couple smiling and checking paperwork

Energy savings are usually a year-round concern for homeowners. You want to keep costs down, but still maximize your comfort. That’s where efficiency comes into play. Whether your HVAC system is heating or cooling your home, it always helps to keep on top of your maintenance plans. When you run the numbers with a truly efficient system, it’s easy to see how you can keep those energy costs low.

Utility Costs and Efficiency Ratings

In the state of Indiana, our average residential electricity rate is around 10.5 cents/kWh. To keep things simple, let’s just say you pay $100/month to power your home’s HVAC system. You might look at your utility bill and think that it’s an accurate statement for what you spend to heat your home in the winter or cool it down during the summer. But in reality, the equation is a little more complicated. The amount of money you spend isn’t just about the local utility rates. You also have to consider your equipment’s efficiency rating.

For units that are older, you might be looking at 80% efficiency. That means your costs can get pretty high because for every $100 you spend to heat your home, you’d essentially let $20 fly away. A furnace that’s operating at 95%, on the other hand, would only lose $5. The other $95 would go directly into heating your home. That’s why efficiency is key. If you’re living with an older furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner, you’ll have to think about these hidden costs. Your energy bill is likely higher than it should be.

Realistic HVAC Costs: Repair vs Replace

Having a general idea of where your HVAC equipment’s efficiency ratings are can help inform your decision for any repairs later on. Say your air conditioner doesn’t work like it should after the winter season wraps up. Will you need to invest in a completely new system? Hopefully not, but it all depends on the age of your AC unit and the repair costs. Thinking about those two factors will help point you in the right direction for whether to get HVAC repairs or a total replacement.

Here's one example to consider: A $500 repair on a 6-year-old system makes more sense than a $500 repair on a 16-year-old system. While you're spending the same amount of money, the chance of there being more repairs on that older system is pretty high. Sure, the upfront cost of a new system is more than the repair itself, but there's peace of mind with a warranty. Plus, you can look forward to those potential utility cost savings with a higher efficient system.

Ready for an Efficient HVAC System?

You’re probably already aware that changing your HVAC filter goes a long way for improving efficiency. But there are other ways to get energy savings too. Annual cleaning and tune-up services for both your furnace and air conditioner keep your systems running smoothly. Then you can limit your risks of having a bigger problem pop up down the road.

It might help to think of your HVAC annual maintenance like the regular oil changes and tire rotations you get for your car. (Plus, annual maintenance is what keeps your manufacturer and labor warranties in place.) Your equipment will work better when you just do a few simple things. To streamline the process, we offer our customers two different types of annual plans. It’s a low-cost investment for big rewards.

Our LCS Gold Membership includes two services each year: one cooling tune-up for your air conditioner, and the same for your furnace. It also gives you $20 off your regular-hours service calls, waives that service call for repairs over $300, gives you discounts on duct cleaning and indoor air quality products, and more. The membership is just $155 per year, and helps ensure that your equipment is running at its best—so you get the best savings on your energy bills.

Our LCS Platinum Membership includes those same maintenance services, but waives the service call with paid repairs completed during regular business hours. It also gives you discounted rates for after-hours service, a one-year supply of air filters, up to $700 in savings on a full system replacement, and more. To learn more about your HVAC repair options and how to improve your energy efficiency, please visit our webpage for annual maintenance plans. We look forward to serving you!

mom and child sitting on couch

When you’re making an investment with new HVAC equipment, you obviously want it to last as long as possible. That’s where a good warranty—or two—can help. Homeowners often have the option to get HVAC warranties for both parts and labor. Knowing a little more about each policy can help you determine the path that’s right for you.

 

The Two Sides of an HVAC Warranty

You have two different types of warranties to review with new HVAC equipment. The labor warranty covers service call charges and labor with your HVAC company. (More on that in the next section.) But there’s also the manufacturer’s part warranty. This is what covers the cost of broken parts in a given period of time.

A 5-year part warranty is the standard for most manufacturers. This covers equipment problems that might come up in the early years of your system. That way, you won’t have to pay for replacement parts. Some brands give you the option to extend the manufacturer’s part warranty to 10 years, but you typically have to register your new equipment first. Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to follow-through. Then they miss out on the longer part warranty.

Some HVAC companies, however, streamline the process by registering the equipment on behalf of their customers. Then those extra 5 years don’t get bypassed. That’s actually how we do things here at LCS Heating and Cooling. Our customers really appreciate that we handle these details for them. Plus, having that 10-year part warranty in place makes it easier on our crews if we ever need to make repairs.

 

What Your Labor Warranty Should Cover

Now that you have a better understanding of a manufacturer’s part warranty, it’s time to review the HVAC labor warranty. These warranties will vary from company to company. In general, though, your labor warranty will cover the service call charges and labor costs for any repairs during a certain number of years. Since a manufacturer’s warranty only covers the parts, the labor warranty basically works to fill in the gaps.

Without a labor warranty in place, you would have to pay for the service and labor fees for your repairs. But you’d essentially be home free with any repairs if both your manufacturer’s part warranty and 10-year labor warranty are still good. Any problems with your equipment would then be fixed for free. And if you work with the right HAC company, there shouldn’t be any deductibles either, which can really help take the stress out of repairs.

 

Finding the Right Warranty Details

Knowledge is power, right? But it’s hard to understand your options when things aren’t explained clearly. Working with an HVAC company that can talk to you in simple terms will help ease your decision-making process. That’s why you’ll also need to know what your warranties won’t cover.

Issues related to dirty filters and other specialized maintenance won’t be covered by your warranties. For example, this could relate to things getting caught in the flue, such as snow or rodents. Air flow issues and leak searches that aren’t repaired will also probably be separate. But to be honest, these issues are rare. The part and labor warranties are meant to cover the costs when a part in your system fails and needs replaced. These supplemental maintenance issues are another matter.

Getting your equipment inspected on a regular basis should keep your warranties in check (and alert you to other problems that might be going on with your setup). Still, you’ll have to be careful to read your contractor’s warranty plans before you sign. Not every HVAC company will offer a 10-year labor warranty. And not every company will register your equipment for the extended manufacturer’s part warranty.

It’s always best to review your options. But if you can have a clear conversation, you should be able to get all of your questions answered upfront. Then, you’ll be better prepared if anything happens to go wrong down the road. And you might have some HVAC warranties to help you out!

woman sitting on couch with dog

Many homeowners have worked to develop good habits for their home maintenance—especially when it comes to their indoor air quality. They might run the vacuum every week, replace their air filters every other month, and schedule their HVAC maintenance on an annual basis. But what about duct cleaning? All too often, homeowners forget about the important behind-the-scenes part of their heating and cooling system. You can’t neglect your ductwork!

 

A Quick Overview on Ductwork

Ductwork is the series of nifty pathways that move warm and chilled air throughout our homes. It’s how the forced air from your HVAC system gets carried from room to room. We use these systems almost every day, but they can be easy to forget about since they’re behind the walls.

When installed properly, your ductwork will be sized correctly for your home’s furnace and air conditioner. This helps ensure that you get the best efficiency rating with your setup. The fit will also need to be properly sealed. Any space or gaps between duct pieces will just let that hot or cold air escape into your attic or crawl space—which is a real pain for your energy bills.

The other concern about your ductwork’s efficiency relates to cleaning. A dirty duct system just makes it harder for your HVAC equipment to work correctly. This is similar to how you replace your furnace filter and the oil in your car. Cleaning your equipment is much more cost-effective.

 

Duct Cleaning Benefits

For the average home, duct cleaning is recommended every 3 years. This gets rid of any dust or chemicals that have been lurking in your ductwork and lowering the indoor air quality for your family. Cleaning your ductwork also removes dander, so it can be particularly helpful if you own pets. And since duct cleaning stops these air pollutants from continuously cycling through your home, it can be particularly beneficial for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Aside from the getting a regular duct cleaning every 3 years, a few other circumstances might call for a duct cleaning service, too. Namely, indoor remodeling work. Sanding hardwood floors, having new drywall hung, or tearing down drywall for a new, open layout can add lots of pollutants and dust to your indoor air. After this type of work, duct cleaning, furnace maintenance, and an air filter change are great ways to get your indoor air all freshened up.

 

LCS Duct Cleaning Services

When you’re ready to schedule your duct cleaning service, it’s important to work with the pros. As you research different companies, you’ll want to pay special attention to the type of equipment being used. How teams manage these projects makes a big difference in your overall results. (You don’t want to leave any of those dust bunnies behind.)

Here at LCS Heating and Cooling, we take indoor air quality very seriously. That’s why we choose to work with a negative air machine. Not all duct cleaning companies have this type of high-tech gear. Instead, they might be relying on just a big vacuum and a brush.

With our equipment, though, we can effectively remove even very fine particles and contaminants from your ductwork system. And because the negative pressure is continuous and closed, you won’t risk releasing that dust and grime into your rooms. It all stays secure in the vacuum setup. We’ve found this to be the best way to loosen and trap those contaminants, so you get a really detailed clean.

Getting your home or office air freshened up is easy when you have the right team, and we can help! Contact us today to learn more about our duct cleaning service packages. We’ll get the job done right.

family sitting in living room

The cool air, turning leaves, and arrival of apple cider at the store mean that autumn’s official start is just around the corner. At home, this seasonal change can quickly translate into higher energy bills. Fortunately, there are a few ways to lower these costs. Staying comfortable in your home—at an affordable rate—is relatively easy when you opt for energy-efficient solutions.

 

Schedule Your Heating Tune-Up

This time of year, the biggest energy bills for your home relate to heating. In order to get the best efficiency rating for your furnace, it needs to be able to run smoothly. Any problems during this season can be a real issue for your overall costs. But you can catch issues early on by scheduling your heating tune-up. This service helps ensure that all of your system’s components are within the normal operating range. That way, if any part is having trouble, you can have the option to be pro-active for a repair or replacement. And this could save you a service call down the road!

 

At LCS Heating & Cooling, we offer Annual Maintenance Plans to help keep service and energy costs low year-round. Getting notified of any potential problems lets you stay up-to-date on your furnace’s needs. When you look ahead to winter, no one wants to be caught without heat. A quick visit from your local HVAC company can help you avoid that inconvenience before the cold snap.

 

Other Home Efficiency Tips for Fall

Once your furnace is in order, you can still work to lower costs in other ways. Adding these efficiency tips to the mix can help you finish the year with extra energy savings. Try them all for the biggest benefits, or just stick to a few to get the ball rolling.

 

1. Change your air filter

We always recommend preventative maintenance to prep your home. But if you do nothing else this season, replace your air filter. It’s important to swap out your 1-inch air filter every 1-2 months. (The larger 4 to 5-inch media filters can last for 6-12 months.) This simple step goes a long way for your unit’s overall efficiency. A dirty filter can put a lot of strain on your heating unit and make it harder for the warm air to circulate through your home.

 

2. Warm up with the sun

The days and nights are getting colder, but the sun is still shining. Make the most of sunny days by opening your curtains to let this natural heat inside. South-facing windows tend to have the most impact. Just keep your curtains closed when the sun is set to hold in the warmth, then pull them back in the morning to create some sunny spots. This will help boost your home’s temperature. Plus, it gives your dog or cat a great place to nap!

 

3. Adopt a smart thermostat

When you want to go above and beyond for your home energy savings, a new thermostat can be a real winner. A programmable thermostat is a great investment because it lets you set schedules for your heating and cooling programs. You’ll get more efficient ratings, for instance, when you tell the heat to drop slightly in the evening, or when you’re away at work. A smart thermostat is even better because you can control your home’s settings right from your phone.

 

4. Grab some free LED bulbs

Changing your old lightbulbs to LED versions is a fantastic way to cut costs on your energy bills because they use up to 66% less energy. They even last over 20 times longer than standard bulbs. The best part about these updates? You can get LEDs for free! The Free LED Program from Duke Energy will ship bulbs right to your home. The potential savings could be upwards of $100, so there’s no reason to pass up this deal.

 

5. Watch for home air leaks

Feeling a cold air draft around your windows or outside doors indicates a heating leak. Don’t let these spots add to your energy bill. Adding fresh caulk around these borders or replacing the weatherstripping can prevent your home’s heat from escaping. The other thing to check is your fireplace damper. Make sure to always keep this closed when your fireplace isn’t in use. Accidently leaving it open is just another way to lower your indoor temperature.

 

Take this advice, and you’re sure to have a more energy-efficient home for the colder months. What’s more, you’ll be able to enjoy upgrades like a smart thermostat during the warmer months as well! If you have questions about other energy savings solutions for your home, give LCS Heating & Cooling a call at (317) 238-3961. We’d be happy to help you out!

little girl playing with teddy bear

During the hot summer months, most homeowners don’t expect to find ice on their air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, this issue is more common than you might think, and having ice on your AC is a sure sign that something’s not right. Reviewing the likely causes can help you get your equipment back to its normal working state.

 

Problems with AC Ice

Once you notice that there’s ice on your unit, you need to turn your AC off. This can help prevent the situation from getting worse. Assuming it’s warm outside, this will help get the ice to melt, too. Let your unit thaw completely, then work through these different scenarios to identify the underlying cause.

 

1. Poor Airflow

If you’re lucky, the ice on your AC is the result of a more minor issue. After the ice has thawed, the first thing to do is to check is your air filter. Sometimes ice can form on air conditioners when there is poor airflow, so replacing your old air filter with a new one might be all it takes to get your unit running smoothly again.

One of the problems with dirty filters is that they put more stress on your evaporator coil. Reducing airflow over your evaporator coil can then cause your equipment’s temperature to drop below freezing. Consequently, humidity will start to collect around your AC and turn into ice.

Hopefully a new air filter will be enough to remedy the situation. To test this, wait for the ice to melt and then turn your air conditioner on again to see if the ice returns. If it doesn’t—then you’re all set. But if the ice comes back, there might be another problem.

 

2. Dirty Evaporator Coil

 When ice forms even with a new air filter, you might be dealing with a dirty evaporator coil. This can happen with older units or AC equipment that hasn’t had regular maintenance.

In this case, you’ll want to turn the equipment off again and call on an expert to come clean the evaporator coil. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that homeowners can do on their own. The process requires a tech to fully removing the indoor coil to clean it, before re-installing.

Continuing to run your AC unit when this part isn’t working properly can cause a chain reaction of other issues. Rather than risk damage to your compressor or other AC parts, it’s best to call your local HVAC company to take a closer look. Odds are, they’ll be able to remedy the situation pretty quickly with by either cleaning your evaporator coil. Otherwise, they might have to take a look at your refrigerant levels.

 

3. Low Refrigerant

Systems that have low refrigerant aren’t able to keep the evaporator coil within the proper temperature ranges. If you have an issue with refrigerant—and not the coil itself—your AC unit probably has a leak.

Simply topping off the refrigerant isn’t usually enough to fix the issue. In fact, if you just add refrigerant without testing for a leak first, you might just be wasting money. Depending on the leak size, it could take several months of just a couple of days to have the problem come back. So, it’s a risk. (Plus, companies don’t provide a warranty on refrigerant, especially without a leak search and repair.)

For these reasons, it’s important for your HVAC technician to check for leaks whenever your refrigerant levels are low. If your tech can find the leak and repair it, you’ll be able to avoid other costly replacement parts. A detailed review of your system can help you figure out what’s wrong.

 

4. Broken Motors

The last reason you might have ice on your AC unit is if a blower motor or your fan motor is going out. These issues can also cause your system to freeze up due to restricted air flow. (Though this is different than poor air flow just from a dirty filter.) As with dirty evaporator coils and refrigerant leaks, if your motor has gone out, you’ll need an HVAC tech to come by for some repairs.

 

Time for AC Repair?

As soon as you realize that there’s ice on your AC unit, remember to turn your system off. Continuing to use your home’s air conditioning can just make matters worse. Replace your air filter as the ice thaws. That way, if the ice returns, you’ll know you need to call your local HVAC company to take a peek inside the unit.

If you’re located around the Indianapolis area, know that our team at LCS Heating and Cooling has got your back. We’re here to help you out whenever you notice issues with your AC in the summertime. Hopefully the ice on your AC is just the result of poor airflow from a dirty filter. But if the problem is more complicated, our team will make it right.

We know HVAC repairs can be annoying to deal with, but our expertise can get your home back to normal without too much downtime. For any questions about your air conditioner repairs and other function, just call LCS Heating and Cooling at (317) 238-3961. Summer is supposed to be enjoyable—we’ll help you keep it that way!

christmas tree

It’s pretty tricky to narrow our top local hangouts, but we’ve done our best for the 2017 holiday season! There’s a lot to love about Indianapolis. When you want somewhere fun to take your out-of-town guests, be sure to put these restaurants, shops, and activities on your short-list.

Our Favorite Restaurants around Indianapolis

Go ahead—give yourself a break from cooking. These local restaurants are sure to hit the spot. (We even included a place you can hit up for breakfast!)

 

Fire by the Monon

We love the cozy vibe at Fire by the Monon, and their menu is great year-round. The winter season is especially yummy because they’re big on comfort food. Just make sure you save room for those desserts made by the owner’s wife. So yummy!

 

Wolfies Grill in Fishers

This restaurant has multiple locations around the Indy-area, but our favorite by far is the Wolfies Grill in Fishers. They’re our go-to Chicago Bears bar. Great food, great people, and the Bears game always has sound. What else could you want?

 

Ruth’s Café

A unique breakfast menu and fun atmosphere make Ruth’s Café a real winner. Plus, it’s conveniently located off 86th street by the Keystone Fashion Mall. They always have quirky mugs to drink from, which makes every visit a little different.

 

Provision

This is a new restaurant from CRG—the owners of Bru Burger, Mesh, Vida, Union 50, and more. Provision is a perfect spot for your next date night. It’s also just a sweet space to relax after a long week. For the holiday season, gift certificates are now spend $50, get a $10 bonus card. They’ve got excellent food and must-try desserts. (Renee’s fav is the Peanut Butter Bombe.) Did we mention that Travis’s brother is the chef? Go check them out!

 

Best Places for Holiday Shopping in Indy

If you want to add a unique touch to your gift-giving, swing by these local shops. They’ll be able to hook you up with thoughtful items for everyone on your nice list.

 

Rusted Moon Outfitters

For anyone seeking adventure, Rusted Moon is a one-stop shop for outdoor gear. Their knowledgeable staff can always steer you in the right direction. They have a pet-friendly location, cozy outdoor fire pit, and even offer kayak lessons. (Great gift idea, right?)

 

Silver in the City

Honestly, this shop should be on every Indianapolis gift guide. Located on quirky Mass Ave, Silver in the City is a delightful and eclectic shop full of pretty jewelry, housewares, bags, and more. Since everything here is fun and unique, it’s easy to find something special.

 

Gallery 116

If you want to support local art, visit Gallery 116 in Fishers, Indiana. Their shop features more than 50 local and regional makers. You can shop online or visit in person. They’re open daily and offer complimentary gift wrap so all of your presents can be fuss-free.

 

Family Fun around Indiana in Winter

Whether you’ve got little kiddos in your family or not, all ages are welcome with these Indiana traditions. If you want to get out and celebrate the season, any one of these winter activities would be a hit.

 

Pokagon State Park

Take a day-trip to Pokagon State Park for their winter Toboggan Run. Located in northern Indiana near Angola, the run is open (with or without snow) from November 24 to February 25.

 

Perfect North Slopes

To get a little more action, check out Perfect North Slopes. You can go skiing, snowboarding, and even snow tubing just 90 minutes southeast of Indy! First timers are always welcome.

 

Christmas at the Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo lights up at night with their annual Christmas at the Zoo festival. Guests can visit some of their favorite animals after dark and enjoy a true winter spectacle.

 

Indiana Sports Teams

Plan a night to support the local team. Indy Fuel Hockey and the Indiana Pacers have a packed schedule for the season. Why not grab some tickets to cheer them on?

 

Carmel Christkindlmarkt

New for 2017, the Carmel Christkindlmarkt is sure to be a winter family favorite. Here you can enjoy delicious German food, ice skating, and dozens of festive holiday booths.

 

Winterlights at Newfields

The Indianapolis Museum of Arts is now Newfields, a place for nature and the arts! Now through January 7th, their grounds are filled with “whimsy trees” and stunning holiday lights in the Winterlights display.

 

Santa Hustle Indy 5K & Half Marathon

Before you tuck into a plate of cookies and hot cocoa, consider joining the Santa Hustle! It’s the ultimate fun-run for the season, and they’re known to throw an awesome after-party.

 

From all of here at LCS Heating & Cooling, we hope you have a very merry holiday season! Get out and enjoy all that Indy has to offer. There’s a lot to love about our community, and we’re so glad to share it with you!

woman sitting on couch with coffee

When it’s cold outside, your heating units need to be able to keep you home comfortable. But if your furnace isn’t sized right for your home, you’ll just end up wasting money. Or worse—you’ll be dealing with a chilly “winter wonderland” inside!

 

Furnace Size and Ductwork

Most people tend to think that furnace size is only determined by square footage of their house. However, the biggest factor is actually the size of the ductwork. If your furnace size and ductwork don’t match up, you’re bound to have some problems.

For example, if the ductwork is too small for your furnace, the furnace will end up having a shorter lifespan than it should. The reason is because the amount of air that the furnace produces doesn't have enough space (ductwork) to travel through. Therefore, it restricts air flow and can eventually cause the furnace to overheat. To compare, it's kind of like driving a big truck with a MINI Cooper radiator in it.

If you want to get the best lifespan out of your furnace, you need to make sure it’s sized appropriately for your ductwork—not just your square footage. Experiencing any of the problems listed below is a sure sign that your equipment need a review.

 

Problems with Furnace Size

There are basically three possible scenarios for your home’s furnace size. You’ll either have a furnace that’s too big, one that’s too small, or a unit that’s sized just right for your home’s layout, the ductwork, and family needs. Keeping all these factors in mind will help you get an effective, energy-efficient setup.

 

Too Small

Having a furnace that is too small for your home means the system won’t be able to keep up with the dropping temperatures outside. They simply can’t make up the difference to heat your home properly. It might come with a lower price tag upfront, but the trouble of having a furnace that can’t even do its job isn’t worth the hassle.

When furnaces are too small, they’ll have to kick on often—or even non-stop—try to increase your indoor temp. They end up running and running, but without any real progress. This leads to excessively high energy bills, and not much help in making your home comfortable.

 

Too Big

Of course, a furnace that is too big won’t be much help either. When units are oversized for the space they’re heating, the furnace ends up working in quick bursts. They’ll turn on when the temperature is low and just end up creating heat pockets. Since the system works at full blast and heats some areas super-quickly, there isn’t enough time for the heat to travel throughout the home evenly.

The furnace then ends up turning on and off more times than is necessary. A few areas get toasty, and then the system turns off. Then, as that heat spreads out, the unit has to warm up again and start all over again. This makes over-sized furnaces really inefficient. For most homes, bigger units aren’t better.

 

Your Right-Size Furnace

A furnace that is appropriately sized for your home and needs will turn on and heat your space gradually. This makes the process much more energy-efficient and puts less strain on your equipment. If you’ve been noticing that your furnace is running non-stop, there’s a good chance it’s too small for your home. And if it’s constantly starting and stopping, you might be living with a unit that’s too big.

When you have a furnace that’s sized correctly for your home, you shouldn’t have to worry about any hot or cold pockets in your home. But even the most efficient systems aren’t totally fool-proof. On the coldest night of the year, your furnace may not be able to keep up. This is actually normal. Systems that plow through those sub-zero temps are likely working inefficient the rest of the year. You may need to throw another blanket on the bed during that extra-chilly spell, but at least you’ll know you aren’t over-paying for a unit that’s too big!

 

Finding the Perfect Fit

Working with an experienced local HVAC company is a great way to ensure you’ve got a heat pump or furnace that’s working with your home setup and ductwork—not against it. The best way to get the best heating system for your home is to work with the pros. An experienced HVAC technician can help you find the right-sized unit for your space and get it installed properly so it lasts longer and stays efficient.

Not sure if your system is running at peak efficiency? Contact LCS Heating and Cooling. We’re proud to provide our neighbors with great service and honest feedback. Give us a call at 317-238-3961 to schedule your Heating Tune-Up before the holidays hit. We’ll help keep your home comfy all year long!