All About Hybrid Heat

Hybrid heat is a heating system that combines multiple energy sources to provide warmth to a building. The most common type of hybrid heat system combines an electric heat pump with a gas furnace. The heat pump is typically used for milder weather, and the gas furnace gets used for colder temperatures. This allows the system to take advantage of the efficiency of the heat pump while still providing sufficient heat during extremely cold weather. How Does It Work? A heat pump works by absorbing heat from the air or ground outside and transferring it into the building. In the winter, a heat pump gets used to pull heat from the outside air or ground and pump it into the building, providing warmth. When temperatures are above freezing, heat pumps are typically more efficient than traditional heating systems such as electric resistance heaters or gas furnaces. A gas furnace, on the other hand, is a type of heating system that burns natural gas or propane to produce heat. The heat generated by the combustion of gas gets used to warm up the air, which is then distributed throughout the building using a system of ducts. For the above-freezing temperature range,...

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How to Get More Hot Water in Your Home

Hot water is in-demand daily to keep you and your home clean. The problem is that there never seems to be enough to do everything before it runs out. Let’s look at steps you can take to increase the hot water in your home to cover baths, dishwashing, showers, and laundry. Insulate Those Pipes One surefire way to keep more heated water throughout your system is to have your hot water pipes insulated. Heated water leaves the tank and travels through the piping system to faucets used to feed your baths, sinks, dishwashers, and clothes washer. Bare and poorly insulated hot water pipes will cool the water as it moves through them. A professional can examine your system and encase it where needed. Have Heating Elements Inspected Heating element designs vary depending on the energy source — electric, gas, or solar — but these components often need replacing after six to 10 years of service. This metallic rod sits in the water and heats it directly. When it is not working, your system will not warm the water to the temperature set on the water tank’s thermometer. Service technicians can inspect the heating element and change it out if needed....

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Can You Hide Your Outdoor HVAC Unit?

Whether you have a heat pump or a traditional HVAC system, you likely have an outdoor condensing unit that plays a critical role in keeping your home comfortable. These outdoor units are designed to be functional rather than look nice, and it’s for this reason that you may want to hide yours. Fortunately, there are several options to keep your outdoor HVAC unit from view. Precautions When Hiding Your HVAC Unit It’s important to note that outdoor HVAC units need clearance around them to function properly. If they don’t have enough clearance, they don’t operate efficiently and will have a shorter lifespan. Specifically, these units should have at least 5 feet of clearance above them and 1 to 2 feet of clearance around their sides. Plant Shrubs One of the easiest things you can do is plant shrubs to hide your outdoor HVAC unit. In addition to hiding the unit, shrubs are a great way to beautify your yard. Just make sure you keep them properly pruned so they don’t interfere with the airflow your outdoor unit needs. Install a Picket Fence This is a great choice if you already have a picket fence around your yard. While you can...

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Why is My Heat Pump in Defrost Mode?

Heat pumps have a defrost mode designed to prevent damage and maintain efficiency. When it gets freezing in your area, you may notice your heat pump has stopped delivering warm air to your home even though it’s on. This usually isn’t anything that’s a cause for concern. What Is Defrost Mode? When it gets below 32 degrees outdoors, frost can build up on the coils in your heat pump’s outdoor unit. This can cause damage, so the heat pump will switch to defrost mode. This mode will warm the coils and melt the frost. Defrost mode can come on several times to prevent frost from building up. How Do I Know My Heat Pump is in Defrost Mode? When defrost mode is on, your heat pump won’t heat your home. The outdoor fan turns off, so cool air isn’t delivered into your home. Some heat pump models have a light that indicates defrost mode is on. how Long Does Defrost Mode Last? How long defrost mode lasts depends on your heat pump’s model. In general, it lasts between 5 and 15 minutes. This mode shouldn’t affect the temperature inside your home. How Do I Know if There’s a Problem? The...

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The Basics of How a Plumber Installs a New Water Heater

When you need to replace your home’s water heater, you may quickly realize the job can call for tools and skills that you might not have. You may need to hire a professional plumber to handle it for you. However, you also may be curious about what the plumber will actually do when putting in this appliance. Setting Up the Tank The plumber you hire will first set the new tank in its place and install a new T&P valve for it. It is critical you avoid using the valve from the old water heater. You need to use a new one each time you replace this appliance. Your plumber will also install the water heater’s discharge pipe. They may put a bucket under the pipe if there is no drain under the water heater. Connecting the Water After your plumber sets up the water heater, they will then connect it to the water. This step is critical, and your plumber will also ensure that the new water heater does not leak. Part of connecting the water to the water heater can also involve: Installing and securing the heater’s fittings Securing the compression nut Installing seismic straps Filling up and...

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Is It True Mini-Splits Are More Efficient Than Central Air?

Mini-splits are an option to cool your home instead of central air. You may have heard they’re more efficient than central air and are wondering if this is true. They are more efficient than central air in three ways. Higher Energy Efficiency Mini split systems are highly energy efficient as they use advanced technology. This allows them to use little energy, which saves you money on your energy bills. They use variable-speed compressors, which means they only run as hard as they need to. Most central air systems only operate at one or two speeds. SEER is how air conditioning is rated. The higher the SEER rating of a mini split or central air, the more energy efficient it is. Some mini-split systems have a SEER rating that is 30 or more. The SEER rating of central air is usually about 14, with highly energy efficient ones having a rating up to 23. Zoning Mini-splits have built-in zoning. Many models can have up to four indoor air handling units. Each one can be individually operated. This gives you the ability to only cool rooms that you are using. With central air, you have to cool your entire home. Mini Splits...

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How to Maintain Good Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

You spend a lot of time in your home, so you want its air quality to be as good as possible. There are several simple things you can do to keep your home’s air fresh and healthy. Change the Air Filters The air filter in your HVAC system traps dust, pollen, pet dander, and other pollutants, but it needs to be clean to do its job properly. You should replace it every one to three months. Change it more often if someone in your home smokes, you have pets, or a member of your family has allergies or asthma. Vacuum and Dust Regularly A lot of dust and dirt falls on your carpets. That’s in addition to whatever gets tracked in from outside. You should vacuum your home a few times a week so the air quality stays at its best. Dust using a damp cloth, as a dry one just stirs dust up rather than removing it. Schedule Annual Tune-Ups Schedule annual HVAC tune-ups to keep your indoor air quality high. If you have a furnace and air conditioner, each of them needs an annual maintenance inspection and cleaning. A heat pump needs two because it works throughout the...

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When Does My Landlord Have to Repair My AC?

No one should be stuck without air conditioning during the sweltering summer days. While homeowners can easily call for repairs, tenants are often at the mercy of their landlords. As a tenant, you have to rely on your lease agreement for many of your repair needs. Here’s how long your landlord may be able to leave you without vital air conditioning. Landlord-Tenant Laws Your landlord is legally bound to the stipulations in your lease. If your lease puts you in charge of common maintenance issues, your landlord may not have any legal reason to repair your AC. However, if the AC was working when you moved in and your landlord is responsible for it, they have to repair your unit as soon as possible. The exact timeframe in which your landlord must complete repairs depends on your state. Your landlord may have to fix your AC in as little as 10 days or within as many as 30. If the repair is directly affecting your safety, you likely won’t have to wait as long. The best way to learn about your landlord’s responsibilities is to research your landlord-tenant laws. Other emergencies that may speed up repair times include leaking water...

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3 Reasons Why Your AC Is Leaking Water

Warm springtime weather and sweltering-hot summer temperatures will take a toll on your Eureka, CA air conditioner. If you notice that your AC is leaking water, you might wonder if there’s a problem. Here are a few of the reasons why air conditioners leak water and when you should call for an inspection and repair. 1. Clogged Condensate Drain Pipe The most common reason why air conditioners leak water is a clogged condensate drain pipe. When moisture condenses out of your home’s air, it turns from a gas into a liquid state. The water collects in the drain pan and filters into the pipe. Algae, biofilm, dust and other debris may clog the pipe. When the water has nowhere else to go, it leaks out of the pipe or the drain pan. A leaky condensate pipe will feel wet, and you may notice a puddle on the floor near the pipe. 2. Rusted Drain Pan After many years of holding water, the drain pan may develop rust or corrosion. Once the drain pan has a crack or hole, the water will leak. You might notice a puddle near the air handler. If the water leaks into the air handler, the...

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3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy a Used Furnace

The idea of buying a used furnace is an appealing option for anyone who doesn’t want to spend money on a brand-new unit. However, a used furnace often ends up being more trouble than it is worth. Let’s look at some reasons why used furnaces aren’t ideal. Potential Safety Hazard You can’t test drive a furnace. You will either need a lot of HVAC knowledge or a licensed professional to perform quality checks. Most sellers usually do not keep up with performance or maintenance reports. Many internal and external safety hazards could also go unnoticed when purchasing a used furnace. Furthermore, used units most likely won’t come with a warranty, which could mean more repair costs out of your pocket. Installation Issues Furnaces purchased from a private seller are not furnaces that HVAC companies can trust. They don’t typically come with the appropriate history documentation that contractors need for installation or repairs. This makes contractors wary because of potential liabilities and they may refuse to serve you. The most prevalent safety hazards are due to poor operation or installation and is not something you should attempt to do yourself. Your Furnace May Not Pass Inspection Gas companies and licensed professionals...

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