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Serving Metro Atlanta & Surrounding Areas

Cunningham Associates
Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

How to Save Money on Heating this Winter

Nothing beats feeling warm and cozy in your home during the cold winter months, but let’s face it: keeping your home at a comfortable temperature can cause a spike in your utility bill! Here are a few wallet-friendly heating strategies that will keep help you save a few dollars this winter:

Insulation.  Proper insulation of your home is one of the best ways to keep your home warm in the winter. It acts as an extra layer of protection from the winter chill and helps to prevent the warm air that your heating system generates from escaping. This is especially important in the attic of your home, where heat tends to rise to. If your home isn’t insulated, or you’ve noticed damage to your existing insulation, it’s something you may want to consider installing.

Adjust the temperature. Don’t forget to lower the thermostat when you leave for work or go to sleep for the night. Leaving the heat on high when you’re out of the house for extended periods of time or sound asleep will greatly increase the amount of energy that you use without cause. Turning the temperature down even a few degrees during these times can really help to reduce utility costs.

Utilize ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are great during the spring and summer months, but they can also come in handy during the winter! Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans and keep them powered on low. Since heat rises, having your fans moving in this direction will help to continuously move heat downwards and keep your home evenly heated.

Direct heat to most used rooms. If you have rooms of your home that you rarely use, such as a guest bedroom or bathroom, be sure to close the vents in those spaces. Closing them will force more air out of open vents in your more lived in spaces, keeping them warmer without having to increase the temperature on your thermostat.

Utilize the sun. The sun is a great source of natural heat! During the day, open your curtains to south facing windows to allow for the sun light to heat the room. Just remember to draw the curtains once the sun has set.

Clean your furnace. Your furnace will run more effectively and efficiently when it is clean. Over time, dust can build up in and around your furnace, forcing it to work twice as hard to heat your home.  Be sure to keep your furnace and the area around it clean and change the filter every few months.  In doing so, your furnace will use less energy and saving you money!

Contact us to learn more about our energy efficient heating systems!

The Importance of Prepping your Furnace for Winter

As the temperature begins to drop outside, it’s time to start thinking about turning on the heat for the first time this season! Before you do, it’s important to make sure that your heating system is in good working order, which includes a thorough inspection of your furnace. Your furnace is an important investment that will keep your home comfortable throughout the cold winter months.  It’s important to prep your furnace before the winter chill hits, to ensure that it will run smoothly throughout the winter. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to prep your furnace before the cold hits:

Dust and debris will begin to build up in and around your furnace over time, especially during the warmer months when it’s not in use. Before you turn your heat on for the season, you’ll want to clean the filter and the area around your furnace. When your furnace is clean, it doesn’t work as hard to heat your home. This means that your house will feel warmer, your energy bills will be lower, and it’s less likely that your furnace will need to be replaced.

The blower doors on your furnace are what keep combustion byproducts from combining with the warm air being circulated throughout your home. When these doors are installed improperly, it can result in you and your family breathing in toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide. Prepping your furnace for winter should include checking to make sure that all of the moving parts have been properly installed and functioning properly, especially if they’ve been replaced over the last few years. Doing so can go a long way in keeping your family safe.

Since no system in your home plays a larger role in keeping your warm during the winter, it’s no surprise that your furnace and water heater can get extremely hot when in use. If any boxes, tools, or flammable products have been moved near your furnace during the summer months, now is the time to find a new spot for them. Leaving flammable materials around your furnace can result in a fire or explosion in your home.

Be sure to properly inspect and prep your furnace before turning your heat on this winter season. To learn more about prepping your furnace or to schedule an appointment with a trained technician, call us today!

What Is “Indoor Air Quality” and Why Is It So Important?

We need fresh air to survive, and so it goes without saying that we want the air we breathe in to be safe and clean. We know that the air outside (especially in large cities) can carry some dangerous stuff, but what we often forget is that the air inside of our homes can contain many of the same toxins! Indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor, and here are a few things you should know about indoor air quality and why it’s so important.

Indoor air quality is a term that describes the air in and around buildings; namely your home, your workplace, your children’s schools, etc. It’s easy to assume that being inside protects you from the harmful elements outdoors, but indoor pollutants can also wreak havoc on your air quality.

Some of the most common pollutants we see indoors are pests (such as cockroaches and dust mites), secondhand tobacco smoke, radon, and formaldehyde. Exposure to these things can lead to headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue. In more severe cases, these pollutants can contribute to the development of lung cancer and chronic lung diseases. Additionally, poor indoor air quality can also contribute to structural rotting in your home.

Such illnesses can be scary to think about, but the good news is, there are a lot of different things you can do to improve the indoor air quality of your home!

  • Add an air filtration system. Filters will help outside debris and toxins from ever entering your home. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can also help to keep your home at the proper moisture level.
  • Keep the air clean by keeping your home clean. Dust, vacuum, and mop your floors frequently to remove any dirt and debris.
  • Make your home a no-smoking zone. Encourage smokers in your family to do so outside.
  • Go natural. Use chemical-free products to do your laundry and clean your kitchen. A potted plant in your home will also help to purify the air.

We can help you breathe easy! Contact us today to learn more about indoor air quality solutions!

What It Means to be a Dave Lennox Premier Dealer

As your top-rated HVAC Service Technicians in Atlanta, GA, we want to provide you with the latest HVAC products available. That’s why we’ve partnered with Lennox and have been a Lennox Premier Dealer for many years. As a Dave Lennox Premier Dealer, we commit to total customer satisfaction by giving our customers premium products along with premium service.

We install and service Lennox HVAC products to our customers, including comfort control systems. As a Dave Lennox Premier Dealer, we are able to have complete access to Lennox’s signature product collection, so that we stay up to date with the latest products and services in our industry.

In order to reach this goal of becoming a premier dealer of Lennox, we’ve continued to exceed their standards and have been evaluated thoroughly by Lennox. The biggest part of the evaluation by Lennox is a company’s customer service. In order to call itself a “Dave Lennox Premier Dealer,” a company must be active in their “Independent Customer Satisfaction Survey program.” They’ve taken a deep look into our company to make sure that the service we are providing always ends with total customer satisfaction. We are dedicated to making sure we exceed our customers’ expectations after we’ve completed any type of service on their home. The feedback we receive from our customers lets us know that we are doing our job and always gives us room to grow as a company. We take every opportunity we have to ask all of our customers to leave us feedback after service has been completed. One way we’ve done this is through our Online Review Forms.

As a Premier Dealer of Lennox, not only do we communicate with you verbally on how the product works, but we are also there to show you and answer any questions you might have. We understand that our products and systems can be confusing. We want to leave you happy and confident with your new Lennox product.

Being a Dave Lennox Premier Dealer not only helps our customers, but it has made us grow as company. We continue to jump on every chance given from Lennox to learn more about their products and let our customers know about them as well. If you’d like more information on the Lennox products we offer, check them out here! And, of course, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions – we’re here to help!

Causes of HVAC Problems

Your HVAC system is comprised of many complex components used to control the temperature within your home and provide you with a less stressful and more comfortable living space. Here at Cunningham Associates, we know that you’ve probably come to rely on your HVAC system this summer, but consider this: what would you do if it stopped working? Before you panic and book the next available emergency service appointment with us, consider these common HVAC problems to determine if there’s a quick fix.

Is the Filter Dirty?

A dirty air filter will not only lead to less effective heating and cooling, but it will put added stress on your whole HVAC system. Filters can be disposable or permanent, so it may be necessary to either purchase a new filter to replace the old one or clean out the existing filter.

Did You Check Outside?

If your HVAC system has an outside unit, double-check to make sure it is not damaged or clogged up with debris, like grass, rocks, sticks, or leaves. This can affect your system’s overall ability to heat and cool your home by causing internal damage to the motor or other critical components.

Is the Thermostat Broken?

A broken thermostat is likely to cause uncomfortable temperatures within your home and, if not fixed quickly, can skyrocket your utility bills. Try troubleshooting your thermostat to check if it is working properly by changing the temperature to see if the corresponding HVAC system kicks on.

Did You Check the Breaker?

Check your circuit breaker box to see if the breaker is tripped. It may be as simple as flicking the switch from “off” to “on.”

These common issues may seem easy to fix, but it’s important to consider that there may be additional underlying issues that only a professional can recognize. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding the functionality of your HVAC system.

Meet Jere Smith – Service Manager

jeresmithMeet Jere Smith! Jere serves as the Service Manager for our team here at Cunningham Associates. Jere is a native of Atlanta and a graduate of the University of Alabama. After college he entered the banking industry. Our president, Bob Cunningham, met Jere while he was working at the bank. Bob immediately noticed the superior level of commitment and customer service he provided to his clients. Needless to say, Bob recruited Jere to join our team and the rest is history.

When Jere is not at work, he loves following Alabama football, spending time with friends, family, and hanging out with his dog, Molly. What Jere enjoys most about Cunningham Associates is being a part of a company that is 100% accountable to its clients and getting to know them on a first name basis. We are proud to have Jere as a member of our team!

Eliminating the Confusion about Chlorine-Free HVAC Options

By now, you may have heard that Americans are switching their residential and commercial cooling systems to ones that rely on chlorine-free refrigerant. It is a move that air conditioning contractors have been preparing for since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a chlorofluorocarbon phase-out several years ago. But many Americans didn’t notice the initial announcement. As such, they are just getting up to speed on what chlorine-free refrigerants are and why the government initiated the switch. This brings us to the purpose of today’s blog: answering those two pressing questions, in layman’s terms, for those that may still be bewildered by the mandated change.

Simply put, chlorine-free refrigerants are kinder to the environment. They are less likely to contribute to certain types of pollution and ozone-depletion, but they are not totally impact free. For example, many environmentalists believe that the refrigerants still contribute towards greenhouse emissions. Consequently, investigative work goes on in the hopes that an environment neutral cooling system will be discovered in the future.

Until that time, Americans will have to rely upon chlorine-free refrigerants to get the job done. Residential and commercial consumers with old-school systems in place and concerns about financing the switch should note that making the move towards kinder systems may not be as expensive as initially expected. Air conditioning contractors have come up with cost-effective ways to complete retrofits.

In retrofit situations, the existing residential or commercial cooling system is often modified in at least two ways. First, some of the systems’ internal components are either replaced or altered to accommodate the new refrigerant. Second, the refrigerant is altered in order to make it compatible with the system’s new or modified parts. To find out if an existing system is a candidate for a retro fit or replacement, please reach out to an air conditioning contractor today.

Six Reasons Why Your Air Conditioning Unit Makes Odd Sounds

Your air conditioning unit is a mechanical device with moving parts and will never run completely silently. However, it is designed to make minimal noise. When it gets really loud or makes odd sounds, something is wrong. Learn the meaning of these sounds so that you can get your air conditioner repaired before it breaks down and leaves you sweating in the hot weather. Here are six common reasons for a noisy air conditioner.

Loose Screws

The moving parts of your AC unit cause vibrations, which in turn may loosen panels and/or mounting screws. When this happens, you will hear rattling sounds. The good news is that it’s easily fixed by tightening the screws with a screwdriver. Beware of opening the AC unit to tighten screws because the thermostat may turn it on while your hands are inside. Leave this type of work to a professional.

Fan Blades Are Rubbing Against Something

Sometimes a stick, branch, or other form of debris rubs against the fan blades. The fan blades may also rub against a warped or damaged fan cage. If you hear very loud rattling sounds, quickly turn the unit off to prevent damage to the fan blades.

Leaking Ductwork

If your ductwork has air leaks from cracks or seams, it may make whistling sounds. Leaks from seams may be easily repaired by tightening the appropriate screws or bolts.

Worn Belt

When a belt wears out, its grip weakens and will slip whenever you turn on your air conditioner. The screeching sound you hear will be momentary. This is similar to the behavior of a loose fan belt in your car that only screeches when you press down on the gas pedal. When you hear this sound, have the belt replaced.

Loud Fan Motor Bearings

This problem usually occurs after many years of use. The lubrication in the fan motor bearings will eventually break down. The bearings then make noise and become damaged from the lack of lubrication. Depending on the AC unit, the bearings might be replaceable. Often the motor isn’t designed for easy bearing replacement, so you may have to replace the entire thing.

Noisy Compressor

Compressors often make noise, but if it’s louder than usual, it may be wearing out. If the noise is accompanied by weak cooling air, your compressor is the likely cause.

Pay attention to the sounds your air conditioner makes because it may be telling you it needs repair or adjustment. Contact Cunningham Associates to resolve the issue before a breakdown occurs.

What to Look for When It Comes to Air Conditioning Installation

Air conditioning is a staple in most homes today. When it’s time for air conditioning installation, you’ll want to do it right the first time since it’s such a time-consuming job. For this reason, there are a few things you need to consider before getting started:

You want an efficient unit so that it doesn’t cause a drag on your energy bill, thus costing you a lot of money. In order to understand this, you need to know what the SEER (Season Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating is.

It’s also important to install the right size unit. If it’s too small, it won’t cool your home adequately. However, if the unit is too big, it will continuously turn off and on in just a short amount of time. Not only will this use a lot of energy, it will place a lot of strain on each part of the unit.

Another important thing to do is what’s known as an energy audit. This looks at your insulation, air sealing, and whether there are any leaks in your ductwork. If any problems are found, you should take remedial actions at the time that you install your new central air conditioning system.

Now that you understand how vital it is to choose the right air-conditioning unit, you can see why it’s just as important to choose an experienced contractor, like Cunningham Associates. We can help you work through all the necessary considerations that you need for finding the best air-conditioning system for your home.

Why Your Air Conditioner Leaks

One of the most common air conditioning problems is leakage or pool buildup. Water is a natural byproduct of the air conditioning process. When warm humid air passes over the evaporator coil, the air is cooled and the humidity condenses on the cold surface of the coil. This condensate collects in a sloped drip pan and then leaves via a drain line. When this drainage is blocked or prevented in some way, you will have a leakage problem. The following are a few reasons why you might have a leakage problem:

Blocked Condensate Drain Line: A common reason for water leakage is a clogged drain line that is blocked by dirt, insects, or other debris. When the drain line can’t carry the water out of your house, the drip pan overflows!

Leaking Drip Pan or Condensate Drain Line: Cracks or holes in either the drip pan or condensate drain line will leak water into your home. A damaged drain line or a rusted drip pan may be responsible for this problem.

Condensate Pump Doesn’t Work: Some air conditioners use a pump to force the condensate out of your home. These are used when the water must flow uphill. When the pump doesn’t work, water builds up and leaks.

If your air conditioner is leaking, don’t ignore the problem because water-soaked walls and floors lead to mold damage which is expensive to repair. Contact us to get the problem resolved.