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Stay Comfy Minnesota Blog

Bypass vs. Fan-Operated: Which Central Humidifier is Best for My Home?

Posted by Steph Marsh on Mar 14, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Itchy, dry skin, fly-away hair, scratchy throats, and nosebleeds. What do they all have in common? Dry indoor air. That’s why so many homeowners choose to add a central humidifier. But which type is best for your home?

We asked Keith Hill, resident HVAC expert at Stay Comfy, and here’s what we learned.

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Topics: humidity control

What to do if Your Heat Exchanger Cracks

Posted by Keith Hill on Mar 7, 2018 10:00:00 AM

It’s the dead of winter and your home doesn’t seem to be heating up as effectively as it used to. Your neighbor asks if you've had your heat exchanger checked recently, but you don't know what she's talking about.

Your heat exchanger is an essential part of your heating system, so understanding what it does, what issues can occur, signs there is an issue, and how to fix it are important. Here's what we know.

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Topics: heat exchangers

Furnace Size Calculator: What's Best for My Type of Home?

Posted by Keith Hill on Feb 28, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Time for a new furnace and you’re wondering what capacity unit you’ll need? You’ve come to the right place. While you’ll want to consult with a qualified HVAC professional before making your final decision, our furnace size calculation guidelines can give you a good idea of what you’ll want to be shopping for. 

The most accurate and recommended method of determining your furnace size is to have professional perform a heat loss calculation following ACCA or ASHRAE guidelines. Most heating contractors have the software to perform such a calculation and they can work with a set of plans or perform the calculations on-site. If you’d like to get a rough idea of your heating needs there are some rule-of-thumb numbers you can use.

Of course, heating capacity needs vary by climate, so the following rules-of thumb values are specific to the Upper Midwest.

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Topics: Heating

The Do's and Don'ts of Thermostat Placement for Your Home

Posted by Keith Hill on Feb 21, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Your thermostat is a key component of your heating and cooling system. Without it, your furnace wouldn’t know when to heat your home or your air conditioner to cool it.

Your thermostat reads the air temperature in the surrounding area and compares it to the target temperature you’ve set for your home. When those don’t match, the thermostat sends a signal to your furnace or AC to adjust the temperature accordingly.

Getting an accurate reading is critical to keeping your home at the comfort level you need and where you place your thermostat determines how accurate that reading is. Here are some tips for where to and not to place your home’s thermostat for best performance and comfort.

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Topics: Thermostats

Smart Vents vs. Zone Heating: What's the Difference?

Posted by Keith Hill on Feb 14, 2018 10:00:00 AM

With all the modern options available for your heating and cooling system, it can be a challenge to keep them all straight. A common question from homeowners is "What is the difference between using smart vents and zone heating and cooling?" Both are options to optimize the efficiency of your HVAC system and provide optimal comfort for you and your family. But they do so in different ways and have different advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you determine which one may be right for your home.

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4 Common Furnace Problems and What They'll Cost to Repair

Posted by Keith Hill on Feb 7, 2018 9:15:42 AM

Maintaining home appliances is an inevitable part of every homeowner’s life. And nowhere is that more important than keeping your heating and cooling system in good repair. Of course, there will come a day when something will need replacement or repair. To stay ahead of the game, here are some of the more common problems you’re likely to encounter—and some tips on what you can do to troubleshoot or prevent problems before they start.

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Should I Be Closing Vents to Warm Up Other Rooms in My House?

Posted by Keith Hill on Jan 31, 2018 10:45:00 AM

The upstairs is too warm, the downstairs is too cool, and the basement is flat-out cold! Sometimes it can feel like a constant effort to keep home temperatures balanced. That’s when homeowners think that closing vents to redirect airflow can help. But that’s not really a good idea. Here’s why.

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Topics: Heating, Zone Heating and Cooling

7 Things to Check Before Firing-Up Your Gas Fireplace for the Season

Posted by Gregg on Oct 2, 2017 11:55:58 AM

There are few things more welcome than a warm, inviting fire in the middle of a Minnesota winter. So now is the time to take a look at your gas fireplace and make sure it’s ready for the season ahead. While gas fireplaces typically require less maintenance than wood-burning ones, they still should be inspected and serviced at least once a year. Here’s a checklist for making sure your fireplace is in safe working order for the winter months ahead:

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Topics: Heating

Winter Preparation: What You Need to Know About Home Insulation

Posted by Gregg on Sep 26, 2017 9:27:08 AM

As winter approaches, it just makes sense to prepare your home for the colder months ahead. That’s especially true if you’ve experienced drafting issues in the past. Fall is a really good time to make sure your home's insulation is adequate for the bitter cold, especially if you're hoping to get a second opinion from a professional. It’s a slower time for the pros and you’ll find it easier to book an appointment now, rather than later in the season. Here’s some information on home insulation to help get you started.

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Topics: Home Maintenance, Heating, Inspections

Homeowner Tips: How to Winterize Your 3 Season Porch

Posted by Gregg on Sep 21, 2017 1:50:46 PM

Minnesotans love their porches and sun rooms, so they're certainly missed in the cooler months as temperatures begin to plummet during late fall and winter. Not to mention they’re a common source of heat loss from our homes. So winterizing your three-season porch is a good idea as cold weather approaches. How far you take that process depends on your goals for using that room. Here are some ideas for what will work best to winterize your 3 season porch.

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Topics: Home Maintenance, Heating, Zone Heating and Cooling