Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?

Now is the Time to Check Your Heating System

Even though it feels summer just ended, now is the perfect time to think about your heating system. The snow and ice seems like an eternity away, but the reality of a furnace breaking down in the middle of a cold Kansas winter is a real concern. It’s a threat our trained HVAC technicians at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning deal with every winter.

Without fail, some problem or system breakdown is bound to happen to some Manhattan area homeowners at the worst possible time. While you can always call our Standard team for emergency furnace repair 24/7, we want to help you prevent this problem from happening at all.

In this article, we explain how proper furnace maintenance can save you from potential heating disaster. And we will also show you the easiest thing you can do NOW that will go a long way in preventing a problem.

Will Your Heat Turn On?

Furnace in basement getting serviced by Standard Heating & Air in Manhattan, KSYou have not needed your heat for many months. Will it be ready to work when the first cold snap happens in Manhattan?

Waiting until temperatures drop low enough to need your heat is too late. Finding out that your furnace is not working when it’s very cold out means you don’t have time to wait for a repair.

If that happens, you will probably be left waiting in the cold.

You can expect to wait quite some time for a qualified HVAC repair technician to get your heating system back up and working. Just as you may be finding out that your furnace isn’t working, so might hundreds of other families. We have seen this happen every year for the near century Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving the greater Manhattan community.

As we head into another cold Kansas winter, we are here to help homeowners avoid this sort of emergency. The truth is that many of these furnace breakdowns can be avoided. By doing one thing, you could prevent finding yourself without a heating system in the coldest days of the winter.

Prevent a Heater Emergency: What to do RIGHT NOW

Doing a test run of your furnace should be done every year before the cold season starts. When precisely? Our weather is not the same every year so there’s no perfect date to always test out your heating system. You will want to do it well before you need heat.

Do you recall when you first turned your heat on last year? Last year in Manhattan, our first night of freezing temperatures happened on October 11th.

Graph from timeanddate.com showing the freezing temperatures in Manhattan in October 2019
Manhattan, KS temperatures October 2019 as posted by timeanddate.com

Remember, it’s not just about you and your home. When does everyone else turn their heat on? While you may be an energy saver who holds out until it gets quite cold before turning on your furnace, that is not common.

Turning your heater on before you need it may sound dumb, but it is the smartest thing you can do.

Sure, it’s probably still quite warm out, but turning on your heater before you actually need it is important. If you don’t feel the heat or detect some problem such as hearing odd, persistent sounds, at least now you know you may have a problem. You will be giving yourself plenty of time to get any problem fixed before you need to use it this winter.

When hundreds of families across the Manhattan area are all in need of a furnace repair at about the same time, there aren’t suddenly hundreds of more skilled HVAC technicians available to do the job. Our skilled furnace repair team will be working night and day getting broken heating systems up and running.

The Heat Comes On: Are You in the Clear?

If your heating system successfully turns on, emits heat, and appears to be working normally, you may be in the clear. This is especially likely if you have a newer system that is regularly maintained and has had the air filters changed on a regular basis.

It’s always a good idea to have your heating system maintained on a yearly basis. There are a variety of issues that could affect how well a furnace operates that are not always obvious.

Regular HVAC maintenance is the absolute best way to ensure your heater is working well and efficiently. Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning provides a yearly VIP Maintenance Program that allows for us to provide this service to homeowners and give them peace of mind that their system can be expected to run at peak performance year in and year out.

Graphic image of Standard’s VIP Maintenance Program

Standard’s Fall Furnace Tune Up

Contact us to schedule service for a Fall Furnace Check & Tune Up. One of our experienced technicians will come to your home and do all the necessary testing of your HVAC system. We will make sure that your furnace is working properly and efficiently. An inefficient heating system will waste unnecessary amounts of energy, possibly leaving you with a larger than expected energy bill in the middle of winter!

  • Testing to make sure it is working properly and safely
  • Changing the air filter
  • Checking duct work and all other components of your cooling system to make sure any possible problems or issues are detected and resolved
  • Checking that the thermostat is working properly

October: Early Bird Furnace Special

Because a fall tune-up of your heating system is the best way to ensure your house is ready for our next cold Kansas winter, we are offering a special deal for our seasonal maintenance service. Contact us to get our fall furnace special available through the entire month of October 2020. For the special price of $70.00 we will make sure your furnace is ready to keep you warm all winter. Call us today at (785) 776-5012.

Promotional ad for Early Bird Furnace Tune Up Special by Standard in Manhattan

Troubleshooting an AC Leaking Water

What To Do When Water Leaks from your A/C

Over a hot Kansas summer, your ac system is working day and night to keep your whole house cool. A well-maintained system that isn’t too old should be able to keep up with the demand to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. But problems still can happen.

Water that has leaked at the bottom of the furnace in a basementOften people find out their air conditioner is broken or has problems by their home getting hot. But sometimes the sign of a problem comes in the form of a water leak.

Finding out your air conditioning system is leaking water can be a problem in a few different ways. Not only that, the leaking water may be causing damage to your home.  Whatever is causing the leak is often a problem that, if left unhandled, will cause whatever problem you have to become worse.

How do you know if you’re dealing with a leak caused by your HVAC system? Usually the place where you notice the water pooling or dripping from is a good indicator.

Do you have a water puddle in your basement?

If the water leak is leaving a puddle in your basement, it is likely coming from your HVAC system. But it isn’t your furnace that has a problem. That water is probably coming from the indoor unit of your home’s cooling system.

Is water dripping from a ceiling below your attic?

Are you seeing drips come down from your ceiling? If this is occurring right below your attic where your HVAC system is located, then it could be coming from your A/C.

Do you Need to Call A Plumber Right Away?

Not necessarily. While many problems that may cause an AC to leak do need to be handled by a professional, the problem may be something relatively simple to fix on your own.

If you feel capable of handling some level of basic HVAC repair, you can troubleshoot some of the possible problems causing your leak.

If you are not able to fix the problem yourself, you will need to call an professional technician. Here at Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, we both experienced plumbers and HVAC technicians. We are licensed contractors and hold licenses for both master plumber and master mechanical for Manhattan, Wamego and Junction City. While there are many great Manhattan plumbing companies and also great local HVAC companies, being a business that specializes in both plumbing and heating & cooling systems mean we are absolutely your experts to get your problem fixed.

Understanding Why Water is Leaking from your AC

You need to first realize that your air conditioning system naturally is creating water. How? As it works hard to cool and dehumidify your entire house, moisture is pulled from the air and collects inside the AC system. Furnace and AC unit in basementAll that water gathers into a drain pan then goes down a drain line.

Water Dripping from AC: 5 Likely Reasons

Before anyone can fix the cause of this leak, we need to determine what exactly is causing it. Water dripping from your A/C could happen due to a few different reasons. Many of them do require a professional HVAC company to fix. Some can be attempted by homeowners who feel confident in their home repair skills.

If you try some of the basic troubleshooting steps and they don’t solve the leak, contact us at Standard and we will come out to determine the cause of the problem and get it fixed.

  1. Dirty Air Filter (DIY Troubleshooting)

This is a step you can (and should) attempt to handle yourself. You just need to replace your air filter. You may be finding that you are not replacing your air filter as often as you need to. You should be checking your filter every month and examining it. Change it out when it appears dirty, even if it’s ahead of your typical filter change schedule.

  1. A Broken Condensate Pump (Possible DIY Troubleshooting)

An air conditioning system with a unit in the basement often has a condensate pump. It works to direct water created by the AC to a floor drain or sink. A condensate pump can break and therefore prevent water from getting pumped out of your house.

This is a problem some homeowners may want to try to troubleshoot themselves. To do so, disconnect the drain line and empty out all the water. Remove the check valve. Plug the pump back in to see if it’s working. If it is still not working, you can try purchasing a replacement condensate pump. If replacing it also doesn’t solve the problem, then the issue may be a dirty check valve. You can try to clean it or replace it.

  1. Clogged Condensate Drain Line (Call a Pro)

A problem with your condensate drain line is probably not something for you to fix this yourself. There are ways to try to tackle this clog with a wet/dry vac, but professional HVAC technicians have specific tools designed to fully clear out whatever is blocking an air conditioner’s condensate drain line.

Schedule AC Repair Service Today

  1. Damaged Drain Pan (Call a Pro)

One reason for a leaking AC is because the drain pan has become rusted or damaged. Some AC units allow for the drain pain to be replaced. Whatever the case, this is a repair that is best left to a professional because a drain pan is typically too hard to access.

  1. Refrigerant is Low (Call a Pro)

AC drain line for refrigerantAn air conditioner that is running low on refrigerant can cause several problems. Low refrigerant can cause the evaporator coil to freeze. This can lead to eventual melting, overflowing the drain pan and creating a puddle. Call us at (785) 776-5012 and we will come out and check your system. If we see that your system is low on refrigerant, we will replace all that is needed.

Schedule AC Repair Service Today

How to Prevent an AC Leak

The good news is that an air conditioning leak can be prevented. Regular maintenance work done on your cooling system should reveal signs of problems early on. Catching issues early can prevent your system from breaking down or causing problems like water leaks to your home.

Request service from our team at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for the maintenance you need on your air conditioning and furnace tune-ups. We provide a VIP preventative maintenance program for customers to have us handle all their HVAC maintenance and tune-ups throughout the year. It’s a membership program that allows Standard to take the worry and the work off your hands of making sure your home’s comfort system is working properly and efficiently.

Graphic showing the VIP maintenance prevention program provided by Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning serving the Manhattan, KS area

 

 

 

My AC is Blowing Warm Air!

Troubleshooting an Air Conditioner that is Not Blowing Cold Air

Troubles with an air conditioner are never great, but it is especially a problem when it seems your air conditioner is making your home warmer! There is never a worse time to discover this than the middle of a hot Kansas summer.

When you realize your air conditioner is putting out warm air instead of cool air, what should you do? It may seem like your system is completely broken and that you will need a costly repair or even an even more expensive complete AC replacement. But the good news is that isn’t always the case. There may be some easy fix that just about any homeowner can handle to get the hot air problem fixed right away.

What Should You Do When Your AC is Not Blowing Cold Air?

The first thing you should NOT do is panic and rush for the phone to call for a repair. Yes, we would be happy to fix your air conditioning problem whenever you need us, but if there is an easy fix, doing it yourself will save you some time and money. So before calling a professional technician, we want to give you the AC Blowing Warm Air Troubleshooting Tips you should try first. 

Here at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air, we receive calls throughout the summer from Manhattan, Wamego, Junction City, and surrounding towns with people in distress over a broken air conditioner. Sometimes when we go to service their AC system, we discover the source of the problem required easy fixes the homeowners may have been able to handle themselves.

Troubleshooting AC Blowing Warm Air

Here are the first steps for a homeowner to take when faced with an AC not blowing cool air. These are pretty basic steps that just about anyone at any skill level can handle.

These troubleshooting steps: 

  • Are relatively easy and require no (or little) repair skills
  • Can be done quickly, often in mere minutes
  • Require little or no money

Taking a little bit of time to troubleshoot your AC problem could really pay off. If one of these troubleshooting steps fixes your problems, you will have prevented paying for a service call.

Graphic image showing the 4 basic troubleshooting steps to do when your AC is blowing warm air

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #1: CHECK YOUR THERMOSTAT

You are going to hope the thermostat is your problem because it can be the easiest problem to fix! Getting your air conditioner to blow cool air again may be as simple as a push of a button.

We see this problem every so often: someone in the home changes the thermostat. Whether they intentionally wanted it much warmer or simply hit something wrong by accident, there could be a setting that is making your AC blow warm air.

Checking to ensure that your thermostat settings are where they should be is your first step.                 

Is the thermostat set to COOL? No matter how low you set your thermostat it, if it’s not at the COOL setting, it won’t put out cool air. You need to make sure the thermostat is indeed set on COOL. It should not be only on FAN or HEAT.

Is the thermostat set to be colder than the current temperature? If you haven’t adjusted your thermostat since the winter, it may be set to a hotter temperature than the ambient temperature. If that’s the case, lower the set temperature to be a number below the current air temperature. You should notice your air conditioner fan kick on rather quickly. And soon after, you should feel cool air coming from your vents.

Is the thermostat’s battery dead? A lot of us forget that the device controlling our temperatures needs battery power to work. If that battery is dead, it can’t send the message to your HVAC system the message that your house is too hot. It is great news if you discover this is your problem. Simply replacing your thermostat’s batteries may be all the fix you need to get your air conditioner back to working and blowing out cool air.

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #2: VENTS

This step is to simply check all the vents in your home. Are your vents open? For proper heating and cooling to occur, you need to keep every vent in your home open. It’s a common mistaken belief that closing vents to rooms saves energy. However, your HVAC system was designed to work in the way it was set up, including utilizing your full duct work system. Vents should be open for proper flow of air through your home. It is okay, however, if a couple vents are closed.

Make sure you can feel air coming out of your registers. If you do not feel any, the fan motor in your HVAC system may not be working. Call us at Standard and our technicians can get that fixed quickly.

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #3: INDOOR UNIT

Your home’s HVAC includes a component of the AC system called an evaporator. The evaporator absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to your outdoor AC unit (the condenser). To check this step, go to your furnace and listen if the blower motor is running. Also, check to see if there is any ice on the evaporator coil. That may indicate there is a refrigerant leak or something simpler to address such as a dirty air filter (keep reading for more on air filters).

If your evaporator mower is not working, you will want to contact a professional air conditioning technician to handle. There are a few issues that could be keeping the motor from working, from lack of lubrication to electrical issues, and these are most safely handled by a trained technician.

Dirty air filter:  This is a great problem to discover as it is very easy to fix. You may not have realized exactly how important it is to change your air filter on a regular schedule. It’s the most important part of regular AC maintenance. Many people don’t know how frequently it needs to be changed or the serious problems a dirty filter can cause. A dirty or clogged filter really can shut your entire HVAC system. If your air filter looks dirty, change it. That alone may be the only fix your air conditioner needs to begin blowing cool air again!

While the indoor component of your cooling system contains the fan that blows air through your home, it will blow air even when the outside unit is not working. It is your outside unit (the condenser) that turns the air cool that gets circulated through your home. That takes us to Step #4.  

AC TROUBLESHOOTING STEP #4: OUTSIDE AC UNIT

If you’ve tried the above 3 troubleshooting AC steps and your vents are still blowing warm air, it’s time to go outside.

Look at the outdoor AC unit. Does it have any frost or ice on it? If it does, change the setting on your thermostat from COOL to having only the FAN on. This will allow the unit to thaw. It may take as much as 12 hours for the unit thaw out. A frozen outdoor AC unit is often an indicator that your air filter needs to be changed. If changing your filter fixes the problem, but only temporarily, you may be dealing with a possible freon leak. Contact Standard and our technicians will quickly come out to resolve any potentially dangerous freon leak. We will also refill your unit with refrigerant.

Another thing to check is whether the unit is dirty. It’s common, especially here in Kansas, to find our outdoor AC unit covered with milkweed, leaves or other natural debris. If you can see it is dirty, you can clean it.

How to Clean Your AC Condenser Unit 

    • Turn off your condenser unit.
    • Remove the top section and outer caging.
    • Spray the coils from inside the condenser with a hose. Make sure you are spraying from the inside going out. Do not spray from the outside in. Also, take care to not bend the fins.

If you want a professional to handle the cleaning and maintenance of your AC unit, feel free to schedule service with us online or by calling at (785) 776-5012.

Graphic image showing the list of big AC problems that would require an HVAC technician, such as one from Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Manhattan

Other Broken AC Problems

If none of the above AC Blowing Warm Air Troubleshooting Steps worked for you, call us. We may be able to provide you more things to check that can be handled on your own. Give us a call at (785) 776-5012. We will be happy to come out and service your HVAC unit to get cold air blowing again as soon as possible.

You can learn more about how air conditioners work and energy saving tips from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy Tax Credit for Homeowners

Save Money on New Efficient Systems in Your Home

March 2020

Promotional ad for potential $500 tax credit for new energy efficient HVAC installation

Now a New Furnace or AC Comes with Extra Benefits!

The federal government is giving homeowners a tax credit for making their home more energy efficient. It is extending a tax credit for homeowners who’ve had new systems installed in their homes that meet certain qualifications. And great news – there is still plenty of time to take advantage of this energy efficiency property credit!

How Much Money Can You Save?

Cash money iconDepending on the product or system you had (or will get) installed, you could see a tax credit for several hundred dollars. Some of the products qualify you for a credit of 10% of the cost up to a total of $500. Other products have specific credit values ranging from $50 to $300.

Which Products Does this Include?

This is a Federal Energy Tax Credit. These are federal incentives to increase the efficiency in homes across the country.  You have an opportunity for this money saving opportunity because of the energy saving investments you made in your home. This credit is only for an HVAC system or property placed in service in a home. Therefore, the products that qualify you for this tax credit have specifications regarding their level of energy efficiency.

What that means is a higher SEER rating on a newly installed air conditioner. If your new AC is listed as an ENERGY STAR Most Efficient product, than it should qualify.  Central air conditioner systems qualify for a credit of up to $300.

When it comes to heating systems, you will be looking to get a furnace or boiler with an AFUE rating of at least 95. Propane, natural gas and oil furnaces and boilers can result in a saving of up to $150.

The types of products that qualify include:

    • High efficient furnace with high AFUE that qualifies for federal energy tax creditHigh efficient AC with high SEER rating that qualifies for energy tax creditFurnaces
    • Air Conditioner Systems
    • Heat Pumps
    • Hot Water Boilers
    • Water Heaters
    • Circulating Fans

These products must be installed in your home to qualify. This is not a credit for businesses. For the full list of what products qualify and how much each qualifies for, check out the property tax credit list on EnergyStar.gov.

For some information on how to apply to receive your federal tax credit regarding energy efficient installations, check out Energy Star’s Tax Credit page. There you will also find links to various tax forms and contact information for the IRS.

Deadline to Get the Credit

cash money iconThis tax credit is one that is in effect now and through the end of this year. You have until December 31, 2020 to get a new energy-efficient system put into your home to take advantage of this savings.

 If you had a new home comfort system installed in the last couple of years, you may still be in luck! This tax credit is retroactive all the way back to 2018. So you still can get the savings on systems and products you’ve already had recently installed.

Want to take advantage of this tax credit before it’s too late? Call us! Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air are Manhattan’s heating and cooling experts. We can provide you with a new furnace or air conditioning system or even a complete HVAC package in time for you to qualify for this tax credit. We install high-end, energy-efficient systems that will improve the comfort in your home. You can expect to also see a saving on your monthly energy bill with newer systems working more efficiently in your home.

Request a free estimate for a new system for your home online or by calling us at (785) 776-5012.

 

Related Tax Credits to Homeowners

In addition to this HVAC energy tax credit, you’ll find other home improvement products also qualify for a credit. This includes new insulation, roofs, windows and doors. However, the credit for these improvements does not include installation costs.

Ask the Professionals

While we can address any problem or question you have about heating and air systems, remember that we are HVAC experts, not tax experts. For more in-depth questions on who can qualify and instruction on applying for tax credits, you will want to see a tax professional.

 

 

2023 Federal Rules on AC Kansas SEER Rating

What to Know about New Regulations Affecting Air Conditioners for Manhattan Homeowners

March 2020

Federal Restrictions on Buying New Air Conditioners

In three years, the government is changing environmental standards that will affect AC systems in homes across the United States. This coming change is already impacting service companies like us at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air here in Manhattan, Kansas. It will affect homeowners over the coming years, but how much?

The way that air conditioning systems work has always had an impact on energy use and our environment. Our industry has regularly dealt with federal guidelines on the service and installation of air conditioners and refrigerant. The rules affecting AC systems in homes across the country sometimes change, and they are about to change again. This will impact the Kansas SEER rating requirement.

How will the next AC change affect you and your home?

 

First: Understanding SEER

Knowing how this coming regulation change on minimum SEER requirements will affect your home’s HVAC system starts with understanding the SEER rating.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a measurement that tells you the level of energy efficiency for an air conditioner. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient it is.

KANSAS FACTS: AC systems in homes across the Manhattan area usually have a SEER rating somewhere between SEER 10 and SEER 20. If you have an older air conditioner, yours might have a lower SEER number. If you have a newer AC, your system may even have a SEER number higher than 20.

The minimum efficiency rating of air conditioners has been mandated for decades. In 1987, the U.S. Department of Energy set it’s first SEER rating standards. Those standards vary from region to region. The reason for this is because of the wide range of climates across the country. The temperature and climate are primary factors into determining the minimum SEER rating allowed for each regions. Many states south of Kansas have a higher SEER rating requirement.

KANSAS FACTS: Here in the Manhattan area, the current federal requirement for air conditioners is that any new ones installed have a SEER rating of 13 or higher.

Our current SEER 13 minimum requirement began five years ago – back in 2015. Just 8 years later, the EPA will raise the SEER minimum again.

The new federal regulation means that all new air conditioners that get install need to be SEER 14 or higher starting 2023.

Beginning in 2023, Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air (along with every heating and air conditioning company in the United States) can no longer install an air conditioning unit with a SEER rating of 13 or less. For HVAC companies in states further south, they will only be permitted to install air conditioners with a minimum rating of SEER 15.

 

What if Your Current AC Has Less than a SEER 14 Rating?

Standard AC technician repairing an air conditioner in Manhattan areaThere is nothing to worry about right away. The new higher standard coming in 2023 is only for new AC units that are getting installed.

The new change to the SEER minimum coming in 2023 will not force you to have to do anything soon.

Many homeowners aren’t meeting the current SEER 13 requirement right now anyway. If your AC has a lower SEER rating and it’s running fine, you don’t have to replace it right now with a new, more efficient system, although there are great reasons why you should do that anyway. But if you do choose to (or need to) replace your system, there are already a lot of great high efficent AC options. You will easily be able to purchase one with a SEER of 14 or higher.

New AC installed by Standard Plumbing Heating & Air ConditioningYou Will Likely NOT Be Affected By This Regulation Change

The SEER 14 minimum rule will only be a potential issue for homeowners who need to replace an aging cooling system on or after 2023. But even that isn’t going to be much of an issue.

Cooling technology has improved greatly over the years. Today, you have a lot of different air conditioning options to choose from. It’s quite easy to find a system that is not just more energy efficient, but also affordable. Even today, most homeowners don’t even consider getting a new AC that has a rating lower than SEER 14. For not a great cost difference, you can purchase an AC that has a high SEER number, one that runs more efficiently and provides you reliable cooling for your entire house.

When you hire Standard for a professional AC installation, we give you the information necessary to help you understand the benefits of different systems so you can be sure you have the right cooling solution for your home.

Choosing an AC system with a higher SEER rating could end up saving you money. The amount you spend every month on energy bills can be reduced by simply having a more efficient air conditioner. Over time, you may find that the money you save on monthly bills will more than equal the additional price of buying a more efficient unit.

 

The Larger Impact of the 2023 SEER Rating Change

While we’ve explained this regulatory change isn’t likely to affect homeowners across Kansas or anywhere in the United States, it is expected to impact our country in other ways. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EPA) has stated that this new rule change for SEER minimum ratings will add up to creating a savings of between $2.5 billion – $12.2 billion on energy bills over three decades.

 

A Different Federal AC Rule Change

The regulation raising the SEER minimum ratings in 2023 isn’t the only change happening to homeowners’ air conditioning systems. A different governmental rule just went into affect in January 2020. The refrigerant used in many current air conditioning units, R22 (also known as Freon), has been phased out. Learn how the R22 phase out could affect you and your HVAC costs.

 

Have Questions?

Photo of Standard Heating & Air service van outside Manhattan shopContact us with your heating and air questions. The Standard Plumbing Heating & Air team are your Manhattan experts on the rules and standards for proper service and installation of AC systems. We would be happy to help you understand the heating and cooling options for your home. Call us at (785) 776-5012.