house in snow

Battling the Deep Freeze: This Year’s Hottest Tips for Home Heating

house in snowSnowy, cold weather seems to be the norm for this winter season in New England. And while we may have learned the best ways to shovel and salt our driveways, there’s always something to learn when it comes to heating our homes more efficiently. Especially this winter as a “deep freeze” has so many scrambling to find ways to keep their homes warm without breaking the bank.

Dangerously low temperatures continue to occur and home heating tanks are emptying quickly. Once this happens, homeowners aren’t just dealing with cold temps but there are risks like frozen pipes and other issues that could crop up.

Here are some of this year’s hottest home heating tips.

Look for Gaps

Beyond just keeping doors closed and windows shut, you should be doing a check around the house to seal any gaps that could be letting cold air in. Use seals in thresholds, re-caulk windows and consider having an energy audit done to find more ways to maximize efficiency in your home.

Watch Your Thermometer

If you’re lucky enough to have a smart thermometer this step is a bit easier as you’ll be able to control temperatures from a distance and ensure your home is always set to efficient temperatures. But even if you’re not using a connected thermostat, you can monitor the degrees set and change them throughout the times of the day. For example, you can lower the temps a bit while you leave the house or even at night when you’ll be tucked under your blankets to keep warm. Just be cautious to not lower the temps too much or you’ll risk frozen or burst pipes if the temps get low enough.

Never Skip Inspection

While it’s unfortunately too late in the season for some to do this step, let this be a lesson. In the future, it’s better to have your yearly routine HVAC cleanings and tune-ups done before winter weather rolls around and larger issues can surface. Not only cleaning the system but also performing checks and preventative measures in advance will keep issues at bay by catching them early on.

Preferred HD provides HVAC system inspections and cleaning as well as insulation restoration services and more.

Get a free consultation.

dog on carpet

Caring for Your HVAC System When Pet Hair Overruns Your Home

Caring for a pet is something most people take seriously. Today our furry friends have become another member of the family – sharing the couch, meal-time and even vacations. Our love for them often surpasses accidents they may have in the home or the aggravations we may feel when trying to keep up with all the hair and dander some breeds leave behind.

While you may have grown accustomed to the tumble weeds floating around and have learned to overlook it until you have the time to clean it (again) you may want to consider getting that task done sooner than later as pet hair can cause your HVAC system to loose efficiency.

dog on carpetHere are some tips to help you keep energy costs in control when you have pet hair invading your home.

Schedule Regular Baths

Keeping your dog free of loose hairs is no easy task. High shedding dogs can be brushed for long period of times with additional hair falling regardless of attempts to brush it all away. But scheduling regular bathing and brushing can help you to reduce the amount of hair you’ll find all over your furniture and throughout your home. Besides being unpleasant to look at, these clumps of hair can find their way into your HVAC system and cause problems and even breakdowns if a clog occurs.

Change Filters Frequently

Keeping your home’s air filters clean is important for safety and health. But if your pet is shedding excessively you should make it a habit of changing them more frequently than is recommended to keep problems at bay. A professional duct cleaning can also help to remove dust and debris in you home’s air system and keep the air you and your family breathe fresh.

Never Skip Routine Maintenance

You may be tempted to skip a yearly cleaning of your HVAC system if things have been running smoothly but that’s never a wise decision. Regular cleanings help prevent breakdowns, identify issues and keep your system running optimally. If you have a pet in your home, it’s especially important to have these cleanings done since fur and dander you can’t even see could be getting into your system and causing problems.

Preferred Hood & Duct provides Connecticut businesses and residents with HVAC services that improve air quality and keep your home warm and safe.

Get a free consultation and quote by using our easy online form, or call (860) 613-1130.

A man repairing an air conditioner.

The Problem with Dirty Air Filters in Your Home’s HVAC System

A man repairing an air conditioner.Keeping your home cooled and heated are probably two of the most important things that make it a comfortable place to stay throughout the seasons. Once one of these capabilities is gone, dealing with uncomfortable temperatures can be frustrating. One tell-tale sign that you have an issue or will soon, is a dirty air filter. Here’s a closer look at the problems a dirty air filter in your home’s HVAC system can bring.

Less Efficiency & Money Wasted

Replacing air filters in your home should be something you do regularly. The cost of the filters themselves are low and it’s a task you can do yourself. But forgetting or letting the replaceable filter sit for too long will comprise the efficiency of your system. All of the dust, pet hair and other dirt clogging the system takes extra work to get your home heated or cooled. As it works harder, it’s also increasing your utility bills.

Allergens & Other Air Quality Issues

HVAC systems do more than just keep your home warmed or cooled. They also circulate the air you’re breathing. When allergens and dust particles are clogging the system, they’ll make their way into the air you’re breathing too. This can lead to respiratory issues and a host of other problems for you and your family.

Equipment Breakdown

In addition to higher bills and poor air quality, HVAC systems layered in dust and air filters that haven’t been replaced will eventually also lead to premature equipment breakdown and costly repairs. In fact, fans, motors and other internal components covered with layers of dust will work harder and are even a fire hazard you should avoid.

Contact Preferred Hood & Duct for inspection, cleaning, sanitizing, and service of residential and commercial air ducts, HVAC systems, dryer vents, kitchen exhaust systems, A/C condenser coils, air vents, and more. Improve the indoor air quality of your home, business, school, hospital, and other facilities. Get a quote

winter home in snow

Tricks to Lower Heating Bills This Winter

winter home in snowWinter weather can provide for a beautiful backdrop: Snow falling delicately to the ground, beautiful dusting of white, coating nature. But don’t let it fool you, winter weather can also be draining on your pockets. Especially if you’re heating a home. With rising fuel costs and unexpected weather patterns, you need to be prepared to combat the financial drain before it happens.

Here are some tricks to lower your heating bill this winter.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

For most in New England, snow has already fallen for the season and temperatures have dropped. That means our furnaces and HVAC systems are working hard to keep our homes heated and cozy. If you want to lower some of those costs, be sure your system is cleaned and you have regular maintenance performed. An HVAC tech will check to ensure the systems is working optimally and you’re not having any unnecessary strain on it as it works to keep you and your family warm throughout the winter months.

Update Your Thermostat

Another way to save on energy bills is to know how much heat you’re wasting. Programmable thermostats are a great way to pre-set the temperature you’d like your home to be maintained at when you’re home and when you’re away for the day. It can be difficult to remember to do this every time you come and go but the savings it could provide are significant enough. With a programmable thermostat you can, “set it and forget it.”

Do a Walk-Around

It’s good practice to occasionally take a stroll around your home and look for ways to improve energy efficiency. For example, even if your windows are closed and there are no visible cracks or holes, cold air could still be getting in and putting your heating usage in overdrive. Check for things like doors where gaps at the bottom are an easy way to let in drafts. You can purchase a draft stopper and slide it around the bottom of the door to stop this. Also head over to your windows if you hold your hand near, but not on the glass can you feel how cold it is? If the answer is yes, invest in thermal window treatments as a way to stop some of that cold from taxing your system.

 

Contact Preferred Hood & Duct to schedule your routine HVAC maintenance today!

tool belt

Why You Should Never Skip a Furnace Inspection

For those of us living in New England, the AC units have long been turned off and the heat has likely already been turned on. With cold temps expected to really hit the area in the coming weeks, you should be sure all your home’s heating equipment is running efficiently before you crank it up to stay warm. There are dangers involved with foregoing scheduled maintenance that you should be aware of.

Here are some of the reasons you shouldn’t skip your furnace inspection.

Premature Breakdown

There are many things you can do to keep your furnace in good working order. That includes checking and changing air filters regularly and keeping the area around the furnace swept and clean. Breakdown of the system can also occur when dust and dirt are kicked up and make their way into the motor or other internal elements of the system.

Carbon Monoxide Leaks

One of the most dangerous things an inspection can catch are CO2 leaks. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that claims the lives of so many each year. While most homes today are equipped with CO2 detectors, there are many that still are not. During your furnace inspection and cleaning you may be able to catch a leak in advance before it has a chance to wreak havoc.

Fire Hazard

A good rule of thumb is to check filters, schedule furnace and chimney cleanings and change all smoke alarm batteries at the same time as the clocks are turned back for the season. Early warning of an issue goes a long way in ensuring you and your family can get out safely. Never clutter the area around your furnace and schedule routine cleanings and maintenance to avoid house fires.

Before the really cold temperatures make their way to the state, give Preferred Hood & Duct a call. Specializing in the inspection, cleaning, sanitizing, and service of residential and commercial air ducts, HVAC systems, air vents, and more, you’ll get quality service from qualified professionals.

fireplace burning

Little Known Ways to Save Money on Your Heating Bill

Winter in New England is usually predictable: At some point there will be snow (some years more than others) and there is always a decent period of time when temperatures are frigid. While the last few years have been a bit scattered with winter weather, it looks like we’ll be bracing for some brutally cold temps this year. According to AccuWeather we’re looking at a colder season than last year with an above normal snow fall.

With those kind of temperatures coming, your home heating system and your wallet will be challenged. Here are some little known ways you can save some money on your heating bill.

Eliminate Drafts

Keeping the doors closed might be one thing you already know helps to keep cold air out and warm air in, but there are other ways to eliminate drafts around your home that you may not have considered. Did you know cold air could be coming in via an electrical box? If insulation isn’t done properly around the boxes they can easily let air escape. There are foam gaskets available for purchase that actually seal around the inside of an outlet. Be sure to also look around all of your doors. Check that weather stripping around the frame is still intact. These tend to get dried out or crack and that could cause an energy loss issue. Also, be sure that the bottom threshold on the doorway doesn’t have a gap for air to pass through.

Winterize Your Windows

Of course we all close our windows for the season, but going around and ensuring they are also all locked is a great way to keep drafts at bay since many windows will seal tighter once the lock is turned. You can purchase thermal window treatments too and keep them over the window at night (let the sun in for added warmth during the day). Additionally, you can further improve efficiency by wintering the windows and applying things like weather strips or other clear plastic films made specifically for sealing your windows and keeping the cold air out.

Don’t Neglect Maintenance & Repairs

You home’s HVAC system is taxed in the winter months as it works hard to heat water and keep the home’s temperature at a comfortable setting. Consider layering up with extra socks and warm clothing while home and keeping your thermostat a bit lower to give the system a break. You could also invest in more advanced, programmable or connected thermostats on the market today that are smart enough to keep the house warm only while you’re there – reducing your home heating costs. Regardless of how your home heat is being delivered, you need to keep that system running efficiently. That means doing all scheduled maintenance work and having repairs done in advance to avoid being left in the cold.

At Preferred Hood & Duct, we offer competitive rates on all residential services throughout Connecticut. Contact us to schedule an appointment before the cold weather hits.

cabin winter snow

Winter Cleaning & Prep Tips for Your Home

Winter’s cold chill is soon to come knocking on the door of many New England homes. Before that day comes, you’ll want to be sure your home is prepped and ready for everything the wonderful winter has to bring. From sealed doors and windows, to chimney sweeping and furnace cleaning – there’s a long list to be checked.

Here are some tips to get you started on winter cleaning and preparation before “Old Man Winter” makes his entrance.

Water

Having hot, running water is an amenity many of us have come to enjoy. From being able to wash clothes and dishes, to taking a shower, going without it can be difficult. In the winter, when temperatures are dropping really low, the risk increases substantially for pipes bursting. Consider having insulation put around those pipes and in other areas of your home that may need extra layers of protection from the cold. This can also help reduce energy usage while protecting your home from flood damage.

Air

Coming indoors after being out in the cold should feel great. But if you’re home has drafts coming in, you might not want to take your jacket off. As part of your winter preparations, go around all of your home’s windows and doors and be sure no air is escaping or entering around the seals or other cracks. Consider replacement windows, storm doors or other draft protectors to shield your home from letting cold air in and warm, expensive air, out.

Heat

Heating your home in the winter is necessary. It can also be very costly. To ensure your home’s furnace and heating system is performing optimally, you should have it professionally cleaned and inspected each year. HVAC technicians will check that all airways, filters and vents are clear of dirt and debris and that all thermostats in your home are operating. If your home is in need of a new furnace, this is also something you’ll want to do before winter comes along and the bitter cold comes along.

If you’re a Connecticut homeowner, you can schedule a duct cleaning or consultation for your home with Preferred Hood & Duct by calling (860) 613-1130 or by using this convenient online form.

A point of view view of a man with his feet up in front of a fireplace.

3 HVAC Tips to Cozy Up Your Home for Fall

Each season presents different reasons to admire that particular the time of the year. Whether it’s the long days and beach you favor, the holidays and romantic snowfall, or if it’s the colorful foliage in fall that calls out to you, there is something for everyone to appreciate.

Fall is best known as the season to get comfortable. We start dressing in layers, pulling out the coats and blankets and turning on the heating system in our homes.

With proper care and planning, starting up your furnace in fall requires only the push of a button. But getting there involves some maintenance steps you shouldn’t forego.

Here are some HVAC tips to cozy up your home come fall.

Open Vents

Depending on the type of system in your home, you should open the vents on the floor and the ceiling in your home if they aren’t already. This will ensure every room is getting a fair amount of heat circulated through it. While you’re opening them, you should also use a vacuum to suck up any dust or debris in the vents to further improve air flow.

System Cleaning

The fall season is the perfect time to test out your furnace and have it cleaned. Since its not frigid cold yet, you have some time to have necessary repairs done if needed without having to sit in a cold home waiting for it to work again. In addition to cleaning any dust or debris that’s collected in the system before you turn it on for the season, a professional maintenance job will also ensure all moving parts in the system are in working order.

Check Insulation

One of the best ways to ensure your home stays warm while its cold outside is to have the proper insulation in place. Your furnace can only work so hard to combat the cold temperatures. Taking the strain off of the system will also alleviate premature breaking or other costly replacements. It is recommended that at least 12 inches of insulation be used in the attic and you might even consider insulating the basement walls to keep your home warm and cozy and lower your energy bills.

If you’re in Connecticut and ready for fall, contact Preferred Hood & Duct for combustible dust control and HVAC inspections and cleanings now.

finger using home heating thermometer

3 Signs It Might Be Time for a New Furnace

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, also commonly known as “HVAC,” are the lifeblood of a home. This technology keeps the home at a comfortable temperature despite the weather outdoors and keeps air in the home fresh and safe for breathing. But these systems don’t last forever. Outside of mechanical breakdowns or other unexpected issues, normal wear and tear will eventually put your homes HVAC system out of commission.

Scheduling routine maintenance on your system is a great way to keep it performing at optimal levels and to lengthen how long it lasts. Still, your system could unexpectedly give out on you – even on the hottest or coldest day of the year.

Here are 3 signs that it might be time for a new furnace.

1. Age

Most furnaces are made to last about twenty years if they are given proper attention and care. If you do the math, you may realize your system has been doing its thing for that amount of time, or longer. If you’re moving past quite a few years later, it might be time to think about a discussion with your HVAC service company about the condition of your current system. Even if there aren’t any problems arising yet, it’s a great time to start saving money for when that due date finally comes.

2. Noise

A telltale sign that your furnace might be on its last leg are the sounds exuding from it. If you’ve all of a sudden started to become very aware of when your furnace is kicking on or off because of the loud sound it’s making, this could be a warning sign that it’s starting to go. Always report new or unusual noises to your HVAC tech so they can perform any extra checks or recommend a next course of action.

3. Increased Utility Bill

While colder winters might mean your furnace is working extra hard to keep the house warm, this should be one of the only reasons that you have a large spike in your utility bill. If you notice your monthly bill is increasing even without this factor, then you may be running into a malfunction problem, or worse, a system that’s about to go.

HVAC tech working in ceilingWorking with professionals skilled in installation and HVAC cleaning is the only way to be sure that your system is performing properly.

Preferred Hood & Duct offers inspection, cleaning, sanitizing, and service of residential and commercial air ducts, HVAC systems, dryer vents, kitchen exhaust systems, A/C condenser coils, air vents, and more.

Schedule a free, no obligation quote today!

Kitchen exhaust cleaning services in Connecticut

How Often Should You Have Your Kitchen Hood & Exhaust System Cleaned?

Keeping things clean in your home or business is important for aesthetics and also to prevent possible disasters. Keeping your space free of clutter or other fire hazards is essential.

When it comes to the kitchen, the need to be clean is even more important for food safety. Commercial kitchens even have strict codes and rules they must follow to remain compliant. These dictate how a kitchen is set-up, which appliances are used and how, and many other specifics.

Kitchen hood and exhaust systems are an important element in these rooms. They work hard to keep the air fresh, fumes and smoke out, and fire hazards at bay. Regular cleanings are necessary. Do you know how often you should have your kitchen hood and exhaust system cleaned? Continue reading “How Often Should You Have Your Kitchen Hood & Exhaust System Cleaned?”