How to Avoid Airflow Issues with Your Furnace

Louisville heating and coolingThe cold, brisk winter months are not the time to discover that your  HVAC has shut down or is struggling to work. You may find yourself shivering, layering up clothes, and trying to crank the heat up, all to no avail. Unusual odors may begin to fill the air and unfamiliar noises may sadly signal the fact that your furnace is in trouble. The general reason this happens is usually the same: neglect. Homeowners can neglect a variety of maintenance issues that eventually can lead to system failure.

The indoor unit of the furnace houses the air handler. Inside the air handler the blower, filter, coil, condensation pan, and ductwork extensions are held. Neglect can affect any of these major areas, but here are a few of the most common areas where neglect can cause problems.

  • Dirty Blower – Inside the air handler, dirt can build up and collect on the fan blades and the motor. The accumulated dirt causes friction, which leads to wear and tear on the motor and reduced efficiency. Cleaning the fan blades and motor drastically improves performance.
  • Full Filter- Filters are designed to protect the air handler from dirt and pollutants, but if the filters become overloaded with debris, they will create tremendous problems for the blower and coils. Filters must be changed regularly.
  • Dirty Coil – Inside your handler there is a cooling coil that absorbs heat from the inside of your home, but if it gets dirty, operating efficiency will decrease and there will be much less capacity for proper cooling.
  • Leaky Ducts – Ducts that are not properly connected or insulated allow conditioned air to leak out and become key contributors to poor airflow. Heat and air will continually escape before it reaches your living spaces.

If you want to keep your air toasty warm this winter and blowing in the right direction, let VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., your Kentuckiana heating company, service your furnace and keep your air warm inside.

Call VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc @ (812)280-0510 for furnace repair in the Kentuckiana area.

Spring HVAC Maintenance

“Is it really necessary to have semiannual HVAC maintenance? It cools. So, it must be working correctly!” Well, folks, does your car run with dirty oil that hasn’t been changed in 20,000 miles? Sure it will run.  However, you are shortening the life of your engine and it’s operating inefficiently.

The same is true for your air conditioning system. Every year that your system operates causes degradation of certain wear components – contactors and capacitors. These components should be monitored and replaced as they fall from outside tolerance specifications. A pitted contactor causes undue stress on the compressor. If pitted enough, there will be a serious voltage drop causing high energy consumption and eventual early life failure.  The same is true for capacitors. These little “batteries” allow the motors to run efficiently. Once outside their normal values, the motors are inefficient, draw more power, and ultimately fail.

A cooling season tuneup also includes a good outside coil washing and system monitoring.  A biodegradable coil cleanser will loosen the dirt and debris and allow the technician to flush the coil with water. Spraying from the outside in is not recommended as it further impacts the debris.

The bottom line: maintenance is important and should be done every cooling season to insure optimum performance and a longer life for your air conditioning system.

Call us for your Semi-annual Maintenance service beginning at $79. VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. 812-280-0510

 

Benefits of Keeping Your Home Ductwork Clean

Louisville heating and coolingAhhh, breathing in a breath of fresh air. Its refreshing. Its even invigorating to take in the crispness of a beautiful day and be filled with energy. But what if the clean air we breathe was replaced by dirty, dusty, contaminated air that clogged our airway and never got cleaned out? We wouldn’t last long.

Heating and air conditioning systems operate similarly to that of our own lungs. They take in all the elements in the air and in order to recycle it cleanly, they need attention and maintenance; otherwise, they will just spit back out the impurities they are fed.

There are two main reasons to maintain and clean your ductwork at home. You can probably guess what the first one is:

Air Quality In a six-room home, up to 40 pounds of dust is created annually through every day living. Dander, dust, and chemicals collect and are pulled in through your ductwork and re-circulated 5-7 times a day. Eventually, they collect and compound and what you have lurking in your vents and ductwork is a massive clump of dust and contaminants. As your furnace continues to operate, it must push through these elements that often get sent back into your home. This can cause extreme health problems for people with respiratory issues, autoimmune diseases, and allergies. It also creates a struggle for your system to operate, which leads us to the next reason.

Energy Savings The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the 25-40% of energy used for heating and cooling is wasted because it is not used efficiently. Having contaminants clogging your system causes it to work harder to maintain your desired indoor home temperature. Working harder to do its job causes strain on the system and shortens the life of your HVAC unit. Air filters help to a point, but they can’t eliminate everything.

Cleaning ductwork places a continuous negative pressure with a vacuum inside the ductwork, which prevents the spreading of contaminants that are present. Fine particles are removed so that they don’t become airborne back into your home.

Give your Kentuckiana HVAC a clean bill of health and a breath of fresh air by scheduling your next ductwork cleaning. We can recommend a local company that will keep your air clean and your HVAC system running smoothly.

What is the Difference in Filters?

Louisville HVACYou have heard us talk a lot about the benefits of changing your filter frequently. Changing your filter out at recommended times helps your system run more efficiently and helps with the overall air quality in your home. You have probably  went to the store and seen the same filter sizes at different prices.  If you have been indecisive about which filter to buy, this may help you to decide.

According to the EPA (Environmental Protective Agency), Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home article (https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home) April 3, 2017:

Flat or panel air filters with a MERV of 1 to 4 are commonly used in residential furnaces and air conditioners. For the most part, such filters are used to protect the HVAC equipment from the buildup of unwanted materials on the surfaces such as fan motors and heating or cooling coils, and not for direct indoor air quality reasons. They have low efficiency on smaller airborne particles and medium efficiency on larger particles, as long as they remain airborne and pass through the filter.

​Some smaller particles found within a house include:

  • viruses
  • bacteria
  • some mold spores
  • a significant fraction of cat and dog allergens
  • a small portion of dust mite allergens
  • Pleated or extended surface filters
    • Medium efficiency filters with a MERV of 5 to 13 are reasonably efficient at removing small to large airborne particles. Filters with a MERV between 7 and 13 are likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters at controlling most airborne indoor particles. Medium efficiency air filters are generally less expensive than HEPA filters, and allow quieter HVAC fan operation and higher airflow rates than HEPA filters since they have less airflow resistance.
    • Higher efficiency filters with a MERV of 14 to 16, sometimes misidentified as HEPA filters, are similar in appearance to true HEPA filters, which have MERV values of 17 to 20. True HEPA filters are normally not installed in residential HVAC systems; installation of a HEPA filter in an existing HVAC system would probably require professional modification of the system. A typical residential air handling unit and the associated ductwork would not be able to accommodate such filters because of their physical dimensions and increase in airflow resistance.
    • Filters with a MERV between 7 and 13 are likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters.
    • (https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home) April 3, 2017

 

(HEPA is short for High Efficiency Particulate Air (filter). Simply stated, a HEPA  filter gets more particulates out of the air than your standard air filter. )

Airborne particles smaller than 1 micrometer can, fall slowly, and take days to years to settle out of a quiet atmosphere. In a turbulent atmosphere, they may never settle out, and include viruses, small bacteria, metallurgical fumes, soot, oil smoke, tobacco smoke, clay, and fumes. See the list of airborne particulates online at the Engineering Tool Box.

What about the cost? Higher efficiency filters for the home usually run between $25-$35. They may help increase your overall health, especially if you deal with respiratory issues or have allergies year round. Even if you deal with allergies on a seasonal basis, you may want to switch your traditional filter out to a Higher efficiency filter for those troublesome months you typically have allergy problems. There are a whole host of products that will improve the overall air quality of your home. If you would like more information, call us or schedule an appointment for us to sit down with you and share about YORK™s line of air filtration systems. 812-280-0510

Fun Fact
-A micron is 1 millionth of a meter [link http://www.hepafilter-pro.com/Filter_Ratings.php] , or about 0.00003937 inches, which means there are 25,400 microns in an inch. This dot (.) on your computer screen is about 615 microns.

The Risks of Neglecting Routine Maintenance on your HVAC

Louisville heating and coolingImagine driving your car for 100,000 miles and never adding a drop of oil or replacing an air filter or a bald tire. That seems unimaginable, but that kind of neglect often happens with our HVAC systems over time. Putting off routine maintenance seems harmless while things are running smoothly. But when problems start to crop up it becomes evident that our procrastination is damaging.

If you begin to notice some of the following issues, your furnace may be crying out for attention.

  • It’s noisy
  • Dust is accumulating rapidly
  • Allergy symptoms are increasing inside your house
  • Rooms are too hot or too cold
  • Utility bills are increasing when energy consumption isn’t

If you begin to notice an issue, there are a couple of basic things you can try to remedy your problem. Most importantly, replace your filters. A dirty and clogged filter adds increased dust particles into the air and prohibits proper functioning of your system. Have your vents and ducts cleaned out to assure proper airflow throughout the house. Also check to see if there is leakage in the attic area in your ductwork. You could be losing capacity through your duct system.

If those quick fixes don’t solve your problem, it’s time to call a furnace repair professional. A struggling HVAC system can deteriorate rapidly once routine maintenance is regularly neglected. Having a professional perform regular, routine maintenance can provide you with:

  • Lower utility bills
  • Improved reliability
  • Extended life
  • Fewer repairs
  • Increased capacity
  • Enhanced safety
  • Cleaner air

Spending $100-$300 for seasonal maintenance can save you $3000-$10,000 in future replacement costs. Regular servicing can also save you on your utility bills. A struggling, dirty furnace uses 25% more energy. It’s time to dodge that last bullet. Call VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc, for your heating and cooling professionals and put your mind at rest. (812) 280-0510