End-of-Season Furnace Care

Electricity circuit breaker blown fuses human hand close-up

Even with the impending snow storm, spring is still on the way. After the next few weeks, we won’t be relying on our home heating systems to keep us warm too much. It is important to prepare your furnace for the long spring and summer seasons so that it is ready to run in the fall when you need it again.

Follow these step-by-step instructions from the experts at Devine Bros. to prepare your heating system for the offseason:

  • Clean or replace your air filter. If you have central air conditioning, your A/C likely uses the same ductwork as your furnace. Replacing your air filter only takes a few minutes and can significantly reduce energy usage and prevent breakdowns for your heating and cooling systems.
  • Perform a visual inspection. You don’t need to be an HVAC expert to give your heating system a quick visual inspection. Simply examine your furnace and its components for cracks, loose connections, and other signs of damage. If you see something wrong, have it professionally repaired before it develops into a bigger problem.
  • Clear the surrounding area. It’s easy to let items accumulate around your furnace during the summer months, but if you need heat on a cold, rainy day, a cluttered environment around your heating equipment could present a fire hazard.
  • Power it down. If your furnace has a dedicated switch on your breaker box, turn it off for the season. This will prevent it from accidentally turning on, which would waste energy and could put you at risk for a fire.

If you run into any problems when working on your furnace, the professionals at Devine Bros. are just a phone call away. Our trained technicians can service, repair, or install any type of home heating system. If you live in Fairfield County CT, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

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Where is Your Home Losing Heat?

home heat loss

Think your home is air tight? Think again. Even with all of your windows and doors shut, most homes still lose a significant amount of heat through small gaps, air leaks, and other inefficiencies. Read below to learn more about the common sources of heat loss:

  • Ceiling. Warm air rises, so it should come as no surprise that the roof is a significant source of heat loss in most homes. Poor insulation in the attic can result in heat loss of up to 25%!
  • Walls. Many estimate that walls account for up to one-third of heat loss, making them the most significant source in the home. This could be due to poor insulation, small gaps around exterior doors, and even air leaks around your electrical outlets.
  • Windows. Your money could be going right out of the window – literally. There are a few ways to minimize heat loss through your windows. One way is by installing new double-paned glass with a low-emissivity coating. You could also simply seal air leaks with caulk or weatherstripping. A more low-tech approach involves covering your window with a thick, insulative curtain. However, this is more of a band-aid solution and prevents you from opening your curtains during the daytime.
  • Furnace. If your heating system is more than 10 years old, it could be only 65% efficient. That means 35% of the fuel you burn is ultimately wasted. This number could be even higher if you have leaky air ducts. A brand new, Energy Star heating system can offer 90% energy efficiency or more, allowing you to heat your home for less.

Devine Bros. offers energy-efficient heating system installations to homeowners throughout Fairfield County, Connecticut. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421 to schedule a service with one of our trained technicians.

3 Common Furnace Smells and What They Mean

woman pinches nose with fingers looks with disgust

Furnaces have been known to emit all sorts of strange smells, ranging from dust, to oil, to mold, and more. The scent coming from your furnace could indicate something as minor as a dirty filter, or as major as a gas leak – it all depends on the odor.

In this article, the heating experts at Devine Bros. go over three common furnace smells and what they could mean:

  • Dust. If you are firing up your furnace for the first time of the season (or maybe just after a long vacation), a dusty smell is normal. Dust can quickly accumulate in the burner element or air ducts of an inactive furnace; what you are smelling is simply the burning off or dispersion of this dust. The odor should subside relatively quickly.
  • Mold. Mold can grow virtually anywhere in the home – including inside your heating system. The air filter and air ducts are two of the most common places you will find mold in your furnace. Replace the air filter immediately; if the smell persists, you may need to hire a professional air duct cleaning service to remove mold that has grown inside your ducts.
  • Rotten Eggs. If you use natural gas to heat your home, the scent of rotten eggs is even more dangerous than it is unpleasant. In its native state, natural gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, which makes it nearly impossible to detect. During the refinement process, sulfur is added to the gas so that leaks can quickly be identified. So when you smell rotten eggs, you are actually smelling sulfur, which means there is probably a gas leak. Immediately turn off your furnace, evacuate the home, and contact your gas provider.

Is your heating system emitting a weird smell? Fairfield County residents can count on the home heating experts at Devine Bros. to quickly diagnose and fix the problem. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

Does Your Home Suffer from Low Humidity?

dry skin | low humidity

You know that high humidity can make life miserable, but what you may not know is that low humidity isn’t pleasant, either. In fact, low humidity is a common problem in Connecticut during the winter months. The cold weather sucks the moisture right out of the air, and our home heating systems only make it worse.

Here are four things you should be paying attention to this winter, as they could indicate chronically low humidity levels in the home:

  • Your skin: dry air leads to dry skin. If you suffer from dry, itchy, scaly skin and don’t have a diagnosable condition (such as eczema), dry air is likely to blame.
  • Your eyes, nose, and mouth: just like your skin, your eyes, nose, and mouth can dry out in low humidity. These symptoms are often at their worst immediately after waking up. In extreme cases, you may wake up with cracked lips or a nosebleed.
  • Wooden surfaces: Your body isn’t the only thing that dries out in low humidity; the wood surfaces in your home can suffer too. Be on the lookout for warped, cracked, or split wood on your furniture and flooring.
  • Static electricity: Does it seem like you are getting zapped every time you touch a doorknob? It’s not your imagination, or a coincidence. Low humidity creates a charge imbalance, leading to an increased presence of static electricity.

Residents of Fairfield County, Connecticut can count on Devine Bros. to stay comfortable this winter. We offer a full complement of home heating services, including fuel delivery, furnace repairs, tune-ups, replacements, and installations. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

4 Signs You Need a New Water Heater

Water heater inside a building

Even though they play an integral part in our everyday lives, many homeowners don’t pay attention to their water heaters. That is, until something goes wrong.

Here are four signs you should be looking out for, as they could indicate you are in need of a new water heater.

You are constantly running out of hot water.

Nothing is better than a long, hot shower. Conversely, nothing is worse than a surprise cold shower. If you find yourself constantly running out of hot water after a short period of time, you may need to upgrade your water heater.

Your water heater is old enough to drive.

How old is your hot water heater? The average lifespan of a water heater is between 10-15 years. If yours is older, it may be nearing the end of its life. While you shouldn’t replace it immediately if there are no apparent problems, you should keep a close eye out for those starting to develop.

Your water heating bill has skyrocketed.

Is your hot water bill getting more and more expensive each month, despite your usage remaining relatively consistent? This could indicate that your water heater is on the brink of a major breakdown.

The repair bills keep adding up.

Loud noises, leaks, and muddy water are all common reasons for water heater repairs. While one repair is not too much cause for concern, multiple repairs are. If you find that your repair man is on speed dial, you are better off putting that repair money towards a new unit.
Is your hot water heater showing any of these signs? Fairfield County residents can count on the experts at Devine Bros. for professional water heater repairs and installations. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

It’s Not Too Late for a Furnace Tune-Up!

Plumber Fixing Radiator With Wrench

We rely on our home heating systems to keep us warm during the cold winter months. But what happens when these systems stop performing like they used to? Luckily, many problems don’t require hefty repairs – they just need a little TLC.

A professional tune-up is a great way to maximize your heating system’s performance this season. Though winter has already started, it’s not too late to reap the benefits that a tune-up can provide.

What is a heating system tune-up?

Just like your car, your heating system needs routine maintenance if it is going to run at peak capacity. During a tune-up service, a professional technician will clean, replace, lubricate, and inspect the various parts of your heating system. Specific tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Changing the air filter
  • Lubricating the blower
  • Cleaning the oil burner
  • Inspecting components for signs of potential failure

What benefits does a tune-up provide?

Annual tune-ups for your heating system offer many benefits, including:

  • Improved energy-efficiency.
  • Reduced wear and tear.
  • Improved safety.
  • Prevent future breakdowns.
  • Extend equipment lifespan.
  • Validate warranty (many manufacturers will void their warranty if your system isn’t properly maintained).

Why should I choose Devine Bros.?

Families across Fairfield County CT have trusted Devine Bros. to keep warm for nearly 100 winters, and you can too:

  • We are family owned and operated since 1918.
  • Our technicians are trained to service any make or model of heating equipment.
  • We offer 24/7 emergency services.
  • Our other heating services include repairs, installations, and oil delivery.

How can I get started?

Ready to schedule your heating system tune-up with the experts at Devine Bros.? If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, just give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

How to Prevent 3 Common Winter Problems Around the Home

Icicles hanging from the roof of a house

Sub-freezing temperatures are as troublesome for our home as they are for us. Avoid disaster this winter by following these preventative tips from the home heating experts at Devine Bros

Problem: Ice Dams

What happens: Heat rising through the attic begins to melt the snow on your roof. The snow turns into water, flows to the edge in the roof, but can’t drain due to a blockage in the gutters. The water re-freezes into ice, forming a literal dam at the edge of your roof. This leads to a backup of water, which can eventually begin to seep into your home.

How to prevent it: There are two approaches to dealing with ice dams: proactive and reactive. Reactive approaches include removing snow from your roof with a snow rake, or simply melting an ice dam using a garden hose. An example of a proactive approach is upgrading your attic’s insulation to minimize heat loss.

Problem: Burst Pipes

What happens: As temperatures begin to drop outside, uninsulated pipes in your home can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, thus creating an immense amount of pressure on the insides of your pipes. The pipe will eventually give in to this pressure by rupturing. This can lead to gallons of water pouring into your home, damaging everything it contacts.

How to prevent it: Insulate the pipes in your home, especially those that run along exterior walls, as they are most susceptible to freezing. You should also keep your home’s heat set to at least 65° at all times – even if you are away on vacation. It is a good idea to leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around your pipes.

Problem: Furnace Breakdowns

What happens: Your home heating system is comprised of several components which all work together to keep you warm. If just one of these components malfunctions, your entire furnace could fail to produce heat.

How to prevent it: Routine maintenance is the best way to prevent furnace breakdowns. The most important thing that homeowners can do on their own is change the air filter every month. You should also schedule one professional tune-up per year. During a tune-up, a licensed technician will clean your heating system and inspect it for signs of potential problems. This can help stop breakdowns before they start.

Devine Bros. offers home heating installations, repairs, and tune-ups to homeowners across Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our trained technicians are familiar with all makes and models of heating equipment. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

6 Home Hacks to Lower Your Winter Energy Bill

furnace repair norwalk | furnace repair fairfield county | devine bros.

Connecticut homeowners face a choice each winter: freeze, or hand over a small fortune to their energy provider. Not anymore! Follow these six home heating hacks from Devine Bros., and you will stay cozy all winter long without breaking the bank:

 

1. Dial down the thermostat. It’s no secret that turning down the thermostat can save you energy, but you may be surprised by how much. Just two degrees can cut your heating bill by up to 10%, all while having minimal effect on your comfort.

 

2. Seal drafty windows and doors. Drafty areas provide an easy path for warm air to escape your home, and cold air to enter it. Most air leaks can be sealed using a caulking gun or weatherstripping.

 

3. Check your humidity levels. Dry winter air can make the temperature feel colder than it actually is. Investing a portable humidifier can make your home feel more comfortable without spiking your heating bill.

 

4. Switch your ceiling fan blades. Most ceiling fans can spin in either direction. During the winter months, set your blades to rotate clockwise to push warm air down into the room.

 

5. Utilize alternative heat sources. Your furnace isn’t the only source of heat in your home. Some other (free) ways to add warmth include:

  • Keeping your curtains open during the daytime.
  • Opening your oven door after cooking.
  • Opening your bathroom door after a hot shower.

 

6. Maintain your heating system. A little bit of maintenance can go a long way for your furnace’s energy efficiency. For best results, homeowners should replace their air filters every month and schedule one professional tune-up per year.

 

Devine Bros. offers professional home heating services to Fairfield County, Connecticut. Some of our services include heating oil delivery, furnace installations, repairs, and tune-ups. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

Why Can’t I Heat My Home Evenly?

why-doesnt-my-home-heat-evenly

Are you experiencing hot and cold areas in your home? While a properly-functioning furnace should provide a consistent temperature throughout the entire house, this is not always the case.

There are many reasons as to why your heating system may fail to heat your home evenly. In some cases, the problem may have nothing to do with the heater itself:

 

  • Air Leaks. Air leaks can come from many places in the home, including your windows, doors, electrical outlets, walls, and ceilings. If your home utilizes a forced-air heating system, your ductwork may even be leaking hot air out. A professional energy audit is the best way to determine whether or not your home’s insulation levels are sufficient and your ducts are properly sealed.

 

  • Improperly-sized furnace. Every furnace has a maximum heating capacity measured in BTUs. The size you need for your home depends on a variety of factors, such as square footage, climate, insulation levels, number of windows, and ceiling height. Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” if your furnace is incorrectly sized.

 

  • Malfunctioning equipment. If you have sufficient insulation, and your furnace is correctly sized, it’s likely just a matter of faulty equipment. Heating systems require many internal parts to work together; if just one of these components malfunctions, your whole home may suffer the consequences.

If you are experiencing uneven heat in your Fairfield County home, call the heating experts at Devine Bros. We offer furnace installations and repairs to all of Norwalk, Westport,New Canaan, and the surrounding area. Visit our website to learn more, or call (203) 866-4421.

5 Things Every Homeowner Should Know About Their Heating System

 

 

Big HEAT

Every Connecticut homeowner has a heating system keeping their house warm, but how much attention do you pay to it? Here are five pieces of information that everyone should know, courtesy of the home heating experts at Devine Bros.

 

  • If it smells like gas, shut it off fast! Heating equipment can emit many scents, but if it smells like gas, you could be in serious danger. Turn off your furnace ASAP, evacuate your home immediately, and contact your gas company so they can inspect for a leak.

 

  • Heating equipment produces carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas which can be fatal in high doses. Keep your family safe by installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home, and having your heating system professionally inspected at the start of the season.

 

  • Staying warm doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of things you can do around the house to trim energy usage this winter. For example, every degree you turn down the thermostat can save you 5% on your heating bill. For more money-saving tips and ideas, click here.

 

  • When it comes to home heating, you have options. Modern day homeowners have a plethora of options when it comes to heating their homes: including forced-air systems, radiators, baseboard heaters, heat pumps, and more. They can also choose their fuel type, whether that be heating oil, natural gas, electricity, or bioheat.

 

  • Like your car, your heating system needs maintenance. If you want to get the most out of your heating system, annual maintenance is imperative. A professional tune-up can help lower energy consumption, improve heating capacity, and prevent future breakdowns.

Homeowners in Fairfield County, Connecticut can count on the HVAC professionals at Devine Bros. to keep them warm this winter. We offer a variety of home heating services, including furnace installations, repairs, tune-ups, and heating oil delivery. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, call us today at (203) 866-4421.