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Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone in Haverhill is a jack-of-all-trades. We offer furnace and air conditioner repair and installation, but we also provide plumbing services, mini-split systems, maintenance agreements and indoor air quality systems. We know that it’s important for you to be knowledgeable about all your home’s systems, so we want to address a plumbing fixture that is often overlooked: water heaters.

Water heaters are under a lot of pressure during Haverhill winters, expected to heat water while overcoming the challenges of Mother Nature. If your water heater malfunctions pipes can burst, sink drains can leak, toilets can overflow and your shower or dishwasher could spew out cold water. In order to decrease the chances of these things happening, it’s important to know about your own water heater and its benefits and disadvantages.

There are two main types of water heaters: tankless and traditional. There are many differences between these two kinds of water heaters, and our professionals at Climate Zone have laid out all the information for you to better understand which one is best for your home.

Tankless water heaters:

  • Use a heat source (usually electricity or gas) to heat water when you need it. They can provide two to three gallons of hot water per minute, on demand.
  • Don’t take up that much space and can be installed most anywhere, even on the side of your home outdoors if you purchase an outdoor unit.
  • Usually last more than 20 years in a home.
  • Can be very energy efficient, depending on your home’s usage. According to Energy.gov, tankless water heaters can be 24–34 percent more energy efficient than traditional water heaters for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily.

Traditional water heaters:

  • Store 30–50 gallons of preheated water in a tank, refilled and reheated once the water is used.
  • Are easy to install and maintain. Complications are less likely with traditional water heaters, making them easy to work with.
  • Usually last 10–15 years in a home.
  • Have a lower initial cost for installation, but can increase utility bills in the winter time depending on how much water you are using.

In general, tankless water heaters are a great option if you are trying to save money over time and plan on living in your home for many years. They are good for large families who have more people using hot water consistently. Traditional water heaters make more sense for homes on a budget and for homes that may be in need of a quick replacement.

We don’t want you to worry about your hot water going out on you in the middle of Haverhill’s winter. Climate Zone offers a variety of plumbing services, including water heater installation, repair and replacement. If you have any more questions about tankless vs. traditional water heaters or our various plumbing services, give us a call at 978-872-1190 or schedule an appointment with us online. We’d be happy to help you determine which water heater is right for your home.

Why Solar? And Why in Haverhill?

The innovative, energy-efficient technology of solar energy is a hot topic, but most people think that it is expensive and unobtainable for the common household. However, using solar energy to power your home might be easier that you might think. New products are continuously available that make solar energy benefits more accessible to the average person. Portable panels of different sizes and capabilities are expanding the reach of solar energy efficiency, whether it’s a small panel that can charge a single mobile device or an installed row of panels large enough to power your whole HVAC system.

There are many benefits to utilizing solar energy in your home:

  • your home’s energy efficiency will increase immensely,
  • you can reduce your carbon footprint and lower your emission of greenhouse gases, and
  • your energy bills will decrease over time.

According to the EPA, the average home has a 5 kW energy system. For a system that size, 7,100 kWh can be produced annually with solar energy, reducing annual carbon emissions by 4.9 metric tons.

According to EnergySave, the average household consumes 11,000 kWh of energy per year, spending around $1,400 a year on electricity alone. Taking into account the national averages for solar energy system size, electricity demand, utility rate inflation and state electricity rate, Massachusetts homes can save up to an estimated $30,243 over 20 years with solar panels in their homes. According to the EnergySave Solar Calculator, Haverhill homes can see payback on their solar energy investments in 4.6 years on average, and may also see a 3 percent increase in property value.

All these data points help put the impact of solar energy into perspective, but is this type of energy easily accessible through Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone? Is using solar energy possible in Haverhill’s weather? The answer to both questions is “yes”! Climate Zone offers a variety of air conditioners and heat pumps with solar capabilities—check them out here.

The weather in Haverhill offers excellent conditions for utilizing solar energy. In fact, many companies and households have already been reaping the rewards of solar energy. You may even remember the construction of a solar energy farm on Hilldale Avenue back in 2010. While Haverhill’s average number of hours of sunlight is high, solar panels also produce electricity on overcast or rainy days. Visible light can still get through clouds and infrared light comes through even more easily because of its longer wavelengths.

You have all the details now (maybe even more that you needed), but how can you start benefitting from solar energy? What can Climate Zone do to help? Talk with one of our experts about using solar energy. We can give you a free consultation at your home to help you better understand the process of integrating solar into your energy use. During this consultation, your roof will be examined for space, size and position considerations (roofs with exposure to the sun from the south usually give the best solar power results). You should also check with your utility company or Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to determine if they offer any rebates or credits for homeowners using solar energy.

Solar energy implementation doesn’t have to be expensive or unobtainable anymore. Our experts at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone in Haverhill are here to answer your questions and help make your home more energy efficient. Give us a call at 978-872-1190 to speak with a certified technician, or schedule an appointment with us online for your solar consultation.

When most people think about heating and cooling their homes, furnaces and air conditioners come to mind–which use ducts to heat and cool Haverhill homes. But what if there was an easier way to manage hot and cold areas in your home and concentrate your HVAC activity?

Mini-splits systems are ductless pieces of equipment that allow you to control the air temperature in individual rooms or across multiple rooms, depending on your preferences. They typically consist of a wall-mounted indoor unit with an outside compressor, but the indoor air handlers can also be suspended from the ceiling or mounted into drop ceilings. They are great for bedrooms, enclosed porches, home offices and more.

People sometimes forget about mini-splits as a heating and cooling option, but they offer a lot of benefits to a home:

  • First and foremost, mini-split systems adequately heat individual rooms or zones, providing unique and individualized comfort throughout your home.
  • Mini-splits are small and quiet—that means you’ll hardly notice them. Wall-mounted units are usually installed above eye-level and can seamlessly blend in to any space while the outdoor units can operate efficiently up to 50 feet away from your home.
  • They are easy to install, and allow you to heat and cool rooms in your home that aren’t connected to ductwork—like a new addition or a remodeled attic. They can easily be added to hydronic systems (hot water heat), space heaters and radiant panels and used in tandem.
  • Unlike window units, mini-splits require only a small hole to be drilled into the wall. This makes them less likely to create air leakage in your home and decreases potential security problems that window units might cause.
  • If you’re looking to add comfort to multiple rooms, one outdoor unit can handle up to four separate indoor units, meaning that you would only need one outdoor installation for up to four spaces in your home.
  • Mini-split systems are easy to customize—you can easily add timers and built-in sleep functions to make your home more energy efficient and further fine-tune your home comfort.

Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone offers high-quality mini-split system options that allow you to personalize your comfort. We understand that mini-split systems aren’t as well-known as furnaces or air conditioning systems. So, if you have questions about installation or other benefits of mini-split systems, or would like to take a look at our equipment options, speak with a Climate Zone certified technician by calling 978-872-1190. You can also schedule an appointment with us online and we’d be happy to come look at your home and determine if a mini-split system is right for your home’s needs.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about scheduling furnace maintenance before the mad rush this fall. With colder weather looming in Haverhill, you will soon be relying on your furnace for indoor comfort. But turning on your furnace for the first time after months of inactivity could bring up some issues with your system that need to be addressed before the first cold front sweeps through Haverhill. The sooner you test your furnace, the better.

If you switch your furnace on and find that it isn’t operating as you are used to, here are a few troubleshooting tips our experts at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone recommend before you call us in for a tune-up:

  1. Double check your thermostat.
    This is one of the easiest and most overlooked steps when having tricky furnace issues. First and foremost, make sure that your thermostat is set to HEAT and not COOL, and then check that the temperature setting is higher than the current indoor temperature. You might even consider turning your thermostat up a few degrees to test the heat and airflow. Changing your thermostat’s batteries might also be a good call during the change in seasons, especially if you can’t remember the last time you swapped out its batteries.
  2. Open up your air vents.
    Closing air vents (supply registers) in rooms that aren’t normally used in your home can be simple way to save some money on your energy bills. However, be very careful about how many vents you close. Shutting off too many vents can increase the pressure in your furnace, causing potential mechanical issues and making it work harder to heat your home, decreasing its lifespan.
  3. Inspect your air filters.
    Most people forget about their air filters—we get it. But their importance for the efficiency, health and cleanliness of your home cannot be overstated. If your air filters are dirty or old, they could restrict airflow in your home, reduce your home’s overall energy efficiency, increase your energy bills and even cause your furnace to stop running without warning. Our Climate Zone experts have an easy system to check if your air filters need replacement: hold your air filter up to the light—if you can’t see light coming through it, it should be replaced and it’s probably a sign that you need routine furnace service, as well. Check the size on the air filter and, if it’s a disposable filter, simply replace it with a same-sized new one that you can get at any home improvement or department store. Want an added tip? We recommend writing the date that you installed your new filter on it somewhere so you can know how old it is next time you check your filters. The air filter’s packaging should indicate how long it usually lasts.

These troubleshooting steps should get you on your feet and fix any small issues that could be causing your furnace to act up. If your furnace still isn’t running properly or you are due for a regular furnace service appointment, give Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone a call at (978) 872-1190 or schedule an appointment with us via our online form.

Even though fall is only just beginning, it’s important to start preparing your home for the cold winter months ahead so you won’t have any unexpected surprises. It’s hard to switch your mindset to the winter weather, we know; but that denial is exactly how important home details get forgotten as you switch off your air conditioner and flip on your furnace. Avoid furnace repair with these tips and pieces of advice, and ensure a comfortable and cozy winter.

People heat their homes in so many different, and potentially unsafe, ways: gas fireplaces, electric heaters, wood fireplaces, oil or gas furnaces, radiant heaters, boilers and even leaving your oven open! Safety is the most important part of the warm-to-cold season transition, but it is oftentimes overlooked when the cold hits earlier than expected.

Turning on that furnace for the first time after months of inactivity can be a shock to you, your system and your house. So instead of waiting for the first freezing day and causing a jolting change in your home’s atmosphere, turn on your furnace now. Take it from our Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone experts. We visit many Haverhill homes every winter for furnace repair because they did not prepare their homes for the peak winter months.

Don’t wait until it’s freezing outside to see if your system works—turn it on now! No really, right now! Did you do it? Once your furnace is switched on, stop and assess your surroundings:

  1. Listen: Does it sound like your furnace is struggling to work? Are you hearing more noise than you are used to from your system, or is there excessive airflow? Anything out of the ordinary might be a sign that you need furnace repair.
  2. Smell: Does it smell like something is burning around your furnace? Our Climate Zone professionals STRONGLY RECOMMEND keeping a fire extinguisher around your furnace for emergency purposes, especially when you are turning it on for the first time in months. If you smell burning, first check to see that there is not an actual fire or smoke coming from your furnace. If there is, turn off the system immediately, put out the flames, get out and call 911. If there is not a fire, wait and see if the smell goes away after an hour or two, but if it doesn’t, call our experts for an inspection or tune-up.
  3. Look: Once your furnace has been switched on, check your carbon monoxide detector’s readings. If the reading is over 30 or your detector goes off, turn off your furnace system and immediately call Climate Zone for furnace repairs and an inspection. You never want to compromise your safety for comfort and carbon monoxide could cause hazardous conditions in your home. You may want to exit your home until the detector’s reading falls below 30 again.
  4. Feel: Do you feel vibrations on your air ducts or walls? An inspection from our Climate Zone experts could help identify the cause of this before it becomes a major problem with potential furnace repair.

Aren’t you glad you turned on your furnace now and tested it before it was too late into the winter? After you’ve followed these sense guidelines, you should have a pretty good idea if your system is working properly and safely. By design, equipment that heats up always poses potential danger to its surroundings, so always put safety first when it comes to your furnace. By testing your furnace early, you’ve dodged the peak heating and furnace repair rush caused by those who didn’t plan ahead and turn their heating system on early to test it. If you have any questions or concerns as you are turning on your furnace, give our Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone experts a call at (978) 872-1190 or stop by to ask us questions in our Haverhill store.

Fall is creeping into Haverhill and with every change of the season come changes in your heating and cooling system, too. There are hundreds of reasons why your home’s furnace or heating system might need repairs, but there are a few reasons we’ve identified as the most common. Before reaching out to Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone for heating and cooling service, here are some of the reasons why you might be experiencing an uncomfortable fall so far:

  1. Thermostat malfunctions – With wear and tear, your thermostat might become faulty and could cause problems with your fan and your comfort.
  2. Months without use – Especially as the fall season begins, one of the most common furnace or heating problems we see at Climate Zone is inactivity. It may take a few days for your furnace to kick back into gear and fully heat your home.
  3. Dirty filters – Clogged air filters greatly reduce airflow through your heating and cooling system, forcing your furnace to work harder than it should. This lack of airflow can also damage the lifespan of your system over time.
  4. System pilot or ignition control problems – A faulty ignition or pilot makes it extra difficult to heat a home. Unlit pilot lights are usually caused by drafts or clogs in a heating and cooling system.
  5. Lack of maintenance – We say it over and over again, but the top reason we see unnecessary heating and cooling service is because a homeowner has failed to schedule annual maintenance that could prevent unexpected breakdowns and issues. These routine inspections help your furnace and entire system run smoothly and reliably so you can live in ease.

Now that you have a better idea of the top five problems we see at Climate Zone, how can you ensure that these won’t happen to you this fall? Here are some tips on ways that you can avoid these problems and get back to enjoying the cool fall weather:

  • Change your air filter – It’s standard to clean or replace your filter once a month, according to most manufacturers. Get this done early and set a reminder each month to check your filter. If you are unsure of how to check your filter, check out our latest blog on simplifying air filters.
  • Reduce drafts – Close windows and doors when they are not in use during this change of seasons to avoid fall drafts and future problems with your pilot light.
  • Check your thermostat – If it’s been a week or so since you’ve turned on your furnace and you’re still not noticing any heat, check the batteries in your thermostat and see if they need replacing.
  • Call in the Climate Zone experts – Schedule your annual maintenance and have a professionally qualified, NATE-certified technician come in and inspect your furnace and whole heating and cooling system to make sure there are no problems looming on the horizon. Our Haverhill experts will prepare your system for the upcoming winter and handle any major repairs that are necessary to your comfort. Important items like carbon monoxide checks, equipment safety checks and adequate combustion air checks are all standard during this tune-up process.

If you have any questions about your heating and cooling system and its most common problems, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone in Haverhill at (978) 872-1190.

Most homeowners understand what air filters are and what their purpose is for indoor air quality, but when it comes to deciding which air filter you and your home needs, the options can be dizzying. Which is the best quality? Does price mater? What size do you need? Air filters don’t need to be as mystifying as rocket science, so we’ve laid out some important details to simplify the air filter decision process.

How do I know if I need a new air filter?
There’s a simple test that you can do right outside your home to determine how efficient your current filter is and see if you need to buy a new one or not. You can either complete this test outdoors or with something below your filter so you won’t have a mess afterward: Hold the filter horizontally and pour standard table salt through the filter. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can bet that the filter will let salt-sized dust through, as well. The more salt that falls through your filter, the sooner you should upgrade your filter to something more efficient.

How do I choose a filter with the best material and rating for my HVAC system?
All air filters are rated in efficiency based on the MERV rating, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings range from 1–16 and the number rating tells homeowners how well the filter is designed to trap dust and dirt under the least efficient conditions. Here are some of the typical materials of air filters, their MERV ratings and how they correspond to efficiencies (these are only a guide and any further questions can be answered by our Climate Zone professionals to help you determine the best air filter for your home):

Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable Metal/Synthetic, Self-Charging (Passive)
MERV 1–4: 60–80% average filtration efficiency

Pleated, Media Panel, Cube
MERV 5–8: 80–95% average filtration efficiency

Extended Pleated
MERV 9–12: >95% average filtration efficiency

Electronic
MERV 13–16: >98% average filtration efficiency

While a higher MERV rating may seem like it provides the best filtration efficiency, it’s important to be careful with high MERV ratings. The higher the MERV ratings, the more expensive it usually is to operate your HVAC system and the harder your system will have to work because there is not as much air that can flow through. Think about it this way; the most efficient “filter” would actually be a piece of plywood that would just trap ALL contaminants (and all the air) from entering your home. That’s maximum air filtration, but would also be the least comfortable way to go.

We usually recommend a MERV 6–8, but there may be reasons this isn’t the best type of filter for your home. For instance, if a member of your family suffers from allergies or respiratory problems, you may want to consider a higher MERV rated air filter or a whole-home air filtration system. Our Climate Zone experts in Haverhill are happy to talk through this filtration efficiency business with you to make sure that your home is comfortable, energy efficient, clean and not costing you a fortune to heat and cool.

What filter size should I get?
We’ve saved the easiest for last—the best way to determine which size filter you need is to simply look at the label of your existing filter or measure it you can’t find the labeled size. The standard home air filter is 1” thick.

Air filters are supposed to protect our homes and loved ones from harmful pollutants, dust and dirt, so it’s important that we understand all the facts about getting the best air filter for our personal needs. We hope this information has simplified the air filter phenomenon. But, if you have any further questions, feel free to contact the professionals at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone in Haverhill at (978) 872-1190.

Everyone is always looking to save a few bucks no matter what the season is in Haverhill. One of the best ways can be through your HVAC system, which homeowners can often overlook as a viable saving option. Of course you never want to compromise your comfort levels inside your home, but Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone has a few tips on small and large changes you can make to save money on your heating and cooling costs:

  • Schedule annual maintenance – We know we sound like a broken record, but the best way to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and without extra costs is through regularly scheduled maintenance from a professional. An efficiently running system is less likely to give you trouble, therefore saving you money by not having unwanted repair and replacement costs. When your technician comes each year to check your heating and cooling system, make sure to ask how much life they think your unit has left – systems that are more than 10 years old may be costing you more than just buying a newer, more efficient system.
  • Check your registers – a small and easy thing that you can do at any time is checking your air registers, where your warm or cool air is pushed through to enter your home. Make sure that your air registers are clear of any obstructions, including furniture, toys, carpeting, drapes, etc. When your air vents are clear, your system doesn’t have to work as hard to push the air into your home, thus saving energy and some money. Another helpful hint is to partially close the registers in rooms that aren’t occupied as often as others, including guest rooms, bathrooms and closets. Don’t close too many air registers, however, because closing more than about 35% of your registers might cause your system to work harder than it normally would.
  • Invest in a programmable thermostat – A programmable thermostat can adjust to your exact heating and cooling needs, instead of just letting your system run all the time, even when no one is home. Most programmable thermostats are digital or WiFi-enabled so you don’t have to worry about continually adjusting the temperature throughout the day. You can set your system to heat or cool your home at certain times when you would like the air colder or warmer. As an added tip for additional money saving, turn down the temperature in your house a few degrees at night during the winter and just add an extra blanket to your bed to make up that additional warmth.

Taking steps to reduce your energy costs will not only benefit your wallet but also the life of your HVAC system. What’s better than lowering your monthly bills while also making a positive change in energy efficiency? If you are interested in learning more about how to save a few bucks with your heating and cooling system or if you would like to learn more about programmable thermostats and how they might benefit your home, give the experts at Climate Zone in Haverhill a call at (978) 872-1190.

Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone in Haverhill continuously stresses the importance of servicing your heating and cooling equipment regularly. It’s similar to a car’s engine–if you don’t check on it and tune it up every so often, it will certainly break down. This summer, the heat has been brutal so it is more important than ever to ensure that you air conditioning will last you the whole season and keep you comfortable.

One thing that may be stopping some people from scheduling these service appointments is the fact that mechanical trades often get a bad rap as untrustworthy, leaving a bad taste in a consumer’s mouth for the whole repair and service industry. Heating and cooling repair and sales companies have sometimes been lumped into this category; however, there is good news for the HVAC industry and consumers alike: there are a great deal of new ways to check the reliability and dependability of HVAC repair companies.

Internet research in the form of company history, customer testimonials, company ratings and BBB reports are just the start toward keeping customers well-informed about the HVAC company they choose to use for repairs and maintenance. These online descriptions allow the dependable, reliable and trustworthy HVAC companies to stand out, like Climate Zone.

So, what does a proper heating and air conditioning service actually do for your unit? There are standard maintenance steps for properly cleaning, lubricating and correcting the temperature control system. The main focus of a tune-up is to clean and balance your system, making sure all parts are running as efficiently and smoothly as possible. An air conditioning service should consist of:

  • Safety component and thermostat calibration check
  • A complete visual system inspection
  • An operational assessment
  • Gas or oil pressure and pilot light adjustments (for heating equipment)
  • Measurement and correction of temperature difference between the source and return air
  • A system cleaning and standard air filter replacement

Generally, a service appointment should happen right before the start of major season changes, before the hottest and coldest parts of the year in Haverhill. The best way to remember this is to add a note in your calendar or add an item to your Spring Cleaning list or Fall Activities list. It’s easier to clean and fix your air conditioning or heating systems in these milder seasons because of the nice weather, but also because heating and cooling companies will not have jam-packed schedules fixing broken systems yet for those who didn’t receive maintenance on their systems. This may mean discounted-rates on your servicing, too!

Finally, the most important thing to consider when choosing a company for an air conditioning or heating tune-up is their certifications. Are the professionals trained, experienced and certified technicians? Never let someone who is not properly equipped to fix your HVAC system, if for no other reason than for your family’s personal safety. The most national recognized technical certification is the NATE (North American Technician Excellence), an independent, third party certification body for HVAC/R technicians. You can find out more about NATE at their website, www.natex.org. Be sure to ask any company you speak to if their technicians are NATE-certified.

Feeling more convinced about the importance of a comprehensive air conditioning? If you haven’t received maintenance on your air conditioner yet this summer, give Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone in Haverhill a call at 978-912-7677 and learn about our service process, raving customer reviews and technician certifications. You can also request an appointment with us online if that’s easier.

You’ve made it through the majority of summer and have settled in to the thought of cooler fall nights. With everyone using their air conditioner right now we’re getting a lot of questions in the height of AC repair season. We’ve compiled a few of the more common ones in hopes that one of these might be a question you have as well:

What temperature should my thermostat be set at during hot summer nights?
If you are interested in saving money and energy by decreasing your air conditioner temperature at night, the first thing to do would be to invest in a programmable thermostat. The technology available in thermostats nowadays allows you to stay comfortable throughout your evening and while you sleep without having to lift a finger or get out of bed to change the thermostat. That being said, you can actually achieve better sleep with a room set around the 67 degree mark.

How do I know if I have the right size air conditioner?
The proper size of a home air conditioner is fully dependent on the load calculation of your home – this can be determined by a Climate Zone professional and takes into account the regional humidity, designed efficiency levels and the size of the home.

Why does my air conditioner keep running?
If you hear your air conditioner continuously running during these hot summer months, it is likely because it is being overworked. Unexpected hot days will come up, while your air conditioner is still working to maintain your temperature indoors. So, more often than not, your air conditioner is not undersized, it is just working harder due to the unforeseen and uncontrollable Haverhill weather.

How often should I replace my AC air filter?
The standard for one-inch fiberglass filters is determined by each manufacturer. Take a few moments to read over the packaging on your filters and follow the recommendation for your specific manufacturer. While replacement every 3 months or so is common for one-inch filters, and even longer for 4 inch filters, your specific filters will have it spelled out for you.

If you still have any other questions regarding your HVAC, come ask the experts at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone. Give us a call at (978) 872-1190 or schedule an appointment with us online.

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