Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for January, 2014

Why You Should Consider Combustion Analysis for Your Home

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Combustion analysis is a means of measuring the efficiency of your furnace or boiler. Both of those systems burn fuel to create heat for your home. In the case of furnaces, it’s usually natural gas, while in the case of boilers, it’s usually oil. The Chicagoland area has a wide variety of heating system services available and a Chicago heater in need of combustion analysis might burn an alternate type of fuel as well. But all of them generate exhaust gases that need to be vented for safety reasons. That allows a trained technician to measure the air-to-fuel ratio of your system, and determine whether it’s acting as efficiently as it could. That’s the biggest reason why you should consider combustion analysis for your home.

The mixture of fuel and air is key, because it allows the technician to determine where and how your heating system could be functioning better. If there’s too much air, for example, it could be that additional air is entering the system through a leak or the like. If there’s too little air, the air may be escaping the same way. It could also be that some component or piece of equipment is malfunctioning. Whatever the problem, combustion analysis provides a good tool for pinpointing it, which can then help you determine your next step.

Regardless of the outcome of a combustion analysis, you benefit from the gained knowledge. If it’s a question of replacing a few parts or hunting down a leak, the act could lead to reducing your heating system’s inefficiency and saving you money in your monthly bills. If something more substantial is called for, it lets you get a jump on it and make the change before it causes more damage to your system

Regardless of the exact situation, you should consider combustion analysis for your home as a way of pinpointing any general problems your heating system may be experiencing. With a Chicago heater, you can trust the experts at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. We can perform an expert combustion analysis for you, then discuss your options with an eye on what’s best for your household. Call us today to make an appointment!

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This is How Ductwork Should be Repaired

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Ductwork is a key part of your heating and cooling system, carrying conditioned air from a centralized unit throughout the corners of your home. When a breach arises in the ductwork, it can severely crimp your HVAC system’s ability to function. Here in Park Ridge, IL, ductwork can be fixed by trained professionals, which is a good reason not to attempt to fix any of it yourself. This is how ductwork should be repaired.

In the first place, you can’t simply fix any breaches with duct tape or other over-the-counter components. It sounds like a natural fit until you consider the stressors the tape will be under. Ductwork must handle extremes in temperature – hot and cold alike – which break down duct tape very quickly. The same thing happens for other types of sealant. All of that assumes that the layman understands how to reach the damage portion of the ducts to begin with: a situation that usually requires professional training.

Contrast that with a visit from an expert. If repairing the breach is required, he or she can use materials specific to the kind of ductwork you have, meaning that it can stand up to the rigors of your HVAC system. Furthermore if replacement is necessary, an expert can pinpoint the exact type of component you need and size if properly. He or she can then install it with the confidence that comes with years of experience, leaving your ductwork in the same shape it was before the breach.

Ductwork issues can be resolved by the Park Ridge, IL ductwork technicians at Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning. We know how ductwork should be repaired and we have the trained expert to make sure it happens exactly the way it should. We’ve serviced the Chicagoland areas for over 100 years – four generations of dedicated care – and we pride ourselves on doing the job right the first time, every time. If you’re having ductwork problems and need an expert to fix them, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re eager to show you what we can do!

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My Gas Bill Is Higher Than Usual; Do I Need a New Heater?

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

The cost of heating a home generally will climb over the years because of inflation in the cost of fuel. This change occurs so gradually that we don’t notice it until we start telling stories about what things cost 10 years ago.

A sudden increase in your heating bill, however, implies something more immediate. Unless you have made drastic changes in how you heat your home (such as an add-on room), you shouldn’t see an abnormal increase in your bills during the heating season unless there is something wrong with your heater. Does this mean you should replace the heater entirely? Well, it depends.

Here’s something of which you can feel certain: if you need repairs or a heating installation in Chicago, look to one of the city’s most long-lived home comfort companies, Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, to do the job right. In our current cold weather, you don’t want to wait to call us.

To Repair or to Replace? That is the Question.

The first thing to consider when you have that high heating bill is the age of your system. Heaters have different life expectancies, and you should check on your manufacture’s expected lifespan. If the heating system has exceeded it, then you should consider a replacement. The heater has already given you a bargain on heating by lasting this long, and this decline in its efficiency is usually a warning sign that a final breakdown is approaching. Repairs are unlikely to restore it fully, and they won’t last. Replacement installation is usually the best long-term solution for your comfort and your budget.

If your heater is (relatively) young, you should call for repairs first. There are many small malfunctions that can result in big increases in your power bills because they interfere with heater operation: dirty motors in furnaces, leaks in boilers, dusty coils in heat pumps. Repair technicians can fix all of these and get your heater back to ideal working condition. It is also a good idea to enroll in regular maintenance if you haven’t done so already; this is the best way to keep the heating system from prematurely aging and needing a replacement before its time.

Don’t worry if you can’t decide if the heater needs repairs or replacement. An HVAC professional can always assist. When you have the technicians at your home, ask for recommendations about how to care for the heater. If it’s an older heater, ask if new installation is the best option. For younger systems, ask for advice about increasing performance, and if it’s possible the heater has aged too fast and needs replacement.

For this job, you need a heating contractor you can trust. Our dependable staff at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning will give you honest answers about whether you need heating repair or heating replacement in Chicago, IL.

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Will a Heat Pump Keep Me Warm Enough in a Skokie Winter?

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Skokie winters are nothing to sneeze at (if you’ll pardon the pun). Things get mighty cold around here in January, which can create concerns for homeowners who rely on heat pumps instead of gas furnaces or boilers to warm their homes. In Skokie IL, a heat pump installation can be fairly costly, which is offset by its increased efficiency from month to month. Cold air can impact that efficiency, and influence he heat pump’s ability to do its job. “Will a heat pump keep me warm enough in a Skokie winter?” you ask. The answer is usually “no,” though there are ways to correct the issue.

Just so you’re aware: Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning services heat pumps in Skokie, IL.

Heat pumps rely on the same technology used to run air conditioners: cycling refrigerant gas through a series of valves and coils that first warm the surrounding air and then cool it. With a heat pump system, one set of valves and coils is located inside the house and another set is located outside the house. In the summer, the indoor set produced cool air, with hot air produced outside (where it can safely be vented into the great outdoors). In the winter, that process is reversed, with the indoor set producing warm air and the outdoor set producing cool air.

So what’s the issue? The issue is that that warm air often isn’t enough when temperatures dip to the freezing level, which they often do here in Skokie. The heat pumps efficiency – one of the big reasons to get one – drops way down and it often struggles to heat the home properly in the wintertime.

The good news is that hybrid heating units exist, which add a small auxiliary heater onto the heat pump to help it out during those cold days. That preserves the unit’s efficiency – saving you money in monthly bills – without forcing you to skimp on much-needed warmth. If you’re asking “will a heat pump keep me warm enough in a Skokie winter?” then Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has an answer for you. We handle heat pump installations in Skokie on a regular basis and can provide hybrid heating systems as an alternative to help keep your home warm and toasty like it should be. Call us today to set up an appointment!

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Duct Tape on Your Ductwork

Friday, January 10th, 2014

It seems like a natural fit; using duct tape to fix your ducts. The name alone suggests a natural fit, and duct tape is an extremely versatile tool that can be used in a wide variety of situations. Unfortunately, HVAC ductwork isn’t one of them. Duct systems experience a unique set of conditions which duct tape is completely unsuited for. Here in Glenview IL, ductwork problems should be resolved by professional ductwork service contractors. Trying to seal a leak or clean up dust with duct tape only wastes your time.

Here’s why you shouldn’t use duct tape on your ductwork.

Ducts depend on a clean seal to function. If leaks spring up, they will bring in non-conditioned air, which makes it harder to achieve the temperature your home requires. That means the HVAC system needs to expend more energy, costing you in monthly heating/cooling bills. Furthermore, leaky ducts may bring in dust from outside the system, then spread it throughout your home. That lowers the quality of your indoor air, as well as exacerbating allergies for family members who suffer from them.

All of which is a lengthy way of saying that when leaks arise, they need to be properly sealed. And duct tape simply can’t do the job effectively in this instance. A study by the University of Berkeley found that most forms of duct tape couldn’t last three months when sealing the breach in a duct, and some brands failed within a few days. They were the only kinds of sealants that didn’t work.

That’s why you need a professional service to seal your ducts, ensuring that they stay closed and don’t leave your system vulnerable to outside air. A good service knows what sealants to use with particular duct systems and how to make sure the leak is sealed for good. All of your duct and other indoor air quality service needs in Glenview can be handled by the experts at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, who know how to do the job properly. If you know why you shouldn’t use duct tape on your ductwork, the next step is to give us a call. We’ll make sure the issue gets handled right.

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