Archive for the ‘HVAC Service ’ Category

Helpful Information Regarding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted on: January 21st, 2014 by RF Ohl
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Carbon monoxide, with a chemical symbol of CO is a type of poisonous gas which is characterized as rather deceptive. This is because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless – all three attributes that make it more like a silent killer. The gas is produced mostly by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels such as oil, wood, coal, and gas. However, it has to be noted that carbon-based fuels in general perspective are safe to use. However, the production of CO is the most unfortunate effect of using them. But then again, the production only happens when the fuel used isn’t burned properly, thereby resulting to a surplus of gas, which then is named as carbon monoxide. When this gas successfully penetrates the body, it will prevent the blood from distributing oxygen to the cells, organs, and tissues. This alone makes it a very deadly gas.

Yes, although you can smell or see it, carbon monoxide is actually a very potent killer. It harms without any kind of warning. Statistics say that each year, there are eleven people who die from carbon monoxide poisoning from gas appliances as well as fuels that haven’t been installed properly or those that haven’t been maintained or serviced for a very long time. While there are certain low levels that aren’t enough to kill, those levels of CO can still lead to very serious health issues, especially when the gas is breathed in a long period of time. In some of the most extreme and known cases, the inhalation of CO led to paralysis as well as brain damage.

Therefore, the increase and promotion of public knowledge about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning is very crucial in today’s world, especially with the fact that majority of us are dependent to gas appliances.

The good thing is there are actually signs that you can easily look out for in order to determine incomplete burning is happening. For instance, if you happen to see yellow or orange flames instead of the usual blue, that’s a telltale sign. If you can see soot or brown staining in your appliance, that is another sign. Pilot lights that also blow out frequently usually mean there is incomplete combustion of the fuel. Finally, if you see increased condensation in your windows, it also means there is incomplete combustion of CO.

There are several reasons why carbon monoxide levels increase in one’s environment. This includes:

  • When appliances that use fuel are not properly functioning or when they are not properly vented.
  • When the home is air-tight in preparation for keeping the air warm during the winter season.
  • When the chimneys or vents are blocked.
  • When there is a cracked furnace exchanger.
  • When the vents are either disconnected or corroded.
  • When there is an insufficient air supply for fuel-burning equipment or appliance, thereby causing down-drafting.

What Are The Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

The early signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning emulate common ailments and in several instances, it may well be confused with that of food poisoning or viral infection. You will know you are poisoned by CO if you experience the following:

  • Breathlessness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Pain in the chest and stomach
  • Visual issues
  • Erratic behavior

Prevention is Better than Cure

The best way to fight carbon monoxide poisoning is preventing its buildup in the first place. What needs to be done is that you have to make sure that any fuel burning equipment or appliance you have at home should be in optimal condition to operate. They should also be vented with sufficient fresh air supply. If you have a barbecue grill that uses charcoal, never make the mistake of using it inside the home, garage, or any closed space. Likewise, your vehicle shouldn’t be running inside the garage. If you have a furnace at home, annual inspection must be done. Finally, annual maintenance is also necessitated for the home ventilation system, including the chimneys, fireplace, and space heaters.

Finding A Heating Contractor in Lehighton, PA

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by RF Ohl
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In this interview Steve Ohl from R.F. Ohl gives us some insight into what he would look for in a heating contractor in Lehighton PA.

Originally aired live on Jan 17, 2014

Top 7 Tips For Preventing Frozen Pipes This Winter

Posted on: January 8th, 2014 by RF Ohl
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winterWhen temperatures start to plunge, homeowners begin to face another headache of combating the cold. But the thing is it’s not just about heating the home to provide comfort. There are other concerns that need to be addressed. One of them is the risk of freezing pipes. When the necessary steps aren’t performed, there is a great possibility that the pipes will become frozen in the cold season, and surely you don’t want that to happen.

The good news is we have seven tips for preventing frozen pipes for the winter:

  1. Make sure they are insulated. When pipes are exposed, they need insulation more than even. There are cases when the pipes are running up the wall and connected to another pipe on the upper floor. When the pipe touches an outside wall, it usually means it is not insulated. You can have the insulation installed around the pipe or purchase your own. You can find many of them in stores and they are easy to put in.
  2. Remove a hose that is hooked up in the backyard. There usually exists a shut-off valve found inside underneath the sink, where the hose is placed or connected. You have to shut off the valve and the open the valve located outside. This is for the purpose of letting water drip out. If you do this, you will be effectively preventing the pipes from bursting.
  3. Turn the faucet on. There is pressure building up in the pipes and if the water isn’t moving and then the pipe is suddenly exposed to extreme cold, there is a very good chance that it could freeze. In light of this possibility, what you can simply do is open up the faucet a bit. As you do this, the water will naturally move because of the opening. Hence, it will be prevented from freezing since it is not sitting. Opening the faucet about one quarter of the way will release the pressure building up in the pipes.
  4. Turn off the main shutoff valve. When there is a long power outage, perhaps a day or two, it is highly recommended that you turn off the main shutoff valve that controls the water coming into the home. You shut it off and open the faucets. What happens is that all the water will run through, making sure there are no water left in the pipes that could result to freezing.
  5. You also need to drain the water heater during the same power outage. This is to prevent the likelihood of damage. Traditionally, there are two valves found above the water heater. You need to shut them both off. You will also see spout in the bottom of the heater and that is actually where the water will drain. Keep in mind that during power outage, even hot water may freeze up.
  6. Do some preventative measures outside as well. For instance, be guided that a frozen garden hose can and will cause more damage compared to that of a busted one. In fact, it can lead to bursting an interior pipe. The moment the water in the hose becomes frozen, it will expand and increase pressure, affecting the entire system. So, be sure garden hoses are drained, disconnected, and stored right before the winter comes.
  7. But what if it’s too late and you already have frozen pipes? The best tip for this one is ask for help. For example, if a homeowner still has power at home but realizes the pipes may be frozen, it is emphasized and recommended that the homeowner shouldn’t tamper. Instead, he needs to call a plumber to address the problem. There have been many reports of incidents homeowners heating pipes on their own and in most instances, they do more harm than good and eventually inflict more damage on the pipes and the entire plumbing system.

Another thing to consider is to make sure that you have your heating system serviced and if it is an oil or kerosene heater, be sure that you have your fuel tank full. R.F. Ohl delivers oil and kerosene to households and businesses in Northeastern PA. Call today to schedule an oil delivery.

Tips For Finding A Great Heating Contractor Allentown

Posted on: December 10th, 2013 by Heating Oil Guru
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great heating contractorYou think finding the right heating contractor Allentown is a walk in the park? Think again! The thing is there are so many different factors and tips to consider right before you can officially say you’ve got the right people for the job of repair, replacement, maintenance, or installation of your heating system at home.

1 – Research

Just like how you look for a roofing, flooring, or painting contractor, you need to do some significant research first in order to comprehend and determine the legitimacy of your prospects. The first thing you need to do is find out about the license, certificate, training, and insurance requirements for a great HVAC contractor in your area or state. Keep in mind that before you call in a contractor, you first have to know the model of your current heating system as well as its maintenance history. This is to ensure that you’re not wasting your own time and the contractor’s time. Part of your research should be the listing of any uncomfortable rooms, the purpose of which is to aid the contractors in determining your heating issues and needs.

2 – Referrals

It is expected that you don’t have any clue as to where to get names. The good news is that you can always ask for referrals. Think of your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family. You can expect any one of them to have availed of the services of an HVAC contractor in the past. As for more reliable reference, you can also call local trade organizations for specific names and contact numbers in your locality.

3 – Expect a Comprehensive Evaluation

heating contractorA great HVAC contractor will spend a substantial amount of time in terms of thorough and comprehensive inspection of your current system, and in the process assess your heating needs. When it comes to installation, it doesn’t always mean that a bigger system is the best. A good and reliable contractor will effectively size the heating system based on the overall area or space in your house, level of insulation, and the status of windows. Also, they will never fail to conduct additional inspection on the duct system in order to see if there are any presence of air leaks and insulation problems.

4 – Written Estimates with Itemization

Finally, a reliable and dependable heating system contractor will give you a proposal or bid that is placed on writing. In the proposal, essential stuff should be present including the cost, energy efficiency stats, and warranties. Be reminded though that it doesn’t mean that the lowest price is also the best deal around. What you need to understand is you’re in need of a heating system that will give you the opportunity to save money and be energy efficient.

Tips For Hiring Heating Contractors in Allentown (and elsewhere)

Posted on: November 21st, 2013 by Heating Oil Guru
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Thinking of Installing a New Heating System?

This is an interview of Steve Ohl where he discusses tips on how to find a good heating contractor to install and/or service a heating system in Allentown, PA or another other town. Watch it here…

  We had a small Internet glitch and had to resume the interview, so here is part two…

Tips On What Homeowners Should Look For in Heating Contractors

Heating Contractor Allentown PAOne thing that a homeowner must consider is if the contractor can provide service and is accessible 24 hours a day. It won’t matter if you have the best heating contractor if the same cannot be reached especially in times you need them the most. Somebody that can answer the phones every minute of the day is important.

Next are free estimates. Most contractors will offer free estimates or perhaps some type of rebate if they charge a small free upfront for the estimate. Be wary of contractors asking for large fees to perform an estimate.

A written proposal is as important as any other requirements in a homeowner’s search for a heating contractor. You don’t want to get a verbal quote from a contractor and end up paying a thousand dollars more when the job is complete. Get it in writing and make sure they are going to honor the pricing they gave for the installation or any other service for that matter. Based on Pennsylvania law, every contractor must possess a license and they have to provide a written contract or agreement on any job that costs more than $500. The license number provided by the State to the contractor must be present and visible in any advertisements made by the company, be it in their website or their van with the contractor’s name on it.

Things to Look Out For in the Installation of Heating Systems

Do not work with heating contractors that ask a significant amount of money upfront. Typically, a thirty percent down payment is asked, which partially covers the cost of hard expenses that the contractor needs to incur at the beginning of the job. When it comes to payment options for the consumer, there are financing choices offered by R.F. Ohl. For instance, Ohl partners up with a financing company that offers zero down payments. The monthly payments meanwhile can extend up to seven years. Multiple payments options therefore are a good barometer in determining a good heating contractor. Aside from financing, using a credit card for payments offers security and protection for the homeowner’s purchases in the event of a dispute.

The lowest price doesn’t always guarantee you get the best deal on your end. You have to consider looking at referrals and references to double check on the contractor’s reputation. The purpose of seeking referrals is to find out more about the contractor, both good and bad.

According to Steve, the good thing about their company is that they are very active in social media and other forms of communication. Because of this, there is emphasis on transparency, where would-be customers get to see feedback from previous clients, be it negative or positive.

Meanwhile, Steve talks more about the track record of a heating contractor as another essential factor to consider. According to him, it is important for their people to have continuous training in all aspects of the job and the level of such training should keep up with the changing times. For instance, they attended a seminar about the newly released Trane thermostats – new digitally operated thermostats that are far more advanced than the traditional ones at home.

Types of Heating Systems: Need-To-Know

furnaceSteve is asked about the different types of heating systems and components for the homeowner’s knowledge:

Furnace – This is a warm air system that works with air ducts. It forces the air through the ducts and dissipates it to the rooms.

Boiler – A boiler meanwhile will have a hot water base board or steam application. The former is the newer technology used today. This type of system provides even heating while the warm air from the furnace will dissipate a lot quicker.

As far as the replacement of a heating system at home, the typical interruption will last a day or even less. On larger boiler systems, the installation may take up to three days, in these types of jobs, Ohl focuses on getting the hot water system operational as soon as possible to minimize inconvenience to the household. Also, the kind of renovation or changes that need to be done matters a lot on the period of installation or replacement. For instance, the homeowner may be asking for a switch from natural gas to propane or from heating oil to propane or natural gas. In this regard, work can be more demanding because of the removal of heating oil tanks, old boilers, and other components. Warm air systems usually can be installed in less than one day. But R.F. Ohl assures that every detail of the basement, second floor, or any area where the installation is done is put back into a condition better than what they found it.