Monthly Archives: July 2016

The EPA’s Ban of Freon (R-22) & What it Means for Homeowners

EPA-ban-on-freon-getzschmanHomeowners are constantly looking for ways to cut costs here and there, but have you thought about your AC unit could be costing you more money?

Today, the professionals at Getzschman are breaking down the details on the EPA’s ban of Freon (R-22) and what it means for you and your AC unit.

What is Freon (R-22)?

Freon or R-22, is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon gas used as a refrigerant in air conditioning systems in most homes, stores, restaurants, schools, etc., built before 2010. Freon is considered a greenhouse gas, with ozone-depleting potential. Because of this classification, the EPA banned the use of Freon in any air conditioning system produced after 2010.

Even as early as 2004, the EPA began to enforce restrictions on the production and import of hydrochlorofluorocarbons, such as Freon or R-22. To give you an idea of the current supply of Freon, in 2010, when the ban was enacted, there were approximately 110 million pounds available in the U.S. By 2015, there were only an estimated 10 million pounds left. As you can imagine, as supplies have plummeted, prices have skyrocketed!

What Does This Mean for Homeowners?

This means that if you have an older model air conditioning unit that still uses Freon as a refrigerant, and it develops a leak, you’ll be forced to pay an exorbitant amount of money to keep it running!

The estimated 10 million pounds of Freon remaining are considered well below what is needed to service the existing pre-2010 AC units remaining in the U.S. The smartest thing to do at this point is to invest in a new air-conditioning system. Not only are the newer systems far more energy-efficient, they cool better, are quieter, and they don’t use Freon.

Related Read: 3 Signs Your AC Unit Is On Its Last Leg

If you live in Omaha or the surrounding area, contact us today for a free estimate. We’ve been repairing and replacing heating and cooling systems for more than 50 years, and are committed to 100% customer satisfaction!      

Ductless Mini Split Systems 101: A Homeowner’s Guide

On average, Nebraska sees summer temperatures between 78 and 85 degrees. And every once in a while, those numbers skyrocket into the low to mid-90s. Additionally, the region experiences high humidity-often 84 percent or higher depending on the day. Those high humidity levels only add to the scorching heat, making the outdoors feel more than unbearable.

As a homeowner in Nebraska, you welcome the cooling relief your HVAC system provides. But what if your home is too old and doesn’t have central air? Or, what if your air conditioning unit breaks down and you can’t experience this cool luxury during the hottest days of the summer?

You shouldn’t have to suffer through the wicked heat-and you don’t want to. But do you know what you can do to find respite?

If you think a new air conditioner is the only solution to this problem, you’d be partly correct. Yes, an air conditioner can keep you cool and comfortable through the throes of a summer heat wave, but there may be a better option.

Below, we talk about ductless mini split systems and how these units can be more effective at cooling your home than a traditional HVAC unit. We’ll also go into detail about ductless systems so you as a homeowner can decide if one is right for your home.

What Is a Ductless Mini Split System?

Simply put, a ductless mini split system is a new type of cooling and heating technology. The best part is that a mini split system doesn’t require air ducts to function-so if you own an older home that doesn’t have ducts, you can still enjoy the modern convenience of cool and warm air anytime you want.

As you probably guessed, you can use the cooling feature during the warmer months and the heating mode during the cold seasons.

A mini split consists of a slim-line condenser unit and an indoor air handling unit. This sleek design makes the units easy to install in individual rooms throughout your home.

Which Types of Systems Can I Choose From?

While all ductless mini split systems essentially work the same way, a few different kinds exist.
Depending on your family’s preferences and needs, you can install any of the following in your home.

Single-Zone Mini Split System

As the name indicates, a single-zone mini split system is perfect for individual rooms. You can also add one of these systems to a main room in your home to supplement your current air conditioner (if your current unit still works well).

Multi-Zone Mini Split System

These systems are perfect for small and medium-sized houses. With a multi-zone system, you can easily control the temperature of two or more zones in your home. However, this particular unit can’t independently control more than eight separate zones in a house.

Whole-House Mini Split System

This system is ideal if you own a larger house. Like a multi-zone system, a whole-house unit allows you to independently control the temperature of eight different rooms in your home. If you have additional rooms that need heating or cooling, you can use a single- or multi-zone unit to supplement the whole-house system.

What Benefits Do Ductless Systems Provide?

When you install a ductless mini split system in your home, you receive more benefits than just cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter.

As mentioned in the section above, ductless systems give you independent control over the temperature of individual zones, or rooms, in your home. This feature allows you to set a comfortable temperature in each room. If another family member prefers a cooler or warmer temperature than you do, he or she can adjust the mini split system accordingly.

Additionally, ductless systems are easy to install, so you won’t have to pay more money than necessary on installation costs. You’ll also save more money as you use this system. Because a mini split system uses newer technology to cool and heat air, it consumes less energy-in fact, it’s about 40 percent more energy efficient than a window unit.

And, because of its small size, a ductless system doesn’t take up too much space in each room, leaving you with more empty space to use at your discretion.

Another benefit you’ll reap from ductless systems is cleaner indoor air. According to the EPA, indoor air can be much lower in quality than outdoor air. When you use a ductless mini split system, you don’t rely on ducts to blow air throughout your home. And the less you use your ducts, the fewer toxins, dust particles, allergens, and pollutants you’ll find in the air.

When you’re ready to install a ductless mini-split system in your home, contact Getzschman
Heating. We’ll recommend a model that fits your needs, desires, and budget, and then install it quickly and seamlessly.

If you have additional questions about how to use or care for your mini split system, let us know. We’ll address any questions or concerns you have so you can enjoy your new cooling system to the fullest.

5 Unusual Noises Your Air Conditioning Unit Can Make and What Causes Them

When you’re roasting in the afternoon heat, there’s nothing more refreshing than an air conditioned home. And in the height of summer, you depend a lot on your air conditioning system. So, when you hear unusual noises coming from your air conditioner, it can be easy to imagine the worst.

A healthy unit has a consistent, low hum during its regular operation, so a strange noise can easily stand out. However, not every odd sound means your unit is on the verge of giving out. Below, we’ll discuss some of the unhealthy noises an air conditioning unit can make and what can cause them.

1. Rattling

If you hear a steady rattling from your unit, it may have a loose part. First, check that the screws and bolts on the cover plates are properly tightened.

If they aren’t the problem, you may need to check inside the unit. Carefully remove the cover plates to look inside. Listen for any rattling or loose parts to locate the issue, and then turn off the unit completely at the breaker. Tighten any loose parts you can find, and turn on the unit to check for rattling.

If the rattling persists, it could mean there’re are issues with the motor. Motors are complicated, so contact an HVAC specialist to take a look at and repair the motor. Slight rattling may not be much of a problem, but the louder the rattling is, the bigger the problem is.

However, rattling or soft thumps in the unit could also be caused by accumulated debris. While the unit has grilles in place to keep branches and larger debris out, some bits and pieces of foliage or other debris can get into the unit. Simply turn off the unit at the breaker, remove the cover plates, and clear any foreign obstructions in the unit.

But if you notice any bent fan blades or other damages caused by branches and other debris, call a
professional to make the appropriate repairs.

2. Hissing or Whistling

If you hear any kind of whistling or hissing around your unit, the ductwork seals may have small cracks or openings. Take a look at the duct leading from the unit into the wall to check for any damage or wear.

First, ensure that any screws, bolts, or connections are tight and snug. Examine any of the caulking, and caulk any areas that need it. If the duct seams have been covered with heat tape, ensure the tape is properly adhering to the seams. Replace any heat tape that won’t stick to the ducts.

Hissing or whistling can also indicate a coolant leak. If you suspect this is the case, call your local professionals to investigate. They may need to solder large openings or cracks in the line, or if the damage is extensive enough, they may need to replace the coils entirely.

3. Loud Thumps and Knocks

If you hear some kind of banging in your unit, you may have a serious problem with the motor or with disconnected parts. Broken parts may have fallen into the blades to cause loud knocks, or the issue could simply be a loose fan blade that thwacks the guard as it rotates.

Either way, if you hear loud thumps in your unit, call an HVAC specialist. A part is most likely damaged, disconnected, or broken, and your unit may require part replacements or extensive repairs.

4. Squealing or Screeching

When your unit makes a noticeable squealing noise when it starts up or shuts down, you could be looking at a worn belt or dirty fan rotor. Try cleaning the interior of your AC unit, but if that doesn’t work, contact a local specialist for help.

Like the belt in our vehicles, the AC unit belt can get worn over time, resulting in screeching. If the belt wears down too much, it can break and your unit will essentially stop working. So, while a belt replacement can be expensive, it’s necessary for that blast of cool air in your home.

A technician can determine whether or not your belt needs to be replaced so you aren’t left without air conditioning when you least expect it.

5. Clicking

Your unit may click a bit when it turns on or off. This isn’t entirely abnormal. But if you hear repetitive clicking from the unit or control panel, you may have a defective relay. If you don’t have a lot of experience with electrical work, it can be dangerous to make the repairs yourself. Call a professional to keep yourself safe and your unit functional.

 

Your air conditioning unit keeps hot summer days bearable and comfortable, so to keep it going when you need it, invest in proper maintenance. Call the knowledgeable technicians at Getzschman Heating to take a look at your air conditioning unit. We’ll inspect the unit and ensure there are no outstanding issues.

6 Simple Tips to Beat the Heat This Summer

When summertime rolls around, thoughts of swimming, picnics, and barbecues come to mind. But there’s one thing we just can’t seem to welcome with open arms: the ever-rising summer heat.

Let’s face it: it’s hot out and will only get hotter as the months roll on. But there’s no need to feel helpless against the sun’s relentless rays! Below are six tips and tricks that you can use to keep your home cool this summer.

kid-jumping-into-pool

Related Read: 4 Quick AC Tips to Save Money When You’re Away on Vacay

1. Shut Out the Heat

Did you know that 30% of heat in your home might be coming through your windows? This one may seem like a no-brainer, but a great way to help keep your home cool is to shut those blinds and curtains while the sun is out. Here’s some good news—you can save up to 7% on your electric bill just by utilizing blinds and curtains during the day! If you think you have a bigger issue, it may be time to get your windows checked out.

2. Get Grillin’

Most homeowners know that using your stove or oven will make your house hot. If you would rather have a hot meal over a cool salad for dinner, try taking it out to the grill to cook meals. This is a great way to keep your home cool, while taking advantage of the great outdoors and creating delicious meals this summer.

3. Change Up Your Sheets Routine

Everyone loves good silk or satin bed sheets, but not so much for those toasty summer nights. Swapping out those fancy slick sheets for a good old-fashioned cotton sheet set can definitely change the way you sleep this summer. Cotton is a naturally breathable material, so hitting the sack with cotton sheets is sure to help keep it breezy as you snooze.

4. Unplug & Unwind at Night

We all love our electronics, but when they’re not being used, they can emit heat that definitely makes a difference during those sweltering days. Unplugging electronics that aren’t currently in use will also save you a few bucks on your utility bill, and who doesn’t like to stash some cash for more summer fun?

5. Plant a Tree!

If you are a homeowner, you can make a long-term investment of strategically planting a few trees around your home to keep out the heat during the summer months. The shade created by the trees keeps rays away from windows while managing to cool your entire home a few degrees—kind of like natural insulation!

6. Check Your Filters

Air conditioning units come with a filter component that will eventually need to be changed routinely due to clogging by dirt and other debris. If left untouched, a dirty air filter can block the cool air the unit is attempting to put out. A dirty filter will also cause the AC unit to work harder, thus increasing that darn electric bill.  

Related Read: Keep Getting Sick? Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

 

Have a happy summer from our team at Getzschman Heating and Cooling! Contact us now, if you have any further questions about your AC or would like to schedule a visit from us for one of our many services.