Here are some simple procedures you can perform before contacting Blue Ridge for service:
- Check Emergency Switch. Everyone has one usually in your utility room or near your furnace or boiler. It is a red plated switch. Make sure it is on. Sometimes it is located in a stairwell. This switch supplies power to your AC/ furnace/ boiler/ utilities. It is a safety switch designed to cut power in case of an emergency.
- Check disconnect switches (indoor and outdoor if you have a split system).
Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or that fuses have not blown.
- Check for sufficient airflow. Make sure air filters are clean and that supply-air and return-air grilles are open and unobstructed.
- Check the settings on your thermostat. If you want cooling, make sure the temperature control selector is set below room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. If you want heat, make sure the temperature control selector is set above room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is at HEAT or AUTO. The FAN switch should be set at ON for continuous blower operation or AUTO if you want the blower to function only while the unit is operating.
- Even the lowest efficiency systems currently allowed by the U.S. Government will almost always cost less to operate than a system that was installed ten years ago.
- Most manufacturers offer higher efficiency models which will add to your savings on monthly utility bills.
- Typically, higher efficiency systems will cost more initially, so it's important to look for the right balance between first cost and long-term savings.
No matter how efficient your system is, the way you manage system operation can affect your heating and cooling costs. Naturally, you want to feel comfortable when you're home. But do you really need all that comfort when you're not home? Do you need all of that comfort while everybody's in bed, sleeping? By remembering to "set back" the temperature on your system's thermostat during times when you don't really need as much comfort, you can save significantly on your monthly utility bill. This type of temperature control can be done automatically with a programmable thermostat. Zoning systems can provide even greater efficiency and comfort by dividing the home into comfort "zones" and providing differing temperatures for each zone.Simple system maintenance
One of the keys to energy savings is keeping your system operating at its best. Two simple ways you can help maintain your system are:
- change furnace or fan coil filter frequently
- clean indoor and outdoor coils
For a variety of reasons, newer homes are more energy efficient than older ones. They are built to keep conditioned air inside so you are not paying to heat and cool air that easily finds its way out of your home. As a home gets older, settling will cause some of that air-tight construction to loosen up. Regardless of your home's age, you can do some simple maintenance to make sure that will help keep the conditioned air inside, where it belongs. Be sure your home is adequately insulated. Adding insulation to attic areas is usually pretty easy. Other areas, such as outside walls, provide a more challenging project if extra insulation is needed.
- Check the seals around windows, doors, electrical outlets or any other potential sources for escaping air. Seal these areas using a good quality caulk, and be sure to re-examine your handiwork every few years.
- Inside your home, weather stripping around moving parts of windows and doors can help seal off potential areas of leakage or drafts.
- Storm doors and windows can provide additional energy savings by preventing air loss and by creating an insulating layer of air spacer
Asking how much you'll spend on a new system is a lot like asking a builder, "How much is a house?" The builder will need to know if you want a 1,000 square foot ranch on a quarter acre lot, or if your needs run more towards a 3,500 square foot, two-story home on two wooded acres. Then there are questions about whether you want brick or vinyl siding, and so on. In other words, the cost for a new heating and cooling system will depend on many factors.Some factors to consider
- Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:
- Will you be happy with a basic system that focuses mainly on temperature control? -or-
- Will you be interested in some popular accessories such as programmable thermostats and humidifiers that let you have more control over your home's environment?
- Is repairing an option instead of replacing the system?
- your climate
- the size and age of your home
- what type of system you currently own (if any)
- the type of utilities available for heating and cooling (gas, electric, oil).
So, with all the variables involved, how can you get a realistic idea of how much a system will cost? Simply call Blue Ridge today, and we will be happy to come out, assess your needs, and provide you with a written quote at no charge or obligation.
- Cleanliness/freshness of air
- System Control
To most people, temperature is both the beginning and the end of any discussion involving comfort. To Blue Ridge and Carrier, simple temperature management is only the beginning. In fact, when Willis Carrier began developing the world's first modern air conditioner, one of the comfort dilemmas he was trying to solve was humidity control. But, to achieve superior indoor comfort, you've got to start with the basics -- heating or cooling -- as the foundation for your system. We offer five main product families for heating and cooling:
- Heat Pumps
- Air Conditioners
- Ductless mini splits
Dusty, dirty homes at any temperature can cause feelings of discomfort to many people, especially allergy sufferers. And, the air in today's tightly-sealed, well-insulated and energy-efficient homes can become stale as the same indoor air is circulated and re-circulated. The fact is, with dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, skin flakes, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, Radon gas and more, the air inside your home can be even more polluted than the air outside. Blue Ridge can alleviate these problems and therefore add another level of comfort by installing the following products: air product families for heating and cooling:
- Air Cleaners
Humidity is a funny thing. In the winter, dry air can cause static electricity, itchy skin, damage to home furnishings and more. Adding humidity is a good thing because it makes the air feel warmer and more comfortable while minimizing damage to furnishings. In the summer, it is preferable to remove humidity so indoor air feels cooler and less sticky. Blue Ridge's answer? Improved comfort through humidity control with:
- Thermidistat Control
- ComfortHeat Technology
Some of the common comfort complaints from homeowners include: inconsistent temperatures from one room to the next, up and down temperature swings, constantly adjusting the thermostat, and more. System controls of varying degrees of sophistication can help with these issues, offering straight temperature control, programmability that allows setting a "comfort schedule," temperature and humidity control combined, and dividing the home into zones which can be controlled separately. Programmable thermostats can save you up to 33% on your energy bills. Blue Ridge provides this kind of control with the following products:
- Thermidistat Control
- Zoning System
- Life expectancy
- Operating cost
- Looking at the big picture
When you're frustrated with an equipment break-down, it can be tempting to find the least expensive
"quick fix" to get on with your life in relative comfort. That "quick fix" may be the least
expensive now, but it may not give you the most value or cost you the least in the long run.
Paying for repairs to an old or inefficient system often simply prolongs the inevitable. It's almost like putting a bandage on a serious injury. An older system that breaks down once is likely to break down again ... and again. That means more emergency service calls or, worse yet, the risk of damage to your home or to other components of your heating and cooling system.
There's also an ongoing cost factor to consider. Restoring your old system will only bring it back to its
current level of energy efficiency. After you've recovered from the repair bills and the frustration of
system breakdowns, you still won't save on your energy bills.
Even six-year-old heat pumps and air conditioners are considered grossly inefficient by today's energy efficiency standards. So are most furnaces built before 1980. So you could save up to 60% on your energy bills with new high-efficiency equipment. That's why installing a new heating and cooling system can actually pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short time.
When one component of your system breaks down unexpectedly, it's easy to just focus on repairing or
replacing that component. But each part of your system works with the others to boost efficiency and
reliability, so it helps to keep the big picture in mind.
Replacing your old furnace with a new higher-efficiency model but leaving your old mechanical thermostat in place, for example, won't allow you to enjoy all the efficiency advantages the furnace has to offer. Likewise, if you install a new furnace but don't get a humidifier, the air may seem cooler, forcing you to operate your new system at a higher temperature to be comfortable. Blue Ridge can often help you save on installation costs if you have several components of your system (for example, a furnace and an air conditioner) replaced at the same time.