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!

Five Reasons to Choose a Smart Thermostat

With people working and learning from home more and more, having the best possible home comfort is important. Along with being home more often comes increased energy use in your home – you and your family are spending more time on electronics and devices, are likely using kitchen appliances more frequently, and certainly relying on your heating and cooling system more than ever.

Fortunately, installing a smart thermostat is one way to help your home’s HVAC system operate more effectively and efficiently, and keep you and your family more comfortable. Not sure what the benefits of a smart thermostat are, or if it’s a good choice for you and your family? Below are just a few of the benefits of installing one in your home.

5 Ways a Smart Thermostat Can Help You Enjoy Better Comfort

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  1. Smart thermostats can help your home become more energy-efficient. That’s because this technology is easily adjustable, from virtually anywhere. Some types can even “learn” your family’s habits and adjust temperatures accordingly!
  2. Worry-Free. No more worries about heating and cooling systems when you’re away from home. With a smart thermostat, you can easily check into your system from your smartphone or laptop. Some systems even send you an alert if something happens out of the ordinary with your HVAC system.
  3. Better Home Comfort, On Demand. Warm up (or cool down your home) before you arrive home. You can turn your thermostat down during the day or whenever you’re away, and then turn up the heating or cooling from your phone or computer, so you’ll arrive to a comfortable home.
  4. Compatibility with Smart Home Systems: Some can hook into other smart devices. There are thermostat systems that are compatible with smart lighting and air quality equipment like humidifiers and air purifiers. There are smart thermostats that can be voice-activated, too.
  5. Tracking Energy Usage: Many smart thermostat brands keep a record of your energy usage on their online platform – making it simple for you to assess the times of day when you use the most energy, or if there is an unusual amount of energy being used (which could indicate a system issue).

T.F. O’Brien can help you decide if a smart thermostat is right for your home.

Keeping your home comfortable – at a cost that’s comfortable, too – is easy when you install a smart thermostat from T.F. O’Brien.
Simply call us at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to help you find the right smart thermostat for your home.

Resolve to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient in 2020

tfobrien energy efficiencyIt’s that time of year again – when everyone starts thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. Many times, they revolve around weight loss and fitness, and sometimes achieving personal and professional goals. One resolution that can help both you and the planet in 2020 is to conserve energy. And it’s a resolution you can keep pretty much effortlessly, especially when you start at home.

There are many ways you can make your home a den of energy efficiency, and they’re a lot simpler than you might think. We’re sharing a list below of seven ways you can very easily start making you home more efficient today. The best part (aside from the money you can save on your utility bills)? Most of these solutions are set it and forget it! Just make a couple of simple changes and you’ll start saving energy right away and all year long.

Seven Easy Ways You Can Resolve to Save Energy This Year

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516.488.1800
  1. Change over to energy efficient lightbulbs. Change out your old, incandescent bulbs with halogen, compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. They offer much better energy efficiency AND they last much longer than their incandescent ancestors. (Most homes have 40 or more fixtures that require bulbs, so choosing energy efficient ones is sort of a big deal.)
  2. Lower your thermostat. We’re not saying you have to run around the house in long johns and a parka all winter long, but if you remember to lower your thermostat just 3-5 degrees before you leave the house, you can save energy. Want to save even more? Drop your thermostat 10 degrees or so during the workday and save up to 15% every year. If you have a programmable or smart thermostat, it’s even easier, because you can set it to change when you leave for work – or change it yourself right from your phone!
  3. Make sure windows and doors are sealed. Drafty windows and doors let the warm air out and the cold air in, which makes your heating system have to work even harder. And the reverse is true in the summer, letting your conditioned air out and the hot, sticky air in. So making sure any gaps or cracks around windows and doors are sealed is an inexpensive way to reduce energy usage, and ultimately costs.
  4. Not using it? Unplug it. Cell phone chargers, battery chargers and, small appliances like toasters and electric can openers can all be energy vampires when they’re not in use, sucking the energy right out of your outlets and costing you more money when it comes time to pay your utility bills. If it doesn’t need to stay plugged in to operate properly – unplug it, and potentially save 10% annually on your energy bills in the process.
  5. Wash with cold water whenever possible. Not yourself, unless you want to. We’re talking about your washing machine. Most detergents are available in cold water formulas that do a great job of getting your clothes fresh and clean. And did you know – 90 percent of the energy used by your washer is for heating water. So, washing in cold can save YOU cold, hard cash.
  6. Get an HVAC tune-up for your heating and air conditioning equipment. By getting your equipment tuned up on a yearly basis, you’ll also be helping it stay energy efficient. A qualified technician, like the ones right here at T.F. O’Brien, will make sure your heating and cooling equipment is running at top efficiency. Not to mention, a tune-up can help keep your system from breaking down prematurely, and as a result needing expensive repairs or replacement.
  7. When getting a new computer, switch to a laptop. Thinking about replacing your old desktop computer? When it comes time for new technology, consider getting a laptop. Why? They’re up to 80% more efficient than desktop models, and you can take them anywhere with you!

Want to learn more about making your home energy efficient? Call T.F. O’Brien.

At T.F. O’Brien, helping you enjoy the most energy efficient home comfort is important to us. We work hard to help you get the services and equipment you need to save energy, save money and save the planet!

To learn more about energy-saving equipment and products, just give us a call at 516.488.1800 – and we’ll resolve to help you make your home more efficient in 2020 and beyond!

Check out our energy efficiency infographic below, and feel free to share it with your friends!

TFO WEB HomeEfficiency

 

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency

August is known for its hazy, hot and humid weather. Chances are, you’ll be running your air conditioning system much of the time. No matter how efficient your air conditioner is, it still uses energy, and that can get costly if it’s operating most of the time. The good news is, there are a few ways you can maximize your efficiency, making it so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.

Here are five tips that can help:

  1. Seal leaky doors and windows. That way, the cold air won’t escape inside – and the hot outdoor air won’t come in.
  2. Put your ceiling fans to work. Make sure your fans are set to counterclockwise – this helps create a cooler feel to the air.
  3. Make sure your filters are clean. When your air conditioning system runs frequently, its filters can get clogged with dirt and dust. Change it out often during high-use months for better effectiveness and efficiency from your air conditioning system.
  4. Consider a smart thermostat. You’ll have greater control over your AC system. Many smart thermostats “learn” your habits, so they’ll automatically set sleeping and away temperatures. And, most smart thermostats can be controlled even when you’re not there with a convenient phone app.
  5. Keep the heat in your kitchen to a minimum. On very hot days, consider grilling out, using the microwave, or using the Crock-Pot. Turning on your oven can add significantly to the heat of your home, making your AC work harder.

Of course, if you’re concerned about your air conditioning system’s efficiency or effectiveness, or if you’re paying way more on your utility bills than you should be, you should give T.F. O’Brien a call. We can check out your system to rule out any issues, and if there are problems, we can make the needed repairs. To learn more, call us at 516-488-1800, and we’ll be happy to help you.

Getting Your Vacation Home’s HVAC System Ready for Summer

If you own a vacation home, it’s probably your go-to place for rest and relaxation – a great place to get away from your hectic life and just enjoy some peace and tranquility. Because you want it to be a place of comfort, it’s important to make sure your summer home’s HVAC system is running perfectly. Unlike your home, a vacation home isn’t used as regularly, so you may not catch little problems that come up. At T.F. O’Brien, we want to help you relax in comfort this summer. We’re happy to provide you with the HVAC maintenance you need to ensure your vacation home is comfortable and ready for the season ahead.

Getting annual maintenance for your vacation home is very important. The heating and cooling system there experiences less use, and of course you’re not there all the time to monitor it and make sure everything’s working as it should. And, outside concerns like basement moisture or flooding can cause problems you may not even be aware of – which is why it’s crucial that you have an HVAC contractor come in and inspect and maintain your system before vacation season even starts. That way you can count on your system running smoothly, providing you and your family with the comfort you deserve.

Also, you might want to consider installing a smart thermostat. That way, you can regulate the indoor climate of your vacation, as well as monitor for any issues your system might be having, either via Smartphone or online. With online access, you can use the most conservative settings while you’re away, and put the thermostat back to its usual settings when you’re headed there for a weekend getaway for perfect indoor temperatures upon your arrival. Ask us about the smart thermostats we offer, and how one can help you make the most of your summer home.

Enjoying your summer home can be easy, when you let one of our highly skilled technicians help you prepare for the season ahead. For help with your vacation home’s comfort system, rely on T.F. O’Brien to help. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Holiday Cheer from T.F. O’Brien

Thanks for reading Kerry’s Monthly Message for December. The holiday season is here, and we’re looking forward to special times with friends and family. The scent of Christmas cookies baking in the oven, the twinkling of lights in the windows, and the joyful, giving nature that the season seems to bring out in us are just a few of the reasons that we love this time of year.

Of course, there is no good time for a furnace or boiler breakdown, but during the holiday season it’s that much worse. At T.F. O’Brien, we understand that heating emergencies can happen at the most inconvenient times. That’s why we’re here for you – nights, weekends and even holidays. If you need emergency services, call us at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to help you. 

We love this time of year – especially giving gifts! Need some ideas? Read on…

This December, we have some gift ideas for the person on your list who has everything – why not give the gift of HVAC? And, if you’re wondering the best way to keep your furnace running optimally this winter, there’s one simple thing you can do. Find out what it is by clicking here! Additionally, here are a few ways you can save energy – and ultimately money on your utility bills – this winter. 

We hope you and yours have a joyous Christmas or Hanukkah season, and we wish you the very best for a happy New Year. See you in 2018! 

Thanks for reading, 

Kerry

Three Ways to Give the Gift of HVAC this Holiday Season

If you have a hard-to-shop-for loved one, you know how difficult finding the right gift for them can be. What do you give to the person who has everything? This holiday season; why not consider something you might not have thought of before – HVAC. We’d like to share with you some ideas that can help make the season bright – and more comfortable.

Here are three HVAC-related ideas that can help you finish off your holiday shopping list:

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats have changed the way people do home comfort over the last few years. This technology enables people to have control over their heating and cooling systems like never before. More than a programmable thermostat, smart thermostats can generally be controlled remotely, from a Smartphone, tablet or computer. That way, the homeowner can keep household temperatures regulated, even when away from home. Also, smart thermostats are usually fairly simple to use, which makes them ideal for almost anyone. There are even smart thermostats on the market that have “learning” capabilities, so they know when you’re home, when you’re away, and your preferred home temperatures during these times.

Ductless Heating & Cooling

It’s a modern trend that people convert areas of their homes like basements and garage spaces into personal enjoyment areas, such as crafting and hobby rooms, music rooms and the much-sought-after “man cave.” However, these rooms may not exactly be the paragon of comfort, as they are often not connected to the home’s duct system. Luckily, ductless heating and cooling is available for these spaces, making them as comfortable and usable as the rest of the house, no matter what the weather outside is like. Ductless systems require no additional ductwork, are efficient and non-obtrusive, and generally can be installed in a short period of time with minimal construction work.

Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There’s no better way to let someone know you love them than to show them you care about their safety. Giving a gift of new smoke and carbon monoxide detectors might not seem very glamorous, but it’s one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give. There are devices on the market that can warn you of smoke or carbon monoxide, even when you’re not at home. When you count on T.F. O’Brien to help, we can provide you with advice and best placement of your smoke and CO detectors.

This year, give a memorable gift that keeps on giving – HVAC from T.F. O’Brien.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be happy to help you make someone’s holiday extra special this year.

Happy Thanksgiving from T.F. O’Brien!

Male, female, and baby turkey on white background.Welcome to our November e-newsletter! Who can believe we’re already mid-fall here on Long Island? Mild temperatures have made for a pretty nice autumn, but you never know when that might come to an end. As a result, T.F. O’Brien makes it our priority to have your heating system prepared for the winter months ahead.
And, this month we can help you get a high-efficiency heating system, which will keep you warmer and save you money on your utility bills. What’s more, through the end of this month you can save up to $2000 on a new heating system for your home.
  • Up to $1,200 in Manufacturer Rebates
  • Up to $600 in Utility Rebates
  • $200 T.F. O’Brien Instant Rebate

This offer ends 11/30/17, though, so give us a call or click here to learn more. 

November is the time to think about heating your home this winter.

Also this month, learn about alternate heating systems, which are perfect for people who lack ductwork and/or space for a traditional heating system in their homes. Click here to find out more. Additionally, read all about programmable thermostats, and how they can help you enjoy better comfort and energy efficiency. Not to mention, the simplest furnace maintenance you can do at home can save you money and wear and tear on your system. Find out what it is!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at T.F. O’Brien. Thanks for reading!
 
Enjoy, 
 
Kerry

The Right Commercial HVAC Equals Goldilocks-Approved Workplace Temperatures

Once upon a time, workplaces all across the United States were too hot. One day, a gentle inventor named Willis Carrier came along. He created a new machine that could keep spaces nice and cool. That helped workers feel more comfortable and work more productively. But, Mr. Wooly Suit, the head of the office, felt too warm in his heavy clothes and decided to turn the air conditioning way down. Suddenly, most people in the office weren’t comfortable at all. They were too cold! What would it take for everyone at the office to work their best and feel just right? 

It isn’t a fairytale – it’s a likely story in most workplaces. Temperatures are either too hot or too cold – and rarely just right. Of course, you can’t please all the people all the time. But how can you ensure your commercial HVAC system does its job and provides the optimal comfort levels for productivity? In an article on the ThoughtCo. website, it is suggested that many factors besides simple cooling or heating should be taken into account when adjusting office temperatures.

First of all, the article suggests that many of the ideas about office temperature are outdated. Original studies on commercial HVAC were completed at a time when more men than women worked at offices. Many of the men regularly wore heavy suits to work, made from fabrics like wool that weren’t very breathable. As a result, ideal temperatures hovered between 68ºF and 72ºF. Those temperatures might have been perfect for commercial spaces in the 1950s and 1960s. But as more women entered the workforce, and clothing for the office changed, those office temperatures probably should have increased.

A 2015 study changed the way people think about temperatures in commercial spaces.

According to the article, a 2015 study concluded that there are numerous factors companies should take into consideration when it comes to commercial HVAC in their building. The study found that women tend be more susceptible to the cold than men are. And, the colder people feel, the more likely it is they’ll concentrate on ways they can warm up – rather than their work. Also, office settings are much different than they once were. Modern offices are more open, with larger windows and higher ceilings. All of this leads to air temperatures that are a lot different now than they were back in the day of the cubicle.

So what’s the right temperature for my office?

Studies suggest that temperatures that hover between 73ºF and 77ºF may be just right for most office workers, both during the summer and winter months. Having a commercial HVAC system that has been sized appropriately for your building and that uses a programmable thermostat is the best way you can ensure office temperatures are optimal for productivity year-round. That’s why you need the commercial HVAC team at T.F. O’Brien.

We are proud to offer a wide range of solutions for your commercial HVAC needs. Heating and cooling your space, as well as the proper sizing and controls, are all within your reach when you choose us to help. We want you, your employees and your clients to live happily ever after. Just call us at 516-488-1800, and we’ll help you ensure that your office space is not too hot, not too cold… but just right.

Five Reasons You Need a Smart Thermostat for Your Summer Home

nest-learning-thermostatIf you have a summer home, there’s no doubt you appreciate having a place where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Your summer home is the place you and your family go to relax, enjoy the beach, and simply unwind. Like any other home, though, your summer home comes with a set of ownership concerns. How can you make sure all is safe and sound when you’re not there? Well, you can keep your eye on your indoor comfort levels much more easily than you may have thought, with the use of a smart thermostat.

Unlike traditional thermostats, or even modern programmable thermostats, smart thermostats can learn your home comfort habits and provide remote management, so you are able to both monitor and control your summer home’s comfort levels any time, from just about anywhere. You can log into the smart thermostat’s interface using your phone, tablet, laptop or computer, and control the temperature of your summer home at the touch of your fingertips. And that makes it easy to keep an eye on your energy usage, while you’re away and while you’re there relaxing. Here are five ways a smart thermostat can benefit your summer home:

  • Energy savings: Half of the cost of your energy bill, on average, goes to the heating and cooling of your home. If you’re heating and cooling a primary residence and a summer home, it can get costly. According to ENERGY STAR, you can save around $200 a year on energy costs just by controlling your thermostat properly. With a smart thermostat, that’s easy to do.
  • Adaptability: Because some smart thermostats “learn” what your home comfort habits are over time, you won’t be constantly running the AC or furnace while you’re not there. Some of today’s thermostats use sensors and your mobile phone’s GPS to tell whether or not anyone is home, and control the climate accordingly. Plus, you can go online and make changes as necessary at any time.
  • Energy control: Most of the smart thermostats on the market today offer you energy usage reports, so you’ll be able to keep a closer eye on the comfort control of your vacation home. Your mobile device will show you the actual amount of energy you’re using toward indoor climate control, letting you take better control over your energy usage.
  • Plan for the weekend: You won’t have to worry about walking into a sweltering summer home – or, conversely, constantly keeping your vacation house cool when no one is there. That’s because, as we’ve discussed previously, adjusting the temperature in your summer home is as easy as going online, when you have a smart thermostat. You can adjust the temperature so that it’s perfect, just in time for your arrival.
  • Good looks: It might seem superficial, but smart thermostats are made to blend in nicely with your décor and provide a modern, elegant look. Smart thermostats offer an easy-to-read digital display, backlighting and even graphic icons, so you can count on easy of use and an attractive design.

Keeping your summer home comfortable – at a cost that’s comfortable, too – is easy when you install a smart thermostat from T.F. O’Brien. Simply call us at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to help you find the right smart thermostat for your summer home.