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How to Look

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More blog posts about heating and air conditioning:

  1. How can I find out the size of my air conditioner?

  2. How can I find out the age of my air conditioner or furnace?

  3. The coils on my heat pump are covered with ice on cold mornings. What’s wrong with it?

  4. What is the SEER of my old air conditioner?

  5. What is the difference between the “ON” and “AUTO” settings on my thermostat?

  6. What is a “ton” of air conditioning?

  7. How do I find the right size air conditioner for my house?

  8. What is an HVAC system?

  9. What is the difference between the SEER and EER of an air conditioner?

  10. What does an ultraviolet air treatment system do?

  11. The coolant line to the outside unit of my air conditioner is frozen. What's wrong?

  12. What size air conditioner is right for my mobile home?

  13. What is the minimum SEER rating for a new air conditioner?

  14. What does the “AFUE” rating of a furnace mean?

  15. How much life is left in that air conditioner?

  16. Why is there mold around the air conditioning ducts?

  17. What is a geothermal heat pump?

  18. How can checking the fireplace damper reduce energy bills year-round?

  19. What is the difference between a heat pump and a cooling air conditioner?

  20. Is it alright to close the air conditioning vents in unused rooms?

  21. What is the right MERV number for my air conditioning filter?

  22. My air conditioner outside unit (condenser) won’t start and is making a humming noise. What’s wrong?

  23. What are the minimum requirements for bathroom ventilation?

  24. What is an air conditioning heat recovery system?

  25. What is the best air conditioner for a mobile home?

  26. What is the average lifespan of an air conditioner?

  27. When should I switch the thermostat to “EMERGENCY HEAT” for my heat pump air conditioner?

  28. Why does the air conditioner condensate drain line need a trap in it?

  29. Should I remove an old whole house fan or keep it?

  30. What is a jump duct?

  31. My air conditioner won’t turn on What’s wrong?

  32. Is it acceptable for an air conditioning condensate drain line to terminate under the house?

  33. What is the purpose of the vent grille over the bedroom door?

  34. Should I have a return air vent in the master bedroom?

  35. Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs?

  36. How much will I save on my utility bill if I get a new higher SEER air conditioner?

  37. Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

  38. What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?

  39. Which one is better for a home heating system: electric or natural gas?

  40. Why does an air conditioner condenser need to be level?

  41. Why is it bad to have a clothes dryer vent near an air conditioning condenser (outdoor unit)?

  42. When does the ban on R-22 air conditioning refrigerant take effect?

  43. How can I tell if an air conditioner uses R-22 or R-410A refrigerant?

  44. Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough?

  45. When is an auxiliary drain pan required under an air conditioner indoor unit (air handler)?

  46. Why does it take so long to cool a house when the air conditioner has been off for a while?

  47. What are the right words to use when talking about a heating and air conditioning system?

  48. What is a FanRecycler and AirCycler?

  49. Why is my bathroom vent fan not exhausting enough air?

  50. Why has the thermostat screen gone blank?

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

  1. 3)Out-of-sight also means out-of-mind. An air handler with a filter located in the attic is more likely to get changed less often because of the inconvenience of climbing into the attic for it and, if there is a
    condensate drain line backup that overflows into the catch pan below the unit, it can remain undiscovered for weeks or months—creating a small pond of brown scum water sitting in a rusty pan, like in the photo above.

  2. 4)An air handler in the attic has a shorter life expectancy and is more difficult to remove and replace when the time comes.

    “The worst thing you can do is install furnaces and air conditioning systems in vented attics,” according to Joe Lstiburek, a nationally known professional engineer that does extensive research in construction methods and materials for Building Science Corporation. “The attics are way hotter than the outside in the summer and cold and miserable in the winter—and in hot humid climates it gets ugly”

   But, if you insist on putting your air handler in the attic, there are a couple of ways to give it a more hospitable environment. Some builders create a small, insulated attic room with a door to reduce the energy loss. Another alternative is to insulate the underside of the roof in the attic with spray-on polyurethane insulation. This technique is often used for energy-efficient new homes and, although the attic is not a conditioned space, it will not be much warmer or cooler than the interior of the home, and this also reduces the energy loss from attic ductwork. To learn more about polyurethane spray  insulation, read our blog “Why is spray foam used for attic insulation?”

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

Joe Lstiburek

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