How Do I Know If I Need Furnace Services for My Long Island Home?

Winter has been brutal this year, the snowy, cold weather seemingly endless. Many people have relied on their furnaces more than usual this year. That has meant that their furnaces are working overtime – and sometimes that can lead to mechanical issues, especially if the furnace hasn’t received the regular maintenance it needs. It can be a little difficult to know if you need furnace services for your Long Island home, and who’s qualified to get you the help you need.

Clearly, if you notice anything like strange odors or unusual noises like banging or grinding coming from your furnace, call us right away because those point to serious concerns. We’re sharing a few more general concerns that can point to the need for furnace services below, courtesy of ENERGY STAR.

Five Signs That You Need Furnace Services

Rising Energy Bills

This can be a tough one to recognize, especially if you’ve been running your furnace more than usual. But, if your energy bills have increased dramatically, or if you notice a spike in cost from the beginning of the season to now, you could have some mechanical concerns happening. A marked increase in energy costs that can’t be accounted for by rising prices and/or usage could indicate your equipment isn’t operating as efficiently and effectively as it should, and should probably be checked out.

Hot or Cold Spots

If some of your rooms are way too warm, but others seem chilly, this could mean your equipment is operating improperly. It could also point to other problems in your home, like ductwork concerns or poor insulation. When you call T.F. O’Brien, we’ll help you get to the root of the hot/cold spot problem.

Air Quality Problems

If you’ve noticed an increase of dust and air particles over the course of winter, it could be a sign of concern for your heating system. While it could indicate that you have leaky ductwork in areas like attics, crawl spaces or basement, there could be another problem that’s far simpler to solve. Poor indoor air quality is often a sign of a dirty filter – and that can be easily remedied. It is generally recommended that equipment filters be changed monthly during times of heavy use. You can either DIY, or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Unusual Dryness

Sometimes when furnace services are needed, homeowners will notice that their homes are unusually dry. Some indicators of overly dry air include itchy skin, nasal dryness, respiratory issues, creaking woodwork and furniture, and static cling. If you’re noticing a combination of these factors happening in your home, it could point to poor equipment operation, inadequately sized equipment, or ductwork concerns. 

Older Equipment

It’s just a fact – the older your furnace is, the harder it has to work to heat your home and the less efficient it is. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, it could be time to start thinking about a replacement, especially if you’ve been paying a lot for repairs or your energy bills are exorbitant. Hint: you can prolong the life of your furnace by getting annual maintenance.

You can count on T.F. O’Brien if you need furnace services for your Long Island home.

Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be more than happy to help you get the furnace services you need.

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!

Show Your Furnace the Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is all about hearts and flowers, so adding your home’s furnace into the equation might not exactly seem like the most romantic thing to do. But did you know that if you show your furnace a little love by getting it the maintenance it needs, it’ll save you money? And that’s extra money you can spend on special gifts for your Valentine!

 

Here are five ways maintenance gives your furnace the love it needs:

  • Annual maintenance helps your furnace operate more efficiently. Maintenance helps to free your furnace of dirt and debris buildup, and keeps all the moving parts well lubricated so that it runs, quite literally, like a well-oiled machine. And when it operates more efficiently, you’ll likely save money on your utility bills.
  • Maintenance can keep the need for repairs at bay. It helps catch small problems before they become larger, much more expensive issues. That’s because qualified technicians are analyzing your system on an annual basis, and can easily spot any concerns that might become bigger problems for you down the road.
  • A well-maintained furnace is a longer-lived furnace. As mentioned above, annual maintenance helps find potential problems and allows you to take care of them right away. And, maintenance keeps your furnace clean and operating efficiently, which can add to its lifespan.
  • Preventive maintenance keeps your warranty intact. You might not realize this, but chances are if you read the fine print on your equipment warranty, you’ll see that annual maintenance is required. Most manufacturers view annual maintenance as a reasonable measure the homeowner can take to keep equipment running smoothly. And, not getting maintenance may void your warranty.
  • The air in your home stays cleaner, too. One of the best ways you can help maintain your furnace is by cleaning or changing the filter when it becomes dirty. The air that flows through the filter into your home will contain fewer contaminants as a result. Not only will you breathe easier, but also your furnace will operate better when it doesn’t have to force air through a dirty filter. We’ll clean or change your filter during your annual maintenance, but ideally you should change it monthly during times of high usage.

Getting annual maintenance from T.F. O’Brien is easy.

At T.F. O’Brien, we love providing our customers with the services they need to keep their furnaces running effectively and efficiently all year long. And, showing your furnace the love it needs this winter is easy when you work with us. All you need to do is call us at 516.488.1800, or request an appointment online, and we’ll be more than happy to schedule your maintenance appointment with you.

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.