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4 Tasks For The Pros & 3 To DIY
Posted: December 5, 2022 by Hey Neighbor
We know many of our valued customers are avid DIYers, but most HVAC repairs and services should be left to our professional team. Sure, there are YouTube videos that can teach a homeowner how to do virtually anything, but HVAC repairs can be dangerous and costly if they aren't done correctly.
Here are four HVAC repairs you should never attempt to do yourself, plus a few that you should tackle on your own!
Why should you leave these HVAC repairs to the pros?
There are some compelling reasons why you shouldn't try to perform heating and cooling repairs yourself, including:
HVAC professionals are trained, certified, and use specialized tools and equipment for maintenance and repairs.
There are many safety risks, from high electrical voltages to natural gas and beyond.
You may endanger the safety and health of everyone in your home and nearby.
DIY repairs can cause your heating and cooling system to operate inefficiently and unreliably.
And perhaps most importantly - you'll probably void your system's manufacturer warranty, which can really cost you!
Four repairs that HVAC professionals should perform
Please don't attempt the following HVAC repairs because you could get injured or create an even bigger problem with your system!
1. Installing a programmable or smart thermostat.
Even a seemingly easy installation, such as a thermostat, should be completed by a professional.
One reason the average homeowner shouldn't change their thermostat is the electrical work involved. Sometimes when replacing a manual thermostat, the wiring has become loose, broken, or frayed over time. In these cases, a new thermostat wire will need to be run from the furnace before installing the new thermostat, something that's best left to the professionals.
Regarding smart thermostats, we're happy to offer our recommendations before you buy, to ensure that the model is compatible with your system. We mention this because many older HVAC systems aren't equipped to communicate with properly or power a modern thermostat.
2. Cleaning the outside condenser unit.
Just because your outdoor condenser has a metal cage doesn't mean it isn't fragile. On the contrary, the coils are delicate and should be treated with care.
Many homeowners think they can just hose down their condenser from the outside of the unit and be done. Please don't do this! Blasting your condenser with a hose can damage the coils, making your AC run inefficiently or break down.
3. Refrigerant or gas leaks.
If your AC runs constantly but never seems to cool your home, your HVAC system might be low on refrigerant, also called coolant, Freon, or Puron. You should never attempt to add HVAC refrigerant on your own. AC refrigerant is a toxic substance and should only be handled by a trained HVAC professional.
Likewise, if you smell the telltale rotten-egg odor of natural gas, turn off the gas immediately and call us right after. Please, DO NOT attempt to locate the leak and repair it yourself. At best, you might not stop the leak completely, and at worst - well, natural gas is flammable. Please, don't put your family in jeopardy.
4. Testing electrical components.
Your HVAC system contains many electrical components that connect to many other electrical and mechanical parts, such as compressors, capacitors, motors, transformers, and more.
Each of these HVAC components operates via high-voltage electricity, which poses a danger to your safety and also to your HVAC system. Because of the risk, we strongly recommend that homeowners never troubleshoot, replace, or repair electrical components on their own.
Instead, entrust the task to the licensed and experienced HVAC pros here at Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man to inspect, test, and repair your HVAC system properly and thoroughly.
Three DIY-friendly HVAC maintenance tasks
There are a few things you can tackle on your own to keep your system running well between seasonal maintenance visits from our team.
1. Cleaning around your outdoor unit.
Since it's outside, your central air conditioning system's condenser unit is subject to snow, wind, rain, hail, and all the other harsh weather that Mother Nature can throw at it. A monthly clean-up around the condenser unit helps prevent plants, branches, and other debris from getting into the condenser and causing problems.
2. Changing your filter.
The easiest and most effective HVAC maintenance task that you can do yourself is changing your air filter every month or two. It's such an easy task, yet many homeowners don't remember to do it - or worse, they don't think they need to. Rest assured, you will cause issues with your system if you don't change your filter. It's just a matter of time. So, set a Calendar reminder in your smartphone, so you don't forget!
3. Clearing a plugged drain line.
Normal operation of your HVAC system generates condensation that is then drained away. However, if the drain line clogs, your unit might not heat or cool your home adequately or stop running altogether. If this happens, follow these steps to clear the clog and keep it from returning.
1. Turn the system off at the switch and flip the circuit breaker into the off position.
2. Pour a quarter-cup of vinegar into a measuring cup.
3. Locate the plastic drain pipe near your unit. It's typically gray, white, or black.
4. Remove the cap of the drain line if there is one and look inside for a blockage.
5. If a clog is visible, you can clear it manually or with a vacuum.
6. Pour the vinegar down the pipe, and wait about 30 minutes or so.
7. Flush the pipe with water, and confirm the clog is gone and that the drain line is flowing freely.
8. Repeat this process at least once yearly to keep your drain line clog-free!
Northeast Ohio HVAC repairs and maintenance
Please don't attempt complex HVAC repairs on your own. Instead, call our team to handle any problems you encounter, plus regular maintenance and expert installations. For convenience, add Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man to your Contacts in your smartphone in case of an HVAC emergency: 877-247-7661. We'll be there for you!
When Should I Replace My HVAC System?
Posted: November 28, 2022 by Hey Neighbor
It's always a tough decision to replace your heating and cooling system. After all, it's a considerably large investment, and you don't want to do it too early. But, if you wait too long, the consequences can be expensive. Today, we'll discuss seven warning signs that indicate that you're due for an HVAC system replacement. So, don't wait - read on to learn if now is the ideal time to have the pros at Hey Neighbor upgrade your home's comfort!
Sign #1: Your system is over ten years old.
Depending on various conditions, the typical lifespan of an HVAC unit is around 10 to 20 years. Systems begin to deteriorate as they age. Also, the more your furnace and air conditioner are used, the quicker they decline. After a while, replacement is the more cost-effective choice due to the money you'll save by preventing frequent repairs, increased maintenance, and wasted energy.
Sign #2: You've had to repair your HVAC system numerous times in the past few years.
If you're frequently spending money on high-priced heater or air conditioner maintenance (or your system just isn't working as well as it should), it's in your best interest - and your wallet's too! - to invest those dollars in a new unit instead.
Sign #3: You can't keep your living space at a comfortable temperature.
This problem includes having difficulty heating and cooling your house in the winter and summer alike. Also, it might not reduce humidity as efficiently as it once did, making your home atmosphere clammy or muggy - see also: less than pleasant.
When an HVAC system ages or its seasonal maintenance is neglected, it no longer functions as effectively as it once did. Naturally, when a unit is inefficient, it can't do the job for which it was built. When your home's temperature can no longer be consistently maintained, you should consider replacing your HVAC equipment.
Sign #4: Your HVAC system costs more to operate than it once did.
As we often recommend, regular maintenance will maximize the working life of your heating and cooling system and keep it functioning as efficiently as possible. However, you'll need to buy a new system at some point. It's inevitable. But we have good news for you! Replacing your furnace and AC can reduce your total energy expenses by up to 50%. Often, homeowners discover that their new system has paid for itself in the first year or two. Did we mention we offer multiple easy financing options as well?
Sign #5: You're noticing unusual smells and hearing odd sounds.
If you detect a strange odor coming from your HVAC system, it might be harmless, such as dust burning off, but it could also be something dangerous, such as melted wiring or mold in your ductwork. If the odor is strong, switch off your system immediately and have our expert team visit right away.
An HVAC system that's functioning correctly should be pretty quiet. If you hear grinding or screeching noises, take it as a warning that your system has a pressing issue. Again, don't wait - call us immediately.
Sign #6: You're suffering from poor indoor air quality (IAQ).
If you observe dust, mold, mildew, or unusual humidity levels, your HVAC equipment may be malfunctioning and likely should be replaced. A recent study indicated that poor ventilation was responsible for over 50% of sick building syndrome (SBS) instances! You want your home to be healthy and comfy, right?
Are you concerned about IAQ and SBS? Rest easy! We offer a free in-home air-quality assessment with our no-cost new system estimates.
Sign #7: Your system's air conditioner uses Freon (R-22).
While you may continue to use your air conditioner, R-22 has been phased out in the United States due to environmental concerns. So, if adding more R-22 coolant is the solution your air conditioning unit needs, the time is now to replace your old unit. While you might be able to get R-22 at the moment, it's already very expensive and will only increase in cost and become more challenging to obtain as time passes. Future-proof your AC and upgrade to an energy-efficient and Mother Earth-friendly central air conditioning system that uses Puron (R-410A) - and your budget will thank you, too.
If you're experiencing one or more of these seven signs, call us!
If you're still unsure whether you need to replace your home comfort system soon, the best thing to do is ask our neighborly experts. We provide free in-home estimates where you'll receive a unique quote customized specifically for the requirements of your home. So, if you're in Northeast Ohio, contact Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man at 877-247-7661 or conveniently schedule online today!
How Does a Gas Furnace Work?
Posted: November 21, 2022 by Hey Neighbor
Although today's furnaces can generate heat using various forms of energy, natural gas is arguably the most popular option. Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man pros are here to help you understand how your gas furnace functions, so you can identify any potential problems in your Northeast Ohio home's heating system.
You could say that your gas furnace begins the process of warming your home when you turn on your heating system, but the reality is that the thermostat runs the show.
In simplest terms, your thermostat is a temperature-activated switching device that communicates your home's inside temperature to your gas furnace's control board. Once you set your thermostat to a programmed temperature, your heating and cooling system will cycle on and off regularly to keep your home near this set level.
When your thermostat signals your gas furnace to start your heating system, the first thing that happens is your ignitor engages. Although some older gas furnaces may use a pilot light, modern gas furnaces have a much safer electronic starter.
An old-fashioned pilot light operated by having a regulator supply a small amount of gas to keep a small flame burning, which then ignited the burner when the heating process was started. If the pilot light went out, you'd risk dangerous gas could potentially leak into your home.
Fortunately, a modern electronic starter uses an element similar to a light bulb filament to ignite the burner instead. When your thermostat detects a preset temperature, it signals the furnace's electronic starter to send an electric current to the filament, creating heat that lights the natural gas burner.
The combustion chamber
A modern gas furnace's ignitor ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber, which is the area inside the unit where natural gas and oxygen mix. The system uses a draft hood or venting to take in a controlled amount of oxygen to produce clean and efficient combustion.
This same venting releases the combustion by-products to the outside air. Generally, standard-efficiency flues are made of galvanized steel, while high-efficiency units use polypropylene, which is easy to install and maintain.
It's essential to properly maintain the combustion chamber, to ensure your indoor air quality remains safe and healthy. All of the natural gas should be completely burned inside the combustion chamber. Please call us if you think your furnace isn't burning the gas properly or completely.
The heat exchanger
Above the combustion chamber, you'll find the heat exchanger, which transfers the heat generated by combustion to produce nice, warm air for your home. Heat exchangers typically use a series of metal tubes to transfer heat efficiently. Once these heated tubes arrive at the proper temperature, the motors in your gas furnace turn on and blow the hot air throughout your air duct system. As the air cools and returns to the furnace, the cycle repeats until the thermostat's target temperature is reached and signals the furnace to turn off.
Some high-efficiency gas furnaces may also contain heat exchangers with curved surfaces. This advanced design directs the airflow over more surface area, so the unit generates more heat with less fuel.
It's critical to ensure your heat exchanger is in good working order because a faulty exchanger could leak dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas into your home.
The inducer and blower motors
Your HVAC system's fan motors direct the cooler air from your home's return ducts to the hot heat exchanger to be heated once again. Some furnaces have a two-speed blower that's programmed when the furnace is installed. In contrast, high-efficiency furnaces usually have a variable speed blower that can self-modulate fan speeds. Overall, variable-speed motors are considerably more energy-efficient than conventional 2-speed systems.
You can rely on Hey Neighbor for all your furnace needs!
Whether you need a new gas furnace, repair to your existing system, or seasonal maintenance, turn to Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man for help. Our trained and certified experts provide high-quality service to ensure that your gas furnace continues to operate optimally for a long time to come. Call 877-247-7661 or request service online today.
6 Things To Know About Smart Thermostats
Posted: November 14, 2022 by Hey Neighbor
In today's world, where smart devices are common and convenience is king, it's no surprise that many folks are upgrading to smart thermostats to enhance their home comfort. Among other great features, these thermostats enable you to control your HVAC system remotely via a smart device and provide insight into your family's energy usage.
But wait! Before you run right out and buy a smart thermostat, you should know a few things. Our HVAC pros at Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man explain.
1. A smart thermostat helps you save on energy costs.
While a smart thermostat is more convenient than a traditional manual model, its greatest benefit is its ability to help you conserve energy. It can help you save on energy costs in two ways:
First, it can monitor and control the temperature remotely. Second, some models can learn your family's behavior and adjust your home's temperature settings for maximum efficiency. Both capabilities ensure that your HVAC system won't waste energy running excessively when no one is around. A smart thermostat can help you save 25% or more on your utility bills if installed and used correctly.
2. Modern intelligent thermostats feature advanced climate controls.
The word "smart" generally refers to a device's ability to connect wirelessly to the internet. Smart thermostats are cleverly designed and intended for seamless and intuitive operation.
Some smart thermostats can sense if a room is occupied or not, then adjust the temperature to keep everyone comfortable. Others know you're on your way home due to GPS-based geofencing features and can adjust the temperature in your home, so it's cozy by the time you pull into the garage.
Advanced models can learn your habits with room sensors and automatically adjust the temperature based on your patterns of behavior and room movements. So, in everyday usage, you won't have to make any special adjustments other than telling the thermostat you're going away on vacation or something similar
3. Most models require a Wi-Fi connection.
To take full advantage of a smart thermostat's benefits, your home will need a Wi-Fi-enabled internet connection. While there are many reasons behind this requirement, accessing local weather data helps the unit make effective temperature adjustments. In addition, many models also offer modern conveniences, such as Amazon Alexa functionality.
4. You'll need to download an app for remote control.
Having a smart thermostat installed is only part of the intelligent upgrade. Many of these devices require an app on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Some models need an app for initial setup and other adjustments, while most are simply more useful when used with an app. For example, you can view your home's energy usage in detail with an app and make setting adjustments right from the comfort of your couch - or even while away from home!
Installing and connecting an app to your device is fairly simple, provided your device has a compatible operating system. Visit the manufacturer's website for detailed information and instructions before you buy to ensure you have the best experience.
5. As with virtually everything else in your home, appearance is essential.
Nearly all of today's smart thermostats are elegant and designed to complement your home's decor. However, if you're opting for a thermostat with a learning feature, it helps to remember that they work by sensing motion. So, make sure you're willing to display the thermostat in an area with a lot of activity.
6. It's wise to call a professional for installation.
Unless you know a lot about wiring and are handy with a variety of tools, you should call an electrician or HVAC technician to visit and install your smart thermostat. Why? Well, unlike older thermostats, smart thermostats usually require a C-wire to power the device, its Wi-Fi communication, and touch screens. Many newer homes are built with a C-wire already in place, but many older homes aren't.
Get smart today with Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man!
If you want to lower your monthly energy bills, have the ability to control your HVAC system remotely, and enjoy greater convenience and comfort, a smart thermostat is a fantastic investment. Call our friendly team today for an installation estimate at 877-247-7661!
Do I Need A Humidifier?
Posted: November 7, 2022 by Hey Neighbor
Winter is right around the corner, and we've already experienced some nights below freezing here in Northeast Ohio. As we all know, with winter comes frigid temperatures, more frequent illness, and dry indoor air. If you experience discomfort during the winter, you may benefit from a humidification system.
Our friendly professionals here at Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man want to educate you about home humidification, the different systems available, and the benefits you'll receive during the winter season.
So, what is humidity?
Humidity is the measurement of how much moisture is suspended in the air. Generally speaking, humidity is lower in the winter and much higher in the summer. However, the more relevant question is - what's the relative humidity in your home?
Relative humidity factors in the moisture and temperature levels, both of which affect how comfortable we are at home.
For instance, a room that is 77° F can hold about 3/4ths of an ounce of water in a cubic yard of air. If that much moisture is actually present, you have a relative humidity of 100%. On the other hand, if only half that amount of water exists, your relative humidity is 50%.
At 100% relative humidity, the surrounding air is holding the maximum amount of water, which means sweat can't evaporate from our skin, making us feel hot.
When relative humidity is low, moisture on our skin does evaporate, making us feel cool. Ideally, your home's relative humidity should be around 40% to 50%.
What is a humidifier, and how does it work?
A humidifier is a device that produces water vapor to increase the humidity level inside your home. Many different devices allow you to do this. Here are the commonly available types and how they work:
Evaporative humidifiers. The most common humidifier, an evaporative system pulls water from a holding tank, transports it to a basin that contains a wicking material, then blows air through the wet filter. This moisture is then distributed into the surrounding air in the room.
Steam vaporizers. In simple terms, this system boils water and releases the steam produced into your home to increase humidity. It's the simplest and least expensive option.
Impeller humidifiers. An impeller-based system uses a spinning disc to throw water at a diffuser, atomizing the water droplets to create a cool mist.
Ultrasonic humidifiers. Virtually silent, an ultrasonic humidifier uses a high-frequency vibrating metal component to create ultra-fine water droplets.
Many room-sized humidifiers can be purchased nearly anywhere and work especially well in bedrooms to help family members recover from a winter illness. However, investing in a whole-house humidifier that works in coordination with your heating and cooling system may be more cost-effective.
Whole-house humidifiers help balance the airborne moisture levels throughout your home. When air is distributed through your heating ducts, it passes through an integrated water panel, collecting moisture that can is then dispersed throughout your home. Fan-powered humidifiers take this one step further by forcing air through the water panel, further enhancing the humidification process.
Just as steam vaporizers humidify a single room, whole-house steam humidifiers use the same technology to send steam throughout your house regardless of whether the furnace is currently on or not. This is the most effective method of humidification.
Do low humidity levels adversely affect my life?
When you have dry winter air in your home, you'll probably experience overall discomfort. You may feel colder because the moisture from your skin evaporates into the air around you. Many people also suffer from dry, chapped skin or uncomfortable sore throats. Humidity below 30% can also make the flu, seasonal colds, and other respiratory illnesses more uncomfortable. Overly dry air can also damage items in your home, such as wood furniture or sensitive musical instruments.
Let's talk about your home's humidity
If you're looking for humidification solutions or have other heating, cooling, and ventilation concerns, call Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man! Our professionals can recommend the right equipment for your home and provide expert repair and maintenance services. Call 877-247-7661 or request service online today.
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