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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.

Using your HVAC system in the winter doesn't have to dry out your home

Beating Winter Dryness Indoors

Everyone in New England can remember beating a cold night by cranking up the heat, blissfully falling asleep in a toasty-warm room, only to wake up with a face so dry they fear it will crack.

Winter dryness can lead to nose bleeds, skin problems, sore throats, itchiness and other health issues in inhabitants. Your flesh isn’t the only thing at risk from dryness either, the low humidity can warp wood and cause paint to peel or discolor. The dryness can also crisp houseplants and damage antiques and old photographs.

The HVAC isn’t the only source of winter dryness; the outdoor air is noticeably drier when most moisture if frozen solid, but your HVAC system can help you solve the winter dryness by incorporating a humidifier system.

We recommend, and install, both the Automatic Humidifier from Aprilaire and the TrueSTEAM Humidification System from Honeywell. (1) Both of these systems are far superior to old fashioned humidifiers, where homeowners had to lug water to the machine and guess where to set the manual controls to meet their moisture needs.

The new systems can detect your home’s humidity, fill up with water automatically and release it through the entire house.

You can give up the guesswork needed for old fashioned freestanding humidifiers, which could result in over humidifying ones home, with a modern automatic system. The best part is you won’t wake up reaching for the moisturizer again.

(1) https://www.wilsonbrothers.com/indoor-air-quality/humidifiers/

When to shut down your air conditioner for the season

Much like Christmas lights, many homeowners don’t know when it’s time to shut down their air conditioning system for the season. Even with the end of the hot summer days, some people delay shutting it down just incase they get hit with an unexpected hot fall day, but no one wants to have to wade through snow to put a cover on the outdoor unit.

Weather fluctuates from year to year, so there’s really no good day to mark on the calendar in advance.

Our recommendation is to link the task to some other change of seasons task you’re already doing. For example, when you put away your patio furniture, cover your swimming pool, untie your hammock, winterize your lawnmower or put your motorcycle battery on a trickle-charger.

Alternatively, you could wait for the first frost to hit. That’s a dead give-away that you won’t need to cool the house anytime soon. If you find yourself turning the heat on and you haven’t prepared your cooling system for the season yet, it’s time to get on it right away.

Why it matters

Some units, not all but some, have an internal heating system for the cooling system’s condenser. This keeps some of the liquids in the machine from freezing during operation. Unfortunately, the warmth can make an attractive nest for field mice once the cold weather hits. During the summer, the field mice have plenty of warm places to dwell in, but once it gets cold out they get desperate and will enter a condenser unit.

Wilson Brothers technicians install an electric switch for customers in their electric panel marked “AC Condenser” that will stop all power from going to the condenser. Homeowners also need to go shut down their control panels for the season as well.

Go outside and shut it off, but unless that power switch is thrown, electricity will still get to the unit.

In addition, not enough people place outdoor covers on their condensers for the winter. The units are made to be outside year round and the refrigeration oils and other liquids can safely be left inside, but a cover is still needed to protect it from direct contact with ice and snow.

Use only true factory-made covers for your specific outdoor unit. Some people try to make their own covers with blue tarps and bungee cords. While that does create a barrier for the elements, it lacks the ventilation that the proper covers have. The tarps will trap air inside and create a small habitat with trapped moisture inside. The condensation will pit and corrode the electric contractors and damage the unit.

4 ways to stay cool on the 4th of July

Most people have Independence Day off from work, but your air conditioner will probably run longer than normal to comfort the people lounging around the house. Give the AC a break and cut down on your utility bill by using these simple tips to reduce the need for home cooling during your Fourth of July party.

Go for a swim

Going for a swim on a hot day not only cools you down while you’re in the water, but will leave you feeling cool and comfortable hours later. Now that it’s July, all of the local swimming holes, public beaches and neighborhood pools should be open. Show up early to beat the crowds and if you feel up for it, take a second dip in the late afternoon.

Use the BBQ exclusively

Traditional Fourth of July parties use the outdoor grill to avoid heating up the house, but some people still end up preparing side dishes inside using the oven or the top of the stove. Resist that temptation and limit the non-BBQ items to cold and room temperature foods like potato salad, chips and fruit salad that was prepared in advance.

Block out the sun

You should already keep your window blinds and shades closed during the day to stop your home from heating up, but don’t forget to shield your outdoor guests from the sun’s rays too. You can install a sunshade, umbrella or canopy pretty cheaply outside. If your garage naturally stays cool, consider opening the door and setting up some chairs inside to provide an oasis from the sunlight.

Cut that hair!

Now is the perfect time to change your hairstyle to a new summer cut, but even if you’re not making a radical departure, now might be a good time to trim things up to stay cool. As a bonus, you’ll get a chance to show it off to your family and friends at the party.

What is the Mass Save Heat Loan?

Participating lenders offer 0% loans up to $25,000 (depending on the utility and the lender) with terms up to 7 years! To qualify for this type of loan, you must have a Mass Save Home Energy Assessment and install qualified energy efficiency measures recommended by a Mass Save representative.

You can get a loan from participating banks for zero interest to install energy efficient systems! No interest at all! And … it isn’t as complicated as it might sound!

Simply call Mass Save at 866-527-7983 and request a Home Energy Assessment. There is no cost or obligation. A Mass Save representative will go to your home and check windows; doors; attic, wall and basement insulation; and light fixtures and will give you a comprehensive report with recommenda- tions on how you can save energy and money.

The following energy efficiency improvements are eligible for the HEAT Loan Program:

  • High Efficiency Heating Systems
  • Central Air Conditioning/ Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps
  • High Efficiency Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Solar Hot Water Systems
  • Attic, Wall, and Basement Insulation
  • 7-Day Digital & Wi Fi Thermostats
  • ENERGY STAR® Qualified Replacement Windows

Once your Energy Audit is completed you will receive a Heat Loan Intake Form which you will need to review and sign.

The staff at Wilson Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning will help you to navigate through the application process and provide you with a list of participating lenders. We are available to answer any question you may have about the proper equipment to install and the Heat Loan Program process.

Visit the Mass Save website to learn more about this program, available to residential customers of National Grid, NSTAR Electric and Gas, and Unitil or call Wilson Brothers at 978-433-5373 or 800-498-5373.

Winter is Coming, Have your heating system tuned-up & maintained

We’ve had everything thrown at us, weather-wise, in the past few years.  We should be used to it.  Early October snowstorms, ice storms, tornado warnings with rain and hail … One thing we know for sure:  Winter is coming and we better be prepared!

Being prepared in New England means more than just having your heating system inspected, tuned up, and maintained.  That’s a given and should be done sooner, rather than later.

I’m talking about a PLAN B!
Do you have one?

Years ago, people in this neck of the woods had a wood stove that came in handy when they had problems with their furnace or there was an unexpected power outage.  Back then, getting a furnace or boiler back up and running after a mechanical failure took time (it sometimes still does).

Over the years, we have grown to take for granted that an “emergency call” for having no heat would be fixed immediately.  However, it sometimes takes days to obtain special parts.

And … we are all too familiar with power outages that can take days or weeks in some cases to return to normal.

So … what can we do?  What is our contingency plan?

You need to protect your home, not just to have the all-season comfort you desire, but also to ensure that pipes don’t burst in homes with no heat because of a power failure or system breakdown.

Talk to us at Wilson Brothers Heating and Cooling to put your PLAN B together.  Your home is your biggest investment and needs protection when the New England weather strikes hard.   We’ll be happy to discuss how each of the following can protect you for the period of time when your heating system is disrupted for any reason:

*    Wood stove
*    Propane or natural gas fireplace insert
*    Whole house generator
*    Electric Heater
If you haven’t had your heating system inspected and tuned up for the 2014 Winter season, call us today for an appointment: 978-433-5373.