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centerDear Friends and Neighbors,

The safety of our customers and our team is and has always been our foremost priority. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has likely had an impact on all of us in some way and we continue to monitor this evolving situation very closely. Informed by guidance from federal and state authorities we are making real-time decisions for the well-being of our customers, team members and the community that we are a part of.

As we learn more each day we want you to know that we are taking immediate steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19. We are closely following the information and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization on the steps we can all take to minimize the spread of the virus. As such, we have equipped each of our technicians and our office staff with additional cleaning supplies, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Our team members have been advised to follow all of our newly implemented safety protocols including wearing gloves whenever possible, regular hand washing and hand sanitizing and the sanitizing of equipment, tools and surfaces we have touched and worked on in your home. Minimal physical contact and personal work space will be maintained as best as possible.

Each of our Team members have been made aware that if for any reason they do not feel well or if they feel they are exhibiting any of the symptoms of the virus they must remain at home and self-quarantine while seeking the requisite medical attention. They should stay home and may not come into work in order to protect the other members of our team. We are stressing this for your protection and for the protection of our Team.

As always we are continuing to provide 24-7-365 uninterrupted emergency service to all of our KEILClub members. 

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How to deal with extreme heat.

What should you expect from your central air conditioning system under these extreme conditions?

When designing or sizing a central cooling system we follow the guidelines set forth by the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers or (ASHRE). ASHRE has set forth design temperatures for hundreds of areas across the United States based on temperature and humidity records over a period of decades. KEIL uses the design temperatures for the Paterson, New Jersey area, the area closest to us.

In northern New Jersey we have a design temperature of +10 degrees for heating and for +90 degrees for cooling. These temperatures reflect the typical highs and the typical lows of our area. We size heating and cooling system to perform their best within these temperatures as we only exceed these temperatures on rare occasions or for only hours at a time during the course of a typical year.

When the temperature reaches 90 degrees outside (Our design temperature) we can expect under best conditions to have the inside of our homes reach 70 degrees inside with a much lower humidity level than outside. Remember this is under best conditions!

All residential air conditioning systems are mechanically engineered to provide a 20 degree temperature drop. 90 degrees outside = 70 degrees inside. This assumes that the outside unit and the inside unit are properly matched and designed to work together to achieve the 20 degree drop.

Why can’t I achieve the 20 degree drop in temperature?

There are other factors that come into play, such as:

Air infiltration, also known as leaky house syndrome: In this instance the home allows warm moist air in the summer to infiltrate the walls of the home, typically where the masonry foundation meets the studded walls. The warm humid air enters the home and travels through the home warming your air conditioned air and adding humidity, eventually exiting through ceiling mounted lights, attic hatches or other openings on the top floor. This is a continuous process that prevents the home from properly cooling and it only gets worse when the temperature rises.

A Leaky air duct system: Air leaks in the supply or return sides of the air duct system will greatly reduce the efficiency of the system. As air is escaping the home into the attic or basement on the supply side or on the return side warm moist air is brought into the system which will overwhelm the system’s capacity.

Insulation: An air duct system located in an attic or open crawlspace needs to have the proper amount of insulation and it must be properly attached. The same goes for the attic of the home. Areas without insulation or where insulation is improperly installed will create hot spots and allow heat to infiltrate into the home. Today it is recommended to have at least 18” of insulation in an attic and this is almost never the case.

Additional items like leaving a window open a few inches, leaky doors and windows, improperly sized air duct system, too little return air or too little supply air, blocked registers, etc. All of these things will cause your home’s cooling system to underperform.

The problems only get worse as the temperature rises!

Once we reach 100 degrees the best you can expect a properly sized system to perform, assuming there are none of the other issues mentioned above is about a 15 – 17 degree drop in temperature. So 85 degrees inside with a relatively low humidity level is really good.

These type of heat waves don’t usually last very long so consider the following additional steps to help your cooling system work its best!

  • Turn on your system now and give it a chance to do its job before it gets over 90 degrees.
  • Make sure the outside unit can breathe and is not covered with bushes or other debris.
  • Make sure it is clean – If not hose it down with a soft flow of water from a hose and clean off as much of the dirt as possible.
  • Close the drapes on the sunny side of the house preventing the sun from adding additional radiant heat into the home.
  • Close all windows and doors tightly to eliminate air leaks.
  • Block off the attic hatch or drop down stairs to prevent air leaks and heat infiltration.
  • Set your thermostat to an achievable setting NO more than 18 – 20 degrees below the outdoor high temperature. Setting the thermostat to 60 degrees will not help, but it could cause your system to freeze and will turn it into a block of ice at which point it will not work!
  • Make sure all of the registers are free of any type of restriction like furniture, clothing or other items that will block the flow of air.
  • Make sure your air filter is clean and will not restrict the flow of air in any way.

 

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Important Safety Notice: 

Heating your Home During Extreme Cold Snaps

It doesn’t happen often but North Jersey does get extreme cold snaps. Extreme cold for days and weeks at a time can cause a variety of problems for homeowners trying to stay warm or just comfortable.

Here are a few tips for getting through an extreme cold wave.

  1. Forget about using the setback option on your thermostat. Once we are subject to temperatures below our design temperature, which is 10 Degrees in our area the heating equipment in our homes does not have the capacity to keep up or to make up a 5 – 10 degree deficit. Try setting your thermostat to the hold position instead of using the automatic set-back and you may find that you can be quite comfortable and reach temperatures between 67 - 70 degrees.
  2. Setting your thermostat to 80 degrees or higher will not help! Just because a thermostat is set to a high and unrealistic temperature does not mean the heating system has the capacity to reach that point. Heating systems in North Jersey are designed to achieve a 70 degree indoor temperature at a 10 degree outdoor temperature. This assumes that the home is properly insulated and that there is a properly designed air duct system or baseboard system. The older the home the less likely this is to be true. So, 70 degrees inside at 10 degrees outside is really good. The colder it is outside the cooler it will be inside.
  3. Do not close or block any of the supply or return air registers anywhere in your home if you have a warm air furnace. Many people believe that closing registers in unoccupied rooms and closing the doors to those rooms will provide for better heat to the spaces that they do occupy. While this may work in a small way it allows for a potentially big problem. By closing off rooms and the registers in them very cold spots will be created in those closed off rooms. Those cold spots have the potential of allowing pipes hidden in walls or under cabinets to freeze and possibly burst. Many times when this occurs the homeowner does not know there is a problem until the pipes warm up sufficiently and the frozen water in pipes begins to thaw and then all at once allow water to pour out of those pipes uncontrollably causing very costly damage.
  4. Turn on all of your zones if you heat your home with a hot water boiler. Many homes that are heated with a hot water boilers have two to five zones and therefor 2 – 5 thermostats. During extreme cold every zone should be working in order to prevent water from sitting in the pipes without circulating. Every thermostat for every zone should be set to at least 65 degrees in order to ensure that the water in the pipes is hot and circulating.  Often time a basement zone is forgotten about because it is too cold to enjoy a finished basement in the cold winter months so it is left off. The danger here is that pipes in a basement are most at risk for freezing and bursting. Once this happens it is just a matter of time until there is costly water damage and a big clean-up.
  5. If you heat with steam radiators do not turn off any of the radiators. Each radiator is just like a baseboard zone and by turning off any one radiator you run the same risks as turning off a zone of baseboard, frozen and or burst pipes.
  6. Using a heat pump to heat your home will be a challenge in extreme cold.  For the most part heat pumps are not used as a primary source of heat in Northern New Jersey. Our design temperature of 10 degrees is below the temperature that most heat pumps are capable of working at. Heat pumps are air conditioners that work backwards. They take the heat from the outside air and put it back into the home. They do this using the same refrigerants that air conditioners use. The problem arises when the outside temperature drops below 35 degrees and there is not enough heat in the outside air to properly heat a home. This is why most heat pumps have back-up heat. The back-up heat is much the same as the heat strips found in a toaster. The heat strips, much bigger than in a toaster get hot and air flows over them warming up the home. With electric costs what they are in Northern New Jersey this is a very expensive way to heat a home. A three week cold snap like the one we are having now could easily produce a $1,000 plus monthly bill.

In summary:

None of us wants a big fat heating bill at the end of the month just because we had a long cold snap. A heating bill that may be 50% larger than an ordinary winter month is not all that bad when you consider that not doing any of the items I have listed above can result in bills of thousands of dollars should any pipes freeze, burst and cause water damage throughout your home. Our homes were not designed to endure temperatures at or below zero degrees for any length of time. They are not properly insulated or air sealed so cold air gets in very easily and warm air escapes the same way. Once the temperatures drop towards zero we all see how our homes just can’t keep up. Keep your thermostat fixed, keep all of your registers, zones and radiators fully open and put on a sweater. Lastly if your home can get to 75 degrees when it is 5 degrees outside you may be thinking that you have it made – not true! Your heating system is actually too large for your home and it is costing you money and comfort the other fifty weeks of the year.

We will all get through this cold snap and back to a normal winter very soon. Do your best to stay warm and most of all be sure to protect your home from freezing!

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Magnetic Air Filter Slot Cover

KEIL is proud to release our brand new, uniquely designed magnetic air filter slot covers. As your  system works to heat or cool your home, the return air has negative pressure which runs the risk of pulling the venting from your water heater and distributing CO through your house. Slot covers prevent your system from pulling air from the room, and ensuring- as always, that you are safe with KEIL. On the magnetic cover is the filter size, a reminder to clean/replace monthly, and KEIL’s contact information. As a KEILClub Member, you are entitled to receive one of these covers for free! If you want one right away, stop by our office anytime to pick one up! Otherwise, our techs will bring you one next time we visit your home for maintenance. 

centerLeaky Air Ducts = Big Problems! 

You air duct system is responsible for circulating the warm and cool air created by your furnace and air conditioner throughout your home. If there are openings, disconnected ducts or leaks in your duct system, a multitude of problems can occur:

Leaks in the conditioned areas of your home: If conditioned air leaks out of your air duct system into the conditioned areas of your home it really does not matter because for the most part it reaches the areas of your home that you are trying to heat and cool. If that same conditioned air leaks out into the unconditioned areas of your home like a crawlspace or an attic, then that conditioned air does nothing to keep you comfortable. It becomes totally wasted and costs you money by forcing your system to run longer in order to satisfy your thermostat.

If you have leaks in your return air ducts and the air returning to your furnace or air conditioner to be heated or cooled are in the conditioned areas of your home the same theory applies; it is not a big deal. However, if the leaks in your return air ducts are outside your conditioned space (crawlspace or attic) you are now bringing in unfiltered air that is either very cold or very hot-causing your system to work overtime to keep you comfortable. 

Between supply air leaks and return air leaks, return air leaks are much more problematic. The return air leaks allow in dirty unfiltered air that in the winter is very dry and in the summer is very humid, the opposite of what you want in conditioned air. All that extra dust can also lower you efficiency and cause you a variety of maintenance issues.

It is possible to determine if your air duct system is leaky. We have special tools that can measure air loss through an air duct system. As an alternative it may be very easy to simply inspect the duct connections in an attic to see if there is air leakage and what is involved in repairing the leaks.

Do not fear--There is a solution to this leaky duct problem! Sealing your air ducts is do-able with a specialist, and KEIL has just such professionals. As always, we are here for you anytime day or night with questions you may have. 

Central Air Conditioning - Bigger is NOT Better

When it comes to flat panel televisions, car engines, airplane seats and bank accounts Bigger is always, always, always Better! However, when it comes to residential central air conditioning Bigger is Never Better!

Why you ask, is bigger never better?

Bigger equipment costs more money to purchase, costs more money to operate and a bigger system will provide you with much less comfort!

Accurately sizing an air conditioning system for a home is much more involved than just putting in a system the same size as the one being replaced. It is more involved than just having a technician or salesperson guessing because they have been in the business 10 years or more and that’s how they always did it so that is how they will continue to do it.

The correct way or the acceptable industry standard way to size an air conditioning system for any home anywhere in the country is to perform a proper heat gain calculation on the home. A heat gain calculation measures the heat gain to a home based upon where the home is located (North Jersey), which direction it faces, the amount of insulation in the attic, walls and floor, the square footage of windows and doors, the direction the home faces, where the air ducts are located, to what level they are insulated, how leaky the house is, the number of people living in the home and all of the appliances that will add heat into the home. All of these factors are used to properly calculate the number of BTU’s it will take to cool the home from 90 degrees outside to 70 degrees inside over a long enough period of time to properly dehumidify the home.

If your contractor is not performing a proper heat gain calculation and or heat loss calculation for heating on your home then he/she is just guessing. Insist on seeing a proper heat gain/heat loss calculation on your home from your contractor or get another contractor!

The reason a heat gain calculation is so critical is because the exact same house in the exact same neighborhood, on the exact same street turned 90 degrees can require a very different sized system simply based on the direction it faces.

Now why is size so important?

Most residential central air conditioning systems come in seven different sizes from 1.5 tons to 5 tons. Some super high efficient systems may only come in four or five sizes beginning at 2.5 tons. Each system (air handler and condenser) or set of matching components (furnace, coil and condenser) has a rated BTU capacity stating that specific match of components BTU capability.

TOO SMALL!

If the air conditioning system is sized too small for the home than it will never be able to cool it properly. For instance, if it is 90 degrees outside a system sized too small will not be able to achieve a comfortable 70 degrees inside. It simply does not have the capacity to do so and as a result will run and run and run not being able to turn off as it has not reached the temperature set at the thermostat, 70 degrees. A system that is too small will provide a lower humidification level as it continues to run, passing warm moist air over a cold coil which will reduce the humidity level making the higher temperature 75 degrees easier to live with. When the temperature exceeds 90 degrees the level of discomfort continues to grow larger with each degree.

TOO BIG!

If the system is too large or oversized for the house the comfort issues are much worse than that of an undersized system. On a 90 degree day an oversized system will be able to cool the house down to 70 degrees too quickly. This may seem like a good thing but it is not. When an oversized system cools down a house too quickly it does not run long enough to properly dehumidify the air, resulting in a cool clammy feeling due to the high humidity levels in the air. Another unpleasant result of a system sized too big for the home is that the air filter and or ultra violet light that depend on air circulation to function will not as the system does not run long enough to provide proper air filtration or air purification. Worst of all a system that is too large will turn on and off many more times in a day as it cools the home too fast. The turning on of a compressor is the expensive part of running an air conditioning system. Starting a compressor takes two – three times the amount of energy than running that same compressor over a longer period of time. Plus the bigger the compressor the more it costs to start and run!

Just Right!

A properly sized system will provide you with a twenty degree difference between the inside and outside temperatures. It will run for a sufficient length of time in order to achieve the desired temperature thus providing a comfortably low level of humidification. Remember the lower the humidity the cooler the air will feel! Additionally, your air filter, ultra violet light and other comfort accessory items will perform much better with the proper amount of run time that a properly sized air conditioner will provide. Plus, your utility bills will be lower than either a system that is too small or one that is too big.  

So, as you can now see, Bigger is Never Better and performing a proper heat gain calculation is the only way to size an air conditioning system.
Performing these calculations is just one way KEIL can offer you a 100% Money Back Guarantee!
As always check out our website, www.keilheatac.com  and our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/KEILHeatAC/ for more information on your heating, cooling and home comfort needs.

Until Next time,
Milton Baum
General Manager
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.
800-300-KEIL

The secret to keeping your outdoor air conditioning unit clear of debris: KOOL KAP.

Protect your air conditioner year round with a Kool Kap. Day in and day out, your air conditioner’s condensing unit is subjected to the sun, rain, snow, ice, leaves, dirt, sticks and other debris. This debris collects in the bottom of your condensing unit and traps water, snow and ice. All this trapped moisture causes your system to prematurely rust and corrode, damaging your system. By keeping your condensing unit clean, it will run at peak efficiency and save you money on your utility bills. Once a Kool Kap is installed, you never have to fuss with it. The Kool Kap remains on your condenser year round, so put it on, let it work and forget about it!

When considering efficiency, you need to answer the following four questions to find out what’s best for you;

  1. How do you use your air conditioning system?
  2. How long will you continue to live in your home?
  3. What is the current condition of your air duct system?
  4. What will the total cost of the new air conditioning system be?

These four questions hold the key to the efficiency that makes the most sense for you.

Before I address the four key questions in determining the best efficiency for you, let’s review the efficiency choices currently available. Federal Regional Standards set forth as of January 1, 2015 provide for a minimum efficiency of 13 SEER for split air conditioning systems.(A split air conditioning system is a system that uses two components such as a coil and condenser or an air handler and a condenser. This type of system makes up about 95% of the cooling systems used in North Jersey homes.) There are no maximum energy efficiency standards in place and systems can currently exceed 25 SEER in some cases.

 

What the heck is a S.E.E.R.?

S.E.E.R. or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is the name of rating system used to calculate the annual efficiency of a split system air conditioner. The higher the rating number the more efficient the air conditioning system will be. Don’t get hung up on the fancy terminology, it’s easier to just think miles per gallon and remember just like a car the higher the rating number is the greater the efficiency of the system is.

Question 1 – How Do You Use Your Air Conditioning System?

Some people, like myself, turn on their air conditioners in early May leave the windows closed all summer and do not turn off the air conditioning system until the middle of September. Those of you that are like me are considered heavy users. Other folks go back and forth between opening their windows on cooler, dryer days and turning on their air conditioners on warmer, more humid days. These are the typical users in North Jersey and are considered average users. Finally there are those that only turn on their central air conditioners when both the temperature and humidity are brutally uncomfortable, otherwise they prefer to leave the windows open.

Please remember there is no right or wrong answer here. It is all about your personal comfort and how you will use the system.

The heavier users will run their air conditioning systems close to 1,500 hours a year, average users will be at about 860 hours a year and those that prefer the windows open as little as 100 to 200 hours a year. 

(The more you use your system the more important efficiency is.)

Question 2 – How Long Will You Continue To Live in Your Home?

Let’s make this one easy,

1 – 2 Years

3 – 5 Years

6 – 9 Years

10 – 15 Years

I will have to be dragged out boots first!

(The longer you live in the home the more important efficiency is.)

Question 3 – What is the current condition of your air duct system?

This question may not be so easy to answer. A good air duct system is hard to find. It has to be sized correctly to match the blower in the furnace or air handler so that the proper amount of air can be distributed into the home and returned back to the system. The duct system needs to be sealed so that air does not leak out of the supply ducts or leak into the return ducts. All of the connections need to be air tight and the trunks need to be sealed from air leaks. If the air duct system is located in an attic or crawlspace it needs to be properly insulated. The air duct system is very often the biggest reason for lack of comfort and efficiency.

According to National Comfort Institute the average heating and cooling system performs at 50 – 70% of its rated capacity!

There are physical tests and calculations that can be performed to determine the condition of an air duct system as a visual inspection is not typically accurate. A qualified heating and cooling professional can provide this for you.

(As you can see there is more efficiency to be lost in a bad air duct system than there is to gain in a high efficiency air conditioner!)

Question 4 – What Will The Total Cost Of The New Air Conditioning System Be?

When I say the Total Cost of the new system, I mean the cost of having the air duct system repaired or replaced, the addition of any new supply or return registers, the new equipment installed and tested, the thermostat, any other accessories, the warranties and the permits. Now subtract the amount you will receive back in the form of any type of rebates. That is the total cost of your new system. You may choose to obtain two prices including the same installation and accessories just with two efficiency options.

What to do with your four answers?

Question 1 – How Do You Use Your Air Conditioning System?

The heavier the user of air conditioning you are the faster you will see a return on the investment for a higher efficiency system. For example if an 18 SEER system costs $2,100 more than a 13 SEER system fully installed the exact same way with all of the same accessories the only difference is how much the system costs to operate. If you save $300 per year as a heavy user by purchasing the 18 SEER system instead of the 13 SEER system it will take seven years to get your money back. If you are a medium to low air conditioning user it will simply take that much longer to get your investment back, perhaps up to 20 years!

Question 2 - How long will you continue to live in your home?

Using the example in Question 1, with the seven year return on investment for the heavy user purchasing the 18 SEER system, if you plan to live in the house for only five more years you will have spent money on a high efficiency system that you will never get back. If you plan to be removed by your boots in 20 years or more than the 18 SEER system makes economic sense.

Question 3 – What is the current condition of your air duct system?

Once you have a professional evaluate the condition of your existing air duct system and provide you with its condition you will be able to make a decision on repairing or replacing the air duct system vs. making the additional investment on high efficiency equipment. There is no point in spending additional money for an 18 SEER system that is coupled to a 50% efficient air duct system that will provide you with only 9 SEER. Spend the additional money on repairing the air duct system and go with the 13 SEER as this will be far more cost effective.

Question 4 – What Will The Total Cost Of The New Air Conditioning System Be?

Determining Total Cost –

What type of a user are you - Low, Medium or High?

How long will you continue to live in the home – Number of years?

What will it take to correct your air duct system – Money better spent?

What is the cost difference between the installation of a 13 SEER system and a higher efficiency system?

How many years will it take for you to see a return on your investment for purchasing high efficiency equipment? Will you still be in the home? Is it the best use of your money? Will you also be paying interest on the system negating your energy savings?

Without answering these four questions you will never know which level of efficiency makes the most sense for you. Everyone is different when it comes to comfort, even within the same family so this is a very personal determination.

One last thought, if your energy saving exceeds the length of the parts and labor warranty on the system it is not worth it. What you save on efficiency you may be paying in repairs.

Wishing you a comfortable summer,
Milton Baum
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning

National Comfort Institute              New Jersey Clean Energy Rebate Schedule

DID YOU KNOW?.....

-Before air conditioning was invented, businesses took long summer breaks to avoid the discomfort of working in the inescapable heat

-60% Of homes are heated with gas furnaces 

-75% of power that runs electronics is consumed when those electronics are turned off

-Water lines in a home with no heat take three days to freeze in the heart of winter

-It is proven that people who get used to living in colder spaces with AC lose their ability to deal with hotter conditions 

-Oil source heating systems are never installed in new homes; they are only removed from older ones 

-AC sales took off in the 50's and by 1953 over 1 million units had been sold 

-When air conditioners were first installed, it was rumored that they "made workers lazy." This rumor was dispelled, however, by 1957

Before you make any construction alterations, modifications or additions to your home consider how those changes will affect the heating and cooling systems in your home.

Here is a problem we see very often; when homeowners finish their basement they want to maximize the amount of usable space for finished areas. The problem we see is that too little space is created for a utility area or furnace room. When this happens a variety of issues occur.

First, when a utility room is built tightly around the existing furnace or boiler, water heater and possibly even a gas dryer, the equipment can’t breathe properly. What I a mean by this is that these appliances all burn fuel, natural gas or propane and when a gas burns combustion occurs and with any type of combustion air is needed. There are ways to calculate how much available air is required for proper combustion based upon the total number of BTU’s of all of the appliances. Without the proper amount of combustion air a variety of problems will occur.

Second, without enough space it is either not possible or difficult for a technician to perform annual maintenance or emergency service and repairs on the equipment. The more difficult the task is to perform the longer it takes and the less likely it is that the job is being done as best it can be. 

Third, when it comes time to replace the existing equipment with a new system a tightly built utility room with three or four access hatches built as a result of required service points may have to be completely demolished in order to remove the old equipment and install the new equipment. In many cases where small utility rooms have been built we have had to remove walls and boilers just to replace the water heater that was hidden in the back corner with no access. When this happens it can add a few hundred to a thousand dollars to the total cost of the job!

Fourth, when non conditioned space is converted to conditioned space, like a finished basement that was never heated previously and now need to be, cutting holes in the ductwork and adding new supply runs will cause more problems than it will fix. Duct work is a designed to carry a specific amount of air. Furnaces are designed to provide a specific amount of heat. Air conditioners are designed to provide a specific amount of cooling and without proper examination and design modifications the system will fail to properly heat and cool the entire home.

Everyone wants their home to be their castle and we want everyone’s castle to be comfortable. If you are considering making modifications to your castle give us a call before you start construction so you can know in advance what needs to be done in order to eliminate future surprises.

For questions regarding your home’s comfort system, and for all of your home comfort queries, call KEIL at 800-300-KEIL 

Love,
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning 

Sounds of comfort: The good, the bad and the ugly

When you have a forced air system that provides you with either heating or cooling or both there are sounds that your system will make. Some of these sounds are simply the system working, the Good. Other sounds are created by improper design, the Bad. Finally there are sounds that you may hear that are a result of the system not working properly, the Ugly!

Let’s address the Good sounds first. A properly designed comfort system will have a blower motor that is sized to circulate the amount of air required to properly heat and cool the home. Matched to the blower motor’s capability is a properly sized air duct system that will evenly distribute the conditioned air throughout the home. When these two components are properly designed the result will be a quiet and comfortable home.  Even a properly designed system will result in some sound. For instance when air moves throughout the air duct system sound is created. The sound should not be intrusive and overwhelming but more of a white noise that is barely noticeable. A clicking sound from an electronic thermostat may be heard when a preset temperature has been achieved to either turn on or turn off the system.

Depending where the equipment is located in the home the mechanical sound of an inducer fan may be heard as it turns on during the ignition cycle. The next sound in the ignition sequence is the sound of the gas valve opening and then the gas igniting into the burner tubes. These sounds should only be noticeable if the equipment is located in a closet within the living space of the home.

Now the Bad Sounds, which nobody wants to hear but are all too frequently heard. The most common sound homeowners complain about it the loud rushing sound of air into an undersized return or into a return grill located directly on the opposite side of the wall from the furnace. This sound can be very loud, distracting and irritating. Next up is the banging sound undersized air ducts make every time the system turns on or off. This is caused by improperly sized air ducts and the banging is created by the expansion of the supply air ducts and or the contraction in the return air ducts. These noise problems can be in most instances be repaired by replacing the improperly sized air ducts with a properly sized air duct system.

Finally the Ugly sounds! These are the sounds of needed repairs. A common sound associated with blower motor problems is a fast tapping sound like the sound you would hear when you attach a playing card to a bicycle and it taps against the spokes as you peddle away. An out of alignment blower assembly can make a screeching sound as it scratches against the blower cage. This sound requires the blower motor or cage be replaced.  Another Ugly sound is the grinding of an inducer motor as it turns on and rubs against the housing that it rests in. When you hear this sound it typically means the inducer motor needs to be replaced.

These are the most common sounds associated with a heating and cooling system and now you know which ones are Good, Bad and Ugly! For questions regarding your home’s comfort system, and for all of your home comfort queries, call KEIL at 800-300-KEIL 

Love,
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning 

There are several types of air filters available today for use in residential central heating and cooling systems. Air filters come is a variety of widths, from the standard one-inch all the way to six-inches and thicker. The type of air filter you will need is based on what you want to filter out of your air stream (ex: pollen) and the air flow capacity of your air duct system. 

There is a standardization with which air filters are rated. That system is known as MERV. 

MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a numbered system from 1 to 16 that rates an air filter’s efficiency. The higher the MERV number, the more efficient the air filter is at removing particles. At the lower end of the efficiency spectrum, 1 – 4, is a disposable spun fiberglass panel filter. At the upper end, a MERV 16 filter is typically the filter level required for surgical operating rooms in a hospital (to prevent the transfer of bacteria and infectious diseases). 

The highest level MERV filters (17 – 20) are capable of removing particles as small as 1/300th  the diameter of a human hair which is a requirement in a clean room environment. A higher MERV creates more resistance to airflow because the filter media becomes denser as efficiency is increased. 

A homeowner needs to choose the lowest MERV rated filter that will capture the smallest unwanted particles taking into consideration that their blower motor and air duct system combined must have the ability to distribute the filtered air throughout the home without being stressed beyond tolerances. It is possible that you may need to make changes in your duct work to achieve the level of air purification you want. After all, the overall objective is to be comfortable in your home and air filtration is just one part of the puzzle.

In addition to choosing the correct filter size and changing that filter as needed, there is another way to ensure that air is filtered properly throughout your home all day. With new, advanced wifi thermostats, you can turn your furnace on while you are away from the house. As your furnace works, air is filtered and purified! 

For questions regarding your home’s filter needs, and for all of your home comfort queries, call KEIL at 800-300-KEIL 

Love,
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning 

NOTE: Perhaps the single dirtiest place in your home is your furnace or air conditioner’s air filter. That’s because most homeowners only change their air filter once or twice per year. Not really a big surprise as it is out of sight and out of mind.

The standard set by filter manufacturer’s is that a basic fiberglass air filter should be changed once per month. Keeping that air filter in place for six to twelve times longer than suggested can really allow dirt to build up and cause a variety of problems with your comfort system.

If you have a dog, or have observed the dogs in your neighborhood, you know how it goes:

One pup finds a spot to go, and all the other dogs that pass by that location feel the need go there too. It’s an ongoing cycle that can be vicious if the dogs have chosen your condenser to pee on.

Condenser fins are the thin sheets of aluminum which work as a radiator by allowing for air to pass over them in order to cool the refrigerant which in turn cools your home. Dog urine is very acidic and is known to corrode aluminum very quickly and easily. In some air conditioning systems the fins and the coils are both made of aluminum and dog urine will corrode them both to the point of being unrepairable. The corrosion that is going on in your unit is not always recognizable, especially if your unit has a steel protective covering. The corrosion generally occurs in small spots close to the ground (where the dogs are peeing). 

The effects of long term dog marking on your air conditioning unit can be highly detrimental. Initially, as mentioned, the damage is not great. However, over time (just a season or two) the dogs’ urine can break down the aluminum fins and coil of your condenser entirely causing a breach that is too large to repair that will allow the refrigerant to escape. 

To deter your dog or dogs of the neighborhood from marking on your air conditioning unit, try placing a shrub near (at least 18 inches so as to inhibit proper air flow) your AC for your dog to mark instead of the AC. If your air conditioner seems to be the hot-spot for all the dogs on the block, it could be worth putting up a small decorative fence around the unit itself for total protection. PVC Privacy fencing which is about 36 inches high will do the job but remember keep it at least 12 inches from the condenser to allow for proper air flow. At the very least, hose off your unit with fresh water regularly to help reduce the effects of dog urine.  It is worth it to act preventatively now, and save yourself a very expensive potential AC disaster later. 

Love,
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning 

PS: As always, for all your home comfort queries call KEIL anytime! 800-300-KEIL

We are contacted by dozens of homeowners every winter complaining about the lack of humidity in their homes during the cold winter months. They have a great humidifier installed on their heating system and they paid several hundred dollars for it. The water panel in their humidifier is clean and was replaced at the end of last winter. They have turned up their humidistat to as high a setting as it goes and still they humidity level in their homes is very low. These homeowners are uncomfortable, angry and feel cheated.

What do you think is wrong? It’s a really simple fix!

There is a lever on their humidifier that has two positions: Summer and Winter (S or W). This lever is incredibly important, and yet very few homeowners have any idea what it does! This lever adjusts a damper that opens or closes the flow of air over the humidifier’s water panel. If the lever is set to Summer or “S” the damper is closed and no air will flow over the water panel and as a result you will not be adding humidity to the air in your home, the humidifier is essentially off! When the lever is set to Winter or “W” the damper is open allowing air to flow through the humidifier and pick up moisture through the water panel. The lever should be located on the side of the humidifier that connects to the round metal air duct that crosses from the supply side to the return side of your system.

So, is your humidifier set to summer operation? Take a look and make sure the lever is set to Winter and you will be comfortable all winter long. In spring be sure to set the leaver back to the Summer position to ensure comfort all summer long.

Weather forecasters are predicting a big snow fall, and if you are planning to spend the weekend snug in your home with family, you'll want to ensure that your home stays cozy and warm. 

If your heating system is a modern, high-efficiency furnace, water heater or boiler that direct vents out of the side or rear of your home you must ensure that the snow and ice do not block off the vent pipe's ability to vent out or bring fresh air in. If the snow does build up over the vent pipes, the built-in safety switches in your heating system will automatically turn off the system, leaving you without heat until the system can be re-set.

Your vent pipes are at least 18" above the ground so the snow should not typically cause any trouble, but when we receive a prediction of up to 24" it pays to check and be sure the snow does not cover your vent pipes. If your furnace uses a venting system that exits out of the side or rear wall of your home, simply trace the pipes to where they exit your home and then locate them on the outside of your house. If the snow looks as if it could drift or if there is just too much snow closing in on the vent pipes, clear it away and you will remain warm and cozy throughout the storm. 

Stay warm and enjoy the snow! 

Love, 
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning 

Humidification 411

Humidification improves the quality of your home and of your life! The dry heat from your furnace this winter can be negated with the addition of a humidification system. The optimum indoor humidity level of your home is 35%. Humidity that goes above 50% is an ideal breeding ground for dust mites, and humidity over 60% is ideal for allergy and asthma causing mold. 

While too-much humidity in your home is an issue, too little humidification is just as much of a problem! Besides harming the electronics in your home from an excess of static electricity, a too-dry house will give you dry skin, a dry nose and a sore throat. Like your skin, the wood furniture in your home can split and crack if the air is not moist enough. 

By keeping your home properly humidified with a humidification system, you will feel more comfortable, maintain the health of your furniture and save money! A properly humidified home is a home that stays warmer without needing to keep the thermostat as high.

Call KEIL to learn more about installing and maintaining a home humidification system this winter.

Permits: Why they are so important!

Did you know...

In the state of New Jersey it is the law that a home improvement contractor must apply for all the necessary permits to complete the work they are performing for the homeowner. The permits are applied for through the municipality that the work is being performed in. The construction permit process is administered by the state of New Jersey under the Uniform Construction Code regulations.

The cost of a municipal permit is set exclusively by the municipality that the work is being performed in. Contractors have absolutely no authority in setting permit pricing. It is unlawful for a contractor to inflate the cost of a municipal permit in any way when billing a homeowner. The complete cost of a municipal permit may be passed on to a homeowner as a separate charge or as part of the work being performed but not to exceed the cost charged by the municipality.

It is unlawful for a contractor to have a homeowner they are performing work for apply for a municipal permit under the homeowner’s name. A contractor must take out all of the required permits for all of the work they perform under their company’s name. The contractor is then solely responsible for making any changes necessary in order to pass all of the required inspections.

 

Municipal Permits are required for:

The types of permits typically required for heating, air conditioning, water heater and stand-by generators installations include some or all of the following;             

-Building, Construction, Electrical, Fire, Mechanical, Plumbing and or Zoning. 

-Central air conditioning replacements and or new central air conditioning installations including air handlers, coils and condensers.

-Central heating replacements and or new installations including warm air furnaces, heat pumps, hot water and steam boilers.

-Replacement and or new installations of water heaters include tank style, on-demand and storage tanks.

-Stand-by home generator installations and replacements.

 

Municipal inspectors verify the work performed meets code

In every case that a municipal permit is applied for a municipal inspector employed by that municipality or as part of a shared co-operative of municipalities will come to the job site to inspect the work that was performed. Each inspector is licensed by the state of New Jersey and must have taken a variety of courses and tests in order to maintain that license. The inspector/s will follow the guidelines set forth by various national codes and state regulations and either pass the work performed and apply passed sticker onto the appliance approved, or the inspector will fail the work performed as it does not meet the basic safety code requirements necessary to pass the work and apply a failed sticker onto the appliance. 

In most municipalities there are different inspectors for each type of permit that is applied for. For example; a plumbing permit requires a plumbing inspector, and electrical permit requires an electrical inspector. These two types are rarely the same inspector. A plumbing inspector in many municipalities may also perform fire inspections. 

A mechanical permit which is the newest type of permit is used in some municipalities and it covers all of the required individual permits to replace a furnace or air conditioner and requires only one municipal inspector to inspect the entire job. All of these inspections vary greatly from town to town depending on weather the municipality has a part time or full time staff, is a shared co-operative between several municipalities or if the municipality sub-contracts the inspections to another municipality.

Most municipalities in northern New Jersey employ part-time construction departments; this is due to their size and budget. This means that their inspectors only work one or two day per week. It also means that each inspector may not work the same schedule. For example a plumbing inspector may only work on Monday’s and Wednesday’s while the Electrical inspector may work Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. 

Larger municipalities employ full time construction departments where all of the inspectors work traditional five day work weeks which makes scheduling inspections much easier for homeowners and the inspections can typically be completed in just one day or even just one visit by all of the required inspectors. Inspections should be performed within 30 days of the work being completed. If the permits are not inspected within that time frame the municipality has the right to issue fines.

Now you know! 

Heavy Snow

Weather forecasters are predicting a big snow fall, and if you are planning to spend the weekend snug in your home with family, you'll want to ensure that your home stays cozy and warm. 

If your heating system is a modern, high-efficiency furnace, water heater or boiler that direct vents out of the side or rear of your home you must ensure that the snow and ice do not block off the vent pipe's ability to vent out or bring fresh air in. If the snow does build up over the vent pipes, the built-in safety switches in your heating system will automatically turn off the system, leaving you without heat until the system can be re-set.

Your vent pipes are at least 18" above the ground so the snow should not typically cause any trouble, but when we receive a prediction of up to 24" it pays to check and be sure the snow does not cover your vent pipes. If your furnace uses a venting system that exits out of the side or rear wall of your home, simply trace the pipes to where they exit your home and then locate them on the outside of your house. If the snow looks as if it could drift or if there is just too much snow closing in on the vent pipes, clear it away and you will remain warm and cozy throughout the storm. 

Stay warm and enjoy the snow! 

Love, 
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning 

Winter weather & your generator

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A GENERATOR, CONTACT KEIL FOR A FREE ESTIMATE SO YOU ARE PREPARED FOR THE NEXT STORM WE WILL INEVITABLY GET. 800-300-KEIL

For those of you who do have generators:

Heavy snowfalls and high winds can cause snow drifting on and around your generator! This snow can block the air intake portion of your system, and limit it’s functionality.

To ensure your generator will operate properly in the event of a power outage, you must check it from time to time during the snow storm and ensure that snow and ice have not blocked the air intake side of it.

If snow and ice have accumulated on or around your generator you will need to remove any buildup that occurs on the air intake side (the right side with the green light). Excessive snow buildup that blocks the air intake may prevent the generator from cooling properly, which can cause it to shut down.

Stay safe and warm, and drink lots of hot coco!

Love,
KEIL Heating and Air Conditioning 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real threat to homeowners. The good news is that you can stay safe by following these simple steps:

-Now that it is the new year, CHANGE THE BATTERIES in every one of your smoke detectors and CO monitors. 

-Check the expiration dates, which will be on the backside of your monitors. Anything over 5 years old should be replaced because the sensor in the detector stops working properly after 5 years. 

-Call KEIL at 800-300-KEIL with any questions! We care deeply about your home comfort needs, and make it our highest priority that your level of safety is as high as your comfort.

What happens during AC, boiler or furnace "maintenance," anyway?

In summary, a THOROUGH inspection and cleaning.

Just like your favorite car, your heating and cooling system needs a regular visit from the mechanic to keep it purring. Without regular service, heating and cooling systems burn more fuel and are more likely to break down. With the proper attention, they can keep you comfortable year-round-- as they are supposed to.

Heat pumps and oil-fired furnaces and boilers need a yearly professional tune-up. Gas-fired equipment burns cleaner; it should be serviced every other year. A close inspection will uncover leaks, soot, rust, rot, corroded electrical contacts and frayed wires. In forced-air furnaces and hot-water boilers, the inspection also covers the chimney, ductwork or pipes, dampers or valves, blowers or pumps, registers or radiators, the fuel line and the gas meter or oil tank—as well as every part of the furnace or boiler itself.

Next, the system is run through a full heating cycle to ensure that it has plenty of combustion air and chimney draft. Contractors can use specialty meters to check for sufficient draft and also test the air for carbon monoxide.

Finally, it's time for the down and dirty task of cleaning the burner and heat exchanger to remove soot and other gunk that can impede smooth operation. For the burner, efficiency hinges on adjusting the flame to the right size and color, adjusting the flow of gas or changing the fuel filter in an oil-fired system. A check of the heat pump includes an inspection of the compressor, fan, and indoor and outdoor coils and refrigerant lines. Indoor and outdoor coils are cleaned, and the refrigerant pressure is checked. Low pressure indicates a leak; to locate it, contractors feed tinted refrigerant into the loop and go over it with an electronic detector.

This is all a bit verbose. The bottom line is that "maintenance" is a full and complete inspection and cleaning of your heating and cooling system. It is necessary for the proper comfort and safety of you and your loved ones, and is simple to have done right if you go with a company like KEIL!

Why is my shower SO COLD when I turn it on?!

When you turn on your faucet, your copper pipes have become cold since the last time you had hot water running through them. The water that remains IN your pipes from the last time you turned on your faucet is cold as well. Can you guess what temperature the water that comes out of your faucet the moment you turn it on will be? 

That’s right: COLD.

The hot water from your water heater is created when cold water enters the heater, is warmed with a flame, and is stored until you turn on the faucet. Once the faucet is turned on, all the cold water that has been stagnant in your pipes must exit. Once this water has exited, the hot water takes time to warm the cold pipes so the pipes don’t turn the warm water moving towards your faucet cold again. By the time this has happened, you have been waiting for sometimes minutes to get into the shower.

If you want consistently hot water the moment you need it, consider installing an Integrated Mixing Device. This incredible machine keeps hot water constantly circulating through your pipes so there is no wait time for a steamy hot shower, and your usable hot water is increased by 50% or more. Call KEIL to learn more about the solution to your 4-minutes-of-cold shower problem: 800-300-KEIL.