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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.

Will My Heat Pump Work In Cold Weather?

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How Cold Is Too Cold For My Heat Pump? Heat Pumps are highly efficient units but they do come with some drawbacks when the weather gets really cold. Will My Heat Pump Work When It's Cold Out? This is a somewhat 2 part answer. The short answer would be yes, your heat pump will heat your home in cold weather. The tricky part is exactly how cold does it have to be before your heat pump just cant keep up? Let's take a look. Heat Absorption Your heat pump heats your home by absorbing the heat in the outside air and transferring this heat indoors. This is great when there is some heat in the air for it to transfer, but when temps drop below freezing, the efficiency of your heat pump begins to suffer. This is why you have what is called "aux heat" or "emergency heat" when you have a heat pump. This emergency heat comes in the form of a furnace inside your home (electric or gas) and it takes over for your heat pump when it just can't keep up anymore. Emergency Heat Source When the temps outside begin to drop below freezing, your thermostat should automatically switch from your heat pump to your aux heat due to the loss of efficiency in your heat pump heating your home. Now, this can be customized to switch at a certain level, but most are smart enough to know when to switch over themselves. Some people that refuse...
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How To Protect Your Air Conditioner From Thieves

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Protect Your Air Conditioner From Thieves Your air conditioner holds some pretty valuable parts that many thieves would love to sell With the warm weather on its way, many people start getting their air conditioner's ready to go. But did you know your air conditioner can also be a prime target for thieves? Scrap metal is a big business and your air conditioner has many valuable parts that are worth money when sold. The most valuable being the copper lines that hold your air conditioners refrigerant. Here are some tips to keep your unit safe all year round. Security Lights Simple enough but also quite effective. Installing motion sensing security lights that illuminate the area around your air conditioner will put anyone who is trying to do something they shouldn't on full display at night.  Lock It Up There are many different cages on the market that you can buy to secure your air conditioner. The highest quality cages are made of steel and have posts that are put in the ground in concrete to secure them. They have a lock on them that can be opened with a key to make servicing your air conditioner a breeze for your service technician. These cages aren't the cheapest, but compared to a new air conditioner it may be worth the cost! In The Clear This seems obvious, but make sure your air conditioner isn't buried in bushes or other shrubbery and is out in the open where it is visible. Bushes...
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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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Can Air Conditioning Cause Headaches?

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Is It Possible For My Air Conditioner To Give Me Headaches? Believe it or not, air conditioning can actually be the cause of headaches for some people. Cold Air Can Cause Dehydration Did you know that your air conditioner not only cools the air in your home but also acts as a large dehumidifier as well? Yep! While lowering the overall humidity indoors is a good thing during the hot summer months, lowering it too much can cause dehydration which will in turn lead to head aches. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches so be sure you drink plenty of water even though you are inside your cool home. Another option is to have a humidifier installed that will work with your HVAC system to keep your home at a constant humidity level.  Cold Air & Blood Vessel Contraction If you keep your home too cool, it can actually cause the blood vessels in your head to start to contract causing a headache. Most home cooling modes are set anywhere from 69-72 degrees. If you have your thermostat set much lower than this, try turning it up a few degrees to give your head a break. Mold & Other Pollutants Mold is well known for causing headaches if the concentration is high enough. Your HVAC system can be a prime spot for mold growth in the summer due to it's damp, cool conditions. The most likely place for mold to grow is on your evaporator coil which sits on top...
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End Of Summer Home Checklist

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End Of Summer Home Checklist As fall weather moves closer, here are some things to complete before it arrives! 1.) Repair The Driveway This task seems to be most popular in the springtime, but if you have not completed it yet there is still time! Repairing and sealing your driveway is something you can do your self with store bought supplies, but most people opt to have it completed for them by a professional. Be sure to fill any cracks with a quality tar sealer to prevent further erosion during the winter months! 2.) Replace Your Furnace Filter Did you know that your air conditioner and furnace both utilize the same filter? Yep. Be sure to check and change your furnace filter if it looks dirty. A dirty filter is one of the number one causes of needing a furnace repair. If you have a standard one inch filter, these should generally be changed at least once every 30 days. Six inch media filters can generally be changed twice per year. 3.) Clean Your Trash Cans It's safe to say your trash cans get nasty pretty quickly. Cleaning them out several times a year will prevent any unpleasant smells around your home or in your garage (if that's where you store them). After sitting out in the rain, the dark damp environment is a perfect breeding ground for mildew, mold and other nasty things. Use a strong soap, scrub brush and hose to keep them fresh all year long. 4.)...
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The History of the AC Unit

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When Was The Air Conditioner Invented? Summers before the air conditioner was invented could be down right miserable for some people! When the summer heat sets in, those who live in areas affected by the temperature understand the importance of air conditioning. It helps make the summer months bearable and even enjoyable for us. It was not always that way. Prior to the invention of the air conditioner, residents in warmer areas of the country had to face the summer heat with just the help of fans and the local swimming hole. The development of the modern air conditioner, however, was an adventure itself. The First Air Conditioner The building blocks for the first air conditioner began back in 1902, thanks to an engineer working for a printing company. Willis Carrier had sought to find a way to prevent heat and humidity from expanding and contracting the paper, thus disrupting the company's work. Carrier developed a way to circulate cold water through heating coils. He was thus able to drop the air temperature down to the appropriate degree within the printing factory. The idea quickly caught the attention of people everywhere. Willis Carrier, 1915In 1914, an air conditioner was first used inside a residence. The Charles Gates mansion in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the first for this honor. Within the next decade, department stores began to take advantage of the idea, with J.L. Hudson's in Detroit, Michigan, being the first. The following year, movie theaters began to take advantage of the...
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How To Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean

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Importance Of Keeping Your Air Conditioner Clean A clean air conditioner is a happy air conditioner! Important Of a Clean AC An air conditioner is generally one of those things you don't give a second thought to most of the time. It's job is to keep your house cool and as long as it's doing that then you have better things to think about. However, in order to keep your air conditioner happy and healthy, it is very important that it stays clean and free from debris, especially in hot weather when it's running. Did you know that the number one cause of breakdowns and a need for air conditioner repair is dirt and debris? Yep! Who knew a little dirt over time could do so much damage. Keeping Your Air Conditioner Clean Air conditioners thrive on getting proper air circulation when in use. If your ac unit is covered in dirt, grass or other debris, it can literally suffocate your air conditioner over time. Think of it this way, would you want to be wearing a heavy coat of something when it's already 80+ degrees out? I think not. Here are a few ways that you can ensure your air conditioner stays happy all Summer long: Be mindful when mowing around your air conditioner. It is very easy for grass clippings to get blown up and stuck to the walls of the ac unit. If this does happen, be sure to wash it off after you finish mowing the...
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Different Types Of Thermostats

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What Kind Of Thermostat Should I Get? With so many different options available, it may be confusing as to which one is right for you! Manual Thermostat You don't see a lot of these thermostats in homes anymore unless the home is older. Manual thermostats are those old round models with a dial that you have to turn to the temperature you want. Surprisingly, many people still prefer these old types of thermostats over the newer, more efficient models. Manual thermostats are extremely easy to operate as there is no programming required, it is more of just an "on/off" switch that sits on your wall. It's important to note that these types of thermostats are not compatible with many of the new units that are sold today. If you have one of these old, manual thermostats, chances are your furnace and air conditioner are just as old.  Programmable Thermostats Programmable thermostats are very common these days and can be found in most homes. These types of thermostats are considered some of the most efficient due to the programming options it gives you. Instead of having to keep turning your thermostat on or off at certain times of the day, programmable thermostats can be programmed to hold a certain temperature and then change that temperature automatically at a different time of day. A great example of this is during the summer. During the day when it's hot, you can program the thermostat to cool your house to 72 and then die...
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Plants & Indoor Air Quality

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House Plants Help Indoor Air Quality Who knew that those pretty house plants could be actually useful in your home? How House Plants Clean the Air Did you know that adding plants in your home can actually improve the overall quality of the air inside? Yep! Plants actually purify the air and reduce the amount of air particulates believe it our not. Plants can absorb airborne particulates as they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen through photosynthesis. Not only this, but the micro-organisms that are present in the soil of the plant are responsible for the overall cleaning effect as well. Which Plants Are Best For Indoor Air Quality? Most house plants are very easy to care for. A little water and sunlight and you're good to go! With that being said, some plants prefer certain environments over others (you don't see palm trees growing in Ohio!). When out shopping for plants, be sure to look at the recommended care instructions on the plant tag to verify you can provide the environment it needs. Here are some good house plants to check out: Boston Fern - Easy to take care of, but prefer a more humid environment to grow in with lots of sunlight. Bamboo Palm - These plants can get pretty big, growing up to 12 feet high at times! Aloe Vera - Easy to care for and also contain a clear liquid inside the leaves that is full of vitamins and great for the skin. Garden Mum...
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What Does An AC Contactor Do?

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What Does My Air Conditioner's Contactor Do? The capacitor and contactor work hand in hand to keep you air conditioner running all summer long. AC Power Center Along with the capacitor, the air conditioner's contactor works all summer long to keep power flowing to your air conditioner's most important parts. The contactor is essentially a type of switch that receives a low voltage signal (24V) from your furnace to power on. By creating a magnetic field, it pulls down a piece of metal that will connect both of the higher voltage sides. This closing of the circuit allows electricity to power the air conditioner's fan and compressor motors. Contactors come in generally two different types: single pole and double pole. A single pole contains one magnetic coil that will connect one circuit. A double pole is essentially the same thing but it has two coils and connects two circuits.  How To Know If A Contactor Is Bad One of the most classic signs a contactor has gone bad is a loud "chattering" type of noise coming from your outside condenser unit. Without a chattering noise, the best way to diagnose a bad air conditioner capacitor is to use a multi-meter device that measures the flow of electricity. Also, you may notice that some of the contacts on the contactor itself may have become pitted and worn down which happens naturally over time as the contactor ages. The average lifespan of a good contactor can be anywhere from 5-10 years assuming...
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