Serving Greater Lynchburg

Heating and Cooling a New Addition

Heating and Cooling Options For New Additions

Ductless Heating and Cooling

When adding a new space to your home one of the most important decisions is  how you are going to heat and cool the room. In some cases your existing central heating and cooling system may not be large enough to handle the added air volume. Or, adding air ducts to extend the reach of the existing duct work may not be practical because of the structure of the house or distance from the air handler.

Even if the furnace and AC are upgraded to a larger system and the duct system is extended, there can be problems maintaining consistent temperatures throughout the entire home. Here are some solutions to these problems

Mini-Split HVAC Systems

One option for heating a new addition is to install a split heating and cooling system, also known as a ductless heat pump. A heat pump not only heats in the winter, it also provides cooling in the summer.

Because split systems work independently from the home’s primary HVAC system – in most cases having its own thermostat – it eliminates the air balancing problems that can occur when expanding an existing HVAC system.

Have questions about heating and cooling a new addition to your home? Give Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical a call. Our home comfort specialists can help solve all your heating and cooling challenges.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

How does a heat pump work?

With the increasing popularity of efficient heat pumps in some areas of the U.S., many homeowners are asking if a heat pump is a good option for heating and cooling their Lynchburg area home. Here is an overview of how home heat pumps differ from traditional central heating and cooling systems.

The main difference between a furnace and a heat pump is that a heat pump can be reversed to both heat and cool a home. Heat pumps consist of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit that is similar to a central air conditioner – called a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant to absorb and release heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor components of the system.

Depending on the season, a heat pump exchanges the cool air with warm air, or the other way around. Even air that’s seems cold can retain heat energy. When the temperature is cold outside the heat pump works by extracting the heat and transferring it to an air handler inside the home where it can be distributed through the home’s air ducts. When it’s hot outside, the process is reversed to function basically like a central air conditioner, exchanging/removing the warm air inside the home, lowering the temperature.

Is a Heat Pump a Good Option for the Lynchburg area?

When considering whether to upgrade your central heating and cooling system to a heat pump it’s important to understand that, unlike a gas furnace which generates heat by burning fuel, a heat pump can only exchange heat, and cannot deliver the high degree of warm air that is required in colder climates. Luckily, the climate in Lynchburg and the Central Virginia area is mild enough to make heat pumps a reliable and efficient option for heating and cooling most homes.

Have questions about heat pumps? Call Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical. We’re happy to answer all your home heating and cooling questions.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace?

Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace?

Furnace Repair LynchburgIt happens eventually with every old furnace or heat pump, you wake up on a cold winter morning and find that there’s no heat and your home is freezing cold. The thermostat is working, but the furnace has quit. If you’re lucky, it will be a simple, inexpensive fix. However, if your furnace is getting old and requires more extensive repairs, you’ll need to decide whether replacing it with a newer, more efficient furnace is a better option than repairing the furnace again, hoping it will last through the rest of the winter.

How long does a gas furnace last?

According to the National Association of Home Builder’s survey, a gas furnace lasts an average of 15 to 20 years. Consider the age of the unit when deciding whether to repair or replace. At the time a furnace is installed, most technicians will mark down the date the equipment was installed. You can also check the manufacturer’s identification plate, which is usually on the inside of the door (be sure the unit is off and cool before checking inside). Record the model and serial number, then contact the manufacturer’s customer service number to obtain the date of manufacture.

How Much Will It Cost to Repair the Furnace?

As a rule of thumb, if the furnace is more than 10-12 years old and repairing it would cost a 1/3 or more of the cost of installing a new furnace, it may be more economical to replace the unit.

Comparing Energy Savings

With the cost of natural gas and propane increasing, it’s also important to consider the efficiency of your old furnace versus a newer unit. A standard measure of fuel efficiency is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE). AFUE measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost through inefficiency.

If the furnace is 15 or more years old, it’s likely rated around 70 AFUE. New furnaces will have an AFUE of at least 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel, saving 10% on your heating bill. High efficiency furnaces go as high a 95% AFUE , which could save you 25% on your heating bill.

Have questions about your furnace or heat pump? Call Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical. Our expert heating technicians can help evaluate your current system and recommend the best options for keeping your heating system working reliably and efficiently.