Save Energy in Your Home Using Window Treatments

Save Energy in Your Home Using Window TreatmentsAs a resourceful homeowner, you’ve probably thought of different ways to save energy and keep your Fort Wayne home comfortable. Professional HVAC maintenance is a good idea each spring and fall, and so is sealing the air leaks in your home’s envelope. If you find you still can’t keep your home comfort up and your energy bills down, maybe it’s time to take a second glance at window treatments.

Window Awnings

Whether you’re going for a contemporary design or a bold new look, awnings have you covered. Much like a shade tree can ease heat gain on sun-facing rooms, awnings provide shading from direct sunlight and can significantly reduce heat gain.

Modern awnings are made of more durable synthetic materials, such as acrylic and polyvinyl laminates, that are water, mold and mildew resistant. Moreover, you can retract your awnings during the heating months to allow sunlight to warm your home.

Blinds

Custom blinds may beautify your home and reduce heat gain from solar radiation by up to 45 percent. Another good quality of using these window treatments is that they may be adjusted to reduce or increase the amount of sun you want at any time. Blinds also produce natural lighting when the slats are adjusted at the proper angle to reflect light onto the ceiling.

Draperies

Design your draperies for beauty and energy efficiency. It’s relatively simple to do. The beauty component, of course, is left up to your designer eye. Following are a few hanging tips to boost comfort and lower your energy bills:

  • Hang your drapes close to the window.
  • The drapes should fall flush to the window sill or floor.
  • Layer your drapes, which provides better efficiency and more privacy.
  • Insulated drapes may substantially reduce heat gain during the summer and heat loss during the winter.

The bottom line is that window treatments can treat your comfort and energy budget right. To learn more efficiency and comfort tips for your Fort Wayne home, contact the experts at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning today!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about window treatments and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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How to Deal With Condensate Drain Problems

How to Deal With Condensate Drain ProblemsA defective A/C condensate drain is a common cause of water damage inside homes. Condensate is simply water vapor condensed into liquid by contact with the cold evaporator coil in the A/C’s indoor air handler. Whenever your air conditioner is running it’s producing condensate — as many as 20 gallons on a humid day. As long as everything’s working right, the condensate is collected and diverted away down a line into your household drain system. If something goes wrong, however, gallons of water may end up spilled into your home — often before you even realize there’s a problem.

Here are some typical condensate drain system problems and what’s required to repair it:

Defective Drip Pan

As the name implies, the condensate drip pan catches water dripping off the evaporator coil. Plastic drip pans may split or otherwise leak over the years. This usually manifests as unexplained water pooling on the floor around the air handler — typically located in a closet or the attic, so it may be some time before leakage is noticed. An HVAC service technician can replace a leaky drip pan.

Clogged Drain System

The warm, wet inside of the drip pan forms the perfect condition for algae and mold. This fungal growth eventually clogs the condensate drain line. Once the drain clogs, overflow of the condensate drip pan is soon to follow. Every time the systems cycles on, more water spills out and more damage is done to the structure of the house. To remedy clogs, a qualified HVAC technician can blow out the drain line and disinfect the drip pan to kill algae and mold. Time-release tablets that inhibit fungal growth are then installed to prevent future clogs.

Automatic Shutoff

Some air conditioners include sensors that detect condensate drain problems like an impending drip pan overflow and automatically cut off power to the unit to prevent water damage from spillage. An A/C that won’t power up may have a condensate problem that requires professional service.

For qualified service to resolve condensate drain problems, contact Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about condensate drains and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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Zone into the Benefits of Zoning Systems

Zone into the Benefits of Zoning SystemsNot all of the rooms in your Fort Wayne home are created equal — at least, not when it comes to heating and cooling demand. Your bedrooms need more attention during the night, for example, while you may have a guest room that’s only in use once in a while, and a home office that needs heating and cooling during daylight hours. With a traditional central HVAC system, you can heat or cool your entire house or none of it. A home zoning system, by contrast, offers more flexibility on how to manage your home.

Home zoning uses a series of dampers inside the ductwork of your HVAC system. These dampers moderate the amount of air that’s directed to rooms in your house, which are grouped together into “zones.” For example, all your bedrooms might form one zone, while living rooms and bathrooms are another, and the kitchen and dining room could form a third. This allows you to heat and cool only the areas you’re using at that time, rather than the entire house at once. This can significantly reduce your heating and cooling bills.

A common energy-saving myth states that you can do this by simply closing the vents in the various rooms of your home. For most homes, this actually increases the amount of energy used. That’s because return vents generally can’t be closed, and so while no conditioned air is delivered to the closed-off rooms, unconditioned air from the closed-off rooms is still being drawn into the central air system to be heated or cooled.

A home zoning system can be combined with a programmable or smart thermostat to automate temperature changes in your home, and with a variable-speed fan motor to further control the amount of air which is delivered to your living areas.

If you’re curious about how a home zoning system can improve your Fort Wayne home, give Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning a call! We’re happy to help you find HVAC solutions that work for you.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about zoning systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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Is Air Duct Cleaning Really Necessary?

Is Air Duct Cleaning Really Necessary?It’s easy to overlook the air ducts in your home when you’re cleaning, but keep in mind that they can collect dust and other debris that can affect your indoor air quality. Having clean ducts can provide you and your family with a number of important benefits.

How Often to Clean Your Ducts

Your air ducts don’t necessarily have to be cleaned routinely, but you might want to consider doing so if you or other family members suffer from asthma or allergies. Dust and allergens can be spread throughout your home and irritate these respiratory conditions. If you have mold in your ducts, you do need to have them thoroughly cleaned to remove these growths. Mold can cause health issues that range from mild to serious, especially in those who have asthma or other respiratory problems. If you’re not sure whether or not your ducts need cleaning, schedule an inspection to have them checked for dust and debris buildup.

Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

Cleaning your air ducts can reduce respiratory symptoms associated with asthma or allergies, providing you and your family with a healthier home. It can also help you save money on energy bills by ensuring that your HVAC system is available to run as efficiently as possible. Having clean ducts also means that your HVAC equipment doesn’t have to work as hard to heat or cool your Fort Wayne home. This leads to reduced wear and tear on your system, which can help extend its life span. Keep in mind that your HVAC filters help prevent dust from entering your ducts. Change these filters regularly to keep your ducts clean.

If your air ducts need cleaning, don’t attempt to do so yourself. You could accidentally dislodge certain parts, and you’ll need the right equipment for this job. Leave it to HVAC professionals instead, so you can rest assured that your ducts have been properly and thoroughly cleaned.

If you need maintenance done on your air ducts, please contact Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve been offering HVAC services to homeowners in the Fort Wayne area since 1963.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air duct cleaning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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Indoor Humidity: How it Affects Your Health and Body

Indoor Humidity: How it Affects Your Health and BodyThe level of humidity inside homes and buildings has a great deal to do with comfort and your family’s health. Under ideal conditions, its level should range between 30 and 50 percent, depending on the season and outdoor temperatures. Lower levels in the summer increase comfort, while higher levels in the winter help you feel warmer. Ideal levels year-round safeguard your health.

When Levels Are Too High

During the summer you’ll feel warmer and less comfortable because it takes longer for the moisture on your skin to dry. The human body cools itself down by sweating, and high levels slow the evaporative process. When water evaporates off your skin, it pulls a lot of heat away from it, which cools you quickly.

Excessive moisture in the air creates ideal conditions for mold and dust mite proliferation. Dust mite waste and mold spores are the most common triggers for allergy and asthma. Black mold, in particular, is a particularly dangerous strain even for people who don’t suffer from allergies.

Too much water vapor can exacerbate existing respiratory problems, like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and bronchitis, along with emphysema.

When Levels Are Too Low

  • Low humidity levels cause dry skin that may result in skin cracks, rashes and excessive itching. If the skin breaks, it’s not uncommon to experience localized infections.
  • Just as the skin dries out, so does the respiratory system. Sore throats, sinus problems, and bloody noses are the direct result of air that’s too dry.
  • Overly dry air causes small electric shocks between the skin and some surfaces, and while they’re not harmful to your health, are annoying.
  • Dry air increases the risk of colds and flu. The protective coating around viruses and bacteria dries out quickly and they will infect tissues more easily, especially parched respiratory passages.

Managing indoor humidity levels is possible by using your central HVAC system, and keeping the levels optimal throughout the year helps prevent discomfort and illnesses. To learn more, contact Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, providing trusted HVAC services for Fort Wayne homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor humidity and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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Ceiling Fans for Cooling Efficiency

Ceiling Fans for Cooling EfficiencyEven as summer winds down, the continued warm weather means most people still turn to their air conditioners for relief. The biggest downside to this is that cooling bills can remain high until nature offers more pleasant days. Using ceiling fans throughout the home will help keep you cooler and can reduce your air conditioner’s workload. Here’s more about that.

Cool Down With an Indoor Breeze

There is a big difference in comfort between stuffy days when there is little to no breeze and days when there is a nice breeze. The reason for the difference can be traced to how the human body cools itself through perspiration. When air flows over the body it helps sweat evaporate and wicks heat away. When you use ceiling fans, you are re-creating this cooling effect indoors. Many people discover they can then get by with raising the thermostat setting a few degrees to reduce the work of the air conditioner.

Increase Comfort With Ceiling Fans

Installing a ceiling fan can add extra comfort to any room of your home that is at least eight feet high or higher. In the living room and other main living areas where several people might congregate at a time, the continuous circulation of air makes family activities or parties more pleasant. In bathrooms and kitchens, ceiling fans, the airflow has the added benefit of reducing humidity often generated in these rooms. Ceiling fans installed in bedrooms can create a cooler, more pleasant sleep environment.

Save Energy With the Right Ceiling Fan

As with most home comfort features, look for the Energy Star label when shopping for your ceiling fans. Fans that meet the Energy Star criteria run more efficiently than others do. If your home’s design is open-plan or you have larger than average rooms, make sure to account for this when making your purchases. You will reap the most cooling efficiency by installing multiple fans in larger areas.

For more information about ceiling fans or other ways to cool your Fort Wayne home, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ceiling fans and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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Smart HVAC Systems: A Homeowners Guide

Smart HVAC Systems: A Homeowners GuideAs the cost of energy continues to rise, it’s highly likely that the cost of operating your HVAC system in the summer and the winter will keep getting more and more expensive. Concerns over the economic implications of this have paved the way for the development of smart HVAC systems. So what’s a smart HVAC system and how does it affect your home comfort? Read on to find out.

What’s a Smart HVAC System?

“Smart HVAC” is a general term referring to emerging products and technologies that make heating and cooling more consumer-friendly and energy efficient. A smart HVAC system has automated controls and advanced equipment that improve efficiency and enable precise monitoring of your indoor environment.

You can make your HVAC system smart by replacing outdated equipment with modern ones such as a smart thermostat, complex ventilation and air supply, and an optimized compressor that only runs when needed.

What is Its Impact on Home Comfort?

A smart system will give you more control over your comfort than a traditional system. Some systems have an enhanced temperature variability and heat or cool rooms more evenly and efficiently. Those with sensors and smart controls let you change the thermostat setting quickly using your smartphone.

A smart system will control heating or cooling in one or more rooms while turning off the vents in the other rooms that don’t need to be heated or cooled. Some systems let you control mugginess on humid days.

Should You Invest in a Smart Heating and Cooling System?

The advanced features of a smart system allow you to control multiple aspects of your home’s comfort. This can significantly lower your energy bills. Some studies have shown that a smart system can instantly reduce your energy bills upon installation.

Because of the energy and money you save, a smart HVAC system is a worthy investment for your home. If you’d like to know more about smart HVAC systems, contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the Fort Wayne area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about smart HVAC systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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The Homeowner’s Guide to Air Conditioner Ratings

The Homeowner's Guide to Air Conditioner RatingsShopping for a new central air conditioning system for your home is no picnic, but you can make the task a lot simpler — and easier on your pocketbook in the long run — if you take advantage of air conditioner ratings that show how efficiently an A/C converts electricity into cooling.

The main efficiency rating for central A/Cs is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER number, ranging up to 21, is what you get if you divide electrical input into cooling output (though it’s a bit more complicated than that). In the United States, manufacturers are barred from selling any split-system central air conditioner with a SEER of less than 13 (and less than 14 for air-source heat pumps).

The federal government’s Energy Star program, which awards the coveted blue logo to products and systems that meet stringent energy-efficiency requirements, maintains a SEER 15 minimum for both central A/Cs and heat pumps.

In recent years, air conditioner cooling efficiency has improved by leaps and bounds. Consider that the old central A/C chugging away in your basement likely has a sub-SEER 6 rating. Upgrading to an Energy Star qualified central A/C can mean a 20-40 percent reduction in energy bills.

The main design improvement that paved the way for high-efficiency cooling systems is variable-speed and multi-stage technology. A variable-speed air handler motor operating with a two-stage compressor means your central air conditioner is not running at top speed all the time, including the majority of the time when that’s not necessary for effective cooling and humidity control.

Higher air conditioner ratings do carry a higher cost, however. The different in cost between a SEER 13 and SEER 20 central cooling system can be substantial. Discuss your options with a trusted A/C contractor. He likely will tell you that in the Fort Wayne area climate, you don’t necessarily need the highest SEER air conditioner for your home.

To discuss how air conditioner ratings should play into the decision to upgrade your Fort Wayne-area home’s cooling system, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioner ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.

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Ways to Know That an HVAC Company is Reputable

Ways to Know That an HVAC Company is ReputableIt can be difficult to choose the right HVAC company for the services you need. You may not be sure which criteria to base your decision for choosing a reputable company or even how to compare services offered. Plus, you may not know the services you actually need, whether a simple tune up, a repair, or possibly a system replacement.

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Troubleshooting the A/C System

Troubleshooting the A/C SystemAs the summer in Fort Wayne heats up, you may find yourself paying closer attention to how your air conditioner behaves. Unfamiliar noises or changes in the way the A/C performs can put a homeowner on edge. Some noises are likely to be innocuous, and some changes in performance might be simple fixes. Here’s some information on troubleshooting your air conditioner before you call for help. Read More »

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    Richard Hartman Richard Hartman has worked in many capacities: service, installations, and production of sheet metal since the early years of the business.... More »