Why Fall is an Important Season for HVAC

November 5, 2016

Is your current HVAC unit old or unreliable? Have you been putting off necessary repairs on your heating system? There is no better time than now to schedule a service visit with an HVAC technician from Butler Heating and Air Conditioning. Fall is an important season for your HVAC system because your air conditioner has worked hard all summer and is about to work hard again to keep your home comfortable during the winter. To avoid any surprise breakdowns when you need your heater most, homeowners should have their HVAC unit inspected and repaired while the weather is more mild in the fall. Fall HVAC Checklist Here are some things that homeowners should do in the fall to ensure that their home comfort system will last through next fall: Schedule your annual HVAC system tune-up with a technician to ensure that your system is clean and running smoothly. Turn on your heater to make sure it’s working properly, and call an HVAC tech if you notice any issues such as loud noises or burning smells. Make an appointment for necessary repairs as soon as possible to avoid wasting energy or causing further damage to your system. If you have been...

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How to Diagnose HVAC Problems

October 19, 2016

If you’re having an issue with your heating or cooling system, there are some things you as a homeowner can do before deciding whether to call in a professional. Check the Breakers The first step is to check the power. Locate the fuse box and examine the breakers. Look to see if any of them are flipped in a different direction than the rest. Both the furnace and air-conditioning unit should have independent breakers that are (hopefully) labeled. If the breakers look normal, flip the switch for whichever unit is not working properly. Wait about 10 seconds before turning it back on. If you’ve got fuses instead, switch off the main power to the box and replace any blown or burnt fuses. Check the Thermostat If that does not solve the problem, check the power to the thermostat. Most models receive power from your home’s electricity, but some rely on batteries. Switch the batteries if you can. If there is still no power, it may be the cause of the issue. It Could Be the Filters It’s also important to check the filters. If they’re clogged, broken, or incorrectly sized, they could restrict airflow. This puts extra stress on the...

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Will my Heating System Last Through Winter? Here’s How to Tell

September 26, 2016

You cannot overlook your heating system during winter because it’s the system you rely upon to keep your family warm and safe. During this time of the year, a breakdown in your HVAC system is not only inconveniencing but can cause serious discomfort and health problems for your family. Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can go haywire with a central heating system, particularly during freezing temps, when it is needed the most. The good thing is that there are several maintenance checks you can do to ensure the heating system keeps running smoothly throughout winter. How to Test HVAC System for Winter No one wants to get left out in the cold. Here are a few steps that you can take to test your heating system for winter: Check whether your pipes are insulated. Water pipes running through your home may or may not be insulated. Non-insulated pipes are more likely to burst when they freeze than those that are insulated. Having your pipes covered with foam pipe insulation safeguards them from the issues caused by cold weather. A bursted pipe can easily ruin your boiler. The boiler also struggles to work if the pipe is moist....

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How to Detect HVAC Inspection Scams (& Avoid Them!)

September 15, 2016

Installation, maintenance and repair of HVAC systems can be an expensive affair. Whether your system fails when it is hot or in the middle of winter, do not just call the cheapest HVAC repair technician or the first one you find. As much as you desire the comfort – especially quickly and affordably – take your time and look for a reputable home comfort expert to handle the system. Avoid HVAC Inspection Scams Use these simple tips will help you avoid HVAC inspection scams: Nothing is free. Avoid providers that request for free tune-ups once you place your initial service call. Any trustworthy company will offer you a free estimate or a free site visit – but businesses need to make money. Scammers are interested in offering free service in order to come up with an expensive sales pitches and up-sells. You don’t need to bother with hagglers. Trust your intuition. Some HVAC contractors will request a lofty down payment. This should cover spare parts and transport, which is fair. However, If you feel the down-payment is on the higher side, the provider might be taking advantage. Avoid so-called experts who request the entire payment upfront as  they will never...

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My Thermostat Stopped Working – HELP!

August 20, 2016

A dysfunctional HVAC system can often cause a lot of discomfort in a home. Whether it’s an unbearable cold temperature or a sticky warm breeze, we rely on our heaters and air conditioners to keep our indoors as comfortable as possible. But there are times when these appliances don’t deliver the kind of satisfaction we are looking for. Often the cause behind this is a faulty thermostat. Troubleshoot Your Thermostat Here are some easy to follow steps to help you troubleshoot your home thermostat: Change the thermostat batteries. There are a number of different thermostats available in the market, so before you go ahead and wrench out the panel in your wall, make sure you know where the batteries are located. Modern thermostats or “smart thermostats” don’t come installed with batteries, so you might need to call in an expert. However, most systems still run off of batteries. A simple replacement of the worn out cells can have your home feeling as snug and cozy as ever. Thoroughly clean thermostat. As with most electrical appliances, dust and dirt can collect in the interior, causing them to display inaccurate readings. Using a soft dry brush or cloth, it is important to...

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Home Improvement Projects that Require a Pro

June 20, 2016

Home improvement projects are a great way to increase the value, functionality, and appearance of the home. Many of them are DIY-friendly and can be carried out by the homeowner without any issues. However, there are some projects that need a professional to do, not only for safety reasons, but for potential legal ones as well. What are some Professional-Only Home Improvement Projects? Whenever you’re going to be cutting into the walls, roof, or removing parts of them it’s always a good idea to know what is inside them and if they’re load bearing. Knocking out an interior wall is a project that requires a professional. First they will need to determine if the wall can even be removed or not. If it is a load-bearing wall, then there’s no way it is going to be knocked down no matter how much you want an open floor plan. Installing a skylight is another project that is professional-only. Cutting into the roof is not something that should be done by just anyone. There can be all sorts of infrastructure running through the area of the roof you want the skylight installed in. If you happen to cut into an electrical line,...

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Servicing HVAC Expansion Valves

May 24, 2016

The thermostatic expansion valve, or TXV/TEV, is an essential component of any HVAC system. Paying attention to how it is behaving, and servicing any issues, will ensure efficient functioning of your HVAC system. When to Service the TXV For the most part the thermostatic expansion valve will not need any maintenance if it was installed properly. The only real time it will need servicing is when something is wrong. And when something is wrong, it is a great tool to help diagnose what is wrong with the system, when looking at it symptomatically. There are three main symptoms that the TXV will manifest when something is amiss: starving, flooding, and hunting. Starving is when the TXV is not feeding enough refrigerant into the evaporator to equal the rate at which the refrigerant is being evaporated off. Symptoms of starving will include load temperature and superheat being too high. Superheat measurement is the more accurate way to verify this. The causes of starving include moisture being frozen in the valve, or foreign material in the lines which became stuck in the valve, blocking the flow of refrigerant. Installing a filter-drier ahead of the TXV will prevent this. The next symptom that...

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Understanding The Ratings For Furnace Efficiency

April 21, 2016

If you’re in need of a new furnace, one factor to take into account when weighing options is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of each unit. That rating explains how much heat the furnace will produce, in comparison to the amount of energy it requires to produce that heat. Understanding the AFUE rating If a furnace is rated at 85 percent AFUE, that means that 85 percent actually becomes heat, while 15 percent of the energy used is lost. It’s important to know that the AFUE rating does not include the potential heat loss that can happen through ductwork, because ductwork in homes varies. Ductwork can lose up to 35 percent of their heating efficiency. How to figure approximate AFUE ratings on older equipment While the Federal Trade Commission requires manufacturers to include AFUE ratings on all new furnace systems, older systems may not have a rating or it may be difficult to find that information on older units. Low-efficiency furnaces can be identified by the use of a continuous pilot light. Typically, these units are between 56 and 70 percent efficient. Older models that use a fan to control airflow and have an electronic ignition fall between...

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Do Programmable Thermostats Really Benefit Me?

March 23, 2016

If you’re still using a manual thermostat, you may be wondering whether it’s time to switch to a programmable variety. Programmable thermostats have a number of features and benefits that can help you save money on your utility bills and also experience increased comfort at home. Preset Solutions for Heating and Cooling A programmable thermostat allows you to set your heating and cooling for a specific temperature instead of having to manually change the setting. To shave money of your utility bill, have a “setback” period for at least eight hours each day. If you set your thermostat back just one degree for eight hours, you can shave 1 percent from your heating and cooling bill. Each additional setback back will save 1 percent more. Many people have their thermostats set to decrease by 10 degrees at night or at work, which lowers their expenses. Increased Comfort The ability to program your thermostat means you can set it to begin heating or cooling your home before you get there, or before you wake up in the morning. With this convenience, you don’t have to wait uncomfortably for your home to reach the ideal temperature. It’ll also save you money, as...

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How Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps Work

February 29, 2016

Today, homeowners have an unprecedented array of choices when the time comes to replace a heating/cooling system. For example, instead of installing a standard centralized system, you can opt for a new type of system arranged around something called a ductless mini-split heat pump. Here are a few details that help explain why this temperature control system has a broad-based appeal. Heat Pump Basics Heat pumps don’t directly generate heat like a traditional furnace or an electric furnace. Instead, they pull heat from the surrounding environment, concentrate that heat and conduct it into your home’s interior. Depending on the model in question, a heat pump may pull heat from the ground, from the outside air or from a lake or some other water source. Despite their names, heat pumps can also cool your home in the summertime. They achieve this goal by reversing the direction of their air flow and pulling warmth out of the interior of your home. Ductless Systems Most homes in America have a standard, centralized indoor ducting system that carries air to and from all connected rooms at the same time. The individual ducts in this type of system are usually placed behind walls, above ceilings...

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