According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the perfect home temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Why? This is considered to be the lower end of comfortable for most people—and by keeping your thermostat set slightly lower, it’s easier for your furnace to keep up. However, despite this recommendation, the perfect home temperature often varies depending on a few outside factors. In this blog, Martens Plumbing & Heating analyzes the elements you should take into consideration as temperatures outside continue to plummet. Read some of them below, and call us for service.
Items to Factor Into Your Thermostat Setting
The Amount of Time You Spend at Home
Your temperature setting depends on many things, including your schedule and basic preferences—and how much time you spend at home. If you’re at work all day, your thermostat is likely set lower when you’re gone. However, if you work from home or otherwise spend most of your waking hours there, you’ll have the temperature set higher.
If you plan to be gone for a long weekend or vacation, you can set your home temperature even lower. Be sure not to turn off your heat completely, though. This will run the risk of frozen pipes, which is a very costly and inconvenient repair.
Your Furnace’s Efficiency
Another factor to account for is your overall furnace efficiency. If your furnace is older or hasn’t been serviced in a while, you may find yourself constantly turning up the thermostat to achieve the right level of home warmth. If this is the case, be sure to give the experts at Martens Plumbing a call. We will evaluate your furnace, provide a proper tune-up, and ensure your system is working properly.
There are also a few simple things you can do on your own to help your furnace run as efficiently as possible in winter:
- Make sure your air filter has been changed recently
- Check your outdoor vents to remove leaves, snow, or anything else that may be blocking them and causing your furnace to work double-time
- Double-check that your thermostat settings are correct (set the temperature at least three degrees above the current temp to ensure your heat is turning on)
Your Monthly Energy Bills
Most people look to cut down on their energy usage when they can. Setting your thermostat about seven to 10 degrees lower than normal for eight hours a day is a great way to do that. Consider turning down the temps at night when you’re sleeping—you won’t be as likely to notice the change and you can take advantage of the energy savings.
Let Martens Help You Determine the Right Comfort Level
Whatever your perfect home temperature is, Martens Plumbing is here to help you maintain it. Remember: Small adjustments can add up to substantial savings each month. So whether it’s a simple tune-up or a brand-new furnace installation, we’re ready to help you stay comfortable. Contact our Bryant® experts today for service.
Winter is definitely upon us. And with falling temperatures comes the need to get your home ready for our cold season—preferably before it actually hits. Today, the experts at Martens Plumbing & Heating have some simple tips and techniques you can use to winterize your home before the snow starts to fall. Find them below and call us with questions.
Check for Issues Outside Your Home
Proper home winterization starts outside your home’s walls. One of the simplest things you can do to protect your home during the winter months is to ensure that all your gutters are free of debris and clogs of any kind. This is important because as ice and snow melt on your roof, the resulting water needs a place to go—and that should be away from your home’s foundation. This is also the time to adjust your downspouts so they lead away from your home, which will reduce the chances of flooding or leaking once the ground begins to thaw.
Also, be sure to inspect the areas around your home windows to make sure there are no gaps or open areas where cold air can sneak through. Caulk or seal if necessary.
Check Handrails and Refresh Your Salt Supply
If your home has steps and handrails, check them over to make sure they’re secure and won’t pose a falling risk once the ground gets cold and icy. Remove rocks or debris that could be frozen into your walkway, creating a risk of tripping and falling. Check your home salt supply and stock up accordingly so you won’t be rushing around once the snow falls.
Assess Your Home Plumbing
When temperatures plummet, the danger of frozen pipes is a possibility. Keep your home’s temperature above 68 degrees, and make sure to insulate the pipes in your home to prevent any problems. If you think your pipes are in danger of freezing, run your water at the smallest trickle on faucets that line the walls of your home. Even this little bit of water can prevent pipes from freezing.
If despite these tips you find yourself stuck with frozen pipes, call Martens Plumbing so that we can assist you.
Schedule HVAC Maintenance
Now is the right time to check your home heating system so you know that it’s ready to combat the cold weather. If you notice issues, you may be able to tackle them yourself, but for more complex HVAC service needs, give Martens Plumbing a call before attempting maintenance on your own. If it’s time for a furnace replacement, our experts are happy to assess your home, determine your heating needs, and recommend the correct system for you. We make the entire process as seamless as possible.
Call the Experts at Martens for Your Winterizing Needs
No matter what you need to winterize your home this season, Martens Plumbing is standing by to make sure your family stays comfortable and cozy with zero interruption. If you have any questions about how to prep your home for winter, contact us online today.
Taking the time to go over the basics of your heating and cooling systems can help save you the hassle of an unneeded service call. Martens Plumbing & Heating is happy to share our favorite HVAC troubleshooting tips to help you do so. Read them over below, and if they don’t solve your problem, don’t worry–you can give us a call and we can come out and take a look in person.
Our Top HVAC Troubleshooting Tips
Check Your Power Sources
If you can’t seem to figure out why your heating or cooling system won’t turn on, first check the very obvious issues. Are the batteries in your thermostat working? If not, you won’t be able to turn your systems on. Check and replace them if needed. Next, be sure to check for a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. Flip the breaker and wait a few moments before you turn it back on.
These issues might sound silly, but they can prevent your heating and cooling systems from powering on.
Check Thermostat Settings
If your heating or cooling system isn’t running the way you’d like, it’s worth checking your thermostat settings to be sure they’re correct. They can be accidentally changed, especially if there are children in the home that like to play with the thermostat.
Set your thermostat at least three degrees above or below the current temperature in the room to get your heat or air conditioning to kick in. Your systems will not turn on if they are set to the same temperature in the room.
Check Air Filters
You should be changing your air filters regularly, but if you’re not, or can’t quite remember the last time you changed it, now’s the time to check. If the filters become extremely clogged, they can limit the circulation of cool and warm air throughout your home. Sometimes they get so dirty that they can force your system to shut down completely. Keep an extra supply of filters at home so that you can switch them out more frequently. Plus, replacing them will also help improve your indoor air quality, helping you breathe easier at home.
Check Outdoor Vents
Debris can build up in the vents outside of your home, which can prevent your system from running. Check outside vents and around your air conditioner for leaves, snow, or anything else that’s in the way and remove them. It helps ensure optimal heating and cooling performance.
Martens Can Help With Your HVAC Issues
No home comfort problem is too big or too small for Martens Plumbing. If these HVAC troubleshooting tips aren’t doing the trick, let us know. Sometimes a repair or replacement is unavoidable, but we make the process simple. Our Bryant® experts will come to your home and pinpoint the issue and a solution for you right away. Call us or contact us online.
It’s no secret that the more efficient your HVAC systems are, the lower your energy bills will be. And because home heating uses up the most energy in Mukwonago-area homes like yours, having an energy-efficient furnace can go a long way. Below, the pros at Martens Plumbing & Heating explain how you can tell if your system is efficient. If it isn’t, call us today at 262-363-7146 for help.
1. Check the Label
For furnace efficiency, it’s all about the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. It’s a percentage that explains how fuel-efficient your system was designed to be. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the system (and the more you’ll save on your bills). The AFUE ranges anywhere from 78 to 90 percent—or even higher if you have an ENERGY STAR furnace.
By checking your furnace’s sticker, label, or manual, you’ll be able to find the AFUE and know just how efficient your system can be. Keep in mind that routine maintenance is also a great way to boost your unit’s operation.
2. How Old Is Your System?
Generally, furnaces last anywhere from 15 to 20 years—and the older it gets, the less energy efficient it becomes. Each system varies depending on the amount of wear and tear it has, if it’s had frequent repairs, and even on how harsh the winters have been. However, if your unit is nearing that 20-year mark, it won’t run as well as a brand-new unit.
3. Have Your Bills Increased?
If your winter energy bills seem higher than normal, it’s probably a sign your furnace is declining. The U.S. Energy Information Administration lists Wisconsin’s average energy bill at around $100 per month, which is among the lowest in the country. However, keep in mind that number will naturally increase in winter. Be sure to compare your bills year over year to get the big picture.
Martens Plumbing—Your Trusted Bryant® Dealer
How well you take care of your furnace will be the most important factor in determining whether it operates efficiently. Whether your system is one year or 20 years old, rely on Martens Plumbing’s professionals to get the most out of your investment.
You’d be surprised how many home heating myths get mixed in with real, practical advice. Fortunately, Martens Plumbing & Heating is here to help—in this blog, we’re debunking five common myths that may seem logical at first but can actually hurt both your system and your wallet.
Myth #1: Turning Off My Furnace While I’m Gone Saves Money
Think about how hard your furnace would have to work to catch up to normal temps after being off all day. That’s a lot of unnecessary strain on a system designed to maintain even temperatures. Plus, in Wisconsin, leaving your furnace off while you’re not at home can cause your pipes to freeze or even burst.
If you want to save money on heating while you’re away, consider installing a Wi-Fi thermostat. These devices can help you set temperature schedules—automatically decreasing temps while you’re away and bringing them back up on your way home.
Myth #2: Cranking up the Thermostat Will Heat My Home Faster
Furnaces will cycle on until they reach the temperature set in the thermostat, so a higher temperature setting just means your furnace will run longer. We recommend keeping your thermostat at a consistent setting for efficiency’s sake. If you need warmth fast, throw on a sweatshirt.
Myth #3: Closing Vents Will Help Me Save on Energy
While it’s tempting to want to heat only certain areas of your home, closing vents actually does you no favors. It will restrict airflow, putting added pressure on your furnace as it tries to overcome the blockage. You’ll end up wasting energy and, with extra stress, your furnace may end up breaking down.
Myth #4: Getting a Bigger Furnace Will Improve Efficiency
Bigger is not better when it comes to furnace size. Sure, it will keep your home warm even on the coldest of Wisconsin nights, but you’ll be paying for it—an oversized furnace will cycle infrequently, which can cause you to waste energy and run your bills sky-high. When choosing a furnace size, you only need one that fits your ductwork size and flow. If you’re unsure what’s best for your house, contact Martens for a professional evaluation.
Myth #5: My Furnace Is Working, so I Can Skip Annual Maintenance
So, your furnace appears to be working normally—that’s great! Or is it? Heating bills make up a good portion of your energy costs, so it’s important your unit is running as efficiently as possible. Annual maintenance from a qualified technician entails a multi-point inspection and cleaning to not only ensure optimal efficiency but to also identify potential problems before they occur. Even small adjustments can translate to savings every month. And if your furnace were to ever break down while under warranty, you’d need to provide proof of annual maintenance for certain repairs to be covered.
Fact: Martens Plumbing Can Help You Stay Comfortable
Rely on Martens Plumbing & Heating to debunk home heating myths and to service your HVAC needs. From Bryant® installations to maintenance and so much more in Mukwonago, call 262-363-7146.
Your home should be nice and cozy this winter—and with heating tips from Martens Plumbing & Heating, you can achieve just that. Below, our experts share how you can get the most out of your heating unit with five helpful tips that every homeowner should know. Read them over, then call us at 262-363-7146 for more help.
1. Schedule Annual Furnace Maintenance
Scheduling a yearly tune-up is one of the most cost-effective ways to ensure your system runs at peak performance. It helps catch potential issues early on, saving you from costly repairs and even system breakdowns. Plus, maintenance helps improve energy efficiency. So, you’ll not only be more comfortable—you’ll save money doing it.
2. Set Consistent Temperatures
Sure, there are going to be days or nights when you’ll want to turn up the heat—and that’s fine. But if you’re constantly going from one temperature extreme to the other, you’ll make your system work harder and less efficiently. You’ll also maintain lower energy bills with more consistent temps.
3. Change Air Filters
Air filters trap a variety of dirt, dust, and other contaminants in your indoor air. Unfortunately, they will get clogged over time. One-inch filters should be inspected and changed every one to three months while high-efficiency (HEPA) filters can last up to a year. The next time a Martens technician comes for service, ask about your HVAC filter and the effects it has on indoor air quality.
4. Seal and Insulate
Leaky windows, doors, or ductwork create cold spots and, in the process, contribute to heat loss and unnecessarily higher bills. A little caulk or sealant in the right spots helps ensure consistent temperatures year-round.
5. Program Your Thermostat
With smart thermostats, temperature control really is at your fingertips—you can program everything from your smartphone. It only takes a minute to set temperature changes depending on if you’re home, on vacation, or asleep. Plus, these devices could help you save 10 percent (or more) on your energy bills.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Close Air Vents
For all your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs in Mukwonago, trust the experts at Bryant® and Martens Plumbing. Find out for yourself why we’ve been in business since 1956 by calling 262-363-7146 or contacting us online today.
As we get into the fall season, it’s time to get your furnace ready for the cold winter months ahead. Martens Plumbing & Heating is here to help—below, you’ll find our fall furnace checklist (which applies to every homeowner, no matter your system’s make and model). As always, if you have HVAC questions in your Mukwonago home or need a new Bryant® installation, call us today at 262-363-7146.
Complete This Fall Furnace Checklist Before Winter
- Look for leaks or holes in your ductwork and seal them appropriately if needed.
- Check the condition of your air filter. Fall is usually the perfect time to replace it—and remember to swap it out every one to three months for best results.
- Move objects at least three feet away from your furnace for better airflow and fire prevention.
- Open your vents to keep your furnace from working too hard. An overworked furnace is a drain on energy bills and a potential fire hazard.
- Dust or vacuum your vents to prevent unnecessary debris from circulating in your home.
- Switch your ceiling fan blades to rotate clockwise—this will blow warm air down, which can actually help improve your furnace’s overall heating efficiency.
- Turn down your thermostat when you’re at work or away from your home. A programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat can even help you schedule these temperature adjustments, saving you time, money, and hassle. (Ask us about upgrading your thermostat today.)
- Finally, turn on your furnace ahead of time to make sure it runs properly. Pay attention to any unusual sounds or smells. If something doesn’t seem right, turn the unit off immediately and call Martens for a proper furnace inspection. We’re available 24/7!
Remember to Schedule Your Annual Furnace Checkup
Routine furnace maintenance is vital to preventing future breakdowns, maintaining optimal efficiency, and extending the life of your unit. To schedule your 21-point inspection, call the experts at Martens Plumbing at 262-363-7146 or send us a message. We move fast to keep you as comfortable as possible.
How confident will you be when you turn on your furnace for the first time this season? Your heating system is often taken for granted—until something goes wrong. While many furnace issues have straightforward fixes, others may require a full system replacement. Below, the experts at Martens Plumbing & Heating share five big reasons why it might be time for a new furnace in your Mukwonago-area home.
Your Furnace Is More Than 15 Years Old
The average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 20 years but can depend on how well you’ve maintained it and how rough the winters have been on it. To find out how old it is, check inside the system’s original instruction manual for its manufacturer date or date of install. If that doesn’t work, remove the main service panel to find the unit’s serial number. The third and fourth digits of that number usually indicate its original manufacturing date.
Higher Energy Bills
In Wisconsin, heating is almost always going to draw the most energy in your home. When the temperature dips, your furnace has to work that much harder to maintain your preferred temperature, using more energy than normal. You can counter a high utility bill by lowering your thermostat, sealing windows, and getting annual maintenance. But if your bills are noticeably higher compared to years past, it may be time for a new furnace. The good news? Today’s ENERGY STAR systems from Bryant® can save you up to 20 percent on your heating bills, which really adds up over time.
Unusual Sounds or Smells
Anything mechanical is going to produce some level of noise. But when something’s really wrong with your furnace, you’ll hear it. When damaged, the blower motors, ignitor, and certain other internal components can make a variety of noises, from screeching to popping. And if there’s too much dust and debris built up in your system, it could also lead to a musty or burning smell.
If you experience any strange sounds or smells coming from your furnace, call Martens’ expert technicians today at 262-363-7146. We’ll diagnose the problem and let you know whether to repair your system or replace it.
Too Many Repair Calls
We love seeing our customers getting the most out of their heating systems. Unfortunately, not all furnaces are created equal—some might have been installed improperly while others simply didn’t get the care needed for optimal operation. If you find that you’re calling an HVAC technician more than once a year, there could be a bigger issue. Those repair bills can add up, and at some point, it may be more financially logical to invest in a new unit than to continue fixing your current one.
It Just Won’t Keep You Warm
This is probably obvious, but a furnace that doesn’t heat your home thoroughly may just be due for replacement. A failing heat exchanger, blower motor, or obstruction is often the culprit. Other times, your furnace may be too small for your home’s heating needs. Either way, contact our experts to take a look and diagnose the issue. Emergency HVAC service is also available if it’s that bad.
Rely on Martens for a New Furnace
When it’s time for a new furnace, Martens will make things as easy as possible for you. Since 1956, we’ve offered great service and competitive rates in our hometown of Mukwonago. We’ll help you choose the perfect size Bryant furnace for your home and expertly install it.
Contact us today for any furnace issue or to get an estimate on a newer, more efficient furnace.
Furnace noises are common to hear while your system operates—in fact, that’s how you know it’s running. But certain sounds can spell trouble for both your unit and home. Martens Plumbing & Heating is here to help you tell the difference between the normal furnace noises and the not-so-normal ones. Read them over below and call 262-363-7146 if you need immediate heating repair.
The Normal Furnace Sounds
Especially in older furnaces, you may hear a small pop or click right before you feel the warm air. That noise is actually good news—it means your system is turning on and getting ready to heat your Mukwonago-area home.
Popping in Your Ducts
As heat pumps through your vents, it changes the air pressure inside them. That can cause your ducts to pop as they expand and accommodate for the change. You may hear this most often as your furnace first kicks on.
You’re likely to hear this one toward the beginning of the heating season, as it usually comes from the machine’s working parts warming up after some time off. Think of it like getting out of a car after a long trip and groaning as you stretch.
The Bad Furnace Noises
If you hear any of these sounds, call our experts for a thorough repair:
Grinding and screeching noises usually mean something is wrong with the system’s working parts. It could be anything from a worn blower wheel to un-lubricated bearings. These parts are checked and cleaned with preventative maintenance, but if left unattended, can cause major problems for your furnace.
A rattling furnace usually comes from loose parts somewhere inside the system. In some cases, it could be as simple as a loose door cover. Take a quick look at the door—if it’s loose, you should be able to tighten it back up yourself. But if the rattling persists, it’s a sign of a deeper problem—one you’ll need our experts for.
If your furnace keeps making a boom sound, it’s likely due to built-up gas. This can result in a cracked heat exchanger, which is the worst-case scenario for your system. It’s also a major safety hazard. Call us for repair immediately if you hear this noise.
Martens Plumbing—Only a Call Away
Our experts are trained to work with furnaces of all shapes and sizes—including Bryant® systems. Whether you need a fix fast or you’re looking to prevent problems with a routine service call, we’re the team for the job.
Curling up in a nice, warm home while the snow falls outside is one of the best feelings in winter. Unfortunately, it’s not so nice when the utility bill arrives. The good news: The pros at Martens Plumbing & Heating have a few handy tips that can help you reduce energy costs without sacrificing your comfort. Discover your path to a lower electric bill below—and know you can call our experts for more help at 262-363-7146.
Open Your Blinds During the Day
The sun is a great (and free) way to add some warmth to your home. Opening your blinds and curtains during the day lets that heat inside, helping you stay warm without needing to touch your thermostat. Then, when the sun sets, close the drapery back up to keep that warmth indoors.
Set Your Ceiling Fan Direction to Clockwise
Ceiling fans are great for keeping indoor air moving, but they can also affect your home temperature. Setting the blades to run clockwise will pull cooler air upward and send warmer air back down to you. Make sure the fan spins at a low speed for best results.
Replace Your Air Filter
Your air filter is key to helping keep your indoor air safe and clean. But as it catches and traps airborne contaminants, the filter can get dirty and block warm air from reaching you. For optimal comfort, we recommend replacing standard filters once every one to three months (or, for high-efficiency filters, every six to 12 months).
Seal up Your Doors and Windows
Particularly for older homes in the Mukwonago area, it’s common for warm air to leak through cracks in your doors and windows. Sealing and weather-proofing these areas can help your house retain heat for longer, helping you spend less on energy to keep your family warm.
Schedule Routine Furnace Maintenance
Having your furnace regularly tuned up is a simple way to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Martens’ expert team cleans every working part, fixes minor issues before they break down your system, and ensures proper operation. This one simple step can go a long way in helping you lower utility bills in the winter.
Want More Electric Bill Tips? Contact Us Today
Martens Plumbing works with Bryant® heating systems of all sizes, which means we can help you turn your home into the most energy-efficient one on the block. Contact us today for expert advice—call 262-363-7146 or email us.