thing going higher and higher each day. As you turn the thermostat higher each time the heating cycle kicks off, and the air becomes somewhat chilly, your heating bill continues to rise. Instead of turning the heat up a notch every hour or so, reach for a sweater, blanket, or someone to cuddle.

Taking Your Shoes Off. How many times do you kick off your shoes when you arrive home after a long day of being on the job or shopping? Not wearing shoes, particularly on uncarpeted flooring, can make you feel cold. As a result, you kick up the thermostat, and your bill continues to rise. Grab a pair of slippers or comfortable shoes and keep them on to minimize the cost of heating your home this winter.

Stop dreading your heating bill each month and take charge of reducing this expense. Whether you arrange for a professional energy audit or you conduct one on your own, it is time to find out why the bills to heat your home are so high.

The Mood is Warm During the Holidays; Your Home Should Be Too!

Beautiful Christmas Decorations

Holidays are when we gather with family and friends, creating new memories and reminiscing about old ones. It is warm, inviting, comfortable – and your southeast Michigan home should be just as warm! Of course, it is also when temperatures are plummeting, and you want your home to stay comfortable while keeping energy costs down. What issues may you face, and what can you do about it?

Take control of the temperature inside your home

While temperatures may fluctuate outdoors between milder days and those that are uncomfortably chilly during the holidays, you can still maintain control of the comfort inside your home. Some options include an auto-switching thermostat and the iComfort® S30 Smart Thermostat Perfect Temp. An auto-switching thermostat is capable of switching back and forth between heating and cooling modes, with no help from you. With the iComfort® S30 Smart Thermostat set the temperature you desire once, and the system maintains this temperature for you year-round whether it is summer, winter, snowing, raining, or sunny. Easy!

Keep your home warm during the holiday while saving on energy costs all season

Many homeowners in Ann Arbor and other areas of SE Michigan use gas furnaces to heat their homes during the holiday season and beyond. In some areas, this may not be the best solution because of the cost of natural gas when compared to electricity.

The solution? You may want to consider a dual-fuel system which essentially works by combining a gas furnace with a heat pump. When temperatures heat up in summer months, the heat pump works to provide cool air; in winter months, it provides warmth by switching to heating mode. When temperatures become brutally cold, the system switches to gas furnace automatically. According to the temperature, the system switches back and forth between electricity and gas, so you enjoy energy efficiency without raising a finger.

If you are going away for a few days over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, you want to save money on heating an empty home. The iComfort® S30 Smart Thermostat is truly a smart investment, as its “Smart Away” mode knows when your family is home, and when you are away! This amazing thermostat can determine if you are home or away using your family’s smartphones. When no one is home, the iComfort S30 will automatically reduce energy use by reducing the heat! It also works just the opposite in summer months, reducing cooling when your home’s empty.

Controlling temperatures when your home is buzzing with activity

During the holidays, many families have lots of company – and lots of cooking going on. When you put a large group of people in a room, it warms up from body heat; when the oven, stove top, and other appliances are in use, and there are lots of cooks busying about in preparation of a great meal, there can be substantial temperature differences from one room to the next. How to get a handle on the drastic temperature changes?

Zoning systems such as the Lennox iHarmony® Zoning system controls temperatures throughout your home by dividing it up into four sections or zones, each controlled by its thermostat. Zoning makes it possible for you to direct heated or cooled air precisely where you need it by simply opening or closing motorized dampers.

Zoning systems are also ideal when you have overnight guests for the holidays, as you can supply heat or air to the rooms your guests will use, and deliver little or no heating or cooling to guest rooms when they are empty the rest of the year. Talk about comfort and energy savings!

Give your guests (and yourself) the joy of a beautiful landscape

While closing the drapes is a practice many adhere to in winter months to help keep out cold drafts, it is a shame to miss all of the beautiful landscapes! Colder weather is when you can enjoy watching the snow as it gently falls, or brilliant sunshine on sunny days. Instead of closing the drapes when family and friends visit for the holidays, consider insulating cracks and filling any gaps that may exist. Clear shrink-wrap insulation is another option, as you can insulate the windows and still enjoy a gorgeous view without sacrificing your guests’ comfort or paying high energy costs.

Holiday guests mean constantly opening doors – stay comfortable

Holiday get-togethers mean the front door of your home will be opened and closed countless times. To prevent your heater from running constantly, try to have guests enter through the door that’s furthest away from the thermostat.

At Haley Mechanical, we wish you a warm and happy holiday season! Hopefully, the tips above will help you understand how to save on energy usage and costs while enjoying comfort all through the holidays.

High-efficiency HVAC Filters – Pros and Cons

Picture of a furnace filter

High-efficiency HVAC filters may be something you have heard a little about, but aren’t familiar with. Perhaps a co-worker or friend has mentioned how a high-efficiency filter might improve indoor air quality, and now you’re curious about how they work, and whether it is something you should consider. Our Ann Arbor HVAC professionals are sharing the pros and cons of high-efficiency filters so that you can make a more informed decision.

Regular HVAC Filters vs. High-efficiency

Designed to protect the components of your HVAC system from large dust particles and other debris, regular filters are generally about one inch thick. Most homeowners think these filters work to improve the quality of indoor air substantially. However, this isn’t the case. A regular filter removes the big particles from the air, but not the pollen and small dust particles that affect not only the air quality inside your home but the health of your family members.

High-efficiency filters are designed to improve indoor air quality by removing not only small dust particles but mold spores, tobacco smoke, viruses, and other contaminants. Your family enjoys a cleaner, healthier indoor air.

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Most Important Benefits of High-efficiency Filters

High-efficiency HVAC filters offer genuine health benefits, particularly for those with asthma, COPD, allergies, or other respiratory health issues. These benefits include:

  • Fresher smelling air
  • Fewer dust particles in the air
  • Allergen reduction (pollen, mold, etc.)
  • Reduction in respiratory irritants
  • HVAC components and ducts remain cleaner

Before You Make the Switch

It’s tempting after reading about the benefits to want to switch to a high-efficiency HVAC filter right away. Before you do, it’s essential to know that the wrong filter can wreak havoc with your system if it reduces the flow of air. The air filter must be appropriate for your HVAC system, and it’s recommended you speak with a professional to ensure your system will accommodate the upgrade.

There is a wide array of high-efficiency filters available today, however not all companies who manufacture these filters are knowledgeable in regards to modern cooling/heating equipment and airflow requirements. Switching from a regular filter to one that is high-efficiency without ensuring proper airflow could put the lifespan and dependability of your system at risk. A highly efficient air filter could restrict airflow, causing compressor failure, overheating, or frozen coils depending on operating mode (cooling/heating).

The best thing you can do is to work with one of our heating and cooling technicians who can perform an airflow test to help determine the best type of filter for your system.

From choosing the proper filter for your system to understanding Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), an efficiency rating for filters, Haley Mechanical is here to help. Don’t forget to inspect and change your filter often! We invite homeowners in Ann Arbor and throughout southeast Michigan to give us a call today to learn more about high-efficiency filters.

The Danger of Cracked Heat Exchangers in Gas Furnaces

Cracks in a heat exchanger

Many homeowners in Ann Arbor and throughout SE Michigan use natural gas furnaces to heat their homes during the cold winter months. Gas furnaces keep your home nice and toasty but also help you save when compared to the cost of an electric furnace.

While they are commonly used to heat homes around the country, like any appliance that operates using natural gas, a gas furnace can present safety hazards. This is especially true of those that are 15 years old or older, and having your furnace inspected regularly will ensure any issues such as a cracked heat exchanger are diagnosed early on.

A cracked heat exchanger is the most common reason carbon monoxide or toxic gasses may escape into homes using a gas furnace. Most newer models are equipped with special safety features that keep risks down; however, it’s important to be informed about potential dangers.

What is a heat exchanger?

The heat exchanger is the area where the furnace heats the air and is an integral component of your gas furnace. Basically, the air is heated as it travels through the ventilation system by combustion gas heat that moves to the air from the blower fan. A metal chamber, the heat exchanger is where combustion gas collects and heats the metal walls, allowing the air generated by the blower fan to heat as it passes around the exchanger before being delivered into your home via ducts.

What is the danger of a cracked heat exchanger?

As it heats and cools, the heat exchanger’s metal chamber expands and contracts. A crack can form after years of expanding and contracting, which could allow carbon monoxide and other harmful gasses to escape into your home. Corrosion is another concern and happens when the metal becomes weak due to the reaction between the metal and combustion gas. This can result in small cracks; however, combustion gasses can escape through the tiniest cracks.

Are there any warning signs that may indicate a cracked heat exchanger? If you notice a clicking noise shortly after the blower shuts off, it’s essential to have your furnace checked out. Install a carbon monoxide alarm, and inspect your furnace regularly to see if you notice any corrosion.

It’s a good idea to have your gas furnace inspected before the winter season arrives to make sure it’s in good working order. If you live in Southeast Michigan, give Haley Mechanical a call for reliable, expert service!

Prepping Your Ann Arbor Home for Warmer Weather

Adorable Baby and Dad

Homeowners in Ann Arbor and surrounding areas of Southeast Michigan are no doubt happy that warmer weather has finally arrived! That said, there is always something to be done when the seasons change. Spring cleaning is likely on your list of things to do, but we have a few tips on how you can not only enjoy the warm temperatures, but prepare for hotter and more uncomfortable conditions that may be in our future.

What are the top reasons homeowners want to do a little spring cleaning when pleasant conditions arrive? Decluttering, deep cleaning and removing triggers that aggravate allergies and asthma are among the top, according to the American Cleaning Institute.

Before you venture outdoors, take a look at weather stripping. During the winter months, weather stripping can deteriorate leaving cracks and gaps around windows or doors. Inspect those things you’ve done to keep out the cold temps, along with hardware that may have become looser with temperature changes such as hinges.

Enjoy the great outdoors – but do these things first. Inspect outdoor gear and equipment your children and family use such as trampolines, swing sets, and tree houses. Check for any damage your patio, deck, or porch may have suffered over the cold winter season. Is the grill a good 10 or 15 feet away from your house, and is it functioning properly? By checking all of these things now, you can enjoy peace of mind while enjoying the warmer temperatures spring brings to the area.

Inspect your attic. From squirrels and mice to creepy crawly critters, insects and animals often seek refuge in the attic during cold winter months. Take a little time to inspect any holes, gaps, or crevices rodents may have used to enter, and seal them up. Also inspect for wet areas which could indicate a leak, and think about whether it would be beneficial to add attic insulation for the summer season’s approach.

Take care of the most dreaded task – cleaning windows. Spring is the time we all want to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and let the sunshine filter in. The snow and ice of winter weather leaves behind a film that dulls those gorgeous sunny days! Grab your window cleaner on a cloudy day and spray down the glass, using a newspaper or microfiber cloth to clean the grime away without leaving streaks. For the window hardware, frames and windowsill, a multi-purpose cleaner and clean rags is all you need. Cleaning windows on a sunny day isn’t a good idea, as the heat from the sun can dry your glass cleaner faster than you can wipe it away, causing streaks.

Prepare your HVAC system. You don’t want to wait until temperatures become uncomfortable to make sure your cooling system is ready. Your HVAC system not only cools the air inside your home, it also helps ensure good indoor air quality. Check to make sure there are no blockages in the vents, then switch your system on to see if it functions as it should. You may want to consider the iComfort or S30 or other smart thermostat that’s capable of monitoring pollen levels and air quality in the vicinity.

Last but certainly not least, schedule preventive maintenance with a trusted HVAC company like Haley Mechanical to enjoy peace of mind knowing your cooling system will do its job all spring and summer long.

By preparing your SE Michigan home for spring now you can enjoy the warm, beautiful days that are on the way knowing these tasks are behind you. Schedule preventive maintenance for your cooling system now by giving the Ann Arbor HVAC experts at Haley Mechanical a call today.

Copper Theft – Tips for Protecting Your Property

Copper Pipes

According to NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau), copper is highly prized by thieves who are looking to make some easy money.  Over a two-year period, 25,000 claims were filed related to the theft of aluminum, brass, bronze, and copper.  Not surprisingly, 96% of these thefts were copper-related.

Retail facilities and construction sites are two of the hardest hit by copper theft.  Considering both of these are typically dark and deserted during the nighttime hours, they become easy targets for copper thieves.  Retail strip malls often offer easy access to AC units on the rooftop, as well as access from one retailer to the next without ever getting off of the building.  Copper coils, wiring, and piping are like “gold” to thieves, who may strip every copper component they can find from HVAC equipment on a construction site, waiting to be installed.

How can you deter copper theft at your retail location or construction site?  Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid letting copper materials and equipment sit out where they are vulnerable to theft by having them delivered on the day of installation
  • Make sure storage trailers and trucks are securely locked, and restrict access to keys
  • Be on alert when at the construction site for vehicles or activity that seems suspicious
  • Use storage containers, wire cages and/or secured buildings to store large quantities of equipment which contain copper components
  • Consider hiring a security service or local law enforcement to patrol and/or guard the work site during the hours no workers are present
  • Make sure your crew is trained on security procedures regarding materials and equipment; you may want to devise an inventory management system for tracking and identifying these materials as well

Preventive measures can also help deter copper theft at retail stores and shopping malls.  Some of the things you can do to prevent theft of copper components from AC units include installing exterior motion-sensor lighting, secure fencing, and video surveillance.  You may also want to consider locked steel cages around AC units, and monitoring during nighttime hours, weekends or other times which would be regarded as opportune for would-be thieves.

What Does a Furnace Limit Switch Do?

Furnace Limit Switch

As a southeast Michigan homeowner, it is important to understand what a limit switch is on a furnace, how it works, and why it’s important to the safety of your home, family, and heating system. While there are a number of safety features in most furnaces, understanding the function of the limit switch is important.

What Does a Furnace Limit Switch Do?

There are two primary functions of a limit switch. One, until the air generated inside the furnace, warms up sufficiently, the limit switch will not allow the fan to come on. Two, if the temperature of the air around the heat exchanger should become too hot, the limit switch essentially “kills” the burner. Manufacturers design limit switches to shut the burner off in situations where the temperature around the heat exchanger is too high in order to prevent a potential crack of the heat exchanger, which would result in toxic byproducts of combustion escaping into your home. This is dangerous!

The Most Common Issues with Limit Switches

As with any equipment, components of your heating system can malfunction; this includes the limit switch. If your furnace’s blower continues to operate without shutting off, it may be that the limit switch is malfunctioning; this is the most common symptom of a problem. Just as it won’t allow the fan to come on until the air has warmed to a certain temperature, the limit switch will shut down once the air cools to a certain degree. If your furnace’s blower continues to run and doesn’t cycle off, it could be the result of a limit switch that is beginning to go bad.

Under certain circumstances, the limit switch will prevent your furnace from operating. This is the case when a clogged air filter prevents sufficient air from circulating through the system, which ultimately limits airflow and may cause the heat exchanger to become overly heated. The limit switch will turn the burner off when it senses an overheated heat exchanger.

Safety should be a top priority this winter season for homeowners not only in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Howell, and surrounding areas but throughout Michigan. Have questions about the limit switch or other safety features of your furnace? Give the furnace repair experts at Haley Mechanical a call today.

Time for a Fall Furnace Tune-up – What to Expect

Fall Leaves in Dexter, Michigan

The crisp, cool temperatures are here, and now that it’s fall it will only get colder!  Before temperatures plummet to bone-chilling levels, it’s important to schedule your fall furnace tune-up with your HVAC contractor to ensure everything functions properly so your home will stay warm and toasty this winter.

It’s important that your furnace provides not only warmth but safe heating for your family.  Having your furnace maintained on a regular basis will also extend the life of your equipment, and keep it operating at top efficiency!

Whether you live in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, or any nearby southeast Michigan communities, you may be curious as to what you should expect when your HVAC technician arrives to perform your furnace tune-up.

First, your technician will perform an overall inspection to detect any potential signs of trouble.  He will test to ensure all components are operating properly; any parts that are not functioning properly will be repaired or replaced.  When the technician leaves your home, you will be able to enjoy peace of mind knowing your furnace is clean and ready to operate.

While performing your furnace tune-up, your technician will:

  • Check airflow and fan control, making any necessary adjustments
  • Clean, adjust, and test burners
  • Clean fan and blower motor, making any necessary adjustments
  • Lubricate motors, fans, and other moving parts
  • Inspect the heat exchanger for corrosion, rust, or other signs of damage
  • Inspect electrical power systems
  • Check to ensure ignition system is working properly, making repairs when needed
  • Tighten belts, electrical connections, or other components which may have become loose
  • Test and calibrate the thermostat
  • Check to ensure connections at furnace and utility sources are tight
  • Inspect fuel lines
  • Test to ensure carbon monoxide is venting properly via the flue and ventilation system

As you can see, a furnace tune-up involves a thorough inspection of all of the components of your furnace. Of course, there are a few tasks you can take care of yourself, including cleaning the unit occasionally and changing the air filter on a regular basis.

Have questions regarding a furnace tune-up or need a furnace repair technician?  At Haley Mechanical, we are the go-to experts in home comfort, keeping southeast Michigan homes comfortable and safe for 15 years.  Give us a call today!

Enjoy Consistent Comfort in Ann Arbor, Even While Seasons Change

Fall Leaves in Dexter, Michigan

Fall is here, and winter is rapidly approaching – which means super cold temperatures for folks in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and other areas of southeast Michigan. The holidays are coming up, which means family gatherings, celebrations, and enjoying the season. You want your home to be cozy and comfortable and the seasons transform gradually from fall to winter, so how can you be ready? By having your system checked by the trusted Lennox® dealers at Haley Mechanical.

A system check ensures your comfort is not interrupted

By having your system checked out by a professional, you can rest assured each component is functioning at its best. Your system will not only keep you warm and comfortable but run more efficiently – saving you money.

Sunset During Fall Season

What can you expect from your Lennox® dealer during a system check?

  • Check filtration system (collection of cells or filters). When a filter gets clogged with dust, dander, pet hair, or other debris, the air handler or furnace is forced to work harder to circulate the air around.
  • This results in a reduced lifespan for your system and wasted electricity.
  • Check refrigerant level. When an air conditioner or heat pump contains too much or too little refrigerant, it can potentially result in damage to the compressor and inhibit the efficiency of your system.
  • Clean the indoor and outdoor coils. A dirty indoor coil can inhibit your system’s performance, and make it harder to transfer heat; likewise, an outdoor coil that’s dirty can’t transfer heat efficiently, which makes the system work harder meaning more energy is used to keep you comfortable. More energy means higher energy costs.
  • Clean the fan blades and blower motor. When the fan and blower of your furnace or air handler are clean, your system will not only run more efficiently, it will be quieter as well.
  • Check how your system is performing. HVAC experts compare ambient air temperatures with how effective a system heats and/or cools a home in determining how well a system works; this also helps your Lennox r dealer know whether any potential problems may be developing.

Fall is the perfect time for a system check – and a smart investment

Fall temperatures are relatively mild, which means it is the perfect time to have your system checked – before temperatures drop to brutal levels. If repairs are in order, you will not suffer during the process of repairs. Waiting until winter arrives is not recommended, as contractors are busier dealing with breakdowns and emergency situations. Having your system checked is a smart investment, as the relatively low cost can help reduce energy costs throughout the winter season, which translates to savings when it comes time to pay the energy bill.

A check of your heating system is an investment in the life of your system as it will last longer due to fewer future repairs. To extend the life of your equipment, stay comfortable and enjoy energy savings then it is important to address any small problems before they become bigger, more expensive problems. A system check can potentially help you avoid having to replace your equipment because of a breakdown that occurs right in the middle of winter.

Preserve your system by contacting your dealer today

Scheduling a system check is as simple as giving us a call or sending an email on our contact page! Even if your heating system is not a Lennox® brand, our technicians have the expertise and skill to perform a system check on the equipment you do have, ensuring your family stays warm and comfortable regardless of how temperamental the weather may be. Give Haley Mechanical a call today!