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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

Geothermal Energy HVAC Facts

July 11th, 2014

geothermal heatYou probably aren’t giving a whole lot of thought to the heating side of your HVAC unit right now. Can’t blame you, since we are in the middle of July. But if you’re planning on making any changes to your heating unit, the best time to do it is during the summer. It’s easier to get the work done without frigid temperatures and you won’t have to worry about your heat going out in the middle of December. You may have been considering geothermal heating for a while now; after all, it is part of the green movement.  You should always weigh the pros and cons of any type of new system that you want to install before you make the decision to change it up, and geothermal heating has some definite pros and cons.

Pros

  • Renewable – As you’ve probably heard about a million times, fossil fuels are not renewable resources. Geothermal energy is naturally replenished by the Earth on a constant basis since it’s simply heat from the Earth’s core. The fact that it’s so easy to get and replenishes so quickly means that it’s not going to regularly fluctuate in price because of difficulty extracting it or problems in the area where it’s being harvested.
  • Cheaper – When we say it’s cheaper, we mean that it’s cheaper over time. Since the prices won’t regularly fluctuate over the lifetime of your geothermal HVAC, it’s a cheaper source to use. You’re also guaranteed to always have the energy. It’s not going anywhere, it’s high efficiency, and the US government offers tax credits for those who use a geothermal source.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Not only is geothermal heat environmentally friendly because it naturally replenishes, but it also doesn’t require chemicals and it’s unlikely to combust in an energy plant. There will never be an issue like Chernobyl with a geothermal heating source, so if keeping the environment safe is important to you, geothermal heat is a great route for you to go.

 

Cons

  • Upfront Costs –Because of the cost to maintain facilities and drill, the upfront costs of a geothermal heating system can be pretty high. Plus, geothermal heat sources can’t be transported to plants. Plants have to be built over the best places to access the Earth’s energy and heat.
  • Space requirements – Unfortunately, geothermal heat isn’t a good option for people who live in urban areas. You need space near the building that you’re using the geothermal heat for to bore into in order to bring the heat up. The process can be expensive and is problematic for people that live near others – you’re best off to use geothermal heat in a rural area.

Weighing the pros and cons of any situation is important. If you decide that geothermal heat is the right option for you, 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!

Source: Geothermal Pros and Cons

HVAC Fun Facts

July 3rd, 2014

HVAC fun factsRegular HVAC maintenance will help you save money down the line. Turning your AC up when you leave your house will keep your electric bill down. These are some facts that you probably already know from reading our blog. They’re pretty basic, though we do like to give you reminders once in a while to help you keep your costs down. This week we’d like to share some more HVAC facts with you, but we decided we’d try some facts that you probably didn’t already know. Did you know that there were fun facts for your HVAC? Check some of them out!

  1. The first “primitive” version of the air conditioner was first developed in China in 80 AD by an artisan named Ding Huan. It was a 10 foot wide rotary fan that could be hand cranked to cool a group of people.
  2. Air conditioning units actually help clean the air in your home on top of cooling it. Your HVAC brings the hot air in the room in and blows it back out cooler, but it has to pass through a filter first. That filter helps get rid of dirt and allergens in the air.
  3. Commercial energy use can get very expensive, but the list of things that commercial buildings use the most electricity on should come as no surprise: lighting, heating, and air conditioning. It’s necessary to keep commercial spaces comfortable for employees, clients, and customers.
  4. The medical field isn’t the only field to benefit from air conditioning, but it may be the one that has benefitted the most. Certain types of medical procedures and medications need lower temperatures to work. That would never have been possible without the invention of the HVAC unit.
  5. We know heat isn’t high on the list of things that you’re thinking about (except maybe the heat outside), but geothermal heat is becoming more popular as our technology advances. To get geothermal heat, we have to dig deep and extract the natural heat that comes from the core.

HVAC unit’s history and usages are actually pretty interesting. Plus, how miserable would it be to work without air conditioning in the summer? Don’t let your grandparents fool you about how awful it was –most companies went on two month hiatus’ during the summer, especially in the south. Enjoy the fact that we now have AC and can keep the world moving all year long! Call Farnen & Dermer at 410-902-0020, visit the website, or stop by our Owings Mills, MD location to find out more about HVAC maintenance. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Source: Austin’s Green Air, Examiner

Backup Generators for Baltimore Residents

June 26th, 2014

backup generatorBOOM! “What was that?” “The power’s out again. . .” Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Everyone hates being out of power and summer storms can easily cause power lines to go down. Once they go down, your power could be out for quite a while. This means no air conditioning, no showers for Baltimore area residents with wells, and no lights to do anything else by in the evening. Having a backup generator can help you to avoid these problems altogether, along with some other common problems that arise when the power goes out.

  • Save Money – Wondering how a backup generator can save you money rather than costing you money? Think about all of the problems that arise when your power goes out. You may have to go to a hotel for a few nights to get access to air conditioning and water – you also may need to find a pet friendly hotel, which can get pretty pricey. Your refrigerator will eventually no longer be able to hold in the cold air and all of your food could spoil; having a backup generator solves all of these problems by giving you a way to keep your electricity running, even in the midst of a storm.
  • Avoid Theft – When the power is out, you lose your security system and outdoor lights. It becomes difficult to gauge whether or not there are would be thieves in the area and it becomes even easier for them to be stealthy in the evening when there’s no light to see by. If your generator gets your power back up, you’ll be able to see what’s going on even when it’s pitch black outside. Don’t let your home security fall to the wayside simply because you don’t have power.
  • Be a Port in the Storm – Quite literally. If you have friends or family members that you know will also be out of power during a strong summer storm, you’ll give them a place to go, potentially saving them money and hardship. Having a generator can give you a chance to catch up with old friends or get to know your neighbors and those in your community a little bit better. This can also be really useful in winter when people in the area have to worry about the intense cold that can come with Maryland ice and snow storms.

A permanent backup generator is a great addition to your Maryland home this summer. Have one installed before you find out that you actually need it. Call Farnen & Dermer at 410-902-0020, visit the website, or stop by our Owings Mills, MD location to find out more about backup generator installation or electric work. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Source: State Farm

More Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tips from Farnen & Dermer

June 18th, 2014

air conditioner efficiencyWe’ve officially hit 90+ degree days and a heat index that’s even hotter. Welcome to Baltimore summers! It’s almost unavoidable to turn on your air conditioner at this point to avoid heat related illnesses for your pets as well as yourself. Plus, hot temperatures tend to make people cranky. The summer is supposed to be about fun! Turning your air on will make you feel better when you get home after a long workday. There are a few things you can do to minimize your electric bill and maximize your AC usage.

  1. Turn the temperature up at night – You don’t have to turn it way up, especially if you’re the kind of person who prefers to sleep in a cooler environment, but turning your air up a couple of degrees will help save on energy. Your body doesn’t require it to be super cold during the overnight hours. The temperature outdoors usually drops at night, too, so it shouldn’t be a drastic change.
  2. Be aware of your vents – If your vents are underneath a piece of furniture, they’re not working at optimal levels. Find the best way to allow air to flow through your home by rearranging your furniture so that the air can easily move through the room and your home; leaving interior doors open also helps. You won’t be wasting air on one or two rooms, but you’ll give it space to move throughout the house.
  3. Turn off your lights – If you don’t need them on, turn them off. This will have a direct effect on your energy bill and will also help your AC to run better since most household lights emit heat. You can also try LED lighting or CFL lighting in your home. They don’t run as hot as a typical incandescent bulb. Speaking of light, you should also close your blinds and drapes during the day to avoid letting the sun heat your home.
  4. Use your programming – Most AC units give you the option to program them. If nobody is home during the day, turn your air up to 85. Then set it to your preferred temperature for half an hour or so before you come home. Turning your air off during peak hours will save you money and won’t actually affect you. It also helps to keep the ambient temperature at around 78 degrees since it won’t cause your AC to go into overdrive, but will still keep your home relatively cool.

Don’t let the heat get you down this summer. Use your HVAC unit wisely to get the most out of it for the least money. Getting your unit checked regularly will also help keep it running at its best. Check out Farnen & Dermer’s offered maintenance plans today! If you have any questions about how to save money while running your AC, contact us 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!

Source: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/10-ways-to-save-energy-when-ai-120022

Energy Efficient Lighting for Your Baltimore Home

June 13th, 2014

energy efficient lightingWhy spend a lot of extra money to light your home when there are energy efficient options out there? The average energy bill for Maryland residents is over $125, which is pretty high in comparison to the rest of the country. Imagine what saving about half of that could do for your vacation fund – pretty nice, huh? Reading up on ways to be more energy efficient in your home and switching your light bulbs from regular incandescent bulbs to energy friendly lighting can help you save a lot of money that you’re essentially flushing down the toilet. The following options will help you save money and will still light your home just as bright!

  • Energy saving incandescent – Look for the Energy Star rating to pull these out of the crowd. They’ll only save you about 25% on your energy, but that’s still a significant savings over regular incandescent bulbs. These generally last about 3 times longer than average incandescent bulbs and are around the same price. There’s no reason not to buy bulbs like these.
  • CFLs – Also known as compact fluorescent lights (since they’re basically mini fluorescents), these are a little more expensive up front than your typical incandescent bulbs, but the savings over time will more than pay for the bulbs. They can save you up to 75% energy. Even if you just replace a few of the lights in your house, CFLs can be really useful. Plus they can last up to ten times longer than a normal light bulb.
  • LEDs – The upfront price scares people the most with LEDs, but like CFLs, they’ll pay for themselves many times over. They’ll save you 75% on energy and last 25 times longer than normal light bulbs. You may never have to buy lights for your home again if you invest in LEDs. They really do last that long and can emit a plethora of different colors. Prices are expected to drop as LEDs  come into use more, so be on the lookout for LEDs for your home at good prices.

Doing simple things like changing the type of lighting that you use in your home can help you save an exponential amount of money. There’s no reason to use more electricity than you have to when it’s environmentally friendly and wallet friendly to change a couple of light bulbs. For more information about how to save energy in your home, or if you need any type of electric work done, contact us at 410-902-0020, visit the website, or stop in to our Owings Mills location. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Source: http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/lighting-choices-save-you-money, http://eyeonhousing.org/2013/12/02/average-monthly-electric-bill-by-state/

 

When is the Best Time to Get My Baltimore HVAC Checked?

June 6th, 2014

hvac maintenanceWe’re starting to feel the increasing temperatures here in Owings Mills. A lot of people have already started to turn their air conditioning units on and the days are only going to get hotter and more humid as summer progresses. Getting your HVAC unit checked at the right times can help prevent hot days becoming a problem for you. You never want to be caught in the middle of July with a broken down air-conditioning unit. Getting regular HVAC inspections and investing in an HVAC maintenance plans will make summer less stressful for you, since you know that your house will remain cool and comfortable all summer long – this will also help keep moods better in your home. Nobody likes being hot and sweaty in 90-degree summers! That being said, there are two important times to get your HVAC unit checked during the year.

  • Spring – You’ve probably been running your heater for the majority of the winter, but you’ve likely turned the whole unit off for a month or two when the weather evens out. Getting your unit checked and cleaned in the spring will prepare your HVAC unit for the warmer days ahead. Plus, if there’s anything wrong with your unit, a maintenance member will be able to quote you on getting it fixed to avoid a crash in mid-summer.
  • Fall – Having heat in the winter is just as important as having air in the summer. You know those people that have gone to turn the thermostat up in the first below freezing night in October only to find that something went wrong with their heater over the summer. Having your HVAC inspected and cleaned twice per year will help avoid this issue year round.

Getting your HVAC checked twice per year is important, but you shouldn’t get complacent during the rest of the year. If your unit is acting funny or you feel like your energy bill is higher than it should be, you should contact Farnen & Dermer. Your best bet is actually to get an HVAC maintenance plan so that when something does go wrong, we can be there promptly to help. There are also general maintenance operations that need to be done throughout the year (think filter changes and debris removal) that we can help with. Maintaining your HVAC unit can help you remain comfortable year round – why would you want to sacrifice that? For more information about HVAC maintenance agreements, contact us at 410-902-0020 or visit the website. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Source: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/heating-cooling/hvac-maintenance/#.

When Should I Have my Ducts Cleaned?

June 2nd, 2014

air ductAll of the air that circulates through your home goes through your air ducts at some point. Consider all of the dirt and grime that can end up in those ducts, especially when your filters aren’t changed often enough. It’s important to have your ducts thoroughly inspected on occasion and check for leaks and other problems, but it’s equally as important to have them cleaned. Cleaning them yourself is a daunting prospect because they’re tiny spaces that are hard to access without the proper tools and experience. There are a few specific times when you should have your duct work professionally cleaned.

  • Mold growth – If you’ve noticed mold on any of your ducts, it’s definitely time to have them cleaned, though you may also need to find a mold remediation company to make sure that the mold isn’t dangerous for people or pets. Have someone come out to inspect, and then get your duct work thoroughly cleaned, inside and out to make sure that there aren’t any more mold problems. You’ll also want to get to the root of the mold problem and find out why it existed in the first place.
  • Wildlife infestation – Whether you’ve got animals or bugs living in your ducts, after you’ve gotten the critters removed, you should have your ducts cleaned in case there is any feces or debris left behind from the perpetrators. Keep in mind that any animal or bug infestation should be handled by professional exterminators or wildlife removal services – never attempt to remove them yourself or expect someone to clean your ducts if there’s still an infestation.
  • Allergies or illness – You should always talk to a doctor before confirming why someone is suddenly becoming sick or developing allergies, but there’s a good chance that it’s because of the air quality in your home. Changing your filters and buying ones that are hypoallergenic will help, but you may also want to consider having your ducts clean. Dust and debris can build up over time, as it can anywhere, even with the proper filter, and should be cleaned out on an as-needed basis.

Cleaning your ducts on a regular basis isn’t recommended, but making sure that your ducts are operation properly and don’t need to be cleaned is recommended. Have someone come in who knows about duct work and has the proper tools rather than attempting to do the job yourself. Farnen & Dermer will take care of any exposed duct work and make sure that there’s nothing abnormal with it. For more information about cleaning air ducts,  contact us at 410-902-0020 or visit the website. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Source: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html

Maintenance Plans by Farnen & Dermer

May 22nd, 2014

HVAC Maintenance BaltimoreIn order to leave comfortably within your home, maintaining your heating and air conditioning system is essential. However, keeping up with maintenance can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a yearly maintenance plan in place. When you have a maintenance plan through Farnen & Dermer, you have the peace of mind knowing that your HVAC is in capable and qualified hands. Since 1902, Farnen & Dermer have been keeping homes comfortable and energy efficient to the satisfaction of our long term customers. For 5 generations, our two families have evolved with the technology in which we install to make sure our customers get the most out of their HAVC systems.

Our HVAC maintenance plans come in one, two, and three year engagements and include servicing and cleaning both your air conditioning system and heating system. Visits happen twice a year:

  1. October-November- heating system
  2. April-May- air conditioning system

You will be contacted by our support staff before your visit. Our techs will be sure to arrive on time and review your systems thoroughly. Adjustments will be made if necessary and all observations will be shared with you before our tech leaves. Some of the services our maintenance plans include are:

  1. Controls and safeties are tested.
  2. Relays and contacts are tested.
  3. Thermostats will be checked and calibrated if needed.
  4. Wiring for your air conditioning will be checked.
  5. Duct work that is exposed will be inspected for insulation and leaks.

 

Aside from the technical reasons why HVAC maintenance is important, other benefits can be explained in simpler terms. You know that your maintenance plan is in the hands of professionally trained technicians who take pride in their job and understand how important it is for your systems to function properly. Your systems will last longer when maintained correctly, saving you money on replacements as well as saving on your energy bills. When you have a maintenance plan with Farnen & Dermer, you will receive preferred service whenever a problem does occur with your systems. You will receive prompt and efficient service at a price that cannot be beat.

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.