Saturday, 15 October 2016
6 Things Your HVAC Needs NOW!
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You rely on your HVAC all year long. But now is when your HVAC is relying on YOU to take the necessary steps to keep it healthy all winter long. Here are six things you should do right now to prepare for the heating season ahead:

1. Change the air filters

The ones with MERV ratings between 8 and 11 are the most cost-effective (see our post Selecting an Air Filter). Not only will you boost your indoor air quality and reduce energy costs, but dirty air filters are the primary reason heating systems fail.

2. Clean-up

Keep your outdoor unit free of leaves, grass, and debris. Clean the coils with a garden hose (see our post The Low-down on Coil Cleaning). Make sure your indoor unit (furnace) is not covered with debris, too. Do not store anything flammable - paint, paint thinners, rags, glues, gasoline, cleaning solvents, and other chemicals - near your furnace. Keep at least 2-3 feet of clearance all the way around your indoor and outdoor units.

3. Address air flow issues

Make sure all the registers are open in all rooms, and that they are unblocked by furniture, drapes or debris (see our post on Vents, Registers & Grilles). Find and seal leaks everywhere throughout your home: leaks in your HVAC's ductwork, leaks around windows and doors (weather-stripping), around plumbing (caulking), and electrical outlets. Leaks especially in the ductwork as well as blocked vents make your HVAC work harder and could cause it to fail earlier. Plus, it wastes energy and money, and decreases your overall comfort.

4. Check the condensate drain line

Water that condenses during the operation of a heat pump or furnace is pumped into a drain line. Verify that the drain line is clear and that there is a clean reservoir in the pump. Bacteria and algae often block the condensate from draining, so clean it with bleach and add a few drops of an algaecide. Keep the drain line from freezing, too. If this drain gets backed up or frozen, your heat will shut down and could cause expensive repairs (see our post Fall Maintenance Secrets Condensate Drainage).

5. Time to switch

If you used a dehumidifier during the summer months, turn it off. If you have a humidifier, turn it on. If you don't have one, get one (see our posts Why Worry about Humidity in the Winter? and  Whole-house Humidifiers).

6. Get a fall maintenance check-up by an HVAC professional

Annual service is cheap compared to the cost of a breakdown. Both Money Magazine and Angie's List will tell you that getting regular HVAC maintenance tune-ups is one of the best ways to save money.  Plus, it could detect a potential health hazard, such as a carbon monoxide leak (see our posts Deadly Carbon Monoxide from Cracked Heat Exchangers  and Your Furnace Can Kill You!).

Doing just these 6 things in the fall will increase your HVAC's performance and efficiency, and help to prevent costly repairs.

For more tips on keeping your HVAC running smoothly, check out our website, podcasts, YouTube Channel, and download our Fall Maintenance eBook now. Here's to a fun and healthy fall!

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Posted on 10/15/2016 11:38 PM by Tony Anderson
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Saturday, 1 October 2016
Cooling an Add-on Space
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In our last post, we talked about some of the things to consider when calculating the peak cooling capacity for an add-on space. In this post, we'll discuss some options for providing cooling to your add-on space.

 

 

Window air conditioner

This option is usually the first one homeowners dismiss, and with good reason. Although it may be cheap to install, it is very costly to run, unsightly especially if you can easily see it from the front of your house - and noisy. If you are cooling a basement space, you might not even have a window you can use! Assuming your add-on space is conducive to using a window air-conditioner, you're still left with a heating dilemma, and more than likely will need to use either a portable room heater or add-on baseboard heat (see our post "5 Ways to Heat Local Spaces").

Tying into your existing central HVAC system

Often, adding ductwork to your add-on space in order to connect it to your existing central HVAC system can be difficult or impossible, but this can be a great solution for providing both heat and air-conditioning. But, even if you can do it, doesn't mean you should. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is your current HVAC system rated to carry the additional load or will adding the additional space mean your existing system will now be under-sized, making your whole house uncomfortable?
  • Will the add-on space need to be a separate zone, so you can control the thermostat independently of the rest of the house? This is often the case when your add-on space is in an area with vastly different needs from the rest of the house: a room that is only used occasionally, a room that is underground, or has lots of windows (a sunroom), or a room with special equipment or machinery.

To see if tying into your current HVAC system is a viable option, you'll need to consult an HVAC professional.

Ductless Mini-Split an Ideal Solution

A ductless mini-split is often an ideal solution for most homeowners because it by-passes the expense of ductwork and is extremely efficient to install and operate. Mini-splits are available as air-conditioning only units, or as a heat pump offering both heating and cooling. Here are just some of the reasons why a mini-split might be a solution for your add-on space:

  • Ease of Installation: It only requires access to an electrical outlet and a single small hole in the wall (about 3" diameter, to accommodate refrigerant lines) for the indoor wall-mounted unit. The majority of the system sits outdoors.
  • Energy Efficiency: Because there is no loss of energy through ductwork (which accounts for up to 20% of the energy cost), these systems are exceedingly efficient. While your typical central HVAC systems may have SEER ratings of 13 or 14, a ductless mini-split offers SEER ratings of 20 or more (see our post What's Your SEER?).
  • Zoning: A mini-split is ideal for a room that is only used occasionally or is closed off part of the time: if no one is in the room, there is no reason to pay to heat or cool the space. It is also ideal for a room that will have vastly different heating or cooling requirements from the rest of your house, such as a sunroom or attic bonus room. A ductless mini-split can even be added to a room currently fed by your central HVAC system, but is hard to heat and cool compared with the rest of your house.
  • Features: Many of the latest crop of mini-split systems offer a multi-speed compressor, wireless remote control, programmable timer, and many other innovations.
  • Easy to Maintain: Most have washable, re-usable filters. Plus, it is much quieter than even the quietest window air-conditioner, and there are health benefits by not having ducts, which can gather dust, debris, and mold.

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Posted on 10/01/2016 7:03 AM by Tony Anderson
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Important Tips & Advice

 

 

You often don't think about your heating or air-conditioning system until something goes wrong. But there is so much you can do to help keep your system from breaking down. We regularly post information to help you learn what you can do to keep your system running, to save money and energy.  Search our many posts, videos, and podcasts, for valuable information that is never a sales pitch. Subscribe to receive an email when something new is posted, so you won’t miss any important tips.

Choosing a Repair Company

Whether you’re talking about heating or cooling, repairing or replacing a system, you want a company that can advise you reliably based on what is in your best interest, not based on what is convenient or what earns them the most money (commissions). We'll help you choose the best solution to fit your needs. Check out our many posts at HVAC News You Can Use and our podcasts.

Going Green

We're concerned about the environment and know all the latest technologies - such as geothermal systems, LED lights, and smart thermostats - that can reduce energy and put more "green" in your pocket!  We've provided HVAC systems in certified LEED buildings and written many posts on ways to Go Green.

The Sign of Service

We are a repair company performing a full range of commercial and residential heating, air conditioning, energy management and comfort products service, maintenance, and installation. We are a locally-owned company serving Nashville-Davidson County and the surrounding counties including Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, and Cheatham.

Who We Are

Our service technicians are fully trained and experienced.  We can tackle the most complicated system to the simplest of systems – from large commercial plants to single-family homes.  Our ownership group of Eddie Hutton, Tony Anderson, Roger Eldridge,  Swaney Powers and Alan Seilbeck have over 125 years combined experience as leaders in the HVAC industry.

Dispatch

We are proud of our dispatchers that respond to your telephone call. When your system is down they make things happen. Our trucks are loaded with most parts needed for a quick repair. You can call day and night 7 days a week. Our normal weekday hours are 7:00AM to 5:00PM. Click on the button below to schedule a service call online. Emails and forms can only be answered weekdays from 7-5.”  

615-832-8500 Online Service Call

Maintenance

Did you know you should service your HVAC on a regular schedule – just like you would your car?  We have specialized maintenance programs to ensure the clean, energy efficient and safe operation of your HVAC systems.  This helps minimize service interruptions/breakdowns and maximize your equipment's lifespan.  All maintenance contract customers are assigned a primary technician that will get to know your facility and equipment and will treat it like his own.  You’ll receive discounts on repairs or new installations, and get priority service when it is cold or hot outside and you need service promptly.  Plus, maintenance contract customers are never charged overtime rates for emergency services after-hours, weekends or holidays. We’ll teach you how to save on maintenance costs by showing you things you can do yourself and when you need a technician. Here are some good posts:  Repair vs. Replace, Things to Try Before Calling for Service, Springtime Tips that Pay Off.

Commercial

Our team takes on HVAC projects for office, school, retail and industrial facilities. Check out these case studies:

Replacement of a 250-ton Cooling Tower

Ductless HVAC at Brentwood Middle School