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?
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We received a call from a Woodbury, MN home owner today looking for help with their plumbing issue. They said that they don’t have any water pressure down stairs and they have black gunky water coming out of their faucets upstairs. We sent our plumber to investigate.
After arriving at the house he looked at their plumbing issue. A thorough investigation found out that the water softener was the culprit. As water softeners will do after they get old, the resin had released itself into the water pipes. They needed a new water softener and a complete flush of their domestic water system.
How old is your softener? If it is 10 years old or more, it is time to look at a new one. Many changes in efficiency and operation have been made over the years. The Northstar Water Softener has a mini processor in it that senses your water usage.
Before you decide to get rid of your softener or wonder why to have a softener, consider the following advantages of having a softener.
- Water softeners prevent scaling in the pipes.
- Protects your faucets and fixtures, as well as your bath tub and toilets from stains and hard water deposits.
- Soap lathers better and rinses cleaner.
- Increases the heating efficiency of your water heater up to 29%.
- Saves time cleaning and helps clothes last longer.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air has a Service Partner Plan that checks your water softener yearly for you. You don’t have to remember to do it yourself or know what to look for. You can call or email us to learn more about the value of a water softener installed by us.
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.
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.
The question that gets asked this time of year is “Do I need a furnace or boiler tune and check?” The answer always is “Yes, Yes you do.” If your next question is “Why?”, I will tell you because “It gets cold out there”.
I could bore you with efficiency claims and statistic about extending the life of your furnace or boiler for so many years. These are both great reasons to have your furnace or boiler checked every year and cleaned every couple of years. However, I don’t think they are most important reasons.
The most important reasons are Safety and Comfort. If you think about it, they will both ultimately mean comfort. Please let me explain.
A tune and check for your furnace or boiler will look at a number of things like:
- Carbon Monoxide Test
- Flame Sensor Cleaning
- Heat Exchanger Check
- Gas Pressure
- Temp Heat Rise
All these items are designed to make sure your furnace works safely and effectively for the winter. This means that you will not be without heat due to mechanical or safety issues. In turn you will stay comfortable and secure in the knowledge that you do not need to worry about those cold nights ahead in Minnesota.
Now is the time to find out if your furnace or boiler has issues that may prevent it from keeping you and your family warm this winter. Finding out later may result in delays in getting your furnace back up and running and could result in higher costs. You could also be without heat for a couple of days if your service company can not get to you due to the large volume of service calls. Not something you want to do when it is 20 degrees below zero in January.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air is now offering a Furnace Tune and Check for $89.00. This is a savings of $40 off the normal price. You can schedule by calling us or scheduling online by clicking Clean and Tune Appt.
You just come home from work or you have been outside working away in the yard or playing at the park. You could have sworn that you had the air conditioner switched on, but it is hot, humid or both in your house. This is a very frustrating situation that can turn a good day into a not so good day.
The 3 big reasons for this situation are:
- Undersized Air Conditioner Condenser
- Over sized Air Conditioner Condenser
- Frozen Evaporator Coil or A Coil
If your air conditioner is running and you are getting warm air instead of cool air, you probably have a frozen evaporator coil. This coil sits in the duct work above your furnace. The coil becomes frozen when there isn’t enough freon or refrigerant in the system. A leak in the system is the most common cause of this problem. Having a licensed HVAC company check for a leak and fill your a/c system will solve this problem.
A bigger problem is when you are getting cool air and it is too hot or humid in the house. You then have two questions to answer.
- Does the air conditioner run all the time?
- Does the air conditioner run and then shut off after a short period of time?
If you answer yes to the first question, your a/c is probably undersized. This can result from remodeling and putting on additional square footage. Another reason is that too small of a central air unit was installed.
The problem you will have is that the only time it will stop running is when the outside cools down. This does not happen until much later in the day in the summer. Your utility bill will overheat just as much as you are.
If you answered yes to the second question, then your a/c is too big. You will usually feel this by the dampness that is in the air along with the cool in the air. The air conditioner is not running long enough for the humidity to be sucked out of the air. You will get cool, but it will not be a comfortable cool.
For a comfortable and cool summer, have your air conditioner checked by a licensed HVAC contractor like Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air. You will have the the comfort of mind that you are ready for a hot and humid summer in Minnesota.
Everybody is looking to find ways to save money. Some ways of saving money can be painful and require sacrifice and big changes in lifestyle. I personally like the changes that require minimal effects in my life other than a bigger savings account.
Water is going to be a very valuable commodity in the future. Some people say it will be even more precious than oil or gold. If this happens, the price of water will go up significantly. Learning ways to conserve water will help the pocket book now and will increase in the future.
Below is a list of great ways to save water and thus save money. Feel good while thinking about the future.
- Low Flush Toilet – Conventional toilets use 3.5 to 5 gallons each flush. The new ultra low flow toilets only use 1.2 gallons per flush. The average person uses the toilet about 4 to 5 times per day. This means a low flow toilet has the potential to save a family of four more than 14 thousand gallons a of water per year.
- Low Flow Showerhead - A standard showerhead drops 4.5 gallons of water a minute. Low Flow or Energy Efficient Showerheads only release 2.5 gallons a minute. A quality low flow showerhead can save a family of four as much as 20 thousand gallons of water a year without a reduction of rinsing ability. This will also save hot water. Between 14% and 25% of your home energy use goes to heat water.
Below are 15 more ideas that combined will help you save a lot of water.
- When doing the dishes, fill one sink with soapy water and the other with rinsing water.
- Don’t plant grass in areas that are hard to water or do not retain water like a sloping area or along sidewalks and driveways.
- Keep drinking water in a jug in the fridge so that every drop of water goes down someone and not the sink.
- Check out your bill and water meter to gauge your water use.
- Collect your leftover water for watering plants.
- Shorten your watering time. Early morning is the best time to water grass.
- Adjust the lawn mower to a higher blade setting. This will help hold water. I believe it also makes the yard look better and hides any imperfections.
- Check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks. Call your plumber if leaks are found.
- Use the water from your fish tank to water your plants when you clean it out. The water is nutritious for the plants.
- In your toilet tank, put food coloring to see if it seeps in your toilet bowl. Replace inside parts if it is leaking.
- On driveways and other walking areas on your lawn, use porous materials. I keeps water in your yard and prevents runoff.
- Bathe you pets in a dry area in your yard.
- Install new water saving appliances, like washing machines that save up to 20 gallons per load.
- Aerate your lawn by punching holes in your lawn about six inches apart. Water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
- Know where your master shut off is and make sure it works. It will prevent a lot of damage and water loss if your pipes leak or break.
Contact Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air if you would like help with any of your plumbing problems or suggestions on water saving devices for your home. You can reach us either online or by phone.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air is offering a Free Furnace Check and the chance to win a High Efficient Furnace System and Water Heater.
Most homeowners in the winter months want to keep warm and toasty with an average temperature of 68-72 degrees set on their thermostat. However in order to keep your furnace system running tip top, homeowners should real-ize that it is vitally important to have your furnace inspected and cleaned yearly by a professional. Did you know 1 in 6 furnaces and boilers that are 15 years old or older could have a crack in the heat exchanger? A crack in your systems Heat Exchanger could be leaking dangerous Carbon Monoxide gas. The reason this occurs is the combustion gasses that burn in a Furnace or Boiler to heat the air or water is a corrosive gas mixture that over time eats away at the metal heat exchanger. So please don’t run the risk of a crack in your system. Have it inspected and cleaned yearly.
Preventive Maintenance Is A Bargain.
There is angst aplenty on Wall Street these days. However, on your own street at least, one investment always pays off. A little money spent on preventive HVAC maintenance turns into a lot of money saved. An ounce of prevention pays hefty dividends.
That is due to preventive maintenance extends the life of your HVAC equipment and preempts potential break downs by detecting then fixing emerging issues before they become expensive repairs. Regular tune ups also ensure your system runs at peak efficiency.
For analogy, consider your car. Spending $30 to change the oil saves you from spending $3000 to replace a seized engine. Regular tune ups ensure optimal function. Neglected HVAC equipment eventually requires extensive repairs, and ultimately must be replaced prematurely.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air has been a family owned and operated company for almost 100 years. We are confident we can not only satisfy you home comfort needs, but even better give you the peace of mind knowing your heating system or plumbing needs were service by the best in the industry. For more information contact us at 612-228-9200 or online.
2010 concluded the $1500 tax rebate for upgrading your furnace, boiler or air conditioner to a high efficient unit. The federal tax credit ends on December 31, 2010 and you had to have your hvac equipment installed by that date. That is the bad news.
The good news is that there is a 2011 Federal Tax Credit available. While it is not as good as the one that finished in 2010, it is still money in your pocket if you were not ready to replace your furnace, air conditioner or boiler until now.
Some of the details are listed below:
- The maximum amount an eligible homeowner may receive in tax credits for residential property will be reduced from $1500 to $500.
- All furnaces and boilers, whether natural gas, propane or oil, must have an AFUE of 95 or above to be eligible for the credit.
- The credit is not 30% of the total cost of the hvac equipment including install.
- $150 Tax Credit for natural gas, propane, oil furnace or boiler with minumum 95% AFUE
- $300 Tax Credit for split system air conditioner with minimum 16 SEER / 13 EER
- $300 Tax Credit for split system heat pump or min split system 15 SEER / 12.5 EER / 8.5 HSPF
As you can see, the Federal Tax Credit is not as attractive in 2011 as it was in 2010 and 2009. However, if you are looking to replace your lower efficient furnace, boiler or air conditioner, it may help cover the extra up front cost of the replacement while you save money on your monthly energy bills.
Contact Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air if you would like to learn more about the 2011 Federal Tax Credit or high efficient furnace, boiler and air conditioner. You can reach us by phone or schedule an appointment online.
By now you have probably heard about the $1500 Federal Tax Credit for upgrading your home heating and cooling equipment to high efficient units. However, do you know that you are running out of time to take advantage of the opportunity?
December 31, 2010 is the last day that you can take advantage of the tax credit to upgrade your furnace, boiler, water heater or air conditioner from a less efficient system to a high efficient system. The combination of the tax credit and money you will save in energy costs allow the quickest payback on your investment ever.
Below is a list of equipment and minimum efficiency required to qualify for the Federal Tax Credit.
- Natural Gas Furnace - 95% AFUE
- Natural Gas Hot Water Boiler - 90% AFUE
- Gas Water Heaters - 90% Thermal Efficiency
- Central Air Conditioners - 16 SEER 13 EER
Do not wait until the last minute to contact a HVAC contractor to have an estimate done to replace your old equipment. Most licensed contractors are 2 weeks out on installs. Be concerned about anybody who is not booked out that far on installs.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air offers free in home estimates to help you sort through all the options and answer any questions regarding equipment or comfort needs. You can schedule online or by phone.