Are Mini Splits More Efficient Than Other Types of HVAC Systems - Major Myths Exposed

The hottest new technology in energy efficiency in the HVAC world is the mini split. And although they are an excellent alternative to some traditional systems, the truth is that they might not be able to outdo the efficiency of all heating and air units in some spaces and for some HVAC limitations. If you are considering upgrading your system or choosing a mini split to tackle your energy problems, it is important to know these major fallacies and how mini splits compare in different circumstances. Before you search Google for mini split installers near me, know the facts.

Myth #1 The Mini Split Will Dominate the US Market

Although mini split systems have increased in popularity across the nation substantially over the past decade, the boom experienced in the early 2000s has been relatively flat since 2010. Sales sit around 260 thousand units per year or about 4% of all the AC systems purchased. While some manufacturers continue to enjoy consistent sales rates, others sales records have diminished.

Myth #2 Ductless Mini Splits are an Excellent Solution to any HVAC Issue and Every Region

There is no denying that a mini split can be a huge energy saver in spaces that fit the reason they were created. But they are not a universal solution for all energy saving needs. Installing a mini split to heat and cool a home that is about the size of two-thousand square foot, and using it as your primary source, can cost as much as three times what a traditional AC central system with ducts will. Even in new construction circumstances where new ductwork needs to be installed, it, on average, costs 50% less than using a ductless option. So mini splits can solve a whole lot of HVAC inefficiencies, but they are not a panacea for all heating and cooling situations.

Myth #3 Ductless Mini Splits are Always More Efficient Because Air Leaking is an Inherent Problem with Ductwork

The premise that all homes using ductwork are less energy efficient due to leaking air through the ductwork is simply not true. There are occasions where ductwork is not installed properly and over time can start to leak air, but it is not a universal problem inherent in traditional HVAC ducted systems. Ductless systems might have other energy deficiencies, such as refrigerant lines that run outside the home can lead to thermal loss from the transference of energy in outside spaces. And, ductwork that leaks into conditioned spaces is not really a “loss” deficit and can’t be included. Finally, yes, mini splits can make sectioning off spaces or zoning areas more convenient, but there are many advanced ways to zone rooms around your home using traditional systems.

Myth #4 Ductless Mini Splits Always Provide a Source of Superior Comfort

In regions that require a substantial amount of filtration, humidity control, and airflow exchange, ductless systems might be hard to get used to over traditional central air options. Hot and cold spots are not just a problem of central air; they can also be common in ductless systems if not placed properly. So the notion that they will always provide more comfort in every condition and circumstance is simply an overstatement of their viability in different regions and zoned areas of a home.

So What is the Verdict?

Ductless mini splits are an excellent solution to a host of HVAC system hurdles. If you don’t have the room for ductwork, you are limited on how far your existing system will go, or you live in a specific sized house or region of the country, they can be an excellent high-efficient solution. But they are sometimes no substitute for traditional central air options.

The one that is right for you that will not only keep you comfortable but will help to reduce your energy output, is reliant upon a professional company understanding the complexity of HVAC systems, how they work, and what conditions they require. If you are wondering which is right for you; a traditional HVAC system or a ductless mini split, contact the professionals of Carney & Son, one of the best mini split installers near you, for an evaluation today.

Almost Time to Run the Heater...Here’s What you Need to Know

As anyone who has ever turned on the heat for the first time in the fall can attest to, it can sometimes smell like the house is on fire. But have you ever wondered where that smell comes from? As you turn your thermostat from cool to heat, these are some things that you should know! Before you crank up your furnace, these are the things you need to do to prepare your Charleston heating and air system.

Call a Professional

It is always recommended that you call a professional HVAC technician before you turn your heat on. Although you can change your air filters on your own and clean any debris that might be lingering, there are maintenance issues that only a professional can address. Remember, your system has been sitting idle for an entire season, which is plenty of time for dust and dirt to accumulate. And that is also plenty of months for problems to surface that you can’t see.

If Fall Snuck up on you

When life gets hectic, the last thing on your to-do list is probably your HVAC maintenance. And if the cold air snuck up on you, now is the time to schedule your appointment. In the interim, however, expect that when you turn the heat on, there will be a burning smell coming from your vents. There is no reason to be alarmed if that happens.

The majority of the time, that smell is not a sign of danger. After sitting all summer long, a lot of household dust and dirt has likely settled on your furnace. That debris will start to burn off and create a noxious smell. Although it is normal the first time you turn on your heat, if it lingers past the first time, then it could be a sign that something is wrong. And you should definitely be concerned and call a professional to ensure that nothing hazardous is lurking.

Why Scheduling Maintenance is Important

Although, in most cases, the burning smell of the first time you turn on your heater is nothing more than dirt and debris burning off from the summer months, getting your HVAC maintained regularly is still critical. Even if the heater doesn’t smell past day one of turning it on, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things gone awry. Not only will a technician be able to clean your furnace to help it work more efficiently, but they can also diagnose and spot signs of a problem before it becomes problematic. Operating under the guise that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it will most likely lead to an emergency call for something neglected.

Now that the hot summer weather has given way to a nighttime chill, it might be time to fire up your heat. If possible, have your furnace maintained after the long summer. But if you didn’t get a chance, don’t be alarmed by the first heat smell. If it continues, make sure to call a professional. And if it doesn’t continue, make sure you call a professional.

The only way to ensure that everything is in top working order is to have your system regularly maintained according to the manufacturer's specifications. Contact Carney & Son today to schedule your fall Charleston heating and air maintenance.

Do I Need Carbon Monoxide Detectors in My Home?

If you are wondering if your home needs carbon monoxide detectors, the answer is pretty straight-forward. Anytime that you burn solid or liquid fuel for cooking, heating, or any other use, you absolutely need a CO detector installed in your home. And since most homes have an attached garage or other gas-powered equipment, likely every home should have a detector, whether they have an appliance that burns fuel or not.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, basically undetectable gas that is dangerous in any amount. When you breathe in CO2, it binds with the hemoglobin of red blood cells, and then it proceeds to take the place of oxygen. Breathing it in will lead to oxygen starvation of the blood cells, which is technically called hypoxia, and it is fatal.

Facts About Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is present in the air that you breathe all around. But it is dangerous at high levels, such as when you are burning fuel that emits it, which can make it fatal. It is a byproduct created from the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels. Those hydrocarbon fuels include propane, coal, gasoline, and natural gas, just to name a few.

Combustion equipment and appliances that are used around the home create CO gas regardless of how energy efficient they are. Carbon monoxide is measured in something called “parts per minute”. The higher the concentration of CO is, the more symptoms will present themselves.

  • Between 0.5-5 ppm is a standard range of home exposure due to combustion appliances
  • Anything below 70 ppm for more than six to eight hours can lead to dizziness and headaches. If a person has a pre existing heart condition, they can also experience chest pains.
  • 100 ppm for more than two hours can lead to fatigue, nausea, and headaches
  • 150 - 200 ppm for any long term can be fatal

What are Appliances That Burn Fuel?

Most appliances that burn fuel, when tested properly, maintained, and installed correctly, are generally not dangerous. If, however, the exhaust fan or any part of the functioning appliance is clogged, it can lead to a dangerous release of CO gas into the home. Common things like pest nests or even heavy snowfall can block chimneys and vents, and lead to CO gas exposure. Examples of combustion appliances include:

  • Any wood-burning device, such as heat stoves, wood stoves, fireplaces, parlor stoves or wood-pellet stoves
  • Natural, propane or oil appliances, including furnaces, boilers, ranges and cooktops, certain refrigerators, space heaters, fireplaces, and hot water heaters
  • Diesel or gas fuel equipment like generators, which should always be outdoors
  • Agricultural, bio, or any other heating stoves that burn fuel.

The Recommended Number of CO Detectors

CO detectors have the same recommendations as fire detectors. At a minimum, every house should have at least one detector located on each floor, one located near sleeping areas, and if you have a basement, one in the basement. If there is a common hallway where rooms are located, then hallways should also have a detector. If you have forced air heat, however, the leak can go individually to each room. So, it is appropriate to have a CO detector for every room where people will be sleeping. Other areas such as sunrooms, attics, or even closed-in porches that have a fuel-burning appliance should have a CO detector. And the same is true for outbuildings that have appliances that burn fuel.

What are the Types of CO Detectors?

Carbon monoxide detectors can be both plugged in and hard-wired. There are also CO detectors that combine both smoke detection along with CO monitoring. Hard-wired models are connected to your home’s overall electrical wiring system, and they should also have batteries for back-up in case the electricity goes out. Most hard-wired CO monitors are connected so that if one is triggered, it triggers them all to alert you of exposure. Some plug-in models also have interconnectivity; they do so wirelessly.

Standard carbon monoxide detectors have lights to indicate various alarms while others give a digital readout. The types with a digital display should indicate CO levels at all times; if not, then it is not working properly. If you notice that the display continues to inch up, that is an indication that there might be a leak in your combustion appliances. Levels that are high, and can lead to symptoms, are not always detectable via the alarm.

Installation and Maintenance Tips

Anyone can install a plug-in carbon monoxide detector simply by plugging it in. Just make sure to put batteries in it frequently. And also, ensure that it isn’t covered by any curtains, furniture, or other obstacles that can stop it from a correct reading. The electrical models, however, take a little more expertise to install. And since they are such an integral part of keeping everyone safe, it might be better to allow a professional to install them via their instructions and specifications. Since CO detectors work differently, it is important to read the manufacturer's instructions to make sure that they are working properly.

It is essential that you also clean CO detectors using a vacuum monthly and that you replace the batteries every six months. Carbon monoxide detectors do not last forever, so make sure to write down the purchase date before it is installed. That way, you will know when it is time to replace it.

At Carney & Son, we value our customers greatly and want to ensure that you are safe at home. Our team of professionals is expert at both installing and maintaining your CO detector. That way, you know for sure that it is working properly! Contact us to discuss all of your HVAC needs! Don't forget our carbon monoxide detectors also detect natural gas too.  We install them and warranty CO detectors for 5 years and replace them at no cost if needed!

5 Signs it is Time for a New HVAC System

As a homeowner, it is a difficult decision to make to either repair or replace your HVAC system. But sometimes to save pennies, you can end up spending dollars. Before you opt to put a bandaid on your HVAC problem, consider these five heating and air Charleston, SC signs that scream, "it is time for an entirely new system".

Your System is More Than ten Years old

HVAC systems have a particular lifespan, and it is usually not more than ten years. Most experts agree that repairing a system that already has ten years under its belt is probably close to throwing money out the window. Also, over the past ten years, energy efficiency has come a long way. So your outdated system is probably costing you more than it should.

Repair Costs are Half of the Cost of new

If you are considering whether to repair or to replace, consider this - the cost to repair will be about half of the cost of replacing new. So if your system is outdated and aging, then repairing it doesn’t make much economic sense. Although replacing your HVAC is a significant investment, it is a much better one than investing in a unit that will need to be replaced soon anyway.

Your Energy Bill Keeps Going up

Due to inflation, it is not abnormal for your energy costs to increase slightly over the years. But if you notice that your energy bills have gone up a lot in a short time, then that might be a sign that your system needs to be replaced. As your system ages, its ability to heat and cool will diminish. That means that it will have to work harder to maintain a consistent temperature, which equals more energy output. Replacing your unit might cost a lot up front, but in the end, it will save you a lot too.

You Can’t Seem to Maintain a Comfortable Temperature

If you begin to notice that maintaining a consistent and comfortable temperature is nearly impossible, that is a sign that your heating is not working properly. Things like low fluid levels, cracked ductwork, serious motor damage, and clogged filters might all be to blame. But if you have checked all of those things and can’t find anything wrong, then most likely it is an inefficiency in your system. Also, if you have increased the size or configuration of your home, you have placed a new demand on an old system. And it might not be able to keep up.

Odd Sounds

If your system is starting to make weird sounds, don’t ignore them! Loud, screeching, or clanking noises need to be addressed immediately. If you don’t, then the consequences can be much more expensive. If your system is grinding, that might indicate that things are worn out and need to be replaced. The noise will not go away on its own; it's time to make a call to an expert.

Although replacing an HVAC system can be a significant investment, putting a bandaid on an old and outdated one is tantamount to throwing money out the window. If you notice that your heating and air Charleston, SC system isn’t keeping up with demand, is making loud noises, or is nearing its lifespan, call the experts of Carney & Son to to evaluate your HVAC. We can make recommendations about what is a more appropriate for your situation, replacing or repairing.

The Temperature is Warming Up - Is Your HVAC System Ready for Charleston, SC’s Heat?

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When the heat rushes in in Charleston, it really rushes in. Have your Charleston HVAC system serviced ASAP.

If you didn’t have the forethought to have your air conditioner serviced at the end of last summer, you might be in for a rude awakening. Switching the HVAC from “heat” to “cool” happens quickly in South Carolina. And if you haven’t checked to make sure that your system is ready to go, it could leave you sweating it. But the good news is that there is still time to ensure that your HVAC (Charleston, SC) air- conditioning unit is ready in time to beat the heat!

Have Your Air Conditioner Maintained

Most households are typically looking for a way to cut expenses back, not increase them. If you want to do that in your house, then having your air conditioning maintained regularly is critical. If you don’t, then the cost of having to replace your air conditioner or making an expensive emergency repair call can set you back far more than a maintenance one. So in the end, maintenance saves you money!

You Won’t Be Sitting Around “Sweating It”

When the heat hits, it hits - which means that you need the air conditioner NOW! Unfortunately, that means that many South Carolina residents are in the same boat. If you wait until the last minute, you are going to have to wait your turn in line. Waiting for someone to repair your air conditioning can leave you with many hot, sweaty days and sleepless nights. If you call today, you will be first in line, not last!

Do a Test Run

Even if you have properly maintained your air-conditioning unit, there is the potential that something has happened over the long winter months. To make sure that it is good to go, do a test run. Before the hot weather sets in, run your air conditioning for an hour or so to ensure that it is working optimally. If you hear any noises or see signs that it isn’t cooling as well as it should, make an appointment now.

Spring Cleanup!

Yard work is pretty miserable when the heat and humidity starts. While the weather is still tepid, it is a perfect time to perform a spring clean-up outside. While you are clearing out garden beds, clean out your air-conditioning unit as well. Because when that fan starts up, any debris that is lingering around your air conditioner can get sucked in and cause damage or excessive wear and tear. Grab some gardening shears and hit the backyard - and don’t forget the air conditioner!

If you wait until the first signs of heat and humidity like everyone else, you might find yourself waiting for a repair technician if your HVAC unit isn’t working right.

Remember, if you treat your HVAC (Charleston, SC) unit well, it will return the favor. So don’t wait until the last minute. If you haven’t had your air conditioning maintained lately, now is a perfect time!

Contact Carney and Son today and let us ensure your air conditioning is ready to go when it needs to! Or join our club today and never have to schedule again!

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