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?”

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

How to Prepare Your HVAC System for Winter in Connecticut

Winters in Connecticut are pretty magical. We typically get the fairytale snowfall and the cold weather needed for picture-perfect festivities. But what isn’t fun is keeping up with routine maintenance and worrying about heat during those frigid cold days.

Homeowners in Connecticut are typically well aware of what’s ahead. A few years of severe winter weather and ensuring you have snow blowers, roof rakes and plenty of salt ahead of storms is routine business by now.

Being prepared for a big storm is just one element to surviving winters in Connecticut. If you own a home, you’ll also have to get it ready to keep you warm during those months.

As we enter fall, it’s a great time to start thinking about the temperature’s drops and getting your home and HVAC system prepared.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your HVAC system for the winter in Connecticut. Continue reading “How to Prepare Your HVAC System for Winter in Connecticut”

a house covered in snow

It’s Already Time to Start Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

The leaves have started to fall, beach days and parades have come and gone, and festival season is upon us. Go to any store and browse the aisles, you’ll likely see Halloween and Christmas decor already filling the shelves. Winter is upon us.

The change of seasons doesn’t just mean pumpkin spice coffee and plaid. It also means you’ll have to get your home ready for the impending cold season.

Here are some things you’ll want to do to get your home ready for winter. Continue reading “It’s Already Time to Start Getting Your Home Ready for Winter”

An illustration of a house with a magnifying glass on top.

Essential Home Maintenance Work You May Have Overlooked

Owning a home is a great feeling. You have something to call your own. An investment and an asset you can be proud of. But what most people don’t realize are all the hidden costs and maintenance required to keep this dwelling in good shape.

Sure you can cut the lawn and have your furnace serviced each year as part of regular maintenance, but there are lots of other things you might not think about checking and by the time you do, it’s too late.

Suddenly you learn you’ll need to replace an entire septic tank or that your AC unit is now out of commission. And these fixes are not quick or cheap. Don’t fall into this trap. Here are some essential home maintenance tasks you may have overlooked. Continue reading “Essential Home Maintenance Work You May Have Overlooked”

clogged dryer vent

DIY Dryer Vent Cleaning: Why It’s Better to Pay a Professional

One of the easiest ways to prevent fire in your home is to keep dryer vents cleaned and clear. We hear this advice given so many time and yet the leading cause of fire in most homes is still clogged dryer vents. Knowing this information might make you check and triple check your dryer’s lint catcher and vent before you add in your next load of wet clothes, but is that enough to stop a fire from occurring?

Just keeping the lint trap cleared and emptying the vent cover from time to time, while a great way to keep the dryer functioning, isn’t the only thing that’s needed to keep your vents cleaned  – especially if the duct work is long and there is far more space that can hold and catch lint and dust and create potential for a fire.

Rethink DIY

Consider yourself lucky if your dryer vent is short and leads to the outdoors easily—in these cases you might be able to get away with cleaning your dryer vent on your own using a brush kit and following careful instructions. But for most of us, going the DIY route for dryer vent cleaning is a big mistake. Can you afford to make that kind of a mistake with your home at stake?

The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2010, almost 17,000 fires were caused by washers or dryers with 51 deaths and $236 million in damage. A main culprit being failure to properly clean the dryer vents.

Leave it to the Professionals

It’s better to pay a professional to come out and get the job done properly to ensure that your dryer vent is clear from possible fire hazards in the future. This service can be included with other routine heating cleanings in your home or done on an as needed basis.

During this dryer vent cleaning, the HVAC professional will be able to work through miles of duct work in the home including turns and bends in the duct work to ensure the passageway is clear. You simply cannot achieve that with a DIY brush kit.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

Doing this regularly is also necessary. Just because you’ve had the service done one time doesn’t put you in the clear. You should remain aware of how much laundry you’re drying and use that as a gauge for how frequently you’ll need to have someone come out and ensure the vents are cleared. (On average, dryer vents should be cleaned every 6 to 24 months depending on how often you do laundry, whether you have pets, and other factors.)

Contact Preferred Hood & Duct for all your air duct and cleaning service needs in Connecticut from residential to commercial and even kitchen duct cleanings.

An illustration of a suburban home seen from the outside.

Can Air Duct Cleaning Cause Damage to Your Home?

Keeping the homes we live in clean and free of toxins is pretty high up on the to-do list for most homeowners. Concern for the air we are breathing and keeping our loved ones safe is an ongoing struggle. Even if you don’t smoke and are pretty safe about using products with toxic fumes, there are other ways that pollutants can enter your home.

If you love to cook, and even clean, you could add to the probability that your home’s air ducts are dirty. Dragging outside dirt and debris and stirring up dust while cleaning, can all reduce indoor air quality.

For most people, the solution is to call someone to have the air ducts in their home cleaned. But is that the safest route? Or can cleaning those ducts cause damage to your home? Continue reading “Can Air Duct Cleaning Cause Damage to Your Home?”