What Happens During a Duct Cleaning Appointment?

Air duct cleaning is a professional service that removes dust and debris from deep within your home’s duct system. There are many benefits to this service, but homeowners often wonder what happens during an air duct cleaning appointment. Novak Heating and Cooling explain the professional duct cleaning process as well as the benefits it provides your household.

What Happens During Duct Cleaning Service?

What happens during duct cleaning service isn’t a mystery, but the process may be a little different than you imagine. When you set an appointment to have your air ducts professionally cleaned, expect the service to last a few hours. The larger a home, the more time it will take to clean all the ducts and vents throughout the residence. All you need to do to prepare for your air duct cleaning appointment is to make sure your duct cleaning team has easy access to the supply and return vents throughout your home.

When your duct cleaning team arrives, they will first inspect your home’s entire ductwork system. These professionals will examine the access points and look into the duct system to assess the condition and determine what happens during duct cleaning, as far as which cleaning methods are used. Camera inspection equipment may be used to look deep into the air duct system and visualize those inaccessible areas. Any damage or leaks can be fixed at this time so the air ducts shouldn’t be filled by outside sources like rodents or insects anymore.

Air duct cleaning isn’t a job anyone can do, you need professional equipment. A vacuum system and collection unit are used to trap debris from the ducts and remove them from your home’s HVAC system without causing a mess. The duct system is placed under negative pressure to prevent debris from blowing out into your living areas.

Brushes and other professional tools are used to reach into the ducts and loosen debris from the interior duct walls. Ducts and vents on both the supply and return sides of the system are cleaned and debris is vacuumed out. Compressed air may also be used to remove particles from inside the ducts.

Once the inside of the ducts are complete, the vacuum system is detached and removed from your home. Vent covers are cleaned and the HVAC system is inspected for proper operation.

Benefits of Professional Duct Cleaning

A duct cleaning visit from a professional HVAC company like Novak offers many benefits for homeowners in the Cedar Rapids area. Key benefits of professional duct cleaning service include:

  • Improve indoor air quality, by removing particle pollutants that can recirculate in the home’s air.
  • Increased energy savings, due to the removal of debris that can accumulate and stress HVAC system components, causing them to consume more energy. You may even notice lower energy bills following your air duct cleaning appointment.
  • Protection for your HVAC equipment, as potentially harmful debris is kept out of the equipment’s interiors when you have your air ducts cleaned. This debris can increase wear and tear and increase your HVAC system’s energy consumption.
  • Cleaner living areas, as duct debris are completely removed and no longer able to recirculate back into your rooms where dirt and dust buildup can come to rest on surfaces, causing them to appear dirty.

Schedule Duct Cleaning in Cedar Rapids

Now that you are aware of what happens during duct cleaning service, take time to schedule an appointment for your Cedar Rapids area home. Contact Novak Heating and Cooling today and request duct cleaning service from our skilled team.

Why is my Heat Pump Freezing In The Summer?

During the hot and humid summer months in Iowa, the last thing you want is for your heat pump to stop working. When you notice that your heat pump isn’t cooling your home like it usually would, one of the first things you should do is to inspect your outdoor unit. If you find that your unit is covered with frost, you might be confused. Why is it so hot, but my heat pump looks like an ice cube?

Novak Heating, Cooling, and Air Duct Cleaning has the answers as to why you have a frozen heat pump in the summer and what you can do to fix it. Usually when your heat pump is freezing, it means that something is not working properly. Sometimes defrosting your heat pump will solve the problem, but other times you may need to call a professional HVAC company for help.

Common Causes For Your Heat Pump To Freeze In The Summer

Even if it’s hot outside, it’s not uncommon for your heat pump to have ice build-up. There are many common causes for frozen heat pumps, but these are the most common.

Insufficient Air Flow

Take a look at your outdoor unit and make sure that there is nothing blocking it and cut back any weeds or grass growing too close to it. Debris and grass clippings can clog up your heat pump system can prevent air from flowing through the unit.

But more often than not, poor airflow issues are caused by dirty air filters. Your air filter should be changed every 90 days to maintain good air quality in your home. If you’ve noticed that you have a frozen heat pump, you could have a clogged air filter. Try changing your air filter to see if that helps prevent ice accumulation.

Dirty Evaporator Coil

Your heat pump works by using refrigerant to transfer heat out of your home in the summer months. If this coil becomes dirty it can impact the ability to cool your home. Every year, schedule your heat pump tune up with the team at Novak. We’ll clean your HVAC system to make sure its ready for spring, and that includes your heat pump’s evaporator coil. Scheduling this annual maintenance appointment will help prevent heat pump freezes from happening in order to prevent any unnecessary heat pump repair.

Low Refrigerant Levels

Refrigerant is a chemical that turns hot air into a liquid in order to transfer it out of your home. It should only be handled by a heating and cooling professional. Refrigerant is not like oil in your car, it does not need to be replaced or refilled regularly, unless there is a leak somewhere in your system. If you notice pools of liquid outside your outside unit when its frozen, its might not be melted water. Call Novak for heat pump repairs.

What To Do If Your Heat Pump Freezes?

If you’ve changed your air filter and your heat pump is still frozen, there are a few things you can do to try to thaw it out.

  • Shut off the heat pump: The refrigerant is what is causing your heat pump to accumulate ice. Shut off the heat pump and see if the warm temperatures help to melt the ice.
  • Turn on the fan: You can speed the process along by turning on the fan on the heat pump without it cooling your home. Check your thermostat to turn the fan on, and make sure the temperature is not set to cool.
  • Use Defrost Cycle: It’s not uncommon for heat pumps to gain ice on them during the cold months, and that’s why they have a defrost mode. You can also use the defrost mode to help melt the ice on your heat pump in the summer too.
  • Call an HVAC Company: If you’ve done all of these steps, and the ice hasn’t melted off in a few hours, or if the ice melts, but then reforms once you set your heat pump to cool again, then it’s time for some professional help. Contact the team at Novak to take a look at your heat pump to see what the problem is.

Call Novak To Fix Your Frozen Heat Pump

The heating and cooling professionals at Novak are experts at fixing heat pumps. Heat pump issues don’t just go away on their own, and ignoring them for too long can make issues worse. Novak offers 24 hours emergency service, so you aren’t without cool air on the hottest summer days. Call Novak today for help.

Why Is My Outside AC Fan Not Working?

The outside unit or condenser is the biggest part of the air conditioning system. In this equipment cabinet are the compressor, condenser coils, and condenser fan. What should you do if you find the AC outside fan not working? Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning shares common malfunctions that can cause your outdoor fan to fail, how to check it, and when to call for air conditioning repairs to fix it.

How to Tell If Your AC Fan Isn’t Working

You may suspect you have an outside AC fan that is not working if your cooling system isn’t keeping your home comfortable. To figure out whether this component is the issue or not, listen to your condenser unit as it runs and peer through the top grate of the outdoor unit to monitor the fan.

You may notice that the fan doesn’t run but the compressor does. Or, the fan and compressor both fail to start. The fan could be operational, yet slow to start. Each of these circumstances indicates a problem with your AC unit not working correctly.

Causes of Outdoor AC Fan Failure

If you find your outside AC fan not spinning as it should, these are the most likely reasons behind it.

1. Motor Malfunctions

The fan in your outdoor unit connects to a condenser fan motor which turns the blades. Because the motor has to endure a lot of vibrations and heat, bearings inside the AC fan motor wear down as time goes on, especially if the unit is not properly maintained. AC fan motors that are malfunctioning result in poor system performance and fans that either doesn’t run at all or work very slowly, often with a burning smell. You need to call your HVAC company to come to inspect the air conditioning unit and make repairs.

2. Belt Problems

If your condenser unit is older, it may very well have a fan belt that links the fan to the motor. Belts are designed to slip on and off of their pulleys with ease, which makes them susceptible to depreciation over time. A loose belt can easily slip out of position, which means the components are no longer connected which can make your AC unit fan stop spinning. This often happens due to wear and tear affecting the belt.

Belt issues are usually a DIY fix. Turn off power to the unit at the circuit breaker, remove the top grate and fan components to access the belt and pulleys, and slide the belt back around the pulleys. The mere presence of a belt drive in your condensing unit means the system is old, and it’s time to think about upgrading your air conditioner. Newer versions of air conditioner units do not use belts; instead, they use direct drive components to automatically connect the fan and motor.

3. Bad Contactor

The outdoor condensing unit holds the compressor and fan motor, which both receive power from the contactor. The contactor is an electrical switch and it can go bad with age. If the contactor fails, the fan motor won’t receive any electricity and you’ll notice the outside AC fan not spinning.

In the case of a faulty contactor, it will need to be replaced. Contact your HVAC technician to replace the contactor and this will restore power to the air conditioning unit and start the fan spinning again.

4. Faulty Capacitor

The capacitor’s job is to store power used to operate the fan motor in the condenser unit. Occasionally, these components fail which prevents the fan motor from receiving proper power as the system runs. Have your HVAC technician replace the capacitor and this fix should correct the outside AC fan not working.

Call Novak for AC Repairs in Cedar Rapids

If you notice your outside AC fan not working, it’s important to solve the issue right away or you may be stuck without cool air in your home. Call Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning to schedule air conditioner repairs in Cedar Rapids.

How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

We spend around 90 percent of our time indoors, so it’s important to make sure the air quality in our homes is up to par. Unfortunately, many of us are unknowingly breathing in common air pollutants that can be harmful to our health and comfort. From volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to asbestos, there are a variety of dangers lurking in our indoor air. How can you improve indoor air quality? Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning share several tips to help you out.

Common Indoor Air Pollutants

You probably don’t think much about the quality of the air you’re breathing until you start to feel ill. Even then, it can be hard to identify the cause of your symptoms.

Believe it or not, the air inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. There are many sources of indoor air pollution, but some of the most common are:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Lead
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Radon
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Smoke

How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

There are several changes you can make to start improving the poor air quality in your home. Here are some of our top suggestions to help you control indoor air pollution and better the air quality inside your home.

Source Control

The best way to reduce indoor air pollution is to find the sources of pollutants that exist in the home. Some common sources of indoor air pollution include combustion appliances, aerosols and solvents, building materials and furnishings, air fresheners, and chemical cleaning products.

By stopping the indoor air quality pollutants in your home at the source, you can limit the number of pollutants in your air supply, as well as their concentrations.

Some tips to help you with source control include:

  • Regularly servicing and adjusting your combustion appliances
  • Choosing products with fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Allowing products like new furniture to off-gas outside before bringing them into the home
  • Testing your home for harmful pollutants like lead and radon, and mitigate sources as needed
  • Using natural cleaners and air fresheners
  • Banning smoking inside your home

Improve Ventilation

Opening windows and doors when the weather allows is one of the simplest ways to remove indoor pollution. Natural ventilation will introduce fresh air and push out stale air. In the colder months, you can still improve air quality by running an exhaust fan in the bathroom when you’re showering and in the kitchen when you’re cooking. Exhaust fans help reduce moisture and heat buildup, which contribute to poor indoor air quality and discomfort. Whole-home ventilation systems are also very useful, but not every household has this equipment installed.

Change Air Filters

One of the easiest things you can do to improve your indoor air quality is to change your air filter on a regular basis. Air filters are meant to keep contaminants and debris out of the HVAC system, but they also benefit air quality. When air filters become clogged, they can no longer remove particle pollutants from the air. Not only is this bad for your HVAC system, but it’s also bad for your health.

It’s a good idea to check filters on a monthly basis and replace them whenever they are filled with matter. Keep clean air filters on hand so you always have one available when it’s time to replace the old one.

Install IAQ Equipment

Installing certain indoor air quality equipment is extremely helpful as you work towards filling your home with clean air. These appliances work with the home’s heating and cooling equipment to help control pollutants and factors that contribute to their existence at higher concentrations indoors.

  • Adding humidity to your home’s air can help offset the health problems that often come with dry air. Installing a whole-home humidifier is an easy way to add humidity and improve your indoor air quality.
  • An air purifier uses ultraviolet light energy to neutralize mold, bacteria, and other pathogens so they can no longer reproduce or cause health issues.
  • An air cleaner can also provide additional removal of particle pollutants for cleaner indoor air.

Talk to Novak to Improve Indoor Air Quality Today

Improving indoor air quality is important for your health and the health of your family. Novak Heating, Air and Duct Cleaning installs air purifiers, air cleaners, and whole-home humidifiers for homeowners in the Cedar Rapids area – call us today to learn more.

What is the Cost of Raising the Thermostat by 1 Degree?

As the cost of energy continues to rise, homeowners are always looking for ways to keep homes comfortable without drastically increasing their heating and cooling bills. There are many tips out there that claim to help you increase comfort with little added cost, but it’s hard to figure out which suggestions are good advice and which ones aren’t worth your time. One suggestion is to increase or decrease the home’s temperature 1 degree at a time, which will improve comfort without generating significant cost. Novak Heating and Cooling discuss the cost of raising the thermostat 1 degree and more tips to save energy.

How Much Does It Cost To Raise Your Thermostat Setting by One Degree?

Did you know that the average bill a U.S. household spends more than $2,000 each year on energy costs? In fact, heating and cooling systems account for about 55 percent of total energy consumption in the home. That’s a lot of money, so it’s important to take measures to conserve energy and keep those costs down.

One way to do that is to gradually lower the thermostat temperature in the winter and raise it over the summer. You might not think that adjusting the thermostat one degree in temperature is a significant change, but the associated costs can add up over time. These gradual increases ease your household into indoor climate changes so it’s easier to acclimate to new temperature settings – if you make large temperature jumps, the temperature difference is more noticeable, and the heating bill increase is larger. Moving the thermostat settings 1 degree at a time may show you that your home is at a comfortable temperature you didn’t expect.

The cost of a thermostat adjustment of one degree is about three percent of your total energy bill. This means that for every degree you raise the thermostat, you can expect to see corresponding savings on your energy bill of about 3 percent. For example, a winter energy bill that is typical $75 per month would be lowered to $77.25 due to the cost of raising the heater one degree warmer. In the summer, setting your thermostat to a lower temperature is akin to “raising” it. This makes your air conditioner use more energy as this increases the temperature difference between the temperature inside and the temperature outside.

Raising the thermostat 1 degree isn’t always exactly 3 percent. The actual price you’ll pay for the extra heating and cooling can be impacted by many variables, including your HVAC system’s energy efficiency and outdoor temperature extremes.

Ways to Stay Comfortable and Save Money

Programmable thermostats help homeowners save on annual heating and cooling costs by programming automatic temperature adjustments during times when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping. You do have to take advantage of the thermostat’s setting capabilities to reap the benefits. The bottom line: using a programmable thermostat can result in energy savings that will be reflected on your energy bills, but only if you use it correctly.

One easy way to save on your energy bill using a programmable thermostat is to set your temperature back 7 to 10 degrees for periods of 8 hours or more. Overnight is a good time to do so because the temperature difference won’t be as noticeable while everyone sleeps. You can program similar setbacks to cover the school or workday during non occupied hours to generate additional savings.

Save Money with Novak Heating and Cooling

The cost of raising the thermostat 1 degree at a time is minuscule, and making such small, incremental adjustments will help you realize that you can find a good temperature for your home without making large temperature jumps and setbacks. For more ways to save money on heating and cooling costs or to have a programmable thermostat installed in your Cedar Rapids area home, call Novak Heating and Cooling today!

What Do MERV Ratings Mean?

Furnace filters play an important role in the function of your heating and cooling system as well as the home’s indoor air quality. Not only do they keep your home’s air clean and circulating properly, but they also protect the HVAC system from dust and dirt. As with any other appliance or product, it’s important to shop for the right furnace filter for your needs. MERV filter ratings are one element you’ll need to pay attention to as you choose the right filters for your home and HVAC system. Novak Heating and Cooling breaks down the meaning of MERV and explains how furnace filters function.

What Are MERV Filter Ratings?

If you’re shopping for a furnace filter, you’ll likely see a MERV rating on the package. Do you know what those numbers mean?

MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it’s the standard measure of how effectively a filter can remove particulate matter from air passing through it. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed a method to test filter efficacy, and MERV filter ratings were derived from these tests in 1987.

HVAC air filters receive a MERV rating that corresponds with their efficiency for removing certain particle size ranges from the air supply. MERV ratings begin at 1 and extend to 16 – the higher the MERV rating, the better the filter can remove particulate matter from the air. Particle size ranges represented by a MERV rating are 3.0 to 10.0 microns, 1.0 to 3.0 microns, and 0.3 to 1.0 microns.

Determining the Right MERV Filter Ratings to Use with Your HVAC System

An air filter with an extremely high MERV rating is not always a good thing. Many homeowners assume using an air filter with ratings at the higher end of the MERV scale will offer the cleanest air quality, but that doesn’t mean this is the right air filter for your home.

These highly efficient filters generally aren’t meant for use with residential HVAC systems. To achieve high-efficiency filtration, these filters contain denser media to remove finer particles in greater volumes. An HVAC system needs a powerful fan to properly circulate air through this filter and keep the heating and cooling system running properly.

Residential HVAC systems typically aren’t powerful enough to accommodate an air filter with a MERV rating in the highest range. If you use an air filter that is rated too high for your home’s HVAC system, the dense filter media will actively restrict airflow through the heating and cooling system and the filter effectively acts much the same as a typical filter that has become clogged with debris. Using filters with the highest MERV rating in residential heating and cooling equipment increases energy consumption, causing more stress and wear to the HVAC system.

It’s important to optimize filtration by choosing high MERV air filter ratings that are compatible for use with your residential HVAC unit and your indoor air quality needs. A filter with a MERV of 8 to 13 filters are generally recommended, depending on your specific needs. Pet dander, smoking, carpeting, family members with allergies, and other factors can impact air quality and filtration needs, so be sure to take all of these into account when making your purchase.

Benefits Associated with High MERV Ratings

As long as you choose options with MERV air filter ratings that are appropriate for use with your type of heating and cooling system, using filters with higher MERV ratings can offer many bonuses for homeowners.

For people with allergies or asthma, using filters with higher MERV ratings can offer better air filtration for the home. More allergen particles are trapped by the filter and removed from living areas, decreasing exposure to particles that cause allergy and asthma symptoms.
Greater efficacy also keeps particles out of the HVAC unit, which prevents stress and wear and tear damage.
Filters with higher MERV ratings can help with odor control in the home by removing fine particles that cause odors to linger in living spaces.

Find the Right Filters with Novak Heating and Cooling

A clear understanding of MERV filter ratings allows you to choose the right options for your home. If you have questions about HVAC filters or improving indoor air quality at home, call Novak Heating and Cooling.

How Long Do Mini Splits Last?

If you’re in the market for a new heating and cooling system, you may want to consider ductless mini splits as an option for your home in the Cedar Rapids area. For those homeowners who aren’t familiar with these types of ductless systems, might have many questions about ductless HVAC systems. In this post, Novak Heating and Cooling answers all the common questions about ductless mini splits, including how long do mini splits last.

What Is a Mini Split HVAC System?

A mini split is a type of HVAC system that can provide cooling and heating to different areas of your home without the need for ductwork. A ductless mini split system consists of two main components: an outdoor ductless heat pump equipment or air conditioner and one or more indoor air handlers. The outdoor unit is typically installed on the side of your house or in the backyard, while the indoor air handlers are installed directly into the living spaces, such as the bedroom, office, or kitchen. Indoor and outdoor units are connected by refrigerant lines that run through exterior walls.

The air handlers supply conditioned air directly to the designated area, which eliminates the need for a central HVAC system and the associated ductwork. All air handlers in the system can be operated independently from one another, which produces a zoned system setup for highly efficient heating and cooling.

You Might Want a Mini Split If…

Mini splits are becoming increasingly popular. Many homeowners look to retrofit existing spaces, like an attic or garage, to create new living areas but want a heating and cooling system for comfort. The expense and hassle of extending ductwork into these new rooms and upgrading their current units to serve the additional area can make the project cost-prohibitive. The same situation applies when new additions are built on existing homes.

Instead of altering the existing central HVAC system, a ductless mini split can be installed to work alongside the central HVAC system while providing climate control to the designated space. Homeowners can continue to use the central HVAC units they are used to while using the mini split to control comfort levels inside the new living space without impacting the rest of the home.

Additionally, mini splits are perfect for homes or households that do not have the capacity to support the installation of a traditional HVAC system. This might be because the home is historical or older and originally built without consideration for ducts. In homes that have blocked or damaged ductwork, it may be necessary to install a new duct system when planning HVAC system upgrades. This can add thousands of dollars in expenses to the project, which may make the whole thing out of budget.

How Long Do Mini Splits Last?

New HVAC systems are expensive to purchase and install, so homeowners look for HVAC equipment that offers a long service life so they can make the most of their investment. But if you’re considering a mini split system, you may wonder about the ductless HVAC longevity so you can make the most out of your investment.

On average, ductless mini splits last around 20 years. That’s significantly longer than other traditional HVAC systems like heat pumps and air conditioners, and on the higher end of the service life range for furnaces.

To get the most out of your system and extend the ductless mini split lifespan, it’s important to follow a regular maintenance routine. A reputable HVAC contractor can provide the proper maintenance for your system to keep your ductless system’s energy efficiency at its best. As a homeowner, you can do some basic things yourself, like changing the air filters and cleaning the unit. There are also factors that affect the lifespan of your system to help it last as long as possible. Turn it off or set it back when rooms aren’t occupied to avoid unnecessary wear and tear that occurs during regular system use. Doing these things will help prolong the life of your ductless mini split system.

Mini Split Installation from Novak Heating & Cooling

The lifespan of ductless mini split systems are impressive, especially compared to other common household HVAC system types. To learn more about ductless mini split systems and to receive a quote for mini split installation in your Cedar Rapids area from an experienced HVAC installer, call the team at Novak Heating and Cooling today.

When Is the Best Time of Year for Air Conditioning Maintenance?

Spring is a time of year when many Cedar Rapids area homeowners are busy deep cleaning their living spaces and maintaining their homes. Spring or Summer happens to be the best time for air conditioning maintenance, as having this professional service completed before warm weather reaches the area will ensure your cooling system is ready for hot temperatures. The earlier the better, and any maintenance is better than no maintenance at all. If you forget to make an appointment until the Summer, that’s just fine. Novak Heating and Cooling explains why spring or summer are the best times for air conditioning maintenance and what is involved in a professional tune up for your air conditioner.

What Happens During an Air Conditioner Maintenance Tune Up?

Preventative maintenance tune ups are designed to provide the care air conditioners need to eliminate wear and damage that reduce system efficiency and cause components to degrade. The steps involved in a maintenance tune up will eliminate hindrances and allow the air conditioning system to function at its best performance and energy efficiency levels.

When you schedule a preventative maintenance tune up for your air conditioning system, expect this appointment to last between one to two hours. During this time, your HVAC technician will perform many steps to thoroughly service your cooling system and maintain its condition. Air conditioning tune up steps include:

  • Cleaning and inspecting components of the indoor and outdoor units
  • Condenser coil cleaning
  • Cleaning the condensate drain pan
  • Flushing out the condensate drain line
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Testing blower function, making adjustments as needed
  • Inspecting system controls
  • Tightening electrical connection
  • Inspecting thermostat performance
  • Inspecting refrigerant charge

Why is Spring or Summer the Best Time for Air Conditioning Maintenance?

There are many reasons that make spring or summer is the best time for air conditioning maintenance. While having a tune up performed on your air conditioner can make a difference any time throughout the year, here are the key reasons it’s to your advantage to schedule professional preventative maintenance in the spring or summer.

  • No waiting. During the spring months, HVAC companies typically aren’t that busy. Temperatures are mild so heating and cooling systems aren’t seeing much use this time of year, which means the demand for repairs and other services is lower than during the summer or winter seasons. When you schedule your air conditioner maintenance appointment during the spring, you won’t have a long wait before the service can be completed and you’ll have access to more scheduling options, which is very convenient.
  • Our maintenance appointment schedule tends to fill up quickly, so there’s a good chance we might not be able to make it to your house until the Summer. Waiting until the Summer is fine to make your appointment, especially if your air conditioner seems to be working fine for now. Keep in mind, the sooner you make an appointment, the sooner we can see you.
  • Prep your system ahead of time. Once the weather warms up, it will be time to turn on your air conditioner. Spring and Summer are the best time for air conditioning maintenance because it ensures tune up services are complete before it’s time to start using the cooling system for the year. When your air conditioner is professionally maintained in the spring or summer, you can be confident that it will be ready to work at optimum energy efficiency levels from the very first time you turn it on this year.
  • Avoid serious repair issues and breakdowns. Professional tune ups are not only great for the maintenance services they provide, but the tune up also provides the opportunity to have the entire air conditioning system examined by a skilled technician. If any malfunctions exist, they can be spotted and corrected before it gets really hot. Having air conditioning maintenance done early in the season can spot these sorts of potential repairs because if they are left unfound, turning your air conditioning system on and running it once it gets warm could lead to great system damage that is expensive to fix, or the issue may grow to the point of shutting your cooling unit down entirely which will leave you without cooling.

Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance Today

Now that you can see why spring and summer are the best time for air conditioning maintenance, it’s time to take care of this important service for your Cedar Rapids area home! Contact Novak Heating and Cooling today to schedule an air conditioner tune up.

How Does a Heat Pump Work in the Winter?

All over Iowa, homeowners are looking for an energy-efficient HVAC system for their homes, and many are choosing heat pumps. Since heat pumps resemble air conditioners, many people think that heat pumps are for cooling their homes only. However, heat pumps can also provide heat to your home in the winter. The expert team at Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning has the answers to all your heat pump questions. If you’ve ever wondered “how does a heat pump work in winter,” we’ve got you covered.

How Do Heat Pumps Work in the Summer?

There are two kinds of heat pumps, but they both work the same way. Heat pumps work by following the laws of thermodynamics. Heat flows naturally from high temperatures to colder temperatures. The two types of heat pumps are air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps. Air source heat pumps move heat between the air outside a home and the air inside a home, while ground source heat pumps rely on coils that transfer heat from the consistent temperature of the earth.

A heat pump is composed of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Each unit has coils inside that are connected between the indoor and outdoor units. If you’ve ever looked at the back of your refrigerator and have seen the coils behind it, they are very similar to what you might see inside your heat pump. In the summer, the interior coils work as an evaporator, absorbing heat from inside and releasing it outside, while the exterior coils condense the hot air to make it cool and transfer it inside. 

How Do Heat Pumps Work in the Winter?

In the winter, even though it’s much colder, an air source heat pump can still pull heat from the cold air. Heat pumps work in the winter by reversing operation. The outdoor coil becomes the evaporator and the indoor coil becomes the condenser.

The indoor coil warms the air with the refrigerant. Even though “refrigerant” sounds like something that would make things colder, it can actually heat the air too. Despite the cold temperatures outside, the refrigerant is actually so cold that it can absorb heat from the outside air and warm it up. The warm refrigerant then goes inside where it is condensed, and then the warm air is transferred to your home. 

Are Heat Pumps a Reliable Heating System for Winters In Cedar Rapids, IA?

You may have heard that air source heat pumps are not reliable or efficient in the extreme cold, and that they are best suited for warmer climates. While heat pumps are definitely more popular in warmer climates, recent advancements in technology have improved the heat pump’s efficiency in the winter, making them ideal for colder climates too. If we didn’t think heat pumps were a good idea in Cedar Rapids, we wouldn’t install them in so many homes.

An important thing to remember about your heat pump unit in the winter is to watch out for ice accumulation inside your outdoor unit. Occasionally you might notice that your heat pump is in “defrost” mode. This is a way that the heat pump keeps ice from accumulating. When defrost mode kicks on, the coils run to make the heat pump the proper temperature. It usually takes about 10 minutes to heat up. If you’ve noticed that your heat pump is in defrost mode for a long time, or goes into defrost mode frequently, that is a sign that your heat pump needs help. Try changing the air filter, and if that doesn’t help, call Novak for heat pump service.

Call Novak for Heat Pump Service

If your heat pump is frequently switching into defrost mode, or is not getting up to the set temperature, call Novak right away. We can inspect and repair heat pumps and get them working to make your home comfortable again. Call Novak for heat pump repairs and heat pump maintenance today.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Furnace’s AFUE Rating

When shopping for a new furnace, you’re going to have a lot of numbers thrown at you about the furnace’s performance. One of these numbers is the furnace’s AFUE rating. AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency and is a measurement of the furnace’s efficiency. It’s important to pay attention not only to the furnace AFUE rating but also to understand how it is calculated so you can make the right purchase for your home.

The furnace experts at Novak Heating, Air, and Duct Cleaning are here to help you not only find the best furnace for your home but install it and maintain its efficiency throughout its life. Trust us, your only Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer in Cedar Rapids, IA to set you up with some of the best furnaces in the business.

What Is an AFUE Rating?

AFUE is the energy-efficiency standard for all heating units manufactured in the United States. A furnace AFUE rating is similar to the mile-per-gallon rating on your car. AFUE measures the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient your furnace is.

When your furnace heats your home, gasses need to escape through an air vent or a chimney. This is necessary to prevent natural gas from filling up your home. Another factor that contributes to AFUE ratings is the type of burner used during the heating process. AFUE ratings do not account for leaks in ductwork. It’s a good idea to call Novak for air duct sealing, cleaning, and repairs before installing a new furnace to make sure it is working as efficiently as advertised.

According to Energy.gov, furnaces with an AFUE rating of 90%-98.5% are considered high efficiency. A mid-efficiency furnace has an AFUE rating of 80%-83%. An AFUE rating lower than this is considered low efficiency. 

How Is a Furnace’s AFUE Rating Calculated?

Now that we know what an AFUE rating is, let’s see how it is calculated. The AFUE rating is derived by finding the total annual heat output in BTUs divided by the total energy input in BTUs, multiplied by 100. The formula looks like this:

AFUE = (total annual heat output in BTUs / total energy output in BTUs) x 100

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, is a measurement that shows how much energy your furnace uses to create heat. A professional technician can use sensors to determine the heat output of your furnace.

So when you’re looking at AFUE ratings, think of it in terms of money. If a furnace has an AFUE rating of 100%, that means that all of the money that goes into heating your home is converted directly into usable heat. An AFUE rating of 85% means that 85% of the money you pay for heating is getting used, while 15% is wasted on escaped heat. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your furnace’s AFUE rating so you can see how much money you’re potentially wasting on heat. 

Other Things to Consider When Looking at New Electric or Gas Furnaces

While you might think that you should just go out and buy the furnace with the best AFUE rating, there are a few catches. For one, most high-efficiency furnaces are electric, not gas. This could make your electricity bills rise immensely. Pay attention to the fuel source type of any furnace you’re considering purchasing. High-efficiency furnaces also tend to be more expensive. Although you might love the energy savings, there’s a chance a high-efficiency furnace might be out of your budget.

Also remember that your furnace’s efficiency depends on how well it is maintained. Your AFUE rating won’t stay consistent for its whole life if you don’t have your furnace inspected and cleaned once a year. Be sure to schedule annual furnace tune ups with Novak every fall. 

Call Novak to Learn More About Furnace AFUE Ratings

When you’re ready to purchase a furnace or heating system, talk to the HVAC experts at Novak. We can find you an electric or gas furnace with the right furnace AFUE ratings to keep your furnace running efficiently. Call Novak today to schedule your new furnace installation.