How To Optimize Your Furnace Efficiency

Whether you’ve got a forced air system that blows heat through ducts from your furnace, electric baseboards, old-school radiators or even radiant heat under wooden floors, chances are you’re shocked each winter when your utility bill goes through the roof. Tack on a broken heating system in the middle of winter, and you’ll be spending thousands more to keep your home warm.

Not turning your thermostat down when you leave. The best way to cut down on energy costs from your heating system in winter is to make it run less while you’re asleep or out of the house. Programmable thermostats make it easy to set a schedule for the temperature to be turned down while you’re out during the workday or on vacation – say, to the mid-60s – and rise to your preferred temperature just before you come home.

LETTING COLD AIR IN THE HOUSE. IF YOU’VE GOT A DRAFTY HOUSE, YOUR HEATING SYSTEM IS GOING TO BE OVERWORKING ITSELF TO KEEP THE INSIDE WARM WHILE COLD AIR KEEPS COMING IN. ADDING INSULATION TO THE WALLS CAN HELP KEEP THE WARM AIR TRAPPED INSIDE, BUT YOU SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER CLOSING GAPS INDOORS AND WINDOWS WITH WEATHERSTRIPPING.

And it’s not just the temperature of the air that you’ll find changed – the air inside will likely keep it’s humidity better as well. “What causes the air to be dry inside the house is infiltration of 20-degree outside air coming in.”

Cranking the thermostat when you’re cold. When you get home from a cold walk outside, it probably feels natural to turn up the thermostat a few extra degrees to pump out the hot air a little quicker. But experts say doing so won’t help at all: “Most people tend to think that if they put the thermostat up high, it’s going to get warmer faster.” “If the ideal temperature you want is 70, setting it to 75 is not going to get it to 70 any faster.”

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @ 888-315-5564

How Long Should My Furnace Last?

While some furnaces can last over 40 years (extremely rare), the average lifespan of a typical gas furnace is around 15-30 years. As long as you have scheduled yearly furnace maintenance, your furnace should easily last over 15 years.

Here are some factors that will affect how long your furnace will last:

  • Make and model of the furnace (newer systems have longer lifespans than older units).
  • Frequency and quality of furnace maintenance. In order to maintain manufacturer’s warranties and keep your system clean and efficient, schedule fall furnace maintenance every year with a licensed Green Apple technician that also fully cleans your system. Learn more about professional furnace tune-ups.
  • Moisture levels and proper ventilation. Too much moisture can cause heater components to rust and premature breakdowns. Moisture is especially harmful to heat exchangers.
  • Proper installation. According to Energy Star, over half of all new HVAC systems are improperly installed. As a result, rated efficiency levels can be reduced as much as 30% and can lead to premature breakdowns, comfort problem, and insufficient air distribution and dehumidification. The most important day of your furnace’s life is the day it is installed.

As you can see, many factors play a role in how long your furnace will last. No one thing will be able to tell you how long your furnace will last (age, tune-ups, humidity levels, installation). If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @888-611-7191

These Common Items Are Hazards To Your Plumbing

Household Fluids

Household fluids include things such as household cleaners and car fluids. While these don’t necessarily cause clogs in your pipes, these chemicals can be harmful when they are mixed into the water supply. If you’re washing them down the drain, they will make it into the water. Car fluids also should never be disposed of through your household water system. Check with your city or county, or a local auto parts store, for disposal guidelines. And, last, but not least, avoid allowing toxic household cleaners into the water system by switching to all-natural cleaners. If you’re feeling especially industrious, you can make your own.

Produce Stickers

These seemingly harmless little stickers can actually cause big problems inside of your pipes. They may not seem like it, but even the little bit of adhesive that’s on them can be enough to cause them to stick to the insides of the pipes. If they make it past your pipes, they can also get caught in wastewater treatment pipes and filters, causing problems with the equipment designed to treat your water. If somehow they make it past both of these barriers, they can end up in the water supply. Any way you look at it, that just spells trouble.

If you are experiencing any problems with any of your HVAC or plumbing concerns call Green Apple toll-free at 888-315-5564

Why You Shouldn’t Start Your Furnace This Year Without An Inspection

Professional maintenance is a lot more than just a look-over. Proper care ensures your system gains a lot of crucial benefits that aim to keep your heating costs (and stress level) much lower when the cold kicks in.

The benefits of maintenance include:

  • Lower heating costs. A well-maintained system can perform its function faster, better, and at less effort on the machine’s part. This means you’ll get all of the high-quality comforts you need without your system overworking and using too much energy, which directly impacts your monthly energy costs.
  • Higher quality comfort. That efficiency also spells out better comfort. Whether you use oil heating, gas, or an electric furnace, you’ll get better heating that never leaves cold spots or cool rooms.
  • Less risk of breakdowns. One of the most important parts of a professional maintenance service is ensuring your system is working optimally, and all components are in great working condition. The vast majority of seasonal breakdowns can be directly traced to poor component health or air flow problems; both issues are addressed with an inspection!
  • Longer service from your furnace. Depending on your type of furnace, you can generally expect around a decade or slightly more of service from your furnace. But that amount of time takes into account getting inspections and maintenance, without which you can cut that decade down to even just a few years!
  • Call Green Apple toll-free with any questions or concerns you may have regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing concerns at 888-315-5564

Make Sure You Are Doing This For Your Garbage Disposal

Whether you are a long time garbage disposal user or have just chosen your first ever disposal, knowing how to care for it will go a long way to making your experience a good one. Garbage disposals are valuable household tools when used properly. If you are careful with what you put through your disposal and keep it clean, it should provide you with many years of carefree service. Many of the common frustrations users experience can be avoided by following just a few tips.

Help! It Stinks!

A common garbage disposal complaint is bad odors. This is often due to a failure to run enough water through and ensure everything is adequately flushed out. To keep your disposal fresh and clean, consider the following tips:

  • Grind Thoroughly – Make sure you allow adequate time for everything to get ground and flushed with water. Leftover particles cause odors.
  • Clean Regularly – At least once a week, take a bottle brush and scrub inside the disposal. This small maintenance step will go a long way to keeping it fresh.
  • Grab Citrus – Fresh orange, lemon, or limes can help cut grease and eliminate odors. Simply grind pieces in the disposal.
  • Vinegar is Good – Freeze some vinegar in ice cube trays and blend in the disposal. This helps to eliminate bacteria which can cause odor.
  • If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free at 888-315-5564

How To Pick The Perfect Sized Furnace

How Furnace Sizes Are Measured
The first step to finding the correctly sized furnace for your home is understanding how they are measured.

Furnace’s heating capacity is measured in thousands of British Thermal Units (BTU). But keep in mind that two furnaces with the same BTU can actually be different “sizes.”

Furnaces are rated based on how much fuel energy they consume when running. But the amount of energy they output can be different based on their efficiency rating.

For example, a 100,000 BTU furnace with outputs 95,000 BTU while a 100,000 BTU furnace with 80% AFUE only outputs 80,000 BTU. So when comparing furnace sizes, make sure you are comparing apples to apples (the output BTU).

The Importance of Getting a Correctly Sized Furnace
You, like many others, may think that “bigger is better” when it comes to purchasing a brand new furnace.

This is not always true. You definitely want to stay away from a furnace that is too small, but buying one that is too big can also be a problem.

  • Consequences of a furnace that is too small – If you buy a furnace that is too small for your home, it will struggle to keep your house warm on cold nights. Furnaces that are too small will also make your energy bill higher.
  • Consequences of a furnace that is too big – Furnaces that are too big for your home can be a problem because they will heat up your home too quickly, resulting in an inefficient operation known as “short cycling.”
  • If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free at 888-315-5564

How To Prepare Your Furnace For Seasonal Change

Before winter arrives, the most important thing you need to do for yourself and your family is to ensure that your furnace is operational, safe, and as energy-efficient as you can make it. When that first really cold day hits, you don’t want to turn on the furnace only to discover that it isn’t working. (A lot can happen during the warmer months to affect your furnace.)

No doubt about it, your best bet is to call a Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical professional and have them come out and inspect your furnace. During a regular maintenance inspection, the technician also will clean the furnace, change the filter, check for leaks and unhealthy gases, and ensure that everything is operational.

  • Change the furnace filters regularly. Some suggest every three months; others suggest monthly. At least take a look at the filter after 30 days of operation. You’ll be able to tell if it needs to be changed. If your filter still looks pretty good, you can put off changing it.

  • Stock up on filters during the warmer months. You often can find a bargain on furnace filters and other winter items during those hot summer months.

  • Remove any items you have stored near the furnace, particularly anything that is likely to catch fire. Also, remove any household items that are suddenly sitting on top of or in front of your air ducts and return vents.

  • If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free at 888-315-5564

Use This Simple Household Tool To Fix Your Pipes

WHEN SHOULD I USE A PLUMBING SNAKE?

Always try to plunge away your problems first. Plungers are a little easier to use than plumbing snakes and they can handle most clogs, so it’s always your best first step to try the trusty plunger. When that doesn’t work, then it’s time to move on to the bigger guns: Your plumbing snake.

WHAT IS A PLUMBING SNAKE ANYWAY?

A plumbing snake allows you to dislodge clogs that are located deeper in the plumbing pipes that plunging simply won’t help. The snake is a flexible cable that is attached to a spool which you unwind using a hand crank. You can find plumbing snakes up to 100’ long but homeowners are fine with a 25’ model.

OK, SO HOW DO I USE ONE?

Plumbing snakes are very easy to use. Simply insert one end of the snake into your toilet or drain and slowly feed the cable down the pipe. After you’ve fed it a few inches, you can use the crank to force the cable deeper into the pipe. You’ll notice it becomes harder to advance the cable once the clog is reached, but keep trying to feed the cable until you can’t anymore. Once you’ve gotten as far as the snake will go, gently wiggle the cable side-to-side before slowly winding it back up. The snake may grab the clog and bring it up, or you may need to repeat this motion a few times in order to push the clog down the drain. Flush the drain with fresh water periodically to encourage the clog to drain.

If you still have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call Green Apple toll-free at 888-315-5564

Are You Hearing Spooky Sounds From Your Furnace? Check This Out!

  • Grinding noises. This usually indicates metal parts, such as the fan, grinding against other parts: increasing friction and enhancing the chances of a motor overload.
  • Booming noises; especially when the furnace starts up. This might mean a problem with the burners releasing too much gas or a similar issue.
  • Rattling noises. Rattling noises could mean a loose bolt or another object in the heater itself, or a fan motor or similar component that is loose in its housings and vibrating as it works.
  • Groaning noises. Groaning noises sometimes arise on a cold day when you first start your furnace up. The cold metal of the ducts can sometimes stretch a bit when the warm air hits it. On the other hand, it could indicate a component under considerable stress, and in any case, probably needs the attention of Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ professional.
  • Clunking noise. A clunking sound could indicate a fan blade that is out of alignment or a cracked fan belt which is thumping in its rotation.

In general, any noise you’re not accustomed to hearing is probably a noise your furnace should not be making. Furnace repair can be handled by the experts at Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ. If you’re having a problem with your heating system, then don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call toll-free at 888-315-5564

The 6 Golden Rules For Fall Plumbing

1- Remove all water hoses and store them somewhere warm and safe for the fall and winter.

2- Consider installing products like pipe sleeves or heat cable to insulate exposed water pipes.

3- Winterize automatic sprinkler systems, pool lines, and pipes.

4-Inspect your home’s foundation and walls, and seal cracks.

5- To to make sure all doors and entryways are caulked and weather-stripped

6- When your home is unoccupied for extended periods of time, turn off the water and open faucets to relieve pressure. Always be sure to know where your shutoff valves are located and check regularly that you can turn it off easily in an emergency.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free at 888-315-5564