Getting Your Home Ready For Fall

It may be only September, but here in New Jersey you can already feel the first hints of fall. This has us all thinking about all the things we need to do around the house to get ready before the cold weather settles in. You will benefit from preparing for the winter weather that is only a few months away.

1. CLEAN OUT THE GUTTERS

All the leaves and grime that you neglected while you were out swimming, hiking, or riding your bicycle this summer have built up in your gutters. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working properly. This can lead to water seeping into your home and can lead to all sorts of issues and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle of repairing a leak by simply cleaning your gutters and drains now. When you do, run water through the gutters to check for alignments that are off and could also cause water damage.

2. KEEP THE OUTSIDE AIR OUT AND THE INSIDE AIR IN

We talk about this a lot, but it is hugely important for your energy savings to ensure there are no air leaks in your home. Warm air will escape out of any cracks and can make your heating system work harder and cost you more to heat your home.  Use caulk to seal cracks and openings between stationary house components like a door frame and weatherstripping to seal components that move like an operable window.

3. SHOW SOME TLC TO YOUR FURNACE

Your furnace may be a distant memory since you last powered it on, but before the cold weather descends and you must reluctantly switch it on, give it some TLC. Clean your furnace  annually each autumn. Sediment build-up can cause your system to work less efficiently or potentially become a fire-hazard. Cleaning your system and getting it inspected will reduce the risks.
During the winter try to change your filter regularly; a dirty filter will decrease air flow and energy-efficiency. And if your furnace is ready to be replaced, buy an energy-efficient model. It will save you money and energy each month!

4. GET YOUR DUCTS IN A ROW

Your ducts are often times out of sight, out of mind, tucked away in the attic or basement, but a home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them. Tightly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by $120 or more!

5. LIGHT THE WAY

The fall and winter months mean less daylight. I know we are all keen on saving energy, but we don’t want any falls while you enter your home. Luckily, you can still use your outdoor lights without wasting money and energy. Because outdoor lights are typically left on for long periods of time, buying ENERGY SAVER products and bulbs to light your outdoor pathways or porches can save a lot of energy. ENERGY STAR even makes CFL and LED flood lights that can withstand snow and rain. As an extra energy-saving effort, look for ENERGY STAR products that come with automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors. And be sure to decorate with LED holiday lights to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Should I Cover My Central Air Unit In The Fall?

We are quickly approaching the fall season so we would like to cover one of our fall frequently asked questions-
To Cover or Not to Cover?
Covering your outdoor unit during the winter has been a “heated debate” in the HVAC field for years now.  There are pros and cons to both sides and each contractor will recommend something different. Here we will explain both sides and then we will give you our final recommendation.
Pros to covering your air conditioner:
* Keeps your air conditioner coils a little cleaner so it may run a little more efficiently when you use it again.
* Prevents heavy debris like sticks, branches and other yard waste from blowing into your AC unit.
* Helps prevent water from directly resting on your coils and freezing, which could be damaging.
Cons to covering your air conditioner:
* Covering an entire unit may actually trap moisture by creating a high humidity environment as the sun beats down on the cover.  Inside this moist environment is your electrical windings, wiring connections, and in some cases circuit boards.  None of these items do well in the moisture.
* During the winter months the temperatures cause small animals to find a warm place to nest away from the elements.  Covers provide a very tempting spot for these animals to call home.  Small animals can be detrimental to your unit by chewing the wiring harness for their bedding.  This can lead to a very expensive fix for you in the spring.
* Most AC manufacturers don’t specifically recommend covering the outside unit.
Our recommendation is that covering the unit is not necessary. If you do still want to cover your unit to keep out debris we have found that a simple piece of plywood across the top is a perfect fit.  It is inexpensive, will keep out most debris, and leaves the sides open to keep moisture and animals out. If you do insist on covering the unit there are short covers available which will work similarly to the plywood but will cost you a little bit more.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

The Must Know Fall Furnace Facts

As heating season approaches the New Jersey area, it’s time to get out your fall maintenance checklist. High on your list should be a comprehensive furnace tune up. Annual furnace maintenance by a qualified HVAC professional will save you money on energy costs and extend the life of your system, as well as help keep you warmer and your family safer this heating season. Here are 10 important maintenance tasks your HVAC professional will perform:
• Check and tighten electrical and gas connections to ensure your system operates safely.
• Check operational pressures.
• Clean condenser coils.
• Measure the current and voltage on the motor.
• Check safety switches.
• Clean and lubricate all moving parts to reduce friction.
• Check your thermostat for accuracy and proper operation.
• Check and clean blower assembly.
• Clean condensate drain lines.
• Check and replace the air filter.
In addition to a professional tune up, there are some things you can do this winter to help keep your system running smoothly and safely:
• Stock up on furnace filters and change your filter monthly to ensure proper airflow and extend the life of your furnace.
• Keep the area around your furnace clean and accessible in case of an emergency.
• Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and test them to make sure they’re working properly.
• Keep the emergency number of your gas company posted on your furnace and call immediately if you smell gas around your unit.
• Know where your emergency gas shutoff valve is, and make sure it’s easily accessible.
Taking steps to maintain your furnace will help prevent carbon monoxide leaks, prevent breakdowns and save you the cost of replacing the unit.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Is Your Furnace Ready For The Fall?

Is your furnace ready for New Jersey’s cold weather? The best time to prepare is now before you need it. That way you can prevent having a costly breakdown on a frigid cold night.
Here are 3 ways to prepare your furnace for fall and beyond.
1) Turn it on before you need it
You haven’t used your furnace in a while. So run it for about 30 minutes to see if you hear any strange noises or if it short cycles (runs about 5-10 minutes and turns off).
This way you can catch any potential problems before you get them on a cold night when you need your furnace most.
2) Check your furnace filter
The furnace filter helps protect your furnace from dirt and dust. But once the filter gets too clogged, it can actually hurt your furnace.
For one, the filter can no longer collect dirt, leaving your furnace vulnerable. For example, more dust can build up in the blower, causing it to work inefficiently.
Second, a dirty air filter blocks airflow over the heat exchanger, the part that heats your air. If there’s not enough air blowing over the heat exchanger, if can overheat and crack.
If not under warranty, replacing the heat exchanger is so expensive that some homeowners choose to just replace the entire furnace.
So, check the filter once a month, and change it as needed.
3) Get professional furnace maintenance
Your furnace runs a lot (close to 1800 hours per year) in the winter. And, just as you’d tune up your car before a long road trip, fall is a perfect opportunity to tune up your furnace before the long road ahead of it.
This keeps your furnace in tip top shape and helps catch problems before they become costly disasters later.
A furnace needs professional maintenance once a year. These maintenance visits usually involve:

  • Cleaning the blower wheel
  • Testing and tightening the belts
  • Cleaning the burner
  • Checking the heat exchanger
  • Ensuring all electrical connections are tight
  • And much more.

A maintenance visit will not only keep the furnace working in good order, but it may also keep you from voiding your furnace’s warranty. Some furnace warranties have language stating that a certain level of maintenance needs to be done for the furnace warranty to stay valid.
Furnace manufacturers do that purposefully because the warranty is only meant to cover manufacturer defects, not problems caused by a lack of maintenance.
Most homeowners don’t have the expertise to maintain all the parts of their furnace. So it’s best to leave it to a professional. And the best time to get furnace maintenance is in the fall while most heating contractors are not busy.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your furnace or HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Preparing Your HVAC System For Fall Weather

Like most homeowners, chances are you have been relying on your air conditioning unit to keep your home cool during the hot summer months. With fall fast approaching, however, it may be time to begin thinking about getting your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems ready for winter. After a long summer, HVAC maintenance check-up is important to keep your system at optimal performance.
Why you need fall maintenance for your HVAC units.
Just like any piece of home appliance, your HVAC units require routine maintenance to keep them running effectively and efficiently. There are many reasons why you need to make sure that your heating and air conditioning systems are properly prepared for the next season. Here are some of them.
To ensure the efficiency of your system
Keep your units running efficiently.
Even if you have not been routinely servicing your HVAC units, you can perform various maintenance tasks to keep your system running smoothly. For instance, routine maintenance of the furnace, or the part of the unit that is exposed outside, is quite easy and will ensure that your unit performs at its optimal efficiency. However, there are portions of the AC and heater that are inaccessible, so it is recommended that you get a professional to visually inspect your unit before the onset of the next season.
Keep your system trustworthy
Nothing can be devastating like your heating unit breaking down during winter. Proper heat exchanger checkup will certainly make your system trustworthy. Through proper servicing, you can count on your HVAC units to work for you when you need them most.
Protect your investment in your home
HVAC units are incredibly costly and can cost upwards of $10,000 depending on where you are buying them from. Properly inspecting furnaces and other components of the system will ensure that they last far longer. In addition, properly running units consume less energy thus saving you money in the process.
How to prepare your HVAC for fall
Summer is almost over and the cold season is well around the corner. By performing HVAC maintenance in time, you will be prepared to take on that first cold night, no matter when it comes.
Here are a few tips that can help you prepare your HVAC system for the cold months ahead.
Check the filters
As long as your heating and air conditioning unit is in use, be sure to change or clean the filters on a monthly basis depending upon the type of filter your system uses. If you did not replace the filter before you last used the furnace, it is recommended that you take it out and start the fall and winter months with a new one.
Inspect the furnace
Before turning the furnace on, ensure the area around it is clear. Routine furnace checks are important to help prevent it from overheating. In addition, this should be an opportunity to ensure that there are no flammables around the furnace, as these materials can pose safety risks to your home.
The HVAC units are a huge investment. By properly inspecting furnaces and routinely maintaining your systems and keeping them running smoothly, you will ensure that your systems have a long life ahead. In addition, you will ensure that your home is energy efficient, thus saving you money in the process.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at (888) 611-7191

Shocking Central Air Facts!

Unless you are a long-time HVAC technician like us, or you’re shopping around for a new air conditioner, you probably don’t find the topic of A/C systems all that interesting. Reading an entire book about air conditioners would certainly not be a fun way to spend an afternoon, right?
Not according to author Salvatore Basile, who demonstrates in his new book Cool: How Air Conditioning Changed Everything that the story of how humankind gradually attempted to overcome the slow torture of hot weather is actually a quite fascinating one.
However, if reading 288 pages about air conditioning still doesn’t appeal to you, check out these 10 surprising facts you probably didn’t know about air conditioning from the book:

  1. Ever gone to the movie theaters just to escape the heat? You aren’t the only one. Since there were no home air conditioning systems back in 1917, theater owners would fill seats by marketing their “state-of-the-art” ice-cold A/C with icicle-covered letters on their advertisements. This was undoubtedly pretty enticing on those simmering summer days.
  2. In 1736, the English House of Commons was cooled by a seven-foot, hand-cranked “blowing wheel,” which acted as a giant fan. The man at the helm of the crank was called the Ventilator.
  3. The first ice-making machine was patented as early as 1851, but the invention was smothered by American ice interests for decades due to an extensive network that stored and transported ice from northern regions.
  4. A fair number of machine cooling systems were developed early on, but they were slow to catch on. In 1891, one such machine transformed a beer hall and restaurant into an “Ice Palace” through the process of refrigeration. However, the people who witnessed the frost-covered pipes and 20 degree cooler temperature inside merely considered it a welcomed phenomenon.
  5. An anonymous California millionaire was the first person to try using A/C to cool a room in his home in 1892. The room was just 6 by 9 feet and required a false wall to hide machinery, more of which was placed on the roof.
  6. Two of the earliest ventilation systems were installed in 1899, in Cornell University’s dissecting rooms (for cadavers), and 1903, at the New York Stock Exchange.
  7. Willis H. Carrier, the genius behind the modern A/C system, was so absorbed in his invention that he once left for a business trip with large suitcase packed with nothing but a handkerchief. Some genius, eh?
  8. The first fully air conditioned home was built in Minneapolis (of all places) in 1913 by Charles “Spend-a-Million” Gates, heir to the barbed wire fortune. The mansion took up three city lots and also had gold plumbing, as well as a full ballroom. Unfortunately, Gates never got to experience it, as he died while on a hunting trip before the house was completed.
  9. Herbert Hoover was the first President to enjoy air conditioning in the Oval Office. He spent $30,000 on the system, just months after the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the start of the Great Depression.
  10. For a basic window A/C unit in the 1940’s, you’d spend around $350, which in today’s money is almost $3,500.
  11. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your central air or any or your HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Why You Must Change Your Air Filters

Changing your air filters is an important part of maintaining your AC unit. It also helps reduce your energy consumption as well as helps keep the air clean.
All in all it’s an important task of owning or even renting a home!
If you have never changed an air filter before don’t worry it is a simple task.
First of all you need to purchase the correct air filter.
Before you try and change the filter make sure your HVAC unit is off! This is for your safety! If you can’t figure out how to turn off the unit itself, you should turn off the breaker.
Figure out where your air filter is. It is more than likely located on the right side of the unit. Take out the old filter (you will see how dirty it is, then realize how important it really is to change them).
Now insert the new air filter that you purchased into the same place the old one was. Many air filters will have arrows telling you which side to face toward the outside air.
Changing your filters should be done often. The filters in your home usually need to be changed once a month or once every three months depending on the type of filter you’re using. You should check the product information on the filters for the manufacturer’s suggested frequency of change.
How often you change it can also depend on where you live and how often you use your HVAC unit.
Just remember that having dirty air filters can dramatically reduce a system’s efficiency. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
It is very important to keep them clean and to keep up on changing these air filters.
If you still aren’t able to figure out how to change your air filters or aren’t sure how often to do it please call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ today toll free at 888-611-7191

Prepare Your Central Air, Another Heat Wave Is Coming

After a week of comfortable temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s, New Jersey is going to face another heat wave later this week.
Some parts of the state could even set records as the weekend draws near, according to the National Weather Service.
In central and southern New Jersey — particularly around the Philadelphia suburbs — the heat and humidity could combine to make it feel as hot as 100 degrees during the afternoon hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the weather service said.
The hottest region of the state is expected to be Mercer, Gloucester and Camden counties, as well as northwestern Burlington County.
In eastern Pennsylvania, the heat index could approach 100 degrees in Delaware and Philadelphia counties, along with eastern Chester County, eastern Montgomery County and lower Bucks County.
Will the humidity be as oppressive as it was during the brutal heat waves that hit our region in July and August?
“It looks like it’ll be close to that,” said Dean Iovino, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s regional forecast office in Mount Holly. “Maybe not as bad, but people will feel it. The heat index values will approach 100, so it will be fairly uncomfortable as we go through that stretch,” Thursday through Saturday.
Based on the weather service forecast, the best chance of tying or topping any daily temperature records is on Friday, when the mercury climbs into the low to mid-90s in many parts of the region.
The current record highs for Sept. 9 are 92 degrees in Atlantic City, 93 in Trenton, 94 in Newark, 94 in Philadelphia and 97 in New Brunswick.
The latest wave of uncomfortable weather is the result of a very hot air mass that’s moving toward the East Coast from the West and Southwest, Iovino said.
UPDATE: The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Mercer, Gloucester and Camden counties, and northwestern Burlington County, effective from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, when the heat index could get as high as 102 degrees.
The weather service said parts of Central New Jersey could see heat index readings (how hot it feels when the air temperature is combined with the humidity level) approaching 100 degrees on Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, and parts of far southern New Jersey could see heat index readings as high as 105 degrees on Thursday and Saturday.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191

Tell Tale Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Central Air

As a homeowner, one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make about your air conditioner is when it’s time for a new unit. Although a new air conditioner can be a big investment, so can the costs of continuing to repair and operate an old, inefficient unit. So how are you supposed to know when it’s time to replace your air conditioner? The tell-tale signs we’ve listed below are sure to help you make your decision!
6 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner

  • 1. Air conditioner is more than 10 years old. In general, you can expect a well-maintained air conditioner to last about 15 years. However, if you’re in need of expensive repairs and your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it will often make more sense to replace it. This is especially true when you consider the advancements in efficiency we’ve seen with air conditioners in the past decade alone.
  • 2. Air conditioner is inefficient. If your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it can cost you a lot of money to operate it. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is below 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit.
  • 3. You’re facing expensive repairs. Any time you’re facing an expensive repair, you’ll want to weigh the costs of the repair against the costs of a new unit. If the cost of the repair would cover a large part of a new system, and especially if your air conditioner is showing any of the other signs in this list, it will likely make more financial sense to replace it.
  • 4. Frequent breakdowns. Does it seem like your air conditioner is constantly breaking down? Are you calling Green Apple Mechanical NJ every month because of a new problem with your unit? These repair costs can really add up, and it doesn’t make sense to keep making them on older units. Save yourself the headaches and the money by investing in a new unit.
  • 5. Air conditioner uses R 22 Freon. Freon is being phased out by the federal government in order to conserve energy nationwide. As a result, the costs of Freon are rising exponentially. If your air conditioner uses Freon, you’ll have to replace it eventually in order to switch over to the new refrigerant (R410A). If you’re having major problems with your air conditioner, especially if they involve the need for more Freon, it’s probably a good time to replace your unit.
  • 6. Your home isn’t comfortable. Do you have a hard time keeping your home cool? This could be the sign of an aging air conditioner or even an incorrectly sized system. Regardless of the cause, you want your air conditioner to do its job! If it’s not going to keep your home cool, you’ll want to replace it with a unit that will.

If you have any questions about when to replace your air conditioner, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

The Best Way To Save Money With Your Central Air

Insulate Your Ductwork and Attic

Air leaking from your ductwork and warm air creeping in via your attic both cause your central air conditioner to work overtime, upping the power it uses and, subsequently, your bill. Insulate your attic with cellulose or fiberglass insulation to keep the hot summer air out. Seal off the seams of your ductwork with mastic tape to prevent air leaks, increasing the overall efficiency of the unit.

Proper Maintenance

In order to run as efficiently as possible, thus reducing the cost of keeping your home cool, properly maintain your central air unit. Once a year, have the unit checked and cleaned by a Green Apple Mechanical NJ professional in your area. Time the inspection for the spring if you want the unit fresh for the summer or save some money by scheduling it for the fall, when most professionals offer an off-season discount. Every month, replace your disposable air filter or clean your permanent one. Dust, pollen, and other debris can limit air flow, causing the fan in the unit to work harder, thus increasing electricity use.

Change the Settings

While a cool 72 degrees Fahrenheit may feel fantastic, you can save money by turning the temperature up just a few degrees. Many experts recommend 78 degrees Fahrenheit for when the home is occupied. You can save even more by going as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit when the home is unoccupied and overnight, when the outdoor temperatures tend to be at least a bit cooler.

Increase Shade Indoors and Outdoors

Shading your home and your central air unit lowers your electric bill by reducing how much and how hard the unit has to work. Plant shade trees near the condenser to keep it out of direct sunlight, as well as along the east and west of your property, keeping your house cooler naturally during the summer. Inside your home, use energy efficient blinds and window treatments — and keep these closed during the day to keep hot air out.

Reduce Use of Heat Generating Items

A lot of focus is placed on keeping the hot air from the outside from getting into your home; however, what you do inside the home can also increase the temperature, thus forcing the air conditioner to work harder. Over the summer, cook outside as much as possible and line or air-dry clothing to avoid using the oven and dryer, two of the biggest heat generators in a home. Replace the bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent, which generate less heat than incandescent bulbs, and always turn the lights off when you aren’t in the room or at home to limit the extra heat.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191