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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

November Message from Kerry

T.F. O’Brien is thankful for you!

November is one of our favorite months of the year, because we have a chance to pause and reflect on all that we’re thankful for. At T.F. O’Brien, when we stop and think of what we give thanks for, our great customers always come to mind. We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude for your patronage, year in and year out.

We’re also thankful for our families, and we’re so glad that we are a family company, and have been since we opened our doors. We take pride in one another’s successes, which is why we’re so pleased to congratulate Chris O’Brien on his recent success in the NYC Marathon, which took place on November 1.

This month, we’d also like to pass along some exciting news from one of our comfort advisors, Brendan Sihler, who has partnered in a craft brewing company with his brother Kevin. Best of luck to Brendan! And, our special Cool Cash offer is coming to a close – have you taken advantage of the savings yet? (It expires November 15th so hurry!) Thinking about turning up the heat again – and how costly it can be? A programmable thermostat can help you save this winter. And, if you have limited space for ductwork in your home, high velocity heating can help you stay warm no matter how cold it might get outside.

Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

Kerry

Faced with “Repair or Replace” Decision? Some Tips…

Homeowners often face the decision of whether to repair or replace their furnace. Before making this important decision, answer the following questions:

  • Is your system in overall good condition? If so, it might be more cost- effective to repair it.
  • How long are you planning to live in your home? If you are moving within a couple of years, evaluate whether a new system will increase the value of your home. If the cost outweighs the investment value, consider repair. If you are planning on living in your home for many more years, consider the benefits of a more energy efficient system.
  • Have you addressed insulation and duct work? Proper insulation and seals can save up to 20 percent on your energy costs.
  • Are you using a programmable thermostat? A programmable thermostat can save up to 30 percent in energy costs.
  • Have you performed the Home Energy Yardstick? Use this tool to score your home’s energy efficiency.

Consider repairing if:

  • Your system is less than 15 years old.
  • The repair is under $500.
  • The overall condition of your system is good.
  • Your energy bills are reasonable and not concerning.
  • Your Home Energy Yardstick score is 5 or above.

Consider replacing if:

  • Your system is over 15 years old.
  • Your system needs frequent repairs.
  • Your Home Energy Yardstick score is less than 5. If the energy savings of a more efficient unit will cover all or part of your investment, consider replacing it.
  • Your utilities costs are constantly rising.
  • You are concerned about air quality. Consider replacement with an energy-efficient system that can reduce the potential for air contaminants like mold, bacteria, and dust.

A general rule of thumb that can be helpful in deciding whether to repair or replace your furnace is to add up your energy costs for the past winter and multiply by 20 percent. Divide that number into the cost of buying and installing. This is an estimate of how many years it will take to recoup your investment.

Of course, you can also count on T.F. O’Brien for expert advice on repairing vs. replacing your furnace. We can walk you through the options and help you make an educated decision. Call us if we can help.