How to Properly Maintain Your Furnace During the Winter

When the cold chill of winter arrives, your furnace is one of your home’s most essential appliances. It helps keep you warm on even the coldest winter night, which is why it is so important to make sure that it keeps working all season long. Proper maintenance can go a long way toward ensuring that your heater not only keeps running but also performs at maximum efficiency, helping save power well at the same time reducing your carbon footprint. Check out these helpful tips by for maintaining your furnace.

Be Proactive

Life is busy. It is easy to put off furnace maintenance until the weather starts to change. Unfortunately, by the time temperatures plummet, it may be too late. The last thing you want is to find out that your furnace has a problem when it is freezing cold outside. Instead, start your maintenance early before temperatures start to fall. This will help ensure that your furnace is ready to go the minute it is needed.

Start with A Visual Inspection

A good place to begin is by carefully looking at your furnace. Make sure to check that the pipe that vents to the outdoors is properly attached to the furnace and positioned correctly. Check out any other tubes or attachments to make sure that they are safely out of the way. Additionally, if you have a gas furnace, check for the smell of rotten eggs. This can indicate that gas is leaking from the furnace, which is a potentially deadly issue that needs to be addressed immediately.Furnace

Check The Electrical Connections

Disconnect the power to your furnace. Then, take off the door and check all of the wiring to make sure that all of the connections are secure.

Clean Your Furnace

Any dust or dirt can interfere with proper furnace operation. Cleaning it before you start it up is the best way to avoid any problems. Using a soft brush, gently brush away any dirt inside the furnace itself. Use a vacuum cleaner to pick up any debris that you knock loose.

Inspect The Flame Sensor

If the flame sensor is not working the way that it should, it can keep the furnace from firing up. The sensor should be cleaned annually. The cleaning process is relatively easy. It just needs to be unscrewed and wiped down with an emery cloth. When you are done, simply put it back in place and put the door back on the furnace.

Call in a Professional Repair Company If Necessary

Furnaces can be complex and dangerous. Electric furnaces have a lot of voltage running to them while gas furnaces are connected to the gas supply. If you have any doubt about your ability to deal with either of these situations, you should contact a professional to maintain your furnace instead. Annual maintenance is surprisingly affordable – especially when you consider the peace of mind that comes along with knowing it was done correctly.

Air Conditioner Types

Today,  air conditioner have advanced to more energy-efficient and quieter models that are easy to maintain and install, compared to the previous models. Below is information of the most popular air conditioner types along with their advantages and disadvantages:Air Conditioner

Window Mounted

This air conditioner is one of the more common options that slide into window openings. These units are available in cooling-only models or cooling and heating units that can supply heat to a home in the winter months.

The Pros
These models are affordable and the majority of these units work with electrical wiring that already exist in a home. They are also simple to install.

The Cons
These units are generally designed to be used only in double-hung windows. For people who live in the northern areas it is advisable to take the units out at the end of a season.


These models are available for under $200 for cooling rooms that are 100-square-foot and go up to $400 to cool rooms between 200 and 500-square-foot. The units that cost in the region of $800 can be used to cool or heat rooms that are 700 to 900-square-foot.

Wall Mounted

These air conditioners are permanently fixed to a wall in the process of attaching metal sleeved into the wall and then sliding the chassis for the AC from the inside. These air-conditioners are available in cooling-only or cooling and heating options.

The Pros

These air conditioner fit securely compared to the window units and are aesthetically appealing, they are easy to replace and repair. These units are also ideal for allowing sunlight to enter a room.

The Cons

The installation process is usually costly, and the units require an opening from the outside wall. The larger units can necessitate a 220-volt dedicated line. In addition, most models will not include the exterior metal-sleeve that will need to be purchased separately.


These units range from about $400 and can cool rooms between 400 and 700 square-foot. For $700 these models are able to cool or heat a room of around 1,000 square-feet.

Window or Wall Mounted

These versatile air conditioner units can be either temporary positioned in windows or they can be mounted permanently to a wall.

The Pros
These units are the ideal choice for rental properties as they can easily be removed when needed.

The Cons
These models typically will not come with installation kits for windows. Dependent on the amperage or plug type these units may require a 220-volt circuit.

These units are similar in price to the wall-mounted units.


These mobile air conditioning units feature wheels that allow the unit to be moved from one room to another. These units come with a tube in order to push heat out of an opening made in the wall or a window.

The Pros
They are easy to store away at the end of summer.

The Cons
They are more expensive than the window-units and can take up floor space.

Portables range from around $700 to cool rooms between 150 and 300-square-foot and $1,000 and more to cool rooms that are around 500 square-feet.

7 Ways That AC Costs Can Be Reduced

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that air conditioning and heating your house accounts for 43 percent of your monthly utility bill. Here are some tips by to help you reduce your summer costs.

1. Shade Your House

A majority of the heat accumulating inside your home comes from the sun directly shining through the windows or on the roof. One effective thing you can do is plant leafy trees around the exterior of the building to prevent the sun from reaching into your house. If there are shrubs or trees shading your air conditioner, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that the efficiency of your AC unit could receive up to a 10 percent boost.

2. Protect Your Windows

Mesh-like window screens or solar screens, are able to intercept as much as 70 percent of the total solar energy to keep it out of your home. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that window screens are especially effective on west-facing and east-facing windows.air conditioning

Another option is window films. They are metalized, transparent sheets that reflect heat prior to it going through glass.

However, in order for window films to be able to work, windows have to be shut. Solar screens are able to do double duty. They keep the insects and sun out even when the windows are open.

3. When You Are Way Raise the Thermostat

When you are at home, lower the thermostat setting on our air conditioner to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. But allow that number to go up at night to a warmer temperature and also when you are away from home. The Department of Energy reports that you can save anywhere from 5 to 15 percent on air conditioning costs if you raise your thermostat’s temperature setting whenever you don’t need it to be cooled and when you are away.

4. Use a Fan

Fans really help by circulating air inside your home. Whenever possible, place fans on the upper level of your house and on the lower level open the windows. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that if you are living in a one-story apartment or house, the windows near the fan should be closed and the windows that are far away from the fan should be open, preferably on the windward side of your home.

5. Don’t Use Your Stove

Indoor heat can be reduced by minimizing how much you use your store during the summer. Eat cool salads or use your microwave instead. If you need to boil pasta for a potluck the following day, cook it at night. When you do need to cook, turn on your kitchen exhaust. After taking a hot shower, use our bathroom exhaust fan.

6. Replace your AC

You can potentially cut your overall energy costs in half by getting a new unit to replace your old room air conditioner. Choose a high energy efficiency air condition with a high EER rating.

7. Reduce The Speed of Your AC

Expect for very humid days, your AC fan speed should be set on high. Turn the speed to low on humid days. The slower air movement running through your air conditioning equipment will remove more of the moisture out of the air, which will improve your home’s comfort.

How Smart Chairs Are Valuable Additions to Your Home’s HVAC System

One of the most important features in any home during cold winter months is the heating and air conditioning system. There are various types of heating systems, and many of them are very effective; however, it is possible that you may begin feeling that your system is not meeting your personal needs even if it is heating the home. Why should it meet personal needs? What is a personal need and why should an HVAC do any more than heat the room? Very good questions, but all people have different desired room temperatures, and this is why people set thermostats; yet in many situations, they still feel the HVAC is only providing a generic solution. How can this be resolved, especially with numerous people living in a single residence? This article will show you how you can control heating with heated smart chairs and smartphones.

How Do Smart Chairs Work?

Smart ChairsThe number of people working from home has increased tremendously in recent years with several people sharing a home office. This can be cost-effective, but there is the issue that the people may not share the same heating preference. In fact, this disagreement in room temperature can be found in almost any social situation from friends having a house party to a family sitting down to watch television after dinner. In the past, arguments may have ensued over the set temperature and people may have landed up very uncomfortable; however, this is no longer the case because we can now control the heat of personal seating.

For example, one HVAC system that can be used is the Hyper Chair. This is a smart chair created by Personal Comfort Systems at the University of California, Berkeley. The person using this chair is able to set the temperature to the exact degree they find most comfortable. Of course, the question of cost and efficiency can be raised, but this chair is not costly or inefficient. In fact, reports show that heated chairs reduce heating costs by approximately 30% and use less energy than having to heat an entire room.

What About Efficiency?

As is mentioned, efficiency is increased because it is easier to heat one chair than an entire room. Also, the heated chairs reduce the electricity bill and can increase the efficiency of the power grid.

Smart chairs are completely unique in that they can be controlled by smart phones. In today’s current technological climate, the smart phone allows you to control and monitor the temperature of your smart chair. Researchers state that the future technological advances can take these chairs to a point where they will be communicating with the home’s general heating systems