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The changing of the seasons offers the perfect opportunity to clean up, make repairs, and generally get your home in good order so you can enjoy the best home comfort and energy efficiency during the coming months. Here are some regular tasks that should be part of your fall home maintenance routine before the colder temperatures really move in. Check your insulation and weatherproofing. Look for daylight or feel for a draft with your hand, going around to all windows and doors in the home. Consider replacing or upgrading weatherstripping and caulk wherever necessary. Don’t forget basement windows and other less obvious areas. Heating and cooling make up about half of your energy bills, so  weatherization represents a vital part of fall home maintenance. Take care of your air conditioning system. You should winterize your air conditioner as soon as you won’t be using it. Place approved tarps over outdoor units and bring window units inside. The windows will help retain more heating if you remove the window unit. Reverse ceiling fans. Don’t forget to change the direction your ceiling fans rotate so that you can spread warm air downward during the heating months. Get your humidifier situation in order. Having a humidifier during heating season greatly improves home comfort. Clean your humidifier or consider getting one if you do not have one already. Clean it regularly so that it can better remove allergens and pathogens in the air to improve your indoor air quality. Take care of wood stoves and fireplaces. Have a chimney sweep clean your chimney and check on any leaks or damage. By taking a moment to maintain your home and its heating and cooling equipment you’ll be able to enjoy better air at home while minimizing your energy bills. Like spring cleaning, consider fall maintenance to prepare for cold weather ahead. For help with fall home maintenance in your home, contact us at Gilman Heating and Cooling and ask how we can help. We’ve been serving the greater Richmond area since 1917.  

Perhaps you spend a lot of time in your garage working on the car, playing around with power tools, or maybe even hosting a table tennis tournament. Or maybe the recent college grad in your family is moving back in with the parents, but you turned his bedroom into an office when he left.   There are plenty of good reasons to spend time in the garage, and air conditioning a garage can be crucial to enjoying your time there. Ductless systems offer easy and efficient solutions for air conditioning your garage.   Ductless systems don’t require extensive duct space because the compressor needs only a little room on the wall. The technology behind ductless air conditioners allows the necessary machinery to have a layout very different from window units or outdoor units.   Key advantages of ductless systems include:

  • Powerful cooling ability
  • Higher efficiency than other solutions
  • Flexible options to suit your space
  • Flexibility for air conditioning a garage or other individual rooms
  • Supplemental cooling for rooms that don’t get cooled easily

  Ductless systems can often cost more than window units, but those are not an option in many garages. Also, the cost of a ductless air conditioner may be mitigated by the fact that you don’t have to do additional ductwork in order to install the unit. There are many questions about air conditioning that we can answer for you to help determine your best options.   If you want to convert a garage or if you like spending time there, you should ensure that you and your family can feel comfortable and breathe healthful air there. You may have thought that air conditioning your garage was not an option, but ductless air conditioning units can cool the room perfectly.   For help figuring out how and where to install air conditioning for your garage, get in touch with us at Gilman Heating & Cooling. We’ve been proudly serving the greater Richmond area since 1917.  

Big-ticket items deserve big-ticket evaluations, so if you’re considering a furnace replacement, you’re wise to evaluate the problems your furnace is giving you compared to the cost of purchasing a new one. You may have heard that today’s Energy Star furnaces are superior to their predecessors, with some achieving more than 95 percent efficiency. As a consumer, this means that you can expect to shave about $17 for every $100 you spend to heat your home—a number that may help you determine how long it will take to recoup the cost of a furnace replacement. Other numbers, especially those surrounding future furnace repairs, are more difficult to forecast. Like most electrical systems, even well-maintained furnaces deteriorate over time. If you’ve already gotten 15 to 20 years from your furnace, you’re lucky. But certain conditions and warning signs usually indicate that your furnace is on borrowed time. Consider:

  • A yellow burner flame intruding on the bright blue flame - These could signify dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. If you don’t have detectors in your home, be alert for outbreaks of nausea, headaches or disorientation—all signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Your utility bills - Increases aside, if they’ve gotten bigger, it’s because an older, inefficient furnace costs more money to run.
  • Your recent furnace repairs - A large Consumer Reports study found that when the vast majority of furnaces fail, they need significant (meaning costly) repairs.
  • Inconsistent temperatures in your home, either between rooms or levels - This often is a sign that your furnace is struggling to circulate air properly.
  • Uncomfortable air, whether it’s unusually dry, stuffy or humid - Poor air quality often indicates that your furnace can no longer sufficiently clean the air in your home.
  • Loud or otherwise uncommon noises coming from your furnace - Consider this a literal cry for help.

At Gilman Heating & Cooling, we appreciate how difficult it can be to evaluate the need for a furnace replacement. And that’s why we’re eager to help. Call us for an appointment and we’ll diagnose the problems you're having. Then we'll work together to discuss a logical and sensible action plan, just as a big-ticket item deserves.  

What are ductless mini splits? They're climate control units that don't use ductwork. They work well in home additions where no ducts are connected, as well as in historic homes whose original construction makes them hard to alter without changing the structural integrity of a building. Ductless mini splits can be used in almost any dwelling since they're so small and compact. Convenient and Economical Home Climate Control There are many convenient advantages to using ductless mini splits. First and foremost, they're great green alternatives to central heating and cooling units, using only a small proportion of energy compared to larger forced air systems. They only need to be used in rooms that have occupants, and they're cost efficient in that you're not paying for the energy spent used to heat unoccupied rooms like guest rooms. Though they're set up in individual rooms, like space heaters, they use less energy and don't present the same fire safety risks that space heaters do. Also, ductless mini splits don't blow in merely one direction in one specific area. They blow warm air onto the cold air that's low near the floor and warm it, evenly distributing heat. Getting the Most Heating Efficiency out of a Ductless Mini Split

  • If ceiling fans are present, operating a ceiling fan in the clockwise direction will help disperse warm air near the ceiling downward so that it will recirculate.
  • It's important to make sure that rooms already have thorough insulation. Whether it's wall insulation or sealing off windows, a room must be properly insulated for the best heating outcomes.
  • Situate the outdoor component of the ductless mini split so that it's out of the way of snow. They must be raised off the ground at least two feet and have their own little roof so they don't get covered in snow.

If you'd like to learn more about how ductless mini splits can be used to heat or cool your home with optimum performance, or if you have questions about them in general, contact the pros at Gilman Heating & Cooling. We're proud to serve homeowners in and around the Virginia communities of Richmond, Ashland, Chesterfield, Hanover and Glen Allen.

Don’t let poor indoor air quality make you feel under the weather. Boost the indoor air quality in your home with the best air purifying plants available.

Best Air Purifying Plants for Your Richmond Area Home

  • Spider plants - Spider plants remove poisonous gases, formaldehyde and xylene and are one of the best air purifying plants to place in the kitchen or near fireplaces where carbon monoxide accumulates.
  • Boston fern - As natural humidifiers, Boston ferns release moisture into the air while removing pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde and xylene.
  • English ivy - English ivy removes benzene, formaldehyde and various off-gas chemicals released by synthetics. This is one of the best air purifying plants for people with asthma and allergies.
  • Areca palm - Areca palms are humidifying plants which remove formaldehyde and xylene.
  • Golden pothos - This type of plant removes formaldehyde, benzene and xylene, but be careful, because this plant is toxic to small animals and children.
  • Aloe vera - Air purifiers like aloe filter various gases from dangerous toxic materials. Its gel is used to help with skin burns.
  • Chinese evergreen - One of the best air purifying plants, the Chinese evergreen removes benzene and formaldehyde.
  • Snake plant - Snake plants have been found by NASA scientists to have the remarkable ability to absorb formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides and a variety of other airborne chemicals.
  • Peace lily - Peace lilies reduce harmful indoor pollutants that may cause cancer. It's also one of the best air purifying plants for fighting pollution and absorbing excess carbon dioxide.
  • Marginata - This plant removes benzene, formaldehyde and other toxins from the air. But beware—this can be poisonous to dogs.

Even the best air purifying plants need a little help! For the best indoor air quality, consider adding these features to your home's HVAC system:

  • Whole-house air purifier - Whole-house air purifiers pull unwanted particles out of the air throughout your home.
  • HEPA filters - HEPA filters remove 99 percent of unwanted particles 0.3 microns and larger from the air. Look for filters with a MERV rating of 17 to 19.
  • Carbon filters - Carbon filters trap toxic gases in your home’s air.
  • UV lights - Ultraviolet (UV) lights trap and kill bacteria and viruses in your home.

To learn more about improving the air quality in your home, contact Gilman Heating and Cooling. Our professional team proudly serves homeowners throughout Richmond, Ashland, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover, Glen Allen and surrounding areas.

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