Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog: Archive for July, 2014

What Does Our Home Energy Solutions Involve?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Think of your house as a large energy system, where each smaller system—such as the heater, air conditioner, ventilation, lighting, insulation, washer, dryer, refrigeration—form individual components.

Now…how efficient a system is your house? Is it losing excess energy and costing you money? What repairs can be done to this system to increase its energy efficiency?

Answering these three questions is the purpose of a home energy audit. At Boehmer Heating & Cooling we provide home energy solutions that evaluate energy efficiency and locate where homeowners can improve them to save money and better protect their health and the quality of their homes. Contact our team today to find out more about our home energy solutions and arrange for an energy audit in North Hills, PA.

What Actually Happens During an Energy Audit

An audit will not take up too much of your time or disrupt regular routines; the auditors will usually complete the job in approximately two hours.

After the auditors arrive at your home, they run a series of tests to find places where your home is losing energy. One of the key tests is to use a blower door, which fits over the aperture of your front door, to lower the pressure inside the house. This will cause outside air to infiltrate the home through any available air leaks, and the auditors can locate these spots using smoke pencils. This will show where your home has insufficient insulation and places that will create drafts in cold weather and permit heat to enter during hot weather.

The auditors will perform an infrared scan that will pinpoint spaces within your house, such as leaks in ductwork, that waste energy. The scan will also pick up moisture issues that could be causing damage to building material and raising indoor humidity.

A large part of the audit consists of the technicians doing visual checks on all the important household systems, such as looking over attic insulation, the air conditioner, furnace/boiler, hot water heater, and large appliances like refrigerators and washing machine.

A check over your utility bills will spot places where you can maximize your energy use, as well as identify where poorly operating equipment is causing an unnecessary rise in costs.

The end result of the audit is a report that details what the auditors have discovered, and what steps you can take to reduce the energy waste and consumption in your home, as well as anything that can improve indoor air quality or prevent damage from moisture. You make the choices about which improvements you want.

At Boehmer Heating & Cooling, we offer a comprehensive four-step home energy audit that will move you through the testing stage through the improvements that will help you live more economically and comfortably. Call our certified auditors today and schedule your energy audit in North Hills, PA.

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Can I Wait for Air Conditioning Replacement?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Replacing an air conditioner is a big decision, and shouldn’t be rushed into. But at the height of summer, it can be difficult to overcome the daily heat and humidity with an aging system. When faced with the question to replace now or later, one of the best choices you can make is to consult with a professional. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has helped Baldwin residents with their cooling needs for over 80 years. Below are some questions that may help with your decision about when to replace your current AC:

  • How often do you need repairs?

Have you found yourself calling frequently for  air conditioning repair work over the last 2 years? At some point, the inconvenience and cost of multiple, frequent repairs may indicate you’d be better off with a new system.

  • How well is your current system cooling?

One of the telltale signs that an aging air conditioner is ready for replacement is an inability to cool your home. Whether you are experiencing uneven cooling, or your system struggles to reach the set temperature, if you aren’t getting the cooling you need, your indoor comfort is compromised.

  • How old is your system?

The average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 12 years, but if your system is 8 years old or older, you may be missing out on savings in the form of energy efficiency. This is because in 2006, federal regulations changed, requiring that all air conditioners be manufactured with a minimum SEER of 13; the previous law mandated it be 10.

  • How efficient is your system?

Even if your AC meets the minimum SEER regulation, an older system can still have problems being energy efficient. The best way to asses this is to review your monthly energy costs with a specialist.

Work With a Professional

If the answers to the questions above have pointed you in the direction of needing replacement for your AC sooner rather than later, the best way to ensure you install an air conditioning system that fits your home is to work with an AC installation expert. Many factors go into determining what air conditioner will work best for you, and some of these factors can be complex or even overlooked.

Since 1933, Boehmer Heating and Cooling experts have helped Baldwin customers with their cooling needs. Call us today and schedule an appointment.

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Principles Behind UV Germicidal Lights

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

To combat some of the more serious problems that can affect your air ducts—bacteria, viruses, mold—you can use the power of UV germicidal lights. Normal cleaning and filtering methods will not effect most biological growths, but professional installation of UV lamps can clear out almost all these contaminants and provide you with healthier air.

If you think you have issues with microbacteria or mold growth inside your ventilation system, contact Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and talk to our indoor air quality specialists. They will help with setting up UV germicidal lights for your ventilation system that will protect you and your family from the dangers of biological pollutants.

How Do These Lights Help Clean My Home’s Air?

The principle behind UV germicidal lamps is that ultraviolet light sent out at short wavelengths is lethal to microorganisms. Any type of UV radiation is potentially damaging to organic material (this is why you are supposed to wear sunblock when exposed to the sun’s rays for long periods) but the specifics of ultraviolent germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is to target microorganisms and strip away their nuclei to disrupt their DNA. When this occurs, microorganisms cannot perform basic cellular functions and die. The radiation also prevents the organisms from spreading.

The man who discovered that UV lamps could be effective at stopping bacteria and viruses was Nils Finsen, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1903 for his pioneering work in combating skin tuberculosis using ultraviolet light. UV lamps soon became a standard part of sterilization in hospitals and later moved into food service. Now these lights can be installed inside your ductwork to kill bacteria that passes through the air after going through filtration, cleaning the air that enters your home without leaving any chemical residue. And even though UV radiation can pose a threat to human tissue, with proper professional installation of these lights in your ventilation system you will experience minimal exposure and should never encounter any health risks.

Keep in mind that UV germicidal lights only affect organic material. To eliminate dust and dirt and other non-organic particles that can contaminate indoor air, you must also have a filtration system, mechanical or electronic, installed in your ductwork.

Installing UV germicidal lights in Brentwood, PA may be the optimal solution to problems with your indoor air quality. Should you notice an increase in asthma- and allergy-like symptoms in your home, call for air quality experts to examine your ducts and determine if you will benefit from the sterilizing power of UV lamps. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has experts ready to assist you with finding the best solutions for cleaning your home’s air. Call us today to schedule your next service appointment.

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How Can I Save Money on Air Conditioning?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Running your air conditioning in Baldwin, PA can get expensive, but this summer you may be able to cut costs significantly with a few energy saving tips and by considering investing in energy-efficient solutions for your home.

To start saving money on air conditioning today, try some of the following tips:

  • Set a programmable thermostat: There’s no point in running the AC at full blast when no one is home. Today’s digital thermostats have many features to help you increase efficiency. If you enjoy coming home to a cool house, set the thermostat to come on thirty minutes before you arrive. You can also set your thermostat to automatically switch to lower and higher temperatures at warmer and cooler times of the day.
  • Clean or replace air filters: By inhibiting proper airflow and forcing your AC system to work harder than it needs to, dirty air filters not only reduce indoor air quality, but also energy efficiency. Replacing filters on a regular basis or washing reusable ones can help you save every month.
  • Turn on fans: Ceiling and room fans help circulate the air, distributing it evenly throughout your home. Your skin tends to feel cooler with moving air, so you’ll likely be able to lower the temperature and save energy. Open all bedroom doors for increased circulation, and open windows at night to cut down on cooling costs.
  • Regular maintenance: If you schedule regular maintenance by an HVAC professional, your system is far more likely to remain energy efficient than without it. During a maintenance visit, a technician checks for any issues that may inhibit efficiency, cleans AC components, and adjusts refrigerant levels. Air conditioners that are regularly maintained are less likely to need unexpected repairs.
  • Invest in energy-saving solutions: If you have an older system, you may consider buying a new energy-efficient AC unit. This isn’t always necessary though; you can also have a professional add insulation to the outside of ducts to prevent the loss of cool air that often escapes through the ductwork of your home and costs you money.

For energy-saving solutions for your air conditioning in Baldwin, PA, call the AC experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We offer quality air conditioning services from installation and replacement to repair and maintenance.

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The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

Friday, July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the signing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th—although many years later.

Our family at Boehmer Heating & Cooling hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

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