Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for November, 2013

How Long Does Heat Pump Installation Take?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Here in Lincolnwood IL, a heat pump installation is a common procedure. Heat pumps serve dual functions as both heaters and air conditioners, though in the Midwest they often rely on a smaller gas furnace to help heat your home on the coldest days. Either way, they cost less to run than traditional HVAC systems, which can make them very enticing to frugal homeowners. How long does heat pump installation take? That depends on the specifics, though a few general tips can help you make an estimate.

Some heat pump systems are designed to be connected to an existed centralized system, with an air handler to move conditioned air from the pumps throughout your house. In those cases, installation will be much simpler and faster than, say, installing a series of heat pumps as a ductless mini-split system, which would entail multiple heat pumps installed around your home.

Regardless of the elaborateness of the system, the basics for installing a heat pump are the same. You and the technician would select the best placed to install the unit: somewhere that shares an outside wall and which doesn’t have any potential obstacles nearby (such as bushes outside or a thermostat inside). A foundation is set up outside, one which can support your heat pump in the exact location required. Holes are drilled in the walls to run refrigerant lines and similar connectors between the inside part of the unit and the outside. The inside part of the unit is set up and installed, then the lines are insulated and run through the openings in the wall. The outside unit is then mounted and secured to its foundation, and the lines are connected and tested to make sure they are properly fitted and sealed. The installer will slowly equalize the pressure, then ensure that the refrigerant gas is fully charged before activating the unit.

Ideally, that process should take a day or less, though obviously it will be longer if the technician is installing multiple units as part of a ductless mini-split system. For more on how long heat pump installation takes in your circumstances, the experts at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning can help. We offer heating services in Lincolnwood, so rest assured we can provide an estimate on the time it will take before we start installation. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Keep That Wind Out and Your Family Warm with Our Professional Heating Repair

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Quality heating repair in Chicago is no laughing matter. As our bad weather has recently reminded us, Mother Nature is still in charge, and your heater can be your first, best line of defense to keeping your home comfortable and your family healthy. Here at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, we take our duties very seriously, because we know how much of a difference they can make in our clients’ lives. When the time comes to fix your furnace, we know how to perform the operation right. You can keep that wind out and your family warm with our professional heating repairs.

In the first place, Chicagoland heating systems go beyond the traditional boilers and gas furnaces most people think of when they think of heating.  Those systems are still very popular, and technological innovation has made them more efficient as well as providing more flexibility, but they’re no longer alone. Now homeowners can choose from radiant heating systems, hybrid heating systems, geothermal systems, and various types of heat pumps and similar ductless systems. A good repair service needs to know how to treat all of them effectively, ensuring that they remain current with the times as well as knowledgeable about older systems in need of repair.

Nor are repair and installation services the only thing a good company should offer. Maintenance sessions – designed to keep a heater tuned up and prevent certain problems before they ever appear – can be a vital part of keeping your heater up and running. An ounce of prevention beats a pound of curse as they say, and reliable heating companies are happy to help save you a little money by nipping smaller problems in the bud.

For four generations, Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has performed these duties with professionalism and pride. We understand how to address problems with traditional forms of heating, while keeping abreast of the latest developments to help treat the needs of more modern systems. As a result, we can provide comprehensive heating repair in Chicago. Keep that wind out and your family warm with our professional heating repair: give us a call today!

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The Dangers Associated with a Cracked Heat Exchanger

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Inside the cabinet of your gas-powered furnace is a group a metal, clamshell-shaped objects called heat exchangers. Although unimpressive looking to untrained eyes, heat exchangers perform a vital part of the cycle of bringing you warm air from your furnace. These chambers are where hot combustion gasses go after the burners produce them. The gasses transfers heat to the walls of the exchangers. Venting pipes remove the cooled exhaust from the gas, while fans funnel air through and around the exchanger to receive the heat from its walls. Without a heat exchanger, the heat from the gas jets wouldn’t get into the air, and you’d feel nothing more than room temperature air wafting from your vents.

But problems with a heat exchanger are more troublesome than a loss of warmth. We’ll explain in this post why you need to have cracked heat exchangers replaced immediately. Contact Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, any time of the day or night, if you think you have a cracked heat exchanger and need furnace repair in Chicago, IL.

The hazards of cracks in a heat exchanger

Extensive age in a furnace or lack of maintenance can cause cracks along the heat exchangers from rust and corrosion. If someone removed a heat exchanger from a furnace and showed you where a crack has developed, you might wonder what the big deal is: these cracks look miniscule. However, inside the furnace the heat exchanger expands as it absorbs heat, and this stretches open these cracks wide.

The danger from these gaps is that they can allow the escape of exhaust gas from the furnace into the household. This means dangerous carbon monoxide getting into your living spaces. Even a small amount of this colorless, odorless toxic gas can cause severe headaches and nausea.

The American Gas Association puts it simple: “Any visible crack or hole is reason for requiring replacement of the heat exchanger or furnace.”

A warning sign of a cracked heat exchanger is a clicking sound coming from the inside of the furnace cabinet. If you hear clicking that you can’t account for from loose bolts or broken bits of machinery, shut off the gas to the furnace and call expert help immediately.

Get Shavitz to your side!

Although Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning hasn’t been around as long as the furnace, we can guarantee you’ll have a harder time find an HVAC company that’s been around longer than us: we’ve served Chicagoland’s heating needs since 1904. We know how to keep you safe when you need furnace repair in Chicago, IL, so give us a call immediately if you think you’ve got worries from a cracked heat exchanger.

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What’s the Difference Between a Gas and Electric Furnace?

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Since furnaces first came into existence, they have used many different fuel sources. The earliest modern furnaces in homes and businesses relied on wood or coal. Over time, furnaces became cleaner, more refined, and more efficient. Most contemporary furnaces use natural gas, electricity, or propane. Propane has started to fade, however, with many homes converting over to gas. If you are considering a furnace for your home for the coming winter, your choice will most likely come down to gas or electric.

In this post, we’ll explain some of the differences between the two to help you make a choice. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but since your home has specific heating needs (as well as fuel availability), you should turn to professionals to help you make the final decision and then install your new system.

Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has a long history with gas and electric furnace repair in Winnetka, IL, and we’ve done numerous installations of both. Contact us for the help you need.

The two furnaces share a distribution system: blower fans that move heated air through ducts and out vents into your home. However, the way they generate that heat is where the differences appear.

When the thermostat signals to a gas furnace that it needs heat, a silicon nitride igniter activates the gas-powered burners. Gas jets ignite and create heat in a combustion chamber. The heat transfers to the air through a heat exchanger. Air blows around and through the heat exchanger (usually a series of steel chambers), and this heated air then gets picked up by the blower fans and sent into the ductwork.

An electric-powered furnace doesn’t have burners or a combustion chamber: instead, the cabinet contains an array of heating elements, which are sets of electric coils that burn hot when current runs through them. The more heat the thermostat requires, the more heating elements will turn on. The blower fans then distribute the air warmed from the heating elements.

Electric furnaces have the advantages of lower initial installation costs and generally smaller sizes. If your home doesn’t have a gas line, an electric furnace is usually the best option. Electric furnaces also have no safety issues from potential gas leaks. However, natural gas furnaces tend to cost less to run because gas is a cheaper energy source than electricity, and they usually provide more effective and even heating.

Don’t try to make the decision between electric or gas on your own. A technician from Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning can come to your home and help determine which one will do the best job for you.

For installation, maintenance, or repair on an electric or gas furnace in Winnetka, IL, make Shavitz your number one choice. And of course, feel free to learn more about all of our Winnetka heating services.

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Common Boiler Problems

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Boilers have provided heating for homes in Illinois for well over a century. There are good reasons that the ol’ boiler has hung around as long as it has. Boilers provide even and effective warmth without the air quality worries that you sometimes encounter with furnaces. Because they have few moving parts, boilers do not age as fast as other types of heating systems and usually last for many years with only a few repair needs. However, no heating system is indestructible. At some point, you will need boiler repair in Lincolnwood, IL.

When you do, trust to a company that’s been in business installing and repairing boilers since ’04… that’s 1904: Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

Here are the most common problems we see in boilers when we do repairs:


If the underground pipes in your home develop breaks, it can cause sediment to enter the boiler’s water tank. When the sediment begins to build up, it will reduce the water volume in the tank—causing the water to overheat and spiking the pressure to the point where it can cause serious leaks. Flushing the tank will remedy this problem most of the time. Make sure you get regular maintenance on your boiler, since flushing the system is a regular part of an inspection and tune-up.


Any place where metal meets water can lead to corrosion, a chemical reaction that will severely weaken your boiler’s water tank and cause it to start leaking. An anode rod on the top of the water tank helps prevent corrosion from getting inside, but if this rod rusts through entirely, the boiler will be at risk. If you get corrosion attended to early enough, technicians will usually have few problems removing the affected parts and replacing them. If the corrosion continues for too long, however, it could mean need to replace the whole tank.

Failed pilot light

This occurs in gas-powered burners, the most common models. If the burner develops too much grime, it can cut off the oxygen necessary for the pilot light to ignite, which will keep the burners from turning on. There might also be a problem with the gas line. If you can’t get a pilot light relit after it goes out, don’t try to fiddle with the burner or the gas line: get an HVAC specialist on the job.

If possible, you want your boiler to work past its manufacturer’s estimated lifespan. To help it do that, make sure you schedule repairs as soon as you need them. Also sign up for a maintenance program that will see that your boiler gets an annual inspection and any necessary tune-ups. With proper care from Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, you should have few worries: so call us today for your Lincolnwood, IL heating service needs!

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Immediate Openings – Now Hiring Service Technicians!

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Position: Service Technician – Residential

For over 100 years, Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has been proudly serving the Chicago area, offering honest, reliable, and quality heating and air conditioning services. Over the last century, we’ve built up quite a reputation for ourselves by remaining true to our founders’ principle: always do right by the customer. And now we’re looking to expand the Shavitz team with new service technicians!

Why Work with Shavitz?

  • Steady work
  • Top Pay
  • Paid Health Insurance
  • 401K and Profit Sharing
  • Paid Classes/Continuing Education
  • Truck
  • Tool Account
  • Paid Holidays and Paid Vacation


Must have minimum 1 year of experience – must have experience on residential equipment (boilers, split systems, etc)
Must be clean, neat, friendly, fluent in English, reading & writing. EPA certified.
Must live within 20 miles of Skokie, IL. Valid and clean drivers license.
Must have good people skills and technical skills. Some sales experience is appreciated.

We offer opportunity for growth, continuing education, excellent benefits, well-stocked service van (for techs and installers) and opportunities for commissions. We do drug screening.
We are looking for responsible, eager people who enjoy working as a team and with customers.
Please submit resume and references to or online on our Careers Page.

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How Do Geothermal Systems Work?

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Geothermal systems are one of the most exciting home comfort options available today. Using the natural power of the earth, they provide clean, efficient energy that creates zero greenhouse gases or ozone-depleting product. They also run with a minimum of noise pollution and offer year-round dependability because they rely on the steady temperature of the earth. And even though they can have high installation costs, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that with their energy-efficient performance, they pay for themselves in only 5 to 10 years.

Our customers frequently ask us how geothermal systems operate. “How can I get both heating and cooling from the ground?” Yes, it does sound a bit strange—but geothermal heat pumps aren’t as complicated as you might imagine. We’ll try to give you a succinct answer to the common queries about the operation of geothermal heat pumps.

If you are interested in getting a geothermal system in Evanston, IL, contact Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

We’ve been around since 1904, so we were already hard at work heating and cooling homes when geothermal systems were first developed.

Geothermal Heat Pumps 101

A geothermal heat pump works similarly to a standard heat pump: it moves heat from one place and puts it in another; i.e. “heat exchange.” However, a geothermal heat pump uses the earth as its heat exchange medium instead of the outside air. It takes heat from the earth and moves it indoors during the winter, and reverses the process in the summer. Because the temperature of the earth remains at a steady 55°F only 10 feet below the surface, no matter the season, a geothermal heat pump always has the right temperature from which to work.

To move the heat, a geothermal system uses loops of plastic tubes or copper pipes buried in trenches beneath your property. An antifreeze solution or refrigerant passes through these loops to transfer the heat from the ground up into your home. Changing the direction of the flow of the heat exchange solution also reverses the process and moves heat from your home and puts in into the ground, giving you a cooler indoor temperature. Because geothermal systems require extensive trench-digging and intricate connections, installing them isn’t something you should entrust to amateurs. If you want to receive the superior benefits of a geothermal system, you need to have it installed professionally.

Call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning for heating service in Evanston, IL: we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and also a Lifetime Workmanship Warranty.

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Share with Shavitz Food Drive

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Shavitz - can-paign

Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning kicked off its 4th annual Share with Shavitz Food Drive “Can-paign” on November 1st! Food pantries have continuous traffic and increased need. Our local Niles Township Food Pantry is struggling to meet the needs of the community and serves 3000 hard working people per month.

Shavitz employees will be collecting food in two ways. Donations can be made at their office at 4849 Main Street in Skokie. Also, the technicians and installers will be collecting donations  from their clients during routine service calls, installations and maintenance visits.

If you think it won’t make a difference, think again. According to America’s Second Harvest, local food drives provide nearly one third of the two billion pounds of food it distributes annually. Join the Share with Shavitz Food Drive “Can-paign”, and make a difference!


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