kitten cuddling with teddy bear

There are all sorts of ways to help make your space more comfortable this time of year. After all, this is the season for cuddling up with hot cocoa! If you’re concerned about climbing energy bills, fear not. Keeping cozy all through the winter relies on a lot more than just your thermostat settings.

 

1. Winter Home Energy Efficiency

Of course, having a good furnace or heat pump is crucial this time of year. (Be sure to call us at 317-238-3961 if you need a hand!) But even if all of that equipment is working fine, you can still make your home a little more snug with one of these energy-saving wintertime tips. A quick home improvement project can make a big difference to boost your home’s efficiency ratings.

 

Locate and Fix Leaks

Warm air can escape through leaky doors and windows. If it feels like you’re always getting a slight draft around these spots, it’s probably time to add new caulk or weatherstripping. This will help keep your heat inside, where it belongs. You’ll also want to look for any gaps around the chimney and remember to keep the fireplace damper firmly shut whenever it’s not in use.

 

Find Your Sunny Spots

You can also save money by making the most of the sunlight that hits your home. One simple trick is to keep your curtains open on south-facing windows. When the sun is bright, your home can heat up naturally and help you save energy. Then at night, just draw your shades and other window treatments to lock in the warmth. This lets your curtains work as an extra barrier to hold back cold drafts.

 

Buy a Better Thermostat

Turning down the temperature when you aren’t at home can help you get some additional energy savings. For a lot of homeowners, the best way to get these benefits is with a programmable thermostat. These gadgets are great investments for homeowners looking to lower their energy bill for the long-run. A programmable thermostat lets you set a schedule for your heating and cooling equipment, so you can get the best efficiency every day of the week.

 

2. Whole-Home Humidifier Benefits

Outside of high energy bills, another nuisance during the winter tends to be dry air. Dealing with scratchy throats can put a really damper on your holiday spirit. (Not to mention getting static shocks whenever you pet the cat or dog.)

Dry air also leaves our skin feeling dry and chapped in winter. Instead of relying on lotion alone, we like whole-house humidifiers. Unlike portable units, these systems address dry air problems in every room. Having proper humidity levels all throughout your home helps give you softer skin, less static, and better breathing all winter long.

As an added bonus, whole-house humidifiers also help make your home feel warmer. This is because dry air naturally seems colder than air with some humidity. By introducing a little more moisture into your air, your home can actually be more comfortable in winter—without even raising the temperature on your thermostat!

 

3. Smart Home Holiday Cooking

To really seal the deal on your home’s coziness, be sure to embrace home cooking. Whether you’re entertaining friends and family or just hanging out on a quiet night, spending a little time in the kitchen will definitely make your house feel more like a home.

Fixing meals in your crockpot is great this time of year because you can come home to a hot meal after checking out any one of your favorite winter activities around Indianapolis. It's even better if you're cozy at home while it cooks. The smells from your slow cooker can definitely help spread some cheer! Here’s a recipe for one of our favorites:

 

Crockpot Lentil and Pasta Stew

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 8-10 hours

Serves: 8

 

Ingredients:

½ lb. smoked kielbasa sausage, chopped

3 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. butter

1 cup cubed, peeled potatoes

¾ cup sliced carrots

1 celery rib, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

5 cups beef broth

1 cup dried lentils

1 cup uncooked ditalini (or other small pasta)

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. pepper

¼ tsp. salt

shredded romano cheese to serve

 

Directions:
  1. Brown kielbasa in oil and butter in a large skillet.
  2. Add potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery to skillet. Cook and stir for 3 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Transfer ingredients to a large slow cooker.
  4. Stir in broth, lentils, bay leaf, pepper and salt.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until lentils are tender.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Stir pasta into slow cooker. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with cheese and serve!

 

All of us here at LCS Heating & Cooling wish you a warm and bright holiday season! If you need any emergency help with your equipment, you can always give us a call at 317-238-3961.

woman on couch with dog looking at ipad

Programmable thermostats are great for busy families or homeowners who spend regular stretches of time away from home. Because these units work around your schedule, it’s basically a “set it and forget it” system. There’s no reason to constantly check the thermostat display if you want to cut back on your energy usage. The latest models do the work for you—as long as they’re programmed the right way.

 

Why Switch to a Programmable Thermostat?

Giving your HVAC system a routine to follow can dramatically cut back on your energy costs. The purpose of a programmable thermostat is to automatically limit your home’s heating and cooling efforts whenever you don’t need them as much. Typically, these settings change based on when you’re at home or away, as well as when you’re sleeping. Get your new thermostat installed right, and it’s pretty easy to live in comfort and save energy at the same time.

 

Setting Your Programmable Thermostat for Summer

The Department of Energy suggests that you keep indoor temps at 78°F when you’re at home in the summertime. Then the “away temperature” can jump up 7 degrees while you’re away. It’s a good goal to aim for if you really want to keep your energy costs down, but we’ve found that it can be somewhat unrealistic for families around Indianapolis.

Oftentimes, a 7-degree temperature spike can be too extreme for your system to make up—which means you might save a few bucks while you're away, but your home won't feel good when you get back. We typically recommend a 3- to 5-degree difference when it's really hot outside (like 90 degrees or more) so your indoor climate actually stays comfortable. So instead of having your home temp at 78°F, you’ll probably want to consider a comfortable base temp that’s 75°F or less.

Once you decide what your home’s “comfort temp” is, your thermostat will be able to adjust to your schedule throughout the day. Programmable thermostats often divide your time into four parts: Wake, Leave, Return, and Sleep. It usually looks something like this:

Wake

The wake setting should be programmed at your family’s comfort level, or slightly above it. Ideally, it will turn on about 30 minutes before you get up in the morning. Let your wake setting stay on for as long as you’re at home. On the weekend, this might be all day. But if you’re consistently out the door by 7:00 on Monday-Friday, you’ll want to let your system know.

Leave

When you’re out of the house in the summer, let your system kick up the temperature about 3 to 5 degrees higher. For the best savings, your leave setting should be programmed to start about 20 or 30 minutes before you head out. This lets your AC get a break when you don’t need it, like if you’re running errands or at the pool.

Return

The return setting tends to be programmed to the same temperature you have for your wake setting. You’ll want your return setting to kick on about 20 to 30 minutes before you get back. That gives your AC system enough time to cool down your home so it’ll be exactly how you like it when you walk through the door.

Sleep

Evening modes in summer should be set about 4 degrees higher than normal settings, but you can always let the temperature go up a few more degrees if you’d like. Just try to program this temperature shift to happen about an hour before bedtime. That will give you the best results before the cycle repeats the next day.

Professional Thermostat Installation

It can take a few weeks to get in sync with your programmable thermostat, so stay with it! Most people have to make a few tweaks along the way, but it’s all worth it once you find the settings and routine that works for you.

If you have any questions about your existing programmable thermostat—or you’re ready to make the switch to an upgraded unit—please contact LCS Heating & Cooling. We’ll give you the scoop on all the latest thermostat models and help you get the perfect system for your home. After your install, we’ll even walk you through all the steps for programming your new thermostat. Working with the experts makes setup a breeze. Call us today to get started!

green and white flowers

People who suffer from seasonal allergies have been hit hard in 2017. Allergy symptoms flared up as early as February, and Indiana Public Media put the blame on our mild winter and early spring weather. So how do you get relief? Load up on allergy meds? Close yourself off to Mother Nature?

There’s no real clear-cut solution, but a lot of homeowners are getting help with whole-home purifiers. Air filters that work around the clock—and in every room—can actually be pretty effective against your toughest allergens.

 

Air Cleaners vs. Pollen

It would be awesome to have a magic wand that could take away all the pollen in your home. (We’d even be happy with one to get rid of dust!) Of course, this “magic solution” doesn’t exist. Pollen and allergens are part of life and the changing seasons. But having a whole-home air cleaner can help you manage the issues.

You see, the challenge with pollen is that the particles are a lot larger than other airborne contaminants. This means that any pollen from outside often settles in your home—on your bookshelf, couch, windowsill, you name it—before getting carried through to your air filter. But regular vacuuming, dusting, or just walking around your home can then stir these particles into the air again. The upside to this is having an in-duct particle removal system. Having the right air cleaner can help you remove those airborne pollen and dust particles, germs and bacteria, and even odors in your home’s air.

 

Benefits of Whole-Home Air Purifiers

Typically called whole-home purifiers, these units actually do a great job at removing larger airborne particles. The EPA even notes that high-efficiency filters are good at capturing pollen, dust, dust mites, animal dander, and certain molds.

The real benefit of whole-home air cleaners is that they help address air quality issues everywhere in your home. Unlike portable units, you’re not limited to one room. Because in-duct units connect right to your furnace, they’re able to treat the air as it cycles throughout your home. With these kinds of systems, it’s a lot easier to tackle tough air problems whenever they arise.

 

Lennox PureAirTM Systems

When it comes to indoor air purifiers, we love working with the Lennox PureAir systems for homeowners. Because they filter your air in multiple stages, you’re able to address the top three airborne issues in your home. This includes airborne particles, germs and bacteria, and chemical odors. These systems come with a lot of other perks, too:

  • Whole-Home Application
  • Reduces and destroys ozone
  • Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV): MERV-16
  • Compatible with all HVAC system types
  • 5-Year Limited Warranty on covered components

The Lennox PureAir Cleaner also uses a carbon catalyst filter and UV bulbs. The UV light cleaners are key for these units because they kill bacteria and mold when the air passes through your system. You can even get a Lennox UV Light on its own—without the full PureAir system. The UV light installs directly on the furnace and goes to work right away.

All in all, air cleaners can offer some great benefits for homeowners who are serious about kicking their allergy issues and finding some relief. When your indoor air is regularly cleaned and fresh, it’s a lot easier to kick back and relax!

 

If you’ve been struggling with allergies this season or poor indoor air quality, give LCS a call. We’re always happy to consult with Indy-area homeowners on the best units for their lifestyle! Plus, we’ve got some great deals going for UV Air Purification Lights, available now through August 31, 2017.

yellow flower

LCS Heating & Cooling has such loyal customers and we’re honored to serve you! Year after year, you trust us with one of the most important functions of your home—its comfort level. Whether your house is feeling too hot or too cold, smelling too musty, or creating too much static or dust, the LCS team is here to help you out. Your home should be able to give you a comfortable, indoor atmosphere for every season. It’s our job to make sure your HVAC systems are always on their A game.

How do we do it? Well, we listen to your feedback! We make customer service our top priority, hire and train quality personnel, and take our business very seriously. It’s because of you and your referrals that LCS Heating & Cooling continues to grow. Take a look behind-the-scenes, and you’ll see we’re always working hard to earn more of your all-star reviews. Thanks for growing with us!

 

Easy HVAC Scheduling—even with HVAC Emergencies

What happens if your air conditioner or furnace starts acting up in the middle of the night? Or on a holiday? No one wants to wait for service! You want it fixed ASAP, and the LCS team totally understands. We’ve got a great scheduling system in place to help get these “HVAC nightmares” under control.

Our team is available 24/7 to take your calls. So if you want service, you’ll get it! Our customers always have someone to talk to when issues pop up—whether it’s with one of our office staff, or one of the people with our professional answering service. If you need immediate service after-hours, the LCS technician on call will handle it right away. For non-emergency calls received after hours, the folks answering will take a message. Our office staff will then follow-up with you the next business morning. Pretty easy, right?

 

Excellent HVAC Personnel and Quality Training

We take great efforts to seek out new, quality team members and only hire the best. Our customers deserve to work with awesome LCS employees, which is why we run every new hire through a background check and driver screening. Plus, each of our new hires meet with the owners, Travis and Renee, after 30 days and again at 90 days to ensure that their training is on track.

You are guaranteed to get the same high level of service with every LCS team member because all of our HVAC personnel are trained the same way. That same code of ethics that helped start this company over 10 years ago has been passed down to each LCS employee. Travis’ honesty and thoroughness with customers and Renee’s responsiveness are embodied by everyone on the team. We train our staff to uphold our high “LCS-level” of customer service, so you can trust that any new faces with LCS will be on par or even better than your last tech. We’re extremely proud of our team’s expertise and professionalism—we know you’ll agree!

 

Energy Savings Plans for HVAC Maintenance Customers

Last but not least, we’re pleased to continue providing Residential Energy Savings Plans (ESP) for ongoing customers. These offers include one annual heating and one annual cooling tune-up, along with options for filter changes, humidifier service, a tankless water heater flush and UV bulbs.

Preventative maintenance helps customers get the maximum efficiency on their units at a minimum cost year-round. With service call discounts, 15% off repairs, and 15% off indoor air quality products, this package is a great way to keep your HVAC unit in tip-top shape through every season. And our ESP customers never get charged for any over-time work. An LCS tech will be on the job—at no extra charge—day or night for any of your emergency HVAC repairs.

 

The LCS future is looking extra-bright thanks to our loyal customers and new team members. We’ll only keep getting better as we continue to grow. Since 2005, our company’s service has collected dozens and dozens of rave reviews from customers. We appreciate your feedback and couldn’t have come this far without you! Thank you so much for being a LCS fan and for making us your favorite HVAC company in the Indianapolis area!

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