What to Do Before Turning on Your AC This Summer

As the weather begins to warm up and transition from winter to spring, it’s important to make sure your air conditioner is ready to cool your home properly when summer rolls around. When hot temperatures are right around the corner, do you know what to do to get your AC ready for the heat? If not, don’t stress! The cooling service specialists at Rick’s Heating and Cooling are here to help you with our quick and simple pre-season checklist.

Your Fast Guide to AC Readiness in Cincinnati

We know, no one wants yet more chores to do around the home. But we promise that these are not only fast and easy, but absolutely worth your time. Before you turn on your AC for the season be sure to perform these AC maintenance tasks:

  • Clean the vents. Check all of the supply vents in your home to ensure that they are unblocked and clean. This ensures you keep good air flow into rooms and optimize air pressure in the duct system, minimizing common causes of an overheat and uneven cooling.
  • Replace your air filter. If you only have time to do one thing on this list, make it this one. Keeping up with the air filter is the number one best thing you can do for your cooling equipment on your own. A quick filter swap means a reduced risk of AC repair, higher efficiency, and a more powerful cooling system all in one.
  • Inspect the outdoor unit. Clear away any dirt or plant matter, and be sure all of the fins are straight and unbent. If they are a little out of place, gently push them back with a blunt tool. Do be careful though, as the fins aren’t all that hardy, and you don’t want to damage them.
  • Check the condensate line. Just a quick peek into the drain hose—leave anything more complex to the pros. You’re just checking for any obvious clogs that could result in a condensate system leak, helping you avoid some potential water damage in your Cincinnati home.
  • Perform a short test run. On a warmer (not cold, and not hot) day, go ahead and turn the system to 70 and let it run for half an hour. Listen for any strange noises, and check for any air flow issues at the vents. It’s just an easy way to do some minor troubleshooting, ensuring you don’t need to get an AC repair before the hot season kicks off.

Don’t Forget to Schedule an AC Tune-Up!

After you’ve done all the stuff on our list, go ahead and call in to schedule your pre-season maintenance service! Professional tune-ups offer a ton of optimization benefits that can save you in cooling costs. And even more importantly, it stops most of the common causes for a summer cooling system breakdown. A tune-up now saves tons of money and stress, so never neglect to set one up!

Professional Air Conditioner Maintenance in Ohio

At Rick’s Heating & Cooling we’ve been offering homeowners in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas the best in HVAC service and care for years. Our certified technicians are on standby and ready to help you get set and settled for a hot summer, so contact us online or call (513) 899-6005 now!

Why Should I Schedule an IAQ Service?

Indoor air quality has become one of the hottest topics in HVAC and home efficiency in the past few years. But as a homeowner, you might be feeling somewhat out of the loop. Why does it matter? Why should you care? The professionals at Rick’s Heating & Cooling are here to talk about the important role indoor quality plays in your comfort, and why you should consider scheduling a service.

Why Indoor Air Quality Matters

The air inside of your home is many times more dense with pollutants than outdoor air. All of the dust, pollen, mold spores, and bacteria that we find outside—it’s in your home, too. And once there, multiple things prevent it from getting out.

Modern homes have become heavily sealed in order to maximize efficiency and home comfort, and while that’s great from an HVAC and energy savings standpoint, it creates some problems when it comes to the quality of your indoor air. Pollutants come in and stay in, resulting in respiratory complications and messy homes that can be exceptionally challenging to keep up with.

This is why indoor air quality matters and why the industry has been fast tracking stronger and more effective technology to help us combat our poor air quality.

The Importance of an Indoor Air Quality Service

In a nutshell, it’s all about getting fresh air in, getting pollutants out, and controlling humidity levels in order to maximize your comfort while optimizing efficiency. We understand that all feels a bit vague, so let’s dive into the benefits you can gain from scheduling an IAQ service:

  • Healthier home air. Air quality solutions like filtration systems and air cleaners aim to remove and mitigate most of the common spore-sized particles we deal with in our homes. This means cleaner, fresher air, and a lot less mess around the home.
  • Less odors. By removing mold spores and common bacteria (as well as particles left by household cooking and cleaning chemicals), your home will smell much cleaner on top of actually being much cleaner.
  • Higher HVAC efficiency. Keeping dust and pollen out of your air benefits more than just your lungs. Less of this mess in your air means less of it in your HVAC filter, ducts, and the system as a whole. This can help streamline airflow, helping the system get its job done more efficiently.
  • Higher comfort levels. Controlling humidity offers particularly strong benefits to homeowners in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas. Our AC systems and furnaces both sap indoor air of vital moisture, leaving skin scratchy and our respiratory systems feeling dry. With a humidifier, you can expect an easier time breathing, and you may even avoid common allergy issues.
  • Less health risks and potentially less illness. Minimizing mold and bacteria, as well as dust mites, has been proven an effective means of helping homeowners avoid many forms of illness. If you’re tired of struggling with seasonal colds or a consistent cough, indoor air quality may help.

Indoor Air Quality Services in the Cincinnati Area

Starting to feel like an indoor air quality service in Cincinnati might be just the thing you’ve been looking for? Contact the certified IAQ specialists at Rick’s Heating & Cooling! Our teams offer air cleaner services, duct sealing, humidity control, and more. No matter what challenges your home may face, we’ve got the solution and service to match.

Contact us online today or give us a call at (513) 899-6005 to schedule an indoor air quality consultation!

Benefits of Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces

Keeping your home comfortable requires the right system. For your heating needs, you’ll likely be deciding between a heat pump and a furnace. Since both offer benefits and drawbacks, making the choice about which is right for you isn’t always easy. The team at Rick’s Heating & Cooling can help you determine which type of heating system is right for your needs. Here are some things to consider as you make your decision.

Benefits of Heat Pumps

A heat pump offers an energy-efficient option to heat and cool homes in moderate climates. These systems work like a refrigerator, using electric energy to move heat in order to meet your comfort needs. In the summer, this means moving heat from your home to the outdoors to make you home cooler, and in the summer, it means moving heat energy from the outdoors into your home to make it warmer. This can allow you to heat and cool your home for a fraction of the cost of a furnace or air conditioner. A heat pump serves both functions, so you only need to install one unit for year-round comfort.

Potential Downsides of Heat Pumps

The main drawback of a heat pump is the fact that it doesn’t work well in temperatures below the freezing level. In these instances, a backup heat source is needed. Most heat pumps have backup furnaces, but they use electricity or gas to heat the home during cold spells, which can negate some of the benefits. However, for those days when the outdoor temperatures stay above freezing, the heat pump can be quite efficient and effective. Heat pumps are more costly than furnaces to install, but you will end up saving money in the long run over the life of the heat pump.

Benefits of a Furnace

A furnace uses gas or electric energy to heat air, then pumps the heated air through your home via your ductwork. This is a great option for heating your home that works no matter the outdoor temperature. Another potential benefit of a furnace is a lower installation price.

Potential Downsides of a Furnace

The main drawback of heating your home with a furnace is the cost of heating. The gas or electricity that you need to run a furnace creates expenses that add up. Over the life of a furnace, you can expect to pay more than you would with a heat pump. If you wish to have cooling for your home, you will have to install an air conditioner along with your furnace.

Which Is Right for You?

So which heating option is right for you? The answer depends on your goals. If your goal is a lower initial cost, then a furnace is likely best. If you’re looking to save on your overall energy costs, a heat pump may work better.

Making this choice is complicated, and that’s where the team at Rick’s Heating & Cooling can help. Our experienced HVAC technicians can help you measure your needs and goals to choose the right heating option for your Cincinnati, OH home. If you are in need of a new furnace or heat pump, contact us for help.

You can contact us online or call 513-899-6005 for expert guidance on your search for the right heating option for your property.

Recommended Thermostat Settings in the Winter

Winter in Ohio is notorious for being bitterly cold, which leads to high energy bills. If you’re looking to balance comfort with energy savings for the remainder of the season, follow these recommended thermostat settings in the winter.

Set the Right Temperature

Begin by manually setting the thermostat to a temperature you feel comfortable with while you’re at home. We recommend dressing for the weather and setting the thermostat to 68 degrees, though anything at or below 70 degrees is ideal. Remember, the lower you set your thermostat in the winter, the more money you’ll save.

Next, choose a setback temperature for the hours when everyone is away. Setbacks are worthwhile anytime your house is vacant for more than four hours. We recommend setting the thermostat to 62 degrees or lower while you’re gone to avoid paying to heat an empty house. However, to prevent frozen pipes, you shouldn’t set the furnace any lower than 55 degrees.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat keeps you comfortable when you’re at home and saves you money when you’re away. Once you program the settings you want, you can go about your day while the programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on your schedule. There’s no need to remember to turn the temperature down when you leave for work in the morning, and best of all, the thermostat recovers a comfortable setting by the time you get home. It’s the best of both worlds!

Consider the specific features of the programmable thermostat you choose:

  • Day settings: Seven-day units allow you to program a different schedule for every day of the week. 5-1-1 models let you program Monday through Friday on the same setting and Saturday and Sunday differently from one another. 5+2-day models allow for a different setting on weekdays and weekends.
  • Program settings per day: Many programmable thermostats allow you to enter up to four settings per day. These periods are typically named Wake, Day, Evening, and Sleep.
  • Wi-Fi capabilities: “Smart” thermostats connect to the internet, making them accessible from an app on your phone. This allows you to check and change the temperature from anywhere.

Get the Most from Your Programmable Thermostat

To maximize heating efficiency and help your new programmable thermostat pay for itself in energy savings, follow these tips:

  • Use the hold feature properly: You can pause the regular thermostat schedule when you’re away for extended periods with the vacation/permanent hold setting. You can also override programmed settings on a daily basis if you feel uncomfortable. Just remember that every time you turn up the thermostat, you’re using more energy and increasing your heating costs.
  • Refrain from cranking up the temperature: You won’t heat up your home any faster by boosting the setting to 90 degrees. All this does is increase your bills as the temperature exceeds your comfort level. Instead, adjust the temperature by a degree or two at a time to minimize energy waste.
  • Consider adding a zoning system: If your home suffers from uneven temperatures, one way to combat the problem is with a zoning system. This incorporates multiple thermostats and dampers in the ductwork to control the temperature in different rooms independently. Be sure to set each programmable thermostat according to the above recommendations to maximize comfort and energy efficiency.

Get More Recommendations for Setting Your Thermostat from Rick’s Heating & Cooling

If you have any questions about the recommended thermostat settings explained here, or you’re interested in installing a programmable thermostat, please contact Rick’s Heating & Cooling today. We perform expert HVAC services in homes and businesses across Southwest Ohio.

Should I Replace My Furnace & AC at the Same Time?

When thinking about home comfort in different seasons, it’s easy to become short-sighted. For instance, you tend to worry about furnace efficiency in the winter, and then shift your concerns to AC performance in the summer. So, when one half of the system breaks down and requires a replacement, it’s easy to forget that your furnace and AC complement one another. After all, furnaces and central air conditioners share the same air handler. This means, when the time comes to replace your furnace, you should also replace your air conditioner so the components match. Here are some reasons to explain why that is a smart decision for your home.

Prolong System Lifespan

If you only replace half of your HVAC equipment, you mix old and new technologies in the same system, potentially resulting in compatibility issues. A mismatched system could cause premature breakdowns or a shorter lifespan for the new equipment you just invested in. If your goal is to save money by only replacing the furnace or air conditioner, this outcome could thwart your plans.

Improve HVAC Performance

New furnaces and air conditioners have impressive efficiency ratings. If your existing system was installed a decade ago or more, a replacement will prove to be a huge upgrade. Not only that, but when your heating and cooling systems match, the features and performance of each one complement the other. This helps your investment pay for itself in year-round energy savings while ensuring maximum home comfort.

Only Pay One Installation Fee

A significant factor in the cost to replace your HVAC system is the installation fee. If you replace your furnace now and wait until later to put in a new AC unit, you’ll have to pay this fee twice. However, when performed together, the installation process is less complicated, and you only have to pay the fee once.

Save Money Over Time

Replacing your furnace and AC at the same time requires you to purchase two units upfront, but saving over time makes the investment worth it. First, you enjoy lower energy bills from the improved efficiency of new, matching equipment. Then, you have fewer repairs to contend with, which can build up toward the end of an HVAC system’s lifespan. Finally, with only one installation fee to pay for, it makes sense to replace your systems together instead of six months apart.

Ensure Warranty Coverage

Some warranties come with a provision that states the manufacturer isn’t obligated to honor a claim if a new system is combined with an old one. Replacing your furnace and AC at the same time ensures full warranty protection if you need it. This gives you peace of mind and could save you money if you end up running into trouble with your new HVAC equipment.

Furnace & AC Replacement in the Cincinnati Area

When it comes time to replace your broken down furnace, we recommend replacing your AC at the same time, especially if the units were installed together over 10 years ago. As you begin the HVAC replacement process, we can offer our expert advice about which heating and cooling technologies will complement your lifestyle the best. We’ll make sure the investment you make contributes to improved home comfort and savings over the long run.

To schedule your furnace or AC replacement service in the Cincinnati area, or to request a free HVAC replacement estimate, please contact Rick’s Heating & Cooling today. We have over 30 years of experience delivering quality HVAC services to homes and businesses Ohio.