WHAT IS A FURNACE FILTER AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
A furnace filter is a material placed between your furnace and the air vents in your home. The furnace filter is designed to catch dust particles and other harmful particles. They help keep the air in your home cleaner and prevent any particles from going into your furnace. It is essential for the safety of your furnace and your home to have a furnace filter.
HOW MUCH DO FURNACE FILTERS COST?
Depending on the type of furnace filter you purchase, it can cost anywhere from $15 to $100 per filter. Cheaper filters can get the job done as long as you regulate when you check them. We recommend checking standard filters every month but suggest you check your filter manufacturers recommendations as well.
HOW MANY KINDS OF FURNACE FILTERS ARE THERE?
There are five different kinds of furnace filters defined by the material used to make the filter. Fiberglass is the most common because it is the cheapest one you can buy, but it only catches larger particles, leaving smaller ones in the air. Reusable or washable filters allow you to keep one filter for a couple of years. They have to be sprayed with a sticky substance to catch smaller particles. Pleated polyester filters are able to catch smaller particles at a lower price, but have to be changed more often than the fiberglass filters. Deep pleated, or high-efficiency, filters are similar to pleated polyester, but are layered. They are very thick and can only be used in homes with the filter space big enough to accommodate them. Electronic, or electrostatic, filters are reusable filters that have to be plugged in or charged. The charged particles attract many dust particles, so they have to be cleaned monthly.
WHICH FILTER SHOULD I USE FOR MY FURNACE?
A lot of factors can go into what kind of filter you buy. People with children and pets will want a filter that will catch some of the smaller particles, while people that live alone may not need a filter that catches more particles. For expert advice, contact your HVAC technician and schedule a tune-up. Your technician can tell you the right filter that will fit your needs. The more you check your filter, or tune-up your furnace, the safer your family will be.
For more information on furnace or air filters, feel free to contact us.
HOW DO AIR CONDITIONERS WORK?
An air conditioner has two parts that work together to take out the warm air in your home and bring in cooler air. One part is inside your home, while the other part is outside. In the inside unit, there is a space for an evaporator which uses the air from outside and a refrigerant, such as Freon, to evaporate the heat and turn the air in it to cool air. The outside unit releases the hot air from inside your home back outside.
HOW CAN I PREPARE MY AIR CONDITIONER FOR SPRING AND SUMMER?
To make sure that your air conditioner will work properly over the warmer months, you’ll want to do some cleaning and checking before turning it on. On the outdoor unit, clean off all of the debris that has gathered there over the winter and check the coolant lines for any cracks or missing coverings. Once that is done, check the filter on the inside unit. Filters are important for the safety of your home, so now is probably a good time to replace it. Check the drain line and vents in your home for dust and blockage. To ensure a perfectly working air conditioner this summer, call us for a tune-up. Our HVAC technicians will have the best advice and make sure you stay safe and cool this summer.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON AIR CONDITIONING PROBLEMS?
Some problems can be easily fixed by just checking common problem areas. Make sure to check your filter, condensation drain, refrigerant levels, and thermostat. If the air is not coming out or coming out warm. These can be for many reasons including a clogged filter, things are trapped in the air ducts, or low refrigerant levels. Problems like leaking refrigerant can mean that there is a crack where the refrigerant is and should be checked out by a HVAC professional. If one of the units, the inside or outside, shuts down often, it could be a lack of power or faulty coils. To ensure your air conditioner is working properly before any problems arise, call to get a tune-up for your air conditioner. Check out our 20-point air conditioner tune-ups for more information.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY AIR CONDITIONER NEEDS MORE REFRIGERANT?
Common signs that your air conditioner needs more refrigerant, such as Freon, are warm air blowing through your home, higher energy bills, ice or frost on your refrigerant line, and hissing and bubbling noises coming from your air conditioner. The hissing and bubbling or if your air conditioner is also leaking, it could mean that there is a crack in the refrigerant chamber and should be fixed before adding more refrigerant. These signs could result from other issues so be sure to call our HVAC professionals if the problem isn’t fixed.
WHAT SIZE AIR CONDITIONER DO I NEED?
Air conditioners are measured in tons. One ton is the amount of energy required to cool 12,000 BTU, British Thermal Unit or the amount of heat in the air, in one hour. The higher the ton, the more cooling power it will provide. On average in Minnesota, one ton can cover about 550 square feet. With the average house size being 2,600 square feet, the average household will need a four ton air conditioner. However, there are a lot of factors that are specific to a home, so for a more accurate measurement, contact our HVAC professionals for a visit and recommendation.
WHY IS R22 REFRIGERANT BANNED?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been phasing out the use of R22 refrigerant, or Freon, in an act that is phasing out products that are proven to deplete the ozone layer. By 2020, the production of R22 will be stopped in the US, which could cause problems for air conditioners made before 2010. Newer air conditioners use R410a refrigerant, an environmentally friendly option that might not be compatible for older air conditioners. With this change, the cost of adding Freon to older air conditioners will be expensive. Repairs and the new expense to Freon will build up quickly. In these cases, replacing your air conditioner to a newer model will be more cost efficient and lower your energy bills in the long run. Call Twin City Heating and Air for more questions, or schedule an appointment to replace your air conditioner this spring.
WHAT ARE DUCTLESS MINI-SPLITS?
Ductless mini-splits are units that provide both heat and air conditioning, and they are installed into specified areas of your home without using the ductwork. They are an economical alternative to adding heat and air conditioning to rooms or areas that are not connected directly to your furnace or air conditioner. Add them to your new additions, workshops, three or four season porches, or other new areas to save money and provide heat or air with ease. Call Twin City Heating and Air to learn more about how mini-splits can work for your home.
We partner with Clean Air Restoration for all air duct cleaning to get the best results.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET MY AIR DUCTS CLEANED?
The air ducts in your home spread cool air from your air conditioner and warm air from your furnace. With all of these tasks, it could get clogged with dust and hair fairly quickly. However, the amount of dust and particles in your air ducts depends on how many people and animals live in your home. With pets or allergies, your air ducts may have to be cleaned more often. Other factors include smokers in your home, potential water leaks or contamination, recent renovations or remodels to your home, and other respiratory issues the people living in your home have. While the air ducts should be checked twice a year with the regular tune ups, they are most often cleaned every three to five years, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. Talk with your HVAC professional for their recommendation for your home.
WHY SHOULD MY AIR DUCTS BE CLEANED?
While there is no conclusive evidence that cleaning air ducts prevents illness or other health problems, it does help the overall air quality of your home and prevents problems with your air conditioner and furnace. Dirty air ducts can lead to mold growth and allow pests to make nests in the dust and hair inside. Cleaning your air ducts can also help you save money because of the smoother air flow in your home.
HOW ARE AIR DUCTS CLEANED?
Air ducts are cleaned using certified machines to clean both the air ducts and HVAC systems. After turning off your HVAC systems, our professionals clean dust off of the components of both your air conditioner and furnace. Then they will clean the air ducts themselves. The first step is to break up the dust and other particles that is caught inside the air ducts using brushes, air whips, or other tools. Then using specialized vacuums, dust and particles are sucked out of the air ducts to clean it. Depending on your home’s air duct system, the professional might have to use other tools to fully clean out the dust. Contact your HVAC professional for their exact process and learn how they can improve your home’s air quality.