Kentuckiana Heating Tip: How Humidifiers Can Help During Winter Months

Louisville heating and coolingThe creeping in of the cold winter season can mean lots of things, piles of snow, heavier coats and the cranking up of your Louisville furnace. But winter can also bring a host of other issues like flu season, dry, itchy skin and endless shivering. There is one solution that can help with many of these things; a humidifier. During the winter months humidity levels can decrease to 10% indoors. Normal indoor humidity levels are 30-40%. The benefit of added humidity can also improve some other things as well.

  1. Prevent Illness – Keeping moisture in the air helps your tiny nose hairs function properly and keep out airborne bacteria that is more prevalent during winter months.
  2. Treat Illness – Moist air helps soothe the symptoms of a cold and flu including nasal irritation and the throat and bronchial tubes. When these areas are properly hydrated you sleep easier and soothe the ailing parts under attack.
  3. Warmth – Humidifiers help fight dry skin and keep your home warmer by adding more moisture. The more moisture there is in your home the warmer it will feel.
  4. Reduce Snoring – Believe it or not, low moisture is one of the major reasons snoring persists. By increasing water intake through drinking and hydration in the air, you can reduce snoring.
  5. Control Static – Petting your cat can be a big shock when suddenly the electricity snaps back at you. It’s also frustrating to have a new hairstyle that stands straight up. Having a humidifier can help with these static issues as well as reduce the risk that static shock can bring to electronics. Keeping the air moist can drastically reduce the possibility of encountering a shock that could damage the internals of a computer.

Although some of this information may be shocking, it is helpful as the winter months stick around to implement some basic things to help you stay well and warm.

Hybrid Heat

Utility rates are on the rise. Conventional gas furnace and air conditioning systems can be a burden on the budget. Have you considered a hybrid heat system? Hybrid heat systems consist of a heat pump and gas furnace. Most homes in Kentuckiana area utilize an air conditioner and gas furnace. Most older furnaces are 68% to 80% efficient.  All York, Lennox, and Trane condensing furnaces are at least 95% efficient. However a heat pump is 200-300% efficient! You can utilize the heat pump in weather over 30F to provide super efficient heating. Our most popular hybrid heat system consists of a two-stage gas furnace with variable speed motor and a 15 SEER heat pump. This system offers the savings benefit of the hybrid system and the comfort of two-stage gas heat.

If you’d like to know more about a hybrid heat system, call us today 812-280-0510 VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning!

Waiting To Replace Your HVAC System

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So, you are considering selling your Louisville home but your air conditioner is not working well. Do you live with it thinking you won’t be in the home in a couple of years or replace it with an energy efficient air conditioner and furnace?

Three reasons to replace that dinosaur system now.

1 – If it’s more than ten years old, it’s up to 30% less efficient than today’s minimum efficiencies. You’ll save on energy consumption with a new system.

2 – Utility rates increase every year. No matter how much we dislike it, LG&E gets their rated increase approved annually whether it’s electric or natural gas rates. Back to point number one, you’ll save money with a new system.

3 – Let’s say you you do put your house on the market. The buyers will use the age and condition of your heating and cooling system as a negotiating point. A new HVAC system eliminates that point. Plus a stack of lower utility bills is on your side of the negotiating table.

If you can afford to do it, purchasing that new system makes sense.

Contact us today at 812-280-0510 VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning to arrange an in-home consultation.

Furnace Setback Temperatures

We are often asked about how low to set the thermostat to save money on your heating bills. Obviously, you save more money the less your equipment operates. So, how cold can you stand it in your Southern Indiana/Louisville home?

Are you a Scrooge and want to keep it 40°F in the house? Well, there is a limit. When a furnace is operating, all of the combustion gases are just that – gases. We don’t want any of them to condense into a liquid while in the primary heat exchanger or vent. So, manufacturers recommend keeping the temperature above 60°F.

What happens if the gases condense in your furnace or vent? When they condense, they form acids. These acids will eat the metal in the vent and heat exchanger. This drastically shortens the life of your system.

So, what’s the answer? Set your thermostat as low as you can bear but keep it above 60°F in the winter.

Frost on the heat pump

If your heat pump looks like this, don’t be alarmed. It will clear itself in within the hour as it performs a defrost cycle. Why does frost form on your heat pump? How does this all work?

Frost on your heat pump is okay.

A heat pump is nothing but an air conditioner with an extra couple of components – a reversing valve and a defrost control board. The typical air conditioner rejects heat into the outside air and extracts heat (cools the air) from inside your home. While it’s removing heat from your home, it is also removing moisture because the coil temperature is less than dew point of your home. The same thing is happening in the winter except it is extracting heat from the outdoor air. The surface temperature of your outdoor coil is cold enough that frost forms on the coil.

Have you ever heard the loud ‘swoosh’ from your heat pump? That’s the sound of the reversing valve being energized for a defrost cycle. The outdoor coil is warmed and the frost melts from the coil. This happens every 30-120 minutes depending on your particular brand of heat pump. It’s always best to have the defrost cycle set to the longest interval possible. Some areas of the country have so much moisture in the air that they must defrost every thirty minutes.  This heat pump was running and maintaining a nice 70°F with no auxiliary heat.

If the frost continues to build and you notice the AUX heat is energized continuously on your thermostat, then it’s best to call for service. No need for a surprise $400 utility bill!

Call today 812-280-0510 VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. (Jeffersonville Indiana – Serving the Kentuckiana Area)

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3 Benefits Of Ductless Mini Splits

If you’ve recently added some living space to your home by either remodeling or adding on, you’ll probably want to condition the air in order to use the space during the winter and summer. A ductless mini split heat pump is one of the easiest ways to add heat and cooling to a new space in your home, since these systems don’t use any air ducts to deliver air.

Although the technology has been used abroad for years, it’ relatively new to the U.S. These systems are just like heat pumps, but instead of requiring a central air handler, the systems use separate units that blow directly into particular rooms or zones.

Louisville furnaceThe major advantages of ductless mini splits include:

Ease of installation – Unlike standard heat pumps, these systems require just a conduit to provide the power, refrigerant and drain lines to feed up to four indoor air handlers. The installer drills a three-inch hole through the exterior wall to run the conduit. The smaller systems can run off 120 volts, simplifying the wiring.
Energy efficiency. Because no ducts are involved, no losses occur moving the air. Ducts can leak and lose heat or cold as the air travels through un-insulated ducts or spaces. Some mini split compressors can handle four separate air handlers for different spaces within your home, and each has a separate thermostat. When you’re not using a space, you can turn the handler off or set the temperature higher or lower, saving energy. Some of the mini split systems also use energy-efficient components, including variable-speed motors that use considerably less electricity to blow conditioned air than a single-speed motor.
Design flexibility.The air handlers can sit on the floor or hang from ceilings and walls. Since most systems have remote controls, it’s easy to change the settings with the touch of a button from a distance.

VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. 812-280-0510

What’s inside your furnace?

So that’s what is inside your furnace… It’s most likely a clam shell heat exchanger. This one happens to be cracked. The top center eyelet of each heat exchanger has a crack of above and below it. The others are nearing failure. However, one crack is all it takes to condemn.

Goodman Clam Shell Heat Exchanger
What’s wrong with a crack? In the modern furnace, the primary risks is a fire. Over time the crack will open and allow flames to hit the cabinet. The secondary risk is carbon monoxide poisoning. This scenario is less likely due to the pressure switches that monitor the negative pressure inside the heat exchanger. You’re more likely to get air from the blower inside the heat exchanger rather than flue gases escaping.

How do you prevent this type of failure? It all goes back to proper air flow. Your ducts should provide design air flow per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Often, we find that the duct system needs to be modified to achieve desired air flow.

Second, you must change your air filter regularly. Although some filters state ‘Three Months”, it’s important to check them monthly. You may find that your system draws more dust and animal hair than the filter can handle in three months.

Finally, regular furnace maintenance by a professional service company keeps your system operating properly. You should have your HVAC system serviced twice a year — once for heating and the other time for air conditioning.

Give us a call today for all of your heating and air conditioning needs in Southern Indiana or the Louisville area — VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. (812)280-0510.

Tips for hiring an HVAC-system contractor

Louisville HVAC companyWhen the time comes to service, repair or install HVAC equipment in your home, you will be faced with the task of hiring an HVAC-system contractor. As in any industry, you’ll likely have many to choose from, with varying degrees of skill and experience. Here are some tips to help make your choice an easy one:

Ask questions – How long have they been in the industry and the number of satisfied customers are two things you should inquire about before hiring an HVAC-system contractor. An established, experienced contractor has seen and done it all, and will have the references to back it up. Of course, a reference is only good if you follow through; be prepared, with a list of questions to ask each.

Perform a license check – In Louisville, Kentucky, you can easily see if a potential hire is currently licensed, by performing a search at the website of the Kentucky Registrar of Contractors.

Ask for References – Look up reviews on line.

Inquire about guarantees  – Find out sooner rather than later,what kind of guarantee the contractor places on his work. A business that takes pride in its work and cares about customer satisfaction will provide you a written guarantee to prove it.

Ask about permits – A reputable HVAC-system contractor will not only know which jobs require a permit, but will be responsible for obtaining them as well. Permits protect both parties, by ensuring that the work done is up to code standards.

Get it in writing – Once they have performed a thorough evaluation of your home, or existing equipment, your contractor should be willing to give you a detailed, written estimate of the work to be done.

If you are looking to hire an HVAC-system contractor that meets all of these requirements, please give us a call at 812-280-0510 VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Why Every Consumer Should Know S.E.E.R.

When shopping for a new HVAC system, consumers are asked what SEER they are wanting to install. So what is SEER?

S.E.E.R. is the abbreviation for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Every heating or cooling product has a S.E.E.R. rating. The higher the S.E.E.R. the greater the efficiency of the system. In layman’s terms your system will give you the same results and use less energy, and this will save you money. When you are researching what products may be right for you this is part of the cost benefit analysis you need to consider. It helps to see side by side comparisons of what kind of savings higher S.E.E.R. can deliver. Look at the chart below for some examples. If you spend $500 every summer on your cooling and you replace your old 8 SEER system with a 14 SEER system you can expect that bill to be reduced to $215. SEER ratings are in the 20s now but the cost of systems has to be considered.

Contact us at 812-280-0510 and ask what would be best for you and your family! Louisville heating and cooling