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Ask the Experts: What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat?

Posted by Brittany on Oct 1, 2015 2:28:22 PM

Finding the perfect temperature for your house can be a bit of a guessing game. The ideal setting changes from season to season, person to person, and even day to day. If it’s too humid or too dry, it can feel uncomfortable inside. And if you turn the heat up too high on a cold winter’s day, you’ll find yourself uncomfortable when your energy bill comes. So we asked our resident expert – Keith Hill – what temperature should I set my thermostat?

Your Comfort’s Hero: Perfect Humidity Levels

Keith, the technical support manager for Minnesota Air, says that everyone is different when it comes to temperature. In fact, what you perceive as a comfortable temperature may not feel that great in reality.

“Sometimes a preconceived idea of what a comfortable temperature is – is not (comfortable),” he says. “Keep in mind that humidity plays a role. You may be comfortable at 70 degrees with 40 percent relative humidity, but feel cool at 72 degrees with a 20 percent humidity level.”

Because humidity can affect your skin, air quality, woodwork, and furnishings – it’s important to keep it in check. Less humidity in your home in the summer months is great for your body’s comfort. In fact, a big part of your air conditioner’s job is to remove humidity from the air. Drier air inside during the summer means less of that soggy, sticky feeling on your skin.

“Dry air makes us feel cooler as it evaporates the moisture on our skin, making our skin temperature cooler,” says Keith.

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Topics: Air quality, Heating

The Complete HVAC Guide: Easy Answers to Hard Questions

Posted by Brittany on Sep 29, 2015 3:00:00 PM

If you are new to homeownership, learning about HVACs and furnace and air conditioning maintenance can seem daunting – or even boring. But never fear, you’ve come to the right place, because we at StayComfy Heating and Air Conditioning want to arm you with the knowledge you need to understand your system. Your Complete HVAC guide is filled with simple, but crucial, stuff. No over-your-head info here.

Did we lose you yet? Good. We’ll make it easy, starting with basic questions.

What is an HVAC?

Don’t feel silly asking, we know you can get the answer with a Google search, but who wants to wade through all the mucky muck?

An HVAC is the whole system that helps you stay comfortable in your home.

HVAC stands for Heating (H), Ventilating (V) and Air Conditioning (AC). It refers to the whole system that heats, cools and conditions the air in your house – keeping you comfy no matter the season. The components that make up your HVAC are typically a furnace, air conditioner, thermostat (controls), ductwork, and vents/grilles. Some people have additional components like heat pumps, humidifiers, air cleaners, and UV lamps. These are not necessary to make your HVAC system work, but they are great add-ons for comfort. (If you’d like to learn more about what they do, click here to see our products page.)

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, HVAC

How to Find the Best Heating Repair Company

Posted by Brittany on Sep 25, 2015 1:24:36 PM

If only there were a magic ball to tell you the best choices to make for all your everyday decisions – what route to take to work, when you should trade in that old car for a new one, and who the best company is to hire to do work on your HVAC? Well, unfortunately, there’s not, but we’ve got a way for you to narrow down your choices when it comes to finding a good heating repair company that will work for you.

Heating Repair Company

Not All Companies Are Built The Same

First, it’s important to know that just as in any profession, there are a wide array of skills and specialties when it comes to heating repair companies. Keith Hill, technical support manager from Minnesota Air suggests thinking about levels of expertise in terms of medicine.

“A doctor specializing in dermatology may be knowledgeable on cardiovascular, but I would rather have the heart specialist helping me when I’m feeling chest pains,” says Keith. “And I’d rather have the one with training at the Mayo Clinic and ten years of experience instead of the recent medical school grad.”

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Topics: System Maintenance, Home Maintenance, Heating

What to Do If Your Furnace is Not Working?

Posted by Brittany on Sep 23, 2015 4:49:36 PM

On a cold day, the last thing you want is to turn your thermostat on only to have your furnace remain off. Don’t be left in the cold this fall, there are some simple steps to take if your furnace is not working.

Check To See If There Is An Easy Solution

If you go to turn on your thermostat and nothing happens, don’t run to call a technician right away. It could have a simple solution that you can find yourself through a little troubleshooting. These simple steps could save you time and money before picking up the phone. 

First, if you are feeling no heat being produced by your furnace, make sure the thermostat is in heat mode and the temperature is at a proper setting. Something that simple can be overlooked and if you move your setting up and down a few degrees it may trigger your furnace on.

Also check or replace the batteries on your thermostat if you have one that uses them.

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Topics: System Maintenance, Heating, HVAC, Winter

Winter Prep: How to Find the Best Heating Service in Your Area

Posted by Brittany on Sep 21, 2015 10:23:15 AM

As you are prepping for cooler weather ahead – powering down the air conditioner, taking the boat out of the water, buying a new coat, packing away the swimsuit, and learning how to winterize your home? Make sure that finding an HVAC service to help you get your home ready for fall and winter is a priority too. Here are some tips to finding the best heating service.

Do They Know Your HVAC?

In the HVAC profession, there are many skilled technicians with various levels of expertise and specialties, according to our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager for Minnesota Air.

“For example, some are great on gas furnaces and air conditioners, but not so good on heat pumps or hydronic heat (boiler systems),” he says. “And nowadays, the brand of product may have nuances that make it difficult for a tech that is not familiar with that particular product.”

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Topics: Heating, HVAC, Winter

Winterizing Tips: Should I Cover My Air Conditioner

Posted by Brittany on Sep 16, 2015 4:07:24 PM

A few cool nights turn into a few cool days, and before you know it, the summer heat is done and so is the use of your air conditioner. That may have you wondering what to do next? How do you winterize your AC? Should you cover your air conditioner? The answer depends on a few factors and it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons.

The Pros

Should I Cover My Air ConditionerWe will start with the reasons for keeping it covered when winter rolls around.

First, covering your AC will offer protection from the elements. Dirt and debris won’t fall inside the outdoor unit as easily as an uncovered one. That means less of a chance that you’ll get twigs, branches, or leaves inside your AC over the fall and winter when they tend to blow around, fall off trees, or roll off your roof.

A covered AC will also stop snow from accumulating on the unit. In Minnesota, we are no stranger to high snow drifts or even blizzards that can leave several feet accrued outside. As that melts and re-freezes, it may leave unwanted moisture dripping into your unit – and moisture isn’t good for machinery. Ice can damage the coils and you may just want to avoid taking a chance. That being said, most HVAC equipment is made to withstand varying weather conditions, but things like hail and blizzards are especially destructive.

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Topics: Weather, Winter

Call Now for Your Fall HVAC Preventative Maintenance

Posted by Brittany on Sep 11, 2015 9:47:23 AM

Even though your mind may be on soaking up the last few days of summer or back-to-school activities, it’s also important to think ahead and call to get your HVAC preventive maintenance done before the temperature starts falling. Now is the time to prepare your furnace for the fall, and making a call to your trusted HVAC technician will make sure you’re ready for cooler weather.

Here are the steps you need to take before you pick up the phone.

Find A Company You Can Trust

Nothing will set you up for disappointment faster than hiring a bogus company. Do your homework, ask for recommendations, and check for licensing and insurance — and you’ll be happy with who you hire. We’ll start by referring you to the experts at StayComfy Heating and Air Conditioning and we’ve written about other tips for finding an HVAC service near you.

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Getting Your HVAC ServicedBefore the Minnesota Winter

Posted by Brittany on Sep 9, 2015 5:54:44 PM

The kids are back at school, the cabins are closing up for the winter, football is back on TV, and before you know it we’ll start seeing fall colors everywhere we go. Autumn is just around the corner, and as we all know in Minnesota, that means old man winter will be nipping at her heels before you can throw away your jack-o-lanterns. That’s why getting your HVAC serviced before winter hits is so important to keeping you comfy and cozy. 

A Clean HVAC = A Happy HVAC

There are things you can take care of yourself and items you should trust a pro to do. Our resident expert Keith Hill, manager technical support for MN Air says a visual inspection is in order in both spring and fall.

“Look for anything that’s corroded or dirty. Clean out dirt and debris from the outdoor unit, wash the outdoor coil, then head inside to clean the lint and dander from the burner compartment in the furnace -- if you feel comfortable doing so,” he says.

One of the most important items in keeping your HVAC running happily is making sure you have a clean filter. This means change or clean it regularly – depending on your filter this can be monthly, but some larger filters can go as much as 6 months. That’s why it’s important to talk to a pro to see what they suggest.

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Topics: HVAC

4 Answers To Common HVAC Questions

Posted by Brittany on Sep 4, 2015 11:50:16 AM

If you are in the market to buy a new HVAC system, or just want to know the answers to some of the most common HVAC questions, then you’ve found the right article. Homeowners want answers about everything from filters to furnace efficiency and upgrading air conditioners to indoor air quality. We’ve narrowed down a few of the facts to give you the simple answers to your FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).


1. Is it worth spending money on a high efficiency furnace, and will I really save what those numbers on the manufacturer’s list tell me I will save?

It’s not just a marketing ploy. Those numbers you see on the tag or manufacture’s list are telling you how much it costs to run HVAC equipment annually (like furnaces and ACs) and how much you can save are put together by a third party. You can trust their accuracy, because the certified ratings are done by independent agencies: the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR program. Both test and rate performance of different HVAC products to make sure they meet specific energy efficiency standards.

According to Keith Hill, technical support manager for Minnesota Air, they look at AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) for furnaces. According to Keith, AFUE is a percentage of the heat transmitted into the home as compared to the total amount of heat the furnace produces. The heating capacity in a furnace is referred to in British Thermal Units per hour (BTUH).

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Topics: HVAC

Repair or Replace: Air Conditioner Tips for Homeowners

Posted by Brittany on Sep 2, 2015 2:26:01 PM

If you’ve ever been stuck wondering whether to repair or replace something after it breaks, you are in good company. Is it worth the money to get it fixed or should you just buy new? That’s the question many ask themselves when their car breaks down, their computer crashes for the hundredth time, or their air conditioner stops keeping them cool. Well, since we’re your experts at keeping you comfortable in your home we’re here to help you with the latter. Here are our air conditioner tips for homeowners when you’re deciding whether to repair or replace your AC. 

Budget/Return On Investment

When deciding to buy new vs. fix what you’ve got, it’s always good to first look at what you can afford. Take a look at your budget and decided how you want to save money – a $200 repair may be the temporary band-aid you can afford right now, but it also may mean you’ll need more repairs on your AC down the line. You’ll need to weigh whether it’s worth the investment now — and based on energy efficiency alone, it may be.

Keith Hill, technical support manager for Minnesota Air, says because the minimum SEER rating – or energy efficiency rating – is now required to be 13 SEER or higher in the United States, even the most inexpensive units now (ACs rated 13 SEER) are 30 percent more efficient than the most inexpensive units just 9 years ago when SEER 10 was the minimum. 

“That’s a 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption even for the most basic new unit,” he says. “Or save more and buy a 16 or even 20 SEER unit. Those numbers equate directly to fuel consumption — 16 SEER is 60 percent more efficient than a 10 SEER. It’s that simple.”

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Topics: Cooling, Energy Efficiency, Summer