Eating Healthier in the New Year? Try This Delicious Farro Salad Recipe!

ThinkstockPhotos-505599008Most people bring some resolutions into the New Year that they hope to fulfill. Often, improving diet, exercise and weight top the list of those resolutions. Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to smoothies and celery sticks, though. There are many options available when you’re looking for ways to eat better and improve your diet. The recipe we’re sharing with you is full of fresh herbs, vegetables and whole grains. Perfect for lunch or as a side dish with dinner, we think this farro salad recipe from Giada De Laurentis will give you a whole new – and delicious – perspective on what it means to eat healthier.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 10 oz. farro (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 tsp. salt (more to taste)
  • 1 lb. chopped and seeded tomatoes
  • ½ sweet onion
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh chives
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  • Combine water and farro in medium saucepan, and add salt. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until farro is tender. Drain well, and then cool in a large bowl.
  • Next, add tomatoes, onion, chives and parsley to farro. Toss to combine.
  • In medium bowl, whisk together garlic, vinegar, salt (to taste), pepper and olive oil. Add this vinaigrette to the farro mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.
  • You may refrigerate this salad overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

At Family Danz, our New Year’s resolution is simple – we want to keep working harder to provide you with the very best HVAC services in the area. Our goal is to never stop improving on what we offer to you, our valued customer. No matter what your comfort need may be, you can count on us to help. Just call 518-427-8685 and we will be more than happy to assist you.

What is Oil to Gas Conversion?

Gas tap

If it’s time to replace your old heating system, you might be considering converting from oil to gas heat. There are many good reasons why you should, but you might be a little bit unsure about the process. Every home has its own unique needs when it comes to oil to gas conversion, but the steps followed are usually pretty similar. Family Danz knows that switching from oil to gas heating can be confusing, so we work with you and the utility company to get the job done right.

What is the process involved with an oil to gas conversion?

When you contact us to discuss your oil to gas conversion, we’ll make an appointment to visit your home. We’ll determine the type of equipment you’ll need, and we’ll contact your utility company to let them know how much gas your home will be using. The utility company will them provide an estimate for the installation of gas service to your home. We’ll then work with the utility company to get your new gas equipment installed, as well as any needed extensions, service connections and metering equipment. Finally, your utility company will turn on your gas service, and you’ll soon be enjoying gas heating in your home.

What are some benefits of gas heat?

From an environmental standpoint, natural gas is a cleaner fuel source, and that makes it better for the world around us. It offers an efficient, safe and reliable source of fuel, is economically sound and clean burning. It burns almost 100 percent of its fuel and there is no leftover residue, odor or soot. By converting to natural gas, you’ll help reduce greenhouse has emissions of sulfur, carbon and nitrogen. Not to mention, choosing natural gas to heat your home can improve the outdoor air quality of your entire community, by reducing smog, acid rain and gas emissions.

Why choose Family Danz for your oil to gas conversion?

Family Danz Heating & Cooling is committed to helping customers take advantage of the best home comfort products on the market today. We also work hard to help you achieve higher efficiency from the heating and cooling products you use in your home, so that you can save on your energy bills. We are here to help you, which is why we facilitate your oil to gas conversion so the process goes as smoothly as possible, so you’ll quickly enjoy greater home comfort and energy efficiency.

If you’d like to learn more about oil to gas conversion, and if it’s a good choice for your home, please don’t hesitate to give Family Danz a call. We provide heating services including oil to gas conversions throughout the Albany, NY area, and we are happy to discuss the benefits of a conversion with you. To find out more from our experts, just give us a call at 518-427-8685, and we will be more than happy to help you with your needs.

We Can Help You Heat Your Business

Commercial-HeatingWhen you’re trying to run a business, you know that having a controlled climate is important so that your employees are productive and your clients are happy. Maybe you already rely on Family Danz for your personal home comfort needs, but did you know we can help you keep your business warm all winter long as well? We provide the same professional HVAC services to businesses as we do for residential clients, including heating system installation, maintenance and repair, as well as fuel oil delivery.

In a survey conducted by Software Advice, employees of various companies were asked about their preferences regarding office temperatures. Half of the employees surveyed were unhappy several times a month with the temperature of their office, and 56 percent said they were too cold in the winter. Most surveyed felt that the temperature of their office made a difference when it came to productivity levels, and most preferred the temperature to hover around 71 degrees (72 for women, 70 for men.) It could be assumed, then, that your employees will benefit from better climate control – and you’ll benefit from choosing a company that helps meet those needs and helps your employees stay productive and satisfied.

No matter whether you have a boiler or furnace heating system at your business, our commercial heating service team is ready to help you keep your employees and clients warm, no matter how cold the winter gets. We take pride in offering our commercial customers the best, most efficient heating systems available for their businesses or organizations. And, our highly trained technicians can maintain and service most commercial systems, so you’ll never have to worry about not getting the help you need when you call Family Danz.

And, as business owners ourselves, we understand that downtime is costly for businesses or organizations. That’s why we strive to ensure that your commercial heating service – whether it’s repairs, maintenance or installation – is completed in a timely fashion, to your complete satisfaction. That way, you can get back to your business with as little downtime as possible – surely something your employees and customers will appreciate!

Family Danz is pleased to offer commercial heating services throughout the Albany, NY area. If you’re in need of commercial services for your business or organization, and you’d like a Family Danz representative to contact you, please visit our commercial heating page and fill out our convenient contact form, or feel free to give us a call at 518-427-8685. Your employees and clients will be toasty warm all winter long, when you choose us to help keep your business comfortable.

The Benefits of Planned Fuel Delivery

oiltruckAs you know, living in the Albany, NY area means that winters can be pretty harsh and cold. And, because of that, the cost of heating your home can be expensive. It isn’t always easy to budget for fuel costs, since heating oil prices can fluctuate. But, there is one way you can stay on top of your winter fuel expenses. By choosing an oil budget plan, you don’t have to gamble with fluctuating fuel costs. A budget plan allows you to get automatic delivery and guaranteed pricing that helps you plan for your home heating expenses.

Family Danz is pleased to offer our customers oil budget plans that make heating their homes in the winter a simpler task. We’ll work with you to help you choose a budget plan that fits your home heating needs. For many customers, the biggest benefit of having planned fuel delivery is the fixed price. This allows customers to know what they’ll be spending on fuel each month, so there are no surprises when the bill arrives.

You’ll benefit from automatic fuel delivery from Family Danz.

Another advantage is automatic delivery – you won’t have to worry about running out of fuel, even on the coldest night of the year. You can rest assured that Family Danz will keep your fuel tank fully supplied and ready, no matter what home heating demands your household will face during the chilly Albany, NY winter. Our drivers deliver the fuel you need to your home, whether you’re there or not, so you don’t need to worry about scheduling a time to bet there for your delivery.

For many people, another benefit of an oil budget plan is that it helps during the holidays. Family Danz knows how tough it can be for a household to have to pay a large utility bill around holiday time. But when you choose a budget plan, you won’t have to struggle during peak season for fuel consumption – an oil budget plan allows you the peace of mind that comes with regular, affordable monthly payments, no matter what the oil prices might be.

And, at Family Danz, we take great pride in providing our customers with premium-grade fuel oil. Our heating oil is specially formulated to not only keep your home warm and comfortable all throughout the winter months, but to also keep your equipment running great, too. Our home heating oil contains special additives that keep your system running clean and at maximum efficiency. That reduces service calls, extends the life of your heating system, benefits the environment and helps you save on your energy bills.

Keeping your family safe and warm all winter long is easier than ever, when you choose Family Danz to help with your fuel plan needs. You’ll get automatic delivery – and a monthly price that works for you and your home heating needs. Just give us a call at 518-427-8685, and we will be more than happy to tell you about our budget plan options.

Need Heating Repairs in Your Schenectady, N.Y. Home? Count on Family Danz!

It’s been one of the coldest winters on record here in Schenectady, N.Y., and your furnace has probably been working overtime. When your system is working hard to keep your home warm and cozy, the chance that you could experience a breakdown increases – especially if your system is older or hasn’t been maintained in a while. If you’re faced with a heating system emergency in your Schenectady, N.Y. home, you can trust Family Danz Heating & Cooling to help.

Our highly skilled technicians have been specially trained to thoroughly evaluate your heating system repair needs and find the best solution to help make your home as comfortable and energy efficient as possible. At Family Danz, we always treat our customers like family, which is why we work hard to help you with your heating repair needs. We arrive at your Schenectady, N.Y. home on time are able to address any questions or concerns that you may have in a professional, courteous manner.

What’s more, Family Danz technicians have access to the most advanced diagnostic equipment, instruments and tools to help resolve your heating system problems more quickly and effectively, saving you time and money. We service all makes and models of heating system equipment, and we pride ourselves on providing prompt service, especially to those most in need without heat. For emergency repairs, we are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays – because we know emergencies can occur at the most inconvenient times.

Don’t suffer with a chilly home or compromise you and your family’s safety with a heating system that isn’t operating properly this winter. When you need heating repairs in a hurry in your Schenectady, N.Y. home, Family Danz Heating & Cooling is ready to assist you. Simply call us at (518) 427-8685.

What is Bioheat®, and is it a Good Fuel Oil Choice?

If you think home heating oil has to be detrimental to the environment – think again. That’s because now, there’s Bioheat, a traditional home heating oil that has been blended with biodiesel. How is it a cleaner and renewable fuel choice? Read more to learn about Bioheat and how you can use it in your home.

To first understand what Bioheat is, it’s important to know what biodiesel is. Biodiesel is, according to the Bioheat website, “a renewable energy resource made domestically from fatty acids found in vegetable oils, recycled restaurant oils and other natural resources.” Bioheat generally blends from 2 percent to 5 percent biodiesel with their traditional home heating oil.

You may be thinking, “Bioheat sounds great for the environment, but is it really a good fuel choice?” Well, aside from the benefit to the environment, there are many advantages to the consumer as well. First of all, it provides a cleaner, more complete and more efficient burn, which means you’ll get more for your money. And, because of its chemical composition, it can extend the life of your equipment. Plus, it’s produced domestically from American agricultural or recycled content.

When you choose to switch to Bioheat, there is no costly equipment retrofitting or modifications when you switch to a Bioheat B5 blend. Bioheat performs like your current fuel oil, and the costs are similar to traditional heating oil. And, Bioheat complies with the industry’s quality standard guidelines (BQ-9000 and ASTM), so you know you’re always getting consistent, quality home heating oil.

If you think Bioheat is a good fuel choice for your home, contact Family Danz. Aside from being a full-service HVAC contractor, we also provide fuel oil delivery all throughout the Capital District. Call us today at (518) 427-8685, or fill out our online form to schedule your next home heating oil delivery and to ask about our convenient payment options.

AC Repair and R-22: Does Your Albany, N.Y. Home Have an Old AC Unit?

If the air conditioner in your Albany, N.Y. home was made before January 1, 2010, there is a good possibility that it contains refrigerant known as R-22, or Freon. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the reason this refrigerant has since been phased out and replaced with the more environmentally sound R-410A is for the protection of the Earth’s ozone layer. You may be wondering, though, if your pre-2010 air conditioner needs repairs, can they be made? The simple answer is yes, but there are some facts you should know should your system require repair services.

First of all, you don’t have to replace your system even if it contains R-22. Part of the EPA’s regulations included the banning of production of air conditioning equipment containing R-22, but that doesn’t mean older equipment can’t be repaired. While the EPA called for this refrigerant to be phased out, they still have allowed reduced quantities to be produced in order to make repairs to Freon systems. Pre-2010 systems can still be repaired, and components such as condensing units replaced.

If you’re in a situation where the air conditioner in your Albany, N.Y. home is in need of major repair, however, you might wish to consider investing in a new unit that uses R-410A. Why? R-410A is a more efficient, more Earth-friendly refrigerant. You might decided that it’s worthwhile to purchase a more energy-efficient system so you can save energy and cut down on your utility bills. Or, you might want to choose something that’s simply greener. And, if you replace your system now, you won’t need to worry about the high cost of repairs using R-22 – the cost of the refrigerant will only increase as the supply dwindles.

If you do decide that you’d like to replace the old R-22 unit in your Albany, N.Y. home, Family Danz can help you find an air conditioning system that can help you save on your utility bills and is perfect for your home and your lifestyle. We can also help you find rebates and incentives on certain high-efficiency AC equipment, to help you save money now and in the future. If you would like more information on high-efficiency air conditioning systems or any of our other products services, call us today at 518-427-8685.

How Your Furnace Affects the AFUE of Your Albany, N.Y. Home

When you’re considering purchasing a new furnace for your Albany, N.Y. home, the chances are pretty good that you’re looking not only for something within your budget, but also a furnace that will help you save money on your utility bills. Your furnace plays a big part in the overall energy efficiency of your home, and the Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE, of your furnace directly determines how much you’re spending on energy in your Albany, N.Y. home.

AFUE is the standard rating system for measuring the energy efficiency of furnaces that run on oil and natural gas. AFUE is shown as a percentage that tells the amount of fuel used to heat your home, and the amount that’s wasted. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more efficient your furnace. Today’s furnaces can bring your Albany, N.Y. home’s AFUE rating up to 96 percent or better. That means if you have an old, 60 percent AFUE furnace, you could save nearly 40 percent on your heating costs when you replace it with a new, more efficient furnace. That’s a big deal, when you consider the high cost of utilities today!

This winter has been a tough one all throughout the Albany, N.Y. area, and beyond a doubt, your furnace has been working overtime. It comes as no surprise that your fuel bills are probably higher than normal. But, if your utility bills have really gone through the roof this winter, and your furnace is more than 10 years old, the chances are you’re not getting the energy efficiency you need from it. If that’s the case, the time might be right to call Family Danz and discuss your options.

We can help you choose a furnace with the right AFUE for your Albany, N.Y. home and your needs. We sell Bryant® furnaces, so you know you’re getting one of the best brands on the market, with the highest efficiency ratings. Let us help you find the best furnace for your home. Family Danz Heating & Cooling is a full-service heating and air conditioning contractor, offering sales and service all through the Capital District of New York State. If you would like more information on high-efficiency furnaces or any of our other products services, call us today at 518-427-8685.

Stay Safe from Furnace Fires

At Family Danz Heating & Cooling, all of our customers are a part of our family. And as family, we want to make sure everyone has a home that offers them the solitude of safety and security.

Winter has returned throughout the Capital District of New York State as it does this time every year. Yes, we know that‘s not news; you‘ve probably already noticed the snow on the ground and had to turn up the furnace. But it’s because of that winter cold that area residents have now created a situation that causes concern for safety.

It’s that furnace, sometimes running constantly on those really cold days, that is suddenly not only a major boon to personal comfort but a possible threat to the family at the same time. Creating that heat takes considerable combustion on the part of the furnace, and that poses the possibility of accidental fire. But don’t fret — with the encouragement of your friendly Family Danz technician, you can rest assured you are as safe as can be in your home.

We’ll assume you already had your fall tune-up by our experienced crew to make sure the furnace was in perfect working order. If you didn’t, however, it certainly isn’t too late to give us a call for a check of the system … we can do those any time, and the peace of mind is worth it.

When you first turn on the furnace in the fall, you will smell the unmistakable aroma of burning dust inside the ductwork. That’s normal and happens every year on that first time. It burns away quickly and will be fresh the rest of the cold season, hopefully. But if that smell comes back later, then there is a problem. That’s the time to give us a call.

If you smell gas, on the other hand, we don’t want you to call us — immediately call your local gas company’s emergency number or 911 if you don’t know it because that is a serious problem. Gas leaks are toxic and can cause explosions, so they need to be addressed immediately by emergency personnel.

Be prepared for any heating system emergency this winter. Know where your shut off switch or valve is to the furnace in advance of any problem, because when you are in a stressful situation it will not be a good time to play “find the shut off.”

Always make sure both your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector have fresh batteries in them and are working properly.

Keep combustible items and chemicals away from the furnace, and make sure you don’t use the furnace area for catch-all storage of laundry, garbage, toys, or any other clutter that will make it hard to get to in an emergency.

The simplest but one of the most effective ways to keep the furnace safe is to change the filter regularly. Keep it clean and keep all of that dust and dirt from entering the furnace, and it will add years to its life at the same time.

If you are worried about your furnace not functioning as safely as it should, give us a call. We will inspect the filter, electrical components, thermostat, air flow, air fuel mixture and heater exchanger, making sure everything is running right without fear of fire nor cracks for nasty gas or carbon monoxide to be released into your home.

Family Danz Heating & Cooling is a full-service heating and air conditioning contractor, offering sales and service all through the Capital District of New York State. If you would like more information on any of our services, call us today at 518-427-8685.

Conserving Heat in a Crisis

It’s the coldest night in the middle of winter, and suddenly your heat goes out. What do you do?

At Family Danz Heating & Cooling, we want to make sure everyone throughout the Capital District of New York State is prepared for the possibility that they will suddenly find themselves without heat — and that is never convenient in the dead of the cold season. We are just a telephone call away and will make an emergency trip out to help you, but until we get there you will want to conserve the heat you still have.

Plan ahead, in advance of any cold crisis, to be ready when the situation strikes. Make a note of what you have for auxiliary heat, like an electric space heater or a kerosene-fueled heater. What caused the situation will dictate what supplemental heat source will be helpful — if you lost power, for instance, that electric device will be useless without a generator.

If you do have a running heater, decide what parts of your home you can block off to conserve the warmth, because the less area it has to heat the more effective it will be. The heated areas should be well insulated and as far away from the windy “cold” side of the house as possible. Warm areas of sanctuary can be created by closing doors and hanging drapes and blankets over windows.

Collect the heavy garments, blankets, and materials that will keep you warm. Your bulky winter clothes will come in handy, as will sleeping bags, large towels, and even drapes and curtains. Bed is the warmest place to stay, underneath lots of covers and with other family members to conserve body heat.

If the problem is not in the furnace itself and it is still operating, make sure you prevent it from sending heat to unneeded areas. Adjust your thermostats accordingly and block off any heat ducts to maximize the heat flow to the areas where you are staying.

While conserving heat, make sure to drain the water from any pipes that might freeze. The frozen water expands as it becomes ice and can crack the pipes, making an even bigger mess once they thaw. If you can’t drain them, open the taps enough to keep a steady drip of warm water running through the line.

For more emergency preparedness tips, give Family Danz a call today.

Family Danz Heating & Cooling is a full-service heating and air conditioning contractor, offering sales and service all through the Capital District of New York State. If you would like more information on any of our services, call us at 518-427-8685.