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Tips for Saving Fuel & Heating Your Home More Efficiently

With cooler weather on the way, your thoughts might be turning to how you can save some money on heating your home. Most homeowners budget for heating costs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make your home more efficient. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help save fuel – and save money on your utility bills.

Five Ways You Can Improve Your Home Heating Efficiency

  • Check your insulation. If your home’s insulation isn’t up to par, it can definitely affect your comfort level. Having adequate insulation is important, because it helps keep your home warmer in the winter – and cooler in the summer. It helps your home comfort system operate more effectively and efficiently, too, because it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home at a comfortable level.
  • Make sure doors and windows are sealed. Drafty doors and windows mean the outside air is making its way inside. It also means that your heated air is making its way outside! Seal up any gaps around your windows and door frame areas with caulk or foam sealant, and insulate windows and door jambs with weather stripping.
  • Consider spaces in your home that lack ductwork. If you regularly use a space in your home that lacks ductwork, you might find yourself turning up the heat to keep that space warm. Some people opt for a space heater to help, but a more effective, efficient solution could be a ductless unit for that space. Ductless requires no installation of additional air ducts, and can keep the space warm in the winter – and cool in the summer!
  • Think about installing a smart thermostat. There are many varieties of programmable and smart thermostats on the market today. Some even have the technology to “learn” your family’s habits, like when you leave home for the day or go to bed, and will adjust the temperature accordingly. Much more than a convenient, high-tech gadget, however; a smart thermostat can help your home become more energy efficient.
  • If your heating equipment is old, consider replacing. Advances are made in home heating systems all the time – ones that help make them more efficient and leave behind a smaller carbon footprint. If you’re due for a replacement, there are many choices available that can offer you 95 percent efficiency and higher. Your HVAC company can help you determine the best heating system for your needs, and can likely help you save money, too.

Family Danz Fuel Service can help you get the fuel you need.

When you choose Family Danz for your home fuel needs, you can count on us to provide you with the lowest possible price, guaranteed. We sell only premium grade fuel, and we will meet any price you may find that is lower. To learn more about our oil delivery services and how we can help you save, simply call us at 518.427.8685. We’ll be happy to help you stay warm all season long.

Leaky Plumbing? What to Do While You Wait.

Nobody wants to discover a leaky pipe in their home, but if you do, you need to call your plumber right away. Leaks can cause significant damage to your home. Loss of belongings, wood rot, damaged walls and ceilings, and mold growth are just a few concerns that can arise from a leaky pipe. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the damage while you wait.

Three Steps You Can Take To Minimize Damage From A Pipe Leak

Step 1: Shut off the water.

You should do this before you make the call to the plumber. The faster you can get the water shut off, the better. If you don’t know which pipe shut-off is the right one, it’s best just to turn off the main valve. A small leak can turn into a break that can flood your home, so the sooner you can get the water turned off, the better.

Step 2: Call your plumber.

The next logical step is to call a reliable plumbing professional. Family Danz is a full-service plumbing professional, and a NESCA member. We only employ master plumbers, and provide emergency plumbing services. We’ll be more than happy to help you with your plumbing concerns.

Step 3: Clean and clear the area around the leak.

Move any furniture, boxes, or valuables away from the wet area. Sop up any water from the floor, and make sure you wipe down any surfaces that may have become damp in order to prevent growth of mold and mildew. Make sure anything in the vicinity of the leak is cleared out, so your plumber can easily access the area and has an adequate workspace.

Family Danz is ready to help you in a plumbing emergency.

At Family Danz Plumbing, we take great pride in helping our customers with any and all plumbing concerns they may have, including leaky pipes. We are available to help in an emergency – all you need to do is call us at 518.427.8685, and we will assist you.

Five Reasons To Get Fall Heating Maintenance

Once autumn arrives, so does the unmistakable chill in the air. Although the days can be warm and sunny, the temperature starts to cool down – and that inevitably means that before you know it, it’ll be time to turn the heat on in your home. Did you know that one of the best things you can do for your home’s heating system is get annual fall maintenance from your HVAC professional?

Getting annual preventive maintenance for your heating system is an easy enough thing to neglect. Some people look at it as an unnecessary expense, or even an inconvenience. If your furnace is running great, you might wonder why you’d even need maintenance. After all, if it’s not broken, why fix it? Well, there are many reasons why getting annual maintenance on your heating system – even if it’s working just fine – is important.

Five Reasons You Should Call For Annual Maintenance Today

  1. Heating system maintenance can help your system last longer. When you get your fall tune-up, your HVAC technician will make sure all the components of your system are lubricated and operating smoothly. And, they’ll clean your system and change the air filter. All of these measures keep your system operating better, longer.
  2. Annual maintenance can help find small problems before they become larger ones. By having your system looked over by a professional yearly, any small issues can be addressed right away – and that can help save you from an expensive repair or replacement down the road.
  3. Fall maintenance can help your system run more efficiently. Cleaning your system and changing the air filter can make the air flow much more easily through your system. In turn, it won’t have to work so hard to heat your home – saving energy and ultimately money on your utility bills.
  4. Seasonal maintenance can help with your indoor air quality. Systems that are neglected often become dirty, and that means your furnace could circulate air that has dirt, dust, mold and pollen throughout your home. By getting proper maintenance, you can rest assured your indoor air will be fresher and cleaner.
  5. Furnace maintenance is an important step in maintaining your warranty. If you look at the fine print on your heating equipment’s warranty, you might see that getting proper preventive maintenance is necessary in order to keep your warranty intact. Without it, your warranty may be voided – and that can mean costly repairs or replacement down the road.

Fortunately, getting the fall maintenance you need is as easy as calling Family Danz.

At Family Danz, we want to help you make sure your furnace runs effectively and efficiently all season long. We’re pleased to provide our customers with the annual maintenance they need in order to keep their heating systems in shape. Just give us a call at 518.427.8685, and we will be happy to schedule your fall furnace maintenance appointment.

Fall Allergies? Consider Your Indoor Air Quality.

Sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes. If you’re a fall allergy sufferer, you know these symptoms all too well. They can ruin a beautiful autumn day, for sure. Outside, it’s difficult to get away from the pollen and other allergens that can irritate you and disrupt your life. But did you know they can also get into your living space indoors? Pollen and mold can be brought inside on your shoes and clothes, and unfortunately can be circulated throughout your home via your ducts.

But fortunately, you can take measures to prevent this, when you choose indoor air quality (IAQ) products for your home. Today, there are a number of different products that work directly with your home’s HVAC system. That means you can keep pollen, dust, mold spores and other irritants from contaminating your indoor air – helping you breathe easier this allergy season.

Learn more about the different types of IAQ products available for today’s homeowners.

One of the problems with today’s homes is how airtight they can be. Modern homes are built with efficiency in mind – but that can also mean that allergens get trapped inside, and are circulated over and over again whenever the home’s comfort system is operating. That’s why it can be important for some homeowners to choose to install IAQ products that can mitigate some of this concern. Here are a few IAQ products available for your home:

  • Air Filters: Air filters in general can help trap particles that otherwise would circulate through your home, but there are some that are advanced enough to trap very tiny particles, like mold spores, bacteria and more. Your HVAC professional can help you choose the right air filter for your needs.
  • Air Cleaners: Whole-house air cleaners are installed directly into your home’s return air ducts. They trap particles as the air passes through your system. Electronic air cleaners, unlike filters, never need replacing but they should be maintained by your HVAC technician.
  • Ultraviolet Air Cleaners: These types of cleaners work especially well for people who need an added layer of protection against bacteria and viruses, because the UV light in the system kills these pathogens, leaving your indoor air pure and free of contaminants.

How can I get IAQ products for my home?

The easiest – and best – way to get the indoor air products you need to enjoy cleaner indoor air is by talking with your HVAC professional. They will be able to explain to you the best type of IAQ products for your needs, and will be able to install them for you. At Family Danz, we want to make sure your indoor air quality is the best it can be. Give us a call at 518.427.8685, and we will be happy to help you find the right indoor air quality solution for your needs.

Family Danz Recipe Corner: Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie

July is definitely the month for backyard barbecues, cookouts and picnics. The warm weather has everyone going outside to celebrate, and chances are you and your family will be joining in on the fun, festivities and food too. If you’re looking for a great dessert recipe that will be the hit of the next outdoor get-together you either host or attend, then look no further than this unique icebox pie recipe from Southern Living. Simple to make ahead, everyone is sure to love this delicious, summer-inspired treat!

Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ 8-oz package softened cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. strawberry gelatin
  • 2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Stir together first three ingredients, Press firmly on bottom, sides and lip of lightly greased 10” pie plate. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, place plate on wire rack and cool completely.
  • Process strawberries in food processor until finely chopped. You can do this by hand if you don’t have a food processor, just be sure they are very finely chopped.
  • Beat condensed milk, cream cheese, and gelatin at medium speed until smooth. Add chopped strawberries, and beat at low speed until blended. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Beat ¾ cup whipping cream at high speed until soft peaks form; gently fold whipped cream into berry mixture. Spoon into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8-10 hours or until firm.
  • Beat remaining 1¼ cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Spread over pie, and freeze one hour or until whipped cream is firm.

While this delicious pie is one way you can cool down this summer, don’t forget to call Family Danz to help you with your cooling needs. Whether you have central AC, ductless or even a heat pump system, we can help you make the most of your home comfort system and help you stay comfortable no matter how hot it gets outside! Just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll be happy to assist you!

Three Ways You Can Green Up Your Life This Summer

Every day, news headlines talk about environmental concerns. From greenhouse gas emissions to holes in the ozone layer to global warming concerns, many people are wondering what they can do to make their carbon footprint smaller. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take toward greener living – right at your own home. Choosing environmentally friendly cleaners, recycling and making sure the home appliances you choose are ENERGY STAR rated are all examples of how you can do more for Mother Earth, but there are many more ways you can do your part to keep the planet green.

Learn more about simple measures you can take to go green this summer and all year through.

If you and your family are interested in being a bit more environmentally conscious, here are three easy measures you can start taking today:

  • Pay attention to – and conserve – resources. Think about how you heat and cool your home, how much water you use, and what types of household products you use. Then take measures to conserve these resources. For instance, you can get better use of your HVAC system by making sure your home is well insulated and any leaks around doors and windows are sealed. And, installing a programmable thermostat can help you save even more energy. Shut off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth, and take shorter showers. Choose reusable water bottles and reduce the amounts of food and drink packaging you purchase.
  • Consider composting and gardening. Your vegetation, plant and kitchen waste can be turned into nutrient-rich compost, easily! You can find composting bins at most home improvement stores, or you can make your own fairly easily. You can use that nutrient-rich soil in your own small garden. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers are fairly easy to grow and can be canned for use over the winter as well. Even if you don’t garden on your own, you can offer your compost to other gardeners and enjoy some of the bounty of locally grown produce, as many are willing to trade! And, shop at one of the many farmers’ markets that abound during the summer and fall months.
  • Unplug cords and use energy-efficient lighting. A simple way to conserve energy in your home is to unplug your charging cords. You can also unplug other household appliances, like toasters and electric can openers, when not in use. Choose an energy-efficient power strip, and consider making the switch to LED lighting and bulbs. Keep outdoor lights on a motion sensor or timer, so they’re not on all night – using up valuable energy!

And, Family Danz can help you get the best and most efficient home comfort equipment.

At Family Danz, we think it’s important to do what we can to help our customers stay comfortable, all while being as energy efficient as possible. That’s why we offer equipment brands that have been manufactured to provide maximum effectiveness and energy efficiency. We can help you get a system that provides you and your family with ultimate comfort and reduced energy usage – and has been made with the earth in mind. To learn more, just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll be happy to assist you!

Family Danz Is Your Full-Service Contractor

At Family Danz, we pride ourselves on being able to help people stay comfortable, no matter what the weather outside. We’re always willing to go the extra mile for our customers, and we offer a broad range of products and services to help ensure a wide variety of needs are met. Learn more about our offerings below:

Residential Heating & Air Conditioning

Family Danz offers complete residential heating and air conditioning throughout the Capital District. Our full suite of products and services includes:

Commercial HVAC

Commercial clients can rely on Family Danz to offer comprehensive commercial HVAC solutions. From design and build services to completion, we provide a full list of services with your budget in mind. We can help with:

Heating Oil

You’ll never have to worry about running out of heating oil when you choose Family Danz. We provide oil delivery to residents and businesses alike, with plans that can help you budget for fuel expenses.

Plumbing

We offer residential plumbing services, and are fully staffed with master plumbers who are experts in the field. We provide plumbing equipment and accessories from top manufacturers, so you’re guaranteed quality.

To learn more about Family Danz and our full suite of HVAC, oil delivery and plumbing services, just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll be happy to assist you!

Need New AC? Consider High Efficiency.

Have you been thinking of replacing the air conditioning system in your home, but not sure if it’s the right time? Just about everybody loves the cool comfort that air conditioning provides during the summer months. But often, people worry about the expense that comes with replacing their old system. A new AC system can be expensive. However, with advances in modern home comfort technology, today’s air conditioning systems are much more energy efficient – and that helps you save money in the long run.

When people are thinking about replacing their home comfort equipment, it’s usually because of a variety of different factors. Of course, many people decide that they need new air conditioning because their old system simply doesn’t keep them as comfortable as it once did. But there are a few other indicators that can help you determine for certain that new AC is the right choice.

Here are a few symptoms of a worn-out system that might help you decide if a new air conditioning system is a good idea:

  • Your current system is more than 10 years old. Obviously, this isn’t always a symptom, per se. If you’re not noticing that you need to make frequent repairs, and your energy bills aren’t outrageous, replacing your older system probably isn’t necessary. But if your system is this old, and you’re noticing some of the issues below, it’s likely time to replace.
  • Repair costs are through the roof. If you’re spending a lot on repair costs, but you still find your system is breaking down often, it’s definitely showing signs that it’s wearing out. If your system does break down, make sure to ask your technician for an estimate prior to having any repair work done. A good rule of thumb – if the cost of repair is more than half the cost of replacing, a new system is likely your best bet.
  • Utility bills are outrageous. Of course, you can expect that your utility bills will go up somewhat in the summer, when running your AC system is at its peak. But if those bills are unusually high, or you’ve noticed a steady increase year over year, it’s likely that your air conditioning system is requiring more energy than usual to operate properly. Add to that the inefficiency of an older system, and you’re probably paying much more for your utilities than you need to.

The good news? You can get high efficiency air conditioning from Family Danz.

At Family Danz, we’re happy to help you get an air conditioning system that can keep you and your family more comfortable – all while saving energy. And, when you save energy, you’ll also likely notice that your utility bills are more manageable. We offer great products for your home, including high-efficiency central air conditioning, ductless cooling systems, and ultra-efficient heat pump systems. And, there are often manufacturer and utility incentives available, which can help you save money on your system up front.

Not sure what type of AC system is best for your home? No problem! We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for you with one of our comfort specialists, who can explain the different types of air conditioning we offer and help you determine the right choice for your home. To learn more, just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll be happy to assist you!

Party Planned? Try Out This Coleslaw For A Crowd.

If you’re in the process of planning a party or even a neighborhood barbecue, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of food for your guests. Planning the menu for a crowd can be a bit complicated, especially if you’re making your own dishes. That’s why we’re happy to share this recipe for coleslaw that will serve a crowd of 50 people. Coleslaw is a great side, because it goes with everything from grilled burgers and chicken, to pulled pork or ribs. And this recipe is so simple and easy to prepare, you’ll have it ready in no time – giving you a few extra minutes for everything else that needs to be done!

Coleslaw for a Crowd

Ingredients

  • 12 pounds of cabbage (save time by purchasing the pre-shredded bagged coleslaw mix)
  • 12 medium bell peppers
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp. paprika
  • 3 cups mayonnaise

Directions

  • Chop or shred cabbage finely (or use pre-bagged cabbage). If you’re shredding your cabbage, place in several large bowls, cover and chill while preparing the rest of your ingredients. Cut peppers into thin strips, place in large bowl, cover and chill.
  • In another large bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and paprika. Pour over cabbage and toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, and then drain well. Add green peppers and mayonnaise, lightly toss, and transfer to serving bowl. Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.

June Is Party Time – How To Plan A Successful Celebration

June has arrived, and with it, the season of celebration. From graduation parties and anniversaries, to a backyard barbecue that will create special memories for years to come, a successful celebration doesn’t have to be complicated. Of course, some careful planning in advance will help your party go much more smoothly – along with a little help from friends and family.

If a party is in your near future, here are a few simple steps you can take to make the process go much easier:

  • Create a budget. This is the first step for successful planning, because it will dictate every action you take from here on out. Know how much you want to allocate for food, the space where you want to hold the party, any favors you’ll offer your guests, any help you may need, and any activities. Make sure to add a bit more as a cushion, because sometimes costs add up unexpectedly.
  • Choose your date, time and location: If you choose to hold the party at home, make sure you have adequate seating and tables. You may also want to consider tents in case of rain. Or, think about holding the party in another area, like a community center or banquet hall. Once you’ve squared away this information, you’ll be able to send out invites or set up your event on social media.
  • Build your menu. Depending on the type of party, you might need anything from cake and punch to a full buffet. If you’re having a backyard grilling session, you’ll need to make sure you have meats and veggies for grilling, as well as salads, chips, fruit and veggie platters and plenty of drinks. An anniversary celebration might entail a few hors d’oeuvre trays, punch, champagne and of course, a lovely cake. Your menu will depend on the type of party and your budget. 
  • Consider your decorations. Again, this is highly dependent on the party you’re planning. Grad parties can incorporate school colors, anniversary celebrations can be simple and elegant, using colors based on the year (gold, silver, etc.), and backyard barbecues might not need any decorations at all, unless you want to fun it up with a theme, like a tiki or tropical party.
  • Ask for help in advance. You will likely need some assistance – don’t think you can do it all by yourself, or you won’t be able to enjoy the party yourself, or your guests. De-stress the situation by asking friends and family if they would mind helping out, and assigning them specific duties, like keeping snacks and drinks replenished or helping to greet guests. Consider hiring some help for set-up, serving or clean-up.
  • Have a few activities planned. Choose a few participation-optional activities like quick games or a photo booth. If children are invited to the party, you might consider some yard games, a bouncy house, and a treat bag with items that will keep them occupied.

Make sure your home is a comfortable retreat, too.

If you’re planning a party at home, make sure you have some indoor space people can enjoy in case the weather is hotter than expected. You’ll know your air conditioning system will be running perfectly for your guests when you count on Family Danz to help. We’ll provide you with the AC maintenance you need to be company-ready this summer. Just give us a call at (518) 427-8685 and we’ll be happy to help.