Category Archives: Tips & Recommendations

Cooling Season Tips

Air Conditioning season is upon us! As the Service Manager of Hauser Air, I would like to provide you with some tips to make sure your cooling system stays functional and efficient, while answering some common questions.

Here are some quick tips to help your cooling system perform at its best this season:

    • Have a set date for checking and changing your air filter. A dirty filter can cause a multitude of damages both to the system and your home. To learn more about changing your filter, please check out our short video: Why Change Your Furnace Filter?.
    • Schedule regular maintenance. This will ensure you maintain your manufacturer supplied warranty as well as keep the unit running efficiently. According to Energystar.gov, cooling your home accounts for 13% of the energy used by your household. Air Conditioning and Heat pump units have fine fins and coils that need to be cleaned yearly, preferably before the cooling season. Cleaning your cooling unit allows it to run more efficiently, in turn saving your family money this summer.

energy-bill-breakdown

  • Have an understanding of the type of system you have, so you can understand the most effective way to manage your thermostat to keep you comfortable and save money. An example of this is if you have a geothermal heat pump. The most effective and efficient way to set your thermostat is to “set it and forget it”. Programming it with an away setting to ‘save you money’ on a geothermal unit, will cost you more in the long run. The amount of energy it takes to recuperate the few degrees you set it back while you were away, will most often cost you more than just leaving it. If you are not sure what type of system you have, give your local contractor a call so they can help.

Here are common questions we hear from our customers during cooling season:

Q: My second floor is hot in the summer no matter what I set the thermostat to?

A: We see this issue quite a bit! Heat rises, and the second floor is always hotter than the first. Having a professional look at the duct work (if it is visible and not behind drywall) can be helpful. Most often we use technology to solve this issue. Some of these solutions include: zoning systems, multi stage Air Conditioners, mini splits, humidification control and whole home dehumidifiers. There are a variety of solutions we could find for this issue. The best solution is to have your heating and cooling contractor out to properly assess your issue and give you the options for your home.

Q: Should I get my air ducts cleaned?

A: Duct cleaning can really improve airflow and indoor air quality. We do recommend cleaning your duct work every few years, or as needed.

Q: What is the average lifespan of an Air Conditioner?

A: This could vary greatly depending on equipment installation quality, maintenance and brand. The Department of Energy states the average lifespan of an Air Conditioner is 15-20 years. At Hauser Air, we look at the lifespan of your cooling unit in terms of hours used, and try to equate that runtime to something people understand, like vehicle mileage. We often hear, “my unit is only 10 years old” or “I just bought my AC unit 8 years ago”, and this calculation helps show our customers how hard their air conditioners or heat pump has worked for them over its lifetime.

Here’s how we figure it:

  • The average cooling hours in Cincinnati, OH are 600 hrs/year
  • The average speed you drive your automobile is 40 miles per hour
  • If you take the age of your Air conditioner or heat pump and multiply it by the cooling hours, then multiply that number by your average speed, you will get the average miles your unit has “driven”

Here’s the equation for a 10 year old Air conditioner:
10 yrs x 600 hrs = 6,000 hrs of run time
6,000 x 40 mph = 240,000 miles “driven”

As you can see from this equation, that is A LOT of run time on your cooling equipment. If this was a vehicle with 240,000 miles on it, I’m sure you would have traded it in by now. Air conditioners are very durable and work extremely hard over their lifetime.

At the end of the day

Your HVAC technician is a valuable resource, so take advantage of their visit to ask all your A/C questions.

Sincerely,
Jim Webster
Hauser Air Service Manager

Question: Why should I get an A/C Tune-up?

service manager Jim Webster

Hauser Air service manager, Jim Webster, has the answer!

This month’s question: “Why should I get an air conditioning tune-up?” is answered by our service manager, Jim Webster.

Jim’s answer: It depends on your needs and concerns. I like to look at my options using a pros and cons list, so I will provide that as follows…

Pros

  1. A clean coil equals $$$ saved both on life span of the system and conserving energy.
  2. Allows a professional to see your system and provide answers for any questions.
  3. Continued tune-ups allows us to give you an idea of the life left in all the components of the system. Which can allow time to financially prepare for any issues that may arise and hopefully keep you from an outage situation.
  4. Helps maintain factory warranties to assure that all repairs are made to their specifications.
  5. Provides peace of mind for the customer that the system is prepared during peak usage.
  6. Evaluation of the coolant level to help maintain peak operating performance.

Cons

  1. Cost of maintenance, although the money saved is worth the money spent.
  2. Scheduling, although our scheduling staff can generally meet your needs.

Thanks for the helpful info, Jim! It’s the perfect time of year for an air conditioning tune-up. Go ahead and schedule yours. To book your A/C tune-up, call a friendly Hauser Air representative at 513-777-7979 or contact us today!

Effects of Excessive Snow on Heat Pumps

snow on heat pumpDue to recent snowfall and more expected, we wanted to pass along a few tips for our customers who own heat pump systems.

Tips for Heat Pumps in Snow and Icy Conditions

1. Heat pumps draw air from the areas surrounding them (all four sides of the outdoor unit). It is important to clear these areas of snow and ice build up in order to allow air to freely reach the heat pump. This will allow the heat pump to operate as efficiently as possible and will alleviate strain on the heat pump.

2. If possible, the space (air gap) between the heat pump and the plastic or concrete pad that the unit itself sits on should be cleared of snow to allow for drainage.

3. Generally speaking, most heat pumps discharge air in an upward direction from the top of the unit. It is important to make sure that this area is clear of snow and ice to allow air to easily discharge (this is the air that is being drawn from the sides of the unit.

4.  DO NOT attempt to forcefully remove ice build up from any part of the heat pump. If you cannot remove snow or ice easily with a broom or brush, do not try to pry or chisel ice from the unit. Doing so could cause severe or irreparable damage to the heat pump.

5. If your heat pump is located in an area that is subject to exposure to melting snow and ice (such as underneath an overhang or gutter that may be frozen), check the unit repeatedly to ensure that ice has not built up inside the heat pump.

6. If you cannot clear the heat pump of snow and ice for any reason, switch the system to “Emergency Heat” at the thermostat. This will turn the heat pump off and engage electric resistance heaters that are located inside in order to provide heat for your home.  This is a more expensive mode of operation for a heat pump system, so we do not advise continuing in this mode for more than a few days. If at that time, the snow and ice around the heat pump has not melted, feel free to schedule a service call with Hauser Air and a technician from our service team will be happy to assist you.

Stay safe out in the snow! We’ll be here to keep you comfortable when you return inside.

Do I Need a Furnace Tune-up?

vip with tuneup

Click image above for more info on our VIP Membership service plans!

Every year at about this time, you probably receive several direct mail pieces from every different Cincinnati area heating and cooling company telling you to schedule a furnace tune-up or a coupon for one. But what many companies fail to tell you (and the reason most of those offers are ignored) is exactly why a furnace maintenance is essential.

At Hauser Air, we won’t sell you something you don’t need. So here is a list of a few of the reasons an annual tune-up is so important to the efficiency of your furnace and the safety of your home.

  • Ensures proper airflow – During the furnace tune-up, the heating technician should check your heating system to ensure it is receiving the proper airflow- Restricted or limited airflow places an unnecessary strain on your furnace that can lead to increased repairs and a shortened lifespan.
  • Keeps you safe – Furnaces burn fuel to produce heat. This combustion process must be precise to maintain efficiency and safety. Even a small problem can lead to gas leaking into your home or dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Don’t take a chance with the health and safety of you and your family.
  • Reduces repairs – Every winter, we receive calls from customers with heating problems that could have been easily prevented with regular maintenance. A furnace tune-up not only includes cleaning that keeps your furnace running efficiently, but it also catches small problems before they turn into major repairs.
  • Saves time – Getting a VIP furnace tune-up, before the weather is cold, is much more convenient than waiting for a repairman during the winter in a cold home without heat. It is also cheaper.
  • Improves energy efficiency – A furnace tune-up should include the cleaning and inspection of the furnace burner and heat exchanger. In addition to ensuring safe operation, this will keep your furnace running efficiently all winter.
  • Maintains manufacturer’s warranty – If your furnace or heat pump is under a manufacturer’s warranty, it is especially important for you to get an annual furnace tune-up. Most manufacturers stipulate that their warranty becomes void if the heater is not regularly maintained. A furnace tune-up can satisfy that requirement and maintain your warranty.

All of these benefits of a furnace tune-up boil down to two things: keeping you safe and saving you money. For more information or to schedule your furnace tune up, please call one of our product specialists at (513) 777-7979.

14 Things You Should Know About Your Air Conditioner

know about air conditioners

1. If your A/C is not cooling enough, the easiest and most important thing you can do on your own is: check /change your filter. If this does not remedy the problem, Call for service. Note: there is a possibility that your A/C system may be doing all it can do during extreme heat conditions.

2. Air Conditioners must have a filter. The filter will be located inside your home either with the equipment or behind a grille inside your home perhaps a hallway. It is very important that the filter is changed or cleaned regularly in order to filter the air properly and prevent the indoor coil from getting dirty. 1″ filters=change every month; 2″ filters=change every 2 months; 4-5″ filters=change every 6-12 months. Filters will get dirtier faster if: there are multiple pets, there is a dusty outdoor environment such as dirt roads, fields, construction, etc; if carpets are infrequently vacuumed. We sell all types of filters and offer special savings on buying three. You can call the office to order yours at: (513) 777-7979. We recommend to keep them on hand to change.

3. Be sure to keep the outdoor condenser clean. This means ALL sides should have nothing clinging to them (the sides look like radiator fins or sometimes they are “spiny” looking). If you do see dirt, leaves, grass clippings, cottonwood, you can use a water hose with spray nozzle to rinse the sides off starting at the top and working your way down. Turn off the power first. We recommend having a tune up & cleaning on your A/C once a year.

4. During the summer, if you see frost on the outdoor or indoor pipes, your system is frozen and will not cool properly. The system must be thawed in order to solve this issue. The quickest way to thaw the system is to turn the ac off at the thermostat but turn the FAN to ON. This will force warm air over the ice to thaw it quicker. It may still take 2 hours to thaw. NOTE: once the air conditioner is thawed, when you turn it on, it may start cooling again and continue to cool until it freezes up again- maybe a day or two. This freezing up and thawing will continue until the root problem is resolved. It is not good for this to continue for days. The root problem could be a dirty filter. If changing your filter does not remedy the situation, Call for service.

5. Do not set your thermostat below 70 degrees as it will not cool any faster and could freeze up the system causing more problems.

6. Understand that there is generally a 20 degree difference between indoor air and outside temperatures. So when it is 92 degrees outside, you can expect to get your indoor temperature to 72 degrees if desired. However, if it is 102 degrees outside, your air conditioner may struggle to meet 72 or run all the time trying to meet the demand.

7. If you see water leaking from an outdoor pipe or pipe located above a bathtub, this means that your primary condensate drain has a problem and the water is traveling through the emergency drain system. This pipe is usually located in a conspicuous area so that you will easily see the water dripping and know that there is a problem. Call for service.

8. Plant NEW bushes or plants at least 24-36 inches from the outdoor unit. If you have mature bushes near the outdoor unit, keep them trimmed to 12-18″ away. The outdoor unit needs to “breathe” freely without any hindrance. If you already have bushes planted around the a/c, be sure to keep them trimmed to allow the recommended clearance.

9. Do not place anything above your outdoor unit such as a shade, awning, fence, etc. Air blows out the top of the air conditioner and it must be able to blow out freely without any hindrance whatsoever.

10. If you have a basic programmable thermostat, do not “off-set” it more than 5 degrees while away (during extreme weather temperatures). Otherwise it will work too hard to bring the temperature to the desired point thus defeating the energy saved.

11. Keep curtains and blinds closed on west side of house during the summer.

12. Air conditioning systems do not require “freon” every year. They may need it if there is a leak, but the “freon” is not consumed. Some leaks are very very small and difficult to detect while some are larger and easier to detect and locate.

13. If you have a refrigerant leak, the leak may be located at the indoor equipment, the outdoor equipment or in the copper lines that connect the two pieces of equipment. Some leaks are repairable while some are not.

14. Be careful using a weed eater around the outdoor unit. If the wires or piping are cut, call for service.

Is a Humidifier Important?

YES! Especially in the winter. Here are just 7 important reasons why:

home humidifiers

In the warmer seasons, it’s not always the heat that gets intolerable, it’s the humidity! In the search for a comfortable indoor temperature, though, humidity is often the component which is neglected. The fact is, the amount of moisture in the air is just as important to the temperature as it is to your health. ALL year around.

Using a humidifier when it’s cold outside is not only one of the better ways to regulate your home’s temperature, it’s a great way to promote improved health for you and your family. It can even lend benefits to your house itself, as well as the plants, animals and humans that inhabitants. Consider these seven reasons when trying to decide if adding a humidifier is important for your home.

1. Better Skin, Better Healing

Dry air is capable of wreaking havoc on your skin. Many people are familiar with the effects of biting winter cold, from chapped lips to dry, cracking knuckles, all problems which can be caused or made worse when insufficient moisture is present in the air. Before you invest in bulk quantities of lotion and lip balm to rehydrate your skin, think about rehydrating your air. Humidifiers add that crucial humidity back into the air to reduce the painful symptoms described above. While those with more sensitive skin will still need to keep the aloe handy, humid air is a great first step toward lessening dry skin issues.

2. Ease Sinus Congestion

Just as your skin can become parched if the air remains too dry, your respiratory system can suffer as well. Winter is cold and flu season for more than one reason–many people who suffer from sinus problems are victims of the dry, chilly air that circulates. When your throat and nasal passages become dried out, your body has a much tougher time fending off viruses and bacteria. If you wake up on particularly crisp mornings feeling like you’re fighting off a cold, it can very likely be from sleeping in dried-out air.

Running a humidifier not only aids in protecting your body from becoming ill, it’s also a good idea if you’re already sick. The conditions that make it easier to get sick are the same ones that make it harder for you to recover, so make it a point to get that moisture circulating again and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

3. Spare the Static

Have you ever found your home overrun with static but you just couldn’t figure out the cause? A lack of humidity inside may be to blame. When moisture’s lacking, the air’s more conductive to static electricity. You’ll know it every time you go to get dressed, pet the cat, possibly even brush your hair–and the drier it gets, the worse your shocks are likely to be.

Humidifying the air in your home is an ideal way to put your pets at ease, tame the frizz in your hair, and avoid the annoying stick and snag your clothes and linens encounter.

4. Plants Need Two Things

Your houseplants usually only need two things to thrive: water and sunlight. Obviously there’s no replacement for timely watering of your indoor flora, but not all of their hydration comes through you directly. Just as people and animals do, plants utilize moisture from the air; when insufficient humidity exists, unfortunately many types of plants will feel the effects.

Since houseplants have been shown to offer mental and physical health benefits for people, particularly when they’re healthy, it makes plenty of sense to pay a little extra attention to their wellbeing. Of course, plants aren’t the only inanimate objects that can benefit from additional humidity.

5. This Old House

Does your home seem to make more noise when the temperature drops? If you’re hearing lots of creaks and cracks, it’s likely because dry, frigid air is tough on wooden items. Wood shrinks naturally in the cold, and without adequate moisture, it can split and suffer damage. Cold can have a similar effect on paint, necessitating more frequent home repairs and improvements.

Humidifiers don’t just help the living things within your home–they also help your home itself. They’re ideal for achieving a balance in your indoor atmosphere: Air which is not overly-dry but also not too wet and dewy.

6. Counteract the Cold

Perhaps the greatest impact humidifiers can have is in helping to regulate your indoor temperature. The website for the Old Farmer’s Almanac confirms that adding humidity to the air helps it to feel warmer without actually raising the temperature. This is the same reason that a humid summer day often feels several degrees hotter than the thermometer reports.

There are several alternative strategies for adding moisture into the air without the use of a dedicated appliance. For example, if you enjoy hot baths in the winter, consider leaving the warm water sitting after you’re done. This adds subtle moisture to the air until the water goes tepid (think of hot water giving off steam).

7. Stop Snoring

Last but not least, a healthy amount of humidity in the air is a good way to fight snoring problems. Many people suffer from chronic snoring (as do their bedmates), and for a sizeable portion of those individuals, it’s worse in the winter. Try upping the moisture in your bedroom at night to keep sinuses and nasal passages moistened to fight the effects of snoring.

Closing Thoughts

A humidifier can be one of the most effective and affordable home heating solutions when the cold weather sets in, providing your household with a host of benefits in addition to warmth. When all is said and done, the important thing is to avoid excessive exposure to dry air. You can’t always control the atmosphere in your workplace, and you’re subject to the elements while outside and often while traveling. At home and when you sleep, however, you can assure yourself of better health and comfort with the right level of indoor humidity.

Call us today for a free estimate on installing your whole house humidifier (513) 777-7979!

Why Change Your Furnace Filter?


by: Katey Gallagher

I will be the first to admit, that before I met my now husband (Chris Gallagher), I knew nothing about furnaces and air conditioners! I had my own home in Cincinnati and I couldn’t even tell you where my furnace was located! Now that I’ve been in the industry for years, I have a much better grasp of the ins-and-outs of heating and cooling a home. As service manager of our company, I work with our customers on a daily basis who have questions, similar to the ones I had before starting in this business. After hearing all these familiar questions, I felt like it would be helpful to share our knowledge with our customers. Hence why we started this video blog!

One of the comments I get a frequently is, “I didn’t realize I needed to change my filter that often”, and I believe it! I don’t think frequency of filter changing on your furnace or air handler is common knowledge. And I definitely don’t think people understand how much a dirty filter can negatively impact your heating AND cooling system’s operation all year around. Continue reading

Repair or Replace?

It can be difficult to decide whether to repair or replace your HVAC equipment. While the age of the system is a major factor to consider, how well the system has been maintained and how up-to-date the technology is are also important considerations. Issues brought on by wear and tear should also be considered, as rust or cracks may lead to carbon monoxide or other toxins, which affect air quality.

To complicate the issue, heating and cooling equipment may share components, and heating equipment tends to outlast air conditioning systems. When only a portion of the equipment is being replaced, it is essential to consider compatibility issues.

Common reasons for repairing rather than replacing your heating and air conditioning system include:

  • The facility may be nearing the end of its use
  • The building or home may require modification before energy efficiency can be achieved
  • The purchase new equipment may not be financially permissible
  • Anticipation of new equipment technology may be worth delaying purchase

Typical reasons for choosing to replace your system are:

  • Return on investment in monthly energy bills
  • Repair costs approach the cost of a new system
  • Purchasing incentives such as tax credits or rebates
  • Better performance with new system technology
  • Desiring a system that is environmentally better

We look forward to delivering our award-winning service to your home!

What to Check Before Calling

Air Conditioner – “It’s Not Cooling!”

  • Check the settings on your thermostat. Make sure the temperature control selector is set below the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO if you want the blower to operate only while the air conditioner is operating.
  • Try to get the air conditioner to turn on by lowering the thermostat to its lowest temperature setting.
  • If the air flow out of your registers seems low, check the air filter. An extremely dirty air filter can block air flow.
  • Make sure all registers are open and not obstructed.
  • Check the power disconnect switch by each unit (outdoor and indoor).
  • Check the fuse/breaker at the electrical panel for both the outdoor and indoor unit.
  • If the problem persists, please call us.

Heat Pump – “It’s Not Cooling!”

  • Check the settings on your thermostat. Make sure the temperature control selector is set below the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO if you want the blower to operate only while the heat pump is operating.
  • Try to get the heat pump to turn on by lowering the thermostat to its lowest temperature setting.
  • If the air flow out of your registers seems low, check the air filter. An extremely dirty air filter can block air flow.
  • Make sure all registers are open and not obstructed.
  • Check the power disconnect switch by each unit (outdoor and indoor).
  • Check the fuse/breaker at the electrical panel for both the outdoor and indoor unit.
  • If the problem persists, please call us.

Heat Pump – “It’s Not Heating”

  • Check the settings on your thermostat. Make sure the temperature control selector is set above the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the HEAT or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO if you want the blower to operate only while the heat pump is operating.
  • Try to get the heat pump to turn on by raising the thermostat to its highest temperature setting.
  • If the air flow out of your registers seems low, check the air filter. An extremely dirty air filter can block air flow.
  • Make sure all registers are open and not obstructed.
  • Check the power disconnect switch by each unit (outdoor and indoor).
  • Check the fuse/breaker at the electrical panel for both the outdoor and indoor unit.
  • If the problem persists, please call us.

Gas Furnace – “It’s Not Heating”

  • Check the settings on your thermostat. Make sure the temperature control selector is set above the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the HEAT or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO if you want the blower to operate only while the furnace is operating.
  • Try to get the furnace to turn on by raising the thermostat to its highest temperature setting.
  • If the air flow out of your registers seems low, check the air filter. An extremely dirty air filter can block air flow.
  • Make sure all registers are open and not obstructed.
  • Check the power disconnect switch by the furnace.
  • Check the fuse/breaker at the electrical panel for the furnace.
  • Check to make sure the gas control valve to the furnace is open.
  • Check the pilot light. (Electronic ignitions will not have a pilot light).
  • If the problem persists, please call us.

Oil Furnace – “It’s Not Heating”

  • Check the settings on your thermostat. Make sure the temperature control selector is set above the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the HEAT or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO if you want the blower to operate only while the furnace is operating.
  • Try to get the furnace to turn on by raising the thermostat to its highest temperature setting.
  • If the air flow out of your registers seems low, check the air filter. An extremely dirty air filter can block air flow.
  • Make sure all registers are open and not obstructed.
  • Check the power disconnect switch by the furnace.
  • Check the fuse/breaker at the electrical panel for the furnace.
  • Check to make sure you have fuel oil.
  • Check the pilot light. (Electronic ignitions will not have a pilot light).
  • If the problem persists, please call us.

Gas / Oil Boiler – “It’s Not Heating”

  • Check the settings on your thermostat. Make sure the temperature control selector is set above the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the HEAT or AUTO position.
  • Try to get the boiler to turn on by raising the thermostat to its highest temperature setting.
  • Check the power disconnect switch by the boiler.
  • Check the fuse/breaker at the electrical panel for the boiler.
  • Check to make sure you have fuel oil or check to make sure the gas control valve to the boiler is open.
  • Check the pilot light. (Electronic ignitions will not have a pilot light).

Tuesday tip!

Right before I go to the dentist is when my teeth are brushed and flossed like in a pro!

Yes before. I feel like I have some sort of accountability to my dental hygienist and I’ll let him down if I show up with an average clean mouth.

Weird.

We get that too on Heating tuneup and cleanings. People wait till the day before we arrive to change the air filter. It’s kind of funny because we pull the filter and it’s brilliant clean. And as we pass the garbage can the old filthy filter is poking its nasty head up saying “I’m still heeeere”. Continue reading