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Category: Heating

09 Feb 2017
Trane Ductless Unit

Ductless Mini Splits Can Do a Better Job in Winter If You Follow These Tips

Ductless mini splits are an effective, economical way to provide zoned heating or cooling to rooms in your Omaha home that lack traditional ductwork. Here are some great tips on how to get the most out of yours this winter.

  • Start at the beginning – To achieve maximum heating efficiency, savings and comfort from your ductless mini splits, first improve your home’s thermal envelope. Your doors, foundation, outer walls, roof and windows are all that stand between the outdoors and the indoors, and their efficiency level determines the amount of heat transfer between the two areas. Seal any air leaks with caulking or weatherstripping, check the roof for any loose or missing shin
  • gles and consider adding more insulation to your attic to a minimum level of R-38.
  • Size matters – As temperatures drop outdoors, so does the amount of heat your mini split can put out. Size the unit according to the average low temperature, which in Omaha is between 10 and 15 degrees.
  • Go undercover – Provide shelter from the elements for the outdoor compressor unit, protecting it on all sides without restricting airflow.
  • Location, location, location – The indoor component should be mounted about 18 inches from the floor with an unobstructed path to the living area. This increases efficiency and comfort by drawing in cooled air for heating and directing the warm air down low where it can mix in with the cooler air. It also provides indirect airflow and increased comfort while ensuring easy access to clean filters or perform maintenance.
  • Don’t forget the pipes – To prevent the transfer of noise between the indoor and outdoor components, it’s recommended to use at least 15 feet of pipe between them.
  • Do your math – Balance is needed between the efficiency of the unit and reduced operating temperatures. In warmer climates, more emphasis can be placed on efficiency, allowing you to install a unit with a higher heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF).

For more information on ductless mini splits, contact us at Fred’s Heating and Air. We have over 25 years of experience and are proud to serve homeowners in Omaha and the surrounding areas.

09 Feb 2017
Fred's Stands Behind Trane

Fall Maintenance: Time to Get Busy

Fall is a transitional time of year, when the cooling season is over and heating season is on the horizon. Now is the time to prepare your home for the winter weather ahead and start ticking the items off your fall maintenance checklist. Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Exterior

  • Inspect the foundation. Cracks or gaps in your foundation walls can let in moisture, resulting in ice damage or mold. Walk the perimeter of your home and fill in any affected areas with caulking.
  • Clean your gutters. Once all the leaves have fallen, remove the debris from your gutters and flush them with water to help clean the downspouts. Check all the joints and repair or tighten brackets.
  • Seal your garage door. Weatherstrip the sides and bottom of your garage door, to prevent drafts and help keep small animals out.

Interior

  • Perform annual preventive maintenance. Your contractor will clean, inspect, lubricate and service your heating equipment, helping to increase its efficiency and life span, and prevent costly repairs down the road.
  • Change your batteries. As part of annual fall maintenance, change the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to help ensure your family’s safety.
  • Beef up your insulation. Check attic insulation levels to prevent heat loss through your ceiling. Aim for an R-value of R-38 or between 10 and 14 inches.
  • Check for air leaks. On a windy day, take a strip of tissue paper from room to room checking for movement around doors, windows or wall outlets. Seal the affected areas with caulking or weatherstripping where applicable.
  • Change your filters. Regular filter changes help keep your heating system and whole-house humidifier running efficiently and may help cut down on repairs. Once a filter is dirty it can no longer trap particles such as dust and mold, which may continue to circulate through your indoor air and damage your equipment.

For more tips on fall maintenance, furnace tune-ups, or to schedule annual maintenance, contact the experts at Fred’s Heating & Air. For more than 25 years we have been providing quality service to the residents of Omaha and the surrounding areas.

09 Feb 2017
Insulation Benefits

Find Out How Insulation Benefits Your Home in All Seasons

Despite the commonly held belief that home insulation is chiefly a protection against the cold temperatures of winter, a well-insulated home provides ample benefits throughout the year.

Upgrading a home’s insulation is an investment that decreases your current energy bills and will continue to pay dividends for years to come. The major insulation benefits are threefold: all-year comfort, all-year savings and all-year noise control.

Improved comfort

Home insulation is comparable to a thermos — by creating a seal, it keeps cold things colder and hot things hotter for extended periods. In the summer, insulation stops warm air from seeping in, and in the winter, it prevents warm air from escaping. Homeowners who have well-insulated houses are able to keep a constant indoor temperature throughout the year, providing indoor comfort no matter the season.

Increased savings

Because 50 to 70 percent of the energy used in homes is consumed through heating and cooling, energy bills skyrocket in extreme temperatures when air is most likely to escape or transfer. One of the biggest insulation benefits is its ability to act as a barrier against thermal transfer, thereby allowing homeowners to run HVAC systems less frequently but more effectively in both hot and cold temperatures. HVAC systems that are used less intensively last longer and require fewer repairs overall, leading to improved lifetime savings for the thrifty homeowner.

Enhanced sound control

Insulation benefits include its absorption and deflection of sounds that might otherwise penetrate your walls. This includes noises coming from inside your home, muffling sounds between rooms and floor levels. Especially helpful for soundproofing against interior and exterior noises are blown-in cellulose and fiberglass insulation types. Quieter homes are an asset all year long.

Insulation benefits everyone in the family, providing a quieter and more comfortable indoor environment, while also providing all-year savings for the homeowner. For more information about improving the insulation in your home, contact Fred’s Heating and Air. We’ve been providing quality HVAC services for the greater Omaha and Council Bluffs areas for over 25 years.

09 Feb 2017
Power Goes Out

Be Ready When the Power Goes Out in Your Omaha Home

Like any region of the United States, Omaha can experience power outages due to severe storms or system overload. It’s better to assume this can happen at any time than to be caught unprepared when the power goes out.

Handling the heat

Air conditioner use is one cause for widespread power outages on hot summer days. Heat can cause serious health issues for anyone, but it’s especially dangerous for babies, young children, the elderly and the infirm. Here are tips for dealing with the heat when the power goes out:

  • Keep well hydrated.
  • Open windows to promote airflow.
  • Take cool showers.
  • If you have ice available, wrap it in a cloth and use that on pulse points occasionally for instant relief from the heat.
  • Heat stroke is an emergency. If a family member develops dry, hot skin; dizziness; fast heartbeat/pulse; confusion; headache and/or a high temperature, seek immediate medical help.

Handling the cold

In winter, temperatures in a home may fall rapidly. If your home is poorly insulated and it’s bitterly cold outside, you may need to seek shelter elsewhere. Otherwise, follow these precautions:

  • Never run a generator or fuel-powered heater in a confined space, including your garage. Doing so can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can sneak up so quickly that you may not be able to save yourself.
  • Wear several layers of clothing to trap body heat.
  • Do not use your gas oven for heating.

Candle safety

Flashlights are a safer choice for emergency lighting. If you must use candles, keep them on a level surface and away from any combustible items.

Keeping food safe

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
  • After four hours without power, place refrigerated food in a cooler with ice. Leave the frozen food in the freezer — it will be fine for 24 to 48 hours. However, some foods should not be refrozen.

For more information about things to consider when the power goes out, or other home safety and comfort issues, please contact the team at Fred’s Heating and Air. We’ve been proudly serving the Omaha area for 25 years.

09 Feb 2017
Superior Heating

Superior Heating and Cooling Service Makes Fred’s the Company to Call

Winter temperatures in Omaha and Council Bluffs can drop greatly, while summer temps can rise to pretty steep heights. In order to keep your family comfortable all year round, you need the assistance of a heating and cooling service with well-trained HVAC professionals to ensure that your equipment is working properly.

Fred’s Heating and Air is your solution in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area. Find out why:

  • Experience: With a proven track record, we at Fred’s have demonstrated our commitment to customer service and our knowledge of the industry. In fact, we have been providing heating and cooling services to the area for a quarter of a century.
  • Recognized achievements: Fred’s has an “A+” Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and strives to maintain this perfect ranking. And, the BBB is not the only one to acknowledge the services we provide. In fact, Angie’s List gave us an “A” as well, giving us a perfect report card.  We also won the Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2012, which is only given to 5% of HVAC companies in Omaha.
  • Dependability: You can count on us to deliver service on time and when you need it most. You won’t be waiting around for hours for one of our technicians to arrive.
  • Quality work: We don’t cut corners, because we realize that your family’s comfort is at stake, and our goal is to satisfy each and every one of our customers.  Our main focus is gaining your trust and business for life.

 

If you’re looking for excellent service and advice on your heating and cooling systems in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area, please contact Fred’s Heating and Air today. We can answer all of your questions regarding heating, cooling and energy efficiency. Or we’d be happy to schedule a repair or installation.

09 Feb 2017
Outside Unit Freds Air Conditioner

Does a Heat Pump Cooling System Need Special Attention?

It’s pretty simple — if your Omaha or Council Bluffs heat pump is operating efficiently, it’ll save you energy. There are certain things you can do to ensure your heat pump cooling system is running effectively.

For instance, you shouldn’t set the thermostat on your heat pump back if doing so will cause the backup heating to switch on. These backup systems are usually more expensive to run. If you’re using your fan continuously, it can greatly reduce your heat pump’s performance. If it can’t be helped, try to opt for a high-efficiency fan motor with a variable speed. And when operating your system, choose the thermostat’s auto fan setting.

Maintenance

Like most other heating and cooling systems, regular Omaha hvac maintenance will keep a heat pump cooling system running effectively and efficiently. This will keep your energy consumption down while saving on utility bills. Here are some important maintenance tasks:

  • Air filters should be checked on a monthly basis and changed or cleaned as needed. Try to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions where possible. If your fans, filters and coils become dirty, they will greatly reduce the airflow, putting a strain on your system and decreasing its performance, perhaps even damaging its compressor.
  • Outdoor coils should be cleaned whenever they look dirty. Occasionally switch off the power to your fan so you can clean it. Be sure to keep clutter and any vegetation away from your outdoor unit.
  • Always clean the return and supply registers within your home, and if the fins are bent, straighten them out.

Annual service

A professional HVAC technician should look over your heat pump cooling system once a year. They can carry out the following checks:

  • Inspect the filters, ducts, indoor coil and blower for obstructions or dirt.
  • Find and seal leaky ducts.
  • Measure the airflow.
  • Measure the refrigerant charge and check for leaks.
  • Check the electric terminals, and if needed, tighten and clean connections before applying a non-conductive coating.
  • Inspect belts.
  • Lubricate motors.
  • Check the thermostat and electric controls.

For more information or advice on servicing the heat pump cooling system in your Omaha or Council Bluffs area home, contact the experts at Fred’s Heating and Air today.

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
Furnace Check

Weatherizing Your Home: Have You Scheduled Your Heating-System Tune-up?

Now is the time to learn about the importance of weatherizing your home in preparation for the cold winter months in Omaha. Weatherizing is all about improving your home’s energy efficiency as the temperature drops outside. Some ways to weatherize your home include plugging air leaks, improving attic insulation, replacing single-pane windows with newer, Energy Star-qualified windows and sealing ductwork leaks.

Another important part of weatherizing your home in the fall is to schedule a heating-system tune-up. Set up a visit from a qualified technician whether you have a furnace or a heat pump. The technician will perform certain inspections good toward weatherizing your home this winter.

All heating-system tune-ups

Many inspections apply to any type of heating system. These inspections include:

  • Checking the ductwork and blower for dust or dirt buildup
  • Sealing the ductwork if any leaks are found and replace missing insulation where needed
  • Changing the air filter
  • Cleaning and tightening electrical connections
  • Tightening belts or replacing them, if worn out
  • Verifying correct thermostat operation

Furnace tune-ups

Some inspections are furnace-specific, such as:

  • Checking the pipe and chimney for deterioration
  • Inspecting the heat exchanger and combustion chamber for cracks, which can leak carbon monoxide and be very dangerous
  • Having a combustion-efficiency test performed

Heat pump tune-up

For heat pumps, there are two unique inspections that take place. These are:

  • Checking the indoor coil for dirt and cleaning it, if necessary
  • Verifying the refrigerant charge and making adjustments as needed

Benefits

All of these inspections provide benefits that make them worthwhile. Some benefits include:

  • More efficient operation
  • Lower heating bills
  • Longer equipment life
  • Greater dependability all season long
  • Quieter and safer, when running
  • Lower fuel consumption, making it better for the environment

Omaha residents should plan to have their heating equipment tuned up every fall for optimal performance each year and for seasons to come. For more information about weatherizing your home with a heating-system tune-up, please contact us at Fred’s Heating and Air in Omaha today. Our experience dates back to 1987.