Thursday, April 12, 2018

How to Improve Energy Savings by Managing Your HVAC Unit

Energy savings is at the top of every homeowner’s priority list, although not every homeowner knows exactly how to carry out this endeavor. There are many simple ways to cut down on your monthly energy bills. Following these simple steps will keep a little extra money in your pocket every month.

Position the Thermostat

Many people check their thermostat for a temperature reading and adjust it accordingly. However, checking your thermostat is very important. The first factor that should be checked is the location. A thermostat that is exposed to direct sunlight or drafts may produce inaccurate readings. It is also a good idea to keep your thermostat away from doorways or windows.


Set Temperature Limits

The Department of Energy recommends temperature limits of 78 degrees in the summer months and 68 in the winter months. This will keep energy costs down, although preferences may vary. Programming your thermostat to operate on a daily schedule will also reduce costs. This will allow homeowners to adjust the temperatures during the hours when no one is home. If your thermostat does not have that programming function, it is wise to invest in a more updated version, as it will save you money in the long run.

Repair, Replace and Upkeep

Poor ductwork can hinder the airflow throughout your home. Inspecting your ductwork will identify whether repair or replacement is needed. Another way to ensure maximum airflow is to replace your air filters on a regular basis. Keeping up your HVAC system also applies to keeping your drain lines clear. A quick inspection every so often can attend to all these matters.

Minimize Space

Not every room in your home needs to be cooled in the summer or heated fully in the winter. If you have a room or two that is not always in use, then there is the option of closing it off. Shutting the door and closing the vents will force your HVAC unit to do less work, which translates into a reduction in energy consumption. There will simply be less space to heat and cool.

Sealed and Secure

A window or door can be the source of a draft, presuming it is not installed or sealed correctly. Conducting a check of all your windows and doors is a way of ensuring there is no air seeping in. If a draft is detected, then there are several ways to fix the issue, which includes professional maintenance.

Neighborhood Home Services can help you with any of these issues and introduce you to ways of cutting energy costs. For the best HVAC service in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas, contact Neighborhood Home Services today. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Problematic Furnace Noises

For most of the year, the residents of Charlotte, NC are not thinking about their furnaces. However, once temperatures begins to drop, furnaces are by default a very important part of any home. We may not experience the harshest winters in America but freezing temperatures make it paramount that you make sure that your heating system is functioning as well as it can. Noises can be one of the first indicators of furnace issue and can help you determine when furnace repairs are needed.


Furnaces, especially those that are old, tend to make noises. While some sounds, such as the furnace humming or small "pops" coming from the ducts are normal, others are not. Furnace noises that are so loud that they keep home occupants awake at night surely require the attention of professionals and should be serviced as soon as possible.

Below, we detail three common types of furnace noises that should never be disregarded by homeowners. Please be sure to read our special message, which discusses animal welfare in relation to furnaces, at the end of this article.

Noise #1: A very loud "pop" or a "bang" sound when you turn the furnace on

Usually, such a sound means one of two things:

The furnace burners are dirty: That loud bang/pop could be a pocket of gas igniting which is essentially being caused by poor furnace maintenance. When a furnace is not serviced enough, dust gradually accumulates on the furnace burners. This dust acts as a barrier between the gas and the ignitor, which not only delays ignition but also allows a gas pocket to build-up. Eventually the gas will ignite resulting in a small explosion accompanied by a loud "pop" or "bang". If this has you alarmed, it should. Even these mini-explosions have a great potential to crack the heat exchanger, which is costly. This can be prevented by conducting regular maintenance on the furnace.

The air ducts' expanding and contracting: This is something that generally occurs with metal ducts, with the ducts expanding and contracting according to blower turning off or on. Closed vents, undersized ducts, low-quality ducts, or a clogged air filter can be contributors to this noise.

Noise #2: A loud scraping sound - like that of metal scratching metal

If your furnace is making an unpleasant sound akin to nails scratching on a chalkboard or metal scratching on metal, it means that the furnace’s blower wheel isn't functioning properly. Whenever you hear such a noise, you must turn off the furnace immediately and call a professional.

Furnace blower wheels that are producing a scraping noise will do so for one of three reason. We have listed the problems in order starting with least severe.

Loose connection to the motor shaft. A poor connection can cause the blower wheel to bang against the casing. This problem can be easily solved provided the shaft or wheel is not too damaged.

The blower wheel is broken. This will require for the blower wheel to be replaced immediately and professionally.

The motor mount has broken-off. When this occurs the whole blower assembly can drop and bang against the housing.

Noise #3: Whining or squealing noise

Such noises are caused by any one or more of the following factors:

Fraying, slipping or a loose blower belt. This needs to be repaired to replaced immediately.

The shaft bearings have run out of proper lubrication and need oil. This requires the technician to apply some lightweight oil to the lubrication port which is present at every end of the shaft

The blower motor is malfunctioning. While this noise isn't as much cause for concern as the others, you must take steps to get it fixed before it causes any more troubles to your furnace. One good way to ensure this is having professionals conduct an annual furnace maintenance visit every fall.

Special Message:

Sometimes, the furnace can make odd noises that are difficult or near impossible to categorize. The furnace may make a single odd noise or may make several different kinds of noises. If such is the case with your furnace, it may be possible that an animal has somehow become trapped. 


This is a very unfortunate situation that can cause a lot of trouble for all involved including an immense amount of pain to the animal that is stuck. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken when an animal is suspected to be trapped. There are also measures that homeowners can put in place to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

Usually, animals getting stuck in furnaces cause a constant screeching or clattering sound. In the event that you suspect a noise maybe due to a trapped animal: shut off the furnace; immediately contact an HVAC professional that offers same-day services; implement preventive measures and contact animal services if needed. Preventing animals from entering your furnace is relatively simple and involves the installation of vent covers.

If you are not concerned about little critters getting stuck and inevitable dying, then consider problems it can cause for your home and occupants. Air quality can be reduced as the animal spreads allergens throughout your vents and into your home. Additionally, the death of the animal will coincide with an unpleasant odor. Nesting material and the animal itself can easily create dangerous blockages in the in-take or exhaust as well.

Any furnace can develop a variety of problems, with the aforementioned being only the major ones. You must make sure to not ignore any odd noise that comes from it, no matter how small it may be. Getting the problem fixed in time will prevent bigger, more costly repairs down the road.

To prevent a freezing failure during winter, you must have heater service and repair conducted at least once a year by a professional. Carolina residents are lucky to have the reliable and knowledgeable staff at Neighborhood Home Services to turn to year-round. We offer complete furnace services (including repair, maintenance, and replacement), residential HVAC, heating and cooling, furnace, and electrical service and repairs.