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Solving Common Heater Problems

September 26th, 2014

common heating problemsThere’s no denying it now. Cold weather is on the way, and if the Farmer’s Almanac is to be believed, this winter will be a particularly cold, snowy one. A properly working heater is going to be a necessity in your home this fall and winter season. Knowing how to troubleshoot for any problems that you may encounter is important! While some problems will require you to call an expert anyway, there are some things (such as changing a filter) that you can do on your own to improve the flow of heat in your Baltimore home.

What are the Most Common Heating Problems?

Lack of maintenance can be a big problem for your furnace. There may not be anything wrong with your furnace, but it may still need a tune up. If your electric bill is higher than you would like or your furnace isn’t blowing hot air, you may need to have someone come in to take care of your furnace and make sure that everything is up to date and taken care of.

The furnace pilot light can also be a problem. If the pilot light isn’t lighting consistently, you may only be getting heat sometimes, or not at all. The fix usually doesn’t require much, but you will need a maintenance tech to come out and take care of it. We advise against turning furnace maintenance into a DIY project – dealing with heat and fire can obviously be dangerous.

Maintaining your filter is more important than you think. Poorly maintained air filters can result in low air quality in your home, which can result in illness or allergy problems. Additionally, a clogged filter may cause your heater to blow out less-than-hot air or even cause problems with the fans or ducts. One of the few things that we recommend doing on your own is changing the filter. It’s a simple and quick fix that won’t cost you much.

What to Do if You’re Having Heating Problems

For big issues such as a pilot light that won’t work or a broken thermostat, it’s best to call in the professionals. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and let you know if there’s more to it than you originally thought. Moreover, it’s a good idea to have a professional perform routine maintenance on your HVAC until at least twice per year anyway.

If you have any questions about HVAC maintenance, heating problems, or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: All Weather Heat & Cool

Precautions for Heating Your Home

September 22nd, 2014

With the winter months fast approaching, you, and homeowners like you around the country, are doubtlessly preparing for the weather while worrying over the rising costs of energy. According the US Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for over 50% of energy use in a typical home, and many homeowners have tried to combat this expense by using fireplaces or other heating methods that have attached safety risks. Here are some ways you can continue heating your home while cutting costs, alongside proper heating precautions to take to maximize safety. heating your home

Insulate

Insulation minimizes heat transfer, helps control moisture, and generally acts as your home’s coat against the winter elements. Brining your insulation up to code can be a very cost-effective way of increasing energy efficiency, saving up to 20-30% on energy costs. However before insulating, make sure to seal all ductwork and plumbing which can increase your energy savings even further.

Tame that Thermostat

Another way of heating your home while still saving greenbacks is to consider turning your thermostat down when you’re not actively using your home. Try turning it down just ten degrees when you’re at work or sleeping and watch the savings roll in. If you get a programmable thermostat you can set it to heat start heating your home while you’re getting back from work, so the house is warm the moment you set foot inside, and you’re still saving money.

Watch your Hot Water

Water heaters are often factory set at 140 degrees, scalding hot temperatures that most people can do without. Try turning it down to 120. Many people find this equally as comfortable and it will shave fat off your bill. You can also save even more by insulating your water pipes, and wrapping your heater in a thick insulator sleeve.

Plug Holes

Every home has gaping holes through which hundreds of dollars of heat escapes regularly and few people seem to take notice. They’re typically known by other names, chiefly: windows and chimneys.  That’s right, from something so simple and essential to every home can spring some of the biggest energy waste. Double-pane thermal windows limit heat transfer out, while still allowing warm sunlight in. While Chimney’s do come with built in dampening systems, they are often inadequate. You can mitigate this energy loss by installing glass doors on your fireplace, or putting in a woodstove to bring in even more heat.

Other Concerns

When heating your home it may seem like a good idea to bring in a space heater, if you’ll be spending a lot of time on one room and don’t want to waste the energy heating the whole house. However, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, portable space heaters contribute to 57,300 fires and 270 deaths caused by home heating every year. To avoid this hazard steer clear of anything with an exposed and touchable heating element. Oil-filled or quartz-based portable heaters can make for safe alternatives.

Need Help?

The changing of the seasons is the best time of year to consider your HVAC needs. At Farnen & Dermer were here to help.When you have a maintenance plan with Farnen & Dermer, you will receive preferred service whenever a problem does occur with your system. We’ll cool you down or warm you up promptly and efficiently!

If you have any questions about heating your home or HVAC  maintenance or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: Bankrate

Why Do I Need HVAC Maintenance?

September 15th, 2014

hvac maintenanceThe cooler weather may have already prompted you to turn your AC unit off. The temperatures have been ideal for it in the past week or so and you’ll love reaping all of the energy savings that come with it. While it’s nice to have it off for now, many people will be turning their HVAC units back on within the next month or so to start pumping the heat. It’s critical that you don’t shirk HVAC maintenance just because your unit isn’t running right now. Wondering why you need regular HVAC maintenance? Listed below are a few reasons why an HVAC maintenance plan will help you survive the cold season ahead.

Benefits of HVAC Maintenance

  1. Avoid emergency repairs. These can severely set you back on a few different accounts. Our busiest times of year are early summer and early winter. Know why? Because that’s when people realize that their units have broken down. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to get to everyone at once when HVAC units start to go bad. If you have unit maintenance in the fall this year, though, you can relax knowing that you won’t have to call us on that first freezing day of November to tell us that your heat isn’t working.
  2. Enjoy healthier air. Did you know that something as simple as making sure that you change your filters regularly can help keep the air in your home cleaner? Having clean air can help you avoid uncomfortable allergies, bacteria, and even mold. Regular HVAC maintenance can actually keep your family safe and healthy!
  3. Extend the life of your HVAC unit. Replacement is much more expensive than maintenance or even repair. Units that receive regular maintenance can last 10 years or more, while a unit that isn’t well taken care of can die out within the first 10 years. Replacing your unit less often coupled with the energy efficiency of a well maintained can save you hundreds over time.
  4. Get faster service. If you have a maintenance plan with us and something does go wrong, you’re a preferred customer. We’ll move you up the list and be out to help you as soon as possible. We value our customers and are happy to help keep you nice and warm all winter long!

HVAC Maintenance Plans in Baltimore County

Farnen & Dermer’s energy saving maintenance plan is designed to help our clients get the most out of their heating and air conditioning systems, while remaining comfortable. As a family owned business, we know how important your comfort is, along with being able to save on electric bills and avoid having to pay for costly repairs or total system replacements. If you have any questions about HVAC maintenance, programmable thermostats or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: HVAC Maintenance

 

Optimizing Your Programmable Thermostat for Energy Savings

August 29th, 2014

thermostat optimizationHas your energy bill been higher than you’d like it this summer? Many people find that hot summer days lead to extremely high electric bills at the end of the month. It can get pretty rough, especially if you live on the second or third floor of a building. Optimizing your thermostat can help you save money and energy. Since most homes are equipped with programmable thermostats these days (and some even have smart thermostats), it’s not too difficult to save a few extra bucks on air this fall, especially with cooler days headed our way. Even if you aren’t the type of person to turn your air off right after Labor Day, you’ll appreciate these tips for optimizing your programmable thermostat!

Optimization Tips

  • Take advantage of all the different settings. Many different thermostats will allow you to set the temperatures differently for weekdays and weekends. For example, you could set your air to be on between the hours of 4:30 PM and 10 PM – the times that you’re home and awake during the week. If you’re the kind of person that’s out all weekend, you can program your air to be off altogether for just those 2 days. Some models even allow you to program set temperatures day by day.
  • Try to set temperatures in 8-hour increments. You save the most money during the day if your thermostat is set higher or off for at least 8 hours. It’s also a good idea to find out what your energy company considers peak times for air. Some companies will charge more during those hours. BGE peak times for summer is 10 AM to 8 PM. If you aren’t home during those hours, it’s best to have your air off altogether.
  • Use the hold feature when you go out of town. You’ll end up costing yourself more money than necessary if you leave your schedule up while you’re on vacation or out of town. Using the hold feature will allow you to hold the temperature at whatever you set it to before you leave. For example, 78 to 80 degrees is optimal for your air conditioning unit. If you know you’ll be gone for a few days, program your thermostat to 80 degrees and hit hold. Just remember to turn off the hold when you return home to get your normal settings back.

HVAC Energy Savings

Another way to ensure that you’re saving money on air conditioning and the use of your HVAC unit is to schedule regular maintenance. Regular maintenance will keep your HVAC unit running efficiently and well. Coupled with your programmable thermostat, you could save hundreds of dollars in the span of a year. If you have any questions about HVAC maintenance, programmable thermostats or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: Conditioned Air TX, Team Bobs

Why is My Baltimore Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air?

August 22nd, 2014

air conditioner problemsIt’s 80 degrees outside and you decide that you can’t get away with leaving the air off any longer. You slowly get off the couch to go over to the thermostat to turn the air on and cool your home down. You set it to 75 and wait for that wonderful cold air to hit you in the face – instead, it starts to get warmer in your home. Frustrated, you turn the air off and decide to go seek air conditioning elsewhere. So, why could air conditioner be blowing hot air? Well, there are a few common reasons that your AC might be malfunctioning.

Common Air Conditioner Problems

  • Your thermostat might be in heat mode rather than air – We know this sounds like a stupid reason, but people make mistakes all the time. It’s better if you can discover a human error on your own and make sure that there’s nothing wrong rather than call someone in and discover that you’re having problems simply because your HVAC unit was set on the wrong mode.
  • The Freon/refrigerant may be low – This is a common problem when AC stops blowing cold air. If you don’t have a regular HVAC maintenance company, you may find that there isn’t enough Freon in the unit. It is also possible that your AC unit could be leaking Freon. If that’s the case, it’s advisable to contact a professional immediately, since Freon can be dangerous.
  • Clogged air filter – Usually this won’t be a reason all on its own, but it can certainly contribute to warmer air blowing through your home (as well as increased energy bills). It’s important to make sure that you’re keeping the filter as well as the condensing coils free of too much dust and debris. Filters are fairly easy to change and inexpensive.
  • The condenser or compressor could need cleaned – First, check the power supply to the part of the unit that sits outdoors and make sure that it’s switched on and functioning properly. Second, see if there are any air flow restrictions to the condenser coils. Keeping them clean is important for good, cold air flow.

What to Do if You Can’t Fix the Problem

Sometimes the problem isn’t simple or you can’t identify that. If this is the case, it’s time to call in a professional to help you clean and maintenance your air conditioner. When you purchase a maintenance plan with Farnen & Dermer, you will receive preferred service whenever a problem does occur with your system. We’ll cool you down or warm you up promptly and efficiently, while helping you improve the air quality of your home!

If you have any questions about HVAC maintenance or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: Red Beacon, D&D Service

Improving the Air Quality of Your Baltimore Home

August 13th, 2014

air filter qualityDid you know that poor air quality can have some serious negative side effects? It can actually cause infections and even diseases if it gets bad enough. Asthma can also be a negative side effect of poor indoor air quality. Some of the lesser side effects include congestion, nausea, and headaches. Though these side effects aren’t as bad as full blow diseases and infects, it’s still preferable to never have to deal with them. Knowing how to improve your air quality and suppress allergens in your home can help improve your quality of life.

Tips for Improving Air Quality

  1. Change your air filter regularly – The more often you change your air filter, the less pollutants are coming through it. There are many options for air filters that are actually designed to catch allergens and improve the air quality in your home. You should change or clean your air filter at least once every 6 months to ensure that its working properly
  2. Use a dehumidifier – Allergens don’t have much of a place to live without humidity. A dehumidifier will help keep your home dry. Coupled with a clean air conditioner, your home should be allergen free all summer long. You should remember to clean both of them regularly to avoid any contaminants making their way into the air.
  3. Keep your animals clean – It doesn’t matter whether you get a pet that promises no allergies or not, pets will still produce their fair amount of allergens. It’s best to make sure that you bathe them often and clean any surface that attracts allergens (i.e. upholstery). It’s also advisable to avoid letting your pet sleep in your room or on couches.
  4. Reduce use of carpets – Owning your own home gives you the luxury of choosing what type of flooring you want. Hardwoods, tile, and linoleum attract less allergens than carpet does. If you don’t regularly have your carpets cleaned, they will trap allergens that can make you and your family sick.
  5. Have your HVAC unit checked – Over time, you’re HVAC unit can end up holding dangerous allergens and gasses. Having your HVAC unit regularly checked, maintenance, and clean will help you to keep these allergens and gasses outdoors. Professionals will know exactly how to keep your HVAC unit clean and allergen free.

HVAC Maintenance Plans

When you purchase a maintenance plan with Farnen & Dermer, you will receive preferred service whenever a problem does occur with your system. We’ll cool you down or warm you up promptly and efficiently, while helping you improve the air quality of your home!

If you have any questions about HAVC maintenance or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: Good Housekeeping

Preparing Your HVAC System for Cooler Weather

August 8th, 2014

fall hvac maintenanceWe still have a few warm weeks ahead of us. After all, it’s only the beginning of August. Make no mistake, though. Fall is coming and it’s right around the corner. There’s a month or so left of good summer weather before we start moving into cooler fall days and nights – and let’s face it, fall nights can get downright chilly sometimes. Curling up in a bunch of blankets and dealing with the cold isn’t so bad through September, but October usually sees us returning to the heating portion of our HVAC units. You don’t have to neglect your AC until then, but now is a good time to start checking on the heating elements of your HVAC unit.

Tips for Preparing for Fall

Check your filters. Yes, we say this for every season. Yes, we still mean it. Keeping up with your heating and air filters will help keep your air clean. If you have a dryer, you also know that not cleaning filters can be a fire hazard. It’s important to remember to either clean or replace your filters every season for energy efficiency, cleaner air, and a safer home.

Have the furnace checked. You could check it yourself, theoretically, but you may miss something important when you’re checking it and you never want to mess with a furnace. What you can do yourself is make sure that the area around it is clear to prevent it from being a fire hazard. You should also make sure that you don’t keep flammable substances in the same room as your furnace. Call a professional HVAC maintenance company to come check your furnace for you.

Check your home insulation. Your HVAC unit will run best if your home is well insulated. Fall is a great time to check your insulation. If you noticed during the summer that your air conditioning seemed to be escaping out the walls, you should check to make sure that your insulation is up to date and properly suited for your home. It’s important to have insulation in the attic and basement as well so your heat doesn’t leak out there, either.

Fall HVAC Maintenance from Farnen & Dermer

The changing of the seasons is the best time of year to have your HVAC serviced. When you have a maintenance plan with Farnen & Dermer, you will receive preferred service whenever a problem does occur with your system. We’ll cool you down or warm you up promptly and efficiently!

If you have any questions about HAVC maintenance or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: Wood Acre HVAC

Benefits of HVAC Maintenance Plans

August 1st, 2014

hvac maintenanceWe’ve finally gotten a bit of a break from the heat this week and have been able to enjoy some cool evenings and mornings. It’s certainly been a welcome change for many people – summer isn’t over yet, though. We’re likely to get another heat surge that will make air conditioning as important as ever. Your air conditioner (and your heater for that matter) is one of the most important assets in your home during a hot Baltimore summer. Leaving it up to chance whether it’ll last all season long is a dangerous gamble that can leave you hot and grouchy in the summer or cold and grouchy in the winter. A Baltimore HVAC maintenance plan can help you avoid problems with your HVAC unit and provide you with extra benefits!

Why Do You Need an HVAC Maintenance Plan?

  • Improve energy efficiency – Having an energy efficient home or business is becoming increasingly important as we continue to burn through massive amounts of electricity. Regular HVAC maintenance can actually help you keep your bills down. The more efficiently your HVAC unit is running, the less work it has to do, and the less money is coming out of your pocket every month for your electric bill.
  • Extend the life of your HVAC unit – It’s a lot cheaper to have regular maintenance done than it is to replace your HVAC unit after a few years because it’s no longer operating like it’s supposed to. You won’t have to worry about as many repairs in between, either. Many repairs are preventable simply by performing regular maintenance and keeping up to date with parts your HVAC unit.
  • Improve air quality in your home – Fall allergens are coming up and we all know how bad pollen can get in the spring in Baltimore. Keeping your home free of allergens is fairly easy to do when you make sure that your HVAC unit is operating like it’s supposed to. You can also talk to your HVAC company about further ways to avoid allergens and improve the air quality of your home. Improving the air quality will improve your quality of life!

HVAC Maintenance Plans from Farnen & Dermer

When you have a maintenance plan with Farnen & Dermer, you will receive preferred service whenever a problem does occur with your system. We’ll cool you down or warm you up promptly and efficiently!

If you have any questions about HAVC maintenance or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

HVAC Summer Maintenance Tips

July 25th, 2014

home hvac maintenanceAs we move into the dog days of another Owings Mills summer, having a working air conditioner becomes increasingly important. The need to have your AC turned on is increasing right along with the heat index. Stressing about having your air conditioner suddenly quit on you is probably the last thing that you want on your “to-do” list right now. Performing maintenance on your HVAC unit is necessary all year long to make sure that it doesn’t fail at the worst possible time. There are some easy things that you can do at home to make sure that everything is in proper working order – plus, it’ll help keep your electric bill down when your HVAC unit isn’t having to work as hard.

What At-Home HVAC Maintenance Can I Do This Summer?

  • Don’t neglect your filter. Your filter’s job is two-fold. It’s there to help keep allergens out of your HVAC system as well as to help circulate the air. You shouldn’t let your filter get too clogged up. It’s a good practice to either clean it or replace it every month to help your HVAC unit work at optimum efficiency.
  • Check your outdoor unit. You don’t have to do anything fancy. Just make sure that you haven’t had a lot of debris collect on top of the fan. You don’t want leaves, sticks, or other debris restricting your HVAC unit’s ability to work. It could eventually cause a bigger problem than just hindering efficiency.
  • Vacuum around vents. This may sound like an odd request, but it’ll help the air get through easier to clean your home. It’s a good practice to vacuum around your vents, filters, and any other spots that can collect a lot of dust. Your ventilation system needs a little bit of help to ensure that it will work well.
  • Hire an HVAC maintenance company – Having a professional come out to make sure that your HVAC unit is operating like it’s supposed to will help you save money and stay cool. Preventative maintenance will help you avoid needing to entirely replace your HVAC system if something small goes wrong. Don’t let it escalate; call someone who can take care of it!

HVAC Maintenance Plans from Farnen & Dermer

When you have a maintenance plan with Farnen & Dermer, you will receive preferred service whenever a problem does occur with your system. We’ll cool you down promptly and efficiently!

If you have any questions about HAVC maintenance or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Source: Service Experts, Trane

Ways to Save on Your Water Bill from Baltimore Plumbing Experts

July 16th, 2014

baltimore plumberYou might notice something a little different on  your water bill this month: like a higher price than you’re used to. The Board of Estimates in Baltimore approved a 15% increase on water prices to encourage people to be more conscious about the amount of water that they’re using and to help allocate the extra funds to our “crumbling infrastructures,” according to Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Water prices will rise a full 42% over the next 3 years with gradual increases occurring each July 1st. If you’re not careful about your water consumption as well as your plumbing maintenance, you may find yourself paying $100 to $250 more per year for your water use once the hike is completely finished in 2016. Conserving water is good for the environment anyway, so it’s not a bad idea to figure out how to save some fresh water and keep a little extra money in your wallet at the same time.

Tips for Conserving Water

Check your appliances for leaks – We mean check ALL your appliances. Make sure that your sink, bathtub, water meter, and washer aren’t leaking water. You’d be surprised at how quickly a bill like that could add up over time. You can check your toilet for leaks by adding water color to the tank and waiting to see if the color ends up in the toilet; if you have a colorful toilet within 30 minutes, you should immediately have it checked.

Have energy efficient appliances installed – You can buy just about any appliance that uses water in an energy and water efficient model. Just make sure that you’re having a professional install it. Plumbing isn’t a good idea to try to DIY for a host of different reasons – not least of which is flooding problems. You don’t want to end up with a lot of water filling your house when what you were trying to do originally was save water.

Keep track of your water consumption – How often do you leave the sink on while you brush your teeth? Do you frequently take long showers or baths? Figure out how much water you’re using per day and see if you can cut back on it. Check out this awesome website that helps you calculate exactly how much water you’re using for that 15 minute shower.

Knowing how much water you use and how you can cut back on your water bill and consumption is important. You can help save some of Earth’s precious fresh water and avoid paying hundreds over what you need to for your water bill each month. Found out that some of your issues are with your plumbing? call Farnen & Dermer at 410-902-0020, visit the website, or stop by our Owings Mills, MD location. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Sources: Baltimore Sun, Earth Easy