Is Your Home Ready? Prevent Costly Cold Weather Plumbing Emergencies This Winter

With cold weather here to stay, it’s time to start thinking about plumbing safety. Take these small precautions to help you to avoid costly emergencies and injuries this winter.

Run the water

On very cold, sub-zero days, be sure to run water throughout your home. Letting the water drip – very slowly –  from indoor faucets keeps it moving so that it won’t freeze inside the pipes. Frozen pipes can leave you without access to water, or worse, they can actually burst.

Don’t turn the heat off

If you’re on vacation or away from your home for an extended period of time, it’s okay to turn your thermostat down a bit in order to save on energy costs. However, be sure to keep your thermostat above 55°F. If you vacate your home for the entire winter, be sure to ask a loved one of a neighbor to check on it every once in a while.

Be careful with hot water temperature

Turning up the water heater slightly during the winter months is fine, but be sure not to turn it up too high in order to prevent scalding, burns or excessive hot water heater tank pressure. Do not exceed 130°F.

Insulate the pipes

250,000 households experience damage from burst pipes each year. Be sure to wrap all exposed water pipes, not just hot water pipes, with foam insulation to help them from freezing and rupturing. If the temperature outside drops below freezing, open cabinet doors in order to keep pipes warm. Additionally, place foam coverings on outdoor spigots.

Put garden hoses away

Be sure to properly disconnect and store all water hoses. Idle water in connecting hoses and faucets can freeze and cause them to break.

Be careful cleaning up after holiday cooking

The holiday season is all about cooking. Unfortunately, if poured down the drain, grease, oil and other cooking fats can harden inside of the plumbing to create clogs and backups. Instead of putting grease down the drain, let it cool, pour it into a glass or plastic container that you don’t mind throwing out, put the container into a plastic bag and discard in the trash can. Additionally, do not put starchy foods such as celery or potatoes in your garbage disposal. They can get wrapped around the blades and create a backup.

Know what to do in case of an emergency

Make sure each person in your family knows where the master water valve is. If a line breaks or there is another emergency, it will allow you to turn off the water quickly.

While taking these precautions should keep your plumbing system out of harm’s way, if you do find yourself in need of a plumbing expert, give Crown Group Ohio a call at 330.499.4988.

Preparing for a Snow Storm

Whether you like it or not, winter will be here in the blink of an eye. And depending on where you live, that usually means a couple of big snow storms. Ensure you are prepared for inclement weather with these tips for before, during and after a winter storm.

Before a snow storm

  • Make sure you are equipped with the proper equipment, including a snow shovel or snow blower, a flash light and rock salt. It’s also a good idea to stock up on emergency supplies such as food, batteries, water and toilet paper in case the power goes out or the storm lasts more than a day.
  • Ensure your furnace maintenance is up-to-date specifically checking that your air filter is clean, that your furnace has been recently tuned-up and that your thermostat is working properly.
  • Clear the exterior of your home of tree branches that could hit your home if covered in snow, and check to see that your gutters are firmly affixed to your house and free of debris.
  • Be sure to make and communicate a family plan so you know how to reach each of your family members during the storm.
  • Be sure the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector and other storm-essential resources are working, such as radios and flashlights.
  • As the storm nears, listen to the radio or watch the news so you know what to expect.

During a snow storm

  • Stay inside if possible. Keep dry and don’t wear wet clothing.
  • Drive only if it’s absolutely necessary and use caution if doing so, letting someone know of your itinerary and estimated time of arrival.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer too frequently, in case you lose power.
  • If you are burning any fuel products in your home, beware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning which include dizziness, headache, nausea and trouble breathing.
  • If you lose power or heat during a storm, be sure to seek alternative shelter.
  • Know the signs of frostbite such as white fingers and toes, and the signs of hypothermia such as drowsiness, slurred speech and uncontrollable shivering.

After a snow storm

  • If possible, head outside and shovel driveways and walkways, remove snow from around fire hydrants and lay salt down to prevent ice build-up. Be sure to take breaks while shoveling in order to avoid overexertion and frostbite.
  • Assess the amount of supplies you have left, any damage to your home and how well your family plan worked. If any lessons learned can be gained from your experience, apply them next time.

In addition to these tips, a properly working furnace is essential to safely weathering any cold-weather storm. To learn more about this, furnace maintenance or service, contact us.

Tips for Maintaining Indoor Air Quality and Comfort When Entertaining

It’s fall, and that means the holiday entertaining season is right around the corner. Are you hosting a Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas party this year? Once you’ve settled on the food and drinks you’ll offer, picked out games to play and created the perfect playlist, there’s one thing left to think about and it’s often overlooked – indoor air quality. Use these tips to keep your house safe and comfortable so your guests feel right at home during your holiday gathering.

Schedule HVAC maintenance

There’s nothing worse than dealing with an HVAC emergency or being left without air or heat during a holiday party. Schedule maintenance prior to your event to ensure your equipment is working efficiently.

Clean with natural products

Think twice about the cleaning products you use to prepare for a party. Instead of using cleaners with harsh chemicals that will be released into the air, opt for natural products and soaps.

Replace the furnace filter

Not only will changing your furnace filter decrease the amount of mold, dust and other pollutants being blown into your home, a new filter will help to maximize airflow and increase furnace efficiency which can save you money.

Decide whether you’ll be inside or outside

Try to stick to hosting outside or inside, not both. Continuously opening and closing the doors will make it harder for your home to maintain its ideal temperature.

Don’t light candles

Though its popular to light candles around the holidays, doing so can negatively impact indoor air quality. Some candles, especially scented ones, can pollute indoor air by emitting toxic chemicals, and may aggravate the asthma or allergies of your guests.

Adjust the thermostat

If you plan to host guests inside and run the oven all day, you may actually be able to save money on energy expenses by turning the temperature down. All of the hustle and bustle will naturally bring up the temperature.

Ask people to take off their shoes

Toxins can find their way into your home in many ways, one of them being via shoes. Keep a doormat near your entryway and kindly ask that guests remove their shoes before entering. Not only will this keep your floors a little cleaner, it will reduce the number of pollutants that find their way into your home during the party.

Do you have any clean-party-air tips to share? Leave them in the comments section below!

HVAC Safety: Carbon Monoxide


With the heating season upon us, it’s important to educate yourself with the dangers associated with carbon monoxide, or CO, a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. When ingested in high concentrations, this gas can poison and even kill you or your loved ones. Sources of carbon monoxide can be large appliances, including your home’s furnace.

Carbon monoxide dangers

Carbon monoxide is an invisible threat to your family’s safety. Because it’s so hard to detect, it can unknowingly be released into your home and ingested in excessive quantities. This is especially dangerous when you are sleeping as carbon monoxide poisoning can occur without waking you. When awake, the first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are often overlooked because they are similar to flu symptoms.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning will vary depending on the amount of exposure. Symptoms can vary from a headache and dizziness after mild exposure to unconsciousness, cardiorespiratory failure and even death after excessive exposure.

Preventing an HVAC carbon monoxide leak

  • Always have your heating and cooling equipment installed by a professional. Oftentimes, carbon monoxide leaks are found in equipment that wasn’t installed properly or isn’t functioning properly.
  • Invest in a high-quality HVAC system that is more likely to safely provide heat to your home. Be sure to quickly replace your system when it gets old and starts to break down.
  • Keep up with regular HVAC maintenance. During a bi-annual maintenance appointment with an experienced technician, your system will be inspected for carbon monoxide leaks or potential leaks. Carbon monoxide levels will also be tested.
  • Be sure that all air passages, including chimneys, vents and fireplaces, are cleaned and cleared regularly to prevent blockage.
  • Ensure your home is equipped with functioning carbon monoxide detectors, especially close to where you and your loved ones sleep. Be sure they are tested regularly.
  • If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak and especially if one of your detectors goes off, evacuate your home immediately. Be sure all of your family members and pets are out of the house but don’t stop to pack up your belongings. Call the fire department to inform them of the leak and call your doctor to determine if you need medical attention.

Use these quick tips to keep you and your family safe this winter and be sure to give Crown Group Ohio a call to set up a furnace inspection before the cold weather hits.

 

 

**Editor’s Note: This blog post is intended to provide helpful tips on HVAC safety. It is not to be substituted for emergency services or medical advice. If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, please dial 911 or your local emergency service number immediately.

 

Advantages of Replacing your Air Conditioner and Furnace at the Same Time

We often get asked by our customers if they should replace their air conditioner and furnace at the same time. While we don’t make that recommendation 100% of the time, there are many instances when it makes logical, financial sense to do so. Read on to discover the benefits of replacing your entire HVAC system at one time.

You’ll avoid problems caused by incompatible technologies

Your furnace and air conditioner operate independently but they do share certain parts, such as the blower and the air handler. Matched systems are designed to work together in order to perform optimally. When not properly matched, your system’s lifespan decreases drastically.

You’ll save money on repairs

If part of your HVAC system breaks and both your air conditioner and furnace are still under warranty, the issue will likely be fixed with little or no cost to you. If only one half of the system is still under warranty (for example the air conditioner), things get a bit trickier, especially if the broken part is used by both the air conditioner and the furnace. In fact, some manufacturers may not be obligated to uphold the warranty if the breakdown was a result of combining new technology with something that’s outdated.

You’ll save money on installation

Depending on the complexity of your HVAC system, it’s likely that you’ll save money on installation when you replace your air conditioner and furnace at the same time.

You’ll increase your home’s value

HVAC can play a serious role in your home’s value, which is especially important if you are thinking of selling your home. When both systems are new and utilize modern technology, buyers don’t have to worry as much about repairs and/or replacements, making your home more appealing.

If you’re debating whether or not to replace your air conditioner and furnace at the same time, look no further than the experts at Crown Group Ohio. We will inspect your current system in order to give you an honest recommendation and a free quote. Call us today!

Why you Should Never Buy HVAC Equipment on Your Own

New HVAC equipment is a big investment and it can be tempting to try and buy it on your own vs. through a trusted HVAC company in order to save on the initial cost. However, we can guarantee that the risks outweigh the benefits to doing so. Read on to discover why you should always get your equipment from a licensed HVAC company.

Many HVAC companies will not install equipment purchased elsewhere

Generally, an HVAC company or contractor will refuse to install equipment that wasn’t purchased through them. There’s no way to guarantee their installation work when they don’t know for sure that the equipment came straight from the manufacturer.

Your equipment may get damaged during delivery

Because HVAC equipment is heavy and large, it’s not something that can be transported easily without risk of damaging it. When the equipment is purchased through a licensed HVAC company, they are the ones responsible for transporting it. When you buy equipment elsewhere, especially online, you run the risk of being responsible for any damage the equipment incurs during transport.

You may buy the wrong equipment

A benefit of working with a trusted HVAC company is that they do all of the work for you, including pricing out different equipment options based on your specific heating and cooling needs, the size of your home and your budget. HVAC equipment that’s too big or too small, or simply just not right, can be a serious problem. The wrong equipment can lead to uneven heating and cooling, poor indoor air quality, high energy bills, breakdowns and more. When making such a big decision, it’s best to trust the experts.

You may void the warranty

Many manufacturers have limitations on their warranties, and may not guarantee them if you don’t purchase and have your equipment installed by a licensed distributor, contractor or company.

When it comes to buying a new air conditioner or furnace, it’s best to work with experts. If you’re in the Akron or Canton, Ohio area, look no further than Crown Group Ohio. Call today for a free quote!

Finishing your Basement? Don’t Forget about the HVAC

A finished basement is a great investment. Not only is it nice to have additional space in your home, you’ll likely benefit from a greater return on your house if you ever go to sell. Read on for what you need to consider when it comes to heating and cooling your newly redone basement!

Getting started: finding the right contractor

Hire a contractor knowledgeable in finishing basements as this person will guide you through the process, ensuring to pull the right permits for the job. Depending on where you live, you may need to pull a permit if you are getting new HVAC equipment, installing new ductwork or adding onto your current system.

Because many basements house large appliances, such as the furnace and other HVAC equipment or the hot water tank, you’ll also need the contractor to come up with a way to conceal them but not close them off entirely. A properly designed utility room or storage room can keep you space looking clean while meeting the right accessibility requirements.

Can your current systems keep up?

You’ll be adding several square feet to your home and in turn, more space to heat and cool. Consider your current equipment and determine whether or not it can handle the extra demand. If your current HVAC system can’t handle the extra space, work with a trusted HVAC company to determine whether it would be more effective to invest in a new system for the basement area or upgrade your current system to a bigger or more efficient one that can can heat and cool the entire home.

Also consider what you’ll be using your basement for; will it just be a place that you occasionally go to hang out or watch TV? Or, will it be an office or a living space for one of your kids or another loved one? This will help you determine how much control you’ll want to have over the temperature. You may want to think about a zoned system, wherein a separate thermostat is installed that controls the temperature of the basement independently from the rest of the house, for maximum comfort.

Preventing future problems

Moisture problems are common in finished basements and can not only ruin your hard work, but affect the health of you and your family. Ensure your basement’s indoor air quality remains high by taking measures to control moisture before it even becomes a problem. Your contractor and your HVAC company can help you to determine the best drainage, waterproofing and dehumidifying solutions for your finished space.

If you are thinking about finishing your basement, call the experts at Crown Group Ohio. We’d be happy to help you find an HVAC solution to maximize comfort in your new space!

Why You Should Never Settle When it Comes to an HVAC Company


Just as you wouldn’t go to just any mechanic to fix your car or doctor for a medical emergency, when it comes to your HVAC company, you should never settle for less than the very best. Heating and cooling equipment is intricate and complex, and so when you need a new air conditioner or furnace, are looking to schedule system maintenance or something breaks unexpectedly, here’s why you should never settle for a dishonest or inexperienced HVAC company.

The right HVAC company will make your home safe

When it comes to a piece of heavy machinery, safety should be the number one priority. NATE certified HVAC technicians are trained and tested in many different heating and cooling areas, and always practice the safest techniques when installing, repairing and inspecting HVAC equipment. They take the time and effort to ensure everything is operating safely before completing a job.

The right HVAC company will save you money

Taking the time to do the proper research and exercising due diligence when searching for an HVAC company pays . . . quite literally. Finding an HVAC company that will carefully help you choose which equipment is right for your needs, your budget and the size of your home is crucial. Equipment that is too big, too small or just not right will lead to higher energy bills and more frequent future breakdowns, both of which can cost you big.

The right HVAC company will educate you

When you get a new air conditioner or furnace, reading the manual can feel like trying to understand a foreign language. Not only will a good HVAC company carefully go over quotes, proposals and estimates before the install, the right HVAC technician will take time to carefully explain how to run, clean and maintain your new equipment safely, effectively and efficiently.

The right HVAC company can help you for years to come

Unfortunately, breakdowns do happen. When you find an HVAC company that you trust, you’ll feel confident calling them anytime, day or night, knowing they can fix your problem in a timely and affordable manner. They will also be there to perform semi-annual maintenance throughout the lifetime of your equipment, keeping it safe and efficient.

Settling when it comes to your HVAC company just isn’t an option if you want to ensure you and your family’s safety while saving time and money.

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC company in the Akron or Canton, Ohio area, look to the best! Be sure to call the NATE certified technicians at Crown Group Ohio.

Preparing for your Central Air Conditioning Installation

Whether you’re replacing an older unit or installing air conditioning for the first time, take these steps to ensure that installation day goes smoothly!

Before Installation . . .

Choose the right heating and cooling company

One of the most important steps in any home project is to ensure you choose the right professional to complete the job. Be careful and cautious, and ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable with your decision. Look for a company with a good reputation and licensed technicians.

Clean and seal ducts

Now is the perfect time to check on your ductwork to ensure there aren’t any issues that would prevent your new equipment from running optimally. If your ducts haven’t been cleaned or sealed recently (or ever!), consider having this service performed before installation day.

Make sure the space is accessible

Be sure to clear a path to and around where the new equipment will be installed. Remove dirt, sticks, plants and rocks from the area.

The Day Of . . .

Have payment ready

Before installation, find out what methods of payment your HVAC company accepts so you can have it ready on the day of service.

Ask questions

Be sure to review all paperwork and warranties with your certified technician before they leave. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable and confident operating your new equipment.

Sign up for a maintenance plan

Just like a car, HVAC systems require regular maintenance in order to run efficiently. Inquire about the maintenance services or plans that your heating and cooling company offers. Get the appointments on the calendar now so you don’t have to worry about remembering to schedule them down the road.

Enjoy the air!

Once your installation is complete, sit back, relax and enjoy your cooled space!

If you are looking for a new air conditioning unit in Akron or Canton, Ohio, give our team a call for a quick and free quote!

 

The Dangers of Using Window AC Units in the Summer

Though they may be convenient and cheaper than installing central AC, window air conditioning units present many dangers to you and your family.

Window Unit Dangers

  • Mold – A window AC unit is the perfect breeding ground for mold because of the humidity that the unit draws from the air. This can upset allergies and even make you or one of your family members extremely sick.
  • Home safety – While they may provide cool air to your room, they also may make the home prone to burglary. If the unit isn’t installed correctly, it’s easy for a burglar to remove it and get into your home.
  • Fire hazards – If there is a fire in your home, specifically in the same room as your window unit, it can easily become dislodged and fall, causing further damage. Related, if the unit is installed in the room’s only window and there is a fire, it will be difficult for you or your loved ones to escape using the window.
  • Outdoor air infiltration – Any seal in the between the air conditioner and the unit that is broken will allow outdoor air (and all of the pollutants found in it) to seep into your home. This can negatively affect your home’s indoor air quality.

Window AC Unit Safety Tips

If you absolutely need to use a window air conditioner, utilize these tips:

  • Always have a certified professional install window units.
  • Burglar proof your window unit by ensuring it is installed utilizing the proper support and equipment.
  • Be sure the right sized unit is being used. Before purchasing the unit, measure the window and check out the power supply near the window.
  • Be sure the unit is installed so that it doesn’t move when someone opens the window or secure it so that the window can’t be opened at all.
  • Remove the front panel monthly during cooling season in order to clean the filter.
  • Don’t leave the unit in your window over the winter as it can cause drafts. Store your unit in your basement or attic, not the garage as it may make it easier for rodents to find their way into the unit.

Window AC Unit Alternatives

The best alternative to a window AC unit is to install central air conditioning in your home.  While the cost may be greater, the benefits significantly outweigh those of a window unit.

If you are in the Akron or Canton, Ohio area, learn about the residential cooling services that Crown Group Ohio provides by calling 330.499.4988.