5 Tips for Decluttering Your Home After the Holidays

The holidays have come and gone, and it’s a brand new year. Many people start off the new year by making resolutions, some for themselves, and some for their homes. If you’d like to make some home improvements in 2019, one of the best ways you can get started is by eliminating some of the clutter. It’s easy for our homes to accumulate lots of junk over the years. Sometimes we buy more than what we need. Sometimes, it’s tough to get rid of the things that are taking up space. And sometimes, we hold onto things thinking we’ll eventually use it, but that day never comes.

As a result, our homes become stuffed with “stuff” and become uncomfortable for us and our families. That’s why decluttering is so important. It not only allows us to weed out items that are no longer useful to us (and give them to those who may be able to use them), but it opens up space in our homes so that we can enjoy a better quality of life. For instance, a room that once contained storage boxes and “junk” can be repurposed into a home theater room. Or, a garage can be cleaned out so you can actually park your car in there! Getting started on decluttering your home can be tough, though.

We’re offering five easy tips that can help you get started:

  1. Take it one room at a time. Don’t get caught up in the idea that you have to declutter your whole house in a day. Take it easy and pace yourself, and you’ll do a much more thorough job and feel more accomplished as you see each space transform.
  2. Make sure you have storage containers. Nothing is worse than organizing your space, only to find you don’t have adequate storage. And, only store those things you know you’ll use again. For instance, say you’re organizing ornaments. Throw away the broken ones, give away those you don’t use, and store the ones that you’re sure will adorn your tree.
  3. Make it a feel-good venture. Sometimes kids especially don’t want to part with books, toys and clothing. If you encourage them to do so, and explain that giving these items to charitable organizations will help kids just like them in need, you’ll be creating a lifelong habit of giving. Lead by example, and show them the things you’re willing to give up, too.
  4. Follow the 12-month rule. When assessing what you need to get rid of in your home, the first thing to do is to evaluate when the last time was you used an item. If it was a year or more ago, probably you don’t need it, and should part with it.
  5. Go paperless. Many times, our homes get cluttered with mail. While we can’t keep junk mail and flyers from arriving, you can reduce the amount of mail entering your home by going paperless. Utility, credit card and insurance companies often provide a paperless choice for billing and paying, so if you can, choose that option – and keep a lot of unnecessary mail from invading your space.

Speaking of getting rid of debris in your home, have you checked your furnace filter in a while? A dirty furnace filter not only sends all sorts of dirt into the air, it also forces your equipment to run harder. And while we can’t help you with your decluttering, we can help ensure your furnace filter is fresh and clean! Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to help meet your furnace maintenance needs.

Welcome September from T.F. O’Brien

September has arrived, and with it, so has back-to-school for the kids, and back to routine for the adults. With summer fleeting, you might not be thinking about your home’s air conditioning system as much. You should! You’ll likely need to use it at least for a couple of months, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on your filter. Making sure your filter is clean can help your air conditioning system operate more efficiently and enjoy a longer life!

Need air conditioning? Believe it or not, now’s the perfect time to get it!

Now is a great time to get a new air conditioning system installed in your home! We’re offering a special end-of-season cooling sale that can help you save significantly on a new system for your home. Click here to learn more! Thinking about a ductless system for your home? Did you know they can offer both heating and cooling? Here’s some more info on keeping your home comfortable all year long with ductless.

Have a spectacular September! Thank you for reading.

Enjoy!

Kerry O’Brien

What Type of AC is Best for Your Home?

You don’t have to suffer through a heat wave this summer when you rely on T.F. O’Brien to help you get the relief you need. We provide air conditioning installation, done to your complete satisfaction. We’re committed to the comfort of our customers, which is why we’ve always been a leader in innovative home comfort products and have stayed on top of all the latest new technologies. We can help you stay cool this summer, in a way that’s perfect for your home and your lifestyle. We offer a number of different types of air conditioning products, so we’re sure to find just the right one for you and your family.

We’re pleased to offer traditional central air conditioning for your home, as well as ductless, high velocity, and heat pump systems:

Central Air Conditioning: Central air is very common, and if you already have a central air conditioning system in your home, replacing it with another when the time comes is a fairly simple process, because the ductwork is already in place. If your system is older, switching to new, high-efficiency central air can help you save money on your utility bills, and keep your home more comfortable all summer long.

High-Velocity AC: This type of air conditioning system is perfect for older, multi-story homes that lack ductwork, but are in need of improved home cooling. This is an ideal system for adding air conditioning to homes where larger ductwork may be impossible or impractical. High velocity air conditioning offers a dehumidified, cooler environment while providing complete and thorough air conditioning.

Ductless Air Conditioning: Do you have a room in your home that you’d like to be more climate controlled, but where ductwork might be impractical or impossible? For spaces where adding ductwork isn’t really a great option, ductless, or mini-split, air conditioning can help. Ductless units are great for additions, finished basements, converted garages and other areas of your home where cooling is needed.

Heat Pumps: It may sound counterintuitive, but heat pumps not only help to heat your home in the winter; they can help you stay cool during the summer months as well. The heat pumps we install have been engineered to work great in colder climates, and can provide your home with appropriate levels of cooling all summer long. And, they have achieved an Energy Star rating, and use a non ozone-depleting refrigerant.

The professionals at T.F. O’Brien can help you decide which type of air conditioning is best for your home. Simply call us at 516.488.1800 and one of our friendly representatives will be more than happy to help you.

Want Maximum Furnace Efficiency? Do This One Simple Thing.

Got pets? Then you’ll want to change your furnace filter more frequently. Pet fur and dander can fill up your filter in a hurry!

Winter is here, and that means your furnace will be working hard to keep your home warm and cozy. While we all appreciate the heat provided by our home comfort system, most of us don’t look forward to the higher utility bills that winter brings. That’s why it’s important to make sure your furnace is operating most efficiently.

Getting annual maintenance from your HVAC dealer every fall is very important, but there is also a way you can be proactive in the efficiency of your furnace. That one simple step? Changing your furnace filter when it’s dirty. According to the Department of Energy, changing your furnace filter once a month during the winter is an important measure – it will keep your system running optimally this winter and for years to come.

But how does changing your filter contribute to your furnace efficiency?

It’s only logical – your furnace has to work harder when airflow is impeded. Dirty filters keep the air from flowing freely. Worse – the air that does manage to flow through your system is dirty when your filters are. These factors lower the efficiency of your furnace – and increase your utility bills.

And, there are certain factors that you should take into account when considering how often to change your furnace filter, too. These factors include smokers in your home, if you have furry friends like cats or dogs, and if you have anyone with respiratory illnesses or allergies in your home. If any of these factors exist, changing your filter on a more frequent basis might be necessary to ensure top heating system performance.

Nervous about changing your filter? No problem! T.F. O’Brien will be more than happy to help. Our technicians can show you how to do it, or do it for you – whichever is most convenient for you. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be happy to help.

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.

Furnace Filter Filthy? Change is Good.

Did you know that one of the most common furnace problems is filter failure? And did you know it’s often a simple fix you can do yourself? Forgetting about the furnace filter is easy enough for a homeowner, but if you make an effort to keep track of your filter, check it frequently during the winter months when your furnace runs often, and change it when it’s dirty, you can expect enhanced furnace performance.

Furnaces need filtration so that the air brought into the equipment is cleaned before it’s heated and sent back out into the home. When your furnace becomes dirty and clogged, it can limit the airflow into your furnace, which causes a heat, and pressure buildup. This can cause your furnace to either run with reduced heat output and poor efficiency, or shut down entirely.

Changing your furnace filter can help avoid costly breakdowns.

But this scenario is easily avoidable – all you need to do is set a schedule for yourself to change your filter. Generally speaking, you should plan to check your furnace filter during the heating season on a monthly basis. Chances are, you will discover that your filter is pretty dirty, and if that’s the case, you’ll want to replace it. If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, you should know T.F. O’Brien can help you. Our friendly technicians will be glad to show you how to change your furnace filter, or do it for you. Just give us a call at 516-488-1800 to learn more.

If You’re Not Sure if Your Home is Too Damp, Here Are Five Ways to Tell.

dehumidifier-long island, new-yorkSummertime can cause your home’s humidity level to increase. Usually, with air conditioning, it isn’t overly noticeable, but some homes just seem to have more of a moisture problem than others. What’s the big deal if your home has too much moisture, anyway? Well, excessive humidity, especially in warmer weather, offers a breeding ground for mold and mildew – and that can cause health concerns. Most people can feel excessive moisture in the air, but there are a few other definite telltale signs that can indicate your home has a problem.

Condensation: Have you noticed that the windows of your home have foggy glass, or even beads of moisture on them? This means the air in your home is too damp. It can lead to wood rot and mold growth if nothing is done to reduce your home’s moisture levels. Indoor factors like an oversized humidifier, and outdoor factors like heavy rains and high humidity levels, can lead to too much moisture inside.

Mold: If you notice mold growing in your house, especially on your ceiling or in the corners of your walls, moisture is likely a problem in your home. Black mold in particular can cause health issues. Dehumidification can help, but you should get at the root of the problem, like plumbing issues or a leaking roof, to make sure you take care of the cause and mitigate moisture damage.

Odors: Mildew has a distinctive, musty odor that lets you know its presence. Mold and mildew are both fungi that aren’t good to breathe in, and grow rampantly where there is excessive moisture. These odors point out that too much moisture in your home is a problem, and can help you discover where dehumidification will best benefit your home.

Wood rot: Too much moisture in your home can cause the wood to rot, and worse, invite pests like termites into your home. Window and door casings often show signs of wood rot first, but the same thing can be happening to your drywall, hardwood floors and foundation. That’s why taking care of humidity is important for the structural integrity of your home.

Allergens: Mold, mildew and bacteria thrive in humid conditions, so if you’re experiencing increased allergy symptoms inside your home, too much moisture could be the culprit. A dehumidifier may help you diminish the presence of these allergens in your home, helping you and your family breathe easier.

If you have any of these signs of excessive moisture in your home, it might be time to install home dehumidification. At T.F. O’Brien, we have experience in helping people with their indoor air quality needs, including dehumidifiers. Simply call us at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to help you with your dehumidification needs.

Three Ways You Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

The arrival of spring also means the arrival of allergy season for many, and for those who suffer from allergy, asthma and other respiratory conditions, breathing easy can be difficult. It’s important for everyone that the quality of the indoor air they breathe is clean, fresh and healthy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are three ways you can take a proactive approach to your indoor air quality so that you and your loved ones can breathe better this season: controlling the source, improving ventilation and installing air cleaning devices.

  • Source control is, basically, mitigating or removing anything that’s causing indoor air pollution in your home. That means removing any mold or mildew in living areas as well as in places like your basement, having your gas stove adjusted so emissions are decreased, and stopping activities that contribute to indoor air pollution like smoking tobacco or burning certain candles and incenses. You might also look at the type of chemicals you’re using for home cleaning, as some can cause breathing problems and allergic reactions.
  • Improved ventilation is another way you can help improve the quality of the air inside your home. Ventilation is, basically, bringing fresh air from outside into your home. Since most HVAC equipment like furnaces and air conditioners are basically designed to circulate indoor air, you’re pretty much always breathing the same air in your home, unless you have good ventilation. Opening windows is one way to get fresh air inside, but often this isn’t enough. Many people today are opting for whole house ventilation systems, which help eliminate issues like allergens, indoor pollutant and humidity by bringing fresh air into your home.
  • Air cleaners, especially whole-house systems, can be effective in the removal of certain particles in the air you breathe in your home. Air cleaners help get rid of indoor pollutants like mold, dust, dander and some bacteria. Those equipped with a HEPA filter can capture at least 90 percent of all particles sized 0.3 microns or larger in diameter. While air cleaners can effectively remove particles in your indoor air, they require upkeep, and filters need to be changed according to manufacturer specifications in order for them to continue to work properly. Air cleaners should be used in conjunction with source control and improved ventilation.

If you’re having trouble with the quality of air in your home, the best thing you can do for you and your family is contact a qualified home comfort company to help. Because they’re highly trained and use the right equipment and measuring devices, they can quickly discover your indoor air quality problems, make the right recommendations, and install the equipment you need for improved indoor air. When you call T.F. O’Brien, we can help you with your air quality concerns and more. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we will be more than happy to help you get the IAQ you and your family deserve.

Give the Gift of Comfort this Holiday Season with These 3 HVAC Products

When people think about holiday gift giving, their thoughts often turn to cars, jewelry, and even vacation packages. But if you’re looking for a gift that can ensure year-round comfort and joy for your loved ones, you might want to consider giving HVAC products that are specifically designed to help people enjoy a better indoor environment. We’ve chosen three items that we know your loved ones will appreciate from the moment they’re installed and for years to come.

Smart Thermostats: Today’s thermostats offer so much more than the old, dial-style thermostat we likely grew up with in our homes. Even basic programmable thermostats can help you keep your home more comfortable and more energy efficient. But smart thermostats can take home comfort to a whole new level. That’s because they can be accessed easily, even when you’re away from home. By using a web app, you can control your smart thermostat at home, the office, or while away on vacation. Some smart thermostats are even able to learn your family’s comfort habits, helping you maintain the highest level of heating and cooling efficiency. T.F. O’Brien can help you decide on the perfect smart thermostat for your gift-giving needs.

Standby Generators: Does someone you love need assurance that they’ll have power, no matter what the weather? Then a standby generator is a great gift choice. Infants, the elderly and those who rely on electricity to operate home medical devices are most in need of a home generator, but really, anyone can benefit. We provide top-of-the-line standby backup generators that offer utility-quality power, quiet operation and a durable exterior that helps ensure they’ll last for years. Our generators run on the home’s natural gas or LP fuel supply, and offer backup options that include essential circuit, managed whole-house or complete whole-house coverage. And, you can count on us to maintain the generator or make any needed repairs.

Ductless AC & Heating: If you have a loved one who has to contend with a clunky window air conditioner to keep a room cool in the summertime, and a potentially dangerous space heater during the winter, then you might want to consider giving them the gift of ductless air conditioning and heating this holiday season. A ductless system requires no messy renovations or installation of additional ductwork, and our installers can typically have it up and running for you in just a few hours. Ductless also provides advanced energy efficiency, quiet operation and indoor air quality control, so your loved one will not only enjoy improved comfort, but also a potential savings on their energy bill. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

If you’d like to give any of these gifts of comfort to someone you care about this holiday season, T. F. O’Brien wants to help you. We’re pleased to offer comprehensive services throughout Long Island, including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens and Brooklyn. Give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we will be more than happy to assist you in spreading the holiday cheer!

August Message from Kerry

kerry_obrien_coolingWelcome to the August Message from Kerry. We hope this finds you well and enjoying the remaining days of summer. It’s hard to believe, but in just a few short weeks the kids will be back to school, and we’ll be back to routine. Summer never seems to last long enough! That’s why this is the time of year to take advantage of all the great things the season has to offer – and to make those home improvements you’ve had on the back burner.

For instance, you might have been thinking about – and putting off – installing new air conditioning in your home this summer. It’s not too late! We can help you get a new air conditioning system so once next summer rolls around, you’ll be more comfortable and energy-efficient than ever! Of course, when late summer approaches, so does hurricane season. Here on Long Island, we unfortunately know what the aftermath of that can be like. We encourage you to protect your family with a standby generator. And, late summer is the time of year when plants like goldenrod start to bloom, making those with allergies suffer. Did you know T.F. O’Brien can help you improve your indoor air quality?

All of us at T.F. O’Brien hope you have a wonderful August. Thanks for reading!

Kerry