January 2018

How to Set Your Programmable Thermostat for Maximum Savings

If you’ve recently had a programmable thermostat installed, congratulations! It’s a great way to be more comfortable while saving money at the same time. Of course, in order to realize maximum savings on your heating bill, you’ve got to enter a program that works for you both in terms of being comfortable while you’re at home and awake, and saving money by lowering the heat while you’re away at work or in bed for the night. Here are the basics on how to do that:

Set It and Forget It

programmable thermostat for savingsThe secret to saving money with your programmable thermostat is to program it so that it’s at 68 degrees during the winter when you know you’ll be at home and awake, at 78 degrees during the summer when you’re at home. Then, set it  7 to 10 degrees below/above that during the hours when you’ll either be asleep or away from the home at work and/or school.

That’s it. By setting the program once, according to the temperatures noted (which are recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver division), you’ll not only be ensuring that your home is comfortable while you’re at home and active, but you’ll also be “programming in” a savings of between 5 and 10 percent per year on your heating and cooling costs.

You Can Choose How Much Money You’ll Save

The temperatures listed above will provide maximum savings should you decide to follow the DOE’s recommendations. But remember, you’re in charge, so if you want to compromise by tweaking the temperatures a bit to be more comfortable, you’ll save a bit less.

Let’s say you choose to set your winter “at home” temperature to 70 degrees rather than 68 degrees, or that you prefer a temperature of 76 degrees rather than 78 during the summer. You’ll still save, but your savings will be on the lower end of the 5 to 10 percent savings spectrum. This is true as long as your adjustments for “away” and “asleep” temperatures comprise at least 8 hours of every day.

Simplify and Save

Having a programmable thermostat in the wintertime means that you no longer have to try to remember to turn the heat down before you leave the house in the morning. It also means that you’ll no longer have to come home — or wake up — to a house that’s too cold. And of course, the reverse applies to your summertime comfort. It’s a genius way to simplify your life, be more comfortable, and save money too!

If you’re in Cincinnati and need a programmable thermostat installed give the pros at Herrmann Services a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

The Clunk and the Funk – Explaining Strange Sounds & Smells Coming from Your Furnace

furnace strange sounds and smellsClick, click, click. Nobody is tapping their fingernails on the table. Nobody is typing on a typewriter. This clicking is coming from your furnace! If you hear this sound in your furnace, it means something is wrong. Probably, a constant clicking sound is your igniter trying unsuccessfully to light the burners. Without the burners lit, your furnace won’t heat the air in your house. Time to call the furnace repairman!

Here are some other strange noises and smells that should not be coming from your furnace (but sometimes they happen, and that means your furnace needs some professional attention).

Screeches or Scraping Sounds from Your Furnace

You might think a bird or small, scurrying animal has been trapped inside your furnace. What you hear is probably a broken part hitting the furnace casing. The blower wheel may be broken, or something went awry with the motor. Broken parts in a furnace need replacing immediately.

Furnace Making Booming Sounds

Explosions inside your furnace should not be ignored! An explosion probably means the burners inside the furnace are dirty, making it hard for them to light. Extra gas builds up and then explodes when it does get lit. Even if the blast is small and doesn’t seem to be breaking anything, eventually it could cause damage that would be more expensive than getting your burners cleaned.

Thwapping Sounds Mean Furnace Trouble

Thwapping means something is stuck, and the blower blades are hitting it with each turn. This is not the worst problem that could happen to a furnace, but it can cause your furnace’s motor to wear out.

Rotten Eggs Can Mean a Gas Leak!

When it comes to your furnace, that horrible smell usually means there’s a gas leak. The gas your furnace uses is deadly, but is invisible and has no natural odor. That’s why the gas company adds a sulfur smell to alert people to a gas leak. If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur, turn off the furnace and open the windows, then leave the house! Call your gas service company to repair the leak.

Smells Like Something Is Burning!

This smell coming from your furnace might need some time to decide if it’s a bad problem or not. If you just turned on your furnace for the first time in the season, then it probably will burn up the dust that has accumulated over the summer. If the smell does not go away, you could consider getting a new air filter. This should clear it up, but if doesn’t clear up the smell, then call the repairman.

If you live in the Cincinnati area, give Herrmann Services a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online for all your furnace repair needs.

5 Tips to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing

Here in Cincinnati, we know that our winters are COLD. Strike that – with average low temperatures in the 20s, cold is probably an understatement. In addition, with the freezing weather comes the increased risk of freezing pipes. But if you know what causes pipes to freeze and how you can prevent it, you can save yourself a lot of heartaches, hassle, and money.

Understanding Frozen Pipes

We know that water freezes when the temperature dips below 32º F. In the winter, that’s a daily occurrence. The problem is that when water freezes, it expands. This puts a great deal of pressure on the pipe that’s holding it. For instance, if the water expands too much, the pipe will burst. If this happens, the pipe will have to be replaced. In conclusion, if the burst pipe is inside your house, when it thaws, it can cause a lot of damage.

What Pipes Are Most Vulnerable?

  • Outside pipes
  • Interior pipes in colder areas (the garage, basement, or underneath sinks)
  • Pipes in exterior walls

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

how to keep your pipes from freezingTo clarify, there are plenty of ways you can and should protect your plumbing. Luckily, most are inexpensive and simple. Prevention is key, so make sure your house is ready before the first big freeze. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t end up needing a visit from the plumber or worse.

  • Firstly, ensure you have adequate insulation in colder areas of the house. This may mean adding a little insulation to keep the area warmer.
  • Disconnect exterior hoses. If the water inside the hose freezes, the pressure can put a strain on your entire plumbing system and cause a lot of damage. While you’re disconnecting the hose, be sure to turn off the outside faucets too.
  • Keep the heat on. Even if you plan on going out of town, you need to keep the house warm. Saving a few dollars on your electric bill is not worth coming home to a flooded house.
  • Make sure kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets open. This will allow the warm air to circulate under the sink.
  • Consider foam insulation or heating tape for under the sink if keeping the doors open doesn’t keep the pipes warm enough.
  • If you have a sink or shower valve that has frozen in the past, let it drip a little overnight (very slight drip) as flowing water will not freeze.

Protect your pipes this winter and avoid disaster. If you’re in Cincinnati and need help with any plumbing in your home, call the pros at Herrmann Services at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.