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!