Ways to Save Money on Your Cooling Bills This Summer

April 10th, 2014

The average length of time a central air conditioner runs over a summer is 6 hours per day, which can mean using approximately 900 kilowatt/hours (kWh) of energy per month. However, you can find a more specific answer for how much it takes to power your AC. If you look at the cabinet of your air conditioner, you’ll find the wattage of your system. Multiply this by the amount of hours you use your AC each day in summer, and you’ll have an idea how much power your system consumes daily. Now take a look at a recent utility bill to find out you’re paying for electricity per kWh. Using basic multiplication, you can determine the monthly estimate of what you’ll pay during the summer to cool down your house.

There are ways to shave money off these bills, however. Here are some tips to achieve a more energy-efficient performance from your AC this summer. DB Heating & Cooling can help you save money with repairs, installation, and air conditioning maintenance in Oradell, NJ.

Tips to lower AC costs this summer

  • Upgrade your thermostat: Thermostat technology continues to evolve, and each advance increases the efficiency of the systems they operate. With a wireless thermostat, you’ll have better control over your AC, capable of turning it on and off remotely, from any spot with Wi-Fi access. Newer thermostats also have more accurate temperature settings than older models: you’ll have increased comfort as well as a reduced need to keep the air conditioner running.
  • Raise the temperature a few degrees: People often set their air conditioning as low as possible, but consider that each degree you set you thermostat below 78°F will raise energy use by 3–4%. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends 72°F as a comfortable temperature for most situations. Also try to avoid AC use during any outdoor temperature lower than 80°F.
  • Change the filter regularly: The air filter prevents debris from entering the AC cabinet and damaging internal components. But if it becomes too clogged, it will cut down on airflow, and this will force the air conditioner to drain more electricity. Replace the filter regularly during the summer.
  • Schedule a maintenance visit: It’s mandatory for an AC to receive an annual check-up and inspection from a professional. This ensures longevity and prevents unnecessary repairs. But it also cleans and adjusts the system so it runs at its most efficient. Even going for just one year without maintenance can mean a 20% increase in energy use in an air conditioner.

Let DB Heating & Cooling give your AC the best start possible for the summer: with a professional check-up and tune-up. Call us today to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Oradell, NJ.

Common Myths about Heat Pumps

April 4th, 2014

Heat pumps are newer to the HVAC world than air conditioners, boilers, and furnaces, although they have a history going back to the 1940s. Because they entered homes only after a longer period in commercial use, a number of basic misunderstandings still surround them. We’ll look at a few of these and try to clear them up. We hope this will give you a better idea of what a heat pump can do for your home comfort.

DB Heating & Cooling has extensive experience with heat pump repair in Emerson, NJ, as well as installation and maintenance services. Rely on us when it comes to heating and cooling your home.

“Heat pumps are a separate AC and heater packaged together.”

Unlike the units that contain an air conditioner and a furnace in one cabinet, only sharing the same blower, heat pumps are single machines that use the same action to provide both heating and cooling. The only difference in a heat pump between the its modes is the direction that the refrigerant moves. In heating mode, the refrigerant carries heat from outside and moves it inside; in cooling mode, the refrigerant carries heat from inside and moves it outside.

“Heat pumps are fine for air conditioning, but can’t handle cold weather.”

There is some truth in this… but not much. Heat pumps work as well at cooling as any standard AC of the same size. Their heating power is not as strong. However, a heat pump can certainly handle cold temperatures, and it only starts to lose efficiency in extreme cold weather. Most heat pumps are equipped with electric resistance coils that turn on when the outside temperature gets too cold, so your home will be comfortable no matter the outside temperature.

“Heat pumps are expensive to run.”

This confusion comes from thinking that having heating and cooling power in one unit means the system drains power faster. But as we noted above, heat pumps use the same process for both modes. A heat pump in cooling uses as much power as an air conditioner. A heat pump in heating mode is far more efficient than an electric furnace. Your heat pump only requires a small amount of fuel (electricity) to move heat instead of creating it. Studies have shown that a family switching from an electric furnace to a heat pump can save up to 30% off their heating bills over winter.

If you need service technicians who cut through the confusion around heat pumps and bring you the installation, maintenance, or heat pump repair in Emerson, NJ you need, call DB Heating & Cooling.

Boiler Repair Issues Due to the Expansion Tank

March 28th, 2014

The name “expansion tank” has sometimes confused people concerning their boiler. An expansion tank isn’t a place to expand the amount of water the boiler holds so it can provide more heat. (That’s not how boilers work, anyway.) The expansion tank is a safety mechanism designed to maintain an even water pressure inside the main hot water tank so that it won’t overheat.

But even safety mechanism can have problems that will result in repair needs. When the expansion tank encounters trouble, it can lead to pressure spikes and leaking. If you need work on your expansion tank to restore your boiler’s operation, call DB Heating & Cooling and we’ll send a technician to help you with your heating in Westwood, NJ.

What Might Go Wrong with the Expansion Tank

Old boilers used to absorb pressure increases with an empty air pocket at the top of the tank; however, this allowed oxygen into the tank and promoted corrosion. The development of the expansion tank solved this issue. The expansion tank has two chambers divided by a diaphragm: a pipe from the main tank attaches to one side and lets water in; on the other side of the diaphragm is a chamber of air controlled with a valve. When water pressure increases, the water pushes against the diaphragm, which relives the pressure by serving as a cushion. The air valve allows air back in to push against the water and restore the original pressure level.

A common problem that an expansion tank can encounter is lack of proper air charge. It should have the right charge at installation; however, if the tank begins to develop an air leak, it can have too much water and too little air inside it. This risks the pressure in the main tank rising above 12 psi, at which point it can cause leaking to occur throughout the boiler system. You will need to have a technician rebalance the air and water, and add more air to the tank as necessary.

Another problem is tears in the diaphragm, which will cause water to leak into the air chamber and ruin the tank’s ability to regulate pressure. If your boiler starts to rumble and the temperature gauge shows it’s running too hot, shut down the system and call for repairs. A repair technician will discover if the expansion tank was responsible for the problem and repair it.

Call DB Heating & Cooling for Boiler Repairs

At DB Heating & Cooling, we specialize in boiler repairs of all kinds. No matter the work you need done on your boiler, our skilled technicians can solve the problem. Call us any time of the day or night for your heating in Westwood, NJ.

To Reduce Furnace Repair, Stop Doing This…

March 19th, 2014

We’re slowly coming out of the winter here in New Jersey, which means now is an excellent time to deal with furnace problems when you might need your heat everyday. Here in Westwood, NJ, the furnace repair experts at DB Heating & Cooling are standing by to fix your problem. But this is also a good time to discuss preventative measures, and ways that you can lower the risk of a breakdown with you furnace. Professionals can give you specific advice that matches your precise type of furnace. But in general terms, there are steps you can take to keep your furnace from suffering a breakdown. To reduce furnace repair, stop doing this…

  • Setting the temperature high. Many people fallaciously believe that setting the temperature higher will heat your home faster. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most heaters have just a single setting, which means that it blows the air at the same speed no matter what the setting is. Setting a higher temperature only creates more strain on your system, without adding anything beneficial in response.
  • Neglecting to perform maintenance. An annual maintenance session will remove dirt, tighten loose bolts and otherwise reduce friction levels in your furnace. It will also help your technician spot potential problem areas early, allowing you to deal with it at leisure.  Neglecting to schedule a maintenance session will often create a number of problems that could be easily avoided.

If you know what to stop doing to reduce furnace repair, the next step is to call a service professional to help with maintenance and similar issues. In Westwood, NJ, call DB Heating & Cooling for any heating service you need. You’ll be glad you did!


3 Ways You Can Avoid Heating Emergencies

March 12th, 2014

At DB Heating & Cooling, we consider offering 24-hour emergency service a basic part of our job. We know that when heating emergencies strike, they won’t choose a time when it’s convenient for you. If your heater breaks down on Sunday at 6 pm during a cold snap, you don’t want to wait until business opens at 9 am on Monday to reach someone who can help. We have our technicians ready whenever your heater fails so you won’t have to wait long in the cold.

Of course, nobody wants to call late at night about a heating emergency. We have some advice on how you can avoid emergency failures with your heating in Oradell, NJ. With a bit of precaution, you can keep calls for repairs to a minimum.

  1. Schedule regular maintenance: We put this one first because it is the #1 way to keep your heater running—no matter if it’s a furnace heat pump, or boiler—with few repairs. Regular maintenance is sometimes called preventive maintenance because it prevents repairs and breakdowns. A technician comes to your home and inspects your heating system to find where it needs adjustments and cleaning. After your annual visit, you’ll have a heater running with less stress and a reduced danger of suffering malfunctions and a breakdown.
  2. Leap on minor repairs quickly: Most major breakdowns start with smaller malfunctions and warning signs. These include strange noises from the cabinet, odd smells from the vents, uneven warmth and cold spots, and sudden rises in energy costs. If you think something is going wrong with your heater, schedule routine repairs so that you won’t have to scramble for the phone at 3 am one night.
  3. Do not overstress the heater: Too often we’ve seen homeowners push their thermostat up to its top setting because they think this will lead to better comfort faster. It doesn’t. The higher setting will make the heater work longer to reach the target temperature, and you’ll end up with a dry, stuffy house. Worse, you’ll put tremendous strain on the heater that could lead to an emergency breakdown. Keep the temperature on the thermostat down at a lower level that you find comfortable and keep it there. We recommend starting at 72°F during waking hours and make necessary adjustments from there.

You can’t avoid all emergencies

Even the best care and maintenance can’t stop all emergencies. If you need that late-night help for your heating in Oradell, NJ, contact our staff at DB Heating & Cooling. You can also sign up for maintenance with our expert technicians.

The Reversing Valve and Heat Pump Repair

March 3rd, 2014

What is the best advantage a heat pump offers a homeowner? Is it the energy saving in heating mode, the ease with which it hooks up to a pre-existing ductwork system, or its safe operation? Those are all excellent benefits, but we think most homeowners would answer that a heat pump’s #1 advantage is that it provides both heating and cooling. Two comfort solutions combined into one convenient package. Changing from one mode to the other only requires adjusting the thermostat.

The component in a heat pump that allows the unit to act as both a heater and an air conditioner is called the reversing valve. If the reversing valve malfunctions, your heat pump will remain stuck in one mode or the other, and you’ll lose its best benefit. But with the help of DB Heating & Cooling and our Emerson, NJ heat pump repair technicians, you can have your heat pump back to full operation in no time at all.

The reversing valve: why it is so important

A heat pump works in the same manner as a standard air conditioner: a chemical blend called refrigerant moves through a closed loop in the system, shifting through a process of evaporation (absorbing heat) and condensation (releasing heat). This moves heat from one location to another. An air conditioner can only run this process a single direction, moving heat from indoors to the outdoors.

A heat pump can reverse the refrigerant’s direction, causing the unit to move heat from outdoors to the indoors. The reversing valve, which sits on the refrigerant line, takes care of this task. In agitated state (an electric charge runs to the valve) it moves refrigerant one direction. In relaxed state (no electric charge) it moves it the other direction. The manufacturer sets which state applies to which mode.

Like any electro-mechanical device, a reversing valve can fail. If you discover that your heat pump remains in one mode no matter how you set it, then it is likely the reversing valve has broken. This isn’t an issue you can repair yourself. A professional will need to come to your home, open the cabinet of the heat pump, and remove the valve from the refrigerant line to replace it with a new working unit.

Keep your heat pump working its best for you

A heat pump is the comfort system for all seasons… and make sure you keep it yours that way with prompt repairs when it shows signs of trouble. When you need heat pump repair in Emerson, NJ, call the experts at DB Heating & Cooling.

What to Look for in a Boiler

February 24th, 2014

For cozy and dependable heating during cold weather, a boiler is an excellent option for installation in your home. Boilers use the comforting warmth from baseboard heaters or radiators to send clean heat into rooms, and they run with few repair needs. If you want an alternative to forced-air systems like furnaces, a boiler is one of the best choices.

When you are shopping for a new boiler, there are a few factors to focus on. Make sure that you seek professional assistance when choosing a boiler, however: have the installers involved early to help you make the best choice. Contact DB Heating & Cooling for quality heating service in Westwood, NJ.

Here’s what you should look for in a new boiler

  • High AFUE rating: AFUE stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” This rating measures the general energy efficiency of a boiler, expressed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more efficiently the boiler converts its fuel source into heat. The U.S. Department of Energy requires home gas-powered boilers installed in the U.S. to have a minimum AFUE of 80%, so aim for that rating or higher. Look for the U.S. ENERGY STAR label as an indicator of an efficient boiler.
  • The appropriate energy source: Boilers can use a variety of energy sources, and the most common today are natural gas, electricity, and oil. Make sure you look for a boiler that matches your available energy supply. Gas-powered boilers have the highest fuel efficiency, so if you have a gas pipeline into your home, you should consider a natural gas model. If you don’t have a natural gas hook-up, look instead for electricity or oil.
  • Proper size: A boiler needs to be the right size to fit your home’s heating needs. Either going too large or too small will cause problems leading to insufficient heating and/or energy waste. To have your boiler sized to fit your home, have an HVAC technician conduct a heat load calculation at your house, which will give you the specific amount of heat you need to have your boiler keep you comfortable.

Schedule professional installation

Professionals shouldn’t only help you choose the right boiler; they should install it as well. Modern boilers are complex and need trained technicians to set them up correctly and install the baseboard heaters.

Call DB Heating & Cooling for your boiler installation. We are EPA certified and fully insured, and our technicians have the extensive training necessary to make your Westwood, NJ heating installation go off without a hitch.

Why You Cannot Delay Furnace Repair

February 17th, 2014

Modern furnaces are durable machines, and they can often continue to run and provide you with heat when they are experiencing malfunctions. Although this is an indication of how well manufacturers build furnaces today, you shouldn’t let a furnace continue to run with repair needs and hope you’ll make it to the spring thaw.

Any time you detect a problem with your furnace—whether from strange operating noises, odd smells from the vents, or uneven heating—you need to call for repairs as soon as possible. With a company like DB Heating & Cooling offering 24-hour emergency furnace repair, you have no reason to hesitate.

Why You Need Prompt Repairs

  • Avoid an abrupt breakdown—at the worst time: We have experienced a particularly rough winter this year, and we can still expect some deep chills ahead before we emerge into spring. If your heater is running with a malfunction, it is skirting close to a complete breakdown that will leave you without warmth on one of the coldest days. Because you will push your furnace harder during cold days, it is more likely to stop working then… and emergency repairs may have trouble reaching you because many other homeowners will have similar problems.
  • Stop paying more for heating: Any malfunction in a furnace, regardless of whether it allows the furnace to keep working, will reduce the system’s efficient operation. As the furnace works harder, it will drain more energy. Your heating bills will start to rise; they might even skyrocket. Taking care of a repair means shaving away a large portion of your monthly bills.
  • Keep your furnace safe: The most common type of furnace is a natural gas-powered model. Gas furnaces are safe provided they remain in good repair with regular maintenance. Letting one go without needed repairs is potentially dangerous because it can lead to gas leaks and other hazards. Never delay getting repairs for a gas furnace, and never attempt repairs on your own.

If you trust the work on your furnace to trained experts like those at DB Heating & Cooling, the repairs should go fast and return the system to top condition. In a season as cold as we’re having this year, you don’t want to risk losing your vital home heating: call for prompt furnace repair in Bergen County, NJ.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at DB Heating & Cooling hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

4 Things to Consider Before Installing a New Heating System

February 3rd, 2014

Modern home heating has reached the point of technological advancement where there are now numerous options for warming any house during the winter. And sometimes it’s more choice than people can handle. How can you know which heater you should install in your Emerson, NJ home?

DB Heating & Cooling understands how difficult this choice can be: that’s one of the reasons we’re here. We can offer the professional assistance you need to not only install a new system, but to choose one as well.

The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that you consider these four things before you select a heating system:

  1. Fuel – Your fuel availability will affect your choice. Electrical-powered heaters are always an option, but a gas line opens up other possibilities for installation. Homes without natural gas can also rely on heating oil or propane. The cost of each fuel will also factor into your decision, as well as its environmental effects.
  2. Climate – The colder the average winter temperature, the more powerful and heating system you’ll need. While a place like Southern California may only need space heaters during the winter, in New Jersey you need a central heating system.
  3. Efficiency – How much fuel energy does a heater convert to heating energy? A more efficient heater will mean savings on your energy bills—but high-efficiency systems usually cost more to install. You’ll need to consider your long-term budget plans to find the heater with ideal efficiency.
  4. Size – An improperly sized heater will be wasteful of energy, no matter its efficiency rating. A heater that’s too small will stay on continually trying to reach its target temperature, and a heater that’s too large will “short-cycle” and drain power from constantly re-starting. You will need a heat load calculation done in your home to find the right size.

The best way to the best heating

If you looked at the above considerations and felt overwhelmed, don’t worry: it requires a professional to make some of these choices. You definitely need a heating contractor to help you with determining the best size heater to install, and the contractor can assist you with balancing the other considerations as well to target the optimal heater. Since you will need professional eventually to install the heater, why not bring them on earlier to make sure you have the right heater?

DB Heating & Cooling has a staff of technicians experienced with heating installation in Emerson, NJ. Come to us when it’s time to pick the perfect heater for your home.