Tossing & Turning? Find the Right Sleeping Temperature!

Woman wearing winter hat and scarf scowls and covers up in bed.Most people fully understand the benefits of a full night’s sleep – especially if they haven’t been getting one. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep is very important for many reasons, according to the Sleep Foundation. The organization indicates that we don’t catch enough z’s, we can open ourselves up to some concerns, including increased calorie consumption, decreased cognitive performance, inability to focus, impaired driving, and other health concerns.

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They also explain that while there are many factors that can lead to poor sleep, one of the largest factors is bedroom temperature. A room that is too hot or too cold can disrupt the body’s ability to both fall asleep and stay asleep, although overly warm bedrooms seem to cause more sleep disruptions than those that are a bit too chilly. While comfortable sleep temperatures vary from person to person, most doctors agree that the ideal temperature for most is around 65ºF.

How can an HVAC dealer help me find the right sleeping temperature?

While your home comfort specialist can’t necessarily determine the best sleeping temperature for their customers, they can help them achieve it once the homeowner discovers it. There are products available that can make it easier to ensure your bedroom is just right for sleep.

  • Programmable Thermostats: Once you determine your ideal sleeping temperature, a programmable thermostat can help you set it and forget it! That’s because most programmable thermostats have settings for home, away, and sleep. You can set the “sleep” time a bit in advance of your usual bedtime to ensure your room is the ideal temp, too!
  • Smart Thermostats: A step up from the programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat is easy to control via a computer, tablet, or smartphone. So, no matter where you are, you can easily use the product app to set the right temperature for sleep. And, some smart thermostats are even able to “learn” your habits, so they automatically change the temperature so that it’s just right for sleeping.
  • Ductless Cooling & Heating: What if you have one HVAC system in your home, but the people living there can’t agree on a sleeping temperature? Then ductless might be the solution for you. That’s because a ductless system can control the temperature in a specific area, making it much easier to create the ideal sleeping environment for individual sleepers!

Can T.F. O’Brien help me get these products for my home?

We can! As a trusted HVAC contractor, we’re able to install both programmable and smart thermostats in your home and explain to you how to use them. And, if you need better temperature control from room to room, we’ll be happy to show you how ductless can help. Simply give us a call at 516.488.1800 to schedule an appointment with us – and rest easy!

Preparing Your Home for the Fall Season Ahead

Person removes leaves collected in gutter during fallWhile the weather on Long Island stays milder a bit longer than it does for our neighbors to the north, once the fall season arrives, many of us start to think about the cooler temperatures ahead. Often, we take advantage of the sunny days we have left before winter arrives to get our home ready for the chilly weather. Making sure that your home is comfortable year-round is an important part of homeownership.

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Fortunately, there are some simple measures you can take to get your home ready for the changing seasons, most of which you can DIY. Below, we’re sharing a few tips that can help you prepare your home this autumn – both inside and out! Keep reading to learn more!

5 Tips to Help You Get Ready for Autumn

  1. Check your home for drafts. Drafty windows and doors mean that conditioned indoor air is escaping outside, and the outdoor air is coming in. That can defeat the purpose when it comes to heating or cooling your home and can cause you to use much more energy than you normally would. Weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy to apply.
  2. Clean out your gutters. During the summer and fall months, your home’s gutters can collect lots of organic material, like leaves, twigs, and other vegetation. Free-flowing gutters are important for helping to keep your roof safe and sound once the snow starts to fly. That’s because when it melts, clear gutters will direct it away from your home. But if they’re clogged, that melted snow won’t have anywhere to go – and that can lead to icy buildup.
  3. Take care of the lawn and other outdoor needs. Clean your summer patio furniture and put it into storage for the cooler months to come. Fix any cracks in your driveway or pathways, and make sure your garden hose is drained and disconnected. And, fertilize your lawn to help prevent the winter cold from taking its toll on it.
  4. Change batteries in your smoke alarms and CO detectors. During the month of October, the National Fire Prevention Association, or NFPA, focuses its efforts on fire safety. They encourage homeowners to thoroughly check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms during this time and to make sure fire safety equipment has fresh batteries. It’s a simple step that can make an incredible difference.
  5. Change your HVAC system’s filter. A clean filter can help ensure that your home comfort system is operating at its best and most efficient. It’s also a great time to call your HVAC contractor and get your annual heating maintenance scheduled. That way, you can rest assured that your heating system is clean and running properly, so once the snow flies you’ll have the home heating you and your family need.

Let T.F. O’Brien help you get the annual heating maintenance you need.

If you’re ready to add heating maintenance to your fall routine, T.F. O’Brien will be more than happy to help you! Our experienced technicians are able to provide comprehensive maintenance on virtually any make or model of heating system. So, even if you didn’t install your furnace, boiler, or heat pump with us, we can still help make sure it receives the maintenance it needs. Simply give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be glad to schedule an appointment with you.

Five Ways a Home Generator Can Help You Weather the Storm

tfobrien_home-standby-generatorThis time of year, we often see an increase in storm activity on Long Island, including, unfortunately, hurricanes. Storms can lead to power outages, sometimes lasting several days. That’s why it’s important to know that you can protect your home and family during a storm by installing a home generator. We’re sharing five reasons why having a home generator is a good idea, and how you can benefit from having one for your home.

5 Benefits of a Home Generator

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  1. Keeping Your Food Safe: When the power goes out, your refrigerator and freezer stop working. While this is generally not problematic if it’s only for a couple of hours, a prolonged shortage can cause issues. US Food Safety indicates that your refrigerator will only keep your food within a safe temperature range for four hours during an outage, and your freezer 24-48 hours. With a home generator, your refrigerator and freezer will keep working, saving you from the significant expense of having to discard food and beverage items.
  2. Preventing Flooding: If your basement floods during storms (or other times during the year), you likely have a sump pump to keep the water out. However, a sump pump requires electricity to operate, and won’t perform during a power outage. A backup generator can keep your sump pump operable, helping prevent basement flooding and the damage it can cause.
  3. Helping You Stay Safe: During a power outage, you can lose access to lighting, smoke alarms, and CO monitors. Having a home generator helps to ensure that those devices continue to work – keeping you from stumbling around in the dark or not having the valuable protection of your safety devices.
  4. Preserving Electronics & Appliances: While a power outage in and of itself generally will not harm your electronics and appliances, the sudden surge of electricity that flows through your home once power is restored can. If you’re not home when the storm strikes and you’re unable to shut off these items, you may not be able to keep the power surge from doing damage. A home generator can help prevent that.
  5. Providing Important Medical Access: If you have a family member that relies on home medical equipment, like oxygen, a CPAP machine, or a nebulizer, it’s vital that you consider installing a home generator. That way, you won’t have to worry that the equipment needed won’t be available to them in the instance of a power outage.

Can T.F. O’Brien help me with my home generator needs?

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re pleased to provide our customers with quality home generators that can help them through any power outage – whether it’s just for a few minutes or for a prolonged period of time. We provide automatic standby generators that back up circuits you choose during a power outage. They automatically start within seconds of detecting power loss and run on the home’s existing natural gas or LP fuel supply. You’ll be able to choose a backup option from essential circuit, managed whole-house, or complete whole-house coverage.

And, if you already own a backup generator, we can provide you with any maintenance or repair services you might need to ensure that it will be ready to perform for you when a power outage strikes. Rely on T.F. O’Brien to provide you with a quality generator solution that will help keep you and your family both comfortable and safe. Simply give us a call at (516) 488-1800 and we will be happy to help you.

The Effect of COVID-19 on the HVAC Industry

tfobrien_supply-chain-shortages_hvacIn March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought many industries across the nation to a grinding halt. Unfortunately, the HVAC industry was not an exception. As facilities shut down, so did the production of HVAC equipment. As a result, there is currently a shortage in the number of products readily available, versus the demand. And, as more people are entrusting the air they breathe to specialty products, such as advanced filtration and other indoor air quality devices, it becomes more difficult for contractors to meet customer needs in as timely a fashion as pre-pandemic.

As HVAC contractors face shortages of supplies, as well as a decreased workforce, it is important for consumers to understand some fundamentals regarding the effect COVID-19 has had on the HVAC industry, and what it means for them. In this article, we will discuss the disruption in the supply chain, how this has impacted our company, and ultimately, how it may affect you as a valued customer.

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What’s causing a disruption in the supply chain?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that the production of HVAC equipment was halted for a significant period of time when the pandemic caused shut-downs at most of the manufacturing facilities that build HVAC equipment, including furnaces, air conditioners, and ductless products. By the time the manufacturing facilities could reopen, there was an unequal balance between supply and demand for HVAC equipment.

Another problem is that there are components (such as computer chips) that are used in the production of HVAC equipment, that are also in short supply. The chip shortage is on a global scale and affects many different industries aside from HVAC, including the automobile and electronics industry. As a result, the price of these products has had to increase, of course placing the burden on the contractor and the end consumer.

Finally, while most manufacturing facilities have reopened, like many other industries they are facing a shortage of workers, which has slowed the production of HVAC equipment down. Additionally, the trucking industry is also dealing with a lack of workers, causing backlogged shipping ports, and an increase in shipping times. It is, however, important to note that many HVAC distributors are doing all that they can to keep up with the demand. An article in ACHR News indicated that most distributors are “carrying well over normal levels [of product], just to make sure that they’ll have products as demand continues to rise.”

How is T.F. O’Brien handling the lack of supply?

Obviously, T.F. O’Brien has not been immune to the lack of equipment, or the reality of a decreased workforce. However, we have worked diligently to maintain great relationships with our suppliers. Because of the mutual trust and consideration we hold with them, we have been able to keep inventory on equipment and materials and minimize price increases for our customers. While there is no possible way to avoid some of the associated costs incurred, we are doing all that we can to keep these increases manageable.

Additionally, we have been working diligently to maintain, and increase, the team at T.F. O’Brien. As we mentioned above, in addition to a shortage in products across the board, there has also been a shortage in manpower. It’s been a priority for us to hire and maintain a qualified workforce so that there will be minimal downtime for our customers, and their needs will be met as promptly as possible.

Can I still rely on T.F. O’Brien to meet my needs?

At T.F. O’Brien, we are truly committed to providing our customers with the products and services they need, in as timely a fashion as possible. While the increased cost of HVAC equipment is, unfortunately, an unavoidable truth, we will, as always, continue to work to ensure that our customers are offered any rebate and incentive opportunities available. And, we will continue to employ highly skilled HVAC technicians in order to provide you with the best possible experience.

We are here to serve you and provide you with the excellent products and services you deserve, and we appreciate your patience and support as we navigate this shortage. If you have any questions regarding the equipment shortage, and how this might impact you, please feel free to contact T.F. O’Brien at (516) 488-1800. We will be happy to discuss this with you.

Dehumidification 101: Learn How to Keep Humidity at Bay in Your Home

TFO AUG HumidityDuring the summer months, people may notice that their homes feel damp or “muggy.” While on occasion this can be a fleeting concern, sometimes, people have ongoing problems with too much moisture in their homes. While at best overly humid air in the home can cause its residents some discomfort, unfortunately, there is a whole host of other issues that can be cause for concern.

In this article, we’ll identify some of the ways excessive humidity can have an adverse effect on your home. We’ll also give you a few practical ideas of what you can do right away to help diminish the amount of moisture in your home, and provide you with a solution to your humidity woes. Keep reading to learn more!

What are some of the issues caused by too much humidity?

Apart from feeling uncomfortable, there are many other reasons why you’ll want to keep the humidity levels in your home in check. If you’re noticing any of these concerns in your home, it’s likely that humidity is causing the problem.

  • You notice mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew thrive in warm, humid areas. If you’ve noticed mold or mildew growth on floors, walls, or ceilings, it is most definitely a cause for concern. Not only can it cause damage to the building materials in these areas, but it can also cause health problems if left unchecked.
  • You’ve discovered peeling paint. Generally speaking, humidity is one of the major reasons why paint might peel on fixtures, furnishings, and walls around your home. That’s because the paint will not adhere properly to surfaces that are too damp. So, if you’ve discovered peeling paint, especially on surfaces that also feel damp to the touch, excess humidity is the likely cause.
  • Your house has an unpleasant odor. If you’re noticing a musty smell around your house, chances are it’s being caused by excess dampness – and unfortunately, mold or mildew growth. Overly humid environments can even help bacteria to grow in your home. Unpleasant smells are a warning sign that these unsavory pathogens are blooming somewhere in your house.
  • There are spots where wood seems discolored. If your home feels overly damp and you’re noticing discoloration on wood in your home, it may be showing signs of wood rot. It may be accompanied by shrinking, cracks, or splinters. If the wood feels soft or crumbles, there is definitely cause for concern. Wood rot can affect the structural integrity of your home.
  • You feel stuffy. Humidity can cause people to experience respiratory concerns, especially when it also has caused mold, mildew, and bacteria to grow excessively in the home. If your nose frequently feels plugged up, it may be because your home is too damp.

How can I help keep decrease the humidity level in my home?

If you’ve noticed any of the conditions above, the chances are your home is too humid. So, what measures can you take today to reduce the amount of humidity in your home? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Turn on the air conditioning. While your AC system is not a dehumidifier, it helps reduce humidity by bringing cool air in and drawing warm, humid air out.
  2. Make sure to turn on exhaust fans. When you shower or use your stovetop, warm, damp air is produced. Your exhaust fan will help draw it out.
  3. Cooldown your showers. Of course, hot showers feel great but they can exponentially add to the humidity level in your home. On damper days, taking a cooler shower can help.
  4. Make sure any leaking pipes are fixed. While there are many reasons why you’ll want to fix leaky pipes in your home, they can contribute to excessive moisture levels.
  5. Take advantage of cool breezes. If the weather outside is muggy, keeping the windows closed is a good plan of action. But if it’s a cooler, breezy day, opening a couple of windows helps.

I’ve taken these steps and it’s still too humid. What else can I do?

So, you’ve tried the above recommendations, but nothing is helping. In this instance, it’s likely time for you to consider installing a dehumidification system in your home. A whole-home dehumidifier is an especially good choice for homes that suffer from excessive moisture. The benefit of one of these dehumidifier types is that they are installed to work in conjunction with your home’s HVAC system. And, because they have a dedicated drain, you won’t have to worry about emptying water tanks.

Another benefit to a whole-home dehumidifier is that it will help keep all areas of your house free of excessive moisture, saving you from many of the issues we mentioned previously in this article. Plus, your air conditioning system will not have to work as hard – and that means it will use less energy, saving you money on your utility bills.

Ready for a more comfortable – and less humid – home? Give T.F. O’Brien a call.

At T.F. O’Brien, your comfort is always our number one priority. You rely on us for your HVAC needs, and you can count on us to help you get your home’s moisture level under control, too. If you’d like to learn more about how we can provide you with the dehumidification system you need, simply give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we will be more than happy to assist you.

How Do I Know if My Home is Too Humid?

Today’s homes are built for better energy efficiency, which in and of itself is a great thing. Using less energy not only helps your wallet, but it helps the earth, too. Unfortunately, though, this means your home is more tightly sealed than an older home might be – and this can lead to some indoor air quality concerns, including too much indoor humidity.

And while this is most likely a problem you’ll deal with in the summertime, an overly humid house can be much more than just uncomfortable. Homes that are too humid can experience issues like mold and mildew growth, breakdown of building materials like plasterboard, stucco, and wood, and poor indoor air quality. Luckily, there are some telltale signs that can help you know if your indoor humidity level is an issue.

5 Signs of Too Much Humidity

  1. You notice condensation on surfaces. Your windows, pipes, and mirrors might have beads of moisture on them. If that’s the case, it’s likely that your home is too humid. Make sure you check the spaces around areas of condensation to ensure there is no moisture damage.
  2. Your air conditioning system isn’t keeping you cool. Your air conditioning system is designed to remove much of the excess humidity from your home’s air. However, in situations where there is too much moisture in the air, your AC system will have to work much harder to keep your home cool, and may simply not work as effectively.
  3. Your skin feels clammy or sticky. Nobody likes this yucky feeling, but if you’re noticing that your skin often feels this way inside your home, you likely have too much moisture in your indoor air.
  4. Walls, floors, and other surfaces may feel damp. If you notice that your walls, floors, shelving units, or furniture surfaces feel moist, it’s probably due to excessive humidity. You won’t want to wait to remedy the problem, because if left unchecked, it can cause permanent damage.
  5. There is a musty smell or mold and mildew is visible in your home. If you can smell mold or mildew, it’s likely that it’s already lurking somewhere in your home. And, if you can see it, you know it’s already there and you can be fairly certain that you have a moisture concern in your home.

What can I do if there is too much humidity in my home?

As we said above, if your home is too damp, it can cause all sorts of problems, from building issues to health concerns. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it – you can give T.F. O’Brien a call. We can help you get to the root of your humidity issues, and provide you with the products you need for better indoor air. Whether you need a whole-house dehumidifier, air conditioning repairs, or ventilation solutions, we’re ready to help you feel more comfortable. Simply give us a call at 516.488.1800. We’ll be happy to make an appointment with you and help you solve your humidity issues!

Need to Update Your AC? Find Out About 3 Common Types.

Now that the summer weather has arrived, most homeowners are turning on their air conditioning systems to escape the outdoor heat. If you have an older system, though, you might be thinking that you’re not as comfortable as you’d like to be. As air conditioning systems age, they can become less efficient and less effective, so you end up paying more to cool your home while experiencing diminished comfort. And, if you have to make frequent repairs to your system, the costs may seem to outweigh the benefits.

If your older system is showing more frequent symptoms of needing to be replaced, you may find yourself wondering what the best system might be for your home. It can certainly be confusing – there are many different types of air conditioning systems available today, as well as different ratings and efficiencies. In this article, we’ll focus on the three main types of AC.

Three Types of Air Conditioning Systems

When you’re considering what type of air conditioning system might be best for your home, you’ll find that there is a lot of information out there about AC systems. And that can get super-confusing! Below, we’ve broken down the three main types of air conditioning systems to give you some quick information about how they work and their benefits.

Central Air Conditioning

If you’ve had a central air conditioning system, or if your home has ductwork, central air is likely a good choice for you. Central AC systems provide cooling throughout your entire home via your system of ductwork and vary in size and configuration based on your home’s unique needs.

With a central air conditioner, there is an outdoor unit that connects to an indoor air handler, usually a blower located in the furnace. The outdoor unit sends chilled air into the home, which is then distributed through your duct system by the air handler.

Having properly sized central air conditioning is crucial because if the system is too small or too large, it won’t perform as well and may even not last as long as it should. That’s why it’s very important to choose an HVAC contractor who understands building science and knows how to accurately size the system for your home.

Heat Pump Systems

Heat pump systems are one of the most highly efficient means of cooling your home available. That’s because they absorb the heat from the indoor air and release it into the outdoor air or into the ground. Much like traditional central air conditioning, the system is comprised of an indoor and outdoor unit and uses your home’s ductwork to move the cooled air throughout your home.

Heat pumps are available in two different configurations – air source and ground source (or geothermal). Air source heat pumps transfer heat between indoor and outdoor air, whereas ground source heat pumps move the heat between the indoor air and the ground outside.

With a heat pump system, however, there is the added bonus of being able to heat your home during the cooler months as well. That’s because you can reverse the process, and the heat pump will absorb the heat from the outdoor air (even in cold temperatures) or ground and pump it into your house.

Ductless Cooling Systems

Ductless Air ConditioningDuctless systems generally rely on heat pump technology, which makes them a highly efficient way to cool your home. So, you may be wondering, why get a ductless system when you can just get a heat pump? There are many benefits to ductless that make it a great choice for any home.

First of all, ductless systems do not require ductwork to operate. This is especially beneficial for homes where adding ductwork is either impossible or impractical. They can be used to cool your entire home, or in a space in your home that may not have access to ductwork, such as an addition or converted space. And, they’re far more efficient than other types of room air conditioning, so you’ll likely save on your utility bills.

Like heat pumps, many ductless systems are able to provide heat during cooler weather as well, providing you with a flexible solution for year-round comfort for your home.

How do I know what type of system is best for my home?

At T.F. O’Brien, we believe that knowledge is important, which is why we strive to provide our customers with all the information they need to make the best decision. We’re always happy to work with you and help you choose the best and most efficient system for your home, lifestyle, and budget. If you’d like to learn more about any of these systems, feel free to contact us at 516.488.1800. We’ll be happy to make an appointment with you and help you find the perfect air conditioning system for your home.

Air Conditioner Parts 101: Learn About Your AC Unit

When your air conditioning system needs repair services, your technician may talk with you about different components of the system. For instance, they may explain that there are compressor issues, or that the fan may need replacing. It may be difficult to know just what these parts are, and why they’re important for your AC system to operate properly.

TF O'Brien tech working

Of course, at T.F. O’Brien, we always want our customers to have all the knowledge they need when it comes to their home comfort systems, and we know it can be confusing. There is a lot of technical information dispersed throughout the internet, some of which may not be accurate or may not truly help you understand the importance of your air conditioning system’s components. With this article, we’ll provide you with a list of the main parts of your air conditioning system, and why replacing them in the event of failure is important.

Getting to Know Your Home’s Central Air Conditioning System

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on central air conditioning systems. While they function in a similar fashion, ductless cooling systems, as well as window and portable AC units, utilize a few different components and technologies to keep homes cool. Generally speaking, an air conditioning system is comprised of five main parts. Each of these parts must work together effectively to provide your home with cool comfort.

If any one of these components breaks down or stops working properly, it can cause your air conditioning unit as a whole to fail. That’s why it’s always important to call your HVAC contractor as soon as you notice a problem with your home’s air conditioning system – the sooner you call, the more likely your technician will be able to replace the faulty component and repair your system – so you’re not looking at a complete system replacement.

Five Main Components of an Air Conditioning System

Thermostat: It may seem obvious, but if you notice that your air conditioning system is not working properly, the first place you should always check is the thermostat. It can be as simple as someone changing the settings! If your thermostat is battery-powered, you may want to ensure that it has fresh batteries. Or, if it’s a wired system, you might want to check to make sure it hasn’t somehow become unwired. Perhaps your thermostat is simply old and has stopped working. If you’re not sure if your thermostat is faulty, your HVAC technician will be glad to check it out for you.

Evaporator Coil: Your air conditioning system’s evaporator coil is either attached to your home’s furnace or is located inside an air handler. Its function is to absorb the heat from your home’s indoor air. The compressor moves chilled refrigerant into the system’s evaporator coil. The blower fan then moves air over the evaporator coil, allowing the chilled refrigerant to remove heat from the air. Making sure you have a technician regularly maintain your air conditioning system is especially vital for the health of your evaporator coil. Because of the job it does, it can easily get a buildup of dirt and dust on it, reducing the efficiency in which it transfers heat. This can make your AC perform much less effectively and efficiently.

Condenser Coil: Your air conditioning system’s condenser coil is located in the outdoor part of your system. It serves the exact opposite function of the evaporator coil, in that it releases the heat into the outdoor air. After the refrigerant releases this heat, it then flows back into the evaporator coil, absorbs the heat, returns the hot refrigerant vapor back into the condenser coil, and does this over and over again in order to keep your home cool. Like your evaporator coils, condenser coils need regular maintenance as well – perhaps even more so. Why? Remember, the condenser coil is located outside. That makes it susceptible not only to the usual system buildup, but other elements like vegetation, dirt, and even pollen.

Expansion Valve: The purpose of the expansion valve is to regulate the refrigerant flow into the evaporator coil. Without it, refrigerant would rush into the evaporator coil under high pressure. As a result, a properly working expansion valve is crucial for AC operation. While expansion valves are manufactured to withstand a lot of wear and tear because of the job they do for your AC system, over time they can break down and significantly diminish system efficiency – and eventually cause your air conditioning system to break down if not replaced.

Contractor inspecting HVAC System

Compressor: Your air conditioning system’s compressor is essentially a pump that pressurizes the system’s refrigerant. It is located in the outdoor part of your AC unit, and its job is to compress and pump refrigerant throughout the system. The compressor in your home’s air conditioner has many moving parts, and failure of any of its components can cause your AC system to break down. There are a few indicators that can help you know if your compressor is struggling, including noises (such as bangs, clanks, or hisses), poor cooling, or hard starting.

How can T.F. O’Brien help me if one of these components fails?

Let us preface this by saying that at T.F. O’Brien, we truly believe that the best way to keep your air conditioning system – and all of its many parts – running efficiently and effectively is by getting it the annual maintenance it needs. As you’ve read above, your AC system is very susceptible to becoming dirty – both your indoor and outdoor parts. When you count on your T.F. O’Brien technician to maintain your system, they’ll make sure it’s cleaned and lubricated properly, and that refrigerant levels are appropriate.

You can rely on us in the event of a breakdown, too. Our technicians have been trained to troubleshoot virtually all types of air conditioning systems. They’ll replace the parts that are failing, and help get your air conditioning system running effectively and efficiently. All you need to do is give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to help you get the air conditioning services you need.

Is Your Air Conditioning System Telling You Something?

GettyImagesOnce the summer heat arrives, the last thing anyone wants to think about is their air conditioning system not working well. A broken-down AC system is certainly never convenient and not a welcome situation on a hot day. However, there are a few signs your air conditioner will give you if it’s not working properly that can help you avoid a complete breakdown – and a potentially costly replacement.

In this article, we’ll discuss how your AC might be telling you that you need to consider calling for service – and hopefully help you get out ahead of a costly breakdown. Of course, getting your air conditioning system maintained every year is one of the best ways you can prevent a breakdown. By getting preventive maintenance for your system each year, your technician will have a history of your system, and any problems it may have experienced in the past. They’ll also perform a proper cleaning and check-up, which will likely show any issues.

Five Signs You May Need AC Repair

As your air conditioning ages, problems can start to spring up that make repairs necessary. While this is normal, it’s also important that you address concerns quickly. Here are five ways your air conditioning system might warn you that a breakdown is likely: 

  1. Your home isn’t as cool as you’d like. If you find yourself setting your thermostat lower and lower, but you’re still not comfortable, it could signal a problem. It could be a problem with your thermostat itself, or it may be a refrigerant or evaporator coil concern.
  2. Your energy bills are on the rise. If your energy bills are unusually high, it could be a sign that your air conditioning system is working harder than it should be. Calling in a technician to troubleshoot can help find any problem and remedy it.
  3. You notice ice on your unit. If you notice ice on your air conditioning system, there is likely a problem that needs to be addressed. It can be as simple as a dirty filter, but it’s still a problem that you should call your HVAC contractor to check out.
  4. Your home is more humid than usual. Part of your air conditioning system’s job is to help control humidity in your home. If the air in your home is staying uncomfortably humid despite the air conditioner running, it may signal a need for repair services.
  5. There are cold and hot spots in your home. If your air conditioning system doesn’t seem to be cooling your home properly, it may be time to call for repairs. While there may be an issue with the ductwork and not your AC system itself, you’ll still want to call your HVAC pro for help.

My air conditioning system seems to be asking for help. Who can I call?

Getting your air conditioning system the repair services it needs is as easy as calling T.F. O’Brien. Our professional technicians will be able to troubleshoot your system and see if and where any repairs are needed. Simply give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we will be happy to schedule an appointment with 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

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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.