Tips for Preparing Your Indianapolis Home for the Winter Season

As winter starts to approach, many Indianapolis residents are starting to get ready for some of the coldest temperatures of the year. As you start preparing for the winter season, don’t forget to make sure that your home is ready. There are a few preparations that you should make before the temperatures start to drop too drastically.

How to Prepare Your Indianapolis Home for Winter

Here are some basic tips that you can use to get your Indianapolis home ready for the winter season:

Make sure your home is insulated.

Heat can escape through cracks and leaks in doors and windows. Not only does this make it more difficult to bring your home to a comfortable temperature, but it also wastes energy and can cause your electric bills to surge. Make sure that your home is well insulated before winter arrives to avoid soaring energy costs.

Get your chimney cleaned.

It’s recommended that you get your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year, especially if you are using it two to three times a week during the winter. In addition to cleaning your chimney, the professional can inspect for any interior damage that may impact the use of your chimney.

Store any outdoor furniture.

Snow, cold temperatures, and rain can damage outdoor furniture and décor. Clean and dry any patio or outdoor furniture before storing it for the winter. Place the furniture and any other outdoor décor that may be damaged due to the cold in your shed or garage to protect it. Otherwise, cover with a tarp to avoid damage from the elements.

Test your heater.

It’s important to test your heater before you start using it for the season. Turn on your heater and check to make sure that it is working properly. If your heater doesn’t turn on or you notice smells or sounds coming from the unit, turn off the heating system and call a professional HVAC technician to inspect the unit. To avoid being left in the cold, it is better to address any issues or malfunctions with your heating system before you start using it for the winter.

Schedule a pre-winter furnace tune-up.

Your heating system needs routine maintenance just like your automobile. It is recommended that you schedule an appointment with a trained HVAC technician at least once a year. Your HVAC tech will clean and inspect your HVAC system components to make sure that everything is working smoothly. The HVAC technician will check for wear and tear as well as any signs of malfunction and address these issues before they need more costly repairs. This tune-up will help you ensure that you and your family are warm all winter while keeping your system running efficiently.

If you need help getting your heater ready for the winter, the trained technicians at Efficient Systems are only a phone call away. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for heating maintenance, repairs, or new system installation.

Nip it in the Bud: 6 Heating Issues to Catch Early This Winter

 

Winter is coming and with it comes the very crucial role of your home’s heating system. Imagine of the shuddering possibility of having to endure a cold night or day due to a preventable scenario involving your HVAC system? That is scaring to say the least. What can you do to nip such eventualities in the bud? Consider the following proactive measures that you can take to avoid this possibility.

Common Heating Issues

6 Common Heating Issues

#1 Sudden heat loss

It’s cold and chilly and you are counting on your heating system to keep you and your loved ones warm, then all of a sudden no heat comes from your cherished system. That is a possible scenario if the pilot box or ignition system malfunctions during winter. To avoid this, employ the services of a professional to check on the condition of these components and do any repairs or replacements before winter comes.

#2 Cycling heat

If not well taken care of, your furnace might end up clicking on and off during a crucial winter time when you need to be extremely consistent. A clogged filter or blower is the most common cause of this occurrence. Take proactive steps to avoid this by ensuring your filter or blower is clean before winter sets in. In a case where the condition of the filter calls for a replacement, do not hesitate; save yourself the agony of doing it later. A faulty thermostat can also be the reason behind this kind of malfunction. To be on the safe side, call in heating experts to inspect your furnace now and resolve or prevent any issue of unwanted cycling of heat.

#3 Seal any leaks in your house

When winter comes you want each room in your home to have even and consistent temperatures regardless of where they reside in your home. Watch out for drafty doors, leaking windows or damaged insulation in each individual room. These areas of the house can be a source of unwanted heat loss. Fix such areas now and save yourself and loved ones the agony of inconsistent heating in your house.

#4 Balance the airflow in your home

If the airflow in your house is not balanced, this will lead to inconsistent temperatures in the affected rooms. Take action now before these imbalances lead to discomfort and major energy loss.

#5 Take precautions on Carbon monoxide emissions

This gas is one of the emissions that come from your furnace. The gas is dangerous and can lead to death if inhaled in large amounts or for a long time. The problem with this gas is that it is tasteless, colorless and odorless. This makes it very hard to detect making it a potential silent killer. Any cracks on your gas furnace are a potential safety hazard. The first step you should take to prevent the possibility of undetected leakage of this dangerous gas is to install a carbon monoxide detector. For an added precaution, hire the services of a professional to inspect your system for potential leaks as soon as possible.

#6 Ensure that your system is ready for winter

While all of the components of the heating system are vital, it is wise to make sure the air filter and the thermostat are in excellent working condition before winter. In case the parts require repairs or replacement, contact your local Indianapolis HVAC professionals so that when winter arrives, you can have the peace of mind that you and your family deserves.

Any time you have issues with your HVAC system contact us at or just browse our blog for professional insights.

Packaged HVAC: What You Need to Know

A person’s home is his or her castle, and that castle should be comfortable at all times. A big part of that comfort lies in the property’s temperature. Your house should never be too hot or too cold, so you need the best HVAC system for your particular needs. Currently, more homeowners are turning to packaged systems to ensure their spaces are energy efficient and always the perfect temperature.

packaged hvac

What Is An HVAC Packaged System?

Simply put, a packaged system is a small, all-in-one heating and cooling unit. Any home can use these, but they’re ideal for homes that don’t have space for a huge furnace or air conditioner. Even if your property does have the space for these machines, a packaged system is often more practical than separate systems for the furnace and air conditioning.

Packaged systems are outdoor units, which frees indoor space for more important items like furniture, fixtures, or décor. They’re placed either to the side of your home or on the roof and are usually easy to install. Individual packaged units come with specific parts; for example, a gas/electric system might come with both a gas furnace and an air conditioner plus a coil.

What Type of Package Do I Need?

Specific packaged units are designed for specific home types. When choosing your packaged unit, consider factors such as the climate where you live, how energy efficient you want your unit to be, and what kind of fuel you’d like to use. For example, a packaged air conditioner or heat pump may be better if you live in an area with mild winters. If winters are harsh where you live, you might invest in a dual-fuel system.

How Each System Works

•    Dual fuel system. This system works in conjunction with your heat pump, turning on your gas furnace when winter temperatures get below a certain point. When temperatures warm up again, the furnace gets turned off. Overall, this saves plenty of gas, potentially reducing your energy bills. It may also reduce the possibility of gas pollution since extra gas doesn’t get siphoned back into the air.

•    Packaged air conditioners. Although these are meant to cool the air inside your home, you can add heat strips to them. All parts and components come in a single unit. Packaged air conditioners are made up of a compressor unit and indoor coil. The unit removes heat and moisture from your house while blowing warm air over the coil, thereby cooling it.

•    Packaged heat pumps. Packaged heat pumps contain pumps and air handlers. They’re completely electric, unlike a dual system that uses both electricity and gas. They’re best for homes with mild winters, partially because they use more electricity than a dual system.

Benefits Of Packaged Systems

One of the biggest benefits of a packaged unit is its energy efficiency. The option to use gas, electricity, or a combination of the two gives you more control over how much energy your HVAC system will use and how big your environmental footprint will be. Additionally, packaged units are known to filter indoor air well. This improves indoor air quality and reduces your chances of asthma and allergy attacks or other illnesses.

If you’d like to learn more about packaged systems or you need help choosing one, visit us or contact us online or via phone. We’ll give you a thorough consultation and help you choose the best HVAC system for your home.

A Quick Guide to Purchasing Water Heaters

So You Need a New Water Heater?

A new water heater is a major investment for your home. The type and number of water heaters will depend on several factors such as your home size, number of residents, and usage patterns for the hot water. Not too long ago you only had a couple options for heating water. Today there are a variety of choices and a water heater for each specific need.

What to Look for in a Water Heater

When you are purchasing a water heater, aside from your budget, the most important factor is going to be how you use your hot water. Do you have multiple points of use simultaneously, or is the hot water being used one point at a time? Following that, residence size and number of occupants will further narrow-down what type of water heater you should purchase.

If you have a large residence, with several inhabitants, and multiple points of simultaneous use, there are two main options: the traditional tank water heater and in-line water heaters.

The traditional heaters are a great option if you need a lot of hot water and have multiple points of use. These come in a variety of sizes and can more than handle all of your hot water needs. Their downside is that since they keep a lot of water at a constant temperature, they are not the most energy efficient appliances.

Another option is using in-line water heaters. These heaters are mounted as close to the point of intended use as possible and only heat the water as it passes through the line, saving you a lot of energy. The initial cost of these systems is their main drawback as most residences will require several of them. They can also struggle to meet large-volume demands in times of heavy use.

Other Options

There are a few more options for water heaters such as solar and hybrid systems, but in the Midwest climate these often struggle to provide adequate hot water, especially in winter. However, they are still an option if used in the right way. Solar water heaters are mounted on the roof and use the sun’s energy to heat an antifreeze-like liquid that then transfers heat to the household water. Hybrid systems are similar to the traditional tank water heaters, with the addition of a heat pump on top that pulls in the surrounding air and transfers the ambient heat to the water, cutting back on heating costs.

Ready for a New Heater?

If you’re ready to purchase a new water heater but are still lost or have further questions, we at Efficient Systems would be more than happy to go over the options with you. Give us a call today to set up an appointment!

What Are the Ratings for Furnace Efficiency?

When you are buying a new furnace, energy efficiency is an important consideration. Furnaces with higher efficiency ratings will use less energy to heat your home, and cost you less money. Lower rated furnaces need more energy to produce the same amount of heat, which will result in higher utility bills.

Less Energy Lost Equals Higher Efficiency

Furnace efficiency is determined using the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The AFUE refers to the percentage of the total energy a furnaces uses that actually becomes heat energy. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 transforms 90 percent of the energy it uses into heat energy for your home, while 10 percent of the energy is lost.

The less energy lost, the more efficient the furnace. The highest possible AFUE rating is 100, which would mean that a furnace converts every bit of the energy it uses into heat energy. Older, low-efficiency furnaces may have efficiency ratings than range between 56 and 70, while new furnaces rarely have AFUE ratings below 80. The mot efficient models currently in production may achieve 98.5 percent efficiency.

Minimum Efficiency Requirements

The Department of Energy now requires relatively high efficiency ratings for many styles of newly manufactured furnaces. Non-condensing furnaces—which tend to be less efficient than condensing furnaces—must now meet a minimum AFUE rating of 78. Non-weatherized gas furnaces must have an AFUE rating of 80 or higher, while weatherized furnaces must have ratings of 81 or higher.

Protect Your Home From Heat Loss

An extremely efficient furnace is not enough to ensure that you are heating your home efficiently. Heat preservation is also important for overall energy efficiency and lower energy bills. A large percentage of heat energy can be lost through duct work if vulnerable areas are not insulated effectively. Ducts that run through attics, basements and crawl spaces are often responsible for heat loss—sometimes as much as 35 percent of your total heat energy.

Such a large amount of heat loss in your home can completely offset the gains of an efficient furnace. Losing around 30 percent of the heat that reaches your home is equivalent of having and old and extremely inefficient furnace instead of a new, efficient model. Addressing exposed duct work and other areas of your home where heat may be lost is critical for improving your home’s overall energy efficiency.

Thank you for reading! To learn more about high-efficiency furnaces, or improving your home’s heating efficiency, please call today to speak to one of our experienced technicians.

Financing Can Ease the Stress of HVAC Replacement

Replacing a heating and cooling system is a major and often unexpected expense. Much of the time, replacing an HVAC system is also time-sensitive—going weeks and months without a heater in the winter or an air conditioner in the summer can be extremely uncomfortable, and even dangerous for the elderly and for children.

Since heating and cooling systems failures are often unforeseen—and even when they’re not—many families do not have the ready cash to pay for a new system outright. Others have the money but are hesitant to spend such a large sum of money at once and deplete what may be an emergency fund or vacation fund. In these situations, financing your new HVAC equipment can be a good solution, allowing you to divide the payments into affordable installments and pay your system off over time.

Energy Savings Can Help With Payments

Many homeowners find that financing their new heating and cooling system into affordable monthly payments is made even more manageable by the monthly savings they see on their energy bill.

Failed heating and cooling systems are often quite old and energy inefficient. Systems manufactured more than a decade ago were less efficient than today’s systems even when they were brand new, and wear and tear has almost certainly reduced their performance even further. As a result, a brand new HVAC system is almost certainly going to be more efficient than the system it replaces. Premium systems with SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings as high as 19 and 20, are going to be much more efficient.

The more efficient a system is, the less it will cost for that system to heat and cool your home. About 40 percent of our total energy expenditures go to heating and cooling, so reducing these costs can mean a significant savings on our overall energy bills. This savings will help to offset the monthly payments for your new system, and the best part is that the savings will continue long after your HVAC system has been paid off!

Financing Offers Flexibility and Affordability

At Efficient Systems, our easy financing plans offer low, flexible monthly payments and reasonable interest rates. We will work out payment terms that are affordable for you so that you can enjoy the comfort of your new HVAC system without sweating the cost. Purchasing a new system can be stressful, but financing can help to make a difficult situation more manageable.

Thank you for reading! Please follow our blog for more information about heating and cooling, or contact us for advice about HVAC replacements and financing.

How Do I Know If I Need A New Water Heater?

Though hot water tanks can last for years, they start showing symptoms of ageing when they need replacement. Determining if a water heater replacement would be necessary is a simple undertaking which one could go about by themselves. If necessary, one could even install a new water heater to save money and energy.

If the hot water tap only yields cold water, it’s probably time to replace the tank. This also applies if it the hot water supply no longer lasts as long as it used to. Puddles of water around the base of the tank are also an indication of a leak, which requires remedying by replacement.

The presence of smaller leaks around plumbing connections and fittings also indicate that it’s time to get a new tank. Heaters that make frequent unusual sounds indicate mechanical problems. Most tanks are warrantied for up to 10 years. While some last beyond this period, tanks that don’t perform optimally should be replaced if they’re more than 10 years old.

Installing a Hot Water Tank

This process needs to be carried out while adhering to model-specific information, safety notices, warnings and local codes. If in doubt, one should consult a qualified professional. The necessary tools include plumbing equipment, pipe joint, circuit tester/voltmeter and connectors that match the existing pipes.

To begin, one needs to locate the heater’s circuit breaker and turn it off. If there’s a fuse instead of this device, it should be removed. If the heater has a disconnect switch, one should turn it off.

Draining the Heater

To ensure that the power is really off, the incoming electrical cables should be checked with a voltmeter to ensure that the circuit being worked on is off. Draining involves turning on the hot-water tap and leaving it to run till it’s cool. The cold water supply should then be shut off when the tank is completely empty.

A hose pipe should be connected to the drain valve with one end placed in a drain. Having done this, the drain valve on the water heater should then be opened. As it drains, the installation instructions need to be reviewed one more time. When empty, the power and water lines should be disconnected in order to remove the old heater.

Temperature and Pressure Release Valve

If the plumbing system has a check valve, a thermal expansion tank needs to be installed near the water heater. This is attached to the cold water intake line and needs to be pressurized using air for it to work properly. The instruction manual should explain how to do this.

The temperature and pressure relief valve opens to relieve water pressure if it rises too much. One needs to use the new gadget that came with the new heater. Its discharge pipe should be terminated close to a floor drain while leaving an air gap of 6 inches or less. In some areas, one is required to terminate this pipe outside, while a floor drain would be more appropriate for colder climates.

Installing Hot and Cold Water lines

The heater’s outlet and inlet connections have non-metallic parts and should thus not be soldered. Instead, the threaded adapters should be connected to the shorter pipes so that the joint is sufficiently far from the connections on the heater. Having done this, the cold water supply pipe can be opened to fill up the tank.

Upon opening a hot water tap, air comes out at first, followed by spluttering and finally normal flow. The tap should be left to run for some time to allow the tank fill up completely. Before electrical connections can be completed, the tank needs to be completely full.

Connecting Power Wires

The water connections first need to be inspected for leaks, which mostly occur due to problems in the inlets and outlets. One needs to follow the installation manual, labels and wiring diagrams on the water heater. The existing wiring and circuit breakers should be in good condition and compatible to the model in question. The power lines can then be connected, with the ground cable connected to the green ground screw.

Setting the Thermostat

The upper and lower thresholds need to be set at the recommended temperature setting. With this done, the insulation, plastic protectors and access panels can then be replaced. The electrical junction box then needs to be covered.

Pressure Checks

If the hot water isn’t at the desired level, a voltmeter can be used to check the incoming voltage. The temperature setting on both thermostats can also be checked. If there’s no hot water even after several hours, one needs to ensure that power is reaching the heater. Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

Preparing Tankless Water Heaters For Winter

People who use both indoor and outdoor water heaters are well acquainted with winterizing a tankless water heater. Though outdoor units are usually more exposed to elements of the weather, their indoor counterparts could also be affected. This makes it vital to install the unit at a proper location with the right kind of venting.

How to Winterize Tankless Water Heaters

First, the heater should be turned off and the power cord unplugged. The gas and water supply lines should then be shut and the tank drained. When the water pressure reduces, the inlet and outlet water pipes should be disconnected.

A bucket needs to be placed underneath to collect any remaining water. Afterwards, any water that remains be removed by blowing with an air compressor. If possible, the vent termination should be covered both on the intake and exhaust to prevent entry of debris.

Freeze Protection

Most modern tankless water heaters come equipped with a freeze prevention mechanism. However, this can only work during winter. It wouldn’t be suitable for places where freezing temperatures remain for long periods.

This system only protects the heater, not the exterior plumbing. The freeze prevention heater requires constant connection into an electrical outlet. The system is usually automated to turn itself on and off whenever necessary.

Considerations

Whether it’s a dual-vent or concentric system, one needs to keep the vent pipes facing away from the wind direction. The condensation drain tubing also needs protection from exposure to extreme cold. It would be advisable to install it in a wall for this reason.

Negative draft is a phenomenon that happens when the furnace draws in air from the vent pipe, causing entry of cold air into the system. This then freezes the water in the heat exchanger. As such, all gas-powered heaters should be supplied with sufficient air to prevent this. There’s also a device known as a backdraft reducer which shuts the internal flapper to prevent this.

If the temperatures drop further, the unit can be protected by opening the hot water tap to keep a small stream running. Before this, the power should be turned off and the gas supply valve shut. This goes to protect the piping in addition to the heater.

In case of a power outage, the water heater needs to be drained in order to prevent damage. Antifreeze fluids need to be avoided as they could damage internal components. Failing to observe such precautions could not only leave the heater at risk, but also void the warranty.Follow us for more articles that will keep your plumbing, heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

What Is Two-stage Heating?

There are important factors to consider when installing an HVAC system. Basically, clients may choose a single stage, two-stage as well as variable speed furnaces. In most cases, two-stage heating furnace is given the first priority.

What is Two-Stage Heating?

Unlike a single stage furnace, two-stage heating system has a valve which may either be found in opened or closed position. This is the main reason as to why the burner is referred to as 2-stage. When home temperatures are very low, the valve opens fully to allow more fuel to burn which in turn provides more heat. As the temperatures inside become moderate, the valve opens partially to allow limited amount of fuel which then provides average heat. When the valve is partially open, the furnace is said to be operating at 65% capacity.

How a Two-Stage Heating Works

In a two-stage furnace, programming language is used to send instructions which act on depending on the temperature conditions of your home. When temperature is moderate, the control board sends instruction for the valve to open partially. This happens the same way during a cold day where the control board also sends instructions for the valves to open fully allowing more fuel to burn. When temperature conditions are right, the control board closes the valve allowing no more fuel. Much of this is achieved through the temperature set on the thermostat which activates the furnace on and off depending on the prevailing temperature conditions.

Why Choose a Two-Stage Furnace

A two-stage furnace is durable and effective. It offers continual comfort which comes with complete temperature monitoring as there are no temperature fluctuations. It works silently because it operates at half capacity. With a two-stage furnace, quality air is achieved through thorough filtration. In addition, it saves energy because it does not use a lot of fuel in most of the time. You also get dry air as circulation occurs more frequently therefore eliminating moisture.

Why You Should Choose Two-Stage Heating

Two-stage heating offers many benefits as compared to other furnaces. Depending on your requirements, it pays to spend a few extra dollars if a product will heat your home sufficiently, clean the air as well as save you money in terms of reduced energy costs. For these reasons, follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

Traditional Water Heaters Vs. Tankless Water Heaters

New technologies have made tankless water heaters very popular. However, some people are reporting problems with their tankless heaters. Although this new technology works well and offers many benefits to homes and commercial buildings, there are disadvantages as well. By understanding how tankless systems work, and being an informed consumer, you can choose the water heater that is best for you.

The Traditional Water Heaters

One advantage of storage water heaters are that people are familiar with the technology. Also, the larger the tank, the more hot water you have available, even during power outages. Storage heaters are also cheaper and easy to install in many cases. Many homeowners have no problems installing a new storage water tank. More plumber and HVAC contractors are familiar with servicing storage heaters.

The main disadvantage is that older storage heaters are not energy efficient, thereby increasing your energy bills, The tanks also take up a large amount of space in your home.

The Tankless Water Heaters

The main advantage of this new technology is energy efficiency. The water is only heated as it is running through the system. Without a tank, there is no limit to the amount of hot water available. In commercial buildings, some models allow for several units to be connected to provide a higher volume of hot water on demand. Tankless unit are also compact and take up little space.

The disadvantages are that the tankless units require a gas valve and power for the control panel. When there is no power due to a blackout or storm, there is no hot water available. With some models, when turning on the water in short spurts, there may be a “cold sandwich” effect. Also, there is a limit to how many hot water faucets can be used simultaneously.

Before purchasing or upgrading to a tankless system, learn about the pros and cons of both types of water heaters. In both instances, you get the best results if you buy a quality water heater, and hire an experienced plumber or HVAC technician to install the unit.

To learn more about HVAC systems, contact us today.