HVAC System Replacement FAQs

hvac system replacement

Replacing your current HVAC system is a big undertaking for any homeowner. If your unit is old, inefficient, or in need of constant repair, it may be time to upgrade. However, it’s always a good idea to research thoroughly to ensure you’re installing the right equipment for your home. Read on as we answer the most common questions homeowners ask when considering an HVAC system replacement.

Question 1: Will requesting an estimate be free of charge?

Most HVAC companies provide a free, no obligation estimate for equipment and installation. When requesting the estimate, make sure your contractor includes costs for parts, labor, specific warranties (if applicable), and travel charges. Many equipment manufacturers give rebates if you purchase within a certain time period. Ask your HVAC professional about money-back rebates and how to apply.

Question 2: What size system do I need?

It’s important to make sure your HVAC equipment is sized correctly. If too small, it may not regulate the temperature of your home. If too large, the unit will not work as efficiently, may wear out faster, and possibly result in dehumidification issues. The process of sizing is complex and should not be done on your own. Contact an HVAC professional to set up an inspection to determine the unit that’s right for you.

Question 3: Is zoned heating and cooling really better?

The simple answer is: Maybe. If your home is older and you experience drastic temperature variance throughout, a multi-zone HVAC system may be a good idea. A “zoned” system divides the home into different temperature areas, each controlled by a dedicated thermostat. That means more control over your home’s temperature and more comfort for you and your loved ones. A zoned system is ideal for multi-level homes with cathedral or vaulted ceilings, picture windows, finished basements/attics, and multiple spare bedrooms. If you’re considering installing zoned HVAC, ask your heating and cooling professional for guidance.

Question 4: Is an energy-efficient HVAC system worth the added cost?

Again, maybe. There’s a lot of information regarding federal tax credits for homeowners who install energy efficient equipment such as furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. You may qualify for up to $500 in tax credits thanks to a federal rebate incentive. However, not all energy efficient units qualify. When weighing your options, consider the equipment’s lifetime operating costs and not just the initial price tag. Check with your heating and cooling company for specifications and guidelines to help you make an informed decision.

Question 5: What type of service plan should I choose to protect and maintain my system?

It’s important to weigh all your options when considering service for your new HVAC system. Instead of paying for individual repairs and maintenance visits, you can select a service plan through your heating and cooling company. It’s a good idea to compare prices and coverage of what’s included in the plan. Service contracts usually cover the following:

  • Labor costs of annual/semi-annual planned maintenance visits to check, clean, and adjust the equipment.
  • Labor costs for planned schedueld maintenance but unplanned repairs.
  • Labor costs for both maintenance and repair, as well as parts replacement (if necessary).

Whatever route you decide to go, your HVAC system will need planned yearly maintenance. Ask your heating and cooling professional for advice and suggestions.

Upgrading your HVAC system is a big investment; however, it’s also a good opportunity to improve the comfort of your home, air quality, and energy efficiency, and maybe save on utility bills. Do your research to select the equipment that’s right for you and your family.

Family-owned and operated since 1980, Heating & Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today to speak with a professional about upgrading your home’s HVAC system.

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Common Thermostat Problems Affecting Your Cooling System

common thermostat problems

Every Minnesota homeowner knows that when the temperature rises, a well-functioning air conditioning unit is crucial for comfort on those toasty summer days. If your home is difficult to keep cool despite your best efforts, your thermostat may be to blame. Before you call your HVAC technician, read our blog as we discuss the most common thermostat problems affecting your home’s cooling system.

Common Thermostat Problems Affecting Your Cooling System

Problem #1: Thermostat is placed in direct sunlight

Placing a thermostat in direct sunlight or near a heating source is a very common homeowner mistake. Thermostats mounted incorrectly can give false readings of high temperatures which causes the air conditioning unit to kick on prematurely. Over time, this can lead to excessive wear and tear on your home’s HVAC system as well as higher utility bills. Try moving the thermostat away from direct sun or heat or try blocking the sun with window treatments like drapes. If you’re still unsure of where to properly mount your thermostat, contact your heating and cooling professional for guidance.

Problem # 2: Thermostat is dirty

Like any other electrical appliance, thermostats can accumulate dust, dirt, or soot over time. A build-up of debris can result in inaccurate temperature readings and cause your HVAC equipment to short cycle or run continuously. Your system will operate poorly, and your energy bills will skyrocket. Open the front panel of the unit. Check for buildup of debris on the mechanical or electrical components and clean with a brush or compressed air.

Problem # 3: Thermostat is old or faulty

In general, thermostats are robust products that can last for years. However, they do need to be replaced. If your home’s thermostat is made with mercury, you should consider upgrading to a newer digital model. A programmable thermostat is more efficient and could save you money on utility bills throughout the year. If you already have a digital model and it’s not working properly, it could be faulty. If you notice loose or bad wiring, contact your HVAC professional right away as it could be a serious electrical issue.

Problem # 4: Thermostat’s power source is malfunctioning

Most digital thermostats use battery power for operation. Occasionally, the battery is either faulty or discharges prematurely, resulting in power failure. Some units are designed for use with AA batteries or if it has a backlight, AAA batteries. If you think the battery charger is malfunctioning due to a power issue, first check your home’s fuse box to ensure there’s not a faulty or tripped breaker. Then check the power switch in the thermostat’s charging unit. If you’re still unsure of the issue, contact your HVAC professional to schedule a maintenance appointment.

Problem # 5: Thermostat has a programming defect

Most modern A/C systems are equipped with digital thermostats with programming chips. Over time, the chips lose their programming whenever there is an abrupt power failure. If this is the case, the chip can be reprogrammed but you risk the chance of the chip failing again. If this is the case, it’s best to replace your unit altogether.

If your home’s air conditioning unit is not functioning properly and you think it may be the thermostat, try troubleshooting using the tips outlined above or contact your HVAC professional to schedule an appointment.

Family-owned and operated since 1980, Heating & Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today to speak with a professional about upgrading your home’s thermostat or scheduling preventative maintenance.

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Why Does my AC Filter Turn Black?

AC Filter

We don’t have to remind you how important it is to change your air filter at least every two months. The filter traps dust, dirt, pet dander, and other debris, preventing these particles from circulating throughout your home. Not only does a clean filter improve the quality of your indoor air, it extends the life of your air conditioner so you stay cool and comfortable during those warmer months. But what if the AC filter turns black despite changing it on a regular basis? Read our blog as we discuss reasons why your filter may not be doing its job and how this can affect your home’s HVAC system.

Mold

No homeowner likes to hear the “M” word unless it’s a gourmet French fromage. However, if your AC filter is black, that’s reason enough for concern, mon amie. Mold thrives in a moist, humid environment. When the air conditioner runs, condensation collects on the evaporator coil. Under normal circumstances, the excess moisture should drain to the outside of the unit. However, sometimes it deposits on the filter itself, causing black mold to grow. If you notice your filter is black, throw it out immediately and call an HVAC professional for an inspection.

Black Soot Deposition

Yes, this really is a thing and it’s due to burning none other than scented candles. Candles add warmth, ambiance, and mood lighting to your home, not to mention the delightful scents. But burning them often inside can result in black soot depositing on your walls, carpet, furnishings, and, you guessed it, the air filter. Scented candles are made from paraffin wax, which is a carbon-based material. As it burns, it releases tiny impurities into the air that get caught by the air filter. Over time, the excess deposits build up and clog the air filter, reducing airflow and affecting indoor air quality. If you must burn candles, choose ones made from natural materials such as soy. Also, trim the wicks to ¼” and keep the flame away from vents or ceiling fans.

The filter is clogged

Lastly, if the air filter looks black but you’ve determined it’s not from mold or soot, look a little closer. It may just be extremely dirty or clogged. Again, a dirty filter is unable to trap debris and prevent it from circulating in your home, putting excessive strain on your HVAC system. We recommend changing your air filter every one to two months. However, if you notice excessive debris on your filter despite changing it often, call a heating and cooling professional to schedule an inspection.

Family-owned and operated since 1980, Heating & Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule a repair or routine maintenance.

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What You Need to Know Before Upgrading Your HVAC System

Upgrading your HVAC system

With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to consider an HVAC health check to determine if your system is ready for an upgrade. It’s a well-known fact that preventative maintenance and regular tune-ups can extend the life of your home’s heating and cooling system. However, if your equipment is 10 years or older, consistently in need of frequent repairs, or not performing optimally, it may be time to consider other options. Before you break out your check book, read our blog as we discuss what you need to know before upgrading your HVAC system.

Age of Your Current Unit

On average, the lifespan of a heating and cooling system is between 15 – 20 years. As we mentioned earlier, there are preventative measures you can take to improve performance and prevent premature equipment failure, such as changing the air filter every three months, replacing a faulty thermostat, and sealing leaky ductwork. But aging systems require more repairs and over time, parts become unavailable. Purchasing new HVAC equipment can save you money and headaches in the long run. Although your furnace and air conditioner need not be replaced at the same time, upgrading the entire system all at once may be a good idea as it will ensure the components work together properly and can save money on labor costs.

Reduced Cooling Load

The design of your HVAC system takes into account the cooling load or the amount of warm air that must be removed from inside the home in order to maintain a comfortable temperature. The cooling load calculation largely determines the appropriate size of the air conditioning unit. If the equipment is too large, it can lead to excessive wear and tear, and shorten the lifespan of the unit. Sometimes conventional HVAC systems demand a total redesign, especially if it’s not cooling the home properly. If your air conditioner is not performing optimally or if you suspect the equipment is ill-fitted for your space, contact an HVAC professional for an inspection and recommendations.

Improved Energy Efficiency

Most older systems are not energy efficient, which can lead to energy loss and increased utility bills over time. If your system is aging and you’re considering an upgrade, make sure it meets Energy Star standards – the federal standards for energy efficient appliances. Also, it may be a good idea to ask an HVAC professional to inspect your home’s ductwork. The average HVAC system loses 20 – 30 percent of energy as a result of leaky ductwork. A professional technician can repair cracks and insufficient seals, which will save energy and money in the long term.

Indoor Air Quality

Your HVAC system not only heats and cools your home, it manages the quality of your indoor air. A properly functioning unit provides ventilation, keeps humidity levels manageable, and filters allergens and other harmful contaminants out of the air. Poor indoor air quality can lead to allergies, asthma, respiratory issues, and even carbon monoxide poisoning. Older systems are not compatible with useful add-ons like dehumidifiers, ventilators, or filters. To keep air healthy, consider investing in a new HVAC system.

Smart Device Integration

Integrating smart technology into your HVAC system is worth considering when looking to upgrade your equipment. Smart thermostats incorporate artificial intelligence that allows the device to learn your cooling preferences and schedule, then make the appropriate adjustments. They can also auto-adjust the temperature based on the weather forecast. Some units even have a smart app to control your system from anywhere. Many older systems are compatible with smart thermostats but consult with an HVAC professional before purchasing.

Family-owned and operated since 1980, Heating & Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today to speak with a professional about upgrading your system or scheduling preventative maintenance.

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The Importance of Quality Indoor Air

quality indoor air

When we think of air pollution, images of thick brown haze hovering over skylines immediately come to mind. But did you know poor indoor air quality poses just as much of a threat to our health, if not more, as outdoor pollutants? As more and more Americans stay at home for work and school due to COVID-19, the importance of quality indoor air cannot be overstated. Read our blog for information on the benefits of clean, fresh indoor air as well as how to keep your loved ones healthy and safe during these unprecendented times.

What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality refers to air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Most people spend a significant amount of time indoors, unaware that gases, chemicals, and other harmful pollutants in the home’s air exchange system can lead to serious health problems such as allergies, asthma, eye irritation, fatigue, and in extreme cases, even cancer.

Primary Causes of Poor IAQ

The EPA cites several factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality but maintains indoor pollution that releases gases or particles as the primary cause of poor IAQ. Moreover, inadequate ventilation can increase pollutant levels by not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air or expelling polluted air from the home. High temperatures and humidity levels can also lead to poor indoor air quality, especially in warmer months.

Other pollutant sources include:

  • Poorly maintained HVAC system
  • Excess moisture
  • Radon
  • Fuel-burning combustion appliances
  • Tobacco products
  • Asbestos-containing insulation and other deteriorated building materials
  • Household cleaning or personal care products and materials for hobbies
  • Pet hair or dander
  • Dust or dirt

Concentrations of indoor pollutants in the air vary as the relative factor of any given single source depends on how much it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. Some sources like household cleaners or building materials like asbestos may be released on a continuous basis, making them more dangerous to your health in the long-term.

How to Protect Your Home from Harmful Pollutants

You can take certain steps immediately to reduce harmful contaminants in your home such as eliminating tobacco use and limiting the amount of cleaning or personal products you use indoors. Purchasing a high-quality furnace filter can keep air clean while trapping allergens and other particles that can disperse in your home. Scheduling annual HVAC maintenance is another way to improve the quality of your indoor air. However, if you suspect poor air quality in your home due to its age, issues with your heating and cooling system, or the presence of harmful gases like radon, we encourage you to contact a professional HVAC technician for a home inspection immediately.

At this time, it’s more important than ever to ensure your home has quality indoor air. Heating & Cooling Two is here to help. Family owned and operated since 1980, we can service all your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule a repair or routine maintenance.

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Common HVAC Myths Debunked

Common HVAC Myths

It’s a fact. A properly functioning HVAC system is the key to comfort during those long, frigid winters and steamy, hot summers. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about how to keep your system operating at peak performance while saving money on energy costs. What’s a homeowner to do? Read our blog as we debunk common HVAC myths to keep you informed of the best options for system maintenance and lower utility bills all year round.

Myth # 1: HVAC filters only need to be changed once a year.

Wrong. Believe it or not, the majority of HVAC issues are related to poor or improper airflow. Your heating and cooling system is designed to operate at a certain airflow level. If your filter is dirty or clogged, it can reduce the amount of air circulating in your home by as much 90 percent. This can cause a number of problems for both your furnace and air conditioner, including an AC freeze, blower motor or compressor failure, overheating, or total system failure. Filters should be changed a minimum of every two months to keep your HVAC equipment in tip-top shape.

Myth #2: The bigger the unit, the better.

Nope. An ill-fitted HVAC system can lead to several problems. A unit that’s too large for the space may cause the system to short cycle or turn on/off too quickly and too often. The result – additional wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment, not to mention skyrocketing utility bills. To ensure your system is sized correctly, contact an HVAC professional and schedule an inspection.

Myth #3: The location of the thermostat doesn’t matter.

Incorrect. If the thermostat is too close to a register or window, it may give a false reading, resulting in your HVAC equipment turning on or off prematurely. Again, this can result in your system short cycling, as well as wasted energy and higher utility costs. Make sure your thermostat is in a proper location away from direct sunlight.

Myth #4: High-efficiency equipment saves energy and money.

False, but let’s clarify. Energy efficient equipment does make a difference when it comes to cost savings. However, that’s just a part of the picture. Leaky doors and windows, as well as poor or no insulation throughout the home, can contribute to energy loss and higher utility bills. If you’re serious about saving money (and the planet), contact an HVAC professional to schedule an energy audit.

Myth #5: HVAC repair and maintenance are easy and optional (I’ll just YouTube it).

*Facepalm. HVAC systems are complicated and use hazardous materials like refrigerant, fuel, electrical components, and other intricate parts. The only way to ensure equipment functions properly is to have routine inspections performed by a professional technician. They can diagnose and repair any issues to your system and prevent costly equipment replacement down the road, as well as keep you and your family safe. Our advice – familiarize yourself with your heating and cooling system enough to understand the issues but leave the repairs and maintenance to the professionals.

Family-owned and operated since 1980, Heating & Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule a repair or routine maintenance.

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5 HVAC Tips to Reduce Seasonal Allergies

reduce-seasonal-allergies

Spring is just around the corner. Unfortunately, so are seasonal allergies. If you’re one of the millions of allergy sufferers in the U.S., warmer weather can mean uncontrollable sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing. But did you know that you can reduce your allergy symptoms and improve your home’s air quality with regular HVAC maintenance? Read our blog for 5 HVAC tips to reduce seasonal allergies.

5 HVAC tips to reduce seasonal allergies.

Use high quality furnace filters

Furnace filters are the first line of defense against indoor air pollutants such as pet dander, dust mites, and pollen. Over time, filters become clogged and dirty, which constricts airflow and allows allergens to circulate freely throughout the home. Consider upgrading your furnace filter to a high-qualtiy HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which removes at least 99.8 percent of contaminants in the air. Changing the filter every three months (or sooner if you have pets or an older HVAC system) can significantly reduce the amount of allergens in your home and help alleviate symptoms.

Clean registers and vents regularly

Heat registers and air vents circulate air from your HVAC system. If they’re neglected, dust, dirt, and other particles will blow and settle throughout the interior of your home. Consider cleaning your registers and vents at least once a week with a damp or treated cloth before you dust the rest of the house. This will prevent contaminants from returning after you’re finished cleaning. If you have wood floors in your home, you may need to clean two to three times a week. In addition, it’s a good idea to have your ductwork cleaned by a professional every three to five years.

Check for mold and mildew

It’s a fact. Mold and mildew thrive in dark and damp places. A neglected or improperly maintained HVAC system that collects condensation or humidity may lead to the growth of unwanted contaminants. This could exacerbate allergies, asthma, and other illnesses. Schedule a routine maintenance appointment with your HVAC professional to inspect your system and ensure the ductwork is clean. Also, if high humidity is an issue, consider having your technician install a UV light near the system’s evaporator. This will absorb heat drawn into the home, as well as kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that aggravate allergies and asthma.

Clean your outdoor unit

Although your HVAC system filters air before it enters your home, you still should consider having your air conditioning unit cleaned on a regular basis. When the consender coil gets dirty, the air conditioner works harder to blow cool air. As a result, the unit performs at a less than optimal level and does a poor job of dehumidifying the air inside. Warm, moist air can worsen allergies as well as cause unwanted bacteria growth. Contact an HVAC professional to have your unit serviced annually.

Regular HVAC maintenance

The best and most cost-effective way to prevent allergens from invading your home is to keep your HVAC system maintained and operating properly. Be sure to schedule regular maintenance by a heating and cooling professional, including ductwork cleaning, to improve air quality and keep the system running efficiently. And, as mentioned earlier, change the air filter at least every 90 days or sooner.

Spring will be here before you know it. Enjoy fresh, breathable air and keep allergies at bay with an HVAC maintenance check-up from the professionals at Heating and Cooling Two. Family owned and operated since 1980, Heating & Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today.

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Is Your Furnace Short Cycling?

Furnace-short-cycling

Does your furnace click on and off repeatedly before reaching the desired temperature on the thermostat? Does it shut off before blowing any warm air through your home? It may be that your furnace is short cycling. It’s a common problem for homeowners in colder climates and if not diagnosed properly and corrected, it can lead to higher utility bills, expensive repairs, or even an unexpected furnace replacement. Let’s take a look at some possible causes of furnace short cycling and what you can do to prevent unnecessary and costly repairs down the road.

The air filter is dirty or clogged.

One of the most common reasons for short cycling is a dirty or clogged air filter. Clogged filters restrict airflow, which affects the exchange of heat in your home. When the furnace is on, constricted airflow traps heat inside the system, causing it to overheat and eventually shut off prematurely. Changing your filter every three months, or sooner if you have pets or allergies, keeps air flowing freely and your heating system running smoothly during the colder months.

The thermostat is faulty.

The second most common issue with a furnace short cycling is the thermostat. As with all electronics, thermostats can go bad over time. If your furnace keeps turning on and off, this may be an indication of a malfunctioning or broken thermostat. There are several things that could cause your thermostat to not function properly including faulty wiring, dead batteries, or the location of the unit. Placing your thermostat too close to a vent or other heating source may cause it to cycle on and off at irregular intervals. Unless the batteries on the unit need to be replaced, it’s best to contact an HVAC professional to move the thermostat or replace the wiring if necessary.

The furnace blower isn’t working properly.

The furnace blower is the mechanism that circulates air throughout your home. Typically, when the blower motor is damaged or broken, the furnace won’t turn on at all. However, in the rare instance it does, no air circulates over the heat exchangers, causing the unit to shut off repeatedly. To test the furnace blower, hold your hand over the vent to check if air is coming out. If there is weak or no airflow, most likely there’s a problem with the blower. Contact your heating systems professional right away to repair or replace the blower.

The flue pipe is blocked.

Also known as the exhaust vent, the flue pipe can cause your furnace to short cycle. The flue pipe is located on the roof and can become clogged with dirt, leaves, branches, and even bird or other animal nests. This may lead to a buildup of hot gas in your furnace and cause it to shut down if it overheats. Have your flue pipe inspected during routine maintenance appointments.

The furnace isn’t properly sized.

If your furnace is too big for your home, it can cause the unit to short cycle. An ill-fitted unit can cause your home to heat too quickly, then abruptly shut off. Once the home is cold again, the cycle repeats itself. If this is the case, you may have to replace your heating system all together.

If your furnace short cycles, you should contact your HVAC professional right away. Ignoring the problem could lead to major repairs and expenses down the road. A good way to avoid issues with your furnace is to schedule regular preventative maintenance at least once a year.

Family-owned and operated since 1980, Heating & Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule a repair or routine maintenance.

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The Benefits of a Two-Stage Furnace

Two-stage furnace

When it comes to choosing the right furnace for your home, efficiency is key. That’s why many energy-conscious Minnesotans select a two-stage unit for optimal performance and comfort in the frigid North. Let’s take a look at the benefits of a two-stage furnace and how it can save you money and headaches in the long run.

What is a two-stage furnace?

When talking about stage heating relative to your furnace, it’s actually referring to the burner section inside of the unit, or more specifically, the valve that controls the fuel distribution that heats your home. A two-stage unit has two levels of heating output. When the furnace turns on, it initially starts in a low-fire mode, then ramps up depending on the thermostat’s set temperature. Two-stage furnaces generally run at the lower stage most of the time but the heating cycles are longer and produce less temperature fluctuations, usually between one and two degrees. In general, a two-stage unit will run at 70 percent capacity most of the time. Two-stage furnaces are more efficient than their one-stage counterparts. They tend to require less maintenance and are moderately priced.

How does it compare to single-stage and modulators?

There are two additional types of furnaces – single-stage and modulators. A single-stage unit runs at 100 percent capacity all the time. While they generally tend to be less expensive and have lower repair costs, these units are not as efficient as a two-stage furnace. They operate with a single-speed blower motor which blows at full speed and noise level all of the time. Single-stage furnaces tend to have larger temperature variations than two-stage and can fluctuate up to four degrees. These units are better for warmer climates where the furnace isn’t used very much.

Modulating units tend to be the most-energy efficient as well as eco-friendly. However, they’re more prone to repairs as they are running more often. Designed for longer cycles but at lower capacity, modulators push less amounts of heat into the house but more frequently. The flame increases or decreases in smaller increments so the room temperature never varies more than one or two degrees. Once there’s a good build-up of heat in the house, there’s no more need for a huge influx of heat from the furnace, at least for a while. After that, a modulating furnace turns on and off more frequently than other types of units. Modulating units are more expensive than one- and two-stage furnaces.

What are the benefits of two-stage heating?

The two main benefits to two-stage heating are efficiency and comfort. Furnace efficiency is measured by AFUE – annualized fuel utilization efficiency. This measurement is similar to gas mileage, a measure of how much heat you get relative to the amount of fuel burned. Two-stage models tend to range up to 95 percent, compared to 80 percent for single-stage units. This improvement in efficiency means lower operating costs, which translates into energy savings for the homeowner.

With regard to comfort, the more stages a furnace runs on, the better the temperature balance and air filtration in your home. Longer running cycles at less-than full capacity means air gets moved through the filter more times during the day. This helps to remove dust particles and allergens from the air resulting in better indoor air quality. Moreover, if a humidifier is attached to the furnace, the longer cycles will cause it to run more, which means more comfortable humidity levels in the dryer winter months.

Selecting the right furnace for your home can be daunting, with many variables to consider such as cost and energy output. The experts at Heating and Cooling Two are here to help make the choice a little easier. We’re an authorized dealer of quality, high-efficiency Bryant gas furnaces.

Contact us today to speak with one of our heating and cooling professionals.

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Your Furnace is Red-Tagged. Now What?

Red-Tagged Furnace

Sometimes red can be a good thing. But not on your furnace. If your furnaced is red-tagged, that means your HVAC technician or utility company found a critical safety issue that needs attention right away. Your technician is required by law to shut down the unit and place a tag on the equipment because of the potential danger it poses to you, your family, and sometimes even your neighbors. But before you panic, let’s take a closer look at the red-tagging process and what it means for you and your home.

Why are furnaces red-tagged?

Most furnaces burn natural gas or propane. Both forms of fuel are inexpensive and efficient for heating your home. However, if there are signs of a gas leak due to faulty piping or cracks in the heat exchanger, the technician will place a red tag on the unit and disable it until it is either repaired or replaced. The tag states the homeowner is aware of the risk and assumes responsibility if they turn the furnace back on before the issue is resolved.

The technician will place one of two types of tags on the furnace. The first is an A-tag, which is the most serious. In this case, the problem with the unit is critical and the equipment must be disabled immediately. A B-tag is not as serious and means you have more time before an HVAC professional or utility company shuts off the unit. Before turning the furnace back on, the homeowner will have to provide proof of repair or replacement.

What are the common problems?

There are a number of reasons why a furnace may be red-tagged. Here are a few common causes:

  • Cracks in the heat exchanger
    The heat exchanger is a series of metal tubes that heat up when the furnace is on. Over time, the contrast between the tubes heating up and cooling off may result in cracks that allow flue gases, such as carbon monoxide, to be released into your home’s air supply. Carbon monoxide is a serious health hazard and can be lethal with prolonged or heavy exposure.
  • Leaky or improperly installed flue
    The furnace exhaust pipe or flue helps vent harmful gases such as carbon monoxide out of your home. It usually runs from the combustion chamber and up to the attic where it is vented outdoors. Over time the flue can become loose or start to leak water or worse, gas. If you notice condensation build-up on or near your exhaust pipe, contact an HVAC professional right away as this could mean a carbon monoxide leak.
  • Lack of Routine Maintenance
    Perhaps the most common issue that can cause a furnace to be red-tagged is the lack of routine maintenance. Like a car or any other major appliance, your furnace requires regular check-ups to keep it running efficiently year after year. Running a furnace with a dirty air filter can cause dust to build up over the heat exchanger, hastening metal fatigue and causing cracks over time. It’s important to change your furnace air filter at least every three months to keep your system operating at peak performance.

What are your options if your furnace is tagged?

If your heating and cooling professional determines the cause of the problem is a cracked heat exchanger, you may be able to replace it without having to purchase a new furnace. A good rule of thumb is that if your furnace is less than 10 years old, consider replacing the heat exchanger if it is still under warranty or if the repair cost is less than 25 percent of the total system replacement. Otherwise, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a new unit altogether.

If your furnace is red-tagged, it’s always a good idea to get a second (or third) opinion. You can ask your HVAC professional to point out specific issues, especially with the heat exchanger. If there’s only a hairline crack and the carbon monoxide levels are below 30 parts per million, it may still be safe to run your furnace, but it should still be monitored.

Family owned and operated since 1980, Heating and Cooling Two can help service all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule a repair or routine maintenance.

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