How zone control systems work

Last winter, I got injured in a car accident and spent almost a week in the hospital.  The experience was horrible. Although the doctors and nurses were wonderful, the hospital is unpleasant in every way.  I was in quite a bit of pain and simply wanted to sleep. The bed and pillow were uncomfortable, and the sheets were thin and scratchy.  The room was never dark enough, and there was constant noise. Nurses repeatedly entered the room and woke me up. The food was downright awful, and I hated the antiseptic smell of the air.  The worst was the freezing cold temperature. I understand that the hospital maintains a very low temperature to combat the spread of bacteria and infection, but I shivered the whole time. There were half a dozen vents in the ceiling, and no escape from the blast of air conditioning.  I kept asking if the thermostat setting could be raised just a bit and was assured it would be taken care of. Nothing was done, and the air conditioner never shut off.

I finally begged my husband to bring in warm clothes and a heavy blanket from home. I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital and enjoy my own bed.  At my house, I have zoned heating and cooling, as well as a smart thermostat. I can make adjustment to everything from fan speed to temperature from an app on my phone. I can target the bedroom without affecting the rest of the house. I was so much happier and more comfortable once I was back home. This new technology has made my home more comfortable. I highly recommend zone control and a smart thermostat.

Outdoor pollutants can cause issues with your HVAC system

A couple of years ago, my husband and I moved from a small apartment in the city into a big farmhouse in the country.  We were extremely excited to finally have a garage to park our cars, a big kitchen, plenty of closets, and a huge backyard.  Our home is surrounded by pastures and fields with a large pond in the backyard. We are located on a dirt road, nearly fifty miles from the nearest town.  We moved in during the fall, when the weather was already quite chilly. There was no opportunity to sit on the front porch, take advantage of the lawn, hang laundry on the clothesline or open the windows.  The furnace installed in the home is rather old and outdated, and it struggled to handle the severe winter temperatures. We hired an HVAC contractor to thoroughly clean and service the heating system, and got a free estimate for replacement.  We were hoping to upgrade to a more modern, energy efficient furnace within the next year. Because we are located in the northern part of the country, with long winters and short summers, we didn’t anticipate the need for air conditioning. However, once the weather warmed up and we opened our windows, we realized our mistake.  The dirt road is horribly dusty, and every time a car drives by, the dust wafts directly into the house. Sheep, cows and horses graze on the pastures surrounding our house, creating a terrible odor and drawing in an abundance of flies. We have no choice but to keep our windows closed, but then the house becomes overheated. Instead of spending our savings on a new furnace, we purchased a central cooling system.  

It’s always nice to have a friend who works in HVAC

At twenty-seven, my brother, Sam, has still not found a career path. At that age, most young men have finished college or trade-school, and are anxious to start earning money, if they aren’t doing so already. I don’t know whether he is lazy or merely indecisive. One thing is certain, those of us he has been sponging off are going broke, so he has to find a way of earning a living, and quick.

          Sam is good at fixing things so I have been advising him to get trained as a repair man. Whenever the HVAC system technician comes by to check our unit, my brother is constantly at his elbow. Whether he is changing filters or checking vents, Sam is always there. Sometimes I wonder if the technician isn’t tired of him, but they appear to get on well together. 

          Then, a few days ago, Sam surprised us all by electing to fix our HVAC system. It was still working but the air from the A/C had begun to get musty. I was so scared that he would mess up the entire unit, but we had to acknowledge his skill when fresh, clean air began flowing from air conditioner again, after Sam was done with it. My mother and sister joined me in encouraging him to get serious about becoming an A/C repair man.  With HVAC systems being installed in homes all over the country, my brother’s skills as an A/C technician would always be in demand. 

          The best thing about that is that since Sam will be earning his own money, the rest of us will be able to keep ours in our pockets! 

Reasons why you should call an HVAC technician for service

Most people don’t really think about their HVAC system. They just know that it blows cold air when it’s hot outside and warm air when it’s cold outside. They don’t think about the inner workings or installation procedures or even preventative measures and easy upkeep. But when something breaks, they definitely think about the cost! I personally have had some expensive repairs but also some not so expensive quick-fixes that have increased the life of my A/C unit. It’s nice to have an A/C serviceman you can trust because no one wants to go without heat and air conditioning or have to pay for a whole new unit before they were financially ready. Some of the preventative maintenance I have been told about requires a professional, but some of it I can do on my own. For example, I can easily replace the air filters. But most of the work requires the special knowledge and expertise of a certified HVAC repairman. The can check the air flow and heat exchanger. The know how to replace any worn out parts on the unit. And all HVAC techs should be able to clean evaporator and condenser coils and clean pans and drain lines. To my knowledge, you can basically purchase preventative maintenance typically through a contract. You would have scheduled visits where the HVAC service providers would come to your house to provide the cleaning and any basic repairs. Obviously older HVAC units would require more visits and may cost more, but it’s better than having to replace the entire heating and cooling unit before its time!

An electric heat pump can be a great choice

I am an exceptionally light sleeper.  Every little noise wakes me up out of a deep sleep.  I get disturbed by traffic, birds, neighbors, and barking dogs.  In the winter, whenever the furnace starts up, I am woken up. Although I’ve had the furnace professionally serviced, I still hear the rattle of the ductwork and the whoosh of air coming from the supply vents.  I’ve invested quite a bit of money into insulating the ductwork, and adding soundproofing insulation to the walls and ceilings. I still need to sleep with earplugs to avoid hearing the heating system. In the summer, I tried getting by with box fans and open windows.  I hoped that the operation of the fans would drown out the exterior noise pollution, but it didn’t work. When a road crew started construction directly in front of my house, I knew it was time to invest in air conditioning. I was worried, however, that the air conditioner would be as noisy as the furnace. 

I started researching to figure out which make and model achieved the lowest sound levels. I came across electric heat pumps, which are supposed to be exceptionally quiet. Although a heat pump is quite expensive to purchase and install, they are wonderfully energy efficient. Plus, the heat pump provides both heating and cooling capacity. 

In the summer, it works exactly like a central cooling system. When the weather turns colder, it reverses operation, finding ambient heat in the outside air and pumping it indoors. The ductless heat pump is far more energy efficient than my furnace, and much quieter. Unfortunately, it is only able to handle demand until the outside temperature drops below freezing.  At that point, the furnace takes over and I need to rely on my ear plugs again.

Updating our new house with a new HVAC system

My husband, Joe, and I recently purchased a very large, extremely old house.  It is in need of some major renovations. We’re planning to replace the roof, install new windows, gut the kitchen, and update the wiring and plumbing.  We hope to make the home far more energy efficient. Because of the many rooms, high ceilings, and big windows, the heating and cooling bills are going to be a major drain on our budget.  Improving insulation, weatherstripping and caulking are necessary projects. Joe and I are also looking into making some upgrades to the heating and cooling equipment. We’ve been consulting with a local HVAC contractor, who’s provided some helpful and knowledgeable recommendations.  He suggested we invest in a zoned controlled system, which would enhance comfort while saving us money.

With the installation of a thermostat in each room and a series of valves within the existing duct system, we would be able to set independent temperature. There’d be no need to heat or cool empty rooms, and we could cater to personal preferences.  We could target those rooms that tend to feel a bit overheated or chilly. Joe and I are still debating over whether or not to replace the furnace and air conditioner. While the heating and cooling units are still operational, they are old and not exceptionally energy efficient. Combining modern, efficient components with zoning capability would significantly trim our monthly energy bills.  Despite the expense of the project, I think we would recover our investment within five years. Plus, the heating and cooling system would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, eliminating any repair costs.

A new heating system will change the feel of your home!

When I visited my parent’s house the other weekend, I was stunned with the change they made. I knew something was different as soon as I stepped into their residence. When I finally couldn’t put my finger on what it was, they told me they had radiant heated floors installed. They said they also got a really nice smart thermostat! I was so impressed. I should have known with how warm my feet felt when I walked inside. The air quality was really excellent and there was no air blowing from the HVAC vents. It was just pure heavenly heat radiating from the floors nice and slowly. They explained that the radiant heat rises so slowly that it is very energy efficient. They explained it’s the main reason they decided to have them installed because they wanted a highly energy efficient heating system and that was the best system for the cost. My mother was bragging how she never felt chilly tiles when we got out of the shower in the mornings and I have to admit, I was jealous! I wanted to experience that kind of luxury; why didn’t my parents have that sort of heating system when I was still living with them! I guess radiant heated floors were not very common back in the days though. Well, I enjoyed the radiant heated floors so much, I talked to my wife about it non-stop. She got just as excited about it as I was and we decided to call our HVAC company to have radiant heated floors installed! Talk about a life-changing experience!

How to get through an HVAC emergency

If you want to learn a valuable lesson, try the risk of going into the winter months without getting your HVAC system tune-up. You really should get an HVAC system tune-up twice per year to keep everything running smoothly. You don’t want to face a serious HVAC system breakdown in the midst of the winter season. This happened to me and I really wasn’t a happy camper. I ended up having to get emergency HVAC system repair and that cost me a large amount of money. That pretty much made me broke for the rest of the winter season. Now I know to always get those HVAC system tune-ups before the harsh weather seasons. I’m talking about the winter and the summer seasons. While it’s worse to experience a serious malfunction with your HVAC in the winter, it’s not very comfortable when it happens in the summer season either. It’s more likely you will need emergency repairs in the winter however, because you can’t survive the freezing temperatures without a working heating system! Sometimes you will need emergency HVAC services in the summer too if you are experiencing a heatwave. You would be surprised at how many people have HVAC system breakdowns in the midst of a crucial heatwave. This is why HVAC companies get really backed up during times like this. They also make a large amount of money because of all the people who opt for emergency services. They are able to charge up to 3 times the regular cost of HVAC repairs when it’s considered emergency repair. Do yourself a favor, get your HVAC system tune-ups so you don’t face this emergency situation!

The benefits of HVAC maintenance

If you’ve never heard of HVAC system maintenance plans, you might not believe what I’m going to tell you. You can get an HVAC system maintenance plan with pretty much any legit HVAC company. Not all of them will be up front and tell you about the maintenance plans, but this is why you need to bring it up and ask them about what they have. HVAC maintenance plans allow you to pay a much lower amount than what you normally would with just calling up for HVAC system maintenance. They will contact you about your system maintenance and repair dates. There are even plans where you can have them cover everything including your air filter changes. Of course, plans like that cost a little more money, but most plans are really great and save you a ton of money. Just think, you can have all your HVAC system maintenance covered and you won’t have to worry about a thing.

You will pay much less money than what you normally would and you even get priority scheduling. You get up to a certain amount of repairs on your HVAC system for no additional cost, and if anything goes wrong with your HVAC system, you are covered! Having this type of plan with your HVAC company is so good, I can’t imagine why anybody wouldn’t want to get enrolled with a good HVAC maintenance plan. I have been on a plan like this for a few years now and my savings are through the roof! Because of getting on a good plan, I have been able to afford a new smart thermostat and a few other nice things around the house. I couldn’t be happier!

What are my options for a heating system?

No matter where you live there are periods of hot and cold. The cold times are the moments that I personally cannot stand. I have moved all over the world and one thing has remained constant, I have always owned a heating system. The type of heater I have experienced has greatly changed overtime. A lot of factors depend on the heating equipment you have. Sometimes a heating device is typical for the climate. There are times a certain heating option is only offered in a specific area. The home layout also can play a key factor in the style of heating equipment you choose. No matter what though, a quality heater is what every person needs in order to get through a winter season. I have experienced winters of 6-8 solid months and cold seasons that were only a few weeks. Even with the vastly different temperatures and phases of time, I was glad to have my heater at my side. So now brings the question, what kind of heater do I want to own?

There are many options for heating equipment. There is the basic furnace that can be either an oil, gas or electric based unit. Which one is better for you? Check out my other blogs titled Heating systems for northerns or Heating systems for southerners based on where you live. Right now I am just breaking down the options that a person could choose from. After the furnace, there is also a boiler system. This is the giant heating system that sits in a person’s basement. It can be hooked up to piping that goes into the baseboards, within the floorboards or even come up through openings in the house. You don’t need to get a boiler system in order to have heated floorboards however. Hydronic heating does require boiler installation and a new floor put down. However, electric heated floors are just electric mats that are placed under the floorboards. No mess or stress with this! Another option for milder climates would be a heat pump system that provides both heating and cooling. All systems are expensive because you rely on them almost daily. They are also a significant investment lasting 10-15 years. You get what you pay for. Don’t just buy whatever is convenient. Consider your heating options and fully research.