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What NATE Certification Means For The Average Homeowner

Certified Professional HVAC TechnicianWhen reading through ads in the yellow pages for HVAC companies that service homes in your area, you have probably noticed the phrase “NATE certified technicians”. What does NATE certified mean? North American Technicians Excellence (NATE) is a program that promotes and develops excellence in installing and servicing heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration equipment through the voluntary testing and certification of the technicians who service this equipment.

 

NATE certified technicians hold one of the most prestigious of all the certifications possible in the HVAC industry. It is a voluntary system, so technicians who study and take the test are committed to being the best technicians they can be in their field. The testing is challenging and the pass rate is relatively low, so achieving this certification is meaningful. HVAC company employers know that surveys indicate NATE certified technicians are more productive than those without the certification and also stay in the industry longer as a career.

 

What is NATE certification? This third party program qualifies HVAC technicians as experts in not only residential HVAC work but also light commercial plus commercial refrigeration. The NATE program has broad support from many in the HVAC industry including manufacturers, distributors, contractors, builders and utility companies. People in the industry are aware that improper installation of an HVAC unit may cut up to 30 percent off its overall efficiency (www.energystar.gov) and assuring that units are installed by competent, knowledgeable technicians eliminates this problem.

 

What does this certification mean for homeowners? NATE certification means that your HVAC technician has achieved a level of technical expertise and knowledge over and above what is required to be hired for the usual HVAC technician’s job. When a NATE certified tech comes to service your system, you can rely on him or her to know exactly how to service, repair or install HVAC systems properly. Manufacturers endorse these technicians because it means fewer service calls for their equipment and fewer warranty returns for problems caused by improper installation or repair.

 

You can call a HVAC service company that employs NATE certified technicians with the confidence that your home’s unit will be in good hands. As summer begins, make an appointment to have a maintenance inspection completed on your home’s HVAC unit before hot weather puts it through its paces. Be sure to run your ceiling fans this summer to assist your air conditioner in cooling your home and save some money on your energy bills.

Achieving Energy Efficiency: Partnering A/C With Ceiling Fans

A/C Money SavingAmericans spend billions of dollars each year on the cost of electricity. The cost of air conditioning, according to the U. S, Department of Energy, accounts for at least 15 percent of the energy use in many of our homes and may even reach as high as 70 percent in hot climates. If homeowners want to lower their electricity bills in the summer, ways to achieve energy efficiency throughout the home, especially with air conditioning, must be sought.

Central air conditioning, according to a report in the New York Times, costs homeowners around $130 monthly. Window air conditioners cost around $50 monthly. These are not the only methods available for cooling in the home. Ceiling fans are popular in tropical and temperate climates. In fact, they often are all that are needed to cool homes for the entire summer in such areas. One ceiling fan costs only $1.20 monthly. The A/C money saving available through the use of ceiling fans is enormous.

Many of us live in areas too hot to have our homes cooled comfortably enough by ceiling fans alone. Ceiling fans used in partnership with air conditioning can still provide significant savings on Home Energy Costs just the same. Most people can be quite comfortable with the thermostat set on 78°F to 80°F, and you achieve more energy savings for every degree above 78°F. If that feels too warm, do not change it yet. Turn on your ceiling fans. The drafts they create work to cool your skin through evaporation on its surface and cool you by three to five degrees. Now you feel as cool as you would if the thermostat was set on 73°F.

The cost of operating a ceiling fan for one hour is one penny. With the reduction in energy use from your A/C unit and the tiny cost of the fan, you will save a great deal on your electric bill for the summer. This makes a great start to any energy efficiency plan. Installing high efficiency air conditioning if you have an older, less effective system is another. To complete compiling a Summer Energy Savings Plan, there are hundreds of tips available on the Internet for ways to save energy around the home.

Diagnosing Common Central Air Conditioner Problems

Diagnosing Common Central Air Conditioner Problems

Central Air Conditioning serviced by a technicianYour home central air conditioning system is made up of several parts that work in unison to ensure you enjoy a comfortable home. These parts are vital to the proper functioning of your central air conditioning system and keeping them maintained will prolong their life. By understanding how your central aid conditioning system works and keeping it maintained, you can enjoy a comfortable home environment without interruption.
 

How Central Air Conditioning Systems Work

The first step in keeping your home cool throughout the hot summer months is to understand how central air conditioning systems work. The system has two parts, the furnace or air handler unit, which is inside the home, and the outdoor unit, which houses the motor.

The systems cools the air from inside the home, forcing warm air outside and recirculating the cool air inside the house. When air is not being properly cooled, it is vital to have a diagnostic performed to find out the source of the problem.
 

Common Central Air Conditioning Problems

Warm air coming from the vents is one of the most common problems when it comes to central air conditioning systems. There are a number of reasons why this can occur. Often, the most likely problem is that the central air conditioner needs charged. This is a simple fix that your certified heating and cooling technician can troubleshoot during a maintenance call. Often, just having your Freon charged solves the problem.
 

Faulty Temperature Readings on Your Thermostat

In some cases, the readout on your thermostat does not match the ambient temperature in the home. If your thermostat says that the temperature is 65 degrees yet the house is sweltering, the problem could be with the sensors in the thermostat. Likewise if the house is cool and the thermostat reads 80 degrees, this is also indicative of a problem. Your maintenance technician will start by checking thermostat to make sure all of the sensors are working properly.

Getting regular maintenance on your central air conditioning unit is vital to enjoying a temperate climate in your home. Schedule your maintenance at the end of spring for best results. By allowing yourself time to work out any kinds before the hottest part of the year, you can enjoy uninterrupted cool air all summer long.

Keeping your central air conditioning system maintained is key to enjoying maximum home comfort. Often small problems can be caught early during a regular maintenance call, saving you in costly repairs later. Your heating and cooling technician will replace any air filters, repair broken parts and fix broken hoses.

Don’t go a single day without your air conditioning system functioning at its peak. Schedule your in-home heating and cooling system maintenance today.

Remember to Change Your Air Filter Regularly

Remember to Change Your Air Filter Regularly

 

It is very important for you to make sure that you change your air filter on a regular basis because that will keep the air inside your home clean. It is estimated that Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the air inside of homes is 70 percent more polluted than the air outdoors. Poor air quality is one of the most common public health risks.

 dirty air filters reduce whole home performance when it comes to energy efficiency

You should not wait until the air filter is dirty to change it. You should check your air filter’s condition on a regular basis. Your system is working harder during the winter and summer months, which is why changing the air filter is very important. Your HVAC system will have to put in more effort to heat and cool your home if the filter is dirty.

A clogged air filter will not only cause your system to work harder, but it can also cause it to perform less efficiency. Additionally, your system’s lifespan will be shortened if it is has to work harder. There are several ways that you can benefit from changing the air filter.

Below are some of those benefits:

 

Improved Indoor Air Quality

There are many types of filters, but they all work in a very similar way. The HVAC system’s filter is responsible for keeping your home free of mold, dust, pollen, allergens and other toxins. Your air will be cleaner if you change the air filter regularly.

 

Realize Home Energy Savings

A dirty air filter will cause the HVAC system to work harder. Your system will use more energy and work less efficiently. This means that you will be spending a lot more on your electric bill. On the other hand, a clean air filter will help reduce your electric bill.

 

Increase The Longevity Of Your System

Did you know that neglect and dirt are the main things that cause a heating and cooling system to fail? Clean filters help prevent dirt and dust from building up inside of your system. This will help your system last for a longer period of time.

 

Better For The Environment

Again, your system has to work harder to heat or cool your home if it does not have a clean air filter. This will also cause more greenhouse gases and toxins to be released into the environment.

See your manufacturer if you want specific recommendations for replacing or cleaning the air filter. Maintaining a pure air filter will help save you money on repairs and help your HVAC system last a lot longer.

Virginia Air Heating and Air Conditioning Service Area

Virginia Air Heating and Cooling is proud of our reputation as residential heating maintenance and repair specialists. We understand how important it is to keep your home comfortable no matter the season. This is why we pay special attention to every residential cooling maintenance and repair issue you ask us to handle.

It does not go unnoticed that the weather in Virginia can be unpredictable at times. Since we have families of our own, we understand how vital it is to keep your home comfort system working at peak performance all the time. That’s why we are at your service even during emergency situations. If your furnace fails to operate the way it should, regardless if you live in Fairfax, Manassas, Gainesville, Centreville, Ashburn, Chantilly or Sterling just give us a call and we will send a well trained technician out as quickly as possible.

At Virginia Air Heating and Cooling, we install all brands of heating and cooling systems, and we provide maintenance and repairs for them as well. We even offer gas fireplace installation for those who enjoy sitting in front of a nice relaxing fire. Our technicians participate in continuing education classes offered by the manufactures so that they are able to stay on top of latest techniques and equipment in the industry.

We can provide the services you need, whether it is regular maintenance on your heating and cooling system, repairs to the heating equipment, duct cleaning, gas furnaces repair, electric furnaces repair, gas logs or humidifiers repair. Whatever it is that is affecting the performance of you unit, if it can be fixed we are the ones that can do it. We deal with simple and complicated heating and air conditioning issues and have technicians available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to ensure that when you need us we can be there right away.

For the greatest benefit, be sure to ask us about our Home Comfort Club. As a member, you will be able to enjoy discounts on new installations, get priority when it comes to scheduling your fall and spring heater maintenance and other service related issues. We want you to be fully satisfied with your home comfort system, so be sure to call us for an appointment.

 

Serving the following cities since 2001:

  • Fairfax
  • Manassas
  • Gainesville
  • Centreville
  • Ashburn
  • Chantilly
  • Sterling

 

Call us today at 888-384-9800 to set up an appointment if you are not happy with the performance you are getting from your home comfort system. It may be just a matter of doing a little maintenance to get it running the way it should, but you will never know unless you call.

Check out our heating and air conditioning services, or learn more about our service area.

Installation Of Heating System To Cope Through Winter Season

Installation Of Heating System To Cope Through Winter Season

 

Winter is here and everyone is now worried about their heating systems. If you are worried about the high cost of utility, the uncomfortable temperatures in your home, or your heating system being more than a decade old, it is time for you to consider a new gas furnace. Today, it is vital for every home to include a central heating system, which has replaced the countryside fireplace. It is installed in secluded areas that do not need regular cooling such as the basements or closets. Most houses today are being built with a combined central heating and air conditioning system. However, not all furnaces are suitable for your home. There are numerous considerations when choosing the right furnace, which should match your house for heating efficiency.
winter sticker
 

You should recognize the type and conditions of gas furnace you require, that which is suitable for your home. Natural gas heating options vary from big central heating unit to petite wall units and fireplaces. A system that is over sized can turn out to be very wasteful while that which is undersized may make your home uncomfortable. The proper size for a furnace depends on home size, structure, and insulation, use of the house and the lowest winter temperatures in your region. It should operate nearly constantly during winter’s most severe temperature by keeping your house at roughly 70 degrees F. Basically, a gas furnace unit consists of 3systems: a heat creation unit, heat distribution system, and a heat control system, thermostat setting to regulate the heat production and distribution. However, it may include other heat control gadgets like the damper and vent.

 

One requires the help of a licensed and certified technician, like Virginia Air in Alexandria, Virginia to determine what size you require. He or she is able to estimate your home’s heat loss and calculate peak heating demand through calculating the wall, top, and floor space that is exposed, and the home’s insulation amount. The technician should also direct you on using and maintaining the system appropriately such as frequent changing or cleaning up of the air filters and registers.

 

Cost of a gas furnace can prove to be unattractive and is therefore important to compare the initial cost of buying and installing a system, and its standard yearly operating cost. However, going for the cheapest unit does not automatically mean saving money on service bills. Conversely, the most expensive may not also be the most appropriate for your home. To save money you will need to reduce your bills by lowering your thermostat or installing an automatic one, caulking your windows and door frameworks, insulating switch, or electrical outlet plates on the outer walls, closing top floor registers during winter to let hot air ascend and opening them during summer to let cool air fall to the lowest floor, repairing and maintaining areas such as the chimney, ceiling insulation, duct work, thermostat, and keeping unheated areas or storm windows and doors tightly closed. Have your home’s comfort under your control by choosing a modern, reliable, and efficient system.

How To Increase Energy Efficiency in the U.S.

Reading between the lines of a recent National Governors Association paper, if you want citizens and industries to reduce their carbon footprints, give them financial incentives. Although there are multiple advantages to a greener outlook, including less pollution, many of the points made in this paper suggest that money is what drives some people towards necessary change above all other considerations.

 

Economic Incentives

 

To promote and advance energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings, governors are going right to utilities companies. They offer incentives to these companies to find ways to reduce the cost of providing energy to customers within the states they serve. Along with any incentives specific governments provide for their citizens, this is an additional way to help consumers lower their energy costs. If they can save a bit of money every month, this could help prevent financial trouble but also free up money for energy efficiency structural changes.

 

Regulations for Users

 

At the same time, there can and should be pitfalls for business owners who defy expectations to increase energy efficiency wherever possible in their fields of industry. Regulations are drawn up by governors to limit the actions of business owners who would overstep these expectations and produce more carbon emissions than are necessary or permitted.

 

There can be no doubt of the rights and wrongs of energy use when it is all written down. Governors are “improving energy efficiency rules and standards for buildings and appliances” (http://nga.org/). They have also created an Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors which lays out all of these points and more.

 

Thinking of the Future

 

Neil Abercrombie, Governor of Hawaii, stresses that “the opportunity exists for even greater energy savings” (http://nga.org/). Governors are concerned about what can be done today to reduce the environmental impact of using gas, electricity, and water, but they also have their eye on the next group of innovators. To promote their work, governments are working with academic institutions to run or create programs where technology is used to prevent over-consumption in the United States, but to go even further.

 

Private individuals with innovative ideas can also look to state programs for help with their financial situations. Some monetary support could come from changes to financing arrangements if projects and inventions appear to have the potential to make positive change. Essentially, loans would be cheaper to pay off. Governors regularly revisit green ideas put forward, exploring which are likely to work, what works now, and to plan for the future.

How To Save Money Heating Your Home This Winter

Keeping your home warm and cozy in the winter months is necessary for your family’s comfort and well being. Keeping your home warm in winter can be an extremely expensive undertaking and can quickly drain your household budget. While you cannot stop the onset of winter and the need to keep your home warm, there are some things you can do to save money on heating costs. When you understand how easy it can be to save on heating costs, you can take action to put these ideas into practice and keep your home warm and while you keep your wallet full.

 

One easy way to save money on heating costs is to place draft blockers at the bottom of every door. These inexpensive draft guards will help keep your heat inside your home preventing its escape through small, unsealed spaces in between the door and the floor. Draft blocking curtain are another quick and easy way to keep heat in and block out cold drafts that zap heat and eat up your heating budget.

 

Another simple way to save money on home heating costs is to keep the heat set a couple of degrees cooler than you normally would in winter and wear sweaters and socks to keep warm. Keep blankets and throws on your couch and chairs to snuggle under and help you stay warm without turning up the thermostat. While these tips are low tech, they are time tested ways to stay warm on a budget.

 

Furnace ManOf course, you should have a professional HVAC service technician do a complete check up on your heating system. Annual heater maintenance can help you keep your heating system running smoothly and prolong the life of your system. Having a heating service professional check and clean your system can help you avoid costly repairs and keep your system running efficiently saving you money. If your system needs cost prohibitive repairs or is an out of date energy sucker, your HVAC professional can help you with new heater installation. Having a new heater installed can maximize your home’s efficiency and save you hundreds of dollars over old, out dated systems that do not meet today’s energy saving standards.

 

Staying warm in the winter without draining your bank account can be done by making some thoughtful choices and doing a few simple things to winterize your home. From low tech options such as door draft blockers and draft blocking curtains to wearing socks and sweaters and using blankets, there are lots of low to no cost options that can help you save money on heating costs. For a higher tech solution, call on help from professional HVAC service technicians to make sure your heating system is up to date, clean, efficient and energy saving to further stretch your household budget and save yourself money while you stay warm this winter.

Households In The US To Expect Higher Heating Expenditures This Winter

The US government forecast shows that most US households will have to dig deeper into their pockets because of higher heating expenditures this winter. Whether you use oil, electricity or gas for heating, you are to be ready for the worst, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The state department of meteorology believes that this winter shall witness relatively lower temperatures compared to last winter, the effect that most people will need to use more fuel, electricity or gas to heat their homes.

 

Hand setting digital thermostatThe Department of Energy projects that higher than 90% of the US households will incur higher heating expenses. However, the US Energy Information Administration was quick to note that the actual cost per household will largely depend on the energy efficiency of the heating equipment. Therefore, homes should make sure to replace their heating appliances in order to survive the expected high heating costs this winter, according to EIA experts at http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=13311.

 

Further, the report notes about one-half of U.S. households use natural gas. After two years of historically low gas prices, gas users will need to spend more compared to the earlier years since their heating expenses are projected to rise to about $679 for the season running through March. This will be 4% higher than the last winter season, but 13% higher than 2 years ago. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Report of 2012 at http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/, 38% of the households rely on electricity to run their heating equipment.

 

In its recent Short-term Energy Outlook, the Energy Department forecast that this winter heating oil cost will average $2,046, representing a drop by about $ 46 from last winter. This is due to a projected decrease in the average consumption and a relative decrease in the oil prices by 5%.

 

The Energy Information Administration noted that heating costs will rely largely on the prevailing local weather conditions, the size of the energy market, thermostat settings, and the size of the heating equipment. Despite that the weather forecasts are closer to last winter, the authorities noted that even a slight change would have an overwhelming impact on the expenditure per an average household. To experienced households, more efficient heater means lower energy costs.

 

US households can leverage the efficiency of new and highly efficient heating equipment to neutralize the effects of rising oil, gas, and changes in energy prices, as well as the projected drop in temperatures beginning this October through March.

 

The average expenditure will vary from one region to another, for example, the Northeast is expected to be relatively colder, and the West is expected to be relatively warmer than last year. Many other aspects could change the dynamics of heating costs, including disparities in fuel production, the type of fuel used, and variations in pipeline capacity. On average, importance of having a high efficiency heating system will need to be emphasized if households are to reduce their annual heating costs, especially beginning this winter.

Getting Ready For Winter

As summer gives way to fall and evening temperatures start to get cooler, homeowners thoughts need to turn to getting their residential furnaces ready for the colder nights of autumn and the even colder nights of the winter months that will follow. The same thinking also applies to businesses.

 

Many home and business owners fail to understand that fall maintenance heating system checks are important to maintaining the efficient heating of a building. In fact, most emergency winter service calls can be from lack of maintenance – as many as 75% according to experts. A professional heating system inspection typically costs less that $100 per furnace and is definitely less expensive that an emergency repair on a cold day.

 

A thorough preseason heater check involves several steps and includes:

 

  • Checking all heating system connections and voltages.
  • Lubricating all moving parts such as motor bearings.
  • Inspecting any blower pulleys and belts for wear and tear;  replacing worn belts.
  • Inspecting and clearing the condensation drain.
  • Completely furnace cleaning areas where soot can collect.
  • Testing the thermostat to ensure that the heater comes on and shuts off at the set temperature.
  • Inspecting fuel lines, burners and heat exchanger for defects that can reduce efficiency and emit carbon monoxide.
  • Replace the furnace filter.
  • Adjusting the fuel input so that the flame color is blue.

 

There are also maintenance steps that business and home owners can take to improve system performance and extend the life of a heating system. The air filter should be replaced at least once every three months, depending on the type of filter and the amount of material that is collected in the filter. Heavy concentrations of pet hair and dander, dust and other debris indicate that the filter should be replaced one a month. It is equally important to choose a filter that will not put too much strain on the heater and reduce efficient heating.

 

Another way to improve a furnace’s efficiency is to invest in installing a programmable thermostat. These thermostats dramatically improve the accuracy with which a furnace senses and responds to temperature settings. Programmable thermostats can be purchased for under $100.

 

It is critically important to have carbon monoxide alarms strategically installed in a home or business. This odorless gas can cause serious physical side effects – and even death.

 

Gas and oil bills run high enough during the winter. Maintenance can reduce furnace repairs and improve a heating system’s performance by taking the time to have it inspected and brought up to speed before the cold winds blow.