Is It Time For An HVAC Duct Cleaning

If you are concerned about the air quality in your home you may have considered having your HVAC ducts cleaned. This service removes dirt, dust, and other pollutants that are pulled into your heating and air system each time it runs.

Not sure if your HVAC system could use a professional duct cleaning? If you answer yes to 3 ore more of these questions it may be time to schedule your service.

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  • Does anyone in the home have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems?
  • Does anyone in the home suffer from headaches, nasal congestions, or other sinus problems at night or first thing in the morning?
  • Is there a smoker in the house?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Do you notice a musty or stale odor when the furnace or air conditioner is running?
  • Do you notice dust on your furniture shortly after cleaning?
  • Does it seam like the air flow from the vents has decreased?
  • Do you use a standard, disposable fiberglass filter in your furnace?

In addition to improving the indoor air quality, a professional HVAC duct cleaning also has benefits for your HVAC system including restoring system capacity, reducing running time, and lowering the cost to heat and cool your home.

Want to learn more about Central Carolina's professional HVAC duct cleaning service?  Learn more and schedule your service today.

Understanding Inverter Technology

Heat pumps have been an efficient and versatile option to condition homes throughout North Carolina for many years. Now, thanks to inverter technology, they are even better.

What Is Inverter Technology?

In a traditional system, the equipment cycles on and off as needed to maintain the desired temperature. Each time the system cycles on to provide cooling or heating, the motor runs at full speed (100%).

In a system utilizing inverter technology, the temperature is maintained by adjusting the speed of the motor only what is required to efficiently condition the air. Instead of cycling on or off, the system analyzes the temperature and conditions and adjusts the speed of the motor (anywhere between 0% and 100%) to provide maximize efficiency and comfort.

Benefits Of Inverter Technology

Increased Consistency

Thanks to inverter technology, the heat pump can self-adjust and provide consistent room temperatures. (Compared to traditional systems that cycle on and off, resulting in temperature fluctuations throughout a home.)

Energy Efficiency

The system only uses the energy needed to produce the exact amount of hot or cool air required to reach the desired temperature, maximizing comfort and minimizing costs.

Reduced Wear And Tear

Inverter technology allows for a smooth ramp up operation, avoiding spikes in energy use, and unnecessary wear caused by the on and off cycling found with a traditional system.

Ready To Trade Up With Inverter Technology?

Simply fill out the form below and someone from our office will be in touch with you within one business day to set up your free consultation and estimate.

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Types Of HVAC Systems

Do you know what kind of system you have in your home? If you live in the Piedmont Triad, chances are you probably have one of these systems in your home.

Air Conditioning and Gas Furnace System

The most common type of HVAC system pairs an exterior air conditioner with an interior air handler or furnace. These two pieces of equipment work together to circulate air throughout your home. When the air conditioner is matched with a compatible air handler or furnace it will result in optimum efficiency and ideal system performance.

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How The Air Conditioning And Gas Furnace System Works

  1. When it gets warm inside your home, your thermostat automatically activates your air conditioner to compensate.
  2. The air conditioner on the outside of your home circulates refrigerant that absorbs heat from the indoor environment through the coil as it travels between the indoor coil and the air conditioner outside.
  3. As refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil, a blower in the furnace moves the warm air across the coil surface, removing heat and dispensing the cooled air through your home's ductwork.
  4. The captured heat is then sent back to the air conditioner outside- to be release into the outside air, cooling your home comfortable and efficiently.

Heat Pump System

Another common type of HVAC system pairs an exterior heat pump with an interior air handler to circulate air throughout your home. When a heat pump is paired with a furnace, it is referred to as a dual system. (Learn more about duel fuel technology.) Matching your heat pump with a compatible air handler or furnace will ensure maximum efficiency and system performance.

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How A Heat Pump System Works

  1. The heat pump on the outside of your home circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the heat pump and the air handler inside.
  2. When its cold outside a heat pump extracts heat from the outside air through the refrigeration process and transfers the heated refrigerant to the indoor system.
  3. The refrigerant flows through the air handler's evaporative coil. The blower moves air across the coil surface to warm air that is sent through your home's ductwork.
  4. The cold refrigerant is sent back to the heat pump outside so the process can repeat itself and keep your home comfortable. When it's warm outside, the heat pump reverses direction and acts like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

Packaged Unit

A packaged unit is a complete HVAC system that conveniently packs heating and cooling into one box and is optimized for performance and efficiency.

How A Packaged Unit Works

  1. When your home gets too warm, the air conditioner component of the packaged system cools it down by removing heat from the air inside.
  2. To warm your home comfortably and efficiently on cold days, the packaged heat pump reverses the refrigeration cycle and transfers heat from the warmed coils.
  3. Rather than attaching to individual components within the home, the packaged system connects directly with ductwork to disperse warm or cool air in every room.
  4. Gas-electric packaged units- which combine an electric air conditioner with a natural gas-powered furnace- offer the best of both worlds for outstanding energy efficiency and performance.
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Is It Time to Replace Your HVAC System?

If it's time to replace your system, no need to worry. Check out these money saving tips before calling the first HVAC contractor.

What Is A Dual Fuel System?

A dual-fuel system is a home comfort system that combines an electric heat pump with a gas furnace. The system is designed to alternate between the electric and gas to maximize efficiency while ensuring a comfortable home.

During the summer months, when you need cooling, the heat pump works like an air conditioner, cooling the home as needed.

During the mild weather in the spring and fall the heat pump continues to condition the home, providing heating as needed.

heat pump

However, when the temperatures fall as winter approaches, the heat pump turns off and lets the furnace take over. As long as the outside temperature is over approximately 35°F, a heat pump can pull heat from the outside air to condition the home for less than it would take to start the furnace. Essentially, the furnace is only used during the coldest times of the year to heat the home.

How Does A Duel Fuel System Work?

During the milder weather the comfort system transfers energy instead of making it by burning fuel. Using the furnace for air distribution only (no burners, no heat), the heat pump will send hot refrigerant through the air conditioning coil inside the furnace. The furnace’s fan takes the cooler air from the home via the air returns and blows it across the warm coil, warming the air. The warmed air is then circulated throughout the house to keep the home at the proper temperature.

It’s the same process used during the cooling season, just reversed, courtesy of a dual fuel heat pump. While an air conditioner can only move refrigerant through the system one way, a heat pump can force refrigerant in either direction – one way to cool and one way to heat.

Is A Dual Fuel System Right For My Home?

Here are a few things to review as you consider a dual fuel system.

Complete A Load Analysis

Despite your existing system’s specs, you may experience a difference in load if you’ve completed any improvement projects since installation or have an issue with system design. We recommend having a load analysis performed by a professional HVAC company to get started.

Compare System Options

The best way to compare different technologies is to rely on the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER. As a general rule, the higher the SEER number, the more efficient the equipment. While more efficient equipment can cost more to purchase, homeowners typically see a reduction in cooling costs by up to 15% for every two-point increase in SEER.

Review Utility Costs

If natural gas is increasing faster than electrical rates the payback period would be shorter than if you have lower priced natural gas and extremely high electrical bills. A key benefit of a dual fuel system is switching the utility load to a less expensive source in milder weather.

Confirm Project Scope

Dual fuel heat pumps work well as an air conditioning replacement as long as the furnace is compatible. Older furnaces may have to be replaced to work with a dual fuel heat pump which can add to the scope of the project.

Explore Savings Opportunities

Energy saving tax credits could help offset additional purchase costs. Be sure to add additional special discounts or rebates from the HVAC contractor as well as any expected energy savings to get a true view of the cost of the HVAC system upgrade.

Ready To Learn More?

To request a free consultation to explore your HVAC system replacement, simply fill out the form below. An associate will be in touch with you within one business day to set up an appointment time that is convenient for you and your family.

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Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Ductwork

Hidden behind the walls, in attics, and crawl spaces, is your HVAC ductwork. Many homeowners overlook their ductwork when they plan for HVAC equipment replacement, but it’s important to understand when it is time to consider replacing your HVAC ductwork.

Here are 7 signs it is time to replace your HVAC ductwork:

1. Ductwork Age: Just like your air conditioning unit, your air ducts can last 10-15 years with proper care. Over time, air duct seals, joints, and seams can deteriorate. This can lead to higher energy cost, poor equipment performance and decreased comfort in your home.

2. Airflow issues: If the airflow is diminished because your ductwork is worn, damaged, or dirty you will notice an increase in your utility bills.

3. Poor performance of new equipment: There could be many reasons your new air conditioning unit is unable to adequately cool your home. Checking your air filter and changing it, if necessary, is the first step you can take to improve performance. If your system is still not functioning properly, it may be time to have someone check and test your ductwork if it wasn’t replaced when you purchased your new equipment.

broken ductwork

4. Damage: If you notice damaged or disconnected ducts, deteriorating joints, and evidence of corrosion, it is best to let a trained professional assess the damage to your ductwork system. Punctures and dents can decrease the effectiveness of the system. Ignoring the issues will only continue to increase the overall utility spend.

5. Dirty Ducts: If you notice a smell in your home when you turn your air conditioning system on, it may be time for a duct inspection. Another indication of dirty ductwork is that there is simply too much dust in your home. An inspection can check for issues like mildew and mold as well as holes in your ductwork that can impact the air quality in your home.

6. Noise: If you notice new noises when your air conditioning system cuts on, it could be a sign that you have an issue with your duct system. Rattling and vibrating ducts indicate it is time for an inspection. The first step  is to have a professional service company check for damage and clogs in your duct system. They can recommend next steps- to either repair damage or replace your ductwork. Ignoring the issues will result in increased costs to heat and cool your home and potentially additional damage to your equipment from increased use and premature aging.

7. Hot / Cold Spots: Your system should be designed to heat and cool your home efficiently and effectively.  If you are noticing high energy bills and have areas of your home that aren’t comfortable, it could be an issue with your ductwork design.  A professional service company can do an inspection for you and identify any concerns with the design that could be leaving you with an uncomfortable home and high utility bills.

If you notice these issues in your home, taking steps to understand the condition of your ductwork system is the first step. Schedule a free consultation for a ductwork replacement today with Central Carolina.

dirty ductwork

The Importance Of HVAC Ductwork

Ductwork is an important part of your heating and cooling system. Your HVAC system relies on ductwork to circulate air throughout your home. Supply ducts send conditioned air into each room to maintain the temperature regulated by your thermostat. Return air ducts re-circulate the air in the home back through the HVAC system.

Ductwork problems can impact your home year-round if you have leaks or damage. The impact to your home can include:

1. Increased energy: Leaky ducts can cause air to enter your attic or crawl space, making your HVAC system work harder than required or designed. This will increase your utility bills and can prematurely age your equipment. Estimates show that a damaged duct can cause a system to work as much as 40% harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home.

2. Decreased comfort: Temperatures throughout your home could be inconsistent if the ducts aren’t able to circulate air as intended. This can result in hot and humid rooms in the summer and cold rooms in the winter.

3. Allergy issues: When there is a leak or damage to ductwork, dust, mold, allergens, and other particles can be drawn into your HVAC system and circulated throughout the home. This can lead to an increase in allergy or asthma issues for family members and pets.

Now that you know why your HVAC ductwork is important, if you are noticing an increase in your utility spend and inconsistent heating or cooling in your home, check out these seven signs it’s time to replace your HVAC ductwork.

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ductwork picture
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How to save money when replacing HVAC equipment

Homeowners faced with HVAC equipment replacement have several strategies to find the best system for their home, the needs of their family, and their budget.  With the rising costs of HVAC equipment replacement, it can be helpful to know what saving opportunities are available. Here are a few options to consider when it is time to replace your heating and cooling equipment.

equipment replacement condenser

Reduced utilities

Heating and cooling costs homeowners over 40% of their utility bill each month. By installing energy- efficient equipment you could save up to $300 in heating and cooling costs each year. The more efficient your system is or the higher the SEER number, the more savings you can see over the course of year. Learn more about this Duke Energy study.

Financing options for equipment replacement

Many homeowners choose a financing option to help spread the cost of equipment replacement out over a given time period. The payback period is often related to the terms of the offer. Examples of offers we see in the marketplace include equal payment plans, plans that offer no interest in exchange for a shorter payback period, and reduced rate options for longer terms.  Request a consultation and learn about our financing options.

Rebate offers

Contractors Many residential service companies offer rebates on heating and air conditioning systems at certain times during the year. If you are preparing to replace your equipment soon it is important to check and see if there are any rebate options available for your system or any indoor air quality accessories you may add.

Utilities Many local utility companies also provide rebates for replacing your heating and cooling system with a high-efficiency option. In the Triad, many homeowners have options for rebates through their local utility provider. Here are some of the programs in this area:

Sometimes the contractor you select to replace your equipment will help you with the rebate process. At Central Carolina, we offer this as a service to our customers as a courtesy to our clients.

Get Started

Are you ready to discuss the replacement of your heating and air conditioning system? Simply send us your information below and someone from our office will be in touch to set up a free consultation at a time that is most convenient for your family.

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Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

As the new year rolls in, most of us are thinking about changes and improvements we can make in 2021. Perhaps home energy efficiency isn’t as interesting as learning a new language or training for a marathon, but it can surely help you save money!

Here are some of our favorite home energy efficiency tips from energy.gov. We suggest resolving to save money in 2021 with these quick and simple ideas.

Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are readily available at home improvement stores and easy to install on your own. You can program your home’s temperature around your schedule, so it will run less when you are away. Experts say a programmable thermostat can save as much as ten percent on your annual heating and cooling costs!

Replace your light bulbsImage of woman replacing incandescent bulb with a LED bulb

Swapping out old bulbs for Energy Star bulbs can add up to big savings. If you want to really invest in your home’s energy efficiency, consider Energy Star LED bulbs. These bulbs last 25 times longer and use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Energy.gov reports that use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in our nation.

Put electric equipment on a power strip

You can save as much as $100 annually just by turning off so-called “energy vampires” in your home. These are devices that continue to use energy behind-the-scenes even when you aren’t actively using them. A simple way to do this is to install devices like this together on the same power strip. Then, you can just turn it off when not in use.

Unplug your chargers

We know, it’s so convenient to keep your phone charger plugged in all the time. But chargers consume energy even when your phone isn’t attached. For savings, unplug your charger when it isn’t in use.

Put your HVAC system on a maintenance plan

Regular preventive maintenance of your HVAC system will save you in the long run. A well-maintained system runs more efficiently and lasts longer. In addition, it’s best to have a professional spot potential problem before they become emergencies.

For information about preventive maintenance plans, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010. You can also use our online form.

A Dusty Home: Causes & Solutions

No one likes a dusty home. Let’s look at how this happens and what type of filtration and prevention can be done to lessen the amount of dust.

If you have a problem with the amount of dust in your home, no matter how much you clean, this may be an indication that your HVAC system is not filtering dust properly. There are a few common problems that can lead to excess dust and ways to fix it.

Home Air Filters

Checking your air filters is the first thing you should do if you’re experiencing issues with dust. Filters trap dust and other material from getting into your home, so they need to be either replaced or cleaned regularly so they work properly. If they get too dirty, they will become ineffective and allow dust and particles to build up in your home.

Leaky Ducts

If your air filters are clean, check the air ducts. Leaky ducts not only cause your HVAC unit to work overtime, but also cause unfiltered, dusty air to get into your home. You’ll notice your utility bills going up and dust collecting in your house.

Signs of a leaky air ducts:

  • Lint or dust build up on vent registers,
  • High energy bills
  • Hot or cold spots in your house

If you suspect the air ducts are the issue, inspect the ductwork for leaky joints and seal them. You may want to hire a professional to come in and fix the ductwork.

Humidity

High humidity in your home can cause dust build-up. The simple solution is to run a humidifier to reduce dryness. Humidity is a common problem and since mold and dust thrive under high humidity, you can’t afford to ignore it. If you find this is your issue, call for a  professional to install a humidifier.

Cracks In the Windows

Dust can get into your home through any cracks in the windows. You will want to re-caulk your windows to seal them and create a tighter fit.

Tracking Incoming DirtImage of shoes placed by front door mat

Dust and dirt can easily be brought into your home on your shoes. So, have everyone remove their shoes as soon as they come into the house. It’s a simple fix, but it could go a long way to improving the dust levels.

If you have checked on all of the above items, and remedied them with these basic fixes, but you’re still having a problem with excess dust, it’s best to have your HVAC system checked by a professional. It may just need a tune up or repair.

For professional assistance, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.