AC Smells and What To Do About Them

Find out what your AC smells mean and what to do about them.

Hot, humid summer days have you inside your home for comfort, but what if your AC unit is pumping strange odors into your home?

Find out what your AC smells mean and what to do about them.

Smell: Musty

If your AC unit emits a musty, dirty sock smell when you first turn it on, it could be due to a buildup of bacteria or mold on the evaporator coil or other areas of the system.

What to do: To fix a dirty sock smell, first change your air filters and then have your ductwork cleaned. If that doesn’t work and the sock smell lingers, call a professional to clean your evaporator coil and drain pan.

Smell: Burning

A burning scent or gunpowder smell doesn’t just indicate something is wrong. It is a sign to call a professional. A burning smell can indicate frayed wiring, an overheated motor, or other electrical issues.

What to do: If you smell burning from your AC system, turn it off immediately and call for emergency HVAC repair.

Smell: Pungent

Your outdoor unit can sometimes be a haven for animals during the winter. Trapped animals might have passed away inside your unit.

What to do: Check your outdoor unit or air vents for critters and remove them.

Smell: Mold or Mildew

One of the most common complaints is AC air that smells moldy or mildew.

What to do: Your AC unit removes humidity to control moisture in your home. However, moisture can collect in the system and foster mold growth, which can create poor indoor air quality. To diagnose and fix a mold or mildew smell, call a professional to determine the source.

Get an Annual AC Inspection From Russo Bros. & Co.

The best way to combat air conditioning smells is to complete an annual inspection. The experts at Russo Bros. & Co. can perform AC maintenance and repairs when you need them most.

If you have a stinky AC situation, contact the Russo Bros. & Co. professionals for a breath of fresh air!

Maintenance for Your Home: What To Do and When


Maintenance for Your Home: What To Do and When

Whether you have a brick or stone house, live in the city, or a farmhouse in the country, your home’s heating, cooling, and plumbing keep your home humming.

Creating an annual home maintenance checklist is a great way to keep your home in top condition year-round. Take a look at this annual home maintenance schedule.

Annual Home Maintenance Tips For Winter

  1. Inspect your home’s water heater. Hot showers are a must in winter! Get a professional inspection of your water heater or conduct your own by flushing the tank to remove sediment, inspecting the pipes for leaks, and testing the pressure relief valve.

  2. Clean vents. Help your heating system work more efficiently by clearing vents of furniture and rugs.
  3. Clean air filters. Air filters pull airborne pollutants from your home. Clogged filters force your system to work inefficiently.
  4. Inspect plumbing. Look for leaks and insulate pipes exposed to an outdoor wall to prevent freezing.

Annual Home Maintenance Tips For Spring

  1. Check your hose bibs for leaks. Spring watering season is upon us. Ensure your hoses and bibs have survived winter without cracking or failed seals.

  2. Perform sump pump maintenance. Make sure your sump pump is ready to tackle spring showers.

  3. Service your HVAC system. Before the weather turns hot and humid, schedule your AC tune-up so you can identify issues and feel confident in its function.
  4. Clean gutters and downspouts. Be ready for spring downpours. Clogged gutters will force water to go behind your gutter system and into your home’s drywall, impacting your home’s landscaping and foundation.

Annual Home Maintenance Tips For Summer

  1. Ensure HVAC unit is free from debris. Prune trees and shrubs that can impede your home’s outdoor HVAC unit. Also clear debris, leaves, and other obstructions.

  2. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. In the summer, you want the blades to turn counterclockwise at a higher speed. This creates a wind-chill effect that makes the air feel cooler. The counterclockwise rotation pushes air straight down, circulating the cool air from your AC more effectively throughout the room.
  3. Inspect and clean your HVAC units. Proper maintenance is key to keeping your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system running efficiently all summer long.
  4. Check the humidity levels inside your home. Some home air conditioning units can’t correct the humidity level in your home, and homeowners may opt to install a portable humidifier or whole-home humidification system.  

Annual Home Maintenance Tips For Fall

  1. Test your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. October is Fire Safety Month and a great reminder to change batteries in your fire and safety devices.

  2. Winterize your exterior pipes and faucets. In late fall, turn off your outdoor water and bleed the lines as freezing temperatures are on the horizon.
  3. Conduct a heating system check. You likely haven’t switched from air conditioning to heat yet, but now is the sweet spot to inspect your home’s heating system. A professional tune-up will ensure your heating system works at its best when it is called to kick in!
  4. Change your air filters. Inspecting and changing them every three to six months is a good idea, especially after a heavy season of pollen and dust.


Your home requires maintenance for every season. When you need help completing your to-do list or find an issue working through your maintenance plan, call the experts at Russo Bros. & Co. 

We are your reliable home service solutions provider in Essex, Morris, Union, or Passaic County. For over 65 years, our family-operated company has worked with our neighbors to deliver the best for their HVAC and plumbing needs.

The Dirt on Flushable Wipes

The Dirt on Flushable Wipes

Toilet paper has evolved to be quilted, multi-plyed and even perforated with a scalloped edge. But some have turned to flushable wipes for an even “cleaner” personal hygiene experience. But are those wipes actually flushable like their toilet paper counterparts?

The EPA’s Recommendation on Flushable Wipes

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency says no. In fact, according to the EPA , Americans should skip flushing anything but toilet paper. That includes disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, make-up removal pads and yes, the so-called flushable wipes.

Why Wipes Don’t Break Down Like Toilet Paper

The reason behind the recommendation is that wipes don’t break down in the sewer or septic system like toilet paper and can damage your home’s internal plumbing as well as the local sewer system. Flushable wipes are typically made from materials like cotton, rayon, polyester or wood pulp that are bonded together using a chemical process. The materials do eventually break down but not as rapidly as toilet paper.

When flushed the wipes can clog your pipes as they make their way through the system, clumping together instead of breaking down into smaller pieces like traditional toilet paper. A repair can cost you big bucks for the backup.

Lack of Regulations on “Flushable” Claims

While there is an effort to develop guidelines and test “flush-ability” of flushable wipes, there are no federal regulations regarding the use of the word “flushable” on packages of wipes, according to

According to the EPA, these array of wipe products when flushed can be a threat to public health and create massive expenditures to repair public systems.

Calling a Professional for Sewer Clogs

While it is best to avoid using flushable wipes, if you have a clogged sewer line you can’t avoid calling a professional. The experts at Russo Bros. Plumbing can diagnose your sewer line issue using a thorough camera inspection to determine the root cause of your sewer backup and provide the necessary solution fix it.  For all your plumbing needs you can rely on Russo Bros. & Co. and our same day service since 1954.

Schedule drain cleaning online or call Russo Bros. & Co. at (973) 887-1334 today.

Optimizing Your HVAC for Unpredictable Spring Weather

When winter finally releases its icy grip, spring temperatures are a welcome change. But spring can bring its own weather challenges with a yo-yo of temperatures and soaking rains. Temperature swings can make it hard for your HVAC system to adjust. Here are a few things you can do to optimize your HVAC system for an unpredictable spring season.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your HVAC system running efficiently. A professional inspection of your system can help identify problems, replace worn components, and extend the lifespan of your HVAC system.

Monitor Humidity Levels

Humidity levels can creep up in the spring, affecting the air quality inside your home. If your home feels too dry or too moist, you might have an issue with the humidity level. Consider a whole-home humidification system that will integrate into your existing HVAC system to regulate your home’s humidity levels.

Use Your Home’s Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to circulate the air, making it less stuffy. Changing your ceiling fan direction seasonally is a way to save money on heating and cooling costs and help your HVAC system do its job.

When the temperature outside is warmer, your ceiling fan should spin counterclockwise to create a downdraft of direct cooling breeze. In winter, the opposite is true. Clockwise creates an updraft to circulate warm air around the room.

Seal Air Leaks

Your HVAC system might be doing its job, but air leaks around windows and doors and failing ductwork make it work harder. Manually feel around doors and windows for areas that might be the source of leaks. Home energy professionals can use a blower door test as a more sophisticated diagnostic tool to determine how much air is entering or escaping your home. When you find the problem spots, weather stripping or caulking can usually do the trick.

Clean Air Filters

Your HVAC system pushes air through your home’s filters to reach your desired temperature. A dirty or clogged filter makes the system work harder to get that air through. This can cause extra strain on your system and shorten its lifespan.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Setting your desired indoor air temperature using a programmable thermostat helps your system adjust to the changing weather conditions in spring. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% yearly on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

Schedule the system to reach your desired temperature before you return home. A programmable thermostat also avoids the temptation by homeowners to make big temperature demands according to the swing in the weather outside instead of relying on a programmed schedule of heating and cooling demands.

Rely on Russo Bros. for Heating Services in Northern New Jersey

You can optimize your home’s HVAC system using smart technology, proactive maintenance, and strategic planning. An optimized HVAC system can save money on your utility bill and in repairs for a failing system.

At Russo Bros. & Co., we know how vital your HVAC system is throughout the year. For predictable and reliable maintenance and repairs during an unpredictable spring season, call our experts.

Call (973) 887-1334 today to request heating repair services in Northern New Jersey.

Emergency Heating Tips: What to Do When the Heat Goes Out

Woman in a jacket adjusting her thermostat

When temperatures dip, it doesn’t take long to notice when your heating system goes out. Here are some tips to deal with a heating emergency.

Turn Off Your Gas

If your home uses a gas furnace and the heat goes out, it’s important to turn off the gas supply. A gas leak or valve malfunction might have caused your heating system to fail. The gas source should be turned off until a professional can evaluate the cause.

Close Off Unused Rooms

Concentrate the heat into a few rooms, rather than allowing it to dissipate into all the areas of the house, by closing the doors and vents for unused rooms.

Seal Doors and Windows

Feel around your doors and windows for drafts. You can use towels to temporarily block cold air from leaking in.

Turn Faucets to a Slow Drip

Some pipes, especially those along an exterior wall, can freeze if temperatures dip below freezing and the indoor air temperatures are cold. Turn your faucets to a low drip and open cabinets and closets that contain plumbing to circulate warm air and prevent frozen pipes.

Use a Portable Heater

Portable heaters can be helpful to heat a room in your home while you’re waiting for your HVAC system to be repaired. It’s important to remember to use your space heater safely following the manufacturer’s manual and never leave your space heater unattended.

How to Troubleshoot Your Heating System

Here are some troubleshooting tips that could restore your heat quickly:

  • Check the thermostat: Your first move should be to ensure the thermostat is set to heat mode and set to a temperature that should trigger the heating system to turn on.
  • Check the circuit breaker: Sometimes, a tripped circuit breaker can cause the heating system to stop working. Check the circuit breaker box and reset any tripped breakers related to the heating system.
  • Inspect the furnace: Head down to the room where your furnace is located, which is most likely the basement. Ensure the pilot light is lit (if applicable) and there are no obvious signs of damage or malfunction.
  • Ensure that all vents and registers are open and unobstructed: Do you happen to be in a room where a vent is closed, and warm air bypasses the space? Blocked vents can prevent warm air from circulating properly.
  • Look for ice on your heat pump: If there is ice on the exterior of your unit, disconnect the power to the unit and use warm water to attempt to melt it. If it doesn’t thaw or doesn’t restart, call a professional.
  • Check your air filter: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause the heating system to work inefficiently or even shut down. If the air filter is dirty, replace it with a clean one.
  • Ensure you don’t have electricity issues: If you suspect the issue is related to your gas or electricity supply, contact your utility company to report the problem.

Rely on Russo Bros. for Heating Services in Northern New Jersey

When your heat goes out in the winter, it must be fixed quickly. At Russo Bros. & Co., our experts can fix your HVAC system no matter what make or model. And we are proud to provide responsive heating solutions that Northern New Jersey residents can rely on.

Call (973) 887-1334 today to request heating repair services in Northern New Jersey.

Common Heating Mistakes to Avoid this Winter

Older Lady Cold

Our heating systems are our best allies in the battle against the cold, but there are some common misconceptions about heating our homes that may be making your home colder. Are you making these common heating mistakes?

Cranking Up Your Thermostat To Warm Up Your Home Faster

Setting your heat in the 80s in a cold house won’t make your system work faster. It will only cause your heating unit to work harder and put more stress on the system. This can lead to a premature breakdown.

Turning Your Thermostat Down at Night To Help Cut Energy Costs

Turning your thermostat down to a frigid temperature at night, when it’s the coldest, will only lead to a cold house in the morning. The next morning, it will take even longer to get your system to rise to a desirable temperature.

Heating Your Home While You’re Away

Turning the temperature down by a few degrees lower than normal will help give your system a break and help save heating costs. Programmable thermostats are great options for controlling the temperature in your home while you’re away.

Closing Curtains and Blinds

Keep all window fixtures open on sunny days to let in the sunlight and naturally warm your home. This will reduce strain on your heating system and help you save on energy costs.

Forgetting to Lock All Windows

Make sure the windows throughout your home are locked in winter. By locking your windows, you’re sealing in the warm air and preventing it from escaping.

Choose Russo Bros. & Co. for Heating Services in Northern New Jersey

The warmth of your home should be a sanctuary, not a source of stress. By avoiding these common heating mistakes, you not only ensure a cozy home but also contribute to the longevity and efficiency of your heating system.

If you find your heating system is not performing it’s best, call the heating experts at Russo Bros. & Co. We can help get your heating system back up to snuff with repair, maintenance, and replacement.

Call (973) 887-1334 now to request professional heating services!

Winter Heating Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Home Warm and Secure

There’s nothing more comforting than a warm home on a cold evening. But as important as keeping your home comfortable is ensuring you heat it safely. Follow these important winter heating safety tips from Russo Bros. & Co.

Get Your Chimney and Fireplace Serviced

A warm fire can be a great way to add extra heat to a room, but if your fireplace flue is closed or the chimney is damaged, that fire could send poisonous gases back into your home or create a fire in the chimney. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected yearly by a qualified professional.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Winter storms can knock out power to your home. Your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide should have a battery backup with batteries changed yearly.

Enroll in a Heating System Maintenance Program

A professional heating system maintenance program can identify issues with your heating system that can ensure it works efficiently and safely. An annual heating maintenance contract is the best way to protect your system from malfunction and premature failure.

Never Leave Space Heaters Unattended

According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for about one-third of all home heating fires. In addition to keeping a watchful eye on your space heater, you should plug it directly into an outlet, not an extension cord.

Keep the Space Around Your Heating System Clear

Nothing should lean against your heating system. Ideally, your system should have a three-foot buffer around it.

Don’t Use the Stove or Oven for Heat

Even if the power goes out, your oven or stove should never be used as a heat source.

Keep Firefighting Materials Readily Accessible

With less natural daylight, some homeowners use candles more often in the winter. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher, tarp, or other firefighting materials somewhere accessible in case of emergency.

Get Help Right Away if You Smell Gas

The smell of gas inside your home is an emergency, and you should immediately call the fire department and evacuate the home.

Rely on Russo Bros. & Co. for Heating Services in Northern New Jersey

Ensure your home is warm and secure this winter by ensuring your heating systems are functioning properly. If you experience strange odors or strange noises coming from your unit, insufficient heating, cold spots, or unusually high heating bills, don’t wait to get help. Reach out to Russo Bros & Co. right away. We’ve provided fast, reliable heating repair services throughout Northern New Jersey for over 65 years.

Call us at (973) 887-1334 today to request heating maintenance, repair, or installation services.