Monday, September 5, 2016

Prepare for Hurricane Season with a Generator Tune-Up

Anyone living in a coastal area understands the importance of seasonal preparation in advance of the hurricane season. Having a generator is a matter of course for many homeowners and business owners in these locations to prevent power interruptions. An annual tune-up will ensure that equipment is functioning correctly and ready to use if needed.


An Overview of Generator Maintenance


Most generators sit in a garage or storage shed, unused for a large part of the year. Dust and dirt can settle on the unit, which may prevent it from running efficiently. To ensure that a generator will be ready to use, it's imperative to get it out, inspect it, and perform some basic maintenance.

Perform a full inspection of the generator, looking for any damaged or corroded parts, frayed wires, and loose components. Check the air filter to determine whether it needs changing. Excessive dirt and debris will require a fresh filter. Check the spark plug, and clean or replace it if necessary. Tighten or replace bolts to ensure that every component is tight.

Fill the tank with fresh gas. Adding a fuel stabilizer helps prevent any damage to the engine, which could result from using ethanol. It's also important to change the oil before the onset of the storm season.

Testing the Generator


Turning on the system when a storm hits may be too late. Instead, test the generator to ensure that it functions correctly before it's needed. With the generator running, utilize several small appliances in the home to make sure that the unit can handle the load. Allow the generator to run for about 15 minutes. Perform this test once each month during hurricane season.

Supplies to Have


When a storm hits and a generator must run to maintain power, specific supplies may be necessary. Homeowners should stock extra fuel, oil, oil filters, air filters, extension cords, and bolts. Having these supplies on hand enables extended use of the unit, as well as maintenance and repairs, if necessary.

As with any important home system, a generator requires ongoing maintenance to ensure that it functions properly when needed.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

NATE-Certified Technicians Offer the Best in HVACR Installation and Repairs

When it comes to choosing a repair or installation technician in the heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration industries, the first thing homeowners should look for is whether a technician is NATE-certified. North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is a non-profit certification organization that tests the real-world working knowledge of HVACR technicians, ensuring those that are certified have the highest level of knowledge and understanding of one or more specialty areas.

About NATE Certification

While other organizations provide training to HVACR technicians, NATE is the only organization that actually tests their knowledge. In fact, NATE is the only certification organization supported by the HVACR industry as a whole, developed by industry experts as a way to validate a technician’s knowledge. HVACR professionals with NATE certification have demonstrated superior knowledge in one or more of the following specialties:

- Air Conditioning

- Air Distribution

- Heat Pumps

- Gas/Oil Heating

- Hydronics Gas/Oil

- Light Commercial Refrigeration

- Commercial Refrigeration

- Ground Source Heat Pump Loop Installation

- HVAC Efficiency Analysis

Technicians who have completed NATE certification have taken the organization’s rigorous multiple choice tests for installation or service in their designated specialty areas. Most certifications are good for two years, which ensures that technicians are constantly up-to-date with the latest industry technology and best practices. NATE also encourages technicians to enroll in continuing education courses in order to continuously provide clients with the best services possible.

How NATE Certification Benefits Customers

While any contractor can claim to be an expert, NATE-certified businesses and technicians have demonstrated that they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide the highest quality services to customers. Surveys show that nearly nine out of 10 homeowners prefer to have a certified installer or technician when possible, and NATE certification is the highest level of expertise an HVACR can reach professionally. Whether looking for a contractor or an individual technician, NATE is the only certification homeowners need to look for to be sure their technician is among the best in the industry.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Why Air Conditioner Maintenance Should be at the Top of your Priority List


Before summer hits, it is important to have air conditioner maintenance performed. There's nothing worse than your AC unit breaking down on one of the hottest days of the year. In addition to preventing a future problem, there are a few additional key reasons why having your machine inspected and serviced are essential.


Reduce Energy Usage


According to the U.S. Department of Energy, something as simple as replacing a clogged filter can lower the amount of energy you use by 5 to 15 percent. That may not sound like a great deal, but over the course of several months, it really adds up. It makes more sense to have a professional clean or replace the filter each year, especially since this task takes just a few minutes.

Keep Your Warranty in Good Standing


Don't forget to read the fine print when obtaining a warranty for your AC unit. Some specifically state that if you do not perform yearly air conditioner maintenance, the warranty is null and void. This means that if your machine breaks down during the warranty period, the company is not obligated to fix it, which is more money out of your pocket.

Extend Equipment Life


The better you care for your AC system, the longer it will last. You'd be surprised at how quickly one small problem can turn into a big problem that requires you to replace the entire unit. With routine air conditioner maintenance, you'll extend the amount of time the equipment runs, which means you'll save money by not having to buy a new unit before the proper time.

When hiring a professional to service your air conditioner, you'll want to make sure that a few things are on his checklist. You'll need all of your coils cleaned out, your refrigerant level checked, and all of the system's moving parts lubricated. All controls and thermostat settings should also be checked.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

End Leaks With Duct Sealing

Controlling home heating and cooling expenses requires ongoing vigilance and maintenance. A house’s ductwork is one area where air can escape, which can result in uneven temperatures and rising HVAC costs. Duct sealing can help minimize waste and inefficiency in heating and cooling systems.

Symptoms of a Problem

A house can develop efficiency issues over time. These problems might occur gradually, or they could suddenly present themselves without warning. Monitor an HVAC system for telltale symptoms that could indicate a problem, such as:

  • Uneven heating and cooling

  • Furnace or air conditioner running excessively

  • Increased utility bills

  • Reduced interior air quality

Resolving the Problem

When a homeowner has noticed symptoms of a problem, a technician can provide heating and cooling services that include examining the home to determine whether a problem exists. After detecting a leak, the technician can repair it with special HVAC duct sealing. The process involves creating a vacuum and then sealing the leaks to stop the expensive airflow.

  • Wall registers throughout the home will be sealed to ensure that the only air escaping the system moves out through the leaks.

  • The technician injects the special chemical sealant into the system.

  • The chemicals in the sealant create tiny particles that move through the ducts. The airflow in the ducts eventually pulls the particles to the sources of the leaks. The particles bind together to stick to the leaks, sealing the area and stopping the flow of air.

  • Remaining particles and chemicals dissipate, leaving only small traces of material in the system.

  • The technician analyzes the system once again to ensure that the escaped airflow is reduced.

With comprehensive maintenance and heating and cooling services that may involve duct sealing, homeowners can ensure that their HVAC systems remain cost-effective and efficient.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Common Household Heating Mistakes

When winter comes around, people go to great lengths to keep their houses warm and cozy. Unfortunately, some of the things that people do to heat their homes can actually do more harm than good. Here are a few common mistakes and tips on what to do instead.
1. Cranking The Thermostat
One thing that many people do, which seems logical, is crank the thermostat way up in the hopes that this makes it work faster. If you come home on a frosty evening, it's certainly tempting to dial it up to 82 degrees, but this won't actually speed up the heating process. Heating systems are designed to pump out warm air at a steady, fixed rate until the room meets the desired temperature. You won't heat the house faster, but you may wake up in a sweat if you forget to dial it back down! Invest in a programmable thermostat that kicks on 30 minutes to an hour before you get home.
2. Thermostat Near Heat-Producing Appliances
Ever wonder why thermostats are most commonly found in hallways? That's because it's the best location to prevent another common mistake. You want to keep the thermostat away from appliances that put out heat because the device will register that as the ambient temperature of the whole house. For example, if an appliance raises the temperature two degrees, your thermostat will stop heating the house two degrees shy of your desired temperature. Keep the thermostat in a neutral area that will accurately reflect the temperature of the entire house.
3. Blocking or Covering Vents
When it seems that the warm air is not circulating properly, check the vents. Oftentimes, we unintentionally block or cover the vents with a rug, piece of furniture, plant, or any miscellaneous item, without noticing that with the vent blocked, the air cannot get out and circulate as it normally would. Blocking and covering vents is also hazardous, and it is in your family's best interest to keep all items at a safe distance from the vents for this reason.
4. Not Changing the Filter
Another very common mistake is allowing the task of changing the air filter to fall to the bottom of the priority list. The dirty air filter is actually polluting the very air that your family inhales throughout your home, and that can lead to health problems as well as increase your energy bill. Make changing the air filters regularly a priority, and you'll efficiently heat your home and keep your family healthy as a result.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Winter is Coming: Is Your Furnace Ready?

Anyone who has ever woken up to a freezing home and an unresponsive thermostat knows how important proper furnace repair can be. Because the furnace is rarely used during the summer months, many homeowners forget to maintain this important appliance. Lack of use can cause corrosion and other problems, so preventative maintenance is always advised to prevent serious problems down the line. These tips will help ensure that your furnace is ready for winter.

1. Schedule a Fall Tune-up
Sometimes letting a professional take a look at your furnace is the best way to make sure everything is in working order. A maintenance expert can check for leaks or unhealthy gases, thoroughly clean the furnace, and make sure that the system is operating safely.

2. Change the Filter
A clogged filter will constrict the airflow through the furnace, causing it to work extra hard and reduce heat production. As a rule of thumb, filters should be changed every three to six months.

3. Make Sure the Vents are Unobstructed
Since air needs to flow easily through the vents, it’s important to make sure that they are clean and unobstructed. If air is not able to circulate freely, the system can become overworked and malfunction.

4. Check the Ducts
Increased power bills are often the result of leaking ducts. If a duct is leaking or has come apart, hot air will have a hard time reaching living areas, causing homeowners to turn the thermostat higher and higher in an attempt to stay warm. Make sure all connections are properly attached before turning on a heater for the first time.

5. Remove Flammable Objects
Take a look around the furnace and water heater to make sure the area is clear of flammable objects such as clothes, boxes, aerosol cans, paints, gasoline, and motorized yard tools.

If you have any questions about furnace repair, contact a professional at Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems today.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Schaafsma Heating and Cooling Receives Second Award for 2015

Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems offers an award to businesses that show outstanding customer service in addition to consistently selling more Bryant equipment than the average retailer. Schaafsma Heating and Cooling is pleased to count itself among the award winners, having received Bryant's Tier 2 award for 2015. The tiers are based solely on annual sales.

The Medal of Excellence Award (MOE) is only awarded to 15 Bryant dealers annually. Schaafsma, along with the 14 other award winners, will eventually compete for the top spot, the Dealer of the Year Award (DOTY), which Bryant awards to one business every year. Schaafsma has won the DOTY award once before, in 2010.

So far, this is the second award Schaafsma has received in 2015. The magazine Contracting Business named Schaafsma "Contractor of the Year." To continue with such praise, writer Terry McIver of the same magazine commented that "Schaafsma Heating & Cooling has survived for more than 100 years because its leaders were open to change." McIver continued, stating that Schaafsma is a "regional monument" in the way it consistently serves its customers. Schaafsma's claim to fame is the "red carpet treatment," meaning that the company will do whatever possible to meet its customer's needs.

The Bryant slogan is "Whatever it Takes." Coming from a company that, like Schaafsma, is also over 100 years old, the award is meant to value businesses who show hard work and dedication. Schaafsma will continue this trend of hard work and commitment as long as possible, serving the people of the Grand Rapids area with the highest possible dedication and expertise.