Well the first thing I can say is homeowners have more options on how to cool their home then they did say 12 years ago if they have radiant heat from a boiler system.
Which many older homes here in the Twin Cities fit this category. Not until the advent of the ductless mini split system has options really changed much.
These options included window air conditioning units that were typically noisy, bulky, and made your electric meter spin faster then Michael Johnson or Phyllis Joyner running the 100 meter dash. Not to mention they weren’t very effective at doing what an air conditioning system is meant to do, which is take the heat in the house and move it to the outside.
The other method is adding small tube duct work, also known as high velocity or run standard ductwork through your attic or basement and hooks it up to an evaporator coil that is connected to an outside air conditioning compressor. This is a perfectly fine system however this kind of system is not in everyone’s budget as building this architecture for either system does have significant up front costs.
The ductless mini splits that people are hearing about is basically taking that system and miniaturizing it to fit to single areas of the home. That is why you hear these systems have Asian manufacturer names like Fujitsu, LG, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba to name just a few, as these are computer controlled heating and cooling systems.
Mini splits are now almost exclusively heat pumps now as well, which makes them great as you can many times delay start up of your boiler for the season by heating your home during those temperate days between fall and winter and conversely during winter and spring.
Mini splits fit almost anywhere and there are a number of different applications we can install them. However be aware like everything, this is not an inexpensive project. Your HVAC consultant can give you a rough idea what you’re looking at sometimes right over the phone so there are no surprises.
So if you want energy efficient cooling and you know the high velocity or adding full ductwork to your home isn’t feasible. A ductless mini split is a great choice for years of total comfort in your home. Really who doesn’t want to be comfortable in their own home?
If you’re in the market for a new furnace and air conditioner and the heating and air conditioning professional in you’re home only discusses features about the product(s) like ECM motors, 2 stage heating, wifi thermostat, or what SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) means. It’s a pretty good bet they haven’t asked you one question about your family, living situation, how long you plan to live in your home, and the one that gets missed the most is does anyone in the home suffer from asthma or allergies.
Ask yourself the question is my heating and air conditioning professional selling me the features of the equipment they sell or are they getting to know me and how my family or I live in my home. When asked, I let people know directly that I don’t sell products; I sell my companies solutions to their problems. Simply put, if I don’t know who or how your family lives within your own home, how can I as a home services professional come up with valuable solutions to your specific needs and problems?
Now which way do you think will result in the best outcome for you and your family?
We received a call from a St Paul, MN homeowner today saying that a home inspector she hired for the sale of their home claimed they had high carbon monoxide coming out of their furnace. A test done by one of our qualified hvac technicians found that the claim was untrue. Has this happened to you?
Home inspections are a common requirement when selling a home. Either the seller or the buyer will desire to have one done. Many parts of the home are checked and opinions are made by the inspector. We usually get involved when issues are found with plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or drain cleaning. A home owner or potential buyer will call us to give a second opinion on what an inspector found.
We have found not all home inspections are the same and who you hire to do the inspection is critical to the report that you receive. Here is some advice in selecting a home inspector.
- What is their personal background with working on homes?
- What training has they received to inspect homes?
- Are they licensed and by who?
- Are they affiliated with any contractors or is he independent?
- How long does the inspection take?
- Do they guarantee the work or assessments?
- How well versed are they on the plumbing or mechanical code of the city that the home is located?
The customer who called us was very concerned about the results of their inspection. They had a 5 year old furnace that the inspector said was emitting a large amount of carbon monoxide through the exhaust venting. If correct, this could be a costly expense to remedy. Why was this error made? Was it a result of not knowing how to read the testing equipment correctly or looking to make some extra money from a referral of work?
The moral of the this story is to get a second opinion from a licensed contractor regarding any costly repairs that are suggested. The codes of each city are complicated and require constant training on. A person who is inspecting everything can not be expected to be an expert on everything. That is why the cities of St Paul and Minneapolis have separate inspectors for plumbing, mechanical, electrical and more.
You can call Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air with any questions about your home inspection and to request a second opinion on results you received during your home inspection.
March 1st is tomorrow. That means that spring is only 22 days away. Before you start thinking about yard maintenance you should start thinking about the plumbing in your home.
Whether you live in St. Paul, Woodbury, Eagan or Cottage Grove and your home is new or 100 years old, the same procedures are needed to make sure the dampness that comes with spring is outside your home and not inside. Simple checks by you or your favorite plumber can save you time and money.
- Check your outside faucet for signs of freezing. Turn it on while you have somebody in the basement looking for leaks. A frozen pipe will have had a chance to thaw and will leak once you turn on the shut off valve allowing water to flow.
- Take the cover off your air conditioner. You would be surprised at home many people call us saying their air conditioner does not work and we arrive to see some sort of cover on the A/C. A good tip is to shut off the breaker for your air conditioner each fall so you think twice when you turn your a/c on for the season. This is also a great time to schedule a clean and check for your air conditioner.
- Change your air filter in furnace. It is important to remember that your furnace is a key component of your air conditioner working correctly. The filter needs to be changed on a regular basis. Spring is a great time to change it so you can start with a strong air flow.
- Have your water heater checked. This one may make your head scratch. We receive the most requests for water heater replacements and water heaters leaking from the bottom service calls during the fall and spring. For some reason, the change in the temperature of the water coming into your house affects water heaters. Mostly as colder water comes in during the fall and winter, but also as it warms up in the spring.
- Check sump pump operation. Your sump pump sits idle all winter. This is when there is a great opportunity to stop working due to age or gunk building up. Pour some water in the pit to the point where the ball or arm floats up. Call your plumber for a service call if it does not come on and you have checked to see if it is plugged in. You don’t realize how important a working sump pump is until you need it due to pouring rain outside.
These are some simple steps that can save you and help you look forward to a great spring. You can call Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air to learn more and to sign up for a Service Partner Plan. You can then leave the checking of these items to us.
There is a disturbing trend happening in the Minneapolis and St. Paul and Suburbs. Central Air Conditioners being installed by people who do not know how to service the air conditioners or furnaces they install. The thought of a homeowner being comfortable with this baffles me.
As a HVAC contractor that has been installing and servicing air conditioners, furnaces, boilers for decades, I believe it is our duty to inform homeowners the problems that can happen. Below are just a few of the examples:
- What if the a/c or furnace does not work when turned on? Who are you going to call? The company that you said was too expensive due to having a service department? Will somebody come out and look over their work?
- Who is going to do the warranty work if something happens to your air conditioner, furnace or boiler? A majority of licensed HVAC contractors will not do warranty work on equipment not installed by them. This is due to the low amount manufacturers pay on labor for warranty work. Also, the first year is on the contractor.
- Who will help you maintain your equipment on a yearly basis which is required for warranty? Efficiency claims are only possible if you maintain and clean your hvac equipment.
- Will they answer the phone for questions after the install of your air conditioner? If they are so small that they don’t have a service department, will they have somebody to answer the phone or will they be closed?
- Will they have the license or pull a permit? While it is not as dangerous to get an a/c install wrong, installing a furnace or boiler incorrectly could damage your house or put your life in danger.
Would you buy a brand new car from a dealer who does not have a service department? Probably not. In fact you probably are buying that car from the same people who service your car because you know the quality of their work. There is not a better way to know the quality of the work and the dependability of the contractor then by having them do service for you.
At Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air, we service everything we install which is Carrier, Goodman, Burnham, and all furnaces, boilers or air conditioners from other manufactures. You can contact us online or give us a call if you would like to more more about our service and install.
Whether you believe in global warming or not, there is no denying it is hot out there on this 4th of July. People will not look at you sideways in a mocking gesture if you say your best friend is a machine aka an air conditioner.
It does not matter if it is a mini-split system, high velocity system, fan coil system, central air conditioner or your basic window a/c. You depend on it to be there when you need it and you need it when the temperature is this hot.
Having your cooling system checked in the late spring or early summer will achieve peace of mind knowing that any potential causes of failure are likely to be discovered during an air conditioner check. Some potential issues are:
- Low Refrigerant causing your A coil to freeze and reduce air flow and cooling ability.
- A leak or hole in the a/c or cooling line resulting in a flat air conditioner. This may mean a contaminated system resulting in a new a/c.
- Compressor going bad resulting in blown fuses and the need for a new a/c.
- Bad a/c fan motor.
- Dirty fins from cotton wood trees.
If you take care of your best friend, your best friend will take care of you during your time of need. And do you ever need it now.
So, to answer the question “Do I need an air conditioner check?”, yes, yes you do!
You can schedule your air conditioner check online by clicking A/C Check or calling Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air.
The quick answer is, when you can least afford it or have the time for it. The more precise answer is when you are home to know if your furnace or air conditioner is not working or if there is a leak in your plumbing. If you are like many homeowners, you are home after 5:00 during the week or on weekends. Now the more important question is, does your plumbing, heating or air conditioning contractor still dispatch at normal rates?
I was still at the office after 5:00 one night this week when I received a phone call from a customer who was having a sump pump crisis. She told me that a nationally known plumbing franchise told her that they would charge her $200 to come out since it was after hours. This was about 5:15 pm. I was shocked!! I thought the trend for everything was being open later when homeowners needed service. It wasn’t her fault that she just got home and noticed that her basement was starting to flood due to the heavy rain that day.
There are many websites, home shows, news columns and talking heads that will advise you of the importance of creating a relationship with a plumbing or hvac contractor before you need them. I agree that this is wise in a perfect world. However, how do you create a relationship before you need them? Who has said to themselves, “Gee, I think I will invite the local plumber over for dinner tonight. I have always wanted to get to know him better.” ?
Here are some tips:
- Check out some websites of the plumbing, heating or air conditioning companies.
- Check to see what services they provide. Can they do it all including drain cleaning. It is easier to make one call then multiple calls.
- Check the Better Business Bureau.
- Ask your neighbor or family who they have used.
- Most important is check to see what hours they work and what after hour fees are. They are only good if they can get to you.
At Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air, we believe we are here because of you the homeowner. That means we need to be available when you need us. We are available from 7 am to 10pm Monday through Saturday at regular rates. Why not 24 hours or Sunday? Well, even plumbers and hvac technicians have families and need their rest. Healthy and happy techs will help ensure they are ready when you need them.
Spring is a wonderful time of the year. Warm days, cool nights and the fresh look of everything new. One of the passages of spring is the cottonwood seeds floating through the air giving the impression of snow without the cold. Cottonwood seeds may give the impression of being harmless. However, it is one of the leading causes of service calls for no cooling in your home.
Your central air conditioner is dependent on air flow to operate efficiently. Air is drawn threw fins by a big fan in your a/c unit outside your home. This air is circulated from outside the condenser unit threw the metal fins and out the top of the unit via a fan. This air is used to reduce the heat of the refrigerant that is circulated through pipes or refrigerant lines going into your house and into an A coil that your furnace blower motor blows air over. I know this is more than you wanted to know, but it provides a little background as to what happens when your a/c is working properly.
The problem with cottonwood seeds is that they tend to get sucked into the fins of your air conditioner condenser as a result of the air flow mentioned above. The more seeds sucked into the fins the less air that is available to cool the refrigerant that is flowing through the system. This results in the a/c either shutting down from overheating or not being able to cool the air in your home as necessary. You will probably hear the condenser fan running as fast as it can while it gets warmer in your home.
Four actions you can take to help lengthen the life of you central air conditioning system, safe money and remain comfortable are:
- Clean the coils of the air conditioner with water or air. Be careful to not bend the fins.
- Clean all trees, bushes or miscellaneous stuff away from the air conditioner unit.
- Provide a shaded environment or put the air conditioner on the side where the sun does not shine in the afternoon.
- Have a contractor perform a yearly clean and check on your air conditioning system.
Taking care of your central air conditioning system will help it take care of you. Being proactive will help you from needing to be reactive down the road.
At Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air, we can help you keep your system in top condition or install a new HVAC system when you need it.
This is an easy one. Yes it is!
I know that spending money in these economic times is not fun. Especially on a piece of equipment that you use maybe 3 to 4 months a year in Minnesota. However, it is the fact that we live in Minnesota that makes it even more important to have your air conditioner serviced every year.
Your air conditioner works by cooling refrigerant that circulates between a coil that sits in ductwork above your furnace and the condenser that sits outside your home. The idea is that heat is removed through this process by the big fan in the condenser and the coils in the condenser. Blockage of the fan or the coils causes a reduced air flow which does not allow the refrigerant to cool which causes the a/c to overheat and shut down or not reduce the heat in your house.
One of the ways Minnesota has an effect on your air conditioner is a result of cottonwood trees. Cottonwood trees start shedding in May or June. You probably don’t see the trees but, see cotton like floating things which make it look like it is snowing. These tend to get sucked into the outside of the a/c condenser covering the tiny coils. Leaving the coils covered will have a huge impact on the effectiveness and life cycle of your air conditioner. Even brand new air conditioners are effected by this. The condenser will be starved for air and you can actually feel how hot the air is if you put your hand above the a/c condenser.
Another way MN has an effect is the little amount of time you use your a/c. The most demanding use of the a/c is when it turns on. In Minnesota, this happens a lot. The air conditioner will come on and cool the house and then shut off many times. Unless we are in the 90′s and humid the a/c is not required to run non stop. We are just the opposite of states located on the west coast or southern part of the country. In those states the furnace behaves like our air conditioners if they have a furnace. It is very important that you have the proper refrigerant in your a/c. Proper refrigerant levels will help protect the compressor when it is turning on and does not have any fluid moving. Sort of like engine oil in your car. Proper refrigerant levels will also prevent the coil inside the house from freezing up which prevents cooling and could cause water leaking into your furnace. (This is another subject totally as to why this happens.)
The third way MN has an effect, is the air flow that is going over the coil can cover the coil with lint, dust or anything that the filter in your furnace that runs 6 or 7 months of the year doesn’t catch. Cleaning this coil will help the efficiency of your a/c by making the metal exposed to the air flow instead of being covered in a blanket of lint and dust.
So in review, YES, is the answer to Is Cleaning and Servicing My Air Conditioner Needed Every Year in MN. It is important that you have the following done every year:
- Have the condenser that is outside your house cleaned.
- Check refrigerant levels and pressures.
- Have your A coil that is in your home and sits above your furnace check or cleaned.
You will save big money if you do this every year in the spring by hiring a contractor while they are running specials. Or an even better deal is signing up for maintenance plan like our Service Partner Plan.
At Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air, we can help you decide the best solutions for your home. Give us a call or email us for more information.
Do you find making much needed home repairs taxing or frustrating? In a large sea of “Best Value” and “Lowest Price” it may be confusing to pick a service company that is sincere and offers quality work. We are not going to talk about limited time offers and restrictions that may apply, we are just going to give you the facts, plain and simple, and let you decide if we are the company for you.
- Quality Service
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air is owned and operated by a family, just like yours. We have been in the plumbing, heating and air conditioning business since 1918. With our combined experience , our company has over 100 years of knowledge. We are experts in residential installations and will thoroughly explain the diagnosis before we make any installations or repairs. We want you, as a homeowner, to be able to make an informed decision after we present your options to you.
Our plumbers and hvac technicians come from diverse backgrounds and each one has an impressive skill set. We are proud to say that we believe in lifelong learning and we require our technicians to attend training courses each week to learn new skills. We actually pay them to learn how to serve you better. Everybody wins.
Our plumbers and technicians wear a professional uniform and follow appearance standards so that you cannot mistake them for anyone else when they show up at your door. We do background checks on all of our technicians as a safety precaution. We understand as homeowners that it may be frightening to let someone you do not know into your home. At Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air we would not send anyone to your house that we would not be comfortable letting into our own homes.
2. Quality Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Products
At Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air we do not believe in installing poor quality equipment or practicing “planned obsolescence”. There are some companies out there who will complete the job with the absolute lowest material and labor costs so that they can enjoy the highest profit possible. We are not one of them. We will only sell you high quality, long lasting parts, and they will be installed in the most professional manner. We want your repeat business legitimately, not because a product we sold you had a short life. It is important to us that our customers give positive recommendations about our company to other potential customers. In order for that to happen, we take care to deliver to our customers the products and experience that they deserve.
3. No Hidden Fees
Another benefit of choosing Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air is that we do not charge extra for overtime. We have been known to work odd and late hours to ensure that our customers’ systems are repaired in a timely manner. We do not want you to sacrifice comfort for quality. We understand how upsetting it can be to go without modern conveniences like plumbing, heating, air conditioning, especially when looking out for the well being of your family. So, we will not expect you to pay a dime more than you would during conventional office hours. We will even work around your schedule.
4. Guaranteed Fixed Pricing
After diagnosing your system, we provide a fixed, guaranteed price for the repair or installation. No tricks. No gimmicks. There will be no surprises or hidden fees. Our prices take into account all the costs of operating a business, from servicing our trucks, to building operation fees, employee salaries, benefits, and more. Our prices are carefully calculated and never arbitrary. We believe in the right prices for the right quality.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air is a proud member of the Nexstar Network, Service Roundtable, BBB, ACCA and actively participates in conferences, trade shows, and other educational events. The purpose of attending these events is to network with other service companies to determine best practices. We also attend to learn about cutting edge products that will benefit our customers. If there is a product out there that will improve your comfort, save you money, or make your life a little easier, we will be the first to tell you all about it.
We also firmly believe in giving back to our community. We support the Ronald McDonald Homes of the Upper Midwest and the Animal Humane Society. Through service and monetary giving, we help these great organizations that help people and animals in need. We believe the best measure of a company is not what they claim, but their actions towards their customers and their community.
Contact us if you have any questions or would like to know more about saving money with Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air.