How to Choose the Right HVAC System for Your Home

At Countryside, we recognize that choosing the perfect HVAC system for your home can be a little daunting, especially if this is your first time shopping for heating and cooling equipment for your house. With all the different ratings and options, you may find yourself a bit confused (and exhausted) when it comes time to make a choice. That’s why we’ve put together a quick tip sheet that you can use when shopping for your new HVAC system.

Tips for Choosing the Best HVAC System for Your Home

When shopping for a new HVAC system, it can be difficult to navigate all the acronyms and features. Use the tips below to better understand your options for replacing your HVAC system and what they mean for your home comfort:

  1. Check the HVAC ratings.

When looking at new HVAC systems, you should consider their ratings and how each impacts your home comfort:

  • Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) – This measures efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces. Quality furnaces will range from 78% to 98.5%. A 78% AFUE rating means that the furnace converts 78% of fuel to heat your house, while the remaining 30% is sent out the flue.
  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – This is the standard rating used to measure efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy the unit consumes and the less impact it has on the environment. You will want to look for a rating between 13 and 30. Energy Star rated systems have a SEER rating of at least 14.
  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) – This rating is used to measure heating efficiency for heat pumps. Like the SEER rating, the higher the HSPF, the more efficient and cost effective your heat pump is. Look for a rating between 7.7 and 13. Energy Star rated heat pumps have an HSPF of at least 8.2.
  1. Consider your total costs.

When purchasing a new HVAC unit, you will need to consider the initial cost to purchase and install the system as well as the long-term costs. Remember, your HVAC system is a long-term investment. Factors such as utility costs, maintenance and repair needs, and the suggested lifespan of the unit will impact your overall costs. Though high efficiency HVAC systems may cost more initially, they will help you save more money over time by lowering your monthly energy costs.

  1. Choose a quality contractor.

Did you know that many brand new HVAC systems waste an average of 1/3 of the total energy used because they are the wrong size or were not installed properly? That’s why it’s vital that you find an experienced and qualified contractor that can provide installation as well as maintenance over time.

A good contractor will know how to calculate the right size HVAC equipment for your home to make sure that your system is efficiently heating and cooling your home year-round. They will also know how to properly install your system to get you the best efficiency over time. Do your research and make sure that you’re working with a licensed New Richmond HVAC contractor with experience installing new systems.

Get Help Finding a New HVAC System in New Richmond

Don’t let shopping for a new HVAC system get you down. Contact the experts at Countryside Plumbing and Heating today for help finding the right system to fit your home comfort needs and budget. Our specialists take the hassle out of buying a new system by guiding you through your options and helping you select the best HVAC system for you and your family. Call today: (800) 542-4243.

Why Now is the Best Time to Replace Your HVAC System

Now that fall is here, New Richmond homeowners are enjoying all that this wonderful season has to offer. From fun fall parties with friends to spending the holidays with family, fall is a special time of the year. Though you may not want to think about the cold winter weather that is just around the corner, fall is the best time to evaluate your home HVAC system and decide whether a replacement or upgrade is right for you. Below, we’ll talk more about why fall is the best time to replace your heating and air conditioning system.

Why Fall is the Best Time to Replace Your HVAC System

Many people may not realize, but fall is the season for replacing your HVAC system. If you are moving into a new home or you’ve been thinking about replacing your system, here are just a few of the reasons why now is the best time to replace your home comfort system:

  • Fall is a slower season for HVAC companies. Due to the generally moderate weather, HVAC companies typically receive less emergency calls during the fall. This means that they generally have more time in their schedule to discuss your HVAC upgrade or replacement options and more openings for convenient system installation appointments.
  • The temperature is more moderate in fall. If you replace your HVAC system in the fall, you can enjoy more moderate temperatures during the installation process. If you wait until your system breaks down then you run the risk of having to get a replacement during a season with more extreme temperatures and going without air conditioning or heat during times of the year when you need it most.
  • You can enjoy energy efficiency in the new year. As your HVAC system becomes old and outdated, it starts working harder to keep your home comfortable, which can cause energy waste. By replacing your system in the fall, right before you will use it full-time in winter, you can benefit from increased energy efficiency and save more on your electricity bill in the new year.

In addition to these benefits, you may also be able to take advantage of fall savings or factory rebates and save more money on your HVAC replacement in the fall.

A New HVAC System from Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems

If you are considering upgrading or replacing your heating and cooling unit, check out the great selection of air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, and more from Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems. As a factory-authorized dealer, Countryside Plumbing & Heating can help you find the ideal HVAC system for your home comfort needs and answer any questions that you may have about indoor air quality upgrade options. In addition, our team of qualified HVAC experts is also experienced at providing expert installation services.

You can check out some of the HVAC systems available from Bryant on our website or contact us today for a consultation.

4 Major Thermostat Problems & Solutions

 

Sometimes, that pesky thermostat just doesn’t work properly. Indeed, there are a number of very common problems that we as homeowners have to deal with when it comes to that all-mighty thermostat. Here, we will discuss four of the most common thermostat problems as well as provide solutions that you can implement today.

 

Troubleshoot and Fix Thermostat Issues

Here are some of the most common major thermostat issues and how to fix them:

Problem #1: The air conditioner and/or furnace turns on way too much.

Solution: This might not seem like a thermostat problem, but there is a good chance that it is. If we put the thermostat directly in the sun, then that will drastically affect how it will work. Try moving the thermostat or finding some way to block the sun, like drapery or curtains. You should also make sure that your thermostat isn’t in a room that has an open window or outside door in it. Moving the thermostat to a room that is normally closed may help with normalizing the temperature regulation.

Problem #2: Your thermostat’s reading of the current room temperature never seems to match the set temperature.

Solution: Imagine. It’s 80 degrees in your room, and things are getting pretty uncomfortable, so you turn the temperature down to 72 degrees. The air conditioner turns on, but the room temperature only reaches 74 degrees before the air conditioner turns off. It should be 72 degrees, not 74, so something is off. Well, it may just be that your thermostat’s thermometer is a bit off. If you have an old liquid thermostat or something similar, it may just require you to pop off the thermostat lid and adjust the thermometer using a screwdriver. If you are using a digital thermostat, read your owner’s manual for how to readjust the thermostat thermometer.

Problem #3: Your air conditioner just keeps running.

Solution: Alright, so you might be a bit worried when you discover that your heating/air conditioning keeps running. Or at least it sounds like it just keeps running. Check your fan setting. If it says, “Fan On,” then the fan will run continuously. However, if you change the setting to “Fan Auto,” then the fan will only run while the air conditioning is on. This helps you run your HVAC system more efficiently and save on energy costs.

Problem #4: Your heating doesn’t heat and your cooling doesn’t cool your home.

Solution: Most homeowners tend to ignore the thermostat unless they are adjusting the temperature a few degrees. The problem is that seasons do change, and eventually we need to switch from air conditioning to heating, and vice versa. It’s easy to forget that you have to set the thermostat for “Heat” or “Cool” depending on whether you want hot air or cold air. When your HVAC system is not heating or cooling your home properly, it may be as simple as setting your system to the “Heat” or “Cool” setting.
If you are having thermostat issues or your HVAC system isn’t working properly, call us today. One of our HVAC experts will help you get your system up and running quickly.

Issues to Look for When You Start Your Heater for the First Time this Winter

When the weather starts to change and the temperature calls for a little help to warm up your home, there are some issues to look out for when you start your heater for the first time. Many of these issues can be found in furnaces, heat pumps, and other types of heating systems and are regularly a cause of concern. As your heater may have been out of commission for more than eight months there are problems that could have arisen or become worse in that time and it is important to watch out for these signs of malfunction in your heater.

Major Heating Issues to Look Out For

Here are some major heating issues to look out for when you are turning on your heating system for the first time before winter:

“My heating system smells funny”

When you first turn your heater on, there is a chance that there could be a strange smell that comes from the vents. This can be normal for some heater types when you first turn them on. In other circumstances – say, a smell that is quite strong or a smell that is not dissipating – this could be a sign that your heater has an issue that has developed or worsened while it was in storage or not being used. This can be not only hazardous to the operation of your heating system but also a sign that your furnace is emitting gas which is dangerous.

“My heater is making strange noises”

Another sign that your heater is malfunctioning is that there may be some strange noises when you first turn it on in the winter or it could be a noise that develops after being run for a short period of time. It is important to pay attention to these noises and make sure that the heater is not dangerous to be using. These noises could be a ‘clanking’, ‘thudding’ or zapping sound. These noises could be caused by mechanical malfunctions or even worse electrical malfunctions. In both cases this could be quite dangerous for use within the house.

“My heating bills are astronomical!”

This is not something that you will notice instantly unless you are measuring the power usage of your heater at the outlet, however an appliance that draws a lot of power is a surefire sign that the appliance is malfunctioning in some way. This may not mean that the heater is directly dangerous, though it could easily become that way if left unattended or unchecked. Be sure to check your power usage after you have just started using your heater in the winter to look for any spikes in usage that are incredibly irregular.

“My heater is not working!”

This one seems simple and fairly straightforward but it is something to watch for in order to make sure that your heater continues to work properly and poses no danger to you or your family. If your heater is not throwing off any heat or throwing off very little heat then this could be a sign that there is a serious issue with the heater and could lead to something much worse if you continue using the heater.
If some or all of these issues have occurred when you have been using your heater it may be necessary to stop using your heater and contact us in order to make sure that the heater is safe to continue using around you and your family. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health, safety, and home comfort for your family.

Saving Money with Multizone HVAC Systems

Central air is one of the best inventions for making your daily life more comfortable. Being able to keep your home warm in winter and cool in the summer has made our daily lives just that much more comfortable. However, it leaves a lot to be desired in operating efficiency and the money you spend on running it.

First, there is a single thermostat to control the temperature for the entire house. This is rather inefficient at regulating temperatures. It can be hot in some rooms of the house and cool in others, but depending on where the thermostat is located, the system will run until the air around the thermostat reaches the set temperature.

Second, there are losses incurred within the ductwork of a central air system. Despite being insulated, there will always be some temperature loss or gain within the ductwork. This inefficiency will have an impact on your wallet.

So what other choices do you have?

Multizone HVAC Systems

A multizone setup will not only save you money but it will also be more comfortable. Everyone prefers a different temperature to be comfortable. With a multizone setup, individual control of the heating and cooling of a room is easy to accomplish. A multizone setup utilizes ductless heat pumps with an individual thermostat to control each one.

Having a home setup with this HVAC system saves you money in a few ways. The first way is by allowing individual control of rooms, or even whole floors, of your home you can only heat or cool the areas that you will be using. There’s no point in keeping the guest room at 75* on a 100* day if no one is going to be using it. The multizone setup will allow you to program times and zones of operation. So during the day when you’re at work you can cut the operation to essential areas and at certain times. At night when everyone is in their rooms sleeping, you can restrict the operation to those areas and cut out the heating or cooling of unoccupied areas.

The second way in which a multizone setup will save you money is through the sheer efficiency of ductless heating and cooling. The losses incurred with ducts are eliminated and the heat pumps themselves have become extremely efficient in recent years. It’s not uncommon to have efficiency ratings of 300% or more depending on the setup.

If all this money saving and higher levels of control over the air in your home sounds good, give us a call at Countryside Plumbing & Heating today to discuss your options!

Extreme Weather Can Affect the Air in Your Home

When heat waves, blizzards or violent thunderstorms are in the forecast, most people take shelter in their homes, hunkering down to wait out Mother Nature’s harshest punishment.

But when terrible weather strikes your home may not be quite the safe refuge you think it is. The air inside your home is often compromised by irritants, allergens, microbes, chemical traces and exhaust fumes that can make you ill if you breathe them steadily. This can be a threat at any time, but it tends to become worse when the climate turns hostile.

Indoor Air Pollution and the Weather

Bad weather outside can affect your home’s air quality in multiple ways. In high temperature conditions, for example, pollen production in plants is often stimulated, leading to dangerous pollen levels in the air that can put those vulnerable to them at risk. No matter how airtight your home might be some of this pollen-laced air will inevitably get inside, and because you’ve got the windows shut and the air conditioning turned on there will be no escape from its effects.

Mold is another threat you may face when the weather turns rotten. Thunderstorms, high humidity and melting snow from heavy blizzards can all lead to excess moisture problems inside walls, in basements and in attics, and mold invasions are one frequent result of such a scenario. Meanwhile moisture accumulation in HVAC ductwork is also fairly common following bad weather, and when this happens it can encourage the growth of illness-causing bacteria that circulate throughout your home when your heating or cooling equipment has been switched on.

While bad weather can have a direct effect on the quality of indoor air, it can also have an indirect effect. When homes are closed up tight in response to the weather good ventilation is needed to prevent stale, contaminated air, but energy-efficiency is now stressed so much that newly constructed homes are often too airtight, either by design or through excessive insulation or weatherizing.

Even in the most extreme conditions venting is needed to guarantee a plentiful supply of fresh air, and if it is lacking in your home it might be a good idea to add a ventilator or air purifier to your stock of climate maintenance equipment. Adding a UV lamp to your HVAC system can also protect you by eliminating bacteria, mold and other potentially hazardous microbes that might infest your home during difficult weather conditions.

Clearing the Air with Countryside Plumbing & Heating Inc.

In western Wisconsin challenging weather is a constant fact of life.
At Countryside Plumbing & Heating we understand that indoor air quality is negatively impacted by thunderstorms, blizzards and heat waves, and we are pleased to offer our customers the chance to purchase superior quality air purifiers, ventilators and UV lamps from Bryant, the leading name in HVAC technology and indoor air quality management.

If you live in our service area we invite you to contact us today, and we will be happy to introduce you to a plethora of exciting air quality management options.

Follow our blog for terrific tips and tantalizing tidbits about heating, cooling, plumbing and indoor air quality maintenance.

Managing your Theromstat

Managing your thermostat doesn’t seem like something you need to do right, but it could save you so much money every year. And keep your house at its perfect temperature, just a few steps and you’ll be surprise on how much easy and more relaxing life can be. Call us today for any questions or help!

Controlling Indoor Air Quality is Good for Your Health

Have you been suffering from allergy or flu-like symptoms for a prolonged period? Have your family members or your co-workers been complaining about frequent headaches, chronic fatigue, aching joints and muscles or irritation of the eyes/nose/throat?

If you answered yes to either question it might be an indication you’ve been breathing contaminated indoor air, which has been implicated in outbreaks of inexplicable symptoms just like this.

Identifying the Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Any source of particulate matter that’s inside or very near your home or business could be contributing to your indoor air pollution problem.

Some of the possibilities include:

  • Particulate matter cycled through HVAC ductwork
  • Chemical solvents or cleaning solutions
  • Dust from decaying books, magazines or newspapers
  • Fumes from nearby factories or highways
  • Pet dander
  • Airborne bacteria, mold or fungus spores, or pollen
  • Peeling or chipping paint
  • Crumbling insulation

There is another aspect of indoor air contamination that should not be overlooked, and that is poor ventilation. If inside-to-outside air flow is restricted or inhibited no cleansing of airborne pollutants can occur, and this situation is especially common in modern buildings made airtight for the purposes of energy conservation ( special measures should be taken to improve ventilation but often are not).

Remedies for Indoor Air Contamination

Thorough and periodic cleaning can help to correct the problem of excessive indoor pollution, as will throwing out or relocating any items or substances that might be contributing to the contamination. When cleaning or clearing out you should pay special attention to basements, attics and connected garages, since it is so easy to forget about the spaces we visit less frequently.

Improving ventilation is always helpful. This could involve remodeling to add windows, installing screen doors where appropriate or adding ceiling fans or whole-house fans that really move the air and make it more difficult for airborne particulates to linger.

Having your HVAC system cleaned, both the ductwork and the equipment, is another potentially constructive step. Contact your favorite HVAC contractor (in western Wisconsin that would be Countryside Plumbing & Heating, of course) and ask them to send someone out to inspect your HVAC system to see if a cleaning is needed. On your own you should change your HVAC air filters often, perhaps even monthly, and always use filters with a MERV rating or 11 or higher to make sure the smallest airborne particles are being captured.

While all of these actions can help, if you have continuing difficulty with indoor air contamination you should strongly consider purchasing one or two air quality control products from an excellent manufacturer like Bryant. Countryside Plumbing & Heating is an authorized dealer of Bryant air quality products, including ventilators, humidifiers, UV lamps and air purifiers, and if you live in western Wisconsin we would be glad to meet with you to discuss your options.

Don’t Let Your Buildings Make You Sick

If you’re home or business is making you sick you should act quickly to address the problem. Your health and welfare depend on it, and any investments you make to improve your air quality will surely improve your life as well.

At Countryside Plumbing & Heating we take indoor air pollution seriously, and if you suspect it’s a problem for you we invite you to contact us today—together we will create a plan of action that can restore your good air quality once and for all.

Be sure to follow our blog for a treasure trove of great information about heating, cooling, plumbing and air quality improvement.

3 Ways you can Improve Overall Indoor Air Quality and Reduce Pollution

Improve Overall Indoor Air Quality and Reduce PollutionHere are 3 ways you can improve the Overall Air Quality and Pollution in your Home. Doing these can greatly improve your overall health and prolong your HVAC system life span. For more questions or service please give us a call, we service Ellsworth, Glenwood City, Hammond and surrounding area’s.

Advice On Controlling HVAC Costs

Do you know how to slash your heating costs? We have a wealth of energy saving tips to help you reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home. Our team recognizes the importance of Controlling HVAC Costs. Implement small energy saving measures to make your home more energy efficient. There are various ways to improve home energy efficiency; in fact, many no-cost or low-cost power saving tips will help you to control annual HVAC running costs. However, various ways to save energy and money depend on climate, age and type of HVAC system, current energy pricing and energy management. Here are some simple ways to manage HVAC energy usage:

  • Replace standard thermostats with programmable heating controls
  • Swap your classic room thermostat for intelligent heating controls
  • Use energy-efficient lighting
  • Install a simultaneous heating and cooling system to lower energy usage
  • Learn how to use your heat pump thermostat wisely

 

Controlling Commercial HVAC Running Costs

The above tips are good ways of Controlling HVAC Costs; however, we must also learn how to reduce commercial HVAC costs. An HVAC Economizer helps the system to run efficiently. This energy-saving device uses cool outdoor air to warm the indoor air. Commercial buildings are costly to heat or cool, but a correctly installed wet bulb economizer or dry bulb economizer will lower energy usage by around ten percent.

Variable air Volume systems or commercial VAV systems are ideal for business owners who must control heating, ventilation and air conditioning cost. Installing a VAV unit helps you to control room temperature precisely. This type of cooling and heating system is thermostatically controlled, enabling owners to cut HVAC bills.

Insulating heating ducts and pipes conserves energy and saves money. Any home or business owner who is trying to control HVAC running costs should install foil-backed fiberglass or vinyl duct insulation to the HVAC unit supply ducts. The return ducts need no insulation. Seal all system air leaks with silicone or duct tape before insulating.

We have written many articles about Controlling HVAC Costs. Our team have also discovered numerous unique energy saving tips and ways to help you keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently. We hope you have enjoyed reading this article and trust you will follow our further energy-saving advice.