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4 Conditioning Myths You Shouldn’t Buy Into

As spring turns to summer, it’s time to start thinking about your air conditioning, including regular service of your unit for maximum efficiency. There are a lot of theories circulating on the web concerning how to save on air conditioning costs, and these myths can lead to plenty of inaccurate knowledge about how your air conditioning system actually works.

Here are some common myths you should not buy into, especially as you prepare your home for this year’s warm season.

Myth: Fans Will Cool Your Home

One of the easiest and oldest methods of cooling involves using moving air to evaporate sweat from your skin. A breeze feels good on a hot day, and a ceiling or portable fan feels good inside. But some people think a fan will lower the temperature in the home, so they leave ceiling fans or portable fans running in every room as an attempt to help reduce the workload or their home’s air conditioning system.

Fans can make you feel cooler by creating a wind chill which can make you feel cooler. Fans may help lower your cooling bill because you may feel comfortable when increasing the thermostat a few degrees. Fans don’t actually lower the temperature of your home.

So if you run a fan in rooms that you’re not actually in, you’re burning electricity for nothing. Take the time to turn off fans before you leave the room. Continue reading “4 Conditioning Myths You Shouldn’t Buy Into” »

Keep Your Air Conditioner From Freezing Up With These 5 Tips

Seeing your air conditioner coil or refrigerant lines encased in ice can be a surprising sight, especially if the incident happens on a hot summer day.

Fortunately, you can keep this from happening to your air conditioner simply by taking the following precautions.

#1: Have Your HVAC Technician Check for Refrigerant Leaks

Low refrigerant levels are a surprisingly common culprit when it comes to ice buildup on air-conditioning systems. As the unit attempts to operate with less refrigerant than intended, the resulting drop in pressure can cause evaporator-coil temperatures to dip below freezing.

When the temperatures dip like this, it can cause nearby water vapor tofreeze onto the coils’ surface. While this initially creates a light coat of frost, the frost can eventually build up into a thick sheet of ice.

Your air conditioning system is a closed system. Meaning the refrigerant should not escape the system. Low refrigerant levels are usually caused by a leak somewhere within the system, whether it be in the refrigerant lines or a component that regularly handles refrigerant (such as the compressor or evaporator coil). Continue reading “Keep Your Air Conditioner From Freezing Up With These 5 Tips” »

10 Quick Ways to Save on Heating Costs

Winter weather can be harsh on your budget. While you try to stay warm, your heating bills go sky high.

Fortunately, you can save money on heating costs while still feeling toasty warm at home.

  1. Adjust the Thermostat

Many people end up paying for heat when they don’t need it. If you work during the day, you may see saving if you set your thermostat 5 to 8 degrees cooler while you’re gone. You can also set your thermostat to a colder temperature at night. After all, you’re typically under blankets keeping warm anyway.

Setbacks are most beneficial for homes heated by a gas furnace. Homes with heat pumps should the setbacks should be no more than 3 to 4 degrees, especially for all-electric homes. Why? Larger swings in temperature are sometimes less manageable for a properly sized heat pump. Although an electric furnace can recover quicker from a setback, it is less efficient than your heat pump. If your electric furnace is called upon during recovery, setback savings may be minimal at best.

Systems with variable and staging technology are designed to run at very efficient levels only working as hard as it needs. If your home is set at consistent temperatures, your system can save you money while sustaining these temperatures very efficiently.

  1. Add Humidity

Adding proper humidity to your home with a whole home humidifier added to your home heating system can make your home feel warmer. In winter months the outdoor and indoor air is much dryer. Adding proper humidity can make your home feel 2 to 4 degrees warmer meaning you can feel warmer in your home at lower temps. For every degree your thermostat is turned down can reduce your heating costs 3 to 5 percent.

  1. Insulate

By insulating common areas in your home, you can prevent heat from escaping. You can:

  • Replace worn weatherstripping on your doors and windows
  • Seal gaps around pipes and cables with expanding foam
  • Seal any leaks or holes in your ductwork
  • Re-insulate your attic
  • Raise the thresholds of your outside doors to close the space between the door and the threshold
  • Close the chimney flue and block the space with a chimney balloon

With these changes, you’ll stay warmer without having to crank up your heat.

  1. Maximize Sunlight

Exposing your home to sunlight warms your home while costing you nothing at all. You can increase sunlight to your home by opening window curtains during the day. Make sure to close the curtains at night to stop drafts from entering through your windows.

  1. Lock Doors and Windows

Normally you think of locking windows and doors as a safety measure rather than a way to warm your home. But locking the doors and windows ensures that the locks press firm against the weatherstripping. This blocks cold air from entering.

  1. Uncover Heating Vents

Check all the heating supply vents in your home and make sure they’re not covered by furniture or décor. If they are, remove these items to allow the heat to flow freely. Also check to make sure your return air vents are not covered. These vents allow your furnace to pull the air throughout each room in your home.

  1. Use a Space Heater

A space heater is one way to add some extra warmth to the rooms you spend the most time in. Running a space heater can be less expensive than cranking up the heat. If you have numerous uncomfortable spaces in your home it may be time to give Bryant a call and resolve the real issue.

  1. Change Your Furnace Filter

When your filter gets clogged with dirt, your furnace has to work harder to heat your home. Change your filter about once a month to promote peak efficiency.

  1. Get a New Furnace

If your current furnace isn’t working at full form, it may be time for you to get a new one. After all, old furnaces can waste a significant amount of energy. A new furnace could cut your heating bills up to 20 percent.

  1. Get Your Furnace Repaired

If you’re not quite ready for a new furnace, you could also save money by getting your furnace repaired. HVAC specialists can examine and repair any problems that affect your furnace’s efficiency, such as:

  • Faulty ignition
  • Broken limit switch
  • Malfunctioning thermostat
  • Broken pilot light
  • Faulty gas pressure regulator

An HVAC specialist should check your furnace at least once a year to address any problems.

Saving money on heating bills doesn’t mean you need to wear coats and gloves in your house. Follow these tips to cut your heating bill quickly and easily.

If you need a new furnace or repairs for your current furnace, call Bryant Air Conditioning, Heating, Electrical & Plumbing. We offer many furnace options that work efficiently for optimal home comfort.

Understanding the Risks of Oversizing Your HVAC System


There’s a lot to consider when upgrading your HVAC system, including how much heating and cooling capacity it should have to keep your home comfortable year-round. You want to keep your HVAC system’s overall size closely matched to your home’s size and climate control needs, otherwise you could find yourself wasting energy and money.

Unfortunately, many homeowners end up purchasing an HVAC system that’s often too large for their homes to handle. Below, we explain why oversizing your HVAC system could end up being a major drawback for your home’s overall comfort and energy efficiency.

What Makes an HVAC System Oversized?

To understand what makes an HVAC system oversized, you should understand how heating and cooling systems are measured. For example, furnaces are typically measured in British thermal units, or BTUs for short. This measurement basically describes the amount of work needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, air conditioners are usually rated in tons, with a single ton of nominal cooling equaling 12,000 BTUs. A 4-ton A/C unit produces approximately 48,000 BTUs of cooling capacity.

Every home requires a particular amount of heating and cooling capacity for optimal comfort. An oversized HVAC system is usually one that offers a higher capacity in relation to your home’s size. For instance, a home that only needs 18,000 BTUs of heating and cooling capacity won’t benefit from an HVAC system offering double or triple that capacity.

What Issues Does an Oversized System Have?

If you install an oversized HVAC system, you could experience any of the following issues.

Too Hot or Too Cold Air

An oversized HVAC unit can make your home’s inside temperature uncomfortable. An HVAC system with excess capacity can heat or cool your home faster, but that speed often results in a couple of other issues.

First, your home won’t benefit from gradual, even heating and cooling. As a result, you could end up with a number of hot or cold spots throughout your home.

Second, in cooling mode, appropriately sized HVAC systems dehumidify the air as it’s cooled. Oversized HVAC systems usually don’t run long enough for the dehumidification process to take place, resulting in cool but moisture-laden air that feels clammy and uncomfortable to most people.

These issues can have a major impact on long-term comfort. In addition, having too much capacity can also result in higher energy costs over time.

Shorter Cycling Issues

Again, because oversized HVAC units blast your home with cool air instead of cooling it down gradually, the temperature swings prompt your HVAC system to start up and shut down in rapid succession-a condition commonly known as “short cycling.”

Short cycling can wreak havoc on your HVAC system if left unchecked. The constant starting and stopping can add unexpected wear and tear on the compressor, blower fan motor, and other HVAC components.

Shorter Lifespan

The average residential HVAC system can last for 15 to 20 years with the proper amount of care and maintenance. Unfortunately, most oversized HVAC systems are don’t live that long. Due in large part to the short cycling issues mentioned above, components on an oversized HVAC system are more likely to fail sooner than those on a properly sized HVAC system. As a result, you may end up having to replace your HVAC system sooner than expected.

To properly match a home’s new HVAC system with its estimated heating and cooling needs, HVAC contractors must not only calculate the square footage of your home’s total space but also consider a broad range of factors, including current ductwork design and the local climate. If you need to make a change from your oversized HVAC system, schedule an appointment today.

Are Tankless Water Heaters the Right Choice for You?

When it’s time to replace your water heater, one option you may come across is a tankless hot water heater. Instead of keeping a tank of water hot until you need it, tankless hot water heaters warm your water on demand.

These types of water heaters are very energy efficiency. Since they provide an endless stream of hot water, multiple people can shower one after the other without the hot water running out.

In many cases, a tankless hot water heater is a smart choice for your home. However, there are a few situations in which you may be better off sticking with a traditional, tank-style unit. Below, we’ll tell you why tankless water heaters are usually a better option and when you may need to go with a tank heater instead.

 

When Is a Tankless Water Heater a Good Choice?

 

Most homeowners who want tankless water heaters also want to save money on their energy bills and benefit from endless hot water. Consider installing a tankless water heater if the following circumstances describe you or your home.

You Are Short on Space

Tankless hot water heaters usually measure about 28 x 20 x 10 inches, so they take up far less space than a conventional water heater. If you want to finish your basement or hall closet without worrying about a water tank taking up space, a tankless heater is a good solution.

You Don’t Mind Paying More Upfront to Save More Later On

You’ll have to pay more to install a tankless water heater than you would a tank-style water heater. However, your energy bills will be lower in the long run since you won’t be paying to keep water warm when you’re not using it. If you have the money to invest up front, buying a tankless heater will keep your energy bills in check month to month. 

You Only Use a Few Appliances That Require Hot Water at the Same Time

Tankless heaters can supply an endless flow of hot water, so the whole family can take back-to-back showers without the water getting cold. However, the water heater can only supply so much hot water at one time.

You’ll probably be able to run the dishwasher and take a shower at the same time, but if you have hopes of using more than two appliances at once, you’ll either need to install two tankless heaters or stick with a tank-style heater.

 

When Might You Be Better Off With a Tank-Style Water Heater?

 

Although tankless water heaters are an excellent choice, they might not be right for every single home. Talk to your plumber at Bryant about your options if you identify with the following situations.

Your Home’s Electrical Panel Needs Upgrading

Electric tankless water heaters can require up to 150 amps to operate. Since this is an increase from a tank water heater, help from an electrician would be necessary. For some homes the necessary accommodations could make the conversion to tankless considerably more costly. Thankfully at Bryant our electrical department can help assess your home’s electrical service and any changes required. 

You Don’t Have a Backup Generator and Experience Frequent Power Outages

If you have a tank-style unit and the power goes out, you will still have hot water for at least a few hours until you either use the tank of water or it cools off. With a tankless unit, as soon as the power cuts off, you stop having access to hot water.

If you have a generator, you can connect your tankless heater to the generator and maintain your hot water supply, though this will require quite a powerful generator since tankless heaters draw a lot of power. However, in a place like Tennessee where storms and power outages are common, having a tankless heater without a generator may present some struggles.

 

Talk to Your Plumber for an Expert Opinion

 

Before deciding whether a tankless water heater is a good choice for your home, think carefully about your lifestyle and preferences. If saving space, having a constant stream of hot water, and conserving energy are very important to you, then a tankless heater may be a wise choice. However, if having a tankless heater installed requires expensive electrical upgrades and means you’ll be without hot water in the event of a storm, you may want to reconsider.

Reach out to Bryant to learn more about your hot water heater options. We supply high-quality tankless and tank water heaters and can work on nearly any brand.

Is Your Home Safe From Carbon Monoxide?

Flue vent exhausting from home

Usually it’s a relief to have insurance claims and repairs completed, however it has turned into a headache in more ways than one for some homeowners.

This summer’s hail storm left many Lincoln area homeowners searching for a reputable company to replace their roof. Unfortunately the damage was so widespread, this was no easy task. Now as we are coming into heating season some homeowners are finding the roofing company they trusted didn’t take all the proper steps to ensure their safety.

As local news sources have stated, it appears some roofing installers removed necessary vents, sheeting over them and others improperly installed vent caps. Not only are these mistakes making headlines, they are endangering those living under each roof.

If you have gas burning appliances including, but not limited to, a furnace and/or water heater they produce carbon monoxide. This potentially deadly gas which must be vented from your home. The flue vent on many homes can be seen from the ground. If you do not see a flue pipe/vent coming out of your new roof where you once did, this must be fixed immediately.

Bryant has also found several homes where the vent caps were improperly installed. The caps were pushed down so far on the flue that carbon monoxide was unable to properly vent. This issue is not as easily seen from the ground and should be assessed from the roof. Yet another possibility, the flue could come loose at a joint within the home if moved considerably when installing the roof and flashing. When assessing your home’s roofline for a flue vent it’s also a good idea to ensure other vents were not covered. Take the time to ensure all plumbing stacks and exhaust fans are still fully vented out of your home.

If you suspect your home’s roof replacement may be putting you in harm’s way, give Bryant Air Conditioning, Heating, Electrical & Plumbing a call at 402-467-1111 and have your systems inspected by a licensed professional. Remember carbon monoxide is a major reason it is important to have your furnace serviced every heating season. Bryant technicians use the most accurate testing methods to ensure your furnace is operating efficiently and safely.

Things to know about carbon monoxide:

  • Carbon monoxide must be vented properly.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is serious and potentially life threatening.
  • Ensure your safety, your home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector, ideally located in close proximity of bedrooms and living spaces.
  • Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms are often described as “Flu-like” including headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, and chest pain.

What Is Staging and How Will Make a Difference?

If you are unfamiliar with the term “staging”, you’re likely unfamiliar with how it can positively affect your comfort level and the energy savings it can provide. The benefits of staging are great, because of this Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems offer staging options for your home in both heating and cooling equipment.

bryant-condensor

How Does Staging Work In Your Cooling System.

Whether you have an air conditioner or a heat pump there is a compressor that powers the system. Various models of Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems offer compressors that incorporate staging technology. So, how does it work? A staging compressor only works as hard as it really needs. When the thermostat calls for cooling, the compressor will first operate in a low stage. This allows the unit to provide long, even and very efficient cooling runs. If the thermostat’s cooling call continues the system will ramp up to a higher stage to achieve the need.

Why Are Long Air Conditioning Runs Beneficial?

Although it may seem running the system as little as possible would save money, the reality is you will save with lower stages providing longer runs. On top or energy savings, longer efficient heating and cooling runs can increase your comfort. Longer runs allow your system to better provide conditioned air throughout your home, reducing hot and cold spots.

How Do Furnaces Use Staging?

Staging is actually available in both gas and electric furnaces. Gas furnaces stage the gas usage, reducing the amount of natural gas or propane your system uses over time. Electric furnaces, also called fan coils, in some instances have heat elements, or heat package, that can provide several levels of heat. It stands to reason that during warmer heating season months, like early fall, your home would not need nearly as much heat, so staging units require less energy while keep your home comfortable.

Bryant Lincoln Can Help.

Bryant Lincoln is always working to find the right match for our customers’ comfort and budget needs. Our Comfort Specialist are here to show you options that incorporate staging and explain what it can do for your comfort. Schedule your free, no obligation estimate today!

Schedule Estimate Now

Avoid Unnecessary Repairs

Home with TreeSpring means the greening of the grass, sprouting of leaves and of course as plants begin to grow up their roots continue to grow. For some homes growing plants and tree roots mean more than a greater foundation for growth, it also means issues with sewer lines. Older homes with cast or clay sewer lines it can be fairly common to have root growth make it into the joints and obstruct the drain.

Recently our plumbing department was called for a second opinion on a sewer line. One of our well known competitors tried to convince the homeowner that their sewer line was collapsed in several places and the only fix was to excavate and replace (Although we do not know the price that was quoted, repairs like this can be quite expensive). Our service plumber ran our camera down the pipe to assess any and all damage. In this case we were able to save a homeowner a large amount of money. How? By simply showing them exactly what our plumber saw. The home’s pipes were in pretty good shape, except for some common root grow that routine cabling would resolve.

What should be taken from these events? First of all, if you’re told expensive sewer repairs are necessary insist on having a camera run through the line. Also insist on seeing either the live video of the damage or ask for a copy of the video on the spot. If a company is not willing to provide either, walk away. Secondly, save yourself a major headache and call Bryant! Our plumbers have quality equipment and work every day to turn customers into happy customers, not to sell costly unnecessary services. If major repairs are the only and best option our plumbers can locate the location of the damage, minimizing any excavation necessary.

 

Spring Cleaning

Spring means warmer weather is in our future, which means landscaping cleanup and sometimes additions. Our service department would like to remind you as you are cleaning up leftover leaves and picking up sticks and other debris make sure you check your air conditioner or heat pump. Remove any debris that may be on or around the condenser. If you’ve covered your outdoor unit make sure to remove your cover and replace the disconnect if it was pulled. Check to make sure the unit and the pad it sits on is still level, depending on where your gutters and downspouts cast your runoff water it can cause erosion around and under the pad causing issues.

furnace-filterWhen checking off your list inside the home make sure replacing your air filter is on your list along with turning off you humidifier for the season. Make sure your cooling system is fully prepared for cooling season by calling Bryant.

Does service need to be done before you ever turn on your air? Not necessarily, but we do encourage you to test out your air conditioning before you really need it. Once outdoor temperatures climb above 65 degrees consistently turn it on and make sure the unit turns on and cool air is coming from your vents. If you suspect something is wrong with the operation give us a call and we can check things over.

 

Electric Overload

How many electronics do you have in your home? For many the answer has grown significantly in recent years, so much so that you may be lucky to keep track of them all. Think of this, although Lincoln is a growing community and new homes are built every day, there are many homes in Lincoln built before our reliance of electronics was so drastic. How does an increased number of electronics affect older homes? Here are a few common signs issues may be present and what they mean.

Circuit Breakers Tripping

A tripped breaker usually means there’s an excessive load on the circuit. As mentioned above, older homes weren’t wired to handle the large number of electrical devices many homes have today (multiple TV sets, VCRs, phone chargers, etc.). With so many electronics plugged in, simply turning on a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer can cause a breaker to trip. Other possible reasons for a tripped breaker are is the breaker itself is getting weak from use, or worse a more serious problem such as a shorting wire.

What’s the fix? A new circuit may be needed to divide up the load on the existing one, or it may be as simple as replacing the breaker, or locating a short in your wiring. Whatever the solution it’s best to have your panel checked out by a qualified electrician to determine there isn’t an unsafe condition.

light_switch“Popping” Light Switches

When turning on a light switch, do you hear a “pop” coming from the switch? That noise is usually caused from a large amount of lighting load. It could also mean that the switch is getting worn out. Fixes for this are usually simple, changing out the switch to a heavier duty one should correct the problem.

Dimming Lights

If your lights dim while using the vacuum or a space heater it can mean that the circuit isn’t heavy enough to handle the load. It could also mean that there is a problem in the panel such as a bad neutral connection. Again our best suggestion to resolve this issue is to have your panel checked out by a qualified electrician. It’s best to ensure there aren’t any problems with your connections.