Tag: Ac Repair Houston Tx

Heat Pump Or Gas Furnace?

Should Houston Homeowners Get A Heat Pump Or Gas Furnace?

Houston homeowners often wind up asking the same question if they need to replace their home’s heating and cooling system. Should they get a heat pump, or should they get an air conditioner and furnace system?

There is a good rule of thumb to use when choosing between a heat pump or a more conventional AC/furnace combo:

If you live somewhere really warm, like Houston, that has electricity cheaper than gas, then seriously consider a heat pump. On the other hand, if your location has sub-freezing temperatures in winter and your electricity costs more than gas, use a combination of a furnace and air conditioner. Simple enough, right? Your utility rates and local climate should determine just which HVAC system is going to be your best bet.

We’ll go into why each of these factors matters as well as how they apply to Houston homeowners.

Why Climate Matters

To know why climate is so decisive as a factor, it’s important to first understand how heat pumps work.

The following is a simple explanation:

In the summertime, a heat pump will work like an air conditioner does, as it uses refrigerant to actually absorb the heat of your home’s air before moving it outside. In wintertime, it does the reverse, as it extracts heat from the air outside to move into the home. That’s different from gas furnaces that produce heat by burning fuel. So this is the point where climate factors in. If the weather goes below 40F, a heat pump isn’t able to heat a home up to the temperature setting the thermostat is at. So, it would have to have a backup heating system that can kick in and help out.

A gas furnace.

A gas furnace is certainly more efficient than an electric coil. As such, a lot of homeowners choose to pair up their heat pump with a gas furnace in order to have a ‘dual-fuel heating system’. Now, you might be thinking why would you get a heat pump and a furnace when you can just opt for an air conditioner and a furnace? The answer comes from how often a heat pump needs to rely on its backup heating system. In most of Houston, a heat pump only needs to rely on its backup gas furnace for only a very few winter days that get really truly cold. So, even though a heat pump/furnace combo might cost a bit more in advance than an AC/furnace combo, your utility rates could be lower across the calendar with the former over the latter. We are certainly implying that the heating rate of a heat pump doesn’t cost as much as a furnace’s. That topic is covered in the next section.

Why Electric Vs Gas Rates Are Deciding Factors

Heat pumps and air conditioners have similar cooling efficiencies. A 13 SEER heat pump will cool just as efficiently as a 13 SEER AC unit. That should simplify a few things for you. So, your only necessary comparison is the cost of using a gas furnace as compared to a heat pump. In the end, everything comes down to how much electricity costs versus how much gas costs. Per Entergy, a heat pump might save you around $300 per year. That makes heat pumps the better heating option in Houston in terms of cost-efficiency.

Find A Reputable Houston HVAC Contractor

Regardless of the particular heating/cooling system you choose, the caliber of the installation has a huge influence on how much efficiency you’ll get. Per ENERGYSTAR, the estimated savings potential of a good installation will range from 18 percent up to 36 percent for air conditioners or heat pumps, but 11 percent to 18 percent for a furnace.

HVAC Repair Specialists Troubleshoot Your Finicky Furnace

Furnace Blowing Cold Air: A Homeowner’s Troubleshooting Guide

Homeowners live in a huge range of climates, and every house is different. Turning on your furnace universal, though. No matter who you are or where you are, the last result you want is a blast of cold air.

What could be behind this sort of mechanical betrayal? Lots of things! There are many issues that can push down the temperature of the air your furnace emits, and some of them can be easily solved without professional assistance.

Before you get on the phone to your preferred HVAC experts, here are four solid pieces of furnace troubleshooting advice:

Check The FAN Setting On Your Thermostat

If your heating system seems to alternate between hot and cold air, the culprit might be a blower fan running full time.

Check your thermostat’s fan setting. If it’s turned to “ON,” your heating system’s blower will be running around the clock, whether or not your furnace is actually warming up the air in the system. This can easily produce chilly air currents at unwanted times.

To solve this problem, simply set the fan to “AUTO” on your thermostat. This will link the blower to the furnace so that it only pushes out air when the furnace is running.

Check The Air Filter Of Your Furnace

An old, dirty, clogged-up filter can cause your furnace to blow cold air.

This happens because your furnace relies on a steady flow of air over its heat exchanger. If that airflow is impeded by a clogged filter, an automatic filter may be shutting your burners off to prevent damage. Allowing the heat exchanger to get too hot could cause it to crack.

To fix this problem, check the furnace filter and replace it if it’s dirty. You’ll need to shut your furnace down (at the thermostat) first. Note that resetting the furnace may require professional assistance.

Check Your Pilot Light

In older-model furnaces, the burners need a standing pilot light to switch on. If the pilot light has been extinguished, the heating system won’t function.

You can relight your pilot with this simple procedure:

  1. Turn your furnace off.
    Switch your thermostat to the “OFF” position.
  2. Locate the plot light and reset switch.
    These pieces of equipment are usually at the bottom of the furnace. If you’re having trouble finding them, check your manual. The furnace reset switch is typically behind an access cover you’ll need to open. The switch will have three settings: PILOT, OFF, and ON.
  3. Set the reset switch to “OFF” and wait 5 minutes.
    This step shuts off the gas flow. You need to wait to let any remaining gas dissipate.
  4. Set the switch to “PILOT” and press it down.
    This restarts the gas flor to the pilot light.
  5. While holding the switch down, hold a lighter at the pilot opening.
    When the gas catches and the flame lights, you should see a steady blue flame. If it’s working properly, it should hit the furnace’s thermocouple (a small copper bar) right in the middle.
  6. Set the switch to “ON.”
    This will allow your furnace to function properly.
  7. Turn your furnace back on at your thermostat.
    Set the thermostat to “HEAT” again. Start with the temperature setting 5 degrees below your normal room temperature and check for hot air.

If Your Pilot Light Won’t Light Or Hold A Flame

If the pilot light isn’t functioning properly, you need professional help. The problem may be a broken thermocouple (which is a cheap, fast repair) or something more serious.

Check Your Condensate Line

If your home has a more modern, high-efficiency furnace, you may have a condensate line blockage. The blocked line will cause your furnace to shut down automatically. The telltale sign of a blockage is puddled water around the furnace.

High-efficiency furnaces produce water (the condensate) while they’re running. This has to drain out of the furnace, typically through a PVC pipe. If water can’t leave, it will trigger a kill switch and shut down the furnace so that the water can’t damage it.

Condensate lines can be blocked by dust, dirt, mold, or (if the line runs through an uninsulated area) ice. Your furnace may also suffer condensate overflow if its condensate pump breaks down. This is another problem that requires a professional fix.

You can use this in-depth Energy Vanguard tutorial to help you unclog a condensate line. If your line is being clogged with ice, use pipe insulation and heat tape to wrap it where it runs through unconditioned spaces.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

Furnace Being Indecisive? AC Man Of Houston Can Help!

What Causes A Furnace To Turn Off And On Frequently

Short cycling is when a furnace stops and starts more often than it should. Your furnace can suffer a lot of damage if it’s short cycling. Not only that, but your utility bills can increase.

What Causes Short Cycling

Overheating can cause it. So can issues with the thermostat. Also, an over-sized furnace could be the reason. We’ll go into these in more depth and how you can take care of them.

Overheating

If your furnace is shutting down, then the exchanger could be the culprit. The furnace shuts itself down when the exchanger overheats. This is to protect it from cracking.

Eventually, the heat exchanger can crack. It is very expensive to replace an exchanger, and it is sometimes better to replace your entire furnace than replacing the exchanger. Unless you have a parts warranty, then you’ll want to consider replacing the furnace.

What Causes Overheating

A dirty air filter can cause the heat exchanger to overheat. What you should do is check the air filter 1-2 times per month. Make sure to change it if it looks dirty.

Blocked Off Air Vents

An exchanger can overheat if air vents are blocked off. When you close the vents or if they are blocked off, then the air ducts are subjected to more pressure and this can lead the blower not blowing out as much air as it should. When the airflow is low, then less heat is exchanged and this can lead to more heat to build up. If you want to fix this problem, then keep the vents open and do not block them.

Blocked Exhaust Vents

Certain gases gave to be exhausted, which your furnace does via its exhaust vents. However, there are a number of things that can block these vents, and this includes leaves, nests, and debris. This can lead to furnace overheating, which is dangerous. Furthermore, carbon monoxide could end up being released into your home.

Do you know where your furnace’s flue pipe is? If so, then inspect it to make sure nothing is clogging it up. Be careful if the vent is located on the roof.

Thermostat Issues

Thermostats let your furnace know when to turn on and when to turn off. If short cycling is happening, then the thermostat might be faulty. There are two common issues that affect thermostats, and this includes:

  1. Malfunctioning- A thermostat that malfunctions need to be replaced. It might be able to be repaired. A professional can help you out here.
  2. Improper Placement- The thermostat might be tricked into thinking your home is warm enough. This can happen if it’s installed near a heat register, direct sunlight, the kitchen or other heat sources. This is why you want to make sure the thermostat is installed in a proper place.

Oversized Furnace

Did you install a new furnace recently? If so, it might be too big. A furnace that’s too large can heat your home up very fast, but this can actually cause your energy bills to skyrocket.

What you need to do is contact the professional who installed your furnace. Tell them what the problem is. They should be able to correct the problem, such as reinstalling a furnace that is a suitable size for your home or they will offer another solution.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

What Sort Of Questions Should You Be Asking Your Houston HVAC Repair Company

HVAC Questions That You Should Ask Your Service Provider (And The Answers You Should Get) Part 1

Do you trust that your contractor will answer the HVAC questions that you have honestly? When you are looking for an HVAC service provider to repair broken equipment, do preventative maintenance or install your new unit, we know you will have some questions that you need answers to. Over our many years in business, we have been able to figure out the top HVAC questions that people are wondering about but are not comfortable to ask. That might be due to the fact that you don’t think you will get an honest answer from a service provider who only wants to sell services to you.

So today we will be giving you honest answers to some of the toughest HVAC questions that people ask. AC Man of Houston is the Houston metro area’s biggest HVAC service provider. We have been providing these services for over 60 years. Therefore, we have plenty of information about everything we are telling you. So go ahead, ask your HVAC company these questions and find out if they give you the same answers that we are giving you today.

Reliable answers to the main 5 HVAC questions

1. How long is my new air conditioner expected to last?

A majority of light commercial systems have been built to last for approximately 15 to 20 years. However, there are various conditions that may shorten their life expectancy. When rooftop and outdoor units get exposed to salt air and smog, since they are in Houston, build-up and corrosion of debris may damage the parts. This is also true when it comes to corrosive chemical exposure as frequently occurs in manufacturing plants.

Probably the most common thing that causes the early demise of an air conditioner is neglect. Your system needs to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to get the maximum life expectancy from them. that means twice per year at least (once before starting it up in the spring and then again in the fall when the system is shut down), you will need to have a certified HVAC professional to come out and tune up and thoroughly clean your air conditioner. Having an annual maintenance contract means you will receive the best price and get reminders.

2. Does it really pay off to spend money on maintenance on a regular basis?

As previously discussed, AC Man of Houston repairs and maintains thousands of HVAC systems each year (sometimes during the busy season it is every month) so our answer is based on our extensive experience. I promise that our customers who have a preventative maintenance contract, with well cared for equipment, experience few costly repairs and breakdowns compared to those who neglect replacing worn parts, tune-ups, and cleaning. Preventative maintenance not only helps you save money on repairs but also helps your equipment to last for a longer period of time.

It can also help save money on your energy bills also. When deposits and debris build up in your air conditioner’s fan blades, coils, and other parts, it results in the metal corroding, which can lead to refrigerant leaks and finally system failure. This results in a drain on your system, which forces it to constantly run to keep the area cool and to use more electricity during the process. If you clean the unit on a regular basis it will help to ensure that it runs at its optimal efficiency and will keep its parts in good condition in order to last longer.

3. Can Your Maintenance Staff Do HVAC Cleaning?

There are some cases where this is possible. If you have an air conditioner that has a heavy load, your cleaning crew could be able to dust the soils and remove debris from around the unit. However, you need to ensure that they do not use any liquids around the electrical components.

While this is possible, you will still need to have the system cleaned by a professional twice a year. Professionals have special chemical cleaners that will remove any scale and other buildup from the coils. They are also able to clean parts of the system that would be dangerous for the maintenance staff to work with including the fan blade.

Drain lines will also be kept clear by a professional cleaning and drip pants will be emptied to prevent mold. If you work with a certified HVAC technician, they will be able to check the electrical connections and refrigerant while inspecting the whole system for any wear. Potential signs of trouble will also be picked up by a professional and these are all tasks that you do not want to leave to the maintenance team.

4. Your Air Conditioning Unit Keeps Breaking Down, Should You Repair Or Replace?

There is no simple answer to this and you will need to take a number of factors into account when you make your decision. You need to consider how old the unit is. If it is older than 10 years, it would be better to replace the unit instead of repairing.

The maintenance that has been done on the unit is also important. If the system was regularly maintained, cleaned and serviced, you could probably keep it going for longer. This is particularly true if the parts are still in good condition.

What is broken will also need to be looked at. If you have a problem with the compressor or the coils ate leaking, you should replace because repairing will be expensive. If it is an electrical problem, you should consider repairing because this may be simple and inexpensive.

If your unit is using R22 refrigerant, you should look at replacing it. This refrigerant is being phased out by the EPA and you will need to replace the unit at some point.

5. How Can You Reduce The Expense Of The Air Conditioner In The Summer?

There are a number of ways that you can improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system. Some of these ways are easy such as replacing the filters and using a programmable thermostat. You should also ensure that all maintenance is being done including the cleaning of the coils and fan blade. This will keep your system running correctly and reduce energy waste.

You should also look at adjusting the temperature by a few degrees. You might be surprised at the amount that you can save by doing this. This is generally something that you should do when there are fewer people in the building.

Replacing your old system with a new one can also help you save money. A new unit will often use less electricity which enables it to pay for itself through your energy savings. If you know the SEER rating of your current unit, you will be able to calculate how much you can save. If the unit has a SEET rating of 8 to 10, a new unit with a rating of 18 will save you up to 50% on your energy bills.

How Do You Know You Can Trust Your HVAC Service Provider?

Unless you have worked with the provider for a number of years, it can be hard to determine if they are trustworthy. There are some companies that will show you what they are doing during their maintenance visits and this can help you trust them.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

Houston HVAC Company Addresses Heat Pump Maintenance & Their FAQ’s

Learn More About How Houston Heat Pump Maintenance Can Benefit You

We’ve been discussing in our blog all month that heat pump technology is rapidly evolving, and heat pumps are picking up in popularity in colder climates. In fact, you may be considering a heat pump yourself, if you’re interested in:

  • Supplementing your existing heat system
  • Replacing your existing combined systems with one combined solution
  • Reduce your carbon footprint and boost your energy efficiency
  • Reduce your regular energy costs and enjoy the heat pump tax credit

However, if combining heating and cooling into one system concerns you, especially when it comes to maintenance, you don’t need to worry.

This week, we’d like to go through the questions that we get asked most often, as well as offer some standard heat pump maintenance tips to help you feel more at ease.

Do heat pumps require service?

Like any other heating or cooling system, your heat pump will benefit from regular preventative maintenance. The difference between a system that is well-maintained and a system that is neglected can range from 10% to 25%, according to energy.gov.

Heat pump maintenance on a routine basis will help ensure that the system performs at its best. It will also help limit damage to the components, including the compressor, making sure that your expensive investment is well protected.

Routine service limits the risk of the heat pump needing unexpected and expensive repairs, as well as helping the system to run more reliably.

What does it cost to maintain a heat pump?

The cost of maintaining a heat pump will vary quite a bit, depending on where you live, how often you have the service performed, the age of your system, and who provides the service.

To understand why the preventative maintenance is worth the ongoing investment, let’s examine the difference between the cost of this important preventative measure and replacing a heat pump after it’s gone bad.

The national average cost for residential heat pump repair ranges from around $350-$1250.

The cost of preventative maintenance on the heat pump averages $170, making this service both cost-effective and a smart option. You can also save on the price of this routine maintenance if you sign a contract for ongoing service with the same HVAC provider.

Can I troubleshoot my heat pump on my own and do my own maintenance?

You should definitely keep an eye on your heat pump for specific issues that commonly develop so that you can prevent future issues.

For example, the defrost cycle will typically run when it is quite cold outside. However, if you notice that the defrost mode keeps coming on, or stays on for more than fifteen minutes, it may be time to call in a professional to evaluate your system.

You can also keep your heat pump running at its best by taking care of routine tasks like dusting around the vents and replacing the air filters.

The reality is that preventative heat pump maintenance is not a job that you can do on your own. If you’re not experienced and trained, it’s very dangerous to work with refrigerant and high voltage electricity. You could wind up doing more harm than good. In these cases, it’s important to turn to a skilled professional for ongoing HVAC maintenance.

How often should the heat pump service be scheduled?

Professional heat pump maintenance should be scheduled at least once per year.

If you use the heat pump for the main heating and cooling system, as opposed to a supplemental system, it may mean that you need to schedule this service twice yearly – once in the spring and once in the fall.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

How to Eliminate Bad Locker Room Smell Before You Lose Customers Part II

Have Houston HVAC Technicians Take A Closer Look At Your Gyms’ Bad Locker Room Smells Part II

Deep Cleaning At Least Once Every Week

If regular cleaning is not helping with the situation with the locker room, then you should consider deep cleaning because it can help go to the root of the problem. Scrub and sanitize lockers and benches at least once a week so that you will be able to reach spots that you miss when cleaning daily.

Removing The Carpeting

Have you ever seen someone put a carpet in the bathroom or kitchen? People don’t do this because it ends up getting stained, damp, and gross very easily. This is the same case with a carpet at a fitness center.

Carpets absorb humidity and this can result in the room smell. A gym is a place that has a lot of traffic and this makes it hard to keep the carpet clean. You should consider replacing the carpet with less absorbent options like a tile. This will help in eliminating odors and making it easier to clean the floor.

3 Ways Of Controlling Humidity To Lose The locker room smell

Improving Ventilation

Keeping humidity low is important if you want to control odor. This is because moisture in the air will lead to the odor lingering, so ensure you have humidity levels in check, and more importantly the locker room. Locker rooms are the most humid part of gyms because of people sweating and showering. Other high humidity areas are pools and steam rooms.

According to the International Building Code, moist air needs to be vented out instead of being recirculated. This will mean having a proper ventilation system that will be able to keep the room healthy, odor-free, and up to code.

Fitness centers have a higher risk of air quality issues like increased CO2 levels. Exercising results in a number of changes in the body, and these include faster breathing and elevated heart rate. Breathing faster will lead to a higher production of CO2. Breathing too much CO2 is unhealthy, and it will leave a person feeling tired and foggy, which is not something anyone wants to feel when they are exercising. This is a common problem in dance studios, weight rooms, and an enclosed space where classes are taking place. This is why it is important to ensure ventilation is there.

If you are still using an old system (you have not updated your HVAC), you should get it checked by an HVAC professional so it can work how it is supposed to. There are a number of things that can be done to increase the effectiveness of the ventilation system. Some features that can help with these include HEPA filters, which traps mold, bacteria, and small particles.

Duct Cleaning

The HVAC ducts are responsible for moving air around the gym and through the HVAC system. With time, they can start clogging with dust and accumulate moisture. When the air is traveling through these ducts, it will end up picking the smell then carry it throughout the building. If you have to deal with nasty odors inside the gym, then it is a good idea to have the ducts checked and cleaned by a professional.

When the ducts are cleaned, the HVAC will circulate fresh air.

Regular HVAC Maintenance

When the ventilation is working well and the ducts are cleaned, it is still important to maintain the HVAC equipment. This is because things such as blocked condensation drains, clogged air filters, and water leaks can all lead to smelly gyms.

You should consider getting maintenance services twice a year. This ensures everything is working well and prevent the gym from smelling. Regular maintenance will prevent breakdowns that can sometimes affect your business because of the lack of AC or heat. The cost you are to spend on maintenance is less than what you could have spent or repairs.

Clean air is important for any clean gym. There is no need to lose your customers because of issues like odor. You can schedule regular HVAC maintenance so you don’t have to worry about it again.

Visit the first part of this article by visiting here. Call or contact AC Man of Houston today with any questions that you might have!

How to Eliminate Bad Locker Room Smell Before You Lose Customers Part I

Have Houston HVAC Technicians Take A Closer Look At Your Gyms’ Bad Locker Room Smells Part I

The New Year has started and what this means is more people coming to use the gym. It is normal to see a high number of people showing up in the gym at the beginning of the year. There are many new and returning customers looking to accomplish their resolutions. You should ensure your gym is a place where people will want to come back to. Having a bad locker room smell is the fastest way of ruining your first impression.

The good thing is that it is not hard to fix this problem. Below are some tips you can use to deal with locker room odor and keeping the air clean and fresh.

Let’s start by looking at why the odor is more than just a nuisance; it is also bad for health. This is not something you want in a place where people are coming to improve their health.

The Smell Could Be A Sign That There Is Poor Air Quality Indoors

Poor indoor air quality could cause the gym locker to smell bad. When there is odor around, then there could be pollutants and bacteria too. Odors are usually carried around by humidity, and when there is moisture in the air, it provides the perfect condition for bacteria or mold to grow. Spreading of germs in the gym is easy because there are many people entering and coming in contact with equipment. When you improve the air quality in the room, you will make the place a little healthier.

There are other causes of odors in the room. There was a study done and it showed that the gym has a high level of indoor pollutants like carbon dioxide, dust, VOCs, formaldehyde, and dust. If you notice a chemical smell, then that could be VOCs from the paint, carpet, and other building materials. This is more common in old buildings that have an outdated HVAC system. When you breathe in these substances over time, they will start causing health problems such as breathing difficulties, infections, rashes, nose, eye, and throat irritations.

When people are searching for a gym, they will look for a place that has a pleasant environment. You can easily lose a lot of customers because of the smell in the locker room of the gym and poor quality of air. This is why it is important to ensure there ventilation and quality air inside the room, or else you end up losing a lot of money. People going to the gym want to improve their health, and the last thing they need is the poor quality of air as they exercise.

There is a good chance you have tried different products to get rid of the odor but they don’t work. They will succeed in covering up the odors, and some will even absorb them. But they are not able to deal with the source of the problem. How can you get rid of this problem once and for all?

The Basics For Odor Control

Removing Used Towels Regularly

One of the biggest contributors to the nasty smell in the locker room is used towels. In order to contain the odors and humidity, consider using laundry baskets that have lids. The laundry baskets should also be emptied on a regular basis. You should also look out for any towels left on the stalls, hooks, and benches too.

Stepping Up Dialing Cleaning

You already have a system you follow when it comes to cleaning, but if you have not gone through the routine for some time, then the routine might not be working the way it should be. There are some areas that you will need to clean more regularly. Some of these areas include bathrooms, drains, showerheads, and saunas.

Emptying The Lockers On A Daily Basis

You should not wait for your customers to properly clean the lockers. If you don’t know what has been left inside, it could be contributing to the smell in the locker room. It is a good idea to empty them every day. You should tell the customers that anything they leave behind will be put in the lost and found or thrown out.

Find out more. Give us a call or contact AC Man of Houston today with any inquiries!

Our Houston HVAC Technician Helps You Eliminate Musty Odors In Your Space

Addressing The Musty Smell Of Your Home Or Business With An Experienced HVAC Technician In Houston

Have you been plagued with a musty smell that continues to stick around your business or your home? This is why you’ll need to act on it, and quickly:

Living with a bad smell isn’t just unpleasant, it can actually cause ongoing physical symptoms such as headaches.

Bad smells can also be embarrassing if you have visitors to your office or your home.

If you’re talking about a business space like a restaurant or store, it may hurt your profit margin by driving away employees and customers.

Worse, what you may observe to be a very slight odor could seem much worse to others entering the building. This is because individuals can become used to odors over time. You may have become “nose blind” and stopped noticing the musty smell, but new visitors to the property may be aware of it from the second they enter the building.

We’re sure that you’ve already tried all the simple things like air fresheners for your home and office. You’ve likely already tried using an odor eliminator for mildew, as well as completely cleaning the space. You may have also tried office or home air purifiers.

However, if the smell of mildew or must continue, there’s a good chance that it’s closely related to your HVAC system and how well it’s working.

There are numerous ways that the HVAC system can contribute to a musty smell:

Layers of grime and built up dust and dirt in your HVAC system’s ducts may cause an overall musty odor that spreads through the building along with the air that has been heated and cooled.

Additional moisture can cause mildew and mold, and along with them, bad smells.

Poor HVAC system design may also cause bad airflow conditions, which can spread unpleasant odors from one area of the building to another.

Clean Your Entire Houston HVAC System To Get Rid Of The Musty Smell Completely

If you think that your HVAC system could be playing a part in the musty smell that you’re experiencing, one of the first things you should do is to set up a complete inspection of your HVAC ductwork and equipment.

A skilled HVAC professional should look for the following:

  • Clogged Air Filters
  • Dirty Ducts – It’s amazing what can lurk here, from mold to pest infestations.
  • Clogged Drains – Along with other issues leading to excess moisture and mildew buildup
  • Inadequate Ventilation – This and other system design issues can spread odors around

If it’s been a while since you had your HVAC system serviced, it’s likely that one fairly inexpensive maintenance visit and a duct cleaning may be all you need to eliminate the musty smell that you’re experiencing.

You’ll also want to keep up with ongoing regular service, to keep the smells from coming back. This will also help prevent system breakdowns, help you save energy, and provide you with many other benefits. The least expensive way to do this is to sign up for an ongoing service contract with a reliable HVAC service professional.

It could also be possible that ongoing issues with your HVAC system’s design are contributing to the overall odor problem.

Improve HVAC Airflow to Eliminate Unpleasant Odors

Your HVAC system was designed to regulate the airflow through your commercial space and your home. Properly controlled flow of air is important for both comforts and for controlling odor.

Here’s an example:

Areas of your home like bathrooms and kitchens may have odors that you don’t want to linger. Your HVAC and your ventilation equipment, such as fans, ducts, and vent hoods, should be installed with the goal of getting rid of these odors and not spreading them throughout your space.

This means that the system needs to balance the air that is mechanically removed from the home and circulate it around the building correctly while adding air from outside.

If the balance is off, it’s far too easy for odors to travel where they aren’t wanted.

The solution may be to change the location of vent fans, add an additional air unit, or reroute the ductwork.

Call or contact us today for more information. Visit our blog for more related articles.

Choosing Between A Heat Pump And An Air Conditioner In Houston

Heat Pump Or Air Conditioner: Which Is Better?

To give it the simplest possible definition, a heat pump is an air conditioner that also has the ability to heat the air it delivers as well as cool it down.

The benefits of a heat pump start getting interesting when you find yourself in need of a replacement air conditioner or even an all-new HVAC system. Under the right circumstances, a heat pump can replace an air conditioner and even a heating system at the same time. You have to have a clear understanding of your needs and the capabilities of a heat pump before deciding whether or not one’s right for your home.

This article will give you a thorough run-down on the differences between air conditioners and heat pumps and explain the benefits and potential drawbacks of a heat pump.

The Key Differences Between Heat Pumps And Air Conditioners

Heat pumps and air conditioners operate exactly the same way in hot summer months when their job is to cool down an indoors space. They both extract heat from the indoor air and dump it outside the building.

When the weather turns cold, though, the traditional air conditioner’s job is done. In most homes and businesses, air conditioners are teamed up with furnaces or electric heaters to deliver the heat required for keeping indoor spaces comfortable.

A heat pump gets its name from its ability to inject heat into space as well as take it out.

How does a heat pump do this? As we’ve already suggested, it’s capable of running in reverse to put heat into an indoor space instead of taking it out. That means that a heat pump has the ability to gather heat from the outside air, even in cold weather.

That sounds a little crazy, right? Rest assured, the technology is in there to make it all work. While the outdoor air certainly feels chilly in the winter, it still contains plenty of heat energy. Heat pumps are built to scavenge up that heat energy and transfer it into a building.

The Benefits Of The Heat Pump

Heat Pump Operation Is Very Affordable

One of the most common reasons for owners to install a heat pump instead of a traditional air conditioner plus furnace combo is that the heat pump is cheaper to operate. Thanks to outstanding energy efficiency, heat pumps can reduce your utility bills significantly. (Want the technical details on heat pump efficiency? Check out energy.gov’s article on the subject.)

Heat Pumps Have Lower Environmental Impact

A lot of the traditional options for heating a home or business oblige you to burn fossil fuels, like gas or oil. Heat pumps deliver useful heat energy without this reliance on non-renewable resources. While heat pumps still require power, which might be derived from fossil fuels depending on your local energy provider, overall they are much more environmentally-friendly tools for heating an indoor space.

A Simpler System Means Easier Maintenance And Repairs

When you use a heat pump to provide both heating and cooling, you have a significantly simpler system to take care of. Maintenance is faster and cheaper on a heat pump than a combination system. It’s also easier to diagnose heating and cooling problems. This simplicity translates into overall savings on operational and maintenance costs.

Heat Pumps Are Compact

Relying on a single system for both heating and cooling saves you space as well as money. The lower space requirements of heat pumps make them particularly popular in urban environments where every square foot is precious.

The Potential Drawbacks Of Heat Pumps

Heat Pump Efficiency Has Its Limits

The biggest limitation that holds heat pumps back is the unavoidable fact that they become less efficient the colder the weather gets.

Check our very basic description of heat pump operation above. It heats an indoor space by pulling heat energy from the outdoor air. The colder that the air is, the harder the heat pump has to work to produce the heat you’re looking for. The cost of operating a heat pump can rise significantly if it has to deal with very low temperatures for long periods of time.

Supplemental Heating May Be Required

While heat pump efficiency is improving all the time, they have not yet become viable all-year, all-climate sources for indoor heating. In regions where temperatures drop below freezing and stay there for a long time, you may have to make alternate arrangements to ensure that your home or business remains comfortable in the coldest months.

This applies particularly to home and business owners in the Northeast. It is common in these sorts of climates to add a backup heat source (like a furnace or central electric heater)to a heat pump. This adds to the overall cost of your HVAC system.

Heat Pump Vs. Air Conditioner: The Cost

The initial cost of equipment and installation is higher for a heat pump than an air conditioner. The difference between the two can run into the multiple thousands of dollars.

If your climate makes it feasible to use a heat pump for all of your heating and cooling needs, though, you may end up saving money by ditching the heating components of your system.

TIP FOR COMMERCIAL HEAT PUMPS

Up to the end of 2018, you have the opportunity to save big on a heat pump installation. A special tax rule allows you to deduct the full cost of heat pump equipment and installation from your 2018 tax return. Previously, tax incentives only allowed you to depreciate the cost of a heat pump across the equipment’s lifespan.

The net effect? You get a big tax break up front instead of a smaller one delivered over time.

Additional Guidance

Choosing a heat pump instead of a traditional air conditioner is a big step. It’ll have an impact on your home or business for many years, so seeking out expert guidance is a good idea. Talk to us when you need an HVAC replacement or upgrade! We’ll carefully review your specific needs and make sure you get the best equipment (at the best price!) to meet them.

Call us now if you have any questions on what you should choose!

Houston HVAC and Home Automation: Smart Thermostat and Speaker Capabilities Part 3

Guide to Home Automation Device And HVAC Compatibility Part III

Thermostat By Idevices
  • Capability with many smart speakers: Amazon Echo or other speakers using Alexa, as well as Google Home, or Apple Homekit
  • No learning capabilities
  • Main Features: You can control the thermostat when you are away from home using your phone and the app
  • Group settings for many different devices with a single command. Say something like “bedtime” to turn off lights and change the thermostat.
Insteon Smart Thermostat model 2441TH
  • Smart Speaker Compatibility: includes working with Amazon Echo, and Alexa devices (it requires Insteon Hub)
  • No learning capabilities – but can be programmed for 7 full days.
  • Main Features: Has an app to let you control it using your phone while away from the house
Lennox’s Icomfort E30
  • Smart Speaker Compatibility: includes working with Amazon Echo, Alexa devices, and the Apple Homekit
  • Learning Capability allows it to be programmed once and then adapts to any changes in your routine
  • Main Features: Will start fan when pollen levels are detected and are high
  • Has a remote control app so you adjust thermostat on-the-go
  • Uses a geofencing tracking sensor to let the thermostat know when you are close to home. Adjusts temperature to your desired setting.
  • Sets alert for the temperature, humidity, or for service issues.
  • Tells you when to change filters
Nest’s Learning Thermostat
  • Smart Speaker Capabilities allows it to work with Amazon Echo, Alexa devices, Google Home, and IFTTT
  • Has learning capabilities
  • Main Features: Gives you energy reports
  • Works with an app on your phone as a remote control
  • Provides alerts for the temperature, humidity, and service issues.
  • Tells you when it’s time to change filters.
Radio Thermostat 7 Day Programmable Thermostat CT 50 or CT80
  • Smart Speaker works with Google Home
  • No Learning Capabilities but can be set for a full 7-day schedule
  • Other Features: Use the app with it as a remote control
  • Uses geofencing location tracking so that your device knows when you are going home and sets your thermostat for you.
Venstar Colortouch T7900 Thermostat
  • Smart Speaker Compatibility works with Amazon Echo and Alexa devices
  • Learning Capabilities: None but can be set for a 365-day schedule
  • MORE FEATURES: The app works as a remote control
  • If your HVAC has a humidifier, use it to control humidity
Venstar’s Residential Explorer
  • Smart Speaker Compatibilities will work when you buy the Wi-Fi module on Amazon Echo and Alexa devices
  • No learning capabilities but can be programmed for 7 days
  • Other Capabilities: App works as a remote control

Setup A Smart Speaker

Smart thermostats usually communicate with smart speakers using a set of skills. Every brand of a smart speaker has its own set of skills which you can read about online. To connect the devices, simply download a skill or enable it. The choice depends on the brand you choose. When you set up the thermostat you learn the phrase that will allow you to control the thermostat with the speaker.

In a short time, you will be controlling the comfort of your home by speaking a simple phrase or command!

Call or contact us today with any questions that you might have. To start over on this article, visit here.