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.

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.

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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T.F. O’Brien Can Bring You Comfort & Joy – Even in an Emergency!

This is the time of year for festivities, food, family… and freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, the colder it gets outside, the more we need to use our heating system. And the harder our heating systems work, the greater chance for a breakdown. Luckily, you don’t have to let a broken down furnace or boiler be the grinch that steals your holiday cheer. Just rely on the folks at T.F. O’Brien to help you get the repair services you need.

We know there’s no good time for a heating system breakdown. But when your house is full of nieces, nephews and your great-aunt Bethany, a furnace or boiler failure is even worse. You don’t want to spend the holiday huddled in your living room in your winter outerwear – and you don’t have to. We offer exceptional repair service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – even on holidays.

T.F. O’Brien offers emergency services on most makes and models of heating systems.

Our technicians are highly skilled in furnace and boiler repair. They have the qualifications to repair most makes and models of equipment. As a result, your heating system concern will be remedied correctly. You and your family will be sipping your eggnog in comfort in no time flat! And while it may not seem very shiny or glamorous, you can always give a gift that keeps on giving – a seasonal maintenance contract from T.F. O’Brien.

When you have a seasonal maintenance contract with us, an emergency repair situation is far less likely. That’s because our technicians will thoroughly inspect and maintain your equipment before winter starts. They’ll make sure any problems are addressed right away. That way, small concerns are taken care of before they become large – and potentially expensive – repairs. Not to mention, if you do experience a furnace or boiler breakdown, you’ll receive priority service. That saves you from having too much of a wait in a chilly house with a bevy of cold, complaining relatives – and isn’t that well worth it?

Trust T.F. O’Brien with your emergency heating repair needs.

Don’t be left out in the cold this holiday season – count on us to help you stay warm no matter how frightful the weather outside may get. When you need heating repair in Long Island, T.F. O’Brien is ready to assist you. T.F. O’Brien proudly serves all of Long Island, including Nassau CountySuffolk County, and Brooklyn. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800.

Need Heating Services for Your Nassau County Home? We Can Help.

Even though nobody wants to think about it, cooler weather is coming. Once it hits, you’ll be relying on your the heating system in your Nassau County home. And, if you have an older system, you may need repairs or other services. That’s why you need a heating contractor who’s reliable and can offer all the services you might need. When you put your trust in T.F. O’Brien, we can help you stay warm and toasty all winter long.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re a full-service contractor providing heating services all throughout Nassau County. We have credentials you can trust, and provide a complete range of heating services for your home. We want to make staying comfortable easy for you, whether you have a furnace, a boiler, a heat pump or ductless. As a result, we offer installation, maintenance and repair services for all types of heating systems.

Here’s how T.F. O’Brien helps you get the heating services you need for your Nassau County home:

Heating System Maintenance: One way you can ensure that, once the long, cold winter months arrive, your family will be safe and warm is by choosing heating system maintenance. At T.F. O’Brien, we know that heating system maintenance is vital to the life of your equipment, which is why we offer comprehensive heating system maintenance plans for our customers. Keeping your heating system properly maintained is a priority for us because it helps your system operate at peak performance, while helping you save on utility bills.

Heating System Repair: It’s Murphy’s Law – if it’s going to break down, your heating system likely will do so on the coldest night of the year. You need a heating contractor can help in a hurry – which is why you should count on T. F. O’Brien. Our technicians are highly trained and use the most advanced diagnostic equipment, instruments and tools available so they can evaluate your heating system repair needs quickly and thoroughly, which will help you save time and money – and get back to being warm and comfortable!

New Heating System Installation: Do you need a new heating system installation for your home this winter? Then you should call the experts at T.F. O’Brien. We make it our priority to always look out for your best interests and provide high quality new heating system installations to ensure the comfort and safety you expect. We offer systems that will keep your home at the perfect comfort level, all while helping you save on your home’s energy consumption – as well as on your heating bills. And, your satisfaction is guaranteed!

And, we offer a wide range of heating products, so no matter what you need, we can help.

Don’t let another cold winter leave you feeling the chill – count on us to help you stay warm no matter how frightful the weather outside may get. When you need a heating contractor, T.F. O’Brien is ready to assist you. T.F. O’Brien proudly provides heating services to all of Nassau County. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800.

Unless Frosty Works for You, You Need Commercial Heating

You know your employees and customers complain when the air conditioning system isn’t keeping your business cool enough in the summer. They’ll also be unhappy when winter’s chill hits and the heating system isn’t up to snuff. Chances are, you don’t have snow people on your payroll. So, you’ll need to make sure your commercial space is adequately heated once the snow starts flying. What are some factors you need to take into account when heating your building?

Your top priority should be effective and efficient HVAC design for your building. You might be thinking, “Wait! I thought the top priority was customer and employee comfort!” Well, a properly designed HVAC system will allow for the right commercial heating in your space – and that will lend itself to that comfort everyone desires. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, HVAC systems account for 39 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings in the United States. They offer that the use of high-performance HVAC equipment can provide both energy efficiency and cost effectiveness, and when coupled with whole building design considerations, improved comfort and indoor air quality will naturally follow.

It sounds like commercial heating is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

Of course, commercial heating and building design can get complex. And if you’re not in the HVAC business, the chances are pretty good you’re going to rely on an expert to help you. At T.F. O’Brien, we never want you to have to worry about heating or cooling your building. We are highly trained HVAC professionals with the credentials you can count on for your commercial heating needs. Our technicians don’t just come into your business and install a boiler; we have engineers on staff that take your whole building into account before recommending the appropriate commercial heating installation for your space. We offer complete commercial heating services for both boilers and furnaces, including installation and repair.

And, once winter disappears we won’t – we also offer the best commercial cooling products and services as well. We’re pleased to offer a full range of commercial services including:

With the right commercial heating, your employees won’t have to wear parkas in the office – and will be much more productive than they would be shivering around the coffee maker all day. And the more productive your employees, the better it is for your bottom line.

For the best commercial heating services for your business or organization, count on T.F. O’Brien to meet your needs. We’re pleased to service all of Long Island, including Nassau County, Suffolk County and Brooklyn. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 or fill out our convenient contact form, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Hiring the Right Heating Service Contractor for Your Nassau County Home

When you need heating services, you want to know that the contractor you’re inviting into your home is qualified to perform the HVAC services you need, whether it’s maintenance, repair or installation. In an article on the Angie’s List website, author Paul F. P. Pogue discusses what you should look for in an HVAC contractor, and the homework you really should do before hiring someone for the heating service needs of your Nassau County home.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Licensure: When you hire a heating service contractor for your Nassau County home, you’ll want to make sure they hold the appropriate licenses. You’re taking your heating system into your own hands if you choose to hire a contractor without the proper licensure. It can mean that your contractor doesn’t have the right education and experience for the job, and there’s a good chance their company isn’t properly bonded or insured.
  • Insurance: It should go without saying – anybody who does any work in your home should be insured. Why? Without the right insurance, you as a homeowner can be held liable in the case of accidental damage or injury. So before you hire someone to perform heating service in your Nassau County home, make sure they’re properly insured.
  • Quality Brands: Does the contractor install brands with a proven track record? If you’ve never heard of what they’re selling, or can’t easily find information on the brand on the Internet, then maybe they don’t. Just like you should be cautious about who is providing heating service in your Nassau County home, you should also be aware of what equipment manufacturers are considered to be the cream of the crop.
  • Testimonials: What do other customers have to say about the contractor you’re considering? Check places like Angie’s List for unbiased customer testimonials. Ask your neighbors and friends if they’ve had experience working with them. Check out the contractor’s website and see if they offer customer reviews anywhere on their website. Word-of-mouth is often a great way to connect with a contractor who will have your best interests at heart.
  • Maintenance Contracts: A great contractor knows that there’s much more to HVAC than installation of new systems. They care about their customers and want to help them keep their equipment running and in good shape for as long as possible. Check to see if the contractor you’re considering offers maintenance contracts along with their other heating services for your Nassau County home. Maintenance contracts provide you with the annual attention your system needs to run its best now and for years to come.

How can T.F. O’Brien help?

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for all of the above. At T.F. O’Brien, we take great pride in providing the residents of Nassau County with the heating service they need in order to stay comfortable all winter long. We’re fully licensed and insured, and we only install brands that we’d use in our own homes. Our customers will tell you, we strive to provide expert service, whether you need heating repair, maintenance or a new installation. And, we offer maintenance contracts so you can rest assured that your equipment will last and will perform effectively and efficiently. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 to find out how we can help.

Boiler on the Fritz? Five Things You Can Do Until Help Arrives.

Chilly winter weather can mean your boiler is working overtime, and sometimes that can also spell trouble. An overworked boiler is more prone to breakdown. If your boiler goes on the fritz this winter, you’ll unfortunately have to deal with no heat until help arrives. Nobody likes to think about a boiler breakdown, but if it happens in your home, there are ways you can prepare yourself.

Here are five ways you can be prepared for a boiler breakdown – and what to do while you wait for T.F. O’Brien to arrive to help with repairs.

Take measures to prevent the breakdown before it happens. Sometimes a boiler breakdown isn’t avoidable, but sometimes… it is. Making sure your heated areas are well insulated, and windows and doors are weatherproofed can help. Other measures, like area rugs on floors and heavier draperies can also help retain heat so that your system doesn’t have to work overtime.

Have an action plan in place in the event of equipment failure. Make sure you have another heat source available, such as an electric space heater or kerosene-fueled heater. If this isn’t possible, consider in advance where you and your family might stay while waiting for repairs if necessary.

Get winter wear and other cozy items together. It’s good to have an emergency bin filled with hats, mittens, hoodies, sweaters, scarves, fleece throws, blankets and any other comfy item you might need should you experience a breakdown. If the breakdown happens during the night, staying in your bed with extra blankets and even cuddling with other family members and pets can help you stay warm!

Take your pipes into account, too. Drain water from any pipes in your home that could freeze, or open taps enough to keep a steady drip of warm water running through the line.

Call for help. When you need help, and you need it fast, you can rely on T.F. O’Brien to be there as soon as possible. Call us when you have an emergency, 24/7, even on holidays or weekends.

T.F. O’Brien can help with repairs… and help you avoid a boiler breakdown altogether.

You can often avoid suffering through a boiler breakdown when you choose annual maintenance for your boiler, too. Annual maintenance agreements are an easy and affordable way to keep your system running in tip-top shape, and to ensure that if there ever is an emergency, you’ll receive priority treatment at a lower price. Call us today to learn more about our repair services and our annual maintenance plans, too.

Don’t Be Spooked by Your HVAC System! 

October is here, and that means it’s time for ghosts and goblins… and cooler weather. We love what October brings – the leaves, the pumpkins, the candy corn… but we also know it ushers in those chillier temperatures, too. Is your home comfort system ready for the winter months to come? You won’t have to be spooked by your heating system this year as long as you get the annual maintenance you need. Haven’t had your heating system tuned up yet? Give us a call soon!

Planned maintenance can really help you protect the investment you made in your HVAC system – we offer maintenance for AC, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps – any equipment we install, we’ll be happy to help you maintain. In addition to maintenance, we’re pleased to provide complete services for all HVAC systems. For instance, if you have a boiler, we can help you with maintenance, repair and installation. Since October is the month for sweet treats, we’re excited to include a recipe for one of our favorite fall indulgences – homemade caramel corn. Read all about it here

Happy Halloween from all of us at T.F. O’Brien – enjoy!

Kerry

August Monthly Message from Kerry

Welcome to the August Message from Kerry. We hope you’re having a great summer so far – who can believe this is the last full month before we start to get into the swing of fall? So enjoy these last few lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer – the kids will be back to school and we’ll be back to our daily routines before you know it! Even though summer is still with us, now is the perfect time to call to schedule your fall annual maintenance. It might seem early but calling now helps to guarantee you’ll get the service you need well before those chilly evenings hit!

While we’re on the subject, we can’t stress enough the importance of fall preventive maintenance. Our service technicians will get your system in prime shape for cooler weather, keeping you and your family comfortable and safe.

With August flying by and September approaching, you might want to think about a generator for your home. A standby generator can be an important addition to your home – especially with fall hurricane season on its way.

Is the basement in your home prone to flooding? Then you might want to consider a wall-hung boiler. Because they’re up off the ground, they’re a good choice for homes where basement flooding is a problem.

We hope you have a great August – enjoy and thanks for reading!

Kerry