Winter Energy Savings Tips

Heat Pump Maintenance:

  • Dirty filters cause the system to work harder, leading to higher energy costs. Check air filters monthly and clean or replace when dirty.
  • Ensure there is at least 18 inches on all sides of your outdoor unit clear of snow, ice, shrubs, and debris.
  • Keep the coils on your outdoor unit clean. Apex Heating and Air can clean the coils with an approved cleaner to ensure your unit is running at top condition.
  • Call Apex Heating and Air to schedule an inspection of your heat pump before the cold weather sets in.

More Energy Savings Tips:

  • Invest in a programmable smart thermostat and set it to turn the heat down when you are out of town or away from home. This easy home upgrade can cut energy costs by up to 12% and will continue to reduce AC costs in the upcoming spring and summer.
  • Install weather stripping around doors and windows to help keep the cold out.
  • If you have a traditional fireplace, be sure the flue is closed when not in use to avoid heat from escaping. Similarly, avoid leaving bathroom fans, range hoods, and exhaust fans running for long periods as they will suck heat from your home.
  • Take advantage of the world’s best natural heat source — the sun! Open curtains of windows facing the sun during the heat of the day, then close curtains to hold the heat in.
  • Reverse your fan’s blades to a clockwise rotation to help push the warm air down to where you are.

Apex Heating and Air – Don’t break the bank with your home AC bill this summer

Have your summer cooling costs been creeping up despite keeping a consistent temperature on your thermostat? Sometimes the fixes are simpler than an AC unit in need of maintenance. Try these ideas first and then call Apex Heating and Air to handle the rest.

A huge factor in a warm house and an overworked AC unit is the amount of sunlight seeping through your windows. Luckily this is an easy fix. Adding window treatments that can be closed during the hottest parts of the day help trap the cool air inside and keep the warm air out. This can also be done with ‘solar screens’ or mesh window screens that prevent the UV energy from entering your home. It packs a double punch by keeping your home cool and preventing floors and furniture from fading in the sun. Another option is to create more shade around your home by planting trees and shrubs. Similar to the screens and window treatments, trees and shrubs prevent sunlight from entering your home. They also create shady space outside for more comfortable outdoor living.

A programmable thermostat is another great way to save on heating and cooling. Being able to program the temperature of your home to a higher temperature when no one is home can save you tons of money. This ensures your house is only being cooled for the times that people are in it. There is no sense in cooling an empty house! Most programmable thermostats come with detailed installation instructions, but if you need help with installation, Apex Heating and Air is just a phone call or email away!

The best way to save on home heating and cooling is to have an energy audit done. This evaluates how efficient your home is in its energy use. Everything from age and efficiency of your AC unit, to air leakage from windows will be evaluated. A home audit really does ensure that you’re not ‘cooling the neighborhood’ along with your home. Apex Heating and Air can perform a home energy audit for you, as well as maintain or install new AC units to make sure your home is as efficient as possible — saving you money in the long run!

Discover issues before they become a problem by calling Apex Heating and Air Conditioning today at (919) 467-8823 to schedule a checkup, or signup for our annual maintenance contract.

(sources: US Department of Energy, Bankrate)

Apex Heating and Air - HVAC residential heating and air repair service

Prevent Heating System Surprises this Winter

Neglecting HVAC maintenance ensures a steady decline in its performance while energy use steadily increases.

The main purpose of preventative maintenance is to keep your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system up and running all season long with no surprise breakdowns—all while operating at top efficiency. You rarely see your HVAC system, so it’s easy to forget about it and its importance.

Imagine doing the same with your car: Without scheduling regular oil changes, rotating the tires, or performing basic tune-ups, you can’t expect it to last very long. Your HVAC system is the same way! The price or brand name of the system’s manufacturer doesn’t matter—it’s a complicated piece of mechanical equipment and requires occasional tune-ups. A smart homeowner can greatly reduce the incidence of repairs by keeping on top of annual maintenance.

Now that summer has ended, it’s the perfect time to prepare your HVAC system for the cold with a bit of TLC.

DIY Preparation

Homeowners should schedule a professional HVAC system maintenance once in the spring for cooling equipment and again in the fall for the heating system. Between these visits from the professionals, plan to complete a few maintenance tasks yourself. The following DIY tasks can help keep your equipment running smoothly until the next visit from the pros:

  • Before the first frost, test your heater to see if it runs. Contact a professional if you don’t feel any warm air coming from the vents.
  • Check the pilot light if you have a natural gas system. The flame should always be clear blue. A yellow or orange flame could be a sign of a problem.
  • Change your furnace filters each year. Dirty filters cause the unit to work harder to push the warm air through the filter, causing your unit to run less than efficiently and possibly break down.
  • As with air conditioning, make sure there are no drapes, furniture, or plants blocking the vents. Proper flow of air from the vents will ensure that the heat coming from the system will reach all spaces that need it.
  • Clear any obstructions from outside vents to allow for proper air flow.

Prep You Should Leave to the Pros

With the change of the seasons, your heating system needs more than just regular maintenance. A professional service technician will provide a complete maintenance inspection and recommendations based on the condition of the equipment. His understanding of the most common winter failures can provide a starting point to help determine whether a repair or replacement is needed.

A technician will:

  • Check for the correct amount of refrigerant;
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector;
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere;
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems;
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil;
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure the heating and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously;
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary;
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear;
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat;
  • And so much more.

As you can see, annual HVAC system maintenance is something you should take very seriously. Schedule a visit now to protect your family, improve efficiency, prevent possible breakdowns, and to save money! Heating and cooling systems seem to have a way of breaking down when the weather is at its worst—on the coldest night of a frigid winter or during a sizzling summer heat wave—times when your comfort system must work the hardest and you need it most. Conducting regular HVAC preventive maintenance with knowledgeable professionals is the best way to ensure trouble-free operation and optimum performance all winter long.

For more information on preparation for the winter months, call (919) 467-8823 or (919) 367-0102 or click here.

(Sources: U.S. Department of Energy; HomeAdvisor, Inc.; HGTV.com; HVAC.com; Direct Energy, Inc.; and HVACmaintenance.org.)    

Saving on your energy bill during the Summer Heat

General Household Summer Cooling Tips

Did you know that over 50% of annual energy costs come from a home’s heating and cooling system? The following energy efficiency tips could save you a significant amount on your summer cooling bills.

Energy Saving Tips:

  • Setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher can save you money. Keep in mind that a single degree of change on your thermostat can increase or decrease your energy use by 3 percent to 5 percent.
  • Use ceiling fans or portable fans in addition to your air conditioning system to aid in the cooling effect. Be sure to turn off fans when no one is in the room.
  • Keep windows, drapes and blinds closed during the hottest times of the day — generally noon to 5pm.
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to reduce the amount of hot or moist air circulating in the house.
  • Programmable thermostats can save you money when you are away from home at work.
  • Clean or replace air filters as recommended by manufacturers once a month or as needed.
  • Make sure all your ductwork is tightly sealed and there are no leaks.
  • Have your heat pump coils cleaned by a professional to ensure the system is operating at peak performance. Call us at 919.367.0102 for details.
  • An annual maintenance contract with Apex Heating and Air can extend the life of your system significantly and ensure your system is ready for the summer heat.

Call us at 919.367.0102 or contact us using our website form.

Keeping Away the Critters

It’s that time of year when creepy-crawlies start coming out of the woodwork and, believe it or not, could end up in your HVAC system!

If you live near a wooded area or a body of water, pest infestation is more likely and can lead to costly problems. Pests often want to burrow and tunnel. This can create holes in your HVAC system, which results in leaks that may be expensive to fix, and can cause your system to work harder to maintain a desired temperature.

In addition, dead pests can create a stench, which blows through your vents and can cause your home to stink. These decaying pest corpses can also affect the indoor air quality of your home and make breathing difficult for particularly sensitive occupants.

Check out these tips for keeping your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system free from infestation:

Tip #1:  Look for access points, gaps, or holes around your HVAC system, pipes, lines and foundation and use an expanding foam or caulk to fill the cracks (follow manufacturer recommendations).

Tip #2:  Install aluminum wire mesh screens over your exterior vents so small animals cannot wander in. Check periodically to make sure that the screens stay sealed and have not come loose.

Tip #3:  Periodically check your vents with a flashlight for signs of unwanted pests to help prevent colonization. Vacuum up or trap any unwanted intruders and remove them from your home. NEVER spray insecticides into your vents!

Tip #4:  To minimize the chances of pests entering your HVAC system from outside your home, bug repellent can be placed near the perimeter of your outdoor cooling and heating units. However, be sure to follow manufacturer instructions with any chemical repellent, and NEVER spray or spread them directly into/onto your HVAC units, filters or vents — this could permanently damage equipment, lead to serious health risks for your family, and degrade your indoor air quality. When in doubt, hire a professional exterminator to treat your property for insects and other pests.

Tip #5:  Make sure there is no standing water near your outside unit as this can attract bugs. If your unit is in a low area, take measures to prevent water from collecting during rainstorms.

Tip #6:  Keep the area clean. Walk around your outdoor unit every now and then to make sure that the area is free of debris that might attract  critters to make a home. Be sure to keep an eye out for anthills, reptiles, rodents and other pest nests.

Tip #7:  Maintain your ducts. Loose seals and cracks are one of the easiest ways for bugs to enter your ductwork. Call an HVAC professional to have your ducts cleaned and sealed this season!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your HVAC maintenance and ensure your ducts are pest-free this season!