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5 Tips to Keeping Your Home Warm During Freezing Temperatures

Posted by Empire Blog at 10:56 pm on January 26, 2017

heat your home during freezing weatherWinter time is full of holidays and festivities as well as beautiful white snow. Even though the winter season brings along freezing temperatures and rough weather, your home should serve as a warm refuge. Heating your home while it’s freezing outside should not be difficult or expensive. Follow these 5 simple and cost-effective tips to help keep your home warm.


Install Curtains

Most homes today come with blinds that keep the sunlight out and help protect privacy. Because the blinds are made of plastic, heat will tend to escape from your house. In addition to using blinds, it is a good idea install curtains around windows. The cloth material will prevent much of the heat from escaping so you won’t have to keep turning up the thermostat saving you a bundle of money.

Welcome the Sun

Even though temperatures could be near freezing, the sun could still be shining. Take advantage of the sunlight and open your blinds to let in the warmth of the sun into your home. However, remember to close your blinds or curtains once the sunlight is gone. Not only will this help heat your home, it will also lessen the need to increase your thermostat level during the day.

Insulation Kits

Much of the heat in our homes escape through windows and doors. Consider installing clear, plastic insulation available in hardware stores or online on your windows to keep the heat in your home. Alternatively, you could also consider covering your windows with bubble wrap but the former is a much more attractive solution.

Besides plastic insulation, you could install draft snakes under your doors or windows. Draft snakes are fabric shaped into tubes as wide as your windows or doors.

Space Heaters

If you are trying to save money on energy bills this year, space heaters may be a good option especially if you only use a small part of your house. In this case, consider setting the thermostat low and using a space heater.

However, you should take caution when using one. Never leave the house or the area for a long period of time with the space heater running. Also, make sure to select a space heater with an automatic shutoff feature. Using space heaters can keep part of your home warm without having to make your heater work overtime.

Heating System Inspection

Part of the solution to keeping your home warm during the winter season is to inspect your heating system. This will ensure that your unit is operating at peak efficiency. Make sure to clean vents and change out filters.

Alternatively, our team of licensed professionals can do these services in addition to inspecting heating system components. If necessary, they can replace old and worn out components to ensure that your home will be kept warm cost-effectively.

This winter don’t let the freezing temperatures keep your home cold or make your heater work extra when it doesn’t need to. Implement these cost-effective steps and have our professionals take a look at your heater. Your home and your pocketbook will thank you for it!

2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner

Posted by Empire Blog at 8:00 am on December 17, 2012

Angie's List Super Service AwardEmpire Heating and Air Conditioning Earns Esteemed 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award – 8 consecutive years!

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Empire Heating and Air Conditioning has earned the service industry-coveted 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor awarded annually to approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.

Martin Hoover and Gila Ragan Hoover owners of Empire Heating and Air Conditioning commented “We are honored and proud of our Team and the effort they put into delivering superior customer service. How wonderful it is to receive this recognition and award 8 years in a row.”

“It’s a select group of companies rated on Angie’s List that can claim the exemplary customer service record of being a Super Service Award winner, ” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Our standards for the Super Service Award are quite high. The fact that Empire Heating and Air Conditioning earned this recognition speaks volumes about its dedication providing great service to its customers.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2012 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, an excellent rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2012 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.

Angie’s List helps consumers have happy transactions with local service professionals in more than 550 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. More than 1.5 million paid households use Angie’s List to gain unlimited access to local ratings, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine, and the Angie’s List complaint resolution service.

Empire Heating and Air Conditioning proudly serves the metro Atlanta area in Georgia including DeKalb, Fulton, Forsyth, and Gwinnett Counties.

Upgrades for your Home’s Heating System

Posted by Empire Blog at 8:00 am on December 14, 2012

When it comes time to replace your home’s heating system there are a multitude of upgrades that are available. Which upgrades should you choose? It mostly depends on your home’s heating needs and your desired comforts. A few of these upgrades will provide the most benefit as they relate to energy savings and comfort.

The first upgrade to consider is efficiency. It is now possible to choose heating systems that are very efficient at heating your home. Upgrading to a high efficient furnace can provide huge energy savings over the life of the system. For example, a 92% furnace will utilize 92% of the heat that is produced by your furnace. This means that only 8% of the fuel burned to produce heat will be wasted out of the exhaust system of the furnace. Compare that to the 20% waste of a standard efficient furnace and you can quickly see how the savings will add up. Choosing a 92% efficient furnace is actually choosing not to waste 12% of every heating dollar you spend. To put this into perspective, if your monthly heating bill is $200 dollars, choosing a standard efficient furnace means choosing to waste or throw away $24 every month. Add this waste up over the average 20-year life of the furnace and it would cost you $5, 760 more to choose the standard efficient furnace.

The second upgrade to consider is a variable speed fan motor. A variable speed motor works much more efficiently than a standard speed furnace. A standard furnace speed has only low, medium and high speeds. Traditionally the unit will work in low speed for heating and high speed for cooling. Newer variable speed fan motors have literally an unlimited speed range. This variable speed option allows the furnace to precisely regulate airflow to provide better control of temperature, humidity and air distribution. The variable speed fan motor is also much more efficient. A variable speed motor uses about 1/3 the electricity of a standard speed furnace. The variable speed motor also allows you to set the fan to the “on” position on the thermostat and run at a very low speed to keep the air temperatures in the house more constant and the air circulated through your filter without the typical “drafty” feeling of a conventional motor. A variable speed motor also starts and slowly speeds up eliminating the traditional “kick” or “thump” that occurs when a standard speed motor kicks on.

The third upgrade to consider is heating stages. A standard furnace only has one stage heating. This means that the furnace is either all on or all off. A two stage heating system has two different levels of heating. The first stage is usually 60% of the total heating capacity of the furnace. This two-stage option allows the lower stage to heat the home during milder temperatures such as the spring and fall. This results in less furnace cycling, which means the unit will last longer from less wear and tear and increased energy savings. During the colder winter days, the two-stage unit simply kicks in the higher stage and 100% of the heating capacity of the furnace is utilized.

You can also customize a system to your needs. Options include:

There are a lot of upgrade options to consider when replacing your home’s heating system. Each of these upgrades is well worth the investment either for increased energy savings or improved home comfort. Once you have a high efficient comfort system installed with the added comfort upgrades in your home, you will never be without it again. The small investment required upgrading these options pays back years of savings and comfort. To discuss any of the upgrade options or other upgrade options on your home’s comfort system, give Empire HVAC a call at 404-294-0900. One of our technicians will look at our current system and recommend an efficiency and comfort system combination that meets your budget.

Empire HVAC’s special offer includes saving up to $1, 950 on select new systems. Savings include federal energy tax credits, manufacturers’ rebates, instant savings and Georgia Power incentives. Conditions and restrictions apply. Call 404-294-0900 for details.

Importance of Smoke Detectors During Winter

Posted by Empire Blog at 8:00 am on December 12, 2012

Helpful Tips on Smoke Detectors

While smoke detectors are good idea no matter the season, the wintertime is especially important to make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recently launched its “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign. Information about the campaign can be found online at www.usfa.gov.

The USFA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are working together to remind everyone that home fires are more prevalent in the winter than in any other season. The USFA states that the increase in winter home fires is due to an increase in cooking and heating related fires.

empire hvac recommends smoke detectorsThis increase in winter home fires makes having working smoke detectors installed in your home very important during the winter season. The NFPA recommends having a smoke detector installed on every floor, every sleeping area and in every bedroom of your home. It important to note that many homes currently have only one or two smoke detectors currently installed in their home. The low cost and reliability of smoke detectors make installing multiple detectors a smart idea.

It’s also a good idea to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home. A CO detector should be installed on every level. The graphic below gives you an idea of where smoke and CO detectors should be installed in your home.

Battery powered smoke detectors can be purchased at any home improvement store. Installation is quick and easy. A licensed contractor should install hard-wired smoke detectors.

Another important reminder is to check the battery in your smoke and CO detectors. Fresh batteries should be installed in both types of detectors every year. A good practice is to change the batteries in all your detectors every time you change your clocks forward or back for daylight savings time adjustments.

Take the time today to make your home safe for the winter. Smoke and CO detectors save lives.

Common Furnace Issues

Posted by Empire Blog at 8:00 am on December 10, 2012

Atlanta Furnaces

As your home’s furnace or heat pump works 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it is common for some issues to occur. These heating units are made up of motors, relays, switches and circuitry. As they cycle on and off, some things will fail. In this article, we will discuss the most common problems in your heating system.

empire hvac fixes furnacesWithout a doubt, the most common problem is lack of maintenance. The dust that you clean off your tables, pictures, and bookcases will concentrate inside your home’s heating system. As the blower fan circulates your homes air, the dust in the air collects on every part of the ductwork and system components. The picture below is a blower unit that is typically found during a heat tune-up. Empire HVAC sees units that are much worse, but we wanted to save you from the “gross” effect.

As this dust collects, it dries out the lubricating oil in all your system bearings. Lack of lubrication causes motor bearings to overheat and seize. The dust also acts as an insulator, which causes excessive heat build up on every mechanical part while the unit is operating. Lack of maintenance and cleaning is the most common cause for premature equipment failure. It also increases the workload of the unit and subsequently increases the electrical power needed to run the unit. If your energy bills have slowly crept up over the years, a good thorough system cleaning and tune-up can help remedy the problem. Using a good high efficiency filter with regular filter changes can also help prevent dust build up in the unit.

The next most common problem is that of pilot, ignition or burn problems with your furnace. Your furnace uses a system of gas piping and circuitry to ensure that the gas lights and burns each time the system calls for heat. This system makes up the “combustion chain”. If anything fails in the combustion chain, the system shuts down and will not operate until it is repaired. The pilot system, gas valve, draft inducer and burners should be checked every year during a heating tune-up. Many times we discover a failing pilot light or hot surface igniter during a heating tune-up. Catching these failures early means a worry free heating season and no loss of heat on the coldest night of the year.

empire heating and air replaces furnacesAnother common problem with older furnaces is the cracking of the system’s heat exchanger. The heat exchanger works by separating the products of combustion from your indoor air. As your furnace burns natural gas or propane, the exhaust is passed through a curved system of tubes. The heat exchanger becomes very hot and as your home’s indoor air is passed over the heat exchanger, it warms the air. This provides heat while exhausting carbon monoxide safely out of your home. As the metal heat exchanger warms and cools, over time the metal becomes weak and can begin to fail.

When the heat exchanger fails, it is critical that your unit be replaced. A cracked heat exchanger can release carbon monoxide in your home. Signs of carbon monoxide include flu like symptoms, headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nausea. CO is an odorless gas and we recommend a high quality CO detector in each living area level of your home. If you or a family member experiences any of these symptoms or you suspect carbon monoxide in your home, turn off your furnace and all gas burning appliances, evacuate your home and immediately call for service.

The last most common furnace issues are related to the thermostat and control systems. If the thermostat malfunctions it can cause no heat, fan running continuously or temperature problems. When the control systems fail, most likely the unit will shut down and stop operating all together.

The best way to prevent these common furnace issues from occurring is through a heating tune-up every year. Our full service heat tune-up includes a thorough inspection of the unit, testing of all the electrical controls, lubricating all motor bearings, adjusting the burn rate, inspection of the heat exchanger*, reading of all motor amps and replacing the filter.

To prevent these common problems from occurring with your home’s heating system, call Empire HVAC today at 404-294-0900 to schedule your full service heat tune-up.

* Empire HVAC performs a thorough heat exchanger inspection on every heating tune-up. Some heat exchanger cracks are not visible due to the shape of the heat exchanger. For this reason, we recommend every home install a working carbon monoxide detector.

Boiler Safety

Posted by Empire Blog at 6:45 pm on December 7, 2012

Empire HVAC talks about Boiler Safety

Earlier this week, a boiler problem at Finch Elementary in Atlanta, Georgia produced a carbon monoxide leak that sickened dozens. Since Monday’s incident, the school district determined the problem occurred after maintenance workers forgot to flip a valve on the heating system that overloaded the boiler and caused the carbon monoxide leak.

Reporters with the Atlanta Journal Constitution and WSB-TV Channel 2 News contacted Empire Heating & Air Conditioning’s owner Martin Hoover to gain an expert’s opinion on boilers and heating systems. As a result of those interviews, Martin wanted to remind the community about the importance of boiler service, heating system inspections, and carbon monoxide detectors. Empire HVAC recently wrote blog posts on all of these topics.

On November 26th, Empire published the post about “Why Does My Boiler Need Servicing?” Click here to read the entire post. In summary, a boiler has a complex system of safety devices that are designed to ensure that the boiler operates safely. These safety devices should be inspected and checked annually to ensure they work properly and that any malfunctioning safety devices are replaced. One important check is related to the flue and its termination points. The flue routes carbon monoxide and the by-products of combustion safely to the outdoors where it naturally rises and dissipates into the atmosphere. Flues should be inspected to ensure that they are secure, tight and sealed. The termination point requires a safe path for these gases to exhaust.

On November 7th, Empire published the post about “Empire Technicians Equipped with CO Angels to keep you safe this Heating Season”. Click here to read the entire post. In summary, Empire Heating and Air Conditioning has equipped all service technicians with the NSI5000 CO Angel device to detect carbon monoxide in all the spaces they service. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas, which can cause sudden illness and death. Every minute counts when challenged with situations where dangerous carbon monoxide levels are suspected.

On October 26th, Empire published “Fall Season To-Do List – Heating Tune-Up”. Click here to read the entire post. In summary, Fall is the perfect time for a furnace tune-up. This task should be on the Fall season to-do list for all of metro Atlanta homeowners. Potential hazards could have developed during the spring and summer seasons. For your family to be safe and comfortable all winter long have the heating system checked now before the cold temperatures set in.

Empire Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help you with all of these issues. We serve the metro Atlanta area in Georgia including DeKalb, Fulton, Forsyth, and Gwinnett counties. Call us at 404-294-0900 to schedule an appointment today.

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