Home Energy Saving Tips for Fall

As fall arrives and temperatures start to drop, many Manassas homeowners are looking for ways to save more energy on home comfort costs. The question is, how can you save energy while also staying comfortable? Below, we provide some basic tips for helping you stay warm and cozy while keeping your home energy costs low.

  1. Fix any drafty areas of your home.

When gaps and cracks start to form around your home’s doors and windows, these areas can let the warm air escape, which wastes energy while also making it harder for you to get comfortable. You can fight the draft by sealing any cracks around your doors and windows. Caulk around your windows, apply new weatherstripping to your doors, and seal any gaps around electrical outlets. These quick and affordable fixes can help you save up to 20% on your energy bills.

  1. Make sure that your vents are uncovered.

Over time, it can be easy to accidentally block your vents. Whether you rearrange the furniture in your living room or add new drapes and curtains, you may be blocking your vents without even realizing it. Make sure that your vents are uncovered and clear of any objects so that your heater doesn’t have to work harder than it needs to keep you warm.

  1. Replace your furnace filter.

A clogged or blocked furnace filter can start to impact your HVAC efficiency. That’s why it’s important to check your air filter at least once a month and replace the filter when it has become visibly dirty. Not only will this help improve air flow and efficiency, it will also help you maintain your indoor air quality throughout the year.

  1. Get an HVAC tune-up.

Routine HVAC maintenance is an important part of keeping your home comfort system running smoothly and efficiently year-round. Fall is the best time to get an HVAC tune-up as your HVAC system tends to get the heaviest use in the summer when temperatures are warmer and again in winter when they start to cool down.

During your HVAC maintenance visit, one of our licensed HVAC contractors will clean and lubricate your equipment while checking for any malfunctions or repair needs. By making sure that your system is operating correctly, your HVAC tech can help prevent costly breakdowns and help you save more money on energy costs throughout the year.

Save More Energy in Manassas

If you’re looking for more ways to save on energy costs in your Manassas, VA home, be sure to check out our blog each month for brand new content about HVAC and energy efficiency topics. If you think your HVAC system may be to blame for your high energy bills, give us a call today: (703) 496-5527.

5 Home Improvements to Make This Season

This season, while the weather is still warm and severe winter weather is still months away, consider making a few adjustments to your home that will not only increase the resale value of your house, but create a more comfortable environment—both indoors and out. Check out these five seasonal home improvements you can make starting today.

1. Gutter Cleaning

There is no better time to get a jump start on cleaning your gutters. At the end of summer, leaves begin to drop and winds tend to kick up debris that gets caught in your gutter system. Before it gets out of hand during Autumn, give your gutters a good once over. This job will be simple to accomplish and will make the dreaded post-Autumn gutter cleaning so much easier.

To clean your gutters, you can either DIY, or hire a professional to take care of it for you. Either way, having clean gutters at the end of summer is a smart way to ensure better gutter functioning during the fall and winter seasons.

2. Roof Repair or Replacement

Roof problems are best dealt with BEFORE the extreme weather of winter sets in. It’s also more likely that you can get “end-of-summer” specials with roofing companies to save you on repair or replacement costs. If your roof is rather new, chances are likely that you won’t need much work done to get it back into tip-top shape; and, tackling small issues with our roof sooner rather than later can prevent big problems down the road.

3. New Entry Door

A new entry door is a simple and relatively affordable improvement that is wise to make before cooler weather sets in. Not only will a new door protect you and insulate your home from outside elements, such as wind, rain, and snow, it can also help increase your home’s resale value. Steel doors, which are a touch more expensive than wood or fiberglass doors, usually gain a return on investment over 100%…and last quite a long time, which is a great reason to replace yours this season. Check for end of summer sales on entry way doors at home improvement stores and online!

4. New Windows

If your windows are old and worn, you’re not doing yourself any favors in regards to energy efficiency and comfort. If you are having issues with your windows, or notice that they have cracks or condensation, consider replacing the windows as you can, or even all at once if it is within your budget.

5. New Siding

If your home has old siding, the end of the summer is a great time to have it replaced. Damaged siding can be ineffective at protecting against winter weather, and this could cause major problems for the structure of your home. Consult with a professional siding or home exterior expert to understand the very best options available for you and your budget.

Find Peace of Mind with a Maintenance Plan

One very easy, and very affordable improvement you can make this season is to change your HVAC system’s air filter. These filters can be purchased at practically any home improvement or handyman store; just be sure to check the dimensions on your current filter so you purchase the correct size.

If it’s been awhile since you have had your HVAC system serviced, and you live in the Manassas area you’ll want to have that done as well. If you’re looking for expert technicians you can trust to do the job, call Fire and Ice! We offer preventative maintenance plans to make keeping up with HVAC maintenance simple and stress free.

How to Be More Eco-Friendly at Home This Summer

Eco-Friendly, Green, Energy-Efficient…whatever you call it, it’s always in fashion and good taste to be more environmentally aware.  Even though the idea of creating a greener home may seem overwhelming, —especially with the vast amount of information available out there on the subject—it doesn’t have to be a daunting endeavor. You can start by making just a few simple changes, which will make a pretty significant impact on your energy usage at home.

One side benefit of becoming more environmentally conscious at home is the savings you’ll see on your home energy bills. By not wasting excess energy, you won’t have to pay for that energy usage. Over time you’ll notice a significant decrease in your energy costs. Read on to learn what you can do starting today to decrease your energy usage and become more eco-friendly at home.

Home Energy Saving Tips

eco-friendly-home-during-summer

For more great tips and tricks for homeowners, connect with us on facebook and twitter. We update often with home related ideas and advice to residents of Northern Virginia, as our goal is to provide you and your loved ones with the ultimate home comfort experience. Stop by, say hello, and give us a like or a follow today!

Setting Your Thermostat in the Spring and Summer (The Last Blog You’ll Ever Need to Read)

Thermostats have almost become an enigma among Virginia households. Anytime someone asks, “What should I set my thermostat to save money?”, it’s met with a number of different responses, of which, only a few are really applicable to any given household.

The truth is, setting your thermostat in the warmer months doesn’t have to be so complicated. Taking into account your family’s comfort and short vs. long-term savings, you can very likely run your home’s A/C on one simple rule – Set it and forget it!

While programmable thermostats can be a lifesaver in terms of short-term savings and home comfort, putting your system through consistent temperature shifts can harm your energy efficiency and place unnecessary wear and tear on your unit. Always keep in mind that whatever you set your thermostat to, your system will eventually have to overcompensate to return your home, or a given area, back to a comfortable temperature.

Unless you are on the brink of a seasonal shift in weather, the warm weather that you allowed to buildup in your home is going to stick around until your unit kicks back on again. Once it does, it is forced to work twice as hard to attain the same comfortable temperature. So while you are saving up to 6% of your energy per each degree you increase your thermostat and your unit doesn’t have to run as much, your savings go right back into re-cooling your house.

What should I set my thermostat to in the summer?

The average person does not sweat until the temperature rises above 78 degrees. This is why most HVAC specialists and energy saving buffs recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the warm season. On days where the temperature does not drop below 78 during the daytime, it’s best to maintain one setting in order to prevent your system from overworking. This setting also prevents residents from experiencing harsh shifts in temperature when leaving their homes.

Pro tip: A desk, box or ceiling fan can go a long way towards helping you feel cooler without actually cooling the room further. Fans use up significantly less energy than your A/C unit, so you can stay comfortable while also keeping your home energy efficient.

Unique factors that can affect home comfort

Each household will have exceptions to the standard 78 degrees in the warmer months. If you have the budget, then discussing these factors will help promote a comfortable home for all residents.

  • Hormones (especially for those experience times of great hormone fluctuations – pregnancy & menopause)
  • Glandular disorder – While the average person perspires when the temps hit 78, those that sweat at cooler temperatures will want to avoid excessive perspiration with a more appropriate thermostat setting.
  • Sleep habits – A great night’s sleep is a must for any lifestyle. If you are  a cool sleeper, a simple fan may not be enough to keep you from waking up in a sweat. Be certain to set the thermostat to accommodate cool sleepers during spring and summer.
  • Time spent in the home – Certain programmable thermostats can be set depending on the day of the week. This is great for households on the go. You can avoid energy efficiency issues by increasing the thermostat setting while you are away, but only if the temperature drops enough by the time you return home at night to assist your unit in re-cooling your home.
  • Where time is spent (hot air rises, which makes spending time upstairs less comfortable)
  • Humidity – Humidity can make any home uncomfortable. Don’t continue to set your thermostat lower and lower to attempt to make your home comfortable if humidity is the issue. Instead, invest in a dehumidifier or and A/C unit that controls humidity in order to create a comfortable home.
  • Sunlight – Skylights and poorly shaded windows can let in heat from the sun. Be aware that those that spend time in these rooms will not be as comfortable as residents in rooms with less sunlight in the summer.

What about zoning my home in the summer?

Attempting to zone your home in the summer can get a bit dicey. Yes, zoning can save you money on your monthly bill, however, just like raising your settings or shutting off your system, you run into the issue of re-cooling a room or section of your home that is now much warmer than it would have been if you would have just maintained a consistent thermostat setting at the beginning of spring.

If at all possible, consider your schedule at the start of the warm season when attempting to zone your home. If you aren’t expecting guests until late fall, feel free to zone off your guest bedroom and bathroom.

Setting your thermostat while on summer vacation

The same mentality can go into your “away” or “vacation” mode settings. If you’re going to be gone through a temperature transition, then it’s okay to shut your system off and allow your home to naturally release the heat that gathered during summer when you get back in the fall.

If you’re gone for just a few weeks or less, only increase your settings by 4 degrees at the most. This will keep your system from using too much energy while you are away, but prevent it from having to struggle to replenish your home with the cool air you need to stay comfortable.

At Fire & Ice HVAC, we know that marrying home comfort and energy savings can be a struggle. We also understand that every home has different needs. If you feel as though you need additional guidance beyond this post, please don’t hesitate to contact our Woodbridge HVAC office at 703-496-5527 to speak with one of our licensed HVAC specialists.

Smart Space Saving Ideas for Your Home Inside and Out!

Are you finding yourself surrounded by clutter and out of space at home? You may just need to rethink your home organization strategy. We’ve rounded up several tips that are idea for homeowners who are looking to create a little extra space around the home. Chances are, you have plenty of available space, you may just need to think a bit outside the box.

Instead of wishing you had more square footage, try out these suggestions to add a bit more room to the spaces you already have. A cluttered home can be a major stressor, which is the exact opposite of what a cozy home should be. We’ve gathered a few simple and creative suggestions that will enable you to make the most of your current living space, and rid your life of excessive disorder. Maintaining a clean and clutter-free home is an excellent way to add a little more tranquility to your life, so read on for our smart space saving ideas.

 

Space Saving Tips For Home

Speaking of home comfort, we are proud of our highly skilled team of professional technicians and fleet of fully stocked service trucks that are here to help you with your home’s heating and cooling needs. With Fire & Ice, peace of mind regarding your home comfort is just a phone call away. Whether you’re new to the area, or have called Northern Virginia your home for many years, contact us today to see how our experts can help make your home more comfortable (and efficient!) all year long. 703-496-5527

A Simple Guide to Spring Home Improvement Projects

Spring is here! Now is the perfect time to think about starting this year’s important home improvement projects. There are a few home fixes that are especially well-timed for spring. We’ve gathered a list of some of the most appropriate fixes to tackle soon after winter ends.

Best Spring Home Improvement Projects

Here are the top tips for tackling home improvement projects in spring:

Start at the Top

If it’s been awhile since you’ve examined your roof for missing or torn shingles, cracks, holes, or other places where leaks can enter your home, you should make this a priority. If you’ve noticed any water leaking into your home from your roof, grab a ladder and investigate where the leak is coming from.

If you’re not keen on heights or DIY, call in a professional for any inspections or repairs that need done. Your roof is your home’s biggest defense against bad weather, so make sure it’s in good shape.

Pay Attention to Siding

Just like your roof, your siding also acts as a shield against the outdoor elements. This means that is likely to suffer a bit of wear and tear during the winter months. Inspect your home’s siding thoroughly, and be sure to address any needed repairs as soon as possible.

If your siding is rather old, or shows a great deal of wear and tear, consider replacing it entirely. A benefit of replacing your home’s siding is that you can upgrade to a more energy efficient option that will help better insulate your home and be easier to keep clean.

Inspect all Windows

While cleaning your windows, inside and out, check for broken or cracked panes, damaged trim, or any areas where leaks may occur. If the windows need weather-stripping placed around the perimeter, do this as well. A new coat of paint on window trim and sills can really improve the look of your home with little effort or cost.

Clean Your Gutters

Cleaning gutters can sometimes seem like a daunting task, but there truly is no better time to make sure that your gutters are in good working order than during the springtime. Fall and winter storms can cause a lot of debris, such as leaves, twigs, and dirt to accumulate in your gutters.

If you notice that your gutters are leaky, broken or cracked, you’ll want to replace the damaged areas. This is an inexpensive way to improve your home; properly working gutters can help keep your home dry and cozy and prevent water damage in your home.

Get Maintenance on Your HVAC System

There is no better time than the springtime to have a professional HVAC technician perform maintenance on your heating and cooling system. A technician can spot any defects with your system or any small repairs that your furnace, radiator, air conditioner, or ductwork may need. This can go a long way in preventing small issues from becoming huge costly problems down the road.

We have expert technicians that can inspect your current system and answer any questions you may have about improving your home’s air quality and HVAC efficiency. Call us today to schedule a maintenance check, so you’ll rest assured that your cooling system is ready to go when the summertime heat hits: 703-496-5527

 

Don’t Buy a New Home Without Looking at These Things First

Finding a home is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your lifetime. Not only does buying a home require you to invest a significant amount of time and money into your new space, but where you choose to live will also impact your health and happiness while you live there. For this reason, it is important to consider all aspects of both the home and the location of the home before you decide on a house. Below, we provide a quick checklist to help you during the home buying process so that you don’t forget anything important.

New Home Buyer Checklist

If you are looking to purchase your first home in Woodbridge, VA or you are considering buying a new home, you will want to make sure that this home is the right fit. Use the checklist below to help you consider all aspects of the home and neighborhood before deciding on a new house:

new-home-buyer-checklist

Whether you’re just moving to Woodbridge, VA or you’re just moving to a new home, Fire and Ice HVAC is here to handle all of your heating and cooling system needs. Contact us today, and we can send someone out to inspect the HVAC system in your new home. Or, if you want to upgrade your current home’s system, we can help you find the right air conditioner or heater for your home comfort needs and even provide HVAC installation services.

Controlling Your Home Climate: Top Home Comfort Resources from Fire & Ice

Controlling your home climate is an important part of making (and keeping) your home comfortable for you and your family. But sometimes maintaining home comfort is difficult, especially as the seasons change and your indoor air quality may start to do funny things. Use the resources below to help you keep your Northern Virginia home comfortable throughout the year.

Home Comfort in Northern VA

Each month, our team publishes informative content on home comfort, HVAC, and energy efficiency for homeowners in Northern Virginia. Below are some of our best blog posts on the home comfort topics that matter most:

Air Quality Report: Woodbridge, VA

Indoor air quality is an important part of keeping your family safe and comfortable. In this post, we take a look at how Woodbridge homeowners can determine the air quality of their homes. Then, we provide simple tips that you can use to improve IAQ throughout the year so that you and your family can continue to breathe easy. This is a must-read for anyone with family members who suffer from allergies or asthma.

Why the Temperature in Your Home Matters and What to Consider

Most homeowners aim to keep their home at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. But did you know that the temperature inside your home impacts more than just whether you are hot or cold? Your home’s temperature can also impact humidity levels and the amount of allergens and pollutant in your home. In this post, we talk more about why your home temperature matters and offer you tips for effective temperature control.

Why is it so important to change the HVAC filter often?

Though most homeowners know that it’s important to routinely change their HVAC system filter, many just do not change their filter often enough. If you are wondering if you’re one of these people, then this blog post is a must-read for you! In this article, we discuss how dirty HVAC filters can impact your indoor air quality and dive a little deeper into the HVAC air filters that Northern Virginia homeowners can choose from.

All About Bryant Housewise Thermostats

It can be hard to get comfortable if you don’t have adequate control over your temperature and other factors of your home environment. Bryant Housewise thermostats help you gain better control over your home environment so that you and your family can stay comfortable year-round. This post offers important details about these smart thermostats and how they benefit homeowners.

Controlling Dry Air in Your Home

When the seasons change and winter finally arrives, the air can start to get drier outside and in our homes. Unfortunately, this dry air can start to impact our health. That’s why it’s important for homeowners to arm themselves with the tools and tips they need to control dry air in their homes. This article talks about how dry air can impact your health as well as offers tips for humidifying your whole home.

Want to read more great content like this? Make sure to check out our blog each month for new content, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest from Fire and Ice HVAC.

Read This Before You Try an HVAC Hack

There are a lot of videos out there explaining how to do “simple” DIY hacks to your home’s HVAC system, including how-to fix furnaces and air conditioning units. However, you may want to hold off on any home improvement projects and read this first.

Why HVAC Hacks Might Not Be Worth It

There are several reasons why you should avoid trying an HVAC hack, and these three are probably the most important:

You could break what you’re trying to fix.

This is very significant reason to avoid DIY HVAC hacks. You may go into a project thinking you’ll save a couple hundred dollars, only to realize that your handiwork has cost you thousands. If you are not a trained HVAC repair professional, we recommend staying away from fixes that go beyond changing your air filter. You could cause damage to your HVAC system inadvertently, or worse: break the entire unit. The cost of a full HVAC system replacement is just not worth the small amount of savings that the DIY promises.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that all HVAC units aren’t the same. Many videos online explain how to repair a specific type of unit. Variations in brands, year made, and unit sizes mean there are a plethora of HVAC systems out there and they all require their own unique repair and maintenance. Instead of leaving it to chance, leave it to a pro.

It’s dangerous.

You know how your HVAC system is powered by high voltage electricity? Yep, you don’t want to mess with that. Electrical safety is really important: switches, fixed wiring, outlets, and receptacles are responsible for approximately half of all fires caused by electrical equipment—and the cause of most fire related deaths and injuries in the United States.

Unless you’re very well experienced with electricity, you should steer clear of messing with any appliances that require high voltage electricity. Even if your unit is unplugged, a charge can remain in the unit’s capacitor, which could cause quite a shock. When working with high voltage electricity, one wrong decision or accidental move could cause serious injury or death… and that’s simply not worth the small savings of DIY.

You’re probably not equipped for the task.

Not only do HVAC professionals have appropriate training and experience fixing HVAC systems, they also have the proper tools. This is a pretty noteworthy thing to keep in mind if you’re considering taking on an HVAC hack of your own. For proper HVAC diagnostics and repair, you’ll need several specific types of tools and gauges. These types of tools can be quite pricey, and may cost more than a simple service call would. Unless you plan to go into HVAC repair yourself, purchasing these tools may not be the wisest investment. Instead, save yourself the trouble and opt for a professional when your HVAC system needs repair.

As a homeowner, you know that HVAC systems don’t come cheap. So, protect your investment, and call in a professional when your system needs repair. We’re here to help! Call us at 703-496-5527

Take Advantage of Bryant Factory Rebates this Fall

Have you been thinking about replacing your HVAC system? Now that fall has arrived, there is no better time to upgrade or replace your HVAC system then now. Fire and Ice HVAC, Inc. has a variety of quality heating and cooling systems available from Bryant. What’s more is that if you act now, you can take advantage of significant savings in the form of factory rebates.

Why Fall is the Best Season for HVAC Replacement

Though the weather is more moderate, and your HVAC unit may be the last thing on your mind, fall really is the ideal time to explore your options for upgrades and get a new system installed. Here are just a few reasons why fall is the best season for HVAC replacement:

  • You have more time to research your options. Many people don’t replace their HVAC system until they experience a major breakdown. Unfortunately, this can often occur during a time of the year when it is too hot or too cold to go long without a working heating and cooling system. If you replace your HVAC unit in the fall, then you have time to research and explore your options without having to make a rush decision in the moment.
  • HVAC companies can offer more convenient scheduling. Fall is a slower season for HVAC companies because they are not experiencing as many emergency calls. This means that they often have a more flexible schedule for consultations and new system installs. Not to mention, if you have your new system installed in the fall, you won’t have to worry about having to endure uncomfortable temperatures during the installation process.
  • There is the opportunity to save more in the new year. Many homeowners are looking for ways to save more money each year. By replacing your HVAC system this fall with a more energy-efficient model, your home can work toward saving more money on energy bills throughout the new year.

Bryant Factory Rebate Promotion Ends November 15

Have you been thinking about purchasing a new Bryant heating and cooling system? If so, now is the time to contact Fire and Ice to find out more about your upgrade options. Today, you can qualify for up to $1,450 in Bryant factory rebates when you purchase a qualifying Bryant home comfort system or HVAC equipment. However, this offer ends soon, so the sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you find the right home comfort system for you at a significant discount.

If you want to take advantage of these Bryant Factory rebates, you’ll need to act fast! The deadline for this promotion is November 15, 2016. Contact us now to speak with an HVAC expert about what units would be the best fit for your home and comfort needs. We would also be happy to answer any other questions about fall HVAC maintenance or ways that you can improve efficiency and enhance home comfort.