8 Tips For Using and Maintaining Your Heat Pump

Congratulations on your new heat pump! You’ve chosen to take a step in the right direction towards preserving the environment and saving on energy consumption. Adopting this new heating and cooling system is exciting, but it comes with a bit of a learning curve. Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning shares some heat pump best practices so you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

1 – Don’t Adjust the Temperature For a Short Period of Time

With a furnace or air conditioning system, you might be used to setting your system lower during the day to save energy, and then raising the temperature when your home is occupied for maximum energy savings. While this is a great idea for a furnace and central air conditioning, you should not do this for heat pumps.

Once you’ve found a temperature setting that is comfortable, set it and leave it. Turning a heat pump down when you’re away or sleeping may actually use more energy than leaving it at a constant temperature. This is because it will have to work harder to come back to the desired temperature than it does to maintain it. Adjusting the temperature for short periods of time will not save you money with a heat pump.

2 – Rely on Your Heat Pump Before Your Furnace or Boiler

Many Cedar Rapids homes don’t rely solely on a heat pump for heat throughout the winter. They may have a backup heating system like a furnace or boiler. To maximize your energy savings, always rely on the heat pump for heat first. Set your furnace or boiler to a lower setting. When your home gets chilly during an especially cold night, your backup heating system will kick on to keep your home comfortable.

3 – Avoid “Auto” Mode

Auto mode maintains a constant temperature in your home by alternating between cooling and heating modes. If your system is on “auto” and you have your backup heating system running, you don’t want your heat pump to start cooling your home to compensate for the warmer temperatures indoors. Keep your system set to “heat” throughout the season, and only change it to “cool” once temperatures start to warm up.

4 – Keep Your Filters Clean

Like other HVAC systems, you’ll want to inspect and replace your system’s air filters on a regular basis. Check your filters every month to see how fast they’re filling up. A good rule of thumb is to change out your air filter every 90 days. You can buy replacement filters at your local hardware store. If you have ductless mini splits, be sure to clean the dust filters on a regular basis too, or when you notice the indicator light comes on.

5 – Stay on Top of Regular Maintenance

Heat pump maintenance should be performed twice a year since heat pumps both heat and cool your home. Schedule heat pump maintenance once in the spring before the cooling season, and again in the fall before winter hits. Routine heat pump maintenance will prevent breakdowns, keep your system performing efficiently, and can help extend the expected lifespan of your unit. A well-maintained heat pump should perform reliably for 15-20 years.

6 – Keep Your Outdoor Unit Clear

Heat pumps have an indoor coil and an outdoor unit. Your outdoor unit can easily get clogged up with grass clippings, leaves, and other outdoor debris. It’s important to inspect your outdoor unit regularly and keep it clear to maximize airflow and performance.

7 – Use a Higher Fan Speed

You’ll be surprised by the area your air handler can cover. Make sure that your air handler is unobstructed and is directed towards an open space. Then play with the fan settings to see which speed to see how fast the room will heat up when your system runs. The higher the fan speed the louder the ambient noise, so adjust it to the highest speed you’re comfortable with to make the most of the air movement in a room.

8 – Use the Right Mode To Match Your Comfort Needs

Most heat pumps have three different modes for summer. “Cool” is best for hot days, while “dry” can help fight humidity better. When it’s a comfortable temperature out, but you’d just like a little relief from the heat, opt for “fan” mode. This mode won’t cool the air, but it will help circulate it around the room.

Talk To Novak for Heat Pump Service in the Cedar Rapids, IA Area

Heat pumps are a great HVAC system for home comfort. If you’re interested in learning more about heat pumps or are having issues with yours, talk to your trained and experienced local HVAC professional at Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning. We’re happy to answer all of your heat pump questions and provide services to keep your system working properly. Contact us today to learn more about heat pumps.

7 Signs that Your Furnace is Going Out

As your furnace ages, it will experience issues that can disrupt the comfort of your home. Age is a big factor in how long you can expect your furnace to continue working reliably, but a well-maintained, older furnace can still work well. Every furnace problem doesn’t indicate that your furnace needs to be replaced immediately, but knowing the symptoms that your furnace is going out can help prepare you for the inevitable.

Novak Heating, Cooling, and Duct Cleaning share what you should look out for if you’ll need a new heating system soon.

How Long Do Furnaces Last?

The average lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years. Maintaining your furnace with a regular tune up service is a great way to make sure that your furnace lasts as long as possible. When your furnace starts experiencing issues, the biggest factor in whether you need a new furnace or not is its age. If you notice any of the following signs and your furnace is over 15 years old, then you’ll want to start considering replacing it.

A professional HVAC technician will be able to tell you your furnace’s age if you’re unsure. When you need furnace repairs, ask the technician if it would make more sense to make the repair or to replace the heating system. Most of the time, if the furnace is less than 15 years old, repairs are an affordable way to restore comfort to your home.

Warning Signs That You May Need A Furnace Replacement

1 – Frequent Repairs

It’s not abnormal to need furnace repairs once a season. However, if it seems like you’re on a first-name basis with your local HVAC contractor because you’ve had them over for repairs so frequently, it might make more sense to replace your furnace.

2 – Cold Air

If you put your hand to your home’s heating registers and feel cold air blowing out instead of warm air, this is one of the signs your furnace is going out. Oftentimes, cold air coming from vents means that your furnace’s blower fan isn’t functioning correctly. The blower motor and fan are incredibly important parts of your home’s HVAC system, and it might be in your best interest to replace the whole HVAC system rather than have it repaired.

3 – Strange Noises and Odors

Another common sign of a failing furnace is strange noises and odors when your system is running. When you turn on your furnace for the first time, it’s not uncommon to notice an odor, but it will quickly dissipate. Persistent odors like stinky socks, burning, or dusty smells are issues that should be addressed quickly. Noises like screeching, banging, and buzzing are also worrisome. Oftentimes, noises are key indicators of malfunctioning parts, and ignoring these issues for too long can cause problems to snowball and create bigger problems.

4 – Yellow Pilot Light

A gas furnace uses natural gas to warm the air. Your furnace’s pilot light should always be blue. If you notice that it is yellow, it indicates that the gas is not burning off completely and carbon monoxide could be leaking into your home.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. It’s smart to have carbon monoxide detectors located near your furnace and throughout your home to make you aware of a dangerous leak. If your furnace isn’t vented properly, your burner is dirty, or you have a cracked heat exchanger, you may experience a carbon monoxide leak. If your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide, it is not safe and you will need to replace it immediately.

5- Increased Dust

Increased dust around your home’s registers is one of the common signs your furnace is failing. Try changing your air filter to see if that helps, or look into air duct cleaning services as these can be common causes of increased dust as well. However, if you’ve tried both of these solutions and you’re still finding lots of dust around your home, it’s most likely the furnace.

6 – Increased Heating Bills

A sudden increase in heating bills is a big warning sign that should never be ignored. Sometimes it’s easy to find the cause, like suddenly frigid days, but other times it’s because of broken mechanical elements and your furnace’s age. A new furnace will help greatly reduce heating costs and improve your home’s energy efficiency.

7 – Poor Temperature Control

When you keep turning up the thermostat, but you still feel cold spots around your home, or your home just doesn’t seem warm enough, it could be your furnace just can’t keep up anymore. A new heating system will be able to heat every corner of your home consistently.

Call Novak For Furnace Replacement Services

If you’re ready to start the furnace buying process, talk to Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning today. We can give you an estimate and help you find the right-sized furnace for your home. Contact us today to get started.