No matter how cold it is outside, call Reimer for 24/7 heating repair services here in Buffalo and Western New York. We also offer heating and furnace maintenance and installation services. Our experienced techs are ready to help you keep your home comfortable this winter—just call us to get started!

Here’s a quick homeowner’s guide to how radiant heating works

Used since the time of the Romans, radiant heating has endured the test of time and continues to be one of the most effective ways to heat a home. Built into floors or walls, radiant heating offers homeowners energy-efficient heat without the need for ductwork. In this article, we’ll review how radiant heating works, the different types of radiant systems, and if it’s worth installing in your home.

For more HVAC advice and services here in Buffalo and Western New York, contact our team here at Reimer! We’re your local heating experts, and we repair, maintain, and install radiant heating systems. If you’re looking to upgrade, give us a call to get started. We offer free in-home estimates.

In this article, we explore how radiant heating works in homes.

Hydronic radiant heating installation in a new home build.

How radiant heating works

A standard furnace combusts fuel—typically, gas—to generate heat energy. This energy is then transferred to air and blown through your home with the use of vents. However, there’s a problem: air is a relatively poor conductor of heat energy, and there’s plenty of chances for that energy to dissipate or be lost before it even reaches the living spaces of your home.

Water and metal are much better carriers of heat energy. When heat is transferred through either, less energy is lost on its way to your living spaces. That forms of the basis of the two main types of radiant systems: electric and hydronic.

Electric versus hydronic systems

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, but the principle by which they heat your home is similar.

Electric radiant heat, the less common of the two, is a good retrofit option in existing homes. It uses resistance wire. The conductive wiring is razor-thin and sits just under the finish floor. The system is connected to a thermostat and uses electricity to heat up the wires. There’s no boiler or pipes required.

Hydronic systems, on the other hand, use water to radiate heat throughout the home. In the past, copper pipes were used for their conductivity. However, copper corrodes; today we use resilient plastic PEX tubing, which is cheaper to produce and lasts for decades.

What are the advantages of radiant heating?

As mentioned previously, forced-air systems lose a lot of energy while pushing heated air to the living spaces of your home. Then, in many cases, the air is sent out of air vents near the ceiling. Since hot air rises above cold air, this leaves your living room cold. You turn up the thermostat more and the vicious cycle continues.

How radiant heating works is by dissipating that heat energy in the living space. Since the heat energy was carried by water or wire, less of it was lost in transport. Plus, since radiant heating is most often located underneath floors or at the bottom of walls, that heat arrives where it’s needed.

Plus, a radiant heating system can hold heat for longer. Water in the boiler and pipes remains hot long after the system turns off. The net result is a consistent temperature throughout the home and much lower energy bills throughout the winter.

A final advantage is simply comfort. By heating your floorboards, radiant heating can reduce that horrible feeling of walking on cold tile or wood floors during the winter.

What does this cost?

Due to some of the costs associated with tearing up floors, hydronic radiant heating is typically installed at the time the house is constructed or being remodeled. Many older homes here in Buffalo have radiant heating systems that utilized copper pipes, but some newer ones are getting retrofitted with radiant heating.

Once operating, hydronic heating holds its temperature better, requiring less energy from the boiler to retain heat. Electric systems constantly drain power, driving your costs up. Though cheaper to install, electric floor heating costs much more to run, especially in large areas.

For more on radiant heating, call your friends at Reimer!

At Reimer Home Services, we’re experts in radiant floor heating installation and maintenance. To find out more about how radiant heating works, or to get a free in-home estimate for adding radiant heat to your Buffalo home, give us a call!

Here’s your quick primer on hybrid HVAC systems and how they work

Maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature can be a hefty expense, particularly during the hottest and coldest times of the year. Air conditioners and furnaces are among the most demanding appliances many households depend on, which highlights the benefits of today’s hybrid HVAC systems.

Hybrid HVAC systems can help reduce your energy spending, so you can keep your home more comfortable this winter.

Hybrid HVAC systems can help reduce your energy spending, so you can keep your home more comfortable this winter.

By employing a multifaceted approach to home heating and cooling, you can save energy, save money, and even reduce your family’s carbon footprint.

For more about hybrid HVAC systems, contact your friendly heating technicians here at Reimer!

Defining the technologies

Understanding the ins-and-outs of hybrid heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems starts with understanding these basic technologies:

  • Combustion furnaces are the most common appliances used to heat American homes—especially here in the Northeast. They burn oil or natural gas in order to create heat, which is then distributed by fans and ducts.
  • Heat pumps are electrical systems designed to move heat, rather than produce it. They circulate refrigerant, which absorbs and transfers heat as needed—out of the home during warm weather, or indoors when temperatures are cooler. On their own, these systems are most common in milder winter climates, such as those in the Sun Belt.
  • Hybrid systems employ a combination of these two technologies, switching automatically to the more efficient method of output based on the outdoor temperature. For example, during chilly—but not truly “cold”—nights here in Buffalo, the heat pump can efficiently heat your home. But, when the blizzard rolls in, the furnace is also there to help.

In short, a heat pump is more efficient for cooling and heating in more temperate climates. When there isn’t enough heat outside to pump indoors, however, a traditional furnace is preferable. Hybrid HVAC systems strike the ideal balance by making both technologies available and adjusting on the fly.

The pros and cons

A hybrid—also known as “dual-fuel”—setup offers the distinct advantage of greater energy-efficiency, with estimated savings up to 50 percent for residences in some areas. Furthermore, the climate control is often found to be more even and consistent, creating a more comfortable environment for you and your family. Less power usage also means more eco-friendly performance, reducing your household’s environmental impact.

Be advised that installing a new hybrid system will generally cost you a little more upfront compared to traditional HVAC configurations. Utility savings help to offset this cost difference, and in the long run, many hybrid systems pay for themselves completely.

For a free in-home estimate, call Reimer!

Don’t take chances with your HVAC when the weather’s at its worst. Reimer Home Services provides professional results for Western New York residents, from new installations to tune-ups and repairs of existing systems. Get started today by contacting us and we’ll gladly respond at our earliest availability.

Here are the signs your furnace is about to go out for good

Nothing lasts forever. Eventually, the combination of age, wear, and breakdowns will get to every home’s furnace. No one likes to be taken by surprise when it comes to a dead furnace, so, in this blog, we’ll be reviewing some of the signs your furnace is on it’s way out.

Here at Reimer, we offer both furnace repair and furnace replacement services. Whether you have an older furnace you need us to look at, or you think it’s time to replace your current system, give us a call.

A Reimer technician installs a new furnace in Buffalo, NY.5 signs your furnace is about to die for good

#1. You’re seeing higher energy bills than usual

Barring some other external cause (such as keeping your home dramatically warmer than in prior years, or a utility rate hike in your community), higher-than-usual energy bills during the winter are a sure sign that something is wrong with your heating system. However, here’s the thing: furnaces get more inefficient as they age, meaning that your current bills could be the new normal for you and your family.

We recommend that you start by giving us a call to have one of our techs out to your home to inspect your system. We’ll want to start by ruling out that the drastic change in energy-efficiency hasn’t been caused by the system needing to be repaired.

This is just another reason why it’s important to keep track of your energy usage. If this rise in energy bills is consistent or continues after repairs, it could be a sign that your furnace is on its last legs.

#2. You’re constantly needing repairs

Maintenance is important to keep your furnace at its best, but multiple repairs in a short time can mean your furnace won’t last much longer. This is especially true if you find yourself getting the same repairs over-and-over, season-after-season.

Like any mechanical device (including your car), your furnace consists of mechanical parts that incur a great deal of wear-and-tear over time. However, unlike your car, your furnace is often keeping your home warm in the Buffalo winter by running 24/7 for months at a time. That’s a lot of furnace mileage that gets added up to increased chances of breakdowns as the system ages.

#3. Intense noises are being generated by the system

It’s normal for home appliances—including your furnace—to make some noise when they run. However, you should be concerned if your furnace is significantly louder than it once was, or if you hear any of the following:

  • Rattling
  • Abnormally loud humming
  • Popping

These sounds go beyond those generated by normal operation, and could be a sign your furnace is done for. At the very least, you should call Reimer for emergency heating repair.

#4. Your home is being unevenly heated

You may notice that certain areas of your house are colder than others, which can be caused by poor furnace performance. You may also find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat to achieve the perfect medium between extremes.

When it’s time for an upgrade, call the experts at Reimer!

Reimer Home Services can install a new furnace to see you through the cold this winter. By replacing your run-down furnace, you can see higher energy efficiency, which means a lower cost to keep your home comfortable. For more information on our products and services or to get a quote, call us.

Here’s why you should consider getting a new furnace before winter

With winter right around the corner, it’s finally time to give your air conditioner a break. However, that means your furnace is in for a good workout, considering the winters we’re known for here in Western New York. If you need a new furnace, now’s the time to make the switch. In this blog, we’ll review the reasons you should consider getting a new furnace before winter.

A Reimer technician installs a new furnace in Buffalo, NY.Get the reliability of a new system

If you have a furnace that’s nearing retirement, it might be a good idea to switch to a new furnace, professionally installed by the professionals here at Reimer. After all, the last thing you want is for this to be the last winter for your older furnace, which means you’re stuck replacing the system on the coldest days and nights of the year.

It almost goes without saying, but a new furnace is far less likely to break down than an older system that is 10, 15, 0r 20 years old. Plus, if that new system does have problems, it’s covered by the manufacturer’s warranty—a guarantee that has probably long since expired for your old furnace.

Boost your energy-efficiency

The most important feature homeowners want out of their HVAC system is energy-efficiency. After all, who doesn’t love saving money? Here’s the bad news: that older furnace that you’ve been putting up with just isn’t saving you money. In fact, it’s probably costing you far more in energy costs than a new energy-efficient system would.

Improve your home’s comfort

Of course, there’s the reason you have a furnace in the first place: your comfort. Older furnaces often struggle to keep up with the demand in your home; they run constantly and noisily, but can’t keep up with your heating needs. As a result, you’ll probably see hot and cold spots in your home—places where your home is freezing even as other rooms feel like they’re boiling.

Reimer specializes in installing new furnaces that are perfectly sized for your home. Here’s what that means: a furnace that is too small will struggle to meet your heating needs, while a system that’s too large will be constantly turning off-and-on, giving you poor performance and higher energy bills. At Reimer, we work to find the “Goldilocks” system for your home: just right.

For a free in-home estimate on a new furnace, call Reimer

When you need new furnace installation, you need to contact the professionals at Reimer Home Services. You should contact us online if you have any questions related to our services or products, and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Here’s why you should never handle your own furnace tune-up

If you are due for an annual furnace tune-up, you may be thinking you could save a few dollars and inspect the system on your own. After all, checking the furnace every year is a great way to be prepared for the cold winter ahead while ensuring your system is operating at top energy-efficiency for lower energy bills.

Pictured: Reimer technician performing a heating checkup in a Buffalo home.However, before attempting a DIY furnace tune-up, you should be aware of the risks that may arise for an untrained homeowner. Instead of doing things yourself, call in the experts at Reimer Home Services here in Buffalo and Western New York.

You may worsen the problem

Upon inspection, a do-it-yourselfer may discover that their furnace does in fact require some maintenance. Beyond watching a DIY video on the web and running to the local hardware store, the average homeowner is not equipped with the tools or experience needed to either tune-up or repair a home furnace.

Working on your furnace without the help of a trained HVAC professional may actually lead to an inefficient or inoperable furnace. By hiring a trained technician to inspect and repair your furnace, you can prevent problems now and in the future.

Safety risks increase

Homeowners attempting to inspect or repair a furnace on their own greatly increase the risk of injury to themselves and other home residents. Furnaces include many working parts and operate using gas or electricity. An untrained individual attempting to fix this machinery themselves is an invitation for trouble.

Don’t let your goal of saving a few bucks by doing things yourself turn into a safety hazard for others. Incorrectly repaired, a furnace can become a very dangerous fixture in any home.

System warranty may become void

Whether you feel well equipped to work on your home furnace or not, opening it up for a tune-up on your own may be a violation of your system’s warranty. Your standard manufacture warranty can be a great way to cover some of the costs of repair should your furnace have problems sooner than expected.

Turn to the professionals

Before you start a DIY furnace repair, think twice about the costly consequences that may ensue. At Reimer, your safety and satisfaction are our top priorities. Contact us to schedule a furnace tune-up with one of our trained and experienced furnace technicians.

Why you should work with an HVAC company that values its employees

For many HVAC employees, working for a company that treats its personnel well is just as important as working for a company that pays well. Reimer is proud to be one of the top HVAC, plumbing, and home services companies in Buffalo and Western New York.

In this blog, we’ll review just some of the reasons our team loves working at Reimer—and why you should never settle for less than an HVAC company that values its employees.

Pictured: Reimer is a great HVAC company with fantastic employees!Why work with Reimer Home Services?

#1. Greater sense of fulfillment in your work

Employees who are treated well generally have a greater sense of fulfillment in their work. If you want to feel like what you do really matters, choose to work for an that appreciates your efforts and rewards you well.

#2. Improved opportunities for advancement

Employee-centric companies love to offer opportunities for advancement. They emphasize upward movement and reward top performers by giving them the ability to move up the ladder and experience even greater levels of success.

#3. Attractive workplace culture

Who wants to work in an environment marred by poor morale and bad attitudes? Unsurprisingly, the answer is no one. A company that values its employees works hard to create an attractive workplace culture that inspires employees to willingly perform at their best.

As a natural result of such an environment, morale generally remains high and good teamwork becomes more achievable.

#4. Work with top talent

It’s no secret that top industry talent tends to flock to companies that value their employees. If you want to work with other professionals who are just as committed to quality as you are, apply to work at a company that treats their HVAC technicians and plumbers well.

Work with an HVAC company that cares about its employees

At Reimer Home Services, we take pride in treating our employees like the indispensable assets they are. Happy employees generally outperform unhappy employees and find more fulfillment in their work.

So, whether you’re a customer looking for a great HVAC company, or you’re a HVAC / plumbing professional looking to take the next step in your career, call Reimer. We’ve been serving Buffalo and Western New York since 1921.

What you need to know about hybrid HVAC systems

Whether you are buying a new house or updating the one you currently own, you need to decide what kind of heating and cooling system you should have. You may be familiar with standard furnaces and air conditioners, but do you know about hybrid HVAC systems?

These systems are gaining in popularity because of their energy-efficiency and cost savings over time. In this blog, we’ll explore what these systems are and how they work.

For a free in-home estimate on a new hybrid system, contact our team!

Get to know dual-fuel

Hybrid systems, like those Reimer offers, are different than standard units because they rely on two power sources to run. They combine the best aspects of both electric power and gas power, which can include propane, fuel oil, or natural gas.

With the use of smart technology, the hybrid HVAC can switch back-and-forth between the fuel sources to use the most efficient and affordable option for the temperature and season.

Most of the time, the electric heat pump is in charge and functions much like a typical heat pump would by drawing warmer air inside during the cooler months or reversing and pumping warmer air outside during the summer.

When the temperatures dip lower, typically around 40 degrees F, the hybrid HVAC control system will switch over to the gas fuel system for better efficiency. Some systems allow homeowners to manually switch the fuel source, while others may work automatically.

Fall in love with the savings!

Hybrid HVAC systems may cost more initially, but they can save homeowners on their heating and cooling bills all year long—for years to come. It’s a win-win because you can be more comfortable in any season and save around 30-50 percent on your energy expenses.

Not only are you saving money, you are also doing your part to help save the planet. Just like a hybrid vehicle, a hybrid HVAC can reduce your carbon footprint. Many homeowners want to find greener features for their homes, and these hybrid systems fit the bill.

Call Reimer to learn more about hybrid HVAC systems

If you want to learn more about the advantages of hybrid HVAC systems, contact the pros at Reimer Home Services.

Use your tax refund to upgrade to a new air conditioner

It’s tax season, which also means that it’s tax refund season. According to the IRS, 83% of tax returns receive a refund, which means many Americans have cash on hand. Not everyone spends their refund wisely, and most Americans do spend it on something.

As we’ll discuss in a bit, one of the best uses of your refund is in making upgrades to your home—especially since increasing the value of your home helps you get more when it’s time to sell.

In this blog, we’ll talk about why investing in a new air conditioner to replace an older system might make sense for some homeowners.

#1. Investing this money in your home just makes sense

Most investors and financial planners are against using a tax refund for personal purchases, vacations, or—and this should come as no surprise—gambling money. Generally, these are good ways to get the least out of your refund, or to lose it completely.

Instead, most financial planners advocate for investing, saving, or using your tax refund on upgrades to your home that will permanently add value.

And while you can use your refund to put in some new kitchen countertops, replacing your decades-old air conditioner with a new system will also pique potential buyer interest, either now or years from now. Let’s discuss why.

#2. A new air conditioner has value

A new air conditioner, professionally installed by the experts at Reimer, adds value to your home. Many homeowners are wary of moving into a home with aging HVAC systems that they know they’ll have to replace.

In a hot market, any homes with newer HVAC systems are going to have an advantage, and those sellers are going to be able to maximize their value and return on investment.

There are few places in your home where your tax refund will have exactly the same impact. That’s particularly true if you’re not planning on selling your home right away.

#3. Live comfortably before you sell

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home in this year, or even in the next few years, a new air conditioner is something you can enjoy in the meantime. You can benefit from the increased comfort, better reliability, and superior energy-efficiency of your new air conditioner for years before selling your home.

With Reimer, finding the right air conditioner for your home is an easy process. When you call us, we’ll schedule a free in-home estimate with you. We’ll take measurements and match the right system to your home. Your peace of mind (and, really, the peace of mind of future buyers) is that the system is installed right by true professionals.

Learn more about our air conditioning installation, or contact us today to schedule your free in-home estimate.

How do boilers work, and are they right for your home?

In this blog post, we’re going to answer some commonly asked questions about how boilers work. We’ll also address some misconceptions about these heating systems, and explain why they’re a popular choice for many homes here in the Buffalo area.

heating-and-cooling-buffalo-ny-filter-checksBoilers are not water heaters

These two terms get thrown around interchangeably, but boilers are not water heaters.

Boilers heat water for radiant heating, and all of the water stays within a closed-loop system. In contrast, your water heater heats water for household use. The entire point is for water to exit the system through your faucets, shower heads, and dishwasher line.

Moving water to bring you heat

Boilers start with a furnace-type system, which heats the water within the closed circuit. A motor then pushes this water through pipes to radiators. Most of these radiators are floor-mounted, although they can be in other places in a room.

As the hot water runs through the radiator, the heat energy from the water is transferred to the surrounding air, warming the room. The water then travels through the pipe to its next stop in another room.

Finally, after losing so much heat energy to the air in different rooms, the water returns to the furnace, where it’s reheated. The process then starts over again.

What are the advantages of using a boiler for heating?

Hot air rises

Since many boiler radiators are in the floor or near the floor, they’re more effective at heating you and the room than a forced-air system.

Hot air rises: when a forced-air system emits heated air through vents near the ceiling, all that heat is just staying there, not really warming a majority of the room.

In contrast, heat emitted near the floor rises through the room to the ceiling, warming you all that more efficiently and effectively.

Heat your feet

Those water pipes that make up the closed-circuit system we mentioned earlier? In many homes, they’re placed under the floors, which means that homeowners have warmed floors during the coldest months of winter.

Save money

Radiant heating is more energy-efficient than forced-air heating. It’s just physics: water is a much better conduit of heat than air is, so there’s less energy lost as the water travels through the pipes than the same process of air moving through ducts.

The result is that your home heats the same, but with far less energy burned by the furnace.

Is a boiler right for your home?

Many homes here in the Buffalo area have built-in boiler systems, or at least the setup for them, which includes the aforementioned piping and radiators. If that’s the case, a boiler is perfect for your home.

If your home has no boiler setup, it’s something that you can have installed if you’re looking to improve your energy-efficiency or get the heated floors feature.

For more on how boilers work, call Reimer

Reimer is the top choice for heating, cooling, and plumbing work here in Buffalo. For more on boilers, installation, and to get a free in-home estimate on a new system, contact us online.

When you need a new furnace, choose professional installation

Even for the handiest of homeowners, furnace installation is not a DIY project. It’s not a job for your cousin, Dave, or your neighbor, Bob. An improperly installed furnace can be a danger to you and your home at worst, and—at best—inefficient and ineffective, costing you more money down the road. Choose professional installation for your furnace. Choose Reimer.

Here are some of the reasons why hiring a professional to install your furnace is the best idea.

1. A professional will do the job right—and safe

Your furnace is one of the few appliances in your home that connects to a gas line. Whenever a new furnace replaces an older system, this change-out presents a point of danger. An experienced HVAC technician knows the protocol and steps required to safely install a new furnace, so that you’re not putting your family and home in danger.

2. Not all furnaces are the same, but our techs know them all

Even if you think you know how to handle your furnace installation, what might trip you up is that different models from different brands from different manufacturers can often be, well, very different.

An HVAC professional with experience in the field, such as those employed at Reimer, knows their way around furnaces of all types and stripes. They’ll know the differences between systems and how to properly install each.

There will be a marked difference in the way they will install the furnace as compared to a DIY job. Again, at worst, that difference could very well be your family’s safety.

3. Reimer’s team has the right tools for the job

It’s not like installing a furnace is a job that takes just a flathead screwdriver and some AA batteries. It’s a complex process that requires specialized tools—many of them unique to HVAC work. Our techs have this equipment in their vans; even if you want to DIY install your home’s heating system, you’ll have to buy or rent them from a store.

It’s not just a matter of having the tools. You have to be able to know how to use them. Our technicians are informed by years of experience and training on how to safely and properly use tools, and ensure that the furnace has been installed right. A DIY-er only has some light instructions from YouTube. It’s just not a good idea.

Our recommendation? Call in the experts at Reimer

Honestly, the best thing to do under these circumstances is to leave the job to the professionals. Our techs are trained. They have the right equipment. They’re ready to help.

If you need a new furnace in Buffalo or Western New York, contact our team here at Reimer to schedule your free in-home estimate.