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Category: Cooling

09 Feb 2017
Nothing Stops a Trane

Advanced A/C Technology That Can Impact Your Omaha Home

The most important advanced A/C technology is high efficiency.

You can tell if an air conditioner is efficient based on its seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. The minimum allowed today is 13 SEER, but the most efficient options achieve incredible SEER ratings in the mid 20s. Look for at least 15 SEER for an ideal balance of up-front cost and affordable energy bills in your Omaha home.

Advanced air conditioning features must work together in order to achieve a high SEER. Examples of these include:

  • Thermal expansion valve: This valve widens and shrinks based on demand. When it’s especially hot outside, the valve opens wide to let as much refrigerant through as possible. When the weather is mild, the valve closes partway to conserve energy while still keeping your home comfortable.
  • Variable-speed air handler: The fan blows cooled air through the ductwork and into the living space. A variable-speed model allows the system to operate at the correct speed for cooling demand. It can switch between high, low and off instead of blasting air on high and shutting completely off the moment it reaches the target temperature. That way, more consistent temperatures keep every room comfortable.
  • Fan-only switch: With this advanced A/C technology, you can enjoy air circulation without running the compressor, thus saving energy and helping your home stay comfortable on cool Omaha summer evenings.
  • Filter check light: Know the right time to check the filter? You’ll never forget with this advanced A/C technology, which illuminates a light after a certain number of hours to remind you it’s time to check the filter. Change it if it’s dirty and reset the light.
  • Automatic-delay fan switch: When the fan and compressor turn off simultaneously, all the cooled air trapped in the ductwork goes to waste. This advanced A/C technology ensures that cooled air enters the living space before the fan turns off.
  • Quiet operation: It doesn’t contribute to energy efficiency, but quiet operation is important for enjoying your time outside while the compressor hums quietly in the background.

For more information about advanced A/C technology and how your home could benefit, please contact Fred’s Heating and Air in Omaha today.

09 Feb 2017
Insulation Benefits

How Attic Insulation Makes an Impact on Your Summer Cooling Bills

Many people realize that heat rises, and therefore, attic insulation is very important for keeping heat in during the winter. However, due to the hot temperatures that can develop in the attic, its insulation is also important for keeping the heat out during the summer.

Your home’s roof absorbs a lot of heat from the sun’s radiation during the daytime. The absorbed heat spreads through the structure and radiates into the attic air, heating it up. Because it’s in a confined space, the air in your attic becomes substantially hotter than the exterior air. Normal building materials readily absorb and transmit heat, so it’s important that you have sufficient insulation in your attic to help prevent the ceiling of rooms on the top level of your home from becoming hot and further radiating heat into your home.

Insulation is also needed around any ductwork that passes through the attic. It’s best if ducts are run through the insulated portion of your home, but if that’s not possible, quality insulation and sealing can help limit the losses.

Insulation isn’t as effective at blocking air movement as it is at blocking heat transfer, so you’ll need to take additional steps to keep airflow between your home and attic to a minimum. There are frequently gaps in your home’s construction around pipes, wiring, access hatches and other areas, so you’ll want to make sure those are well-sealed.

In contrast to the air sealing that should be done between your living area and attic, ventilation should be encouraged to expel the hotter attic air outdoors while simultaneously bringing in the cooler exterior air. For this task, you can make the sun’s radiation work in your favor by using it to run a solar-powered attic fan.

For more information about attic insulation or other ways you can help reduce your energy costs this summer, contact the experienced professionals at Fred’s Heating and Air. We’ve been providing for the heating and cooling needs of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area for over 25 years.

09 Feb 2017

Ceiling Fans: An Inexpensive Way to Keep Cool in Your Omaha Home

A nice breeze can help you cool off and stay cool, even on a hot summer day. This is called the windchill effect, which Omaha and Council Bluffs homeowners associate more with the winter windchill factor. When the outside temperature is rising this summer, create a windchill effect inside your home by properly installing and using ceiling fans.

Staying cool with overhead fans

Ceiling fans force air circulation in rooms, creating a wind-chill effect which can make the temperature feel up to 4 degrees cooler than it actually is. This could have a significant impact on reducing your air conditioner usage, even potentially eliminating the use of the A/C altogether on days that are only warm. Since these fans use much less electricity than an A/C, you’ll save energy and reduce the overall wear and tear on your A/C system.

Quality is important

As you’re browsing the home improvement store or surfing the web for ceiling fans, make sure you compare two important factors: energy efficiency and noise level (dB).

While spring and summer bargains are quite common for fans, the real cost is the long-term operating cost, or energy consumption. Higher-quality fans tend to be more efficient.

Poor-quality ceiling fans can make excessive noise, especially as components begin to wear out over time. Noisy fans can interfere with conversation and listening to TV or music, or just when you’re trying to relax.

Installation and operation

Ceiling fans with longer blades provide greater air circulation for larger spaces. For instance, a large fan with a blade diameter of 36 to 44 inches can be effective for a 200-square-foot room or larger, while a small- or medium-sized ceiling fan may circulate air efficiently in a room up to 150 square feet. Install the fan 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling for best results.

For more information about ceiling fans for your Omaha or Council Bluffs home, contact Fred’s Heating and Air.

09 Feb 2017

Common A/C Problems and How to Handle Them

Now that the warmer temperatures have arrived, your air conditioner will be getting a workout, especially if you’re home during the day. But what if problems arise?

Whether you have a high-efficiency air conditioner or a traditional A/C unit, it’s important to be aware of common A/C problems so you know when to contact your trusted HVAC technician.

Common A/C problems

  • Drainage problems: Keep the condensate drain free of clogs so it’s able to do its job effectively. This is a common problem with room air conditioners in humid weather. Also, keep in mind that room air conditioners may not drain as they should if they are not positioned correctly.
  • Refrigerant leaks: Your air conditioner works best when it has the proper refrigerant charge. A trained technician can check the amount of refrigerant and charge the system if needed.
  • Electric control failure: Make sure the compressor and fan controls are working correctly, as they have a tendency to wear out, especially when a system is oversized. Check electrical connections and contacts if possible in order to avoid corrosion of wire and terminals.
  • Sensor problems: Sometimes a room air conditioner’s thermostat sensor is knocked out of position, causing the unit to work improperly. You can adjust the sensor by carefully bending the wire that holds it in place.

Adequate maintenance is highly recommended in order to ensure that your air conditioner operates properly and continues to run smoothly for years to come. For more expert advice about how to handle common A/C problems, contact us at Fred’s Heating & Air. We’re proud to serve homeowners in and around Omaha and council bluffs.

09 Feb 2017
Fred's Heating & Air - Assess Needs

Don’t Buy a New HVAC System Without Having a Pro Perform Load Calculations

When you’re at the early stages of selecting a new HVAC system, be sure that you choose a contractor who includes load calculations as the first step.

These calculations assure you that the system you choose will be the right size for your home, including the size of the HVAC appliance and the ductwork. If one or both are improperly sized, your system may not reach its expected life or efficiency.

Contractors use software called Manuals J and D. Manual J calculates the size of the unit and Manual D addresses the ductwork design and size. These systems address the following factors about your home:

  • Cubic footage to condition
  • Insulation levels in the attic and walls
  • Number of windows, their efficiency, and orientation to the sun
  • Air infiltration rates
  • Layout of your home
  • Number of heat-producing appliances throughout the home and lighting types
  • Ages of household members and number
  • Preferred indoor temperatures
  • Landscaping factors

The contractor should carefully inspect your ductwork when doing the load calculations to verify that the system’s tight and adequately insulated. Depending on the size of the HVAC equipment you need, your ductwork may need to be modified to efficiently deliver the air.

When ducts are too small, they make noise and create back pressure on the blower. If they’re too large, the air won’t have the right velocity to reach your rooms efficiently.

The HVAC system itself needs to be the proper size, as well. If it’s too large, it will short cycle, which means it runs for short periods and turns on and off frequently. This drives up energy bills and creates excessive wear. Systems that are too small won’t be able to keep up with weather extremes.

Another benefit of conducting a load calculation is learning how improving your home’s insulation and sealing air leaks could reduce the size of equipment you need. Smaller systems have a lower cost and use less energy over time.

To learn more about load calculations, contact Fred’s Heating and Air. We’ve provided HVAC services for Omaha and Council Bluffs for more than two decades.

09 Feb 2017
Trane Ductless Unit

Ductless Mini-Split Maintenance You Can Perform This Weekend

A ductless mini-split system is an efficient method of heating and cooling a room, particularly in situations where ductwork isn’t available for a traditional ducted system. That said, maintenance on a mini-split unit is just as important as with other types of HVAC systems.

Unlike a ducted HVAC system, a ductless mini-split system doesn’t heat and cool the whole house, just the room where it’s installed. An outside unit compresses the refrigerant, which is then pumped through an insulated pipe to the indoor unit, where it cools the air flowing across it. When heating’s needed, the process is reversed.

As with any other type of device, a ductless mini split requires regular preventive maintenance to keep it running at peak efficiency and ensure that your electric bill is as low as possible. Most of these maintenance items are things you can do at home with little to no money spent.

  • Check the air filters regularly and clean or replace when dirt appears.
  • Keep the evaporator coils in the inside and the condenser coils outside clean. The better these coils can transfer heat, the more efficient the system will be. Dirt hinders heat transfer.
  • Open the indoor case and observe the balance on the blower assembly and fan wheel. If things look out of whack, contact your trusted HVAC professional.
  • Make sure the pipes and connections through the wall are all in good condition and not showing excess signs of wear.
  • Ensure that the outdoor unit and pipes are all properly secured to prevent vibrations that can damage the piping.

For more information about your ductless mini split and how to best maintain it, contact the pros at Fred’s Heating and Air. We have over 25 years of experience with residential and commercial heating and cooling systems, including ductless mini-split systems.

09 Feb 2017

Consider Upgrading to a Zoning System for Better Temperature Control

If you’re looking for a way to control your temperature this spring and beyond, upgrading to a zoning system could be the perfect solution.

No longer encumbered by the limitations of traditional heating and cooling setups, your comfort level will never be sacrificed again. Plus, upgrading to a zoning system will save both energy usage and associated costs in your Omaha or Council Bluffs area home.

How a zoning system works

Many years ago, the creation of a central cooling and heating system that distributed air throughout your home by way of a series of ducts was a triumphant breakthrough. It decreased the need for fireplaces, swamp coolers and other such appliances.

As great as this is, zoning systems represent a step forward from this “advanced” setup. These systems allow you to split your home into a series of “zones,” dividing up areas or entire rooms. Each zone has its own thermostat, all of which are controlled from a central unit. When a certain zone is too warm or too cold, simply turn the temperature up or down to achieve the desired temperature in that area while leaving the remaining areas as is.

The perfect comfort and energy-saving system

Being able to control separate areas of your home means that you can make individual adjustments to improve the comfort level of each room instead of trying to heat or cool your entire house at once. So if your children like their room to be a little cooler, or your bedroom is upstairs where it’s warmer, you can now have full control over those areas. No longer must a family member suffer due to their location or personal comfort level. And by cooling or heating individual areas, you’ll use less energy to maintain the desired level of comfort, which means your utility bills will be lower.

Are you upgrading to a zoning system and need more expert assistance? Do you have other questions concerning home comfort? Whatever your needs, be sure to contact the incredible HVAC professionals at Fred’s Heating & Air. We’ve been serving the heating and cooling needs of the Omaha and Council Bluffs area for 25 years.

09 Feb 2017

Heating And Cooling A 2-Story Home Addition You Have In Mind

Heating and cooling a two-story home addition takes careful planning and sound decision-making. You want to balance the remodeling expense with long-term comfort and energy efficiency. It’s important to work closely with a certified HVAC professional to achieve results you’ll be delighted with for many years — without breaking into your nest egg.

Home evaluation

Your HVAC professional should do a thorough energy evaluation of your home. The steps should include inspecting your insulation, noting your energy-use habits and calculating your heating and cooling load.

The evaluation will detail the energy and thermal performance of your home, areas that need improvement and a determination of the best heating and cooling option for your addition.

Extend your current system

Your HVAC professional may tell you that your current system is capable of handling the additional heating and cooling load. If it’s possible to simply extend your home’s ductwork, he may advise you to use your present system but also incorporate zoned heating and cooling, which could optimize the savings and comfort throughout your home.

Upgrade your system

If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, you may fare better with a new high-efficiency furnace or heat-pump system. Compared with older furnaces and heat pumps, a new high-efficiency system could possibly heat and cool your entire home — the new and the older parts — at a lower overall cost.

Independent system

Ductless mini splits are gaining recognition for delivering efficient heating and cooling to spaces where there’s no ductwork. Mini splits are compact heat pumps that use independent air handlers — as many as four — to provide heated and cooled air to a living area. It could be an ideal option for your addition.

For more information about heating about cooling that addition you’re planning to build, contact Fred’s Heating & Air. For 25 years we’ve provided expert HVAC service and installation to homeowners in the Omaha and Council Bluffs areas.