Do You Have ESP? If Not, T.F. O’Brien Can Help You Get It!

You don’t have to have special intuition to know that the heating system in your home works hard every day during cooler weather – that’s a given. And as such, it’s important for you to maintain your heating system on a regular basis. Your heating system is a complex machine, and making sure that all the moving parts are operating correctly is crucial in helping it last longer and work more effectively and efficiently.

How can you ensure your system works great, year after year? By getting ESP – that is, our Energy Saver Plan. While our technicians are not exactly psychics, they are able to properly maintain your system and troubleshoot it promptly and professionally if there seems to be anything not working quite right. They’ll make sure your heating system is running effectively and efficiently, and help you save if you need repairs.

When you participate in the ESP program, there are many benefits you’ll enjoy.

Our Energy Saver Program is designed to help homeowners keep their home’s HVAC system running smoothly. It provides vital maintenance that can help your home stay more comfortable, and your system last longer. When you sign up for ESP, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

Tune-Up & Safety Check

  • Preventive maintenance tune-up inspections
  • Priority tune-up scheduling
  • Venting & CO safety testing
  • Extended system life
  • Maintenance of warranty
  • Maintenance of optimal system efficiency

Repairs

  • 15% parts and labor discount
  • 50% off all diagnostic charges
  • 50% overtime discount
  • Evening/weekend priority service
  • 1-year warranty on all work

Getting ESP is as easy as giving T.F. O’Brien a call today.

We see better comfort and efficiency in your future – and all you need to do to get it is to sign up for ESP! Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we will be more than happy to help.

Talking “Turkey” About Winter Energy Efficiency

Like most homeowners, when cooler weather starts to roll around and the holiday season settles in, you and your family likely start spending more time indoors. And, with this year being particularly unique, the chances are you’re probably using a lot more energy than usual. Many people are working and going to school from home, at least part of the time, and that likely means they’re using more lighting and electronics. Couple that with increased energy use in the cooler months due to home heating, and you may be wondering if there are ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

The heating system in your home can use a good portion of your energy budget. During a typical year, the Department of Energy estimates that home heating uses more energy and costs more money than using any other system in your home, and generally accounts for up to 42 percent of the average utility bill. This year, because people are likely to be home at times when they typically wouldn’t be, those prices could potentially be even higher. So, what are some ways the average family can save on energy during the winter months?

5 Ways You Can Save Energy This Winter

Fortunately, there are a few measures any homeowner can take if they are looking for ways to conserve energy during the winter months. We’ve compiled five ways you can save energy – and potentially on your utility bills – when the colder weather strikes. Learn more below:

  1. Turn off lights and unplug small appliances when not in use. This seems like it should be an easy one, but when family members are all milling around the house, it can be hard to remember to turn off lights to unplug toasters and other small kitchen appliances when not in use. You can consider using a timer on lights in your home, or just making it a habit to do so when you leave a room. Even though it seems like a small step, it adds up. And remember, even if you’re not using appliances, when you leave them plugged in they’re still sapping small amounts of energy almost continuously.
  2. Consider installing a programmable thermostat – or better yet, a smart one. There are several thermostats on the market today that can be programmed for maximum efficiency. You can set your thermostat to different temperatures for different parts of your day, such as when you’re home, away, or sleeping. And, smart thermostats take it to the next level by “learning” your family’s habits. Not to mention, they can be controlled remotely from smartphones or computers, so if you forget to turn your thermostat down before leaving home, you can easily adjust it remotely.
  3. Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs and power strips. While this can be an upfront expense, you’ll save in the long run. LED bulbs use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last much, much longer – potentially up to 25 years, according to NYSERDA. Energy-saving power strips can also help you save because they can prevent that energy-sapping, even when appliances are not in use, that we mentioned above.
  4. Always look for the most efficient appliances.No doubt you’ve noticed that most appliances available on the market today are ENERGY STAR-rated. Appliances that have received ENERGY STAR’s seal of approval are made to be more efficient and use less energy. Virtually all appliances today have a version that is made to be as efficient as possible, from washers and dryers to dishwashers and even home heating equipment.
  5. Make sure you get annual maintenance on your heating equipment. Annual maintenance not only helps you stay more comfortable, but it can also help assure that your heating system is operating at its efficient best. That’s because annual maintenance services include cleaning your equipment, which allows it to run more smoothly. And, keep your system’s filter clean – that’s generally a part of your maintenance but may need to be done more often depending on how frequently your equipment runs.

At T.F. O’Brien, we want to help you save energy this winter.

We always work to help our customers find the most energy-efficient solutions, and we can help you too. Learn more about the maintenance plans that can help your equipment operate at its most efficient, and ask us about thermostats that can save on system energy use, too. And, if it’s time to replace your heating system, we can help you find one that is just right for your home – and can help you save on those winter utility bills. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we will be more than happy to help!

Not Convinced You Need Heating Maintenance? Here Are 7 Benefits.

For some people, getting annual heating maintenance is an expense they think is unnecessary. We can understand that. Often, homeowners are unaware of the benefits of getting annual maintenance, so they don’t make it a priority.

At T.F. O’Brien, our goal is always to first inform our customers of the benefits of any services we provide, so they can make their own decisions. While we encourage you to get the annual maintenance you need, we also want to explain to you why it’s important. That’s why we’re sharing this list of benefits with you.

7 Benefits of Annual Heating Maintenance

  1. Better Efficiency: Heating systems get dirty. As the air flows through them, so do any particles that might be floating around in that air. When you get annual maintenance, your technician will clean your system thoroughly and replace the filter. And that makes your system run more smoothly and efficiently.
  2. Lower Energy Bills: When your system is cleaned on an annual basis, it runs better, as we said above. Systems that are bogged down with dirt and gunk have to work much harder than they did when they were new. Annual maintenance eliminates the gunk and dirt, so your system can operate much more easily – and that saves on energy bills.
  3. Improved Air Quality: A neglected heating system usually means a neglected air filter as well. If you’ve ever changed your filter, you know how much dirt, dust, and other particulates can collect there. By getting your system cleaned and your filter changed, those particles will be trapped – and kept from infiltrating the air in your home.
  4. Warranty Maintenance: Many homeowners are unaware, but most equipment brands require maintenance regularly to maintain the warranty on the system. If you don’t get the required service, your warranty becomes invalid – and that can result in having to pay for costly repairs you otherwise wouldn’t have to.
  5. Fewer Costly Repairs: Another benefit of having your system checked out yearly is the ability of your technician to catch small issues before they become larger ones. Some issues can be fixed without having to install new parts – but left unattended can lead to very costly repairs down the road, or worst-case scenario, needing a heating system replacement.
  6. Longer Equipment Life: Think about it this way – if you didn’t get your car inspected annually, change the oil, and get new tires when needed, you probably wouldn’t expect it to last long. The same thing goes for your heating equipment. By getting regular maintenance, you can help it last longer, which will save you on the unexpected expense of a premature replacement.
  7. Improved Equipment History: When you have your system maintenance done by a professional on an annual basis, they’ll keep a record of both the inspections and anything that might have needed extra attention on your system. That way, should you need a repair, your technician will have a record of system performance to help with troubleshooting.

Getting the annual heating maintenance you need is as easy as calling T.F. O’Brien.

At T.F. O’Brien, we know the real benefits of getting annual maintenance, and our skilled technicians can help ensure your equipment runs effectively and efficiently this winter, and for years to come. All you need to do is give us a call at 518.488.1800, and we’ll schedule an appointment for you.

Five Scary Signs You May Need Indoor Air Quality Products

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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.

  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?

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?

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.

Not Getting What You Need from Your AC This Summer? You Might Need a Repair.

Ah… cool, comfortable air conditioning. Nothing feels better than coming inside out of the sweltering heat and relaxing in an air-conditioned home. But, if your air conditioning system doesn’t seem to be working properly this summer, it can provide more aggravation than relaxation for you and your family. Sometimes, people put off calling their HVAC contractor because they’re not sure if it’s just too hot for their AC to work properly. We can assure you that if you’re not comfortable, you should go with your gut and give us a call.

There are a few ways that you can tell if your air conditioning system is getting ready for a breakdown. Fortunately, these often happen before it completely stops working – allowing you time to get in touch with us here at T.F. O’Brien and get an appointment scheduled as soon as possible. It’s important that you call us if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your system, so you won’t be stuck without AC during a heatwave!

Five Signs that Your Air Conditioning Needs Attention

If you’re feeling like your AC system just isn’t keeping you and your family as cool as you’d like this summer, these five indicators could be your air conditioner’s way of letting you know it needs some TLC from T.F. O’Brien:

  1. The dust is flying. If you’re seeing a lot more dust in your home than usual this summer, your system’s filter likely needs some attention. Fortunately, changing the filter is a pretty simple task that you can do yourself, and one that helps your AC run much more effectively and efficiently. Of course, if you’re not sure how to clean or change your filter, we’re always happy to help.
  2. Your system is noisy. Air conditioning systems usually make some noise when they operate. This is normal. But, if your system is making any noises out of the ordinary, or if you hear squeaks, pings, or grinding sounds, there’s likely a problem that needs a technician’s attention.
  3. Your home has hot and cold spots. If you have central air conditioning, consistent cooling throughout your home should be expected. However, if you’re noticing different temperatures throughout your home, there could be an issue with your home’s ductwork or your AC’s sizing. This is especially true if you’ve added living space to your home, such as additions or converted areas.
  4. Your energy bills are on the rise. Of course, your AC uses energy to operate, so some increase in your utility bills is normal. If your bills are unusually high, or if you’ve noted an unexplained increase, your system might be using more energy than it needs to – which indicates it could need a repair.
  5. Your home feels humid. One of the benefits of air conditioning is reducing the humidity in your home. If you’re still feeling sticky, even with the AC running, something probably isn’t working properly and you should give us a call to check your system out.

Getting ahead of a breakdown is as simple as noticing these signs and giving us a call.

Once your air conditioning breaks down completely, it can be a lot more difficult – and expensive – to repair than an underperforming system. So, it’s important to take heed of the signs that your system isn’t working quite as well as it should, and giving us a call in advance of a complete system failure. We’re always ready to help – your comfort is our top priority! If you think your AC needs repair, give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll gladly schedule an appointment with 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?

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.

You Can Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Commercial Space

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As Long Island enters Phase 1 of the reopening process, business owners may be wondering what can be done to improve the indoor air quality, or IAQ, of their commercial spaces. Many people are concerned about the air they’re breathing, both at their place of employment and at businesses they frequent. If you’re interested in ways you can improve your commercial space’s IAQ, you should know there are ways your HVAC professional can help.

Today, there are many different types of equipment that can help remove contaminants from the air, offering better air quality for your employees and patrons. Advanced indoor air quality products can provide better filtration, as well as capture and kill technologies that can help effectively eliminate certain contaminants, such as allergens, bacteria and some viruses, from the air. At T.F. O’Brien, we offer these products both to our residential and commercial clients.

How T.F. O’Brien Can Help You Get Better IAQ

At T.F. O’Brien, we take great pride in helping our clients get the products they need for the best comfort and safety possible, and that includes a quality lineup of indoor air quality products. We’re pleased to offer indoor air quality equipment to help you maintain a better air quality in your place of business, including:

  • Air Cleaners: Today’s air cleaners offer purification within your system, effectively removing particulates, microbes, and gases. Air cleaners can help eliminate such contaminants as pollen, dust, spores, bacteria and some viruses.
  • Air Sterilization: Ultraviolet germicidal lights can kill mold and bacteria in your HVAC system, allowing the air that flows through the system to be cleaned before it is circulated throughout your place of business.
  • High Efficiency Filters: We offer hospital operating room-quality air filters that can help trap a number of contaminants, allowing you, your employees and your customers to enjoy fresher air.

Contact us today to learn more.

T.F. O’Brien takes the health of our clients and our employees very seriously. That’s why we’re following stringent CDC guidelines, in order 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 office or home, give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll gladly schedule an appointment with you.

Phase 1 Reopening on Long Island: What It Means for You

Phase_One_ReopeningAs an essential business, T.F. O’Brien has remained open for our customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have taken every necessary precaution to keep both our valued clients and employees safe during this time, and we appreciate your cooperation in our efforts. It isn’t an easy time for any of us, and we are very glad we have been able to continue to meet your needs throughout this crisis.

Long Island has entered Phase 1 of the reopening process, and that means some other businesses that were deemed non-essential may now open up with guidelines in place. Below is a listing of businesses that are included in the Phase 1 reopening process:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Retail Stores (Curbside Pickup Only)

Like our industry, HVAC, each of these industries will have specific guidelines based on their unique operational procedures that need to be strictly adhered to. There are both mandatory and suggested guidelines for each of these sectors, which can be found by clicking here, if you wish to learn more about them.

How T.F. O’Brien Can Help

Of course, we will continue to follow the mandated guidelines set forth, allowing us to safely continue to provide you with the home comfort services and products you need. Additionally, we can help businesses who wish to ensure as they reopen that their HVAC systems are operating properly, and that they have the best indoor air quality control available. We urge our commercial clients entering Phase 1 to call us with any comfort or air quality concerns they may have at 516.488.1800. We’ll be glad to schedule an appointment with you to discuss your commercial HVAC needs.