Monday 08.20 2018

Do I really NEED a fall furnace tune up?

You’ve heard it before. You have probably listened to countless radio commercials urging you to schedule an appointment right away. You may have even seen or heard our fall specials.

But the question remains … “Do I really need a furnace tune-up every year?”

To answer that question, I’d like to first pose a few other questions:

  • Is your furnace more than 5 years old, or older?
  • Are you looking to extend the life of your system for at least a few more years?
  • Have you purchased a furnace within the last few years and want to prolong the life of the unit?
  • Is your new furnace’s warranty important to you?
  • Are you interested in keeping your heating and cooling bills as low as possible?
  • Do you care about the health and welfare of your family?
  • Do you think going to the doctor or dentist for annual check-ups is a good idea?

If you answered yes to some of these questions (or any at all!), then you really do need a furnace tune-up each year.

The best analogy is that of a dentist. It’s recommended that two times per year you see the dentist for preventative dental care. They will clean and inspect your teeth, remove plaque build-up, inspect for cavities before they become a real problem, periodically take x-rays to identify hidden concerns, and many dentists even perform cancer screening.

Why is this so important? So that you can maintain great dental health and fix minor issues, before they become major issues. Instead of a painful root canal, or tooth extraction, these yearly exams will alert you to potential issues so that you can take care of it without a huge painful experience on your mouth and your wallet.

The same is true with furnace tune-ups. A qualified HVAC technician will inspect your HVAC system to ensure it’s running at peak efficiency. They will help make sure minor issues are fixed immediately before a costly repair or replacement is needed. They will also make sure your system doesn’t fail you during the winter and leave you and family out in the cold!

When scheduling a yearly tune-up, it’s important to understand exactly what will be covered. Be sure to do your homework because not all service calls will cover the same things. At TJ’s Plumbing & Heating, we cover the following items during our tune-ups:

  • Inspect the heat exchanger and system for rust and corrosion.
  • Check the burners for proper ignition, flame and flame sensing.
  • Ensure the drainage system and humidifier are functioning properly.
  • Inspect the blower wheel to ensure it’s clean and clear of debris.
  • Test the amp draw on the blower motor to ensure it functions smoothly.
  • Examine all electrical wiring to make sure there is no corrosion or damage.
  • Look at the air intake system to ensure it’s clean and provides a smooth flow of air.
  • Test the venting system and combustion gases.
  • Check the blower door and internal seals to make sure there is a tight seal on the furnace and it runs at peak efficiency.
  • Inspect air filter.
  • Run air pressure, gas pressure and temperature diagnostics.

Scheduled Your Fall Furnace Tune-Up and Cleaning Now

The leaves are starting to turn and the nights are getting cooler. Now is the perfect time to schedule your yearly furnace tune-up to ensure that your system is running at peak efficiency and safety. Call TJ’s Plumbing & Heating today. And, be sure to check out our fall specials:

Clean & Check Your Furnace: $69.00 Special
Clean & Check Your Tankless Water Heater: $20.00 Off
Clean & Check Your Boiler: $74.00 Special
$100 off a new Furnace or Boiler
$50 off Whole-House Aprilaire Humidifier
$35 off First-Time Customer Discount
And more!

Tuesday 08.14 2018

Why are different rooms in my house different temperatures?

pexels-photo-266896Wouldn’t it be great if you set your thermostat to 70 and every inch of your home was exactly 70 degrees? Well that’s just wishful thinking, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to have the same exact temperature at every point in your home. But for some homes, the temperature swings can be huge and unbearable. We have seen extreme cases in which a temperature in a room on the first floor can be over 20 degrees different than a room on the second floor.

So why are there such wide temperature swings in different rooms?

There are a number of different reasons that temperatures vary throughout a home. Let’s look closer at a few of the most common:

  1. Multiple floors.
    The most common reason comes down to pure physics. Hot air rises, cool air falls. You’ll often find that in the summer, your rooms on upper floors are much hotter than the first floor or basement. This is because the hot air continues to climb and can get trapped upstairs. Likewise, in the winter you may find the upstairs to be warmer than the lower levels. Using fans to pull or push the air between levels can help alleviate this challenge.
  2. Distance from the HVAC system.
    The distance a room is from the system can have a big impact on temperature. As you get further and further from your HVAC system, there is air flow loss. Rooms at the furthest point may not be as warm or cool as the rooms much closer to the system. In some cases, the HVAC fan isn’t strong enough to drive forced air to the far reaches of the home. In some cases a power vent in the system can help your system reach the outlying rooms of your home.
  3. Poor return air flow.
    Many homes, especially larger homes, don’t have enough air returns. This doesn’t allow the cool and warm air to be recirculated through the system effectively and the system doesn’t run at peak performance. A qualified HVAC professional can help determine if limited return air is causing issues.
  4. Wrong sized unit.
    Bigger isn’t always better. If you have an HVAC system that is too large, it may shut off too quickly—not allowing the cool or warm air to reach all levels and all rooms. And, if the unit is too small it may not be able to keep up and warm and cool the entire home. Your HVAC contractor should be able to share recommendations on the proper sized unit based on the square footage of your home. Don’t just assume that a bigger unit is going to be better.
  5. Poor insulation.
    This one is a biggie. You may be sending your heating and cooling dollars right through drafty windows, poorly sealed doors, and under insulated walls and attics. If your home isn’t insulated properly then both heating and cooling will not stay within your home and you will waste a lot of energy. Consider having a home energy audit to identify areas in your home where you are losing energy and then consider making adjustments.
  6. Closed vents.
    In some cases, we have found vents to be either closed, clogged, or not connected. Before you do anything else, check to make sure your vents are open. Then make sure there is a clear path for airflow. Make sure you’re not blocking vents with furniture and there is nothing clogged in them. In some cases we have even found that the vents are open, but the ductwork isn’t connected properly and all the cool and warm air was never making it to the vent.
  7. Poor airflow.
    If you’re dealing with unbalanced heating and cooling, consider turning on fans throughout your home. This works in both the winter and summer. In the winter, using fans to push the warm air back down can make your home much more comfortable. In the summer, use fans to circulate the cooler air that pools on lower levels.

Looking for More Balanced Heating and Cooling?

Contact the HVAC experts at TJ’s Plumbing & Heating. Our trained HVAC experts will help you evaluate your home’s system, insulation, ductwork and more. In some cases we can identify simple fixes to solve your challenges. Whether it’s a big or small challenge, our team will work with you to identify the most cost-effective and efficient solution. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Wednesday 04.25 2018

What is a smart thermostat and can it save me money?

Smart ThermostatDo you remember the movie franchise Back to the Future? Our good friend Marty McFly traveled to the future in a DeLorean. He went from the year 1985 to the year 2015—and boy did things change!

  • There were flying cars everywhere.
  • Kids were riding all over on real hover boards (not the ones that start on fire today, but actual floating boards).
  • Shoes were self-lacing.
  • It was a very futuristic world!

While the writers and producers did overshoot on a few things (we’re still stuck in traffic jams on the ground), they did get several things right:

  • Video conferencing is now common practice at businesses all over.
  • Televisions are now flat panels and have a lot more capabilities.
  • Drones are real (Amazon has even tested using them for delivery).

The houses in Back to the Future even had a lot of automated features to make life easier and more comfortable. Could you imagine being able to turn on the lights with your voice? Or how about being able to turn on the heat or air conditioning miles away—or even around the world for that matter?

Well, luckily for us these last few are predictions that did come true. Homes are now smart—sometimes even smarter than us!

What are smart thermostats?

Smart thermostats connect wirelessly to the Internet and allow you to control your home’s heating and cooling system remotely from a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Many also allow you to connect to a smart hub like Amazon’s Echo so that you can control systems with your voice.

What are the advantages of a smart thermostat?

Smart thermostats are more expensive than traditional or programmable thermostats. On average they cost from $200 – 400 for the unit itself. But they do come with a host of features that offer great convenience and cost savings:

Remote Access

The traditional programmable thermostat is nice. You can program specific temperatures at specific times—but it’s not 100% flexible. With a smart thermostat, you can change temperatures remotely. If you don’t know exactly when you’ll be home, you can set the heat low while gone and then use your phone to begin heating your house on the way home. Or in the summer you can turn on the A/C before you leave work and walk into a refreshingly cool home when you arrive.


Probably one of the most amazing features of smart thermostats is that they are self-learning. They get to know your heating and cooling preferences and continually learn and adjust. As you manually adjust temperatures after first installing, it quickly learns what you like and automatically adjusts future temperatures.

Reduces Energy Waste

A standard programmable thermostat goes on and off based on the strict schedule you set. It doesn’t care if anyone is home or not, it turns on when the clock ticks. Smart thermostats however listen. With audio and movement sensors, it can tell when someone is home, or when the home is empty, and adjust energy consumption accordingly.

Saves Money

By learning your behavior, reducing energy waste, and adjusting remotely, smart thermostats can greatly reduce energy bills. Many smart thermostats even provide a detailed report on consumption that allows you to pinpoint waste and adjust your habits.

One of the first mainstream and popular smart thermostats, Nest, was found to save a considerable amount. Real Savings did a study and found average the Nest Thermostat saved 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. Based on typical energy costs, the study estimates as savings of $131 to $145 per year.

Ready to get smart? Call the smart HVAC specialists at TJs Plumbing and Heating!

The experts at TJs will provide more information on whether a smart thermostat is right for you. We can help you get connected and enjoy the convenience and cost savings right away. Contact us today to learn more.

Monday 09.18 2017

Tankless Water Heaters – Your Endless Supply of Hot Water!

coldshowerBelieve it or not, winter will be here before you know.  And what’s better than jumping into a nice hot—and long—shower or bath on a cold day? Just about nothing!

The only challenge is that with traditional water heaters, that “long” hot shower can turn into a “short” hot shower followed by a cool blast of water. If you have an older or undersized water heater you can relate. And, if you have teenage kids (or just about any age kids) you can probably relate too!  There is nothing worse than trying to get ready for work in an ice-cold shower because your son or daughter used up all the hot water.

So what’s the solution?

You could go the route of standing outside the bathroom with a stop watch and cutting off the water supply after 4 minutes (your kids and significant other might not be too happy). You could install an enormous hot water tank that will send your heating bills through the roof (you probably won’t be too happy when the bill arrives). You could just suck it up and get used to refreshing, ice cold showers (yeah, we don’t think so).

Or, you could invest in a tankless water heater and end the hot water woes.

With a tankless water heater, the water in your home is heated on-demand, without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water valve is turned on, the cold water travels through the tankless unit and is instantly heated by either a gas or electric heating element.

Tankless water heaters have a lot of advantages, including:

Endless supply of hot water.
Because there is no storage tank, you don’t have a limited supply of hot water. Water is heated on demand, when you need it. It starts heating the minute you turn on the tap, and keeps steady until you turn it off! You’re no longer stuck rushing through a shower or staggering your morning routines so everyone gets a bit of hot water.

More energy efficient.
With traditional water heater tanks, you use energy to constantly heat water–just in case it might be used. That uses a LOT of energy. Tankless heaters however, only kick on when you need them. ENERGY STAR found that homes that use an average amount of hot water each day (41 gallons or less), can trim energy consumption by 24-34% with a tankless heater.

Lower utility costs.
While tankless heaters do cost a bit more to install, they are much less expensive in the long-run. ENERGY STAR reported that an average household saves $100 or more each year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless heater.

Ready to say goodbye to the hot water woes?

Let TJ’s Plumbing and Heating install a tankless heater today–before the real cold weather kicks in. We are proud to offer the #1 selling tankless water heater in the U.S. The Rinnai units we install are small, energy-efficient, and offer outstanding performance and longevity. If you’re ready for endless hot water contact us today.

And, if you would like to learn more about Rinnai tankless hot water heaters watch this short video:


Tuesday 03.28 2017

Spring is In The Air – Along with Pollen and Sneeze Inducing Allergens!

Home Air Filtration JamestownEach winter we deal with snow, sleet, blistering cold wind and more. When springtime comes around we can breathe a little easier. That is unless you’re one of the 58 million Americans that deal with allergies each and every spring.

The bad news is that there’s nothing you can do to stop Mother Nature from spewing seemingly endless amounts of pollen and other allergens into the air.  The good news is that you can take some steps to protect yourself indoors.

Here are several HVAC tips to keep the constant sneezing and itchy eyes out of your house!

Don’t ignore indoor air quality!
There is a misconception that spring allergies are worse outdoors. The truth of the matter is that indoor air quality can be 2-5 times worse than outdoors. So unless you take proactive steps to control air quality inside, closing the doors and windows might actually do more harm than good!

Replace your air filter.
If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t changed your air filter since before winter (or worse)! Over the last few months your filter has been trapping all sorts of allergens like mold, dust, dust mites and more. Get in the habit of changing your air filter at least every 60 days and possibly more during high allergen seasons like spring.

Install a Home Ventilation System
The American College of Allergists found that 50% of illnesses are caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality.  Mold, mildew, dust and more can lurk in your air duct system and can continue to recirculate. A whole house ventilation system replaces that stale and polluted indoor air continually so the contaminated indoor air is replaced and refreshed. This not only helps eliminate pollutants but helps eliminate odors caused by pets and cooking. (Learn more about our HVAC services.)

Clean your A/C evaporator coil.
If water collected and sat in your evaporator coil all fall and winter, it could have produced mold and mildew. Be sure to inspect the area around the evaporator coil. You may even consider installing an ultraviolet lamp near the coil to stop mold growth.

Maintain your HVAC system all year.
It’s easy to take your heating and cooling system for granted – especially if it seems to be working well. But to keep it working well year-round, consider bringing in a professional for routine maintenance and inspection. This minimal expense can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run and help keep allergens at bay.

Want to improve your indoor air-quality? Contact TJ’s Plumbing today!

From routine maintenance to complete system installs, residential to commercial, TJ’s does it all. Contact us today to learn more about our Spring HVAC tune-up services.

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