Indoor air quality filters and HVAC system need Spring Cleaning just like the rest of the house

Don’t leave your HVAC system out of your Spring Cleaning

Winter is over and while you may not be ready to shut off your heating system for the year – May snowstorms do happen in Massachusetts – you should start making plans for the warm summer months by cleaning your HVAC system before you need to run it.

Regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of an HVAC system and save money. Over time, filters collect debris and the system will have to work harder to move air through the clogged filter. This wastes energy – energy that the homeowner will have to pay for – and may harm efficiency by as much as 25%. It also makes the system work harder, which can harm the system in the long run.

Unless a homeowner knows exactly what they are doing, they should consider having one of our technicians come in and perform an annual maintenance checkup. This can include some services that require special equipment, such as testing the system for air leaks that allow cool air to escape and drive down the system’s efficiency. Annual checkups are include in our VIP program, along with discounts and priority positioning for our 24 hour repair service.

Indoor air quality filters and the filters in dehumidifiers will also need to be checked as part of a spring cleaning course. This will maximize comfort within the home and help any residents or visitors with allergies. It can also help the system run as quietly as possible by keeping the system well lubricated and running with as little effort as needed.

By focusing on the annual clean up in the spring, homeowners can ensure their HVAC system will be ready to keep their home cool and comfortable by the time June rolls around. It will also keep the HVAC system running for as many years as possible while cutting down on energy costs.

You can get a better night's sleep in a cool bedroom

Sleep better by keeping your bedroom cool

If you’re one of the millions of Americans with sleep problems, you might be able to get a better night’s sleep by adjusting your HVAC system.

Sleep experts generally agree that a bedroom temperature of 65 degrees allows most people to get a good night’s sleep, but every individual has their own variations and neds. Try moving your gauges around a few degrees at a time and see if you sleep any better.

If you have a programmable thermostat installed, your HVAC system can raise and lower the temperature as you need it. Picture this: The house stays cool during the night to help people sleep better, but warms up in the morning while adults get ready for work and kids get ready for school. Then, the temperature falls while the house is empty, only to warm back up again by the time everyone returns for the evening.

Your HVAC system can do all of that, trimming down on your energy bill and helping you get a more complete, refreshing night of sleep.

Carbon Monoxide Detection in Massachusetts

Carbon Monoxide Alert! What you can’t see could kill you!

Most people know the importance of installing carbon monoxide detectors in the home, but this advice bears repeating. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas and it can kill.

Its deadly work can be through gradual exposure over time or a sudden, buildup of CO in a small, poorly ventilated room. Usually, defective combustion heating equipment is the source, although other potential causes can occur any time of year.

Just as important, be sure to test your CO detectors monthly to make sure they are still operational. Change the batteries every six months when you change the clocks for daylight savings time in early spring and late fall.

Remember that even hard-wired models have battery backups. Press the “test” button for two to three seconds. When the alarm beep sounds, release the button. If there is no beep, replace the batteries and test again. If it still doesn’t sound an alarm, replace the unit.

Radient Heating Installations, Central Massachusetts

Why radiant heating could make you love your bathroom

People who have lived in older houses have all experienced the mid-winter chill that comes from stepping barefoot on the cold floor of a bathroom during the middle of the night. Hot air rises and the hard tile floors can be the hardest spot to warm up during a January night.

That’s where radiant floor heating packs the biggest wallop. We install water pipes under the floorboards or tile floor that is connected to a boiler. The water carries the heat through the pipes and it heats up the floor itself. We recommend using it with hardwoods or ceramic tiles, as those materials will retain the heat.

The beauty of the system is that the heat stays low where people need it the most, as opposed to other heating systems that mostly heat the air. Unlike other heating systems, there’s no hot stove or radiator that could burn a person, and people with allergies don’t have to worry about pollen or other allergens being distributed into the air.

Radiant floor heating can be installed in any room, but it’s much more economical to place it in new homes and expansions, as opposes to tearing up floors to retrofit existing rooms. Any covering that insulates the floor, such as a thick carpet, would lower the efficiency of the heating system, so floor options are limited.

But if you’ve taken one too many steps on cold tiles, or found yourself huddling close to the stove, consider the heating system that tackles your heating needs from the bottom up.

Wilson Brother Green Heating Solutions

Should I turn my heat off during the day?

Saving on energy costs is a serious concern, especially in the winter.  Even though the cost of oil is lower than in the recent past, it always makes sense to save money on the fuel we use to heat our homes.  I am often asked about the value of turning the heat down, only to have to turn it up again.  People wonder if this wastes more energy than it saves, making the furnace or boiler work harder.

A thermostat doesn’t work like a gas pedal, where pressing it down hard makes the engine work harder. Your thermostat tells your heating and cooling systems when to operate and when to stop – never how intense to work. A heating system bringing the room from 60 degrees to 70 degrees works just as hard at any given moment as one bringing the room from 50 degrees to 80 degrees.  The only difference is at what point the system stops itself.

When it comes to heating systems, it never makes sense to leave them running when the heat isn’t needed. You can turn them down or off when not in use and you will conserve energy (and save money).

The idea of saving energy by only heating rooms when needed is the entire idea behind smart thermostats, ones that you can program when the heat comes on and when it shuts off.  This way, you can program the thermostat to turn the heat down at 8 am — around the time you leave in the morning — and tell it to raise the temperature in the room around the time you return home, so you can come home to a warm house.

In addition, you can create zones within your home using multiple thermostats so that each zone can be programmed individually.

Smart thermostats also let users savm, be heating costs at night when family members are in their beds in just two or three rooms and the rest of the house is empty. Most people tend to sleep deeper and longer in a cool roout want to wake up to a warm house. The same principle applies.  Program the thermostat to turn down when it is bedtime and turn up again just before the family gets up in the morning.

By using a smart thermostat, you can reduce heating costs twice in the same day – when the family goes to bed and when they go to work or school.

Save up to $200. On a Generac Home Stand-by Generator!

Save up to $200

On a Generac Home Stand-by Generator!

Special Offer from Wilson Brothers, Westford Heating and Air Conditioning Repair, Lowell Heating Repair, Chelmsford, Pepperell, Groton, Dunstable

Power Outages Should Not Be an Acceptable Way of Life!

Don’t let another Northeast power outage cause major interruptions in your life! Wilson Brothers can save you up to $200 on a Generac Home Stand-by Generator that will make the next loss of power less traumatic!

Eliminate one of life’s interruptions. Call Wilson Brothers today to learn about how easy it is for us to install a Generac Home Stand-by Generator in your home to ensure an uninterrupted tomorrow. And for a limited time, you can save up to $200!

Available from 7kW to 45kW, Generac Home Stand-by Generators are compact, dependable, and ready to provide electricity when you need it most! Call Wilson Brothers for a home assessment to see what size generator is best for your home.

What to do About Ice Dams

Those Icicles Can Spell Trouble!
This unusually cold and snowy winter
has all the ingredients for disaster to develop
on the roof of your home!

Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look pretty, but they can cause lots of problems.  Icicles can foreshadow the formation of ice dams along the eaves – thick ridges of solid ice that can tear off gutters, loosen roof shingles and cause water to back up and leak into the house.

Here’s how ice dams form.  Snow collects on the roof.  Ice accumulates along the eaves.  If heat is escaping through the roof or if the sun is shining on the roof during the day, the ice begins to melt.  Lower night temperatures re-freeze the ice into thick blocks in gutters and along the eaves.

What can be done to prevent or remove ice dams?  Here are some tips:
1)  Pull off snow on the roof with a long-handled aluminum roof rake while you stand safely on the ground.  Take off at least the first four feet of snow from the edge of the roof toward the peak.  If you have a flat roof, you made need to remove all the snow to prevent a roof collapse.
2)  Be careful when attempting to remove ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel.  That can cause damage to the roof or gutter.  Don’t throw salt on them either, as the salt can damage plantings below.  Instead try this:  Fill the leg of discarded pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melt. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. If necessary, use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.
3)  There are oversized “tablets” made of ice melt that can be tossed onto the roof to stimulate melting of snow and ice.
4)  If you are already experiencing a leak in the roof, take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is seeping in.  This cold air will freeze the water in a manner of minutes.
Next winter, before the snow arrives, you can take the following precautions:
1)  Equalize the roof temperature by attaching heated cables to the roof’s edge in a zigzag pattern.
2)  Ventilate eaves and ridge.  A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents circulates cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and provide at least one square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.
3)  Be sure your attic hatch is sealed or your whole-house attic fan is covered with weather stripping to prevent heat from escaping from the attic.
4)  Make certain that any ducts connected to kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents lead outdoors through either the roof or walls … never through the soffit.
5)  Add insulation to the attic floor which will keep the heat where it belongs – in the house and not escaping through the roof.
6)  Check the flashing around the chimney and dormers.  Be sure to use steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant.  Don’t use canned spray foam – it isn’t safe!
7)  Be sure that you have fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts.  They should be covered with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.
8)  Seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant.  Look for spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from air flow.
Resource:  This Old House