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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.

Should I Have My Air Ducts Cleaned?

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How Often Should I Clean My Air Ducts? Over time, air ducts can be come packed full of dirt and dust that affects both you and your HVAC system. Dirty Air Ducts = Dirty Air It goes without saying that if your air ducts are dirty, the air the passes through them will also become dirty. Overtime, dust, skin cells and other particulates from both people and outdoors make their way into your HVAC system. Left untouched over time, your air ducts can become a breeding ground for some pretty nasty stuff and cause both sickness and allergy flare ups. However, just how dirty should they be before you have your air ducts cleaned?  Visual Inspection A good way to get an idea of what may be hiding in your duct work is to look at the return vents in your home. Carefully remove the register and take a look inside. Can you see or feel a good amount of dirt or dust build up? If so, don't be alarmed. Air ducts are bound to get dirty over time and will require cleaning. It's important to note that everyone's home is different. If you have many pets, your air ducts will become dirty faster due to hair and dander build up.  Time For A Cleaning! Signs it may be time for an air duct cleaning include: Visual signs of mold or dirt build up in return vents or other components of your HVAC system. You notice foul smells coming from...
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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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How Does An AC Compressor Work?

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How Does An Air Conditioner Compressor Work? The compressor is one of the most important parts of your air conditioner. What is a compressor? Along with the evaporator coil and condenser that sits outside your home, your air conditioner compressor is one of the most important parts of your air conditioner. The compressors job is to convert low-pressure refrigerant in a gas state into a high-pressure, higher temperature gas prior to entering your condenser. Think of your compressor as the middleman between your condenser and evaporator coil. Without your compressor, your air conditioner would cease to function at all.  How Does The AC Compressor Work? When the R-22 or R410a leaves your evaporator coil inside, it is in a low-pressure state. In order for the refrigerant to be able to release the heat it absorbed from inside your home, it needs to be a higher temp than the outside air. This is where the compressors job comes in. The refrigerant enters your compressor via a suction line and is compressed very tightly together. By compressing the refrigerant, the temperature and pressure of it is raised. This compressed refrigerant leaves the compressor and flows out into the lines that wrap around the condenser. Because heat naturally goes from warm areas to cooler ones, the heat is transferred to the colder outside air. This cools the refrigerant back down and it heads back to your evaporator coil to repeat this process again. Compressor Repairs Compressor repairs and replacements are one of the...
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What Does A Cold Air Return Do?

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What Is The Purpose of a Cold Air Return? Cold air returns play an important role in the heating process of your home. What Do Cold Air Returns Do Anyways? Well, they do pretty much exactly what they say; they return cold air back to your furnace to be heated and then distributed throughout your home. You will find cold air returns near the floor of your rooms as cold air falls. The returns at the top of your rooms are hot air returns, since warm air rises. Amazing stuff, I know. These vents are essentially the "lungs" of your HVAC system. It "breathes in" via the return air vents, and "breathes out" via the supply vents.  Cold Air Return Tips Be sure too keep the area around your cold air return vents clear so that air can recirculate properly. Blocking these vents can hinder your furnace or air conditioner from properly heating/cooling your home. If some of your rooms feel "stuffy" you may need to add another return air vent in the room so that the hot and cold air can properly recirculate back to the furnace or air conditioner. A professional HVAC company can diagnose this issue for you.
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R22 vs. R410a Refrigerant: What’s The Difference?

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What's The Difference Between R-22 and R-410a? With R-22 due to be completely unavailable by 2020, R410a is taking over as the new refrigerant of choice. The Beginning of Change The change over of refrigerant from R22 to R410 actually started way back in 1992. Due to some environmental regulations that were put in place, many different countries decided to phase out the use of R-22 and replace it with R410a. R410a is more efficient and environmentally friendly than R-22.  Differences Between R-22 and R410a R-22 Erodes ozone layer of the earth. As of 2010, new air conditioners are not allowed to use R-22. Becoming extremely expensive as it is being phased out. Less efficient at absorbing heat making it less energy efficient. R-410a Used in new air conditioners as of 2010. Much cheaper to obtain than R-22. Better for the environment. Much more efficient at cooling making it more energy efficient. Requires the use of more durable air conditioner parts to work, which means less breakdowns. What This Means To You While R-22 is being phased out, it is still available for purchase as of 2017. It is extremely expensive to obtain however. Don't be shocked to pay $600 or more for a simple R-22 repair in your air conditioner if it needs one. If your air conditioner is older than 10 years and is low on R-22 or needs an R-22 related repair, your best option is to schedule an estimate for a new air conditioner. If you...
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