Posted by & filed under Heating .

Heat pumps are electrically powered, mechanical devices used to take heat from the air. But what about when it’s cold outside? Even cold air contains a certain amount of heat, and heat pumps are very good at removing that heat.

In the winter, the heat pump extracts the heat from the cold air and transfers it to the inside of your home, keeping it warm. Conversely, in the summer, the heat pump removes that warm air from inside your home and sends the heat outdoors, replacing it with cool air inside.

Advantages

  • Moving heat instead of generating it saves you money. Remember: there’s a cost to generating heat by burning fuel or gas.
  • The process is electro-mechanical, so there are no fuel bills.
  • Provides both heating and cooling at lower costs.
  • They are highly efficient efficient (if auxiliary heating strips remain off).

You will typically find heat pumps in areas of the country that have more moderate climates, because you can only remove so much heat. That being said, below are some disadvantages to heat pumps.

Disadvantages

  • They cannot transfer enough heat in colder climates.
  • They are equipped with auxiliary heating strips to augment when outside temperatures are low. When the auxiliary heat strips are energized, they consume huge amounts of electricity.

It’s important to mention that as technology advances, heat pumps are being seen in less temperate climates. Some homeowners will pair heat pumps with oil or gas furnace units to offset costs.

Our discussion has primarily been about the most common type, the air to air heat pump, but there are three types of heat pumps:

  • Air to Air: These are the most common, and they draw their heat from the air as the name implies.
  • Water Source: Draws heat from an outside water source.
  • Geothermal: Extracts heat from the ground. These are becoming more popular but can be quite costly.

Overall, heat pumps can be an excellent alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Our team at M&M Mechanical, Inc. will be able to answers to any questions you might have, so contact us today for more information.

Posted by & filed under HVAC, preventative maintenance .

For many homeowners, regular HVAC maintenance serves one purpose, primarily: to prevent your furnace from breaking down on the coldest night of the year right when you need it the most. However, for some, that’s not a good enough reason to spend the money on maintenance. What most homeowners don’t know is that regular maintenance on your HVAC will actually save you quite a bit of money in terms of energy costs.

Regular furnace maintenance that is carried out by the service technician includes:

  • Checking and sealing vent connections
  • Combustion-efficiency testing
  • Checking the physical integrity of the combustion chamber and the heat exchanger
  • Adjusting blower control and removing dirt
  • Checking the fuel input
  • Cleaning away and rectifying the causes of dirt, soot, and corrosion

Many of the tasks listed above work to keep your furnace working properly, but they also go a long way towards energy efficiency. Tasks like sealing vent connections and combustion-efficiency testing will go a long way towards keeping your energy bills lower.

Furthermore, while you can do it yourself, seasonal HVAC maintenance is a great way to remember to change your air filter or at least make sure it gets done. If there is one simple way to lower your energy costs this winter, it is to change that air filter out every three months or when you notice that it is dirty.

Regular HVAC maintenance is great for identifying potential problems and getting them fixed before they become actual problems. However, it really does make a meaningful impact on energy efficiency. All furnaces are designed in such a way to work as efficiently as possible, but if there is a problem—even just a small crack somewhere—it can damage the integrity and it will cause it not to function as it needs to heat your home efficiently.

Contact us at M&M Mechanical, Inc. to learn about our maintenance services today.

Posted by & filed under furnace, Heating .

Many homeowners only realize it is time for a new furnace when their old one just flat out stops working. The unfortunate truth of this is that a furnace probably won’t stop working in the middle of the summer; instead, it will probably wait for the coldest day of the year! However, if you can spot some common signs that your furnace is due for a replacement, you can get ahead of the problem before it gets too cold. Keep reading to learn what the most telling signs are that you need a new furnace.

Your Heating Bill Has Gone Up

If you have kept your house at the same temperature for the past few winters, your heating bill will be pretty consistent. However, if your heating bill has spiked way up and their hasn’t been a ridiculous price hike from your energy company, it is likely your aging furnace that is causing it. A tune-up could help get it running efficiently again, but it may be better to think about getting a new one.

Frequent Repairs

A furnace is one of those big expenses that can also be a big pain in the wallet. However, at a certain point, the purchase of a new furnace is logical. If you have to have a repair technician out every single winter for a major repair, it will end up costing way more than a new furnace does. If your old furnace is on life support, you can save yourself money by replacing it.

Your Furnace is a Teenager

Furnaces aren’t built to be permanent appliances. Similar to roofs and water heaters, they have a lifespan. For a furnace, it should be replaced when it gets to be about 15 years old. Not only do they continue to lose energy efficiency as they age, but the furnace itself will become worn out and more prone to breaking down.

Rooms are an Inconsistent Temperature

If some rooms are too hot and some rooms are too cold, your furnace is having an issue distributing heat throughout the house. This might be a problem you can fix, but if you have an old and frequently repaired furnace, it could be the final straw.

Contact the team at M&M Mechanical, Inc. today to learn about our furnace services!

Posted by & filed under Heating, HVAC .

Everyone knows that heat rises, but if you own a second story home, you will be reminded of that every day of the winter (when it feels like a sauna upstairs and a tundra downstairs). The ultimate goal of two story home heating is to create a nice balance, but that can be difficult to do…

Don’t Close Your Vents

It is an easy conclusion to jump to that if it is too hot upstairs, just close the vents. The warm air will then be diverted downstairs. This will work, but it may not turn out great because when vents are closed, it puts extra pressure on the system. In essence, it is very hard on your duct work and can cause damage. Furthermore, it is very detrimental to your energy efficiency.

Do Consider Turning Your Furnace Fan On

It is likely that the fan on your thermostat is set to “auto,” which means it will kick on and off with the furnace. However, if you have a hot second story, it may benefit you to turn the fan to the “on” setting. This means it will run continuously and circulate the air for more even heating.

The obvious downside to do this is that, while it will be less hard on your furnace, it will also cost more since the fan is constantly running. A more diplomatic solution may be to run the fan for about an hour before the family will be upstairs and then switch it back to auto.

Should You Call an HVAC Service?

Issues like this can be an indicator that something is wrong with your HVAC system. In truth, if you don’t have a regular maintenance call and this has started getting worse recently, we encourage you to contact us to check for problems.

Posted by & filed under heating installation .

When it comes to new heating installations, some homeowners may think they only have one choice – the furnace. However, in truth, there are two choices – the furnace and the heat pump. Both heat homes, yes, but they do so in very different ways and one might be more right for your home than the other.

The Difference between a Furnace and a Heat Pump

The way your standard furnace works is that a sealed chamber will generate heat and then a fan will distribute that heat throughout your home via the series of vents you have installed.

Alternatively, heat pumps don’t create any heat at all – they harvest it. Heat pumps will take heat from the air outside (or sometimes from buried geothermal sources), condense it, and distribute it through the home via a fan and vents like a furnace. This doesn’t sound like it would work, but it does; even if the air outside is cold!

When to Choose a Heat Pump

The benefit of a furnace is that it will work anywhere with gas or electrical hookups. Heat pumps, however, are more dependent of climate and location. For areas with particularly fierce winters like many of the northernmost states, a heat pump will struggle to keep up with the demand. Although it can harvest heat from cold air, when temperatures are in the low double digits, it will often need an alternative heat source to efficiently heat a home. Furthermore, geothermal heat pumps will often work in these colder areas, but they can be very expensive to install.

That being said, areas with more temperate winters, like the southern states, may find that heat pumps are a great investment. As they are more energy efficient than a furnace, it can help keep your home well heated for a fraction of the cost that a standard furnace would take. Please contact us with any questions! Our team here at M&M Mechanical, Inc. is always happy to help.