HVAC Maintenance Tips: Condensation Lines & Airflow

Posted by Will Housh on July 26

Summer is here, and your cooling system will be working heavily to keep your home comfortable over the next few months. The cooling process creates condensation – normally, this exits your system and home without any issues. Occasionally, issues with your drip pan or condensate drain lines may cause water to back up into your home or HVAC equipment.

Spotting HVAC Maintenance Condensation Issues

Water on the floor nearby your air handling unit/evaporator coil is a sign there is a problem with your cooling system’s condensation drain lines. The system will have a drip pan, which is typically located to the bottom of the unit. The drip pan connects to the condensate drain line, which carries water out of the home.

When the drip pan becomes full or clogged, or the condensate line is clogged, water can spill over the drip pan’s edges, onto the floor surrounding the unit. Another sign your condensate lines may be clogged is if no moisture is exiting outdoors.

Musty odors and increasing humidity inside your home are additional signs of a condensate drain system issue. If left untreated, this simple HVAC maintenance issue could lead to serious water damage inside your home.

What Causes this Problem?

Due to the moisture produced by the cooling process combined with airborne contaminants, mold and algae can form in the drip pan. The growth can clog the drip pan, or even rinse into the condensate drain lines causing a clog in the piping.

HVAC Maintenance: Clear Condensate Line Clogs

If you spot any of the tell-tale signs of a condensate line or drip pan clog, the average homeowner is more than capable of clearing simple clogs if confident. To clean your drip pan and condensate lines, follow these steps:

  • Shut off power to your HVAC system. Turn it off at the thermostat as well as the breaker.
  • Locate the drip pan, which is typically positioned underneath the interior air handling unit. You may need to remove a sheet metal panel to access it.
  • If water is present in the drip pan, a clog is likely present in the line. Using a wet/dry vacuum or rags, remove all water from the drip pan.
  • Remove the drip pan and clean away all mold, algae, and contamination with a mild soap.
  • Using your wet/dry vacuum, remove clogs from the condensate drain line. At the exterior exit of the line, using your hand create a seal around the line and the vacuum hose. Run the vacuum for one minute, then inspect the canister for clogs. If the vacuum does not clear the clog, you may be able to run a flexible rubber tube through the lines to manually remove the clog. If you cannot free the clog or are not comfortable with these steps, call an HVAC maintenance professional.
  • Clean the drain lines at the access point. This is usually a T-shaped vent which has a PVC cover. Remove the cover to access the drain. Using distilled vinegar or hot water with a mild dish soap, you can flush out the drain. Leave your solution to soak for 30 minutes, then rinse the lines with clean water. Someone should watch the exterior condensate line exit to ensure water moves through the lines freely.

When it comes to HVAC maintenance, how you maintain the areas surrounding your equipment can be just as important as the maintenance of the actual systems. Poor maintenance in the immediate areas surrounding your air conditioner or furnace could decrease system efficiency, damage components, and even put your family in danger. Follow these HVAC maintenance tips to protect your heating and cooling equipment.

  • Keep the exterior condenser unit or heat pump clear of items. You should leave a clearance of at least two feet surrounding the unit. This will facilitate proper airflow, and allow access to the unit should repairs be required. Never install an enclosure directly against the unit. Outdoor items should never be stored surrounding the unit.
  • Local building codes require gas furnaces and other gas appliances maintain a clearance from the floor and surrounding walls. Space should be left for many reasons: allow HVAC maintenance technicians access to the system, to improve airflow to the system, and to prevent combustible byproducts from building up in the surrounding area, which could lead to a fire. Furnace manufacturers note in their equipment installation guides how much clearance is necessary surrounding their system.
  • Never store items directly next to your furnace. This can limit airflow to the unit, which decreases energy efficiency and cause damage to the system.
  • Certain items should never be stored near a furnace, because they can cause a fire or combust. Combustible materials such as paint or gasoline should be kept in an entirely separate area. Clothing and other fabrics stored near a furnace can catch fire and limit airflow. Cat litter boxes should not be kept in furnace rooms, as ammonia fumes can cause corrosion of the furnace’s heat exchanger. Cleaning solutions should be stored outside the furnace room, in sealed containers.

Restricted airflow is another major problem for heating and cooling systems. Without proper airflow through the system, equipment can become overheated, stressed and forced to consume excessive energy, and it may not be possible to deliver the conditioned air you need in the home.

HVAC Maintenance Tips to Improve Airflow

Homeowners should perform HVAC maintenance monthly to ensure their systems have access to adequate airflow – it’ll improve your comfort and system efficiency. Here’s what to do:

  • Inspect your air filter, changing it if needed. Most air filters should be changed about every 3 months, but during periods of heavy system use, such as summer and winter months, they may become clogged with contaminants sooner and require changing more frequently. Each month, take a look at your filter – if it’s covered in grey contamination, install a fresh one or clean your replaceable filter. Also, it’s best not to use air filters with a MERV rating of 13 or higher (such as HEPA filters) in residential HVAC systems – these powerful filters may actually restrict airflow through the system. A filter rated MERV 8 to 12 is ideal for superior contaminant removal in residential environments. For added contaminant control and air quality improvement, consider installing a whole home air purification system.
  • Check all vents and grilles inside the home. No furniture, rugs, or other items should be placed on top or in front of them. All vent louvers should be set to open – if you wish to close off unused areas to save energy, installing a zoning system is a smarter solution. Your home’s HVAC system was designed to work optimally with all vents open – closing them can cause air to back up in the system, damaging HVAC components as well as ducting.
  • During summer months, ensure your exterior condenser or heat pump has not become clogged with contaminants. It’s easy for grass clippings to blow up against and cover the fins of the unit, which will restrict air from moving through it. Vegetation growing around the unit can also cause airflow issues. Never store items around your cooling system components. If you wish to build a surround to disguise your equipment, leave proper clearance surrounding the unit to allow for air movement – at least 2 feet.

Duct system issues and ventilation problems may also stand in the way of your HVAC systems receiving adequate airflow. These are best handled by qualified HVAC maintenance professionals who can diagnose airflow issues and perform needed repairs or equipment installations.

Find an HVAC Maintenance Technician Today

HVAC.com’s Contractor Directory is your go-to source for finding local HVAC maintenance pros who will provide expert airflow solutions. Search your ZIP code to find a pro near you now!


Source: HVAC.com

The Ultimate Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist

As a commercial business owner, facility costs account for a large chunk of your spending each year. Besides rent or mortgage expenses, energy costs are considerable – U.S. commercial and industrial facilities spend $400 billion on energy alone each year!

Lowering your energy spend generates savings that can be better allocated to other causes, such as expanding your business and generating new income. Looking for a place to start saving? Begin with your commercial HVAC systems.

Importance Of Commercial HVAC Maintenance

HVAC systems, along with lighting, are the biggest energy consumers in the average commercial building. While there’s certainly something to be said for building automation systems and other technology which work to reduce energy consumption, maintaining your systems through commercial HVAC maintenance greatly impacts the amount of energy this equipment uses. Our Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist will show you the steps which need to be followed to keep your building’s HVAC equipment in top shape, consuming less energy and serving you longer.

Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Facility managers and maintenance departments can keep commercial HVAC systems running more efficiently through regular commercial HVAC maintenance. Use this commercial HVAC maintenance checklist as a guide to follow.

Preventative Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Not all businesses require the same needs from their HVAC systems. Customized commercial HVAC maintenance plans may be offered by your preferred contractor, which will provide the specific care your system needs to boost performance.

  • Performed in the spring for cooling systems, the fall for heating systems
  • This is a service which should be performed by a commercial HVAC technician. Preventative maintenance serves as a tune-up for your building’s HVAC systems, helping them run more efficiently throughout the season. Several steps will be taken to correct existing issues and prevent future performance problems and breakdowns – these steps generally include the following.
  • For outdoor components:
    • Coil and cabinet are inspected and cleaned
    • Drain pans and condensate lines are cleared of obstructions
    • Compressor is inspected
    • Fan motor and blades are inspected and lubricated
    • Control box, switches, wiring, and safety controls are inspected
    • Refrigerant level is measured and recharged if necessary
  • For indoor components:
    • Blower assembly is checked and cleaned
    • Belts are lubricated or replaced
    • Combustion blower housing is cleaned
    • Evaporator coil, drip pan, and condensate lines are cleaned and cleared
    • Burner assembly is inspected and cleaned
    • Ignition system is cleaned
    • Safety controls are tested
    • Heat exchanger is inspected
    • Flue system is checked for dislocations and wear
    • Control box, wiring, and connections are checked and tightened
    • Air filter is replaced or cleaned
    • Duct system is checked

Check and Change Air Filters

      • Air filters should be inspected every three to four weeks to ensure the filter has not become clogged with debris.
      • Changing of air filters should be performed every three to six months, per the manufacturer’s recommendation or as needed.
      • Maintenance staff should stay on top of air filter checks and changes, as restricted airflow through the HVAC systems hinders performance and increases energy consumption by this equipment. During periods of heavy use, you may find it necessary to replace filters more frequently.
      • Running your commercial HVAC systems with clean air filters can lower energy consumption by up to 15%.

Program Thermostats

      • Perform at the beginning of heating season and cooling season, and when temperatures hit the point of not using the systems regularly.
      • When it’s time to switch from one HVAC system to the next, or it’s time to not run it so frequently, it’s time to check the programming on your building’s thermostats to ensure settings are optimal for energy savings. Do this by manually programming your thermostats or through your building automation system; even if you’ve programmed heating and cooling schedules in the past, it’s still smart to recheck to make sure they still fit your needs and the same areas are still in regular use.

Periodic System Checks

      • Perform these monthly, or as needed.
      • Check thermostat operation. If your thermostats are not operating correctly throughout the season, your HVAC systems could be running more frequently than necessary, boosting your energy consumption. If thermostats are not working properly, have them repaired or replaced.
      • Check drip pan and drain lines. Clogs in your HVAC systems’ drainage lines can cause moisture to back up into your building, causing mold and mildew growth as well as the potential for damage. Make sure the drip pan and drain lines are emptying correctly and remove any obstructions that develop.

With proper commercial HVAC maintenance, your building’s heating and cooling systems can operate more efficiently year-round, generating notable energy savings for your business. Working with a trusted commercial HVAC professional, you can create a customized commercial HVAC maintenance checklist for preventative heating and cooling care tailored to the unique needs of your business.

HVAC.com connects commercial business owners and facility managers to local commercial HVAC contractors. If you haven’t worked with a commercial heating and cooling company to evaluate and maintain your commercial HVAC systems, it’s time you start. In most areas of the country, there are many contractors to choose from – here are some criteria you should look for when selecting the right commercial heating and cooling company that will best serve your business’s needs.

Commercial Heating And Cooling Companies With NATE-Certified Technicians

NATE, short for North American Technician Excellence, is an independent certifying organization serving the heating and cooling industry. Obtaining NATE certifications is a technician’s way of verifying their industry knowledge and skill – working with NATE-certified technicians provides credibility and verified capabilities.

NATE offers certifications in several areas beneficial to commercial business and building owners, including:

  • Commercial refrigeration
  • Light commercial refrigeration
  • Air distribution
  • Air conditioning
  • Heat pumps
  • Gas and oil heating
  • Gas and oil hydronics
  • HVAC efficiency analyst

Customized Service From A Commercial Heating And Cooling Company

Buildings are unique, as well as the operations of your business – commercial HVAC plays a large role in production, as well as comfort. It is in your best interest to work with a commercial heating and cooling company who will provide individualized services that best fit your needs.

Commercial HVAC maintenance plans shouldn’t always be one-size-fits-all; choose a commercial heating and cooling company who will provide a customized maintenance and service program to keep all your heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration systems performing optimally throughout the year. Your systems may require additional care due to the nature of your operations – it’s best to build a relationship with a commercial heating and cooling company who will get to know your systems and your needs to provide you with optimal solutions for improving performance and energy efficiency.

A credible commercial heating and cooling contractor will provide you with a thorough contract that details all the work they will do, as well as the dates and rates. They’re willing to take the time necessary to explain in detail what is needed, and their justifications for offering you such services.

Experienced Commercial Heating And Cooling Companies

If you work in a particular industry, it may suit you to work with a commercial heating and cooling company that possesses experience serving other businesses in your line of work. They already possess a knowledge of the types of equipment and services you need to get your job done right. Ask any contractor you’re interviewing if they have worked with businesses similar to yours, and what solutions were implemented that brought similar clients success.

Find A Commercial Heating And Cooling Company Today

HVAC.com is your resource for locating top-notch commercial heating and cooling companies in your area. Search our online Contractor Directory to find commercial service professionals serving your area.


Source: HVAC.com

Home Ventilation: Whole House Humidifiers vs. Portable Humidifiers

Posted by Will Housh on July 19

Many homes and businesses throughout the country depend on humidifiers to keep indoor air healthy and comfortable. Humidifiers keep moisture balanced to protect the home, improve air quality, and keep occupants feeling more comfortable.

There are many humidification products on the market, but not all are created equally. The two categories of humidifiers that are available to homeowners are whole home humidifiers and portable humidifiers.

  • Whole home humidifiers work with a building or residence’s heating and cooling systems to add needed moisture to the air as it circulates. They are installed between the supply and return air ducts, and work either with the HVAC system or independently to add moisture. Types of whole home humidifiers include bypass, fan-powered, and steam humidifiers.
  • Portable humidifiers, also called room humidifiers, are stand-alone appliances that add moisture directly into the air of the room they are situated in. There are many different types of portable humidifiers available, including vaporizers, ultrasonic, and evaporative, and each use different technology to add moisture to the air supply.

Which is Better: A Whole Home Humidifier or Portable Humidifier?

As with any type of equipment, there are advantages and disadvantages to everything. Ultimately, they best humidifier choice will depend on the specific indoor air quality challenges you face at home or at work.

Overall, a whole home humidifier is a better choice versus a portable humidifier.

  • A whole home humidifier is installed with the HVAC system, rather than in a certain room.
  • A whole home humidifier is connected to the duct system and therefore can supply the entire home or building with properly moisturized air; they also have a much larger capacity because they are designed to provide coverage for an entire home. Portable humidifiers have much lower capacities, and their efficacy is typically restricted to the room they are installed in.
  • A whole home humidifier requires minimal maintenance. These units are connected to the home or business’s plumbing system, so water used for humidification is fed directly to the unit – portable humidifiers have a water reservoir that requires filling, sometimes daily, to ensure the unit has the needed water to keep indoor humidity at the proper balance point.
  • A whole home humidifier is out of sight and out of mind – they provide necessary moisture without intrusion. Portable humidifiers produce operating noise from the fan and bubbling water, which can be bothersome to users.
  • A whole home humidifier operates efficiently and affordably. A whole home humidifier consumes less energy to balance humidity across an entire home than a portable humidifier does to humidify air in one room of the home.

When to Use a Portable Humidifier?

Just because portable humidifiers are not superior for whole home humidification doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose. There are a few situations where using one will come in handy:

  • Portable humidifiers are a great solution for renters. Humidity can be added to the home’s air without the need to work through a landlord to install a whole home humidifier (that can’t be taken along when it’s time to move).
  • Portable humidifiers are a good way to temporarily boost humidity in a particular area of the home when overall moisture levels are balanced. Adding a portable humidifier can be beneficial when someone is sick, experiencing irritation due to winter dry air, or suffering allergy symptoms.

A Little More About Whole Home Ventilation

Home ventilation deals with how air circulates between the rooms in your home and the outside environment. It helps move air through your home, purifying it and removing unwanted dust, allergens, and smells. It also helps control moisture and humidity, keeping the air in your home fresh.  Proper home ventilation keeps your family healthy and home comfortable. Whether it’s via a forced air system, natural ventilation, or other mechanical means — which we will get to later — home ventilation systems rid your home of airborne particles like dust and allergens that can cause serious health issues.

Additionally, ventilation systems control the humidity and moisture levels in your home, saving you from uncomfortably humid rooms and structural damage caused by excess moisture.

What Kind Of Home Ventilation Options Are There?

Depending on the age of your home, the climate you live in, and your ventilation needs, you could either have mechanical ventilation, natural ventilation or a combination of the two.

Natural ventilation uses the gaps, cracks, and small holes in your home’s structure — along with windows and passive vents — to allow air to move uncontrolled throughout your home. Usually found in older homes, these types of systems dilute the air pollutants in your home enough to keep your family healthy.

  • Pros
    • Cheap
    • Often already “built-in” to older homes
  • Cons
    • Cannot be controlled
    • Does not ventilate home uniformly
    • Can be expensive when temperature control is an issue
    • In mild weather, it may not remove enough pollutants from the air
    • During cold or windy weather, your home may become drafty and uncomfortable

Mechanical ventilation uses things like fans, range hoods, and whole-house ventilation systems (forced air systems, etc.) to move the air throughout your home. Since much of the emphasis in home-building today is energy efficiency, many homes are built to be “airtight.” While this is good for combatting energy leakage, it often means mechanical ventilation systems are needed to circulate air throughout these “airtight” homes.

  • Pros
    • Effective for uniform ventilation
    • Air is purified using filters
    • Can be either whole-house or single-room systems
    • Can be integrated into heating and cooling systems like forced air units
  • Cons
    • The bigger these systems are, the more energy they use

Mixed ventilation systems are actually used in most homes built over the last 30 to 40 years. Even homes in temperate climates that rely on natural ventilation for cooling use mechanical “spot ventilation” to remove excess air pollutants and moisture at the source. For example, your home ventilation system may be natural, but you most likely have range hoods in your kitchen and exhaust fans in your bathroom.

  • Pros
    • Provides more complete ventilation for the entire home
    • Can save money by only using mechanical ventilation where it is necessary
  • Cons
    • The natural ventilation in your home may not be enough in high allergen seasons

How To Improve The Air Quality Of Your Current Ventilation System

If you are experiencing poor ventilation, there are a few things you can do to help circulate the air and remove pollutants from your home:

  • Consider purchasing a high-efficiency furnace filter for your heating and cooling unit. High efficiency furnace filters trap more microscopic particles than typical furnace filters, keeping the air you breathe healthier. Look for MERV 8 and above for your home.
  • Support your ventilation system with tools like air cleaners, air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers depending on your ventilation needs. These forms of mechanical ventilation can be used as spot ventilation to help keep the air in rooms you spend the most time in cleaner.
  • Call an HVAC professional. If nothing else is working to increase the ventilation in your home, you may have problems with your primary ventilation system or your home’s natural ventilation. If you decide you do need an HVAC professional, visit HVAC.com and use our Find a Contractor tool to locate a trustworthy licensed HVAC professional in your area.

HVAC Contractors Install Whole Home Humidifiers

Whole home humidifiers are one of the many indoor air quality solutions that skilled HVAC contractors provide homeowners and business owners across the country. Looking for a reliable heating and cooling contractor in your area?

Search the HVAC.com Contractor Directory today for an HVAC professional who can assist you with whole home humidifier installation and answer any questions you may have about keeping moisture levels in your home or business properly balanced. Enter your ZIP code to see a list of Certified Contractors serving your area!


Source: HVAC.com

HVAC Tips for the Summer: General Maintenance & Vacation Prep

Posted by Will Housh on July 18

Summer is a time to spend with friends and family, hanging around the house or traveling to favorite vacation destinations. Between planning fun trips, spending time with the kids on their summer break or making the most out of beautiful, hot summer days, one thing is for sure – HVAC preparation and maintenance often takes a backseat. Luckily, we are here to give you a few general maintenance tips for your HVAC unit to ensure it runs smoothly throughout the summer, as well as specific HVAC tips for prepping your system before leaving on vacation.

Summer HVAC Maintenance Tips

You can feel it when you walk out of your home in the morning. The sun is beating down and the humidity is up. Summer has officially arrived. With the start of summer comes the start of the season for your air conditioner. Make sure your system is ready with a few helpful HVAC tips!

  1. Check/Change the Air Filter- A blocked air filter can make keeping your home cool difficult. If the filter is clogged with dirt, be sure to change it out. Otherwise, your system will have to work much harder to keep you cool, which can cause higher energy bills. If you have more questions about air filters, check out our article about furnace filters today!
    sun shining on field of barley
  2. Clean the Condenser Coil- The condenser coil lets off heat outside in order to cool off the refrigerant.  Once it has cooled off, the refrigerant goes back inside and through the evaporator coil, cooling off your home. If the condenser coil becomes dirty, it will not allow your home to cool off properly. In addition, a dirty condenser coil causes your air conditioner to work much harder, raising your energy bills.  Since your system has to work harder, its lifespan can be shortened as well. This can result in expensive repairs or having to replace the system sooner than desired. Check out our article on how to clean your air conditioning condenser to see the step by step process.
  3. Check the Refrigerant Lines- Refrigerant lines are the two copper pipes that connect the outside condensing unit to the inside evaporator coil. The larger one is usually insulated with a black rubbery foam insulation. Refrigerant lines should always be properly insulated. Having refrigerant lines that are insulated will help keep your system running at peak efficiency. If you find that the refrigerant lines need repairs, be sure to get in touch with one of our trusted professionals today and they would be glad to assist you.
  4. Turn on your System- The best way to find out if there is any issue with your air conditioning system is by turning it on. Be sure to listen for anything that sounds unusual, such as the fan being too loud. Also, set your thermostat to the desired temperature. After about an hour or two, if you do not see the temperature in your home moving toward that temperature, it may be time to contact a trusted professional to determine the issue that is causing your home not to reach the desired temperature.
    summer hvac system
  5. Regular Maintenance- The best way to save money on your air conditioning system is to have it regularly serviced by a licensed and trusted professional.  You should try to have this maintenance done before the start of summer, as HVAC service appointments fill up quickly and emergency appointments can be expensive. If you need a professional, let us help find you one in your area today!
  6. Turn up the Temperature- When you are gone during the day, you don’t want your home to be kept as cool as if you were there. This can cause higher energy bills for you. By turning up the temperature a few degrees during the day, such as going from 72 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit, you can save money on your energy bills. If you have pets and are concerned about their comfort and safety, check out the best ways to keep them cool here!

animated thermometer

Five HVAC Tips To Prepare Your System For Summer Vacation

The summer is hot and you are going to want to run your air conditioning to keep cool. The last thing you’d want when returning from vacation is to find your AC isn’t working properly! Here are a few helpful tips for prepping your HVAC system before heading out on vacation.

  1. Raise the Thermostat- While you are out of town, you will not need your system to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. Raising the temperature while you are out of town can save you a lot of money on your energy bill and repairs in the future. In general, it is a good idea to set your thermostat between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit while you are away. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can program it to have your house at a comfortable temperature the day you return.  finger pushing button on hvac thermostat
  2. Surge Protection- You never know when you might lose power at your home. If there is a power outage or power surge while you are out of town, your HVAC system could become damaged. Installing a surge protector for your system can help put your mind at ease with the knowledge that your system will not be damaged due to an electrical outage. If you are unsure if your system is protected, click here to speak to a local contractor from our nationwide network who can help you determine if you have the right protection for your system.
  3. Air Filter Maintenance- While you are away, your system will still be running. Since it will still be running, it is important that your air filter be as clean as possible before you leave for your trip. Having a clean filter will help prevent any malfunctions with your system while you are away. person changing air filter on hvac system 
  4. Security- While many of us set up timers to turn lights on and off while we are away, we usually do not consider security measures with our HVAC system. Simply putting in sensor lights or an alarm on your system can prove to be a valuable level of protection. In addition, you could gate off or put some fencing around your system that is locked for more protection.animated security lock
  5. Routine Maintenance- Before you leave for your trip, it is a good idea to have your HVAC technician come out and do an inspection of your system to see if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Among other things, the tech should check to make sure coils are clean, refrigerant levels are correct, the air filter is clean, electrical connections are tight, and the system is producing the right temperature drop across the evaporator coil.  We recommend that you schedule air conditioner maintenance if you are going to be out of town. Even if you will only be gone for a couple of days, having your technician come out and check your system could save you on repairs later. If you do not have a technician that you trust, click here to connect with a quality HVAC contractor in your area!

As you can see, there are a few important ways to keep your HVAC system running at its most efficient while you are out of town. Your vacation should be a time of relaxation, not worries.

By following the simple tips outlined here, you will be able relax this summer, knowing that your air conditioning system will be in good shape.


Source: HVAC.com

Hiring an HVAC Technician? Here’s What You Should Look For

Posted by Will Housh on July 13

When shopping for a new heating or cooling system, homeowners do a lot of research on the equipment itself. Potential buyers investigate energy efficiency ratings and advanced features, which are huge selling points, distinguishing one system from another. Homeowners may even configure a payback analysis to determine how soon their new HVAC system will pay for itself, or work to estimate total monthly energy bills based on the prospective system’s energy efficiency.

All of the above is truly great to look at when shopping for a new system – but one critical element many overlook is that the HVAC installer you choose is just as important as the system itself! It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles your new air conditioner or furnace comes with – if you hire a bad installer, those features won’t do you much good at all.

As you shop for new HVAC equipment, remember – shop for an HVAC installer as well. The one you choose will have a great impact on the heating or cooling system you purchase, as without quality installation, your new HVAC system will not do the job you expect of it.

Importance Of A Quality HVAC Installer

Interviewing HVAC installers should be just as important as examining system efficiencies and features as you shop for new heating and cooling units. The performance and efficiency of any new system you purchase is pretty much in the installer’s hands – if installation is botched, your equipment will not offer the comfort and energy savings you banked on when you purchased it.

HVAC installers should always follow manufacturer instructions and industry best practices when installing new heating and cooling equipment. When installation isn’t up to these standards, many problems can result.

  • Bad HVAC installation inhibits efficiency. The efficiency ratings you reviewed when making your purchase decision are dependent on proper installation. Improper installation may cause your new unit to consume excess energy, raising your utility bills – all that money you invested in a high-efficiency unit won’t produce the benefits you expected.
  • Bad HVAC installation hinders performance. Your new heating or cooling unit may be prevented from delivering the hot or chilled air you expect. Installation issues which hinder performance place added stress on the system, as it struggles to do the job you’ve called for. Your home won’t be as comfortable as you’d prefer, which may trigger you to run additional systems or adjust thermostats, therefore spending more and more unnecessary energy.
  • Bad HVAC installation shortens system life. An improper install may force the system to perform under less-than-ideal conditions, stressing components to the point of breakdown. Over time, this added stress, generated by the initial bad installation, may lead the system to permanently break down well before you expect. This will leave you with unexpected replacement costs and a possible panic situation, should the system die suddenly.

Qualities Of A Great HVAC Installer

In most areas of the country, homeowners have many options to choose from when in need of a heating and cooling contractor. Not all you’ll come across possess the right qualities and skills to ensure your new system is installed correctly. As you evaluate local HVAC installers, your final selection should possess these key qualities.

Brand Experience

If you’ve already determined which make of new HVAC system you’ll purchase, you want to select an HVAC installer with experience installing that brand of equipment. Experience and training teach contractors the ins and outs specific to a brand of equipment, allowing them to perform accurate installation each time.

Many equipment manufacturers have “qualified HVAC installer” programs for their brands. Qualified HVAC installers receive training and education surrounding the brand and its equipment models. This allows the manufacturer to ensure the contractor can properly install their models, and knows the pertinent information about their equipment which may vary from other brands.

These HVAC installers may also receive manufacturer-approved customer service, repair, and maintenance training, allowing them to provide not only accurate installation, but a superior customer experience and the services homeowners need over the service life of their system. Manufacturer training allows the brand to ensure the contractor is able to accurately match customers to the appropriate HVAC system for their homes, and answer any questions the customer may have about the brand’s equipment.

NATE Certification

The North American Technician Excellence organization, or NATE, is the largest non-profit certifying organization serving the HVAC industry. NATE certification shows that an HVAC installer holds the knowledge and skill to properly install heating and air conditioning equipment, utilizing industry best practices.

To obtain NATE certification, HVAC installers must pass NATE’s rigorous exams, covering certain types of HVAC equipment and services. To maintain certification, contractors must undergo continuous education every two years, to expand their knowledge of the field and stay up-to-date with the industry’s evolving innovations, technology, and practices.

Working with a NATE-certified HVAC installer presents many advantages to consumers. A NATE-certified technician has independently pursued certification to verify their knowledge and skill. They’re committed to expanding their understanding of the industry and its advances.

NATE-certified HVAC installers protect your new HVAC systems, offering high quality installation producing increased system energy efficiency. They get the installation job completed correctly the first time – NATE-certified installers have fewer callbacks than those without certification, producing fewer warranty returns.

Customers who’ve worked with NATE-certified technicians report a better overall experience, compared to working with non-certified HVAC installers. Customer satisfaction with the HVAC system as well as the installer. When searching for an HVAC installer, NATE certification ranks only contractor reputation among qualities consumers want when hiring an HVAC pro.

“Are You Licensed And Insured?”

Almost every state requires HVAC technicians to be licensed. If they’re not, you probably shouldn’t hire them to work on your system. Make sure to ask your technician if they are licensed, and grab the license number from them — you can then look it up through your state contractor licensing board.

Additionally, it’s good to make sure they’re insured, just in case something goes wrong while they’re working in your home. Ask if their company has both worker’s compensation and liability insurance, just in case.

“How Much Experience Do You Have In The Industry?”

Have they been working in the HVAC industry for a long time? Are they relatively new? Knowing how much experience an HVAC technician has can help you feel more comfortable about hiring them.

In addition, consider asking how they learned their skills. If you have a specific brand or type of system, determine if they have experience with that as well.

“Can You Provide References From Past Customers?”

Almost every HVAC technician will give you a written estimate explaining what work will be done and how much it will cost. However, it’s important to get references, too.

Talking to past customers can give you a good idea of how the technician works. If they can’t or won’t provide references or reports from other customers, that’s a bad sign and you should most likely hire a different technician.

“How Do Refunds, Warranties, And Guarantees Work?”

Your current system may be under warranty, and a good HVAC technician will follow the terms of the warranty. Or, you may be past warranty, in which case they should give you a new guarantee in writing.

It’s also good to ask about how refunds work. Make sure that you are hiring a reputable company that installs the equipment properly and fully discloses their policy. In most cases you can’t get your money back should the repair not last, however a reputable company will work with you to find a solution.

In addition, energy and cost efficiency are also important to many homeowners. If it’s something important to you and you want to know more, or if you feel your system isn’t working as efficiently as it should, bring it up with the technician to find out their recommendations.


Source: HVAC.com

Emergency AC Repair & Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Posted by Will Housh on July 12

Air conditioning maintenance is an important component of owning an air conditioner, which offers great benefits:

  • AC maintenance improves the efficiency and performance of your air conditioner. This cuts your energy bills while creating a more comfortable indoor environment.
  • AC maintenance lengthens system life. Keep your air conditioner running longer. Max out its years of service, while avoiding early replacement expenses.
  • AC maintenance prevents the need for Air conditioning repairs. Maintaining your system properly means you’ll be less likely to experience breakdowns during cooling season. Protect your system and prevent expensive repair bills!

Hire an air conditioning technician to perform professional preventative maintenance each year. This valuable service improves performance, prevents repairs, and protects your pocketbook – all at an affordable price. Here’s what to expect during an air conditioning maintenance check.

While you’ll want an air conditioning tech to perform this service, there are many items any homeowner can complete to keep the system in great shape throughout the year.

  • Clean off your unit. Keeping your exterior air conditioner condenser unit free and clear of obstructions allows air to flow through the system correctly. This eliminates stress and keeps the system working properly. Clear away vegetation and clean off debris – follow these simple AC cleaning instructions.
  • Clean indoor vents and registers. As air circulates through the home, dust and dirt can stick to your vents and registers. This not only makes your home dirtier, but diminishes your indoor air quality. Follow these vent cleaning instructions to do so easily!
  • Change your air filter. Air filters need changed every 30 to 90 days, depending on the type of filter you have. It’s a wise idea to get on a regular schedule – note filter changes on your calendar, and make a note to check them every month during the summer, when your system runs ‘round the clock. Follow these filter change instructions to get the job done.
  • Keep pests out. When critters get in to your home’s HVAC system, they can cause great destruction. Their presence and leftovers have a negative impact on your indoor air quality. Pest-proof your AC components to keep them out!

AC Repair for Homeowners

Air conditioners are complex mechanical systems. If you’re not familiar with how they work, it can be intimidating when problems occur. An AC repair technician can always come out to identify and fix system issues. However, there are some minor AC repairs that most homeowners can make. Tackling these minor AC repairs yourself can save you money and restore your cooling right away.

Whatever problem you’re experiencing, it’s smart to run through some basic air conditioner troubleshooting before calling in a technician.

  • Check the air conditioner’s power – check the switches outdoors by the condenser and indoors by the air handler. Also, check the breaker which powers the unit at your home’s electrical panel.
  • Check your thermostat settings – not turning on or blowing hot air may be a thermostat issue. Check that the thermostat has power, by fresh batteries or checking the breaker. Set the thermostat to “cool” mode and adjust the temperature a few degrees below the current room temperature.
  • Change your air filter – a blocked filter can cause a range of issues, from little air coming through the registers, to the system not turning on. Make sure your filter fits in the filter compartment properly and has not collapsed into the air handler.

AC Repair – System blowing hot air. This is a common AC repair complaint that may have a simple fix. Read these causes behind an AC blowing hot air; adjusting the thermostat, cleaning off the condenser unit, and changing your air filter are tasks you can do on your own. Try them before calling for AC repair.

AC Repair – System ices over. If your air conditioner ices over, it won’t be able to operate properly. Follow these steps to de-ice your air conditioner. If your system continues to ice over, or you don’t feel comfortable performing these steps, call for air conditioning repair.

If ever you are not comfortable performing an AC repair yourself, be safe – call for professional assistance! Here’s what you need to know about finding a contractor to assist you with emergency air conditioning repairs over the summer months.

How Quickly Can I Have Emergency Air Conditioning Repairs Performed?

Emergency air conditioning repair contractors are very buy during the summer season, tending to emergent cooling system situations. When a breakdown occurs, you may be hard pressed to find a contractor who can come out to fix your system right away. If you don’t have an existing relationship with an HVAC contractor, you may have to call around to find one who can help you out in a bind.

Do you have a preventative maintenance contract for your cooling system with a local HVAC contractor? Maintenance isn’t the only benefit of such agreements – many contractors offer priority service for emergency air conditioning repairs as a benefit to preventative maintenance agreements. Your ongoing relationship with a credible contractor could be your key to quick cooling system repairs.

When facing expensive cooling system repairs or a total system replacement, it’s always a smart idea to get more than one quote. In the busy summer months, it can be difficult to obtain these additional quotes quickly. Homeowners are more apt to choose the first contractor they call in an emergent situation, so make sure you know exactly what you’re purchasing.

  • Your emergency air conditioning repair contractor should provide you with a detailed quote specifying equipment and a cost breakdown.
  • Your contractor should be licensed, bonded, and insured. NATE certification and HVAC. Certified Contractor status are also key factors in helping you judge the quality of the contractor’s skills and customer service experience.

How Much Do Emergency Air Conditioning Repairs Cost?

If your air conditioner breaks down over night or on the weekend, you’ll need to find a contractor who offers emergency service to tend to your system. Emergency repairs typically come at a higher premium, through emergency fees or increased labor rates. With contractors’ busy schedules during the summer months, you may be able to have emergency air conditioning repairs performed sooner if you choose emergency service rather than get on a contractor’s schedule and wait for their next availability.

Find an Emergency Air Conditioning Repair Contractor on HVAC.com

Start your search for an emergency air conditioning repair contractor on HVAC.com’s online Contractor Directory. Enter your ZIP code to find qualified, HVAC.com Certified Contractors who are available to provide emergency service in your area today.


Source: HVAC.com

HVAC Quotes & The Benefit of Getting an HVAC Inspection

Posted by Will Housh on July 11

It’s no secret that HVAC projects can be expensive. Getting a quote from a qualified contractor is the only way to know for sure the cost of your project.

There are many blogs and websites which promote HVAC quotes online. They may publish prices for new heating or cooling equipment, or costs associated with common system repairs. While in some cases, HVAC quotes online can give you a ballpark price, there’s really know way of knowing if that price applies to your situation.

Don’t Look for HVAC Quotes Online if You…

  • Don’t know what you’re looking for. The average homeowner doesn’t know the ins and outs of an HVAC system – and that’s OK! Contractors don’t expect you to – that’s their job! To provide a quote for a new system or repair work, a contractor needs to assess your home or business, the comfort issues you face, and what type of equipment or repair is necessary. An HVAC quote online may not consider important installation or repair factors that increase or decrease price in your situation, making it inaccurate.
  • Don’t know what’s wrong with your system. Heating and cooling systems are complex – it will be difficult for the average homeowner to determine the problem and repair issue they face, in most cases. When looking at HVAC quotes online, you may think you need one thing, but when the contractor shows up, you need a fix entirely different – the costs are likely to be vastly different.

HVAC Quotes Online Aren’t Specific

A general HVAC quote online won’t be specific to your circumstances, which is the most important factor when designing a heating or cooling system. An HVAC quote online for a new air conditioner at $4,000 installed may sound like a good price, but do you know what it includes? Do you know what is needed to facilitate an efficient installation in your home?

The prices you see in HVAC quotes online are often for equipment only, and maybe basic installation – your installation could have additional needs. If your home requires a larger capacity unit or needs new ductwork to facilitate the new air conditioner, it’ll add more to the final price tag – there will be a big discrepancy between the HVAC quote online and the actual quote to make the equipment work for your home.

HVAC quotes online for common system repairs aren’t accurate either, for the same reason. The HVAC repair you face may be more complex, or other fixes may be needed in addition to the issue you read about on a blog.

Contractors are different, across the country. Markets vary, affecting the price. Certain climates need different HVAC equipment, which can affect the cost in your situation versus the generic quote you find online. There are so many variables in homes, businesses, and HVAC equipment – getting a personalized quote from a contractor in person is really the only way to accurately assess the cost of an HVAC project.

Be Honest with Your HVAC Contractor

One reason homeowners turn to ineffective HVAC quotes online is because they don’t want to waste a contractor’s time, calling them out to complete a quote when it’s more than affordable. It’s still wise to obtain a personalized quote from a real contractor – just be honest if the price is out of your budget.

Contractors are there to help you – they’ll work to find a way to get you the equipment and services you need, in many cases. Have a frank conversation about the cost – you may be surprised at what options are available. HVAC companies are constantly offering different specials, and may have a current option which fits your needs. Or, by knowing what you’re looking for and the price point, the contractor can use this information to get back in touch when the right deal for you is available.

Why You Should Consider an HVAC Inspection

Performed by a qualified specialist, HVAC inspections will tell you how your home’s heating and cooling systems are functioning, and if any repairs are warranted, as well as replacement.

Simple HVAC inspections may be performed with your annual preventative maintenance service visit. It’s a great value for homeowners to have their systems assessed each year, to ensure proper functioning and efficiency. Inspections can provide a ‘heads up’ which alerts the owner of needed repairs, before operating the system does additional damage.

The cost of HVAC inspection ranges from contractor to contractor. Below, we’ll share with you the average cost of HVAC inspections, as well as what you’ll get for your money.

Cost of HVAC Inspection

In 2017, the cost of HVAC inspection averages $321. On the high end, an inspection may run you as much as $475; if your home is under 1,000 square feet, you could pay as little as $200 for an inspection. Be sure to verify the cost of HVAC inspection with your chosen contractor before the inspection begins, as prices do vary between providers.

What an HVAC Inspection Includes

An HVAC inspection is a thorough review and testing of your home’s heating and cooling equipment, as well as any whole-home indoor air quality systems.

Contrary to popular belief, the average home inspection does not include detailed testing of HVAC systems. While basic functioning is checked, furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, and other HVAC systems can still function with major malfunctions, in some cases. Your home inspection generally is not detailed enough to give you the full picture of how your heating and cooling systems are performing.

Every contractor’s process may be slightly different, so it’s smart to ask your preferred professional what they include in their cost of HVAC inspection. In general, HVAC inspections usually include the following:

  • Test the thermostat’s calibration
  • Check air filter
  • Inspect blower components
  • Test for correct airflow through units and home
  • Inspect electrical connections
  • Inspect quality of installation
  • Inspect areas where equipment is located
  • Inspect equipment condition
  • Inspect condenser and evaporator coils for air conditioning units
  • Evaluate system starting capabilities
  • Test safety controls
  • Evaluate temperature differentiation
  • Test refrigerant pressure
  • Examine condensate drains and drip pan
  • Examine heating and air conditioning equipment versus air handler for proper match
  • Evaluate heat pump heating mode and defrost cycle
  • Evaluate operation of backup heating source
  • Examine heat exchanger, ignition and burner assemblies
  • Test venting and clearances
  • Test combustion air
  • Test gas pressure and piping

Upon completion of your HVAC inspection, the technician will provide you with a completed report of all elements examined and their findings. They may also include recommendations as to performance and efficiency-improving repairs which will help your systems improve function. At this time, read over the report and take the opportunity to ask for clarification or more information on any points you need.

Find an HVAC inspector through HVAC.com

HVAC.com connects homeowners with contractors who provide HVAC inspections locally. Use our Contractor Directory to search for an HVAC professional in your area to access the services you need!

While you’re here, search our site for the answers to all your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality related questions! We’re the world’s top resource for HVAC knowledge.


Source: HVAC.com

Ecobee Thermostats for Your Home

Posted by Will Housh on July 6

In the world of thermostats, Ecobee is an industry leader. Ecobee smart thermostats keep homes comfortable while maximizing energy savings and efficiency. Below, take a look at the great Ecobee smart thermostats available through HVAC.com to find the right choice for your home.

Ecobee Smart Thermostats

Ecobee thermostats bring innovation to the heating and cooling world, keeping users comfortable without energy waste.

Ecobee EB-STAT-02 Smart Universal Thermostat, 4H/2C

With the Ecobee Smart Universal thermostat, temperature settings in your home throughout the day can be customized. With wireless connectivity, users can remotely monitor energy consumption and heating and cooling use from most anywhere. The thermostat features a full color interface with sleek design, making it easy to read and use.

Ecobee EB-SMARTSI-01 Smart Si Thermostat

The Smart Si thermostat creates a unique energy profile specifically for your home, considering your preferred settings and the weather. DataRhythm technology incorporates thousands of data points to intelligently adjust your heating and cooling use to maintain superior comfort while conserving energy.

Receive information on your home’s energy use through Home IQ. Learn how your HVAC systems are performing, stay on top of maintenance needs, and estimate your energy savings.

About Smart Thermostats

In addition to Ecobee smart thermostats, there are other options of smart thermostats on the market for use in homes. Smart thermostats go a step beyond a programmable thermostat, learning your preferred settings and eliminating the need for programming.

Smart thermostats learn your comfort preferences and the patterns of your household to utilize the most ideal energy settings throughout the day and while you’re away. These systems can be more efficient than programmable thermostats, as their settings are entirely unique to your needs, and can change more frequently than programmable models, if needed.

Ecobee Thermostats from HVAC.com

HVAC.com carries Ecobee smart thermostats and accessories for residential use. Find a Certified Contractor to install your new Ecobee smart thermostat system through the HVAC.com Contractor Directory. Search by ZIP code to find local pros in your area who shop HVAC.com’s genuine Ecobee components.


Source: HVAC.com

More of Your HVAC Questions Answered!

Posted by Will Housh on July 5

You have HVAC questions – HVAC.com has the answers! We’re the world’s leading resource site for all things heating, cooling, and indoor air quality. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most commonly asked HVAC questions – if you don’t find the answer to your question here, our Resource Center is packed with information on products, services, troubleshooting, and more!

How Do Humidity Levels Affect Me Indoors?

Too little humidity can cause bloody noses, sinus and lung health problems, static electricity build-up, damage to wood furniture and flooring, and can create an environment where certain bacteria and viruses can thrive. Too much humidity can cause mold and mildew growth, damage to wood furniture and flooring, and can create an environment where certain bacteria and viruses can thrive. The best approach is to use a humidifier and a dehumidifier to keep your humidity levels within acceptable ranges.

What Does OEM Mean, and Why Should I Use OEM Components for My HVAC Systems?

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products are made specifically for certain makes of equipment by the original manufacturer. Non-OEM products are made by third parties for use with a manufacturer’s products.

Typically, non-OEM products are cheaper, however they do not always work the best and do not come with any warranties.

What Are the Signs of an Indoor Air Quality Problem?

  • See mold in your home.
  • You are currently remodeling or renovating.
  • There is a lot of construction going on near your home.
  • The air in your home smells musty.
  • You feel sick when you are home but better when you are away (sneezing, coughing).
  • Consistently wake up congested or with a headache.

How Can I Troubleshoot an Air Conditioner That Won’t Turn On?

Many times, an air conditioner that won’t turn on can be resolved with some simple troubleshooting by you. Power sources are commonly the problem, so check them all. Switches on the condenser and air handler, thermostat batteries, and circuit breakers. Next, make sure your thermostat is set appropriately – it should be set to COOL mode, and the temperature a few degrees lower than the current room temperature. If these troubleshooting tasks don’t restore cool air, call in the pros.

How Can I Find a Reputable HVAC Contractor?

We may be partial, but the HVAC.com Contractor Directory is the perfect place to start! We’ve built a comprehensive directory of heating and cooling professionals throughout the country. You can easily search by your ZIP code for the heating and air conditioning service companies operating in your area. Our Certified Contractors program sets excelling contractors out from the crowd – look for the Certified Contractor seal for our recommendation!


Source: HVAC.com

HVAC.com Is Your Source for Information on Goodman Air Conditioner Parts

Posted by Will Housh on July 4

During the summer, a cooling system breakdown may occur unexpectedly. Replacement parts may be required to perform a repair – it is important that you use genuine replacement parts made by the air conditioner’s manufacturer.

For Goodman air conditioning systems, manuals detailing all Goodman air conditioner parts are available to assist when making repairs. Goodman AC parts manuals are available from HVAC.com for the following Goodman air conditioner models:

  • DSXC16
  • DSXC18
  • GSC13
  • GSX13
  • GSX16

Why You Should Use Genuine OEM Goodman AC Parts

Whenever an air conditioning system requires repair, it is important that only genuine OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts be used – follow this rule with Goodman air conditioner parts, too.

Why are genuine Goodman air conditioner parts necessary? Using OEM replacement parts is important for many reasons:

  • Genuine Goodman AC parts protect your system’s warranty. If your air conditioner needs a warranty repair, OEM parts must be used or else your warranty could be voided.
  • OEM components are the best choice – they are built by the original manufacturer for the exact specifications of the system they are built for. While an aftermarket component may be advertised as an exact replacement, but that’s not always the truth. The minute differences between OEM and aftermarket parts can really impact performance and efficiency of the system. They may require retrofitting to perform properly, extending the work and expense needed to perform an air conditioner repair.
  • OEM parts guarantee performance. When you replace components with genuine Goodman air conditioner parts, rest assured that your cooling system will perform to the efficiency levels you expect. Performance cannot be guaranteed when aftermarket replacement parts are used.

Goodman AC Parts Manuals on HVAC.com

Need information on Goodman air conditioner parts? HVAC.com is your source for Goodman product manuals, including those pertaining to Goodman AC parts. Replacement parts manuals will tell you exactly what part numbers correspond with each component, making your repair job easier.

If you have questions about obtaining genuine OEM Goodman air conditioner parts, contact the pros at HVAC.com. Our team of knowledgeable air conditioning experts are available to assist you by phone, chat, or email.


Source: HVAC.com