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Gas or Electric Furnaces

As the winter becomes harsher with the new year, heating systems can be vital to you and your family. The first home furnaces may have burned coal and wood, but modern clean energy standards and the need for efficiency brought us natural gas and electric heaters. While gas and electric furnaces have their pros and cons, the choice should come from your home’s specific heating needs. Let our professionals help you in making this decision before choosing to ensure the best heating possible for your home.
While both gas and electric furnaces use different methods and resources to heat a home, the distribution of heat from both are the same. Both systems use air vents and blower fans to move heated air around your home. A gas heater uses gas jets to combust natural gas and produce heat. This heat is then transferred into the air by the heat exchanger. Blower fans then move the heated air throughout the home. Electrical furnaces use a series of heating elements, which are electric coils that heat up as a current runs through them. Based on the amount of heat required, a different number of coils may be used. The blower fans then distribute the air heated by the elements throughout the house. The efficiency of electric furnaces go above gas heaters. While the gas furnaces burn constantly, even when you’re not home, electric models can heat specific rooms or turn off completely when you are away.
Electric furnaces usually have a lower initial installation cost than most gas models, but the cost of electricity is generally higher than natural gas. We offer the best of Lennox and Rheem gas heaters and Mitsubishi electrical heaters to provide you and your family the best comfort and energy efficiency possible during the cold seasons. Contact us today for more information on if a gas or electric furnace is right for your home or business, and how we can install it by calling 718-761-2300.

Whole-Home Humidifier

Homes without the proper humidity can be dangerous to the health of the residents and cause damage to the building. Proper whole-home humidification can help prevent the spread of diseases, lower the amount of allergens in the home, save you money on energy costs, and lower the amount of repairs to a home. A whole-home humidifier can keep the humidity of a house uniform and efficient.

Dry air can lead to a multitude of health problems. Cold and flu viruses spread faster in low humidity spaces. Drier air can cause sore throats, bloody noses, itchy eyes, dry mouth, and cracked skin. Air with less relative humidity can also aggravate allergies much easier, leading to more severe health risks. Asthma symptoms are more easily aggravated in dry air as well.

When the air in a home is dry, you will feel colder at higher temperatures. Homes with higher relative humidity require less heat to keep residents warm. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you save about 4% on your heating bill. Dry air can cause significant damage to a home. Woodwork and walls can crack in low humidity, and lead to repairs. Electronics in dry air can cause static shocks that can hurt you and the machines. The stronger the shock, the more damaging it can be to the electronics.

Portable humidifiers can not even compare to the power of a whole-home system. A home system checks the air outside for temperature in order to maintain the proper humidity throughout a home. A portable model only covers one room, and can over-humidify an area. A portable model also can lead to the spreading of hazardous microbes or bacteria that develop in the stagnant water inside the device.

Contact us today to get the details on how we can install a whole-home humidifier for you by calling 718-761-2300.

 

Winterization Checklist

As we move through December and into the new year, the harsh cold of the Winter can leave an unprepared homeowner to deal with a lot of damage; and a lot of bills. Preparing your home for the coming snow and ice can save you money when it is time to pay the heating and electric bills. This is a list of important factors to keep in mind when it comes to winterizing your home:

Exterior

Rake away weeds and leaves from the foundation of the home. The rotting vegetation can loosen the foundation and cause drafts in a basement.

Make sure that the exterior wall insulation is well placed and that there is the correct amount of it.

Insulate water pipes. Drain and properly store all hoses. Drain and turn off any sprinkler systems.

Clean out the gutters. Leaf, snow, and ice buildup can lead to heavy gutters that can fall off and damage the house.

Remove tree branches that hang over electrical wires or your home.

Have a professional open your central air unit and turn off the disconnect switch first to prevent accidental use in winter. Clean the outside of the unit, removing dirt and leaves, and allow it to dry before covering it with a heavy material to prevent damage from snow and ice.

Doors and windows

Remove debris from around doors and windows. Be sure that all of your windows and doors have no breaks in the seams surrounding them. Weatherstripping should be installed around the windows and doors.

Ductwork, Fireplaces, and Furnaces

    Check the filter on your furnace. Based on the model you own, it may need to be changed every 1-6 months. Make sure the pilot light is lit and the blower is working. Hire a professional to inspect the furnace and see if it works safely and efficiently.

Clean out fireplaces often, so that there is less soot buildup. Keep the chimney clear of obstructions or debris, and keep the chimney flue closed unless it is in use.

Have your duct work inspected for mold, pests, dirt, or debris. Duct insulation should be installed, especially near exterior walls or regions of the house that are not used often.
This holiday season, keep your family safe and warm; with a heating system you can trust. Call us at 718-761-2300 for repair or installation on your home heating system.

Winter Heating Safety Tips

Unsafe heating equipment, such as radiators, fireplaces, and space heaters may help warm the house; but can cause fires and burns to your family. In the event that you use one of these this winter in addition to your standard heating system, it is important to keep you and your family safe. Here is a list of safety tips for unsafe winter heating.

  • Never use ovens, stoves, ranges, or grills to heat your home. In addition to the noxious fumes produced by them, fires can be very easily caused by them
    Around any space heaters or radiators, set up a 3 foot area devoid of any flammable objects or children. Never hang laundry or curtains over a space heater. This can help prevent fires or burns.
  • Install fire and carbon monoxide alarms, and be sure to check them every 2 months to ensure your family’s safety.
  • Kerosene heaters should be turned off and moved outside before they are refilled. Overfilling a kerosene heater can cause fires or explosions, as the fuel may expand as it heats up. Always use the correct kind of fuel for space heaters that use it.
  • Never use an extension cord on a space heater of any kind. Also, never leave them unattended. Turn them off before going to bed or leaving the room.
    Keep candles at least 1 foot away from any and all things that are flammable, such as curtains, tablecloths, or papers.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year before use. Never burn anything other than regular hard wood in a wood stove or fireplace. Do not burn garbage, plastic or processed wood (painted, finished, or treated with chemicals).
  • Fireplaces should be equipped with a sturdy screen to prevent fires around it. Ashes should be cooled before they are removed and/or dumped.
  • You and your family should make a plan in case of a fire, and discuss escape routes for multiple scenarios. Plan out a meeting place away from the house in the event of an emergency.
  • Finally, have a licenced professional install your home central heating equipment and water heaters according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

This holiday season, keep your family safe and warm; with a heating system you can trust. Call us at 718-761-2300 for repair or installation on your home heating system.

Radiant Floor Heat

underfloor heating and coolingRadiant Floor Heat

The perfect heating system is quiet, efficient, clean and keeps your feet warm. Radiant floor heating does that exactly. Radiant floor heating gives you heat right where you want it. It is hidden beneath your floor so it’s as beautiful as the floor you just installed. Radiant heat works like this, The warmth comes from electric wires or hot tubes of water, depending on the heating system installed. Heat naturally rises and feeling warmth from the floor is definitely better than standing on a cold floor. Radiant heat solves this problem beautifully.

Baseboard or radiator heating is efficient, but you can’t put furniture where you like and many of the units are unsightly. Radiant heat works beautifully in basements kitchens bathrooms and areas with tile or hardwood floors. Radiant floor heat is wonderfully efficient but may cost more to install. Gregg mechanical installs and repairs all kinds of heating systems. Radiant Floor Heating is just one of them. Give us a call to see if Radiant Floor heating is right for you. 718-761-2300

Generators to Protect Your Home During Hurricanes and Power Outages.

As Hurricane season approaches every homeowner needs to ask themselves if they are prepared. Staten Island has been hit hard over the last few years by hurricanes.  Sandy showed us that you can’t be to prepared. If you were affected by power outages in the last hurricane you probably looked into getting a generator. Right after Sandy there was a shortage of generators and qualified contractors to install them properly. Gregg Mechanical can install a generator that automatically starts and restores power in seconds, whether you’re home or away. These generators will keep your critical hard-wired systems going when you need them most.  AC, heat, sump pumps, security systems and large appliances are no problem for a properly installed Kohler generator. You won’t need to refuel it because it runs  on your home’s natural gas. It delivers high quality power that won’t harm your electronics.

Standby Home Generators can be used to keep your power on when there’s an outage. The right generator can keep your family safe by powering your home security system, heating and air conditioning, and it can keep you food from spoiling by powering your refrigerator and freezer along with your lights, television and PCs. It keeps our lines of communication open during an emergency.  It’s one of the best investments you can make for your home. Your generator is installed outside  your home like your air conditioning unit.

Contact us today to get the details on how we can install a generator for your home. 718-761-2300

 

Peace of Mind Guarantee

 

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HVAC Terminology

AFUE
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Used to express the efficiency of gas furnaces. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit. Federal law has required that all new residential furnaces built after January 1992 operate with an AFUE of 78% or higher. 

If your furnace was built before 1992, chances are it is operating with an average efficiency of around 60%. Most of the heat is lost up the chimney or out the exhaust vent (devices used by older furnaces to expel dangerous fumes created by the furnace, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, aldehydes, and even soot).

ARI
The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute is an organization created by HVAC manufacturers to ensure an acceptable level of quality within the industry. ARI is a voluntary, nonprofit organization which publishes ratings standards and benchmarks for testing cooling and heating products.

BTU
Short for British Thermal Unit. The amount of heat required to raise or lower the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

BTUH
The heat transfer rate of HVAC equipment is measured in British Thermal Units per Hour.

CAPACITY
Usually measured in BTUs or tons, capacity refers to an air conditioning or heating unit’s ability to cool or heat a space. For instance, a 4-ton air conditioning unit has twice the capacity of a 2-ton unit.

CFM
A unit to express movement of volume, including air, in Cubic Feet per Minute. A 400 CFM air handler moves 400 cubic feet in one minute.

COMPRESSOR
The compressor plays an integral role in cooling your home. It is the device responsible for pumping refrigerant through the refrigerant lines and the coil, making the transfer of heat from inside your house to the outdoors possible.

CONDENSER
The coil responsible for dissipating heat to the surrounding, outside air. Also called the condenser coil, or outdoor coil, its role is reversed when a heat pump is used in heating mode.

COP
The Coefficient of Performance rates a heat pump’s ability to efficiently use electricity in its operation. The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute provides the Coefficient of Performance at 47 degrees Fahrenheit and 17 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because a heat pump is more efficient at higher, outside-air temperatures.

dB
The relative loudness of a sound is expressed in dB, short for decibel. As an example, the sound of a human voice talking is around 70 dB. (See also SRN.)

DOE
A federal agency, the Department of Energy, sets the standards for efficiency throughout the HVAC industry and monitors consumption of energy sources.

DOWNFLOW
A term used to describe the direction of airflow through a furnace. A downflow furnace takes return air from the top, heats it and then delivers the warm air from the bottom.

DUCT/DUCT WORK/DUCTING
A central heating and air conditioning system uses many components to heat or cool air This warm or cool air is then transferred to different registers throughout the house via special flexible large-diameter pipes or ducts The system of ducts throughout your house is often referred to as ductwork or ducting.

EER
Energy Efficiency Ratio The ratio of the cooling capacity of the air conditioner in BTUs per hour to the total electrical input in watts This measure is determined by comparing test units to the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute specifications.

EFFICIENCY
A general term used to describe how effectively a heat pump air conditioning system or furnace converts incoming energy to outgoing energy The higher the number the more efficient the unit and the lower the operating costs.

EVAPORATOR COIL/EVAPORATOR
An integral part of the indoor unit of a heat pump or air conditioning system. So called because when warm air passes over a coil filled with liquid refrigerant, the refrigerant itself evaporates and absorbs some of the heat. This gas refrigerant is then pumped to the outdoor coil, where it releases heat into the surrounding air and returns to its liquid state.

HEAT EXCHANGER
Responsible for transferring heat from furnace burners to the blower.

HSPF
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. It measures the efficiency of the heating portion of your heat pump. The Department of Energy minimum is 6.8. (Similar to SEER.)

HUMIDIFIER
Usually available as an optional accessory, a humidifier is used to inject water vapor into the dry, heated air expelled from a furnace/air handler. The benefits can be improved efficiency and a more comfortable living environment.

HVAC
Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning. Used to refer to the industry at large, particularly dealers of heating and air conditioning equipment.

INDOOR COILS
Split-system home comfort systems use two main components to deliver air for a comfortable living environment. The indoor coil is the device responsible for transferring heat from indoors to the outdoors (or the reverse in the case of a heat pump in heating mode). Most modern systems are designed to achieve maximum efficiency when the indoor unit (coils and blower) is properly matched with the outdoor unit (air conditioner or heat pump). For best results, be sure to replace both the indoor and outdoor units at the same time.

K
A unit used to express 1,000 Watts. Denoted as kW.” Note that the W in ‘kW’ is always capitalized because the Watt unit was named after a person.

KWH
If a unit uses 1,000 Watts in 1 hour, it is said to have an energy rating of 1 kWh.

MODULATING FURNACES
Conventional furnaces are designed and rated to deliver the maximum heat for your comfort on the coldest of days. In most cases, however, those days account for fewer than three percent of winter days. The rest of the time, your furnace is providing more heat than necessary. Conventional furnaces are either off, providing no heat at all, or operate at full capacity.  Therefore, the temperature in your house goes up and down, by several degrees, adversely affecting your overall comfort and your energy costs.  Modulating furnaces solve this problem by varying the amount of BTUs (heat) delivered from the furnace based on the temperature requirements you have set on your thermostat. Typically the air flowing out of the registers modulates to provide more tempered air for a longer time, whereby providing you with continued comfort, based on the temperature you determine by setting your thermostat.  This results in lower operating costs, more comfortable temperatures throughout the house and quieter operation.

PACKAGE UNIT
Equipment in which all heating and cooling components are located in one cabinet. Installed either beside or on top of a home or business.

REFRIGERANT
The liquid used to absorb and transfer heat from one part of the home comfort system to another.

REFRIGERANT LINES
Copper lines used to transfer the refrigerant between the outdoor and indoor unit.  These lines should be inspected routinely to insure the armoflex insulation is covering the copper.

SEER
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Used to express the efficiency of an air conditioning unit, or a heat pump in cooling mode. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit. The Department of Energy minimum is 13.0.

SPLIT SYSTEM
A home comfort system that uses an indoor and an outdoor component to deliver comfortable air to a living environment.

SRN
The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute performs tests and assigns a Sound Rating Number (SRN) to units. A lower SRN rating indicates a quieter unit with average SRNs of between 74dB and 80dB.

THERMOSTAT
A temperature-measuring device used to control the operation of home comfort systems to maintain a comfortable temperature within the house. Programmable thermostats allow you to program different temperatures for different times of the day.

TON
The ton ratings you see here have nothing to do with the weight of the unit. In fact a ton is simply 12,000 BTUs (see BTU definition on this page). A typical home cooling/heating system uses heat pumps or air conditioners with a capacity of between 1.5 and 5 tons.

UPFLOW
A term used to describe the direction of airflow through a furnace. An upflow furnace takes return air from the bottom, heats it, and then delivers the warm air from the top.

WATT/WATTS
Electrical power also expressed as ‘W’ For example a 100W globe consumes 100 Watts of electrical power The W in Watt is always uppercased, because it is named after a person.

ZONE/ZONING
A home may be divided into several different areas, or zones, to better control the temperatures throughout the house The process of dividing your home into different zones is called zoning.

HVAC Q & A

What do rating numbers mean?
The U.S. government requires an efficiency rating of all air conditioning and heating equipment. The rating reflects the percentage of energy used efficiently, with a higher rating indicating higher-efficiency. The next two topics address this issue in greater detail.

What is a SEER?
There are special names for the efficiency ratings of various types of equipment. Air conditioning equipment is rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.  New equipment manufactured today by the manufacturers must meet at least a 13.0 SEER rating, with some manufacturers producing equipment as high as 21.0 SEER.

What does HSPF stand for?
There are special names for the efficiency ratings of varying types of equipment. Air conditioning systems equipment with a heat pump function are rated by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the unit.  HSPF is a ratio of BTU heat output over the heating season to watt-hours of electricity used.

What does AFUE stand for?
There are special names for the efficiency ratings of various types of equipment. Gas furnaces are rated according to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit.  Natural draft furnaces or boilers typically have an efficiency rating of about 80%.  Manufacturers, like Lennox, have developed more efficient furnaces to operate at a 98% efficiency; meaning 98% of the energy costs you are putting into your furnace are being used to heat your home, unlike natural draft furnaces that only use 80% of your energy costs.  Boiler like the Weil McLain Ultra also provide high efficiency operation topping 95% AFUE.

Should outdoor units be covered in winter?
It is not recommended. Air conditioners can accidentally turned on by someone in your home without them knowing that the outdoor unit has been covered, whereby creating potential damage to your condenser and it's internal components.  The outdoor condenser is built to withstand the environment and should not be covered.

Should a thermostat be set to “auto” or “on”?
Preferably auto. That way, the fan operates only when the temperature requires it. This is the most used and the most efficient setting. However, there are advantages to using the “on” setting on your thermostat.  Air is constantly filtered through the unit’s air filter, and the constantly circulating air results in more even temperature throughout the house.

Can shrubs or flowers be planted around an outdoor unit?
Yes. However, we recommend that plants be no closer than 18 inches to the unit. This allows for plenty of room for air circulation in and out of the unit. Without this room for air circulation, the unit could overheat, resulting in a premature need for service.

If an outdoor unit needs replacing, should the indoor unit be replaced too?
It is recommended that both the indoor and outdoor equipment are replaced together, especially with the new EPA requirements to phase out R-22 refrigerant.  Currently, there are other options to replace just one of the components without the other, with the price of inefficiency and high energy costs.  That, however, is subject to change with the upgrades in building codes and National energy codes being enforced gradually, state by state.  The efficiency rating on a condenser is based on the entire system being replaced.

How do I know what size unit our house needs?
A Gregg Mechanical Corp. specialist will consider many factors before making a recommendation on the properly sized equiment for your home. Factors like the square footage of your house, the climate, the number and type of windows installed, insulation, and even the number of people living in the house are all part of the proper calculation of the air conditioning system needed for your complete comfort.

What is the difference between a split system and a package unit?
A split system uses indoor and outdoor components to provide a complete home comfort system.  A package unit or self-contained unit houses all the required coils, blowers, mechanical components and heating components needed to properly condition the space.  A package unit is typically used in commercial applications or in condominiums and apartments.

Who do I contact for air conditioning products and service?
For questions concerning new products, energy efficiency ratings, or repair and replacement services, simply call Gregg Mechanical Corp. at (718) 761-2300 – we can answer all of your heating and cooling questions.

How Does It Work?

Welcome to Gregg Mechanical Corp., Staten Island's premier Heating and Air Conditioning contractor for residential and business HVAC repairs and new installations.

Air Conditioning: How Does It Work?
When you first enter a home or building that is using air conditioning you feel two things in the air, coolness and dryness. Both of these physical sensations are accomplished by the air conditioning unit. Although you feel cooler that is not really what the unit does. It removes heat and in the process also pulls moisture from the air. In other words, the air conditioner does not cool the air it removes the heat from the air. In the absence of heat is cold.

Part of the benefits of utilizing a central air conditioning system is the filtration of the air in your home which improves air quality.  The filter cleans the air by trapping dust and other small particles that are pulled in through the return.  The more efficient the air cleaner, the better the air quality in your home.  The air handler, the indoor unit, circulates the air while cooling and dehumidifyng it through the process called refrigeration. 

Refrigeration
Refrigeration cools a home by transferring heat inside a home to the outdoors. All central air conditioners employ two main units in this process – the indoor unit and the condensing unit.

The indoor unit
This unit removes undesirable indoor warmth and humidity. It includes the filter, the air handler or furnace, and the evaporator coil. The air handler or furnace blow filtered air through the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is kept cold by the circulation of a substance called refrigerant.  The fan passes air across this coil and any moisture will condense and collect on the coil's fins. In this process the heat that is in the air is pulled out from the air stream. The absence of the heat is now cooled or cold air is created.  The cooler, drier air that continues through the air ducts is vented throughout your home to maintain your desired comfort level. Depending on the structure of your home, the ductwork may be in the ceiling or on the side walls of your rooms.

The condensing unit
Outdoors, at the condensing unit, an air conditioner releases the heat that was captured inside at the coil. The same refrigerant that absorbed the heat indoors at low pressure is now pressurized by the compressor and is circulated through another coil, the condensing coil. In the condensing coil, under high pressure, the refrigerant releases its heat very quickly, making the coil itself hot. A fan blows across the coil, cooling its temperature down and transferring the heat to the outside air.

Furnaces: How Does it Work?
The furnace is the most important component of a central heating system. It houses all the working parts. So when you replace the furnace, you replace the vital operating parts of your heating system. It is by choosing from among the different models and brands of furnaces available that you determine the quality and cost of your business’s heating for years to come.

Furnace
The Furnace is part of a forced-air system. Warm air is forced, or blown, through a system of air ducts to each of the rooms in your home.  Air drawn into the furnace passes through a filter, where dust and other small particles are trapped. A blower unit blows the filtered air through the furnace, and the air absorbs heat and distributes it throughout your home.

Gas Heat
If it is a gas furnace, the heat is supplied by the burning of natural gas. A mixture of gas and air flows into the burner and is ignited by the pilot. Combustion occurs, and warm air from the burner flame rises to fill a chamber known as a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger becomes hot. Office air passing around the heat exchanger absorbs that warmth, continues into the air ducts and the heat is distributed through the business.The by-products of combustion pass upward through a venting system and escape through a vent in the roof.

Electric Heat
If the furnace is electric, heat is generated by an electric heating element. Electric current traveling through the element creates heat. By the heat transfer processes called conduction and convection, heat is transferred into the air stream and flows through the air ducts into the rooms of the business.

The Thermostat
Whether you heat your home with gas or electricity, a wall thermostat will be installed. This measures room temperature and turns the central heating system off or on as the temperature rises or falls to designated levels. Careful location of the thermostat is an essential consideration in maintaining maximum comfort levels in your home.

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