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April 2017

Thermostat Vacation Settings

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What Should I Set My Thermostat To When On Vacation? Did you know that you can actually save a considerable amount on your electric bill by turning your thermostat down when you leave for vacation? What Temperature Is Best In The Summer? Some people believe that turning your thermostat down to save money is just an HVAC myth. For many people leaving on vacation, the last thing they are thinking about is there thermostat. After all, they have more fun and important things to think about doing! However, with no one occupying your home (unless you have pets), there is really no reason to keep the furnace or air conditioner running.  The rule of thumb is to add 4 degrees to what you normally set your thermostat at. Why 4 degrees? Well, if you set the temperature too high, then it will cost you just as much to cool it all the way back down again once you return home. Also, having a home get too hot can damage items such as wall compounds ect from the high humidity levels, which can also lead to mildew growth. Gross. What About The Best Winter Temperature? Same rule of thumb applies here. Take 4 degrees off of what you normally have your thermostat set at. Winter can be a bit more dangerous as you now have frozen water lines to think about. The last thing you want to come home to is a flooded house in the winter. Also, it will cost more...
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Common HVAC Problems: A Complete Guide

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A Complete Guide To Common HVAC Problems Looking to learn more about some common HVAC problems that homeowners face today? Look no further, we've got your complete guide right here. When it comes to HVAC, there are countless numbers of problems that can occur and keep you from enjoying the comfort you deserve. There are instances where you can fix the problem yourself. However, most of the time, you will need a certified, professional, HVAC company to come out and diagnose the problem you're having. In any case, we figured we would put together a list of common HVAC problems to provide you with a guideline as to what may be going on with your system. We hope that in turn, this makes you a more educated and informed customer! To utilize this guide, click on the problem you are having below and you will be taken to the page needed. Please understand that this guide is an ongoing effort and information is continually being added to it. Common Air Conditioner Problems Air conditioner is iced up Air conditioner is blowing warm air Electric bills are higher than usual Air conditioner makes air smell bad Air conditioner is leaking water inside Air conditioner not turning on Air conditioner runs all the time Air conditioner making loud noises Common Furnace Problems Furnace blowing cold air Furnace won't light Furnace produces burning smell Furnace runs all the time Pilot light is out Furnace making strange noises Miscellaneous HVAC Problems Humidifier leaking water...
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Signs Air Conditioner Is Undersized

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How Can I Tell If My Air Conditioner Is Undersized? Are you curious if the air conditioner you currently have may be undersized for you home? Here are a few signs that you may have an undersized air conditioner. First, Some Background Air conditioner cooling capacity is measured in tons, and one ton is equal to 12,000 BTU's (British Thermal Units) per hour. This term (ton) actually is attributed to the amount of heat it would require to melt a block of ice that weighs one ton!  In the northern US, 700-1,000 sq ft per ton is generally an accepted guideline for sizing. It is important to note however that there are many factors that can affect this such as: outdoor temperature, outdoor humidity, insulation in the home, even the amount of glass in the home facing south, east, and west. Also, the ductwork engineering and size plays a role. If your duct work is over or undersized, your air conditioner will under perform when it comes to cooling. Ok, now that we have some basics out of the way, let's move on to some signs that may point to your air conditioner being undersized. Your Air Conditioner Runs Continuously If your air conditioner is running non-stop (as in literally never shuts off) during the summer months, something is up. While there are several different reasons that your air conditioner is running continuously, this can also be a sign of an undersized air conditioner. If your unit is undersized, it will have...
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Questions To Ask During HVAC Estimate

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What Questions Should I Ask During An HVAC Estimate? If you've never gone through the process of receiving an HVAC estimate, it can be daunting. We are here to help you out with some important questions you should be asking! While you should technically be asking as many questions as you can when receiving an HVAC estimate for new equipment, here are a few that we believe are the most important and should always be asked. Is The Estimate Free? Before you even have someone out to give you an HVAC estimate, you should ask whether or not the estimate is free. Generally speaking, most companies will come out and provide you with an estimate at no charge, but there are a few companies here and there that will charge you a small fee for their time. Here at Sears Heating & Cooling, our estimates for new equipment are ALWAYS free of charge. Do You Offer Financing? It's well known that new HVAC equipment is not the cheapest thing in the world, but at the same time it makes sense as it is a large factor in your home and the overall comfort level of it. If you are not in a position to pay up front for a new furnace or air conditioner, it is always important to ask if the company offers any financing options. Most HVAC companies that offer financing do so through a third-party bank. Here at Sears, we offer third-party HVAC financing through Synchrony Financial....
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High Electric Bills: HVAC Causes

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High Electric Bills: Is My HVAC System To Blame? Did you recently receive your electric bill and notice a massive jump in cost? Did you know that your HVAC System could be to blame for this? High electric bills are a common complaint during the super hot and super cold months. There are several different things that could be causing this increase so let's dive right in. Emergency Heat Running, Outdoor Unit Broken This one obviously relates to the colder months and if you have a heat pump. Heat pump systems are interesting in that they can essentially have two different ways to heat your home: the outdoor unit and the indoor unit (furnace). Generally speaking, the outdoor unit is designed to heat your home as long as the outdoor temperature is at 34 degrees or above. If it gets much colder than this, there is just not much heat outside that your condensor can work with to transfer inside, therefore, your system switches over to "emergency heat" mode. When this change happens, your outdoor unit shuts down and your furnace takes over at heating your home. This can cause some serious bill increases if the weather outside is extremely cold and you have an electric furnace. The simplest way to think about it would be to imagine an over-sized toaster running for hours on end and chugging an enormous amount of electricity at the same time.  When the weather drops below freezing outside, it is normal for emergency heat...
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Air Conditioner Runs Continuously?

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My Air Conditioner Runs Continuously, What's Up?  Have you noticed your air conditioner running a marathon outside for days on end? Wondering what is causing this to occur? Read on! First, let's get the obvious out of the way. If your air conditioner runs continuously, it is obviously having some trouble keeping the temperature steady in your home and it is running non-stop to make up for this. Talk about an easy way to incur high electric bills! With that being said, let's dive in to 7 common causes for this issue. Dirty Filters Speaking of obvious, it is pretty well known that if your furnace filter is dirty and clogged, no air will be able to pass through it to cool your home. This is always the first step in the diagnostic process, to change your furnace filter. Simple fix and definitely the cheapest as well! If you've changed that baby out and noticed your air conditioner still running all the time, it's time to move on to some more complicated causes. Low Refrigerant First, it's important to note that your air conditioner is a "closed loop" system, meaning that your refrigerant should never leak out. It's not like gas in your car that needs to be re-filled after so many miles. If you are low on refrigerant, that means that you have a leak in your system somewhere and unless it gets fixed, the refrigerant will just leak right back out again (talk about throwing money away, literally). However, if you...
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Second Floor Is Too Hot

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My Second Floor Is Too Hot! Is your second floor hotter than the others? Learn why and what you can do about it below! What Causes The Second Floor To Be So Hot? For many home owners, the second floor is too hot in warm weather. During the hot summers, you may notice that your second floor can become several degrees warmer than the first. You've tried cranking up the AC but that only makes the first floor too cold and the second floor remains the same. What is going on?  Hot Air Rises Thermodynamics states that hot air naturally rises, so essentially it would make sense that your second floor is warmer than the first. When you air conditioner is running, it has to work harder to get air to the second floor as cool air does not naturally flow in an upward direction. There are a couple different factors that determine how hard you air conditioner must work to cool your upper floors: How old your air conditioner is The total number of rooms in the home Your roof (yes, your roof) Duct work and insulation If you air conditioner is close to the end of it's lifespan, it will have to naturally work harder than newer AC's to cool the upper floors. Also, if you have many different rooms in your home, the air must be dispersed over a larger area, taking it longer too cool. Surprisingly, your roof can be a culprit in keeping your second floor...
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Air Conditioner Smells Bad

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My Air Conditioner Smells Bad. What Is Up? Have you recently turned on your air conditioner only to find your house smelling like a trash can a few minutes later? What could be the cause of this craziness? If your air conditioner smells bad, it's time to read on my friend! Causes Of a Smelly Air Conditioner There are several popular causes of your air conditioner putting off foul odors. Some of the most common reasons include: Mold formulating in duct work Mold growing on evaporator coils Clogged condensate lines Mold Growing In Duct Work Did you know that the duct work in your home is actually a perfect place for mold to grow in the summer? Mold thrives in cool, damp and dark areas and this is can be a prime description of a lot of duct work. As the warm air passes over the cool evaporator coils, condensation begins to occur and this moisture, mixed with other dirt and debris can travel through your duct work making it a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Gross! This is a great reason to have your duct work cleaned every few years (not to mention your furnace will thank you for it as well). Also, to help cut down on bacteria and other contaminates growing in your duct work, check out getting a UV Light installed, such as the APCO Fresh-Aire UV. Mold Growing On Evaporator Coil As previously stated, mold thrives in cool, damp environments. Unfortunately, your evaporator coil...
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Advantages of Replacing Your Furnace & AC Together

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Should I Replace My AC and Furnace at the Same Time? There are some great benefits to replacing both your old AC and furnace at the same time. Check it out! Did you know that the overall comfort of your home depends on your air conditioner and furnace working together year round? When the time comes to replace either your furnace or air conditioner, you should consider replacing both pieces of equipment together if they are older as you can actually save you both energy and money in the long term.  Ultimate Comfort Here are a few of the benefits of replacing your furnace and air conditioner together: Improved Energy Efficiency. Compared to older furnace and air conditioners, today's units are almost twice as efficient when it comes to energy. In the past, many air conditioners that were installed were just a measly 10 SEER (an energy efficiency rating for an air conditioner). Today's AC's and heat pumps can go up to over 19 SEER! The higher the SEER of the unit, the less overall energy it uses to run, which means more money back in your wallet come electric bill time. Today's furnaces have efficiency ratings that go all the way up to 98%, meaning 98% of the gas that comes into the unit is used to produce heat. Who wants to pay for gas they aren't even getting a benefit out of? No one. Mixing Technology Can Be Risky. Combining two different units can also cause a reduction in the...
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When Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

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7 Signs It's Time To Replace Your AC Wondering if it's time to finally replace that AC that has been giving you trouble? Check out these 7 popular signs to help you make the best decision! 1.) Your air conditioner is old (10 years +) Air conditioners are designed to last 8-10 years on average. However, assuming that you have had annual maintenance completed by a licensed HVAC company, some units can last 15+ years easily. Also, as of the year 2020, R-22 will no longer be available anywhere as it is being phased out by the government. You can read more about this here. This also means that the price of R-22 related repairs right now has begun to skyrocket due to dwindling supplies all across the country. R-22 is being replaced by R410a, which is found in all new air conditioners that are sold today.    2. Your air conditioner is noisy In general, your air conditioner should not be noisy while running. It is normal to be able to hear the quiet hum of the compressor as it runs in your outside condensing unit, but it should not be anything overly noticeable. If your condensor is beginning to sound like an airplane taking off, chances are your compressor is beginning to die, and that equates for 50% of your air conditioning system. If you have an old air conditioner, replacing the compressor would not be the wisest option financially as compressor replacements can easily cost $1,200 or more....
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