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

Plan to Have a Heating Repair Company Service Your Home Soon

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Here in Chicago, heating repair isn’t something you can necessarily consider during the cold months of winter. Unless the heater flat-out fails, you can’t afford to go without a warm home for the time it takes to replace it. This winter, in particular, brought home to us the need to keep your heater running throughout the cold of winter, and hold off on unnecessary repairs until spring. But now, with winter in the last few weeks, the time has come to take a closer look at those issues. With help from a trained service professional, whether you have a furnace or a radiant heating system, you should plan to have a heating repair company service your home soon.

The late winter and early spring are ideal times for this service in part because you’re just coming off of a lengthy period of constant heater use. Small problems may be have grown larger over the past few months, while niggling issues could be reducing your heater’s overall efficiency (costing you money during your monthly bills in the process). As you wind down your heater use, it pays to jump on this issue right away, rather than letting them sit throughout the summer and further deteriorate from the neglect.

Furthermore, scheduling a heating repair or maintenance session at the end of the winter gives you the luxury of time to handle any problems when and where you wish. Warmer weather means you won’t need your heater while repairs are being made, and if it’s more convenient to schedule repairs a few days or weeks later, you can do that without suffering any undue stress. Contrast that with planning for heating repair next fall when the temperatures start to drop. An unexpected storm or sudden cold front could turn a leisurely process into a real scramble, forcing you to act on Mother Nature’s timetable rather than your own.

For all these reasons, you should plan to have a heating repair company service your home soon. In Chicago, heating repair services can be provided by the experts at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

We’ve provided heating service to the greater Chicago area for over four generations, and we’re dedicated to keeping your heater running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Signs You Need to Replace Your Geothermal System

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

In Illinois, a geothermal heat pump is one of the most efficient ways to receive heating during the winter. Standard air-source heat pumps have trouble providing warmth during Illinois winters (unless they have a back-up furnace), but a ground-source geothermal heat pump uses the steady temperature of the earth that varies only a few degrees, no matter how cold the surface becomes.

Geothermal systems are remarkably durable and long-lived, but they won’t last forever. You’ll need to know how to read the signs warning you that you should schedule a replacement for your geothermal system in Wilmette, IL. Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has some tips to help you find out if it’s time for a replacement:

  • Heavy corrosion across the heat exchange coils: This is a good sign in general that any heat pump needs replacement. Corroded coils will restrict the heat exchange, just like dirt and ice, but corrosion also indicates extreme age that is affecting the whole system. If your geothermal system is over 20 years old at this point, then corrosion usually means it needs replacement. Your heat pump probably uses an older refrigerant blend, R-22, which needs to be switched for a system that uses the more environmentally healthy R-410A.
  • Consistent drop in heating/cooling levels: If you notice that your geothermal heat pump is no longer delivering the level of heating or cooling that it once could, and nothing else seems wrong in the heat pump unit, then there may be damage in the underground coils causing a leak in refrigerant. Have professionals inspect the unit to locate the leaks and determine if you need a replacement. Once again, if your system is over 20 years old, replacement is often the best option.
  • Consistent coil frosting: A loss of refrigerant will cause the indoor coils of the heat pump to frost over during cooling mode. Usually, a technician can repair leaks around the compressor or clean off the coils to fix this. But if this continues to happen to an older system, it probably means the underground coils are no longer capable of carrying out heat exchange.

Here’s a bit of good news about geothermal heat pump replacement: sometimes you will only need to replace the heat pump itself, and not the underground coils—a much less expensive procedure. The heat pump is more likely to need replacement before the coils, so make sure you consult with a geothermal specialist before you decide if you want the whole system replaced.

When you want an experienced opinion on your geothermal system or have any questions regarding heating installation in Wilmette, IL, look to Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning and give us a call today—we’ve served Chicagoland for four generations!

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How Boiler Pipes Get Clogged

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

We’ll bet that if you have a boiler installed in your home, you have rarely needed to schedule serious repairs for it. The reason for this is that boilers contain fewer mechanical moving parts than other home heating systems, so they do not wear down as fast.

Still, you will occasionally need repairs, and one cause for calling up technicians to get your boiler work again is clogging inside the pipes. Clogs can happen to any system that uses pipes. Because the water in a boiler moves in a closed system, you won’t experience as many clogs as say, a kitchen sink, which has new material introduced into all the time.

So how do clogs in boilers happen? We’ll look at some of the main causes. When you need boiler repair in Glenview, IL, whether it’s for clogs, overheating, corrosion, or anything else, a qualified and trained HVAC specialist should be consulted to help you fix the damages. Call up Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning to get professional help with any issues with the boiler pipe.

Some causes of boiler pipe clogs

Hard water is one of the main reasons for blogs in boiler pipes. Hard water contains a high level of mineral content, and if hard water was originally put into your boiler, it will eventually cause problems throughout the system, such as overheating in the tank. The minerals in hard water will leave deposits in the pipe walls, and should these become thick enough, it can cause clogging to occur. The best way to stop this is to have a repair technician flush out the system and replace it with softer water.

Rust is another common culprit for pipe clogs. Boilers are designed to resist rust as much as possible, but rust will start if too much oxygen gets mixed into the system. Repairs will be necessary not only to eliminate the clogs, but also to find out what has caused the rust to start.

Another possibility is that sediment from underground has entered the pipes. If some of the boiler pipes run underground, a break or leak will cause dirt and debris to infiltrate. Not only can this cause clogging, but it will result in a sediment build-up inside the water tank, which can lead to overheating.

Call boiler repair professionals

Just because boilers do not often require repairs, doesn’t mean that the repairs they do need are easy to do. If you think you’ve got boiler pipe clogs interfering with your system, or if your boiler shows any signs of malfunctioning (rumbling, leaking, loss of heating) call a heating specialist for boiler repair in Glenview, IL. Make your first call to Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, where we’ve kept boilers working smoothly since 1904.

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Other Anniversaries of Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 14th, 2014

For more than a hundred years, people in countries around the world have marked the 14th day of February as a time for lovers to give each other gifts and for children to write cards to each other and eat heart-shaped candy. But Valentine’s Day isn’t the only important event to occur on February 14th. There are many other anniversaries to mark on this day. Here are a few:

1400 – The death of King Richard II: The same English king whose engagement resulted in the first love poem mentioning Valentine’s Day (from court poet Geoffrey Chaucer) dies in prison in Pontefract Castle after his cousin Henry overthrows him. He probably starved to death, although another famous author, William Shakespeare, would portray his death as murder.

1859 – Hello, Oregon: The Oregon Country is admitted to the United States of America as the 33rd state.

1876 – Who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for his new invention, the telephone. Another inventor, Elisha Gray, applies the same day for a similar device, sparking a long controversy over who invented what first.

1912 – Hello, Arizona: Continuing the statehood tradition that Oregon established, the Territory of Arizona is admitted to the U.S. as the 48th state. Women are granted the right to vote in Arizona the same year, eight years before the rest of the nation.

1929 – The world’s most infamous mob hit: Unknown assailants shoot down seven people in Chicago, IL. Six of the dead are gangsters in the mob of Bugs Moran, an enemy of Al Capone in the business of selling Prohibition bootleg liquor. No one is ever arrested or charged for the crime—but there isn’t much doubt who masterminded it.

1931 – “I am… Dracula”: The most influential vampire movie ever made, and the start of Universal Studio’s famous monsters series, Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, premieres in theaters. Universal cannily uses Valentine’s Day to promote the film as “The Story of the Strangest Passion the World Has Ever Known!”

1961 – The Periodic Table becomes larger: The 103rd chemical element, Lawrencium, is discovered at the University of California. The name comes from the laboratory where it is synthesized, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

2005 – Now it’s easy to watch funny animal videos: A group of college students launch a video sharing website call YouTube.

Even if Valentine’s Day itself isn’t a major holiday for you, February 14th has many reasons to celebrate—unless you are a member of Bugs Moran’s gang or a supporter of Richard II. All of us at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning would like to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, however you observe it.

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Alternate Heating Options for Residents of Evanston, IL

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Heating systems used to entail very traditional methods, such as boilers or forced-air furnaces. But that’s no longer the case. New technology has made all kinds of alternate options available, many of them less expensive to run month to month than more established forms of heating. Every home is unique and every family’s circumstances are one-of-a-kind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore every option available when it comes to a heating system. Here are some alternate heating options for residents of Evanston, IL.

  • Radiant Heating
    Radiant heating systems entails tubes filled with warm water (or in some cases electric coils) planted beneath the floorboards in your house along with reflecting tiles to help conduct the heat. That passes the warmth directly into your feet and the furnishings in the room, rather than leaving it to be pushed through in the air. It eliminates drafts and cold spots, making it very efficient.
  • Geothermal Heating
    Geothermal systems run tubes of liquid through the ground in your property; temperatures below the earth remain constant, no matter what the weather is like outside. A geothermal system uses that fact to facilitate a heat exchange, pulling heat into your home or releasing it safely into the ground through the liquid in the tubes. Geothermal systems usually require a fair amount of space, but like radiant systems they are very cost-effective.
  • Heat Pumps and Hybrid Systems
    Heat pumps use the same basic system as an air conditioner — circulating refrigerant to cool the air – but they also tap into the system’s heating potential to warm the house in the winter. Because they don’t function as well in extremely cold weather, they’re often paired with a smaller gas or electric furnace, forming a hybrid system.

Alternative heating options for residents of Evanston, IL means sifting through systems like these and determining which one works the best for your needs and budget. For questions regarding heating system services in Evanston, IL, you can count on the experts at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve proudly served the Chicagoland community for over 100 years, and we have the skills to install the right heating system for you. Give us a call to set up a consultation today!

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