Zone It: 3 Methods For Creating Cooling Zones In Your Home

Are you struggling to keep every room in your home cool, yet still comfortable? If so, you’ll likely need to address your HVAC system. Through upgrades and additional units, you will essentially create different “zones” in your home. This allows you to control the temperature in each zone, which keeps your entire home cool and comfortable during those hot summer months.

So how can you create HVAC zones in your home? Here are three tips:

1. Install More Air Conditioners

One of the easiest methods for creating temperature zones in your home is to install more central cooling systems. Ideally, you should place this additional system in the area of your home that you are struggling to keep cool. If you have a multi-level home, you’ll likely want to place this second unit on the top floor of your home. While pricey, having another system provides many benefits such as providing ultimate comfort. It also offers back-up cooling in the event that your main system encounters issues.

2. Opt For A Ductless System

Another option available for creating cooling zones is to install a ductless system. These systems are similar to central air conditioners, but they have one major difference: air handlers. Unlike traditional air conditioners, these units utilize air handlers to direct the cool air. These slim devices can be placed virtually anywhere: along the wall, the ceiling, or even freestanding. Plus, each of these handlers can be controlled separately. This allows you to customize the temperature of each room in your home easily. Unfortunately, this method can be quite pricey depending on how many air handlers you want to install.

3. Add Air Valves In The Ducts

For a more affordable option, consider having air valves installed in your ducts. These valves will automatically open and close to direct the cool air more efficiently. While you cannot control the exact temperature in each room with this method, you can make each room more comfortable. This is because the system will automatically detect which rooms need more cooling and then open up the air valves. Installing air valves in the ducts is simple, effective, and the most affordable option for creating a zone system.

As you can see, there are many methods available for creating cooling “zones” in your home. Whether you want to overhaul your HVAC system or simply install some air valves, each of these methods will surely make your home much more comfortable during the summer months. For more information on each of these methods, contact a local HVAC technician.

Posted in Uncategorized

Choosing A Location For Your Outdoor Air Conditioner Unit

When your HVAC technician arrives to install your air conditioning system, one of the first things they’re going to ask you is where you’d like to place the outdoor AC unit. It’s important to put some thought into this ahead of time so you don’t accidentally choose an unsuitable location because you’re forced to make the choice on the fly. Keep these dos and don’ts in mind as you settle on the best location. 

Do: Place it far away from shrubs and bushes.

While you may be tempted to hide the AC unit, you don’t want to place it directly behind or next to shrubs or bushes. The branches from these plants may get caught in the fan. Plus, they tend to block airflow to the AC condenser, which may decrease its efficiency or even cause it to ice over.

Don’t: Place it right next to an area where you spend a lot of time in the summer.

Today’s AC condensers are a lot quieter than those made several decades ago, but they do still make noise. For this reason, it’s best not to place them right on or next to a patio or porch where you’ll want peace and quiet come summer. Putting them to the side of the home is more common than putting them behind the home.

Do: Ask your neighbor’s permission if the AC unit will be right up against their property.

If you’re leaning towards putting your AC unit against the side of your home and close to your property line, it’s common courtesy to check that this is okay with your neighbor first. While they can’t legally tell you not to put it there (assuming you’re placing it on your property), you will gain their respect by at least asking or informing them of your intentions.

Don’t: Put the AC unit right by your furnace’s vent pipe.

If your furnace vents through a PVC pipe, as most modern furnaces do, try not to place the AC unit right next to this pipe. In the winter, this pipe blows warm, humid air when your furnace runs. You don’t want that moisture accumulating on and then freezing on your AC condenser.

When you think you’ve settled on the best location for your AC unit, run it by your HVAC contractor. They’ll tell you if it’s a good choice or give you a head’s up if they have some concerns.

Posted in Uncategorized

Don’t Let Poor Air Quality Bring You Down

If you’re like most people, you spend at least half of your time in your home. So if the air in your home is not of good quality, it can have a drastic impact on your overall health. Poor quality air can lead to allergy symptoms, asthma, and even nausea. Not to mention, odors can make your own home feel unpleasant. Here are three ways to improve the quality of your indoor air today.

Upgrade to a HEPA filter.

Standard cotton or fiberglass HVAC filters – the kind that cost a dollar or two – will trap enough particles to keep your furnace from accumulating dust and debris. But they won’t necessarily trap the smaller allergen particles like dust mites and mold spores. You’ll be left to breathe these in. A HEPA filter costs a few dollars more, but it will trap these smaller particles effectively, cleaning your air. Consider buying a few HEPA filters while you’re at the store. You should be changing your filter every month or two for best results, and keeping a few extras on hand makes this easier to remember.

Minimize your use of harsh cleaning solutions.

It’s important to keep your home clean because this reduces the number of mold spores, bacteria, and viruses in the air. However, harsh cleaning solutions themselves can harm your air quality. Some people find the gasses given off by cleaning solutions irritating, and they may cause asthmatic reactions, too. So try to rely on less-toxic cleaning solutions like vinegar and baking soda when possible. When you do use harsh cleaners like bleach or ammonia, do so with the windows open to encourage better ventilation.

Opt for low-VOC products.

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals given off by many plastics and synthetic materials. They can continue leeching out of products like paints, carpets, and even textiles for many years. So when you choose new products or building materials for your home, make sure you choose low-VOC versions. These may cost a little more than conventional materials, but since VOCs can cause everything from respiratory irritation to an increased risk of certain cancers, it’s worth the price. There are also many no-VOC products that don’t give off any of these particles – but they carry an even higher price tag.

For more tips on improving your air quality and removing odors, speak with an HVAC professional. They may recommend having your ducts cleaned or installing an air purifier depending on the current state of your house and whether you have any allergy sufferers in the home.

For more information, see sites like Advanced Air Quality Services

Posted in Uncategorized

Get Maximum Performance From Your Furnace With These Tips

Some property owners do not know the importance of maintaining their heating systems. When this important detail is overlooked, it can lead to premature furnace repairs. The following are a few things you can do to ensure that your heating system performs optimally when you need it most. 

Start the cold season off with a heating system tune-up. 

The best way to ensure that your heat is working when the coldest temperatures hit is to ensure that you get a tune-up. The timing of this service is also important. Waiting until the coldest temperatures arrive means that you could be without heat due to high demand for heating services. Schedule your tune-up at the beginning of the fall to reduce the chances of a mishap such as furnace failure occurring. 

Ensure that vents are open and unblocked.

A number of things may be blocking the air vents in your home. Common culprits are draperies and furniture. Take a stroll through your home and note areas that need adjustment. You may have to rearrange furniture and raise or tie back draperies. If you have had your tune-up performed when you do this walkthrough, then you may not have debris on your vents because cleaning your heating system is part of the tune-up service. However, it is possible that other household dust may have settled on your vents. Wipe the vents to remove superficial dust, which can be an allergen for some individuals. It may also harden over time if it is not removed. This can happen if dust and moisture mix or as a result of thick coats of dust never getting removed from vents.

Maintain a proper air filter changing schedule.

Dirty filters can cause a number of issues for your heating system. One of the most serious issues is a potential fire. Less serious but problematic issues include interference with energy efficiency and dust spreading in the system. You may also need to increase the frequency of filter changes if you have someone in your household with allergies or a respiratory condition. 

Get your insulation checked.

Perhaps you get your annual heating system tune-up. You may also follow a strict air filter changing schedule. However, your heating bills may continue to be high or you may feel as though it is difficult to heat your home completely. This may not be an actual heating system issue. Your home may be losing heat as a result of poor insulation. An HVAC contractor is a good resource to use to determine why and how your home is losing heat. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Pros and Cons of Converting to a Gas Furnace

If you currently have an oil furnace and are trying to decide whether or not you should convert to gas, you’re in the right place. Both oil and gas furnaces have their strengths, but there are definite pros and cons to switching. As a homeowner, you want to know not only whether a gas furnace will serve you better and save you money, but also whether it will be safer and add value to your home in case you ever want to sell it. Here are some of the main pros and cons of switching to a gas furnace from an oil furnace.


If you switch to natural gas heating, it’s true that you can save a lot on fuel over time. This is especially true when the prices of oil climb through the roof, which happens fairly regularly. In fact, when oil prices rise, gas heating can sometimes cost less than half as much per year as oil heating. In more reasonable years, there are still savings, but not such drastic ones. In addition, installation can be less expensive for gas heating systems than oil ones so, if you’re in a position where you have to replace your oil furnace anyway, switching could be a very good option right now. It’s also a better option if you’re an eco-friendly homeowner. Although both gas and oil furnaces come in high-efficiency models now, natural gas is less damaging to the environment than oil burning is.


If you don’t need to replace your furnace right now, switching could cost you an extra several thousand dollars so, unless you have a well-padded home maintenance budget, your savings could take quite a hit from this decision. You’ll have to factor in labor expenses for the contractor and hookup fees as well. And, although natural gas has historically been more affordable than oil, that could always change, so your results aren’t guaranteed. It’s also true that switching to a new system can incur additional expenses that you wouldn’t have if you were simply switching to a newer oil furnace. For example, disposing of your oil storage system safely can be a considerable expense.

These pros and cons show that while it’s possible to have better long-term results with a natural gas furnace replacement, you’ll also need to plan on making a considerable investment of time and money. Fortunately, Hartman Heating, Air and Fireplaces can help you make the transition with as little expense and inconvenience as possible.

Posted in Uncategorized

Before You Head Off On Vacation, Prepare Your Air Conditioning System

Your summer vacation is supposed to be relaxing and rejuvenating. If you come home to a sky-high AC bill, or worse yet, get a phone call from your neighbor that your AC unit has blown into their yard, that relaxation will be ruined. Thankfully, you can prevent most AC-related problems by doing a little preparation before you head to the airport or set off on your summer road trip.

Change Your AC Filter

A dirty AC filter makes your system work harder, raising your energy bills. When you’re not home to vacuum up pet dander and dust your home regularly, more debris is going to make its way into your ducts and onto the filter. So, change your filter preemptively before you leave to keep your energy bills in check. This will also decrease the changes of your system freezing over while you’re gone, as a dirty filter reduces heat transfer and can cause the system to super-cool itself.

Raise the Temperature

There’s no need to cool your home to 68 or 70 when you’re not there. In most cases, it should be safe to raise your home temperature to 76 or 78. Turning up the temperature not only reduces your energy bill, it also reduces how hard your AC unit needs to work. And less work translates to a lower chance of breakdowns and malfunctions while you’re away. Household products are perfectly safe at these temperatures, and your home won’t feel super-sweltering when you do arrive home. If you have a programmable thermostat that lets you adjust the temperature by the date, you can set it to lower the temperature back down on the day you plan to return.

Secure Your Outdoor Unit

Is your outdoor AC unit anchored securely to the concrete pad beneath it? If not, it could get blown to the side during a wind storm while you’re away. You can secure the unit yourself with hurricane straps, which are metal slings that fit around the unit and attach to the concrete below. Find them in your local home improvement store, and then use a drill bit made for concrete to attach them. Your HVAC technician can do this for you if you don’t have the necessary tools or DIY skills.

Your summer vacation should be a relaxing experience, not an HVAC nightmare. Follow these tips before you go, and your AC system will be just fine without you. For more tips, check out sites like

Posted in Uncategorized

How To Handle A Furnace That Won’t Turn On

If your heater hasn’t been working properly lately, then there are a number of reasons that might be to blame. Some such problems will require a professional touch, but many heating problems can be fixed by a dedicated homeowner that has a few hours to spare. Here is one of the most common heating problems and some tips to help you find a quick solution:

Is your furnace not turning on at all?

If your home is not warming up when you crank up the thermostat, then it’s time to take a look at your furnace and figure out exactly what’s going on. If you are dealing with some sort of disruption between the the power and your furnace, then there is a good chance that you will be able to handle everything without needing to call in the professionals. However, your exact plan will depend quite a bit on what kind of power your furnace uses.

Do you have a gas furnace?

If your furnace is powered by gas, then you are going to need to make sure that the gas line to your furnace is uninterrupted. Someone might have shut off your gas main or your home simply might not be getting gas at the moment due to a service disruption in your area.

If there is gas flowing, then you should check the pilot light if you have one. If the pilot light is not lit, then you may need to relight it.

If you are still having problems, then you may need to get a professional to take a look. However, if you have a gas furnace that is started with electricity, then you should proceed to the next question. If your furnace isn’t getting electricity, then it simply won’t turn on if it uses electricity at all, even if it’s mainly powered by gas.

Do you have an electric furnace?

You will want to make sure that electricity is getting to to your furnace, which means that you will need to check the power lines to the furnace and your circuit breaker.

The power lines to the furnace should be easy enough to check, since you are mainly looking for damage or an unplugged cord. If everything appears to be in order, then the problem is likely somewhere else.

The circuit breaker is similarly easy to check, since you really just need to flip the switches back into position if something is amiss. The bigger concern with circuit breakers is figuring out why the switches flipped in the first place, since that could be due to an overdrawing of power in your home. To rectify this, you could try redistributing high-wattage appliances throughout your home and limiting the amount of power that is being drawn in any one area at any given time.

For help fixing your furnace problems, contact J. P. Griffin Inc. or another local HVAC specialist in your area.

Posted in Uncategorized

Four Types Of Shade You Can Use To Keep Your House Cooler

If you’re looking for ways to decrease the strain on your AC unit and keep it from working itself into premature malfunction, keeping your house cool naturally is the way to go. Don’t sacrifice comfort just because the AC unit you have is too small for your house or is waiting for repairs. Some of these shade alternatives can be used in the short term and can help while you’re waiting for the repairman, but most are long-term solutions that will help you manage a living space slightly too large for your unit or help you reduce the amount of energy your unit uses. Choose whichever of these four shade options best suit your situation.

1. Shade trees and vines

Shade trees are understandably a very long-term solution, so you may not want to wait that long. You should also check with your homeowner’s association to make sure you’re allowed to plant trees, because trees too near a house can be a nuisance or a hazard. If you want shade that will help this summer and won’t take years to grow, you can try planting fast-growing vines (such as hops) on trellises next to your walls. Don’t let vines grow on the house itself, or they may damage it.

2. Shade cloth or sails

Shade sails can be installed over your roof to take the brunt of the sun’s force during the day. Some companies will also install shade cloth with a system that floats it just a few inches above the roof, which provides for maximum coverage while still allowing for ventilation. These types of shade help keep your roof cool by intercepting light and heat rays and then allowing them to dissipate into the air. This prevents a considerable amount of heat transfer through the roof, even if you have plenty of insulation; a black asphalt roof can commonly get up to 150-160 degrees in the summer sun.

3. Awnings

Awnings can shade your windows, preventing the “greenhouse effect” of sun shining through glass. The sun hits the awning and dissipates before it reaches the glass in an ideal situation, but for sunny windows, you may have to install quite a large awning if you want to be sure no sun will reach the glass

4. Shutters

If your windows are too large or too tall for an awning to be practical, you may wish to make use of shutters or external blinds. These block heat over the entire window surface and can easily be opened in the cool evening to encourage airflow.

These four types of shade can all help save your house from accumulating too much heat. If you want to pick just one area of the house to focus on, pick the roof; its 150-degree temperatures may be the single biggest contributor to your house’s heat gain, and cooling your roof helps it last longer by protecting it from thermal shock.

Posted in Uncategorized

Low Refrigerant Charge And Premature Air Conditioner Repairs

An air conditioner’s refrigerant usually plays one of the most important roles in the system’s cooling process. This is because it is the liquid refrigerant’s change of state – from a liquid to a gas – that causes the cooling effect responsible for cooling the air passing over the evaporator coils. Having too little of this liquid is therefore bound to affect the functioning of the air conditioning system. Here are some of the ways through which having a low refrigerant charge can lead to premature air conditioner repairs.

Air conditioning system’s lifespan

When there is too little refrigerant in an air conditioning system, there is usually a reduction in the efficiency with which the unit cools a given space. This is mainly because of the effect that too little refrigerant has on the evaporator coils.

Under normal operations, the liquid refrigerant is usually under low pressure when it arrives at the cooling coil area. The low pressure usually forms an environment that is conducive enough for the refrigerant to absorb heat from the air passing over the cooling coils, a process that then causes it to change from a liquid into a gas.

However, when the air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, the refrigerant usually arrives at the evaporator coil region at too low a pressure. The resulting cooling effect given off by the refrigerant under these circumstances is usually enough not only to condense moisture from the air passing over the coils, but also to freeze it. This then leads to coil icing complications that eventually reduce the efficiency with which your system will cool your home.

Reduced cooling efficiency usually means that the air conditioning system dumps into your home won’t be as cold as it should be. The system will therefore have to take longer in order to get your home’s temperature to the desired level. This overworking of the system will accelerate the rate at which the unit’s parts deteriorate, something that will have you worrying about repairs way earlier than you should.

Damaged compressor motor

While it usually takes time for a homeowner to feel the financial heat of accelerated wear and tear, compressor motor damage is something that he or she may have to deal with early on.

Low refrigerant usually causes compressor motor damage in air conditioning systems that rely on the refrigerant to cool the motor. This is because having too little of the refrigerant in the system leads to a cooling system that is too ineffective to cool the compressor motor. This then causes the motor to overheat. And if the system continues to run under these circumstances, the compressor motor may end up getting completely damaged. Replacing it may then be the only way of getting your air conditioning system running again.

For air conditioning repair, contact a company such as American Heating & Air.

Posted in Uncategorized

Common Pellet Stove Challenges And How To Get Around Them

Pellet stoves, which burn pellets made from wood scraps, provide many homeowners with eco-friendly heating. With automatic feeding apparatuses and air circulation devices, they can warm entire small homes or serve as supplemental heating in really cold environments. However, many people do not use their pellet stoves as much as they’d like to because they run into some challenges along the way. Here’s a look at some of the most common pellet stove challenges and how to get around them.

When the power goes out, you don’t have a heating source.

Since pellet stoves have electric ignitions and need electricity to power their air blowers, many homeowners become frustrated when the power goes out and they can’t use their pellet stoves. Thankfully, there is an easy solution to this. Most pellet stoves can be fitted with a backup battery. Some come with factory-installed hookups for a battery, and others must be modified by an HVAC technician who has experience with pellet stoves. In either case, once you have your pellet stove hooked up to a backup battery, you can continue using it to heat your home in the event of a power outage.

Pellets can be tough to find.

When the cold weather starts rolling in, everyone who has a pellet stove flocks to the store to stock up on pellets. This can lead to shortages. To avoid being left without pellets when you need them the most, plan ahead more carefully. Look for pellets in the middle of the summer, when hardly anyone else will be buying them, and store them in plastic totes in your basement or attic to keep them from absorbing moisture in the meantime. Also, see if any of the HVAC companies in your area offer pellet delivery services and will deliver them to you on a monthly basis. Not only will this save you the hassle of potentially running out of pellets, but you won’t even have to drive to the store.

You’re not always around to turn the stove on and off.

Many pellet stoves can actually be hooked up to a thermostat, which solves this problem completely. When the temperature drops below a certain level, the electronic ignition will automatically light the stove. When the temperature rises again, the stove will stop burning pellets until the temperature drops again. If your pellet stove is not currently connected to a thermostat, have your HVAC technician make this upgrade. It will make your life so much easier.

Visit a site like for any other information you need about pellet stoves.

Posted in Uncategorized

About Me

Hi! My name is Speedy, or at least, that's what my friends call me. I have always loved rec centers and what they contribute to a community. I am also uniquely interested in how they function, what they need to run and how their HVAC systems work. During the day, I work in investment finance, but in the evening, I love to read about hands on ideas related to everything from building to plumbing to HVAC. If you run or are planning to build a gym, a rec center, a swimming pool or a similar facility, you need a special HVAC system for that project. Please, explore this blog and learn about HVAC systems for those facilities. I hope you enjoy reading and that your questions are answered.


February 2017
« Jan