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A common problem that many homeowners face is the lack of temperature consistency throughout their homes, particularly between the upper and lower floors. During the summer months, temperatures may vary by several degrees, making the upstairs uncomfortable and undesirable. Here are some great tips on how to keep the upstairs cool in your Hanover home.

  • Beef up your insulation. Make sure you have a minimum value of R-30 in your attic to stop the transfer of heat to your living space.
  • Change the air filter. Dirty or clogged air filters decrease the efficiency of your cooling system. Change them every four to six weeks during peak season.
  • Close your curtains. Keep window coverings closed during the day, particularly on windows that receive direct sunlight, to reduce heat gain through the glass.
  • Check for leaks. Air leaks through windows, wall outlets or vents let the cold air out and the hot air in. Seal air leaks in problem areas with weatherstripping or caulking where applicable.
  • Redirect the air. Partially close downstairs registers and fully open upstairs registers. It's important to note, however, that closing off any registers completely may create a pressure imbalance so be sure to maintain a sufficient degree of airflow.
  • Use fans. Ceiling or floor fans can help make a room feel cooler, though they don’t actually change the temperature. Use them in conjunction with your A/C in occupied rooms to take advantage of the wind chill effect they produce.
  • Call for an evaluation. Your local contractor can perform a home energy audit and recommend solutions to keep the upstairs cool in your home.
  • Maintain the outdoor unit. Disconnect the power to the outdoor unit and gently hose off the coils to remove any accumulated dirt. Clean around the unit, removing any foliage or debris and trim long branches or grass within three feet on all sides including the top.

For more tips on how to keep the upstairs cool in your Virginia home, call the experts at Gilman Heating & Cooling. Since 1917, we've been providing top quality service to the residents of the Ashland, Chesterfield, Glen Allen, Hanover and Richmond areas.

Staying on top of your heat pump cooling system with routine maintenance will shave the cost of operating it. Hot temperatures in our region often extend into fall and when you give your cooling system a little attention mid-season, you might reduce energy consumption by as much as 25 percent, according to U.S. EPA estimates. The most important thing you can do to improve the efficiency of your heat pump is checking the air filter for the air handler monthly. Dirty filters slow the airflow through the air handler, slowing the cooling process. Dust can also enter the air handler and cover the evaporator coil, which insulates it. The cold refrigerant won't be able to remove as much heat from the air blowing over it and some of the refrigerant could return to the compressor as a liquid. This stresses the compressor and can cause premature failure. The outdoor condenser needs attention throughout the cooling season, as well. Hosing it off with a gentle spray will loosen the dust that collects on the coil, another simple maintenance job that improves cooling efficiency. Removing any vegetation or objects around the unit also improves airflow through it. Professional maintenance will improve the heat pump cooling system performance and lengthen the life of the equipment. When HVAC specialists service heat pumps, they inspect, clean and adjust all the parts, including:

  • Measuring the refrigerant level and looking for leaks if it's low
  • Lubricating the motors and checking the belt wear and tension
  • Deep cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils
  • Verifying the correct electrical sequences, making sure the heating function won't run when the heat pump is in the cooling mode
  • Testing the airflow through the system and looking for ductwork problems if delivery is inadequate to a room or space
  • Calibrating the thermostat

Maintenance is especially important for your heat pump cooling system because the appliance does double duty to keep you warm in the winter. If you'd like more information, contact Gilman Heating and Cooling. We've provided exceptional HVAC services for the Richmond, Ashland, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover and Glen Allen areas since 1917.

If you are considering a new air conditioning system for your home, take a look at Energy Star products first. They will reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility costs by as much as 30 percent each year.

What is an Energy Star Product?

The federal government imposes minimum efficiency standards on most products that use energy to operate. Energy Star labels, which are blue with a white star on them, are placed on products that represent the most energy efficient models in that class. These products save energy, reduce energy costs and help reduce air pollution. All products with the label meet or exceed standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The Energy Star will also show up on qualifying appliances and equipment on the bright yellow EnergyGuide labels which help consumers compare different models when buying new equipment.

Is it Time to Upgrade Your A/C Equipment?

If your air conditioning system is more than 10 years old, or not cooling as well as it used to, it may be time to upgrade your equipment. A general checklist to help evaluate your equipment:

  • Some rooms stay too hot or too cold
  • Your house is always dusty
  • Your A/C needs constant repairs
  • Your cooling bills are going up

Benefits of Energy Star Equipment

  • It is at least 8 percent more energy efficient than standard A/C equipment.
  • Air is evenly cooled throughout the house.
  • Units are much quieter due to variable speed fans, better insulation and improved compressors.

When it's time to upgrade your air conditioning system, take advantage of energy savings and lower cooling costs with these products. Air conditioners have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. Look for a high SEER rating. The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners. Energy Star models are 14.5 SEER or more. For expert advice on products or assistance with heating and cooling needs, please contact us at Gilman Heating and Cooling, serving Richmond since 1917.  

One of the best ways to keep your home comfortable and reduce your heating and cooling costs throughout all seasons is to make sure your attic is properly insulated. The cost to insulate your attic is minimal when compared to the benefits it can provide.

Keeps Your House Cooler During the Summer

Insulation benefits your home by reducing the effects of radiant heat on your living space. During the day, the temperature in your attic may reach as high as 150 degrees. If your attic insulation is inadequate, this heat can radiate down into the ceilings and interior wood below your attic and increase the warmth in your home. Your air conditioner will need to work harder to cool this influx of hot air from your attic. This is especially true if you have uninsulated ductwork running through your attic, which will cause the cooled air to warm up.

Keeps Your House Warmer During the Winter

Your attic can become extremely cold during the winter. Proper attic insulation benefits the homeowner in that it prevents cold drafts from entering your living space. Just as hot air seeks out cold, the same can be said of cold air seeking out warm. Your furnace will need to work harder to heat up the colder air entering your living space, and then the warm air will rise and escape through your ceiling into your attic without adequate insulation.

Prevents Damage to Your Home

Your attic can become the ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria because of the heat and moisture that is present. These contaminants can easily enter your living space without proper insulation and be circulated throughout your home. Mold can also cause expensive damage to the infrastructure of your home if left unchecked. Contact the experts at Gilman Heating and Cooling for more information on improving the insulation in your home’s attic and increasing the comfort in your home throughout the year. We're happy to help.

When it's hot and humid outdoors, it becomes even more important that the indoor air quality in your Richmond home envelopes you in  a clean, healthy and comfortable way. But the reality is, it doesn't take much to impair indoor air quality. Just think about the last time someone wearing bad cologne entered your home. Long after the guest left, the offensive odor lingered. Two of the best ways to improve your indoor air quality are to ventilate your home and address irritants at their source. During the day, you may be hard-pressed to open your doors and windows, so wait until the temperatures cool in the evening to fill your home with fresh air. Even better, try to get a good cross breeze going from one end of your home to the other. Don't forget about running your attic and ceiling fans; even your kitchen fan can do wonders to improve ventilation. Properly ventilating your home will make your other efforts even more noticeable:

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, especially near your furnace.
  • Institute a no-smoking policy in your home.
  • Reduce the use of aerosol sprays, including hair spray, carpet cleaners, air fresheners and furniture polish.
  • Place rugs by doors to trap moisture and pollutants that would otherwise be tracked through your home. Better still, ask people to remove their shoes at the door.
  • Dust your home — floors, furniture, counters and ledges — regularly with a good microfiber mop. Vacuum your rugs, too.
  • Launder your bed sheets, pillowcases and covers once a week in hot water.
  • Run an exhaust fan in bathrooms to keep humidity levels low. Prevent mold buildup in moist areas by cleaning them with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water.
  • Reduce the clutter in your home, difficult as it may be, especially in school-office spaces. Mounds of paper can become a refuge for insects, bugs and rodents, who carry a plethora of germs and contaminants.

For other ways to improve the indoor air quality in your home, call Gilman Heating and Cooling. For particularly pesky problems, we can recommend air cleaners today that will help you start breathing easier tomorrow.

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