Tips & Info

How-To’s, FAQ’s & More


Common Air Conditioner Problems


The weather is heating up! Now is not the time to have an air conditioning issue. Here are some common AC problems and what to do about them.

Your Outdoor Unit Won’t Turn On

When an outdoor unit isn’t responding, it’s usually because the circuit breaker has been tripped. Locate your circuit breaker panel and reset the switch.

Still not working? Check your thermostat. If your thermostat isn’t communicating with the rest of your central air system, it’s time to give Stuart Pro a call.

The Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling Evenly

Are some rooms in your home freezing while others feel like a sauna? There could be multiple issues affecting the temperature in each room. A duct could be blocked, or it could be something as simple as how much sun is coming through windows. If you have tried closing your curtains and blinds with no change, then chances are something else is impacting your HVAC system. We are happy to assess your home environment and customize the air conditioning to each room so that you are pleased with the temperature.

The AC Doesn’t Cool At All

When the air coming through your vents isn’t cold, the problem is either with the control board or the refrigerant. You should call Stuart Pro in both cases. Please be careful around refrigerants, which can be very hazardous to your safety and health.

The Condenser Unit Turns On and Off Constantly

The outside condenser unit contains safety controls that automatically shut down the system when the pressure drops below a certain level. When pressure rises again, the system turns on. If your condenser continues to turn on and off, Stuart Pro will need to assess the safety controls to ensure optimal performance.

The Condenser Unit Won’t Turn On

If your condenser unit won’t turn on, it’s time to recheck your circuit breaker. If after resetting the switch it remains off, there is likely a more significant problem related to your wiring or thermostat.

Common Causes of AC Problems

Wiring: When wires erode, break, or are damaged, your air conditioner suffers.

Refrigerant Shortages: Refrigerant does not need to be refilled, but some central air systems accumulate leaks. When this happens, refrigerant drips out and contaminates your air supply.

Ice Buildup: When a dirty air filter has been in place for too long, ice can build up around pipes, evaporator coils, or outside of the unit.

Dirty Air Filters: Homeowners can easily change air filters themselves. It’s a simple way to keep your home’s air quality clean while protecting the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Faulty Compressors: When a compressor breaks, amperage increases to keep up with the demands signaled from the thermostat.

Faulty Thermostats: Faulty thermostats are usually older analog thermostats, which cannot keep up with high-efficiency models. Today’s modern thermostats are digital, touch screen, and less likely to have problems communicating with the rest of the system.

Please contact us anytime if you are having trouble with your air conditioner. We are happy to help day or night.


Summer Checklist for Families


Summer is just around the corner, and with a little preparation, your family can have fun and get a lot done. How? Check out our handy Summer Checklist for Families.

Summer Checklist for Families

• Start planning your summer vacation now! It’s easier to get deals on flights and hotels when you book months ahead of time.

• Make activity boxes for rainy days and quiet time. Get a large bin and have your child fill it up with favorite ‘quiet time’ activities like puzzles, art projects, Legos, etc. As a reward for independent play, your child can choose new activities/toys from a store throughout the summer.

• Empty your child’s backpack, and file important information like report cards.

• Make a Goodwill run and donate clothes and uniforms that no longer fit your child.

• Want to save all of your child’s artwork but don’t have room? Take photos so you have an electronic file. You can even print a photo book of your favorites!

• Check to be sure that last year’s life jackets, bathing suits, baseball uniforms, and cleats, etc., still fit your children.

• Make a grab-n-go box. There are some things we use a lot more during hot months: sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, pool towels to name a few. Fill up a container with these things and keep them in an area where you can grab what you need and go! You can create a similar container for your car.

• Restock your home and car first aid kit.


Tips on Avoiding a Duct Cleaning Scam


Avoid ‘cheap’ and ‘fast’ gimmicks

Companies advertising drastically reduced prices and quick duct cleaning should be avoided at all costs. Why? Even though you will be spending less, it will be money completely wasted. Authentic air duct cleaning services who do a thorough job are not cheap or fast. For instance, an $80 whole-house ‘special’ is definitely a scam. Cost is dependent on home size and scope of the project. With a cheap/fast ‘fix’ some of your vents will get a cursory vacuum, and it’s highly likely that there will be hidden costs, or you will be subjected to hard upsell efforts.

Things that affect the price of duct cleaning:

• Square feet of your home
• Number of systems
• Costs associated with the system, vents, and return

Get references

Talk to family and friends and ask if they have had a good experience with duct cleaning. Read online reviews and see how the company interacts with its customers.

Get multiple estimates

Credible duct cleaning companies will offer a free inspection and estimate. Remember that you aren’t looking for the cheapest service, you are looking for the most qualified and trustworthy technicians. Inspections should not come with extra or hidden costs – scam alert!

Scare tactics = scam!

Don’t be frightened into cleaning your duct system. If a company tries to use scare tactics to sell you on a cleaning, run the other way! You should have a healthy relationship with anyone you allow into your home. Your decision should never be based on fear.

Before and After Photos of Results

Don’t take anyone’s word that your ducts are clean, get proof! Before paying, get a full visual inspection of the ductwork and HVAC system. You want to be sure that every duct and the inside of the HVAC unit is clean. Make sure you are shown both intake and supply ducts. If possible, get before and after photos of past work the company has performed.

Avoid Steam Cleaning and Sealants/Sprays

The NADCA recommends against the use of sprayed sealants and potentially harmful chemicals inside air ducts. They also are against duct cleaning that involves moisture or steam.

Are you considering having your air ducts cleaned? Give us a call or schedule an appointment anytime. We’re here to answer your questions and address any concerns. We’re happy to walk you through every step in the process and talk to you about our qualifications.


15 Spring Cleaning Hacks


Don’t have time to devote an entire weekend to spring cleaning? These hacks will make it look like you did!

1. Easily clean your microwave

Fill a bowl with water and squeeze the juice of one lemon into it. Microwave the dish for three minutes, which will create steam. Wipe the inside of the microwave with a dry cloth and enjoy the fresh lemony scent!

2. Clean sneakers with toothpaste

Smudged your white shoes? Grab some non-gel white toothpaste and scrub. Once the smudges start to disappear, rinse with water.

3. Clean baseboards and repel dust at the same time

Just wipe your baseboards down with dryer sheets! This will help them repel dust and pet hair.

4. Clean your toilet bowl with powdered Kool-Aid

Yes, this is a strange hack, but it works! Pour a packet of lemon Kool-Aid into your toilet bowl, swish it around with a toilet brush, and allow it to sit overnight. The citric acid works wonders on mineral deposits, and it also kills harmful bacteria.

5. Put your ceiling and floor vents in the dishwasher

It’s incredible how much dirt and dust can build up over time on ceiling and floor vents. Put your vents in the dishwasher and run the ‘rinse’ cycle.

Important note: Don’t use detergent and skip the heat/dry cycle, especially if your vents are plastic.

6. Clean glass surfaces naturally

Love the results Windex gets, but hate the chemical smell? Using black tea can work just as well! Steep 3 bags of black tea in a mug of boiling water and allow it to cool. Pour the tea into a spray bottle and use just as you would any glass or mirror cleaner.

7. Clean fan blades without getting dust everywhere

Place an old pillowcase around the fan blade and then drag it over the surface. The pillowcase will catch and contain all the dust.

8. Easily remove pet hair from your carpet

Use a squeegee! Just drag a dry squeegee across your rugs, and you’ll be amazed at how much hair it picks up.

9. Cut down on laundry dry time

Along with wet laundry, place a clean, dry towel into your dryer. The dry towel speeds up dry time by absorbing some of the excess moisture in your dryer.

10. A shampoo for your showerhead!

Place a plastic bag filled with vinegar and a dash of baking soda around your showerhead and secure it with a rubber band. Leave it overnight, and you’ll wake up to a clean, de-scaled showerhead.

11. Combat garbage can odors

Don’t throw out old newspapers! Instead, put a layer of newspaper at the bottom of your trash can – that way, if your trash bag tears or leaks, the newspaper will absorb the yuck. Best of all, there won’t be a lingering smell. Just throw the soiled paper away and replace it with a fresh layer.

12. Sanitize your garbage disposal.

Freeze vinegar and lemon chunks in an ice cube tray. Once frozen drop them into your garbage disposal and turn it on to clean and sanitize it. It will smell and work better!

13. Change your direction

Vacuum all rooms both horizontally and vertically to get all dirt and debris.

14. Make your own blind cleaning tool

Place two clean socks over kitchen tongs and voila! You’ve got a tool that makes it quick and easy to clean your blinds. A multipurpose cleaner can be sprayed onto the socks or directly onto the blinds before using the tongs to clean the dust and grime away.

15. Glitter be gone!

Glitter is fun, but it can stick around for way too long. Play-Doh or a thick homemade paste of flour and water can be used to remove spilled glitter.

BONUS – Lint Roller

There are so many uses for a lint roller!

  • • De-fuzz window screens, speakers, and screen doors
  • • Remove dust from lampshades
  • • Pick up tiny pieces of broken glass
  • • Dead bugs gross you out? Pick them up with a lint roller.

Heating & Cooling Tips for Spring


Spring is finally here! It’s time to open windows, air out our homes, and maybe even do a little spring cleaning. It’s also a great time to give your HVAC system a break and improve your heating and cooling system’s performance and efficiency. With very little time and effort, you can simultaneously save money and enjoy cool temperatures. How? By following our heating and cooling tips for spring.

Spring Clean Your AC

It’s quick and easy! Just vacuum the coils to remove accumulated dust and change your air filters. Doing these two small things improves efficiency and increases the overall life of your HVAC system.

Buy a Year’s Worth of Air Filters

Air filters should be changed every month, but people often go for months without doing so because it’s a pain to go to the store to purchase a filter. This problem is easily solved by buying a year’s worth of filters. Then, when the first of the month rolls around, you have an entire stash to pull from.

Schedule a Maintenance

Mild spring weather means that this time of year is ideal for an HVAC tune-up. During maintenance, our pros will fix issues and get your system in peak condition. Then when the temperatures start to rise, your AC can easily handle the scorching heat.

Benefits of a Preventative Maintenance Include:

  • Lower energy bills
  • Improved performance and energy efficiency
  • Fewer repairs
  • Improved air quality

Replace Batteries in Alarms

It’s a good idea to replace batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms twice a year: spring and fall. If your HVAC system begins to function in an unsafe manner, you want to be sure that the alarm is triggered.

Reprogram Your Thermostat

Do you have a programmable thermostat? If so, resetting your schedule could save you a lot of money. Find a comfortable temperature your family agrees on and set it for when the family is home. When everyone is away all day at work and school, program your thermostat to a warmer temperature.

Spring Energy Savings

Give your HVAC system a break and stay cool at the same time!

  • • Cooler temperatures at night mean that you can turn off your air conditioner, open windows, and let in the fresh air.
  • • Ceiling fans help air to circulate and keep a room from feeling stagnant. Make sure that your fans are set to spin counter-clockwise during warmer months.
  • • Cook outside on the grill! Your family will love it, and you won’t have to heat up the kitchen and then cool it down again with the air conditioner.
  • • Ease the strain on your air conditioner by closing the curtains or blinds against the glare of the sun. Pay special attention to empty rooms, like a guest room, and be sure that curtains are closed in those areas.
  • • Seal any air leaks in your home. Keep cool air in and hot air out!
  • • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to pull heat out of the home when you’re showering and cooking.

Make these minor adjustments in your home to keep it cool and comfortable – and save money at the same time! And don’t forget to call us to schedule your spring preventative maintenance appointment.



What does ‘HVAC’ mean: The History of HVAC


‘HVAC’ stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. When you think of air conditioning and heating, you probably think of very modern technology. But people have been using different methods to keep their homes comfortable for hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years.

HVAC History Highlights

In ancient Rome, a system of central heating called a hypocaust was developed. A hypocaust pushed heated air through a network of air ducts, pipes, and under raised floors to heat a room, and sometimes the walls. The hypocaust was a very early forerunner of modern radiant floors.

People used manpower and ropes in ancient China, Egypt, and India to manually animate fans and cool rooms.

In 14th century Europe, the dangerous problem of toxic gasses in mines was diminished by the development of efficient fans. The same principles used for these fans were later adapted to ventilate homes. Chimneys were also added to stoves and fireplaces during this time which made indoor air quality much cleaner and heating the home safer.

In 1744, Benjamin Franklin created a more efficient version of the cast iron stove. Around the same time, latent heat was discovered, (which helped with the development of water heating systems), and the steam engine was created.

In the 1830s, Dr. John Gorrie produced buckets of ice by designing a machine that used compression. Air was then blown over the ice, cooling the surrounding area.

William Siemens used a similar concept in 1861 to heat surroundings. He is responsible for the development of the ‘open hearth furnace.’

In 1902, Willis Carrier, who is known as the inventor of modern air conditioning, needed to solve the problem of paper being ruined by humidity in printing plants. He invented a machine that combined a system of coils that circulated refrigerant with large fans that “conditioned” the air. His intention was to extract humidity from the air, but his invention also cooled the air.

Later in the 1900s, the air conditioning process was reversed, and homes were able to be heated as well as cooled.


Holding a Community Event


It may be hard to believe, but warmer weather is just around the corner! Chances are, there are lots of friends you haven’t seen over the cold winter months. Here are some ideas to bring your community together.

Hold a Trivia Night

A trivia/quiz night is fun for both large and small groups. All you have to do is find a place to hold the event, get some questions together, find an entertaining master of ceremonies, and invite your friends to participate. Once you have a core group of people attending, the numbers begin to expand as your friends form teams.

Don’t forget to encourage friendly competition!

Gather a Gardening Gang

Trivia is fun, but if you’re longing for fresh air and time spent outdoors then gather some like-minded friends and beautify your community together. Find a green space overwhelmed by weeds, a small park that needs some TLC, or even a school whose playground could use some freshening up. Break out your shovel and spades and get to work. Pulling weeds, picking up litter, and planting some flowers can do wonders to a once neglected space. And, best of all, you and your ‘gardening gang’ can take real pleasure in the work you have done.

Swap it up!

Do you have a bike that’s just sitting in your garage? What about shoes and clothes that are still in excellent condition, but your kids have outgrown them? Instead of throwing your stuff out, swap with someone in your community! Exchanges work well in school cafeterias or gyms. Designate a day for everyone to bring in their unwanted items, and let the swapping begin! If you have leftover pieces at the end of the day, bring them to your local Goodwill or other charity shops.

Garage Sale

A garage sale is similar to a swap day except that you collect money instead of swapping. A giant garage sale can be a great way to raise funds for community projects like planting trees, painting public areas, etc.

Holding a community event is a great way to bring people together, get to know your neighbors better, and even make your area a more beautiful place to live.


Throw an Unforgettable Super Bowl Party


You’ve planned your menu, invited your guests, and made sure there is plenty of comfortable seating for everyone around the television. So far, so good. But how do you make a Super Bowl party genuinely unforgettable? We suggest adding fun and memorable party games that people can play at half time, during timeouts, or anytime the game is a little slow. You can award prizes to the winners, or you can play just for fun and bragging rights! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Super Bowl Bingo

Go online and search for ‘Super Bowl Bingo’ or ‘Super Bowl Commercial Bingo’ and there are lots of options to print out. Super Bowl Bingo makes watching football more interactive for everyone as participants try to fill in their cards.

Football Coloring Pages

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! Many adults love coloring and consider it a stress-reducing activity. There are lots of printable football coloring sheets online. Print them out, set out the colors, and watch your guests furiously scribble when the game gets tense!

Hula Hoop Football Throw

Hang a few hula hoops at differing heights outdoors. Then designate how far participants must be from the hoops to throw. Whoever gets the most balls through the circle is the winning quarterback. As an extra challenge, participants can also be required to run/jog as they throw the ball.

Football LEGOs

If children are attending your party, a LEGO Football Building Set is sure to be a hit. Children will become immersed in building what they see on the television screen, and we wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few adults ended up playing with the LEGOs as well!

Score the Commercials

For some people, the Super Bowl’s creative commercials are just as entertaining as the game. Make scorecards out of heavy paper or poster boards, and popsicle sticks. You can create your own scoring system, or number the cards 1 – 5 with 1 being ‘Awesome!’ and 5 being ‘Borrrring!’

‘Kick’ the Football through the Goalpost

This game is an update on Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Cut out footballs from construction paper. The balls can be any color, or you can stick to traditional brown. Get some painter’s tape – available at any hardware store – and make a goal post on the wall. Blindfold players, spin them around, and let go! Anyone who manages to stick a football between the upright posts wins!

Halftime Boogie

Not a fan of the band chosen to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show? Turn down the volume on your television and turn up your favorite playlist. Invite everyone to dance around the house. After sitting for so long, it will be a relief to stand up and move around, and dancing will also release some stress if your team is losing.

If you try any of our suggested activities, please tag us on Facebook when you share your photos.


9 Troubleshooting Tips for Furnaces on the Fritz


The furnace is broken! Or is it? Before you pick up the phone to call for help, here are some basic troubleshooting tips you can try first.

Tip 1: 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.

Tip 2: Check the thermostat to make sure it’s on

Have you ever had problems with your computer or an appliance only to discover later that it wasn’t plugged in or turned on? Sometimes, the easiest solution is the best one. So double-check to make sure your thermostat is on and set correctly.

Move the thermostat setting to “heat” to confirm that it is telling the furnace to turn on. Next, check the temperature setting. Set the temperature 10 degrees warmer than the current room temperature. If the furnace responds by coming on, your problem is solved. If it doesn’t respond, carry on with the following steps.

Replace the thermostat battery! If there is a power outage and your battery is dead, your thermostat will revert to default settings. If your thermostat displays the day and time, be sure that it is showing the correct settings.
Follow the thermostat wires back to the furnace. If you find a break in one of the wires, splice them back together and wrap the wires with electrical tape. Clean the thermostat by gently blowing out any dust or debris. Check that all wires and parts are secure and that the thermostat adheres firmly to the wall.

Tip 3: Check that the furnace is on

You’ve checked, and your thermostat is on—great! Now confirm that your furnace is also on. All furnaces, no matter the brand or type, have a standard wall switch on or near the furnace. If the switch is in the ‘on’ position, then move on to the circuit breaker or fuse to be sure that they are on. Finally, find the front panel that covers the blower motor (this is where your owner’s manual will come in handy!) and make sure it is securely fastened.

Tip 4: Make sure the gas is on

Warm weather arrived, someone turned off the gas and then, of course, forgot to turn it back on. An easy mistake to make, and a straightforward fix! Follow the gas line from the furnace to the meter and observe the handle which should be parallel to the gas pipe. If it’s not, turn it until it is. If you have an older furnace or boiler, then it’s likely you have a pilot light. Check to see if it’s lit.

Tip 5: Change your filters

Did you know that a clogged furnace filter can cause your entire furnace to turn off? Dirty/dusty filters are the most common cause of furnace problems. And it’s such an easy, inexpensive thing to fix. Just remove your old filter and replace it with a new one. Filters should be changed more frequently if you have children, pets, or someone living in your home who has respiratory difficulties.

Tip 6: Check that the chimney exhaust flue is clear

Unfortunately, birds occasionally fall into the chimney exhaust flue because the warm air attracts them. To see if it is clear, turn your furnace off and your thermostat all the way down. Disassemble the duct where it exits the furnace and check for dust, debris, etc. Reassemble when all parts are clean.

Tip 7: Flush out drain lines

In the same way that a dirty filter can wreck a furnace’s efficiency and shut it down, clogged drain lines can do the same. Drain lines are often blocked by sediment or even mold growth (yuck). If your drain hose looks dirty, remove it, fill it with a mixture of 25% bleach and 75% water, wait a few minutes, and then flush it out.

Tip 8: Check your register vents and ducts

The furnace turns on, and your house is warming up—except for one or two rooms which are still cold. The first step is to be sure that all register vents are open. If they are, then it is time to examine ductwork. Look for gaps between sections and seal any gaps or holes with metal duct tape only. Standard cloth duct tape will not hold up over time and may even cause future leaks. Finally, make sure all control dampers are open.

Tip 9: Clean debris from heat pumps or intake and exhaust vents

If your furnace vents out of the side of your house, make sure nothing is blocking the intake or exhaust. It’s normal for leaves and other debris to get caught. If ice is clogging one of the pipes, you have a bigger problem. Clear the ice and call Stuart Pro for assistance. Finally, if you have a heat pump, clear away grass and leaves and hose it down gently to rid it of dirt and debris.

If you have tried all of the above to no avail, then chances are something more serious has gone wrong with your furnace. Pick up the phone anytime, day or night, to get help from Stuart Pro Heating & Air. We’ll have your home warmed up in no time.


Trade New Year’s Resolutions for 12 Smaller Goals


People make BIG resolutions every year on January 1st, but it’s rare those resolutions get fulfilled. Why not try something new and less discouraging? Instead of 1 resolution this year, make 12 smaller goals. Sound crazy? Sound like more work? It isn’t! It’s much more sensible and do-able.

For instance, if your New Year’s Resolution is: I want to feel better and get into shape – that’s an awesome resolution, but it isn’t specific enough. So, let’s break it down into 12 smaller goals, which add on to one another as the year goes on:

January: 10,000 steps per day

February: Drink more water

March: 50 sit-ups per day

April: Add a vegetable to two meals per day (snacks count!)

May: Do an outdoor activity – gardening, biking, playing a sport – at least once a week.

June: Push up challenge! Count how many pushups you can do at the beginning of the month versus the end of the month.

July: You’re doing great, but you may start to get bored at this point, so this month’s goal is to find a health-buddy! Someone who will exercise with you, trade recipes with you, and support you in your goals.

August: Add 10 minutes of stretching to your day

September: Increase steps to 12,000 per day

October: Go to bed 30 minutes earlier

November: Stop drinking caffeine after 3:00

December: Reflect on your year. Journal about what worked and what didn’t. Make a plan for your goals next year. What will you continue to do, what will you add?

If you stay true to your small goals, by the end of 2019, you will be stretching, doing 12,000 steps per day, drinking more water, doing pushups and sit-ups, eating more vegetables, getting more sleep, less caffeine, and you will have a health buddy to help and encourage you! You will feel better and be in better shape. If you tried to accomplish all of this at once, it would be virtually impossible, but spreading the goals out over year makes it much more likely that you will achieve the results you want.

This can be done for any resolution! Want to declutter your house? Space it out over a year. Want to read more or save money? Start small in January (read a blog article a day, skip expensive Starbucks) and build up to December (You’re reading tw books a month, and you’ve saved enough to go on vacation).

We believe in you! Now, what are your goals for 2019?

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      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.

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        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!