HVAC System Articles

Are HVAC Service and Maintenance Programs Worth the Cost?

An HVAC system is an expensive investment. You’re putting thousands of dollars into your ongoing comfort, and you want to be sure that the system you’ve purchased continues to function as it should for many years to come. Most systems come with a warranty that will cover you for a little while, but it’s also likely that your contractor offered HVAC service and maintenance with the installation.

Many people are justifiably concerned as to whether it’s worth the investment for one of these programs. Let’s examine whether HVAC maintenance programs are worth the cost and where you can go to get more information on a service plan for your new system.

HVAC Maintenance Programs

It’s true that HVAC maintenance programs can cost a few hundred dollars a year, and they tend to be one of those things that you hope you never have to use. If that’s the case, do you need to spend the extra money? In truth, yes, HVAC service and maintenance contracts are worth it in the long run, even if you don’t use them every year. Let’s see why.

Lower Utility Bills

When you sign up for an annual service agreement, you don’t have to worry about remembering to schedule maintenance. Your company can contact you when it’s time and take care of it. Keeping your furnace well maintained is the key to lowering your utility bills, which in turn will help to offset the cost of your agreement.

Keep Things Working

Maintenance is key to keeping your furnace working like it should. The last thing you want in the middle of a Las Vegas summer is for the AC to break down. Having a maintenance agreement and contract in place is key to making sure your HVAC system continues to function at maximum efficiency.

Not only will it prevent breakdown, but it will extend your equipment life, possibly by a decade or more. It can also help to restore efficiency as it begins to be less efficient with age.

Priority Service and Cost Savings

Generally speaking, HVAC companies will prioritize those customers who have maintenance agreements and customer loyalty. They might even offer discounts and specials on parts and service at various times. This means that when you do suffer a problem, you won’t be on a waiting list for months on end to get the issue addressed.

The Legacy Air Club Membership, for example, offers a discount on all parts, with a guaranteed 24-hour response on calls. You get a discount on service fees and even complimentary tune-ups, as well as four complete sets of filters to change out, and the service tech will change the first two out, with reminders sent for the other two. You’ll get full warranty on parts and services.

If you’d like more information on how HVAC service and maintenance agreements can help you, we’re happy to help. Get in touch with Legacy Air about our HVAC maintenance programs today.

Remodeling? Options for Heating and Cooling a New Addition

At some point in time, almost every homeowner wants to improve their living space. While sometimes this involves a facelift to your kitchen or bathroom, or finishing the basement, the most extensive renovation projects involve creating an entirely new addition to your house. When creating an add-on, you have to consider how to heat and cool it, so it’s comfortable all year round.

The Las Vegas climate is arid and presents challenges all its own. It’s important to work with the very best installation service to create an HVAC system that will work with your new add-on. Let’s check out a few options for heating and cooling a new addition, and learn where you can find the best services for your next home remodeling and improvement project.

Heating and Cooling a New Addition

When you take on a massive remodeling project like a new wing, it creates a lot of possibilities, but the process might not be quite as simple as it should. Still, it’s not something you can neglect, especially in a climate with temperatures as extreme as Las Vegas.

Three main options are available for heating and cooling a new addition. These include extending your current system, upgrading to a larger system, or adding a whole new and independent system.

Extending Your Current System

Simply extending your current HVAC system can be the most straightforward option, but you need to be sure it’s the right choice. You’ll need to have an energy audit and load calculation performed first. This means consulting with your HVAC professionals to be sure that your current system has the power needed to extend the existing ductwork into the new addition.

If it is powerful enough, you’ll need to take the right steps. This means re-balancing the airflow so that all the areas of your home get the right level of air delivery.

Upgrading Your Existing System

If your load calculation helps you determine that your existing system isn’t large and powerful enough, you’ll need to upgrade the current HVAC in your home to a larger size. This will allow you to use the existing ductwork and create minimal interference with your home overall. You will, however, need to account for the size, sun exposure, insulation and other factors of the remodel so you can be sure to get the right sized unit.

The Independent System

Some people eschew using their existing system altogether and just install a completely separate system for the add-on, like a ductless heat pump or mini split. This can be good for add-ons that won’t be used all the time. They also allow you to handle heating and cooling with high efficiency and to control each room in your new area with its own unit. It can also, however, create higher heating and cooling costs, as you need to account for an entirely new unit.

Remodeling HVAC Services at Legacy Air

If you’re in need of HVAC services for your remodeling project, Legacy Air can help. Check out our AC and furnace installation services and get in touch with us for more information on heating and cooling a new addition today!

Things Don’t Sound Right? When to Get Your HVAC System Inspected

Now that we’re making the transition from cold weather to those lovely springtime temperatures, it’s soon going to be time to turn on the trusty air conditioner. It’s one of the joys of home ownership – hearing the AC turn on after an extended break and feeling the rush of cool air into your house.

But, what if that cool air is accompanied by lots of little noises, everything from a distinct bubbling sound to rattling and clanking noises? What could it mean, and do you need to call a repair technician?

Legacy Air is here to tell you that modern HVAC units are largely quiet and noise free. So, if you hear some troubling sounds, you need to give us a call. Let’s examine a few of these so you can understand what might be going on.

Clank, Rattle, and Squeak

Each sound an HVAC unit makes might be a sign of something extremely serious. For example, you might think if you hear something rattling around in your system that something’s loose. You’d probably be right. Your indoor and outdoor grates and vents can let all manner of things into your system, which then float around loose and could potentially cause damage to the system.

Likewise, if you hear a scraping sound (especially if it’s metallic), you also probably have a loose part. A pipe could be loose or a fan blade could be out of alignment. If parts are loose and are hitting other parts, you could be looking at a big repair bill. It’s time to call an HVAC specialist.

When you first turn on your HVAC system after months of disuse, it’s not uncommon to hear a squeaking sound. This is usually a worn belt issue, similar to the sound you hear in your car when belts need to be replaced. Getting an HVAC tune-up before you turn on the system full-time is the best way to be proactive about this potential problem situation.

Yes, Things Can Leak, Too

If you hear a hissing or a bubbling sound from your HVAC system, it’s time to call a technician. A hissing sound means air is escaping from the ductwork somewhere. Your system is going to have to work harder than it should, which will drive up your cooling costs.

A bubbling sound may be a refrigerant leak. This is the most serious problem you could have with your HVAC unit, and it’s vital to call for help right away.

Head Off Problems Before They Start

The best way to head off any of these issues is to have an HVAC technician come out and do a pre-spring inspection on your system before you turn it on for good. They can examine the whole system and diagnose any issues before they become problematic.

With hot weather on the way, you want an HVAC unit that hums and provides cool air to your house. Now that you know when to get your HVAC system inspected, you can head problems off now by contacting Legacy Air for a tune-up before you turn on the system. That way, your AC can sound right all summer long. It’ll be music to your ears!

Why do I have hot and cold rooms in my house? How can I balance my residential HVAC system?

There are several possible solutions to increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system and making the air distribution system work the way it was intended. As with all problems the solution isn’t always black and white and different solutions may work for different people.

Unfortunately in Las Vegas the builder or their HVAC contractor does not look at the best way to run each home’s air distribution system independently. They will engineer a track home one time and will ignore things such as exposure location. One house may face east and the exact same one down the street may face North. The builder does not increase or decrease the ducting to accommodate for this kind of exposure, which ends up creating a greater (or lesser) heat load on a particular space.

Here are some possible solutions to your air balancing problems.

  1. Balancing air flow at the register mounted control damper. When we get a call from a customer telling us that they have some areas of their home that will be warmer than the rest of the house in the summer or colder than the rest of the house in the winter, than we usually begin our diagnostics by checking the air distribution system. If the airflow temperature split is ok (18-24 degrees Temp split between return air and the supply air) than we will begin looking at the ductwork and how it was run. Some things we can correct by simply relocating the problem ductwork to a new spot on the plenum box. If this isn’t an option we usually suggest that the customer try to balance the system their selves by using the register mounted dampers. There will be a little tab on all the registers on your home that can be adjusted to control air flow at the register. You will never want to close a register off completely as it can ultimately begin affecting your equipment’s efficiency and if closed too much, the register can become noisy as air is pushed through a restricted area. This solution is not ideal, but it is inexpensive (free). The problems with this is there is no way to control the where the air that you have blocked off will go. If it is part of a branch that feeds two or three rooms, those other rooms are likely to get some of the airflow, but how much will be determined by things outside of what we can control in most homes. This is usually only a workable solution for a room that is getting too much air flow, but does not work well for any other problem.
  2. Installing balancing dampers at the outlet of each air supply drop. This in our opinion is the best solution, but unfortunately is not always practical. Here we would add manual control dampers to each supply air drop before it reaches the register. This system can control the exact amount of air to each room, thereby balancing your entire home exactly as it should be. This type of system is common in commercial applications, but almost never seen in residential homes. If you have a single story home with access to the ductwork than this is a very good solution for you. This solution is not a good one for multiple story buildings that do not have access to the ductwork on the lower stories. In order to add dampers to the lower floor ductwork you would have to open up sheetrock to install the dampers and then create access doors or extensions mounted to your ceiling to control the dampers after the sheetrock was replaced. Without access to ductwork the costs can skyrocket and make this solution cost prohibitive.
  3. Booster fans. We have installed a few of these under very limited circumstances. For instance, if we have a room that is not getting enough air and balancing dampers are not a viable option we can install a booster fan in the duct run supplying that room to force more air down the line. This solution is ok if you are just looking to add air to a particular room or rooms. Some possible issues with this is that you can’t control exactly how much air gets added. Different fans move different amounts of CFM but they are usually on/off and do not usually have multiple speeds. You will also need to provide the fan with its own electricity and then tie it in using a relay so that it is only running when the air handler or furnace blower motor is on.
  4. Zoning system and Zoning controls. This is a pretty good solution and can be paired with manual control dampers to be a perfect solution. It also happens to be the most expensive solution. Assuming we have access to all the duct runs, we would install manual dampers to each of the supply runs. Zoning dampers are installed to control air flow run time to particular rooms or groups of rooms. The extra thermostats that must be added to control the various zoning dampers are mounted in the area they serve and are tied into the zone control board. During a call for cooling or heating the dampers will open or close depending on whether or not a particular zoned area is calling for comfort cooling. This system allows you to keep one part of the house at one temperature and another part of the house at a different temperature even though both areas are served by the same piece of equipment. This system requires balancing dampers, zone control dampers, a bypass damper set to maintain a certain static pressure, a zone control board and low voltage wiring tying everything together.

We at Legacy Air hope this helps you out with your decision and please feel free to call on of our technicians if you need further advice on how or if you should proceed with one of these solutions to your heating and cooling needs.