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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/

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.

Winter Heating in Massachusetts, Keeping Warm in the Winter in MA

Keeping your holiday party warm

Christmas parties and holiday gathers are annual features of December, but so are snow, ice and cold air. Make sure the next December party you throw is warm enough for people to take their jackets off and get in the holiday spirit.

Before you even start planning the party you should check the insulation of your home to minimize any heat loss. Do you have weatherstripping in your doors and windows? Did you insulate your power outlets and light switches to cut down on drafts?

Also, try to minimize how long the front door is open when guests arrive, otherwise making it harder for your heating system to work. The larger the gathering, the more the door will open.

Use a smart thermostat to control your heating system. With all the distractions and responsibilities demanded of a party host it’s easy to forget to adjust the heat in time for the party, or you may want to make it a little warmer indoors to account for people coming and going, then level it off as the party winds down. If you have a heating system that doesn’t use a thermostat you can dub a volunteer to be in charge of maintaining the temperature.

Encourage your guests to dress warmly. While you can simply tell them that they should dress for December, it’s a lot more fun to ask people to wear obnoxious Christmas sweaters. You can also put the food and any activities in the same room as the heating source.

Lastly, try serving hot chocolate, mulled cider or peppermint tea or any other food or drink that will warm people up on the inside. Use a slow cooker or electric kettle to keep things warm all evening.

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.

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.