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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.

Preparing for a summertime power outage caused by a storm or from excessive demand for electricity will help you protect your home and health. Staying cool, keeping hydrated, assuring personal safety and food safety, and protecting home appliances and electronics need to be addressed before the outage occurs.

  1. Staying cool - An increased reliance on air conditioning means that you're likely to become uncomfortable quickly during an outage. Small, battery-operated fans will help cool you, are inexpensive and quiet. Each family member should have such a fan, especially if the outage lasts into the night, when sleeping in warm temperatures can be uncomfortable.
  2. Keeping hydrated - In the event municipal water delivery is interrupted or becomes contaminated, it's a good idea to have at least one gallon of drinking water on hand for each family member. When your home warms, each family member needs to drink more water to avoid heat stress.
  3. Assuring personal safety - Have fresh batteries on hand for your flashlights and learn how to open the automatic garage door manually.
  4. Maintaining food safety - It's always good to have an extra cooler that you can fill with fresh or frozen food in the event the power outage lasts more than a few hours. Any frozen or refrigerated food that rises to 40 degrees F or higher should be discarded.
  5. Appliance safety - Identify the breakers in the breaker box so that any responsible family member knows which to turn off. When power is restored, it's common for it to surge through the lines coming into your home. These surges can burn out low-voltage components inside appliances and electronics, including cooling systems, rendering them inoperable. Show family members where and how to unplug the surge protectors for electronics. If you're away from home a good deal, consider having a whole-house surge protector installed or individual units for those appliances that are costly to repair or replace.

For more information about protecting your home in the event of a power outage, contact Gilman Heating and Cooling. We've provided trusted HVAC services for the Richmond, Ashland, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover and Glen Allen areas since 1917.

Contractors are often asked: why does an air conditioner leak water? Air conditioner water leakage is one of the most common reasons for service calls. Small leaks may not seem significant, especially if your A/C stands outside. However, you should promptly investigate any unusual leaks. Check with a professional contractor if you consistently notice too much water drainage from your A/C.

Some Water is OK

All air conditioners produce water because they dehumidify the air. In the most humid weather, your A/C can produce as much as 48 ounces of water every hour. If the water doesn’t drain properly, serious damage to the A/C and your home could result if leaks go unchecked. If you notice more water than normal, check for some common problems: A blocked condensate drain line is most often the cause of A/C leaks. When this happens, water backs up into the drain pan. Use a shop vacuum to clear out the drain line and prevent future leaks. Newer A/Cs have an automatic shutoff which protects the A/C and your home from backed-up water. Sometimes the drain pan may be worn or broken. A professional contractor can replace it. Dirty filters are the next most common cause of a leaky air conditioner. They make the A/C starved for air and produce ice crystals on the coils. When the ice melts, there’s more water than normal. Always keep clean A/C filters handy. Faulty condensate pumps also can be a contributing factor to why does an air conditioner leak water. The pumps have a float switch that activates the pump when water rises in the drain pan. If it’s connected, test it by adding water to the condensate drain pan. It should automatically turn on. Why does an air conditioner leak water with improper A/C installations? Air conditioners that are not correctly leveled won’t allow water drainage to flow where it should. A/Cs that are not properly pressurized aren’t as efficient and collect more water than they drain. The certified technicians at Gilman Heating and Cooling will help you stay cool in Greater Richmond. Call us for courteous and professional service.