Struggling With Your Heater

How To Decide Whether To Clean Or Replace Furnace Ductwork

Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Decide Whether To Clean Or Replace Furnace Ductwork

The subject of repairing or replacing your ductwork may come up if you’re trying to increase your furnace’s efficiency, if you’re worried that there is any damage, or if you are trying to improve the air quality in your home. Even if your home is only a few years old, certain circumstances may require the attention of professionals. The primary factor in whether you should clean or replace your ductwork is the severity of the problem you are experiencing. Poor Air Quality If your ducts are revealed to be the source of poor air quality in your home, a professional may recommend cleaning and repairs if there are any gaps letting in large amounts of dust or debris. This may also be necessary if there is any mold growth in the ducts, which can spread spores into every room. In most cases, a standard cleaning should suffice, but there are a few exceptions. The first exception is the material of the ductwork. Some duct lining materials are not easily cleaned, and the cost to clean them would be comparable to replacing the affected areas. The second exception is if the debris or mold contamination is so severe that a cleaning would not properly get rid of it. Energy Inefficiency It’s a given that some hot air will be lost through holes in your ductwork—it’s just a matter of how much. Once it gets to a certain level—say, 20 percent heat loss—you may consider repairs to patch some of the holes and breaks in the ducts. If you have ductwork that is decades old, it may be tempting to simply replace it all, but this isn’t necessarily the best option. For example, switching from old metal ductwork to flex ductwork doesn’t guarantee an increase in efficiency. Replacement is a safe choice if any damage to the ductwork is severe, or if repairs would necessitate working on most of the ductwork in your home anyway. Otherwise, repairs may be a better option, even with old ductwork. The key is in how these repairs are done. For example, rather than simply using tape to reseal the ducts, use a mastic product instead. This will do much more to increase your furnace’s efficiency. Poorly Maintained or Dirty Ducts If your furnace is properly maintained, you can go years without needing to clean your ducts or perform any repairs. If you have let this maintenance slip, or if you have purchased a house where the system was not adequately maintained, the ductwork should at the very least be inspected. The effectiveness of cleaning on certain problems, like layers of gunk or debris from smoking, pets, or home renovations, can start to lessen depending on how long it has been allowed to build up, but let a contractor make this determination. In most cases a cleaning service will be adequate to fix the problem. Replacement should only be necessary if there is a contaminant the cleaning service cannot get rid of or if there is additional damage. For more information, check out websites...

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2 Ways Other Parts Of The Condensing Unit Can Affect The Blower Fan

Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Ways Other Parts Of The Condensing Unit Can Affect The Blower Fan

The condensing unit outside your home contains the parts vital to starting the cooling process. Among those parts is a blower fan that points at the condenser coils to prevent overheating and promote the proper phase change that allows the refrigerant fuel to move from outside to inside your home’s air handler. Problems with the fan’s blades or motor can occur and cause issues with the cooling system. But problems in other parts of the condensing unit can also impact how the fan does its job. Malfunctioning Condenser Coils Overpower Fan Capacity The condenser coils change gas refrigerant into a liquid and become warm in the process. The blower fan circulating ambient air over the surface of the coils controls the warmth. But the coils can experience a problem that causes the surface to become too hot for the fan to offset, so the system will then experience a system shutdown due to a safety sensor that monitors for overheating. What factors can cause the condenser coils to become overly hot? The coils can heat up due to a problem in the phase change calibration, which can include either dirt on the surface of the coils or a refrigerant issue. The refrigerant issues can include too little refrigerant in the system or the wrong type of refrigerant in the system. Malfunctioning Compressor Capacitors Shut Fan Down Before it Functions   The fan turns on once the compressor pushes gas refrigerant into the condenser coils. If the compressor doesn’t start up properly, the fan doesn’t start up properly and your whole system fails to cool your home. A compressor shutting down quickly but unexpectedly is often due to a broken start capacitor. The start capacitor is a small cylindrical electricity storage device that can give the compressor a power boost if the compressor should falter while starting. If the capacitor fails, the compressor will simply shut off and the unit will stop running. You can test the start capacitor with a multi-meter set to Ohms of resistance. You first need to turn off the power to the unit and drain the charge from the capacitor by setting the meter to AC and draining the terminals to zero. Check the Ohms reading and make sure it matches what’s printed on the capacitor. If it doesn’t match, call an air conditioning repair tech, such as those found at Phil’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., for a new...

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4 Tips For Inspecting The HVAC System Of A New Home

Posted by on December 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Tips For Inspecting The HVAC System Of A New Home

When you are in the process of purchasing a new home, you will want to take the time to inspect the HVAC system to ensure that it will not need replacing as soon as you move in. Even if it is in bad condition, though, if you are still interested in purchasing the home, you can offer a lower price in order to save money to use to replace the HVAC system. Here are four tips to consider for inspecting the HVAC system: Visual Inspection: The first thing you want to do is look at the HVAC equipment. If it looks in good condition and does not make strange noises, then it most likely works just fine. However, if it looks old or dusty and makes some strange noises, then you will want to hire a professional to inspect the system to determine whether or not it will need repairs or replacement.  Ask About Age: If the HVAC equipment looks to be in good condition, then the next thing you will want to do is ask how old it is. If it’s older than 10 years, then you will want to have it inspected by a professional. However, if it’s older than 15 years, then you will need to replace it upon moving in, which means that you should definitely negotiate on the price of the home with the current owners.  Check the Energy Label: When you are looking at the equipment, you need to also look at the energy label. If it does not meet the current requirements, which you can find on here, then you can expect that your energy bills are going to be high. This, in turn, means that you should negotiate on the price of the home since you will be paying more in long-term costs, especially since you are going to want to replace the less than efficient HVAC system at some point.  Ask About Previous Repairs: Finally, you should ask about previous repairs that the homeowners have had done to the HVAC system recently. This will help you determine whether or not it could mean significant problems in the future. If there have been many large repairs done recently, then this means that the HVAC system won’t last too much longer before it needs to be replaced. However, if it’s only had one or two small repairs, then this likely means that the homeowners have taken care of the system and it’s less likely to stop functioning in the near future.  When you consider these four tips, you can be sure that you are purchasing a home with a decent HVAC system or at least negotiating on the price so that you can have a company that specializes in HVAC services replace it in the near future if...

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Leaning Towards Crawl Space Encapsulation? 3 Ways To Prevent Moisture Buildup

Posted by on October 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Leaning Towards Crawl Space Encapsulation? 3 Ways To Prevent Moisture Buildup

If you’re in the process of building a new home and it has a crawl space, your contractor might have talked to you about crawl space encapsulation. This process allows you to seal your crawl space off, which makes your home more energy efficient. Once the crawl space has been encapsulated, however, it can tend to develop a moisture problem. This is particularly true if your new home is located in a humid region of the United States. To prevent moisture buildup, you’ll need to provide adequate ventilation for your crawl space. Here are three methods you can use to ventilate your encapsulated crawl space and reduce moisture. Run the HVAC Unit Through the Crawl Space If the duct work for your new HVAC system is going to be running through the crawlspace, you can use it to reduce moisture. Your HVAC contractor will need to install several vents inside the crawl space. Once they’re in place, air will be circulated through the crawl space each time your heater or air conditioner is running. One of the benefits of using your existing HVAC ducts is that no other construction needs to be performed. Bring in an Exhaust Fan If the duct work to your HVAC system won’t be traveling through your crawl space, you can still circulate the air to reduce moisture. Simply install an exhaust fan in the crawl space. You don’t need a large, industrial-sized exhaust fan either. All you need is one similar to the type used over your kitchen stove or in the bathroom. While the exhaust fan is running, it will circulate the air, drawing the moist air out of the crawl space and bringing in dry air from outside. Install a Dehumidifier If the humidity levels can be a problem where you live, you might want to consider having a dehumidifier installed in your crawl space. The humidifier will draw moisture out of the air, leaving your crawl space with the dry air it needs to prevent mold growth. It should be noted that your dehumidifier will need to be properly maintained, or you could end up with excess water build-up in the crawl space, especially if the unit malfunctions during extreme humidity. If you’re going to encapsulate your basement, make sure you’re prepared to control the humidity. The tips provided here will reduce moisture buildup, which will help prevent mold growth in your crawl space. For additional information regarding encapsulation and moisture control, be sure to speak to your HVAC...

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How To Clean Your AC Fan Compartment

Posted by on August 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Clean Your AC Fan Compartment

Most people think that they need to immediately call an HVAC contractor if their air conditioning system is not working perfectly. In reality, the problem is often very simple to fix (or at least to diagnose). With a little guidance, you can often find and fix the problem on your own. For instance, air conditioners commonly lose their efficiency when the fan compartment gets dirty and the output vents get clogged. This article explains how to repair these common problems. Accessing the Fan Compartment First of all, you need to access the main compartment. Make sure you turn the power off before you start to do any work. Then, remove the metal bird guard at the top of the AC unit.  Most guards can be removed by just removing a couple of Phillips head screws with a power drill. The guard should lift right out of place once the screws are removed. Cleaning Out the Compartment You definitely want to have a flashlight so can see all the way to the bottom of the compartment. The fan blades will block most of the visibility, but you should still be able to reach the bottom of the compartment. Start off by snaking a hose vacuum down there see you can suck all the dirt and leaves off of the floor. You also need to locate the output duct. This is where air is circulated from the fan into the ducts so it is very important that this junction is not clogged. Most likely, you’ll be able to unclog any leaves or dust in the junction with the vacuum. However, if you have a serious clog, you might need to actually reach down and clear it out with your hands. Clean Up any Mold While you have full access to your fan compartment, you also want to clean the sidewalls and the fan blades. Use a damp rag to wipe away any dust buildup. It is also important to search for mold on the inside of the compartment. Any mold in this area can be circulated into your home. This is a major concern if you have allergies. In fact, mold could be the cause of your allergies, so you want to clean it off as soon as possible. Usually, a wet rag will get the job done, but you might want to use a household cleaner if you spot mold. It is very easy to clean the fan compartment of a normal air conditioning unit. Don’t neglect this simple maintenance. For assistance, visit...

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4 Signs You Need To Clean Your Air Ducts

Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Signs You Need To Clean Your Air Ducts

Your air ducts work to move hot and cold air from your central heating and cooling system throughout your home, maintaining the comfort levels in each room. However, over time, debris can build up and block your ducts, ruining the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Thankfully, there are a number of warning signs you can look out for to help determine when you need to contact a professional to have your ducts cleaned. No Air Flow Hold your hand over the vents in your home to see if there is any air coming through when your air conditioner or central heating system is turned on. If there is a very small amount of flowing air, or none at all, your air ducts have become clogged and your heating and cooling systems cannot service your home properly. It’s a good idea to check every vent in the home, as sometimes the blockages are only located in a single room or area of your house. Strange Smells If you notice a strange smell in your home whenever your air conditioner or heating system turns on, there may be mold and mildew growth within your ductwork. This usually takes on an earthy smell, and occurs if you have a high amount of humidity within your home. You should consult with a professional immediately, as mold can be a serious health hazard if left unchecked. In the future, you should also consider investing in a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of humidity within your home and discourage further mold growth. Increased Energy Bills If you notice that your energy bills have increased without a corresponding increase in the amount of appliance use within your home, your ductwork may be blocked up. This prevents heated or cooled air from reaching the rest of your home, and so the thermostat of your heating and cooling system will not register that your heating and cooling system is working. This leads to an increase in the amount of energy that your heating and cooling system uses as it tries to make up the difference. Dust and Debris If you notice a larger amount of dust and other small pieces of debris throughout the air in your home, especially around the vents in each room, there may be a large buildup within your air duct system. This can greatly reduce your home’s air quality and aggravate respiratory conditions and allergies if left unchecked, and you should contact a professional, such as one from Universal...

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How To Fix Common Heater Problems

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Fix Common Heater Problems

If your central heater hasn’t been working that well recently, then there are a number of things that might be wrong with it. However, you might not need to go and buy a replacement because you might be able to handle the situation yourself. With a little knowledge and a couple of tools, you will be able to diagnose and fix a wide variety of common furnace problems. To help you get started, here are some solutions to a very common heating problem: a total lack of heat.   No Heat At All? If your heater doesn’t seem to be generating any heat at all, then there is a good chance that it isn’t actually getting any power. To determine if this is the case, you want to go out and check the furnace for any heat. If it feels very cold to the touch, or even room temperature, then it probably isn’t turning on at all. If there is something amiss with the control panel, then you might be able to tinker with some settings and get your heater back to working condition. In particular, the settings on your furnace might have been adjusted so that it only turns on when a certain temperature threshold has been reached. However, if the settings haven’t been adjusted recently, then the solution is probably a little more involved. Check the Power You will want to check the actual power source for the furnace. If it uses electricity or is gas-powered and starts via electricity, then you will want to take a look at the power line to the furnace. If it is worn, frayed, or otherwise damaged, then you might need to replace the cord. If there is nothing obviously wrong with the cord, then you will need to go a little further and check the circuit breaker. Power outages can unexpected flip switches in your circuit breaker, as can the act of overdrawing power in part of your home. Flipping the switch back to its correct position should solve the problem for now, but you will want to figure out why the switch flipped in the first place. If it was an outage, then there isn’t much that you can do about it, but if you overdrew power in your garage or wherever the furnace is, then you may need to move some appliances out of that area to reduce the strain on your home’s power distribution. For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from McFoy Refrigeration,...

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Clean Your Ducts To Protect Your Health

Posted by on April 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Clean Your Ducts To Protect Your Health

Have you ever walked into a home that has not been dusted in a long while? A thick layer of dust coats everything. What is this dust made from? While some people think that dust is made mostly of dead skin cells, the truth is even more disgusting. Dust is made of fine sand, dust, insect droppings, pet dander, plant pollen, insect carcasses, mold spores, and other environmental contaminants. While frequent dusting will help to keep your home free of this concoction of grossness, what about your ducts? Regular duct cleaning can help to keep both your house and your lungs clean.  How Ducts Get Dirty Hidden away inside your walls, ducts might seem like an unlikely place for dust to build up, but dust can enter ducts in a couple of different ways. For one, the pores in the your AC system’s air filter are large enough to allow some contaminants through. For another, when your AC system is at rest, dust can fall into your ducts through the vents spread throughout your house. These contaminants can then wreak havoc on your lungs. What about DIY Duct Cleaning? You might think that there is nothing more to cleaning your ducts than opening up your vents and inserting a vacuum. The problem with this approach is that your vacuum will have a limited reach. While cleaning the first few feet of your ducts is a good start, you still have to worry about the dust spread throughout the rest of your ducts.  Why Call the Professionals? You should be able to conduct inspections on your own. Simply open your ducts, shine a light down the first few feet of your ducts, and look for a coating of grime. Professionals will connect a vacuum to your ducts near where the ducts connect to your AC unit. They can then use specially designed brushes to push dust back from your vents toward the high-powered vacuum. In this way, they can quickly and thoroughly clean the full length of your ducts.  If left unchecked, your ducts can gather enough dust to put an abandoned home to shame. Every time you turn on your AC, the air flowing through your ducts will gather some of the accumulated contaminants and spew them all over your house. Not only can this make it hard to keep your home clean, but it can also irritate your lungs. You should have your ducts cleaned whenever you find signs of built-up dust inside them, but especially if you have asthma or allergies. Proper duct maintenance will help to keep the air in your home clean.  For duct cleaning, contact a company such as Coastal Home...

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3 Alternative Heating Solutions To Combine With HVAC

Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Alternative Heating Solutions To Combine With HVAC

Heating your home can be a major cost that you want to cut down on. There are many improvements that you may consider to improve heat loss and energy efficiency. You may also want to consider alternative heating solutions, such as passive designs or using stoves for heat sources. Here are some of the alternative heating solutions that you may want to consider combining with conventional HVAC: 1. Passive Heating And Cooling Designs With Home Renovations Passive home designs can be used to heat and cool your home naturally. If you are planning on doing major renovations to your home, this can be done by adding things like an all-season room to your home, or garden windows and greenhouses that have an attached design. This can help your home warm naturally during sunlight hours to help reduce your heating costs. You can also include features that help keep your home cool with ventilation through things like functional skylight windows or a solar tower design with a cupola on your roof. 2. Using Pellet And Biomass Stoves To Supplement Home Heating Biomass energy can be a much more affordable way to heat your home during the winter months. Pellet heating systems even come in stoves, which only need a few improvements to install them in your home, such as an additional exhaust pipe. In addition to pellet stoves, there are also other biomass systems that can use other fuel materials, such as dried corn, wood ships and other types of dry organic material. 3. Fireplaces And Wood Burning Stoves To Help Keep Your Home Warm Good ole fashion fireplaces and wood burning stoves can also be a great way to heat your home during the winter months. These can be old versions, or they can be new improved models that have flues and designs with vents that help disperse heat more efficiently. This can be an affordable addition to your home to help lower your heating costs during the coldest winter months. If you want something with a modern design, inserts can be a good investment and can even include fans to blow the heat that is produced into your home for more efficient heating. These are some solutions that you may want to consider to help your HVAC heat your home and lower your energy bills. If you are ready to start reducing your heating costs, contact a heating contractor (like those at Don’s AC Service, Inc. and other locations) and talk them about installing other solutions to keep your home warm this...

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Preventing AC Damage During Lawn Care

Posted by on March 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Preventing AC Damage During Lawn Care

When the warm days of spring begin to appear, thoughts quickly turn to the need of cool air conditioning. It may also bring the need for yard work. These two items can go hand in hand, as maintaining your lawn can have an effect on your outdoor HVAC condenser. The following are some things you can do while cleaning the yard to make sure the condenser remains in optimal condition during the warm weather season: Prevent Collecting Debris  One way to keep your condenser in shape during the warm months is to keep any dirt and debris from collecting in it when you are taking care of the lawn. You can place some pavers around the bottom of the condenser to keep this from happening. Taking this step can also keep water from collecting near the bottom during rainstorms. Another benefit of placing some pavers near the bottom of the unit can help keep it level, allowing it to run efficiently. Keep Shrubs Pruned If you have shrubbery planted near the HVAC unit, it is crucial to keep them trimmed back and away from the unit. While there are some benefits to having shrubs planted, including muffling noise and disguising the unit, they can affect how well the system works. If they begin to grow to close, it can affect how well the air can circulate through the condenser. Large shrubs can also make it more difficult for the unit to be serviced if the need arises. Take Care With Weed Removal If you are a fan of removing weeds from your lawn, it is very important to do this carefully when working around the condenser. This is particularly important if you use a weed eater. This piece of equipment can very easily cut the lines that run the outside unit into the house if you are not mindful. Avoid cutting the weeds near the back of the unit to ensure you do not do any damage to the air conditioning system. It can be very exciting to gear up for the spring and summer months, especially after a long winter. However, it is important to not get overzealous when doing yard work around the air conditioning unit. If your air conditioning system suddenly stops working properly after you have worked around it, chances are it will need to be looked at by a HVAC technician. For more information, contact a company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co.,...

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