Premier provider of HEATING and AIR CONDITIONING for:

Stay Comfy Minnesota Blog

Kelly

Recent Posts

Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Ductless HVAC System

Posted by Kelly on Jul 28, 2016 2:21:28 PM

Keeping the great outdoors outside is the reason HVAC systems were invented. We expect comfort indoors throughout the year and that’s why HVAC systems have a long history of innovation. The most common type of HVAC system in Minnesota uses a series of ductwork, vents, and grilles to bring comfort to the home, but what if a space doesn’t have vents and ducts? What if you added on an addition to your home or converted a porch or garage to be used all year? For that, many turn to ductless systems. Let’s look at the pros and cons of going ductless! 

The Pros 

They’re Space Savers

Ductless systems can go in many different places and can fit in areas that ducts can’t fit. They are a space-saving solution that can provide comfort in homes that just don’t have the real estate for bulky vents and ducts but that need the extra cooling and warmth just like other places in your home. 

Cost Effective

In addition to being great space problem solvers, they are also cost effective. If you have an addition or three-season porch you are converting to a four-season room, it may be too expensive to upgrade your entire central HVAC system. Ductless provides easy install and less mess and renovation.

Read More

Topics: HVAC

What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Is Leaking

Posted by Kelly on Jul 26, 2016 11:34:04 AM

In the past, we’ve talked about how you can tell your air conditioner is leaking and the different signs that indicate you’ve got a refrigerant drip. Now, we want to let you know even more about what to do if your AC is leaking – it’s not always as easy as a DIY fix!

If you are a homeowner and you notice that your air conditioner is freezing up – then that’s a good indication that you’ve sprung a refrigerant leak. You may also notice a wet, oily stain – that’s likely the point of the leak, because the refrigerant circulates with a lubricating oil and can create that wet, oily puddle. 

So, what steps should a homeowner do next? Can you fix it yourself or do you need to call in a pro? Our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, says when it comes to AC leaks – they always require a pro.

So, as a homeowner, that should be your first and only step when dealing with a leak – call a pro. Here are three reasons why. 

It’s The Law 

Keith says the first reason an AC leak requires a professional is that federal law requires it.

“It requires special tools and special skills to repair the leak and recharge the unit – and it may be dangerous,” he says. “The passage of the Clean Air Act in 1973, which was meant to reduce the amount of ozone-depleting chemicals into the atmosphere, led to a federal law that requires only EPA certified technicians are allowed to install or repair appliances with refrigerant in them.” 

Read More

Topics: Cooling

Do I Need a Furnace to Run My AC?

Posted by Kelly on Jul 21, 2016 3:48:40 PM

This is a question asked by many, especially when it comes time to replace your furnace or air conditioner. Do I need a furnace to run my AC? The answer is often “yes,” here in Minnesota, but it depends.

For Central Heating and Cooling Systems

The relationship between your AC and furnace is a close one if you have a central heating and cooling system – also known as HVAC. They work hand in hand, so if you upgrade one part of the system – let’s say, the air conditioner – and decide to put off upgrading the other – the furnace – you may notice an effect in efficiency, meaning that it won’t be as efficient as it could be if you upgraded both at the same time. 

According to home advisor website, Angieslist.com, “mixing old and new technology can decrease system performance. By replacing just one part of your overall HVAC system, you effectively lower the performance of both systems. When you couple a new, highly efficient system with an older system, the components don't ‘match,’ and you won't be utilizing the new technology to its full potential.”

Read More

Topics: HVAC

How to Compare Different Types of Air Conditioners

Posted by Kelly on Jul 19, 2016 2:26:07 PM

Pop Quiz: We bet you could name a few different brands or models of cars, clothes, and cell phones, but could you name off more than one type of air conditioner. Not to worry if you can’t – this quiz isn’t graded, but it is important to know how to compare ACs, especially if you are in the market to buy a new one. After all, that’s what’s responsible for the comfort of your home during the hot and steamy summer months. Here’s a quick guide on how to compare different types of air conditioners.

Central ACs

When most people think about getting an AC for their house, a conventional central air conditioner is the most common type found in Minnesota homes. Often referred to as central air, those types of air conditioners move cool air through a home with a system that uses ducts and registers to distribute the conditioned air throughout the home. Central air conditioners fall into two types: a split-system unit and a packaged unit. 

Keith Hill, the technical support manager at Minnesota Air, says that it’s called a ‘split-system,’ because, “its two units connected together with copper refrigerant tubing and control wiring.”

Read More

Topics: Cooling

The 4 Things Air Conditioning Experts Want You To Know

Posted by Kelly on Jul 14, 2016 3:05:19 PM

There are many different pieces of advice to be given when it comes to keeping cool in the summer, but air conditioning experts can agree that when it comes to ACs, nothing will help keep you more comfortable than taking good care of your air conditioner and learning to use it efficiently. Here are four things experts want you to know about your air conditioner.

Make Sure To Get Regular Maintenance/ Inspections

It may seem like a non-essential out-of-pocket expense to get your AC checked once or twice a year, but regular maintenance checks are shown to improve efficiency and overall longevity of your AC. That means you likely won’t need to replace out the whole expensive system anytime soon and it will cost you much less to run it.

A professional can check to make sure your coils are clean and all parts are working properly. Our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager from Minnesota Air, says to remember that neglect can lead to bigger issues.

“It’s so easy to take our HVAC systems for granted,” he says. “If they are working properly, they are ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ But that’s the issue. If we neglect them, they could develop problems.”

Read More

Topics: Cooling

Geothermal Energy Pros and Cons – Is It For You?

Posted by Kelly on Jul 12, 2016 1:00:34 PM

Geothermal energy is growing each year as a popular way to help your home go green. Whether you are in the depths of research, or this article is your first step in finding out what geothermal is all about – you’ve come to the right place to narrow down some of the pros and cons and find out if geothermal is right for you!

What Is Geothermal?

Geothermal energy is when heat is gathered from below the earth’s surface, which can then be harnessed to heat or cool your home. It is one of the best ways to get clean, renewable energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Pros

Good For The Environment

Geothermal energy is very friendly on the environment, because it uses the earth itself to heat and cool your home, and emits no gasses. There is no significant pollution that comes from using geothermal because you are harnessing heat energy that already exists in the earth rather than creating new energy. If you are environmentally conscious, this is a very important check in the ‘pro’ column.

A Real Renewable Resource

In that same vein, it’s one of the only energy sources that is really renewable. As long as there is a place to call Earth, we can keep using its geothermal energy. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, we have an “almost unlimited amount of heat generated by the Earth's core. Even in geothermal areas dependent on a reservoir of hot water, the volume taken out can be re-injected, making it a sustainable energy source.” 

Read More

Topics: Geothermal

Why Is My Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

Posted by Kelly on Jul 7, 2016 4:15:04 PM

This is a problem – you want to stay cool inside your home but your air conditioner seems to have the same idea and keeps freezing up. So why does an AC freeze up and what can you do to fix it?

The Science Behind ‘The Freeze’ 

Keith Hill, manager of technical support at Minnesota Air says that the indoor coil on the AC will freeze up when the refrigerant within the coil has a boiling point (or evaporating point) below 32 degrees. Remember that refrigerant is the substance that actually cools the air that gets pushed into your home. Normal operating range with proper refrigerant charge is 38-45 degrees. If the charge is low, the temperature drops significantly.

“It sounds counterintuitive,” Keith admits. “You would think that low coolant level would cause it to operate at a warmer temperature, but in an AC system, it’s the opposite. A low refrigerant charge causes the pressure in the system to drop, which lowers the evaporating temperature … and then when this boiling point of the refrigerant drops below 32 degrees the coil begins to frost.”

Keith says it’s just like when water has a lower boiling point at a higher altitude or with lower atmospheric pressure.

Here’s a link to a This Old House episode that talks about frozen air conditioners if you wanted to learn even more.

Read More

Topics: Cooling

How Much Does An AC Installation Cost?

Posted by Kelly on Jul 5, 2016 1:03:34 PM

If you are thinking about getting a new air conditioner, you may be also looking for a ballpark figure of how much it will cost you. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to pinpoint an exact one-size-fits-all figure for the cost of an AC installation, because it depends on so many variables – such as the quality of the unit you choose, the size of your home, if you need additional ductwork installed, the technician’s basic installation rates, and difficulty of the install. 

According to HomeAdvisor.com – a website that lets you find home improvement pros, compare, and read reviews from homeowners from around your area – most homeowners reported spending between $3,695 and $7,150. However, some spent as low as $1,888 and high as $10,000. 

To really understand what an AC installation will cost, you need to get an estimate from a few local professionals. Finding a quality contractor to do the install will ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Did you know that if you buy a high-efficiency AC but don’t get a matched system, a certified match of the outdoor unit and indoor coil, you are basically throwing money and that efficiency down the drain? A good contractor would! Did you know that you may need to modify your ductwork if you get a different AC? Again, a good contractor will and there are various ways to find one!

Read More

Topics: Cooling

Controlling Your Indoor Humidity in the Sweltering Summer

Posted by Kelly on Jun 30, 2016 12:37:04 PM

If you are feeling like your home is a bit stuffy this summer, fight the temptation to turn off your air conditioner and open a window – at least until you double check the humidity outside. Even on a day with a milder temperature, the humidity still plays a huge factor in your comfort. That’s why we are breaking down some of the ways to control indoor humidity on a sweltering summer day.

Stop Outside Air From Infiltrating 

Like we’ve already mentioned – keep that AC running and those windows closed. It needs to be both cool and dry to truly enjoy the breeze from an open window. 

In addition, it’s always good to make sure the envelope of your home has a proper seal. That means filling in cracks around the foundation, weather stripping around windows, and sealing the threshold of your doors and garage. Plus, stopping kids from running in and out of the house every few minutes will also keep outside air from infiltrating.

Remember that your AC not only does the job of cooling your home, but also dehumidifying it and conditioning the air from dust debris and other allergens. If you are worried about energy costs, you can set your air conditioner for a higher temperature, but don’t forget that once your AC reaches the desired temperature it will turn off and you may still feel moisture in the air if it hasn’t completely removed the humidity.

Read More

Topics: Summer

My Air Conditioner is Leaking?! What Should I Do?

Posted by Kelly on Jun 28, 2016 4:43:49 PM

A leaky air conditioner isn’t like a leaky boat or bucket. It’s not as easy to see it filling up with water or dripping fluid, and it’s not as easy to ‘plug up’ the leak. Refrigerant leaks in an AC system can be difficult to detect and can also be harmful to the environment, so we’ve got some tips on what you should do if you suspect your air conditioner is leaking. 

Signs Of A Leak 

According to our resident expert Keith Hill, manager of technical support at Minnesota Air, if enough refrigerant leaks out, the evaporator – or A-coil – can operate at very low temperatures and freeze up. 

“It’s actually the water vapor in the air accumulating as frost on the coil and restricting air flow which only accelerates the freezing process,” says Keith. “The same symptoms can be caused by low airflow – dirty coil, dirty filter, so don’t automatically assume its low on charge.” 

Keith says that you may be able to spot a refrigerant leak since refrigerant circulates with a lubricating oil. That means if you see a wet and oily stain, that’s probably the point of the leak. If you don’t see a leak but suspect one because you see a frozen coil AND your air filters are clean – then now is the time to call a technician and find the solution. 

Read More

Topics: Cooling