schedule HVAC maintenance

Live in your house long enough and you’ll get used to the sounds it makes. The hum of the refrigerator. The garage door opening. That one step that always creaks.

Then there are the sounds you don’t expect, like the ones that emanate from your furnace duct work. If you’re wondering when to schedule HVAC maintenance, it’s when you hear things coming from your furnace like:

  1. Rattling sounds

This sound can be unsettling, but it’s not an end-of-the-world HVAC issue. Rather, it’s a sign that your ductwork is either sized improperly or has simply come loose. When your furnace is firing, it will cause loose ducts to rattle against each other.

Again, it’s not a huge issue, but it is giving you a bigger energy bill, as loose ductwork can lead to a loss of heat.

  • Whistling

We might associate whistling with feeling carefree, but this sound coming out of your furnace is in fact more like wheezing, likely the result of a constricted air flow.

Look to see if you need to replace your filter. If that’s not the answer, check your vents to make sure they’re clear of debris. Like the rattling sound, it’s not a serious issue, but this could lead to bigger problems. Have your HVAC tech look at the furnace during scheduled maintenance.

  • Vibrating or humming

These noises typically signal a clog in the air flow return section of your heating system, which can lead to a massive drop in air pressure. The smaller the blockage, the longer the humming or vibrating noise will last. If you have a near-total blockage, it will announce itself with a short, loud, sudden hum.

  • Buzzing or scratching

In this case, you’ll need to call an exterminator rather than wonder when to schedule HVAC maintenance. The buzzing and scratching is probably mice, insects and other pests making a winter home in your ducts.

  • Squealing

When you hear a loud squealing coming from the engine of your car, it’s often a sign that one of the belts is about to give. The same is true for your furnace. A loud, persistent squeal can be a sign that the fan or motor belt is about to break and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

  • Booming

This might be a serious issue. When you hear a soft, infrequent boom, you might be hearing the furnace plenum, its air distribution box, expanding.

However, a loud, frequent boom is the sound of a delayed furnace ignition, which can be a threat to the entire system. When you hear this sound, call your local HVAC expert as soon as possible.

Nearly any unusual noise from your system is your furnace telling you when to schedule HVAC maintenance. (One exception: a snapping and popping noise when your system turns on, which is just the sound of ducts expanding and flexing because of a change in air pressure.)

Do you need to schedule maintenance on your HVAC system? Are you hearing weird noises from your ducts? Talk to All Seasons Comfort Control. Our team can examine your heating system for problems, allowing you to rest comfortably all winter.

Unless your job requires it – or you just really don’t mind the cold—we’re willing to bet you won’t be spending a lot of time outdoors over the next few months.

And while the idea of holding up at home to wait out the winter seems appealing, it’s important to make sure you have a healthy indoor climate. In this blog post, we’ll discuss ways to improve your indoor air quality and how products like the Air Scrubber Plus can give you the gift of clean air in 2020.

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Kids looking out window at snow

It’s one of life’s cruel ironies: Just as winter weather chases us inside, the indoor air quality in our homes begins to plummet.

And so begins a vicious cycle: we build our homes to keep out drafts, which keeps us warm but keeps allergens and pollutants in and prevents fresh air from circulating.

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Man turning down thermostat looking at high heating bill

Imagine if you opened your cable bill and saw charges for a bunch of channels you didn’t get. Or you went to a restaurant and were asked to pay for food you’d never ordered.

The same sort of thing might be happening with your energy bill each winter, as you shell out money to heat rooms you’re not using.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can save money on your heating costs – and make your home more comfortable – with the help of a zoned heating system.

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If you’ve ever gone looking for a new HVAC system – or even a window air conditioner or space heater – you’ve probably encountered the initials BTU.

BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit,” and it’s a part of the same system that includes things like pounds or inches, only instead of measuring weight or length, the BTU measures energy.

A BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level. BTUs allow you to track how much energy an appliance can process to make your space warmer or cooler.

BTU per square foot and determining furnace sizes

Platinum Furnace American Standard

To start with, the appropriate BTU per square foot measurement for your home will depend on where you live. People living in, say, Florida will need a lower number than someone living in Minnesota.

Here in the mid-Atlantic region, you’ll typically need 40-45 BTUs per square foot. To determine the proper furnace size for your home, multiply the appropriate BTU per square foot by the square footage you need to need.

Let’s say you live in a 2,000 square foot home in southeastern Pennsylvania, meaning your BTU per square foot number is at 40-45. That would mean you’d need an 80,000/90,000 BTU HVAC system to heat and cool your home.

BTUs are an important factor in home heating and cooling. Choose a unit with insufficient power, and you’re left feeling too warm in the summer, too cold in the winter and paying a higher than necessary energy bill.

However, there’s more to determining what size heating and cooling unit you need than just BTU per square foot. Consider these factors as well:

1. Your house

H

In addition to the size of your home, you’ll need to consider some other factors. For example, if your living areas face south, you’ll get more sun – and therefore more heat – in the winter months.

Then there’s the construction of your home. If you’re living in a brick house, you’ve already got more natural insulation than someone living in a home with wood siding.

There are even some external factors that can affect your heating needs. If you’ve got a lot of trees or shrubs planted around your house, you’ll have an extra layer of protection against cold air.

2. Your local climate

House in Maine in Winter

As we indicated earlier, the part of the country where you live can determine the size of the furnace you’ll need. Someone in Maine, with its often brutal winters, would want a bigger, more powerful furnace than someone living in a more temperate climate.

3. Efficiency

Furnaces are required by law to have an efficiency rating of at least 80 percent, and higher-quality heating systems will usually hit 98 percent.

This means two furnaces could be the same size but provide substantially different levels of efficiency. You could purchase a smaller furnace with a higher efficiency rating and still get the same amount of heat as a larger unit with a lower efficiency rating.

Working out which size furnace to choose isn’t something you want to tackle on your own. A qualified HVAC contractor can look at all the factors we’ve discussed here—from home size to efficiency to BTU per square foot – and determine what sort of heating system is right for you.

If you’re preparing to switch to a new heating system, All Seasons Comfort Control can help. For more than 15 years, we’ve worked with Bucks County area homeowners to make sure they’ve had the HVAC service that’s right for them. Contact us today to learn more.

Couple fearing the idea of replacing their furnace

When you bought your home, your heating system seemed solid. But now that you’ve lived there for a few years, you’ve noticed some problems.

Heating and cooling bills that are higher than normal. Rooms that seem too warm or not warm enough. You’re considering switching to a new kind of system (gas instead of oil, a boiler rather than a furnace), but the idea seems daunting.

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Minisplit in a livingroom

Your living room gets warm, so warm in fact that you find yourself falling asleep in front of the TV.

Then you go to bed and find yourself loading up on blankets so you aren’t shivering through the night.

It’s an uncomfortable situation, but one that can be easily remedied with a zoned heating system.

What is a zoned heating system?

A traditional heating system uses one unit that heats or cools the entire building. With a zoned heating system, a network of smaller, energy-efficient units sends warm (or cool) air into different sections.

The most common zone system splits the first and second floors into distinct areas, although you can always have other zones added. It’s a great system for people who tend to spend most of their time downstairs during the day and head upstairs in the evenings.

A zoned heating system has three main components: an outdoor unit, an indoor unit and a control system. The system works by transferring heat to and from the outdoor unit to indoor units, which are connected by pipes containing refrigerant.

What are the benefits of a zoned heating system?

There are several benefits to switching to zoned heating, including:

  • Saving on energy costs – Combined with a programmable thermostat, a zoned heating system will allow you to realize significant energy savings. You’re not spending money heating sections of your home that don’t need to be heated
  • Everyone’s comfortable – Your family members might have all have different preferences for temperature settings. A zoned heating system can allow you to keep each bedroom at the setting they desire, while also eliminating uncomfortable hot and cold spots around the house.
  • It’s not just for heating – A system that provides you with zoned heating can also do zoned cooling, allowing you to be as comfortable in summer as you are in winter.

Is a zoned heating system right for my home?

High celing Livingroom

There are several different types of homes that do well with zoned systems:

  • Any home that has more than one story
  • Homes that have finished, livable basements
  • Older or historic homes where it would be impossible, or at least impracticable, to install traditional ductwork
  • Homes that have rooms that you don’t use because they either get too hot or too cold
  • Homes with high ceilings or big windows

Is my home ready for a zoned heating system?

Are you embarking on a major a home renovation project? It might be a good time to modernize your HVAC system too.

And if you’re updating your old, ducted HVAC system, why not try something new in its place? Instead of a ducted system, go with a newer, multi-room version, which can still utilize your existing ductwork while giving you a more efficient and comfortable heating solution.

If you don’t have ductwork, don’t worry. A zoned heating system will still work once you place indoor units around your house.

As Mitsubishi Electric – who makes the zoned heating system we use – puts it on their website:

“No walls need be torn down, and the units can be carefully placed to blend into the aesthetics of both the interior and the exterior of the home. They eliminate the logistical and cosmetic challenges that come with a traditional, forced-air system. They also allow you to experience room-by-room comfort.”

If you think multi-zone heating will work for your home, contact All Seasons Comfort Control. We can examine your home and find the best possible heating solution, so your family will be warm and comfortable without having to worry about a massive energy bill.

Family in warm home

Bigger doesn’t automatically equal “better.”

Just think about your computer. It’s a fraction of the size of its ancestors from 30 years ago, but infinitely more powerful.

The same rule applies to your home heating system. Install one that’s too big and you can end up wasting energy. On the flip side, a gas furnace that’s too small won’t keep you warm enough.

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