Riley Heating & Air Blog: Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Replace Your Air Filters & Schedule a Tune-up this Fall

Friday, September 27th, 2019

While you’re decorating and getting your home ready for Fall gatherings, it’s important to check your air filters and schedule a HVAC tune-up to prepare for the next season.

air-filterIf home-ownership is newer to you, you may be unfamiliar with what exactly your air filters do, why it’s important to change them at least every 3 months and how to install them correctly.

The air filter’s purpose is to filter out any bacteria and harmful particles from the air. All of the air in your house passes through your filter, so you can imagine how the bacteria and particles build up over time. Filters help remove bacteria linked to sneezing, coughing, mold and viruses. The filters also remove pollutants, fumes and dust.

Keeping your air filters clean also improves the life of your HVAC system. When you’re changing your air filters regularly your HVAC system runs more efficiently. This helps reduce your monthly energy bills and keeps repair costs down. If the air filters are neglected and not replaced at least quarterly, they become clogged and make your air conditioning system work harder to cool your home. When your system is working harder, it raises your bill and shortens the life of your unit.

Unsure where to locate your air filters or how many you have?

Most homes have 3-4 filters and are usually found near the return vents, which may be on the ceiling, walls or in the HVAC system. After locating where to change your filter, you’ll need to determine the correct size of the filter to replace. The sizing is printed on the side, making it easy to find. Air filters throughout your home may be different sizes. Be sure to check them all before purchasing new ones.

When installing a new filter, just pop the old one out, place in the new filter with the arrows pointed towards the hole (ceiling, wall or floor) and close. While changing your air filter may seem easy enough (and it is!), it’s something that is mostly forgotten or installed incorrectly.

open-air-filter air-filter-sizes air-filter-correct-direction

Another important thing to add to your checklist is an HVAC system tune-up.

Riley Comfort and Air Conditioning in Phenix City, Alabama recommends seasonal tune-ups in the Fall & Spring to make sure your system is running at it’s best. We evaluate to see if any issues are on the rise before you experience any breakdowns or costly repairs. Call us today at 334-298-1278.

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No Fail Pumpkin Bites Recipe

Friday, September 20th, 2019

pumpkin muffins and milkThese are the cutest, easiest little pumpkin muffins you’ll ever make. Only three ingredients! Perfect for any Fall event and can be made allergy-free for school treats or dietary restrictions.

Makes 24 mini muffins
1 can pumpkin puree
1 box cake mix (spiced cake mix, vanilla, white or gluten-free)
1 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or as much as you’d like!)

1. Grease pan and preheat oven to 350
2. Mix until just combined the cake mix, pumpkin puree and Pumpkin Pie Spice
4. Fill muffin spaces to top
5. Bake for 20-25 min

Tid Bits:
These are great with toppings such as raisins, chocolate chips, etc. Add these to the top or in the mix before baking. You could even add collagen or protein powder. If you do not have Pumpkin Pie Spice, you can use a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

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Caulk Your Home for Better Performance and Lower Bills

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Energy-saving measures take many forms, and your home’s performance can be enhanced by both professional and DIY activities related to limiting energy loss. According to Energy Star, you can save up to 10 percent on your home heating and cooling costs by doing some simple air sealing work. A combination of sealing air leaks with caulk and supplementing your attic insulation can lead to lower energy bills and better home comfort levels throughout the year.

Tips for Sealing Air Leaks with Caulk

There are various options in caulking materials. If you are doing touch-up work, you may only need a small amount of the material. However, if you are re-doing the caulking throughout your home, you will want to invest in a caulking gun and large tubes of the product you plan to use. Traditional white caulk isn’t your only option. You’ll find that there are clear products available that can accommodate your air sealing needs without affecting your decor.

Old caulk can become brittle in time, and you may want to remove it with a razor knife to complete fresh sealing. You can also fill in small gaps if the majority of your existing material is intact. After applying your caulk, you can smooth it in to completely fill leaky spots. Dip your finger in a little bit of dish soap so that you can smooth the caulk without it sticking to your flesh. This will allow for a neater finish as well.

Weather Stripping

Drafty areas around doors may require weather stripping to prevent energy loss. You can stock up on a small supply of material to update areas as needed. If your existing material seems to have dried and cracked, you can complete a whole-home update.

Insulation Update

Supplemental insulation can improve your home’s energy performance as well. It’s important to work with an expert who can recommend the appropriate amount of material. If you have HVAC equipment or electrical fixtures in your attic, it’s important to keep insulation away from these components. You may want to enlist the help of a professional to ensure that your upgrade is safe and efficient.

Consider Having an Energy Audit

If you are concerned about excessive energy bills, you can work with an HVAC contractor to have your home’s performance evaluated. Issues like air leaks will be identified. Additionally, equipment performance will be surveyed. Your contractor can provide strategies and solutions for lower energy bills.

Don’t Forget Indoor Air Quality

As you complete your air sealing project, it’s important to realize that natural ventilation can be affected. If you notice stale or stuffy air, you may need to think about updating your home’s ventilation system as well. Additionally, the operation of combustion equipment like a fireplace or gas furnace can affect your home’s safety if ventilation isn’t adequate. A comprehensive approach to energy efficiency and indoor air quality will ensure that your system is operating safely.

The professionals at Riley Heating & Air Conditioning are available for a variety of HVAC needs in your Columbus, GA, home. We can evaluate issues affecting your energy performance. We also offer seasonal maintenance to ensure that your equipment operates properly, another key step in achieving lower energy bills. Contact our customer service department at 334-298-1278 to schedule your appointment or to get more information.

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The Importance of Home Performance Evaluations

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Alabama homeowners who would like to improve energy efficiency may not know how to identify effective household energy-saving solutions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program recommends a whole-house approach to energy conservation. If you have high energy bills, uneven heating and cooling or a lot of dust, your home may benefit from a home performance evaluation. Home performance evaluations look at energy usage in all areas, from insulation to the heating and cooling system.

What Is a Home Performance Evaluation?

The purpose of a home performance evaluation is to examine factors that affect indoor comfort including heat flow, air flow, moisture and indoor air quality. The benefits are many. If there are leaks in the building envelope or inadequate insulation, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system will not perform properly. Sealing leaks and adding insulation will reduce drafts, regulate air flow, achieve proper moisture control and improve air quality.

A certified contractor uses several tools to identify leaks, evaluate levels of insulation and examine the effectiveness of the HVAC system. A blower-door test identifies leaks around windows and doors, pipes, electrical outlets and other elements of the building envelope. Ductwork and seams will also be examined for leaks. The contractor will evaluate the performance of the entire HVAC system.

You will be presented with a written summary of the findings with recommendations for fixing any problems. Depending on your contractor’s findings, air sealing and upgraded insulating are usually among the first steps suggested to improve energy efficiency. Weather stripping and caulking are simple, inexpensive ways to reduce air leaks. If the building leaks air or has too little insulation, the benefits of an energy-efficient HVAC system are lost.

Selecting a Contractor

Riley Heating and Air Conditioning has more than 40 years of experience providing HVAC service in western Georgia and eastern Alabama. As a member of the Building Performance Institute, our technicians are trained to conduct home performance evaluations and recommend effective ways to improve your indoor environment. For more information about improving energy efficiency in your home or about our general services, contact us at 334-298-1278.

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Cooling Tips to Save You Money This Summer

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Soaring temperatures can cause your cooling bills to skyrocket. Cooling bills are one of the largest utility bills that households face each year. If you want to save money while keeping cool in your home this summer, it is important for you to be proactive about reducing your energy usage.

Save Money On Your Cooling Bills

These tips will let you lower your cooling bills this summer without causing discomfort when the temperature starts to rise.

  • Use fans to circulate the air around your home. While fans do not actually lower the temperature, they do help to draw warm air up while circulating cool air for a more comfortable home. If it is hot enough in your home for you to sweat, pointing a fan at yourself provides cooling by evaporating the sweat.
  • Consider turning the temperature up just a little to cut down on the cost of cooling. A temperature that significantly reduces cooling costs without sacrificing your comfort in your home is 78 degrees.
  • Check your air filter at least once each month to ensure that dirt is not keeping your air conditioner from running efficiently. Dirt that clogs up your filter places stress on the system that leads to higher cooling bills. While you can clean the air filter to improve efficiency, these filters are inexpensive and easy to replace for the best results.
  • If you are thinking about landscaping options outside of your home, consider designing the layout of your lawn with energy efficiency in mind. Shade trees can keep the sun from heating up your home during the day. Homeowners who have an exterior air conditioning unit can boost the efficiency of their system by providing shade for the unit.
  • Invest in air conditioning maintenance before the weather warms up each summer. Running a cooling system that has not been properly maintained can be costly. Routine maintenance helps to reduce your utility bills, but there is another benefit to be enjoyed when you opt for a maintenance package. It is less likely for a serviced air conditioner to need expensive repairs.
  • Turn your air conditioner up 7-10 degrees if you are going to be away from home for more than a few hours. If you have a programmable thermostat, set your cooling system to increase the indoor air temperature while you are at work. You can even program your system to turn the temperature down long enough before you get home to ensure that your home is comfortable when you arrive.

HVAC technicianProfessional Air Conditioning Services

If you are tired of the high cost of cooling your home, chat with us online now or call 334-298-1278 for help. Our experienced technicians provide high-quality air conditioning installation, repair and maintenance services that will keep your system running more efficiently. A friendly representative at our Phenix City, Alabama-based office can discuss your unique needs to find a solution that will keep you and your family comfortable while reining in your utility costs.

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Read This List of Must-Haves Before Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Monday, July 15th, 2019

Your family depends on great heating and cooling to stay comfortable throughout the year, and when it comes time to hire an HVAC contractor, you can’t afford to settle for second-best. There are plenty of great HVAC companies out there; there are also plenty of contractors that do suboptimal work. Look for these four must-haves to separate the best from the rest.

Must-Have: Factory Authorization

If you’re looking to invest in a new heater or air conditioner, this one is particularly vital, but it’s important for repair and maintenance jobs as well. Factory authorized dealers know the systems they install inside and out, and they make sure every single one meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s specifications. More importantly, they have a record of high-quality service as proven by consistently high performance on independent customer satisfaction surveys.

Must-Have: A Good Reputation

This one’s more subjective, of course, but it’s also very important. Ask friends and colleagues for referrals; if they’ve hired an HVAC company recently, they’re well-positioned to know whether that company provides good or bad service. Look for positive reviews on websites like Angie’s List and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. Industry awards also recognize the best contractors in the business.

High Quality Comfort Since 1971Must-Have: A Commitment to Success

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your HVAC contractor is in business for the long term. Does the company have a facility? Investing in an office shows a certain degree of maturity as a company. Pay that office a visit and make sure it’s clean and well-maintained. If they can’t keep their own property in order, it’s probably best not to trust them with yours.

Given that this is the twenty-first century, it’s also good to check out each HVAC contractor’s website. Companies that are serious about helping customers and providing top-quality service usually invest some time in keeping theirs user-friendly and up to date.

At Riley Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re proud to be the HVAC company of choice for dozens of families in the Chattahoochee Valley area. We’re proud to be recognized as a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer. Give us a call to find out how we can help meet your family’s heating and cooling needs. 334-298-1278

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Effective Ways to Keep the Summer Heat Outdoors

Monday, June 17th, 2019

If you want to stay cool this summer, you don’t need to go swimming in the Chattahoochee River. You just need an efficient air conditioning system. Keeping the heat out of your home can help you stay cooler and reduce your electric bills.

Covering Your Windows

window treatmentsUncovered windows are responsible for a lot of solar heat gain. Using appropriate shades or curtains can improve your AC efficiency. Windows with an eastern, western, or southern exposure should be covered to block out solar radiation that heats your home. Opaque curtains or roller shades are effective. If you have blinds, keep them closed. Large windows that face the east or west produce the most warmth, so be sure to keep them covered during the sunniest times of the day. Lined drapes can reduce heat gain by 30 percent.

Weatherizing Your Home

weather stripping window for fall maintenanceSpring and summer are the best times to weatherize your house. If you’ve ever caulked drafty cracks or glazed your windows in November, you know that it’s easier to do these tasks in fair weather. Sealing gaps around doors, windows, and utility lines will prevent the hot, humid air from coming in this summer. It will also keep your home more comfortable when the winter arrives in Phenix City. Use caulk for air leaks in walls, doorframes, and stationary components. Use weatherstripping on doors and windows.

Other Tips for Boosting AC Efficiency

Leaks in your air ducts can affect conditioned air and let hot air enter your home. During a tune-up or service call, your Riley Heating and Air Conditioning technician can inspect your ducts and determine if repair is necessary. Your technician can address air leaks and make recommendations to help you save even more. Don’t forget that seasonal tune-ups improve the system’s performance and extend its life.

To learn more about cooling your home efficiently call us today at 334-298-1278. Whether you live in eastern Alabama or western Georgia, we look forward to providing outstanding service to your family.

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6 Ways You Can Improve Indoor Comfort

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

There are many factors that affect home comfort. From an HVAC perspective, temperature and indoor air quality are perhaps the main factors that you have to tackle throughout the year. When it comes to your HVAC system and your indoor air, there are ways Phenix City, Alabama residents can improve indoor comfort and save energy at the same time.

Hand_Cor_ThermostatUpgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Considered to be one of the newest energy-saving tools on the market, smart programmable thermostats provide many benefits. In addition to energy and costs savings, they are extremely easy to use and can be customized according to your schedule and desired comfort levels.

open-air-filtersChange Your HVAC Filter Frequently

Unfortunately, many people ignore or simply forget to change their air filter regularly. To avoid buildup of dust and subsequent respiratory problems, it is very important that you clean or change your filter as needed.

Open the Windows for Fresh Air

Unlike many areas across the country, temperatures in our region are comparatively more favorable during the winter months. When temperatures are mild, open the windows to take advantage of the cool air, and to improve air circulation in your home.

A Dehumidifier Keeps Moisture Levels in Check

In a humid environment like Alabama, a dehumidifier can mean the difference between a comfortable home and one that encourages mold growth. Dehumidifiers also reduce strain on your HVAC system since it provides cooling. This also helps you to save money on your utility bills.

Try Plants

Plants can also help to improve indoor air quality. Many of these plants require little maintenance, but can help to effectively remove harmful pollutants from your indoor air. Consider plants such as Aloe, English Ivy, Peace Lily, and the Spider Plant.

Carrier hvac unit repairInvest in an Annual Maintenance Plan

Investing in an annual maintenance plan with your HVAC contractor will improve the performance of your HVAC system. A well-maintained system provides better heating and cooling, and also helps you to manage your indoor air quality.

For more information about improving comfort in your home, contact Riley Heating & Air Conditioning at 334-298-1278. Our technicians can provide a variety of HVAC services and systems to suit your needs.

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How to Get the Most From Your AC When Summer Hits

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

When summer arrives in full force in eastern Alabama and western Georgia, your air-conditioned home offers you a welcome respite from the hot and humid weather. Ensuring that your AC runs at peak energy efficiency lets you enjoy the cooling comfort without worrying about the higher utility bills that often accompany the season. The following tips can help you keep more money in your pocket for summer fun with your family and friends.

Home Cooling Tips

Energy saving begins by implementing changes that make it easier for your air conditioner to maintain ideal temperatures. These cooling strategies can pay off big when it comes to lowering monthly energy bills:

  • Install a Programmable Thermostat. Set the device to raise the temperature when you’re away and lower it again by the time you return home.
  • Upgrade Window Treatments. The Environmental Protection Agency found that using drapes with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
  • Use Ceiling Fans. Your ceiling fan helps to circulate air and creates a wind-chill effect that allows you to set your thermostat around 4 degrees higher without compromising your comfort.
  • Limit Oven Use. Keep the heat out of the kitchen by limiting, stove and oven use, cooking quick meals, cooking summer meals in a microwave or by using an outdoor grill.

Schedule AC Maintenance

When it comes to energy saving, the most important thing you can do is ensure that your AC is in tip-top condition. Even a small glitch in the system can impact efficiency and increase your energy bills. Be sure to schedule annual maintenance or your air conditioning system. You can play a role in maintenance by checking and changing your filter as needed.

With more than 40 years of experience serving the communities of eastern Alabama and western Georgia, Riley Heating and Air Conditioning is your trusted source for preventive maintenance services that optimize energy efficiency and save you money. For more information and tips about how to cut energy costs while beating the heat this summer, take a look at our air conditioning solutions or call us today at 334-298-1278.

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Air Conditioning 101 – Quick Tips for Better Performance

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Well-operating air conditioning systems are a necessity in southern states like Alabama and Georgia.

Here, hot and humid summers are the norm, not the exception. A cooling system that runs at peak performance will not only keep you more comfortable but can save you money on utility bills, as well.

The following quick tips can help ensure that your air conditioner offers you cooling relief when you need it the most.

open-air-filtersMaximize System Efficiency

It’s a basic principle of Air Conditioning 101: Systems that use less energy perform better too. An efficiently operating system maintains your ideal temperature. It also helps keep indoor humidity levels balanced. Start by keeping your air conditioner clean. Dirt, dust and debris can have a big impact on the system’s performance:

  • Change the Air Filter. Your air conditioner’s air filter is the equipment’s first line of defense against damaging dirt and dust. Check it frequently during the warm-weather season. Be sure to change it at the first sign of dirt.
  • Check the Vents. Vacuum and dust air conditioning vents often. Make sure they’re not blocked by furnishings, floor coverings or window treatments.
  • Landscape Wisely. Prune back vegetation around the outdoor unit. Doing this ensures maximum air flow and keeps the condenser clean of loose leaves and debris.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance

HVAC technicianOne of the best ways to optimize your system’s performance is to request an appointment for preventive maintenance. Our professional HVAC maintenance service includes a seasonal checkup of all the components of your air conditioning system. This includes the ductwork and blowers to the refrigerant levels and electrical connections. With our fully stocked service trucks, we can usually resolve any potential problems on the spot as well.

Now is the best time to take steps to improve your air conditioner’s performance, before the full heat of summer arrives. For more information about timely air conditioning solutions call us today at 334-298-1278.

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