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HVAC Tips from Sears Heating and Cooling

We’ve been in the HVAC business since 1950, and with that experience comes a lot of knowledge. Read our professional tips here.

Why Is My Furnace Tripping the Circuit Breaker?

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My Furnace Is Tripping The Circuit Breaker. What's Going On? The last thing you want to deal with on a cold night is a furnace that refuses to work. It's never fun to deal with a furnace that refuses to work on a cold day or night. If you've recently noticed that your furnace keeps tripping your circuit breaker when you go to turn it on, here is some background as well as possible causes. Electricity & Your Furnace Although your furnace may use natural gas, propane or oil to heat your home, it also needs a good dose of electricity to power all of it's electrical components. Some of the largest parts in your furnace that use electricity include the circuit board, blower motor as well as the gas valve. If you have an older furnace, it may utilize a standing pilot light instead of a electronic ignition source.  Most Common Cause: Stressed Blower Motor The most common cause for your furnace to trip your circuit breaker in your blower motor overworking itself. The blower motor can begin to overwork itself when air flow to the motor becomes restricted. One of the largest causes of this is a dirty air filter. If you haven't changed your filter in a while, be sure to check to make sure it's not overly dirty. Standard 1 inch filters should generally be changed once every 30 days. If you have a thicker media filter, they can usually last 6-12 months depending on your...
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Should I Cover My Air Conditioner In Winter?

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Should I Put A Cover On My AC Unit During Winter? Putting a cover on your air conditioner during the winter can actually do more harm than good. It a way it makes sense right? When you are done with your air conditioner for the year, you put a cover on it to help protect the internal parts and keep it free from debris. Well, it turns out this actually is not the best thing to do when it comes to your air conditioner. Believe it or not, air conditioners of today are built to be quite durable and endure some harsh conditions all year long. Although you may think it will help to cover your air conditioner from the snow, you actually run the risk of harming it if you do. I mean, don't you think manufactures would recommend you utilize a cover if it was truly necessary? Yet none of them do. Here are some popular reasons why covering your air conditioner when not in use is not recommended. Mold, Mildew and Condensation By placing a cover over your air conditioner, you actually run the risk of trapping condensation in the unit and it turning into mold or mildew over time. The best place for mold and mildew to grow is in a damp, dark and warm place and by using an AC cover you are creating this exact situation. Home For Rodents During the cold winters, many rodents seek shelter from the cold. What a great little...
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How Cold Should My AC Be?

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How Cold Should The Air From My Air Conditioner Be? The air from your vents feels warmer than usual. How cold should the air be anyways? When the weather gets really hot outside, you count on your air conditioner to provide a constant stream of cool air to keep you and your family comfortable. But, how cold should the air from your air conditioner actually be?  Temperature Drop The difference between the temperature of the air flowing into your vents via the return vents and the temperature of the cool air coming out is known in the HVAC world as "temperature drop". In most cases, a temperature drop of 15-20 degrees is all that most air conditioners are capable of handling today. Run your ac any cooling and you risk needing an ac repair. Therefore, if the temperature outside is 85 degrees, most air conditioners should be able to cool your home to 65-70 degrees inside under normal conditions. Granted, cooling it to these temps means it will be working hard and running for most of the day. If you are looking to cut back on your energy bills, try leaving the temp a bit higher instead. Adjusting your temperature just 1 degree can save you up to 10% on utility costs over the course of a year. 
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How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

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What Is The Best Way To Improve Indoor Air Quality? With as much time as you spend in your home, the quality of the air you breathe should be important! Did you know that the air inside your home can be even dirtier than the air outside? Yep, pretty nasty. Believe it or not, inside a confined space such as you home, dust, dirt, pollen and other particulates continue to build up over time. Here are some easy ways you can improve your indoor air quality and breathe cleaner, healthier air. Utilize Nature Believe it or not, certain plants can help improve your indoor air quality. These plants absorb particulates as they take in the carbon dioxide in the air through photosynthesis. Some ferns, palms and mums have all shown to improve the quality of indoor air. Use an Indoor Air Cleaner HVAC products such as the iWave-R and the APCO UV Light can cut down on things in the air you might not even see such as bacteria, mold spores and even some viruses. If you also want to cut down on the stuff you can see such as dust and dirt, the Aprilaire Model 1410 Air Cleaner is a great option. This MERV 11 rated filter is shown to remove up to 56% of dust, 95% of pollen and even 94% of mold spores in the air. Clean Your Carpets This one seems simple enough but it can go a long way in improving air quality. Believe it...
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Do Ductless Systems Heat and Cool?

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Do Ductless Systems Heat & Cool? Ductless systems are becoming ever more popular due to their efficiency and application. Ductless heating and cooling systems are becoming more and more popular in America today due to their application and overall efficiency. Ductless systems have the capability of both heating and cooling your home? Ductless mini-splits work just like a normal central air conditioner but without any of the hassle of duct work. They are usually meant to heat and cool a single area of your home. How Do Ductless Systems Cool Your Home? A ductless mini-split heating and cooling system cools your home in the same way a normal air conditioner cools. The indoor unit blows the warmer air in your home over the cold evaporator coils. Then, the refrigerant that is running through these coils absorbs the heat in that air and brings it to the outside condenser where it is dispersed into the outside air. Pretty neat! The unit that is inside your home is what actually blows the cool air. There are several different styles of units you can get from wall mounted to even ceiling mounted. Some mini-splits can even be hidden in the room with some creative effort! How Do Ductless Systems Heat Your Home? Just like the above cooling example, a ductless system will heat your home in the same order, but in reverse! Wait, what? Yep! While standard furnaces actually generate their own heat, ductless systems simply transfer heat from one location to another....
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What Do Sump Pumps Do?

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What Do Sump Pumps Do Anyways? Sump pumps are an important part of your home, especially when it rains! When the hard rains fall, you can thank your sump pump for keeping your basement from turning into a swimming pool.  What Is a Sump Pump? A sump pump is a device that is installed in the lowest part of your house, usually a basement or crawl space. It's entire purpose is to help prevent flooding when water accumulates around the foundation of your home after it rains. The majority of the time, your sump pump is basically on a standby-mode until it is called into action via the attached float switch. As water accumulates around your home, it is funneled toward the sump pump basin and it begins to fill with water. When the water is high enough, it trips the float switch on your sump pump and it begins pumping the water out and away from your home. Usually, you can see this water draining near the street of a house after it rains. If you live in a rural area, it will usually drain into a nearby retention pond or other nearby storm drain. What Are The Benefits of a Sump Pump? Help protect your homes foundation and keep it intact. Keep your basement drier and more comfortable throughout the year. Required for homeowners insurance coverage of a basement flood. Help prevent mold, fungus and mildew growth. If you have a sump pump, it's important to monitor it...
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Sump Pump Making Strange Noises

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My sump pump is making strange noises. What is going on? Sump pumps are known to make noise when removing water from around your homes foundation. When the hard rains fall, it's natural to hear your sump pump making some noise to remove the water that's accumulated around the foundation of your home. However, there are some sounds that can be concerning and should be investigated. Grinding Noise This generally isn't a great noise to hear as it usually has something to do with the motor. If the motor in your sump pump fails, it is no longer of use to your home. If you are hearing this noise on a consistent basis then it's time to call a professional to take a look as it may be a sign it's time for a new sump pump. Clanging Noise This is probably nothing more than the water being removed via the system's piping. Sometimes, the water pipe can hit the basin wall or plastic lid and create this type of sound. This sound can usually be remedied by wrapping the pipe with insulation.  Running Constantly If your sump pump is running constantly running, it may not be sized properly for your home, or there may be an issue with the pumps float switch. Over sized and undersized pumps can cause issues. If the sump pump is over sized, it will pump more water than the basin holds, overworking it and reducing it's lifespan. If the pump is undersized, it won't...
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Ways To Lower Electric Costs In Summer

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Ways To Lower Electric Costs In Summer The hot weather in the summer can be know to make electric bills skyrocket. Here are some ways you can curb your electric costs in the warm weather. Although we all love the hot weather the summer brings. The high electric bills that come with it we could all do without. Here are some simple things you can do to make sure your electric costs stay under control this summer. Change Your Filter A clean furnace filter is step one in keeping your cooling costs down. The blower motor in your furnace is the same motor that blows the air throughout your home when your air conditioner is running. If your filter is dirty, not much air will pass through and your air conditioner will struggle to cool your home properly and run more frequently. Raise The Temperature a Few Degrees Although a nice, cool 72 degrees may be the gold standard, this can come at a steep price when it gets really hot outside. It's important to keep in mind that your air conditioner is only built to cool 20 degrees past the outside temperature. So if it's 95 degrees outside, a 75 degree indoor temperature is about as good as it's going to get no matter how low you set your thermostat. Lowering your thermostat too low when it gets hot out will do nothing but make your air conditioner run non-stop and raise your electric bill in the end. Close...
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Signs You Need a New Sump Pump

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Signs You May Need a New Sump Pump Your sump pump plays an important role in keeping the foundation and basement of your home dry. Here are some classic signs that it may be time for a new one. Makes Loud or Strange Noises Just like any mechanical system, your sump pump has a lifespan. If you are hearing loud or strange noises coming from your sump pump, it's most likely a sign that it has worn or damaged parts. The most common failed parts on a sump pump include the motor itself and the impeller, the fan that pulls water into the pump from the bottom. Runs Constantly Sump pumps are designed to run only when needed, especially after a large amount of rain falls outside. If you are hearing your sump pump run more than usual, you may have a problem with the float switch. The float switch is responsible for telling the sump pump it's time to drain the water that has accumulated in the basin. Some of these float switches have plastic brackets that are prone to breaking over time.  If your sump pump runs constantly, it may have a hard time draining the water it is supposed to leading to a possible flooding situation. Doesn't Turn On At All I'm sure if this happens you will find out rather quickly once it rains! A sump pump that doesn't turn on at all could be due to a number of factors from a broken float switch...
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Air Conditioner Not Turning On

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My Air Conditioner Is Not Turning On? What Can I Do? The weather is finally hot, you go to turn on your air conditioner, and a whole lot of nothing happens. What is going on? What can I check for? Here are a few things to look at before calling for service! The weather outside finally breaks 80 degrees and you look forward to finally kicking that old air conditioner on for the first time of the year. It apparently has other ideas as a whole lot of nothing happens when you go to turn it on. Be sure to check these items before calling for service to possibly save yourself some time and money. Check Your Filter & Outdoor Coil Make sure to check you furnace filter to verify that it is clean enough for air to pass through it. Did you know that the number one cause of HVAC breakdowns is dirt and other buildup? Yep. Also, go outside and check your outdoor condensor unit for any build up of grass and other dirt on the coils of the unit. These fins and coils on your condensor need to be able to breathe in order for your AC to run properly. Is Your Thermostat Set To "Cool"? If your air conditioner isn't turning on, this is the most obvious place to start! Most programmable thermostats have 3 settings: Heat, Auto, and Cool. Make sure your thermostat is set to cooling mode to ensure your air conditioner turns on....
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