All posts in Preventive Maintenance

There’s a reason that so many stories, parables and fables talk about preparing for the winter and not the summer. No one likes to get left out in the cold. And when it comes to winters in Haverhill, it’s a time of year where no one should have to endure the chills.

As the seasons change, we might think about outside maintenance and home repairs, but it’s also a great time to remember indoor maintenance, especially having your home heating system checked. Home furnace service and maintenance makes it less likely that you’ll face breakdowns or heating problems in the middle of the winter, just when you need it the most.

Taking care of your furnace now can help your comfort in a number of ways:

  • A guarantee that your furnace is up-to-date. An airflow check or full inspection can help ensure your furnace has current and working parts. You’ll get the peace of mind that comes with a system that’s been checked using the latest technology and standards.
  • Increased home safety. Every winter the news is full of stories about homes that catch fire or suffer from air quality issues due to poorly working furnaces. That’s because furnaces burn fuel to generate heat and, when left unchecked, older furnaces are more likely to malfunction. This can mean an increased risk of fire. That’s why it’s imperative to check the heat exchanger, gas burner and gas valve calibration.
  • Stay warm all winter long. An efficiently working furnace means a warmer home. Annual service is what keeps your furnace efficient, reducing the chance of breakdowns. That means you can rely on your furnace during the cold nights when you need it the most.
  • Maintain your warranty. For many furnaces, skipping an annual maintenance can mean voiding your warranty. So, allowing an expert from Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone to identify potential problems and fix them before anything happens will save you money down the road.

Don’t get caught with furnace problems during the winter. Getting your furnace serviced now not only gives you the benefits of regular maintenance, it helps you avoid dealing with a comfort emergency when other folks are having similar issues.

Make your home’s winter comfort a top priority. Schedule a furnace tune-up with Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone today. Call us at (978) 912-7677 or set up an appointment online.

Fall is about to blow into Haverhill, Massachusetts, which also brings an annual reminder to do some seasonal home maintenance. Nothing is worse than having your heat cut out when winter rolls around. So, why not take the time now to check in on your furnace, prepare your pipes, or just have a professional come do a home checkup. It can mean the difference between a comfortable winter and a chilly winter. To help you prepare, the team at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone has put together this list of common problems to watch out for this fall, as well ways to make sure your house stays safe and ready for winter.

Problem: Frozen pipes
When temperatures drop to extremely cold levels, there’s a serious freezing risk for your water pipes. This can lead to blockages (which can create poor water flow), water that is harder to heat, and most dangerous, bursting water pipes. Frozen water pipes can cause more than just inconvenience, they can cause expensive damage to your home.

Solution: Insulate pipes
Protecting your pipes is the easiest way to prevent frozen pipe issues. Make sure to insulate any pipes that are in non-heated areas. This doesn’t include only those pipes that are outside your home. A crawl space or garage is an area that can present freezing risks to water pipes. Not sure how to best insulate your water pipes? A professional plumber can help best identify pipes that are at risk for freezing and help insulate them.

Problem: Poor room heating
Your furnace and boiler systems have likely been inactive all summer. When fall and winter come along, the sudden strain put upon your heating system can often make it prone to sudden breakdown. While many problems could be minor, continued stress on an already malfunctioning heating system could lead to complete furnace failure.

Solution: Help your heater get up to speed
There are a number of ways to reduce the strain on your furnace while still making your home comfortable as the days get colder. Simple steps include setting your thermostat to 68°F when you’re at home and awake, and as low as 60°F when you’re asleep. Smart thermostats can take the guess work out of scheduling efficient temperatures with set-it-and-forget-it programming. Replacing your air filter on a regular basis will also keep ducts clean and allow your furnace to work more efficiently. Sealing air leaks around doors, adding weatherstripping around any drafty windows, and checking insulation quality in your attic are other ways to make sure that your heater isn’t working harder than it needs to. If your home still isn’t getting the kind of heat you need from your furnace, a home HVAC professional can diagnose any problems your furnace is dealing with and help you identify the best ways to get back to comfort.

Problem: Water heater breakdown
Just as your furnace will be called to do extra work during the colder months, your water heater will also have to work even harder during the long winter months. Problems with your water heater can show up in other ways beyond a lack of hot water. If you hear odd noises, including knocks or whining, from your water heater, that’s a sign that water heater failure might be imminent.

Solution: Water heater maintenance
Some minor steps can reduce the strain put on your water heater, such as spreading out the times that you call for hot water from your water heater (not doing laundry and taking a shower at the same time). While changing your usage behavior can help a struggling water heater, maintenance is the surefire way to make sure your water heater can get back to a full workload. If your water heater hasn’t been serviced in some time, having the tank completely flushed will make a big difference. Flushing the water heater removes sediment buildup that has likely grown over the years. This sediment can block proper heat transfer, and clearing out that sediment will help hot water flow again.

Problem: Proper home air quality
The days of open windows and gentle breezes are fading fast. In its place, blustery days and dropping temperatures that mean keeping the windows closed. Winter often means decreased air quality in your home due to a lack of ventilation and an increase in allergens and other airborne particles that can lead to sickness.

Solution: Make sure your air is clean
While air purification systems and humidifiers provide significant solutions to air quality problems in specific rooms, there are other simple steps you can take to make sure that the air in your home stays healthy. Making sure that you replace the air filters in your furnace is an easy way to capture the particles that would otherwise be floating around your home. If you use any fuel-burning appliances in your home, take care to pay close attention to avoid leakage. These fumes can accumulate in enclosed spaces and can quickly become dangerous.

In the wet days of fall and winter, tracking in rain or snow can create wet carpets or rugs that, left unattended, can accumulate mold or other airborne irritants. Consider disposing of and replacing any items that can’t be cleaned. It’s the best way to make sure that the items in your house aren’t having a negative impact on the air quality and health of your family this winter.

These are just a few of the problems and solutions that your home heating and plumbing can face this winter. The pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone offer years of experience in dealing with HVAC and plumbing issues. They can provide answers to any questions you might have, as well as help you consider some things you hadn’t before. With a goal of making customers happy and comfortable, it’s no surprise that Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone has made a reputation for trustworthy HVAC and plumbing repair in the Haverhill area. Find out for yourself. Give us a call at (978) 912-7677.

Summer might not be the time that Haverhill homeowners think about keeping warm. The climbing temps bring dreams of cooler days, and no one’s getting out their winter coats or even thinking about their furnace.

But summer actually is a great time to pay attention to your furnace. While you may not be turning it on to keep warm, taking some steps during the warmer months to make sure your furnace is well maintained will help prevent problems when winter rolls around. Don’t be caught needing furnace repair later, when you need warmth the most. Take the time now and follow these summer furnace maintenance tips.

Change Your Air Filter

Air filter replacement schedule takes place all year long. Depending on the filter quality (and other factors such as pets in the home), you should be changing your furnace’s filter every three to six months. But many homeowners make a common mistake when it comes to filters: assuming filters won’t get dirty when the furnace isn’t running. Even when you aren’t using your furnace, dust, dirt and other sediment can find its way into your filter. If the air filter becomes too dirty, your furnace won’t run at peak efficiency, and can even suffer long-term damage. A clean filter means higher energy efficiency, which can mean lower energy bills.

Clean Your Furnace

It isn’t just the filter that needs to stay clean in your furnace. Nothing’s worse than having to deal with a dirty furnace right when the season calls for you to fire it up. A good rule of thumb is making sure to clean any debris and dust from the outside and inside components at the turn of each season. Just like with the air filter, not keeping the unit clean can impact energy efficiency and lead to long-term damage. One way to make sure your furnace will be clean when you need it most is by having a maintenance agreement with the HVAC pros from Climate Zone. They’ll take care of the cleaning process quickly and safely.

Check Electrical Connections

Another important area where a maintenance agreement will help is in checking electrical connections. Checking for loose wires or worn-down connections is an important part of keeping your furnace maintained in the off months. A trained professional is your best bet for getting a thorough look at your furnace’s electrical work, but it’s still a good idea to do a visual check yourself to see if anything looks like it may need repaired. Identifying disconnected or loose wires will help catch problems that can be fixed by a professional technician before they get worse.

Give the Pilot Light a Rest

Summer is a great time to save some money by putting the pilot light out. Furnaces that are 15 years old or older, have a pilot light that runs 24/7, regardless of whether or not you’re using your furnace. It’s the little blue flame that you can see through the window. Turning off the pilot light will save a little on fuel and energy costs, since furnaces with a pilot-ignition system aren’t the most fuel-efficient. Make sure to watch for moisture and debris buildup when the pilot light has been off for a while. And, of course, remember to relight it when the time comes to fire up the furnace again.

Keep an Eye on Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Indoor air quality problems can be annoying in the winter, but carbon monoxide leaks can be deadly. Carbon monoxide detectors are vital safety precautions should carbon monoxide levels rise in your home (often coming from the furnace), so having a working carbon monoxide detector is crucial to home safety, as well as furnace maintenance. Just like air filters, carbon monoxide detectors should be checked multiple times a year. Installing a carbon monoxide detector while the furnace is shut down is a great way to be ready to monitor the air when the furnace is running.

Call the Professionals

Not everyone is an expert on how to maintain their HVAC system or furnace. While many of these tips can be accomplished with a little bit of work, having a maintenance agreement from a professional HVAC and heating company, like Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone, will ease any doubts. Our trained professionals will make regular visits to your home to make sure your furnace runs at its optimal efficiency and help identify any problem areas to repair.

Find out how Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone can help keep your furnace ready for the winter, even in the summer. Call us at (978) 872-1190 or contact us online.

Spring is right around the corner in the Haverhill area, with milder days, chances to enjoy the sun and that long-sought chance for some spring cleaning.

And from there, the temps keep climbing up until the hot, humid days of a New England summer set in.

Will your AC be able to keep up?

Even though warmer weather hasn’t broken through just yet, one of the best spring cleaning tips is to get your air conditioning system checked out before problems arise in the middle of summer.

Being caught without cool air isn’t the only reason to have a maintenance checklist for your AC system now. Maintaining your equipment helps prevent both future failures and unwanted costs. Better to take the time to check up on your system now rather than deal with a far bigger replacement later that could ruin both your summer plans and your bank account.

Keeping a regular schedule of two preseason checkups each year (cooling in the spring and heating in the fall) will make sure your entire HVAC system is in top shape. Or take the guesswork out of it by letting a professional, like those at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone, keep you on schedule with a maintenance agreement.

A typical maintenance checkup should include the following:

  • Checking the thermostat. This helps make sure that your system is accurately reading the temperature in your room, which can help save energy while you are away.
  • Tightening electrical connections and measuring voltage and current on motors. If electrical connections aren’t working properly, your system can not only be at risk for failure, it can become a home safety issue.
  • Lubricating all moving parts. Without lubrication, motor parts will deal with more friction and lose energy efficiency.
  • Inspecting the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). If the drain in your system gets stopped up, it can cause water damage and increase indoor humidity.
  • Ensuring proper and safe control operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates and shuts off properly.
  • Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjusting if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient.
  • Cleaning blower components to maintain airflow. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent. Make sure your air gets to you!

Even if you choose to sign a maintenance agreement and let a professional keep your HVAC system running at peak efficiency, make sure to keep your air filters in top condition. A monthly check can make sure that dirty filters aren’t blocking airflow, decreasing energy efficiency and putting unnecessary wear on your HVAC system. Replacing your filters once every three months is an easy way to stay on top of filter issues.

For more questions about how you can prepare your home HVAC system for the spring and summer, or to learn more about how maintenance agreements can help keep you comfortable all year long, talk to the pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone. Give them a call at 978-872-1190 to learn more about their services or set up a consultation appointment online.