Monday, September 17, 2018

Homebuyer's Guide to Inspecting an HVAC System

When shopping for a new home, buyers often worry that something will break as soon as they receive the keys—which is why the professional inspection is so important. However, there are a few things potential buyers should look for to know the condition of their new HVAC system.

Do a Quick Visual Inspection 
The front entrance to a home

When considering a house, buyers are usually most focused on the practical aspects, such as the layout of the kitchen or the number of bedrooms. As with many things, the HVAC system can be out of sight and out of mind—making it the last thing most people think about. Taking a peek at the system won’t give the buyer too much information, but it may be a good way to raise a few initial red flags if needed, especially if there are any signs of age or unusual noises. An older system will need replacement sooner and will likely lack the energy efficiency of newer ones, while unusual noises could indicate a serious problem within the system. These are concerns to raise during the professional inspection.

Note the Energy Label

While giving the heating and cooling equipment a quick once-over, the buyer should look for the yellow energy label, which lists the unit’s energy efficiency and operating costs as compared to similar units. Boilers and furnaces also show ratings based on several factors, including annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The most important thing to note here is that the rating assumes the unit is brand new, and unless it was properly maintained, it’s probably not as efficient as it states, which is something to consider as you think about your comfort in a new home.

Look for Clues

Buyers can ask the seller directly about any past maintenance work, repairs made to the system, and existing warranties, but sometimes clues are visible around the units. Often, repair technicians leave tickets attached to or near the unit to show when they’ve serviced it, noting the date and what service was performed. If it appears that the machine has had frequent repairs, especially in areas like the compressor or blower motor, then the unit may be getting close to its operational age limit.

If you live in or around Middletown and have encountered issues with your HVAC system in a newly purchased home, or if you’re selling and want to replace the system with a different HVAC product, Larson’s Heating & Cooling, Inc can repair or replace your unit at a fair price, with financing available. Give us a call at 845-344-3030 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-obligation estimate.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Guide to HVAC for Tiny Homes

Image of a HVAC unit
Tiny homes are a fascinating new trend that offers many environmental, financial, and minimalist benefits. But does working in such a condensed space mean changes to traditional HVAC installation? Here's a quick guide to HVAC for tiny homes.

Approved Furnaces

Tiny homes have smaller and less ductwork than conventionally sized homes. Because of the condensed space, using furnaces is a heating solution that can offer comfort to the entire home, especially for our cold New York winters. These furnaces should be approved or specially made for tiny homes. For eco-friendly tiny house owners, these furnaces can use a variety of fuel sources, including electricity, natural gas, liquid propane, and oil. However, it's important to work with a qualified HVAC contractor to ensure that the furnace is efficient and safe.

Window Air Conditioning Units

Much like tiny homes need appropriately sized furnaces, smaller window AC units are a common HVAC product that can also offer plenty of cooling power for such a small space. Many tiny house owners find it easy to retrofit their home to add an AC unit, and window units will only set owners back a few hundred dollars.

Ductless Mini-splits

Mini-splits are a popular choice for many tiny house owners, as they are compact, easy to work into any minimalist's aesthetics, and don't require a home duct system. These units work much like HVAC systems for larger properties: they feature external condensers with fans running on the inside. For this reason, these ductless units are often very quiet, which is another plus for those living in small spaces. For those with tiny homes that have internal HVAC systems, mini-splits' pipes can also be run through the walls.

Roof Vent Fans

For those living in an especially small tiny home, a full HVAC system may not even be necessary. Heat naturally rises, and many tiny house owners find success by installing venting fans through a small hole cut into the roof. These fans use minimal power and are a common feature in many RVs. The only concern with roof vent fans is that if they aren't installed and sealed properly, they can result in leaks.

Desk and Ceiling Fans

Finally, a popular and budget-friendly option with many tiny house owners use is simply to use small desk or ceiling fans to keep air circulating. With a little trial and error, it’s possible to find the ideal placement where these fans will pack the most punch. There's one major disadvantage standalone fans have versus other cooling solutions, though: they can often take up quite a bit of space, which may already be in short supply.

Owning a tiny home is all about cutting back, but it doesn't mean cutting back on comfort. If you're interested in learning more about HVAC solutions for a tiny (or standard sized) home, or if you just need a repair, call Larson's Heating & Cooling, Inc at 845-344-3030 today!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tips for Setting the Thermostat to Save Costs on Energy Bills

Everyone wants to save money on their energy bills, but searing summers and frigid winters can drive the costs of heating and cooling to extremes. Fortunately, there are some simple ways that homeowners can control their energy bills throughout the seasons.

Manage the Thermostat at Home and When Away 
A finger lowering a thermostat that is displaying a money symbol in Middletown, NY

During the summer, set the thermostat to 78 degrees. If the residence is vacant for more than four hours, consider raising it to 88 degrees. Estimates show that for every degree over 78 that an interior thermostat is set at, an energy bill drops by 6 to 8 percent. The less the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower the cooling bill.

Lower the Thermostat During Winter

During the winter months, try to keep the heater set at 68 degrees during the day. states that reducing a home's thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day in the winter can reduce a heating bill by 5 to 15 percent a year. Plus, lower temperatures at night may be more comfortable for sleeping when appropriate winter blankets are used for warmth.

Open Up the Windows During Summer Nights

Middletown is fortunate enough to have relatively mild summer temperatures. On summer nights, turn off the air conditioning, open the windows, and lift the blinds for sleeping. In the morning, close the windows and lower the blinds to retain the cool air. Research and install window treatments recommended for increased heating and cooling efficiency. Also, make sure to apply caulk or weatherstripping around windows and doors to seal air leaks.

Don't Forget the Value of Interior Fans

Fans cool people with their wind chill effect. As a result, using a ceiling fan can enable a thermostat increase of four degrees in temperature without reducing comfort for the room's occupants. Elsewhere, always use the bathroom fan to eliminate and redistribute the warm and humid air from a bath or shower. If possible, the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room fans should be ventilated to the outdoors.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats save money on cooling and heating bills by storing and repeating six or more temperature settings a day. These can be manually over-ridden via mobile phone apps without affecting daily or weekly programs. Homeowners can turn on their air conditioning just before returning home from work so that they come home to a comfortable environment. It's a truly customizable option.

Larson's Heating and Cooling has served the Middletown, NY area for more than 35 years. Please call us anytime at 845-344-3030 or fill out our contact form to discuss any heating and cooling services you may need, from repairs to a new install.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What's the Difference Between Amana and Fujitsu Mini Split Systems?

People who prefer mini split air conditioning systems to central A/C cite several reasons, including easy installation and cooling efficiency. Mini split features differ from one brand to the next. Learn what two popular brands, Amana and Fujitsu, have to offer.

Major Features of Each Brand 
White colored split air conditoner

Both brands offer single-room and multi-zone systems. Fujitsu touts several major benefits, including the following:

- Energy efficiency, thanks to the ductless design that leads to a significant reduction in energy loss

- Individual control per zone, letting members of a household customize the temperature in each room

- High reliability rate, due to exceptional quality control

- Installation ease, without the need for ductwork

- Varied sizes and styles to match a room's decor and meet its cooling needs

- Quiet operation for a noiseless environment

- Smartphone and tablet operation through a custom app The Amana mini split air conditioning system boasts a number of useful features, as well:

- Cooling and heating, with the ability to easily switch modes as seasons change

- Variety of indoor unit types, ranging in design and style

- Wireless control, with multi-feature remote controllers

- Multiple levels of operation, including temperature control, automatic restart after power loss, and a selection of comfort modes

- Jet cool fan features, to cool a room quickly

The Main Differences

While both Amana and Fujitsu offer a wide range of features in their air conditioning mini split systems, there are some differences. Fujitsu offers a smaller outdoor condenser, while Amana's outdoor unit is quieter. Amana provides a slightly wider cooling and heating range, while Fujitsu has a slightly higher efficiency rating. All in all, both brands offer convenient features for systems that are built to last and designed to cool efficiently even on the hottest days.

Contact a heating and cooling specialist, like Larson's Heating and Cooling, Inc., for expert recommendations based on customer requirements.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Quick Look at Three Common Types of HVAC Warranties

Understanding HVAC warranties can help with choosing the best product and the right professional for the installation. Not all makers of HVACs offer the same warranty options, but Larson's Heating & Cooling, Inc's quality heating and cooling products fall under one of these three categories.

Base Limited Warranties 
HVAC unit kept in the backyard of a house

All major brands offer a standard product warranty, also referred to as a factory warranty. It generally covers most (but not all) HVAC parts, as well as the compressor(s), for a specific period after purchase—hence “limited.” Systems by leading heating and cooling equipment manufacturers, like Goodman, York, Amana, Peerless, and Fujitsu all carry a base limited warranty of between five and 12 years, depending on the make and model. These warranties come as a function of purchase at no additional cost.

Registered Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty

Most major HVAC manufacturers also offer additional limited warranties that extend coverage in terms of both time and scope, covering more parts or conditions for a longer period. Better companies offer Lifetime Registered Limited Warranties good for the entire time of the purchaser’s home ownership. Goodman was the first in the industry to offer it, although Amana, York, and Fujitsu all do as well. The only catch is that the purchase details must be reported back to the maker, usually within 30-90 days of the date of purchase (as opposed to the date of installation). This is often done easily online. While not automatic, except in Quebec and California, registered limited warranties also come fee-free.

Optional Extended Warranty

For an additional fee, these manufacturer-specific warranties offer coverage for add-ons—like emergency service calls, replacements for certain components, or labor—that are not covered under the brand’s base limited product warranty. While often more comprehensive, the time and scope of optional extended warranties may be seasonal, regional, or both. They may also simply enhance or lengthen the terms of an active registered limited warranty, depending on the manufacturer. Optional warranties are available from Williamson and Goodman, among others.

To choose the best way to keep comfortable year-round, it pays to ask a heating and cooling specialist about the specifics of HVAC warranty options before installation begins.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Is Humidity Affected by Air Conditioning?

Home air conditioning units, either window-mounted or central, are designed to remove moisture from inside a house or apartment. This ability is especially important in moist climates or homes near bodies of water. In Middletown, residences close to the Wallkill River may feel higher indoor dampness during the summer months.

HVAC contractors know the signs of an air conditioner not adequately removing humidity. Some telltale signs include:

- Ceiling or walls with water stains

- Fogged-up windows

- Musty smells

- Mold buildup, especially in bathrooms or near sinks

Improper AC sizing for a home's square footage can also lead to humidity problems. Air conditioners must work harder on humid days, and an AC unit with too-small cooling capacity will not remove moisture properly. Ironically, an excessively large unit may cool quickly but not optimally remove humidity.

Other reasons for underperformance include a clogged condensate drain allowing water to back up into the home as well as a built-in dehumidifier that may have stopped working.

It's critical to have a trained HVAC contractor check air conditioners annually to find problems before they arise. Since all homes are different, correct sizing of new HVAC equipment is critical. Only specially trained HVAC contractors have the right tools to perform this evaluation properly.

Monday, August 22, 2016

How Analytics Is Changing HVAC Maintenance

To minimize the costs associated with AC repair, many HVAC companies offer preventative maintenance (PM) packages. With analytics, the larger amount of available data allows for more efficient PM choices.

Advantages with Analytics

Analytics collects service data and information about different models, allowing service providers and property owners to evaluate how soon components are likely to fail without PM. Prior to analytics, the homeowner or property manager had to trust the technician about which procedures might be necessary for preventing future problems. The right maintenance choices can prevent more costly repairs in the future, but extra maintenance work can be an unnecessary expense.

Experienced AC Repair

Since we install and service a range of systems from ductless units to central air, we are familiar with the particular requirements of different HVAC systems. When assessing the data provided by analytics, our technicians can draw from their personal experience with various units here in New York.

Learn more about why our AC repair technicians have such positive testimonials from customers.