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Tips to Decide if it’s the Right Time for a Replacement

Purchasing a new air conditioner is a significant investment, but a good one for your home. Deciding whether your existing AC unit is ready for replacement or has a few more years to give may be one of the more watchful decisions you will make regarding your home maintenance and upkeep.

After all, you do not want to risk it breaking down, but also don’t want to spend money prematurely. The cost of continuing to repair and maintain the old unit might push you toward replacement, as well as the long-term savings on utility bills with a new system.

Bi-County Inc AC Repair frozen coilsEven after working for years without issue, your air conditioning system might one day stop generating cold air or stop blowing any air altogether. Being familiar with the common issues and repairs performed on AC units, will help you have a better idea of what might be wrong. Because it is best to leave the diagnostics to a professional, contact us at Bi-County Inc when trouble arises. Our trained HVAC technicians are familiar with these common issues, repair them on a daily basis, and can preserve your air conditioner’s warranty.

Some common problems and repairs performed on air conditioners include:

Upgrading to a new air conditioner is a major investment for your home, but also an exciting one. When you upgrade, you could improve energy-efficiency and increase the comfort of your home during the spring and summer.

A new air conditioner system will last in your home 10 to 15 years; therefore, you want to take your time picking out the right model, brand, size and type of unit.

Air Conditioner Tune-Up Chalfont, Doylestown and Lansdale

Summer isn’t officially here quite yet… But with the rising temperature, some of you are probably already thinking about using your cooling system.  An air conditioner is your best defense against sweltering temperatures and with the summer heat, you may need to run it around-the-clock to stay comfortable.  At that point, the last thing you want to find out is that your air conditioner doesn’t work!  So you need to prepare your system ahead of time to make sure it is ready for the increased workload.

Here are some tips from the air conditioning service experts at Bi-County Inc to get your AC system in top shape before the hot weather hits:

Understanding When It May Be Time for a Furnace Replacement

Unexpected loud noises, bad odors and vibrations in your home are more obvious and easy to spot symptoms that your furnace may be damaged or dying. However small changes over time, especially those that impact our own behavior, can be a lot more difficult to identify.

Be aware of these changes in your personal behavior that may be evidence of an unhealthy furnace:

  • Thermostat Awareness – If your old routine of adjusting the thermostat before bedtime has become a constant battle to control the comfort of different rooms, it could mean that your furnace is in need of attention. Schedule an inspection with our team of professionals to rule out technical difficulties before assuming the worst.
  • Increased Dryness – If dry, itchy skin or burning eyes and dry noses have become a seasonal reality for your family, take a look at your furnace. Poor circulation can result in a lack of moisture, especially during the dry chill of the winter season.
  • Frequent Dusting – A poorly operating or declining furnace can also lead to the rapid buildup of dust and debris. If you find you are dusting a lot more frequently, the age and performance of your furnace might be a contributing factor.
  • Illness Symptoms – Consider your indoor environment and furnace if you or someone you live with suffers from headaches or nausea on a regular basis. Cracks in the heat exchanger can lead to leaks that can cause serious health problems with extended exposure.

Bi-County Inc. will provide a free estimate for furnace inspections, maintenance work, repairs, and replacement in Doylestown, Chalfont and the surrounding areas in Bucks and Montgomery County, PA. Contact us online or call 215-822-0515 today!

Furnace Maintenance

Bi-County Inc – Your Furnace Repair & Maintenance Professionals

So many homeowners do not schedule maintenance for their furnace on a regular basis. If you feel warm and comfortable in your home, it is natural to conclude that everything is working fine, right?  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  But you don’t have to panic – annual furnace maintenance with Bi-County Inc is the way to identify subtle issues, small inefficiencies, and other problems before they cause damage or breakdown your furnace.

Here are a few reasons why it is recommended to hire Bi-County Inc’s trained professionals to maintain your furnace and your entire home comfort system:

If you do one thing to conserve energy, do this – SCHEDULE A HEATING SYSTEM TUNE-UP!

Your annual pre-season tune-up will guard against unexpected disruptions in service and extend the life of your heating system. Plus, a tune-up will ensure maximum comfort system efficiency, saving you as much as 5% off your annual heating bill, according to the National Oilheat Research Alliance.

Conservation Tips for Cold Weather:

  • Sunshine! Windows on the south side get the most sunlight. Eastern windows get sunlight in the morning. West facing windows receive sunlight in the afternoon. Open shades & drapes during the day to let the sun’s warmth enter your home and close when the sun goes down.
  • Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
  • Remove air conditioning window units, or cover them well.
  • Keep radiators free of dust for top efficiency.
  • Turn the thermostat back by 10°-15°. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save as much as 10% a year on their heating and cooling bills.
  • Wrap your pipes, to guard against heat loss and prevent them from freezing.
  • Avoid using space heaters – they’re expensive to operate, and can be dangerous, too.
  • Check your threshold for any gaps between it and the door. Use a bottom seal that can be attached to the bottom of the door — it should brush up against the floor to seal up the threshold. It virtually stops drafts.
  • Get a heating system tune-up – it’ll ensure you get maximum performance from every drop of heating oil burned.
  • Make sure you have good insulation on exterior walls, ceilings with cold spaces above, and floors with cold spaces below.
  • Change the windows – consider new low-emissivity glass, which will decrease radiant heat loss without lowering visibility.
  • Upgrade your oil burner – a modern burner can cut costs by 15%.

Year-Round Conservation Tips:

  • Use compact fluorescent lights – they last up to 10 – 13 times longer than standard bulbs and use 75% less energy.
  • Install dimmer switches – in addition to enhancing mood, they’ll extend the life of bulbs and help you save up to 60% on lighting costs.
  • Lower the temperature of your water heater from 140° to 120° – you’ll save 3%-5% in water heating costs for each 10° reduction. Or consider a timer to turn your water heater off when not in use.
  • Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold – recommended temperatures are 37°-40°F for the fridge and 5°F for the freezer.
  • Don’t leave the fridge door open! Every time you do, up to 30% of the air inside can escape. The same can be said for your oven.
  • Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water – it’s faster and it uses less energy.
  • Air-dry dishes. Also, avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features.
  • Choose a high-efficiency clothes washer and dryer. High-efficiency washers use half the water of standard models. High-efficiency dryers can save up to 30% in energy over standard models.
  • Defrost food before cooking – you could save 30% to 50% on cooking costs. And pre-heat your oven only for baking.
  • Install water-conserving fixtures – such as showerheads, faucets and toilets.
  • Fix leaky faucets – especially hot water faucets. 1 drop/second can add up to 165 gallons/month – more than a person uses in 2 weeks.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. When properly used, it could save as much as $100 or more off your annual heating bills.

Skilled, Experienced Installation Ensures Lasting Performance and Better Output
Looking around at the residential communities in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, we see many beautiful, ranch style homes, charming spilt-level residences and even some stately colonial homes. This eclectic mix of structures adds to the charm of our unique Pennsylvania landscape. For over 40 years, Bi-County Air Conditioning has served homeowners across the Bux-Mont area and we take pride in helping customers maintain their traditional homes.

While you may love your older home’s existing structure on the outside, you have likely made several improvements over the years to make the indoor environment more comfortable, convenient and in tune with the times. Part of getting your home updated is also an effort to become more energy-efficient and reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Perhaps you have changed some appliances for new ones, replaced older lighting with LED and CFL light bulbs, invested in low-flow toilets, installed energy-saving doors and windows, and so on. One of the biggest expenses on your home utilities budget, however, is your home comfort system, i.e. your heating and air conditioning units.

The Complexity of Installing a Central Air Conditioner in Your Older Home
Retrofitting older homes with central air conditioning can be a challenge due to the ceiling height and limited space to install traditional ductwork for an HVAC system. Even if your home does have adequate space, you will need to tear out old plaster ceilings and walls in order to install the ductwork. DIY installs may not be up to code and can turn messy. What if you damage your original hardwood floors? What if you end up having to replace your gorgeous wainscoting features? A general handyman may also struggle in the absence of existing ductwork. Not to forget, you may need to update your home’s electrical wiring before installing the new central AC. Older houses typically have 110-volt, 60 amp systems, while a central air conditioner may require as much as 230-volt circuits and 20 to 50 amps of power to run. And we can use as little as 1 sq. ft. of space within a closet, thus minimizing loss of room space for the installation!

The team at Bi-County Inc has years of experience and knowledge of all makes and models of ACs. Retrofitting your older home with a central AC unit is easy for our trained, certified and efficient HVAC technicians. The team assigned to your project will personally visit your home for a survey to identify the best natural pathways for the unit to be installed.
  • If you live in a single-family home, usually a single-zone system from the attic is sufficient to cool your entire home.
  • If you live in a ranch-style home, the option above will typically work for you too.
  • For homes that are split-level or colonial style, you have 2 options:
    1. A single-zone system in the attic with natural pathways to cool your home
    2. A two-zone system: one from the attic for the upper level and another from the basement for the main floor.
Air conditioners consume a lot of energy in the summer. However, more energy-efficient models offer a higher EER rating (energy-efficiency ratio). Newer units feature an EER of 10 while older units have 7 and lower. If your air conditioner is 20 years or older, you may want to opt for a timely upgrade.

If you want to retrofit your older home with central air conditioning, call the team at Bi-County today at 215-822-0515 or contact us online. We can help your old home upgrade to a new, energy-efficient air conditioning system for the whole home

In most households, you will not spend 24 hours a day in a single room. So, why would you only purify the air in one room? With portable air purification systems, you are providing temporary purification for the room where the unit is located, but the moment you leave that room, you are breathing in poor quality air. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, having to cart around a portable unit can be tiring and unnecessary.

Instead, you should compare the pros and cons of a portable air purifier versus a whole-home unit to see which is right for your health needs, household concerns and of course, your budget.

Comparing Portable to Whole-Home Air Purifiers
Portable air cleaners, also referred to as tabletop air purification systems, can be taken from one room to the other. Whole-home systems are installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling system and work within the HVAC and vents. Important factors to consider when comparing the two types of purifiers include:
  • Cost – When considering the initial investment, portable units are relatively inexpensive. They do not require professional installation, so you do not have the purchase and installation costs associated with whole-home air purifiers. Keep in mind, however, that they also do not have the same shelf life. If you purchase one for every room, you might as well opt for the whole-home unit to save on long-term costs.
  • Whole Home Purification – Portable units only purify the air in a single room. They are noisy and cumbersome to move. With a whole home unit, each room is automatically purified as air is pushed in through the HVAC system.
  • Effectiveness – Portable units do not effectively remove larger particles of dust, dander, mold, pollen or even dust mites and cockroach allergens. Whole-home units use state-of-the-art filtration and on-demand purification to remove all impurities; even bacteria.
  • Living Space – Portable units take up valuable living space and can become an eyesore on your home’s décor. Whole home units are not visible and instead are tucked away with your HVAC system.
  • Maintenance – A whole home unit requires less maintenance than a portable unit. They can often be maintained once a year with your HVAC system and the filters changed monthly to quarterly (depending on how often they are used).

When you compare the costs and overall effectiveness, you will realize it is not worth wasting your money on a portable unit. Instead, consider the long-term savings and benefits of whole-home air purification systems. Bi-County Fuels carries a full range of air purifiers from the leading manufacturers in indoor air quality control systems.

Schedule a consultation or get your free estimate today by calling 215-822-0515. You can also contact us online with your questions. 

Air purification is not something most homeowners pay much attention to, but if you or your loved ones suffer from allergies or asthma, you need to consider one. Whole-home air purifiers offer numerous benefits aside from cleaner, fresher air. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, you already know how polluted air outside affects you and when that air comes indoors, it can only make you feel worse. Aprilaire is the leading manufacturer of whole home air purifiers and they can help you control pollutants, dust, dander, and more. To enhance the indoor air quality in your home, there is no better solution than an air purifier.

What is in the Air You Breathe?

While you cannot see these particles floating around, you may be surprised at what lingers in the air you breathe inside your home. Just some toxins and contaminants you could be inhaling right now include:

  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Bacteria
  • Dust
  • Viruses
  • Pollen
  • Household chemicals

The Benefits of Installing an Aprilaire Whole Home Air Purification System

Whole home air purification systems are installed as a component of your HVAC system. So, you do not have to worry about bulky units taking up space in each room of your house. These units force air to run through a state-of-the-art filter before the air expels through the vents; delivering only clean, purified air. You can have your air purification system maintained as part of your HVAC maintenance too.
The biggest benefits of an Aprilaire whole home air purification system include:

  1. Cleaning air on your terms. With a whole home air purification system, you can control when and how your system works. Aprilaire has a unique feature that allows the homeowner to manage how often you clean your home’s air. So if you just finished cleaning and kicking up dust, you can turn on the purification system to remove these impurities and ensure superior indoor air quality.
  2. Quick and affordable maintenance. With the whole home system, you just have to clean the filter every one to three months and do a complete maintenance once a year; typically at the same time you schedule your HVAC maintenance appointment.
  3. Warranties. Most importantly, Aprilaire systems come with a warranty as well as their clean coil guarantee. That means the system ensures that your air conditioner’s coil does not need professional cleaning within the 10 years of the Aprilaire being installed. If it does, the company will pay toward the cost of having that coil cleaned by a professional technician.

If you are ready to enhance the quality of air inside your home, look into the options for Aprilaire whole home purification from Bi-County Fuels. Schedule a consult today at 215-822-0515 or contact us online with your questions.

Contact Info

Bi-County Inc
10 North Kerns Ave
Chalfont, PA 18914

Phone: 215-822-0515
Fax: 215-822-7403

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