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Fall is right around the corner and with it comes many things. The kids go back to school, the days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and you transition from using your air conditioner to using your furnace. This period of transition is the one where every HVAC company strongly recommends getting furnace maintenance, us included.
A well-functioning furnace is essential for getting your family through the entire winter. And the absolute best way to ensure its proper functioning is to have it tuned up. That’s because during maintenance, our technicians will check for any issues that could become problematic if left unchecked. We’ll clean the furnace and perform a series of essential checks not only to ensure its functionality, but its safety as well. Let’s go over some of the benefits of scheduling furnace maintenance this fall.
A common question we get from homeowners has to do with unusual furnace noises that occur both at startup and once a heating cycle is completed. Although some of these noises are normal and nothing to worry about, some can be quite serious and require immediate attention.
Whether your furnace makes loud noises when turning off or makes a booming noise when it turns on, let’s go over the most common causes of these sounds. That way, you’ll know which ones are normal and which ones warrant a call for immediate repairs.
If there’s one thing we’d like you to know about us, it’s that we’ve been serving Lansing, MI, and the surrounding areas since 1981. With over 40 years of HVAC experience, we know the particular issues that Michigan homeowners face when it comes to heating and cooling their homes and their indoor air quality.
A-1 Mechanical is your local heating and cooling specialist in Lansing, Michigan, we help homeowners design systems for both hot summers and cold winters. Heat pumps provide cool air by circulating indoor air across very cold indoor coils. During the winter heat pumps condense outside air and circulate indoor air across hot indoor coils. Because Michigan winters become extremely cold, most homeowners use a heat pump for most of the winter and supplement warmth through a furnace on very cold days.
The goal of using your heat pump is to provide complete comfort while consuming the least amount of energy. Heat pumps are rising in popularity because they are driven completely by electricity. This means the heat pump does not create direct emissions and therefore, is considered renewable energy. When you work with a professional heat pump specialist from A-1 Mechanical you will discover the heat pump’s thermostat plays a large role in reducing energy bills.
Many homeowners wait until an AC unit fails beyond repair. While A-1 Mechanical provides excellent air conditioning installation services even in emergencies, knowing the warning signs of a faltering air conditioning system is important to save money. If you notice cooling costs are rising, performance is wavering or you experience frequent breakdowns then you should begin to consider new air conditioners.
Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Replaced
As summer heat rises, older units can often show indications of failure. Beyond monitoring energy use be alert to these top signs your air conditioner is going to break:
Uneven temperatures throughout the home
Shutting down before the desired temperature is achieved as known as short cycling
Refrigerant leaks, frozen lines and odd noises from outdoor unit
Odd smells from vents when the air conditioner is running
Ductless mini split heat pumps are a great way to heat your home efficiently. They consist of an outdoor compressor/condenser unit and several indoor air handling units connected to the outdoor unit. The air is heated by the compressor and returned to the air handling unit to disperse into rooms.
Each room or area can contain an indoor air handling unit, which can be controlled separately from the others using a remote control. This makes it an ideal solution for homes with multiple rooms that may not need to be heated, allowing you to control where your heated air is being sent.
Not only is this system efficient, but it’s also convenient and easy to use. So if you’re looking for an excellent way to heat your home, consider a ductless mini split heat pump over a traditional heating system.
As the weather gets colder, you may wonder what the best settings are for your home thermostat. After all, you want to stay comfortable without wasting energy on your heating system. A programmable thermostat is a fantastic way to bring convenience to your home’s heating system, however, they are not necessary.
Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect balance this winter. Of course, these are just general guidelines – you may need to adjust the settings based on your specific needs.
A sudden rise in your monthly energy costs can be caused by a number of reasons. The most common causes that lead to unexpectedly high heating bills are:
Colder outdoor temperatures than what’s typical for the area
Lack of heating system maintenance
Air leaks in the home
Dirty furnace filters
Top Ways to Lower Heating Bills
These energy-saving strategies help homeowners improve home energy efficiency to lower heating bills.
Schedule a Preventative Maintenance Tune-Up
Ideally, before the busy heating season arrives, schedule a preventive maintenance tune-up for your Lansing or Grand Rapids heating system in the fall. Gas furnaces, electric furnaces, heat pumps – no matter your heating system type, a maintenance tune-up helps the system function more efficiently throughout the season.
The average Lansing and Grand Rapids area home loses 20 to 30 percent of its heated air through duct leaks. Damage, gaps, loose fittings, and disconnected sections allow heated air to escape before it reaches your rooms while letting chilly air into the ducts.
Because of this loss, the heating system compensates by expending more energy to replace the heat lost. This extra heat production uses 20 to 30 percent more energy. Duct repair eliminates these costly leaks to lower your heating and cooling costs significantly.
Seal Air Leaks
An issue that homeowners often overlook is the amount of air they lose through air leaks. Heated air is also able to escape through other areas of the home, such as:
Windows and doors that don’t shut tightly
Gaps and cracks around window frames and door jambs
Vent, piping, or wiring holes through exterior walls
Uninsulated or under-insulated attics, basements, and crawl spaces
To reduce heat loss, air leak sealing is a must. Add weatherstripping to all exterior doorways. Seal windows and door frames both indoors and out. Seal around the exterior wall penetrations outdoors as well as on the interior of the wall. This will help your home to keep in its heated air and help keep your monthly energy bill down.
Heating and cooling your home can be a significant expense, particularly if your home is not well insulated. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that their homes are not as energy efficient as they could be. Older homes are especially prone to this problem, as they were often built before modern insulation standards were put in place.
As a result, upgrading your insulation can be a great way to improve your home’s energy efficiency, and lower your monthly electric bills and heating costs. In addition, proper insulation can help to reduce noise levels and create a more comfortable living environment.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
We’ve met many homeowners who bought a smart thermostat at a big box store and found it doesn’t work well with their existing system. For example, do you have a single-speed or variable-speed system? It makes a difference in which smart thermostat is best for your home and we can help you find the right one. The addition of a programmable thermostat can help bring your costs lower than the typical electric bill.
Curious about modern thermostats? Call us, and we’ll send a Comfort Consultant to your home. They will evaluate your current HVAC system, ask you about your energy goals, and recommend a thermostat.
Change Your Furnace Filter
Dirty furnace filters block the flow of air through your heating system. This forces the blower motor to expend more energy to pull air through the system and push heated air into your living areas.
Avoid this problem when you regularly replace your furnace filter. How often depends on the type of filter, heating usage, and other factors specific to your home. Most people get by with furnace filter changes every two to three months.
Upgrade Your Heating Unit
If you’re among the millions of Americans who’ve been hit hard by high heating bills this winter, you may be looking for ways to lower your costs. One option you may want to consider is installing a new furnace or heat pump. Though the initial investment may be higher than simply continuing to use your current system, new furnaces and heat pumps are much more energy efficient.
This means that they’ll use less fuel to produce the same amount of heat, resulting in lower monthly bills. Additionally, newer models are often able to better maintain a consistent temperature, which can also help to reduce costs.
Put an End to Expensive Heating Bills
If you’re wondering why is my heating bill so high, you’re not alone. Many homeowners struggle with high energy bills in the winter. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help lower your costs and make your home more comfortable.
Get in Contact with A-1 Mechanical Today
Contact us today for assistance making energy-saving improvements to your home. We’ll work with you to create a plan that fits your needs and helps you save money on your heating bill this winter.
The first thing to consider is exactly how old your home is. If your home was built before the 1950s, there is a good chance it does not have the ductwork needed for today’s HVAC systems. This eliminates traditional central air conditioning and heating systems as a viable method for your home’s heating and cooling needs unless you want to spend thousands of extra dollars on having a new duct system installed.
We are well aware of the difficulties of living in an old house and have come up with the best solutions to optimize an older home’s heating and air conditioning system.
A solution we often recommend for homeowners in older homes is a ductless system, also called a mini-split system. As the name suggests, these HVAC systems do not use any ductwork at all! Ductless systems use individual air handler units in each room; this allows for complete control over the temperature in separate spaces or “zones.”
Since there is no need for ductwork, homeowners of older houses absolutely love the convenience of ductless HVAC systems. When paired with a heat pump, they can also be used for both your home’s heating and cooling while helping to cut back on your monthly electric bills.
Ductless mini-split systems are versatile and can be operated on a by-room basis. This is because each “zone” has its own thermostat that can be controlled independently of the others. If you do not want a particular room to have heating or cooling, but the rest of the house should, you can simply adjust the temperature in that room. This also makes them energy efficient and one of our favorite modern HVAC options.
High-Velocity HVAC System
In today’s homes, ductwork is usually in areas of the house that we cannot see. Meaning, that if your home was not built with the intention of having central heating and cooling, then you probably do not have the space necessary to make ducts work.
Fortunately, high-velocity systems operate differently, using dedicated units connected to “mini-ducts.” Unfortunately, high-velocity systems also typically come with a price tag that is higher than ductless systems.
High-velocity HVAC systems are similar to traditional HVAC systems in that they provide heating or cooling using a heat pump or compressor and then distribute the air into a home’s living areas. The most significant difference is how the air is distributed in a high-velocity system.
Instead of traditional ductwork, high-velocity HVAC systems use much smaller tubes and vents, which are about 5 inches in diameter and much smaller than vents that are about 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
Using the smaller tubes and vents allows them to need less space in the home to be effective, making them a perfect choice for an older home that cannot support modern-day HVAC systems. Homeowners also love that the smaller size allows them to be better hidden in the home, adding to the home’s overall aesthetic appeal.
Why Trust A-1 Mechanical?
When dealing with something as important as your home’s heating and cooling, you do not want to work with just any company you find on Facebook. A-1 Mechanical has been one of the most trusted HVAC companies in the area for years. We have built a solid reputation for high-quality work and fantastic customer service.
Older homes can be tricky to work on and, and when installation is performed incorrectly, it could result in irreversible damage, which is why it is crucial to work with an experienced company that has done it before. Our team is well-versed in HVAC solutions for older homes and would love to help walk you through the process and get you exactly what you need.
Contact Us Today
If you are ready to upgrade your home with a new HVAC system from the state’s premier HVAC company, do not hesitate to reach out!
We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and schedule an appointment!