Kerry’s Blog

Getting the Home Heating You Need – A Buying Guide

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Is it time to replace the heating system in your home? It can be a daunting task. You’re making an expensive purchase, but a necessary one. It’s important that you choose the right system for your home, lifestyle, and of course, budget. With many options available, as well as several different brands, it can be difficult to know if you’re choosing the best system for your needs.

The first step in purchasing home heating equipment? Do your research.

The internet provides you with a wealth of information on different types of equipment and brands. But sometimes, that much information can get overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re choosing the right sources of information on heating equipment.

Here are a few credible, helpful sources to get you started:

The Department of Energy

If anybody knows their stuff, it’s the most official research in the U.S.! The Department of Energy has great stats and data to help you make the most out of your heating system this year.

Energy Star

According to their own words, “Energy Star is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.”

Angie’s List

Angie’s List, an online review-collecting service, has an extremely detailed breakdown of different systems that will help you narrow down what’s best for your home.

Smarter House

Smarter House is a resource for home energy efficiency, and they provide a useful overview of home heating systems.

The Spruce

A reliable source for home tips, The Spruce has an awesome guide to all different kinds of home heating systems that is ideal for someone who needs an easily digestible snapshot of each.

Some things to consider while you’re looking…

Sizing is important.

This is where your HVAC professional comes in. They know how to analyze your home’s space and energy needs in order to install the properly sized equipment. Too small a furnace, and your home won’t get adequately heated, especially during an extreme cold snap. Conversely, if your furnace is too large, it cycles on and off too often, wasting energy and putting wear and tear on components. A qualified HVAC technician can help you get the right size for your home.

Look at energy efficiency.

If your heating system is more than 10 years old, it’s likely that it isn’t as energy efficient as you’d like. Advances have been made in recent years on heating equipment, and today’s furnaces and boilers offer much higher efficiency than their predecessors. Not to mention, heat pumps and ductless systems are becoming more popular. Both of these systems offer incredible energy efficiency and effective heating as well.

Choose a reputable installer.

One of the most important things you can do when looking into home heating replacement is to find an installer with a reputation for excellence. You’ll want to see what organizations they’re involved with, such as North American Technician Excellence, or NATE. Research them to ensure they provide ongoing training to their technicians, and keep them up-to-date on the latest technologies. And, you’ll want to check out their Better Business Bureau profiles, as well as online reviews. The greater your comfort level with your installer, the more likely the project will go smoothly and you’ll get just the right system for your home.

Learn more about the types of heating systems available.

    • Furnaces – Generally, there are two types of furnaces available to heat your home. Oil furnaces use fuel oil, and gas furnaces use natural gas. Gas furnaces tend to be more efficient that oil furnaces. Most people in the Northeast heat their homes with either a furnace or boiler, although other systems are becoming more prevalent as technologies improve.
    • Boilers – Like furnaces, boilers generally use gas or oil to operate. If you rely on radiant heat for your home, then you use a boiler. Today’s boilers are built to be much more energy efficient than their predecessors, often reaching rates of 95% efficiency or more.
    • Heat Pumps – Heat pump technology has improved greatly, making it a viable option for heating even in colder climates. Not to mention, heat pumps are one of the most energy-efficient heating options available, and they don’t use fossil fuels to operate. Instead, they work by extracting the heat from the ground or outside air, and pumping it into your home.
    • Ductless Heating – Ductless heating uses heat pump technology to operate, so again, it’s a very efficient choice for heating your home. Another benefit to ductless is that it provides targeted comfort, so you can create heating zones in your home – and that helps increase efficiency even more. Ductless is a great option if your home doesn’t have ductwork and you wish to upgrade your baseboard or radiant heating system.
    • High Velocity Heating – High velocity heating uses small diameter ductwork to bring heat and comfort in older, multi-story homes where larger diameter ductwork may be space-prohibitive. It uses a type of indoor equipment known as an air handler, outdoor equipment, a line set of pipes that connect the indoor and outdoor units, and small-diameter ductwork which transfers the heated air throughout your home. A standard thermostat controls the system.

Take the next step in getting the heating system you need for your home this winter.

T.F. O’Brien works with you, your home and your budget to provide you with the best, most efficient heating system possible. Click below to contact us today!

 

And, you can download a copy of our buyer’s guide below

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Don’t Miss Our Technician Hiring Event

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Looking for an HVAC job?

Join us for our Technician Hiring Event on Tuesday, October 29 from 5-8PM at our 100 Denton Ave., Hyde Park location to find out how we can help advance your HVAC career! Bring your resume and see why T.F. O’Brien Heating and Cooling is an excellent HVAC employment opportunity with full benefits, robust training, and continued education opportunities.

5 Fun Things to Do On Long Island This Fall

Contributed by Joe Pantorno

There’s a reason why over 7.5 million people live on Long Island (not “in;” don’t ever say “in Long Island”).

No matter your interests or tastes, the 118-mile strip of land protruding from New York’s mainland has something for everyone — and that rings especially true during the fall.

As we prepare for the season packed with foliage, apple picking, and trick-or-treaters, here are some of the best things to do on Long Island this autumn:

Apple and Pumpkin Picking

One can’t officially ring in fall on Long Island without going out east for a day of apple and pumpkin picking.

It’s a rite of passage the moment the first chill is felt in the air following the dog days of summer.

Whether you’re in Riverhead at Harbes Farm or in Water Mill at Hank’s Pumpkintown, there’s fun for all — both for a family day or fun with the friends.

Best of all, you won’t come home empty-handed. Turn those apples into a pie or carve up those pumpkins to keep the fall fun rolling.

Wine Tasting

For a more adult-themed day out east on Long Island — amongst friends or with that special someone — the wineries provide a perfect day of relaxation.

According to the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, Long Island boasts 73 wineries and tasting rooms with a majority of them located on the north fork.

Just sit back, smell the grapes, and enjoy!

Local Breweries

If you’re not into wine, don’t fret. Long Island also has plenty of breweries for the favorite beer drinker in your life.

With approximately 40 breweries to choose from, you won’t be short of opportunities to try some of the best local craft beer the region has to offer.

Don’t worry, there will probably be plenty of pumpkin beer to go around this time of year.

Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns

Autumn and art truly converge at Old Westbury Gardens during October.

Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns features over 5,000 unique, hand-carved pumpkins that create one of the coolest fall strolls you’ll ever take.

The illuminated jack o’ lanterns range from the traditional to creepy as the path is set to a musical score that completes the perfect seasonal and Halloween ambiance.

But be sure to get your tickets as soon as you can because the limited schedule makes this event a hot commodity.

Bayville Scream Park

If you’re looking for a real scare, look no further than Bayville Scream Park.

The haunted house has become a staple for thrill-seekers as demons, clowns, and witches bring the “most macabre, unsettling, and disturbing images in the back of your mind” to life.

There’s more than just the haunted mansion, though. Attractions also include the “Temple of Terror,” “Evil in the Woods,” and “Uncle Needle’s Funhouse of Fear.”

It’s probably best to leave the little ones at home for this, but you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

Just try not to be afraid of the dark when you’re done.

The park will be open from Sept. 27-Nov. 3.

Joe Pantorno is the sports editor at Metro. Click here to learn more about Joe.

October is Fire Safety Month – Is Your Home Ready?

tfobrien firesafetyAt T.F. O’Brien, one of our top priorities is our customer’s comfort and safety. That’s why we strive to ensure your home comfort system is always working properly and operating safely. Because October is Fire Safety Month, we want to talk about ways you can help protect your home and your family against fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Having the proper devices in your home is crucial when it comes to your home safety. With modern technology, today’s home safety equipment is better than ever at detecting smoke, heat and carbon monoxide emissions. Learn more below about the three most important safety devices you can have in your home, with information provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms, also often called smoke detectors, are the first line of defense if there ever is a fire in your home. When installed and maintained properly, they can play a vital role the reduction of fire and smoke related deaths and injuries. There should be smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, and in every bedroom and outside of sleeping areas. If you have battery operated smoke alarms, test them regularly, and replace batteries once a year. Additionally, you can purchase sealed alarms with long-life lithium batteries, or hardwired smoke alarms as well. If your smoke alarm sounds and you don’t know the immediate cause (like burnt toast), you should get out of the house and call your fire department.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that at the very least cause serious illness, but can also cause death. There are a number of ways that CO can be emitted into the home, including heating and cooking equipment, vehicle emissions, and generators. You should ensure heating equipment and generators are regularly inspected to ensure their safe operation. Make sure to have a CO detector located in the same area as smoke alarms (you can install dual smoke/CO detectors), and make sure to test them regularly. If your CO detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call your local fire department right away.

Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers can help save your home – and your life. They’re useful in putting out small fires. The NFPA indicates they may be used in situations where “the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.” Remember, fire extinguishers have expiration dates, too. Check yours to make sure they are not outdated. Keep a fire extinguisher in the garage, kitchen, and basement, or wherever you have equipment that could cause a fire.

For more information, please visit the NFPA website by clicking any of the links above or here. You can also call T.F. O’Brien at 516.488.1800 to make sure your home heating equipment is in good working order, and that your CO detectors are properly installed.

Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality This Fall

tfobrien airqualityIf you or someone in your family suffers from fall allergies, you know how uncomfortable a time it can be. Itchy noses, watery eyes, and stuffy sinuses can make the autumn season unpleasant for some. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find relief even in your own home, as pollen and mold can enter on your shoes, clothing and through open windows. The good news? There are ways to improve your indoor air quality, or IAQ, helping you feel more comfortable when allergy season arrives.

5 Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

  1. Change the filter in your home comfort system. Filters are made to keep dust, dirt, pollen and other particles out of the air that circulates for your home. However, they can get dirty over time, and it’s important to change them out regularly – more frequently if you’re running your home comfort system often.
  2. Consider the type of filter you’re using. Many people just use basic filters and that’s okay, unless you need advanced filtration. There are filters available that can pull out even the most microscopic particles that can cause allergies and distress.
  3. Look into advanced air cleaning. A whole-house air cleaner can help significantly reduce the amount of allergens in your home, like dust, dander, pollen, bacteria and mold. It works with your cooling and heating system to purify all the air in your home.
  4. Be mindful of humidity levels. If your home is too humid, it can encourage the growth of known allergens like mold and mildew. A whole-house dehumidifier is an easy way to make sure your home isn’t holding in too much moisture.
  5. Make sure your HVAC system is regularly maintained. Spring and fall maintenance is important for many reasons, but when it comes to air quality, making sure this equipment gets the annual cleaning it needs helps keep the air in your home cleaner and fresher.

How to Get the IAQ Products You Need

Fortunately, getting the IAQ products you need to make the air in your home fresher and cleaner is as easy as calling T.F. O’Brien. We can help you get the indoor air quality products you need, as well as make sure your home comfort system is well-maintained. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be glad to assist you.

Is a Heat Pump System Right for Your Home?

tfobrien heatpump energy efficiencyHave you been thinking about replacing the old heating system in your home? Maybe your current system hasn’t been keeping your home as warm as you’d like, or maybe you’ve noticed a steady increase in your utility bills over the past few years. Or, perhaps you’ve had to make a lot of expensive repairs to your system, and it still isn’t running as well as it should be.

No matter what your reason may be for deciding to replace your current heating system, you should know that there are options available that are highly efficient and can help you save on energy costs. If you choose a traditional furnace or boiler, modern systems offer superior energy efficiency when compared to their older counterparts. You should also know, heat pump systems are a viable option for many homeowners as well.

What is a heat pump system?

Just like the name implies, a heat pump system “pumps” heat – either into, or out of, your home. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), heat pump systems transfer heat between your home and the outside air. During the cooler months, heat pumps actually extract the existing heat from the outdoor air and move it into your home. Because these systems move heat rather than make heat, they are highly efficient, helping you save both energy and money.

Additionally, there is an added bonus to installing a heat pump system – because they move heat, they can also move it out of your home during the summer months. This enables your heat pump system to provide both heating and cooling to your home, making it a viable solution if you need to replace your entire home comfort system. Heat pump systems are available for homes both with and without ducts, too, so virtually any home can benefit from heat pump installation.

Will it work in cooler climates?

Many homeowners express concern over whether heat pump systems will operate properly in areas that tend to get colder winters. Much of this concern stems from the fact that for many years, heat pumps didn’t function well below a certain temperature. However, according to the DOE, heat pump technology has advanced significantly in recent years, now allowing it to offer “a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions.”

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re pleased to provide our clients with quality heat pump solutions for their home. When you make an appointment with us, we can evaluate your home to make sure a heat pump solution is the right choice. We’ll explain the benefits of heat pump systems, and help you choose the perfect system for your home. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be glad to assist you.

Want to Work In HVAC? Here Are 7 Reasons You Should.

Have you been considering a career in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry? If you have, you should know that there are many benefits to following this career path. Many times, you’ll be able to attend a trade school and receive your certification in a year’s time, and then receive additional training and education on the job.

What exactly do HVAC technicians do?

Very generally speaking, HVAC technicians repair, maintain and install comfort systems, such as air conditioning systems, furnaces, boilers, ductless systems and heat pump systems. Additionally, they provide services which include installation, maintenance and repair of ventilation and refrigeration systems.

Most HVAC technicians work in homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings or factories. Some typical duties of HVAC technicians include:

  • Installation and maintenance of HVAC and refrigeration systems
  • Installation of electrical components and wiring
  • Inspection and testing of HVAC systems and components
  • Explain HVAC concerns and problems to customers
  • Repair and replacement of parts and systems

Why should I consider a career in HVAC?

People who are interested in pursuing an HVAC career are in luck – it’s a growing industry in the United States, and job opportunities are expected to increase at a very steady rate over the next decade. Still not sure if a career in the HVAC industry is the right opportunity for you? Below are seven reasons you might want to consider it.

7 Reasons to Work In The HVAC /R Industry

  1. Job Stability: HVAC is something people need all year long. Residential customers need heating in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, and indoor air quality products all year long. Commercial clients need the same, and depending on the industry, may also require refrigeration installation and service.
  2. Positive Job Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for HVAC workers is excellent. In fact, employment in this field is expected to grow 13 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  3. Incentives For Advancement: Many companies, like T.F. O’Brien, encourage employees to continue with training and take on new roles and responsibilities over the course of employment. On-the-job experience, training and dedication can help technicians advance.
  4. On-The-Job Training: Most HVAC companies encourage their employees to continue with training, and some, such as T.F. O’Brien, provide career development training and advancement opportunities, so you can take your career to the next level.
  5. Career Mobility: People all throughout the country (and the world!) need HVAC. Being an HVAC worker essentially means that you can find employment, no matter where life takes you.
  6. Salary & Benefits: According to the BLS, the average annual wage for HVAC technicians was nearly $50,000 in 2018. Companies like T.F. O’Brien offer additional benefits and incentives to employees, such as paid training, health insurance, and more.
  7. Multiple Career Paths: The HVAC industry is extremely versatile and offers a vast array of career opportunities. Technicians, mechanics and installers can find work in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration both residentially and commercially. There is even a need for HVAC technicians in the automotive industry. (Yes, vehicles have HVAC systems!)

Interested in learning more? Contact T.F. O’Brien today.

At T.F. O’Brien, our focus in always on helping our employees succeed, as well as promoting the HVAC industry in the most positive light. We strive to stay up to date on all the latest comfort technology, from smart thermostats to high-efficiency cooling and heating systems, and everything else in between. Our technicians receive the training they need to be successful in their field, as well as comprehensive benefits and a friendly work environment.

To learn more about employment opportunities with us, click here or give us a call at 516.488.1800.

Getting Organized This School Year

The kids are back to school, and vacation time is over. While we’re still enjoying warm weather here on Long Island, we also are refocusing on getting back into the routine of things. It’s the perfect time of year to get organized – which will help you and your family avoid the chaos that inevitably strikes once earlier wake-ups, homework and after-school activities hit!

Here are seven ways to get organized – and help the school year get off to a much smoother start:

  1. Make sure each child has their own bin, and ensure that it gets used only for important papers and supplies. This will make it a lot easier to find school notes that need to be signed, school supplies like pens and pencils, and homework paper. Have everyone check their bin daily to ensure it isn’t collecting junk, and anything that needs to return to school, does.
  2. In today’s world, everyone has a cellphone. Make sure your family’s cell phones are synched, everyone has each other’s numbers, and you all have access to each other’s calendars. That way, it will be easy to make a call or schedule an appointment, keeping everyone on the same page.
  3. Synch up all the clocks in the house. That way, your child in the upstairs bathroom won’t think you have five more minutes before you have to leave the house.
  4. Keep backpacks and shoes at the entryway or in the mudroom. It’s best to set up an area for each child, if you can. Making sure everything is in place helps keep morning confusion at bay – nobody will be late hunting for their sneakers or school books.
  5. Designate a quiet homework space. Keep it stocked with supplies that might be needed, like paper, pens, pencils, and sharpeners. It also helps kids from getting distracted by video games, the television or computer.
  6. We know it can be very hard to get into a routine, but it can make life so much easier! If you don’t already do so, start the routine of organizing backpacks, packing lunches and checking the calendar the night before, so the morning routine is a breeze!
  7. Keeping a calendar on your phone is helpful, as is keeping a paper version in an area where your family spends a lot of time, like the kitchen. Update it daily with any appointments or important dates, and make sure you add these to your digital calendar as well.

Of course, at T.F. O’Brien we’re happy to help with all your home comfort needs, which gives you one less thing to think about! Whether you need ductless for that new converted space in your home, maintenance for your equipment, or even a filter change, we can help. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll help you stay comfortable.

HVAC Expert, Long Island Business Owner to Speak at Metropolitan Air Conditioning Contractors of New York’s Survive and Thrive Event

Kerry O’Brien to talk about company T.F. O’Brien’s 85 years of resilience

Kerry O’Brien, president and co-owner of T.F. O’Brien Cooling and Heating in Long Island, will speak at the Metropolitan Air Conditioning Contractors of New York’s (MACC) “How to Survive and Thrive in the HVAC Industry” event on Thursday, September 12.

The seminar for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals will begin at 6 p.m. at Trattoria 35 in Bayside. O’Brien, a Long Island native, will discuss his experience building his company, how he got into the HVAC industry, what challenges he has faced in his 15 years as company president and how he overcame them.

At the event, Kerry O’Brien will detail how much of the company’s ability to survive for 85 years in business is attributed to adaptability.

“My father and grandfather taught me: ‘The one constant is change.’” O’Brien said. “Since we opened our doors, we’ve evolved with the times and updated everything from the equipment and tools we use to our customer service. For us, it’s a thrill keeping up with modern challenges and advancements.”

The Survive and Thrive event will also feature Joseph DeMicco, founder and CEO of Amplify Industrial Marketing + Guidance. It is free to MACC members, or $50 for non-members. To register, visit: https://www.maccny.org/AMSEvents/Register.aspx?evtid=c24a8b24-6aa7-45ed-9771-4f8e502a0a6d.

About T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating – T.F. O’Brien is a Long Island-based HVAC company founded by Thomas Francis O’Brien in 1934. Their team of over 40 employees has been family-run since its inception and strives to offer the best service and technical expertise on the island.

About MACC – The Metropolitan Air Conditioning Contractors of New York MACC is a non-profit association whose membership is comprised of HVAC industry professionals in the New York City metro area. MACC members are given the distinct opportunity to network with other industry professionals and are provided with the tools and resources necessary to grow their businesses. Membership is comprised of two categories: Contractor and Associate. A contractor is any firm, or corporation that designs, installs, services and/or repairs environmental systems. An associate is an industry-related company that supplies products or services to contractors.

Five Reasons You Need A Generator For Your Home

As hurricane season approaches here on Long Island, it’s time to think about preventive measures that can be taken to help you and your family stay safe during the storm. While we hope a hurricane doesn’t happen, it’s good to be prepared in case it does. One of the best ways you can ensure that your home won’t lose power during the storm is by installing a generator.

There are several reasons why choosing a standby generator for your home is a good idea, the obvious one being maintaining power even when there is an outage. We’d like to share with you a few other reasons why having a generator is important.

Five Reasons To Get A Home Generator

Having a generator helps ensure your family’s safety and comfort. On Long Island, we’ve endured some very powerful storms and hurricanes, which have resulted in loss of power for an extended period of time. Generators help keep your appliances running, your home comfort equipment operating, and your lights on. That way, you can stay comfortable and stay in your home – helping you and your family weather the storm more easily.

A generator keeps your perishables from spoiling. According to the Food and Drug Administration, your refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours, and your freezer about 48 hours. Unfortunately, in a circumstance like a severe storm or hurricane, your power can be out for a prolonged period of time. A generator can mean your food stays preserved and safe for consumption. 

Is there someone in your home who needs electricity for their medical devices? Then having a generator is crucial. Medical devices like nebulizers, home oxygen and CPAP machines all rely on electricity to operate, and in many cases, it is crucial that these devices are operable. As such, a generator can be a necessity for those with medical needs.

Generators can help preserve your appliances and home comfort equipment. It’s not necessarily the lack of power that causes damages to your appliances, but the sudden surge of electricity when power is restored that can cause problems. A generator ensures that your appliances and home comfort equipment have the power they need throughout the outage, avoiding that problem from happening – helping your equipment stay intact.

Having a generator keeps your security system functional. Unfortunately, power outages can be an ideal time for burglaries. No electricity means home security systems are disabled, and there is no lighting to deter would-be burglars. If you have a generator, however, you can avoid both of these scenarios – and help keep your home secure.

Think a backup generator might be a good choice for your home? T.F. O’Brien can help.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re pleased to provide our customers with quality residential generators. We offer automatic standby generators that back up the circuits you choose during a power outage. They automatically start within seconds of detecting power loss, and run on your 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.

Want to learn more about installing a quality generator in your home? We’re ready to assist you. Just call us at 516.488.1800 to schedule an appointment with us today.