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.

Posted in AC tune-up, air conditioner, Lowering Utility Bills, Maple Grove Air Conditioning, Maple Grove Heating, Spring A/C Tuneup | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Your Spring HVAC Cleaning Checklist

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.

Posted in Furnace, HVAC, Lowering Utility Bills, Maintenance, Spring A/C Tuneup, Winter, Winter Heating | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Easy Ways to Improve Your HVAC Habits

What’s Inside My Ductwork and Why Should I Have it Cleaned?

air ducts

Ever wonder what’s inside your home’s ductwork? Maybe you want to know, but you’re afraid of what you’ll find. Take a deep breath. Or don’t. Not until you know your ducts are clean. Then you can breathe easy knowing you’re inhaling safe, clean air.

Why should I schedule air duct cleaning?

Worst-case scenario, you could have harmful contaminants and microorganisms resting in your ducts, contaminating your indoor air. What goes in either lodges to the interior walls of your ductwork or disperses to other areas of your home. Bacteria, mildew, mold spores. Bugs, rodents, birds.

That’s just the living stuff.

Dust, fur, second-hand smoke. Are you the first owner of your home? Talk about stranger dander. If your ducts are dirty, no matter how much you clean or how many times you replace your furnace filter, your indoor air quality will suffer. Regardless of the air pollutants, it’s worth the peace of mind knowing the lungs of your HVAC system are clean and clear.

What does air duct cleaning involve?

Air duct cleaning involves a high-powered vacuum and specialized brushes. Your technician may cut out small holes in the ductwork so their cleaning equipment can dislodge and draw out all the particles and dust that may be hiding in there. Afterwards, they’ll seal the holes so your HVAC system remains airtight.

How often should I clean my ductwork?

Every three to five years or more, schedule duct cleaning service, especially if

  • You have pets.
  • You or your family suffer from respiratory problems.
  • You hear scurrying noises coming from your ceiling or walls.
  • Your supply registers emit dust when your heat or air conditioning turns on.
  • You’re remodeling your home or did so recently.

Heating & Cooling Two provides professional HVAC services along with a variety of hot deals and financing options. We also offer ductless mini split systems so you can heat and cool your home without worrying about dirty air ducts. Contact us to request a free estimate.

Posted in Air Quality, Duct Sealing, HVAC, Lowering Utility Bills | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on What’s Inside My Ductwork and Why Should I Have it Cleaned?

Do You Really Need a Whole House Humidifier?

whole house humidifier“Do I really…?” It’s a question we all ask for various reasons. Do I really need to eat another chocolate covered strawberry? Do I really need to go to the dentist? Do I really need a shower? Okay, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but the point stands. We’ll go out of our way to live comfortably, save money, and pursue convenience by distinguishing what we need from we can live without. So we come to our question: do you really need a whole house humidifier?

The short answer to that question is yes, if you experience some or all of the following:

  • You’re constantly scratching your skin.
  • Your asthma or allergies act up every winter.
  • Your roommate or partner complains about your exessive snoring.
  • You wake up with a groggy voice, dry nose, and sore throat.
  • You shock the cat—or anything metal—every time you touch it.
  • Your houseplants are droopy and shriveling.
  • Your doors are hard to shut, or your wood furniture is cracking.
  • Your heating bill has increased.

What is a Whole House Humidifier Going to Do?

In Minnesota, where the winter air is drier than the Sahara desert, moisture goes a long way in improving indoor air. A humidifier can address all of the problems we’ve mentioned and more. With a whole house humidifier, you could experience the following benefits:

  • Healthier skin.
  • Less susceptibility to cold and flu.
  • Reduced asthma and allergy symptoms.
  • Better sleep.
  • Fewer static shocks.
  • Healthier plants.
  • Well-preserved wood finishes and furnishings.
  • Lower energy bill.

Heating & Cooling Two offers humidifiers and other HVAC accessories for your heating system. We also provide maintenance service and humidifier filters so you can keep your units running smoothly. Contact us to find what you need—and what you don’t.

Posted in Air Quality, Humidifier, HVAC, Winter | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Do You Really Need a Whole House Humidifier?

What Does a New Furnace Cost?

new furnaceA furnace should last 15-20 years, but when it has run its course, there’s no avoiding a costly replacement. You can expect to drop anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000, depending on what type of furnace you purchase, what contractor you hire, how large your home is, and how smoothly installation goes. Before throwing your money at a new furnace and HVAC contractor, consider these four things:

The different types of furnaces

The cost of a new furnace depends on the energy source used to heat it. There are a few main types of furnaces based on what they use for fuel: gas, electric, oil, or propane. We offer Bryant gas furnaces, which are known for their energy savings, quiet performance, and long lifespan. Gas furnace models vary based on how often they turn on and off to heat a home to the temperature on the thermostat.

  • A single-stage gas furnace runs at one speed to heat the home.
  • A two-stage gas furnace heats the home by alternating between low and high heating stages.
  • A variable speed gas furnace has an adjustable blower that runs at different speeds to keep a uniform temperature.

Furnace features

Most furnaces on the market advertise quieter, more consistent, and energy-saving performance. Manufacturers accomplish this by adding noise reduction features like insulated cabinets. Different brands incorporate smart technology to increase the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of their furnace models. The higher the AFUE percentage, the less fuel a furnace will use to heat your home.

Installation

If ductwork, vents, or filters aren’t installed or adjusted properly, your heating system will struggle to distribute warm air throughout your home. If your furnace is in a hard to reach location, it could take more time or be more difficult to install a new one, making your HVAC contractor charge more for installation. You may need new ductwork throughout your home to accommodate for an upgrade to a larger furnace or to fix leaks in your existing forced air system. Either way, you’ll want this crucial step done right, so do your research on the best HVAC contractor to hire.

Research

Your HVAC contractor should be licensed and insured in your state and have reputable affiliations and testimonials. Check out more than one local HVAC contractor, so you can make sure you are getting a fair price. Don’t go with the lowest bid. They may be cheap, but lack quality service and craftsmanship.

High efficiency furnaces are more expensive up front but worth it in the long run. Heating & Cooling Two is a trusted HVAC contractor who’ll give you an honest, free estimate on a new furnace. We also offer a variety of hot deals and financing options. Contact us to request an estimate.

Posted in Financing, Furnace, Heating, HVAC, Maple Grove Heating | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on What Does a New Furnace Cost?

How to Choose an HVAC Contractor

how to choose an hvac contractor

When it comes to choosing an HVAC contractor, you should be as fussy as your child is when you try to persuade them to eat their greens. Your health, energy bill, comfort, and home upkeep depend on it. Learn how to choose an HVAC contractor with this simple checklist:

Initial evaluation

Potential contractors should offer a thorough home evaluation to determine the best heating and cooling solution. There are many factors that could affect the amount of work you need done and the price they’ll end up charging. An HVAC contractor should come to your home to measure it, check to see what kind of insulation you have, and inspect the duct system for leaks or loose segments. If they try to give you an estimate over the phone before they’ve been out to see your home in person, hang up and look elsewhere.

Licensing and experience

Your HVAC system uses some of the most expensive equipment in your home. You’ll want to make sure you hire a contractor who is educated, certified, and experienced in how electrical wiring, refrigerant, combustion systems, and airflow through heating ducts work. In Minnesota, mechanical contractors must have a bond filed and approved by the Department of Labor and Industry and be licensed according to local requirements. You should also check that their work is insured, so that you are protected in case of their injury or accidental damage to your home.

Pricing and quality

Check to see if the companies you are looking into offer rebates and special offers to offset the expense of HVAC equipment and repair. Also, keep in mind that the lowest price is not always the best. You’ll want a company that provides expertise in your equipment manufacturer of choice and correct, professional installation. It may cost you more, but it will save you money in the long run. Make sure they give you a written bid of the work, not a verbal contract. The bid should list everything that needs to be done and the price you can expect.

Referrals and reviews

Ask the company for references and call them. Check out their testimonials, Google reviews, and page on Angie’s list. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors for referrals. You can learn a lot about a company just by examining their reputation.

Contact Heating & Cooling Two for a free estimate. We specialize in energy-efficient Bryant furnaces and offer financing options, countless HVAC accessories, and maintenance packages for your convenience. Learn more about our highly skilled team, our affiliations, and company values. It pays to be fussy and choose a reputable HVAC contractor who cares about you.

Posted in About Heating & Cooling Two, HVAC, Maintenance, Planned Service Agreements | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Choose an HVAC Contractor

When You Should Get a New Heating System

new heating system

It’s the New Year. The old has passed, the new has come…or it should. If you’ve been hanging on to your old heating system because you don’t want to spend the money to replace it or upgrade, you may want to consider letting it go and moving on. Especially if the following is true:

Your furnace or boiler is 15 years or older

If your furnace or boiler is nearing 15 years old, consider replacing to save up to 20 percent on energy and avoid a breakdown in the middle of winter. Give yourself time to research, purchase the right equipment, and take advantage of money-saving deals.

You’re frequently calling your HVAC technician for repairs

Don’t misunderstand us; the Heating & Cooling team loves hearing from and visiting with our clients. But we also care about your pocketbook and peace of mind. If your heating system keeps breaking down, a new one may save you money in the long run and alleviate the stress you experience every time it stops working.

Your heating bill is higher than normal

If you notice your heating bill is higher than what you’d normally pay in the winter, your system may not be running efficiently. Modern technology provides many options for a more energy efficient system, like radiant heating, geothermal heat pumps, and air source heat pumps.

Your furnace short cycles

If your furnace is too big for your home, it may turn on and off more than it’s supposed to and cause more wear on the system. In addition, a dirty filter may not be letting enough air pass over the heat exchanger, causing the furnace to overheat and turn on and off in short intervals. So first, check your filter to see if it needs to be changed, but if problems persist, you may want to consider replacing it.

There’s a crack in your heat exchanger

Short cycling, old age, or poor maintenance could cause the heat exchanger to crack. Your heat exchanger transfers heat from one fluid (liquid or gas) to another and heats the air that passes through your home. If there’s a crack in the heat exchanger, your furnace could leak carbon monoxide and other flue gases into the household air supply.

You notice excessive accumulation of dust

If you notice your home is accumulating more dust than is normal, your air ducts could have leaks and are pulling particles from the attics and spreading them throughout your home. Sealing them off or insulating them would keep dust out and prevent warm air from leaking into your attic.

Your home is never heated evenly

Newer heating systems can be programmed so they’ll heat only certain zones in the home, a convenient technology called zoned heating. With programmable thermostats, you can easily save money and be more comfortable.

When you call your HVAC technician to inspect your furnace, the last thing you want to hear is that you need to replace your heating system. But it may be your best option. Letting go is never easy; Heating & Cooling Two is here to help. With seasonal maintenance, a heating system kept in good shape can last up to 20 years. Contact us to request maintenance service or for a free estimate.

Posted in Geothermal Systems, Heating, Maple Grove Heating, Winter Heating | Tagged , , | Comments Off on When You Should Get a New Heating System

A Basic Guide to Replacing Your Furnace Filter

replacing your furnace filter

Do you get angry when you see a higher heating bill? How about when you find out that a simple task like not changing your furnace filter is what is costing you that extra money? It may be an annoying part of home maintenance, but if you don’t change your filter regularly, your furnace could overheat and shut down because it can’t get enough air to cool off. To keep your furnace (and you) from working harder just to heat your home, we’ve provided a basic guide to replacing your furnace filter.

When should you replace your furnace filter?

A dirty furnace filter will affect indoor air quality, so check it about once a month. If you can’t see light through your filter when you hold it up to a lamp, you should replace it. If you have animals, burn candles frequently, open doors and windows often, or smoke in the home, you’ll probably need to change your filter more often.

How to replace your furnace filter

  1. Turn off the furnace.
  2. Locate the filter. Consult your manual if you don’t know where the furnace filter is. Most filters are either
    1. In the blower compartment. To access, remove the furnace cover or lift up the lid to get inside.
    2. In the return air vent, built into the metal ductwork.
  3. Remove the existing filter. Pull on the tab or lip of the filter frame to slide it out. When you pull the old filter out, have a garbage bag on hand and slip it in carefully to avoid scattering dust around.
  4. Note the airflow direction. Your filter will have an arrow indicating which way it should be placed to properly filter the airflow from your ductwork. The direction of the arrow should be pointed toward the furnace fan. Mark this on the exterior of your furnace with a permanent marker. That way, you’ll always know which way to install your new filters.
  5. Determine the filter size. Take a picture of or write down the filter size printed on the cardboard frame. You can also find the size in your furnace manual or use a measuring tape to determine its dimensions: height, width, and thickness. If your filter has an aluminum or plastic frame, it’s reusable, meaning you can clean it with a vacuum and water.
  6. Purchase a filter. You can find them at home stores, hardware stores, or online.
  7. Install the new filter. Look for markings on your new filter that tell you which side should face the furnace to correctly filter air flow, then insert accordingly.
  8. Keep the receipt from your new filter and tape it to the furnace so you know when you’ll need to replace the filter again. Make sure to turn the furnace back on after you’ve replaced the filter.

If you are having trouble, just call us. Our technicians can walk you through the process. Contact Heating & Cooling Two to purchase a new filter or schedule maintenance for your furnace.

Posted in Furnace, Heating, How to, HVAC, Lowering Utility Bills, Winter, Winter Heating | Tagged , | Comments Off on A Basic Guide to Replacing Your Furnace Filter

Why You Should Install a Zoned Heating System

zoned heating system

Brushing a bald head is pointless. So is making your furnace heat areas in your home that you don’t use or overheating areas that are already warm enough. You wouldn’t control all the lights in your house with one switch. You don’t turn on every faucet when you start the shower, either. So why control the heat for your entire home with one thermostat? A zoned heating system uses multiple thermostats so you don’t waste the heat your furnace produces.

What is HVAC zoning?

A zoned heating system uses a control panel, thermostats, and dampers to channel your furnace heat to certain rooms so you don’t have to heat the entire house to a certain temperature. These customizable temperature zones are independently controlled, each by their own thermostat. You can even get remote controls that let you adjust the temperature on individual floors or in specific areas without getting up from your living room couch.

How does a zoned heating system work?

Dampers control how much air can pass through the ductwork at a time, completely stop air, or redirect the air to other areas of the home. A control panel opens, closes, and adjusts the dampers based on the temperature you set on the thermostat and the readings of the temperature controllers in each room.

Why should I get a zoned heating system?

Certain areas of your home could be warmer or colder, even when your thermostat is set to automatically adjust the temperature. The upstairs can often be three to seven degrees warmer than downstairs because heat rises. You may want to control the temperature in certain areas of your home depending on the function of each room. A warm, cozy living room. A chill, crisp workout room or office.

Here’s why you may want to install a zoning system:

    • If you and other house occupants passive-aggressively change the thermostat when the other isn’t looking because you can’t agree on a temperature.
    • If you have rooms that you don’t use all the time or that feel stuffy.
    • If you have high ceilings or large windows.
    • If you have a sunroom that overheats.

With adjustable temperatures, you can lower your heating bills, increase your home comfort, and extend the life of your furnace. Heating & Cooling Two can’t give you a new head of hair, but we can install a zoning system for your home so your furnace isn’t as pointless as a bald man’s hairbrush. Contact us for a free estimate.

Posted in Furnace, Heating, HVAC, Maple Grove Heating, Winter Heating | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Why You Should Install a Zoned Heating System

9 Heating Questions You Didn’t Even Know to Ask

heating questions

Heating systems are a hot topic right now (no pun intended). Do you feel left out in the cold? We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked heating questions, so you can catch up:

How much does heating cost?

Your heating bill depends on both the size of your home and the weather. During chilly Minnesota winters, the average home’s heating cost is around 200 dollars per month.

What is the life expectancy of a furnace?

Furnaces typically last between 16 and 20 years. But if your furnace requires a lot of maintenance or doesn’t run efficiently, you may want to consider replacing it before it’s reached its maximum life.

Why is regular maintenance important?

Regular maintenance will ensure that your furnace is running efficiently and not wasting energy. Without proper maintenance, such as regular air filter changes, your furnace could be circulating allergens throughout your home. Equipment eventually wears down, and when it does, you’ll want to make sure you address any dangerous leaks or malfunctions that could lead to a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

What should I expect during a routine furnace inspection?

Your HVAC technician should inspect the vents and ductwork for leaks or blockages. They’ll check the heat exchanger and belts for any signs of wear, cracks, or corrosion. They’ll remove the blower wheel to clean it and test for a tight seal on the blower access door. In addition to lubricating all the motor’s parts, the technician will check and test all electrical components, including the safety controls, thermostat, burner, and flame sensor. Finally, your technician will check the furnace air filter and replace it if necessary.

What temperature should I set my thermostat to save the most money?

During the day, set your thermostat at 68 degrees. Most people sleep better when it’s cooler at night, so turn the temperature down to around 62 degrees before you crawl into bed.

How often should my heater turn on?

Most systems cycle two or three times per hour. However, if your furnace is constantly turning on and off, it could be shortcycling because the filter needs to be changed or some other component is malfuctioning. A clogged filter prevents your furnace from intaking enough air, causing it to overheat and turn off before it’s run its full cycle.

What should I do if I smell gas?

A gas leak could poison your family or cause an explosion if not detected and addressed properly. If you smell gas, evacuate the house immediately. Don’t use any electrical switches or appliances that use electricity. Do not turn on a flashlight or light a candle. Do not use the phone (including cell phones) or open a window. Go to a neighbor’s house and call 911 immediately. Do not return to the house until you’ve received the all-clear from a technician from your gas company.

What causes heat pumps to freeze?

A heat pump should have an automatic defrost cycle that keeps it from freezing. However, ice may build up on the coils if your filter is clogged, airflow through your ducts is restricted, or your outdoor unit is blocked by leaves, grass, or snow.

What should I do with this information?

Now that you know a bit more about your heating system, contact Heating & Cooling Two to schedule maintenance for your furnace. Our knowledgeable technicians can answer any other questions you have. We offer maintenance packages so you can save money on heating repair.

Posted in Furnace, Heating, HVAC, Maple Grove Heating, Service Appointment, Winter, Winter Heating | Tagged , , | Comments Off on 9 Heating Questions You Didn’t Even Know to Ask