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A Winter Check-Up for Your Furnace

July 6, 2020

With winter approaching, homeowners everywhere have a bit of work to do to prepare their homes for the upcoming chilly weather properly. This is especially true for your heating system, which will likely be highly active throughout the season after lying dormant for most of the year. After all, you don’t want to head into the holiday season shivering and cold in your own home. 



Well over 50 percent of homes in the United States use furnaces as a heating source, yet many homeowners are oblivious to the inconveniences and dangers that an unkempt furnace pose. Follow this checklist to ensure your heating and cooling in Springfield is up to the task of warming your house this winter both efficiently and safely.




  • Change Out Your Filters



Winter and summer are the two seasons guaranteed to be tough on your furnace’s air filters. Both seasons see more frequent use of your cooling and heating elements, which means more buildup clings to your air filters. A clogged air filter can be a huge issue when it comes to heating your air during the winter, as they always lead to a wide range of issues, such as:




  • Drastic reduction of heating efficiency

  • Costly frozen evaporator coils

  • Circulation of unhealthy air

  • Furnace failure



Furthermore, if your furnace is filthy, you’re probably limiting the amount of heating you’re actually experiencing indoors. When your blower is struggling to push air through a clogged filter, it’s likely to overheat and shut off prematurely. This means you’re not getting the warm air you want. Fortunately, changing out filters is a simple process.




  • Turn Up the Thermostat



Before you need to rely on heat to stay comfortable indoors, check to see if it works. Switch your thermostat over from “cool” to “heat” and raise the number by a couple of degrees. Your furnace should kick on almost instantly if everything’s in running order. If it doesn’t, remove the cover of your thermostat to check that your wires are correctly connected. If the wires are in place but you’re still not experiencing any hot air, it’s time to call in the professionals for a little checkup.




  • Have Your Chimney Inspected



Many homeowners have no idea that furnaces – particularly those that run on gas – rely on some sort of chimney for proper ventilation. Therefore, many chimneys go without proper attention. However, this is an issue that should be checked on each and every year by a professional before you begin using your furnace. Not only do chimneys often contain small animals that have wedged themselves into what they believe to be a safe space, but a buildup of residue could cause a fire hazard.




  • Prepare the Blower Motor



Some types of furnaces need a bit of lubrication around the blower motor now and again. If yours is one of these furnaces (information that can be found in your owner’s manual), the process is simple. Turn off the power, open the cover, clean the bearing caps, and then lubricate the bearings beneath. This ensures your blower’s able to keep up with your need for warm air all winter long.




  • Have Your Heat Exchanger Cleaned



While you can DIY most of the work involved in readying your furnace for winter, this is a job best left to professionals. Your heat exchange requires a good, thorough vacuuming and brushing every year. This is also an excellent opportunity for trained professionals to check your system for cracks or other issues that could lead to the danger of carbon monoxide intrusion in your home and perform any necessary furnace repair.



 



Winter may not be here quite yet, but it’s never too early to change your filters and get a thorough system checkup before cold weather arrives. Contact Henson Robinson for early maintenance and have peace of mind knowing that your furnace will still be running strong straight through the holiday season.


Posted In: HVAC Winter Check-up
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What is Geothermal Energy?

July 6, 2020

Power stations use energy from many different sources to produce electricity, such as coal, fossil fuels or nuclear fission. However, there’s another way to harness energy, and it’s cleaner, greener and more efficient. This alternative heat source is called geothermal energy.



Geothermal energy refers to the natural heat from inside the Earth. The center of the Earth is so hot that even rocks melt. This molten rock is called magma. Like an enormous oven, magma distributes heat through the Earth’s crust, keeping underground layers at a stable temperature even in places where the air is freezing.



The famous hot springs of Iceland and geysers of Yellowstone National Park are examples of geothermal energy in action. Magma sits closer to the Earth’s surface in these areas, and it naturally heats underground water and turns it into steam. Geothermal power plants take advantage of this heat source by digging deep wells into the Earth’s crust. Homes can use a small-scale version of this clean underground energy.



What Are Geothermal Heating and Ventilation Systems for Homes?



Geothermal energy is an excellent way to heat and cool homes. The Earth’s crust always stays at a stable temperature, no matter what the weather is like above ground. Geothermal HVAC systems take advantage of this fact to exchange warm or cool air inside the home. They provide air conditioning for residential areas, apartments and commercial buildings. Using the Earth’s natural properties, these units deliver heat to interiors in the winter and cool them down during summertime.



How Does Geothermal HVAC Work?



First, professionals have to dig deep trenches in the soil. Next, they install a long loop of underground pipes near the home. This horizontal or vertical series of pipes look similar to the coils of a car’s radiator. Water or another liquid coolant is continuously circulated through these pipes.



In the winter, a heat pump pushes cold water through the pipes into the ground, where it absorbs heat from the soil. This heat then gets converted into warm air and distributed through the house. The water, which is now cold again, is sent back into the ground, and the process repeats itself.



This same system also works in the summer months. This time, the ground loop extracts heat from the air and diffuses it into cooler soil. By constantly removing heat from inside the home, geothermal HVAC systems cool rooms without using much energy.



What Are the Benefits of Using Geothermal HVAC?



There are many benefits to choosing a geothermal HVAC unit:




  • Environmentally-friendly heating and cooling: By relying on geothermal energy instead of electricity from coal or fossil fuels, you help protect the environment. The difference in CO2 emissions adds up significantly over time.

  • Energy savings: Geothermal systems are much more energy-efficient than other models. This lets you cut your electricity bill by as much as 30–70 %.

  • Economic incentives: Many states and utility companies offer additional incentives for homes that use geothermal HVAC units. This may include additional discounts on your electricity bill or cash to use for installation.

  • Peace and quiet: Forget about a noisy air conditioner. These HVAC systems operate silently throughout the day, so it’s easier to take a nap.

  • Home safety: You don’t have to worry about gas leaks or other dangers from old-fashioned heating. Geothermal heating and cooling is completely safe for your family.

  • Versatility: These advanced HVAC units handle both heating and cooling. This means you don’t need to install multiple systems for summer and winter.



Learn More About Geothermal HVAC From the Pros



At Henson Robinson, we have extensive experience installing geothermal heating and cooling systems for homes and commercial buildings. We customize the installation to your specific needs, helping you choose the right unit and layout for your home. That way you can maximize heating and cooling while enjoying the best energy savings. To learn more or schedule a one-on-one appointment, contact us right away.


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Henson Robinson Company


3550 Great Northern Avenue
Springfield, IL 62711

Office: 217.544.8451 | Fax: 217.544.0829