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Stay Warm AND Save Money This Winter

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October is flying by and with the changing of the leaves, we know that it is only a matter of time before the weather takes a drastic turn.
 

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Winter is just around the corner.

As always, it is a good idea to get the furnace cleaned and checked before the winter begins. You should also change the filters often.  Preventative maintenance will save you money. 

Here are a few other things you can do to keep heating costs down, while enjoying a healthy and comfortable winter:

Get a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is an investment that will pay for itself.  Programmable thermostats give you control to lower your thermostat at night, while you are out of the house, etc. Placing the thermostat in the right place in your home and programming it appropriately will save you around 10 to 20%. If you already have a programmable thermostat make sure it is programmed correctly and that you are ready for the cold.

 

Check Your Seals

It’s a good idea to check your electoral outlets to make sure there are foam insulation gaskets.  Install the do-it-yourself seals on outer doors and windows to keep drafts at bay. Make sure your window frames are free of any cracks and fill in or replace as needed.  If you have a room or area of the home you don’t use seal it off so you don’t heat it unnecessarily.  For windows that cause heat loss and the cool to seep in install plastic film.  Seal exposed ductwork and if you have less than 7 inches of insulation it is a good idea to get an upgrade.

While doing your seal check, make sure to repair any broken windows or fill in any holes in the attic, crawl space or basement (not only will this save you from heat loss it will keep any critters out too.)

 

Cover Up or Open Up

Grab a sweater and socks and cover up, warmer clothes will keep you warm instead of unnecessarily turning up the heat too high.  Cover up those windows too, windows without sun exposure on a windy day close the drapes to keep any drafts from coming into your home.

During the cool months make sure that all doors and windows are closed and open south-facing window curtains/drapes/blinds during the day to let the sunshine in for natural warmth. 

 

Re-Think the Fireplace

Traditional fireplaces can suck the warm, heated air right out of your home.  Think about replacing it with a direct vent or a vent free fireplace.  If replacing your fireplace is not an option, make sure to keep the damper shut when not in use and for extra coverage seal the opening shut.

 

We can help you get ready – Grab our special savings offers on Facebook and Like our Page so you never miss a deal!

Energy Saving Tips in The Winter

From Visually.

A New Furnace: When You Get Cold Feet on a Winter Morning

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No one wants to spend money on a new furnace – until they jump out of bed on a freezing morning and find they have no heat.  

Replacing a furnace is a large investment, and most of us would like to keep ours running as long as possible, even as the repair bills start adding up.  However, there comes a time when replacing a furnace makes more sense than repairing it.  In fact, a high efficiency furnace could actually pay for itself if you consider the money saved on heating bills.

There are ways to gauge whether a furnace is worth repairing.  The chart below graphs the cost of the repair and age of equipment to show when a new furnace should be considered. 
TR repair replace

Nicor Gas has also outlined several issues that should be considered when deciding to replace your furnace with a high efficiency model:

  1. Cracked Heat Exchanger.   The heat exchanger is the only barrier between the exhaust gas (carbon monoxide) and your home air. A crack could lead to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home.  Replacing the heat exchanger could cost as much or more than replacing the entire furnace.
  1. Faulty Circuit Board.  This is the “brain” of the furnace.  It controls the functions and monitors the operation of the furnace.  Replacing the circuit board could cost about $1,000.  Depending on the age and efficiency of the furnace, replacing the furnace would likely be a cost-saving option.
  1. Broken Motor.  It is the furnace motor that powers the fan that pushes hot air through the home.  When the motor is not operating correctly, the heated air cannot get to all of the rooms of your home, which not only affects the comfort of your family, but also wastes energy (and money).  Installing a new furnace with a variable speed fan will not only improve the unit’s efficiency, but improve your home’s air quality. 

For more information on keeping your home warm in the winter (and cool in the summer) call TR Miller at (630) 357-4373. They will evaluate your system and give you an honest answer about whether to repair or replace your current unit.  Great offers available with ComEd and Nicor Rebates – see information here or give us a call.

And don’t forget to schedule your Furnace Clean & Check (if you don’t need a new system!)  Special Facebook Coupon available.  Grab it here.

Fall Maintenance Checklist

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While the weather is still warm, it’s a good idea to get a few of these items done before it gets too cold.  Get your home ready before winter with this Fall maintenance to-do list.

¨  Repaint exterior paint that is peeling or chipping.

¨  Check windows and doors for gaps; seal, caulk or weatherstrip as needed.

¨  Clean gutters and downspouts.

¨  Patch concrete cracks.

¨  Seal the concrete areas.

¨  Replace rotten boards on decking.

¨  Seal or paint deck if needed.

¨  Plant trees now (best time to plant them!)

¨  Aerate and seen the lawn.

¨  Organize the garage to store the summer stuff.

¨  Clean the patio furniture and cover or store away.

¨  Cover the grill or put in garage/shed.

¨  Run lawnmower to drain gas after last use of season.

¨  Inspect and clean fireplace and chimney.

¨  Switch ceiling fans to run clockwise.

¨  Check air filters for cleaning or replacement.

¨  Have your furnace inspected and cleaned (get a coupon here!)

Be ready for winter and its harsh weather.  Making sure your house is in good shape will save you money and prevent expensive home repairs.  Taking care to store away your summer furniture and things will save money from having to re-purchase again next year.

5 Things You Need to Do for Your AC Before Fall

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Okay, it’s still hot out there. But there are hints that cooler weather is on the way.  Every day the morning sun comes up just a bit later and night closes in just a bit earlier.  While we may not notice these incremental differences day-to-day, we suddenly realize that our days are getting shorter.  Another hint at cooler temperatures ahead comes when we start shopping for sweaters and jackets for our kids, and see school buses practicing routes through our neighborhoods.  Ready or not, summer will soon be over.

While we may be thinking about assuring that our furnaces are ready for the cooler days ahead, we should not ignore our air conditioners.  Taking care of your cooling system will assure that your air conditioning unit gives you the most energy-efficient operation possible, while assuring a long life of dependable service.  Proper maintenance also means that your equipment will be ready when you flip the switch from “heat” to “cool” next summer.

In fact, scheduling regular maintenance on your heating and cooling system will keep you and your family comfortable all year long.

There are a few things that homeowners can do to prevent costly problems, even before a maintenance visit is scheduled.  While some (handy) homeowners will be comfortable with some of these maintenance tips, others will require a call to a service technician: 

  1. Check for funny sounds or smells.  If you hear something rattling when the A/C is on, or if you smell anything abnormal, it could be a sign of a potential leak 
  2. Check for leaks or drips in the drains, nozzles and tubing in order to avoid mildew (or worse yet, mold).  The condensation pan under the unit should be regularly drained.
  3. Fan blades should be checked for corrosion or extensive wear.  Blades and condenser coils may also become dirty with continued use and should be cleaned.
  4. Clean up the area.  This summer has been especially good for growing plants and (especially) weeds.  When any type of foliage gets too close to the unit, it should be cut back and/or removed.  Leaves and other debris can not only be a fire hazard, but may allow insects and other pests a path into the system, which could wreak havoc. (See last month’s post on the damage a mouse can do.)
  5. Finally, one of the best ways to keep your HVAC system running efficiently is changing the air filter. Whether you have separate filters for the A/C and heat, or use the same for both, each filter should be changed often.

Think of TR Miller Heating & Cooling for all of your HVAC needs. We provide quality workmanship with professional, dependable and courteous service. We offer 24-hour emergency service so that you can count on us to be there when you need us the most.

Grab our Fall Super Savings – Save with your AC tune-up and prep for fall and get that furnace ready for its job ahead.  Grab the offer here.

(You can also save that AC tune-up for next season with our offer!)

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