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Programmable Thermostats – The Why and How

Anyone with a standard thermostat is probably familiar with the scenario of waking up in the middle of the night from overheating in bed. It’s not uncommon. Perhaps it was a cold Winter evening when you cranked up the heat to °78F, and forgot about it completely. The next thing you know, you’re waking up covered in sweat, and your bill has just climbed a little higher this month.

No one enjoys these happenstances, so how can we avoid it? Luckily there is an alternative which still includes the ability to have heat when you need it, and preserve it when you don’t; programmable thermostats.

What is a programmable Thermostat?

Despite the conceptual simplicity of this device, not many people know about them, or have heard about them, but haven’t had the chance to learn more info.

A programmable thermostat is a device which at first glance, looks like an ordinary temperature controller, often in a white casing on the wall. Unlike ordinary thermostats however, these mechanism allows the owner to designate different heating/air conditioning settings to different times of the day.

Nearly half of all the energy costs in your home can come from heating! Luckily with devices such as these, you can save literally hundreds a year by simply scheduling your home to be ten degrees cooler while you’re at work!

What to look for in a programmable thermostat?

As with all other technology, there is a wide variety of thermostats you can buy, with different sets of features, and an equally wide range of cost.

As far as cost is concerned, the base range is only 25$! For that price, you can get a basic, but good system that will save you tons!

Features that can add to the price (but can be ultimately useful):

  • 7 day programmability (able to set up a different schedule for each day of the week)
  • An energy consumption monitor
  • backlit display
  • Wifi connection (allowing you to adjust temperature from your mobile devices)

If you have further questions about programmable thermostats, please send us an email or give us a call! We’re happy to supply anyone and everyone with professional advice and insights to heating, air conditioning, and air conditioning repair.

Financing Your Replacement HVAC: Savannah Options

The summer is here, and having a working HVAC system is more important than ever! you don’t want your house to be melting on the inside, and air system services are the quickest and most effective way to keeping the whole family comfortable and happy!

Unfortunately, even when properly maintained, HVAC systems can eventually break down due to simple wear and tear. It’s simply the way of technology and cannot be avoided. If you aren’t sure how to maintain your HVAC on a regular basis, check out our blog article, “Regular Air Conditioner & HVAC Maintenance Can Save You Money”

So what do you do if the worst happens?What if the unit breaks down beyond repair, and even calling a professional can’t help? The answer is simple, even though most people aren’t too fond of it; your unit needs to be replaced!

This can be a little intimidating for most modest homeowners. HVAC units can cost a pretty penny to purchase and install, since it’s not recommended to perform those steps without the help of an HVAC professional. Don’t worry, even if you may not be able to afford the entire cost up front of a new HVAC unit, luckily there are alternative financing options!

Here at McCalls Heating and Air, we’ve teamed up with Wells Fargo, to bring heating and air conditioning systems to every type of home with HVAC replacement financing plans! These plans will make it easier for homeowners of any and all means to be able to afford comfortable living conditions in the summer and winter alike!

With these plans:

– It only takes five minutes for approval

– Anyone is eligible

– Payment time period can range from 15-60 months

– There are many different options for different interest rates

– Everything in the delivery and installation of your new HVAC system is included in the plan (not in a premium)

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Even if you are particularly unsure of your credit score, and eligibility, we offer a guaranteed financing, which simply involves proof of income and residence. While this plan has less requirements, it will take longer.


If you want to learn more or apply for HVAC replacement financing, contact us by email through our website!

Window Films: Let the Sunshine In

Summertime in the south gets hot! Constantly running the AC at full speed can cause air conditioning repair bills to stack up, so it’s up to you to discover new and creative ways to cut down the heat in your home. Let us offer some advice on what helps us, and can cut costs up to a whopping 50%!

Window films are an inexpensive and long lasting solution to heat in the summer, and are extremely easy to install to a home of any shape or size.

Don’t pull out the dvd’s just yet, we’re not talking about that kind of film!

Window films are semi-translucent sheets that are easily rolled onto the inside of your home windows. These films reflect the suns heat and ultraviolet rays, and even reduce glare without obscuring the view!

Window-film-kit


A 3 foot by 15 foot film which can cover several windows in a home run around $30 at your local hardware store, and take about half an hour to install. Initially once installed they may create a hazy look on your window but it will dissipate within 10 days.

The only drawback to these films is for some windows, they may void the warranty, so make sure to check what sort of windows you have and if they’re covered.

Have any comments or questions about window films and how they work? Need air conditioner repair? Contact McCalls Heating and Air for a professional opinion and advice!

 

Electric Heaters, Do They Really Save?

No one likes being cold, and no one likes spending more money than they have to on heating utilities. This brings up the demand for portable electric heaters. They can be brought anywhere, can heat up a room quickly, and can save you a bunch. Don’t they?

Ultimately, it’s brought down to two short and sweet answers:

  1. If heating one room, yes definitely
  2. If heating a house, no

Here are some things you need to know about space heaters;

There are two types of space heaters; radiant and convection:

  • Radiant heaters will heat a smaller space in your room, blasting heat to the immediate area around it.
  • Convection heaters will heat up air passing through it, and blow it around the room, heating up the whole area.

Different models of space heaters take up a wide variety of energy, which can affect just how much you’re saving by using it. Most convection space heaters will hover around the energy consumption of 1500 watts just to heat one room effectively.   This maybe cheaper if you’re only heating one room, but on a room for room basis, this is A LOT more expensive than most whole-home heating options.

Despite the fact that using a whole-home heating system will result in a larger bill altogether, (especially if your home is heated with gas), a geothermal system costs significantly less to cover a much wider area. For those who aren’t aware of the alternative, geothermal systems are an extremely cost effective system which extracts and moves heat from the earth instead of generating it, and shifts the higher temperature air throughout your home.

Heat pumps which utilize warm temperature from the air outside or the ground both are great for your wallet, as they both rely on naturally existing resources. If you can afford the installation, or know you’ll be spending a long time in the same home, heat pumps are definitely the way to go.

Ultimately though, when it comes down to it, if you aren’t a homeowner, and perhaps can’t afford the investment of a heat pump installation, it will always be more efficient to use a space heater for a room or two of your house.  If you have any questions or inquiries about portable space heaters contact your nearest heating and air specialist! Stay warm!

For more information, check out our recent blog article about geothermal heat pumps.

Geothermal Heat: What the Fuss is About

If you know someone in the heating and air business, you may have heard them mention geothermal heat pumps. While they may just sound like another heating/cooling system among the hundreds of flashy sounding options, Geothermal heat has become a resource which can cut down your utility bills up to 70%!

What is geothermal heat?

Geothermal heat is the constant temperature range produced in the earth. Despite the constantly changing weather outside, underground the earth maintains higher temperatures from absorbed sun rays.

How do geothermal heat pumps work?

Geothermal heat pumps work similar to regular heat pumps with a few differences:

  • ‘Loops’ of pipes containing a water solution are buried underground, and connected to your heat pump system. These can be installed horizontally or vertically in the ground near your home.
  • Using the water heater in tandem, heat is either extracted or exited through these loops, and ventilated through your home. It isn’t generating heat, but is instead moving the underground temperature around to facilitate your needs.

Compare this to how regular heat pumps work:

  • Air based heat pumps are just as sophisticated in technology to ground based. To sum up how an air based heat pump works: Heat is energy, and when a material changes from one state to another (liquid to gas or vice versa), it absorbs or disperses energy around it as needed. Heat pumps utilize this basic method with a compressor, and once energy has been gathered, disperses it throughout your home as needed.
  • When the desired effect is cooling, the process is reversed, and the heat is shifted out of your home through the same process of absorbing and dispersing energy.

How is a geothermal heat pump better than a regular heat pump?

  • Geothermal heat is energy efficient/green – as the heat is being pulled from a natural resource, the system doesn’t have to work as hard as an outdoor unit.
  • Cost is reduced – With less energy being used, your utility cost will virtually torpedo downward to a fraction of what you were paying before
  • Runs more quietly – a geothermal heat pump has a less noisy mechanism than a regular heat pump.
  • Installed inside your home – this means less repairs and maintenance from weather.

As always, it’s best to consult a geothermal heating and cooling savannah professional for an insight to what heating/cooling system would serve you best!

 

HVAC Maintenance: When to Call a Professional

Has your HVAC system stopped working correctly, or shown signs of needing repairs?

Maybe you’re a little tight on cash this week, and can’t afford to call the repairman at the drop of a hat. Can you fix it yourself, or should you pick up the phone?

The good news is there are some steps you can take in repairing/maintaining your HVAC system yourself which will often help significantly. The bad news is that past these steps, repair of your system can become dangerous to untrained people. It’s because of this we want to include this warning:

Do not try to repair or work on your HVAC system beyond these steps! Call a professional. A visit from your local specialist is always cheaper than a personal injury!

    • Examine Your Thermostat: Replace the batteries in your thermostat, and test it by setting it ten degrees colder or warmer than the outdoor temperature. This can be an important small fix, as your thermostat is the brain telling your HVAC when to work.

 

    • Check The Circuit Breaker: It is possible that power is not getting to your HVAC system because of a tripped circuit. Flip the switch, and check the master switches on the inside and outside units to make sure they’re receiving electricity. (Even if flipping the switch works, we suggest you consult an HVAC specialist. Most will be willing to explain why the circuit is being tripped.)

 

    • Press The System Reset Button: Resetting the unit can fix some minor mechanical hiccups which could cause the system to act irregularly. It can be surprising how useful this step is!

 

    • Change Your Filter: Dirt build up in the return vent of the HVAC system can cause issues for the device and waste money while the machine is working harder to regulate the temperature.

 

    • Clean Up Around The Unit: Clear anything that could be obstructing airflow; grass, ice, as these can have the same difficulties as the step above. You can even buy a commercial grade coil cleaner, but remember, do not open the unit! Working inside the casing could cause damage to both the unit and yourself!

 

    • Moving The Furniture: It’s important to make sure that vents are also not blocked or obstructed from passing air from one place to another. It’s pretty common to have a vent under your couch that you don’t know about, so investigate!

So you’ve tried all these things, and nothing’s changed! Your unit is still working poorly or not working at all. Well, at this point, it’s time to call a professional.

Remember to take note of all the symptoms of your dysfunctioning unit for the service-man to get the problem solved as quickly as possible, and always remember to perform maintenance in between repairs!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Learn About Heat Pumps

Surprise cold snaps can be hard to deal with, especially in the South.

Last winter, the weather hit an all-time low, and many homeowners were left completely unprepared, and unsure what to combat the cold with.

When most people consider temperature control in their home, their focus is on central air conditioning or gas heating. While these work, they have their fair share of setbacks (cost of gas in the winter/cost of cool air generators and repair in the summer).

A useful alternative to understand and consider for those cold or warm times, is a heat pump.

Most people don’t know, but a heat pump can be used to both cool down or warm up a home!

How it works
When most people hear ‘heat pump’ they think of a mechanism that generates heat, but in reality, heat pumps transport heat from one area to another.

A little known fact is that even in cold weather, heat is present. A heat pump will extract the heat from the air, and bring it into your home in the winter. The same technique is reversed for the summer, when your heat pump extracts the heat from your home, leaving only cooler air!

Less cost to you and the environment
Perhaps the greatest aspect of a heat pump is the efficiency of the device. Having a two part system for heating and air conditioning can be both costly and harmful for the environment. As a heat pump runs on electricity, and doesn’t burn fuel, they can help save the environment as well as your wallet space!

What to do now
If you are interested, but want to know more about how a heat pump could specifically help control the temperature in your home, call McCalls Heating and Air for a consultation!

Five Advantages of Using a Heat Pump for Your Heating and Cooling

Heat pumps provide a safe and efficient method of keeping your home or office building comfortable year round.  They are a particularly good solution for homes and offices in mild climates like Georgia and South Carolina.

  1. A heat pump can both warm your house and cool your house from the same system. This means you will not need to purchase and maintain two different systems to keep your home or office comfortable year round.
  2. Heating and cooling your home using a heat pump can be more energy efficient than  furnaces and AC systems.
  3. Heat pumps run on one small system for heating and cooling instead of separate systems for furnace and air conditioning.   This means the installation costs can be less and their are less parts which might break and require maintenance.
  4. Heat pumps can be safer than systems that would require gas to create heat. Because the heat pump does not use gas to create heat, there is no risk of gas leak or other exposure to gases which could be harmful to you or your family.
  5. Heat pumps heat and cool spaces more evenly than other systems.  A heat pump could be the solution to fix cold or hot spots you may have in your home.

If you are interested in home heating, here are a couple of other articles on our site you may want to check out:

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Want to know more about McCalls Heating Services?  Click here

How to Make Sure Your Furnace is Ready for Winter

As we approach the winter season, everyone should take some time to prepare their furnace for the upcoming cold weather. Although you might not turn your furnace on for another month or two, you can take a couple of proactive steps to make sure that it is in tip top shape.

Begin by performing a quick inspection of your heating system. Take a walk around the furnace and look for signs of wear and tear. If any objects are within two feet or less of the machine or its ducts, move them far away to prevent damage. Make sure that the pilot light is lit.

Take the time to schedule a furnace tune up. If you’ve noticed any damage during your inspection, an HVAC professional will be able to further diagnose the problem when he is on site for the tune up. When he’s preparing your system for its heavy winter workload, he’ll also perform his own inspection and examine the unit for malfunctions and any grime that might alter its functionality. Once your system is tuned up, you’ll be able to ease into the winter without any concerns about its ability to heat your home.

Be sure to take a look at your system’s air filter. Make sure that it is completely clean and in place. The filter is key to your furnace’s health and functionality as it is a safeguard against dust and dirt that could infiltrate the system. If the filter looks dirty, do not hesitate to replace it. The little bit of money that you would save by keeping the old filter in place isn’t worth the risk that it poses to your furnace’s ability to efficiently heat your home with high quality air.

Interested in Scheduling a Furnace Inspection and Service?

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or call us at 912-898-1888

Healthy HVAC Maintenance Keeps Breathing Easier

Air conditioning systems are expensive, so once an investment is made it’s important to care for it properly.

Regularly scheduled maintenance will keep it running at its highest efficiency. Not only it this important for the health of an HVAC system, but it’s also important for a family’s health.

Changing HVAC Filters

One of the most important things people can do is to change their air conditioner filters monthly. Why? Because when these filters are dirty, the air that’s circulated through them isn’t as clean as it should be. This promotes excess dust and could cause respiratory problems, especially for those with health conditions like asthma. Continued use of dirty filters will cause dust mites to collect in air ducts and contaminants to circulate in the home.

Drain Lines

It’s also important to keep hvac drain lines clean. This is usually performed by a maintenance technician.  When an air conditioner pushes cold air into the home, it’s normal for condensation to accumulate which drains through several tubes to direct excess drainage outside.

Without regular attention, these drains can become clogged and foster an environment for the growth of mold and fungus. This can end up in the entire drainage system. Before that happens, it best to periodically keep an eye on the unit. Just ask the HVAC technician what to look for.

There are other maintenance guidelines for keeping air conditioners running at its best and keeping repairs at a minimum. Spending money on a low-cost plan will give most a peace of mind and will eventually pay for itself.