10 Ways to Keep Your House Warm and Save Money

energy-efficient solutions

You don’t have to wear a parka in your home to stay warm and save money. But it might seem like a favorable option when you are looking at that hundred-dollar heating bill in the winter months. Apart from expensive options like replacing your furnace or installing in-floor heat, a variety of energy-efficient solutions can keep your house warmer and decrease your heat bill—so you don’t have to shiver in the drafts of a cold home or wear your winter jacket 24/7.

1.Use your curtains

Invest in heavy drapes and keep them open to let the sun in during the day, closing them only at night. You can even buy them with thermal lining. And don’t just hang them on your windows—use them on your entry doors as well.

2.Keep your radiators and vents clear

Don’t place furniture or other items in front of radiators or vents. It will block the heat from dispersing throughout your home.

3.Lay out some rugs

Floors account for as much as 10 percent of heat loss. Place rugs over your wood and tile floors for insulation. Bonus: rugs will feel cozy and comfortable underneath your bare feet.

4.Shower with the door open

Let all that steam out.

5.Bake and heat

Leave the oven door open when you finish baking. Not only will the (hopefully) pleasant aroma of your food waft throughout your home, but you’ll also heat the kitchen without having to turn up the thermostat.

6.Purchase a draft stopper

A draft stopper looks like a long, thin pillow, and only costs around ten dollars. Place it on the floor in front of your door to keep the cold air from entering underneath.

7.Close off unused rooms

Shut doors and close the vents. Don’t waste money heating rooms that aren’t occupied.

8.Use a space heater

Turn your thermostat down while you are sleeping or not at home. If you plan on hanging out in one room for a while, use a space heater to keep it cozy without having to warm up the rest of the house.

9.Reverse your ceiling fan rotation

Not many people are aware of this feature on their ceiling fans: the little switch on the motor housing allows you to customize your fan for the hot and cold seasons. In the winter, switch the fan to rotate clockwise so it will push cold air upward to mix with the rising heat.

10.Caulk your window frames

Seal off air leaks between the joints in your window frames. Caulking only costs a few dollars and can protect your home from water damage as well.

Follow these ten tips to make sure your monthly heating bill is put to good use. Your winter coat could keep you warm inside, but that’s your heating system’s job. Make sure your units are running efficiently by scheduling a tune-up with our HVAC technicians. Heating & Cooling Two is here to help you stay warm this winter. Contact us today.

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Why is My Furnace…?

furnace problems

Do you have burning questions about your furnace? Maybe you’ve searched the internet for answers and came up short. Look no further! Here are the most common search engine queries—and answers—about furnace problems and heating repair:

Why is my furnace leaking water?

Furnaces use evaporator coils to transfer heat into air ducts throughout your home. Refrigerant within the coils turns into gas, condenses, and releases moisture. The condensation should drain through a condensate line and into a floor drain. If the line is blocked, damaged, or not pitched downward toward a drain, water could leak into the furnace. The floor drain could be clogged with dirt, or the humidifier may be malfunctioning. Schedule repair service right away if you notice water leaking around your furnace.

Why is my furnace freezing up?

Evaporator coils can build up ice as the refrigerant passes through them. Frost or a small layer of ice on outdoor coils is normal; a defrost cycle should address the problem. But built-up ice will insulate the coils and make the issue worse. Freezing could be caused by low refrigerant levels or malfunctioning defrost controls, thermostats, or sensors. Dirt buildup is also a common cause, so regular maintenance is key. If your furnace is completely covered in ice, turn off the system and contact Heating & Cooling Two for help.

Why is my furnace filter black?

Your furnace filter should prevent large pieces of dust from getting into the system and improve the quality of indoor air. A blackened filter, clogged with dust and debris, can create unhealthy indoor conditions.

  • Candle soot – if you burn candles frequently, soot resides in the air and circulates through your HVAC system. Keep candle flames away from vents, fans, and hallways. Don’t burn candles made of petroleum jelly or vegetable oil.
  • Carbon Monoxide – Odorless, invisible carbon monoxide can cause soot to accumulate on a filter. Carbon monoxide can come from a leaky gas fireplace, gas water heater, or the furnace itself.
  • Mold – Condensation on your furnace mixed with the dirt and dust that accumulate on your filter creates a damp environment for mold growth.

Why is my furnace running all the time?

The biggest cause of an overactive furnace is a dirty air filter. A clogged filter restricts airflow and overheats your furnace. The furnace tries to cool itself down by running the fan continuously, or short cycling. Another reason could be that your ductwork is loose or leaking hot air into the attic. Your HVAC technician can change your filter, seal leaks with HVAC tape, and put detached ductwork back together.

Why is my furnace not igniting?

If your furnace makes a clicking noise but does not turn on, your ignition system may be malfunctioning. The flame sensor that opens that gas valve for the burners could be covered in soot, causing the igniter to spark (or click) to no avail. The flame may not be igniting because of an incorrect mixture of gas and air. Your pilot light or ignition sensor may need replacing, or you may have a gas leak. Regardless, you’ll want your heat to work in the cold winters, so contact an HVAC technician right away.

Why is my furnace so loud?

If you hear scraping, banging, or whistling coming from your furnace, it may be a small fix, or one needing immediate repair. The fan bearings, blower wheel, or blower belts could be worn out and need replacement. Rattling could indicate loosened ductwork.

On the other hand, a small explosion, called an ignition roll out, may occur when the furnace starts up. This is caused when gases build up in the combustion chamber and ignite all at once. Problems like these can be dangerous and need immediate attention. Heating & Cooling Two offers emergency service, so contact us today.

Why is my furnace whistling?

Whistling noises can be caused by gaps in the duct or a clogged filter. Your ducts could be too small, and your furnace may need greater air flow. Contact Heating & Cooling Two for a free estimate.

Why is my furnace beeping?

A beeping sound or blinking light on your furnace could signal a condensate blockage or pilot light out. It could be any of the previously mentioned problems, so you should call an HVAC professional to have it inspected.

Heating & Cooling Two can diagnose any problems your HVAC system may be having. Contact us today for a free estimate. A burning question might save your furnace from costly breakdowns.

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Why Should You Schedule A Fall HVAC Tune-Up?

HVAC tune-up

Your HVAC system is needy, so don’t neglect it. Make sure you’re giving it the attention it needs to run efficiently and dependably. Furnace and A/C tune-ups, biannual cleanings, and inspections extend the life of your units. To keep your system running well, we recommend that you schedule HVAC maintenance visits in both early fall and mid-spring. Here’s why:

Better Air Quality

Let’s start with the basics. Your HVAC system pulls air from outside and into your home through the outdoor condenser that holds a central fan. Along with fresh air, the condenser also sucks in dirt, leaves, twigs, grass cuttings, and trash. The condenser unit should be cleaned twice a year to maintain a healthy air flow and indoor air quality.

Cleaner Home

No one likes to dust. Dirt, dander, and dust will accumulate in your home if you don’t change your air filter. The filter is designed to remove allergens, pollen, spores, and airborne particles that could negatively affect your health. A dirty filter prevents your HVAC system from taking in enough air to run efficiently.

Fewer Breakdowns

Avoid costly and inconvenient breakdowns by preparing for the season. Your HVAC system is composed of machines that vibrate as they run. Connections loosen, and wires can disconnect over time.
In a biannual tune-up, your HVAC technician may

  • Tighten connections
  • Adjust refrigerant levels
  • Lubricate motors
  • Replace worn out parts like capacitors and fan blades
  • Flush drain lines

Each of these services will reduce repair and replacement costs over an HVAC system’s lifetime.

Save Energy

If your HVAC system breaks down, you will know. But the problem may not be that your furnace or A/C stops working completely. It could run longer than necessary because of a malfunctioning thermostat, increasing energy costs. An HVAC technician will check how much amperage the compressor is drawing to see if it is running properly. Compressor replacement is expensive, but it may be necessary if you delay tune-ups. To save energy, you also may need to seal leaks in your air ducts and vents.

Safety

The burners in your furnace need to be inspected and cleaned, or they could become a fire hazard . Your technician will check the ductwork, filters, belts, pulleys, controls, and safety devices to make sure they are clean and working properly. Your HVAC system should be checked for carbon monoxide levels, temperatures and pressures, connections, contactors and relays, and emergency shut-offs.

Comfort

Test to see if your thermostat is reading temperatures accurately and communicating with the HVAC system. If it is not starting and stopping as it should, you will waste energy. An impaired HVAC system may not heat or cool your home evenly. As the fall season commences, you’ll want to rest assured that your heating system is providing you with warm air.
Don’t wait until your HVAC system breaks down to schedule repairs. Contact Heating & Cooling Two today to schedule your fall tune-up.

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The Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

THE CAUSES OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “I’m going to step outside to get some air,” or even said it yourself. Have you ever wondered what you are breathing inside? With recent warnings about air pollution, it’s even more important to improve the air quality in your home. While your HVAC system may be working hard to keep a steady flow of fresh air circulating throughout your ductwork, air can be polluted by a variety of different things. Here are the biggest factors impacting indoor air quality:

Excess Moisture

Summer in Minnesota is known for its humidity. The air can feel heavy, and without proper ventilation, your home may feel sticky and stale. Liquid spills, leaky plumbing, or wet clothes evaporate water into the air, creating moist environments that are breeding grounds for mold and other microbiological growth. Make sure you clean up any spills and fix plumbing issues the minute you notice them to avoid damage to your home, mold growth, and poor air quality. Consider installing a dehumidifier to regulate the temperature of your home.

Insufficient Outdoor Air Intake

Without proper ventilation, your home may smell stale because of cooking, smoking, and other lingering odors. This is especially prevalent in areas of your home that have no windows or vents. Bathrooms, basements, closets, and attics are all spaces where outdoor air intake is insufficient. Consider installing a ventilation system to keep the air flowing smoothly throughout your home.

Airborne Dust or Dirt

Dust settles on furniture and appliances, triggering allergies and asthma. Dust and vacuum your home every week to maintain a clean home. Regularly wash linens and make sure curtains and furniture are dust free to improve your home’s indoor air quality. Keep your HVAC system running smoothly by replacing filters and schedule routine maintenance.

Chemicals

These days there are many products that contain harmful chemicals that can affect indoor air quality. Personal activities like smoking and poor hygiene are both factors that influence how many chemicals you breathe in a day. Cigarette smoking releases more than 4,000 chemicals into the air. Those chemicals seep into fabric, hair, and skin. Personal hygiene habits also impact the air you breathe. Perfumes, deodorants, laundry detergents, and other cleaning chemicals hold strong odors. Without air circulation, the smells can cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

With the closing of summer and cold temperatures on the horizon, now is a good time to air out your home and make sure your indoor air will be properly ventilated in the cold, dry days of winter. Heating & Cooling Two offers indoor air quality products, HVAC service, and heating and cooling systems that can help. Contact us today for a free estimate.

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HVAC Facts You’ll Appreciate

HVAC facts

There was a time when air conditioning and central furnaces were a luxury not many could afford. At one point in time, air conditioning didn’t even exist, and fireplaces were the only way to heat homes. The HVAC industry has come a long way in efficiency and pricing.

Here are a few HVAC facts to satisfy your curiosity:

  1. The first commercial air conditioner was built in 1902 by Willis Carrier. He came up with the idea when he worked for a publishing company where the heat was causing the paper to wrinkle and the ink to run.
  2. The first fully air-conditioned home was the Charles Gates Mansion, built in Minneapolis in 1913 by Charles Gilbert Gates.
  3. Herbert Hoover was the first President to enjoy air conditioning in the White House. He installed an A/C system in the oval office for $30,000.
  4. The Romans were the first culture to have furnace systems. Hot air would be circulated through pipes and warm the walls and floors from a furnace below the main level of their home. The system was called a hypocaust.
  5. Natural gas was originally used for outdoor and indoor lighting—not heat.
  6. The first car with air conditioning was built in 1939 by the Packard Motor Company. The system took up half the trunk space, and the price was more than most people could afford. Consequently, it wasn’t received well on the market. Packard discontinued A/C in their vehicles after 1941.
  7. Your home could be 30% more energy efficient if you add insulation and caulking around your doors and windows.
  8. Scientific studies show that our tolerance for heat has lessened because of air conditioning.
  9. One of the first buildings to use A/C was the New York Stock Exchange Building in 1903.

The next time your A/C stops working, consider how far technology has come since the first commercial air conditioner. Then, call Heating and Cooling Two. We can install and repair your air conditioner or update your HVAC system so you can stay warm in the winter months without having to stoke a fire.

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Get to Know Your Trusted Comfort Experts

trusted comfort experts

Home is where the heart is. Where memories are made with your loved ones. When your home is the perfect temperature, those special moments are even more enjoyable. Most homeowners prefer warm and toasty in the winter and nice and cool in the summer. Keeping your home comfortable is our job. Before inviting us into your home, let us introduce ourselves.

Why Heating & Cooling Two?

We have been family owned since 1980. We know that the proper heating and cooling of your home or office is critical. We love to laugh on our social media, but we take providing the best service seriously.

Our team of experts have over 30 plus years of experience in heating, cooling, and ventilation. When you call Heating & Cooling Two, our professional staff stands ready to meet and exceed your HVAC service expectations. We even have a full-service sheet metal shop. Our solid vendor relationships allow us to provide the best services and products.

Whether it’s installing a new home comfort system or routine preventive maintenance, you can expect professional and courteous service as well as dependable products. Our HVAC technicians stay up to date with the latest energy efficient and money-saving technologies. Our team strives to complete jobs on time.

When it comes to your family or business, you want a dependable air conditioning and heating system. Thanks to Heating & Cooling Two, you can expect service that provides the comfort and value that your family deserves.

Heating & Cooling Two is fully insured, bonded, and licensed. Call the trusted comfort experts to keep the perfect temperature in your home every season!

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Why is Your Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

Air-Conditioner-Freezing-Up

Mysterious things can happen in your home. Who’s the culprit behind the missing cookie? Why are we always out of toilet paper? Why is your air conditioner freezing up? Don’t let your HVAC system become an unsolved mystery.

Before we get too far into the why, we need to deal with the immediate issue.

What to do if Your Air Conditioner Freezes:

  • Shut off the A/C. Conserve energy. This will also reduce the risk of damaging the compressor.
  • Melt the ice. Take a blow dryer to your evaporator coil or simply turn on the A/C fan without running the compressor.
  • Drain the water. While the ice is melting, make sure the drain isn’t blocked. Depending on your air conditioner, you may need to open the ductwork to suction out the water. For window air conditioners, slightly tilt the unit so the water will drain outside.

What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze?

Low Refrigerant Levels

Low refrigerant levels can freeze the evaporator coil. Incorrectly charged refrigerant or a refrigerant leak could be the culprit. Call an HVAC professional to seal the leak or replace the refrigerant.

Dirty Air Filter

Low airflow? Hot, humid air is important to keeping your A/C from freezing. Regularly change your air filter to take the added stress off your unit.

Closed Supply Registers

A common money-saving tip is to shut supply registers in unoccupied rooms. Find the right balance. Prevent freezing by only closing a quarter of your home’s supply registers.

Damaged Blower Fan

Your air conditioner’s blower fan helps get the cold air where it needs to go. The blower motor needs to pull in the proper amount of air to flow over the evaporator coil. A correct balance of air flow and air pressure can solve the freezing issue.

Thermostat Problems

A malfunctioning thermostat could be the reason for the freezin’. The air running constantly can also be a waste of money. Read our tips for other common thermostat problems.
Avert this home mystery by getting regular annual preventative maintenance. Call the trusted comfort experts at Heating & Cooling Two today to schedule an appointment.

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Cleaning Made Easy – Maintaining your Ductless Mini-Split System

Maintaining your Ductless Mini-Split System

School’s out! Remember when summer meant freedom… except on the days your parents left the dreaded chore list? Your day of soaking up the sun then became a day of cleaning. Now that you’re an adult, chores are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean they should be complicated.

We have shared tips on cleaning your dryer vents, home spring cleaning, and HVAC pest proofing. In this post, we’ll focus on maintaining your ductless mini- split system.

Unfamiliar with the benefits of a ductless mini split system?

Benefits of a Ductless Mini Split System:

  • Total control of individual rooms. The system will adjust automatically to keep rooms comfortable.
  • Improvement of air quality. Removing ducts reduces dust and pollutants, improving your indoor air quality.
  • Energy efficiency. Ductless mini-split systems can be more efficient than conventional HVAC units.
  • Convenient control with a smartphone. Most systems come with apps that make it easy to adjust and manage the comfort of your home.

Maintaining Your Ductless Mini Split System

It’s easy to forget to take care of the systems that keep your home comfortable. By giving them a little TLC, it will help extend their life and enhance their performance.

Clean and Replace Filters

Regularly clean and replace your filters. Dirty filters can cause your ductless mini-split system to struggle to push air into the room. Extra strain on your unit can cause unexpected issues. Don’t make it work harder.

Give it Some

Taking up less space is a major benefit to a ductless mini-split system. However, you’ll need to make sure that the outdoor unit has enough space. Clear the outdoor unit of debris, vegetation, or snow. Proper air flow will add years to the life of your machine.

Keep it Clean Inside and Out

Periodically cleaning your ductless mini-split system will also extend its life. Remove dust and other particles that collect on the unit. Wiping down the face and vents will ensure that no wayward particles clog up your unit.

Don’t forget to clean the outdoor part of your unit as well. Clean the coil and condenser. Spray these components with your garden hose to remove particles and debris. If any of the fins bend during this process, realign them with a comb.

Regular Maintenance

Home cleaning and maintenance protect your machine’s life. We also recommend having your unit inspected by a professional twice a year. Professional HVAC service technicians will check drain hoses and identify refrigerant leaks. Regular routine maintenance extends the life of your heating and cooling systems and will help catch minor problems before they turn into major ones.

Call Heating and Cooling Two today to schedule your routine maintenance. Need help determining if a ductless mini split system is right for your home? Our comfort experts are here to help.

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Thermostat not reading properly? Here’s how to tell.

Common thermostat problems

Losing your cool? Summer can cause temperatures to rise in more ways than one. The recent hot and humid weather tested our moods as well as our air conditioners. How did your home fair? Common thermostat problems develop if your thermostat and HVAC systems are not communicating. This can result in inconsistent temperatures in your home.

Common Thermostat Problems

Control your temper… ature. Here are a few common thermostat problems and their fixes.

Malfunctioning Sensor

A malfunctioning sensor will incorrectly read the temperature of the room. Recalibrating your thermostat may fix this. Depending on the age and technology, a better solution may be to upgrade.

Dirty Components

A build-up of dirt obstructs your unit’s ability to read an accurate room temperature. Easily solved with a good cleaning! Clear away the dust and debris by cleaning the inside of your thermostat with a soft brush. Remove corrosion from metal contacts by using an electrical cleaner on a cotton swap.

Location

HVAC placement impacts the heating and cooling of your home. Placement plays a large role in how well your thermostat will function. If your thermostat is in a poor location, it will not accurately be able to read the temperature of the room.

Level

Older mercury thermostats performance will suffer if they are not level. Break out your level and double check and/or correct. Didn’t solve the problem? Then it may be time to upgrade.

Time for an Upgrade

Unlike wine, thermostats do not get better with age. Upgrade and take advantage of the new efficiency and technology available.

Our comfort experts can recommend a wide range of dependable thermostats, including Evolution® Connex™ Control by Bryant. Control your home’s temperature, humidity, and air quality. Additional features can include:

  • Wi-Fi capabilities.
  • Control on the go. Connect your phone or tablet.
  • Optimized HVAC efficiency.
  • Energy savings.

Call us today to learn more about possible options or for your system tune-up. Don’t struggle to achieve the perfect home temperature. Schedule your appointment today!

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Hot Days Ahead – Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

indoor air quality

Bring on the hot days! Temperatures continue to climb, which means the humidity will too. Humidity can be killer and impact the condition of your home. Too much humidity can mean that dust mites, mold, and mildew thrive. Other issues include inducing allergies, condensation on windows, and peeling wallpaper. Well-balanced indoor air quality is important for keeping your whole family comfortable. Do you need to install a dehumidifier or ventilation system or is your air conditioner enough?

Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

Yes, your air conditioner does dehumidify. This is not its main function. An air conditioner’s main job is to cool a room. Normally this happens through a heat exchange process. Air conditioners pull warm air into the system and run it over refrigerant-filled coils. The new cool air is then sent back into the room. The extracted heat is pushed outside. During this process, the AC does take some moisture from the air, thus dehumidify.
A dehumidifier’s main job is to remove the moisture from the air. The process of dehumidifying the air is different than that of an air conditioner. Instead of cooling the air, the dehumidifier heats it and extracts the moisture into a draining system, removing the moisture from your home altogether.

More Efficient Options

Do you like it hot? Or freezing? Dehumidifying a room with your AC would need a very cold temperature setting. Instead of turning your home into an ice box, we have other solutions:

Modulating & Multi-Stage Air Conditioners

Modulating and multi-stage AC units, like Bryant’s model 189 and 127, remove additional humidity versus standard single-speed AC units with their ability to run air slowly across the coils and extract extra moisture. To make this technology work in your home, a furnace or air handler with a variable speed fan and a thermostat with the ability to control humidity is required.

Dehumidifier

Install or buy a dehumidifier. If the main goal is to remove the moisture, then this is your best option. If only one room needs the humidity reduced, this can be a very cost-effective option.

Ventilation Systems

Ventilation is one area of heating and cooling that is often overlooked. A ventilation fan can be key to stopping the moisture before it becomes a problem, especially in the bathroom. A fan removes moisture before it reaches your AC.

If you think you have too much humidity in your home, call your comfort experts at Heating and Cooling Two. We can recommend ways to improve your indoor air quality and humidity levels.

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