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Ductless Mini-Splits: A Flexible Heating and Cooling Solution

mini-splits

Anyone who’s built from scratch or renovated has given lots of thought to the best ways to heat and cool their space. Ductless mini-splits are a great option to consider because of their efficiency and flexibility. Today, we’ll talk about how ductless mini splits work. We’ll also provide some guidance to help you choose the best unit for your home.

What are mini-splits?

A ductless mini-split is a heating and cooling system that doesn’t use air ducts. It’s a split system with one indoor and one outdoor component. The outdoor component can support several indoor units, which each service separate rooms or areas. These systems are much more compact than traditional HVAC systems.

Since they’re so versatile, ductless mini-splits are a popular solution for heating and cooling.
Depending on your needs, they can function as a standalone system or as a companion to your
current HVAC system. What’s great about them is that they can be installed anywhere in your
home since they’re ductless. They’re commonly found in finished basements, garages, and
attics.

How Ductless mini-splits work?

Ductless mini-splits operate by pulling from your home’s electrical power. They consist of an
indoor evaporator, to circulate air, and an outdoor compressor, to condition the air coming in.
The outdoor compressor soaks up heat from the outdoor air and moves it indoors. The indoor
evaporator spreads it around your space. One system can easily support multiple indoor units,
allowing control of your home’s temperature in each room. For larger homes, the system can be
scaled up by installing an additional compressor.

What are the benefits of mini-splits?

Ductless mini-splits have many benefits. For one thing, they offer a higher level of control over
the temperature in your home. Since each unit services a separate area, you can customize your
space however you see fit. Additionally, mini-split systems are very energy-efficient. They use
variable-speed compressors, which means they run as little or as much as you require. This helps
reduce energy usage.

Choosing the Right system for your home

There are a lot of great mini-split systems out there. When deciding which one is best for your
home, consider the following factors:

1. Energy efficiency and savings

When comparing models of ductless mini-split systems, it’s a good idea to look at the SEER
(Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. This measures an HVAC system’s efficiency. Some
of the best models are LEED zero certified, which means they’re recognized for net-zero
emissions from energy consumption.

2. Aesthetics

Since HVAC systems prioritize function over form, their appearance is an afterthought. Ductless
mini-splits are installed in the space they’re servicing. Their visibility has led manufacturers to
develop several low-profile options. Some models can even be installed in places like the floor
or ceiling, exposing only the vents. This is a great solution for concealing the unit.

3. Performance

All ductless mini-split systems provide cooling, and only some provide both heating and cooling.
This is an important factor to consider, depending on your climate and the solution your space
needs.

Conclusion

Do you have questions about ductless mini-splits? Our licensed technicians at Ron’s Mechanical
can help you out. Give us a call today at ​ (952) 445-8585.

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Whole-Home Humidification Systems and Benefits

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How a Whole House UV Filtration System Improves Air Quality

UV
Scientists have known that UV light can stop the growth of microorganisms and bacteria for over 100years. As a result, UV lights are used for sanitation purposes in the food industry, hospitals, and water filtration systems. Did you know that ultra violet lights can also purify the air we breathe? Today we’re discussing how ultra violet lights work in home HVAC systems to improve the quality of indoor air. Keep reading to find out more.

How do UV lights help improve air quality?

  1. In residential HVAC systems, most of the air used gets recirculated. This air can carry all sorts of pollutants, which we breathe in. UV lights work to remove the following from indoor air:
  2. Germs
  3. Pathogens and viruses
  4. Dust
  5. Bacteria
  6. Allergens
  7. Fungi or mold

Anyone can benefit from the installation of ultra violet lights in their home HVAC system. It’s an especially good idea for people with allergies, pets, or children. Additionally, if you live in a humid area that’s susceptible to mold growth, you’ll want ultra violet lights to remove those invisible particles from your air.

How it works

UV light cleans the air by trapping and eradicating pollutants. The DNA of these pollutants break down when they come into contact with the ultraviolet wavelength. As a result, they can’t reproduce and they gradually die off. When air travels through the chamber with ultra violet light bulbs, it gets purified.

Types of UV light for residential HVAC systems

You have two options when selecting UV lights for your home HVAC system: Coil Sterilization and Air Sterilization. Let’s examine both of these.

In Coil Sterilization, a UV light is positioned in your HVAC system’s return air duct. This stick-shaped light cleanses the air handler coil. Coil Sterilization systems run 24/7.

Your other option is an Air Sterilization system. Like Coil Sterilization, this system has a UV light installed in your HVAC system’s return air duct. Instead of a stick light, this option is a complete UV light. This light cycles on with the air handler blower, and it works to purify moving air.

Of these options, Coil Sterilization is the most popular UV light for residential HVAC systems. It also happens to be the most reasonably priced of the two.

Installation

Placement is the most important factor in how effective your ultra violet light is. For optimal use, the UV light should be mounted next to the evaporator or cooling coil. They need to be on the cold air side, which is the downstream side of the coil.

Your ultra violet lights need to illuminate the water drain pan underneath the coil, as well as the cooling coil itself. Since there’s water here, there’s always a possibility for mold growth. By positioning the UV lights in these parts, it purifies your air by destroying these pollutants.

Mounting your ultra violet lights elsewhere opens your system up for bacteria and mold to spread. This results in contaminated air, which no one wants in their home.

Conclusion

UV lights in home HVAC systems are effective at purifying indoor air, as long as they’re positioned correctly. They can help stop the spread of viruses, colds, and other bacteria. Given our current COVID-19 concerns, air purification systems are definitely worth considering these days.

Do you have questions about ultra violet lights for your home HVAC system? Our skilled technicians at Ron’s Mechanical can help you out. Give us a call today at ​(952) 445-8585. ​We look forward to serving you.

Installing a Garage Heater and Transform Your Space

garage

No matter what climate you live in, a heated garage is a must. It’s a great project for any homeowner because it can transform your space into a functioning bonus room. Whether you want the extra space for a workout room, a workshop, or the ultimate man-cave, installing a garage heater is your first step to getting there.

There are lots of options to fit any space. While a portable heater can be useful, installing a permanent heater is a much better idea. This is especially true if you are looking for a long-term solution for a large space. There are two main types of heaters to choose between: gas garage heaters and infrared garage heaters. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Gas garage heaters

To install a gas garage heater, you need to be able to hook up a gas line. You’ll also need to make sure it can vent. Gas garage heaters are built to hang from ceiling joists. Once your heater is securely mounted to the ceiling, you’ll need to set up the ventilation. To do this, cut a small hole in the roof. From here, you can install flashing and insert the vent pipe. This flue allows you to vent any fumes out of your garage. Once this is done, you can waterproof your system with sealant, a weather ring, and a vent cap.

If the heater has an electric thermostat or circulation fan, you’ll also need electricity. Your heater should come with a guide that will help you with this part. Keep in mind you’ll also need to run gas lines to your garage for your heater to work. Installing a garage heater is no small job. Unless you feel confident with electricity and gas, it’s not a bad idea to seek help from a professional.

Infrared garage heaters

An electric infrared heater can be mounted to the wall or ceiling of your garage. They typically need to be about six or seven feet away from the floor. Your heater’s installation guide will provide specific safety information for installation.

As long as you have the correct plug-ins, you should be able to plug in a small heater and be good to go. If you’re hard-wiring your system, you’re going to need some extra help. Since this will require installing a new circuit breaker and new cables, you’ll probably need an electrician for this step.

Which type of heater is better?

Infrared heaters are more cost-effective than their gas counterparts. Since the heat radiates downward, the infrared heater produces radiant heat. Like the sun, it works by warming people and objects in the room. A gas heater works by warming the air. Generally, a gas heater will warm up the air faster than an infrared heater. However, it’s more costly to run. For that reason, we recommend infrared heaters.

No matter what system you choose, Ron’s Mechanical can help. Do you have questions about installing a garage heater? Ron’s Mechanical has answers. Give us a call today at ​(952) 445-8585. Our experienced technicians are always here to help.

What You Should Know If You Need a New Furnace This Year

If your furnace often needs repairs, or if you’ve had it for several years, it may be time to buy a new one. In this article, we’ll talk about red flags that indicate you need to replace your furnace. We’ll also discuss how the HVAC industry has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s dig in.

5 warning signs that your furnace may be failing

If your furnace is on its way out, it’ll definitely let you know. There are several warning signs that indicate you need to replace your system. These include the following:

1. You’ve had lots of recent furnace repairs

When furnaces get old and their parts wear out, they need lots of repairs. When this happens, you end up pouring money into an HVAC system that’ll need replacement in a few years at most. At some point, it makes more sense financially to invest in a new system.

2. Your heating bill has increased

Over time, your furnace’s efficiency decreases. This is because its internal parts slowly wear down as your system ages. You should definitely schedule a maintenance appointment if you see a significant increase to your gas bill.

3. Your furnace is making strange noises

If you hear lots of rattling, banging, or popping coming from your furnace, it may be time for a replacement. Old furnaces are quite noisy, and this indicates that your system may be on its way out.

4. You always feel too hot or too cold

Are you constantly adjusting the thermostat because you feel too cold or too hot? If so, it could be because you don’t have proper heat distribution in your HVAC system. If you’re experiencing this, you’ll probably want to replace your furnace.

5. Your HVAC system is more than 15 years old

A typical furnace lasts around 18 years. If your furnace is 15 years or older, we recommend replacement. This is especially true if your system needs routine maintenance to function.

When should I get my furnace replaced with a new one?

The best time of year to replace your furnace is in the spring or fall. Here’s why:

1. Better value

Fall and spring are the best seasons for furnace sales and price cuts. Oftentimes, there are new models leftover from the year before. These systems are sometimes sold at discounted prices. You’re more likely to see price cuts during the off-season, when temperatures are mild.

2. Mild weather

In the spring and fall, you don’t typically need to run your home heating system. These milder seasons are the best times for furnace repair and replacement. A few days without heat is manageable this time of year.

3. Better appointment availability

Our busiest season is during the winter months. This is when the most heating emergencies happen. Scheduling maintenance and repairs is much easier in the fall and spring. Since we have more availability, we can be flexible to accommodate your schedule.

Get your furnace replaced now, before it’s too late! COVID-19 has impacted a lot of businesses this year, including furnace plants. Since many of these plants have been shut down, supply chains were interrupted. That means there aren’t as many furnace units being manufactured this year.

The last thing you want to do is delay service during a furnace shortage. Don’t wait. Give Ron’s Mechanical a call today to schedule your appointment. You can reach us at ​(952) 445-8585. ​We look forward to seeing you soon.

Why Every Homeowner Should Consider Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat

smart thermostat

In today’s modern age, just about anything can be operated through our phones and computers. The latest craze in homeowner tech is smart thermostats. Today we’re going to talk about how smart thermostats work, and why it’s a good idea to invest in one. We’ll also talk about why it’s best to get your new system professionally installed.

How does a smart thermostat work?

A smart thermostat uses a wifi connection so you can control your home’s thermostat settings on an electronic device. This means that you can change your thermostat remotely. If you’re someone who travels in the winter for the holidays, you need a smart thermostat. Having your heating system malfunction or die while you’re gone is the last thing you want. It could cause frozen pipes, which could lead to thousands of dollars in damages. Since a smart thermostat monitors your HVAC system, it could prevent this catastrophe.

There’s a variety of smart thermostats out there that come with lots of different features. Some of them track your heating and cooling habits to record your yearly energy usage. Others adjust temperatures automatically based on time of day or learned preferences. Higher-end models can even alert you to possible issues with your HVAC system. Others can make sure your house is at the perfect temperature when you get home by tracking when you leave work. As you can see, smart thermostats offer a lot more than standard thermostats.

How much do they cost?

Most smart thermostats cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 to $300. All things considered, that’s not too expensive. Although pricier models come with more advanced features, even the most affordable smart thermostat is a huge upgrade.

Is a smart thermostat worth it?

We recommend smart thermostats because they save you money on energy bills. Using one saves about 10 to 12 percent on heating bills, and about 15 percent on cooling. This adds up to an annual savings of $130 to $145. That means your smart thermostat pays for itself within a year or two of purchase and installation. The smart thermostat lifespan is around 10 years, which means it can save you well over $1,000 in energy expenses.

Benefits of professional installation

It’s always a good idea to hire a professional to install your smart thermostat. Here’s why. Most smart thermostats need a c-wire. Although a lot of newer homes are equipped with these, many old houses don’t have them. If you don’t know a lot about your electrical system, installing a smart thermostat can create a lot of problems for your HVAC system. Some of the most common problems we’ve come across are strange noises, HVAC systems powering on and off without warning, constant running, and delayed starts. If you leave installation to a professional, you won’t have to worry about any of these complications. Additionally, you’ll have someone on-hand to help you learn all about your new gadget.

If you’re looking to update your home’s thermostat system, Ron’s Mechanical is here to help. Our skilled technicians can install your smart thermostat and help you access all its features. Give us a call today at ​(952) 445-8585.

The Pros and Cons to Covering Your Air Conditioner in the Off-Season

covering

Winter is coming. It’s time to turn off our air conditioners and crank the heat. The big question of the season is whether or not to cover the air conditioner when it’s shut off. Let’s go over some of the facts.

Air conditioners can stand up to extreme weather

A/C units are designed to function properly in any weather, even harsh Minnesota winters. The hard exterior shell, called a condenser, is coated with a long-lasting, durable finish. The air conditioner’s coils can also withstand severe temperatures and precipitation.

Since air conditioners are built with top-notch materials, they typically don’t need to be covered when they’re not in use. Actually, a majority of manufacturers say to ​not cover the A/C unit at all. However, many people see advantages to doing so.

What are the pros of covering?

The strongest argument for covering your air conditioner is that it blocks seeds and leaves from entering the system. These create pockets where water can pool up,and this could cause a lot of problems. Keeping autumn debris out of your system helps reduce moisture build-up, which keeps your A/C in good shape.

Here’s another advantage to covering. Wet leaves, ice, or snow can build up on top of your A/C unit. If the weight presses down on the coils over a long period of time,it could cause damage to your system. Attaching a hard covering, or a piece of plywood to the top of your A/C unit may absorb some of this weight.

What are the cons of covering?

More often than not, covering your air conditioner leads to excess moisture stuck in your system. This is the primary disadvantage to covering your A/C. It’s the main reason why many professionals don’t suggest a cover. Water build-up is the last thing you want in your air conditioner. It can cause numerous issues, such as:

  • Mold problems, which could reduce efficiency by blocking airflow through the coils
  • Safety concerns with your A/C’s circuits and electrical wiring system
  • Freezing coils
  • Corrosion and rust

Another downside to an A/C cover is that they tend to attract unwanted critters and rodents. In addition, air conditioner covers make cozy winter homes for these critters. You probably don’t want your A/C to become mouse-infested, and you definitely don’t want them gnawing through your system’s electrical wiring.

Conclusion

After considering the pros and cons, the decision is up to you. Many professionals will say that you don’t need to cover your air conditioner. The systems are built to last through anything, even our brutal Minnesota winters. In addition, some experts will advise you to cover your air conditioner in the fall to prevent leaves and seeds from entering your system. For instance, if you do decide to cover your A/C unit, only the top portion should be shielded. If the entire air conditioner is covered, airflow will be restricted. This leads to unwanted moisture build-up, which we do not want.

The best way to make sure your air conditioner is in good shape is through routine maintenance from one of our certified HVAC specialists. Give Ron’s Mechanical a call today at ​(952) 445-8585. We look forward to serving you.

Is a Furnace with a High AFUE Rating Really Worth the Cost?

AFUE

So you need a new furnace. Us Minnesotans know how important it is to have a top-notch system that’ll keep us warm through winter. One of the biggest factors when considering a furnace purchase is its efficiency. Today, we’ll talk about the AFUE rating, which is how furnace efficiency is measured. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll understand what an AFUE rating is, and how it can help you choose a furnace system that’s perfect for your home.

What is AFUE?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It measures how efficient your gas furnace is at converting fuel into energy. A higher AFUE rating means greater efficiency. What does this mean? Well, if your furnace has an 80 percent AFUE, that means it turns 80 percent of the energy it consumes into heat. The other 20 percent gets used up during the heating process.

What’s considered a “good” AFUE?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, older heating systems can have an AFUE as low as 56 to 70 percent. New furnaces must have an AFUE rating of at least 78 percent to meet minimum government standards. A mid-efficiency heating system would have an AFUE somewhere in the range of 80 to 83 percent. High-efficiency heating systems are considered anything above 90 percent. The highest AFUE rating you’ll see is somewhere around 97 to 98.5 percent.

Is a high efficiency furnace really worth it?

The short answer is, it depends. Where you live has a big say in this. If you’re in a warm climate, you’re less likely to save money with a high-efficiency furnace than someone whose winters are colder. If you’re in Minnesota like us, this efficiency boost can save you lots of money each year.

Let’s break it down. Say you have a typical gas furnace with 80 percent AFUE. You are looking to upgrade to a top-of-the-line model that’s 96 percent efficient. Since this new system is 16 percent more efficient, you’ll save 16 percent on your annual energy bill. The average homeowner spends around $600 each year on heating. In our example, you’d save 16 percent of $600 with our more efficient furnace. This equates to $96 each year.

The average difference in cost between a mid-efficiency and a high-efficiency system is around $1,000. ​Saving $96 per year for 15 years, which is the average lifespan of a furnace, will save you over $1,500. ​In the long run, it’s worth it.

Minnesota’s cold winters can help a high-efficiency heating system pay off fast. Although it’s more expensive upfront, investing in this option is definitely worth it for folks living in colder climates.

Quality heating systems are one of the best investments a homeowner can make. Are you considering a gas furnace or another HVAC product? We’d love to talk to you about your options. Give Ron’s Mechanical a call at ​(952) 445-8585.