Understanding HVAC Filters

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC FilterMany people find HVAC units pretty intimidating. After all, they are big pieces of equipment, and since they need to be fitted by a professional, most assume that any additional work, including changing the filter, also needs to be done by an expert. Others still are confused about how often they need to change their filters, and as a result, they never bother to change them at all- meaning the filter won’t work properly. This article will help clarify some of those issues and explain MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). MERV is the standard by which the effectiveness of HVAC air filters is measured. The higher the MERV value, the better the filtration, which means small particles of dust and other substances are less likely to pass through the filter. MERV values range from 1 to 20, and filters rated between 8-13 are powerful enough to keep the air in your home nice and clean. Anything above that range is usually intended for use in hospitals or other healthcare facilities, so there’s no need to spend the extra money for something that won’t have much of an impact in the average home.

However, filters with higher MERV ratings need to be changed more frequently to keep them working to their full potential. If you don’t change it often enough, the filter will start to become clogged, and stop filtering out particles. The recommendation is to change the filters every three months.  Changing filters every two months will provide superior filtration. One exception to this rule is during the summer when the unit will be operating at full capacity. During this period, it’s advised to replace the filter every month.

Measuring the size of filter needed is easy.  Take a tape measure and measure the length, width, and depth of your filter.  These measurements are all you need to find the right size.  Changing the filter is also a simple job- just make sure the HVAC unit is turned off before you start. If you’re not sure how to do this, then it’s best to shut down the breaker to be on the safe side. Most HVAC units have the filter situated at the bottom or right-hand side of the unit. Pull out the old filter, and then slide the new one in- easy!

For all your HVAC needs contact Good Deals Cooling and Heating at 215-947-1166.

What Does an HVAC Maintenance Agreement Include?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC maintenance agreementYour HVAC system is what heats your home in the winter and cools your home in the summer.  This system provides both comfort and safety.  Making sure that the HVAC system in your home is operating correctly and efficiently is important, that is why many people opt to get an HVAC maintenance agreement.  These agreements help to keep your system running.  Here is what you need to know.

Read Before You Sign

The number one thing that you need to know is to read the agreement before you sign it.  Make sure you thoroughly understand what is and is not included.  Are the cost of parts included? Labor? Is the work guaranteed?

Remember that with almost all contracts, once you sign it, it is yours.   Often the word contract is left out, but you are signing a binding deal.  These contracts may be called any of the following:

  • Service Agreements
  • Service plans
  • Comfort Plans
  • HVAC Maintenance Agreement
  • Maintenance Agreement

Basic HVAC Maintenance Plans

A basic HVAC maintenance agreement is very simple.  It covers the regular checks of your HVAC unit.  That is a start because you need the system to run.  They will also often cover the swapping out of filters and other regular service.

With a basic plan you might pay $200 and a lot of the basic service you can do for yourself such as replacing the filter.  If you use your HVAC a lot you probably will need to replace that filter more than once a season anyways.

Mid-Level Service Plans

There are plans that fall into the middle of HVAC maintenance service plans.  These cover the basics, just like the basic plan.  They will also cover the cost of the parts that are replaced with the regular service that happens every year.

In addition to that, you will find that most mid-level plans start to offer priority service.  That means if something goes wrong, they will come to work on your HVAC system before some others.  This can help, especially if you need service during the busy times of the year.

High Level Maintenance Contract Plans

High level service contracts allow you to call in help whenever you need it.  That includes emergency service at no fee.  For many people that is a huge benefit, especially if they are concerned about their system going down.

Remember that the more wear and tear that you put on your HVAC system, the more likely that your HVAC will go down.  If it goes down in the winter it can leave you and your family without the heat that keeps them safe.  The highest level of HVAC maintenance agreement includes parts on top of everything else that we have already talked about.

With parts included you will be able to get your system repaired no matter what when it goes down.  That is, as long as you aren’t the one fiddling with it.

The one problem that you will encounter is that these highest of level service plans only come with brand new units.  They can cost upwards of $600 but when you factor in maintenance and parts to the cost of a repair, it will still end up saving you money.

Do It Yourself

Some people think that they can do all of the HVAC maintenance that is needed by themselves.  While there are some people that can do that, others can’t.  You need to keep in mind that when you work on your own HVAC you are liable for any damage that you might accidently do to it.  Working on the system yourself might also void the warranty if your system is still protected by one.

Getting an HVAC maintenance agreement can help save you a lot of money.  It also helps to make sure your system is always working when you need it.  While the plans cost money upfront, they can quickly pay for themselves.  You just need to decide which one is right for you.

For more information, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

 

How to Know When to Replace Your HVAC Unit

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVACHVAC units, just like anything else, have a lifespan to function at an optimal level. Once the unit starts to malfunction, it is time to decide whether to repair it or replace it depending on its condition. Here’s how to know when to replace the HVAC unit.

  1. The unit is older than ten years.  If the unit (either the heat pump or the air conditioner) is older than ten years, the efficiency of the HVAC is in serious doubt. It can be a leading cause of massive electricity bills. Such units can consume up to 20% more energy than the modern units. So, it is wiser to switch for a new HVAC with energy star label.
  2. The furnace is older than 15 years.  Again, if the furnace is older than 15 years, it might be consuming up to 15% more energy than the modern units. In that case, it will cause a huge impact on the electricity bill.  It is better to switch for an Energy Star furnace that consumes less power and delivers more efficiency.
  3. The energy bills are significantly higher for the household.  Older, inefficient HVAC units consume remarkably more energy and perform poorly compared to the new ones. If a particular household’s energy bill is too high, and still runs on decades older HVAC units, it might be the time to think of a replacement.
  4. Equipment breaks down regularly. If the equipment breaks down frequently, it might be a serious annoyance for the residents. This situation should be addressed with a replacement for a trouble-free, comfortable and convenient life.
  5. Some rooms are either too hot or too cold. When an HVAC system malfunctions, it will either work excessively or moderately. Issues related to duct, insulation or equipment installation might be the reasons. Such matters can be adequately addressed with a new HVAC installation.
  6. Non programmable devices.  It is important to install a programmable HVAC unit in order to save energy and assure maximum convenience.   Home automation that includes the heating and cooling system can monitor the home and maintain the proper temperature when people and in and out of the house.  Programmable thermostats save a lot of energy.

Apart from that, if the unit has a very noisy operation, the residents experience humidity imbalance within the house or excessive dust clogs inside the house it might be the time for a HVAC replacement.

Contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling for all your HVAC needs.  Call 215-947-1166.

 

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Good Deals Heating and Cooling home maintenance tipsWhen it comes to Spring, most people can’t help but do a little bit of cleaning.  Many folks just clean in a haphazard fashion – a little here, a little there.  Making a checklist of chores to be completed will keep one focused on what needs to get done.  Here are a few items to add to that list.

Test the AC Unit

It is spring, and warm weather is just around the corner.   Check to make sure the air conditioning unit is working and if it isn’t, get it repaired now before the hot temperatures of summer arrive.   In Fall, repeat the same routine for the heating system.

Check Air Filters

The HVAC system uses a filter to remove dust and other particles from the circulating air in the house.  Check this filter and replace it once a month when using the system regularly.  It is important to note that some filters can be washed/wiped and reused.

Clean the AC Drainage Hole

Almost all residential air conditioners have a little drainage hole on the bottom of the unit.  It can be found by looking for the evaporator fins.  For the unit to maintain proper function, it is important for this hole to remain clear.  Spring is a good time to take a wire, paper clip, or similar object and poke it through to ensure the water flows freely.

Clean the Dehumidifier

The dehumidifier needs to be cleaned and dried at least once a year to function at its optimum level.  To do this, remove the housing on the unit.  Allow the unit a bit of time to dry.  Once dry vacuum every accessible piece and wipe it down with a lint-free cloth.  Make sure to be gentle when doing both!

Prevent Rust on Faucet Handles

Faucet handles get wet.  That doesn’t mean they have to get rusty.  Removing the handle once a year and wiping it down will prevent rust.  If signs that rust has started to form, use a rust remover to ensure that the faucet handles will continue to operate optimally.

Battery Replacement

Most fire/life safety devices, as well as many security devices, use batteries to work.  Spring is the perfect time to replace those batteries.  Check carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, cameras, and motion sensors.

Check Window and Door Seals

It isn’t uncommon for window and door seals to deteriorate, especially those that are frequently used.  Take a minute to walk around your house and check all of the seals.  This inspection will help to ensure and maintain the proper temperature in the home.

For more information or to schedule a professional check-up, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Do I Need An HVAC Maintenance Agreement?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC maintenance agreementWhen having a repair on an old HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system or installing a new one, you may be offered an extended HVAC maintenance or service agreement. An HVAC service contract can be a blessing or a waste of money if you don’t know what it covers. This article will help you make an informed and wise choice about an HVAC maintenance agreement.

What is an HVAC service agreement?

An HVAC service agreement is a contract between you and an HVAC service provider where you pay a fee for ongoing maintenance on your HVAC system. The core services offered includes tune-up and check-up on your air conditioning system before summer and the heating system at the start of winter. Other agreements can include emergency services; some include parts and service for problems found during the checkups.

Types of HVAC plans

HVAC service agreement come in three different programs.

  • The basic plan includes check ups on the furnace  and air conditioning unit checkup. It usually covers the labor costs associated with the routine HVAC service, but not any parts that need to be replaced.
  • The next level often includes the same as the basic plan but adds the cost of parts during a checkup and priority services.  “Priority services” is a guarantee they give to you when they are busy. The priority service assures you service the same day when you call for service.
  • The top level of HVAC service agreement includes checkups, parts during check up, priority service and no charge emergency service. It doesn’t have any surprise expenses, meaning it can be useful if you are on a budget.

Benefits of HVAC service agreement

After signing the services agreement, you will get an annual tune-up for your system. The technician will be able to spot problems with your system, change dirty filters and improve your HVAC energy efficiency. The HVAC service agreement makes the maintenance work more affordable than hiring a technician every time your system needs a fix.

Is HVAC service maintenance right for me?

An HVAC service agreement offers a win-win situation. It provides income for HVAC dealers during low season and on the other hand ensure clients get preventive maintenance service on the HVAC systems. With the maintenance service, you get a clean system that operates more efficiently and saves you on utility bills.

If you are a person who stays on top of calling for check-ups and possibly doing some maintenance yourself, you may not need a service contract.  For those who want the peace of mind that the maintenance is being done each year and like having that expense budgeted out over the whole year, then a service contract is for you.

HVAC service agreements cost between $150 and $500, but make sure you do your research before signing any contract.

For more information, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Maintenance Tips for Furnace Heating

Good Deals Heating and Cooling furnace heatingRegular maintenance is key to ensuring proper functionality, efficiency and a long lifespan of any home heating system. Regardless of the type of furnace heating system, there are a couple of things to consider in order keep it working at the optimum level. Mentioned in this article are some of the important maintenance tips.  Although the best approach is to hire a professional, some of following things can be done by the homeowner.

Note: It is always important to turn off the fuel and electrical supply before doing any work.

Filters

One of the most common problematic areas is the filter.  If the filter is dirty with accumulated debris, the airflow will be impeded. Blocking the airflow will reduce both the efficiency and the lifespan of the furnace heating system. To prevent airflow problems:

  • Regularly (at least once a month) examine the filters (particular if they are fiberglass)
  • Clean permanent filters on monthly basis
  • Electronic air cleaners should be cleaned every other month

Electrical System

Some furnace heating systems may have failures in their electrical systems. If the fuse blows repeatedly or the trip switch goes off, it is a definite sign of an electrical problem. Electrical issues should be handled by a qualified and experienced professional only.

Smell of Gas

If the furnace heating system runs on gas and there is a smell of gas within the house, the best thing to do is to get out of the house leaving the doors and windows open. Call 911 and report that you smell gas.

Yearly System Check

While it is important to carry out regular inspection work and light maintenance work by the homeowners, it is mandatory to get these units inspected by professionals once a year.  A professional will check for any leaks or potential issues from wear and tear.  It is a wise homeowner’s decision to get the furnace heating system serviced at the end of the heating season; service companies are likely to offer seasonal discounts during this period.

It is always better to track the performance of the furnace heater. The key is to address problems early.

For more information, contact Good Deals Heating & Cooling at 215-947-1166.