How Long Should an HVAC System Last in Virginia?

how long should an hvac system last in virginia

You might have a new HVAC system, but you know what you don’t have?

Money.

That $8,000 flew out of your bank account with a single swipe of your card. Now you might find yourself asking, “How long should an HVAC system last anyway?”

Don’t worry. If you take care of your unit properly, the money you invested in your HVAC system will last you a long time. We’ve put together this guide to show you how long you can expect your new unit to keep running in Virginia.

So let’s get started!

How Long Should an HVAC System Last?

Most HVAC systems last between 15 and 20 years, but this number can go up or (unfortunately) down depending on a few things. Here are a few factors you should consider when thinking about the lifespan of an HVAC system.hvac virginia heating cooling air conditioning

Where You Live

Do you live near the coast?

HVAC systems in ocean-front homes tend to give out sooner than normal because of the extra salt in the air. This salt will get into your unit, and since it is very corrosive, it will break down the components over time.

Air that’s full of moisture can also be a bad mix for your HVAC system. Living in an area with high humidity can cause your system to rust faster than expected.

How You Maintain It

If you don’t perform regular maintenance on your unit, it might not make it to the 15-year mark. You’ll also find yourself making frequent, and likely expensive, repairs along the way. Failing to take care of your unit is one of the easiest and fastest ways to cut years off its life expectancy.

What Type of System You Have

Different types of HVAC systems last for different lengths of time. For example, your furnace will almost always last longer than your air conditioning.

Here’s a closer look at the average lifespan of common units:

  • Air conditioning: 15 to 20 years
  • Furnace: 20 to 25 years
  • Boiler: 25 to 30 years
  • Heat pumps: 15 to 20 years

As you’re shopping for an HVAC unit, you should also spend some time researching the brand and model. Higher quality systems will last longer than cheaper alternatives.

How You Installed It

Always have a reputable professional install your HVAC unit. It’s worth investing a bit of extra money to hire a company that has years of experience, quality products, and positive reviews.

If you try to cut costs by working with a cheap company, you might end up with an HVAC system that wasn’t installed quite right. This will reduce the life expectancy of your unit by several years.

Because of this, you also shouldn’t try to DIY your way through HVAC installation. Unless you have all the right tools and have worked on similar projects before, it’s easy to make a mistake. If this happens, you won’t get your money’s worth out of your unit before it dies.

How to Extend the Lifespan of an HVAC Unit

Don’t want to spend more money on a new HVAC unit before you really need it? There are several ways to give your system the boost it needs to last as long as possible. Make sure you follow the tips below.

Schedule Preventative Maintenance

Never wait for something to break before you call your HVAC company. Otherwise, you’ll have to live in a home with no heating or air conditioning until the repair team arrives, you’ll be spending more money than necessary, and you’ll end up hurting your unit.

Repairs are more expensive than preventative maintenance.

Because of this, you should schedule two maintenance appointments a year: one in the fall and one in the spring. This will help you catch and fix any issues before they become real problems and ensure your system is up and running for the hot and cold seasons.

Don’t Block the Airflow

If there is anything in front of your vents, such as furniture or clutter, it will block the air flowing out of your unit. This will do two things:

  1. It will take longer for your home to reach a comfortable temperature.
  2. It will make your HVAC system work harder to push out the heat/cold, which will put more strain on your unit and cause it to wear out faster.

Always keep your vents clear even if you have to rearrange the setup of a room.

Keep Vents and Ducts Clean

As your HVAC unit circulates air through your rooms, it also pulls in all the dust, pet hair, and other debris floating around your home. This will get caught in the filter, along the inside of the duct work, and in the vents.

Check your vents for signs of dirt buildup every few months. If the debris is starting to block the slits, give it a quick cleaning with a damp towel.

You won’t have to worry about your ducts as often. However, you should have a professional clean them once every two to five years. Trying to do this yourself will be difficult if you don’t have the right tools, so it’s better to leave it to the pros.

Replace the Filters Oftenhvac maintenance virginia heating cooling air conditioning

On average, HVAC filters only last about three months, but every unit is different. Talk to your HVAC company about how often to replace your filters then make sure you stick to that schedule.

If you leave your filters dirty, you’re breathing all that debris every time you turn on your unit. You will also make your system work hard to push out air, which can reduce its lifespan.

Buying an HVAC System in Virginia

So how long should an HVAC system last?

Depending on your unit, the average lifespan is about 15 to 20 years.

If you want to ensure it lasts as long as possible, you need to take action right away. Don’t hesitate to schedule a maintenance appointment with our team at Small Solutions. We’ll visit your Virginia home, take a look at your system, and let you know what steps you should take next (if needed).

The Benefits of Ductless HVAC for Winchester VA

ductless hvac for winchester virginia

Ductless HVAC?

The first time you heard that phrase, you might have felt confused. How can a ductless system heat and cool air without circulating it? And how could this less common HVAC model improve upon the ubiquitous forced air system?

Ductless HVAC operation is actually fairly simple, and it’s growing in popularity. That’s because it offers very real advantages over ductwork systems.

Even if you’ve never heard of ductless HVAC before, you owe it to yourself to learn about those advantages if you’re looking into a new HVAC system. Read on to learn more about this unique heating and cooling solution.

What Is Ductless HVAC?

The key ductless HVAC component you’ll interact with as a homeowner is the “mini-split” unit. Your ductless system can be as small as one unit in one room, or it can cover the entire house with multiple units.

Units tend to be a few feet long and protrude a few inches from the wall wherever they’re installed. If this size still causes a space issue, homeowners can recess them into existing walls and ceilings.

mitsubishi hvac ductless virginiaEach mini-split unit takes in air and uses a refrigerant to “suck out” heat before blowing the air back into the room. The refrigerant travels through a compact line connected to an outdoor condenser unit. The outside unit “dumps” the heat out of the refrigerant before recirculating it indoors.

When you need to heat your home rather than cool it, the outdoor unit uses heat pump technology to simply move heat in the opposite direction.

A condensation channel and a powerline also travel along the narrow refrigerant conduit. You can connect as many or as few mini-split units to your ductless HVAC system as you want, as long as you size your outdoor unit appropriately.

Easy Installation

Looking into installing some ductwork? Get ready to live in a construction zone for quite a while. Ductwork installation and renovation require opening up walls and ceilings.

Ductless HVAC systems, however, usually only need a day of installation work per unit. Installing the refrigerant lines to connect different components often only needs one small hole in the wall.

Ductless HVAC systems ideal for making home expansions without adding bulky ductwork. They’re also great for updating older homes that were never built to hold ductwork in the first place.

Avoiding Ductwork Headaches and Scams

We’ve just listed some good reasons to install ductless HVAC in an expansion, renovation, or old house. But say you’re building a brand-new home where disrupting day-to-day living with active construction is less of an issue. Should you still take a close look at ductless HVAC?

Absolutely. One of the biggest reasons for looking at ductless is avoiding the headaches that come with ductwork maintenance.

Understanding the proper maintenance for ductwork can be challenging. Many environmental health experts agree that ducts affected by mold, vermin infestation, or excessive dust build-up require cleaning. Left unattended, these ductwork issues can worsen household air quality.

These problems are often hidden inside the ductwork. That makes detecting them difficult without paying for an inspection in the first place.

To further confuse matters, some environmental health experts advise against regular ductwork cleaning. In some scenarios, ductwork cleaning may significantly improve household air quality. And in worst-case scenarios, it can actually worsen it by disturbing and re-circulating settled dust.

If you’re looking for ductwork cleaning, you may find some surprisingly affordable offers. However, the duct cleaner world is rife with cheap, shoddy, and outright fraudulent cleaning practices.

An air duct scammer may only clean only what you can see, play a “bait and switch” on pricing, or claim they’ve found the nonexistent mold. That’s not to say quality cleaning services don’t exist, but you have to search hard for them.

Ductless HVAC: Easier Maintenance and Cleaner Air

Ductless HVAC systems use in-room, air-handling technology.

Rather than traveling yards of ductwork, the air in a ductless system only moves through the rooms of the house itself. The air doesn’t pass through hidden, contaminant-heavy areas. That makes maintaining acceptable air quality becomes much easier.

In fact, ductless systems can make air quality better.

Each air handling unit forces air through a filter that removes contaminants. That means ductless systems can essentially play double-duty as air purifiers and heating and cooling units. If indoor allergies have been a problem for you in the past, a ductless system could help.ductless hvac mitsubishi virginia

Just like all other heating and cooling tools, ductless HVAC systems do sometimes require maintenance. But, that maintenance is significantly more straightforward than it is with ductwork.

Air filters in each unit need regular cleaning to ensure optimal performance and avoid shortening the unit’s lifespan. Units may sometimes need servicing.

However, those units are easy for technicians to access (no hiring a cut-rate duct cleaner required). Refrigerant lines between units are sealed systems. That means they require far less maintenance than ductwork.

Using Room-by-Room Settings

Everyone’s “perfect” temperature is a little different. And even when everyone can agree on a reasonably comfortable temperature, hot spots and cold spots can make it nearly impossible to keep the house at that level. When one person feels fine in a ductwork house, someone else will almost always feel too hot or too cold.

Ductless systems are a perfect solution to interpersonal temperature tension because occupants can adjust each unit to fit their preferences. Zone-by-zone settings can also significantly reduce energy waste.

If your kid went away to college, you can simply turn off the room’s unit without sacrificing your own comfort.

Ductless units are also great for supplementing uneven ductwork systems. Put one in a perpetual summer “hot spot” to keep the entire house at a comfortable temperature without having to crank up the AC.

Energy Efficiency Savings

Did you know that the average American home spends 47% of its annual energy consumption on heating and cooling? Now consider this: the average home also wastes 35% percent of the energy it consumes.

The takeaway? Opting for a less wasteful HVAC system is probably the most powerful single energy efficiency decision you can make.

And ductless HVAC systems can offer that efficiency edge.

The average ductwork system loses about 20 to 30% of its air through leaks and bad duct connections. The more extensive the ductwork is, the more potential for energy loss exists.

Ductless HVAC systems offer significantly better efficiency by simply avoiding ductwork. A well-insulated refrigerant line minimizes unwanted heat transfer. That can result in a whopping 40% utility bill savings compared to forced air systems.

Ductless HVAC sometimes requires supplemental heating in very cold climates. This is far less of an issue in Frederick County’s mild winters than it is further north.

Installing a ductless HVAC system is often more expensive upfront than sticking with ductwork. But thanks to better energy efficiency, many people still save money in the long run by going ductless.

Installing Ductless HVAC: We Can Help

Ductless HVAC may not be as common as forced air systems. However, it’s popular among homeowners looking to expand their houses and reduce their carbon footprint.

At Small Solutions, we have plenty of experience installing top-of-the-line Mitsubishi ductless HVAC systems in homes throughout Frederick County. We can walk you through planning and financing the best ductless HVAC layout for you. Reach out to us today to get started.

Why an HVAC Maintenance Contract is Important in Frederick County VA

hvac maintenance contract small solutions frederick virginia

To ensure your HVAC system is running effectively, routine maintenance is key. When you contact a professional HVAC technician to service your unit, it will serve you for longer, run better, and improve your indoor air quality. To avoid future unexpected repair costs and reduced efficiency in your unit, you should consider routine servicing.

Fortunately, all HVAC contractors know this. That’s why companies have come up with HVAC maintenance contracts. Read below to understand what an HVAC maintenance contract is and why they are essential to residents of Frederick County, VA.

Understand Your HVAC Maintenance Plan

An HVAC maintenance contract allows you to schedule your unit’s maintenance within a certain specified period. While you could still request tune-ups without a contract, a maintenance agreement is the best solution for all your tune-up needs. After all, it’s quite easy to forget to schedule a servicing.

Having a long-term agreement with a trusted contractor has better advantages. This is because the contractors will always be available whenever you need them, whether you remembered to schedule a tune-up or not.

Below are seven reasons why an HVAC maintenance contract is important in Frederick County, VA.

  1. Routine HVAC Maintenance Will Save You Money and Energy

If you own a home or a commercial building, you will benefit most from having a maintenance agreement. This is because your heating and cooling unit will always be well maintained. Regular maintenance will also save you money on expensive energy bills and ensure your unit is running optimally.

When a unit is not regularly serviced, its efficiency reduces by over 5%. This results in higher energy consumption, which is one of the most important benefits of having a maintenance contract.

  1. It Helps You Avoid Dangerous HVAC Problems

HVAC maintenance contracts small solutions frederick va virginia Routine inspection of your HVAC unit included in the contract will allow the technician to spot minor problems before they turn into major, expensive repairs. This gives you some time to prepare and budget for any needed repairs and replacements.

Being prepared is better than being caught off-guard when your AC suddenly dies in the middle of winter. Regular inspection also helps you avoid potentially dangerous situations such as cracked heat exchangers or leaking carbon monoxide. Your contractor will spot these problems before they cause you and your family any harm.

  1. It Will Keep Your Warranty Valid

If you have an aging unit, it’s recommended that you schedule maintenance at least two times every year to check for signs of future failure. However, if your equipment is relatively new, scheduling regular maintenance allows you to keep your warranty valid. A warranty is considered void if you don’t schedule regular maintenance with a professional HVAC contractor.

Your HVAC contractor will keep a record of any repair and maintenance services done to your unit. These records could act as proof of maintenance services to keep your warranty valid. These documents prove to manufacturers that you have taken all the necessary steps to ensure your unit runs smoothly.

This kind of documentation is also necessary when you’re selling your house. Prospective buyers will require proof that your unit was well maintained and is running as efficiently as possible.

  1. HVAC Maintenance Agreements Will Give You Priority Services

While HVAC maintenance services are recommended to reduce the chances of a breakdown, your unit could still experience unexpected breakdowns for other reasons. If you are in such a situation, you need immediate repairs. If you have an annual contract with your HVAC contractor, your repairs will be given priority over customers with no contract.

When the company treats your call as urgent, they will get a contractor to your house as soon as possible. This reduces the length of discomfort and gets you quick repair services even during peak seasons.

  1. It Reminds You of Scheduled HVAC Services

Winter and summer months are the busiest for heating and cooling companies. These are the months when they get the most calls for tune-ups and repairs. Most of these requests come from homeowners and business owners who forgot to schedule inspection services earlier.

Late inspection scheduling could lead to postponing, which is not good for your unit. To avoid this problem, HVAC companies include reminders in their annual service contracts. This way, you will receive reminders to schedule your cleanings, tune-ups, and inspections during the autumn and spring seasons.

An HVAC maintenance contract will give you confidence that your unit will be working efficiently right before the winter and summer months.

  1. You Will Get Discounted HVAC Service Rates

While maintenance agreements and contracts have charges, you will save thousands of dollars in the long run. If you have a contract, your heating and cooling company will offer you services at a discounted rate.

Unexpected repairs are expensive. However, if you have a maintenance agreement, the cost to repair your unit when it breaks down is lower than for people without a contract.

hvac maintenance contract small solutions frederick virginia

  1. Seasonal Comfort and Dependable Service

With an HVAC maintenance plan, your cooling and heating company will schedule your unit’s tune-up just before the

weather changes. This will ensure that you and your family are comfortable during the hot and cold months.

When you get your unit serviced by the same contractor every year, you build a relationship with the team. They also know your unit well and can spot any problems before they arise. This kind of dependable service is one of the best benefits of having an HVAC maintenance agreement.

Call Us Today for an HVAC Maintenance Contract

At Small Solutions Heating & Conditioning, we offer heating and cooling services for all your needs in Frederick County, VA. We also offer HVAC maintenance contracts for both commercial and residential buildings.

You can feel safe being part of our maintenance agreement service. This is because our team is dedicated to offering you and your family the best service in Frederick County. Contact us today to set up your HVAC maintenance contract.

The Benefits of HVAC Maintenance Agreements in Winchester Virginia

hvac maintenance agreement northern virginia small solutions

A new HVAC system is one of the most significant investments homeowners make, and with it comes the job of HVAC maintenance. Failing to keep the system finely tuned is a costly mistake, resulting in breakdowns and premature aging—usually at the most inconvenient moment. Think of HVAC maintenance in the same way you think about caring for your car or your body. Proper care helps ensure you keep things running smoothly for many years to come. That’s where an HVAC maintenance agreement can save the day!

Maybe you’ve never considered the benefits of having an agreement in place long before you need service. Take a minute and read our guide to HVAC preventative maintenance and explore why proactive care in the form of an HVAC maintenance plan should be a priority for every homeowner.

Who Doesn’t Want Lower Utility Bills?

hvac maintenance small solutions northern virginiaIf you don’t track what you spend on heating and cooling your home, you may be in for a surprise. The average household in the United States spends around $2000 a year, with some families spending even more.

An HVAC unit that doesn’t get regular attention in the form of scheduled maintenance won’t run efficiently. Inefficiency results in higher energy bills, but it also puts your HVAC system at risk for costly repairs and early replacement.

The easiest thing for a homeowner to do to ensure they do everything possible to keep energy bills low is to schedule annual HVAC maintenance. When you have a maintenance agreement in place, you have one big maintenance project to check off your to-do list!

Speaking of Efficiency

While lowering energy costs means the world to your budget, it’s not the only reason to focus on HVAC system efficiency. Unmaintained heating and cooling systems must work harder to heat and cool your home.

If you’ve ever let your car run on dirty oil or a clogged air filter, you’ve likely noticed a decrease in performance, including lower fuel economy. If you catch up on maintenance soon enough, the car runs more efficiently.

Your HVAC system responds to regular care in much the same way.

When running efficiently, your HVAC system will use less energy, resulting in less stress on the mechanical components. Less wear and tear make maintenance a more straightforward task and keeps the entire system operating in tip-top shape. The icing on the top of the cake is prolonged system life — you’re able to maximize your investment.

Checking your system’s performance is one item included in an HVAC maintenance plan.

Savings on Parts and Repairs

One benefit of putting an HVAC maintenance agreement in place is one you may not have considered. If you appreciate discounts, this is one that will give you a little more peace of mind about your heating and cooling system.

When you choose our company’s maintenance plan, we extend a 10% discount on HVAC repairs.

Even with regular HVAC preventative maintenance, system parts will eventually wear out. Indeed, professional maintenance performed twice a year should minimize the number of repairs your system requires but isn’t it comforting to know you won’t pay full price for repairs?

Please note that repairs bill as demand service. We extend the 10% discount on labor and materials.

HVAC Maintenance Agreements Put You First In Line

Have you ever called for heating and cooling service and been put on hold? We’re not talking about holding on the phone for several minutes.

Depending on the time of the year, the HVAC company’s ability to meet supply and demand as far as staffing, and the urgency of your HVAC issue, you may have ended up in a holding pattern. There’s nothing as frustrating as waiting and waiting on the hottest day of the year for a service technician to come out and fix a problem.

Our maintenance plan gives you first priority for service, which means we won’t ask you to hold on for days while we figure out how we can work you into our schedule.

Another great benefit of putting a maintenance plan in place is that if you do have an HVAC emergency, we won’t charge you the usual overtime charges.

What Do We in Our HVAC Maintenance Plan?

hvac maintenance small solutions northern virginia vaHaving a plan for keeping your HVAC system running smoothly year-round typically involves two service visits. With an HVAC maintenance agreement, our technician will work with you to schedule times to come out for winter and summer tune-ups.

Winter maintenance includes checking out the following:

  • Heat Exchanger
  • Safety Controls
  • Gas Pressure
  • Potential Flue Draft

The winter check also includes cleaning of the ignition assembly, burners, and pilot assembly.

Summers here in Northern Virginia can be brutal. Your summer HVAC maintenance is critical to keeping your home comfortable during the long, hot summer months. Summer checks include multiple checkpoints and inspections:

  • Refrigerant
  • Evaporator Coil

The summer check also includes cleaning of condensate drains and the condenser coil.

Your HVAC system performs better when individual components have a check-up twice a year. Those include:

  • Starting Capacitor Test
  • Conditioning Capacity
  • Air Flow Check
  • Amperage
  • Thermostat Calibration
  • Blower Adjustment and Cleaning
  • Monitor Voltage

The tech will make sure to tighten up any electrical components and lubricate moving parts in the HVAC system.

Ready to Get Started?

We hope our guide to HVAC maintenance agreements helps you see the benefits you’ll enjoy by getting started with this unique type of preventative maintenance. As part of your HVAC maintenance cost, a service plan pays not only for tune-ups but also for your peace of mind and safety.

Whether you’re looking for residential or commercial HVAC maintenance, we have the ideal plan for you. If you’re ready to start your new HVAC maintenance plan, you can do it today by signing up online!

5 Solutions For When Your Heating Won’t Turn On

5 solutions for heating hvac systems northern virginia

So, your heating won’t turn on? Gosh, let’s hope you aren’t getting too chilly! We’ll help you figure out whatever the heating issues are and share easy ways that can quick-fix HVAC systems.

Not every furnace problem can be dealt with by an amateur, so this article has two sections: furnace concerns you can resolve on your own and those that require a call to an HVAC professional.

Most furnaces are reasonably simple in their construction. Still, some parts need professional servicing. They also present dangers that only professionals have the tools and expertise to deal with.

Learn more in our guide below.

What if Your Heating Won’t Turn On?

radiator heating hvac small solutions northern virginiaThe following five items are easy to solve without calling a technician. A couple might require a service call only if you determine the part is not working or there’s a different problem.

Later, we’ll explain furnace repairs that do call for professional HVAC services.

1. Check the Circuit Breaker

There’s a possibility that something (e.g., a power surge) tripped the breaker. All you need to do is reset the switch. However, if the breaker trips again, you should call an HVAC technician or an electrician.

You might ask, “do I need heater repair for an electrical problem if I have a gas furnace? The answer is yes since there are furnace parts, such as the ignition, that require electricity.

2. Check the Thermostat

Is your thermostat on and set to “heat” or “auto”? If not, turn it on and set it!

If it is turned on and set correctly, though, you might need to look a bit deeper. First, try raising the temperature and see if the heat kicks in. If it doesn’t, the next step is to figure out if the thermostat itself is broken.

Doing this involves turning off the furnace’s power at the circuit breaker before you access the wires connecting the thermostat to the HVAC system. If you would rather not proceed beyond this point, though, call your HVAC company for assistance.

3. Could the Furnace Be Switched Off?

The answer to this might seem straightforward: switch the furnace back on. Before you do, though, ask yourself how and why it was switched off. After all, unless the weather has gotten warmer, what reason would there be to switch off a furnace?

Since “switching off” a furnace could mean one of a few things, you should do some investigation. When someone does this, it’s usually for a good reason.

Was it a household member? An HVAC technician on a recent maintenance visit?

If you’re sure you did not flip the switch yourself before turning it back on, perhaps it would be wise to make a few phone calls to the likely “suspects” in case the system was turned off for safety reasons or due to a malfunction.

4. Is a Filter Installed?

Most HVAC systems won’t run without filters; there’s no way around it. And don’t try putting the old, dirty filter back in, either. Not only will that not make the machine start running correctly again, but it could damage the furnace.

The easy answer? Go to your local home supply store and buy a new filter (order in advance from an online filter company next time). If replacing the filter doesn’t put things back in order, call for HVAC service.

5. Check the Blower Fan Motor

Many of our clients have never opened their furnace doors. Doing so makes them nervous, so we’re happy to help when we’re needed. But checking the blower fan motor is relatively easy in most HVAC systems.

When you open the furnace door, just check for a flashing green light. If there is one, you’ll see it, front and center. The green light means that, if there’s a furnace problem, it’s not the fault of the blower fan motor.

If no flashing green light is visible after you’ve looked around inside the furnace, call your HVAC technician.

With these five items, you will have exhausted all the easy DIY options for furnace repair. Now it’s time to call in the pros.

Furnace Concerns Needing Professional HVAC Servicing

heating small solutions hvac northern virginiaThe items to follow all call for the help of an HVAC professional.

This is not an exhaustive inventory of things that could go wrong with your furnace. However, we have compiled a representative list of items that most homeowner amateurs are advised not to go near. These include:

  • Anything that involves installing new components on HVAC systems
  • Anything concerning natural gas and the supply lines
  • Anything that would put someone in contact with dangerous substances like natural gas
  • Something that requires unique special-order replacement parts
  • Equipment prone to overheating that requires special handling
  • Evidence of long-term maintenance neglect

For the last item, we should point out that if a furnace goes for a long time without regular maintenance, any number of parts could be worn out, damaged, or leaking.

Whatever the state of an overlooked furnace, the first ones to open it and look inside should be those with the more significant expertise: HVAC professionals.

Did you know that HVAC has been listed among the most dangerous jobs in America? Some of us signed on for this responsibility when we embarked on HVAC training and began our careers.

So if you chose a different path, isn’t it easier and better all-around to leave the challenging and specialized work to us?

Are We Getting Warm Yet?

What do you do when your heating won’t turn on, now that you’ve read what we have to say?

Do you feel more confident about what’s all right to do yourself? Or, did you find our advice on what to avoid daunting enough to keep you far away from your furnace, no matter what?

When you’re ready for professional help with heating problems, let us know. If you happen to call us and say, “my heater won’t turn on,” we’ll be there right away. At Small Solutions, we don’t waste time getting to our customers’ needs.

Small Solutions is available 24/7 for emergency heating repair in Frederick County.

Do-It-Yourself: Remember this ONE Little Thing Before You Clean Your HVAC Unit

Your HVAC needs maintenance in between seasons, to make sure it is working efficiently. Stuff just naturally collects! General debris, dust, grime, bacteria, mildew and mold, pet hair and other such material build up over time and cause your system to have to work harder to do its job.

But first–this is an IMPORTANT step! Don’t forget to do this one little thing before you clean your unit. See our “Do-It-Yourself: How to Clean Your HVAC Unit Safely With a Garden Hose, Part 1” and Part 2 videos for guidance on how to do the cleaning.

 

Do-It-Yourself: How to Clean Your HVAC Unit Safely With a Garden Hose, Part 2

Your HVAC needs maintenance in between seasons, to make sure it is working efficiently. Stuff just naturally collects! General debris, dust, grime, bacteria, mildew and mold, pet hair and other such material build up over time and cause your system to have to work harder to do its job.

When this happens, it takes more energy to run. Which not only means your house takes longer to get comfortable, but also leads to increased electricity bills.

Watch Part 2 as Jason from Small Solutions demonstrates how to properly and easily clean your unit!
 

What’s the difference between SEER and EER ratings?

What’s the difference between SEER and EER ratings?

The energy efficiency of ACs is all about SEER ratings, EER ratings, and Energy Star labels.

What is SEER?
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it describes how much energy an AC uses to produce a certain amount of cooling. These ratings apply to central air conditioners.

What is EER?
This stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio, and like SEER ratings, the numbers come from dividing an AC’s cooling output by its energy usage. EER applies to room ACs like window units as well as to central ACs.

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SEER ratings have more to do with your area’s specific climate, and a unit’s advertised seasonal efficiency rating might actually go down if you live in an extremely hot climate.

EER ratings are better for comparisons. They don’t factor in seasons, so they aren’t as variable as SEER ratings. The EER rating lets you know how different AC systems work under the same conditions.

Your best resource for utilizing both ratings is your HVAC technician…like us at Small Solutions LLC! Whether you’re looking to install a more energy-efficient system or simply want to understand your current AC better, give us a call and we can help.

 

 

How do I inspect the system when buying a home?

Ideally, if you’re looking at a house to purchase and make your new home, you’d want to find a licensed home inspector or an HVAC technician (like us!) to come and inspect the HVAC system for you. It’s like paying a mechanic to check out a used car before buying it. That’s the quick and easy way to get it handled and have peace of mind. (Click here to contact us to coordinate with us to do an inspection for you.)

One of the things that makes buying a house stressful is the nagging fear that something will break down soon after moving in. The range won’t heat up, the boiler will start leaking, or the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment will refuse to work, leaving a major hole in the household budget.

Regardless of the home’s age or the condition of the HVAC equipment, you should insist that the seller provide a home warranty to cover unforeseen issues over the next year.

If you notice any problems with the HVAC system layout or the equipment itself as you tour the home, bring up your concerns with the seller.

HVAC System Inspection

A few questions to ask the seller:

  1. What type of HVAC equipment is installed and how old is it? Is it still under warranty?
  2. What is the HVAC equipment’s brand, efficiency rating, and fuel type?
  3. Do you have a copy of maintenance and repair records?
  4. Do you have an HVAC maintenance agreement you can transfer to me if I buy the house?
  5. Is a programmable thermostat installed?

If you want to get an idea of what you’re dealing with, here are tips on how to inspect the HVAC system in a house:

  • Determine how old the system is. The average HVAC system lifespan is about 15 years. Ask the seller to repair or replace the HVAC system if it’s over a decade years old, appears damaged, or suffers from problematic performance. If they don’t want to make the upgrade themselves, ask for an allowance or discounted selling price so you can afford to install new equipment once the house is yours.
  • Check the condition of the duct work. Leaky ductwork wastes precious heated and cooled air while meandering duct runs force HVAC equipment to work harder. Check whether the ductwork has any loose connections, visible gaps, torn sections, or other problems.
  • Look at the equipment. Does the equipment look like it is in good condition? Does it make odd noises? You probably won’t be able to make an accurate assessment of the system based only on how it looks, but you may notice something that concerns you.
  • Look for insulation. It’s difficult to check insulation levels in the walls without professional equipment, but you can peek into the attic as you take a tour. You’re looking for a thick blanket of insulation covering the attic floor. Any ductwork running through the space should also be insulated.
  • Note the comfort level of the rooms. Pay attention to the overall comfort level as you move from room to room. If you notice temperature differences, stuffiness, or drafts, there could be something wrong with the HVAC equipment, ductwork, or insulation levels.

If you hire us to help you make an inspection, here’s a checklist of what we’ll be reviewing:

  • Check the operation of the thermostat
  • Check air filter
  • Inspect blower components
  • Inspect electrical connections
  • Inspect quality of installation
  • Inspect areas where equipment is located
  • Inspect equipment condition
  • Inspect condenser and evaporator coils for air conditioning units
  • Test safety controls
  • Examine condensate drains and drip pan
  • Examine the duct work
  • Examine heating and air conditioning equipment for proper match
  • Examine heat exchanger, ignition and burner assemblies
  • Test gas pressure and piping

Upon completion of your HVAC inspection, we will provide you with a completed report of our professional assessment, giving you clarity on what needs to be considered for replacement or when to upgrade to a more efficient system.