Tips & Info

How-To’s, FAQ’s & More

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Winter Home Moisture Problems

02.17.21

Most people think about humidity during the summer months when hot days are made even more miserable by the amount of water in the air. But attaining the right amount of humidity in your home during the winter is just as important as it is during the summer.

What is humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air around you.

What is relative humidity?

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor present in air expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. This means that as temperatures rise or fall, the capacity of the air to hold water changes.

After temperature, humidity is the most important factor in determining your family’s comfort level. The humidity level in your home affects how hot or cold you feel. Too much humidity in the home can result in windows beading up with condensation. Too little, and your sinus cavities can become dry and irritated, and you’ll be more likely to catch a cold or virus.

In dry winters, where does the humidity in a home come from? Let’s start with you! Did you know that you contribute around 3 pints of water per day to your indoor surroundings just by exhaling? It’s true! Houseplants also contribute moisture to the air, as do showers, air-drying laundry, and cooking. If your home is well insulated and sealed, moist air will find a way to accumulate and possibly cause condensation to form on windows.

Outdoor air can help to reduce excess moisture in your home in the winter, but too much can dry out your home’s environment, not to mention making your home’s temperature too cold. Some of the things we naturally do to conserve heat, such as closing curtains at night, can increase window condensation.

So how do we find that magical “perfect” level of humidity in our homes?

A whole-house humidifier is the most efficient way to find the perfect balance of humidity in your home. Whole-house humidifiers work with your existing heating and cooling system to add the just-right amount of moisture into the air.

Like the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, some houses are too hot and moist, some are too cold and dry, and some are just right! A whole-house humidifier can help you attain the perfect temperature and humidity level to keep everyone in your home comfortable.

Learn more about the benefits of a whole-house humidifier here.

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Seniors: Apply to Win A Scholarship

02.17.21

Being a student is tougher than ever during the challenges of the pandemic. That’s why we at Stuart Pro are prouder than ever to continue to help the students in our community. We are currently collecting scholarship applications from graduating seniors from Gwinnett, Hall, or Forsyth County and technical college students currently pursuing an HVAC specialty.

Scholarships

  • High School Students – graduating seniors from Gwinnett, Hall, or Forsyth County
  • Each year, we offer up to five high school scholarships
  • $1,000 each
  • For students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited college or university

Technical College Students

  • Each year, we offer up to four technical college scholarships
  • $500 each
  • For students currently pursuing an HVAC specialty

Apply to win a scholarship today! The deadline for applications is 04.17.2021

 

Start Application

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Winter Heating Safety Tips

02.17.21

Everyone enjoys being toasty during the winter, but home fires occur more in the winter months than any other time of the year. With a little forethought, you can enjoy a blazing fire or toasty space heater without risking a housefire or other heat-related accidents. Just follow these tips!

GENERAL

  • Keep flammable objects and materials a minimum of three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, furnaces, wood stoves, and space heaters.
  • Kitchen ovens are not designed for heating homes. Don’t try to heat your home using your oven or stovetop.
  • Once a month, test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke alarms should also use a backup battery so that the alarm still functions if your power goes out. Change your backup battery once a year.
  • Keep kids safe from space heaters, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, and fireplaces. Teach your kids the possible dangers of being burned and that things that get hot to the touch are only to be approached with adult supervision.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary central and space heating equipment, water heaters, etc., to meet the manufacturer’s instructions and local codes.

 

SPACE HEATERS

  • Never leave space heaters unattended; this includes keeping them plugged in while you are sleeping.
  • Don’t use a power strip or extension cord with a space heater. Space heaters should always be plugged directly into a wall.
  • Check for damaged cords and plugs on your space heater. If there is any damage, do not use your space heater.
  • Make sure your space heater has an automatic shut-off so that if it tips over, it turns off.
  • Place space heaters on a solid, stable, flat surface at least 3 feet away from all other objects and materials.
  • Turn portable space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.

 

FIREPLACES

  • Use a sturdy glass or metal screen on your fireplace to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
  • Do not leave an unattended fire in your fireplace, and be sure to put the fire completely out before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
  • Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney every year.
  • Once ashes have cooled in your fireplace, put them in a metal container with a lid. Then, place the container at least 10 feet from your home in a place clear of debris and other flammable materials.
  • Make sure fireplace remote controls and ‘on’ switches are out of the reach of children.

 

WOOD STOVES

  • Make sure your wood stove is 3 feet from anything flammable.
  • Do not burn paper on your wood stove.
  • Keep wood stove doors closed unless loading or stoking the fire.
  • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home, and do not leave the fire unattended.
  • Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney every year.

 

KEROSENE HEATERS

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and always use the right kind of fuel in your heater.
  • Never refuel your heater inside. Once it has cooled, take the heater outside to refuel.

If you have questions about any of the above, or if you are concerned about your own heating setup’s safety, please give us a call! 770.813.1316

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A Quick Checklist to Help You Find a Furnace Technician You Can Count On

01.25.21

Choosing a reputable furnace service company can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. To make your choice easier, we’ve compiled a quick checklist for you.

  • Word of mouth – Ask around!
  • Read online reviews
  • Has the company been in business for a while?
  • What other services does the company offer?
  • Are their technicians licensed?
  • Do they do background checks on their technicians?
  • Call the company and speak to someone. What is their customer service like?
  • Is the company open 24/7, and/or do they offer emergency services?
  • Do they put everything in writing?

This basic list will help you narrow down your choices to a few good furnace technicians. And, of course, you can always give us a call at Stuart Pro (770.813.1316) if you need assistance with the above list or to answer any other questions you have.

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Draft-Proofing Your Home to Help Lower Your Electric Bill

01.25.21

Is your home not as warm as you think it should be? Drafts could be the culprit. These tips will help you find and eliminate drafts to help you cut down on your electric and heating bill.

Common Areas for Drafts

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Chimneys
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Recessed lights and the soffit around these lights
  • Furnace flues or ducts
  • Basement rim joists (where the foundation and wood framing meet)
  • Attics and basements
  • Window or wall-mounted air conditioners
  • Electrical outlets
  • Ducts
  • Switchplates
  • Vents and fans
  • Exterior walls and outlets
  • Baseboards
  • Bare floors, especially wooden floors
  • Wiring holes (electrical outlets, cable TV, phone lines)
  • Pet doors
  • Knee walls (the sidewalls that support your attic rafters)
  • Plumbing vents

 

How to Find Drafts

 

Flashlight: This is a two-person job. Shine a flashlight at doors, window frames, and other areas of concern. If the person on the other side sees the light, you’ve found an air leak.

Dollar bill or paper: Place the piece of paper or dollar bill under the door. If you can slip the paper under the door without it dragging, then you have a draft.

Incense: Shut all windows, exterior doors, fireplace flues, etc. and turn off all appliances that have exhaust fans or create air disturbances. Light incense and hold it near potential drafts like the ones listed above. Pay attention to how the smoke acts. If it is sucked out or blown into the room you’re in, or it moves erratically back and forth, you have an air leak.

Thermal leak detector: If you suspect you have a severe leak, you may want to invest in a thermal leak detector. Thermal leak detectors read surface temperatures of walls, baseboards, doors, floorboards, etc. There’s a draft if the TLD reading is much colder than the air.

 

How to Get Rid of Drafts Now That You’ve Found Them

 

Door Draft Stopper

The easiest way to prevent door drafts is to purchase or make a draft stopper. Draft stoppers are available at online stores like Amazon, or you can order a more personalized version on Etsy.

Cracks ¼ Inch and Smaller – Use Caulk

Find a weatherproof, sun-proof, and freeze-proof caulk for tiny cracks that are ¼ of an inch and smaller. If the crack is exposed to outside air, be sure the caulk is made for outdoor use made with mold-free technology.

Larger Cracks Between ¼ and 3 inches – Spray Foam

Find a spray foam that comes equipped with a straw. Test out an area first to see how the foam acts. Once you are confident about using the spray foam, get spraying!

Bigger Issues? Fix Your Insulation

There are some problems caulk and spray foam simply cannot fix. If your insulation is inadequate, then caulking up a few cracks won’t make much of a difference in your home.

Fixed your air leaks and still having trouble heating your home? Call on us! At Stuart Pro Heating & Air, we are here to help anytime, day or night: 770.813.1316

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Is Your Furnace Leaking Carbon Monoxide?

12.15.20

Most furnaces are gas-burning and produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly if it is not vented out of a home or business correctly.

An efficiently burning gas furnace produces tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, but problems can occur over time. CO leaks can quickly develop, endangering your family and pets.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Leaks from Your Furnace

 

Schedule Your Annual Maintenance with Stuart Pro

Regular maintenance on your HVAC system means catching and avoiding all kinds of possible problems, from a broken furnace to a carbon monoxide leak. Our Stuart Pro technicians know how to spot and prevent potential issues before you are aware of them. Every maintenance visit includes a system clean and inspection, during which any number of potential problems can be identified and solved. Best of all, annual maintenance gives you peace of mind.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors Throughout Your Home

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, making it incredibly dangerous as most people will not know when it has accumulated in their home. A CO detector warns you when there are high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Note: Many fire detectors are also built to recognize carbon monoxide, but not all. You will need a separate carbon monoxide detector if your fire alarm isn’t dual function.

Change Your Air Filter

You’ll breathe more comfortably if your furnace can breathe easy! Why? A common cause of carbon monoxide leaks is an airflow backup to your heating system. What’s the solution? Change your air filter at least once a month.

Keep Outdoor Vents Clear of Debris

Ice, snow, leaves, frisbees – make sure your outdoor vents are clear of debris.

Portable Generators are for Outside Use Only

Never use a portable generator inside your home, shed, garage, crawlspace, etc. Carbon monoxide quickly collects in these areas and often lingers for hours even when the generator is turned off.

Furnace Installation

Is your CO detector continually going off? It could be that your furnace was installed poorly. Your blower motor or ductwork could be the culprit. If you are concerned that your furnace isn’t venting carbon monoxide as it should, please give us a call.

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Do you know the signs of CO poisoning?
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Impaired coordination

If you have questions about protecting your family from carbon monoxide leaks from your furnace, or if you would like to schedule annual maintenance, give us a call at 770.813.1316. We’re here to help and put your mind at ease.

Greatest Hits

Our Winter ‘Greatest Hits’!

11.24.20

Every great musician or band has a ‘greatest hits’ album that you can’t help but tap your feet to. We would like you to think of this article as our ‘greatest hits’ for keeping your family warm in the winter. We have lots of tips and pointers, but these are the ones that we return to again and again.

TRACK 1: Don’t Skip Annual Maintenance

The heater is running fine. No need for a yearly maintenance visit, right? Wrong! Annual maintenance must be done on your system to ensure maximum efficiency. You also want to get ahead of potential issues before they become a serious problem.

TRACK 2: Keep Cold Air OUT

Shut the door! Of course, leaving a door or window open will result in cold drafts into your home, but the real concerns are things that cause constant air leaks into your home. Things like gaps in doors, floors, and windows, and insufficient insulation add up to high energy costs and a cold house. Add weather stripping and address poor insulation. You’ll be amazed at how much warmer your home is in winter.

TRACK 3: Change Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter is the #1 reason for HVAC system failure. Why? A dirty filter limits airflow into your HVAC system’s air handler. This restricted airflow places additional pressure on the air handler fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor, which can cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail.

Change your air filters once a month. Filters should be changed more frequently if you have children, pets, or someone living in your home who has respiratory difficulties.

TRACK 4: Find Your Owner’s Manual

Owner’s manual? Didn’t that come in the box with a bunch of other papers and plastic? Chances are you’ve already thrown it away, misplaced it, or buried it at the bottom of your junk drawer. But never fear! Most manuals are now easy to find online. Check out any tips and pointers that the manual recommends for your particular thermostat and furnace. The solution to your problem could be just a mouse click away.

TRACK 5: Don’t Let Your Damper be a Downer

Gas and wood fireplaces are the most inefficient heat sources you can use in your home (U.S. Department of Energy). The reason? Your fireplace damper. If your damper is open or unsealed, heated air goes up the chimney, and cold outside air is sucked in to replace it.

If you are going to use your fireplace, be sure to do the following:

  • Close your dampers when not in use.
  • Check that your damper seal is in good condition, and if it isn’t, have it fixed.
  • Install and use glass fireplace doors.

TRACK 6: Strategically Open and Close Your Curtains

Open your curtains during the day to let in sunlight and heat and close them as soon as the sun sets. Take it one step further and hang thicker curtains or even invest in curtains with a thermal lining to keep the cold out.

TRACK 7: Find the Correct Humidity Level for Your Home

After temperature, humidity is the most important factor in determining your family’s comfort level. The humidity level in your home affects how hot or cold you feel. A whole-house humidifier is the most efficient way to find the perfect balance of humidity in your home. Whole-house humidifiers work with your existing heating and cooling system to add the just-right amount of moisture into the air.

Maybe our ‘Greatest Hits’ isn’t as exciting as a Beatles or Bob Marley album, but if you listen to our ‘album,’ you’ll stay warm all winter long.

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Tips on Preparing Your Heat Pump and Furnace for Winter

10.20.20

Sweltering temperatures have given way to the cooler breezes of fall. It’s a relief to all of us. While you’re enjoying all that fall brings, do a quick check to be sure that your heat pump is prepared for the winter months. A broken AC in summer is awful, but so is a faulty heat pump in winter! Frozen toes and fingers are no fun. 

Change Your Air Filters 

It’s really important to change your filters regularly! We have an entire article here that explains the impact that dirty air filters have on your HVAC system. 

Check Your Thermostat’s Accuracy 

It’s simple to check if your thermostat is reading the temperature correctly. Tape an outdoor bulb thermometer next to your indoor thermostat. Set your heater to the desired indoor temperature. Wait. When the thermostat says that the indoor temperature has risen to your specifications, ensure that the thermostat and thermometer readings match. If they don’t, give us a call. 

Don’t Override the Preset Temperatures 

Overriding your thermostat’s programmed automatic settings doesn’t cool or heat your house faster. All it does is force the backup fans to run and use more expensive heating or cooling sources. Set your thermostat to “auto” and not on “fan.”

Give Stuart Pro A Call

Sometimes, you just have to give the professionals a call. If you’ve tried everything and your heater still isn’t adequately warming your home, then it’s time to give us a call. We never want you to suffer from heat or cold a minute longer than you have to. Call on Stuart Pro! We’re here to help. 770.813.1316

 

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Energy Saving HVAC Tips for Fall

08.25.20

As temperatures begin to cool, it’s a great time to make minor tweaks to our daily habits that can add up to big savings on energy bills. It’s amazing how quickly small things can add up.

Open (and Close) Your Curtains

Observe the areas of your home that get the most sun. Open those curtains during the day to take advantage of sunlight and naturally heat your home. But at night, be sure to close all curtains and blinds for an extra layer of insulation from the cold.

Check For Drafts

Speaking of curtains, nothing can put a chill in the air like a drafty window or door. Check to ensure that all of your windows and doors have good weather seals. If you find drafts, seal them immediately.

Use Your Fans

Turn on fans when it’s cold? Yes! If you reverse your fan in the fall and winter, it helps to circulate the warmer air that naturally rises to the ceiling.

Close Your Fireplace Damper

Unless a fire is burning, keep the damper closed. Keeping the damper open is the equivalent of blowing warm, cozy air straight out of a window. Check out this article for ways your fireplace and chimney may be costing you.

Keep Vents Clear of Furniture

Keep vents clear of any obstruction for an even distribution of air throughout your home. Do you want to close some vents in your home? Be sure to consult with Stuart Pro first. Sometimes closing vents can make your HVAC system less efficient and your electric bill more expensive.

Change Your Air Filters

Change your filters at least once a month and change them more often if you have respiratory issues. Clean filters cut down on dust and other allergens as well as reducing your energy bills.

Improve Your Insulation

Inadequate insulation, especially in older homes, can lead to lost cold or warm air and much higher energy bills. Be sure that your home is well insulated.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

You have your teeth cleaned regularly because it is much easier to maintain good dental health than it is to have three years’ worth of dental cleanings, x-rays, cavities filled, etc., done all at once. Your HVAC system is no different!

Give Stuart Pro a call (770-813-1316) and schedule your routine maintenance. Scheduling a regular HVAC system checkup before each season keeps your heating and cooling system running at peak efficiency and saves you money. Plus, identifying and fixing minor problems helps you avoid expensive repairs later on. It also validates the manufacturer’s warranty for your units with certified, twice-a-year service.

 

 

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Is Your Thermostat Working Properly?

07.28.20

Is Your Thermostat Working Properly?

Having problems with your HVAC system? Check your thermostat. Your thermostat controls your HVAC system, and if it is poorly installed or not working properly, it can make it appear that something much more troubling—and expensive—is going on.

Signs Your Thermostat May Need to Be Replaced

The thermostat isn’t responding to settings changes: Your home is feeling warm, so you adjust your thermostat, and nothing happens. If you make changes to your thermostat settings and nothing happens, or it takes a long time to respond, then it’s likely that your thermostat is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Your HVAC system won’t turn on: This is an undeniable issue! If your HVAC system isn’t responding to your thermostat settings, then it’s time to change it out.

Programmed settings are lost: Many people have upgraded to programmable thermostats. They make life easier, are sleek and modern, and can often result in lower energy bills. But what does it mean if your thermostat repeatedly loses its preprogrammed settings? Hint: It’s time for a new thermostat.

Troubleshooting Your Thermostat

Before you replace your thermostat, there are a few things to check.

  • Batteries – If your thermostat operates on batteries, it could be that they are dead and need to be replaced. Change your batteries out and then observe if your HVAC responsiveness improves.
  • Screen – If your thermostat has a screen, check to see that it lights up. A blank or dark screen usually indicates that something is wrong with the thermostat.
  • Location – Direct sun hitting your thermostat? Not good! Direct sun means your thermostat will register warmer temperatures, and your HVAC system will turn on more often. On the other hand, a large opening behind a thermostat or a thermostat exposed to drafts will register that your home is colder than it is. Mount your thermostat in a place in your home that is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Settings – Double check your settings. If you have your settings too high in the summer, the air conditioner will not register that it needs to turn on to cool your home.
  • Circuit Breakers – Finally, check your circuit breakers. If a breaker switch has tripped, it will need to be reset. Then you can test your thermostat again.

Not sure how to install a new thermostat, or wondering what the best thermostat for your home is? Or perhaps you need clarification on something from this article? Give us a call anytime! We are happy to help. 770-813-1316.

Contact Us

Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

Contact Info

770.813.1316
Info@StuartProAir.com

    Type Of Inquiry


    Contact Us

    Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

    Contact Info

    770.813.1316
    Info@StuartProAir.com

      Type Of Inquiry


      Contact Us

      Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

      Contact Info

      770.813.1316
      Info@StuartProAir.com

        Type Of Inquiry


        Stuart Pro Heating & Air is OPEN and closely monitoring the status of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

        The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued federal guidance to states and municipalities regarding “essential” work. Based on their definitions, the activities conducted by an HVAC installation and service company are considered essential.

        We are taking every precaution to keep our employees and customers safe during these uncertain times, such as wearing shoe covers and latex gloves, sanitizing hands and tools before each job, and maintaining a social distance – no signature required. Payment by phone is also an option if needed. So, if you have any service or maintenance needs, please call us right away. We are here for you!