Central Air Vs. Forced Air Systems: Determining The Better Choice With An AC Repair Professional
Many myths and misconceptions exist about “central air” and “forced air” systems. While either system will effectively heat your home, they go about it differently. Whenever people talk of forced air, they most likely refer to a heating system. Conversely, they most likely talk of a cooling system when they talk of central air. Although this is not the case, it offers interesting comparison factors and features. Below are their comparisons based on major decision features. It will help you easily decide which unit to hire an AC repair technician to install at your home.
Cooling / Heating Capacity
The two systems’ heating and cooling capacity depends on the installed unit’s size, model, output, and brand. In many residential homes, 2-2.5-ton central air units will suffice. The forced air systems also vary based on the type of connection, and gas, electric, oil, or other will feature in the output capacity. Since furnaces, oil heaters, heat pumps, and other heating systems that use air ducts for moving air into different parts of your home are all forced air systems, their heating capacity depends on the system you have installed. On this basis, both systems tie. Hence, the best way to arrive at the best is to consult your AC repair technician.
Energy Efficiency Rating
Ask any AC repair technician; they will tell you that energy efficiency ratings differ based on the type of unit you want. HSPF2 (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor 2) and AFUE are used for heating systems, while the cooling systems use SEER2 (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2) and EER. However, all these measure the same thing; the efficiency of the system. The HSPF2 and SEER2 are derived from the power the device uses in watts compared to the BTU output.
However, HSPF2 is measured when the heating system is warming your home on cold nights and winter, while SEER2 is used when your home is being cooled in the summer. In either case, the higher the number, the higher the efficiency of the system. Since the EPA has revised the efficiency ratios, ensure you consult your technician to know the current requirements for your area.
Initial Purchase Cost
The size, style, and type of the system will also determine the buying price of your system. Central air systems are designed to cool the air in your home, while ducted heat pumps and furnaces heat your home. Repair professionals advise checking the output size when determining which unit to purchase. A system’s output size is usually listed in British Thermal Units (BTUs), and the size of your home in square footage and your climatic region determines the capacity. That being said, it is worth noting that forced air systems are usually cheaper compared to central air systems. In such an instance, installing a combined unit that does both cooling and heating, such as a heat pump, might be your best option. You can use the system throughout the year, whether in winter, summer, or even to warm a cold night.
HVAC Installation Cost
It is worth noting from the onset that heating and air conditioning systems aren’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Rather, multiple factors go into the final numbers. For instance, the size of your home and labor costs could increase or decrease the installation costs. Further, the labor costs vary from one region to the other, between repair contractors, and even within the city.
Additionally, you should figure in the additional work, the removal of your old system, installation of the air ducts, or even repairs and other hidden costs like removal of asbestos and lead paint. One of the largest factors affecting the installation cost is the kind of unit you are installing. Although only sometimes, installing forced air systems costs less than installing central ones.
There are many fuel options for forced air furnaces, such as natural gas, propane, electric, or oil. Gas-powered furnaces don’t use electrical energy; to that end, they will save you money. Unfortunately, gas refills may become just as expensive as using electricity. For the electrical models, the average residential use will be connected to a 220-volt breaker that uses 60-80 amps. However, electricity use varies by season, year, and restrictions.
The central unit uses lots of electrical power too. However, their lack of heating elements like those in a furnace means they will use considerably less power. The tradeoff here is that during the summer or warmer climates, the air conditioner will run longer and use more electrical power than a furnace. It is worth noting that a lack of maintenance of either system by a professional increases energy consumption.
Indoor Air Quality
The IAQ comes down to testing, filtration, and cleaning in both systems. Hence, you should always ensure that your home is free of debris, dust, and dirt. However, you should also have a repair technician regularly clean the components such as the ducts, burners, filters if washable, evaporator, and condenser coils. The higher the filter quality and the cleaner the ducts mean, the better indoor air quality at your home.
If the filters aren’t washable, you should replace them regularly. Normally, it is recommended that you do this after every 1-3 months. If you have pets or children at your home, ensure that you replace the filters after every month. You also can have an AC repair technician install HEPA or high MERV filters to increase the contaminant filtration and improve the IAQ. Unless your system has damage on the air ducts or you haven’t cleaned them for a long time, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Do the two systems confuse you? Worry not, for you aren’t alone. If you still have doubts or want either installed at your home, contact us at Minuteman Heating & Air for clarification or installation service.
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When To Call An Emergency Heating And AC Repair Services
Your HVAC system plays an important role in the comfort of your home and should be running optimally during weather extremities. While regular inspection and maintenance can prevent damage or issues before it grows, some emergencies are unavoidable. When your HVAC system breaks down during hot summer or cold winter, you may want to contact a heating and AC repair service.
At Minuteman Heating & Air, we encourage our customers to contact an HVAC technician immediately if they notice something wrong with their system.
Signs You Need HVAC Emergency Service
Below are warning signs to alert you when to call an emergency HVAC repair service.
Your Thermostat Is Not Responding
In modern technology, most HVAC systems are controlled through a thermostat. If your thermostat malfunctions, your heating and cooling system may not work optimally. Some of the problems associated with the thermostat are if it’s stuck on display or it won’t respond to the set temperatures.
The first step before calling the technician is to check the settings and ensure everything is correct and set on auto. If everything is fine, then you can call the heating and AC repair service to get to the root of the problem. It could be an electrical issue or something with the system; nevertheless, the technician will locate and advise you accordingly.
The HVAC System Stops Working
A clear sign of an emergency is when the HVAC system stops working, even with every component plugged in correctly. Without a functioning HVAC system, you can experience discomfort for a few hours or minutes hence the need for a technician.
Your HVAC system not working could result from multiple things, including damage to the electrical components, ductwork, or exterior unit. Locating the problem or even attempting to fix the issues can cause more harm than good. At Minuteman Heating & Air, we encourage our customers to contact an expert immediately after they notice this problem.
Strange or Burning Smells
Burning or other strange smells may be a sign you need to call a HVAC repair expert. A burning smell is the most dangerous as it may be an indication of something wrong with your electrical system. An electrical issue is not your typical DIY project and may result in fires if not handled promptly. Call your HVAC technician immediately when there’s a burning smell from your system.
Other strange smells include a damp or mold smell from your HVAC system. In most cases, this may mean there is something wrong with your filters, or there is dirt or mold inside the ductwork interfering with air quality. Finding the exact cause of these smells is challenging, especially without the necessary tools, and can damage your system. Let an expert determine the cause through an inspection.
During cold nights or winter, your heating unit should produce enough heating to keep your home comfortable. However, if your HVAC system is blowing cold air, then this may be a job for your heating and AC repair expert. The same applies if your HVAC system is generating arm air during the hot summer climate. While proper maintenance before summer and winter can help correct potential issues, emergencies are unavoidable.
Before calling the emergency HVAC repair service, it’s best to check the setting on your system. If everything is connected properly and the system is not operating optimally, then it may be an issue with internal components. Call your technician to run a diagnosis and advise you accordingly.
Safety Related Concerns
There are HVAC problems that may not be classified as emergencies but can cause more damage if left unchecked. Some of the issues include smoke coming from your vents or sparks from the electrical components of your HVAC system. Regular maintenance and inspection can help prevent these issues, including gas smells and leaking refrigerant.
Immediately you notice any of these warning signs, contact your HVAC technician to have it checked out before it causes more damage to your home.
Benefits of Emergency HVAC Services
Dealing with an emergency HVAC repair issue can be stressful, especially during weekends when most firms are closed. Some HVAC-related issues require immediate action and can’t be put off. Below are some benefits of working with Minuteman Heating & Air.
Emergency HVAC services are usually on-call round the clock. You can find a technician at any time of the day, at night, or even during the weekend. Immediately you notice an issue with your HVAC system, there is no need to wait long.
Heating and AC repair services are prepared for any job and can respond to an emergency call within a short time. These professionals have access to all the parts needed for an emergency and don’t have to wait for shipping before handling the job. The best part about emergency services is that you don’t have to wait for an available technician to get services. There is a dedicated team that responds to your call immediately if you need their services.
Most HVAC companies offer their services within working hours during the week. However, emergency services are ready to visit your home during the weekend. Due to their flexibility, you don’t have to adjust your schedule to find technicians to handle your problem; the emergency response team can come over when you are available during weekends. You don’t have to waste a workday supervising the HVAC team.
Your heating and air conditioning system is important for the comfort of your home, especially during weather extremities. Like every installation, your system needs routine inspection and maintenance to prolong its life cycle and ensure it operates optimally.
However, emergencies are unavoidable and can hit you at any time of the day or night. The above warning signs should help alert you when to call an expert to check your system and correct the problem.
Contact us at Minuteman Heating & Air for more on our services, including our emergency heating and repair services.
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Types Of Forced Air Heating Systems: Have A Heating And AC Repair Technician Install One At Your Home
Typically, forced air systems refer to the heating sources such as furnaces. However, the whole truth is much simpler. Forced air systems are any units that use motors and fans to pull air into your home and move it via a series of air ducts to every room where the duct vents. While interchangeable, a central air conditioner also is a forced air system, and therein lies the confusion. Central air systems are normally meant for cooling. However, they might include heating elements too. As the two systems are at times confused or interchangeably used, it is worth noting that heat pumps, furnaces, and central air conditioners are all types of forced air systems. In this case, we’ll delve into the heating side of forced air systems. When the heating and AC repair technician installs a furnace in your home, it pulls air into the heating chamber and pushes it through the filter. It is then forced through the ducts in the ceiling or attic or even under your flooring until it comes across a vent. Every room will have a venting where the hot air will flow out from the forced air system.
Types of Forced Air Heating Systems
Forced air heating systems come in various types and styles. The styles here refer to how the system is mounted and where it’s located. For instance, downflow systems are mounted in the attic or ceiling space, pushing the air down into your home, while up-flow systems are installed in your basement. They push the conditioned air up into your home. There are many forced air heating systems a repair pro can install in your home, each with merits and demerits.
Furnaces are among the commonest kinds of forced air heating systems. They can be propane, oil, natural gas, or electricity powered. The furnace heats the air and circulates it into other parts of your home with the help of a blower. They are generally efficient and can be installed alongside air conditioners to ensure round-the-year heating and cooling. Thus, if you want a minimalist forced air heating system, have a repair technician install a furnace.
A heat pump is the other forced air system a repair technician can install at home. These systems are very efficient and can both heat or cool your home. Hence, they can be used throughout the year, whether in the summer or winter.
Geothermal Heating Systems
These forced air systems use subterranean heat to heat the air in your home. It is then circulated across your home. They are highly energy efficient. Hence, you should have your reliable heating and AC repair technician check the feasibility of installing these systems at your home.
You might know a hydronic coil as a water heater or a hot water furnace, but they all mean the same thing and have the same mechanics. These systems use water or other liquid media to transfer the heat to the air, then move into different parts of your home. However, hydronic coils aren’t a stand-alone system. They also require compatible heating and cooling systems. Hence, you should consult your repair technician if you plan to install these systems.
As you may have noticed, forced air heating systems require fuel to heat the air. The fuel type is a main factor when choosing the forced air heating system. The main fuel types include:
Boilers also use the forces of air mechanisms to heat your home. However, boilers use water to heat the air circulated throughout your home with the help of a blower fan. While they can be highly efficient in heating your home, boilers can be costly. Having a repair technician install them could initially cost you a significant amount.
Natural Gas/Propane/Wood /Oil/Coal
Burned fuel furnaces are arguably the most common fueling mechanisms. These refer to any heating system that burns a fuel source for producing heat. For instance, you can find a propane or gas furnace in almost every region in the continental US. However, other fuels such as wood, coal, or even oil are used for heating the air by the forced air heating systems. Regardless, the principle behind all of them is the same.
The burner ignites with the help of the fuel supply to create heat. The heat is then transferred to air inside your furnace and pushed via the air ducts with the help of fans. Such systems are highly efficient, simple to use, and do not need much or even any electrical power. However, natural gas or propane prices are not environmentally friendly and fluctuate significantly. Wood, coal, and oil are difficult to find. Depending on the length of the season, you might require several refills. Hence, have a heating and AC repair technician install a forced air system that uses readily available fuels.
Electric furnaces are less efficient over the long term than propane or natural gas ones. However, they are economical, simple, and better performing as a forced air system. In contrast with the fuel source furnaces, the electrical forced air systems have heating elements or coils. When the electricity runs via the coils, they heat up and glow red. As a result, heat is produced and transferred to the air as it’s pulled over the coils. The hot air is then pushed via the fans to the different rooms via your air ducts. However, you should ensure that a heating and AC repair technician clean the ducts after every 1-2 years.
Are you split on choosing the kind of forced air system to install at your home? Contact us at Minuteman Heating & Air for further guidance and installation services.
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The Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Duct Cleaning Service
It is very normal for homeowners to wonder whether hiring a duct cleaning service for their air conditioning system is actually even worth it. While it is easy to understand their reasoning when they don’t fully understand the benefits they can receive from a regular cleaning service schedule, the truth of the matter is that there is much to be obtained from having their ducts cleaned. With this in mind, this article will cover all of the benefits homeowners can get from a professional cleaning service, as well as some of the reasons why your finances can benefit from this type of service. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the most important things you should know about hiring a professional duct cleaning service for your home.
It Helps Cut Down the Amount of Dust in Your Home
If you have ever discovered an inexplicable layer of dust on your furniture, your home’s air conditioning ducts could be to blame. Dust can get into your home in different ways, but for some reason, your air conditioning ducts can become the main gateway for dust to get into your home. This possibly happens because your air conditioner pulls in air from the outside, cools it, and sends it flowing into your home. Even though your air conditioner has a series of filters to help cut down on the amount of dust, once it has started accumulating inside your ducts, it can be sent into your home with the air coming out of your ductwork. Hiring a professional cleaning service will help make considerable cuts to the amount of dust getting into your home through your ducts. This then translates into a cleaner environment for your family and will reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do in order to keep the place looking clean.
It Reduces the Incidence of Allergies
When dust gets into your home through your ductwork, it comes mixed with a number of allergens and irritants that could set off allergic reactions. Some of these contaminants include mildew, pollen, spores, animal dander, and other toxins. If you have any family members with allergies or asthma, their respiratory problems could be increased, leading to increased medical bills. Without a professional duct cleaning service, these contaminants could be recycled into your home over and over, which will make any existing problems even worse, so don’t hesitate to call a professional to have your ductwork cleaned regularly.
It Can Improve Your Family’s Health
As we mentioned above, any contaminants coming into your home through dirty ducts can worsen the health of any of your family members who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions. By calling a professional cleaning service, you can ensure they breathe cleaner air, which, in turn, will improve their health.
Your Home Will Smell Better
Oftentimes, dirty air conditioner ducts can be blamed for the smell of mildew, and musty odors coursing through your home. This happens when condensation accumulates inside of your ductwork and can be worsened when an animal dies somewhere along the line. It can also happen from years of dust accumulating inside your ducts, as well as a number of other reasons. A reputable cleaning service will be able to remove the source of the smell, and scrub your ductwork clean to ensure nothing remains that could become a potential source of foul odor. This will allow your home to smell fresh once again, which, in turn, will help improve everybody’s state of mind. Because, after all, nobody likes to live in a smelly home, right?
It Helps Improve the Flow of Air into Your Home
If anything, clean air conditioning ducts will help air flow into your home more efficiently. Think about it this way, if a clogged air filter can stop air from flowing out of your vents, what can a clogged air duct do? The problem will probably be much worse. By having your ductwork cleaned regularly, you will also ensure your air filter lasts longer. All of this, will ensure your home is cooled faster, which will save you money over the long run on your power bill.
It Allows You to Detect Potential Problems
When your home’s ducts are professionally cleaned, the technicians will be able to detect any issues that might pose a problem later on. Some of these issues are torn ducts, leaks, wet or missing insulation, and mold, among others. Being able to find these issues will allow you to make any necessary repairs before they get worse and lead to a larger repair bill.
Getting your ductwork professionally cleaned can help you make sure that your home is always in top condition so you and your family can live cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable lives. Additionally, your air conditioner will be able to perform more efficiently overall, which will translate to saving money on power, even during the hottest days of the year. If this isn’t enough, it is also important to consider that sometimes certain pests can make their nests in your ductwork, including mice, squirrels, and even birds. Having these animals living in your ductwork can become a potentially hazardous situation for your family, which is another good reason to have your ducts cleaned regularly.
When you are looking for the best cleaning service, don’t go any further than Minuteman Heating & Air. With many years of experience to back up our work, you can be sure we will always get the job done right. With highly trained technicians, and the most current techniques and methods, at Minuteman Heating & Air we are happy to help you breathe better and enjoy a life without the load of the dirt, grime, and bacteria accumulating in your ducts. So, when it’s time to call the best duct cleaning service in town, just pick up your phone and give Minuteman Heating & Air a call today!
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Is It Necessary To Seek Professional Air Duct Cleaning Services?
If you use a forced air HVAC system, the ductwork should be one of the most important parts of your house. It is composed of ducts and vents through which your indoor air circulates. When your AC is running, the return ducts draw air from the various rooms in your house and direct it to the air handler with the help of the blower, while the supply ducts take cooled air back to your rooms. For your HVAC system to operate optimally, you need to subject it, including the ducts, to routine maintenance. More specifically, in this case, you need to ensure that your ductwork is cleaned regularly. This is because the accumulation of dust and dirt in the ducts can lead to several serious problems in your house. However, duct cleaning is not something you should do on your own unless you and professional HVAC contractor. Therefore, you need to have a professional air duct cleaning service you can trust to help you keep your ducts in good shape. Below is a rundown of the benefits you can expect by getting your ducts cleaned on time.
Improved Indoor Comfort
The HVAC system plays an important role in keeping your home comfortable. In winter, it heats your indoor air to comfortable levels. In summer, it works hard to ensure your indoor temperature remains comfortably cool. However, it is important to note that the performance of your air HVAC equipment will significantly depend on the condition of your ductwork. Indeed, if you do not take good care of your ducts, dirt and dust will quickly accumulate within the ducts, meaning that air registers and the air filter might quickly get clogged. If this issue is not fixed promptly, it will cause the performance of your HVAC equipment to decline, meaning that your home’s comfort levels will also drop. On the other hand, by seeking timely air duct cleaning services, you can keep your HVAC equipment performing optimally and consequently maximize your indoor comfort. In other words, routine duct cleaning should make your house a more comfortable dwelling for you and your family.
Your indoor air circulates through the ducts several times every day. Therefore, the condition of your ductwork will significantly affect your indoor air quality. For example, if your ducts are too dusty, the dust will end up suspended in your indoor air. Unfortunately, this might trigger or worsen asthma or allergies. Similarly, if your ducts are dilapidated, they may have openings that may allow rodents to get in. Unfortunately, rodents may carry parasites that could expose your family to the risk of getting seriously ill. To prevent such a possibility, you need to subject your ducts to routine maintenance. In addition to cleaning your ducts, your air duct cleaning service will inspect the ductwork thoroughly. If it has openings that may allow rodents to get in, they will be sealed accordingly. In a nutshell, keeping your duct in good shape with the help of a professional HVAC contractor will go a long way in improving your family’s health.
Did you know that the condition of your ducts can affect your home’s safety standards? Indeed, if you neglect your ducts and fail to service them on time, they might put your home and family in grave danger. For instance, if there is too much dry matter in the ducts, it might catch fire if it comes into contact with a spark or another fire source. This means that failure to take good care of ductwork would put your house at risk of catching fire. In addition to causing severe injuries, a fire could leave your property completely damaged, and in the end, you would have to spend a lot of money on repairs. The good news is that such an eventuality can be avoided by simply seeking professional duct cleaning services. By keeping your ducts clean, you will effectively eliminate this fire hazard and consequently make your house a safer dwelling for you and your family.
Improved HVAC Equipment Lifespan
Your HVAC equipment is quite costly. Therefore, you do not want to replace it earlier than you should. However, for your HVAC equipment to serve you for as many years as the manufacturer projected, you will need to work with an HVAC contractor to ensure it is serviced regularly. Cleaning the ducts regularly is one of the most important things that should be done in this regard. This is because the condition of your ducts can affect the lifespan of your air conditioning and heating equipment. For instance, if your ducts are too dirty, the air resisters and the air filter will quickly get clogged. Unfortunately, this would restrict the flow of air through your HVAC system and consequently force your air conditioning system to work harder than necessary. This means that dirty ducts might cause essential components of your HVAC equipment to wear out more rapidly than they should. The result will be a terminal problem that might force you to replace your HVAC equipment sooner than expected. On the other hand, you can make the work of your HVAC equipment easier by seeking timely air duct cleaning services. Keeping your ducts clean will keep your HVAC equipment running optimally, which will significantly improve its lifespan.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the importance of keeping your ductwork clean cannot be overstated. However, since cleaning your ducts is not a job you can do on your own, you need to have a professional HVAC contractor you can trust to help you keep your ducts in good shape. If you are looking for an HVAC company licensed to offer professional duct cleaning services near you, Minuteman Heating & Air is the answer. We have been taking care of air ducts for many years, and you can count on our experience and expertise to keep your ducts in good shape. Feel free to get in touch with us for more information about our company and services.
See our most recent blog on this topic here.
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