Blog

Click here to schedule
an appointment

insulation-heatingWhen most people think of insulation, they think of winter. Indeed, adequate insulation helps keep your Virginia home warmer in the winter, but it also helps keep it cooler in the summer.  In fact, adding insulation to your home can reduce your air conditioning bills by up to 25 percent and lower your heating bills by up to 50 percent. But insulation benefits aren't just about keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulation also acts as soundproofing, which is great for homes with small kids or teenagers conducting band practice in the basement. Adequate insulation can also increase the resale value of your home.

How Much Insulation Do You Need?

Insulation is given a rating called the R-value. The R-value indicates how well the insulation prevents thermal (or heat) transfer between the outside and the inside of your home. Ceilings should be insulated with R-38 to R-49, depending on your region. Floors should be insulated with R-19, and walls with R-13 to R-19. Your attic should have 10 to 14 inches of R-38 to R-49 insulation, depending on your climate.

Installing Insulation

Myths about insulation abound, and the most common one is that if you want to shore up your home's insulation, you must tear out the walls to fit fiberglass batts behind them. The truth is, retrofitting insulation is fairly simple. Cellulose insulation can be blown into spaces behind walls and under floors, and spray foam insulation, which is applied as a viscous liquid that expands and hardens, can be blown into walls and floors to form a solid barrier against air and moisture. While insulation is essential for your comfort and lowering your energy bills, insulation benefits can be severely compromised if there are air leaks or moisture infiltration behind the insulation. To reap the full benefits of insulation, your home must have the proper R-value for your climate, it must be properly installed, and your home must be properly air sealed and protected against moisture from outside. For more expert advice about shoring up your Richmond area home's insulation, please contact us at Gilman Heating & Cooling.

Written by

Image provided by Shutterstock.com

generatorHow do you make sure a power outage doesn’t leave you out in the cold this winter? You arm yourself with a backup generator. But which is right for you, standby or portable? This guide will help you decide.

Estimate Power Needs

Calculate the wattage consumed by each appliance you want to keep running during a power outage. The furnace or air conditioner and refrigerator are the most important. Also, don’t forget to factor in power for a few outlets so you can keep a floor lamp on and charge your cell phone. A mid-sized portable generator producing 5,000 to 6,000 watts is large enough for most homes. If you have higher power needs, such as the desire to run your air conditioner during summertime power outages, a more powerful standby generator capable of producing 10,000 watts or more may better suit your needs.

Determine Convenience and Safety Needs

You must turn on a gasoline-powered portable generator by hand if the power goes off. You also need to store fuel onsite since gas stations may be inaccessible or inoperable during a power outage. If the unit isn’t placed far enough from your home, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when you run the generator. On the other hand, a natural gas or propane-powered standby generator is permanently installed on the premises and kicks on automatically when it senses a blackout. There’s no danger of carbon monoxide poisoning either, since the unit is professionally installed in one stationary location with safety as the number one priority.

Other Considerations

For all its power, convenience and safety benefits, standby generators have two major drawbacks. First, they are more expensive to purchase and install than portable generators. Second, since they are a permanent installation, you can’t take the generator with you on camping trips. Keep these points in mind as you make the final decision to purchase a standby or portable generator. For help picking out the right generator to get you through the next Richmond-area power outage, please contact Gilman Heating & Cooling today. Our experience dates back almost 100 years.

Written by

Image provided by Shutterstock.com

Properly sealed ductwork can offer a lot of benefits to your Virginia home. From heat loss to a higher heating bill, leaking ducts can only bring about problems./p>

Here are five big benefits of taking the time for duct sealing:

  • Comfort - It’s no secret that the conditioned air traveling through the ductwork in your home is one of the best parts of having a heating and cooling system. Leaking ducts can cause the loss of conditioned air, making it harder for you to keep the home at the temperature you prefer.
  • Air quality - While conditioned air may get sucked out of air leaks in ductwork, other things can get sucked in. Pollutants such as mold, insulation fibers, exhaust and pesticides can blow through the ducts of your home. Poor indoor air quality can result in a number of health issues. Proper duct sealing prevents this.
  • Energy savings - The tighter your ductwork, the easier your heating and cooling system has it. When conditioned air is lost in the ducts, the HVAC system has to work harder to compensate. This can take years off the life span of the system and can drive energy bills sky high.
  • Safety - Home ventilation is necessary to remove harmful fumes from household appliances, like gas furnaces and wood stoves. If you have leaking ducts, backdrafting can happen. This means that the harmful fumes from these appliances are sucked into the ductwork that leads into your home. A buildup of these fumes can cause health problems and pose a fire risk.
  • Environmentally friendly - The less energy you use, the less harm you're doing to the environment. Most of the energy used by the average family comes from fossil fuels. Smog and acid rain are just a few of the problems that come from the burning of fossil fuels.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of duct sealing benefits or if you're interested in seeing how efficient your heating and cooling system is, contact Gilman Heating and Cooling. We been serving Richmond and surrounding areas since 1917.

 

From time to time you'll need to replace your thermostat. It can seem like a complicated task, but if you break it down into five main steps, you'll understand how to replace a thermostat without any significant issues.

Before you start, you need to get a replacement. You can shop around for different types of thermostats or get a recommendation from an HVAC contractor. Make sure your new thermostat has the same voltage and is compatible with your heating system.

  • Step 1: Remove old thermostat - Start by taking off the faceplate and find the mounting screws. Once you remove these screws, your thermostat should be released from the wall and you can get behind it. From here, carefully remove wires from the back of the unit by loosening the connection screws. Don’t let the loose wires fall in between the walls.
  • Step 2: Attach new one - From here on, it’s essentially the reverse process of step one. Clean the ends of the hanging wires with a utility knife until the ends are shiny. Then attach the wires to your new thermostat.
  • Step 3: Initial attachment - The next step is to get your thermostat back on the wall. In order to do so, carefully push the wires back into the wall and tape up the opening. The tape makes sure any cold air inside the walls won’t interfere with your thermostat.
  • Step 4: Secure the unit - Now it’s time to screw in the mounting screws to firmly secure the unit. If your thermostat has a mercury tube, you must make sure it's perfectly level during this installation step.
  • Step 5: Faceplate attachment and testing - At this point, you should be able to snap the faceplate over your new thermostat. Next, test that it functions correctly by adjusting the temperature and making sure it can turn your HVAC system on and off.

If you still aren't sure how to replace a thermostat or would prefer having a pro handle the job, you can get expert assistance in Richmond, Ashland, Henrico or the surrounding areas by contacting Gilman Heating & Cooling.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is deadly, and exposure to a carbon monoxide leak has the potential to be fatal within just a few minutes. CO is produced when a fuel such as oil, wood, or gas is burned, which is the case in many modern HVAC appliances. When your heating devices are working properly, there's no risk. The amount of CO that's produced is small and you have nothing to worry about. However, if the appliance has a malfunction, there can be a problem that leads to higher amounts of carbon monoxide being released. This can be deadly.

To keep your family as safe as possible, follow these tips:

  • Have HVAC systems installed by a professional. All appliances must be installed by a fully trained and accredited professional. The detector must be installed properly per the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Install CO detectors - Equipment does break sometimes, and when it does, you want to make sure you're protected against a carbon monoxide leak. By installing CO detectors in your house, you can ensure that any carbon monoxide leak is spotted before it becomes hazardous to your health.
  • Keep all equipment well-maintained - To reduce the risk of a carbon monoxide leak, all HVAC equipment should be kept well-maintained. It's recommended that you have yearly service carried out by a local professional to help spot potential problems and fix them before they result in a CO leak.

Gilman Heating & Cooling has almost 100 years of industry experience. If you have any concerns about carbon monoxide leaks or if you'd like to schedule a service for your equipment, contact the pros at Gilman Heating & Cooling.