Changing Furnace Filters

Cold weather has arrived and that means it’s time to turn on the furnace for the year. That doesn’t mean you can just set it and forget it. It’s important that you regularly change your furnace filters to make sure the unit operates efficiently during the winter; this will reduce the amount of dust that’s released into your home and keep your energy bills as low as possible. The good news is that changing furnace filters is an easy DIY project and rarely needs a professional assist.

You should follow your furnace manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to change your furnace filters, but a general guideline is to check the filter every 30 days and change it every three months. This is going to vary depending on the type of filter you use, its composition, and its thickness. Other factors can affect how often you need to change the furnace filter, such as if you have pets, smoke, cook a lot, or frequently burn candles. 

Here are some signs that your furnace filters need a change:

  1. You and your family suffer from more colds and other respiratory illnesses, coughs, sinus problems, and allergies. Dust and other debris get trapped by the furnace filter, and if allowed to build up, will be released through the ducts to circulate through your house.
  2. Your house seems a lot dustier. This is related to the problem mentioned above. Not only do dirty furnace filters lead to illness, but you’ll probably find yourself cleaning the house more because it gets dusty a lot faster.
  3. The furnace is running longer and longer cycles, but you don’t notice your house getting or staying very warm. Trying to force air through dirty filters makes your furnace work much harder, which can put a strain on other parts of the unit.
  4. You are seeing higher utility bills. It’s natural to see higher bills during the winter, but if they seem excessive, dirty furnace filters may be to blame. Try changing them and see if you notice a reduction in your monthly bills.
  5. Your smart thermostat or other device notifies you. Some smart thermostats and devices such as Google Nest can be programmed to let you know when it’s time to change the furnace filters. If you have the technology, let it prompt you.

If you are experiencing furnace problems and changing the filter hasn’t made any difference, give the service pros at Atlas Butler a call at 614-681-2167, or schedule online. A live person answers our phones 24/7, and we can usually get there the same day.

 

2023-01-20T16:19:35-05:00January 23rd, 2023|Furnace Maintenance, home energy efficiency, Indoor Air Quality|

Geo-Thermal Heat Pumps

With improving energy efficiency and weaning off reliance on fossil fuels top of mind, there are more advances in heating and cooling to achieve these goals than ever. One new technology is geothermal heat pumps. While the concept of a heat pump isn’t new, the geothermal heat pump is gaining in popularity, especially with new home builds. (It’s also possible to retrofit a geothermal heat pump to an existing home, but it can be more expensive.) Neither prospect is cheap, but you will eventually see major decreases in your energy bills, and geothermal heat pumps have longevity on their side. 

While a heat pump as we know it draws heat in from the outside, a geothermal heat pump uses the heat from the earth. In both models, the warmth enters your home from the outside and passes through refrigerant coils, and is then dispersed throughout your house as warm air; the process is reversed for cooling. The indoor component of the system runs on electricity, but other than that, no other energy is expended.

Underground coils deliver heat from the earth to the heat pump and they are placed beneath the frost line on your property, where the temperature is a steady 50 degrees year-round. This means that a geothermal heat pump can be used in practically every region of the country. The downsides are the cost and damage to your yard. It’s expensive to install a geothermal heat pump and it requires major excavation of your property. And it’s worth restating that retrofitting a geothermal heat pump can be more expensive than if it’s installed during a new build.

The good news is that once the geothermal heat pump has been installed, the only maintenance needed is changing the indoor air filter regularly, otherwise, the system only needs inspection and other maintenance about every five years. In addition, you can receive a federal tax credit for installing a geothermal heat pump (you may also be eligible for state and local tax benefits.)

It’s a big decision, but if you want to discuss whether a geothermal heat pump is a good investment for your existing home or a new build in the planning stages, call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167 to schedule a consultation with one of our installation specialists. We pride ourselves on keeping our knowledge and skills surrounding the latest HVAC advancements and can make the best recommendations based on your energy goals and budget.

2023-01-20T17:21:32-05:00January 20th, 2023|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Planning For a New AC Unit This Spring

Air conditioning is probably the last thing on your mind during the winter, but actually, winter through early spring is the ideal time to start evaluating your upcoming cooling needs. This is because it’s off-season and after the winter rush, more technicians will be available to do the installation. You also don’t want to have your AC goes out on a sweltering day in August.

If your central air conditioning system is more than 15 years old, it’s probably time to replace it. A couple of signs that your AC needs to go is if you’ve noticed increasing cooling bills that don’t justify the tepid output. Another indicator is if you need more frequent service calls. A new AC will require a greater initial outlay of cash, but you’ll save money on service calls. If you’re experiencing problems with your AC unit, contact the service pros at Atlas Butler. We can take a look at your AC and recommend either repair or replacement of your air conditioning unit.

If you need to replace your air conditioner, there are several types to choose from:

Central air conditioner. This system is still found in most homes. The outside AC unit cools air from the outside and forces it through your home via the duct system.

Heat pump. A heat pump is used for both heating and cooling. Air is drawn through the heat pump and is heated or cooled. Heat pumps are a popular option due to their energy efficiency.

Ductless mini-split. This is a small wall-mounted unit that can heat or cool single rooms or zones in your house. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and don’t need ducts.

Geothermal system. A geothermal system is a complex underground system that draws heat from the earth to heat or cool your house. Due to the cost, geothermal systems are usually installed during a new build, but can also be retrofitted to an existing system. Geothermal systems are expensive, but outlast traditional ACs and need minimal maintenance.

In addition to costs and installation requirements, you should also check the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which will be found on the yellow tag with the Energy Star rating. The higher the SEER, the better, and in some instances, you may be eligible for federal tax credits. If you have any questions or need advice about choosing the best air conditioning system for your home, give Atlas Butler a call at 614-681-2167.

2023-01-19T12:01:35-05:00January 18th, 2023|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Using a Mini-Split System in Your Home

If you are looking for a solution to heat or cool a specific area of your home or to better regulate the temperature in a single zone, consider a mini-split. A mini-split ductless system is installed high on the wall in a room or area of your home and doesn’t require expensive ductwork. The main unit (compressor) is outside your house and is connected to the indoor component (air handler) via copper lines. It’s a great workaround if you want to transform your basement into a livable space or keep your garage comfortable year-round for tinkering with your cars or woodworking.

Atlas Butler offers and installs LG mini-split systems and one of our installation consultants can schedule a visit to your home to discuss your options.

Here are some benefits of a mini-split system:

Higher SEER ratings. A SEER rating stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and as the name implies, measures the mini-split’s energy efficiency — typically in the 100% range. You will notice a decrease in your energy bills by installing one of these systems.

Environmentally friendly. A mini-split system draws hot or cold air from outdoors and heats or cools it, similar to how a heat pump works. Because you control the temperature in a specific area with a separate thermostat, the unit isn’t running excessively and wasting energy, thus decreasing greenhouse gases.

Easy to install and maintain. Since the mini-split doesn’t require ductwork, you can install one anywhere. This versatility makes them an attractive option for remodeling projects. Maintenance is also a breeze; simply replace the air filter every 30 days or so. It is recommended that you have your mini-split serviced every year to make sure it’s operating at peak efficiency.

One question we often get is how is a mini-split a better option than a window air conditioning unit. If you only need to cool a single room, then the window until is a good choice. However, keep in mind that the mini-split offers both heating and cooling. The temperature is easier to control with the mini-split and it can heat/cool more square footage. An additional benefit is that a mini-split is much quieter, which is a plus if you’re seeking a more comfortable bedroom.

Reach out to Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling at 614-681-2167 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment to discuss how a mini-split ductless system could work in your home. You can count on our team to put their professional expertise to work in helping you make the best decision for your home and family.

2023-01-19T11:24:01-05:00January 6th, 2023|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Signs Your Thermostat Needs Replaced

As the hot, humid days of summer approach, you want to make certain your AC is ready to do some heavy lifting. One key to making sure your home is cool and comfortable is to ensure that your thermostat is working properly. This is usually the first thing that the professional crew at Atlas Butler will look at when they go out on a service call. Fortunately, thermostats are probably one of the least expensive components when it comes to HVAC repair. If you feel that your AC isn’t working as well as it should, then call us at 614-681-2167. We’ll send a technician out to check your thermostat and if that doesn’t solve the problem, we’ll delve more deeply into what’s going on.

Signs your thermostat isn’t working properly:

  • The HVAC system won’t turn on.
  • The temperature fluctuates between rooms. The temperature should be pretty consistent throughout the house.
  • Short cycling. This is more common with furnaces, but can also occur with an AC. The unit will fire up like it’s trying to kick on, will run for a few minutes, then shut off.
  • Adjusting the thermostat makes no difference.
  • The AC runs non-stop.

If an Atlas Butler service technician determines that it’s your thermostat at fault, they will replace it. You might be interested in a smart thermostat that you can program to adjust the temperature during the day. It’s a great way to save money, especially during peak use season. We can recommend the best thermostat that will stand up to Ohio heat and humidity. Call us or schedule online for any of your HVAC needs or emergencies. We answer our phone 24/7/365 and have a fleet fully stocked with supplies to get your house cool in no time.

2023-01-05T21:47:25-05:00April 28th, 2022|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Heat Pump in the Summer?

How a Heat Pump doubles as an AC

When you hear the term heat pump, you probably think of an HVAC unit used to heat your home. That’s correct, but did you know that a heat pump can also cool your home during warmer months? Heat pumps are an energy-efficient way to keep your home warm … and cool. While they run on electricity, they can significantly reduce your energy costs throughout the year. The experts at Atlas Butler can discuss the pros and cons of installing a heat pump with you and determine if one would be a good solution for your heating and cooling needs.

The premise of a heat pump is simple. There are two units; one is outside your house and the other is inside, usually in the basement. The heat pump has an evaporator and condenser coils that connect the two units. During the winter, cold air from outside is drawn through the heat pump, which warms the air and moves it throughout your home, just like a furnace. The process is reversed when it’s hot outside. Hot air passes through the coils and is cooled, which in turn, cools down your house.

Trust Atlas Butler with Your Heating & Cooling Needs

Atlas Butler installs heat pumps and you can contact us at 614-681-2167 for an estimate. Same-day appointments are available, and our customer service team is available 24/7/365. Want to take the stress out of HVAC maintenance? Ask us about the Atlas Butler Comfort Club. For an annual membership fee, you get safety inspections, tune-ups, cleanings, and discounts on repairs and parts. 

2022-04-22T15:11:42-04:00April 16th, 2022|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Benefits of Duct Cleaning

Cleaning Your Air Ducts

Winter is officially here in Ohio, which means your furnace is probably working hard to keep your home warm. With the costs of energy soaring nationwide, you want to take advantage of every opportunity to save money. If the air ducts in your home are dirty, the efficiency of your furnace can be reduced by as much as 20%. If you have never had your air ducts cleaned, or it’s been a while, consult with the service pros at Atlas Butler to see if now’s the time.

Your air ducts can collect dust, pollen, dirt, pet dander and more. When your furnace kicks on, all of this debris blows around the rooms of your house. This can aggravate health problems like asthma and allergies and other respiratory conditions. Your furnace is forced to work harder to deliver warm air, and the result is higher heating bills.

Atlas Butler Offers Duct Cleaning

The team at Atlas Butler will vacuum your air ducts and clean other components of your furnace including the heat exchange, air blower, grills, and diffusers. You’ll be left with a clean ductwork system that allows more efficient airflow and cleaner, healthier air. Call us at 614-681-2167 to schedule a consultation. Our phones are answered by a live person 24/7. 

2022-02-13T16:26:38-05:00January 18th, 2022|duct cleaning, home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics, HVAC Vlogs|

Optimize Air Flow in the Summer

Now that it’s summer, A/Cs are running full blast in most parts of the country and Central Ohio is no exception. If you want to lessen the strain on your air conditioning unit, as well as lower your utility bills, there are several steps you can take to improve the airflow inside your house. The first and easiest is to make sure the filters on your HVAC system are changed monthly. This will make a huge difference in indoor air quality. You can also take advantage of cooler mornings and evenings and open the windows and doors to let the air circulate after the house has been shut up all day. Exhaust fans, ceiling fans, and attic fans all work to circulate air through your home and remove any humidity. Also, make sure that the vents and returns are clear; remove any furniture that may be blocking air vents. If despite your best efforts, your home still feels too warm, call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167. We can look at your AC unit to make sure it is running properly or it may be that your ducts need cleaning.

2021-12-09T11:53:28-05:00July 10th, 2021|home energy efficiency, Indoor Air Quality|

Tips For Keeping Your Heat Pump Running Year Round

Even though it’s called a heat pump, your heat pump plays a vital role in keeping your home comfortable all year round. In winter, a heat pump moves heat from one location to another, usually from the air or ground and transfers it throughout a house or building. During the late spring, summer and early fall, the heat pump operates in reverse and cools your home. It’s the same concept — except the warm inside air blows through refrigerant-filled coils and the cooled air is distributed throughout your house. Heat pumps are more efficient than traditional HVAC systems as they don’t have to heat the air in order to warm your house, and you also don’t need separate heating and cooling systems.

Keeping Your Heat Pump Running

Like any other major home system, in order to get the best performance out of your heat pump, you need to stick to a regular maintenance schedule; usually spring and fall. That’s where the HVAC professionals at Atlas Butler can help. We will assess your heating and cooling needs, help you choose the best heat pump for you home, and advise you on how to get the best performance from it year-round. If you haven’t had your heat pump serviced in a while, contact our team to schedule an appointment

Here is what type of heat pump maintenance is performed:

  • Check motors and capacitors
  • Check air ducts, coils, blowers and indoor coil to make sure they are clear of debris
  • Check air ducts and refrigerant levels for leakage
  • Make sure the thermostat is working correctly
  • Check all electrical components
  • Test all safety controls

Between maintenance visits, there are several things that you, as a home owner, can do to keep your heat pump in top shape:

  • Change your air filter every month
  • Make sure that indoor registers are free of dust and debris
  • Remove foliage and brush from around the outdoor unit
  • During the winter, keep the heat pump clear of snow and ice
  • Schedule regular maintenance

Another tip to ensure optimal performance from your heat pump is to install a programmable thermostat to maintain a consistent indoor temperature. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended settings, but a general rule of thumb is to not go below 70 degrees in the summer and below 65 degrees in the winter. The service team at Atlas Butler is very familiar with the climate in Central Ohio and can give you the best advice about your thermostat settings.

Considering a heat pump?

A new heat pump is a good investment because it will pay for itself over time through savings on your heating and cooling bills.  In addition, you only have the upkeep of one system to deal with, which reduces costs — and headaches! If you are thinking of switching to a heat pump, Atlas Butler installs energy efficient heat pumps. We have proudly served the Central Ohio for decades and can help you select the best heat pump to keep your home comfortable during the scorching summers and brutal winters. Our motto through the years has been “Strength Through Service,” and we stand by it today. Call us at 614-681-2167.

 

2021-12-09T11:53:29-05:00August 27th, 2020|Furnace Maintenance, home energy efficiency|
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