Rainy Days in Austin

As HVAC professionals, most of our days revolve around the weather. Cold days mean repairs to heating systems. Hot days mean routine air conditioning maintenance. Our Covenant Club members keep us busy throughout the year, with the added benefits of system maintenance and discounted repairs. One thing we truly love about Austin, Texas is the multitude of available outdoor activities and events. While paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake or going to the secret beach on the Colorado River can make for an almost perfect day, these things are difficult to do on rainy days. We’ve put together the short list of places to go on those truly dreary Austin area days.

 

 

  1. Inner Space Cavern: Located about 35 minutes outside of Austin, the Inner Space Cavern is an outdoor attraction you can visit even when it rains. The Inner Space Cavern is one of the best preserved caves in all of Texas. It has been around for over 10,000 years. Regular tours are offered every day of the week and are appropriate for all ages. Attractions include a play area, mining area, and gift shop.

  2. Museums in Downtown Austin: Austin is Texas’ state capitol. It combines history, culture, and art into one diverse city. When the rain strikes, take the time to visit some of the best museums in all of Texas. One of the most well known museums in downtown Austin is the Bullock Texas State History Museum. They have an IMAX theater that plays Texas based movies throughout the day. It’s a can’t miss if you’re just touring Texas, or were born and raised here. The Austin Children’s Museum is also a great place for rainy days. They offer tons of fun activities for kids of all ages and is a sure bet for beating rainy day cabin fever.

  3. Austin Aquarium: The Austin Aquarium is home to over 2,000 species of water and land creatures. There are multiple touch tanks and tanks for feeding the animals. They have several exhibitions a day of Aquarium employees feeding and tending to the animals. Don’t miss this Austin attraction that is sure to offer entertainment for the whole family, even on the rainiest days.

 

The Austin area is one of the greatest cities on earth, rain or shine. We are lucky to live in a place where there is fun and entertainment to be found in any weather. Covenant Heating and Air has been serving the greater Austin Area for more than 20 years. Integrity is not just our policy, it is the standard by which we conduct all of our business. Call or click with any questions related to your HVAC unit today!

 

Allergy Season in Austin

If there is one thing that we can say about Austin, Texas, it is the certainty of allergy season. Here at Covenant Heat and AC in Liberty Hill, Texas, we believe that your HVAC unit is like the heart of your home: it circulates anything and everything around your home. Allergy season may be a tricky time of year. It may seem like there is not much you can do about runny noses and itchy eyes. Before you run to the doctor for expensive check-ups and medications, try these simple in-home allergy relief precautions.

 

  1. Change your filters: We cannot stress enough the importance of checking and changing your air filters. These simple household items are the barrier between the dust in your home and your entire HVAC system. Changing your air filters will help your family stay healthy, and also keep your ducts clean and clear.

  2. Forget Spring Cleaning, Autumn Cleaning: Removing dust from your home helps with allergies and common colds. The less dust there is to get pulled into your HVAC system, the fewer filters you will have to buy. Do the extra step while cleaning your house this September and wash curtains, pull out and clean behind appliances, and wipe down your baseboards.

  3. Buy allergy covers or air purifiers: Another way to control dust mites and allergens is to buy dust covers for your pillows and mattresses. These covers may seem expensive as a one-time purchase, but they can go a long way in mitigating allergens while you sleep. We offer a cuple of different options and both come with either 5 or 10 year warranties. 

  4. Check your Ducts: Duct-Sealing, Replacement or Redesign

    Duct sealing is not only good for conserving energy and keeping costs down, it’s also good for reducing allergens in the air. When improperly sealed, your duct system will lose air in various places (attics mainly) and that air will need to be replaced, which it does by pulling outside air in through cracks, windows, doors, etc. Consqeuently, in doing this, outside allergens are introduced into your home, possibly along with humid air, etc.

  5. Sign up for the Covenant Club: Because the Covenant Club offers added benefits like routine maintenance, it is an easy and affordable way to guarantee that your HVAC system stays in top working condition during the worst allergy months. Allowing us to routinely service and guarantee the health of your unit may lead to a guarantee of your health in the future.

Allergy season is undeniable. Don’t spend the next few months in and out of the doctor’s office, call Covenant Heating and Air today to see how you can make sure your HVAC unit is in top working order for allergy season.

 

Covenant Heating and Air has been serving the greater Austin area for over twenty years. We are a family owned business that prides itself on taking care of you and your family. Integrity is not just our motto, it’s our policy. Call today.

Do You Know BTUS?

The national average cost of powering an American home is $2,024, according to United States Energy Information Administration. This is an average, of course, as homes in places like New Jersey average closer to $3,000 a year, as opposed to homes in California, which average about $1,500. Texas meets the national average when it comes to powering a single family home. These numbers have to do with many different variables. Cost of powering a home in New Jersey (and other Northeastern states) may be especially high because of heating needs in winter, and also air conditioning in the summer.

While measuring the cost of electricity is easy to understand, the way that it is measured is a little more complicated. BTUs, kilowatts hours, energy efficiency- what do all these words mean? And what do they have to do with you?

 

  1. British Thermal Units, or BTU: A British Thermal Unit, or BTU, is a non metric unit of measurement used to denote how much heat it takes to raise one pound (16 ounces) of water one degree fahrenheit. If that sounds confusing, a simpler way to put it is that BTUs are basically a system for quantifying how much heat is in the air. If you see a BTU rating on your HVAC unit, it is a simple way for you to judge how much and how fast your unit will remove BTUs from the air (cool) and how fast it will put BTUs in the air (heat).

  2. Why are they important?: If you think of your home as what it actually is, a big box, then you can also think about how much energy it will take to pull heat out of that box, or put heat into that box. Some boxes are bigger than others and some are smaller. The smaller your box, or home, is, the less BTUs will be needed in order to keep it hot or cold. If you are in the market for a new HVAC system, it may be in your best interest to have your home evaluated for how many BTUs it will take to heat and cool it so that you get a unit of the appropriate size.

  3. BTUs and Kilowatts hours: Energy companies measure energy consumption in Kilowatt hours (kWh). When it comes to how efficient your unit is, you may have to convert the BTU rating on your machine to kWh. This will let you know roughly how much to expect to pay in your monthly bills.  

Understanding energy efficiency, energy, and power is a tricky business. Next week, we will be featuring a post about the use of BTUs and KiloWatt Hours by stadiums in our great state of Texas. Here at Covenant Heating and Air Conditioning, our team is committed to helping you find the best HVAC unit for your home. We also offer the Covenant Club, which can help maintain the life of your existing unit through routine maintenance and repairs.

 


Call or click today to learn about how your future can be even more energy efficient.

 

A Tale of First Time Home Buyers

Clarissa and John moved to Austin in 2012. They had spent two years renting an apartment in the city, before realizing that real estate value was only going to increase. They decided to buy their first home. They found an area that they liked with several homes in their price range and found a real estate agent who promised to help them get into their dream home.

 

 

After a few months of looking, they found a house that met all of their specifications, put in an offer, and it was accepted. They began the long process of contracts, negotiations, and inspections that make first time home buying so exciting. On the day of their home inspection, the inspector explained to them that the two most expensive parts of a home to repair are the roof and the HVAC unit.

 

John was curious and asked what to expect from the impending HVAC inspection. The inspector explained that he would check to see if the HVAC unit was in proper working order. He would do this by checking the temperature differential, which is a simple process of seeing how fast the unit responds when the thermostat is reprogrammed. He would also see if he thought the unit needed more coolant or if there were leaks in the ductwork. He would also inspect the unit to see if anything had been replaced. He encouraged John and Clarissa check with the current homeowners to see how old the unit was, and if they still had the service records for the unit.

 

After the inspection, Clarissa and John were informed that the unit was not in proper working order and that most of the system would need to be replaced. They shopped around for heating, air conditioning and ventilation service companies in the greater Austin area, but couldn’t find one that they liked or that would offer them a fair price for replacement and repairs. Finally, one of Clarissa’s friends recommended Covenant Heating and Air in Liberty Hill. She said that she had used them on occasion and was a member of the Covenant Club. She had year-round service with Covenant and had saved hundreds of dollars with preventative maintenance.

 

Clarissa reached out to Covenant and was pleased to find that their customer service representatives were extremely helpful in answering all of her questions. The next day, Covenant was able to send a technician out to the potential home in order to give John and Clarissa a more accurate quote on what the repairs would cost. The technician found additional leaks in the ductwork that the home inspector had missed, but told John and Clarissa that these would be repaired free of charge because it was their first home and integrity is Covenant’s policy. John and Clarissa decided to use Covenant’s quote. After they closed on the house, Covenant technicians came out and did the work of repairing the system. John and Clarissa also became members of the Covenant Club. The routine maintenance and ten percent off all service repairs was guaranteed to save them money in the long run. They never worry about hot, Austin summers anymore. Their HVAC system works like a dream.


If John and Clarissa’s story sounds familiar to you, call Covenant Heating and Air today. We are here to answer all of your first time home buyer questions related to heating, air conditioning, and duct work. Call or click today!

Behind the Scenes: Our New Commercial!

If you’ve been around our Facebook page over the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed an exciting bit of news: we recently filmed a new commercial! The idea for the commercial has been in the works for a while, but it took a little while to settle on the perfect idea and tone. We wanted to communicate the most important aspects of our business model: integrity and customer service. Today, we’re giving you a peek behind the scenes of making the commercial.

 

The commercial was filmed at a beautiful Austin area home in Crystal Falls. During the filming, the production team tried to produce so much “heat” with a fog machine that the smoke alarm kept going off.


That feeling of the thermostat rising and rising because of the broken AC is something everyone has dreaded at one point or another, isn’t it? Filming of the commercial took the better part of the day. The owner of the home, Linda Chapman, provided lunch to the entire cast and crew. We couldn’t have been more grateful to her! 

 

The little boy in the commercial was played by a native Austinite, Camdyn. The other family members portrayed in the commercial were his actual mom and sister. The production team talked about how much fun it was to have all of them on set.

 

When planning the commercial, the production team needed someone with a genuine Texan voice to do the voice over. After looking around for several weeks, the team finally had a grand ‘Ah-ha’ moment that the best person for the job was business owner (and commercial star), Mike Luker.

 

The commercial shoot was a huge success. Thanks to all of our friends at Mint Studios for their concerted efforts towards this project. They helped us to convey the standard of integrity that is so important to our entire team at Covenant. View the finished product on our Facebook page


Covenant Heating and Air has been serving the Austin area for over fifteen years. We are happy to help with any and all of your HVAC related needs. Call or click today!

 

What Service Means to Us

If you spend a lot of time on the internet (which, who doesn’t, these days?), it only takes a quick google search and few pointed clicks to find hundreds of horror stories related to and regarding AC repair. Services like Angie’s List and Yelp can help when making the tough decision about who to use when your HVAC system is in distress, but how do you really know if a company is going to do what they say they are going to do?

 

 

At Covenant Heating and Air, integrity is not just our top priority, it’s also our policy. If you call us with problems related to your HVAC unit, we promise to handle them with the utmost care and respect to you and your family. In a nutshell, this is what service means to us:

 

  1. There are no stupid questions. Heating and air conditioning systems are complicated things. They run throughout your entire house in a series of ducts and equipment that is held together with a lot of engineering and forethought. At Covenant, we understand that there are easy fixes and then there are no so easy fixes. Our customer service representatives are always on hand to take any question you might have, big or small. So whether it’s a leak, a flood, or a thermostat that won’t turn on, call us. We are here to help.

 

  1. Your Family is Our Family. Covenant has been family owned and operated since its founding. The sense of community that this has built within the company itself is translated to our customers. When we come to your home to address problems with your HVAC system, we know that we are helping to provide comfort to your most important asset: your family. Our technicians are happy to answer any questions you may have. (Also, don’t just take our word for it. Check out our reviews page for more great feedback from customers.)

 

  1. The Covenant Club Exists for a Reason: At Covenant, we understand that repairs to your HVAC system are costly and, honestly, frustrating. By offering membership to the Covenant Club, we strive to bring down your overall HVAC yearly repair costs. For a low yearly membership fee, you can enjoy the benefits of routine inspection and maintenance, plus a 10% discount on any service or repair that you may need. By having a membership in the Covenant Club, we can help ensure that your heating and air conditioning problems don’t turn into emergencies.


Here at Covenant Heating and Air, we take service seriously and handle all of customers with integrity. If you are having issues with your HVAC system, think that you may be due for a new system, or are interested in the Covenant Club, call or click today!

Summer’s Here, But Never Fear! Activities in Austin

Summer’s Here, But Never Fear! We know how you can enjoy the outdoors and beat the Austin Area heat this summer.

 

Summer is officially here, and with that comes long days of high Texan temperatures and an overworked (and possibly underpaid) AC unit. Here at Covenant Heating and Air, we suggest that you conserve some energy and crank your AC Unit to 82 degrees and head out of the house to these great Austin attractions.

Located about an hour south of Austin, the Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort is a great place to cool off this summer. The park has over seventy acres of water rides, river adventures, and green spaces that can keep you and your friends or family occupied for days. Or if you're looking for something more local try Hawaiian Falls in Pflugerville!

If you are more interested in natural attractions, the Austin area is known for its natural pools and springs. One of the most famous of these is Barton Springs Pool. Fed by underground springs, the temperature of the pool is between 60-70 degrees even on the hottest summer days. It is the perfect place to cool off when the temperature starts heating up.

The lakes in and around Austin are another great draw. Several local businesses offer daily kayak and paddleboard rentals. They will even help you decide if paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, or Lake Travis is right for you.

In the evenings, when the weather cools down slightly, there are great outdoor live events like Unplugged at the Grove. Underneath pecan trees at the Shady Grove there is a free featured artist every Thursday night. This is Austin’s longest running free concert series, so you know that the lineup is guaranteed to be good.

Austin is a city of foodies. All across town there are restaurants with great outdoor patios where you can sit and enjoy the evening. Places like Contigo Austin and Justine’s boast beautiful outdoor dining areas that are perfect for enjoying dinner and drinks al fresco.

While the Austin area offers a myriad of ways to ignore and enjoy the blistering heat this summer, we know that the most important part of the summer is you and your family’s comfort. If you have issues with your AC unit or questions regarding its maintenance and efficiency, call us at Covenant Heating and Air today. We are committed to offering the best service possible to you. Call or click today!

 

How Green Is Your House?

 

How Green Is Your House?

 

 

These days, green is the new black. And by that we mean, energy efficiency is a buzz word that everyone can’t seem to get enough of. But how green (or efficient) is your house, really? Answer these simple questions to find out if you are saving or wasting energy and potentially driving up your electricity bills.

 

Do you run your AC unit at a warmer temperature in the summer? One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is keeping their house too cold in the summer. While a standard setting of 78 degrees may sound extra hot, it can save you as much as 10% annually on your electric bill, according to U.S. Department of Energy.

 

Do you have ceiling fans? If you decide to run your AC at a higher temperature in order to save energy, but still feel uncomfortable in your home, ceiling fans and box fans are a great way to circulate air through your home more efficiently.

 

Are you doors and windows properly sealed? Older homes may have especially bad wear and tear around their doors and windows. While this might not seem like much of problem, badly sealed doors and windows let in hot air all summer long, causing your AC unit to have to work even harder to keep your house cool.

 

Have your air ducts been recently cleaned? Dust and debris build-up in your air ducts can lead to poor air flow which can lead to poor efficiency on the part of your AC unit. Regular duct cleaning is essential to the life of your HVAC unit and also your monthly energy bills.

 

Do you wash your clothes on the cold setting? The truth about washing machines is that running them on a hot, or even warm, cycle is not helpful. Over 70% of energy costs related to doing laundry come from warming the water used in the laundry machine. Unless your clothes are incredibly soiled, or you are washing for sanitary purposes, like cloth diapers, wash on cold. It will save you money and also extend the life of your clothes.

 

Do you own low-flow toilets and showerheads? Your toilet is responsible for 40% of your home’s overall annual water usage. By installing lowflow toilets, you can decrease your water usage and the cost associated with it. By installing a lowflow shower head, you can decrease water usage from 5 gallons a minute to 1.5 gallons a minute.

 

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then congratulations, you are well on your way to owning an energy efficient home! If not, consider modifying some the ways that you use energy and resources in your home. You won’t regret it after you get your first energy bill.


Here at Covenant Heating and Air, we offer membership packages to the Covenant Club. Covenant Club members enjoy routine maintenance on their Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Unit throughout the year that can help boost your unit’s efficiency and keep it running well all year long. Call or click today to find out more about this great energy saving plan!

Top Three Ways Spring Cleaning Can Save You Money (and help your HVAC)

Top Three Ways Spring Cleaning Can Save You Money (and help your HVAC)

If you’re like us (and you’re probably like us), you know that spring (or summer) cleaning is something that you should do. You just have a hard time getting excited about it. We understand. Not many people really want to scrub down all their baseboards and organize their closets, but there’s a reason why spring cleaning is a thing. Not only is it good for your Austin home’s heating and air conditioning system, it can save you money. Here’s how:

1) Dust is the mother of all evil. Maybe that’s strong. Dust may not be the mother of all evil. It is a very annoying fact of life. While those roaming dust bunnies underneath your bed may not seem all that threatening, dust intake into your heating and air conditioning system can cause it to fail. Especially through a hot Texas summer. A good, old-fashioned deep cleaning can go a long way in keeping dust out of your air conditioning system. Also, make sure to change your unit’s filters regularly. Cheap filters should be changed once a month. Higher end filters (advertised with a two to three month lifespan) should be changed as recommended. Permanent filters should be removed and cleaned thoroughly once a month. While the steps will not guarantee that your unit won’t break when it’s in summer overdrive, they will go a long way in preventive maintenance. You may even see a little savings in your energy bill.

 

2) You don’t need all those clothes! Or maybe you do. Those skinny pants from 2002 may be really hard to part with. We can’t tell you what to throw away, give away, or sell, but we can tell you that there are a lot of Austin area consignment stores out there that would be happy to resell your skinny pants from 2002. If you haven’t used or worn an item in two years, it may be time to part with it. Keep in mind that old t-shirts make great cleaning rags, and old socks are perfect for dusting. Reusing items you already have saves money on things like paper towels, which can get expensive, even when they’re bought in bulk. If you take the time to sort through your garage, attic, and closets, you may be surprised at what you can reuse or resell in order to save you and your family money.

 

3) Did someone say allergies? We didn’t hear you, because someone sneezed. Liberty Hill is home to all kinds of wonderful pollens, including tree pollen, ragweed, and grass pollen. In order to combat these outdoor irritants (and not spend quite as much on doctor visits and allergy medication), it’s important to keep the indoors of your home clean. Routine filter changing and air duct inspections can go a long way to make sure that pollen and dust isn’t building up in your HVAC system and blowing allergens into your house. Our service pros at Covenant can inspect your system for possible problems and allergen entry points.

 

It's a beautiful time of year. Take advantage of shaking off the last of the winter doldrums by getting your house in order. With all the added benefits of organized closets, less dust in the corners, and a more functional and efficient heating and air conditioning unit, could you ask for anything more?

 

Covenant Heating and Air Conditioning has been proud to serve Liberty Hill, Texas and the greater Austin Area for the over ten years. We are here to help you with all of your heating, air conditioning, ventilation questions. Integrity is our policy. Call us today!

 

The Perfect Gifts for Home and Human

The stockings are all hung by the chimney with care, and underneath the tree presents are piled high! But we’ll bet you forgot some things on your list…. do you know what your home wants for Christmas? Luckily we’re experts in your home’s needs and safety, so we’ll help you finish your Christmas shopping for the people you love, while getting gifts your home will love.

 

Stocking Stuffers

 

The DIY-ers ultimate tool, Zootility’s Pocket Monkey is great for all of those odd jobs you’ve been putting off. Screwdriver, bottle opener and orange peeler in one, this fits in your pocket so it can go anywhere you need it. If it looks like a pen, walks like a pen, and talks like a pen, it must be a penlight. This tiny but powerful light uses bright LEDs with 100,000 hours of light time, and claims 60 continuous hours of power. Small enough to go anywhere, this penlight just became your new best friend.

Under the Tree

Never worry about your furnace or air conditioner again. When you join the Covenant Club, you’re getting exclusive access to our talented technicians and trained professionals. Responding to any call, day or night, offering the best service for a minimal fee… they’re basically the Justice league of air repair. Give it to the person who’s extremely sensitive to temperature changes.

With smart watches, cars and phones, aren’t homes the next on that list? Get ready for the future with a smart thermostat and you’ll never go back! They learn your heating and cooling habits and can change the temperature by the tiniest degree to get you as comfortable as you want without expending a ton of extra energy. Best part? They end up saving you money, since you’ll never accidentally leave your HVAC system running again. Find the perfect one.

Santa's Whole Sleigh!

Know someone who always calls dibs on the first shower? We’ve spoken a little bit about the perks of having a tankless or “on-demand” water heater, but this a gift that will make the First-Showerer love you forever. You won’t run out of hot water, because this heater heats only what you need, when you need it. Think of it as great shower and energy savings insurance. Find the perfect one for you using this handy guide, or call us. We’ll be happy to walk you through it.

 

 

 

Annual Maintenance is at the Top of Your Furnace's Christmas List

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Cold winter mornings are great to sip coffee or tea, for looking at frost on leaves and for snuggling up under blankets. What it’s not a great time for is a furnace malfunction. While a little chill is nice, a lot of chill is downright uncomfortable and potentially dangerous! We always recommend yearly furnace maintenance to make sure everything is running smoothly, but 75% of our winter calls are still for emergency maintenance. We really want to help you avoid calling us this winter, so here are four great reasons not to skip regular furnace maintenance.

  • Prevent meltdowns!

If you’re hosting a party or family for the holidays, the last thing you need on a cold winter morning is your furnace not working. Your family and furnace will both thank you for avoiding big problems with regular preventive maintenance. Taking a little time to inspect your furnace and do some cleaning and repair work can help extend the lifetime of your entire system and help you avoid stress during an already stressful time of year!  

  • Increase your furnace’s efficiency.

During extreme temperature months like summer and winter, the HVAC system is often running around the clock. That can rack up a huge energy bill if you aren’t careful. Having a smart thermostat is one way to make sure you’re saving money, because it can track how much time it takes for your home to reach a desired temperature, which then tells you how efficient your system is. If you don’t have a smart thermostat, one of our technicians can do that for you, and can make the appropriate repairs to make sure your system is at it’s optimal functionality. Increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system means you’ll spend less time heating and cooling your home, and more time enjoying the comforts of your family, friends, and the savings on your energy bill!  

  • Extend the life of your unit.

We touched on this in #2, but we believe this tip so important that we’re making giving it it’s own number! 75 seems to be the magical number when we’re talking winter HVAC systems, because it’s also the percentage of furnace malfunctions that could have been prevented by regular maintenance. A lot of those malfunctions result in the need for a more extensive repair or entire system replacement - thousands of dollars worth of parts and maintenance - and it could all be avoided by a $60-$100 yearly repair. The average HVAC system lasts 10-15 years, but that doesn’t mean you should go that long without any maintenance. You wouldn’t let your car go 10 or 15 years without changing the oil or replacing the tires, would you? Don’t expect your furnace to go that long, either, without appropriate care.  

  • Protect your home against carbon monoxide hazards.

While we want your unit to last as long as possible, the most important reason to have your furnace regularly serviced has to do with your health and safety. The biggest reason we tell everyone to perform annual furnace maintenance is because of the hazards that carbon monoxide causes to your family and your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless but highly toxic gas. It is also the by product of your gas furnace heating the air entering your home. With long-term use there is the chance of your exhaust flue or combustion chamber corroding, which can cause CO2 to leak into your home. If you aren’t sure, or haven’t checked your furnace lately, please call your HVAC service technician and test your CO2 detector to make sure it’s functioning properly.

Make the Smart Switch to a Smart Thermostat

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If we’ve noticed one thing in the last few years, it’s that people love to have the latest technology. Every time a new smartphone or tablet comes out, people rush out to upgrade, even waiting in line for days to be the first to take home the latest invention.

 

 

But when it comes to investing in technology for their home, many are hesitant to make the switch.

 

We understand the hesitation; getting a new phone is easy, but many people believe upgrading your HVAC technology means investing in an upgrade to your system that can be extensive and costly. What if we told you there was a small upgrade that cost the same as that fancy new phone that (unlike your phone) can make a huge difference in your monthly monetary and energy expenditures?  

 

Smart thermostats are becoming more popular with homeowners and for good reason. They’re small, save you money, reduce your environmental footprint, and are changing the way we control our internal environments. So, what should you know about smart thermostats?

 

First, it’s important to understand exactly what a smart thermostat is.

 

Most homes have digital thermostats already, and these work as a control panel for your HVAC system. Like your current thermostat, smart thermostats function as the control panel for your system, but unlike your current thermostat, they are more sophisticated in their construction and operation. Many of them are actually closer to a thermostat/smartphone hybrid than your current digital thermostat. Smart thermostats are called “smart” because they learn from you and your usage habits to automatically make adjustments to your home’s climate. They can be controlled remotely from your smartphone, can show you energy consumption and can even adjust for external conditions, like humidity.

 

Second, it’s important to understand what smart thermostats can do for you.

 

Most smart thermostats offer various generations for you to choose from and smart technology companies, like Nest, which specializes in smart technology like thermostats, smoke alarms and CO2 detectors, has routine software updates to keep your system at optimal functionality.

 

Besides staying up-to-date with current trends to help keep your system easy to use, switching to a smart thermostat offers big monetary and energy savings. Smart thermostats cost more than regular thermostats because of their increased capabilities, but most energy companies offer rebates for switching from a digital thermostat.

 

Because smart thermostats adjust on their own as they learn your usage habits and lifestyle patterns, they can tell you how long it will take to reach your desired temperature. This tells you how efficiently your current HVAC system is working. They can also estimate the costs of heating and cooling your home, and can make adjustments to save you the most money. Most smart thermostats boast an average of 10% savings on your energy bill, which really adds up over the years!

 

Third, it’s important to understand that making the switch to a smart thermostat is a lot easier than it seems!

 

Most smart thermostats require a professional installation, and Covenant is happy to help with making the switch! We can answer any questions you may have about the benefits of upgrading your system to use a smart thermostat, and can talk to you about other ways to save money on your existing system! Schedule your appointment with Covenant today!

Find Relief from Cedar Fever

While many across the country welcome December and the holidays as relief from their worst fall allergy symptoms, many Texans are dreading the upcoming allergic onslaught of what’s locally known as “Cedar Fever”. If you’re not familiar with the horrible mating season of the mountain cedar (which is actually a juniper plant, but we digress), we’ll just say we’d take the worst ragweed season any day over a cedary December in Central Texas.

Pollen leaves the city in an orange haze, and while it’s largely unavoidable outside, there are some things you can do to keep it from entering your home.

  • Take those shoes off at the door.

When we walk around we pick up whatever is in the world, and when you walk around your house, you’re bringing all of that into your home - the place we go to get away from all of that! Having a designated shoe area, away from the main living areas if possible, is the best way to keep from tracking all of that cedar pollen all over the house, not to mention whatever else you may have picked up over the course of the day.

  • Switch up your shower routine.

If you’re a morning shower kind of person, it may be time to reconsider. Aside from hanging out on your shoes, pollen can catch on your clothes, skin, and even in your hair! Try switching your shower to whenever you get home from work or school. That will make sure all the pollen is washed off, and keep you from tracking it into your everyday clothes, or worse, into your bed! 

  • Fight fire with food.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.” and when it comes to cedar fever, we’ll take all the help we can get. Choose foods that are high in vitamin C, with all it’s allergy-blocking powers, and are anti-inflammatory to help give your poor sinuses a break. Broccoli, cabbage, collard greens and cauliflower are classic winter veggies that do just that, while flavor staples onion and garlic are high in quercetin which also act as an antihistamine. Get a more comprehensive list of allergy-fighting foods from Organic Life.

  • Make time to relax.

As if you really needed another reminder to relax, stress can make already-bad allergy symptoms even worse. When you’re stressed out, your body produces hormones that keep you going in a legitimately stressful situation - one that requires a fight or flight response - but those are the same hormones that block your immune system, aka your body’s first defense against allergens. Making some time to rest and relax will do two things- make your itchy eyes and cold symptoms a little easier to bear, and clear out some of that unnecessary stress so your body can get back to fighting allergens.

  • Be aware of places allergens like to hide out.

There are some places that allergies like to hide out that we may not think of. Make sure to take your allergy meds before you go out to a football game or the farmer’s market, since mold spores can hide out in turf, and pollen often gets transported along with all your favorite local veggies.

  • Take control with long-term, year-round solutions.

Quick fixes won't really solve anything, and masking your allergy symptoms with meds may get you through the day, but it doesn’t stop the fact that allergens are still entering your home. One of the best changes you can make to benefit your health year-round is to control your indoor air quality through the use of HEPA filters. HEPA, short for “high-efficiency particulate air” filters work by using a fine mesh filtration system to trap pollen and other allergens that may get through traditional fabric filters.

Having clean indoor air is especially important when you’re subject to inclement weather or high pollen counts that prevent you from opening up doors and windows.

It’s also important to note that while HEPA filters do an excellent job of removing airborne allergens, pollen and similar things like to hide out in rugs, sheets, and other places around your home, so without taking heed of the previous recommendations in this post, you’ll be missing out some big benefits of incorporating.

You can keep up with the latest on cedar and other pollen in Central Texas using KXAN’s allergy report tool; for more information on HEPA filters, or help installing one in your own home, call Covenant today!

Reduce Indoor Humidity

 

 

Rainy winter months means spending a lot more time indoors, but unlike the summer months when the weather is unbearably hot, more moderate winter climates allow us to throw open the doors and windows every once in awhile, letting the cooler air in. It may be tempting to turn off the HVAC unit altogether. Doing that in attempts to let fresh air flow through your home is good in theory, but can cause other problems you may have not considered, including one particularly foggy foe: indoor humidity.

 

You know when your home has excess moisture - foggy windows, dampness and even mildew spots. The Environmental Protection Agency lists three criteria for healthy indoor air quality, and simply throwing the windows open and hoping for the best could be missing two of these qualities. The air must be fresh (check!), it must be clean (possibly - always check the air quality in your city, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma), and the relative humidity must be lower than 50%. In South Texas, this is where we see the most issues. Relative humidity depends on the temperature and air pressure in the area that you’re looking at, and it is very important in helping you regulate your body temperature.

 

What is relative humidity?

 

In climate control and human comfort, the relative humidity is important to note. Since we regulate our body temperatures by sweat evaporating off the surface of our skin, the more humid the surrounding temperature is, the less efficient we are at cooling off, and the less comfortable we are. While humans can be comfortable in a large range of relative humidities (30 - 70%) around 50-60% is most commonly recommended.

 

For a further example, if the outdoor temperature is 75 degrees, and there is no humidity, it will feel like it’s a comfortable 69 degrees. With 100% humidity, that 75 degrees is a balmy 80 degrees. That’s a huge difference!

 

Indoor Climate Control

 

For regulating humidity indoors turn to your HVAC system. The key with your system is to maintain your system within the comfortable 50-60% range. That way, you’re able to avoid any foggy windows or indoor mugginess, but you also escape the problems associated with very dry climates. If there is too little indoor humidity, sweat evaporates almost immediately, but can cause you to dehydrate faster. Wood shrinks, and can cause cracks in the paint. At a high humidity, you run the risk of having mold and mildew build up, not to mention once you’re sweating, you may not be able to stop.


Of particular importance in your home are areas that are most likely to become too humid- the kitchen and the bathroom. Ventilation is your friend here, and in those areas, you should always ventilate during use, especially during long, hot showers that create a lot of steam, and keep the fan running for a little longer to push that humid air out. Be on the lookout for any signs of water accumulation, mold, or mildew growth. It’s easier and much less expensive to catch these issues early.

 

If those changes aren't enough, consider using a dehumidifier, and placing it in those high-humidity areas, or wherever those with allergy or asthma symptoms spend the most time.


So go ahead and enjoy the cooler weather! Plan outdoor family activities, sit on your porch, and feel free to throw open a window and enjoy the fresh air, but make sure that you’re not ignoring signs of too much indoor humidity. If you have questions about your indoor air quality, contact Covenant Air Conditioning & Heating at (512) 515-6946 today! 

What's should you set your thermostat to between seasons?

Happy Fall, y’all! It’s almost November, which means even in perpetually-hot Texas, fall is here to stay and winter is on the way. Funnily enough, when the weather is the best outdoors, that’s when we get the most questions about what the temperature inside your home should be.

Although it may seem like switching off your HVAC system completely while you’re away from home is a great idea to save money, it’s actually a lot less efficient for your system and makes it harder to cool your home. When you return home and have to turn your system back on, especially in extreme temperatures, your HVAC system has to work a lot harder to get past your home’s insulation than if the system was kept running. That means that your unit is spending a lot more energy to re-heat or cool your home than it would had your system been left on while you were away. (Of course, if you’re leaving for more than 24 hours, turning your system off is best.)

 

 

Now that you know you should leave your system running, knowing what temperature to set it at is key. The wrong one could be unnecessarily heating or cooling your home when no one is there, but you should still be comfortable while you are home! 

The magic numbers here are 10 - 15. That is how much you should adjust your thermostat by when you’re leaving the house. By adjusting your thermostat by 10-15 degrees (either up or down, depending on the season), you could save up to 30% on your energy bill.

 

In Hot Weather

Our bodies are most comfortable around 75 degrees, although the exact temperature will vary from person to person. The closer you can get your temperature to 80 degrees while you are home, without being uncomfortable, the more you’ll save on your energy bill. When leaving your home for four hours or longer, set your AC to only kick in if the house gets above 88 degrees.

In Cold Weather

Our bodies are the most comfortable around 68 degrees, and like with warm weather, the lower you can take that temperature without being uncomfortable, the more you can save. Lowering that to around 58 degrees while you’re out will keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank.

Having a programmable thermostat that is set to automatically adjust at specific times of the day is even better. You can have your HVAC system kick in to cool or warm up the house about 30 minutes before you get home from work, so by the time you get home, everything will be cozy.  

 

Bonus Tip

If you’re setting your temperatures, but leaving your system’s fan set to “On”, instead of “Auto” you’re probably undoing all your savings from the temperature, and wearing out your system faster! We recommend the “Auto” setting for everyday usage. The “on” setting means that your HVAC fan will continue to run, even when your home has reached the temperature you set it to, while the “Auto”  setting means that once your home has reached the appropriate temperature, the fan will only come on to make adjustments to keep your home at that temperature.  

 

If you have any more questions about thermostats, your system’s efficiency or upgrading to a programmable thermostat, give us a call! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about your home’s heating and cooling needs.

Protect Your Home from Carbon Monoxide Poisioning

Carbon Monoxide is something we take very seriously here at Covenant. A silent, odorless and fatally toxic gas, it’s entirely avoidable if you know what to do to protect your home. In this post, we wanted to address the most common causes of carbon monoxide, and provide solutions to protect your family.

The initial symptoms of mild CO poisoning look like flu symptoms, but without a fever.  You may be experiencing:

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of Breath

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

Higher levels of poisoning include vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness and will ultimately lead to death, which is why we cannot stress enough being able to spot the symptoms of CO poisoning.

The best thing you can do to avoid CO poisoning is to make sure all CO detectors are working in your home. They are the first warning sign against CO and cost as little as $30 in a home improvement store.

The next thing you can do is to make sure all appliances that use combustion are being used appropriately and are well-ventilated. Gas appliances, like stoves and furnaces, should be appropriately adjusted and inspected each year. Furnaces in particular can release CO into the home if there are holes or corrosion to your exhaust flue. Call your HVAC service technician to inspect your furnace if you aren’t sure. Always open your flues when fireplaces are in use, and when replacing your space heater, get one with ventilation. Do not idle your car in your garage with the doors closed.

One of the best things you can do is to keep your HVAC systems well maintaned and have it inspected seasonally. Have a licensed professional come inspect your furnace in the fall, before winter weather hits and you close doors and windows for the winter, and have your AC system inspected in the spring, before summer heat waves roll in.

If you’re worried about expense, most professional visits are less than $100 and can be completed in an afternoon. The cost of a life due to negligence is nothing compared to these costs. To schedule your appointment and get some peace of mind, call Covenant today.

 

Tankless Water Heaters Save You Money

If you’ve been the last in line to bathe, then you, my unlucky friend, have experienced the frigid shower that comes when you’re “out” of hot water. With a storage water heater, one that collects and stores hot water, this can be a common occurrence. If you’re looking to replace your water heater or if it’s been about ten years since you’ve replaced it, you could be wasting money (and missing out on the comfort of a hot shower!) by sticking by your storage water heater. Tankless heaters, or on-demand heaters, provide water only when necessary, eliminating the need for continual water heating and the need for a water storage tank. Say goodbye to cold showers, and hello to energy savings.


How do they work?

When a hot water tap is turned on, the water travels through a pipe into your unit. If you’re washing dishes, the water will travel to your sink. As it’s traveling through the pipes, either a gas burner or an electric unit heat the water. Since the water is created on-demand, you won’t have to wait for a water storage tank to fill up. Most tankless heaters can produce two to five gallons of hot water per minute. Most tankless heaters also usually keep a small amount of heater water already stored - about a gallon - so you won’t be left waiting for the water to heat up for most small tasks.

 

Compare that to the traditional storage heaters, which store heated water for eight to ten hours a day when no one is home to use that water. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 15 to 25% of the energy consumed in homes goes to heating the water. If your household uses a moderate amount of water a day - around 41 gallons, or if you’re not taking long scalding showers or running the dishwasher every evening - tankless heaters can be 28 - 24% more energy efficient than a storage tank.

What do they cost?


While the upfront cost of a tankless water heater is higher than a traditional storage heater, they pay for themselves after just a few years. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for the average family, a tankless water heater can save an average family $100 a year on their energy bill. That really adds up considering the average lifespan of a tankless heater is 20 years, and because there is no storage tank, they are made of parts that are more easily replaced than storage tanks that typically only have a 10 to 15 year lifespan.

 

Covenant AC is your heating and cooling expert, so if you have any more questions about switching to a tankless water heater- and turning on your energy savings- contact us today.




 

National Fire Prevention Month

October is National Fire Prevention Month. At Covenant, we strive to keep your home comfortable, but if you don’t have a plan in place should a fire start, you may not have a home to keep comfy! Do you have an emergency preparedness plan in place for your family?

If you’re in a particularly hot and dry area (like Texas, or California) where fire can start and spread quickly, it’s essential to your safety to have a plan in place to escape a fire. Luckily, saving your home and family can be as easy as being prepared. Here are Covenant’s tips for fire safety!

  • When creating your escape plan, walk through your home and look for all possible exits from your home. In addition to finding the best escapes from everyone’s bedrooms, consider where your family may be during an average day and plan routes accordingly. You should identify two ways out of every room, including windows and doors.

  • Check all of your smoke alarms, and install them where necessary. Rule of Thumb is: One smoke alarm for each room where someone will be sleeping, one outside each sleeping area, and one on every level of your home. According to the fire safety code, they should also all be interconnected. If one alarm sounds, they should all sound to notify every member of your household.

  • Make sure everyone in your home understands the escape plan. If you have young children, walk them through the plan. You can download this escape planning grid from the National Fire Protection Association, which will help your children get involved in Fire Safety in a non-threatening way.

  • Practice your plan, and have a designated meet-up spot outside the house that everyone will report to in the event of a fire.

  • Once you’re out of your house, stay out! Do not go back inside for any reason until your home has been cleared by the fire department.

Did you know that even your HVAC system can fight fires? In many heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts, there is a fire damper in place. Activated by rising temperatures, the damper closes automatically to prevent smoke from spreading into the ducts and spreading throughout your home. Dampers should be tested periodically, so when you test your smoke alarms, take a few extra minutes to check your dampers. Dampers should not be your primary defense from smoke, but they can certainly help.

For more information preparing your home in case of fire, the National Fire Protection Association has great tips on their website. If you’re not sure how to test your fire dampers (or are even sure that you have them!), call Covenant today for an inspection. Stay safe, and Happy October!





Quality Insurance: The Covenant Promise

When you’re choosing where to go with your business in any industry, we know that a few things are important. You need someone you can trust, and someone that has your best interests in mind. You need someone who you know will do the best job they can.

When it comes to creating a comfortable home for your family and friends, this is even more important. You wouldn’t trust just anyone to build your home. You need someone well-trained and up to snuff on the appropriate safety codes; likewise, you shouldn’t trust just anyone to service your HVAC system, which is vital to creating the best environment for you and your family.

If you’re already part of the Covenant Club, you know that we are Men of Integrity, here to serve you. Part of the way we ensure all of our customers is through quality customer care. The other is by promising you’re getting a skilled technician each and every time, which we can do because each of our technicians are fully trained and licensed to handle routine HVAC maintenance just as well as and any emergency your HVAC could possibly throw at you.

The steps to getting your licensing are more involved and more time consuming than most people realize. To start, all technicians have high school diplomas and show an aptitude for engineering, industrial arts, and technical problem solving.

Once one decides to pursue a career as a technician, they continue with collegiate studies, where they take classes in reading blueprints, construction, engineering, and similar studies. This can take anywhere from six months to two years. After getting their degree, many will enter an apprenticeship. A formal apprenticeship will usually last between three and five years, and the apprentice will shadow a professional HVAC technician, learning practical and theoretical HVAC practices while refining their craft.

After that, it’s onto the HVAC licensing exam. This comprehensive exam will test a prospective technician’s knowledge on all aspects of HVAC repair and installation, and some exams even require extensive knowledge of electrical codes. Technicians that wish to work with refrigerants have to get additional certification and pass yet another exam!

We mention all of this hard work and dedication not to push anyone away from a career in the HVAC field (far from it!) but to allow all of our current and future clients to know that we worked hard to become the best HVAC technicians, and we work hard to continue to provide you with the best service possible.

So the next time you’re in need of an HVAC technician, make sure you only are using licensed and certified technicians. After all, you wouldn’t trust just anyone to build your home, so don’t trust anyone who has only fixed an AC once or twice to ensure your family is living in comfort. If you’re ready to join the Covenant Club and have a well-trained technician provide regularly scheduled maintenance for your HVAC system and always be available for emergencies, you can learn more about us online.

How To Keep Cooling Costs Down During The Summer

It’s a balancing act each summer: How do you keep the house cool without your energy bill breaking the bank? Covenant wants to help you do both. While this list is not exhaustive, it’s a great place to get started with your energy savings as the summer heat continues on.  

  • Raise your thermostat. While no one is suggesting you need to suffer with stuffy rooms, keep your thermostat on the higher end. You’ll save 3 to 5 percent for every degree you raise your thermostat in the 70 – 80 degree range. Set your thermostat to 75 degrees or higher (as you feel comfortable), and turn your thermostat to 85 degrees or turn it off completely when leaving the house for an extended period of time. Following these rules can save you a total of 5 to 20 percent on your heating bill.

  • Make sure your air filters and furnace are clean. Dirty filters and furnace restrict airflow, increasing energy usage. If you aren’t sure your vents, ducts, furnace or filters are keeping up with your needs, make sure to contact us.

  • Lower your hot water temperature. Lowering your hot water temperature to the “normal” setting or 120 degrees (Fahrenheit) can save you between 7 and 11 percent of water heating costs.

  • Take advantage of fans. Keep air circulating without turning on your home unit while cooling only the rooms you’re occupying.

  • While you’re working so hard on cooling, make sure you eliminate areas of wasted energy. Turn off all appliances and electronics when they aren’t in use. This could also mean deactivating or getting rid of old freezers and refrigerators, which, while useful, use a lot of energy to stay cold. Make sure that windows and outer walls are not letting air escape. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows as needed.

  • Run your dishwasher or washing machine and dryer with full loads. Having full loads reduces your overall number of loads and conserves energy. Try to dry clothing successively because the dryer will already be warm, and wash your clothes in cold water.

Looking for more ways to save on your energy bill this summer? Check out this video by Money Talks News for more information. Have questions about your heating or air conditioning system? Need a new system or to upgrade your existing system, contact us or get started with a free quote.