An A/C. Like New. Like Now

It’s hard to argue with a simple principle: If you take care of something, it lasts longer.  That’s true whether you’re exercising to tone your body, driving your car to a service appointment or updating the exterior paint on your house.  And it’s certainly true for taking care of your home’s air conditioning system.

Any piece of equipment can show signs of deterioration as it ages year after year.  Yet routine maintenance can substantially slow the aging process – while neglect can lead to a system a failure long before its time.Lennox rebates

To turn back the hands of time, schedule a routine tune-up every year on your air conditioner.  With this check by a professional tech, you’ll get a clear picture of how your system is holding up as it performs its duties of keeping you cool and comfortable. Filters

By tightening connections, lubricating parts, cleaning coils and blower components, checking drains, clearing debris, adjusting settings, checking refrigerant levels and checking controls, your system can be restored to its top condition, and you’ve got a much better chance of avoiding inconvenient repairs.

It’s always a good idea to take care of your large investments, and your air conditioning system plays heavily into your home’s value.  Plus, reliable, energy-efficient operation is well worth the time it takes for a friendly visit from a technician.

To keep your cooling comfort at peak performance, call us to request a tune-up on your air conditioning system. We’re here to keep things running smoothly all season long.

NOTE: Act fast to save!  Lennox rebates expire June 9th, 2017.

My Word

Hello Friends,My Word

Is spring a time to slow down or speed up?  The milder weather certainly gives us a chance to get outdoors more often, take in fresh breezes and enjoy the green and blooming landscape.  It’s great to relax and recharge after a long winter.

But being busy has its advantages, too!  That’s why we’re so grateful to our customers for allowing us to serve you.  Our winter was packed with all sorts of opportunities to help folks like you with fast repairs and routine service.  Some of you are enjoying the start of this season knowing that you have a trustworthy and highly efficient new system to keep you comfortable.

As we’ve said, the best way to avoid future problems is to have your cooling and heating equipment tuned up before the start of the next busy season.  So, please call to schedule yours before we’re booked.

Sincerely,

Jim Petersen

Cooling System Checklist

Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

Here is a DIY checklist to make sure your cooling system will save you money on your electric bill this spring and summer.

  • Have the cooling system maintained and inspected yearly, by a qualified contractor like us.
  • Set the thermostat at 78°F.  Each degree higher saves approximately 6% on air conditioning costs.
  • Don’t turn the thermostat lower than the desired setting.  The house will not cool off any faster and can overshoot the desired temperature – wasting energy.
  • Install a ceiling fan to create air movement.  The air movement can keep you cool at a higher temperature, allowing you to avoid using your air conditioner, or letting you set the air conditioner at a higher temperature.
  • Cut back plants, bushes, and trees that may restrict air flow to the outdoor unit.
  • Keep the outdoor coils free of dirt, debris, and leaves.
  • Keep windows shut when closing up the house for the day or when running the air conditioner.
  • Make sure your clothes dryer is vented outdoors.  You don’t need the heat or humidity inside the house.
  • Close your drapes on hot days.  If there is some way to shade your windows from the outside, this will keep out even more heat.
  • Use kitchen and bath vents to rid the house of excess heat and moisture.  Turn off the gas furnace pilot light in the summer.
  • Change the furnace filter.  They need to be changed anywhere from every 30-270 days.

Staying Powered for Fall/Winter

Just because the leaves have dropped and snow has fallen, depending on where you live, doesn’t mean it’s time for your HVAC unit to go into hibernation like a bear.  Most people think it’s okay to turn off their units once the weather cools down, but doing so could be costly in the long run.  Here are three reasons you should not power down your units during the fall/winter season:

  1. Year-round results: HVAC units don’t just cool and heat; they also circulate air and act as dehumidifiers when the cool fall air makes things damp.
  2. Cost-efficient: Constantly turning units off and on is not the ideal way to save.  It’s inexpensive to simply keep the units on, as long as homeowners adjust their thermostat to the home’s desired comfort level so they’re not needlessly cooling or heating.
  3. Fall maintenance: Keeping the units on gives dealers the chance to perform fall/winter maintenance and discover any problem areas before the units are needed for severe weather.Maintenance Agreement/J & R Heating

Fill the Gaps to Save Energy

Air leaks

Caulking is an awesome thing to do, assuming you like to stay warm in winter.  That toasty air flowing from your heater or furnace has a better chance of keeping you comfortable if you keep it indoors.

Your heating and cooling take up about half of the total energy costs in your home – and with proper sealing and insulation, you can save up to about 20 percent of those heating and cooling costs.

Air leaks aren’t hard to find.  As a matter of fact, they fell like “leaking air.”  You can find leaks by moving your hand around the frames of windows and doors.  If you feel air coming through, there’s an opening ready for sealing.

Air leaksGaps can occur where different materials meet – such as between brick and wood siding or between the foundation and walls.  Potential trouble spots include: mail chutes, electrical and gas service entrances, cable and phone lines, outdoor water faucets and vents/fans.  Caulking is used to fill many gaps; weather stripping is for the movable joints of your doors and windows.

Sealing your heating and cooling ducts can also improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent.  The performance of your system, however, is perhaps the most significant factor affecting energy use.

If your system is more than 10 years old or isn’t keeping you comfortable, have it evaluated.  If it’s time for a replacement, consider replacing your system with a unit that has a higher efficiency rating.  These systems reduce energy spending and increase comfort.  We can help you find the system that’s right for you.  Call us for details at 402-362-5702.

Product Selector tool

Which HVAC Unit is Right for My Family?

Need an new furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump but don’t want to go to your local HVAC dealer yet?  An easy way to see which unit is right for you and your family, without ever having to leave your home, is to try our Product Selector tool on our website.  Just click the Product Selector tab on the top an answer a series of questions.  It will supply you with some possible options.

1. Product Selector tool

2. Product Selector tool

3. Product Selector tool

4. Product Selector tool

5. Product Selector tool

How to Understand Energy Ratings

If you’ve ever shopped for a new air conditioner, furnace, or even a window unit, you’ve probably seen energy rating data listed somewhere on the product. Knowing what those numbers mean, and how to compare them, can save you a lot of money over the life of your equipment.

Making sense of the numbers

Ratings help you make smart choices 

Energy ratings were established to provide a baseline for comparing heating and air conditioning equipment based on the energy it uses to keep you comfortable. In a sense, you can think of energy ratings like miles-per-gallon in a car.

The more gasoline it takes you to go one mile, the more you’ll spend for every mile you need to travel. So if you’re looking at a large SUV that gets 15 miles per gallon, you know you’ll need to plan a larger fuel budget every month than if you’d chosen a subcompact or hybrid car that gets 38 miles to the gallon.

What the ratings mean for your home

With home heating and cooling equipment, the efficiency numbers tell you how much energy you’ll have to spend to get the same performance out of similar products.

Ratings are different for each type of heating and cooling equipment, simply because of the energy source used to power it. In other words, you can’t use the same rating to compare a gas furnace to an electric heat pump, because they don’t use the same type of fuel.

However, when you understand the numbers behind the ratings, you can get a good idea of how much money you’ll spend to run your equipment, whether it uses gas, electricity, or both.

SEER, for rating electric cooling

SEER ratingsSEER is one of the most common rating systems for home cooling equipment. It stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it gives a pretty good indication of your energy costs because it measures performance over an entire cooling season.

To calculate SEER, you simply take the total cooling output that the equipment will generate over the summer, measured in British Thermal Units (BTU), and divide it by the total amount of energy you’ll have to expend (and pay for) during the same time period.

What you’re really measuring here is how much cooling power the unit will provide, and how much it will cost you to enjoy that cool comfort. The Lennox® XC25 is currently the most precise and efficient air conditioner you can buy*, offering a SEER of up to 26.

Federal law currently mandates a minimum SEER of between 13 and 14, depending upon where in the country you live, and any air conditioner over 14.5 SEER can be eligible for ENERGY STAR® qualification, meaning it’s a smart choice for energy-efficient cooling.

XC21

AFUE, for rating fossil-fuel furnaces

AFUE is a different way to measure efficiency, because it deals with a different type of fuel. The AFUE of a furnace, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is a measure of how much heat is generated over the course of the heating season, compared with how much fuel is burned.

AFUE is a fairly straightforward number. The higher the number, the more heat you will actually feel for a given amount of natural gas or oil burned. A furnace with an AFUE of 80 will turn 80% of its fuel into useable heat, while wasting about 20% of its fuel through either air leaks, inefficient burners or a less-advanced design.

On the other hand, a furnace with an AFUE of 95 will convert 95% of the gas or oil it consumes into useable warmth. Any furnace with an efficiency of 90% or higher is considered high-efficiency.

The Lennox SLP98V furnace currently offers an AFUE of 98.7, meaning it converts 98.7% of its fuel into useful heat for your home. With less than 2% fuel waste, it’s a very efficient way to weather the winter.

*The most precise and efficient air conditioner and heat pump you can buy (XC25/XP25)
Efficiency claim based on comparison of air conditioning and heat pump products’ SEER as published in AHRI (January 2013). Actual system combination efficientcy may vary; consult with us (J & R Heating) or AHRI for exact system efficiencies. Precision claim based on the cooling capacity range of the XC/XP25-036 units as compared to equivalent-sized competitive variable capacity compressor units.

HSPF, for rating electric heating and cooling

In the simplest terms, an electric heat pump is an air conditioner that can run in reverse. During the summer, it moves heat out of your home into the atmosphere. Then, during colder weather, it reverses the process and draws latent heat from the outside air into your home.

Since it doesn’t use fossil fuel, AFUE really doesn’t apply. So heat pumps actually have their own comparative efficiency rating, known as HSPF, or Heating Season Performance Factor. This is a measure of how efficiently an electric heat pump can warm your home when it’s in heating mode, over the course of an entire heating season.

HSPF is calculated by dividing the unit’s heat output over the course of the season by the amount of electricity required to produce that heat. Anything over 8 is considered high-efficiency, and may be eligible for utility rebates or tax credits.

When shopping for a heat pump, it’s important to remember that since it uses electricity to heat and cool, it will have both a SEER and an HSPF rating since it runs during multiple seasons.

This article was taken from the Comfort Matters Blog.  You can also read more comfort tips here.

8 Things to Check Before Calling for A/C Service

1. Have you checked the filter? – Dirt is the number one cause of system failure.

Filters

2. Is the gas meter turned on with your local utility provider?

3. Have you made sure the electrical power to the house is on? 

4. Are there batteries in the thermostat? – If the thermostat display doesn’t light up, change the batteries.

5. Did the circuit breaker get tripped? – Reset the breaker, if the breaker to your HVAC unit has been tripped.  Keep in mind that circuit breakers trip for safety reasons and if the breaker trips again, a certified electrician should look into the problem. Many times, the breaker isn’t the problem, it’s something in the wiring pulling more electricity than it should.

6. Check the condensation pump and/or A/C drain line? – If it is full or plugged empty the pan and flush the drain line.  An HVAC technician IS recommended for this.

7.  Have you made sure the thermostat is set to cool or heat?  

8.  Is the outdoor unit dirty and/or filled with cotton or debris?

Please note that articles from other places may mention more or different things to check, however, they most likely are not safe to check yourself.  I just read an article where an HVAC technician died by touching the filter cabinet.  They died just by trying to change the filter.  Change a filter is normally a safe thing to do.  If you ever question your safety when checking your HVAC equipment, call an certified and licensed HVAC company.

HVAC Cabinet