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Black Hills Blog

What Does “Sizing” an Air Conditioning System Mean?


If you’re in the market for a new air conditioning system, you've probably heard salesman talk about the right “size” air conditioner for your home. But what does “sizing” an air conditioning system mean? If isn't a reference to physical size, though that could enter into the equation depending on the space you have available for the unit in your home. In this case, “sizing” refers to the power levels of the air conditioner, measured in BTU s (British Thermal Units) per hour. Our Air Conditioning Experts at Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning can help you correctly size your system properly. But why is it so important to find the right power levels for your system?


In simplest terms, you need your air conditioner that is neither too small nor too large but just right. Obviously, you don’t want a system that lacks the power to cool your entire home, because it will labor too hard and won’t generate enough cool air. But neither do you want a system that generates too much power. If it does, it will cycle on and off rapidly, increasing strain on the system and causing it to wear out more quickly. Proper sizing – finding the right power levels for your home is extremely important.


And the equation to arrive at the proper sized air conditioner is trickier than it seems. You need to measure the square footage in your home, but you also need to factor in the amount of sunlight your household gets, the presence of cracks or breaches around the edges of your windows, the amount of insulation in the house, and similar factors.


For more on what sizing an air conditioning system means, or to schedule an installation evaluation, contact he experts at Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning for help. Give us a call today to set up an appointment!
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The Benefits of Professional Duct Cleaning

Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.

The frequency of cleaning depends on preference of the home owner. However, you shouldn’t be the one who does the job. You need to call a professional duct cleaning company with the right equipment to handle it. The Duct Cleaning professionals at Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning has the necessary skills to give you a superior cleaning.

Reasons to have professional duct cleaning

Ducts clogged with dust, dust mites, dirt, pollen, dander, and even mold will lower a home’s air quality and contribute to numerous health problems, especially for people with allergies. Keeping ducts clean is an important part of maintaining higher indoor air quality.

Greater HVAC system efficiency: Even a thin layer of dust along the interior of ductwork creates friction against the airflow from a heater or an air conditioner. This puts strain on the system, and it requires more energy to run. You will soon see a difference on your energy bills—and not a pleasant difference. Regular duct cleaning will make sure your heater and air conditioner run at their best, and without increased danger of debris clogging up the interior of the cabinets and causing repair needs.

A cleaner home: Consider this: a six-room home can circulate 40 lbs. of dust through it in only a year. A large amount of that will rest inside the ventilation shafts. If you have this contamination cleaned out from the ductwork, you’ll have a huge portion of the dust in your house removed at once, resulting in a cleaner home with fewer dust bunnies and dusty surfaces.

Professional duct cleaning uses powerful vacuums that change the pressure inside the ventilation system to make it easier to remove the various particles. Special brushes mounted on long flexible lines assist with agitating pollutants from the walls of ducts so the vacuums can suction them up easier.

Get started with duct cleaning before the summer air conditioning season starts up. Call Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule.
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Schedule a Maintenance Session Before Summer Begins

Spring has started, and you know what that means: before you know it, it will be summer. Is your home’s comfort system ready for another warm season? There’s one way to make certain—or as certain as you can be—and that’s to schedule a regular maintenance visit from a local, experienced heating and air conditioning contractor like Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer the maintenance agreements that can help you stay cool during the summer and then warm in the winter.

Here are some of the reasons you should have a maintenance visit in spring:

You didn’t schedule one for your heater in the fall

Let’s start with the system that you won’t use as much this summer: your heater. You should schedule maintenance for your heater each fall, before the winter starts. If your heater didn’t receive a maintenance session this pervious fall, you should definitely have it inspected and tuned-up now so it’s ready for the cold weather. Don’t get too far behind on any maintenance… it will cause premature aging in the system.

Take advantage of the springtime slowdown

Spring brings mild, pleasant temperatures in Washington, and people often need neither their heater nor their air conditioner working during many days. This means that HVAC technicians have less crowded schedules and fewer emergency calls, so you will have an easy time making a convenient appointment for a maintenance visit. Once the hotter weather starts, air conditioning repair technicians will be much much busier.

Avoid starting the summer with higher bills

A year is enough time for any air conditioner to develop dust, dirt, and deterioration from aging, and that means more operating stress when it turns on. To keep away the high utility bills from an AC that has started to wear down, schedule a maintenance session that will clean, adjust, and tune-up the system to ideal working condition.

Find that small malfunction before it becomes a big malfunction

A maintenance visit is the best way to discover if your air conditioning has a potential problem before you need the system working for you. A maintenance technicians will give the AC a thorough inspection and spot anything that needs repairs. Not only will this prevent problems later, the repairs will probably cost less if caught earlier.

You can get started with maintenance right away: call Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning and sign one of our maintenance agreements, which will deliver you an annual inspection and tune-up. When it comes to inspection, installation, and heating & cooling repairs in Washington, turn to Black Hills, Inc.


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6 Things You Should Never Do When It Comes To Your Furnace

You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your heating and cooling system in your home. When these systems are working well, you don’t need to pay attention to them, but it you ignore them completely, you could be asking for a ton of trouble down the road and some unexpected expenses, too. Let’s take a look at some basis no-no’s when it comes to furnace installation, maintenance, and repair that every homeowner should keep in mind.

1. Neglect filters.

Like most expensive investments, furnaces work best when they are properly maintenance. Something as simple as changing a filter on a monthly basis can make a huge impact on the overall efficiency and health of your furnace over time. Basis furnace filters last about a month, while high-efficiency models will last closer to three months. Set a recurring alarm on your phone, tie a string around your finger, or write it on your family calendar for the entire year so that you never forget.

2. Ignore strange noises.

It is normal for furnaces to make noise as part of their normal operations, but if you notice that those sounds are getting louder, it may be time to call a professional for an inspection. Some specific warning sounds to heed include scraping metal, whining or squealing, and a distinct bang or pop when the furnace starts up. These signs point to loose, broken, or worn-out parts that will need to be replaced to help your furnace operate correctly. Ignoring these noises could result in even more damage and costly repairs. As a good rule of thumb, if a noise is noticeable to you, it is probably worth getting checked out.

3. Put up with discomfort.

If you are spending more time fiddling with your thermostat and moving from room to room to stay warm, you should call a furnace professional to inspect your unit. The problem could be as simple as a malfunctioning thermostat, which is definitely not worth being uncomfortable over. You pay a lot to keep your family warm and comfortable, so make sure your furnace is working properly to live up to that monthly investment.

4. Underestimate importance of scheduled maintenance.

Changing your filters is a good start, but there are other maintenance details of furnaces that deserve attention, too. In lieu of obtaining your own furnace repair license, research and retain a professional contractor or company to make scheduled visits to your home to perform a checkup on your unit. The best part: these companies take the guesswork out of scheduled maintenance for you by calling or emailing you reminders when it is time to have them back. These professionals will also give you a heads up for likely repairs in the future and a timeline so you can prepare financially.

5. Wait too long to shop.

The basic lifespan of a furnace is 16 to 20 years, but you should be pricing them out well in advance. If you wait to look for a replacement when your furnace finally quits, you will be in a hurry and may not end up with the right model for your home’s needs. Shopping early also gives you some time to save up for the upfront funds that go into purchasing an energy efficient model, saving you a lot in utility costs over its lifespan. When given the opportunity to shop around for a home or car, you certainly take advantage of it. Apply the same concept to a new furnace.

6. Install furnaces without professional help.

The furnaces that tend to last the longest, offer the best efficiency, and need the fewest repairs are usually installed by professionals. These experts know how to position and hook up furnaces so that they will operate optimally while also providing safety and reliability for your family There are really too many hazards associated with DIY furnace installation to list, but they include everything from disconnecting the old one, performing some heavy lifting, and hooking up the vents incorrectly. Save yourself the money and some peace of mind by calling a furnace installation expert to do the job for you.

Homeowners today often take the basic systems of their houses for granted, heating and cooling included. Having a temperature-controlled home is a basic right of homeownership today but should be treated as a privilege. Proper care and maintenance along with guidance from a trusted furnace professional like Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning will keep your furnace running safely and smoothly for the duration of its lifespan.
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Why a Cracked Heat Exchanger Means You Should Replace Your Heater

When does a gas furnace reach the point where it no longer needs repairs, but instead needs to be replaced? One of the major signs that a furnace has come to the end of its service is a cracked heat exchanger—which is a serious safety issue.

Installing a new gas furnace requires technicians with the best training and experience so the new unit operates correctly and without safety issues. Contact Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning when you’re ready for a new furnace installation instead of more heating repairs.

Furnace age and the cracked heat exchanger

To understand why a cracked heat exchanger often means it time to replace out the old furnace, your first need to understand why a cracked exchanger is a major problem. The heat exchanger is a clam-shell shaped metal chamber above the burner; it collects the high-temperature combustion gas from the burner and transfers the heat to its walls. When the blower sends air across the heat exchanger, the heated walls transfer their heat to the air. The exhaust vapor of the exchanger then goes safely out the furnace flue.

If the exchanger cracks—even a small crack—combustion exhaust will escape through the crack as the exchanger expands during heating up. This exhaust is dangerous carbon monoxide, which is not only toxic to breath but is highly combustible.

Heat exchangers usually crack because of corrosion across their surface. Although it is possible for a younger furnace to develop corrosion along the heat exchanger walls, more often this is a sign of extreme age in the furnace. The long exposure of the metal and combustion gas has cause a chemical reaction that causes corrosion. If your heater is near, on, or past its manufacturer’s estimate lifespan, a cracked exchanger is an important sign that you need to have the heat replaced. Shut down the gas to the furnace and call a technician to schedule an inspection.

Do not delay when it comes to the heat exchanger

We must stress that a cracked heat exchanger is potentially dangerous. With a younger furnace, you need to call for immediate repairs to replace the cracked exchanger. With older furnaces, you need to move on the replacement heater right away. We recommend you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home to warn you of a rise in gas levels. Also pay attention to the appearance of corrosion on the outside of your furnace, or strange clicking sounds from inside the cabinet before the blower fan comes on. These are often warnings that here is trouble with the heat exchanger.

Call Black Hills, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule installation for a new furnace. We can help pick the new unit and size it so you’ll have years of safe warmth.
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"The technician who serviced our furnace was very friendly and professional. He made a point of showing me before and after cleaning our furnace and gave specific test results when recommending that our capacitor be replaced. I highly recommend this company!"

– David B.

"Service tech arrived on time, explained the process thoroughly, and answered all questions respectfully. Highly rate the experience."

– Mark G.

"If I need work on my heat pump, etc. I would certainly continue to deal with Black Hills, right down to how they answer their phone!"

– Vicki T.

"Excellent service provided. Staff is verry professional and friendly."

– Afzal S.

"My wife and I can't overstate how good it feels to have a contractor guarantee and deliver above and beyond what they guarantee! The folks are the most professional and caring contractors I've ever worked with! from the apprentice to the Master electricians, plumbers, and HVAC personnel! Thank you and yes I would do it all over again. Thanks Again!!!!"

– Russell C.

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