Home heating tips during the Polar vortex

At JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air, we want to help you keep your home comfortable during these record-low temperatures. Follow our tips for keeping your heating system operational. If you run into any problems, please contact us at 888-365-1171. We do have emergency service if necessary.

If you’ve repeatedly turned up your thermostat and you’re not feeling the temperature heat up, it just might just be the polar vortex. Furnaces aren’t designed to function in subzero temperatures, so your heating system may struggle to keep up with this week’s extreme cold.  Even if your thermostat is set at 70 degrees, it doesn’t mean your furnace can keep your home at that temperature.

The key is to not mess around with the thermostat or change it frequently. Turning your heating down or off during the evening can put even more strain on the system. Without proper heating, pipes can also freeze during the night — even more reason to keep your thermostat on a “hold” during extreme cold.

Keeping garages and doors shut can also keep the heat in.

Be sure to check pipes on external walls for snow or ice because that can stop furnaces from functioning. Keep your outdoor condenser clear of snow if you have a heat pump.

Replace your furnace filter. Ideally in the winter months, especially during these ultra-cold spells, you should change the filter monthly.

Be sure your ceiling fans are on to keep the warm air moving if they have the reverse setting for colder months.

Help to heat your home with some cooking or baking—or even just boiling water. It gives extra humidity and warm temperatures to your indoor air. Under no circumstances should you ever heat your home with your oven, stove, or grill, as this is extremely dangerous.

Be sure to keep your cupboard doors open where your plumbing is located to allow your heat to keep your pipes warmed. The last thing you want is frozen or burst pipes. In these extreme temperatures, keep all your indoor faucets on a constant trickle with room-temperature water. This also helps to prevent frozen or burst pipes.

Check on neighbors or anyone elderly in this freezing weather to be they are safe and warm.

Does Your Home Have Those Annoying Static Shocks?

Dry air can be a problem in almost any home, but it is most prevalent during the winter months. The combination of cool, outdoor air and heated indoor air can cause your home to be drier than the Sahara Desert.

Air that’s not properly humidified can have serious health and comfort implications:

  • Low relative humidity can make you more susceptible to catching a cold. And flu viruses spread faster in dry air.

  • The respiratory infections caused by cold and flu viruses are a leading trigger of asthma in children. Plus, cold, dry air on its own can aggravate asthma.

But that’s not all. Dry air can cause structural damage to your home and possessions. It can cause walls, woodwork and hardwood floors to crack. And those annoying static shocks? They can cause irreparable damage to your electronic equipment.

Dry air can actually make you feel colder at normal temperatures, causing you to overheat your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every degree you heat your house, you add four percent to your energy bill.

Healthier, more comfortable air is within your reach.

Whole home humidifiers can help. They are installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling system and automatically deliver the perfect amount of humidified air, not just to one room, but throughout every room of your home.

Contact the professionals today at JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air for more information.

What is the most important day in the life of your home heating system?

The most important day in the life of your home heating system is the day it is installed. A home heating system is one of the largest investments you will make in your home. Consider these questions when making this important decision.

Is it sized properly?

Will it be installed professionally?

Is it a quality product?

Does it have a 10 year warranty?

Does the dealer have a reputation you can trust?

We at JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air have been serving the Morgantown and surrounding areas for 30 years. Call us today for all of your heating system needs.

 

HVAC Tips for New Homeowners

You bought a home! Congratulations! Whether this is your first time purchasing a home or fifth, it is important to be familiar with the systems that control its comfort levels before for they need a major repair. Doing so allows you to perform the preventive maintenance the HVAC system needs, recognize the signs of trouble, and avoid mistakes. In turn, your HVAC system will reward you with energy savings and reliability.

  • Know the HVAC system: Does your home have central air conditioning, heat pumps, mini-split systems or a boiler? After learning exactly how your home is heated and cooled, find out what type of fuel it uses, such as electricity, oil, propane or natural gas. Other important things to learn about your HVAC system include its:

  • Age: While some HVAC systems seem to last decades, most start experiencing problems after 10 or 15 years.

  • Efficiency rating: Heating and cooling systems have SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), EER (energy efficiency ratio), AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) or HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient a unit is.

  • Warranty: In addition to learning the warranty’s terms, learn what actions might accidentally void it.

  • Maintenance inspection results: If the previous homeowner took good care of the HVAC system, they hired a professional to maintain it annually. Ask for the inspection reports to learn about the types of issues the system experienced to be aware of problems that might occur.

  • Change the air filters: One of the simplest, most effective ways to keep your HVAC unit in top shape is to change its air filters as often as the manufacturer recommends. The frequency can range between one and six months. Some thermostats will remind you about filter changes.

  • The area around outdoor units: Maintaining the landscape does more than make your yard look beautiful, it also helps your HVAC system perform well and have proper airflow. Shrubs, trees, plants and other foliage should be about three feet away from the unit. It is also a good idea to keep garden tools, supplies, furniture and toys away from it. As leaves and pine needles fall on and around the unit, clear them away. The same goes for snow.

  • Take care with ice: It is okay if a little bit of ice forms on an HVAC unit during the winter. If larger sheets or blocks of ice form during the winter, or you notice ice formations when the weather is warmer, call a professional right away. Do not pour warm water on the ice to melt it.

  • Annual HVAC maintenance: Hire an HVAC company to perform maintenance services on your heating and cooling units at least once a year. The tune-up will keep your system in optimal condition and alert you to small problems that could become major repairs. A good time of year to schedule maintenance is during the spring or fall, before the weather gets too hot or too cold.

  • Mind the ductwork: When your home has uneven temperatures, smells musty, feels too humid or has unusually high energy bills, hire an expert to clean and inspect the ductwork. Leaks in ductwork negatively affect an HVAC system’s performance and can send conditioned air into spaces that you don’t use such as between the walls.

  • Find a reputable HVAC company now: Don’t wait until you need a repair to search for a company that you can trust. Searching for one in advance gives you time to do research. A good company is one that has served your area for several years, provides emergency services, and specializes in a variety of home comfort systems.

  • The HVAC system is one of the features that attracted you to your new home. Maximize its life and your energy savings by keeping it in good shape. If you ever have questions about your heating and cooling units, don’t hesitate to get in touch with JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air. We want to be your trusted HVAC expert.

Duct Work Problems

Is your living or work space not as warm as you would like ? Are you noticing your indoor air is not fresh and maybe even musty? Have you heard any banging and whistling noises? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your ducts might be the cause of these HVAC problems.

HVAC problems caused by duct issues are not a reason for panic. Often it’s just a matter of calling in an HVAC service company to clean and unclog your ducts and service your HVAC system.

Here are some duct-related HVAC problems and solutions:

Get a duct inspection. If your air ducts have been neglected for a while, they might be clogged with dust, pet dander, pollen, rodent and insect vermin and other contaminants. Contact a professional duct cleaner in to inspect your ductwork.

Repair duct leaks. The majority of the inefficiency in HVAC systems stem from air flow issues. Make sure an HVAC professional seals any leaky air duct leaks.

Check duct sizing. An improperly designed system will cause a host of HVAC problems. If your contractor underestimated your load capacity, the installer probably used undersized ducts. Your system will work harder and longer to compensate for inadequately sized ducts which means higher utility bills.

Check ductwork design. When your ducts are too long and there is too much space between your equipment and heating location, your comfort will suffer. If your ducts contain too many sharp bends, you unfortunately will feel the effects of impeded airflow. Your contractor should eliminate sharp turns when possible and use elbows which ease the sharpness of turns.

Check for flexible duct damage. If you use flexible ducts made from plastic, sometimes these tubes get crushed, twisted or torn. Check the ducts for kinks and tears. Sometimes supports help prevent twisting and alignment problems.

Add more supply or return vents. Frequently, too few supply and return vents are the sources of HVAC problems. You need enough supply vents to provide for airflow and enough return vents to draw the air back into the system for conditioning. Not enough of either of these vents results in unbalanced pressure in ducts, which will decrease comfort and efficiency.

Many HVAC problems caused by duct issues are beyond the expertise of do-it-yourselfers and require professional help. Why not make an appointment with technicians from JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air, who have experience diagnosing HVAC problems? They can help you make a comfortable decision.

3 Common HVAC Noises: What They Mean & What You Should Do About Them

Can’t hear the TV because your vents are so loud? While some noises are normal, such as a quiet hum or the sounds of air whooshing through the vents, sometimes HVAC systems make strange noises and can become loud, disruptive annoyances in the home. This doesn’t have to be the case. Check out these common causes of noises in an HVAC system and what you can do about them:

Rattling

Hearing a rattling noise coming from your HVAC system could mean a few things. If it originates from the outdoor unit, chances are you have some kind of debris in the system, such as a twig. While the grate will protect your system from most large debris, it’s still possible for small things to get through.

Turn your system off and cut the power to the unit, then remove the debris. If you see visible damage to the condenser coils, compressor, or fan, call your HVAC technician.

If the rattling seems to be internal, from a furnace or other internal component, turn the system off and call your HVAC technician since removing the obstacle isn’t as simple.

 
Hissing

Hearing a hissing noise most likely means air is escaping from your system. If the noise is coming from the walls, there’s a good chance your ducts are leaking. Not only can this cause noise, it also wastes money because the air that should be circulating throughout your home is leaking into the walls.

Duct repair isn’t really a repair homeowners can do on their own, so if your system is making a loud hissing noise,  call a technician. However, if the hissing is light, it could originate from your air vents. Typically when you hear this noise it is because your filter is not “set” right or you have the wrong size filter which is creating the gap in the seal. If this is the case, the air is squeezing past the filter or around it, instead of being pulled through it. This is a simple fix that starts with ensuring the filter is the right size and is placed correctly, leaving no room for gaps.

 
Clanking

An HVAC system that is running normally will make a humming noise. But if it’s clanking, that’s a sign that something is wrong. It could be loose parts, such as the blower motor fan, loose blades, or loose pipes that are rubbing together.

Clanking noises are a bit more serious because  loose parts, if not addressed, can cause costly damage to your system. Your best bet is to turn the system off and call your technician.

Keep in mind that your HVAC system is exactly that — a system. As it works, it will make noise. Hearing the motor running or humming, as well as the fans blowing or air moving through the vents, is totally normal. However, unnatural sounds like rattling, hissing or clanking, or the sounds becoming loud enough to be disruptive, can be signs of problems. If you have any concerns about your HVAC system, call JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air today.

 

Is Geothermal Home Heating for You?

The initial costs of geothermal home heating may be high, but the system is eco-friendly and reduces heating and cooling bills considerably.

The geothermal heat pump, also known as the geo-exchange heat pump, is among the most reliable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective home-comfort technologies available. It’s also easily dismissed because of its steep up-front price tag. But with energy costs likely to rise and government incentives now widely available, today’s savvy homeowners are giving this incredibly efficient heating and cooling technology a closer look.

What makes geothermal heat pumps so outstanding is their efficiency. For example, the very best natural-gas furnaces provide about a 95% efficiency rate—meaning that for every dollar you spend on electricity and gas to heat your home, the furnace is able to return about 95 cents worth of heat. A geothermal system will give you more than four times that rate. That efficiency translates in to savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a geothermal system will save 50% to 70% of home energy usage for heating and cooling.

There’s another reason to consider geothermal heat pumps. Because they require only a trickle of electricity to power the pump and fan, they produce no CO2 emissions and help reduce demand for fossil fuels.

Tips for Hiring the Right HVAC Repair Company

Picture this: on a 99-degree day in the middle of August, your HVAC system suddenly stops working – leaving you, your children, and your pets with no relief from the unrelenting heat of summer.

Pretty horrific scenario, right? Unfortunately, that’s just the type of nightmare that can drive some homeowners to make snap decisions and become more vulnerable to dishonest sales tactics or outright scams – especially since most homeowners aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of their home’s HVAC system, causing them to rely on their service provider’s expertise and honesty.

How to hire the right HVAC repair company:

Angie’s List, a subscription-based, crowd-sourced review website of local businesses, offers the following tips on how to avoid a painful and costly run-in with the wrong HVAC repair company.

1. Check licenses. Many states, and even some cities and municipalities, require HVAC contractors to have specific licenses to operate on HVAC equipment. You can look up your state’s and/or local government’s online database of contractor licensing requirements through  Angie’s List’s License Check.

2. Do your homework. This means checking references (a professional HVAC repair company should have a list of recent customers that you can call), and checking to make sure that the company is bonded and insured in addition to being licensed.

3. Pay attention to detail. When looking at new or replacement heating and cooling equipment, ask prospective companies what specific manufacturers or equipment brands they carry. Unlike other home improvement contractors, HVAC repair companies often carry only a small selection of brands; and it’s important that you limit your hiring choices to companies that specialize in your equipment brand of choice.

4. Ask about payment schedules. On a big job, especially when installing new equipment, you may need to make a deposit and make progress payments or planned payments. If you use a payment plan or apply for financing through the HVAC repair company’s line of credit, make sure you read all the fine print and know what you’ll be financially responsible for.

Summer Vacation Tips

July is the most popular month for summer vacations. If you are planning on traveling this summer, don’t forget the important things, such as putting your lights on a timer, locking doors, and preparing your HVAC system for your absence.

Change the Thermostat Temperature

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to raise the temperature on the thermostat when they are leaving on vacation. For those with programmable or smart thermostats, you will need to manually override the schedule in order to keep the temperature set while you are away.
It’s important to set the temperature correctly to prevent heat and moisture problems while also saving money and energy. You don’t want to turn the system completely off.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you should set your thermostat to 85-90F degrees when leaving on vacation. But that can be too high a temperature for many homes. We recommend setting your thermostat no higher than 85F degrees to protect furniture, electronics, and other sensitive equipment. If you have wine, expensive art, and other temperature sensitive objects, it’s best to set the temperature to 80F degrees.

Change the Air Filter

Although nobody will be home to experience the air filtration benefits of a new air filter, it’s a good idea to change the air filter anyway. A clean air filter will increase the airflow and efficiency of your HVAC system while also helping to clean the indoor air for your arrival.

Close Doors, Windows, and Shades

Prevent air leaks and energy inefficiencies by remembering to close all of your doors and windows. If you notice any severe air leaks, get them fixed and sealed before you leave. Go around the home and close all, or most, of your interior and exterior window shades. This includes awnings, shutters, blinds, curtains, and window overhangs. By closing your interior and exterior shades you can reduce solar heat gain by around 50% (U.S.Department of Energy).

Now sit back, relax, and have a great vacation!