How a Home Energy Audit Can Help Your Home

November 12th, 2014

Wouldn’t you love to pinpoint the exact areas of your home where you are losing heating and cooling? By scheduling a professional energy audit with a Boehmer Heating & Cooling energy expert, you can. A home energy audit can help you understand where your home is losing energy, as well as how much energy your home is using. It takes training and expertise to conduct an effective home energy audit in Pittsburgh, so call the people you can trust: Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

What Is an Energy Audit?

An energy audit is a series of tests and evaluations done in your home to pinpoint areas where you are losing heating or cooling. There is some variation as to the types of tests and analyses performed, but here is a general overview of what to expect from any professional home energy audit:

  • Thorough visual inspection – the specialist will conduct thorough inspections of your home’s exterior and interior to assess your home’s building envelope and potential issues inside.
  • Insulation inspection – an insulation inspection helps determine if you have enough insulation throughout your home, and if you have the right type of insulation.
  • Attic inspection – attic space can greatly affect your energy efficiency if it isn’t properly insulated; it can also allow for mold growth should there be issues with excess moisture. This inspection will identify any standing issues with your attic space.
  • Home appliance and HVAC inspections – thorough inspection of your HVAC system, hot water heater, dryer and any other home appliance; the purpose of this inspection is to detect any developing or existing energy problems.
  • Blower door test – pinpoints the exact areas of air leakage in your home.
  • 12-Month analysis of energy bills – this analysis helps determine your home’s energy consumption over the last year and the costs associated with it.

Home Report

Once all of the findings have been reviewed and analyzed, you’ll be given a comprehensive report detailing the findings and recommendations on how to fix any problems that were discovered during the process.

Energy.gov estimates that a home energy audit can save you anywhere from 5-30% on your annual energy bills. If you are concerned about the energy efficiency of your home, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and schedule a home energy audit in Pittsburgh with one of our experts.

Home Energy Solutions: How Does It Benefit Me and My Home?

November 5th, 2014

Is ineffective and inefficient heating or cooling a headache for the people in your home? Do you shut off your air conditioning or heating system even on the most uncomfortable days because you cannot bear the thought of spending more money on your monthly utilities? The folks at Boehmer Heating & Cooling are proud to offer home energy solutions in Pittsburgh for homeowners looking to solve a number of problems with the conditions inside of their home.

When you schedule a home energy audit, we’ll test, inspect, and evaluate all of the areas of your home that could contribute to an unpleasant climate or poor indoor air quality. This includes an analysis of your utility bills and the state of your HVAC system. Technicians will check for any duct leaks, air leakage in the home, poor insulation, and any other problems that may contribute to inefficiency and discomfort. Then, they’ll give you a full report of their findings and recommend services to correct your particular issues. Afterwards, you may notice any of the following advantages.

  • Retain Even Temperatures throughout the Home. Many homeowners struggle with an HVAC system that distributes heat or air unevenly in various rooms or areas of the house. With duct repairs, proper insulation, and/or HVAC maintenance, you should no longer notice this issue.
  • Lower Your Energy Bills. Improper insulation, air leaks, and a faulty HVAC component can all cost you more every month. Our home energy solutions will keep your home running as efficiently as possible to reduce energy bills.
  • Eliminate Excessive Dust, Mold, and Mildew. By sealing any air leaks, changing filters, and installing solutions for poor indoor air quality, you can significantly reduce the amount of allergens circulating in the air.
  • Keep Your Home Safe. Technicians will check the gas lines and electrical connections to make sure your home is as safe as possible.
  • Extend the Life of Your HVAC Equipment. Finally, with an HVAC inspection and cleaning as well as air duct services, your heater or air conditioner may last longer and require fewer repairs over time.

These are only a handful of the benefits you may notice when you receive home energy solutions in Pittsburgh. Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling and ask about scheduling a home energy audit today.

3 Common Heat Pump Repairs

October 29th, 2014

Heat pumps are quickly rising in popularity among homeowners looking to replace their heating and cooling systems. This is because these units are extremely efficient, with very high SEERs (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios) so that you are likely to save a lot of money every month in the summer and a high HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) for heating efficiency as well. Heat pumps are efficient because they only move heat back and forth instead of generating it. And heat pumps are very durable, with a lifespan of over 15 years in many cases.

However, even the sturdiest heat pump may eventually run into the need for repairs. You can prevent repairs by calling a technician for maintenance every heating and cooling season. But when you need reliable heating repair in Brentwood, trust the exceptional technicians at Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Heat Pump Repair Needs

Here are a few of the most common reasons homeowners call us for heat pump repair.

  • Not Enough Heat: If you feel little or no heat from your heat pump, you should call a professional right away, before the issue becomes worse. For example, if the reason for reduced heating is leaking refrigerant, it will only continue to leak, which means you may feel no heating at all, and it can cause irreversible damage to the compressor. There may be other problems with the heat pump components, or your heat pump may struggle when the weather outdoors becomes too cold. In this case, a technician may recommend a backup heating source.
  • Strange Noises: One other reason you may call a technician for heating repair is if you hear unusual noises from your heat pump. A banging noise could mean anything from a broken fan to a failing compressor. A hissing noises may indicate refrigerant leaks or duct leaks. It’s best to let a technician diagnose the problem before assuming the worst.
  • Unit Doesn’t Switch into Heating Mode: Heat pumps are basically air conditioners except for one key component, the reversing valve. This part allows refrigerant to switch directions so that it can heat your home. If your unit will not switch into heating mode, it could be a thermostat issue, or you may need to replace this part.

For expert heating repair in Brentwood, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today to schedule an appointment!

How Do I Know When I Need to Replace My Old Boiler?

October 22nd, 2014

Boilers can be great heating systems, but they will age and breakdown like any other mechanical system. It can be tempting to hang on to an aging system, particularly if it is still working, but sometimes nursing a system along can cost you more money than if you’d gone ahead and just replaced it. There are some common signs that can indicate it’s time for your system to go, as we’ll explain below. One thing to keep in mind with any boiler replacement in Baldwin is to make sure you hire professionals to perform the installation. Your heating system is critical to being comfortable, and the best way to ensure that you are comfortable this winter is to call your Boehmer Heating & Cooling expert for assistance.

Reasons to Replace an Aging Boiler

Here are some common reasons to consider replacing your boiler:

  • Age – with good maintenance, you can get up to 20 years out of your boiler, but once you start to encounter problems with a boiler this old (and you will), your money may be better spent on a new system.
  • Constant repairs – did your boiler need a lot of repair work to keep running last year, and are you potentially looking at more this year? At some point those repairs can add up to a significant expense.
  • Insufficient heating – is your boiler struggling to heat your home? It is not uncommon for aging boilers to have a hard time reaching the temperature you’ve set for your home.
  • Uneven heating – another sign of a failing boiler is uneven heating, aka, hot and cold spots. Maintaining consistent heating is important to your overall comfort level, which may be difficult to attain with an aging heating system.
  • High energy bills – are you seeing your energy bills go up even though you aren’t using your system any differently? When your system struggles to achieve the heating you need, it uses more energy to do so.

A boiler replacement in Baldwin can offer you better energy efficiency, better comfort and reliability. If you think it’s time to replace the boiler in your home, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today to schedule an appointment.

Signs That It’s Time for Boiler Replacement

October 15th, 2014

Boilers can be remarkably sturdy machines. Some well-maintained iron boilers have lasted over a century, and still see use in homes today. Despite their hardy natures, however, even boilers have a limit to their longevity. When that limit is reached, it pays to recognize the signs so that you can replace your boiler before it fails.

Rising Maintenance and Repair Costs

The easiest way to tell if your boiler is reaching the end of its life is by monitoring the cost of maintenance and repairs. If the cost of simple maintenance is significantly higher this year than it was the year before that, and the year before that, your boiler may be reaching the end of its life. The simple fact of the matter is that wear and tear is inevitable. No matter how well you maintain your boiler system, the years and decades of use will eventually cause parts to fail. This will happen more and more often, causing an increase in repair costs. Which brings us to our next point.

Frequency of Repairs

If you find yourself calling for boiler repair more and more frequently, especially within a relatively short period of time, you may need to replace your boiler. As mentioned above, wear and tear will become more and more pronounced on a system as it gets older. Since different parts tend to experience different levels of stress during normal operation, this can cause a waterfall effect. You may have just finished getting one part replaced when another one fails, and you have to start the whole process over again. This isn’t just annoying, it’s expensive. If it starts to seem like your boiler is in a constant state of disrepair, it’s time to replace it.

Heating Efficiency

If you begin to experience cold spots or other signs of uneven heating, it’s a good sign of problems with your boiler. One or two occurrences isn’t necessarily a sign of a deteriorating boiler. When the noticeable decrease in heating becomes constant, however, that is a reliable indication of a failing boiler.

If you think you may need to replace your boiler, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We offer quality heating replacement throughout the Brentwood area.

Why Schedule New Furnace Installation This Fall?

October 8th, 2014

So, your furnace is getting on in years, and you think it’s time to replace it. But when should you actually have it done? Does it even matter when you get a new furnace? As a matter of fact, it does. The fall season is the best time to ensure that your new furnace gets off to a good start. Let’s take a look at why you should have a new furnace installed in fall.

Perfect Timing

There’s a reason that most annual furnace maintenance takes place in fall. The best time for any sort of preventative maintenance is right before a period of heavy usage. This ensures that your furnace is in peak condition at the time that you need it the most. The same principle applies to installing a new furnace. A new furnace is already in the best possible condition, which means that it will be giving its best performance during the winter months. Since you were probably planning on scheduling an HVAC service call during the fall season anyway, why not install a new furnace at the same time? That way, you can stay right on schedule without having to change any plans to accommodate a new appointment time.

Convenience

Installing a new furnace necessitates the removal of the old one. This is obvious, we know, but it should factor into your thinking about when to install your new furnace. Whenever you install your new furnace, you’ll be depriving yourself of heat for at least a day. That day without heat is bound to be uncomfortable if you wait until the winter months.

You should also consider the ebb and flow of demand on HVAC repair services. During the winter months, calls for fast furnace repair tend to spike. This makes things more difficult if you want to install your furnace during the winter months. You are far more likely to get prompt service if you call for a furnace installation in fall, when there are fewer customers to compete with.

If you need a new furnace installed, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We install furnaces throughout the Whitehall area.

Have Your Boiler Repaired before Winter Strikes

October 1st, 2014

Boilers have been the most popular heating option in homes in the United States for a very long time, and for good reason. Boilers are generally rather reliable, and modern units have a long lifespan and can be very efficient. But because you use your boiler for much of the year, it’s likely that you will need to call a technician for heating repair at some point in the life of your system.

If there is a problem with your boiler, don’t wait to schedule repairs. When you let a repair need go on for too long, it can only get worse. And you don’t want to be without a boiler in the middle of a cold winter night, right when you need it most. The following list describes just a few of the problems that should be repaired before winter begins. For heating repair in Pittsburgh, be sure to call Boehmer Heating & Cooling at the first sign of trouble.

  • Water leaks: When water leaks from your boiler, it is a serious problem that cannot wait for repair. Water may leak from the expansion tank, the pump, the pressure relief valve, or from the gaskets. But even a minor leak can become worse, causing reduced heating, and possibly damaging the foundation of your home over time.
  • Strange Noises: Another repair that cannot wait until winter is unusual noises. While these noises may sometimes seem bearable, they could indicate problems with the pump or sediment in the tank. A damaged pump may only need simple repairs or it may need to be replaced. And if sediment continues to collect in the tank, it will reduce the tank volume, increasing the temperature and leading to overheating.
  • Not enough heating: If your home is not warm enough, it could be any number of issues. A leaking tank, broken thermostat, or pump problems are just a few of the potential culprits.

Don’t need any repairs before winter? Be sure to schedule heating maintenance with a professional technician toward the beginning of the heating season. A maintenance technician will thoroughly inspect your unit for any possible repair needs. Whether you want to schedule preventive services or find out you’re in need of heating repair in Pittsburgh, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today!

The Differences Between Mechanical and Electronic Air Cleaners

September 24th, 2014

Air cleaners can greatly improve the indoor air quality in your home, but there are several types of cleaners from which to choose. The main two types for whole-home use are mechanical air filters and electronic air cleaners. Understanding how each air cleaner works can help you determine which will work best in your home. Air cleaners in Baldwin should always be installed by professionals, so if you are ready to install a whole-home air cleaner, call the company that has been around since 1933: Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Mechanical Air Filters

Mechanical air filters are square-framed, with filter media stretching across the entire space within the frame. These filters typically fit inside the space where your standard air filter resides, but not always. Mechanical air filters screen out particles from the air as the air passes through them, trapping the particles in the filter media. Not all air filters work the same. In fact, there is a special rating system called MERV – minimum efficiency reporting value – that will tell you how effective a particular filter is. The typical MERV rating for whole-home air filtration is 5-12; the highest ratings belong to HEPA filters, which range anywhere from 13-20. However, HEPA filters are so strong that they can restrict air flow in your HVAC system, so it’s important to work with  a professional before deciding that a HEPA filter is right for your system.

Mechanical air filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, which covers many types of particles, including allergens, dirt, dust, pet dander and some biological contaminants. Many biological contaminants are smaller than 0.3 microns, so an air filter will not capture all of them. Mechanical air filters should be replaced every 3 months to remain effective.

Electronic Cleaners

There are two main types of electronic air cleaners:

  • Ion Generators
  • Electronic Precipitators

Each uses electricity to capture particles, but each does so in a different way.

Ion Generators

Ion generators disperse negative ions into the air. These ions attach themselves to particles in the air, and are then attracted to the different surfaces in your home, such as tables, walls and counter tops. The particle and negative ion attach to these surfaces and are removed when they are cleaned.

Electronic Precipitators

An electronic precipitator draw particles into it using a fan. Once inside the precipitator, the particles are charged in an ionization section. The newly-charged particles are attracted to oppositely-charged metal plates inside the precipitator, where they are captured. The plates need to be washed every 3 months in order to stay effective.

Air cleaners in Baldwin are an important part of healthy indoor air quality. If you want to know more about how any of these products can help you, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling and schedule a consultation with one of our indoor air quality experts.

Air Conditioning Repair: Could It Be the Thermostat?

September 17th, 2014

When your air conditioner malfunctions or breaks down, it can be easy to jump to the worst conclusions:

  • The compressor blew!
  • A fan motor is shot!
  • My whole system is a mess!

Sometimes, it can be this: the thermostat.

Thermostats are sensitive instruments, and because they control when your air conditioner cycles, problems with it can look like a lot of other (potentially bad) things. If you’ve ruled out the possibility of other problems, it may be time to focus your air conditioning repair in Pittsburgh on your thermostat, with the help of a trained professional from Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Signs of Problems with Your Thermostat

There are a few signs that your thermostat may be malfunctioning:

  • Short cycling – your system is turning on and off too much and not achieving target temperatures
  • Large temperature swings – you are seeing wild temperature swings in your home without changing the temperature
  • Won’t turn on at all – your AC won’t start

Common Causes of Thermostat Problems

As we stated above, thermostats are sensitive instruments, so even small things can alter their proper operation. Here are some common causes of thermostat malfunction:

  • Dirt and dust – dirt and dust can easily get inside your thermostat, and when they make a home on the instrumentation, they can interfere with the workings of the entire thermostat. The removal of dirt and dust requires a delicate cleaning of the inside and outside of the thermostat.
  • Thermostat isn’t level – to operate properly, a thermostat needs to be level and at least 5 feet up from your floor. Otherwise, the orientation affects the readings, and the cooler temperature of the floor (unless you have radiant heat) can contribute to an incorrect reading.
  • Loose wires – faulty connections with the wires can cut off the power to the thermostat, or make the power flow intermittently, disrupting operation.

Thermostat repairs are best handled by a professional, and it’s important to make them as quickly as possible before the issues can cause more problems. If you need thermostat or any other air conditioning repair in Pittsburgh, be sure to call the company that has been around for 80 years: Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Common Misunderstandings About Geothermal Systems

September 10th, 2014

Geothermal systems aren’t new, but they have become more popular over the last few years with homeowners as technology has made them more accessible. The concept of geothermal heating and cooling– using the Earth’s steady temperature to heat and cool homes – can sometimes lead to misunderstandings about how the system is installed and operates. The fact is, geothermal installation and use in Pittsburgh is pretty straightforward and may be a great option for your home. Our Boehmer Heating & Cooling technicians have put together a list of common misunderstandings to help dispel any confusion about geothermal.

Common Myths About Geothermal Systems:

  • You need a lot of yard space to install a geothermal system – geothermal systems can be installed either horizontally or vertically. As such, if you have a small yard, you can install a vertical ground loop that won’t take up that much square footage.
  • Geothermal systems only heat – geothermal systems provide both heating and cooling, and do it very efficiently with the help of a heat pump.
  • The installation process will destroy my yard – while the ground loop does require excavation, your yard and any landscaping will be returned to the state it was in before the installation.
  • A geothermal system won’t generate enough heat or cooling for my home – on the contrary, there is more than enough energy to go around with a geothermal system, and it’s 2-3 times more efficient than traditional HVAC systems.
  • It’s really hard to repair a ground loop leak – not so. The ground loop is designed so that should a leak occur, a technician will inject dye into the system and see on the ground level where the dye appears. This helps pinpoint where the leak is and the technician can conduct the repair.

The key with any geothermal installation and repair in Pittsburgh is ensuring you hire and work with professionals with the knowledge and expertise needed to install a geothermal system. This is where Boehmer Heating & Cooling comes in. We’ve been around since 1933, and we’ve learned every new system that has come to the market for the past 8 decades. If you are interested in seeing what a geothermal system can do for your home, call us today.