Keep Your Ductless System Running Great Between Maintenance Visits

Man sits on couch comfortably underneath his ductless cooling and heating unitIf you have a ductless system installed in your home, there’s no doubt you’re enjoying the energy efficiency, the room-to-room flexibility, and the improved quality of your indoor air. But like any type of home comfort system, you must keep your ductless heating and cooling system properly maintained. That way, you can count on better operation and efficiency, and longer system life.

For more information,
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

If you rely on your ductless system to both heat and cool your home, it’s a good idea to have it maintained in the fall (before the cold weather hits) and the spring (before the temperature starts to soar). That helps ensure that you’ll have the heating or cooling you’ll need when the time comes. While getting professional maintenance from a qualified ductless contractor is important, though, you should also take some maintenance measures yourself.

Five Ways to Maintain Your Ductless System

Fortunately, it’s easy to help keep your system running properly and efficiently between visits from your HVAC professional. Here are a few tips on what you can do to help maintain your ductless heating and cooling system all year:

  1. Keep the indoor portion of your unit clean. This is as simple as including your ductless unit in your weekly dusting routine. The reason you want to do this is that if you allow dirt, dust, and other particulates to accumulate on your system, they can find their way inside your unit, which can cause problems. To prevent this, just wipe down the unit with a damp cloth.
  2. Keep the outdoor portion clean, too. You’ll want to make sure that the outdoor part of your unit is free of dirt, debris, and anything that could cause clogging, too. Turn the unit completely off, and then use the garden hose to gently spray off your unit. Remove any remaining debris with a cleaning cloth.
  3. Make sure there is space around your unit. Keep larger pieces of art, shelving, and bookcases clear of your unit by about four feet, and don’t place anything directly in front of it that might obstruct the airflow, such as large furniture or seasonal decorations (such as Christmas trees). Space for adequate airflow will help your system perform much more effectively and efficiently.
  4. Remove and clean filters regularly. Why make sure your filters are clean frequently? First of all, dirty filters cause your ductless system to work harder and less efficiently. Secondly, dirty filters reintroduce particles into the air in your living space, causing diminished air quality. Simply wipe the filters down with a clean, dry cloth every four to six weeks.
  5. In harsh weather, keep an eye on your outdoor unit. You’ll want to make sure your unit is protected from snow and ice as best as possible, and you’ll want to check it regularly in the event of accumulation. Remove any built-up precipitation from the unit, and clear the space around it.

T.F. O’Brien can help you keep your ductless system maintained properly.

Aside from measures you can take on your own, having an HVAC professional from T.F. O’Brien help you maintain your system is important, too. They’ll be able to check the inner workings of your ductless heating and cooling system, such as making sure drain hoses aren’t blocked and there are no refrigerant leaks. They’ll look at your system’s electrical components and compressor and make sure those are up to snuff, too. And, they can catch any small concerns before they become larger and more expensive ones.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can help your ductless heating and air conditioning system run more effectively and efficiently, and how T.F. O’Brien can help, all you need to do is give us a call. We’re experts in ductless installation, maintenance, and repair. You can count on us to help you find the right ductless maintenance program for your home. Call us at 516.488.1800, and we will be happy to assist you.

“Going Green” Can Benefit the Environment – and You!

green_ductless_efficiencyMore and more, people are becoming concerned about how they impact the planet. From shopping with reusable bags and looking for products with environmentally-friendly packaging, to taking measures in their homes to minimize their carbon footprint, people are looking for ways they can protect the world around them.

The HVAC industry is no different – most manufacturers are looking for more environmentally sound solutions when it comes to the equipment they produce. Advances have been made to create equipment that not only does a better job of keeping people more comfortable but also does so efficiently. In this article, we’ll talk about four technologies that have been developed that can keep you comfortable – and help you create a greener home.

4 Technologies That Can Help You Go Green

TF O’Brien can help you
Go Green.
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

As we mentioned above, there are new developments in the HVAC industry every day that strive to minimize the impact of heating and cooling equipment on the environment. Beginning with creating refrigerants that have been proven not to harm the ozone layer, to developing technologies that use much less electricity and fuel than their predecessors, the home comfort industry is moving forward to create products that benefit both the planet and the homeowner.

  1. Ductless Cooling & Heating: To cool and heat areas in the home where there is little or no access to ductwork, many homeowners are turning to ductless cooling and heating These compact units provide better comfort than most window AC units and space heaters and are very energy-efficient. They can be used for climate control in a single space in the home, or multiple units can be installed to cool and heat the entire house. Today’s units use an environmentally sound refrigerant. As an added bonus, they can be used to help balance out cold and hot spots, allowing your central HVAC system to operate more efficiently. What’s more, most ductless systems use heat pump technology, which we’ll describe in more detail below.
  2. Heat Pump Systems: Heat pump systems can be used centrally in homes with ductwork, or in ductless units for homes without ductwork. What makes heat pumps better for the environment is the way in which they operate. Heat pumps provide higher efficiency heating and cooling because they transfer hot air as opposed to burning fuel inside your home. Most heat pumps are also extremely environmentally sound, having achieved an Energy Star rating because of their highly energy-efficient operation and because they use a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant.
  3. Smart Thermostats: There are many different types of thermostats available that can help your home stay comfortable while using less energy. Programmable thermostats, while an older technology, are effective in this way because you can program them to provide different levels of heating and cooling while at home, away, or asleep. Smart thermostats take that technology one step further by “learning” your family’s habits and adjusting the temperature of your home accordingly. In addition, most smart thermostats are Wi-Fi compatible, and can easily be controlled via smartphone, tablet, or computer. Some will even let you know when it’s time to change your HVAC system’s filter – one of the best measures you can take to help your system remain energy efficient.
  4. Advanced Filters: Another facet of home comfort is the air your family breathes. Cleaner, fresher indoor air is important, and high-efficiency filters can help with that. They remove particulates and contaminants from the air, which keeps your home virtually free of airborne pollen, dust, and germs. And, because the air flowing through your HVAC system is cleaner, you’ll likely find that your system operates more efficiently – helping you save energy and potentially money on your utility bills.

T.F. O’Brien can help you get the environmentally sound products you need.

At T.F. O’Brien, we want to provide our customers with products that not only help them stay as comfortable as possible but also use technologies that are better for the environment. If you’d like to learn more about energy efficiency and how we can help, simply give us a call at 516.488.1800. We’ll be happy to talk to you about your home’s efficiency, and how T.F. O’Brien can assist you.

Spring Allergies: How Indoor Air Quality Products Can Help

Do you or someone in your household suffer from springtime allergies? If so, you know how awful they can make you feel, from itchy, stuffy noses, to watery, red eyes. While enjoying the great outdoors when pollen counts are high is usually not on the books for spring allergy sufferers, unfortunately, it can be just as uncomfortable indoors. That’s because those allergens can enter your home on shoes, clothing, and through windows, and then get circulated through your home over and over again through your HVAC system.

Fortunately, there is some good news for those who traditionally experience sniffly, sneezy springs. Today, there are many products available that can help you enjoy improved indoor air quality (IAQ), and some practical measures you can take that can help you get through allergy season a bit easier. In this article, we will give you some suggestions on how to improve your IAQ, and how we can help.

Improve Your IAQ with These Easy Steps

Filtration

This is the easiest step you can take to ensure that your indoor air is cleaner and healthier, and one you can do yourself. Making sure that your HVAC system’s air filter is clean and free of dirt, pollen, and other contaminants is a simple way to improve your air quality. Changing the filter often helps your system run more efficiently, too, so it’s a win-win!

Breathe easier this allergy season.
For better indoor air quality,
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

Depending on the severity of your allergies, you may want to think about the type of filter you use. Most people use basic filters in their systems, which is fine, but if you’re having a lot of problems with allergens in your home’s air, you might want to consider filters that can pull out the most microscopic particles.

Air Cleaning

Products like whole-home air cleaners do a great job of significantly reducing the number of allergens in your home. They help get rid of contaminants like mold, bacteria, dust, dander, and pollen – all of which can wreak havoc for allergy sufferers. And, these systems clean the air at the source of circulation, because they work with your home’s HVAC system.

Humidity

While having moisture in your home’s air during the winter months is helpful, once the weather starts to warm up it can become unpleasant. Not only does it make you feel hotter and stickier, but it can also encourage the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. Whole-house dehumidification can help mitigate that problem, and help your air conditioning system run more effectively and efficiently, too!

Air Conditioning System Maintenance

Of course, you know that AC maintenance helps your system run better and that there are many reasons why it’s important. But, it can also help your indoor air quality, too. Regular cleaning of your system helps remove any dirt or mold growth from your system, allowing it to circulate fresher, cleaner air.

T.F. O’Brien can help you improve your IAQ this spring, and all year long.

Getting the indoor air quality products you need for improved home comfort is simple – just give T.F. O’Brien a call. We can talk to you about your indoor air quality concerns, and help you find just the right products for your home.
Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment with you!

Choose T.F. O’Brien for Your Home or Office HVAC Needs

TFO WEB CommercialHVACT.F. O’Brien residential customers know that we strive for complete customer satisfaction when it comes to keeping their home comfort systems in great shape. But, did you know we can offer the same level of service for your business? When you choose us for your commercial heating and cooling needs, we’ll work hard to make sure your staff and your customers are as comfortable as possible.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re able to help businesses not only with their heating and cooling needs, but with the air filtration requirements companies have been faced with since the COVID-19 pandemic. We can help ensure that your space meets state regulations, helping you, your employees and your customers stay safer.

T.F. O’Brien offers a full suite of commercial services.

For help with
Commercial Services,
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

Just like we provide a complete range of HVAC services to our residential customers, we offer full-service HVAC to our commercial clients as well. We can provide you with heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair services, as well as indoor air quality products. We’ll work with you from the start to the finish of your project, making sure that you’re completely satisfied with our services.

We take great pride in helping businesses just like yours every day – see what Louis Basso, founder of Alcott HR, had to say:

“We required a complete HVAC update on our 37-year old building. Not only did we want to replace our old equipment, but we also wanted to add equipment that could scrub the air for the staff working here during COVID-19. We called upon T.F. O’Brien to assist us, and they replaced our system, including indoor air quality products, in stages starting at the beginning of fall. Our system is fully operational now, and working very well,” Basso said.

“The staff at T.F. O’Brien is great to work with. There is always a real person answering the phone, and the customer service experience is an excellent one. We like that they’re a family business while having the expertise and experienced staff to get the work done professionally and effectively. And, many of the people working there have been with T.F. O’Brien for many years, which is a testament to a good organization. I have no hesitation in recommending them to other businesses.”

Let us help you with your commercial HVAC project.

Contact us today to learn more about these commercial HVAC services:

When you need commercial HVAC services for your business or organization, just give us a call at 516.488.1800 or fill out our convenient contact form, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Five Scary Signs You May Need Indoor Air Quality Products

GettyImages

If you’ve been feeling a bit frightened by the air quality in your home recently – no worries. There are many products available on the market that can help you get improved indoor air quality this autumn and all year through. Today’s homeowners don’t have to live with floors that creak, corners that collect cobwebs, or phantom odors that drift up from the basement. There are solutions for every one of these problems – and you don’t have to call Ghostbusters to get them.

Not sure if unsatisfactory indoor air quality is haunting your home? Here are a few telltale signs.

Who should you call?
Call (or click):

516.488.1800
  1. Creaky Floors: Do your wood floors creak and groan when you walk across them, or even in the quiet of the night? You probably aren’t being haunted; that is, haunted by anything other than low humidity. This can especially be a problem when the heating runs frequently, so if your wood floors, furniture, and doors are making ghostly sounds, you might need to add a home humidification system.
  2. Moldy, Smelly Basement: If you have creepy-looking grey or green mold growing up the walls of your basement, you probably are having a problem with too much humidity. An overly humid, dark basement is the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and even bacteria. Adding a dehumidifier in your basement can help alleviate that problem, making your home cleaner and healthier.
  3. Creepy Cobwebs: If the corners of your rooms are covered in cobwebs, and if you frequently have to dust your mantle and moldings, the chances are your HVAC system isn’t properly filtering the air before it circulates throughout your home. You can solve this by replacing your system’s filter whenever it’s dirty. And, if this doesn’t do the trick, an air cleaner can help.
  4. Mysterious Orbs: If you ever notice strange little balls of light in photos you take in your home, it could be a ghostly presence, but it’s far more likely you have dust and debris floating around in the air that you might not even be able to see with the naked eye. As we said above, dusty indoor air is a sign of a dirty filter, so make sure you change it out seasonally, or even monthly depending on how much your system runs. Not sure how to do it? We can help – give us a call, and we’ll show you how or do it for you.
  5. Unpleasant Odors: Are you and your family haunted by a stinky house? Do cooking smells, pet odors, and smoke from either cooking or tobacco linger in the air? Then you might want to consider improving your ventilation and air filtration. We can help with both, and we offer state-of-the-art air cleaners that virtually eliminate other “goblins,” like germs, bacteria, dust, pollen, and dander.

You don’t have to be spooked by problems with your indoor air. Call T.F. O’Brien today.

At T.F. O’Brien, we know that being comfortable in your home goes beyond heating and cooling. That’s why we offer our customers complete indoor air quality products and services as well. And getting what you need isn’t a nightmare – all you need to do is give us a call at 518.488.1800, and we’ll schedule an appointment for you.

Allergies Acting Up? Here Are Some Late-Summer Culprits.

GettyImagesYou may notice that during the late summer and early fall, your allergies start to act up a bit. That’s because some of the culprits that cause fall allergies make their appearance as early as late August. That can make for a very long allergy season – and nobody wants to deal with sneezing, itchy eyes, and a stuffy nose any longer than they have to. So, what might be causing your allergies to be on the uptick?

Usually, here on Long Island, we need to look no further than ragweed. This abundant wild plant is responsible for the majority of late summer and fall allergies. And, avoiding the pollen it emits is difficult. Even in areas where ragweed doesn’t grow, allergy sufferers should be on the lookout – the pollen can travel hundreds of miles. Another common cause of late summer and fall allergies is mold. Why is that a problem? Leaves that fall from trees are a perfect breeding ground for it because it thrives in cool, damp places.

What can I do if I suffer from allergies?

For more information,
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

Well, we aren’t physicians, so we can’t provide you with any medical advice when it comes to your allergies. But we are home comfort doctors of sorts – and that means we can help you get equipment for your home that can reduce allergens and make your indoor air cleaner and fresher. These five practical pointers can help you keep allergens at bay in your home:

  1. Keep windows and doors closed in the morning, as that’s when pollen counts are generally at their highest.
  2. Make sure floors are swept, mopped, or vacuumed regularly. Carpets especially can hold allergens, so clean them regularly.
  3. Change your HVAC system’s filter. Filters keep contaminants from entering the air of your home, but if they get dirty, they’re not effective.
  4. Choose a high-efficiency filter. We can provide you with the same type of air filters used in hospital operating rooms.
  5. Consider installing an air purification system. If you have allergies or other respiratory concerns, a whole-home air purifier can be very helpful. That’s because these systems are designed to reduce all areas of indoor air pollutants, including particulates, microbial particles, and gases.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re happy to help you with your indoor air quality needs.

Don’t let your allergies get the best of you this year – just call T.F. O’Brien at 516.488.1800. We can’t wait to tell you about the many ways you can breathe easier!

Is Your Gym Reopening? Here’s What You Should Know About Air Quality Requirements.

GettyImagesMany people in Long Island have been looking forward to getting back to the gym. One of the last businesses to reopen, gyms have been given a list of protocols that they must follow to open successfully. In addition to proper sanitization, mask-wearing, and social distancing rules, regulations, and considerations, the air handling systems in gyms are also subject to the new guidelines.

While it can be confusing to know what, exactly, is needed per state mandates, there are a few items that are requirements rather than suggestions. Per the NYS website, “… Responsible Parties must ensure central HVAC system filtration meets the highest rated filtration compatible with the currently installed filter rack and air handling system, at a minimum MERV-13, or industry equivalent or greater, as applicable.”

So, what does that mean?

For more information,
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

As we discussed last month, MERV ratings indicate the ability of a filter to remove particulates from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective it is at removing a variety of contaminants, including dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and viruses. Therefore, having a filter with a higher MERV level installed in a system can help remove more of the bad stuff from the air. In places like gyms, where there is more potential for airborne bacteria and viruses to move through the air, advanced filtration is one measure that can help keep the air cleaner.

New York State also suggests, but does not require, increased rates of outdoor air ventilation, system testing and balancing as needed, regular system inspection, installation of appropriately designed ultraviolet (UV) systems, and installation of air cleaners. These are steps gyms can take to ensure even better indoor air quality.

How do I know if my gym complies with the regulations?

For reopening purposes, gyms needed to affirm their obligation to operate per NYS guidelines. If you have any questions at all, you should feel free to discuss them with the gym owner or manager.

I own a gym and would like to learn more about improving our air quality.

At T.F. O’Brien, we take the health and safety of our commercial clients, their employees, and their patrons very seriously. We can help you ensure your system complies with NYS regulations. And, we can work with you on system improvements that can further ensure that your facility’s air quality is the best possible for your employees and clients. To learn more, give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Who’s MERV, and Why is the Governor Listening to Him?

GettyImagesAs our area of the state reopens, there are guidelines we as residents are required to follow. Mask-wearing, social distancing, and staying home if we’re not feeling well are all some of the ways the average citizen is responding to the COVID-19 crisis, but for businesses, some additional rules and guidelines must be followed.

Recently, Governor Cuomo issued a mandate that requires buildings such as malls to follow proper ventilation protocols. As part of this, the building’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system needs to be fitted with filters that provide a minimum of MERV 11 filtration with the caveat that MERV 13 filtration is preferred.

As an HVAC contractor, we understand the importance of proper filtration concerning the coronavirus, but also recognize that the layperson might not know what MERV even is. While it sounds like a guy’s name, the first thing we’d like to point out is that MERV isn’t a person, and he hasn’t created a rating system for air filters. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, a rating developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Why should building owners pay attention to the MERV level their filtration system offers?

For more information,
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “MERVs report a filter’s ability to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns.” Understanding this value is helpful when comparing the effectiveness of different air filters. And, the higher the MERV rating is for a filter, the better it is at trapping certain particles. So, by installing filters with a higher MERV rating, buildings are better able to ensure better, cleaner air circulating throughout.

It should be noted, however, that there is much unknown about COVID-19. While there are other coronaviruses, such as MERS and SARS, COVID-19 is a new form of the virus. Therefore, taking measures to protect yourself is still important, even when you’re in buildings that have advanced MERV filtration.

Should I install a filter with a higher MERV level in my home?

People are wondering if they should have higher filtration in their homes. As an HVAC contractor, we can help both residential and commercial customers get the appropriate indoor air quality (IAQ) products for their needs. For your home, working with T.F. O’Brien is the best way to ensure you have the proper IAQ equipment to keep your air cleaner and healthier.

Generally speaking, residential HVAC systems can’t quite handle MERV 13 level filtration, because such filters require air to be moved much more forcefully than most home furnaces are capable of. However, we offer several different types of residential IAQ products that can effectively reduce and eliminate particles such as allergens, bacteria, and viruses from your home’s air.

Want to learn more about how T.F. O’Brien can help with your home or business’s air quality needs? Give us a call.

T.F. O’Brien takes the health of our clients and our employees very seriously. That’s why we’re following stringent CDC guidelines, to ensure your utmost safety. Click here to find out how we’re making every effort to keep you safe. And, to learn more about how we can improve the air quality in your home or office, give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll gladly schedule an appointment with you.

5 Reasons Why You Need AC Maintenance

Concerned about keeping your cooling system in the best possible condition? No worries – annual maintenance can help! According to the Department of Energy, not getting system maintenance can lead to inefficiency and a steady decline in equipment performance. Keeping your heating and cooling equipment well maintained is crucial; T.F. O’Brien’s professional trained HVAC service technicians can help.

Still not sure annual cooling system maintenance is what you need? Here are five benefits that your AC system will enjoy:

  1. Less worry about the safety of your AC system. Much like taking your vehicle for an annual tune-up, our technicians will inspect your cooling system and equipment. They’ll check for refrigerant leaks and make sure electrical components are in good working order, so you can count on your system’s safety.
  2. You’ll avoid an HVAC system breakdown at the worst possible time. Maintenance keeps your AC system clean, and takes care of minor problems and repairs. Lack of cleaning and tune-up can, unfortunately, lead to a breakdown at the most inopportune time. That’s when we’re at our busiest, too, so finding immediate service can be a frustrating challenge.
  3. You won’t void your system warranty. Many manufacturers require that your cooling system is regularly maintained in order to keep the warranty intact. Not getting the maintenance you need could mean you’ll be stuck with a major breakdown – and costly repairs that your warranty will no longer cover.
  4. You’ll save money on cooling. When you call for maintenance, part of the service includes cleaning of your system. That’s important, because when an AC system is dirty it works harder, and much less efficiently – taking more money from your wallet when it comes time to pay utility bills.
  5. Your whole family will breathe easier. Changing the air filter is an important part of AC maintenance. When your system circulates air through a dirty filter, those particles make their way into the air you and your family breathe. Getting the seasonal maintenance your system needs keeps indoor air free of mold, pollen and dust.

To take advantage of all of these great benefits, and have a qualified HVAC service technician inspect your system – call T.F. O’Brien today. We look forward to helping you with your annual maintenance needs.

Made for Each Other: Ductless & Converted Spaces

Many times, homeowners decide to add to their home’s space, whether by building an addition or remodeling parts of their home that may not have been ideal living areas before. Unfortunately, often these areas don’t have access to the home’s ductwork, and adding it may be impractical or impossible. How can you get these areas of your home the climate control they need? You should know, ductless and converted spaces are made for each other!

If you’ve added to your home, or if you’ve converted a garage, attic or basement into an area for you and your family to enjoy, ductless heating and cooling can help keep that area comfortable. It both effectively heats and cools your home, so it’s perfect for year-round use. Not to mention, by keeping a consistent climate throughout your home, your main heating and cooling systems will operate more efficiently, too.

There are several benefits to installing ductless in your converted spaces.

While it goes without saying that a ductless system will make those areas of your home without ductwork more comfortable, you should know that there are other advantages to ductless as well.

  • Ductless heating and cooling is efficient. Because they use advanced heat pump technology, ductless systems offer high efficiency. As a result, they’re an extremely cost-effective choice for your space.
  • Ductless systems are quiet. These systems are made to operate so that they don’t disturb homeowners with noisy operation. Space heaters can emit a buzzing noise, and  window AC units are often loud. Conversely, ductless is whisper-quiet, so you’re able to better enjoy the comfort.
  • Heating and cooling with ductless can help with air quality. Ductless systems are made to filter the conditioned air they push out into your living space. They trap many of the particles that can get circulated through the air. As a result, ductless creates a cleaner environment with fewer allergens.
  • Ductless systems are non-obtrusive. Having your ductless system installed requires very little construction work, and you won’t have to worry about the cost and mess that comes with adding ductwork to your home. And, ductless systems are made to blend in seamlessly with virtually any home décor.

Make your converted space or addition one the whole family falls in love with this February – choose ductless heating and cooling to make it a welcoming area year round. At T.F. O’Brien, we’re happy to help you get the ductless system you need for your home. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll see if ductless is the perfect match for you!