Ideas to Reduce Home Heating and Air
Your Furnace and Air Conditioner
If you replace your furnace and air conditioner at the same time, you will save on installation and efficiency costs. The evaporator coil (the tubing that contains the Freon to cool the air) is located above the furnace in the duct system. The duct system has to be opened to replace the furnace, and the evaporator coil is easily accessible when the furnace is replaced. In order to replace the evaporator coil, the Freon has to be removed from the air conditioner. By replacing all components at the same time, the equipment meets current efficiency standards, thereby reducing future operational costs and installation.
There are many ways to lower your utility bills. Annual maintenance can save thousands of dollars over the long term; in fact over 30% per year. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature in the winter, or a higher temperature in the summer is a start. Fixing or replacing old windows that let the wind blow through is another big energy saver. Replacing an old air conditioner or furnace with a new, more efficient model can also save you money on your utility bills. Having a maintenance agreement will also save on the cost of maintenance and repair.
Yes, Unique offers Maintenance Agreements to cover heating and air conditioning systems throughout the Chicago area. Our agreements cover annual cleanings on heating and air conditioning equipment. Customers with maintenance agreements receive priority service all year round, including holidays!
Carbon Monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas, propane, gasoline, charcoal or wood. Carbon monoxide may result from your heating unit, stove or water heater working improperly.
When your furnace is running, the fuel that is burned produces carbon dioxide. But if the resulting carbon dioxide is burned a second time, carbon monoxide is then produced. A crack in your heat exchanger creates a greater chance for the carbon dioxide to mix with the air, burn, and produce carbon monoxide.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, and in extreme cases, loss of consciousness. Infants, young children and the elderly will be affected first.
Homeowners should have their heating equipment and water heaters checked annually by a qualified technician. This is part of the service that is included with annual maintenance and safety inspection of these units. Blocked vent pipes and malfunctioning equipment are common sources of carbon monoxide.
Homeowners should have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home. (Avoid putting a detector in the basement or kitchen, to prevent false readings.) Make sure the detector has a digital readout and a self-cleaning sensor to reduce the chance of false alarms. If the alarm sounds, open the windows and call us to have your home checked. If individuals in the household are feeling ill, leave the house and call the fire department.
By having your furnace and air conditioner cleaned annually, systems will operate more efficiently and the chance of breakdowns will decrease. It is important to have your heating system checked annually to make sure safety controls are operating.
Furnaces and air conditioners require routine annual maintenance to maximize performance, maintain efficiency and ensure safety. Your heating and cooling equipment should be inspected by an expert in the heating season and in the cooling season to ensure that the system is operating correctly and safely. Our Total Comfort safety inspection and cleaning is a professional cleaning, adjustment and safety check that helps maintain peak performance, safety and reliable operation all year long.
Check to see if the outdoor unit is running.
A. If the unit is not running, turn the thermostat to the 'off' position. Go to your circuit panel and turn the breaker for the air conditioner off, then back on. Go to the thermostat and turn the system back to cool. If the system does not come on, you need a service call.
B. If the unit is running, check to see if you have the thermostat turned to the desired temperature. Check to make sure the air filter and the outdoor coil is free of debris. If all of these are clean, then you will probably need a service call.
Verify if the blower fan in the furnace is running.
A. If the fan is not running, turn the thermostat fan to the 'on' position. If the fan does not turn on, you will require a service call. This can indicate a problem with the thermostat or fan center.
B. If the fan does not turn on, check if the blower door on the furnace is properly closed. The door must be tightly sealed in order to make contact with the blower switch.
If the door is not ajar, you will find a safety switch (toggle switch) on the side of the furnace. Turn the switch off, then back on. If the fan comes on, the heat should work. If the fan does not come on then you will require a service call.
Check and see if the pilot is lit. If the pilot is not lit, contact Unique for a service call.
If your chimney is adjacent to an exterior wall when replacing your old furnace, you will need to line your chimney. Due to the new efficiencies of furnaces, the flue temperature is lower than the older systems. When the new furnaces shut off, the excess heat no longer leaves through the chimney, therefore, the chimney becomes cold. When the furnace starts again, the flue gases condense in the cold chimney and deteriorate mortar and the clay tile liner. This eventually causes the brick to flake and the mortar to erode. In severe cases of decay, the chimney may collapse.
If your chimney runs up the center of the house, you are not required to line the chimney unless the clay tile liner is oversized or deteriorated. But, by lining your chimney you can protect it against further deterioration.
If you install a 90% furnace, you still need to line the chimney for the water heater. Water heaters do not produce enough heat to maintain the temperature in the chimney, therefore it is necessary to prevent the condensation of the flue gases with the chimney liner. For more on furnace efficiencies read our furnaces page.
There are several factors that you should evaluate.
First, verify the company is established and has a facility, not working out of a home. This will help to ensure they will be there when you need future services. Second, make sure the company is licensed, carries liability and workman's compensation, and obtains the required permits. They must be able to cover any damages or accidents that can occur. Third, request references and call those references. Fourth, receive a written proposal with full details of installation, equipment information, and the agreed price. With a written contract, you know exactly what services the company will perform, and at what cost.
Every home heating and cooling system has some type of air filtration system. All of your home’s air passes through this filtration system. If you use disposable filters, they need to be changed each month. We provide and replace a 1" disposable filter for you each time we perform your system maintenance.
Improving indoor air quality starts with the cleaning of your humidifier annually. It is critical to change the humidifier pad and clean the orifice to remove mold, mildew and lime scale that can build up and cause a water leak or stop the humidifier from working. To work properly, a humidifier must have annual maintenance. We recommend cleaning your humidifier at the same time as your furnace.