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|

Things to Consider When Replacing Your Furnace

Winter isn’t the best time to think about replacing your furnace, but it’s better to get it over with before the really nasty weather sets in. There are many considerations when planning for a new furnace and the team at Atlas Butler can help you choose the best system for the size of your home, the climate, your family’s lifestyle, and more. The good news is that modern furnaces are much more energy efficient and longer lasting, so your investment will soon pay for itself.

Key points when selecting a new furnace:

Age of your existing furnace. The lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years and if yours is that old or older and is on its last legs, then be reassured that it has met or exceeded its predicted duration. If you moved into a house with an existing furnace and don’t know how old it is, snap a photo of the serial number and contact the manufacturer. Odds are pretty good that they will know. If the furnace is old, but still running well, just keep up with the maintenance.

Type of fuel. Furnaces primarily operate on natural gas, electricity, and propane and work by heating air and forcing it through your home via the duct system. Of the three, natural gas is the cheapest. Electricity is an option if you don’t want to run the risk of carbon monoxide exposure, and propane is a popular choice if you live in an area where access to natural gas and electricity is limited.

Variable-speed blower. A variable-speed blower helps you better control the flow of warm air throughout your home as opposed to single-speed blowers. Variable-speed blowers regulate the temperature, so it remains constant; whereas single-speed blowers spew out hot air at one time, then shut off. That’s where you have situations where it can be too hot, then too cold, which means constantly adjusting the thermostat. Most newer furnaces have variable-speed blowers, but if you have an older furnace, you can weigh the cost-effectiveness of upgrading the blower or replacing the furnace entirely.

Zoning systems. You can expand on the variable-speed blower concept by implementing a zoning system. This is achieved by having separate thermostats control different parts of your house. This maintains an even level of heating throughout your home, eliminating hot and cold spots. Dampers within the ducts can open and close, thus regulating the flow of warm air.

Thermostat. The thermostat is the command center of the furnace and that is the first place to check if you’re experiencing heating problems. There are signs that your thermostat is worn out if you experience short cycling, the furnace not turning on or shutting off, fluctuations in temperature, and higher-than-average heating costs. One solution is to install a smart thermostat. These thermostats can be programmed to turn on and off when you’re not home, adjust during peak usage times, and some models can even be programmed to remind you when to change the furnace filters.

If you’ve decided that it’s time to replace or upgrade your furnace, reach out to Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167. Our phone is answered 24/7 by a live person, and in most cases, we can schedule a same-day appointment. Don’t tough out the winter, be warm and cozy with a new, modern, energy-efficient furnace.

2023-01-19T11:15:09-05:00December 15th, 2022|Furnace Maintenance, HVAC Topics|

Time for a New HVAC System?

Upgrading Your HVAC System

With winter on the horizon, now is a good time to assess the health of your HVAC system. If your heating and air conditioning units are more than 10 years old, it’s a good idea to have them serviced and evaluated before cold and wet weather settles in. The service pros at Atlas Butler can come to your home and perform routine seasonal maintenance and give you a frank assessment of how many more years of service you can expect out of your HVAC system. In many cases, it makes more sense to just bite the bullet and replace everything, especially if you’ve been spending a lot of money on ongoing repairs. Here are three ways a new HVAC system can save you money:

  1. Efficiency. If you’ve found that your AC or furnace just isn’t performing satisfactorily, a new system would fix that. Modern HVAC systems are engineered to run more efficiently and reduce your heating and cooling costs. In some instances, you may even be eligible for a tax credit.
  2. Fewer repairs. Goes without saying. A new furnace or AC will need few to no repairs, and if it does, you’ll be covered under the warranty. Another consideration is that as an HVAC system ages, it can become increasingly difficult to find parts and you’ll pay for it.
  3. Smart thermostat. A smart thermostat can save you money and keep your home at a consistent, comfortable temperature. You can program the thermostat to keep your home warmer or cooler when you’re away, then adjust the temperature to your preference by the time you arrive home. By not running your HVAC at full capacity during peak usage seasons when nobody is home saves money and energy.

So, if it’s time to replace your HVAC system, call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167. We can get you scheduled, evaluate the system, and make recommendations. Keep your new HVAC system performing at its best. When you join the Atlas Butler Comfort Club, we’ll keep your new system maintained and running for years to come. Ask your service technician and select the service level that best fits your needs and budget.

2022-11-01T14:11:37-04:00August 20th, 2022|Home Humidity, HVAC Topics, Indoor Air Quality|

Pros and Cons of Programmable Thermostats

Considering a Programmable Thermostat?

If you, like everybody else, are tired of soaring utility bills, fight back. Installing a programmable thermostat may be the solution to stay on top of your gas and electric costs. Programmable thermostats are a popular option for maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and are relatively easy to obtain and install. The service pros at Atlas Butler can help you choose the right model and install it for you. We carry a complete line of programmable thermostats and will show you how to use one.

If this sounds good to you, here are some of the pros and cons of programmable thermostats.

Pros

Saves money on utility bills. This is the obvious reason for having a programmable thermostat in the first place — economy. You can turn the AC up (or heat down) during the day while you’re at work. Then, the thermostat will be programmed to raise or lower the temperature accordingly so it’s nice and warm (or cool) when you get home. That way, the AC or furnace isn’t running full blast all day in an empty house, thus reducing energy expenditures.

Can be adjusted from anywhere. Suppose a sudden winter storm is brewing that nobody anticipated when you’ve landed at the airport after a tropical vacation. Your thermostat isn’t programmed to start heating back up until later in the day. Don’t want to come home to a chilly house? Simple. Go into your app and adjust the temperature from your mobile device.

Maintenance reminders. Some programmable thermostats will alert you when it’s time to change furnace filters. It can also give you other maintenance reminders, so you can call Atlas Butler to schedule your seasonal HVAC tune-up.

Cons

Upfront costs. Some people find the initial outlay of $75-$200 (estimate) for a programmable thermostat to be steep. That’s understandable but realize that the unit will pay for itself over time through reduced utility bills, especially if you live in an older home.

Use by multiple residents. If you have family members who are home at all hours of the day, then a programmable thermostat may not work. People want to be comfortable while they’re at home, so there is no point in automatically adjusting the thermostat.

Hacking. Believe it or not, bad actors have found a way to infiltrate home thermostats. This is more of a possibility when the thermostat is tied into other programs, but occurs, nonetheless. Luckily, this isn’t a huge threat, but something to at least have on your radar.

If you are looking for a way to manage energy expenses during a time of rising inflation, a programmable thermostat is a good investment to keep ahead of the curve. Call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167 to learn how a programmable thermostat would work for you. We will help you choose the right model for your family’s lifestyle to provide the best HVAC services in Central Ohio.

 

 

 

2022-11-01T14:11:48-04:00July 20th, 2022|Home Humidity, HVAC Topics, Indoor Air Quality|

The Role Humidity Plays in Your Home

How Humidity Affects Cooling Your Home

During summer, humidity can soar, which can lead to dangerous heat indices. While your AC is working hard to control the temperature, during days with high humidity, it’s pulling double-duty to remove moisture from the air. Some indoor humidity is beneficial. Otherwise, you’d be suffering from dry skin, breathing difficulties, as well as drying out your furniture and other household items. Signs of excessive indoor humidity include condensation on glasses of cold beverages, fogged-up windows and mirrors, and a musty odor. More common is the experience of feeling “clammy” and generally uncomfortable. Causes of a humid home are numerous, but the first step a licensed plumber at Atlas Butler will take is to examine your AC unit.

When your AC is running to cool the air in your home, it’s also removing moisture from the air. That moisture has to go somewhere and it should drain into a condenser drip pan. In an underperforming air conditioner, when the fan shuts off, the moisture has nowhere to go but back into the air inside your home. So not only do you feel physically uncomfortable, but another pain point is high energy bills. Also, an AC system that is too small for your home or not pulling moisture out of the air can result in more frequent service calls, which can add up moneywise.

The service pros at Atlas Butler can figure out why your home feels humid. It could be as simple as needed to change filters more often or as costly as needing a new condenser or bigger AC unit. We can help you figure out what works best for your home and comfort levels. Give us a call at 614-681-2167; our phones are answered 24/7/365 by a live person. Ensure year-round comfort. Ask about Atlas Butler’s Comfort Club, featuring different levels of membership, which include annual maintenance and discounts on parts and repairs.

2022-07-26T15:58:27-04:00June 18th, 2022|Home Humidity, HVAC Topics, Indoor Air Quality|

Signs of an Inefficient Air Conditioner

Signs that Your AC Unit is Going to Go

Summer is here in full force with its sweltering temperatures and high humidity, which add up to scorching heat indices. No doubt, your AC is running around the clock trying to keep your home cool and comfortable. However, if your AC isn’t working efficiently, it’s fighting a losing battle trying to meet capacity. This means that your home isn’t as cool as you’d like, and you’ll be faced with skyrocketing energy bills. The service pros at Atlas Butler have some signs to look for to determine if your air conditioner isn’t working as well as it could.

  1. There are hot and cold spots in the house. When some rooms are freezing and others warm, that means your AC unit and possibly ducts, need cleaning. Dirt build-up in the ductwork can hinder airflow.
  2. The AC isn’t removing humidity from the air. If your AC is running and you still experience that damp, clammy feeling, the likely cause is low refrigerant levels. There are other causes of this problem, so it is best to have your unit looked at by an HVAC specialist.
  3. The AC runs constantly. This is a sign that your AC unit isn’t the proper size for your house and a common problem if you’ve added on to the structure. Upgrading to a unit better equipped to handle the load will help and will pay for itself over time through lower energy bills.
  4. You are cooling your entire house. Forcing an air conditioner to keep the entire house at a constant temperature is very hard on the unit. A better solution is to have temperature zones throughout the house to only cool those rooms that are used the most.
  5. You’re seeing a spike in energy bills. It’s normal to see an increase in energy bills during a heat wave, but if you’re constantly paying more and more for your AC during moderate temperatures as well, it’s a good idea to have your system looked at by a professional. There could be many problems, including the age of the unit, contributing to increased energy bills.
  6. You need more service calls. If you are constantly calling for AC repair, it’s a signal of a bigger problem. Older units start wearing out and parts need replacing, which can create a domino effect. It might be time to just bite the bullet and buy a new air conditioner.
  7. Your AC unit is more than 10 years old. When your AC is 10 years old or older, it’s time to start thinking about replacing it. Regular maintenance can prolong the life of your system, but you can also reach a point where the costs of keeping cool have outpaced what you’d actually save money on a new, more energy-efficient unit.

Atlas Butler Can Help Repair or Replace Your AC Unit

If you are experiencing any of these issues with your air conditioner, contact the service pros at Atlas Butler for an Air Conditioner check-up. We have same-day appointments, and our phones are answered 24/7/365. Call us at 614-681-2167. Ask about our Comfort Club and enjoy savings and year-round comfort from your HVAC system.  

2022-07-26T15:52:23-04:00May 26th, 2022|Air Conditioner Maintenance, 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|
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