As most local heating and cooling companies can tell you, March is a notoriously fickle month.

Some years we get 31 days of early spring, other years winter throws its big blow-out.

It’s a very changeable month, hence the old saying “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.” It’s a pretty straightforward concept: it’s winter when the month begins and spring when it ends.

But what about years when March goes from lion to lamb and back in the space of a few weeks or even a few days? It’s a fact of life for heating and cooling companies: these temperature swings can put a strain on your system.

In this week’s blog post, we’ll look for ways to keep your home comfortable during cool summers and warm winters without having to put too much strain on your HVAC system.

When it’s warm during the winter

We tend not to complain too much when we get an unseasonably warm winter day. Still, you might think it’s too early in the year to have your air conditioner running.

If that’s the case, you can keep things comfortable during warmer winters by:

  • Opening windows – This will create a cooling cross breeze and help your home feel less stuffy after several months without much fresh air.
  • Cooking outdoors – Get a jump start on grilling season. You’ll be able to enjoy a delicious meal while not having to worry about your stove or oven adding warmth to your home.
  • Switching bedding – Thick blankets and flannel sheets are indispensable on frigid winter nights but might not be practical during a warmer-than-usual spring. Swap them out for the type of bedding you’d use in summer: cotton or other breathable fabrics.
  • Use your bathroom fan – Removing steam from your bathroom after a shower will help things feel cooler.

When it’s cool in the summer

Pennsylvania summers can be brutal, with day after day of nearly triple-digit weather. But sometimes we get summers that feel more like fall.

Instead of turning on your heat on cool summer nights, you can keep things warm by:

  • Use your curtains and blinds – Make sure you have your curtains and/or blinds open during the day to allow the sun to warm your home. When the sun sets, close your blinds/curtains to prevent heat loss through your windows.
  • Dress for the weather – You might want to dig out some warm weather clothes early. A fuzzy sweater can make a big difference on cool summer nights.
  • Keep out drafts – If you have a fireplace, close the flue. Use weather-stripping at your windows to prevent drafts.
  • Use your humidifier – Humid air feels warmer than dry air. But don’t go overboard. Too much humidity can create mold. Turning off your bathroom fan will also help the air feel warmer and more humid after a shower.
  • Do some cooking – From soup to coffee to oatmeal, warming food on the stove – and then enjoying what you’ve prepared – will make you and your home feel warmer.

How do temperature swings affect my HVAC system?

Fluctuating temperatures impact your heating and cooling system decrease its overall efficiency. With temperatures changing – and then changing back – your system is working harder than necessary and constantly using energy.

Has your heating system been working harder than usual lately? It might be time to start researching local heating and cooling companies to have your system examined.

No matter the weather outside, the team at All Seasons Comfort Control can make things feel comfortable indoors. Contact us today to schedule maintenance.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance

Living in a home with too much humidity can be unpleasant. Everything feels swampy and you find yourself dealing with mold and mildew.

But your home needs some humidity for things to be hospitable. When the air gets too dry, you’re faced with issues ranging from chapped lips to damaged wood furniture.

Ideally, the humidity level in your home should be anywhere between 30 to 50 percent, with an optimal level right in the middle of that range, 45 percent.

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February brings us Valentine’s Day, a chance for people to show their loved ones that they’re loved.

But what about your HVAC system? When was the last time you showed it some love? We’d be hard-pressed to argue that your heating system is a member of the family, but it is an important part of your home. When you give it the care and maintenance it needs, it will take care of you.

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Oil versus Gas Furnaces

Our country loves the Superbowl, so much so that we use this unofficial holiday to pit other things against each other, from beers to chicken wings to puppies.

We’re not immune to this trend either. Consider this blog post the Superbowl of home heating, where we put oil heat up against gas.

Both types of heat offer pluses and minuses, so it’s important to review your furnace installation options before you make your pick.

Oil heat

Filling residential oil tank

Oil heat has typically been much more costly than gas heat, with annual heating bills in the range of $2,000-$2,500.

We should note, however, that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects home heating costs to drop a bit this winter due to warmer overall temperatures. On average, natural gas and electric bills will decline by one percent, while home heating oil costs could drop by four percent.

Heating oil tends to cost more because much of it comes from overseas, making its prices subject to a host of international market influences.

However, oil remains a reliable fuel source – especially for customers in colder climates – because it offers more heat per BTU than other fuels.

It’s also a convenient heating source for people in remote areas. You may not be able to tap into a gas line, but as long as your property has room for an oil storage tank, you’ll have heat.

Just keep in mind that oil furnaces will need more maintenance than their gas counterparts due to dirt/soot accumulation. Plan to spend a few hundred dollars each year getting your chimney cleaned and your filters replaced.

Gas heat

Gas Furnace Flames

Gas furnaces may cost more in terms of installation, but fuel prices tend to be lower and more steady than oil prices, because most natural gas comes from North America.

Gas is a far more common form of home heating in America, with about half of all households using it (compared to oil, which accounts for less than 10 percent).

You won’t need much maintenance with gas furnaces, and because they connect to a gas line, you won’t need to have a storage tank on your property.

Gas furnaces offer better heating efficiency than their oil counterparts and run quieter and cleaner. However, your home must be in an area where gas is available.

With a gas furnace, you can attach a permanent generator to your home that’s connected to your natural gas line. If your power goes out, you’ll be able to operate your generator and run your appliances without having to worry about fuel shortages.

Efficiency ratings

Eficiency Rating

If you’re looking for a new furnace installation, pay attention to its AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating, which indicates how efficient the furnace is compared to other models. The higher the score, the greater the efficiency.

Most oil furnaces have an AFUE rating between 80 and 90 percent, while gas furnaces carry a rating between 89 and 98 percent.

You may also want to look into Pennsylvania’s Home Heating Equipment Rebate Program, which offers rebates to customers who purchase energy-efficient gas and oil furnaces.

If you’re looking for a new furnace installation and want to make the switch from oil to natural gas, All Seasons Comfort Control can help.

Our heating repair and service team is ready to help keep your home warm and comfortable this winter with our complete selection of American Standard heaters, the country’s number one brand.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our furnace installation options for your home.

heating and cooling

Our corner of Pennsylvania welcomed the new year with a stretch of unseasonably warm weather. At one point in early January, temperatures got into the high 60s.

But our luck can’t hold forever. Cold weather and winter storms will eventually return. And with those conditions comes the risk of property damage.

In this week’s blog post, we’ll look at some ways you can protect your home – and your heating and cooling system – this winter.\

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The Season of Dry Air

whole house humidifier

It’s the season for chapped lips, for itchy, dry skin. For waking up with sore throats and the occasional bloody nose.

In other words, it’s winter, when the air in your home is typically dryer than normal. In this week’s blog post, we’ll explore some ways you can make your home more comfortable, including investing in a whole house humidifier.

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Mom and Daughter with rabbit

With luck, you’ll never need the information in this article. Your furnace will perform admirably all winter, keeping you and your family warm.

But if you do have furnace issues, it helps to be ready and informed. In this blog post we’ll look at some issues you might want to watch out for, while also discussing the benefits of the Mitsubishi Electric heating and cooling system.

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schedule HVAC maintenance

Live in your house long enough and you’ll get used to the sounds it makes. The hum of the refrigerator. The garage door opening. That one step that always creaks.

Then there are the sounds you don’t expect, like the ones that emanate from your furnace duct work. If you’re wondering when to schedule HVAC maintenance, it’s when you hear things coming from your furnace like:

  1. Rattling sounds

This sound can be unsettling, but it’s not an end-of-the-world HVAC issue. Rather, it’s a sign that your ductwork is either sized improperly or has simply come loose. When your furnace is firing, it will cause loose ducts to rattle against each other.

Again, it’s not a huge issue, but it is giving you a bigger energy bill, as loose ductwork can lead to a loss of heat.

  • Whistling

We might associate whistling with feeling carefree, but this sound coming out of your furnace is in fact more like wheezing, likely the result of a constricted air flow.

Look to see if you need to replace your filter. If that’s not the answer, check your vents to make sure they’re clear of debris. Like the rattling sound, it’s not a serious issue, but this could lead to bigger problems. Have your HVAC tech look at the furnace during scheduled maintenance.

  • Vibrating or humming

These noises typically signal a clog in the air flow return section of your heating system, which can lead to a massive drop in air pressure. The smaller the blockage, the longer the humming or vibrating noise will last. If you have a near-total blockage, it will announce itself with a short, loud, sudden hum.

  • Buzzing or scratching

In this case, you’ll need to call an exterminator rather than wonder when to schedule HVAC maintenance. The buzzing and scratching is probably mice, insects and other pests making a winter home in your ducts.

  • Squealing

When you hear a loud squealing coming from the engine of your car, it’s often a sign that one of the belts is about to give. The same is true for your furnace. A loud, persistent squeal can be a sign that the fan or motor belt is about to break and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

  • Booming

This might be a serious issue. When you hear a soft, infrequent boom, you might be hearing the furnace plenum, its air distribution box, expanding.

However, a loud, frequent boom is the sound of a delayed furnace ignition, which can be a threat to the entire system. When you hear this sound, call your local HVAC expert as soon as possible.

Nearly any unusual noise from your system is your furnace telling you when to schedule HVAC maintenance. (One exception: a snapping and popping noise when your system turns on, which is just the sound of ducts expanding and flexing because of a change in air pressure.)

Do you need to schedule maintenance on your HVAC system? Are you hearing weird noises from your ducts? Talk to All Seasons Comfort Control. Our team can examine your heating system for problems, allowing you to rest comfortably all winter.