How to Protect Your HVAC from Storms

There are many ways to prepare for rain besides an umbrella and rubber boots. Debris, flooding, and lightning could all do some serious damage, so it’s important to protect your HVAC system. Learn more on our blog.

There are many ways to prepare for rain besides sporting an umbrella and rubber boots. Debris, flooding, and lightning could all do some serious damage to your home, so it’s important to protect your HVAC system. Before the storm unleashes its rain of terror, take the necessary precautions to safeguard the investment you’ve made in your home’s heating and cooling system.

Debris

During a storm, debris like fallen leaves and shingles, pine cones and needles, and twigs and branches can get stuck in your air conditioner and ruin the motor. Invest in a cover to protect equipment from ice and windblown debris. You could also use plywood or a tarp with safety straps. Just make sure to remove the cover before you turn the cooling system back on after a storm.

Flooding

Electrical and refrigeration connectors, couplings, and fittings can become disconnected during a storm and damaged by water. Wires between the outoor unit and home could short out if they are frayed and exposed to the elements, causing electrical damage. Blown fuses, burnt capacitors, and fried compressors are expensive to repair and replace.

Make sure your HVAC units have been installed above flood level on an elevated platform with at least three feet of clearance. Nearby gutter downspouts should be pointed away from the outdoor unit so it doesn’t sit in a pool of water. This is also important to protect your home’s foundation from moisture intrusion and basement flooding, which could jeopardize your indoor units.  

Lightning

Lightning is quite striking to watch until it causes a power surge. Before a storm, turn off the breakers to disconnect power from your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace, and install a surge protector if you don’t already have one. A surge protector will automatically turn off your HVAC system if there’s a spike in power.

Extreme power fluctuations can damage an air conditioner’s capacitor, which in turn can ruin the compressor and put more wear on the unit. So don’t be shocked if a power surge shortens equipment life.   

After the Storm

After the storm blows over, you’ll want to check for damage before turning your HVAC units back on. Schedule repair or replacement with a professional HVAC technician if there are problems. Heating & Cooling Two can install a new furnace, air conditioner, or other HVAC accessories for your home or business, should you need it. We’re prepared to help you maintain indoor comfort no matter what weather rolls through your area.

Heating & Cooling Two can bring the calm before and after the storm with regular HVAC tune-ups and emergency service. Contact us to learn more.

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Do I Need a Whole House Dehumidifier?

High moisture levels can make your home susceptible to mold, insects, high utility bills, and poor indoor air quality. Read our blog to discover the benefits of a whole house dehumidifier.

If you want the therapeutic benefits of a steam bath, you can go to a day spa. Your home doesn’t have to be a sauna in the summer. High moisture levels can make your home susceptible to mold, insects, high utility bills, and poor indoor air quality. Read on to discover if you need a whole house dehumidifier.

How does a whole house dehumidifier work?

A whole house dehumidifier works in conjunction with your home’s HVAC system to draw air in through the ductwork, remove moisture, and circulate it back throughout the home. Depending on the unit, a whole house dehumidifier follows three basic steps to take water out of the air:

  1. A fan draws humid air over a cold coil.
  2. The coil removes moisture from the air through condensation.
  3. Condensed water is expelled through a drain pipe.

Why should I install a whole house dehumidifier?

Homes these days are built very tightly, sealed off from the elements for protection and to conserve energy, but this means that moisture will build up more rapidly and air can become stagnant. The EPA recommends you keep your home at a relative humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. If that’s not enough to convince you, check out these reasons to install a whole house dehumidifier:

  1. In humidity, your body’s natural cooling process is slowed as moisture sticks to your skin, making you feel uncomfortable and clammy.  
  2. Moisture-heavy air can worsen symptoms for those with allergies, asthma, other respiratory problems, or a compromised immune system.
  3. Damp, heavy air bogs down your air conditioner and may cause your cooling bills to spike in the summer.
  4. Excessive moisture can damage your home, warping paint, wallpaper, and furniture.
  5. Damp areas are more susceptible to mold growth and rot and may produce a mildew smell.
  6. Many insects are drawn to moist areas. A humid home is a welcome space for spiders, dust mites, and beetles.

The benefits of a whole house dehumidifier

Low humidity levels allow you to raise the temperature to save money on cooling while also staying comfortable and extending the life of your air conditioner. With a whole house dehumidifier, you won’t have to place portable units all over your home or empty their tanks daily. Hidden from sight, whole house dehumidifiers will eliminate musty odors and dry the air in your bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and more.

Heating & Cooling Two has all the HVAC accessories you need to stay as cool as a cucumber. Our Bryant air conditioners can run in conjunction with whole house dehumidifiers for maximum cooling efficiency and ultimate home comfort. Contact us for more information or a free estimate.

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The Future of HVAC

We may be far from devices that can read minds, but HVAC technology has drastically improved since the first air conditioner was invented in 1902. Learn about the future of HVAC.

We may be far from devices that can read minds, but HVAC technology has drastically improved since the first air conditioner was invented in 1902. Efficiency, affordability, convenience, and the environment are among the top concerns driving these advancements. From redesigned equipment to new applications, the future of HVAC is looking sharp.

Smart Systems

Manufacturers are producing HVAC equipment that can communicate information about efficiency, report historical performance, and self-diagnose issues for the homeowner. Carriers are launching efficient air conditioners made with environmentally friendly refrigerant and high SEER ratings for maximum cooling and a reduced carbon footprint. Other innovative systems include:

  • Geothermal heat pumps, which circulate warm and cold air from the ground through a series of connected pipes to heat and cool homes.
  • Hydronic infloor heat, which uses water to warm the floor as well as the air for maximum efficiency. Unlike a forced air system, radiant heat is hidden from sight and reduces hot or cold air pockets.
  • Dual fuel heat pumps, which automatically switch between a heat pump (powered by electricity) and furnace (fueled by natural gas). Duel fuel systems use the most cost-effective power source depending on the season.

Smart Technology

Technological innovations are shaping the way we live, especially with the rise of the Internet of Things (loT). The Internet of Things is used to describe the idea that everyday objects are connected and controlled by Wi-Fi. Just like home automation is used for home security or to control smart appliances, digital tools and internet connectivity can maximize HVAC efficiency.

Programmable thermostats tied to a Wi-Fi system allow homeowners to control their heating and cooling through apps on their smartphone and manage energy use remotely. Some smart thermostats are designed to detect potential problems, send filter change reminders, alert the homeowner of an error, and power down the system to prevent further damage.

Smart Service

Technicians can gather more statistics on how a furnace or air conditioner is running using high-tech diagnostic tools. With more information, they can predict when equipment needs maintenance and avoid unexpected breakdowns. Training and installing processes have also become more streamlined. Virtual reality allows technicians to train online in a risk-free environment and can be used to show clients how an HVAC system would look like in a new construction project.

Smart Living

HVAC accessories to regulate indoor air have become increasingly popular. Products such as air purifiers and air exchangers can reduce VOCs and allergens and improve ventilation. This not only makes air quality healthier for building occupants, but also protects the HVAC system from dust and dirt that would otherwise build up and damage equipment.

Sneak Peek

In the future, expect to see many of these advancements even further refined to offer more HVAC solutions for homeowners and businesses alike. Even now, companies are designing units that can custom-serve homeowners while minimizing their environmental impact. Engineers are harnessing solar energy, wind power, heat-producing appliances, and ice to heat or cool more efficiently.

Heating & Cooling Two is committed to providing the most technologically advanced, safe HVAC equipment and accessories. We offer a variety of hot deals, rebates, and financing options so you can stay comfortable and be kind to the environment without jeopardizing your hard-earned savings. Contact us for a free estimate.

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Should I Set My HVAC Fan to Auto or On?

HVAC fan

It’s amazing how hard it can be to choose between two options. Most heating and cooling systems allow you to set your HVAC fan to run periodically or continuously. The Auto and On settings are there for a reason, but which one is better? Read our blog to make an informed decision.

On

The fan setting controls the blower motor, an important component of your HVAC system that distributes air throughout your home. Setting your fan to On means it will run continuously regardless of the temperature. This disperses air more evenly throughout your home. In addition, the blower motor won’t have to start up over and over again. Startup puts stress on the motor and may decrease its lifespan.

A fan pulls air through your system’s filtration or UV light system, so leaving it on may improve air quality for those with allergies. But with the fan always on and circulating air through the ductwork, you’ll lose more of the conditioned air your system creates.

Overall, setting your HVAC fan to On will cost you up to $50 dollars a month in electricity. Since it’s pulling air through the filter on a constant basis rather than periodically, you’ll have to check and replace the filter more often. That, combined with increased duct leakage and equipment wear, makes it more expensive in the long run.

AUTO

Setting your HVAC fan to Auto is the most cost-effective option. Your fan will work with the heating and cooling system, running as often as needed. When the thermostat reaches the temperature setting, the whole system will turn off, blower included. With your blower fan cycling in various intervals, less air travels through your filter, so you won’t need to replace it as often.

Request service from our expert technicians if your blower motor goes out or you have any other HVAC trouble. We are here for you. Heating & Cooling Two offers a wide range of programmable and non-programmable thermostats that are easy to operate and give you complete control over your home’s heating and cooling. Rely on our energy efficient air conditioners to keep you cool this summer regardless of what fan setting you choose. We provide filters and other accessories that you can order through our secure online store. Contact us for more information.

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Common Air Conditioning Questions

common air conditioning questions

Why is my air conditioner not working? This question brings up over 150 million results in Google. Sifting through them for solutions is a snoozefest. We dove into Google’s related searches to find the most common air conditioning questions. Read on for insight from our expert HVAC technicians:

Why is my air conditioner leaking?

If your air conditioner is leaking water, it may indicate a clogged condensate line, rusted drain pan, or broken pump. A small amount of water under your condenser on the outside unit is normal on hot or humid days. But it may also mean you need to replace your air filters or recharge the refrigerant.

Why is my air conditioner freezing up?

Improper airflow or low refrigerant can cause the evaporator coil to freeze up and thaw when the unit turns off. What looks like leaking water may actually be melted ice. Check to see if the filter needs replacing and schedule service with your HVAC technician if the problem persists.

Why is my air conditioner blowing warm air?

After you confirm that all your supply vents are open and your thermostat is set to a cooling temperature, check your air filter. Dirty filters are the most common causes of heating and cooling problems. If replacing it doesn’t solve the issue, have an HVAC technician inspect the fan or blower motor or assess if your home needs a larger unit.

Why is my air conditioner so loud?

Older units may be noisy when they operate. But if you hear rattling, grinding, or hissing, your air conditioner probably needs a tune-up. Rattling could be a sign of loose components or an aging compressor motor. It’s also possible that debris like leaves, twigs, or acorns have fallen through the vent on your outdoor unit and are causing the commotion as the machine vibrates. A worn bearing on the fan motor can produce a grinding noise. Hissing or whistling may be a simple ductwork issue but could also indicate a refrigerant leak.

Why is my air conditioner not turning on?

If your air conditioner isn’t turning on, it’s likely the circuit breaker or a malfunctioning thermostat. Set your thermostat to cool or lower the temperature setting. Then, check the circuit breaker. You can also try emptying the drain pan, clearing the condensate line of any debris, and replacing the filter. If the unit still doesn’t work, call your HVAC technician.

Why is my air conditioner tripping the circuit breaker?

If your air conditioner trips the circuit breaker, don’t turn it back on. It may be overheating, drawing more amps than the circuit is meant to handle. A dirty air filter or condenser coils, low refrigerant, or malfunctioning condenser coil fan can cause an air conditioner to overheat. Have a technician inspect your unit to avoid further damage.

Heating & Cooling Two can answer any other air conditioning questions you have and service your equipment so you can rely on it throughout the summer. If you do experience any problems, contact our trusted technicians. We offer energy efficient Bryant air conditioners, replacement filters, and many financing options to fit your budget. Contact us today.

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Air Conditioning Tips to Beat the Heat

air conditioning tips to beat the heat

If you’re like most homeowners, a hot, humid Minnesota summer brings with it some concerns. As the weather gets warmer, your thoughts may become consumed with strategies to survive the heat while saving money on your utility bill. Should you set your home to a tolerable temperature or forego the air conditioning altogether? Whatever your game plan, consider these air conditioning tips to beat the heat:

Get strategic

Want to know how to win at home cooling this summer? The key is not to turn your thermostat way down. Each degree you dial your thermostat below 78 increases energy consumption by eight percent. You can save money if you set your thermostat higher but just low enough to be comfortable.

Clean

A clean home is a healthy home. Dust frequently so dirt doesn’t get into your system and ruin your equipment. Keep registers clear of items like furniture, piles of clothes, and dog beds. Check your filter every month and replace if dirty or clogged. Even minor upkeep like this will improve air quality, help your HVAC system run more efficiently, and extend equipment life.

Go green

Make sure you have efficient lighting and appliances. Install LED lights if you are using incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs use heat to create light, but LED lights consume very little power and generate less heat in comparison. Energy Star air conditioners use up to 40 percent less energy than other models, so invest in more efficient equipment that will save you money in the long run.

Stay shady

Go green, but don’t let your home become a greenhouse. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 76 percent of summer sunlight shining on standard double-pane glass enters into and heats up your home. Invest in curtains or close blinds to keep the sun from streaming in through windows and doors.

Keep dry

Humidity can make a home feel significantly warmer than it actually is. Use a dehumidifier to take water out of the air and make warm temperatures feel more bearable. Minimize hot showers, baths, and boiling water for cooking. It’s a great time of year to take a cool, refreshing shower and opt for salads over pasta.

Dine out(side)

Dining out may not save you money but cooking outside could. Instead of using your oven or stove, pull the grill out and enjoy the outdoors so you don’t counteract your cooling system. You could also use appliances that generate less heat, like crockpots or electric griddles.

Get smart

A smart thermostat can save up to 15 percent on cooling, or up to $145 dollars a year on utilities. Program your thermostat at a warmer temperature while you are away for a day and then lower the temp if you need when you return. Keep heat-producing appliances like lamps and TV sets away from the thermostat.

Bonus smart hacks:

  • Set ceiling fans to run counterclockwise and produce a wind-chill effect.
  • Seal air leaks with weather stripping and caulk around your doors and windows so cool air won’t escape.
  • Have a technician inspect your ducts to make sure they aren’t leaking and compromising your indoor air quality.

Heating & Cooling Two provides efficient and dependable Bryant air conditioners, programmable thermostats, A/C tune-ups, and a variety of maintenance packages to save you money. We also offer Aeroseal® Duct Sealing so you can be sure you’re not losing cool air or drawing in pollutants from your stuffy attic. Contact us for more information.

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Why You Should Turn on Your A/C Early

turn on your a/c early

Just like you need your morning coffee, your air conditioning needs some time to wake up and get its juices (a.k.a. refrigerant) flowing. Even though it’s not quite hot enough, we recommend turning your cooling system on for a few hours this spring. Here’s why you should turn on your A/C early:

Ensure it will work when you really need it

You probably haven’t run your air conditioning since September. The harsh Minnesota winter isn’t good for any type of mechanical equipment. You should turn on your air conditioning during a 70 degree day to check that it runs properly and schedule any needed repairs so you won’t have to suffer if it breaks down in 90 degrees.

Avoid a costly replacement

Left unchecked, simple problems could lead to a more costly replacement. Maintenance can prevent repairs and help your system run efficiently and last longer. According to an article by Angie’s List, a spring HVAC checkup can save you up to 15 percent a month on energy bills and extend your equipment’s life by several years.

Have confidence in your system

We recommend you get a head start, schedule service before busy season begins, and enter summer with confidence.

Before you turn on your A/C:

  • Clear the outside unit of debris, prune away foliage at least a foot from the unit, and remove condenser covers, coil blankets, or lids. Check that nothing is blocking the fan’s airflow.
  • Spray the condenser coils with a garden hose to clean off dirt and dust.
  • Replace your air filter and check for coolant leaks.
  • Make sure supply and return vents are free of blockage and vacuum registers to remove dust or pet hair.

If something seems wrong, contact your trusted HVAC contractor. We offer year-round tune-ups, so you’re covered if your equipment breaks down the first day you turn it on, or months into the summer. We serve residential and commercial customers throughout the Twin Cities metro. Contact Heating & Cooling Two today.

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Your Spring HVAC Cleaning Checklist

spring hvac cleaning checklist

Turn up the tunes and have some spring cleaning fun, but don’t forget your HVAC system. A dirty HVAC system can impact air quality, dust accumulation, and utility bills. We’ve put together a rockin’ spring HVAC cleaning checklist so you won’t miss a beat.

  1. Test your system. Turn on the A/C to see if everything is working properly. Call your technician if something seems off.
  2. Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector and replace if needed.
  3. Dust everywhere, including ledges, lamps, electronics, picture frames, and ceiling fans. Otherwise, dust, dirt, and allergens may wind up in your ductwork.
  4. Clean the windows and wash curtains.
  5. Caulk windows and doors.
  6. Change your filter. You should change your HVAC filter at least every 90 days, anyway.
  7. Clean return air vents and floor registers. Start with a vacuum. Then, use a rag and butter knife to scrub the individual grill spaces. For a deeper clean, remove the vent and rinse with warm water and soap.
  8. Turn on ceiling fans to circulate air. If they are spinning clockwise, reverse the direction for summer. Counterclockwise fans create a wind-chill effect, blowing air straight down to keep you cool. Most fans have a small switch on the motor housing.
  9. Give your air conditioner or heat pump room to breathe. Clear away plants or weeds at least two feet from your outdoor units. Sweep away fallen leaves and branches and use a garden hose to gently rinse off the condenser coils AFTER you’ve turned the power off to the unit.
  10. Schedule service with your trusted technician. During a maintenance appointment, Heating & Cooling Two technicians inspect, clean, and lubricate your equipment so it will run smoothly and efficiently. They’ll check for refrigerant leaks and refill or seal as needed. Dirty coils and low refrigerant can cost you more in cooling. An A/C tune-up will make sure your equipment has survived the winter unscathed and give you peace of mind knowing your HVAC system will run efficiently throughout the summer.

Spring cleaning is the perfect time to prepare your equipment for summer. Servicing your HVAC system will bring you many benefits, including improved indoor air quality, lower utility bills, and longer equipment life. Contact Heating & Cooling Two today.

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Easy Ways to Improve Your HVAC Habits

hvac habits

Most people broke their nose-picking habit a long time ago; others are still digging for gold, and not the kind that’s worth any moola. Picking your nose may be (mostly) harmless, but some habits are expensive. Learn how to overcome these bad HVAC habits and save money on your energy and repair bill:

Not changing your filters

Filters keep your indoor air free of pollutants and maintain clean airflow for your furnace or air conditioner to work properly. If you don’t change your filter regularly, your equipment will not be able to get the air it needs to run efficiently. Set a reminder on your phone and tape your filter receipt to the furnace so you don’t forget when you last changed it.

Obstructing airflow

Without proper airflow, your home won’t heat and cool evenly. Don’t block supply and return registers with furniture or other household items. Walk around your home to make note of where your vents are and take the opportunity to rearrange your furniture. If you’re still having trouble maintaining the temperature in your home, invest in a system that doesn’t use forced-air heating, such as radiant infloor heat.

Ignoring outdoor units

Your outdoor units need attention, too. If you don’t clear them of vegetation like twigs, leaves, dirt, pine needles, and acorns, the cooling fins and fan filter could become clogged. In addition, plants may grow into the condenser and affect components. Here’s a tip: When you mow your lawn or rake up your leaves, stop by your outdoor units and clear them of debris.

Abusing your thermostat

Frequently adjusting your thermostat or setting it to extreme temperatures can wear down your equipment. Turn the thermostat down a bit when you are away and during the day when the sun naturally heats your home. Use fans to circulate the air and blinds to keep the sweltering sun out during the summer. Invest in a programmable thermostat to lessen the stress on your system and save time and hassle.

Disregarding small issues

In the world of HVAC, small issues have a tendency to get complicated and expensive. If you notice that your equipment or ductwork is noisier than normal, your lights flicker when your system kicks on, or your furnace cycles on and off too frequently, don’t ignore it. Call your technician and consider upgrading your system or malfunctioning units.

Skipping professional maintenance

Without professional maintenance, you may be in for untimely breakdowns, and you may be living in unsafe conditions. For peace of mind, don’t try DIY repairs and don’t assume your equipment will run properly without regular care by a qualified technician. Schedule furnace and A/C tune-ups, add them to your calendar at the beginning of every year, and fit them into your annual budget.

Heating & Cooling Two provides a variety of maintenance packages so you can pre-schedule service and save money. We also offer furnace filters, humidifier filters, electronic air cleaner filters, and air conditioning covers so you can protect your indoor and outdoor units. Contact us for more information.

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