Your Home’s Heating System Efficiency

Your homes heating system efficiency relies on many factors. As a homeowner, there are actions you can take to save money in the long run, as well as make sure that your home is warm during the cold seasons.

  1. Properly Maintained Heating System

To make your furnace last longer, it has to be regularly checked and maintained. There are maintenance steps you can do yourself such as changing the filters, and there are others that are best left to the professionals.

  1. Clean Area Surrounding the Furnace

The furnace is usually located in the basement, which sometimes tends to become a storage room. Make sure that there are no objects that are too close to the furnace that can obstruct airflow. Most importantly, remove flammable items.

  1. Assessing for Replacement

Sometimes, having an old furnace is becoming an expense at a loss. You spend money on fuel or electricity but the heating efficiency is no longer at an acceptable level. The first thing you should look at is the age of your furnace. If it is at least 15 years old, it’s time to check if it should be replaced. Other signs are when you start having unusually high electricity bills and when repairs become frequent.

  1. Choosing an Efficient Heating System

Some of the efficient heating systems include solar heating, geothermal heating, and heat pumps. Although they have a higher initial cost, the return on investment is worth it. Oil and electrical heating are considered the most inefficient because oil prices change and it takes high amounts of electricity to produce heat unless you have an energy efficient electric heat pump. If you’ve decided on replacing your heating system but don’t know what to use, contact American Air Heating & Cooling. They will help you choose a system that fits your requirement and your budget.

Time to Replace Your HVAC System

gas furnaceRegular maintenance of the heating and cooling system can lengthen its lifespan. However, wear and tear are inevitable that replacing your HVAC system becomes necessary. We have listed below the signs that indicate the system needs a replacement.

Clues It’s Time to Replace Your HVAC System

Age of the HVAC System

An air conditioner or heat pump that is more than 10 years old and a more than 15-year-old furnace or boiler are indications that the system needs a replacement. When looking for a new unit, look for the Energy Star label. HVAC Systems with Energy Star label are highly efficient, saving you up to 20% on energy costs. Call a professional HVAC contractor to have the new system installed.

Recurrent Repairs

An HVAC system that requires recurrent repairs results in higher energy bills. The unit is also becoming more inefficient.

Irregular Room Temperature

The temperature in some rooms becomes extreme. Too cold or too hot temperatures in some rooms are telltale signs that the system is not working properly brought by inadequate insulation and duct problems.

Absence of a Programmable Thermostat

Your home is either too cold or too hot when you arrive. If no one is left at home, a programmable thermostat will allow you to set the right temperature to make your home comfortable when you arrive.

Humidity Issues

Poor system operation, leaky ductwork, and inadequate equipment lead to humidity problems.

Dust Accumulation

If your home is accumulating too much dust, it could be that the HVAC system has leaky ducts. Leaky ducts can draw air and particles from crawl spaces, attics, and basements and scatter them all over your home. Sealing the ducts can solve this problem.

Noisy HVAC System

If your unit is becoming too noisy, it is an indication of indoor coil problems and a small duct system.

Below 5 Energy Yardstick Score

A home energy yardstick score of below 5 indicates that you have an above average energy usage that leads to higher energy bills.

Questions to Ask the HVAC Contractor

It is important to ask the correct questions before purchasing a new system. Here are some questions that will help you evaluate if you found the right HVAC system for you.

  • What size HVAC system is appropriate? If you have room additions, matching the specifications of your current system may not be a good option.
  • Do you need multiple cooling and heating zones? A reliable and professional HVAC contractor should be able to help you choose the appropriate system that will give you better comfort and energy savings.
  • What are your best alternatives? The contractor should be able to give you efficient alternatives, such as radiant heat systems, heat pumps, and forced-air heating and cooling systems.
  • Should you address humidity problems in your home with either a humidifier or a home dehumidifier?
  • Does the contractor have any special offers or rebates?
  • Will you be getting a tax credit with the new system?
  • What is the efficiency level of the new system? Aside from the lifetime operating costs, you should also consider operating costs when making a decision.
  • What are the filter types they offer? Filter types vary from washable and disposable, with some capable of improving indoor air quality, like HEPA filters, that protect the family’s health.
  • What service plan do they offer to protect and maintain your system?

Replacing your HVAC system does not merely start from buying a new system or installing it at home. It requires a reliable HVAC contractor and having honest communication.

Heat Pump Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

A heat pump system is an air conditioning unit that provides both comfort cooling during summer and comfort heating during winter. It works like a central air conditioning system, with the only difference being the unit must function throughout the year. Understanding the heat pump basics will help you to purchase the HVAC system that best fits your needs.

How can a heat pump system give off both cooling and heating?

A typical heat pump system has two coils, or heat transfer surfaces, referred to as the evaporator and the condenser. The indoor coil is found inside the air handler or blower compartment. The outdoor coil has a large fan that draws air through it.

To generate the needed mode of system operation, the function of evaporator and condenser is altered. Depending on the mode it is operating in, both coils can work as either the evaporator or condenser.

How does a heat pump system provide cooling?

To provide cooling during the summer months, the indoor coil acts as the evaporator while the outdoor coil acts as the condenser. The inside air travels across the cooling coil (evaporator) and transfers heat from the air to the coil. Once the heat reaches the outer coil, the condenser expels the air to the outdoors.

How does a heat pump provide heating?

The two coils exchange functions in the heating mode. The internal coil works as the condenser while the external coil works as the evaporator. The outside air travels across the external coil, removing the heat from the air to the coil and is transferred to the internal coil. Once it reaches the condenser, the outside heat is expelled to the air traveling across the external coil.

How does the evaporator take in heat?

To take in heat from a substance, the air temperature must be lower than the medium heat being transferred. For example, the evaporator’s surface temperature must be lower than 75° to cool a 75° air in an inhabited space.

To facilitate the preferred heat transfer, the refrigerant (heat transfer medium) is distributed through the coil.

How does the condenser eliminate heat?

It is necessary for the condenser to have a regular temperature that is higher than the surrounding medium. To facilitate the preferred heat transfer, the refrigerant is distributed through the coil.

A refrigerant is a chemical element that can absorb and eliminate huge amounts of heat energy rapidly. Regulating the refrigerant’s pressure at various points in the heat pump system determines whether the heat transfer system works as the evaporator or as the condenser.

How can I keep the evaporator cool?

The evaporator takes in heat into the system, so you need to make sure it is cooler than the refrigerant. To make this possible, it is important for the refrigerant to have a low temperature, too. To obtain the preferred refrigerant pressures in the evaporator, we utilize the compressor and metering device of the system.

How do I keep the condenser warm?

To keep the evaporator cool and the condenser warm, keep the refrigerant’s pressure in the condenser high. The compressor and the metering device in the heat transfer coils obtain the preferred pressures of the refrigerant.

The above are just a few of the heat pump basics you need to know to know how your system works and if you need the help of an HVAC expert.

The Most Common Types of Furnace Repair

Knowing the most common types of furnace repair saves you from costs and worries. Listed below are the 10 most common types of furnace repair so you can fix it yourself or understand the technician.

Dirty or Completely Clogged Filters

Dirty or completely clogged filters will decrease the efficiency of your furnace. Your system will work hard to push adequate air to heat your home. This can damage the fan motor’s limit switch if left unattended, leading to a costlier repair than normal. It is also a fire hazard.

Thermostat Inaccuracies

The thermostat is an essential component of your furnace, as it acts like the brain of the system. It tells your furnace the temperature you want to maintain in your home and how often to turn it on to keep that temperature. A malfunctioning thermostat will not be able to give the correct instructions to your furnace. Your system may still work, but not as it should be or what you expect.

Deterioration on Components

Some components of your furnace will deteriorate over time. These include bearings, belts, filters, switches, motors, pilots, fan blades, and burners. Make sure to check these parts regularly to make sure they are in good working condition.

Ignition Problems

Ignition problems will make your system unable to generate any heat even if the other parts are in good working condition. There are several kinds of ignition systems, such as electric-powered or electrical spark and gas-powered or hot surface systems. Seek the help of a licensed HVAC professional to check on this for safety reasons.

Recurrent Cycling Between On and Off Modes

Something is wrong with your furnace if it seems to be cycling rapidly instead of the usual cycle of running for a time and staying off for a time. Call an HVAC professional to check your unit. It could be a dirty filter or a malfunctioning thermostat to a fan motor.

Odd Noises or Grumbles

It is normal to hear some noise when your system is running because of the fan and the blower. However, peculiar, odd, and irregular noises like bangs, rumbles, squeaks, clangs, rattles are indications of potential problems. This could mean that your furnace may have swallowed outside fragments or been occupied by household pests. It could also mean that some components have loosened or detached.

Your System Refuses to Work or Keeps Resetting

A thermostat issue could make your system to reset continually. It could also mean that there is a trip in the source of power. An interruption of gas power to the furnace can lead to a non-functioning system. It could also be caused by a problem with the gas pipe valve or the flame sensor.

Higher Electric Bills Even if Your Furnace is Not Working

A furnace repair is imminent if your electric bills are higher than usual, even or especially if your system does not heat your home adequately. High-energy consumption can indicate a dirty, underpowered, or damaged furnace.

Neglected Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is important to keep your system in perfect working mode. Timely replacement of certain components, lubrication of certain kinds of motors, tightening of screws and bolts, removing debris, and changing filters are a few vital maintenance tasks that can make your system healthy.

Although you may be able to identify the issues with your furnace, troubleshooting the real issue may be difficult. This is where the services of a qualified and professional HVAC contractor comes handy. They are trained for this task and can clean, maintain, and perform furnace repair as well as perform an energy audit. Be sure to call American Air for your HVAC needs!

The Care and Keeping of Your HVAC

You can enjoy the benefits offered by an HVAC system if it is in good working condition. To keep your system in tip-top shape, follow this easy, workable preventative HVAC maintenance plan.

What to do NOW

  • Purchase a high-quality and high-efficiency pleated air filter
  • Remove any blockages, such as leaves, grass, pollen, and stones
  • Make sure that approximately 2 feet of the area surrounding your outside system is clear of clutter

Monthly and Seasonal HVAC Maintenance

  • Examine refrigerant lines every month
  • Change your filters at least every 3 months
  • Turn the water off on the furnace humidifier during summer
  • Change the humidifier filter and turn the water on during fall

Annual Maintenance

  • Change your carbon monoxide detector battery
  • Make sure that your outdoor AC is placed on solid, flat ground
  • Mix bleach and water to clear the air conditioning condensate drain

Tips on Keeping Your HVAC System Healthy

  • Make sure your filter is excellent. If not, replace it with a superior quality filter. Superior quality pleated filters have an electrostatic charge. This functions like a magnet so they can grasp very small particles, including those that transmit germs and bacteria.
  • Check the filter every month and depending on the model of filter follow a 30, 90 or 180 day period when replacing the filter . Replace the filter as soon as it looks dirty and clogged. You will need to change the filter more frequently if you have pets.
  • Leave at least 2-feet clearance around the external AC unit and heat pump. Clear the top and sides of the external AC units and pumps by removing rubble and litter, such as stones, leaves, twigs, and pollen during spring, summer, and fall. Avoid unloading cut grass or clippings near the HVAC.
  • Examine the insulation of on the refrigerant lines that lead into your home. Replace it immediately if it is damaged or missing.
  • Ensure that the system is flat on the floor. Examine your external AC unit and heat pump annually to make sure that they are on level and firm ground.
  • Remove any clogs and blockages. Mold and algae accumulate on your system. Remove this by mixing a cup of bleach with water then pour it into the AC condensate drain. Do this once a year. Set the humidistat between 35-40% relative humidity then switch on the water supply.
  • In summer, turn the water supply to the furnace humidifier off. Alternatively, change the humidifier wick filter in fall.
  • Prevent adding unnecessary strain on your system. Avoid closing more than 20% of your home’s registers.
  • Change the battery in your carbon monoxide detector every year.
  • Have a reliable heating and cooling provider service your system yearly. American Air will send an expert HVAC technician to your home to conduct an inventory on your system and examine its status. If you need information, do not hesitate to ask the technician.

Practicing the above preventative HVAC maintenance tips will help in lengthening the lifespan of your system.

7 Reasons to Have a Ductless Heating & Cooling System

Ductless heating and cooling systems have become extremely popular. Find out why.

1. Cost-Efficient

Ductless heating and cooling systems use much less power to operate, giving you 20-30% energy savings in a month. The improvement is because the heated or cooled air is brought straight into a room. These systems may make you eligible for rebates or tax credits from the government.

2. Improved Air Quality

These systems feature filters that can decrease dust, allergens, pollen, bacteria, and other air pollution. This means you and your family get to breathe cleaner air, leading to better health.

3. Environment-Friendly

Ductless systems follow the Energy Star standards. This indicates that they are very energy efficient. These heating and cooling units use R410A, an HFC refrigerant that does not harm the ozone layer. These systems reduce your carbon footprint. This makes ductless heating and cooling systems eco-friendly all through their life spans.

4. Easy to Install

Compared to the normal, ducted systems, ductless HVACs are easier to install. They are smaller than regular systems. They also require less time and changes to your home. Installation can take as little as one day.

5. Flexibility

Ductless HVACs come in split- or multi-split systems. You can install them in room additions, apartments, townhomes, condos, or just specific rooms.

6. Enhanced Comfort

You decide on the number of units to install and where to install them without having to worry about major changes to your home. Ductless systems allow you to set the temperature based on the preference of the family members, with different temperatures in different rooms. This makes everybody happy and saves the family from any arguments brought by discomfort.

7. Quiet Operation

Ductless systems work quietly because most parts are installed outside your home. This allows you to warm or cool your home without hearing obnoxious sounds. TV or movie viewing, working, sleeping, and even conversations are better with less noise.

Whether you use it to cool or warm your home, ductless heating and cooling systems give you energy savings, efficiency, personal control, and comfort. These systems are a great for meeting your home temperature needs all year round.

Homeowner’s Guide to Extending HVAC Life

An efficient HVAC system allows you to get the best possible function. Aside from getting your money’s worth, you get the assurance of meeting your preferred temperature and energy savings. Check our homeowners guide to extending HVAC life.

Filtration

Clean your filter regularly and replace if needed. A dirty or clogged filter will cause your HVAC to stop functioning.

  • Replace the 1st disposable filter every 2-3 months
  • Replace the 4th high-efficiency media filter every 6-9 months
  • Clean the electronic air cleaner and pre-filters every 3-6 months if necessary (Check your HVAC manual for details)

Make sure to purchase high-quality replacement filters from your local heating and cooling provider.

Thermostat Settings

Save on energy costs by keeping your thermostat within the recommended levels. This will prevent early equipment set-back and extend HVAC life.

The thermostat cooling settings should be kept from 70° to 76°, and heating settings should be kept from 68° to 72° .

Setting your air conditioning too low can lead to HVAC system failure. Turn off your AC if you believe it has stopped working. Then, call your local HVAC contractor to service your unit.

Yearly Maintenance

Schedule a yearly check-up with a licensed HVAC technician. HVAC manufacturers recommend yearly assessment of the system to keep it in good condition. A regular yearly check-up and maintenance will improve how it runs and can lengthen your system’s lifespan.

When to Schedule Maintenance with a Licensed HVAC Technician

Spring – gas furnace with air conditioning
Fall – heat pump with gas or electric furnace

However, you can also request an HVAC technician anytime during the year to check your system.

Before Calling an HVAC Technician

  • Reset the HVAC system.
  • Confirm if your settings are correct and if the thermostat is displaying that the heating or cooling is on as shown in the thermostat manual.
  • Turn the equipment off.
  • Switch the equipment off for 10 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Remove and clean or change the filter.
  • Switch the heating or cooling on.
  • Inspect the airflow from the registers.

What to Do if the System is Not Working?

  • Remove any blockages around the furnace for safe and easy access.
  • Call your local HVAC contractor immediately.

Remember that your HVAC system works hard and knowing how to take care of it will lead to better overall function. Follow the above homeowner’s guide for extending HVAC life and a better functioning HVAC system.

Everything You Need to Know About Heating & Air Conditioning Columbus, Ohio

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and is responsible for controlling the heat and air flow of a space. These can range from the air conditioner at home to the huge systems found in apartments, business establishments, office buildings, and industrial complexes. An efficient HVAC system provides indoor comfort by stabilizing thermal comfort. Its design follows the principles of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Here are the basics you need to know about heating and cooling in Columbus, Ohio.

Components of an HVAC System

The ‘H’ in HVAC

Cool air is distributed via air conditioners and heat pumps. When the air conditioners and heat pumps are in the cooling mode, the heat is eliminated in the room and keeps the warm climate in your home during the cooler months of the year. These systems use refrigerants to cool the air inside a building and to remove excess humidity to provide air in a space.

This process is the same only in reverse for heating. There are several types of heating systems, with the forced air system as the most popular. However, many homeowners also use geothermal or radiant heating systems. All these systems create heat at a central source and distribute it throughout the home via different methods.

The ‘V’ in HVAC

Ventilation replaces the musty and stale air inside the building with fresh air. It eliminates some of the dust, heat, carbon dioxide, and moisture inside the area and replaces it with fresh outdoor air. It improves the air quality by removing the excess humidity inside a building, making it an effective humidifier.

The Thermostat

The control component of an HVAC system, the thermostat controls the heat and air conditioning. It allows you to set the required temperature at a specific time for each room. It maintains the programmed temperature at the set time giving assurance that utmost comfort is inside your home. To regulate the temperature, you only need to press a button to attain your desired heating or cooling levels.

Different Kinds of HVACs

Keeping your home comfortable and livable is the main function of an HVAC system.

The Split HVAC System

This traditional type of HVAC has components that are fitted both in the internal and external area of your home or a building. They are optimized for the best heat and air flow. It includes a furnace, an air conditioner or a fan coil, an evaporator coil, and a heat pump system.

The Packaged HVAC System

These systems combine several components found in a single unit. Having a compact design, it is ideal for homes and building with no provision for the separate parts of a split HVAC system.

The Ductless Split HVAC System

This system is perfect for heating and cooling room additions or other areas, such as home theaters, garages, and exercise rooms, where installing or extending ductwork is not possible. It is a HVAC choice for homes with small spaces.

The Hybrid-Heat Split HVAC System

This system determines the external air temperature and chooses the fuel source that is the most economical for the condition. It includes both an electric heat pump and a gas furnace. It can also work to cool the air inside your home in spite of its name.

The Geothermal Heat HVAC System

These systems are the most cost- and energy-efficient systems available in the market today. They tap into the reliable and moderate temperatures of the earth to cool or heat your home.

Do not hesitate to have your HVAC check to maximize its use and save on energy costs. Call American Air now!

Choosing The Right Water Heater

Choosing the right water heater is not simply a matter of the best brand or having the bigger, the better. With the cost of energy rising, our first consideration will be what is enough for your household? Considering usage, what type of water heater will be best? A household spends between 14-20% a year of the utility bills on water heating. Know the different types, heat source, size, and costs before you decide.

Types of Water Heaters

Conventional Storage Tank Water Heaters

This is the most common type of water heater.  Water is heated in the tank either by gas or electricity and stored until needed. Natural gas types of storage tank heaters cost less than the electric type, though the natural gas water heaters have a higher initial out-of-the-pocket cost. They generally cost less than other water heaters. Still, in general, this wastes energy as water in the tank is kept heated.

Storage water tank heaters last about 10-15 years.

Fuel sources: Electricity, propane, natural gas, fuel oil

Tankless or On-Demand Water Heater

A tankless water heater provides heat only when you turn on the faucet or shower, and as such is more energy efficient. However, with multiple simultaneous users, it becomes less efficient in heating water consistently. To solve this you might need another tankless water heater if hot water usage is high. This is more costly than a storage water tank heater.

The good note is that tankless water heaters last longer, about 20 years or more.

Fuel sources:  Electricity, propane, natural gas

Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat Pumps work by pulling heat from the air and then transferring it to to the tank to heat the water. They are more energy efficient than conventional storage tank heaters, but they cost more to install. Furthermore, this type of heater doesn’t work well in cold places, and they need to be installed in places that maintain heat between 40-90 degrees. Heat pump water heaters also need more space of clearance around it to be able to capture enough heat from the air, plus a drain for the resulting condensate.

Heat Pump water heaters last about the same as the storage tank type, 10-15 years.

Fuel sources:  Electricity, propane, natural gas

Solar Water Heater

As the name suggests, solar panels installed on the roof absorb the sun’s heat and transfer the heat into the storage tank. Though this is earth-friendly as it uses nature’s own heat, this may not be enough on cloudy days or when demand is high, or where there is not too much sun. You will still need a backup heater just in case. They are also relatively expensive to install.

Solar water heaters last about 20 years.

Fuel source: Solar heat

Tankless Coil or Indirect Water Heaters

A tankless coil water heater works by water flowing through a heating coil in the main furnace or boiler. They may not be efficient all the time. Indirect water heaters, on the other hand, are more efficient. They work by using the boiler or main furnace to heat fluid through a heat exchanger in the storage tank.

The lifespan of tankless and indirect water heaters: 10 years.

Fuel sources: Electricity, propane, natural gas, fuel oil.

Aside from choosing the right water heater and the availability of fuel source in your area, you also need to consider the size/capacity. Contact us for a more efficient estimate and to get your best options in choosing the right water heater.

The Most Common HVAC Repairs Columbus, Ohio

HVAC units are built sturdy enough to last for many years, but a diligent maintenance will keep them at optimum performance. Knowing the most common problems and HVAC repairs will help you understand how to keep your HVAC operating more efficiently longer.HVAC Repairs

The Common HVAC Repairs

Blown Fuses

The fuse is what keeps the unit’s compressor or motor from overheating. When the unit stops working, the technician checks this first.

Filters

Filters actually need to be replaced or cleaned about every 2 months if your want your unit to be operating smoothly. A dirty filter reduces air flow which causes the unit to freeze.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant keeps the air cool, and hence, when there are leaks, the unit will not keep a comfortably cool temperature. This also will lead to another problem, the compressor.

Compressor

The compressor is regarded as the heart of the unit, and if the refrigerant levels are low, the compressor will eventually stop working.

Drain Lines

A drain line removes the condensation building up in the condenser coil. If the drain line collects dirt, there will be a water build up in the drain pan and can cause water damage to the unit.

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

Coils remove heat from the air. Check the coils and keep it clean.  Dirty coils reduce the cooling power of your air conditioning system causing your AC unit to work harder. If the unit is off, you can clean it with a water hose.  If you are uncomfortable spraying out the coils then it is best to let an HVAC technician clean it for you.

Capacitors

A capacitor jumpstarts your HVAC’s motor and keeps it running smoothly and at a consistent speed. This, however, can burn up and hence, will not start the motor of the unit. When this happens, only an HVAC professional should tackle this due to the high risk of electrocution.

Knowing these common HVAC repairs will help you in maintaining your unit better to last longer. Read a related post on preventive maintenance of your unit.