What Type of Heating System Is Best for My Home this Winter?

If you’ve decided that it’s time to replace the heating system in your home, you might have found yourself in a bit of a quandary. There are so many different types of heating systems on the market today, it can be confusing to know which is the best for your home and lifestyle. You want to make sure you get a heating system that not only keeps you and your family comfortable, but is also energy-efficient and durable. So, what should you do when it comes time for a new heating installation? Research!

Yes, it’s always a good idea to look into the different types of systems before calling your HVAC dealer in for help. Understanding the various kinds of heating systems that are available can facilitate the conversation with your HVAC installer, and help ensure that you get just the right product for your home. At T.F. O’Brien, we think our customers should make the best decision possible when it comes to home heating, which is why we provide you with the information you need.

Learn more about the types of heating systems available from T.F. O’Brien.

At T.F. O’Brien, we proudly offer a wide range of heating equipment from quality, reputable manufacturers. And, our technicians are expert craftspeople who have received the proper training to install your equipment. As a full-service heating contractor, we can provide you with service after the sale, too – you can count on us to maintain and repair your equipment professionally as well. We’re pleased to provide our customers with the following types of heating systems:

  • Furnaces – Generally, there are two types of furnaces available to heat your home. Oil furnaces use fuel oil, and gas furnaces use natural gas. Gas furnaces tend to be more efficient that oil furnaces. Most people in the Northeast heat their homes with either a furnace or boiler, although other systems are becoming more prevalent as technologies improve.
  • Boilers – Like furnaces, boilers generally use gas or oil to operate. If you rely on radiant heat for your home, then you use a boiler. Today’s boilers are built to be much more energy efficient than their predecessors, often reaching rates of 95% efficiency or more.
  • Heat Pumps – Heat pump technology has improved greatly, making it a viable option for heating even in colder climates. Not to mention, heat pumps are one of the most energy-efficient heating options available, and they don’t use fossil fuels to operate. Instead, they work by extracting the heat from the ground or outside air, and pumping it into your home.
  • Ductless Heating – Ductless heating uses heat pump technology to operate, so again, it’s a very efficient choice for heating your home. Another benefit to ductless is that it provides targeted comfort, so you can create heating zones in your home – and that helps increase efficiency even more. Ductless is a great option if your home doesn’t have ductwork and you wish to upgrade your baseboard or radiant heating system.
  • High Velocity Heating – High velocity heating uses small diameter ductwork to bring heat and comfort in older, multi-story homes where larger diameter ductwork may be space-prohibitive. It uses a type of indoor equipment known as an air handler, outdoor equipment, a line set of pipes that connect the indoor and outdoor units, and small-diameter ductwork which transfers the heated air throughout your home. A standard thermostat controls the system.

When you need help with your home heating, call T.F. O’Brien.

Getting the heating products you need to stay warm and toasty all winter long is as easy as giving us a call. We can help meet any heating need you may have, from installation of new equipment to maintenance and repair. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be glad to assist you.

Have An Attitude of Gratitude? Here Are 9 Things Only Long Islanders Would Be Thankful For.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, most of us take some time to think about what we’re truly thankful for. Of course, friends and family top that list, as well as the wonderful Thanksgiving feast that’s been lovingly prepared for us. As Long Islanders, though, we have some other wonderful things to be thankful for. We live on a beautiful island, where we can easily enjoy summers in the sun and on the beach. We’re close enough to the city that we can catch a show on Broadway or do some shopping at Macy’s. But there are a few things that only Long Islanders get to be thankful for – and we’re sharing them with you!

9 Things Only Long Islanders Would Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

When you and your family sit down to enjoy the turkey and stuffing this year, count your blessings as a Long Islander and make sure you give thanks for the following!

  1. A LIRR schedule that’s on time. The Long Island Rail Road isn’t always (or even often) on time, but when it is, every Long Islander should be thankful!
  2. No traffic on the LIE. Is the Long Island Expressway ever free of traffic? Well, not entirely, but we can always be grateful for those days when it’s at a dull roar.
  3. Telling someone you’re from New York, and not having them think the city. Like our Upstate friends, most of the time if you say you’re from New York, people think you mean the city. How would we all fit there, people? We’re always grateful when people recognize that we might live elsewhere.
  4. 24/7 diners. Feel like grabbing a burger at 3 a.m.? We have some great all-night diners here on Long Island that make those late-night food runs easy as pie.
  5. The Islanders moving back to the Coliseum. We love our hockey here on Long Island, and our Islanders. And, we love to watch them play at the Coliseum, for sure!
  6. Billy Joel. A native son, we couldn’t be prouder of our very own Piano Man and all of his success. He’s never forgotten his roots, which we appreciate!
  7. When people say “on Long Island” versus “in Long Island.” We live ON an island, where we’re perfectly mobile. We’re not planted here, nor do we live in burrows.
  8. Jones Beach concerts. You can’t beat the amazing entertainers and shows at Jones Beach! Doobie Brothers, Black Crowes and Journey are all on the docket for Summer 2020!
  9. When people recognize that Long Island wineries are as great as the Finger Lakes wineries. We make some pretty incredible wines right here on Long Island, where Merlot is king. Enjoy a wine tour, and check out this list of must-visit wineries. Salut!

At T.F. O’Brien, we also give thanks for you.

When we sit around our holiday table and count our blessings, our customers are always among those we give thanks for. We appreciate the support you’ve shown us for more than 85 years. We are grateful for you – thank you! And remember, if you have any home comfort need, simply give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we will be happy to assist you.

Preparing Your Home for a Long Island Winter

home_maintenance_longislandWhether we like it or not, winter is on its way here on Long Island. That means the days have grown shorter, the temperatures chillier, and everyone’s thoughts have turned to the holiday season. Is your home ready for the cooler weather ahead? It will be, if you check out these great tips to help you get ready for Old Man Winter’s inevitable arrival.

According to an article in Newsday, there are five important measures you can take in preparation for those icy days ahead. The best thing? By following these tips, you and your family will not only enjoy greater comfort, but you’ll also likely save some money in the long run – and who couldn’t use a bit more cash during the holidays? Below, learn more about getting your home ready – inside and out.

Five Ways to Get Your Long Island Home Winter-Ready

  1. Get service for your heating system. No matter what type you have – furnace, boiler or heat pump – making sure it’s been properly serviced before the winter months hit is important. Your HVAC technician will know the correct measures that need to be taken to ensure your system runs smoothly no matter how cold it gets outside. One thing you can easily do throughout the winter, though, is make sure the filter is changed regularly on your forced-air system. A dirty filter not only makes your home dusty and dirty, but it can also decrease the effectiveness and efficiency of your equipment.
  2. Insulate your plumbing. Do you have an unheated attic or basement? Your pipes in those areas will need to be insulated to ensure they don’t freeze. Wind chill also plays a role in pipes freezing, and as we well know, the wind chill can dip quite a ways down here on Long Island. One way to help prevent freezing pipes in extreme temperatures is by allowing a faucet to drip a bit. Never try to thaw out popes on your own using a flame or torch, or even a blow dryer. This can cause a fire hazard. If you suspect your pipes have frozen, call a plumbing specialist.
  3. Add weatherstripping to doors and windows. Often, cold air leaks into your house via small gaps in doors and windows. Unfortunately, those small leaks can add up when it comes time for your utility bills. Adding some weatherstripping or caulk to these areas can help you keep cold air out, warm air in, and money in your pocket.
  4. Call in your chimney sweep. If you have a fireplace in your home, it’s imperative that you get it cleaned and inspected before the first fire of the season. The residue from fires past can build up in the flue, becoming more flammable over time. And that can be very dangerous – resulting in a chimney fire in your home. So you definitely don’t want to neglect this very important pre-winter maintenance task.
  5. Take measures to keep the pests at bay. All sorts of outdoor creatures want to move on in when the weather outside takes a dip into the lower digits. Of course, mice and squirrels are fairly common house-crashers, but raccoons, possums, rats, bats and birds can take up residence in your home too. Make sure all the doors in your home have been secured, and seal up small openings into your home (those where lines for AC, plumbing, gas, etc. run) using caulk. And, if you have food for outdoor birds, store it in an airtight, metal container.

When you need heating maintenance for the winter ahead, call T.F. O’Brien.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re ready to help you with your home heating maintenance needs. We’re always more than happy to get our customers’ heating systems ready for the winter ahead. All you need to do is give us a call at 516.488.1800 to schedule an appointment with us today.

Talking Turkey About HVAC Repair – What You Need to Know

heating_repair_toolsIf your heating system isn’t doing its job the way it used to, you might be thinking about repairs and the costs associated with them. Depending on how extensive the need, repairs can be simple and fairly inexpensive – or extensive and quite costly. Many times, though, people aren’t sure whether fixing the system is a better choice than replacing. There are a few factors that can help you make the decision. In an article on Money.com, repair versus replacement is discussed.

There are a few questions you might want to ask yourself when considering repair versus replacement.

Nobody really wants to think about the costs of repairing or replacing a heating system, especially around holiday time. But if you’re faced with deciding about this expense, it’s important to take a few different factors into consideration.

  • Has your system broken down frequently and needed costly repairs? If yes, then you’re probably in a place where you really need to consider a new installation. This is especially true if you have an older furnace that’s no longer under warranty. The good news is, today’s furnaces are far more energy efficient than their predecessors, so chances are in the long run, you’ll actually be saving money.
  • Have you regularly had your heating system serviced? If the answer to that is no, then there’s no better time than the present to call a reputable HVAC dealer and get maintenance scheduled. Sometimes, a system can operate less effectively and efficiently simply because it’s dirty. And, annual maintenance helps ensure your system gets any minor repairs it may need – before they become larger, and much more expensive, problems.
  • Have you considered any ductwork issues? If you have a forced-air heating system – one that relies on ductwork to deliver warmed air throughout your home – then it’s always a good idea to have your ducts checked before determining that your heating system is the problem. Dirty, blocked ductwork can cause major problems with system efficiency – and indoor air quality.
  • How’s your home insulation? If you don’t have proper insulation in your home, no heating system, high-efficiency or not, is going to be as effective as it can be. Sometimes getting better insulation for your home can result in much better efficiency – up to 25 percent if you currently have poor insulation in your home. Another benefit to ensuring your home is properly insulated is that, when the time comes to replace your heating system, you can often choose a smaller sized (and therefore less expensive) system.

Let T.F. O’Brien help you with your heating repair or replacement needs.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re experts when it comes to your home comfort, and our goal is to always keep you and your family comfortable as efficiently as possible. We’re always more than happy to get our customers’ heating systems ready for the winter ahead, whether you need maintenance, repair or replacement. All you need to do is give us a call at 516.488.1800 to schedule an appointment with us today.

Getting the Home Heating You Need – A Buying Guide

TFO WEB HeatBuyersGuideBlogHeader

Is it time to replace the heating system in your home? It can be a daunting task. You’re making an expensive purchase, but a necessary one. It’s important that you choose the right system for your home, lifestyle, and of course, budget. With many options available, as well as several different brands, it can be difficult to know if you’re choosing the best system for your needs.

The first step in purchasing home heating equipment? Do your research.

The internet provides you with a wealth of information on different types of equipment and brands. But sometimes, that much information can get overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re choosing the right sources of information on heating equipment.

Here are a few credible, helpful sources to get you started:

The Department of Energy

If anybody knows their stuff, it’s the most official research in the U.S.! The Department of Energy has great stats and data to help you make the most out of your heating system this year.

Energy Star

According to their own words, “Energy Star is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.”

Angie’s List

Angie’s List, an online review-collecting service, has an extremely detailed breakdown of different systems that will help you narrow down what’s best for your home.

Smarter House

Smarter House is a resource for home energy efficiency, and they provide a useful overview of home heating systems.

The Spruce

A reliable source for home tips, The Spruce has an awesome guide to all different kinds of home heating systems that is ideal for someone who needs an easily digestible snapshot of each.

Some things to consider while you’re looking…

Sizing is important.

This is where your HVAC professional comes in. They know how to analyze your home’s space and energy needs in order to install the properly sized equipment. Too small a furnace, and your home won’t get adequately heated, especially during an extreme cold snap. Conversely, if your furnace is too large, it cycles on and off too often, wasting energy and putting wear and tear on components. A qualified HVAC technician can help you get the right size for your home.

Look at energy efficiency.

If your heating system is more than 10 years old, it’s likely that it isn’t as energy efficient as you’d like. Advances have been made in recent years on heating equipment, and today’s furnaces and boilers offer much higher efficiency than their predecessors. Not to mention, heat pumps and ductless systems are becoming more popular. Both of these systems offer incredible energy efficiency and effective heating as well.

Choose a reputable installer.

One of the most important things you can do when looking into home heating replacement is to find an installer with a reputation for excellence. You’ll want to see what organizations they’re involved with, such as North American Technician Excellence, or NATE. Research them to ensure they provide ongoing training to their technicians, and keep them up-to-date on the latest technologies. And, you’ll want to check out their Better Business Bureau profiles, as well as online reviews. The greater your comfort level with your installer, the more likely the project will go smoothly and you’ll get just the right system for your home.

Learn more about the types of heating systems available.

    • Furnaces – Generally, there are two types of furnaces available to heat your home. Oil furnaces use fuel oil, and gas furnaces use natural gas. Gas furnaces tend to be more efficient that oil furnaces. Most people in the Northeast heat their homes with either a furnace or boiler, although other systems are becoming more prevalent as technologies improve.
    • Boilers – Like furnaces, boilers generally use gas or oil to operate. If you rely on radiant heat for your home, then you use a boiler. Today’s boilers are built to be much more energy efficient than their predecessors, often reaching rates of 95% efficiency or more.
    • Heat Pumps – Heat pump technology has improved greatly, making it a viable option for heating even in colder climates. Not to mention, heat pumps are one of the most energy-efficient heating options available, and they don’t use fossil fuels to operate. Instead, they work by extracting the heat from the ground or outside air, and pumping it into your home.
    • Ductless Heating – Ductless heating uses heat pump technology to operate, so again, it’s a very efficient choice for heating your home. Another benefit to ductless is that it provides targeted comfort, so you can create heating zones in your home – and that helps increase efficiency even more. Ductless is a great option if your home doesn’t have ductwork and you wish to upgrade your baseboard or radiant heating system.
    • High Velocity Heating – High velocity heating uses small diameter ductwork to bring heat and comfort in older, multi-story homes where larger diameter ductwork may be space-prohibitive. It uses a type of indoor equipment known as an air handler, outdoor equipment, a line set of pipes that connect the indoor and outdoor units, and small-diameter ductwork which transfers the heated air throughout your home. A standard thermostat controls the system.

Take the next step in getting the heating system you need for your home this winter.

T.F. O’Brien works with you, your home and your budget to provide you with the best, most efficient heating system possible. Click below to contact us today!

 

And, you can download a copy of our buyer’s guide below

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Don’t Miss Our Technician Hiring Event

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Looking for an HVAC job?

Join us for our Technician Hiring Event on Tuesday, October 29 from 5-8PM at our 100 Denton Ave., Hyde Park location to find out how we can help advance your HVAC career! Bring your resume and see why T.F. O’Brien Heating and Cooling is an excellent HVAC employment opportunity with full benefits, robust training, and continued education opportunities.

5 Fun Things to Do On Long Island This Fall

Contributed by Joe Pantorno

There’s a reason why over 7.5 million people live on Long Island (not “in;” don’t ever say “in Long Island”).

No matter your interests or tastes, the 118-mile strip of land protruding from New York’s mainland has something for everyone — and that rings especially true during the fall.

As we prepare for the season packed with foliage, apple picking, and trick-or-treaters, here are some of the best things to do on Long Island this autumn:

Apple and Pumpkin Picking

One can’t officially ring in fall on Long Island without going out east for a day of apple and pumpkin picking.

It’s a rite of passage the moment the first chill is felt in the air following the dog days of summer.

Whether you’re in Riverhead at Harbes Farm or in Water Mill at Hank’s Pumpkintown, there’s fun for all — both for a family day or fun with the friends.

Best of all, you won’t come home empty-handed. Turn those apples into a pie or carve up those pumpkins to keep the fall fun rolling.

Wine Tasting

For a more adult-themed day out east on Long Island — amongst friends or with that special someone — the wineries provide a perfect day of relaxation.

According to the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, Long Island boasts 73 wineries and tasting rooms with a majority of them located on the north fork.

Just sit back, smell the grapes, and enjoy!

Local Breweries

If you’re not into wine, don’t fret. Long Island also has plenty of breweries for the favorite beer drinker in your life.

With approximately 40 breweries to choose from, you won’t be short of opportunities to try some of the best local craft beer the region has to offer.

Don’t worry, there will probably be plenty of pumpkin beer to go around this time of year.

Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns

Autumn and art truly converge at Old Westbury Gardens during October.

Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns features over 5,000 unique, hand-carved pumpkins that create one of the coolest fall strolls you’ll ever take.

The illuminated jack o’ lanterns range from the traditional to creepy as the path is set to a musical score that completes the perfect seasonal and Halloween ambiance.

But be sure to get your tickets as soon as you can because the limited schedule makes this event a hot commodity.

Bayville Scream Park

If you’re looking for a real scare, look no further than Bayville Scream Park.

The haunted house has become a staple for thrill-seekers as demons, clowns, and witches bring the “most macabre, unsettling, and disturbing images in the back of your mind” to life.

There’s more than just the haunted mansion, though. Attractions also include the “Temple of Terror,” “Evil in the Woods,” and “Uncle Needle’s Funhouse of Fear.”

It’s probably best to leave the little ones at home for this, but you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

Just try not to be afraid of the dark when you’re done.

The park will be open from Sept. 27-Nov. 3.

Joe Pantorno is the sports editor at Metro. Click here to learn more about Joe.

October is Fire Safety Month – Is Your Home Ready?

tfobrien firesafetyAt T.F. O’Brien, one of our top priorities is our customer’s comfort and safety. That’s why we strive to ensure your home comfort system is always working properly and operating safely. Because October is Fire Safety Month, we want to talk about ways you can help protect your home and your family against fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Having the proper devices in your home is crucial when it comes to your home safety. With modern technology, today’s home safety equipment is better than ever at detecting smoke, heat and carbon monoxide emissions. Learn more below about the three most important safety devices you can have in your home, with information provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms, also often called smoke detectors, are the first line of defense if there ever is a fire in your home. When installed and maintained properly, they can play a vital role the reduction of fire and smoke related deaths and injuries. There should be smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, and in every bedroom and outside of sleeping areas. If you have battery operated smoke alarms, test them regularly, and replace batteries once a year. Additionally, you can purchase sealed alarms with long-life lithium batteries, or hardwired smoke alarms as well. If your smoke alarm sounds and you don’t know the immediate cause (like burnt toast), you should get out of the house and call your fire department.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that at the very least cause serious illness, but can also cause death. There are a number of ways that CO can be emitted into the home, including heating and cooking equipment, vehicle emissions, and generators. You should ensure heating equipment and generators are regularly inspected to ensure their safe operation. Make sure to have a CO detector located in the same area as smoke alarms (you can install dual smoke/CO detectors), and make sure to test them regularly. If your CO detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call your local fire department right away.

Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers can help save your home – and your life. They’re useful in putting out small fires. The NFPA indicates they may be used in situations where “the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.” Remember, fire extinguishers have expiration dates, too. Check yours to make sure they are not outdated. Keep a fire extinguisher in the garage, kitchen, and basement, or wherever you have equipment that could cause a fire.

For more information, please visit the NFPA website by clicking any of the links above or here. You can also call T.F. O’Brien at 516.488.1800 to make sure your home heating equipment is in good working order, and that your CO detectors are properly installed.

Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality This Fall

tfobrien airqualityIf you or someone in your family suffers from fall allergies, you know how uncomfortable a time it can be. Itchy noses, watery eyes, and stuffy sinuses can make the autumn season unpleasant for some. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find relief even in your own home, as pollen and mold can enter on your shoes, clothing and through open windows. The good news? There are ways to improve your indoor air quality, or IAQ, helping you feel more comfortable when allergy season arrives.

5 Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

  1. Change the filter in your home comfort system. Filters are made to keep dust, dirt, pollen and other particles out of the air that circulates for your home. However, they can get dirty over time, and it’s important to change them out regularly – more frequently if you’re running your home comfort system often.
  2. Consider the type of filter you’re using. Many people just use basic filters and that’s okay, unless you need advanced filtration. There are filters available that can pull out even the most microscopic particles that can cause allergies and distress.
  3. Look into advanced air cleaning. A whole-house air cleaner can help significantly reduce the amount of allergens in your home, like dust, dander, pollen, bacteria and mold. It works with your cooling and heating system to purify all the air in your home.
  4. Be mindful of humidity levels. If your home is too humid, it can encourage the growth of known allergens like mold and mildew. A whole-house dehumidifier is an easy way to make sure your home isn’t holding in too much moisture.
  5. Make sure your HVAC system is regularly maintained. Spring and fall maintenance is important for many reasons, but when it comes to air quality, making sure this equipment gets the annual cleaning it needs helps keep the air in your home cleaner and fresher.

How to Get the IAQ Products You Need

Fortunately, getting the IAQ products you need to make the air in your home fresher and cleaner is as easy as calling T.F. O’Brien. We can help you get the indoor air quality products you need, as well as make sure your home comfort system is well-maintained. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be glad to assist you.

Is a Heat Pump System Right for Your Home?

tfobrien heatpump energy efficiencyHave you been thinking about replacing the old heating system in your home? Maybe your current system hasn’t been keeping your home as warm as you’d like, or maybe you’ve noticed a steady increase in your utility bills over the past few years. Or, perhaps you’ve had to make a lot of expensive repairs to your system, and it still isn’t running as well as it should be.

No matter what your reason may be for deciding to replace your current heating system, you should know that there are options available that are highly efficient and can help you save on energy costs. If you choose a traditional furnace or boiler, modern systems offer superior energy efficiency when compared to their older counterparts. You should also know, heat pump systems are a viable option for many homeowners as well.

What is a heat pump system?

Just like the name implies, a heat pump system “pumps” heat – either into, or out of, your home. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), heat pump systems transfer heat between your home and the outside air. During the cooler months, heat pumps actually extract the existing heat from the outdoor air and move it into your home. Because these systems move heat rather than make heat, they are highly efficient, helping you save both energy and money.

Additionally, there is an added bonus to installing a heat pump system – because they move heat, they can also move it out of your home during the summer months. This enables your heat pump system to provide both heating and cooling to your home, making it a viable solution if you need to replace your entire home comfort system. Heat pump systems are available for homes both with and without ducts, too, so virtually any home can benefit from heat pump installation.

Will it work in cooler climates?

Many homeowners express concern over whether heat pump systems will operate properly in areas that tend to get colder winters. Much of this concern stems from the fact that for many years, heat pumps didn’t function well below a certain temperature. However, according to the DOE, heat pump technology has advanced significantly in recent years, now allowing it to offer “a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions.”

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re pleased to provide our clients with quality heat pump solutions for their home. When you make an appointment with us, we can evaluate your home to make sure a heat pump solution is the right choice. We’ll explain the benefits of heat pump systems, and help you choose the perfect system for your home. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be glad to assist you.