Warming Up to Wood Floors: Dispelling the Myths of Carpeting

Louisville heating and coolingWith winter creeping in, you may be kicking yourself for choosing hardwood floors for your house. Maybe you visualize the warmth of a cozy shag rug underneath your fuzzy knee socks. While those are comforting thoughts, the belief that carpeting keeps your house warmer is not always accurate. Most people believe that carpeting holds heat in, but it actually reduces the flow of energy and forces your furnace to work harder to push heat through your carpets and warm your house.

The fact is, carpet is an insulator and wood is a conductor. So, in simpler terms, the carpet will stop heat from moving fluidly and wood absorbs heat and allows it to circulate freely. Wood improves heat circulation and maintains heat longer than carpet.

Wood and all solid material reduces temperature fluctuation because it absorbs and stores heat while carpet fibers become a barrier. Ceramic, tile, and laminate also function in the same way that wood does.

Besides the appeal of the wood floor appearance, homeowners receive the bonus of saving money on utilities because the temperature stays more consistent and the furnace doesn’t have to work so hard to maintain consistent heat or cool temperatures.

Of course, adding an area rug to your hardwood floors for the winter may make the room more cozy, but it won’t necessarily save you money on your utility bill. Hardwood floors are a solid purchase for saving money on utilities and keeping you warmer this season.

Save Money on Your Heating Bill

Louisville heatingAs Jeffersonville Indiana and Louisville KY areas begin prepping for the winter months, VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning provides you with a list of ways you can save money on your Duke, REMC, and Vectern heating bill. Weather your house is heated with gas or electric, winter is usually the most expensive time of year for utility costs. Here are a few things we suggest to cut down on those hefty bills:

  1. Seal leaks. Check the weather stripping around your doors.  Do you feel a draft coming through? One easy way to test if the weather stripping needs to be replaced, is to try to stick a dollar bill through the seam of the door. If it goes through, then you know that’s where your money is going right out the door.
  2. Caulk windows. When windows are drafty, your furnace works double time to keep the temperature in the home acceptable. Caulk is inexpensive, but just might be the tool you need to keep your heating costs down.
  3. Open your curtains during the day. This allows the sun in to help heat your home. At sundown close the curtains to help trap heat the heat.
  4. Manually turn your thermostat down 5 to 10 degrees when you are leaving for the day and at night when you are going to bed.

VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning  services and repairs Louisville and southern Indiana HVAC systems and performs routine maintenance to ensure your furnace is working at its best. Contact our office 812-280-0510.  We’d be happy to serve you.

Heating and Cooling Tips: Ways to Reduce Static Electricity

Louisville airAs colder weather rolls around, the dryness in the air increases our possibility for that predictable little shock we get as we exit the car, walk across the carpet, or change clothes. A shock from static electricity is not a true electric shock, but a pain of hot sparks jumping to or from our fingers to our other body parts.

There are several ways to reduce or eliminate the risk of static electricity this season, some of which may surprise you. The air is naturally drier this time of year, which increases the frequency and severity of shocks, so increasing moisture is key.

In Your Home

  • Add a humidifier- this adds moisture to the air and decreases static electricity.
  • Walk barefoot – or better yet, cover your shoes with aluminum foil. Either of these decrease static build up and our chances for getting shocked.
  • Moisturize your skin – anti-static hand lotion can be rubbed all over the skin to reduce that unforeseen shock that starts with the hands.

In Your Clothing

  • Natural fibers – again wearing natural fibers such as cotton, greatly decrease your risk of walking across the floor and being shocked.
  • Wear a thimble on your finger or carry a coin to reduce the static build up in your finger tips when you touch something.
  • Use dryer sheets – add dryer sheets to your laundry drying cycle or rub on top of your clothes to minimize the static in them. Rubbing the dryer sheet on your hair can also eliminate the static that occurs when you brush it and it begins to stand straight up. Dryer sheets neutralize the charge that can cause static cling or unruliness.
  • Hairspray can also eliminate or reduce static cling in clothes you have already put on for the day.
  • Wire hangers – glide the long side of the wire hanger across your clothing before putting them on to neutralize the static effect.

In Your Car

  • Rub the metal handle of the car door before exiting or touch the keys to the to the metal handle to transfer the shock away from you.
  • Dryer sheets also work if rubbed on a car seat to reduce static electricity.

These remedies will greatly help your chances of static build up and shock when heating your  home this fall and winter.

 

Cracked furnace heat exchangers

Annual heating and furnace tuneups are key to maintaining  your system in peak operation conditions. They also find potential safety issues.

Furnace Heat Exchanger with Crimp Rings

Have you ever noticed flames rolling backwards from the center burner. If so, you need to call a service man for inspection.

If the crimp rings are inserted into the eyelets and used to hold the heat exchanger together. You can see the eyelets in the heat exchanger in this picture. When the crimp rings fail, you typically see cracks surrounding the eyelets. You can see the cracks on either side of the upper ring here.

These cracks are caused by expansion and contraction of the metal over the years of operation. These failures are accelerated by lack of maintenance and improper airflow.

Heat exchangers with cracks should never by operated. They are a fire and carbon monoxide danger. Simple stated, cracks don’t get smaller. They only grow in size.

If your system has been diagnosed with a heat exchanger failure or crack, give us a call 812-280-0510 today. We’ll be more than happy to provide you with a proposal for a new furnace or replacement heat exchanger.

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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