Benefits of Ductless Mini-Split Heating and Cooling

Ductless mini-split heat pumps, sometimes simply referred to as “mini splits,” are an affordable heating and cooling solution. Whether you are remodeling a home without the use of ductwork or want to supplement your existing HVAC system, a ductless mini-split system offers many good reasons to be considered.

There are two main components to mini splits: an indoor air-handling unit and an outdoor compressor/condenser. They are connected by a line that goes through a small hole in the wall, which is covered by the indoor unit.

A ductless mini-split system has many benefits for homeowners:

They save you money. A mini-split system saves you money on multiple levels. In the absence of ductwork, the installation process is quicker and involves less materials. After it’s installed, you also save money because they are more energy efficient than conventional systems. A significant amount of air can be lost through ductwork leaks. Also, mini splits operate continuously, unlike other systems that turn on and off, which is more energy intensive.

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Common Furnace and Heating Repair Issues

furnace repairWhen you need to use your furnace, you need it to work effectively, with no problems or issues. Most of the time, your furnace works great. But when it has a problem, you have no heat and a very chilly night ahead of you.

Unless you are a furnace contractor, there’s a good chance you will need help figuring out what is wrong and how to fix it.

Understanding the most common furnace problems and repair issues can help you not only know more about your furnace, but better understand the technician when they explain the condition of your heating and cooling equipment.

– If you have no heat or fan, or your furnace is not keeping your home comfortable, you may have a thermostat malfunction. Your furnace simply doesn’t know what it’s supposed to do. Your furnace contractor will be able to repair or replace the thermostat and get your furnace running great again in no time.

– If you’re experiencing air flow problems from your furnace, including poor heating control or your furnace is overheating, the culprit could be a fan motor, belt or bearings. A trained furnace repair contractor can figure out the problem quickly and make the necessary repairs.

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How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Filters?

Furnace FiltersTemperatures are dipping, which means it’s time for many of us to rely on our furnaces for comfortable home temperatures in the coming cold winter months. Like summer, winter is when your HVAC system is working its hardest to move air through your home’s duct work. And since most of us spend more time indoors in the winter, you will likely be working your furnace even harder than your air conditioner during the summer months.

It’s important to change your furnace filters regularly. It will keep the air in your home clean and safe. How often, depends on what kind of filters you use and various lifestyle factors. Most filters need to be changed every three months, but maybe less depending on various factors mentioned below. Regardless of frequency, everyone should check their filters once a month to see what condition they are in.

Factors To Consider

Do you have pets? Pet dander will accelerate how often you need to change your filters. Are you a smoker, or do you live with one? If so, that’s another reason you will need to change filters more often.

What kind of filters do you use? Standard fiberglass filters need to be changed monthly (maybe a little less depending on how contaminated your home air gets). If you use permanent washable filters, they need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried once a month.

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Why Your Furnace Needs An Annual Tune Up

Dave Lennox with an SLP98V gas furnaceMost of us realize that our vehicles need regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly, but many people don’t even give their furnace a second thought. Out of sight, out of mind…until it stops working. If you want your furnace to perform optimally, saving you from repairs and high energy bills, it may be time for a tune up.

How often should you get a furnace tune up?

Manufacturers recommend that all furnaces – new, old, gas, electric, oil, etc. – have an annual tune up. Having your furnace checked every year is largely a preventative measure, making sure it is running as smoothly as it should. Here are some of the benefits of keeping your annual furnace tune up on schedule:

Lower Chance for Repairs

Undoubtedly, every year there will be homeowners calling a HVAC contractor to repair their furnace, when the problem quite possibly could have been avoided with regularly scheduled maintenance.

During a tune up, the technician should check several components of the furnace function, including airflow (see a complete tune up checklist here). If the air is restricted, it places an unnecessary strain on your furnace that lead to the need for repairs and a shorter lifespan for the unit.

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Why Your Home Doesn’t Heat Evenly

When the temperatures drop like they have in recent weeks, that’s when we get to see how well our home heating system operates. Sometimes you may find certain rooms are comfortable, while others get the “cold shoulder” from your heating system.

If your home isn’t heating evenly, you’re not only uncomfortable, but your energy bills may be higher than they should be. The good news is there is something you can do about it. Here are some of main culprits for an unevenly heated home:

One common mistake is to think you should close the vents in rooms you don’t want to be heated. If you live in a modern home with a forced air heating system, the pressure load is balanced throughout your house. If you block one vent, your system will be unbalanced, which may lead to not only it working harder but possibly even breaking down.

It’s also important to note that since your goal is to heat your home evenly, what happens in this scenario is a science experiment in your home that proves how warm air will move from the heated rooms to the lesser concentrated areas. In other words, the cold rooms will draw the heat away, making your whole home colder than you’d like.

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What is a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

cracked heat exchangerYou’re a responsible homeowner, ensuring that your furnace is checked every year heading into the cooler months. However, when you’re told that you have cracks in the heat exchanger, it doesn’t sound that dangerous. After all, it’s just a few cracks, right? This is actually a potentially deadly situation as carbon monoxide can escape through the cracks into the air in your home.

Unfortunately, most people don’t even realize they have a cracked heat exchanger unless they’re vigilant with routine annual maintenance. If that doesn’t happen, the cracks will eventually cause a heating system failure—but the key word here is “eventually.” Your heat exchanger is comprised of a number of ribbons and tubes inside the furnace that work together to create a chamber. They keep the hot gases and flames separate from the forced air which heats up your home. Cracks can lead to a dangerous situation complete with carbon monoxide poisoning.

The heat exchanger is the heart of a gas furnace, it’s a costly fix and the vast majority of the time it’s easier and more cost effective to replace the whole heating system.

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Do I Have A Clogged Air Filter?

air filterIf you keep cranking up the heat, but your home stays cold, you might have a clogged air filter. Luckily, this is one of the easiest and most affordable fixes that you’ll ever face with your HVAC system. Just like with your vehicle, a dirty air filter can lead to a host of problems and catching it early is the trick. If you wait too long, damaged ductwork can be costly to repair or replace.

What happens to your clogged air filter? You get reduced air flow, making the entire system less effective and raising your energy bill. It’s the job of an air filter to filter the air before it enters and circulates in the home. Your HVAC system is a refined machine and it’s designed to work best with a certain amount of air flow. When this does not happen, the entire system may fail.

The Snowball Effect

When a filter is less than clean, the fan blades and cooling coils also get dirty. This snowballs into a frost buildup, which in turn stops the system from being able to cool or heat the air properly. You’re making the system work overtime without the right tools—kind of like forcing someone to run a marathon without food or water. They might be able to pull it off (eventually) but not without some serious damage to the body.

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Most Common Reasons Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off

Carbon Monoxide DetectorCarbon monoxide poisoning claims the lives of hundreds of people each year. Unfortunately, this odorless, colorless gas is very common, and whenever something is burned, carbon monoxide is released.

After it’s inhaled, carbon monoxide causes a rapid displacement of oxygen in the bloodstream. At low concentrations, it can cause a headache or dizziness, but at higher levels, it can cause unconsciousness or death. Many experts refer to carbon monoxide as the silent killer.

Tripping the Carbon Monoxide Detector

Due to the alarming number of deaths caused by CO poisoning, safety officials have forced many public establishments to install CO detectors. Many homeowners have also taken the advice of safety officials and purchased carbon monoxide detectors for their home.

Vehicles, generators, charcoal grills, gas stoves and fireplaces all produce carbon monoxide, and without working detectors, the CO produced can be deadly.

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Can Air Filters Ease Allergies and Asthma?

lennox pure air cleanerFor people who live with asthma and allergies day after day, breathing can be difficult. Ask anyone with allergies, they can really wear you down physically, and day-to-day life can be a struggle when breathing is limited.

No matter how hard you dust or how diligent you are in cleaning your house, allergens and other irritants will still be present in the air. If you’ve done all you can to help minimize your exposure to things that make your allergies or asthma flare up, air purifiers can be very helpful!

What are air purifiers?

Air purifiers use filters to get rid of air pollutants and allergens, such as mold spores, pet dander, pollen, odors, and more. You should always look for filters that meet HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) standards. This means that the air purifier has gone through strict protocol and regulations to meet this standard and that it will filter both big and small particles in the air. This is exactly what you need if you are sensitive to air pollutants and other allergens.

How effective are they?

Before you get an air filter, take other steps first, such as cleaning your home top to bottom, getting rid of pet dander, dust, and other potential allergens. Once that is done, look into which filter system will work best for you. When used 24 hours a day, HEPA filter systems can be 99.9% efficient in eliminating floating particles in the air. That means there is less risk of allergens entering your airway, which can wreak havoc on your allergies and asthma.

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Why Won’t My Air Conditioner Turn On?

air conditioner repairThere are some days that are almost impossible to get through without a working air conditioner. You’ve got all the windows open, but since there’s no breeze whatsoever, you might as well not have windows at all. Your fan is blowing off and on, but that still doesn’t replace your AC.

While we’re still a few months away from this problem, it’s never too early to be prepared. Fortunately, if your air conditioner won’t turn on this summer, there might be a way for you to fix it.

1. Make sure the thermostat is working. A dysfunctional thermostat will keep the AC from doing its job. If you notice that the thermostat is continuously showing the same temperature, it probably isn’t working. Ways to fix the thermostat include cleaning out the filter if it’s dirty and putting in new batteries if the current ones are dead.

2. Find out whether the circuit breaker has tripped. There is probably a single circuit devoted to your house’s AC, so you should take a look outside to see whether there is a circuit breaker near the AC unit. Rather than simply flipping the breaker to restore functionality, you should make an effort to determine the reason that the AC tripped it. It might be a good idea to call in someone to check it thoroughly. That way, you’ll be able to take care of any problems with your AC before it completely dies on you.

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