Category Archives: HVAC

Prevent Home Damage After The Storm

snow storm hits st_1389018922840_1951084_ver1.0_320_240After that winter storm hits, you’ll want to inspect two key areas of your home to prevent any further damage from the ice and snow.

Roof tips

Long icicles hanging from your gutters are a warning sign of possible ice dams on your roof. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. This can cause serious roof damage.

Here’s how to deal with ice dams:

  1. Remove snow from the roof. There is a special tool for removing snow called a “roof rake.” Carefully pull it down the slope of the roof line. Never pull snow across the roof because you may damage the shingles.
  2. Chip away at the ice. For immediate action, you can chip away through the ice dam so that the water can flow through. Stop when you get close to the roofing.
  3. Call a professional. Removing an ice damcan be quite dangerous. A good place to start is with roofing contractors. Check the estimates and references of contractors in your area. Gutter cleaning companies may also offer this service.
  4. Properly ventilate and insulate the attic.The main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic.

You should also know what not to do when dealing with ice dams:

  • Never walk on a snow-covered roof. Make sure you work from a ladder to access/fix the damage.
  • Do not install mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics.
  • Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow off the roof. These chemicals are very corrosive. The runoff of these chemicals can also damage grass and plants.

Basement tips

Melting snow and ice can often cause flooding. Follow these tips to help keep water out of your basement:

  • Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls.
  • Maintain sloped exterior grades away from your house.
  • Make sure your downspouts are clear.
  • Don’t pile snow up against the house.
  • If you have a sump pump, clean and test it.

Zipf-Air, Inc is the leading HVAC company in St. Louis, MO.  If you have any question please give us a call at (314) 821-1200.  You can also visit us online on our WebsiteFacebook or TwitterFor Prompt Professional Service, rely on the experts at Zipf-Air, Inc.

Fall/Winter Heating Tips!

534be1b1ba2c219da0c9f69e6b7b710a_hMany different things can combine to making heating a home in the winter more costly and problematic than usual. Homeowners need to pay special attention to the heating system and some other parts of the home in order to heat the house efficiently. There are a few tips that will help with home heating in the winter.

Maintain Heating Systems

The single most important tip for home heating is to schedule annual or seasonal maintenance on the heating system. This will help to catch small problems like a loose wire or damaged component before the heater is needed and you discover it is not functioning properly. Maintenance should be performed before each season, fall and winter. Regular maintenance will ensure that the heating system works throughout the winter or summer without any problems.

Programmable Thermostats

There many types of thermostats in use today. A programmable thermostat will keep a home at a comfortable temperature while also saving energy. A programmable thermostat allows a homeowner to define different temperatures for different times of the day. This means that the temperatures can be programmed to drop at night and then rise just before everyone wakes up in the morning.

Insulation

Even the best heating system is going to have difficulty keeping a house warm if your home is not insulated properly. The insulation in the attic and other areas of a home should be checked before cold weather begins. Moisture, pests and time can all cause insulation to become less effective. Insulation that has started to degrade or sag should be replaced. Effective insulation will make a heating system more efficient and will lower energy bills throughout the year.

Replace Filters

The air filters in the heating system need to be replaced every six months. Dirty air filters can cause several problems. The dirt stops air from moving freely through the system. This can reduce the efficiency of the heater. Air that does not move through the filter will deposit dirt and debris inside of the heating system. In extreme cases, very dirty air filters could actually damage equipment and stop the system from working.

Keep Vents Clear

The vents that allow the heated air to enter a room should be kept clear at all times. The number and placement of vents in a room is carefully planned to provide enough airflow to heat the space. Partially blocking even a single vent will reduce the effectiveness of the heating system. Additionally, items that are blocking a vent could become damaged when exposed to very hot air for months at a time.

Fill Gaps

Drafts in a home mean that there is an opening somewhere leading to the outside. These gaps will cause a heating system to work harder than normal to keep the home warm. Any gaps should be filled as soon as possible. This could mean caulking around a window. It could also mean using a draft stopper along the bottom of doors.

Lower Temperatures Whenever Possible

The thermostat should be lowered whenever possible. This will reduce heating costs and prevent unnecessary wear on the system. Temperatures should be lowered during the day when no one is home. It is also helpful to lower the thermostat at night while everyone is sleeping. The heating system should never be shut off completely even if the family is leaving for a long vacation. Keeping the thermostat at the lowest possible setting will help to stop pipes from freezing and bursting.

Zipf-Air, Inc is the premier HVAC contractor in St. Louis and surrounding areas. Learn more about us on Facebook and Twitter!

Your Air Conditioner Has Served You Well All Summer Long–Now Give It a Hand

It’s been a long, hot summer, and if you’re like many families, your air conditioner has had to work hard to keep things cool. Whether it’s handled things just right or whether you want to see improvements in the next air-conditioning season, here are a few ways to keep your A/C working at the peak of its efficiency.

  • Keep up with scheduled maintenance. Because home HVAC systems sit idle during one season and experience heavy use during another, annual maintenance is recommended to clear out debris buildups, check for leaks and loose connections, and make sure everything is in working order when you need it.
  • Change your air filter. The more air your A/C unit handles, the more clogged your filter will become, and the more clogged the filter, the harder your air conditioner has to work to push air through and distribute it through your house. Air filters should be inspected monthly, and changed when dirty.
  • Examine your insulation and home sealing. Insulation doesn’t just keep you warm in the winter months, it reduces all heat transfer – meaning that it also keeps outside heat from coming into your home during the summer. And a well-sealed home will keep you from losing conditioned air. You aren’t paying to cool the whole neighborhood.
  • Consider supplementing a central system with window A/C units or fans. This is especially good advice for homes with some areas which are inefficiently cooled by air distributed from a central system, or with rooms such as home offices that may be occupied for long periods during the heat of the day while other areas are left unused. Efficient window systems may be what you need to cut temperatures as well as costs.
  • Have a home energy assessment. A qualified HVAC specialist can come to your home and analyze how your building stores or loses heat, the efficiency of your current systems, and what steps you can take to get the biggest returns.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, contact us at Zipf-Air, Inc. We’re happy to help our customers in and around St. Louis.

Help! My Air Conditioner won’t turn on!

The summer months are officially here! Whether you live in Missouri, Ohio or New Jersey — the warm weather is coming! Nothing is worse then being hot and going to turn on your Air Conditioner only to find out it’s not turning on, blowing hot air, or making an odd sound. So what do you do?!

1. Check your thermostat. Is it set to below the current room temperature? If not make sure you set your thermostat for a cooler temperature. If that doesn’t work, check your electrical panel/breaker to make sure it isn’t the fuse.

2. Check your filters. We’ve said it a 100 times but a dirty filter restricts airflow and causes your unit to not work well or sometimes at all.

3. Check around your system that it is not clogged up with dirt and debris.

If your system still does not turn on it could be a more serious problem that requires the attention of a skilled HVAC technician. Call us today at 314-821-1200 to schedule a repair or visit us online at www.zipfair.com

When it comes to repair vs replace we like to go by the 50% rule: If the cost of the repairs is approximately 50% of the total cost of the unit it is time to replace!

and just remember: All of the solutions listed above are things that Zipf-Air, Inc will check during a regular maintenance visit! Did you know that a lack of maintenance contributes up to 90% of most AC repairs! Be savvy about your AC and don’t get stuck in the heat without it!

An A/C Inspection is important — Here’s why

Chicago-Furnace-RepairAt Zipf-Air, Inc we recommend you get your air conditioner inspected this spring so it will last you the whole summer! The last thing you want to deal with in the midst of summer is a broken air conditioner. Call us today to schedule your A/C Inspection before the summer heat hits!

You may be wondering what the benefits of an A/C Inspection are so we will explain them to you! Your air conditioner has been sitting in the cold for approximately 6 months, if not longer. It gets hit with wind, rain, snow, cold temps and sometimes even hail. An A/C inspection will help ensure that you won’t have any sudden breakdowns, leaks or drips.

An A/C Inspection will:

- Improve your A/C efficiency

- Reduce your risk of breakdown

- Extend the life of your unit

- Keep your home cool

Call Zipf-Air, Inc at 314-821-1200 to schedule an air conditioning inspection this spring. You can also schedule a Tune Up on our website HERE

5 sounds you NEVER want to hear come from your HVAC system

Your HVAC system is so much like your car. When it starts to make a loud noise, it rarely is good news. When your HVAC unit is operating normally, it should be relatively quiet and many of the sounds you hear will be normal. However loud and rumbling sounds can be a signal that your system needs professional attention. We have separated sounds out for you to listen for that indicate immediate action is needed!

1. Rattling from outside compressor and fan unit — When the fan turns on in your compressor unit, it should NOT rattle. A rattling sound can indicate loose hardware or a failing motor. The louder the sounds, the more serious the problem can be. However, a squeal when the unit first starts is often a normal sound.

2. “Thwapping” — If you hear a fast “thrawpping” sound when the blower is running, something may be stuck in the blades. There might be something inside the housing that is contacting the blower when it turns. If objects/debris are creating resistance, the motor can wear our abnormally fast.

3. Loud rattling, banging, clanking or banging noises — These types of sounds are usually an indication of a problem with the blower assembly or motor. The rattling usually means a component is coming loose. The problem should be addressed before the part breaks/disconnects completely. If you hear loud banging sou when the blower is running, shut your system off entirely.

4. Squealing or screeching — Squealing from the blower motor can be indicative of a bad belt or motor bearing problems. While belts are not normally expensive, they should be replaced before they break.

5. Repeated clicking sounds — Clicking noises ARE normal when HVAC units turn on and off. If you hear repeated clicking coming from outside the compressor, a relay may be defective.

If you hear any of these sounds it would be best to call us! (314) 812-1200 or visit us online at www.zipfair.com

You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google +!

The Dangers of a Cracked Heat Exchanger

Unfortunately, if your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, it’s time to choose between repairing or replacing your unit. Making this decision, however, is often easier said than done. In order to help you evaluate your current situation and take the right steps forward, here’s a guide to dealing with a cracked heat exchanger.

Why should I be concerned about a cracked heat exchanger?

Rule #1: If your Heat Exchanger has been deemed cracked by a HVAC professional you should NOT be running it. Unfortunately, some owners will attempt to run their furnace even when a cracked heat exchanger has been detected. It’s important that you understand there’s a good reason behind your furnace being red tagged, or taken out of commission. Choosing to ignore the warning could yield serious consequences.

A crack in the heat exchanger can allow poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) to leak into your home, leading to illness or even death. Additionally, because your heat exchanger is such an integral part of your heating system, it’s typically an expensive problem. Therefore, any cracks found in your heat exchanger should be addressed promptly in order to maintain safety and comfort.

Which is best: repairing or replacing my furnace?

Hiring your HVAC contractor to fix your heat exchanger may initially seem less expensive, but repairs should only be considered when:

  • Your furnace is under 10 years old
  • Repair parts are completely covered under manufacturer warranty
  • Labor costs are less than 25 percent of the cost to replace

Even if your situation meets these criteria, you should still consider upgrading your furnace.

If you suspect a cracked  heat exchanger or would like a quote on repairing or replacing your furnace, contact the pros at Zipf Air Inc. Call us today (314) 821-1200

 

The A,B,Cs of HVAC Vocab

Heating and Air Conditioning is not an industry most of us are well educated in, but the more you know the more money you can save! Especially in this day in age where HVAC equipment are much more energy efficient than they have ever been. We want to equip you, the homeowner, with the right definitions of key HVAC terms so you know what to look for when you upgrade your system in your home.

That means it’s important to understand HVAC efficiency ratings so you can make an informed decision when comparing products:

  • SEER – Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) tells you how efficiently an air conditioner or heat pump cools air over the course of typical cooling season. Rating range from 13 to the mid-20s, with 13 being the minimum rating allowed since 2006. However, if you can find a comparably-priced unit with a rating around 16, it’s usually worth the investment. SEER 16 is usually considered the point where high-efficiency air conditioning begins.
  • EER – Energy efficiency ratio (EER) is similar to SEER but it focuses on efficiency during the hottest times. It’s not as important here as it is in hotter areas but it’s still good to know when comparing similarly priced units with the same SEER rating.
  • HSPF – Heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) measures the heating efficiency of heat pumps. It tells you the average number of British thermal units the unit produces for each watt of energy consumed over an entire heating season. HSPF ratings range from 7.7 to 10, with each point being a 10 percent increase in efficiency.
  • AFUE – Annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is used to compare furnaces or boilers. The rating is the percentage of fuel that is converted to heat. High-efficiency furnaces run from 90 percent to near 100, and cost more than standard-efficiency furnaces. Depending on how often you use your furnace, a high-efficiency model will eventually pay for itself in monthly energy savings.

Before you decide to upgrade your system please contact us at Zipf-Air, Inc! We help homeowners just like you in St. Louis! We want to help you not only understand the HVAC terminology but also equip you with all of the information you will need in order to make the best decision for your family.

Call us today or visit us at our website! http://www.zipfair.com

You can also visit us on Twitter, or Facebook!

(314) 821-1200

Heating & Cooling: To DIY or not DIY?

With money tight and our countries increase interest in DIY, a lot of handy homeowners are opting to do repairs instead of hiring a seasoned professional. While this might initially save you money it could become a great headache down the line. It is true that some jobs can be done at home but there are quite a bit that required extensive HVAC knowledge.

How do you know which problems to address yourself, and which require the expertise of a professional HVAC contractor?

Here are 5 reasons it’s better to hire a professional:

  • Safety is golden – I’m sure you know how important it is to protect your family. But repairing your heating system on your own can end up putting them at risk. There are many factors to consider, such as carbon monoxide, leaking gas, and other issues that could potentially cause harm. Professionals are trained to watch for these issues, and take the appropriate measures to protect your family.
  • DIY is costly – I’m sure you went into the project with good intentions. The problem is that you may end up buying a part that is less energy-efficient than I would have used. Over the winter season, that furnace may have cost you more than what my fee would have been had you hired me. Not only that, but what happens if you accidentally cause further damage to the furnace? That will result in buying additional parts.
  • Speed – Professionals repair these systems on a daily basis. Let’s assume you are trying to repair your furnace during the winter season. Imagine any delays in the repair, and the temperature in the home plummeting while the furnace is not running. A professional can have the vents blowing out hot air before you know it.
  • Pre-emptive warning – There may be more wrong with your systems than you know about. While you may only be repairing the current issue, a professional could have spotted something that may be an issue in a few days. That second issue will be a complete surprise to you, but it wouldn’t have been a surprise to the professional.
  • Savings – You may be weary of the fees by professionals, but they are not that bad. Especially when you look at the savings they can bring you because they often have special relationships with parts suppliers. They can end up saving you some serious money on a new furnace or central air unit, while you would normally be paying retail prices if you were to do it on your own.

At the end of the day we at Zipf-Air, Inc are here to serve YOU. We promise you efficient service with a great price! Contact us today by calling us 314-821-1200.

Keep warm this winter!