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Fall | Winter 2016 Newsletter

What to Do If Your Heater Leaves Your Holiday Guests Feeling Cold?

Modern heating systems have only gotten more and more effective over the years. Like any other mechanical system, however, any heater can run into operational problems from time to time. Some times are more convenient than others, of course. When you have guests arriving at your home later in the day, and your heater just failed, "convenient" is probably not the word that you’d use to describe the situation.

Fortunately for you, heating technicians are available even around the holiday season. Homeowners cannot simply be expected to put up with cold temperatures in their homes until regular business hours resume once more. Before you go scheduling emergency heating services, though, there are a few things to check on your own.

Using a Heat Pump? Is It in Heating Mode?

First of all, make sure that your heat pump is actually in heating mode. Because heat pumps both heat and cool homes, it is possible that your system was just accidentally switched over to the cooling mode. If this is the case, the flip of a switch is all that is necessary to get your heater back to blowing warm air to keep your guests comfortable.

Did You Double Check Temperature Settings?

No matter what type of heater you use, it is controlled by a thermostat. This may sound obvious, but you should always double check to make sure that your thermostat is set properly and that the system is actually in heating mode, rather than a "fan–only" mode. Radiant heating systems don’t use fans, but you may have accidentally set the thermostat too low, so you are not feeling the desired effects from its operation.

What About Temperature Zones?

If your heater is zoned—meaning that you can heat different areas of your home to different temperatures—check each zone to ensure that comfortable temperatures are set. It can be easy to miss changes in temperatures throughout the house when you are stuck in a hot kitchen all day. You may be nice and toasty, but any guests waiting for dinner to be served may be a good deal chillier in the den.

Some Problems Will Demand Professional Attention

These are definitely best case scenarios, and there is no guarantee that the issue you’re facing with your heater is quite this simple. If you cannot find an obvious cause of the problem, then contact your heating technicians right away. While you focus on getting your guests squared away and dinner on the table, they can focus on returning your heater to proper operating condition before the winter holidays start feeling too wintery in your home.

We hope that these tips will help you to deal with any heating issues that you may encounter this holiday season. Consider this last one a gift from us to you. Schedule routine heating maintenance before the guests start to arrive. This is not the season for testing your luck when it comes to the operation of your heater.


Alternative Heating Systems for Your Home.

Heating systems all have the same basic duties – keeping your home cozy and comfortable no matter what the weather might be doing outside. But there are a number of different ways to do that and what works well for one home might not be so effective for another.

Most of us are used to traditional forced–air furnaces, which generate heat through gas burners or electrical coils, then blow hot air through a series of ducts in your home. They are safe, effective and versatile forms of heating, which is why so many homes use them. But prudent homeowners may be able to do better for themselves with an alternative form of heating.  What kinds of alternatives are available? Here’s a quick list to give you a sense of what to look for.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps use the same principles as air conditioning, but with a little twist to provide heating as well. Refrigerant circulates through a series of valves and coils to first release hot air outside your home, then pull heat from the air inside the system. The cool air can then be blown into your house with a fan.

Heat pumps simply provide a reversal system so that the pump cools the air outside the home and release hot air inside when temperatures are cold. Because the refrigerant isn’t consumed, it can warm the home for much less monthly cost than other systems can. In some cases, the heat pump alone can’t cover your needs on cold days, which is why a smaller secondary furnace is sometimes added. Either way, you benefit from reduced costs during the colder months.

Geothermal Heating Systems

Geothermal systems tap into the ambient temperature of the earth itself to heat your home. Once you dig down below the frost–line of the earth, the temperature of the ground undergoes only slight variations. Geothermal systems take advantage of that by installing tubing beneath the surface.

The liquid in this tubing facilitates a heat exchange with the ground, releasing heat from your home when it needs cooling, and absorbing heat from the earth when your home needs warmth. The system can then transfer that heat to the air and blow it through your home via your ductwork. Because geothermal energy is a renewable resource, it costs far less to run than traditional heaters.

Ductless Heating Systems

Ductless heating systems are often heat pumps, though not always. They adopt a decentralized approach to heating. Instead of one single unit, they place multiple units throughout your home, each one handling heating duties for a particular room or section. That allows you to turn off the heat in parts of the home you aren’t using, saving you money on bills.

Radiant Heating Systems

Radiant heating systems use hot water or electricity to create warmth in your home. They are often installed beneath the floorboards of your home, although some models can be installed behind the walls. They send heat into the room directly instead of heating the air itself. You stay toasty and warm, and you’re spared cold spots, breezeways, and similar issues associated with forced–air furnaces.