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Robert Hoffmann

Robert Hoffmann

This is a blog about Hoffmann Brothers Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. I am Robert Hoffmann, the owner and President of Hoffmann Brothers. I am a licensed Mechanical Engineer with many years of experience in HVAC, Mechanical Contracting, & Plumbing.

  Just last week in St Louis, the pollen count was off the charts. The pollen count typically ranges from 60-260, last week Monday the pollen count was 7654 and on Tuesday it was 4446. St Louis is continuously the worst place for allergies and pollen. There are a number of defenses to enhance your indoor air quality in your home since the outdoor air quality in St Louis is so poor. Here are a few suggestions for you: Replace HVAC air filters oftenDuring the summer, St. Louis residents tend to run their air conditioner a good part of the day. Monthly air filter changes improve both indoor air quality, as well as the energy efficiency of your air conditioner.  You can also upgrade to a large media filter that collects more dust and particulars from the air so you can breathe better. Maintain the air conditionerFor at least six months...
In St. Louis, the heat pump continues to generate a slew of advantages for commercial properties, facilities and complexes. While these understated, heating and cooling systems afford energy efficiency, misconceptions continue to swirl. Here is a list of some common misconceptions regarding heat pumps: Heat pumps are seasonal heating applications, needed during the colder months of the year only?Despite the name, heat pumps serve as a complete heating and cooling system. All year round, heat pumps maintain indoor comfort. Working as a heating system, heat pumps produce indoor heat by extracting hot air, which is generally comprised in chilly temperatures, from outside and transferring it inside. During the summer, the heat pump multitasks as an air conditioner, exporting interior heat from a commercial property to the exterior.   A heat pump is not as energy efficient as it seems:Heat pumps garner a high efficiency reputation, endorsed by the ENERGY STAR program. ...

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In the event of a flood, how ready is your household?  Flood victims are never prepared for the colossal damage that a rapid downpour or a clogged sump pump can create. There’s not only the concern of personal losses and damages, safety while recovering from the devastation of a flood. After this last year, St Louis County experience flooding that was record highs and record damage. After a flood turn off the electricity, and be sure to steer clear of the air conditioning system, television and other electronics that are plugged in.  Wet fixtures still have the electrical capacity to shock even if they are powered off and unplugged.  If the water heater, furnace, air conditioner or other heating appliances were immersed during the flood, contact a local HVAC contractor to disassemble all the parts for proper cleaning and sanitation. Remember that floodwaters are comprised of waste water, chemicals, sewage and...
Plumbing service contractors are all too familiar with filthy projects. These undervalued professionals provide the type of service that the cable television show, “Dirty Jobs” features. The difference is that many of these grimy projects are in the comfort of one’s home. From drain cleaning, to a clogged toilet; here are several projects, which can be so visually unsettling--that only a plumber has the expertise to manage.   Clogged toiletsOnce the toilet becomes clogged, beyond the deployment of a plunger, a licensed plumber can quickly diagnose and amend any leaking water or other unsavory matter. Whether it’s a foreign object lodged in the pipe or an antiquated drain, so many factors contribute to the cause of a clogged toilet. Moreover, it’s the type of fix that does not afford great trial and error. Drain pipe replacementsWell beyond using a chemical drain cleaner to solve a drain repair problem, a licensed plumbing...
Over the summer months, a broken central air conditioner can really cause issues. There are three vital signs that indicate that an air conditioning unit is on the verge of a breakdown. Hoffmann Brothers, a heating and air conditioning contractor serving the St Louis area Community, highlights the symptoms of a sickly AC. The AC requires more cooling time.When the AC demands an extended cooling span, it generally suggests that there is a problem with the air conditioning system. Sometimes, the problem is as minor as being low on coolant. Conversely, the issue could be attributable to rusty or corroding pipes or even the need for an entirely new air conditioning system. Knowing today’s SEER ratingsToday’s air conditioners meet a minimum seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) of 13.  The higher the SEER, the less time the AC requires to cool the home. An ill-performing AC consumes substantial energy to produce cool...
We reviewed essential questions regarding ENERGY STAR qualified, air conditioner efficiency and other air conditioning system information. Hoffmann Brothers, St. Louis’ heating and cooling contractor also describes why buying an ENERGY STAR, qualified air conditioning unit lends more advantages than keeping an older one. What are the benefits of replacing an older air conditioner with an ENERGY STAR qualified unit?  ENERGY STAR qualified air conditioning units are not only moderate on the utility bill, but also afford better indoor air quality (IAQ). These units have a smaller carbon footprint because anything that saves energy reduces pollution. Primarily, air conditioner efficiency is one of the measurements used to qualify ENERGY STAR appliances, which render a higher seasonal efficiency rating (SEER). However, SEER is not the only measure used to assess air conditioner efficiency. This means that during the summer months, homeowners can expect to save a minimum of 10 percent.   What...
St Louis area households are plagued by poor indoor air quality. Although good housekeeping plays a moderate role in IAQ, proper air filtration, air purification, and ventilation assure clean indoor air quality.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor pollution to be two to five times as polluted as outdoor air. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control seperates indoor air pollutants into three categories: Allergens particulates (level1) Infectious disease (level 2) Toxic compounds (level 3) The Allergen particulates can trigger allergy symptoms: dry throat, running nose, sinus pain and pressure, itchy eyes, and headaches. Mold, Mildrew and Dust are among other allergens particulates that have been found to trigger serious ailments.   Things that can contribute to more serious symptoms of indoor air quality are dust, pet dander, tobacco, mold & mildew, pollen, and poor air ventilation.It is a proven fact that those that occupy a home with clean air quality...
Replacing a furnace for a new one is comparable to searching for a surgeon. Just as an experienced physician assures a modicum of reliability, the same philosophy applies to hiring heating and air conditioning contractors to install the home’s heating and cooling system. Refer to these qualifying instructions: Search online Googling a contractor is one way to look. But do your research before choosing your contractor. Check their online reviews, look at their social media pages, see how long they have been in business. All of these things can help determine a valuable contractor. Experience matters: Try to select three different heating and air conditioning contractors with a minimum of 15 years experience. Since, the average heating and air conditioning system is more than 10 years old, a seasoned contractor is most likely familiar with a wide array of hvac systems. Analyze credentials: On each heating and air conditioning contractor’s company...
The time for New Year’s resolutions is just around the corner. Common goals include losing weight, de-cluttering your Madison County, IL home, and organizing finances. Consider adding HVAC to your 2016 resolutions. Here are four ideas to get you started. 1. Call an experienced company to schedule two HVAC tune-ups. In the spring, a certified technician should check out your cooling system. In the fall, a professional should evaluate your heating system. A firm calendar reminder for these events will ensure you keep your commitment. Like an annual physical, your HVAC checkout will restore your heating and cooling units to optimal health. A technician will clean your units and replace any worn parts. The checkout promotes safety, comfort, peak efficiency, and equipment longevity. 2. Keep up with air filter changes. Regularly changing your air filters is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to avoid problems with your Madison County,...
The holiday season is upon us in Richmond Heights, MO. Some of the most treasured gifts are the least expensive. Consider a cozy scarf knitted by Grandma or a black and white photo of your newlywed home framed by your husband. Other memorable gifts involve time. Take a break with family and friends to listen to carolers, look at light displays, and catch up at lively holiday parties. Here are some inexpensive ways to save money on heating this winter, like treasured DIY gifts. They’re also quick to implement, so you can get back to spending time with those who matter most. Program your thermostat. Every degree cooler over an eight-hour period saves you a percentage point in energy costs. Take full advantage of holiday travel and days out shopping to lower your thermostat and save utility dollars. Seal air leaks and clear your registers. Ductwork air leaks can account for...

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You’re not alone if you’ve made some warranty mistakes in your life. Did you fail to purchase AppleCare for your MacBook, which wouldn’t hold a charge on day 366? Did you buy a comprehensive plan for your Barnes and Noble Nook and decide to upgrade to a Kindle Fire HD after only six months? Designed to protect valuable purchases, a warranty can fail to meet your expectations. Here are the steps to protect your HVAC investment and ensure your warranty coverage. Step 1: Install the equipment properly. This step is intended for the HVAC contractor. A manufacturer will only accept a warranty claim for properly installed equipment. As a St. Clair County homeowner, correct installation is also in your best interest, like a parent who wants to give his child the best possible start in life. Your role is to choose a licensed HVAC company with years of experience installing your...
St. Louis puts on entertaining productions at the Fox each holiday season. Let’s use theater to better understand our heating needs this time of year. If your heating system were a Fox show, here’s how it might be cast: your furnace as the leading lady, your HVAC contractor as the stage manager, your thermostat as the electrical sound and lighting crew, and your supply air ductwork as the ushers. The return air vents also play a critical behind-the-scenes role. Let’s call them the janitors. The return air ductwork cleans up and preps the stage for the next performance. After warm air has been called for by the thermostat, produced by the furnace, and distributed by the supply ductwork, you need the warmth maintained in your Oakville, MO home day and night, all week long, throughout the winter. The show must go on for the entire performance series. Return Air Vents: Their...
A zone defense in basketball has some advantages over man-to-man. Fewer players effectively block the basket and the defense conserves energy by guarding the area where shots most frequently score. In the same way, a zoned heating system allows your furnace to block cold air where it matters most and use less energy to effectively heat your Webster Groves, MO home. Here’s the playbook for a zoned heating system. The Key Players for Zoned Heating • Thermostats for each zone• Electronic automated dampers for the supply vents to each zone• Your existing furnace and ductwork• A temperature plan for each zone The Strategy for Zoned Heating Your furnace will continue to operate as usual. However, it will only be called into action if one of your zones deviates from its thermostat set point. A different set point temperature is possible for each of your zones. Consider your comfort preferences in the...
What does a culture obsessed with anti-aging think about an older furnace? An older furnace is not quite as visible as additional candles on the birthday cake, as ominous as a looming milestone birthday, or as treasured as a vintage car. But there are in fact some benefits to owning an older furnace. Here’s a look at the pros of owning an older furnace.   You Reaped a Great Return on Investment. If your University City, MO furnace is over 10 years old, you reaped the full benefit of your heating investment. The average life expectancy of a forced air gas-fired furnace is 12 to 15 years. After a decade, it’s time to shop for a new one. The good news is your older furnace didn’t fail prematurely. Hopefully, you only paid for annual preventative maintenance and minimal repairs over its lifespan. You also avoided any air conditioner upgrades due to...
A game of spot the differences is entertaining for all ages. Two photos or illustrations are presented that appear identical at first glance. Players are challenged to pick out the areas they differ. Instead of photo hunting, learn to spot the differences between heating systems. Some furnaces in Sunset Hills, MO have a pilot light and others contain an electric igniter. Your goal is not to pass the time or beat a previous high score. Rather, your objective is to understand an essential furnace component to troubleshoot issues, maintain safety, and call a professional when it makes sense. What’s the Same? Both a pilot light and an electric igniter are components of a gas-fired furnace. Your furnace will contain one or the other, but not both. These parts of a furnace light the burner, either directly or indirectly, when a heating cycle begins. For safety reasons, the burner must be lit...

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If your furnace is blowing cold air, the good news is your blower is working. This fact provides little comfort as the temperature drops outdoors in St. Peters, MO. Here are some potential reasons your furnace could be malfunctioning and solutions to help solve your problem. #1 Did you just switch your furnace on? If your furnace has been dormant since last heating season, be patient. Like preheating your oven, it takes a few moments for warmer air to stream from your vents. Remember the parking in tandem rule. Existing cold air must exit the vents first, followed by warm air. You turned on a furnace in the basement that needs to activate, blow air over the heat exchanger to warm it, and send the warm air to your ductwork to displace the existing cold air. The air flowing from your vents should change from cold to warm momentarily. #2 Have...
Your college degree curriculum started with a list of mandatory courses to graduate. Most of the credits were required courses like calculus, physics, and financial accounting. What sweetened the college experience? Like icing on a birthday cake, electives fulfilled your need for variety and fun. Maybe your Spanish class helps you today on vacations to Cancun. Or your American Studies course always makes you the MVP at charity trivia nights. Similar to the electives you took in school, a humidifier is not a must-have for your Ladue, MO home. But it is a nice-to-have sidekick for your furnace in the winter. Here are a few reasons why. Dry air feels colder. It’s not all in your head. Humid air retains heat better than dry air. Without a humidifier, your furnace works harder in the winter to keep the interior air warm. Ladue, MO homeowners also need a higher thermostat set point...
We’ve all learned about the importance of eating our fruits and veggies. These healthy food groups are part of nutrition 101, doctor’s orders, and sage counsel from mom. But even the latest government food pyramid and an abundance of Edwardsville farmers’ markets don’t always keep us from falling short. Most Edwardsville, IL homeowners have also heard about the importance of an annual furnace tune up. Keeping your end of the heating bargain once a year should be much easier than sticking to your daily diet. Now that the season of preventative maintenance is upon us, here are some consequences of neglecting your furnace check up. #1 Furnace failure on one of the coldest days of the year It’s not ironic that furnaces fail on the coldest days of the year. Remember your furnace works the hardest to maintain warm interior air when the outside temperature dips. If damage and wear are...
Pleasant smells in your Fenton, MO home include freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, bacon sizzling on a weekend morning, and pine from your authentic Christmas tree. Unpleasant smells include forgotten towels in the washing machine or a mudroom full of baseball cleats. Besides good and bad smells, consider the alarming smells. A burning smell from your furnace fits the alarm category. When a Furnace Burning Smell is Normal A burning smell from your furnace the first time you flip it on for the season is normal. Dust accumulates on the components of your heating system during its dormant seasons. When you switch the furnace into operation, the dust is scorched and the smell travels through your ductwork. Expect the burning smell to last for a couple of hours. One tip is to turn on your furnace on a mild day when you can open the windows. When a Furnace Burning Smell...
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If your fall checklist includes a preventative maintenance visit to tune-up your heating system, you’re off to a great start. Another item to add to your list is inspecting the sealing in your Collinsville, IL home. Proper sealing keeps warm air in and cold air out as the temperature drops. The right sealing gives your furnace a break, consumes less energy, and keeps you more comfortable all winter long. Closed windows and doors aren’t immune to air leaks. Cracks exist around their frames and moving parts. Instead of waiting for drafts this winter, try this quick test now. Walk around your home on a bright day and look for sunshine peeking through any cracks. If light can get through, note that air can as well. DIY Solutions for Air Leaks available at the Hardware Store The hardware store has some inexpensive solutions for proper sealing. Consider weather-stripping, caulk, and foam sealants....
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