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When should I repair older equipment and when do I need to replace it?

When you're frustrated with an equipment break-down, it can be tempting to find the least expensive "quick fix" to get on with your life in relative comfort. That "quick fix" may be the least expensive now, but it may not give you the most value—or cost you the least—in the long run.

Paying for repairs to an old or inefficient system often simply prolongs the inevitable. It's almost like putting a bandage on a serious injury. An older system that breaks down once is likely to break down again ... and again. That means more emergency service calls or, worse yet, the risk of damage to your home or to other components of your heating and cooling system.

There's also an ongoing cost factor to consider. Restoring your old system will only bring it back to its current level of energy efficiency. After you've recovered from the repair bills and the frustration of system breakdowns, you still won't save on your energy bills.

Even six-year-old heat pumps and air conditioners are considered grossly inefficient by today's energy efficiency standards. So are most furnaces built before 1980. So you could save up to 60% on your energy bills with new high-efficiency equipment. That's why installing a new heating and cooling system can actually pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short time.  We can show you the best system for your home, one that will save energy and money today and for years to come.

Looking at the Big Picture

When one component of your system breaks down unexpectedly, it's easy to just focus on repairing or replacing that component. But each part of your system works with the others to boost efficiency and reliability, so it helps to keep the big picture in mind.

Replacing your old furnace with a new higher-efficiency model but leaving your old mechanical thermostat in place, for example, won't allow you to enjoy all the efficiency advantages the furnace has to offer. Likewise, if you install a new furnace but don't get a humidifier, the air will seem cooler, forcing you to operate your new system at a higher temperature to be comfortable. Plus, you can often save on installation costs if you have several components of your system (for example, a furnace and an air conditioner) replaced at the same time.

What simple maintenance and troubleshooting can I do myself?

With proper maintenance and care, your Carrier equipment will operate economically and dependably. There are a few simple, routine maintenance operations you can do to help ensure the best performance and comfort from your system.

Before you perform any kind of maintenance, consider these important safety precautions.

  • Disconnect all electrical power to the unit before removing access panels to perform maintenance. Please note that there may be more than one power connection switch.

  • Although Carrier takes special care to prevent sharp edges in the construction of our equipment, it's best to be very careful when you handle parts or reach into units.

Routine Maintenance

Check the air filter in your furnace or fan coil every 3 to 4 weeks. A dirty filter will cause excessive strain on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Refer to your owner’s manual.

Clean dust off of your indoor coil. With a vacuum cleaner and soft-brush attachment, you can remove any dust from the top and underside of the coil.  If you can't get the coil clean this way, call Holmin Heating and Cooling for service.

Keep your outdoor condensing unit free of debris. If you keep grass clippings, leaves, shrubbery and debris away from your outdoor unit, it should only require minimal care to operate properly.  To clean dirt that is deep in the coil, give us a call.

Inspect your furnace's combustion area and vent system before each heating season.  If you find dirt, soot or rust, your system may not operate properly or at its peak efficiency. Call Holmin right away and do not operate your furnace until it is professionally inspected and/or repaired.

Have oil-fired boilers inspected annually. Call Holmin before each heating season to replace your oil filter cartridge and conduct a thorough inspection of the unit's operation.

How do thermostats work?
Thermostats help your heating and cooling equipment maintain the optimal temperature setting with the utmost energy efficiency. Today's electronic models are a vast departure from earlier mechanical styles. Microprocessors allow you to program your home temperatures to suit your lifestyle, so you can keep things comfortable while you're home and automatically set back your temperatures to save energy when you're away or sleeping.

Electronic thermostats work in much the same way as older, manual thermostats did. The microprocessor inside compares the thermometer reading of a room's temperature to the desired temperature you select. Then, it gives start and stop commands to the heating or cooling system to bring the temperature to a level that makes you comfortable.

Programmable thermostats basically work the same way, but they are far more convenient. Once you program the thermostat to customize the system's operation to fit your lifestyle and schedule, all you have to do is relax and let it do all the work. You simply program into its memory the temperatures you need, at what time of the day, to stay comfortable and save energy all season. You only need to program it once - until the season or your lifestyle changes.

The most important way that a programmable thermostat saves energy is in its setback feature. When you don't need a normal level of heating or cooling, you can program the thermostat to set the temperature back until the next pre-programmed time when you want normal temperatures. Programming temperatures around 63 F on cold winter nights, when you're snuggled under blankets, can help you save as much as 15% on your heating costs. You can save even more by programming your system to "setback" the temperature when your family is away at work, at school, or on vacation. In summer, setbacks work much the same way for central air conditioning.

How do heat and energy recovery ventilators work?

While today's energy-efficient homes do a great job of keeping heated or cooled air in, they also seal in stale, recirculated air. A ventilating system solves the problem of stale air by bringing fresh air into tightly constructed homes without wasting precious energy. Heat Recovery Ventilators recover heat energy during the heating season; Energy Recovery Ventilators recover both heating and cooling energy year-round.

Every home contains a certain amount of unhealthy gases from a variety of sources - building materials, the earth under your home, your heating and cooling system, and even people, who breathe out carbon dioxide. The easiest way to get fresh air into your home, of course, is to fling open a window. The problem is that you lose expensive heated or cooled air in the process.

A ventilator allows your home to "breathe" by bringing healthy, fresh air inside in a controlled way. Before it removes stale air from your home, it also recovers much of the heat or cooling energy through the use of a heat exchanger. Then, it transfers that heat or cooling directly to the fresh outdoor air it draws in. Best of all, the ventilator does this without ever mixing the two air streams. The incoming air stays fresh. And you maintain your heating or cooling system's energy efficiency.

Carrier ventilators are controlled by a convenient wall-mounted control unit, and have three comfort modes. The recirculation mode recycles indoor air continuously and exchanges air only when humidity exceeds the desired level. This setting allows homeowners with baseboard heat to enjoy the advantages of a forced-air heating system. In the continuous mode, the unit replaces indoor air with fresh outdoor air 24 hours a day. The intermittent mode provides the greatest economy, with the unit turning on only when humidity levels exceed the desired level.

Making a ventilator part of your home comfort system is like being able to open a window in every room even on the hottest or coldest days ... without the drafts, the humidity or the high energy costs. It's literally a breath of fresh air.

How does zoning work?

Zoning systems give you the ability to save on monthly heating and cooling bills and at the same time eliminate overconditioned or overheated spaces in the home and optimize the comfort of the occupants.

A Carrier Zoning panel is the key to making the system work. A User Interface and additional zone sensors are located throughout the home to give temperature information back to the Carrier zoning panel which opens and closes dampers in your cooling and heating ductwork to control the temperature in every part of the home. Since you are cooling and heating only those parts of the home requiring the load, this system will save you money. 30 percent savings over conventional single thermostat systems can be realized with a residential zoning system.

While energy savings alone make this a great alternative to a conventional system, your comfort is optimized with the zoning system. By zoning the home, you can customize each zone’s climate and schedules. Bedrooms can be kept cooler at night and temperature difference between floors can be eliminated. Also, most zoning systems integrate the setback features associated with programmable thermostats, further enhancing and customizing your comfort schedule.

Before You Request A "Service Call"
  1. Check disconnect switches (indoor and outdoor if you have a split system). Make sure that circuit breakers are ON or that fuses have not blown.

  2. Check for sufficient airflow. Make sure air filters are clean and that supply-air and return-air grilles are open and unobstructed.

  3. Check the settings on your thermostat. If you want cooling, make sure the temperature control selector is set below room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is on the COOL or AUTO position. If you want heat, make sure the temperature control selector is set above room temperature and the SYSTEM switch is at HEAT or AUTO. The FAN switch should be set at ON for continuous blower operation or AUTO if you want the blower to function only while the unit is operating.

In addition to the routine maintenance you perform, your home comfort system should be inspected at least once a year by a properly trained service technician. Holmin Heating and Cooling will make sure your system operates safely and gives you the best performance at the lowest cost. You may also want to ask us about a Maintenance Agreement that covers seasonal inspections for a flat fee.