Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: Archive for the ‘Heat Pumps’ Category

Important Facts About Dual Fuel Systems

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

sun-and-snowflake-badgeDual fuel systems are heating systems that use two different energy sources for heating: electricity and natural gas (or, in a home with no access to natural gas, propane). The standard operation for a dual fuel system is a combination of an electrical heat pump with a gas furnace as a back-up. The electrical power of the heat pump provides warmth for a home in temperatures of 40°F or higher, and the gas-powered furnace takes over when the temperature drops lower.

This provides the “best of both worlds” for electrical and gas heating: a heat pump is an inexpensive way to electrically heat a home, and natural gas is the least expensive way to provide high levels of heat when necessary. Since a heat pump functions as an air conditioner during the summer, this single installation can take care of comfort for the year.

These are the basic dual fuel system facts. But there are a few more important facts to know before you call a Plattsburgh, NY HVAC contractor to have one installed.

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How Can a Heat Pump Get Heat From Outside in Winter?

Monday, March 4th, 2019


This is a common question people have when they first hear about how a heat pump works. The conversation usually goes something like this …

HVAC Tech: A heat pump is basically like an air conditioner. But it can work in reverse.

Homeowner: What happens when an AC runs in “reverse”?

HVAC Tech: Well, normally an AC draws heat from out of your house. That’s why the air feels cooler indoors.

Homeowner: I thought an AC generated cooling.

HVAC Tech: Cooling is the lack of heat. The AC takes the heat away, making the air cooler. But the AC has to put that heat somewhere, so it releases it outdoors. Now imagine doing it the other way. A heat pump when in heating mode draws heat from the outside and releases it indoors. Presto! Home heating.

Homeowner: Oh, I see. But … wait a minute, I’m only going to run the heat pump in heating mode when it’s cold. So that means the heat pump is bringing in heat from the cold air outside?

HVAC Tech: Yes.

Homeowner: How does that work? It’s … cold outdoors!

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There’s Smoke Coming From My Heat Pump! What’s Wrong?

Monday, January 7th, 2019

geothermal-vents-in-groundIf you’re asking this question, this is probably the first winter you’ve spent with a heat pump providing comfort for your home. You made a change in spring or winter to your HVAC system and replaced it with a heat pump. This is a great choice—heat pumps are able to deliver excellent cooling in hot weather and energy efficient heating in winter. Thanks to advances in heat pump technology, heat pumps operate in cold temperatures better than ever before.

But making the change to a heat pump brings with it a few adjustments. When you see what looks like smoke coming off the outside cabinet of the heat pump, please don’t panic—this is actually how the heat pump is supposed to run, as we’ll explain below.

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Taking Care of Your Heat Pump After the Blizzard

Monday, March 20th, 2017

ice-pattern-on-glassA major storm swept through most the Northeast last week, and we weren’t spared. Storm Stella dropped heavy levels of snow on Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Ontario, and our own Vermont and New York region, with an average of two feet of snowfall. Schools shut down, flights were cancelled, and states of emergency were declared in some areas.

We hope you and your family weathered Stella’s assault in safety and that your home’s heating system worked steadily during the storm. Now that the weather has settled, it’s time to take stock of the situation and see if there are repairs necessary to restore you home and see that it’s ready in case of another March surprise.

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Two Winter Heat Pump Problems—That Aren’t Really Problems

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Heat pumps have improved so much over the past decade that they are now practical in colder areas. Our winters are mighty chilly, but if you have the right heat pump installation from our experts, you can expect the system to make it through the season without trouble.

If this is your first winter using a heat pump, you might run into some behavior from it that will seem alarming. Actually, these odd-seeming occurrences are normal. If you know what to look for, you won’t need to panic and call for repairs.

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Is a Heat Pump the Right Choice for Your Home?

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Though spring is upon us, temperatures are still relatively cool, and you may still be using your heater. Hopefully your heating system has treated you well this season. If you’ve found yourself needing a replacement system however, now could be the best time to shop. Springtime is a great time to purchase a system that can fulfill both your heating and cooling needs, when you aren’t in dire need of either system. A heat pump will fulfill these needs. Is it right for your home though?

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Keeping the Heat Pump Running All Night: Good Idea or Not?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

If you have a heat pump to supply your home with cool conditions in summer and cozy warmth during winter, you may have heard advice from various sources that it is better to have the heat pump run all through the night during cold weather. At first, this may sound like a smart idea: you can keep your house comfortable during the coldest period (night), and also take advantage of non-peak hours that won’t place immense strain on local power stations.

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Keeping Your Heat Pump Energy-Efficient During Winter

Monday, January 25th, 2016

At one time, heat pumps were not a reliable source for keeping a home warm during extremely cold winters. They were better suited to mild winter climates, so a heat pump in Vermont wouldn’t make much sense. The times have changed, however, and the technology of heat pumps has come far enough that they can work efficiency even when the temperature plunges past freezing.

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Reasons There Is Frost on Your Heat Pump

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Heat pumps have become increasingly popular as home comfort solutions. They offer both air conditioning and heating in a single unit, and developments in technology have significantly improved their ability to work energy efficiently during colder weather. As you turn your heat pump to heating mode for the winter, you might notice frost developing along the outdoor coil and cabinet. Is this normal, or a sign that the heat pump needs repairs?

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Does My Heat Pump Need Maintenance in the Fall as Well?

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Fall is heating maintenance season across the country, but it’s especially important in a place such as Vermont where the winters can be extreme. Call up your local dependable HVAC contractor and arrange for a maintenance visit from a technician so that your heater is in the best shape for the coming cold weather.

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