Category Archives: HVAC

The Importance of Air Filters for Your HVAC System

The Importance of Air Filters for Your HVAC

When was the last time you changed your home’s air filter? Do you know where it’s located? If it’s been a while, or if you don’t even know where it’s located, you’re not alone. But you are creating problems and inefficiency and cost that you simply don’t need.

Air filters are simple and easy to maintain, if only we always stayed on top of them. Part of the battle is just understanding just how critical air filters are for your HVAC unit and your home. Today we’re sharing some of the most important reasons to keep your air filter fresh and functioning.

Important Functions of Your Home Air Filter

1. It Traps Dust.

This is a critical function of your air filter because your home can become dusty and allergy-inducing if your air filter stops working well. Dust is everywhere, of course, but a fresh air filter will trap most of it to keep your air cleaner and your surfaces less dusty. If you start noticing a furry coat on your ceiling fan blades, or a thin layer spread across your bookshelves it may be time to replace your air filter more regularly.

2. It Clears Smells.

Whether it’s from pets, smoke, or that time you made a huge pot of strong curry, pungent smells in your home only get dispelled if your HVAC system is circulating air properly. The air filter is an important part of the process, as it helps ensure the circulating air is fresh and clean.

3. It Bars Pests.

If you aren’t using an air filter, or your air filter is very old, worn, or damaged, you are opening a gate for small pests and even animals to enter your home. You may have heard horror stories about homeowners finding birds, bats, or hornet’s nests trapped in their vents. Well, a strong, new air filter can prevent that.

4. It Protects Your HVAC.

The air filter removes the grit and grime from your air, which would otherwise slow down and put a strain on your HVAC. The only problem here is that if you allow your air filter to become completely saturated with dust and grime it means your HVAC system has to work extra hard to circulate air through the blocked filter. Regularly replacing your air filter to keep it clean and functional will help your HVAC unit operate effectively and without strain. This will increase the life of your HVAC unit as well as lowering your utility bills.

Now that you understand just how critical your air filter is to your home, hopefully, your more committed to regularly replacing your air filter. Some easy ways to remember are to set up automatic orders of replacement air filters or schedule it into your calendar to change the filter every 90 days, or whatever is recommended by your manufacturer.

Changing out the air filter is very easy, and a simple internet tutorial can teach you how to do it in under a minute. If you are worried that your HVAC problems go beyond old air filters, it’s time to give Complete Heating & Air a call. We can keep your unit working in top condition for affordable prices. Talk to our experts today!

   

Is Your House Ventilated?

Proper ventilation is extremely important. Ventilation is the movement of air through a specific area. Without it, air quality will drop, and air will feel stale and stuffy. Keep your home’s air quality high with some proper ventilation and a little air movement.

There many, simple ways to up the ventilation in your home. Poor ventilation is not only uncomfortable, but it can also put a strain on your HVAC unit.

Signs Your House is Poorly Ventilated

There is a lot of steam. If you see excessive condensation you could have low ventilation. High levels of moisture could lead to mold and bacteria growth, rotten wood, and possibly even structural damage. A little condensation is normal, but if you’re seeing too much you may want to look into better ventilation.

A poorly ventilated area will feel stuffy, warm, and humid. The space will feel uncomfortable. When you first walk into the room, do you feel a difference? Does it feel like you’re hitting a wall? The stuffy feeling of poor ventilation is sure to make you feel uncomfortable.

Areas that have poor ventilation are much more likely to be humid. This could lead to mold growth. That may lead you to a mold allergy—if so, you will feel symptoms of fatigue, sniffling, sneezing, and headaches.

Poor ventilation is particularly dangerous for carbon monoxide, radon poisoning, smoke, and chemicals from cleaners. Proper ventilation will help your breath deeper and fresher air. Newer houses tend to be more airtight, making them more energy efficient but less ventilated. Exchanging indoor and outdoor air is reduce air pollutions, maintain a comfortable humid level, and better air quality.

How to Improve Your Ventilation

Natural ventilation is a great option and easily obtained. Simply keeping doors and windows open will naturally air out your home. Don’t close off rooms, even if you don’t use them often. During the summer, be sure to open windows in the early morning and evening when outside temperatures are cool, will better your home’s air quality. Be sure to close those windows during the heat of the day though. Throughout the winter crack windows in different rooms throughout the day and evening.

Keeping air flow going throughout your house for proper ventilation. This can be done when you keep windows and doors open, using fans, and creating a healthy indoor environment will keep your home’s air clear. Your home’s environment is impacted by things like carpet, beddings, pillows, and furniture. Keeping these things clean and washing them regularly, will help to keep dust and debris out of your air.

A dehumidifier may also help your air quality. Too much condensation and moisture in the air will not only cause problems in your house but contribute to the stuffy, uncomfortable feeling of poor ventilation. Investing in a dehumidifier for particularly humid parts of your house, like the bathroom, will help ventilate.

If you notice poor ventilation in a particular room, try adding a fan to that room and keeping airways open.

   
The 4 Different Types of HVAC Systems

Different Types of HVAC Systems

Did you know there were different types of HVACs or heating ventilation air conditioning units? Depending on your house and your space, there may be a better option for you. Different systems have different strengths and weakness. If you have a smaller home that may not have room for multiple units or a duct system, there still great option for heating and cooling your home! Learn more about HVAC systems, they different types available, and what will best suit your needs before you invest in a pricey unit.

1. Heating and Air Conditioning Split System

This is the most popular type of residential heating and air conditioning. A split system is an outdoor unit that is made up of a condenser and compressor, and an indoor unit made of an evaporator coil and blower, often connected to a furnace. You can also have a furnace with no air conditioner, if this is the case then a split-system is the most efficient and cheapest to install.

Split systems typically have a refrigerant that uses a series of pipes to circulate to and from the indoor and outdoor units. This system also usually has ducts that carry air throughout the structure being heated or air conditioned. There is also a thermostat involved, allowing you to control the target temperature.

2. Hybrid Heat Pump System

A hybrid heating and cooling system uses a heat pump in conjunction with a furnace. The heat pump used is powered by electricity and burns natural gas, propane, or fuel oil. This once device both heats and cools your home. It uses a heat pump to heat and cool refrigerant. Ducts are also used to circulate air throughout a structure. A hybrid system will also have a thermostat to control temperature.

The hybrid is an energy (and money saving option) as it is one unit that functions as a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. However, one downside is that when temperatures dip below 40 degrees, it is not as efficient.

3. Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump

Duct free HVAC systems are a good option for spaces where ducts may not be doable. These mini-split unites are installed in areas of the home that need heating and cooling directly. Without ducts to circulate the air, it will not reach all areas of the home or building equally. You can install up to four indoor units for each outdoor unit you have. The ductless unit involved a heating pump with a compressor, condenser, and fan, and a thermostat or control panel.

4. Packaged Heating and Air Conditioning System

Packaged heating HVAC systems contain a compressor, condenser, and evaporator in the same unit, which is usually located on the roof or near the foundation of the house. Because it’s just one unit, it can save on space. It includes an air conditioner and heat pump together with an evaporator and fan coil, and a thermostat. Some units also have air quality improvers.

   
woman near oil heater at home

Why Does My Heater Smell Bad When I Turn It On?

Schools are starting up again for children, which means fall is right around the corner! You may have also noticed chilly evening temperatures and crisp morning air too. If you’re very sensitive to the cold you may have already turned on your heater.

When you first turn your heater on for the fall and winter season, whether this year or last, you may notice a certain smell. Why does your heater smell bad when you turn it on? There may be a few reasons why you notice that awful, burning smell.  

Dust

Your heater has been dormant all summer long, which means it’s bound to accumulate some dust. The dust or other debris can build up on the heating elements or the heat exchanger. The bad, burning smell is the dust getting burned off of these parts. As the warm air is pumped throughout your home, so is the bad smell. There really isn’t much you can do about the dust. Just know that it’s nothing to worry about.

Clogged Filters

You may also notice a bad smell if your heater’s motor is being overworked. The most likely culprit for an overworked motor is a clogged filter. Changing your air filter will help you to avoid the bad smell; failing to change it will only make it worse and your motor may give out completely. If you haven’t changed your air filter recently, just before turning on your heater is a great time to do so.

Enough Clearance

Over the summer it’s possible that you simply placed an object too close to your heating unit or the vents. When your heater turns on for the first time, it’s easy for those things to get too hot or even burn. Look closely for any plastic material, fabric, or flammable items near your heater and make sure there is enough clearance between the two.

When to worry

In most cases, a burning or bad smell when you first turn on your heater is normal. However, there are times when it not a smell you should ignore. After turning on your heater you may notice a bad smell immediately, or it may take a few days to notice. But after the smell is present it shouldn’t last for more than 30 to 45 minutes. If the smell lasts longer than that, you should call a professional HVAC repair company like Complete Heating and Air.

If you smell something resembling rotten eggs, call your utility company immediately. Many utility companies will put odor-causing substances in natural gas, which will normally not have any smell. If you are smelling rotten eggs it could mean there is a gas leak.

If you think something is wrong with your heater, listen to your instincts and call someone you can trust. Having your HVAC system inspected for any needed repairs at least once a year will ease your mind despite a bad smell when first turning on your heater. To schedule an inspection, call Complete Heating and Air.

HVAC Tips for the Holidays | Complete Heating and Air Conditioning

HVAC Tips for the Holidays

Ensuring your HVAC is in excellent condition for the holidays is critical whether you’re hosting a big family gathering or renting out your home while you traipse off to Hawaii for an unorthodox winter getaway.

It’s the time of year when the heating and venting aspect of HVAC has a big job: Keeping you warm and toasty so you can enjoy that eggnog in comfort. The best times to schedule an HVAC inspection and maintenance check are in the autumn and spring. However, if you didn’t do it, it’s not too late — and there are some DIY tricks you can manage yourself.

Swapping out the air filter is especially important in the summer and winter. A clogged filter can overwork your HVAC, making it difficult to pump out more heat. A severely clogged filter can even be a fire hazard.

How often you change your filter depends on your home and usage, but it’s not uncommon to need a swap once per month. The more people are in a home, the greater the need, so hosting holiday guests can dirty filters faster.

Give Santa the All-Clear

Vents should never be covered, even when they’re below windows (where drapes or couches are regularly placed). When you hang new curtains or move furniture, make sure vents stay unobstructed.

This is especially important during the holidays, as this is the time when you might be stringing lights, garlands, setting out seasonal decorations and putting up a Christmas tree. Clear vents allow your HVAC to do its best job.

Also keep in mind that pine needles can make their way into just about anywhere — including inside your vents. Cleaning up daily around holiday trees if and when needles start to drop is the best way to keep your home tidy.

Find a safe place to put up your tree, as far away from heating sources as possible. Putting a tree close to a heat source is a fire risk, and also dries out the tree faster.

Diversify Your Heating Sources

If you have fireplaces, make use of them. Test out new holiday cookie recipes, and use the stovetop as much as possible to create another heat source while also filling up on hot, comforting treats.

This holiday season, you might want to add a smart home device to your wish list. A home that knows your preferred temperatures and the times you are home can help you lighten your carbon footprint and even extend the life of your heat source. For more holiday tips, contact Complete Heating & Air Conditioning, where HVAC maintenance helps keep you cozy, even in a winter wonderland.

Furnace Installation

What You Need to Know Before Furnace Installation

Well before you make that furnace installation appointment, make sure you’ve selected the best furnace for your home and needs. Replacing an outdated, lumbering furnace can make a big difference in your heating bill, especially with the increasing energy costs.

However, it’s not just about saving money. Older furnaces can cause more pollution and don’t heat as steadily as their modern counterparts. You can be greener, save money and be more comfortable all at the same time with a new furnace.

One of the most important considerations is size. Go too small and you won’t be able to heat your home, but too large will have you over-consuming energy and wasting money. Unfortunately, it’s common to find homes with wrong-sized furnaces. Builders or previous homeowners wanted a “safety net,” so they got a furnace that was larger than necessary. The bigger the furnace, the bigger the air ducts and the more expensive the installation.

The Goldilocks of Furnaces

The best way to ensure proper fit is to have an HVAC expert size your furnace needs. The formula takes into account the size and construction of your home, your climate and your personal heating needs. You can technically try to calculate this yourself, but one misplaced decimal or oversight and you might get stuck with a behemoth of a furnace.

You also should know your furnace’s maintenance schedule before it’s installed. Generally, maintenance is recommended at least once per year, or twice just to be safe. However, every manufacturer has different guidelines, and an energy-efficient model may require a little more servicing to maximize eco-friendliness. Maintenance extends the furnace’s life and helps you bypass expensive future repairs.

Green Heat

Many homeowners want an eco-friendly furnace. Natural gas is a common fuel type, and how well the furnace turns gas into heat dictates the annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE) rating. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more heat that’s produced per unit of gas. Of course you’ll save money, but a higher AFUE score also means less emissions. Today’s furnaces are much more efficient than their ancestors — in the 1970s the average AFUE was 65 percent, while today’s green models can achieve 97 percent.

Unsurprisingly, the cost of an eco-friendly furnace is initially higher than a standard version. However, you can make up that price difference in a few blustery winters. Plus, you may get a tax credit for going eco-friendly. These credits can change year to year, so check with your CPA first.

Ready to start heating things up just in time for winter? Call Complete Heating & Air Conditioning today to request a size estimate before your furnace installation.

Winter HVAC

Is Your HVAC Ready for Winter?

’Tis the season to switch your HVAC from air conditioning to heating, but is it ready for the transition?

It’s always best to schedule an HVAC inspection in early autumn, well before you really need to heat your home. This is also the best time to make sure your air conditioner is in prime shape after spending the summer keeping you cool and comfortable. Blindly trusting that the heating component of your HVAC will run perfectly is an unnecessary gamble.

Now is the time for the seasonal “sweet spot” when you might not be using your heating, cooling or vents. It’s also the season when HVAC technicians aren’t overwhelmed with service calls, which makes it the perfect time to schedule your maintenance check.

Just because a furnace or boiler appears to work doesn’t mean it’s doing so as efficiently as possible. If repairs or updates are in order, you might be overpaying for utility bills and gobbling up natural resources at the same time.

Winter Checklist

A thorough inspection will reveal if any repairs are needed or any parts are on the brink of giving out. You can also learn at this time whether or not your HVAC system is the right size for your heating and cooling needs. Having the wrong size — either too big or too small — is a huge problem. Too small, and you can’t control the temperature in every room of the house (or even in the main areas). Too big, and you’re wasting resources and money. Unfortunately, many homeowners and builders choose the wrong size — which means you literally end up paying the price for that mistake when you buy the property.

In most cases, it’s not cost-effective to get a new heater or air conditioner when the wrong size was originally installed (although there are exceptions in extreme situations). But at least you will have time to research the future replacement. Boilers tend to last longer than furnaces, but a good furnace can easily last 15 years or more. If you’re interested in shopping around, right now is a great time. Great Black Friday deals will be coming, and getting an Energy Star appliance might mean a tax break.

The Family Meeting Agenda

Once you have your HVAC inspection scheduled, it’s time to call a meeting for everyone who lives in the home. Decide on a temperature that’s comfortable for everyone, but leans toward the cooler side. If you don’t have a smart home, make sure everyone is on board to lower the thermostat to an agreed-upon temperature when they’re the last one leaving the home.

Supplement winter heating with fuzzy socks, hot meals and bundling up (there’s no reason to be wearing shorts and tank tops during a Utah December). Get the (snow)ball rolling by calling Complete Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule your HVAC inspection.

touch thermostat

5 Signs You Need Furnace Repair

Is furnace repair in your future? Maybe you turned on the heat for the first time since winter to discover some troubling signs. Perhaps you remembered those insanely high utility bills from last winter and want to avoid that budget buster for winter 2015/16. Furnaces, just like any other complex system, need routine maintenance, the occasional repair and annual inspections to remain safe and functional. Fortunately, many times your furnace will let you know if something’s amiss.

Inspecting and repairing furnaces should be left to the professionals. Even if your furnace isn’t complaining, it’s a good idea to get your HVAC inspected at least once per year — and ideally in early autumn before you’re relying on your heating system around the clock. Catching problems early means easier, faster and more affordable fixes. However, if you suspect something is wrong in between inspections, call an HVAC expert pronto.

Here are some of the most common signs you might need furnace repair:

1. You hear a strange noise:

Just like with your car, a strange noise from your furnace could be nothing (a quick fix) or it could be a sign that something’s about to go terribly wrong. This is no time to gamble. Turn off the heat if it’s being used and call an HVAC expert immediately. The faster you move, the better.

2. It’s emitting a strange smell:

Any weird smells coming from a heating system are a red flag. Immediately move everyone, including pets, out of the home and call for an urgent inspection. This is when it’s really critical to have an HVAC expert who’s available around the clock. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean your health is at risk, but you can never be too safe.

3. Your utility bills are creeping up:

Does it seem like your habits have stayed the same, but your heating bills just keep rising? This might be the sign of a leak or an older system that’s just not as efficient as it used to be. If you’ve taken other steps to reduce your utility bill but nothing seems to work, it’s time to call in the pros. Your utility company can tell you your average bill in the winter months so you can cross-reference with previous years.

4. You can’t recall when your furnace was last inspected:

If it’s been more than two years since your last inspection, you’re overdue. Waiting this long is demanding that a furnace work flawlessly with zero upkeep — that’s unrealistic. Especially compared to some boilers, furnaces rely on regular TLC to provide the best, most affordable heating.

5. Your furnace is over 10 years old:

With proper maintenance, furnaces can last for several years. However, older systems simply aren’t as efficient as newer, greener models. Your furnace may not need repair or replacement just yet, but schedule an inspection with Complete Heating & Air Conditioning to stay on the safe side.

Furnace Repair

5 Common Reasons for Furnace Repair

You may need furnace repair for a number of reasons, but just like any other appliance with issues, many homeowners wait until the last possible moment to call for help. A better approach is scheduling annual or biannual maintenance checks to catch problems early. Similar to the human body, the furnace’s system is easier and more affordable to repair the earlier an issue is caught. However, emergency situations can still pop up, and it is common for a furnace to need a little TLC over the years.

Consider some of the most common reasons for furnace repair, and ask yourself if your furnace needs attention. The good news is that most of these issues are routine and relatively easy to fix. However, the longer they are put off, the more likely they are to cause serious damage.

1. What maintenance?

If homeowners think maintenance checks are an unnecessary expense, they are wrong — one of the most common causes of required furnace repairs is lack of maintenance. Some furnaces can cost as much as cars, and you wouldn’t skip oil changes, would you? Your furnace is an investment, and neglect will lead to breakdowns, poor performance and high utility bills.

2. Filthy filters

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that a monthly filter swap is the ideal schedule. It is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to care for a furnace. A dirty filter will block air flow, release allergens into the air and ultimately make your furnace work overtime for no good reason. Many homeowners opt to change filters themselves.

3. Basic wear and tear

As a machine, your furnace is going to suffer some mechanically induced wear and tear. This can result in performance issues if a bearing, belt or other part becomes worn out. It also leads to a lack of heating control and issues with air flow. Lots of important parts are found in this system, and repairing or replacing them as they wear out is one of the best ways to keep your furnace in good shape.

4. Ignition/pilot woes

If you notice an issue with the furnace’s ignition, a good technician will check the ignition/pilot light first. Sometimes this part just goes on strike (but not the kind you need), and can be replaced with ease.

5. Thermostat problems

The part in charge of controlling heat definitely needs some pampering. From no heat to no fan to sporadic heating, a thermostat malfunction needs immediate attention.

Only a trained contractor should attempt a diagnostics check and repair on your furnace, save for filter changing if homeowners are up to the task. Give Utah’s Complete Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning a call and schedule that furnace inspection or repair today to avoid a heating disaster tomorrow.