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Save Money with a High-Efficiency Furnace

Lennox furnaceThere’s a crispness in the air and leaves crunching beneath your feet, so you know what that means—higher utility bills are coming your way. However, if you upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace, you can drastically reduce your bills and enjoy an appliance that’s built to last up to 20 years. Options like the EL296V Lennox furnace featuring Power Saver technology can give you more cash for holiday spending by delivering consistent interior temperatures at affordable prices.

The AFUE rating of furnaces can vary drastically, and unfortunately older furnaces just don’t have what it takes to compete with the latest high-efficiency options. With AFUE ratings in the high 90s, that means an option with 96 percent efficiency sends 96 cents of every dollar directly to heating your home. When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know how bone-chilling the winters can be. Are you prepared?

The Furnace That Pays for Itself

While some furnaces can last over 20 years, even ones that are “just kids” at eight years old can have outdated technology. If your furnace is only functioning at 60 percent, you’ll instantly save hundreds each year by installing a more efficient model. In a recent industry study, a 96 percent efficient furnace was compared to a 65 percent-rated model and found that homeowners saved an average of $2,447 every year by upgrading. This is truly the furnace that pays for itself.

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Why Doesn’t My Furnace Turn On?

pilot lightThere’s a chill in the air… the last thing you need is for your furnace to go on the fritz. And, as we all know, this is precisely the time it will happen. But when it does, you need to be prepared to get your furnace up and running as soon as you can.

If your furnace doesn’t kick into action, there may be a number of reasons it’s not turning on. Sometimes you can resolve it yourself, while other times you’ll need to call a contractor.

Check the thermostat – Everyone is guilty of overlooking the obvious possibilities from time to time. For one, make sure the thermostat is set to heat mode. Also, make sure the setting is not lower than the current room temperature. Even a degree or two may not be enough if the thermostat isn’t accurately measuring the temperature. If neither of those work, further troubleshooting may be necessary.

Tripped circuit breaker – Whether you have an electric furnace or a gas furnace with an electric igniter, a tripped circuit breaker is the easiest problem to remedy. If a power surge is to blame, simply check the electrical panel to confirm, flip the switch and restore heat to your home.

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Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

furnace blowing cold airIs your furnace committed to cooling things down when it needs to be heating things up? Of course, Murphy’s Law dictates that winter is prime time for your furnace to go on the blink. There are many reasons it may be blowing cold air, and doing some self-diagnoses might cause more harm than good. If your furnace (or any part of your HVAC system) isn’t working properly, call a contractor immediately.

One of the primary reasons a furnace isn’t working is because people are impatient—give it time. It might take awhile for heat to arrive to your heating registers. Make sure to let the heat run for at least 10 minutes before declaring it ineffective. This is particularly true for older furnaces that are a little worse for wear.

It’s All About the Settings

Maybe someone else in the house was tinkering with the settings and you didn’t realize it. Make sure the fan setting is on “auto”, which requires moving the thermostat away from “on.” This is a big misstep many people make when changing from summer to winter settings. “Auto” means that the fan will turn on once the furnace is running—if that setting isn’t in order, heat might be reduced to protect against overheating.

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How to Get Home Heating and Cooling Incentives

HVAC incentivesDoing your part to help save the environment is important. That’s why many states, including Oregon, are offering home heating and cooling incentives to homeowners. These incentives, which can come as cash or tax credits, are a way to help convince people to modernize their outdated, inefficient equipment in favor of something better for the environment…and for homeowners’ wallets! What do you have to do to get these incentives? Here is a list of steps to take in order to qualify.

Check if You Meet the Requirements

Every state has different eligibility requirements. Checking to make sure that your home and your intended upgrades both qualify under the rules and laws of your state of residence is important. Upgrading to more efficient heating and cooling methods without being eligible is still a great thing to do, but, unfortunately, it will not garner you any money or tax credits.

Buy a Qualifying Product and Have it Installed

Many states provide you with a list of products that will help to qualify you for home heating and cooling incentives. In order to get your incentives, you must purchase an item off this list. After that, it must be installed. Most states, including Oregon, require the installation to be performed by a licensed contractor. Finding a contractor who is energy-efficiency trained is also important.

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3 Home Heating Myths

home heatingIt’s natural that budget-minded homeowners will worry about their home heating expenditures. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, almost 90 percent of American households had higher heating costs in the winter of 2013-14 than in the previous winter. However, if you understand the following four common heating myths, you can heat your home more efficiently and save money all winter long.

Myth #1: Electric blankets are an expensive luxury.

Some people are reluctant to snuggle up under an electric blanket on cold nights because of worries about high electrical bills. Electric blankets are actually an efficient way to stay warm while you’re in bed or on the couch. Instead of heating an entire room, you can heat the immediate space around your own body. With electric blankets, you can also accommodate family members who prefer to sleep in a warmer environment.

Myth #2: If your feet are cold, you need to turn up the thermostat.

Cold feet are often a sign of insufficient insulation rather than a house that’s genuinely too cold. When freezing drafts blow under doors and through cracks, it’s easy to end up with chilly feet. If you invest in caulking and weatherstripping, you can save a significant amount of money in heating bills. Remember that wearing a cozy hat will also raise your body temperature, making your hands and feet nice and toasty at no cost.

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How to Improve Indoor Air

indoor air qualityAllergy season will be here before you know it. In fact, you may already have problems with indoor air quality since homes tend to be sealed from the outdoor cold in the winter, keeping allergens inside. Indoor levels of some pollutants can be 2 to 5 times greater than outdoor levels according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Is your home set up to minimize toxins and allergens? Here are some ways you can breathe easier:

Get an Air Purifier

The good news about energy-efficient homes is that they make it easier to keep inside temperatures comfortable. Unfortunately, that tight seal keeps pollutants inside, as well. Indoor contaminants cause irritated eyes, headaches and dizziness and contribute to the development of serious conditions such as asthma, cancer and heart disease. An air purifier can improve indoor air quality. We offer Lennox PureAir Air Purification, which fights all kinds of air contaminants, including dust, dust mites, pollen, spores, bacteria, chemical vapors and allergens.

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Beware of Hackers Scamming Oregon HVAC Customers

air conditioning repairmanThe dark and seedy world of computer hackers usually comes to light in the form of international espionage or attacks on banks and credit card companies. While hackers have the ability to wreak havoc on a large scale, they can also cause real problems for people on a personal level… and the HVAC industry is no exception.

When it comes to heating and cooling contractors, hackers are taking it further than simply accessing data for the sake of compromising security or revealing personal information. They are posing as the contractor and contacting their customers to initiate some form of service, collect money, and likely do nothing other than make off with that money.

Sunset Heating & Cooling has been hit by these con artists, so we want to make sure our customers know how they can protect themselves. But before we go any further, rest assured that since we do not keep credit card information on our system, there would be no way for someone to gain access to it.

The state of Oregon has released a notice of a recent trend in the state. According to the notice, there are people pretending to be legitimate heating and air conditioning businesses, particularly in the Willamette Valley. They ask for the money upfront and of course are working without a contractor’s license. Sometimes they say they have found very dangerous, yet fictitious, problems that need to be repaired in your furnace just to get more money from their unsuspecting victims.

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What Happens When You Forget to Change Your Air Filter?

filtersMost of us know that the air filter in our HVAC system needs to be changed on a regular basis, but sometimes our busy lives get in the way. If you neglect changing your air filter for an extended period of time, here are some of the potential consequences.

Your HVAC System Will Be Less Efficient

When you don’t change your air filter frequently enough, it gets clogged with any number of airborne pollutants and allergens. This makes the HVAC system’s job much more difficult, so it works harder and longer to do the job it’s been tasked to do.

Your HVAC System May Break Down

The unfortunate eventual outcome of not changing your air filter, beyond working less efficiently, is that it will stop working altogether. Your HVAC system is powered by a fan motor that has to work harder when there is a clogged filter. This extra strain can make the motor overheat or even break.

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Clear The Air with the Air Scrubber Plus

air scrubber plusAre you concerned about your indoor air quality and ready to do something about it? The Air Scrubber Plus is a new system that is designed to not only clean the air, but surfaces, as well.

The Air Scrubber Plus technology can reduce virtually all the surface micro-organisms and dramatically reduce airborne contaminants and allergens in your home.

The ActivePure technology was tested by a research team at Kansas State University, led by Dr. James Marsden. He and his team found that the technology was reducing up to 99 percent of the contaminants found on surfaces.

Here’s how the technology works:

The ActivePure technology cleans the air with the use of UV light waves, oxygen and water molecules reacting together, then passing through a honeycomb cell, coated with a titanium oxide and a proprietary formula of reactive metals. This creates a reaction that generates charged clusters of hydrogen and oxygen. This, in turn, cleans the indoor air and surfaces.

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April is Autism Awareness Month

autism-speaksApril 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day, but the entire month has been reserved for raising awareness for this still mysterious medical condition. It’s not particularly uncommon, either: 1 out of every 68 children born is born within the autism spectrum. This has grown tenfold over the past 40 years.

Currently, about 2 million people have some form of autism within the United States, not to mention millions more around the world. Boys are about 4 times more likely to have autism – 1 out of every 42 boys are born with autism compared to 1 out of 189 girls.

While there are so many causes that are very worthwhile, autism has touched us on a personal level. As the owners of Sunset Heating & Cooling, we deal with challenges every day. But, as parents of a special needs child diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (part of the autism spectrum), we understand the challenges people with autism face every day of their lives.

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