Fixing your Furnace to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Louisville furnaceDo you find yourself this time of year itching your eyes, feeling stuffy inside ,or sneezing each time your walk outside? In the Louisville area, this is a particularly difficult season for allergies including dust, pollen and mold. But did you realize that these particular allergens can also be a prominent problem inside your home?

If you find yourself more tired, itchy, and irritated, you can help to improve your overall allergy symptoms and your overall health with a few basic improvements.

  1. Dehumidifiers – Sometimes the air in our homes can be overly damp due to leaking pipes or wet concrete basement floors. Dampness can promote mold and dust mite population. Dehumidifiers help alleviate the extra humidity in the air.
  2. Humidifiers -Just as you do not want the air at home to be too humid, you also don’t want it to be too dry, which is the tendency this time of year. Overly dry air is irritating to the lungs and can spread dust particles and pet dander that don’t have humidity to weigh them down. Another simple step to help add humidity to the air is to leave out a clean bowl of water or a fresh vase of flowers.
  3. HEPA filters – These filters added to your furnace help re-circulate, clean and dehumidify the air all at once. They also help to trap smaller allergen particles before they hit the air we breathe. Also remember not to sleep with the windows open which brings in more unfiltered allergens from the outdoors.
  4. Use exhaust fans to reduce moisture levels that may come from cooking, showers or clothes dryers.

Other helpful ways to eliminate harmful allergens without spending a penny include: not smoking inside the house, remove all particle board furniture which is made with formaldehyde which is a toxic substance and eliminate any carpeting you can. Carpets collect dust and dander.

Tackle your allergies from the inside out and eliminate harmful items that put you at higher risk. By making a few minor adjustments in the equipment of your furnace, you can breathe a sigh of relief with cleaner air inside your home.

Call at 812-280-0510

Heating Tips: Make Sure your Carbon Monoxide Detector is in Place

Louisville heating and coolingAs colder weather begins to roll around, many preventative measures in our homes are important to protect us from the elements and common indoor hazards. One hazard that is more prevalent in the winter season is gas leaks. These leaks can come from a furnace or water heater and may produce carbon monoxide (CO) fumes that can be deadly.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by incomplete burning of fuels like coal, wood, charcoal, oil, propane or natural gas. If your furnace or water heater’s burners become dirty or are not working properly, you could be at risk.

Since carbon monoxide can’t be detected by the senses, you might not even know it’s there until you begin to experience symptoms. With low-level exposure you may begin to detect:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • dizziness

When exposure becomes ongoing, symptoms worsen and become more severe:

  • mental confusion
  • vomiting
  • loss of coordination
  • loss of consciousness
  • death

Experiencing these symptoms inside your home is very serious and requires further investigation by a professional. Here are some common tips to avoid furthering carbon monoxide invasion.

  • Have electrical and burning appliances inspected and serviced regularly
  • Never use portable generators with gas engines in an enclosed space
  • Never leave the car running in the garage (even with the door up)
  • Don’t use appliances for warming the inside of your home
  • Never use portable fuel or burning camping equipment inside your home or garage

Most importantly, buy and install a carbon monoxide detector. Most detectors will sound before the CO reaches a dangerous level, which will allow preventative measures to be taken. Having a carbon monoxide detector can literally save your life.

 

Repair or Replace

When our Southern Indiana and Louisville clients have a major AC repair, we are often asked if they should replace the HVAC system or simply repair the air conditioner.

Two factors influence the decision the most: age of your HVAC system and cost of the repair.

If it’s greater than ten years old and you have a major repair (compressor, condenser fan motor, evaporator coil), you should seriously consider a new heating and cooling system. An HVAC system of that age is not nearly as efficient as today’s system. Plus, a new Air Conditioning system can have a 10-year parts warranty standard with 10-year labor warranties available.

If you’re on the fence regarding a new system, here are some things to consider.
1) Your old system is considerably less efficient than a new system. So, your energy consumption is higher the longer you wait.
2) Air Conditioners and Furnaces increase in price roughly 3% each year. You’ll pay more for that new system the longer that you wait.
Combine those two, and you can see why waiting to purchase a new HVAC system may not be the best choice.

If your HVAC system is under 10 years, then repairing it may be your better choice. We can show you ways to save money on future repairs through our preventative maintenance program

Give us a call today at (812) 280-0510

Trouble-shoot Your Own Furnace

Louisville FurnaceYou may think that large electrical box with lots of pipes and wires seems amazingly complicated without a degree or professional skill to operate it. But, believe it or not, some of the most common furnace issues can be resolved by the homeowner without a service call to the HVAC company. Here are a few of the most common furnace issues and how you can attempt to resolve them on your own.

What if I Smell Gas?

If you smell something that smells like rotten eggs coming from the area surrounding your furnace, there is only one step. Get out. Do not turn on/off any light switches or operate any of the switches on the furnace. After you have safely evacuated, call your HVAC company to check out the problem.

Furnace is Not Producing Much Heat

The major cause of a slower heating house is a dirty filter. The easiest way to maintain your furnace and save money is to change your filter every few months. A dirty filter can double or triple your home heating costs, causing your furnace to have to work harder.

Furnace Doesn’t Ignite

Today’s furnaces use hot surface ignitors, but if you have a really old furnace that still has a pilot light, then here’s what you can do. If the light inside the furnance has gone out completely, shut off the gas switch near the pilot light while pushing the reset button. Hold a lighter or match up to the gas where the flame should be and light the pilot again.

Changing your furnace filter is something everybody can do. It is one of the easiest home maintenance projects you can do. Simply pull the old filter out and replace it with a new one. The only trick here is making sure the up arrow on the filter actually faces up in the furnace slot. That’s it. Regularly reminding yourself to do this can save a lot of money on utility bills and risking damaging your unit.

Always schedule a regular maintenance check-up with your HVAC company to catch any further issues that may be more involved. Visit our website to learn more about the heating and cooling services we provide. Or give us and call and we will be glad to help with advice or assistance 812-280-0510

How to Choose a Furnace that Best Suits Your Needs

Louisville furnaceYou may be looking to replace a sluggish furnace in your existing home or you may be ready to install one in a new home for the first time. Either way, there are some important facts that can help you decide which furnace may be the best fit for your home. Let’s start by examining the two major types of furnaces.

The Two-Stage Furnace

Based on its name, the two-stage furnace is geared to operate the major elements of the furnace in two different ways. First, this type of furnace will change the burn rate of natural gas, or BTUs (British Thermal Units, a unit of energy) generated. Most of these systems will also change the speed at which the blower fan blows, lowering the speed during the first stage and raising it during the second stage.

The two-stage furnace actually runs on a lower amount of BTUs and runs longer in order to keep your home more comfortable by decreasing the temperature swings when the system shuts off and turns back on.

The advantage most people see in this system is in a more consistent temperature while the system is running. Energy savings is not a real advantage to this type of furnace.

Modulating Furnace

This type of High Efficiency furnace operates with more intensity and also reduces the temperature fluctuations, produces a more consistent indoor temperature, is quiet in operation, and utilizes annual fuel consumption up to 98%. Because fuel is used more efficiently, energy use is reduced and so is cost.

This type of gas furnace combines a modular gas valve with a variable speed blower and is able to adjust automatically, continuously regulating the amount of fuel burned based on the thermostat setting. These systems can maintain a temperature within a half-degree of the thermostat set point.  Standard systems can swing between 4-6 degrees.

Because of its variable speed blower, the temperature slowly ramps up and down providing quiet and efficient air distribution while reducing overall utility consumption.

Being informed can help you choose the furnace that can best accommodate your home’s needs and keep you toasty warm this winter season. Contact VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. with any questions you have about your furnace. We are here to help.

image courtesy of York

Why We Carry Quality Products

York HVAC productsYou may have heard this saying by Zig Ziglar: You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific. It may not say exactly what we are thinking but it’s close enough.

Service is king in this industry and one of the ways we can serve our customers best is by not being generalists. We want to carry products that we trust and stand by, and products we know inside and out. By specializing and having a specific product line we can insure that we know every detail about the York Product line, and that is good news for the consumer.

We also offer Trane, Lennox, and other products that we are equally product to offer to you.

It is rare when a business puts service as its highest aim, but that is our aim. We want to serve our customers and we are proud to carry all of our various products.

For instance, York has been in the business for 130 years, and that may be even more rare. Partnering with a company like that instills confidence and you can trust they are staying at the forefront of technology and are leaders in the industry.Johnson Controls manufactures all York products and they are in the fortune 25 companies and understand quality control in their product line. They are the only HVAC manufacturer than can boast 100% assembled in the U.S. factories.

We are proud to partner with each of the listed companies. If you have any questions about comparing product lines, we would love to sit down and talk with you about your needs commercial or residential. We can help you make the right decision.

image courtesy of york.com

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.

Why MERV Ratings Matter

MERV Ratings and my air filterMERV is short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Every air filter has a rating like this that tells you how well it will filter the air passing through it. When you are comparing lower MERV rated filters to those of a higher rating the difference is clear. Literally, it is clear. If you can see your hand on the other side of a new filter do you think it is capturing most of the dust particles or very few? Very few is the correct answer. The higher MERV rated filters are often white in color and have the texture of fabric. They are engineered to still let air pass through efficiently, yet they capture much greater amounts of dust particles.

The higher the MERV rating will not necessarily require more frequent filter replacement. Most high MERVrated filters recommend they be replaced every 3-6 months in comparison to the lower MERV rated filters that recommend and average of 2-3 months between replacing. According to Nordic Pure, a air filter manufacturer,  MERV 12 rating represents the best balance between airborne particulate removal of dust, pollen, airborne pathogens, etc. and overall HVAC system efficiency. You do not have to go the high in MERV rating to enjoy good air quality. Read the chart on every filter you consider for information on what types of particles they are able to capture.

Here is the decision you will have to make, how important is the air quality in my home to me? Higher MERV rated filters work a whole lot better and they cost a little more. The lower MERV rated filters will cost less but will allow much more dust and other particles into your home. Here is a link with a MERV Chart that shows what particles get filtered at different MERV ratings. Take a look at it and call us with your questions regarding your air filter. We would be glad to make recommendations.

Cleaning or replacing your air conditioning filter at the recommended intervals ensures your air conditioning system is always operating at peak efficiency and delivering cleaner air. Typically filters should be washed or replaced every 1 to 3 months.

812-280-0510

VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Repair or Replace Your HVAC System? 8 Things Everyone Should Know

So here is the dilemma. When should you consider replacement over repairing your current HVAC equipment? The good news is there are measurable tools that VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. has come up with to help you gauge what is best for you. There are eight key things you should consider.

The age of the system and any current repair costs should be factored. When you are looking at your repairs you can narrow your focus to the most recent five years to determine what you have spent and the frequency of problems. You may have recently moved into your home and have a warranty on the HVAC system that can be utilized. We can help you determine how you should leverage any warranties you currently have for your home’s heating and cooling system. If your system is older, the odds are that the efficiency ratings are pretty low. When you compare older system SEER and AFUE ratings to new YORK brand HVAC systems, the technology gap is significant. New systems have much higher efficiency ratings and can make a huge impact on your monthly savings in comparison to your older HVAC system. You also want to look at what type of refrigerant your current system uses and whether the cost of continued future servicing makes financial sense.

The Top 8

  1. Age of your HVAC system
  2. Cost of repair
  3. Under warranty
  4. Number of recent repairs
  5. Your system’s energy efficiency rating outdoor (SEER)
  6. Your system’s energy efficiency rating indoor (AFUE)
  7. Refrigerant type
  8. Years expected to be in home

We have created an easy worksheet that you can download and fill out. Weighing all eight factors will help you know which decision would be best. If you are a homeowner who is not familiar with your HVAC system, and you need help determining the age, SEER, AFUE, or the refrigerant type of your system, give us a call. We would be glad to assist you. We can assist you in filling out the worksheet and help you determine your overall score. Always keep in mind that we offer free estimates on new systems and we offer financing. Thank you for choosing VanKleef Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. and we look forward to serving you in the future.

 REPAIR VS REPLACE WEBSITE

Ways to Save Money on your Heating Costs

Louisville Heating Louisville HVACIt’s in there. You can see it. It’s glaring through the stack of mail inside the mailbox; the utility bill. You pull off a corner, take a deep breath, try again and suddenly rip it open like a stuck bandaid. Your blood pressure soars. The heat has only been on for a month, but your heating bill looks like a small house payment.

Help restore your blood pressure to normal and conserve energy this winter with these cost saving ideas:

Purchase a Power Monitor These items are not very expensive, but they are extremely helpful in determining how much energy your home is using and which items are draining the most power.

Turn it Off Stick to this basic rule always. If you’re not using it, turn it off. Plugged in electronics such as computers, lights and monitors all use energy while plugged in. Make sure all of these things are turned off when going to bed.

Use Power StripsConnect as many electronics as you can to a power strip and when they are not in use, switch the strip off. Even a plugged in electronic not in use drains electricity.

Utilize technology Most newer electronics and appliances come with built-in power management options. Always check your settings to be sure you are using the energy saving’s or water saving’s settings on washers, dryers, air conditioners, computers and heating and air conditioning systems.

Avoid OverchargingOnly charge MP3 players, phones, cameras and batteries until they are fully charged, then unplug the charger. Keeping the line-up of electronics constantly plugged in wastes energy.

Get the LED OutTime to get with it. Incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past and are not as energy efficient. Switch over permanently to LED bulbs or compact fluorescent.

Wash with Cold Water Your clothes won’t be upset with you. They will still be clean and not using hot water can help stop runs in color on fabric and prevent shrinkage.

Don’t let Old Man Winter steal your joy or your money. Remember, knowledge really is powerful when you put practical ideas to work.