HVAC issues—When to call in the experts

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How well do you know your HVAC system? Most homeowners know they have to maintain their filters, but what about the other HVAC components? What issues are considered normal and when is it time to call in the experts?

Common HVAC issues:

A little sweating is okay. You may notice some water accumulation on the outside of the unit or directly on the coils. This bit of water is regular condensation and is quite common.

A silent system. A quiet or low humming noise means that everything is running smoothly and is no cause for concern.

A subtle change in temperature. If you notice infrequent indoor temperatures, it might be time to change your filters. Most filters need to be changed every few months or once a month depending on the quality. Permanent filters should be cleaned as instructed, usually once a month.

A light odor. When your system transitions from air conditioning to heat, it is common to notice a slight burning odor. In most cases, it is just a bit of dust burning off. However, your unit should not continually admit burning odors.

Uncommon HVAC issues:

Lots of water. Much more than sweating, if water is pooling or leaking around your furnace, air conditioner, or any other system component, you need to contact a technician. Your unit could have a leak, be dripping, or draining improperly. Ignoring standing water can lead to mold and further system damage.

A noisy system. If your system is louder than a hum, there could be an issue. Clanking, banging, and rattling could mean something is stuck or loose in your vents. Try finding the cause as it could just be debris. However, if you are unable to locate the source, call a technician because you might need a replacement part.

Not working like it used to. If the temperature inside your home feels dramatically different than the setting on your thermostat, your HVAC may need to be serviced.

A noticeable or lingering smell. A continuous burning smell could mean several things: overheating, an electrical problem, dirty filters, or melting wires. Try changing your air filter and if the smell does not dissipate, shut off the HVAC system and call a technician.

An earthy, musty, or stale smell could be a sign of mold growth in or on your system. Most likely caused by a water leak, it needs to be repaired and your system needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Contact your HVAC technician immediately for assistance.

If you have questions or are experiencing any of these uncommon HVAC issues, it is time for a maintenance call. Contact your HVAC technician today.

Emergency Heat – What it is and when to use it.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 9.47.27 AMOn your thermostat there is a setting that is rarely, if ever, used—Emergency Heat. But what is it and should you be using it?

Essentially, Emergency Heat is a backup heat source the HVAC system automatically taps into when an emergency arises or severe cold weather strikes. In most cases, it self-activates when it is too cold for the outdoor heat pump, which normally warms your home by efficiently extracting and pumping outside warmth into the house. The colder the temperature, the harder the heat pump has to work and, in extreme instances, it will require the use of a secondary or backup source—the Emergency Heat.

Manually flipping your normal heat setting to Emergency Heat bypasses the heat pump, directly accessing another heat source, often an electric heat strip, gas, or oil furnace. While it gets the job done quickly, using Emergency Heat can be costly. The setting increases the system’s energy usage and raises energy bills. Therefore, as the name suggests, Emergency Heat is designed to be used in emergency heating situations and should be used as a temporary solution.

If you are experiencing extreme cold weather inside your home, manually switch over to this setting for temporary warmth. In the case of a failed heat pump, flip on your Emergency Heat for a quick fix. But in either situation, contact your HVAC technician for an inspection as either circumstance could indicate a broken, frozen, or damaged heat pump.

HVAC installation tips every tech needs to know

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Properly installing an HVAC unit is the most important thing a technician will do for their customers. Whether a seasoned technician or new to the field, review these helpful tips to create a positive first impression while professionally and efficiently installing the HVAC system.

Take a field trip

Before you place the order for the new unit it is important to do a preliminary property visit first. While there, check the size of the building and measure the space available for the system. Discuss the needs and expectations of the unit with the customer. Check the ceiling, windows, floors, and walls and order a system that matches the building’s needs.

Placement is key

Choosing where to install the new HVAC unit makes a big difference. Select an area far from heavy foot traffic and away from other heat generating systems. Ultimately, the new unit should be placed somewhere cool with little to no light. This will extend the life of the system and ensure it continues to run smoothly and effectively.

Check the ducts

Improperly sized or poorly sealed ducts can lead to a number of potential problems. Air leaks can increase energy bills and cause systems to be overworked, creating excess condensation which can potentially produce mold. A constantly running unit can also lead to total system failure. When installing the system, make sure ductwork is properly sized and throughly sealed for maximum efficiency.

Install an emergency overflow pan that can absorb drainage to avoid potential leaks and water damage. Finally, go over the newly installed HVAC with the customer. Take the time to answer any questions and provide your contact information for future reference.

Familiarize yourself with these simple suggestions to avoid potential problems during your next HVAC installation and successfully install every HVAC unit.

Turn ‘okay’ ratings into ‘excellent service!’

A little extra effort can go a long way in the eyes of a customer. Turn an okay service call into a memorable one with these helpful customer service reminders.

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  • A service call begins before you even get to the front door. Double-check your work order before you leave. Familiarize yourself with the customer’s issue and brainstorm possible solutions.
  • Make sure you have all of the forms, paperwork, and equipment necessary to resolve the problem.
  • Confirm your customer’s address, schedule your route, and arrive on time.
  • Do a quick uniform and personal hygiene check. Remove any residue, dirt, or grease from your hands.

During the service call

  • Introduce yourself, show your technician identification, and wait to be invited inside.
  • Respect the customer and their home. At the door, take off your shoes or put on shoe covers.
  • Confirm the problem with the customer and see if they provide any updates. Pay attention to any details that might help you provide better HVAC solutions for th
    e customer.
  • Survey the HVAC area before you start maintenance. Clean up after the job and make sure the area is just as clean as before you started.
  • Thoroughly check the system. Go over the problems you find and your suggested solutions with the customer. Provide them with all available options and allow their input. If applicable, offer your customer a look at new products.
  • After servicing the system, do a full review of services rendered with the customer.
  • Run a few tests to ensure everything is working properly before you leave.
  • Answer any questions the customer might have and offer helpful maintenance tips.
  • Schedule a convenient time for a follow-up call and thank the customer for their business.

After the service

  • Enter the service call into your customer-management system. Be sure to include the initial problem, maintenance performed, and any equipment installed or updated.
  • Follow-up with the customer during the previously scheduled time to ensure the initial problem was resolved and answer any additional questions they may have.

Following these simple tips not only creates a wonderful visit for both you and your customer, it exceeds their expectations, helps maintain their business, and leads to future referrals.

Spooky things lurking in your HVAC system

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Forget the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins knocking on your door this Halloween. Even scarier things are already inside of your home. Dust and debris are haunting your vents and infiltrating your system. Supernatural balls of pet hair are lurking around the corner, waiting to attack your filters. Dead leaves and vegetation are resurrecting their fallen friends, intruding your home and clogging your ducts. Don’t wait until a total system invasion. Take these preventative measures to protect your HVAC now and get rid of these horrid intruders, for good.

The fearless fall checklist

  • Take a look at your indoor and outdoor systems. Will they make it through another winter? While most HVAC problems are not distinguishable by sight alone, the overall appearance of your system can indicate the need for a replacement—especially if the system has required frequent maintenance over the past year.
  • Check your filters. This simple task goes a long way in prolonging the life of your unit. Filters remove dust, pollen, and other foreign particles. They should be replaced every two months to facilitate the proper airflow in you home. At the very least, you should change your filters twice a year: once in the spring (before running your air conditioning) and once in the fall (before switching over to heat.) Have pets that shed? Replace those filters more often as they collect a lot of loose hair.
  • Set the thermostat and back away. Temperatures in the fall can vary up to 30 degrees in just one day and constantly adjusting the thermostat to keep comfortable can increase your bills. Stay ahead of the varying climate by programming your thermostat to your desired comfort level at the beginning of the season.
  • Clear your vents. Blocked registers and vents cause unnecessary strain on your system. Move heavy furniture, rugs, and other items that are obstructing your vents and preventing heat flow into your home.
  • Clean around the outdoor unit. For optimal use and proper airflow, make sure your outdoor unit is free of leaves and debris.

Lingering doubts or just want to play it safe this year? Call an experienced HVAC technician. We can clean and inspect your unit, ensuring a comfortable and scare-free winter for you and your family.

How to determine when it’s time to replace your HVAC unit

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Repair or replace? This is a tough question for all homeowners. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units often go unnoticed until disaster strikes. Sometimes the unit gives a subtle hint with a repair here and there, but more often they suddenly break down without warning, leaving you with expensive repairs and energy bills. To save time, future headaches and to stay ahead of potential high costs, we’ve compiled the most important factors to consider when deciding on repairing or replacing your unit.

  • Add up the years. How old is your unit? This is a critical first question when deciding on whether or not to purchase a new HVAC unit. With proper care and maintenance, most units can last up to 10 years. But soon after, the unit will start to underperform, lose efficiency and cost more money in repair bills.
  • Another repair? Frequent technician visits are an obvious sign of a low-efficiency unit. While all units require fixes here and there, be mindful and keep track of repairs so you can determine the consistency and overall costs put into the unit.
  • Always running? If the unit is continually running but you don’t notice much temperature change, the unit is underperforming. Endlessly running, low-efficiency units not only increase energy bills—they can be expensive to repair.
  • High energy bills? If your energy bills are through the roof, your HVAC system is the likely culprit. Heating and cooling are the biggest energy users for homes, but that does not mean bills have to be high too. New energy-efficient HVAC units can wind up saving 20% on energy bills, paying for themselves over time.

At the end of the day, choosing whether to replace or repair the unit is up to you, but we can help determine your options. Call us today to connect with a qualified professional.

Are you keeping up with the 2015 HVAC efficiency standards?

 

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In January 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) implemented a few new efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps. For the first time, federal minimum-efficiency standards were split by regions, defined as the North, Southeast and Southwest. The reason? To achieve maximum cost effectiveness by splitting up regions according to their climate and assign each region a corresponding energy-efficiency standard.

Here’s a recap of the 2015 efficiency standards:

  • 14 SEER for Georgia and North Carolina. The new efficiency standards require split-system central air conditioners in Southeast states to have at least a 14 SEER.
  • A national heat pump standard. Now, all heat pumps installed, including split system heat pumps, must have a 14 SEER rating. They must also have an 8.2 Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).
  • FTC EnergyGuide label changes. The yellow hangtag must show a range of the lowest and highest SEER ratings for all the condenser’s certified coil combinations, ensuring all component parts in the entire system, inside and out, has an aggregate SEER.
  • Record keeping requirements. According to the DOE, this is by far the most important standard in cases of alleged violations. The DOE wants to be able to trace who and where the equipment came from while determining routine violators.
  • Your future products. As long as you adhere to the 18-month sell-through grace period that began in January 2015, these new standards will mostly apply to your future product lines.

Dealer Supply Company and their brands strive to lead by example, especially during industry change. Call us today to connect with a dealer near you.

Want to track your energy use? There’s an app for that.

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With just the tap of a finger, you can analyze and track energy use from your smartphone or mobile device. Make heating and cooling decisions that fit your budget and personal temperature preferences. Never come home to a cold house again, but also don’t waste money heating an empty house while you’re away.

Here’s a list of mobile apps that can track your energy use:

Leafully makes it easy to understand and manage your energy footprint. The app tracks energy usage and emissions, pairs that information with tips, and sends notifications of abnormal usage to help users reduce their energy needs while increasing efficiency.

Wiser EMS or the Wiser Energy Management System makes energy use easy to view and understand. By making energy use visible, consumers can now manage, control, and reduce energy costs to help improve their carbon footprint like never before.

Energy Consumption Analyzer helps track your energy consumption. The app shows the amount of actual used energy during each day, week, month, or quarter in an easy to understand bar graph or table.

Energy Cost Calculator helps users calculate operating costs and energy usage of electric equipment and machinery, including carbon emissions. Input how many hours of energy used per day and this app will spit out an estimated bill for the month!

Combine these apps with an energy-efficient HVAC unit to significantly reduce your energy use. Call us today to learn more.

6 Ways To Conserve Energy As Fall And Winter Approach

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Sadly, summer is departing and our weekends spent swimming and enjoying the sunshine are coming to an end. But thankfully, that means the summer heat will be leaving as well. As USA Today stated, July was the hottest month in recorded history! We survived the intense summer heat, so we can surely survive the upcoming winter months.

As the colder days start to sneak up on us, homeowners have to be conscious of the amount of wasted energy caused by the change in weather. Using the following tips and tricks, you can conserve your overall household energy use, thus lowering your bills as we move into the later months of the year.

  • When in doubt, seal the house!– Drafts are a common occurrence in older homes but don’t think newer ones are safe from pesky air leaks. Check all windows and use a product specifically designed for sealing these areas so you aren’t throwing money out the window, literally. While you’re at it, check your utility pipes, chimneys, recessed lighting, and all doors, including the attic door, for any air leaks.
  • Only heat the rooms you use– If you aren’t using a guest room or a downstairs bathroom, then close those vents and focus your heat on the rooms that you use most often. This eliminates wasteful use of your heating and cooling systems and puts money back in your pocket while keeping you and your family comfortable.
  • Replace old appliances with new ones– Few people realize that the older your appliances are, the more energy they use. Older appliances cost you more money in the long run than it would to buy newer equipment. Furnish your home with new appliances and you’ll stop wasting unnecessary money.
  • Keep your appliances clean– Refrigerators, washing machines and dryers all use excessive energy if not properly cleaned. Not only will cleaning these appliances guarantee the safety of your food, beverages and clothing, but keeping your appliances clean will also save you money in unnecessary energy losses.
  • Go warm instead of hot– Water heating can account for 14%-25% of a household’s energy bill. Keeping the temperature of your water heater at 120°F will cut your water heating bill down and save you money!
  • Schedule service for your heating system– We’re here to help you! Call a local distributor today to schedule a maintenance appointment for our certified technicians to verify the performance of your HVAC system.

Utilizing these 6 tips will help you save energy and save money! Call today to make your next maintenance appointment so we can help you save money.