The Summer is Done but Your Packaged HVAC System Isn’t: Inspect These Items before Heater Season

The summer is over, and fall is finally upon us. But just because the weather starts cooling down doesn’t mean that your HVAC system doesn’t still have work to do. You may find yourself using you AC less we move into fall, but remember your HVAC system will be back to work once heater season is upon us. It’s important to inspect your heating system before winter arrives so that you don’t end up being left out in the cold.

Getting Your Heater Ready for Winter

Winter may be a few months off, but it is vital to inspect your heater before the cold weather arrives. Here are some tips for inspecting your heater and checking for signs that you might need an HVAC tune-up or repair before winter comes:

Start up your heating system.

The first thing that you need to do is test your heating unit to make sure it is working properly. You can do this by setting your thermostat to 10 degrees higher than the current temperature of the room. The system should start up in just a few minutes after you have changed the temperature on the thermostat. If it does not start up, you may need repairs before using your heater for the winter.

Listen for sounds and feel for vibrations.

After your heating system has been on for a few minutes, your HVAC unit should not be making any loud noises or vibrating heavily. These are signs that the system is struggling to work, and this could cause wear and tear to the parts. If the sounds or vibrations do not subside, turn off your system and call an HVAC professional to diagnose the issue.

Test your thermostat to make sure it’s registering the right temperature.

Thermostats can wear out and stop working, so it’s important to test them to make sure they are registering the right temperature. Place a traditional thermometer near your thermostat and check that temperatures are reading the same. If they are different, then you may need to replace the thermostat.

Check your air filters, and clean or replace them.

Dirty and clogged filters can cause your heating system to work harder than it needs too, which wastes energy and increases your electric bills. Check and replace or clean your air filters regularly to make sure that your heating system keeps running smoothly.

Inspect the heater’s fan blades, motor and blower shafts.

Turn off the power to your heating system and check to ensure that the heater’s fan blades, motor, and blower shafts are clean and lubricated. Keeping your heating system cleaned and oiled will help it run more efficiently and prevent unnecessary repairs. If you cannot access these parts, call an HVAC professional to inspect and clean these elements for you.

If you notice any signs of trouble with your HVAC unit or think you might need a tune-up before winter, now is the time to contact your local Bryant heating and cooling expert to make sure you’re ready for cold weather season.

What Exactly, is a Hybrid Heating System?

If one method of doing something, or one tool, was all we ever needed, our toolboxes would consist of nothing but a single hammer. But that’s not the case and we have a vast number of tools to pick from and even tools that combine two different ones, into a single, more functional unit.

Your HVAC system is a lot like that. For years the only heating tool in a homes HVAC toolbox was one of the following: solar, geothermal, furnace, boiler or heat pump. And using a one-tool approach to heating a home led to some marked inefficiencies and high operational costs.

Then one day someone got the bright idea to combine two of them, the heat pump and the furnace, into one functioning unit that would alternate between the two heating methods depending on a few variables.

Components of a Hybrid System [H2]

The hybrid heating system for a home is little more than cleverly using two existing methods of providing heat to cover each other’s weaknesses. The system consists of:

– A natural gas or propane furnace

– A heat pump

Almost everyone is going to be familiar with the furnace. It is a piece of machinery that uses natural gas or propane to heat the air in your home.

A heat pump you are probably familiar with and don’t even know it. An AC unit is a heat pump. But in the sense we’re taking about here, it is one that is equipped with a reversing valve, allowing the AC unit to function in reverse, bringing heat inside the home and moving the cold outside.

A hybrid system uses both of these technologies to heat the home more efficiently. During the colder parts of the year the furnace can be used and when it’s not so cold but you still need heat, the heat pump can be used. This dual setup can save the homeowner a lot on heating costs throughout the year. It can save enough that the extra cost of the heat pump can be regained in just a few years of operation.

Every home is different and will benefit most from one system over another. If you want to discuss your options in heating, Bryant Home Air Experts would love to help you so call us today!

Why Should you Choose a Ductless HVAC System?

Everyone likes saving money. With almost half of the electric consumption in your home directly attributable to heating and cooling costs, being able to reduce that by any percentage will have measurable savings. And with a ductless system you can reduce that percentage quite a bit!

What is a Ductless System?

Most people are familiar with the large, central air units, whether a split system or a package unit that cools either a whole floor or the entire house. These systems are generally pretty efficient and are more than capable of managing the air within a home. However, they are known to have uneven heating and cooling and they are either full-blast on when running, or totally off when not.

Different parts of a home will either gain or lose heat at different rates. Normally if the temperature rose on a western bedroom and you wanted to cool it down, you would run the AC which would cool the room down sure, but it would also needlessly cool the rest of the house as well.

True to its name, a ductless system does not use ducts. Instead of having one or two heat pumps (commonly referred to colloquially as “AC units”) that provide the air management for the entire home through a system of ductwork, the work is split among several smaller heat pumps. These pumps are mounted in the different rooms or different zones of a home, allowing highly individualized control of the different parts of your home and eliminating the need for costly and space-hungry ductwork.

Benefits of a Ductless System

The ability to control the heat on a room-by-room and as-needed basis greatly cuts down on energy consumption by only operating in the areas that need the air conditioned or heated. The heat pumps themselves are very efficient and depending on the setup, efficiency ratings of 300% are not unheard of.

In addition to efficiency, surgical precision of air management and the associated savings, ductless systems also clean the air much more effectively than a central air system. A typical HVAC setup will have one or two air returns in the home that filter the air. The air from the whole house has to make its way to there to be filtered; it takes a while to filter the whole volume of a home. A ductless setup can clean much more air than a standard HVAC system by having multiple filtration points.

Every home is unique and will benefit from one system over another. If you would like to discuss your heating and cooling options and what method is best for your home, our trained professionals at Bryant Home Air Experts would be glad to help you, so call us today!

HVAC Sales Slowed in 2015, but Growth is Expected This Year

Last year was not a stellar one for HVAC equipment sales, according to figures released by Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). The trade association, which represents water heating equipment and HVAC Sales Slowed in 2015, but Growth is Expected This Year

Last year was not a stellar one for HVAC equipment sales, according to figures released by Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). The trade association, which represents water heating equipment and HVACR manufacturers, reported that year to date combined US shipments of gas warm air furnaces increased by 2.9 percent, while shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps dropped by 0.6 percent. These numbers were down from the previous year, when combined shipments of gas warm-air furnaces were up by 5.1 percent and central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps rose by 11.1 percent.

Indicators for Year “Fairly Positive”

The economy is a concern to the industry, as always; however, Gary Bedard, the vice president and general manager for Lennox Residential, Lennox Intl. Inc. stated that indicators for the year are “fairly positive.” He said that lower oil prices would mean consumers would have more discretionary income and that lower debt levels would mean modest economic growth with what he described as “great opportunities for the HVAC business.”

One of these growth areas is the market for ductless and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology. This sector is currently experiencing a very impressive double digit rate of growth, according to Dale Fields, the director of residential and light commercial at LG Electronics USA. He said that residential would continue on its present course of “modest growth,” since new home construction is on the rise.

Mr. Fields went on to say that this technology sector has the capacity to “outpace residential new construction,” since duct free products are being used in a number of retrofit and new model applications when upgrading existing properties. Multifamily applications are also likely to continue the rate of growth seen over the past three years.

Multifamily Housing Will Continue to be Strong

Malcolm Persaud, the senior marketing and development manager at Panasonic Air Conditioning Group, believes that multifamily housing units will be an area of strong growth this year. He said there will be “increased interest” in replacing, as opposed to repairing equipment, since financing costs are lower today. His company is exploring future financing options for its customers to make this option more attractive.

Rise in New Construction Permits Means Hope for HVAC Market

Since new construction permits grew by more than 10 percent in 2015, there is hope the market will perform even better this year, according to Goncalo Costa, the director of product management at Bosch Thermotechnology Corp. He said that his company expect a repeat of the double-digit growth in both residential and commercial/industrial markets.

Mr. Costa also noted that the multifamily housing market is expected to grow this year. He stated that Bosch has a dedicated team to support builders in this niche.

The heating and cooling industry is poised for growth in 2016. Don’t get left behind when you can easily advertise your business by adding it to our Service Area page.
Contact us to learn more about being added to our HVAC directory page today.

manufacturers, reported that year to date combined US shipments of gas warm air furnaces increased by 2.9 percent, while shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps dropped by 0.6 percent. These numbers were down from the previous year, when combined shipments of gas warm-air furnaces were up by 5.1 percent and central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps rose by 11.1 percent.

Indicators for Year “Fairly Positive”

The economy is a concern to the industry, as always; however, Gary Bedard, the vice president and general manager for Lennox Residential, Lennox Intl. Inc. stated that indicators for the year are “fairly positive.” He said that lower oil prices would mean consumers would have more discretionary income and that lower debt levels would mean modest economic growth with what he described as “great opportunities for the HVAC business.”

One of these growth areas is the market for variable refrigerant flow (VRF) and ductless technology. This sector is currently experiencing a very impressive double digit rate of growth, according to Dale Fields, the director of residential and light commercial at LG Electronics USA. He said that residential would continue on its present course of “modest growth,” since new home construction is on the rise.

Mr. Fields went on to say that this technology sector has the capacity to “outpace residential new construction,” since duct free products are being used in a number of retrofit and new model applications when upgrading existing properties. Multifamily applications are also likely to continue the rate of growth seen over the past three years.

Multifamily Housing Will Continue to be Strong

Malcolm Persaud, the senior marketing and development manager at Panasonic Air Conditioning Group, believes that multifamily housing units will be an area of strong growth this year. He said there will be “increased interest” in replacing, as opposed to repairing equipment, since financing costs are lower today. His company is exploring future financing options for its customers to make this option more attractive.

Rise in New Construction Permits Means Hope for HVAC Market

Since new construction permits grew by more than 10 percent in 2015, there is hope the market will perform even better this year, according to Goncalo Costa, the director of product management at Bosch Thermotechnology Corp. He said that his company expect a repeat of the double-digit growth in both residential and commercial/industrial markets.

Mr. Costa also noted that the multifamily housing market is expected to grow this year. He stated that Bosch has a dedicated team to support builders in this niche.

The heating and cooling industry is poised for growth in 2016. Don’t get left behind when you can easily advertise your business by adding it to our Service Area page.
Contact us to learn more about being added to our HVAC directory page today.

Maintain Your Cooling System and Save Money with Energy Star

Have you noticed that you have been paying more for energy for the last several months or longer? No one wants to overpay for anything on their budget. There are ways that you can maintain your cooling system to keep your home comfortable all summer long, and still save money by choosing high-quality Energy Star equipment.

Start with a Home Energy Audit

If your home felt too cool last winter and you are concerned that it will not be comfortable this summer, you need to find out where you are leaking energy so that you can take the right steps to deal with the issue. Local Bryant contractors would be pleased to help you get the most energy efficient service for your money, starting with conducting home energy audits.

Tips for Cooling your Home Efficiently

  • After the energy audit has been completed, make sure that any leaks are sealed. You or the HVAC contractor can look after these, depending on where they are. Looking after this task can improve the performance of the cooling/heating system by 20 percent or more.
  • Have the contractor perform a thorough inspection on your system (both inside and outside). You’ll want to know whether the system is operating at peak efficiency.
  • Ask the contractor to check your air ducts to look for any leaks and to confirm that they are connected properly. The ducts going through your garage, basement, attic and crawlspace are the ones that need to be checked first. To seal the seams and the duct connections, use either duct sealant or metallic foil tape. Once the ducts have been sealed, they should be wrapped in insulation to prevent them from becoming hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
  • Change your air filter every three months to ensure that it is doing the best possible job of keeping your inside air free from contaminants such as pet dander, dust, pollen and other airborne contaminants. If the filter is allowed to get dirty, the cooling system will have to work even harder to keep you and your family cool during the summer.
  • Consider updating the existing equipment to an ENERGY STAR unit. If your HVAC system is 10 years old (or older) or is no longer keeping your house cool, talk to your HVAC contractor about replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR-rated one. An ENERGY STAR qualified system can reduce your annual energy bill by more than $115.00, depending on your location. You’ll need to make sure that you have done the work necessary to deal with any big air leaks in your home first, however, or you will not get the full benefits of investing in new heating and cooling equipment.

Once you have made the decision to update the existing heating and cooling system in your home, make sure that you have your new system installed by a licensed HVAC contractor. Contact Bryant Home Air Experts to find a dealer near you.

5 Common Air Conditioner Problems

Air conditioners are usually quite dependable products. They are manufactured to perform reliably in most instance. If you find that your air conditioner is not working, try checking the fuse or circuit breakers before calling for service. (It’s a good idea to let it cool down for at least five minutes before you reset the breakers.)

The compressor may stop working suddenly on a particularly hot day. If this occurs, the high-pressure limit switch could have been stripped. You can reset it by pushing the button on the compressor’s access panel.

Common Air Conditioner Problems

Here are some common problems affecting air conditioners you should be aware of.

1. Lack of Proper Maintenance

If you have not changed your air conditioner’s filters regularly or have allowed the coils on your unit to become dirty, it will not work as efficiently. The fans or compressor are more likely to fail.

2. Refrigerant is Leaking

A leaky air conditioner need to be repaired properly by having a trained HVAC technician find its source, sealing it and then testing the seal to ensure that it is secure. Next, the technician will need to charge the system with the right amount of refrigerant.

The air conditioner will work at peak performance when the refrigerant charge matches the manufacturer’s specifications. Since refrigerant leaks can be harmful to the environment, they should be avoided.

3. Electronic Control Issue

The fan and compressor controls can become worn out, especially if the unit turns on and off frequently. This can occur if the unit is too big for the area being cooled. Electrical connections and wires should also be checked for signs of corrosion when the air conditioner is being given a tune-up.

4. Drainage Difficulties

During humid days, make a point of checking your air conditioner’s condensate drain to ensure that it is draining properly and doesn’t have any clogs. If you have a room air conditioner, make sure that it is mounted level, since it may not drain properly otherwise.

5. Sensor Trouble

Room air conditioners are equipped with a thermostat sensor which is situated behind the control panel. It measures the temperature as the air enters the evaporative coil. If this sensor is knocked out of position somehow, the air conditioner could either cycle continuously or behave in an erratic manner. The sensor should be positioned close to, but not touching, the coil. Adjust its position by bending the wire carefully until it is in the correct spot.

If you are experiencing any of the problems listed above, contact Bryant Home Air Experts to find ac repair services near you.

The History of Air Conditioning: How Your Grandparents Stayed Cool

Today, the vast majority of American homeowners use an air conditioning system to keep their indoor environment cool and comfortable in hot weather. But did you know that the situation was much different just 50 years ago? Let’s take a brief look back at the history of AC development in the last century and beyond.

Air Conditioning Throughout the Centuries

Human beings have been trying to keep their indoor environments cool since prehistoric times, when hunter-gatherers, already familiar with cave dwelling, started purposefully digging their homes into the ground to take advantage of the naturally stable temperatures just a few feet below the earth’s surface. Over the following centuries, civilizations across the world developed their own unique ways to combat high temperatures. For example, the ancient Egyptians put wet reeds in their windows to cool down the air passing through their homes. The ancient Greeks and Romans used water funneled through aqueduct systems for cooling as well as drinking and bathing, while several Middle Eastern cultures developed the use of cooling towers that concentrated and circulated cool air from natural underground channels. The Victorians used design features such as cross ventilating windows and covered porches to keep their homes cool.

The First Modern Systems

Modern air conditioning technology properly began in 1902 when a man named William Carrier used an electrically powered device equipped with water-cooled coils to control the indoor environment of a New York printing plant. Interestingly, Carrier was actually trying to lower the building’s humidity, not its temperature. Two decades later, he invented something called a centrifugal chiller, which really set the development of AC technology on a forward path. By the 1930’s, air conditioning systems based on Carrier’s inventions were cooling a broad range of commercial properties, including movie theaters, office buildings and department stores.

The Rise of Residential Air Conditioning

Despite the popularity of commercial air conditioning in the first half of the 20th century, few American homes were equipped with an AC system. In fact, in 1965, just 10 percent of all U.S. residences had an air conditioning system installed. Things changed pretty quickly over the next 40 years, as more and more Americans saw the advantages of keeping their indoor environments well-controlled. By 2007, the number of homes equipped with ACs had risen dramatically to 86 percent. Needless to say, it looks like the air conditioner is here to stay.

For more information on vital and interesting air conditioning-related topics, make sure to bookmark this blog and check back with us often.

Stop Mold Growth in Your Business HVAC System

When mold becomes a problem for your business, your HVAC system is often the source of the trouble. HVAC systems can not only contribute to mold growth themselves but also transport mold spores throughout your building.

Mold thrives in warm and damp conditions, with access to ready food sources such as drywall, carpeting or wood. HVAC systems, which include drain pans, coils and piping, are excellent sources of indoor moisture if they are not properly installed, operated and maintained. Once mold spores find a damp location in which to grow, indoor environments usually offer moderate temperatures and plenty of food.

Install Equipment Properly

Stopping mold growth starts at the very beginning, with the proper HVAC inspection and installation. Make sure that all of the materials for your HVAC system are in good condition and free of damage or mold, and employ an experienced technician to install your equipment.

Maintain and Treat Dehumidification System

HVAC systems control indoor humidity by condensing water from the air onto the system’s coils, from which it drips into the drain pan. If drain pans are not properly designed and maintained, standing water can accumulate and become an ideal habitat for mold and other microbes. To prevent this, drain pans need to be sloped properly and cleaned regularly so that water drains away through the deep seal trap as intended. In addition, surfaces that are frequently wet should be treated to kill microbes.

Replace Air Filters

Air filters are crucial barriers that prevent mold and other contaminants from reaching your indoor air. Dirty filters become less effective at trapping contaminants, and can also impede the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Air filters should fit snugly in the filter housing, without gaps that can allow air and contaminants through. It’s also important to turn off the HVAC fan when changing the filter, so that particles do not pass through the system unimpeded when the filter is removed.

Keep Ducts Clean and Dry

Certain areas of your ducts are more likely to be affected by moisture and condensation. If dirt builds up in these areas, it creates a habitat for spores. Wherever possible, address areas that are suffering from excessive water build-up by cleaning or fixing components to reduce condensation and replacing any elements that have been damaged by moisture.

Inspect Air Intakes

Air intakes can introduce microbes into your HVAC system, particularly if they are near areas where organic materials accumulate. Dumpsters, standing rain water, freshly disturbed earth or significant bird droppings can all produce airborne microbes, which may be sucked into your HVAC system if there are nearby air intakes. Removing these sources—moving dumpsters, draining water, cleaning droppings, etc.—can help to prevent fungal contaminations.

Thank you for reading, and please follow our blog to learn more about HVAC maintenance and air quality.

An Overview of Bryant Housewise Thermostats

Wi-Fi thermostats have brought exciting innovation to the world of home heating and cooling. These devices let you remotely control your household temperature by using the wireless signals sent and received over the Internet. One of the most feature-packed Wi-Fi thermostats currently available is the Bryant Housewise. Here’s an overview of the features that make this model a formidable option.

Remote Access to Your Temperature Controls

All Wi-Fi thermostats let you control your household temperature and other heating and cooling functions by sending a signal through your Internet modem with a custom app installed on your smartphone, or on your tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The Bryant Housewise thermostat ups the ante by giving you remote access to your HVAC system when you’re not at home. All you need to change settings from your current location is a local connection to a Wi-Fi signal.

A Compact Touch Screen

When you’re at home, you can also access the Bryant Housewise directly through its small, color touch screen display. This display easily provides you with comprehensive control over all of the thermostat’s functions. At the same time, it only takes up a minimal amount of real estate on your wall.

Feedback and Analysis Functions

In order to save money on your utility costs, it’s important that you comprehend and track your energy usage patterns. The Housewise thermostat simplifies this potentially complicated process by giving you real-time feedback on your system’s heating and cooling performance. The thermostat increases your knowledge even further by providing a performance overview for each month and making it easy for you to compare monthly usage stats throughout the year.

Intelligent, Money-Saving Electronics

It’s possible to keep your energy costs under control while maintaining your household comfort. However, if you have to make all of the necessary adjustments yourself, your chances of achieving this goal typically drop significantly. The Housewise thermostat can pick up the slack by analyzing your energy usage and determining on its own how to strike the proper balance between cost and comfort. On average, you can expect this function to shave roughly 20 percent off your monthly utility bill.

Extensive Programmability

Of course, there are times when you simply want your thermostat to follow your commands. The Bryant Housewise is extensively programmable, and you can use direct or remote access to set up your own detailed heating and cooling schedule. If you want, the thermostat can also make suggestions on how to adjust your programming options for maximum benefit.

For future updates on the latest money-saving trends in home heating and cooling, make sure to bookmark this blog and check back with us often.

5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Purchasing a New AC or Furnace

If you need to purchase a new furnace, you may be unsure where to begin. With so many HVAC companies and contractors, and so many different types of systems to choose from, the selection can feel a bit overwhelming. By avoiding these five pitfalls, you can help ensure that you’re making an informed and thorough decision.

1. Purchasing from a Bargain HVAC Company

Bargain HVAC companies often give their prospective clients an initially low estimate, and then raise the estimate once work has begun. Their initial low-ball price ensures their sale, but then they find other “problems” once they’ve started work. If you use a bargain service, you may be getting substandard parts and installation, the company may be charging you for services you don’t need, and they might also purposefully create a problem in order to ensure they get another service call.

2. Using Untrustworthy HVAC Contractors

A survey revealed that 45 percent of homeowners feel uneasy about a contractor’s demeanor when he or she is in their home. In order to prevent a “creepy” or uncomfortable situation, only hire a contractor who is in good standing with the BBB. Also, make sure the HVAC company has appropriate insurance in case anyone gets hurt on the property, or in case something gets damaged.

3. Saying Yes to the First Estimate

In order to make an informed decision, you will want to shop around a bit before deciding on an HVAC company. Get more than one estimate in order to compare services. Many components of an estimate can vary, including price, permits, installation costs and service contracts.

4. Ignoring SEER

Not all heating and cooling systems are created equal. Choose a system with a high SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating to ensure you’ll get a high efficiency unit. Systems with high efficiency cost you less per month on your utility bill. A 13 SEER should be the lowest you go. 15 and 16 are better. An 8 SEER unit can double your energy bills and won’t disburse your warm and cool air comfortably.

5. Getting the Wrong Refrigerant

R-22 refrigerant, sometimes referred to as Freon®, is an ozone-depleting gas that has been restricted from use in every new unit produced in the past five years. When purchasing a new system, make sure it has an approved refrigerant, such as R-410A or similar. Some older units that use R-22 refrigerant can use “reclaimed” and recycled R-22 refrigerant from other old systems; however, if you’re purchasing a new system, you will want to avoid this option.

Buying a new AC or furnace can be a big decision, but with the right information, you can make a great choice.

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