How To Prevent Drafts From Entering Your Home

One of the most common reasons for a spike in your gas bill is a drafty home. Even a small draft can make It much more difficult for your home to get to and stay at your preferred temperature. So before breaking down and lowering your preferred temperature to save money, try these easy draft preventing tips first!

 

Throw Rug

Hardwood floors are very popular but unfortunately, they insulate a room much less effectively than carpeting. Thankfully there is a solution to keep your beautiful flooring and reduce the risk of unpleasantly cold feet. Adding a throw rug to your room can give your room a decorative touch while serving this purpose. You can utilize it in the winter only and it is much more pleasant to walk on than on a cold hardwood floor.

 

Weather Stripping on Doors

A common draft culprit are your home’s doors to the outside. Weather stripping is a very simple way to prevent cold air from entering the home right through your front door! Even though the door is closed, there is still the potential of gaps in between the door and door frame. If you want to check if your door is allowing air to enter the home, then a creative way to find out is to light an incense stick and hold it around the door frame. If you notice the smoke is moving, then there is a draft!

 

Caulking Windows

Even though windows could have been properly installed in your home, the house will slightly shift over time. As a result, some small gaps may be created near the windows. These gaps may be small in size but could create a large increase in your gas bill over time. Caulking the holes shut will prevent cold air and other things like bugs, dirt, and pollen, from entering your home.

 

If you are looking for any more draft preventing tips, give us a call! We can take a look at your system as well to see if some maintenance would also improve your home’s temperature control.

 

Benefits of Regular Maintenance on Your Heating System

Your heating system will be turned on soon. Do you remember the last time it was serviced? Did you know that it is recommended to have your system inspected annually? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, then you need to have your system serviced before you make the switch from AC to heat. There are many positives to servicing your system annually, below are just a few.

 

Lower Your Risk for Malfunctions

One of the worst feelings in the world is attempting to turn on the heat on a cold day only to have it malfunction. An even worse feeling is finding out that you could have saved a lot of money if the system was maintained regularly. Regular maintenance will most likely catch a problem before it results in a system breakdown.

 

Provide an Opportunity for Preemptive Repairs

Regular maintenance can potentially catch parts of the system that are wearing down and need to be replaced prior to it breaking down. HVAC professionals, like L&M HVAC, can recognize these parts very easily in a heating system.

 

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Leaks

All gas furnaces naturally produce carbon monoxide. Only malfunctioning units will improperly ventilate the dangerous gas out of your home. Having your system inspected annually will greatly reduce the chance of carbon monoxide entering your home.

 

Increase the Lifespan of The System

Everyone wants their system’s lifespan to be as long as possible. Regular maintenance is a great way to extend the lifespan of your heating unit. You can rest easy knowing that your system will be reliable to keep you warm even on some of the coldest days in the winter.

 

Contact L&M HVAC to conduct your annual servicing on both your heating unit and air conditioning unit. These checkups are an investment into your systems. They will run better and last longer with proper servicing. Our employees have over 15 years of experience and top of the line equipment to ensure your system is properly serviced.

 

What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is a major concern for any home owner with a gas furnace. It cannot be detected in the home by sight, smell, or taste. This makes it extremely dangerous. However, there are many easy ways to protect you and your family from the dangerous gas. First, we’ll discuss how the gas is created in your furnace.

 

How Carbon Monoxide is Created in A Gas Furnace

In order for a gas furnace to produce heat, it must burn gas. This process naturally creates carbon monoxide. As a result, all gas furnaces produce carbon monoxide. A properly working furnace will ventilate the gas safely out of your home. If this ventilation process malfunctions, the gas will stay in your home. For this reason, you should have your furnace inspected annually to ensure that carbon monoxide is exiting your home efficiently and effectively.

 

Installation and Maintenance Tips for Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Even if you service your furnace annually, the system could potentially malfunction in between visits from an HVAC professional. As a result, it’s important to have properly working carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. When installing them, keep in mind that carbon monoxide is lighter than oxygen so an optimal location to install them is eye level or higher. Also, install them near sleeping areas. Detectors that are interconnected are the most effective because if one goes off then all the connected alarms are activated as well. Test the alarms monthly and change the batteries yearly.

 

While carbon monoxide is dangerous, it’s extremely unlikely to have both your furnace and carbon monoxide detectors malfunction at the same time if you are properly maintaining them. Contact L&M HVAC for your annual maintenance. We’ll ensure that your system is not malfunctioning in any way, including carbon monoxide detection. We have state of the art tools to test the system and see if any maintenance needs to be performed.

NJ Clean Energy Rebate Program

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program is an incentive program that offers benefits and services for all New Jersey residents, businesses and local government offices which can save costs, energy and help improve the environment. There are even direct rebates available on certain equipment for your home or business. Let’s take a closer look at this NJ Clean Energy program.

Benefits for Your Home

  • Energy Star– This is a program that offers ways to reduce energy costs for your home by up to 30%. A contractor will inspect your home and make recommendations according to your specific needs. Up to $4000 in incentives may be provided to you plus no interest financing for energy-efficient improvements.
  • WARM Advantage– This program provides up to $500 in incentives for installing or replacing energy-efficient appliances like furnaces or water heaters.
  • COOL Advantage– This program offers up to $500 in incentives for installing or replacing energy-efficient air conditioning systems and other related equipment.

Benefits for Your Business

  • Direct Install- This program was designed for small to medium-sized facilities and will pay up to 70% of the costs of replacing the lighting, HVAC systems and other equipment that may be outdated or inefficient. A participating contractor will be able to inspect your business and make recommendations based on your specific needs.

Specific Rebates

NJ Clean Energy Rebate System offers rebates directly on:

  • Appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators
  • Home Cooling equipment including several different air conditioning systems
  • Home Heating Equipment such as furnaces or boilers
  • Home Water Heating Equipment including several different varieties of water heaters

A more in-depth list of what equipment may be eligible for rebates is available here. Whether you’re looking to update your home or equip your new business facility, it is important to take advantage of the NJ Clean Energy Program for the benefit of not only your home or business, but also the environment.

Tips to Lower Your AC Energy Costs

Summers in New Jersey can be brutal, and there’s nothing more refreshing than walking inside your air-conditioned home after being outside in the sun. But energy bills can skyrocket in the summer, messing with your entire monthly budget and tightening your wallet during a time when you’re supposed to be enjoying the more relaxing things summer has to offer. There are ways you can lessen your energy bill while still enjoying a cool home. Here are tips to lower your air conditioner energy costs.

Use a Ceiling Fan

Using a ceiling fan can help circulate the cool air in your home, especially in rooms that tend to stay warmer than others. Running a fan costs significantly less than running your AC, so you could run the fan all day while setting your thermostat a little higher and still save money on your energy bill.

Program Your Thermostat

Almost all thermostats these days have programmable settings that can really make a difference in your energy costs. Setting your system at a higher temperature at night while you’re sleeping and during the day while you’re at work can save you a lot of money.

Maintaining Your Air Conditioning Unit

Regular maintenance and repairs are essential to keep your AC unit working efficiently. If your system has a neglected issue that is causing it to overwork or run constantly, that could greatly increase your energy bill. Systems over ten years old should be inspected yearly and newer systems should be inspected every other year for best results.

Keep Your Curtains, Blinds and Shades Closed

Sunlight in a room is appealing, but it can quickly heat things up. To save as much energy as possible, keep all windows covered during the day, especially when you’re not home. 

Using these great tips will make a huge difference and lower your air conditioner energy costs quicker than you realize. Start implementing them today to save money on your energy costs.

Benefits of Heated Floors

Imagine waking up on a chilly winter morning and stepping onto your hardwood floors. Instead of ice cold radiating up your body, you are greeted by a toasty warm surface that helps you start your morning in comfort. Installing heated floors in your home, otherwise known as a radiant heating system, can make this fantasy a reality. But it’s not just comfort that heated floors provide. Let’s look at more of the benefits.

Lower Utility Bills

Installing a radiant heating system is the most effective way to heat your home. In fact, according to Bob Vila, floor heating systems are up to 30% more effective than forced-air systems. The heat is aimed directly at solid surfaces, as opposed to into the air, which is more productive at conducting heat. You will be able to warm a room faster and maintain it at a lower temperature than you would via a forced-air system. That means less energy use and lower utility bills.

No More Floor Vents

Heated floors eliminate the need for air vents on the floor. That means no more having to design your furniture or decor around the floor vents. It also is safer for children and pets who tend to play with vents when they are accessible to them.

No Ductwork

Radiant heating systems do not require any ductwork. If your home doesn’t have a central air conditioning system, you won’t need ductwork at all. If you do have central AC, your ducts will get less wear and tear without a heating system to support, meaning less maintenance and repair costs.

Better Air Quality

Forced air continually cycles air through a home’s duct system. If the ducts are not properly cleaned and maintained, this essentially means your family is breathing in dirty air, possible allergens and even mold spores. Radiant systems do not circulate air at all, meaning they don’t contribute to any airborne allergens.

Consider heated floors for your home or business.

How Does Refrigerant Cool Your Home

Home air conditioning systems require refrigerant to operate efficiently and cool your home properly. But what is refrigerant and how does it cool your home? Let’s take a closer look.

What is refrigerant?

A refrigerant is a substance that is found in either a liquid or gas form. It absorbs heat from the air and when combined with different cooling components, can provide a cooling effect on the air.

How does refrigerant work?

Air conditioning units store refrigerant inside their copper coils. As it absorbs the heat from the air inside your home, it changes from gas to liquid. Coordinating components inside of the AC unit send the refrigerant outdoors where a fan inside the unit blows the hot air over the coils where it is then pushed through to the exterior. After this process, the refrigerants cools down and transitions back into a gas. An interior fan in the home blows the air over the now-cool coils and distributes the cold air throughout the house. This cycle repeats over and over again resulting in a temperature controlled environment.

How do you know if your AC unit is low on refrigerant?

There a few different signs that your air conditioning unit may be low on refrigerant caused by a leak. Here are some of the most common signs that you may have a problem with your system.

  • Hot air coming from air vents- If you stop noticing cold air coming from your air vents, this may be a sign that your system is low on refrigerant.
  • Your system is constantly running- If you notice that your AC never seems to stop running or it seems to be working harder than it usually does, this could be a sign of a leak in your system.

If you notice either of these signs, contact L&M Heating and Cooling right away to inspect your system. Operating an air conditioning unit on low refrigerant could possibly damage the system.

Tips to Lower The Humidity in Your Home

Humidity in a home can increase energy costs, cause health problems for people with breathing issues and just be generally uncomfortable. But there are ways to reduce the amount of humidity in your home that are easier than you think. Let’s look at some things you can do.

Install an Air Conditioning Unit

Air conditioners not only cool your home, but they also draw moisture out of the air. An HVAC professional will be able to assess your home and recommend an AC unit for your home depending on your specific needs.

Ventilate

Rooms that tend to produce a lot of moisture like kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms should be properly ventilated. Using a vent fan every time you cook, shower or wash clothes can really make a huge difference in the amount of humidity present in your home.

Invest in a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers come in all shapes and sizes depending on your specific needs. Smaller units are great for bedrooms or bathrooms, while larger units may be necessary for areas like a kitchen or basement. Some dehumidifiers work by pulling the moisture from the air and collecting it in a containment area that needs to be emptied. Whichever dehumidifier you choose, it can make a huge difference in the air quality in your home.

Move Plants Outside

If you have a large number of potted plants in your home, that could be contributing to the high humidity in your home. Try keeping some outside during the day, if you notice a difference in the moisture level in the air, you’ll know that you’ve found a source of the problem. 

Take Cooler Showers

Yes, hot showers feel amazing, but a long hot shower could be contributing to the high moisture levels in your home, especially if your bathroom is not properly ventilated. 

All these things can help reduce the humidity in your house, making for a more comfortable healthy home for you and your family.

What Is Home Automation?

Recently more attention has been brought to smart homes, otherwise known as homes with a Building Automation System (BAS). But what are they and what are the advantages? Let’s take a closer look.

What is home automation?

A smart home utilizes a BAS, which centralizes the control of the home’s heating, AC, lighting, security, ventilation and any other necessary system. It also gives you an automated control, making them accessible through a remote or even an app on your phone.

How does it work?

A home’s BAS is made of several different electronic devices that monitor the various systems of your home and make sure they’re functioning correctly. A professional HVAC company, like L&M Heating and Cooling, will be able to set up your home automation system.

What are the benefits of home automation?

Smart homes have lower energy costs and utility bills since you’re able to set your heating and cooling on a schedule for different zones of your home. This means you don’t need to heat or cool areas that don’t need to be, when they don’t need to be, saving lots of energy and wasted funds. You are also able to control your AC, heater or even the lights even when you’re not home. So for example, if you decide to stay an extra day on vacation in the dead of winter, you can turn your heat on even when you’re not home, saving yourself from possible emergencies like frozen pipes that can cost hundreds of dollars in repairs.

Is it expensive?

The average cost to install a BAS in your home could be anywhere from $500- $2000 depending on the size of your home and the systems you want to be controlled. But on average, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on energy costs, plus you have the priceless added convenience.

If you’re considering upgrading to home automation, contact L&M Heating and Cooling today.

Signs That You Should Have A Professional Check Out Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system should be routinely checked and inspected at least every other year if it’s under ten years old, and every year if it is over ten years old. Of course, there are signs that your system should be checked right away, rather than waiting for your yearly inspection. Here are some signs that you should call L&M Heating and Cooling right away to check your HVAC system.

Burning Smell

When you first turn on your furnace for the winter season, a burning or overheating smell for the first 24 hours could be normal, but if it lasts longer than that, it could indicate an issue with the motor or wiring of your HVAC system. Turn off your system and call L&M Heating and Cooling right away.

Water Puddles

If you notice a small puddle of water near your air conditioning unit or furnace, it could just be condensation. But a large amount of condensation could indicate a major issue that needs to be addressed by a professional. Excess moisture could cause mold and then you’ll be dealing with an expensive and potentially dangerous issue, so call L&M Heating and Cooling right away to prevent a small problem from causing permanent damage.

Odd Sounds

If you hear whistling, clanging, buzzing or loud pops coming from your air vents, this could be an indicator of several different issues involving your HVAC system. They could be as minor as a blocked air duct or something major like failing hardware. Either way, it’s best to call the professionals right away to diagnose the problem.

Poor Airflow

If you notice weak airflow from your vents, first change your air filter. If the problem persists, this could indicate a problem such as a failing compressor. Calling a professional right away can prevent a minor issue from becoming a major one.

If you notice any of these signs, call L&M Heating and Cooling right away to check your HVAC system.