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Ductless Systems May Be the Best Solution for Your Ann Arbor Home

Mini-Split installation in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Why Mitsubishi mini-split systems are the best for Ann Arbor, MI residents.

Efficacious room temperature control is about efficiency and comfort, delivering the right amount of cooling and heating while using less energy. The Mitsubishi Mini Split system allows you to provide innovative and effective energy solutions to both commercial and residential spaces. It is the ideal answer for heating or cooling uncomfortably cool or hot spaces without the hassle usually associated with the traditional centrally ducted systems. Regardless of the size of the space you want to cool or heat, Mitsubishi Mini Split systems provide the energy and the flexibility to get the work done. The compact units fit almost anywhere and do not require a window or a duct and run very quietly. So whether you have a special cooling or heating need or you would like to control the temperature in a space with no windows or duct in Ann Arbor, MI, trust Mitsubishi Mini Split systems to provide quality and trusted value for any cooling or heating project.

Interior design flexibility

Unlike other add-on cooling and heating systems, the Mitsubishi mini-split offers more flexibility. You can mount it on a drop ceiling, hung it on a wall or be suspend it from a ceiling. Also the indoor units are only 7 to 8 inches deep and have high tech, sleek looking jackets. Some also come with a remote control that allows users to easily turn it off or on when it is suspended from a ceiling or positioned high on a wall.

Better Performance

Compared to traditional air conditioners, this mini-split system has over 40 percent better-operating efficiency. Moreover, there are good reasons for this. First, there are no cooling or heating losses caused by convoluted, lengthy or leaky duct runs. Also, their compressors have inverters that adjust their output and speed in response to thermostat demand. All these features remove the typical AC start or stop cycles, which enhance general operating efficiency as well as the machine life.

They are easy to install

Unlike the traditional ducted systems which can take up to 2 weeks to install, Mitsubishi mini-split systems are very easy to install and depending on the number of outdoor and indoor units that you require, they can be up and running efficiently in a day or two. You also do not need to worry about rebuilding ceilings or walls around ductwork because they run on very small pipes that only require a 2inch hole.

Ideal for the Ann Arbor Climate

Whether it is too hot or too cold, the Mitsubishi mini-split will help you end the struggle of comfort vs. cost. The units do not use ducts, so you do not have to worry about losses associated with duct central forced air systems. They only use the energy required to maintain comfort in the room, and they adjust automatically if anything changes. In fact, they are 40 percent more energy efficient than traditional HVAC systems.

Comfort Control

The units can easily transform up to 8 large rooms from extremely hot or cold spaces to serene and comfortable spaces. They also use a wireless thermostat capability to link with your tablet, smartphone or PC for easy control. This makes it very easy to use, and it delivers maximum comfort.

Final Word

The Mitsubishi Mini Split is not only a great solution for new or whole home constructions in Ann Arbor, MI, but it also makes a perfect retrofit add-on to spaces with non-ducted cooling and heating systems. It can also be an excellent option for room additions where installing or extending distribution duct-work is not possible or in energy-efficient homes that only require small conditioning systems. They can fit anywhere and can be installed even in tight spaces, or suspended or recessed from the ceiling.

Heat Pumps – What They are, and How They Work

Adorable Baby and Dad

Many southeast Michigan homeowners have heard of heat pumps; some are familiar with what they are and how they work, others not so much. A heat pump is a type of air conditioner that heats your home in winter by reversing its operation. We’ll delve a little further into how a heat pump works and why it is an excellent choice for homeowners below.

The heat pump difference

Air conditioners gather heat inside a home and send it outdoors during warm summer months; this is precisely how a heat pump operates.

What happens when cold weather arrives? The heat pump reverses its operation, taking heat from outdoor air and supplying it to the indoors to make your home warm and comfortable. Although outdoor air in winter months feels cold to your skin, there is sufficient heat for a heat pump to “collect” and bring indoors.

Why choose a heat pump?

Much of whether a homeowner wants a heat pump depends on the region in which he or she lives, and how cold temperatures get during winter months. Northern climates usually rely on oil-burning or gas furnaces for warmth, because harsh climates often do not provide enough heat in the outdoor air to make a fuel pump effective and efficient.

However, for those who live in southern climates or regions where winter temperatures do not get too terribly cold, a heat pump is ideal for providing heat during winter months. Because the air does not get frigid, the heat pump can still collect enough heat to keep the home warm and comfortable.

Pairing a gas furnace with a heat pump

Referred to as a “dual-fuel” system, a gas furnace paired with a heat pump is often the most energy efficient solution for providing comfort to those who live in moderate or relatively mild climates. A dual-fuel system combines the best of both, providing comfort year-round while saving you on energy costs.

The heat pump portion of the system warms your home during cool weather in fall months, which means you are consuming electricity rather than gas. In most cases, gas costs more than electricity. As the season changes from fall to winter and temperatures plummet, the gas furnace portion of the dual-fuel system takes over, providing the warmth you need. This again makes sense from an energy cost standpoint, as the electricity that would be necessary for a heat pump to draw in sufficient heat from the outdoor air would cost more than using gas during the coldest winter months.

Warmth and energy-efficiency you can count on

A dual-fuel system works automatically, switching back and forth between heat pump and gas furnace mode depending on the temperature outdoors. When your system is installed, the dealer will pre-program a “switching point” that is determined by the cost of gas and electricity in the area where you live. Your dual-fuel system switches automatically when needed, with no effort required on your part – and you save substantially on energy costs.

Heat pump or dual-fuel system, at Haley Mechanical we are ready to discuss your needs and help you understand the advantages of these types of home comfort systems. Contact us today to learn more about these heating & cooling options.

Learn more about Heat Pump Options from Lennox.

Do You Need a Whole-House Humidifier in Your Home?

Desert Canyon Photo

If the air inside of your home tends to be on the dry side, it can aggravate existing respiratory conditions and cause your skin to lose moisture. It is not something that most people think about when they develop a sniffle or discover their skin is excessively dry. Nonetheless, you should consider the possibility that dry air is causing an increase in allergy symptoms and skin dryness.

What Are the Signs That Your Home Has Dry Air?

  • Dry air can lead to other problems in a building, including each of the following:
  • Droopy or dying houseplants
  • Curling wallpaper
  • Increase in asthma or allergy symptoms
  • Frequent episodes of coughing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chapped, cracked, or bleeding lips
  • Presence of static electricity

How Does Dry Air Develop?

Cold air does not have the same capacity to hold moisture that warm air has. When your home is not heated properly, the air becomes dryer due to the presence of cooler air. If cold air from the outside of the building is leaking into your home, the interior air becomes dryer. If your home’s air is dry, then it has low relative humidity or levels of moisture.

How Can You Resolve the Problem of Dry Air?

Adding moisture to your home’s air is the best way to alleviate the dryness. For quality results, you need to do so in a consistent manner that allows you to track humidity levels. A whole-house humidifier provides this capability.

How Does a Whole-House Humidifier Work?

When the whole-house humidifier is installed, it is connected to the building’s heating and cooling system. It increases the relative humidity in your home by adding vaporized water into the air.

Dry air can affect your home in many negative ways. It is important to eliminate it before any of the problems become severe. Increasing the relative humidity resolves the issue and is easily accomplished by installing a whole-house humidifier, allowing you to breathe easily and more comfortably. Once the humidifier is installed, you should notice the difference within days.

What is the Difference Between Geothermal Open Loop and Closed Loop?

A Globe of the Earth

In part three of our Introduction to Geothermal series, we are going to discuss geothermal loop systems and how each type works.

A geothermal loop is the series of underground pipes used to move heat to and from the earth. The pipes are made out of high-density polyethylene to establish a dependable, long-lasting system. They are joined together by the process of thermal fusion that will develop a bond that is far stronger than the original pipe itself. In fact, a properly installed loop can remain up to 200 years.

There are two main types of geothermal loop systems that are almost always used in today’s installs: open loop systems and closed loop systems. Each system has different pros and cons for your heating or cooling solution. We at Haley Mechanical have the training and experience on both types, and we will guide you step by step in the process of determining the right option for your geothermal installation.

Open loop geothermal solutions are designed to maximize the natural groundwater from underneath your home. Using a well, water is pulled from an existing aquifer and delivered to the geothermal heat pump where its heat is extracted, and the water is pushed back into the ground or to a designated runoff. Since the water that you are handling is not being treated in any way, the only thing that is being returned to the earth is water that is slightly warmer or cooler (depending on whether you’re in heating or cooling mode).

One thing to keep an eye on with an open loop system is water quality. Mineral build-up can manifest from the poor quality water. This can be attended to with occasional cleaning. If the water in the earth has higher iron content, you will need to make sure that the discharge water is prevented from coming in contact with air before it is returned to prevent clogs.

The only thing that you need to watch out for when it comes to an open loop system is a mineral build-up if the water’s initial quality is not very good. This can easily be attended to with an occasional cleaning with a mild acid solution. If the water in the earth has a higher iron content, you will need to make sure that the discharge water is prevented from coming in contact with air before it is returned to prevent clogs.

Closed loops are exactly as they sound. Instead of pumping water from a well and depositing it elsewhere, water is circulated in an entirely sealed circuit with a small amount of environmentally-friendly antifreeze.

There are two primary types of closed loop installations: horizontal and vertical. Putting in the system horizontally requires a good chunk of land. The piping is embedded in trenches between 4 and 6 feet deep and can be up to 400 feet long. If you reside on a smaller lot, the loops can be installed vertically by boring straight down using drilling equipment. This kind of installation can be installed in as little as a 10ft by 10ft area.

In either case, the larger the building, the larger the geothermal heat pump and loop need to be. A good ballpark figure is that for every ton of system capacity, you will need 500 to 600 feet of pipe.

Contact Haley Mechanical today to learn more about what system options are available to you here in Dexter.

Make Your Michigan Home More Energy Efficient in 4 Easy Steps

Efficient Windows in a Beautiful Home

Most Michigan homeowners know the big issues that cause their homes to be less energy efficient than they should be – too little insulation, for example. However, you may be losing conditioned air in ways you aren’t aware of. Perhaps one room feels colder than the rest of your home, or you’ve noticed that your energy bill is higher than usual.

At Haley Mechanical, we want to educate homeowners on what to look for and what can be done to make your home more energy efficient before the extreme cold temperatures arrive.

Whatever your situation, you can perform your own “energy efficiency survey.” Here’s how:

  • Perform an energy audit before winter strikes. You may logically think it’s easier to determine where those drafts are coming from when winter or summer is in full blast; however, energy costs will soar if you wait until the season is upon you before checking for problems. Check the ductwork or other issues now and take the steps necessary to improve energy efficiency.
  • Perform the window test. How much heat really is “flying” right out of your windows? Take a close look at your windows, checking the condition of panes and window frames. If your home is older, thin windows may be to blame. Consider replacing them with EnergyStar rated windows, and be sure to caulk or use weather stripping in gaps or cracks.
  • Update your heating/cooling equipment. Sure, it’s costly to replace your HVAC system or heater/air conditioner – but how much is it costing you to continue using outdated or worn out equipment? According to the Department of Energy, homes waste about 25% to 40% of their energy due to the fact that homeowners fail to have routine maintenance performed, or to replace an underperforming heating/cooling system.
  • Calculate your energy usage online. Taking your previous energy bills, you can calculate your potential energy savings using an online calculator like the one at AC Doctor. If you don’t have past energy bills, consider having a professional energy consultant provide you with data such as SEER ratings and electricity rates to perform the calculation on how much you could save by having high-efficiency furnace installed

At Haley Mechanical, we want to help you save on energy costs this winter. Call us for more ideas on how you can save on your energy bills this season, or for expert HVAC maintenance and installation. We’ve been proudly serving customers in Ann Arbor, Dexter, Canton, Plymouth and other areas in SE Michigan since 1998!

Believe These Energy Efficiency Myths? Top 5 Busted

Letters Spelling out MYTHS

More and more people are trying to reduce their carbon footprints, improving the environment for future generations. As trusted southeast Michigan heating, cooling, and plumbing professionals, we know that many homeowners have heard and read little pieces of “advice” here and there that they believe to be fact. Some of these energy efficiencies “tips” are energy efficiency myths, and will end up costing you more in energy costs!

Energy Efficiency Myths

Most of the energy efficiency myths we will talk about below relate to leaving appliances, lights, and electronics on, rather than turning them off when not in use. You may be surprised to learn that what you have been doing is all wrong!

Energy is saved by using screensavers on your computer

Myth! While it doesn’t cost you more if you do use one, a screen saver does nothing to save energy. A screen uses the same amount of energy whether it is left on a website or spreadsheet, or with the screensaver on. If you need to leave your computer for a few minutes, just turn it off – that’s the only real way you will save energy.

Leaving the lights on saves more energy than turning them on and off.

Again, this is a myth! While this piece of advice applied mostly to fluorescent tube lighting, even with the energy-saving light bulbs available today it is more energy efficient to turn the lights off when you leave a room. Get into the habit, and it will save you a bundle. Industrial or commercial businesses may want to consider lighting that works through motion detection to eliminate the need for turning lights on and off.

Cooling a room costs less when you leave the ceiling fan on

This is a big myth – ceiling fans only cool the people who are in a room by circulating the air around, the actual room temperature doesn’t change at all. If a room is not occupied and you leave the ceiling fan on, it is a total – and costly – waste of energy. Air conditioning is the only “true” way to lower the temperature in a room. However, you don’t want to run your air conditioning unless you need it either, because it uses energy!

It costs more in energy to heat a cold building or space

Think it’s better to leave a boiler on overnight, so that the building doesn’t get as cold, and thus takes less time to heat up? False! The fact is a boiler works equally as hard whether maintaining a temperature or warming up to the desired temperature, so when you don’t need it, flip the switch to off.

You waste energy and “wear out” light bulbs and computers by repeatedly switching on and off

Not true! While older computers were more susceptible to damage caused by everyday wear and tear, today’s modern computers are tougher and more durable. If you are forgetful, utilize the ‘sleep’ and ‘hibernate’ power saving modes to avoid wasting energy. Turning lights on and off has no impact on their lifespan, as they are designed for this type of use. The takeaway? Turn lights and computers off when you’re not using them.

Maybe some of these myths got started by people who are simply just too lazy to turn things off, or perhaps at some point they were believed to be true. Regardless, there is no advantage energy-wise to leaving electronics, lights, boilers, or ceiling fans on when not in use!

Have questions about saving energy? At Haley Mechanical, our goal is to help Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and other homeowners in the southeast Michigan area save money on energy. Call us today for all of your heating, cooling, and electrical needs!

Ann Arbor Homeowners Can Lower Energy Costs With These Simple Tips

Piggy Bank - Save on utilities!

Today, many southeast Michigan homeowners are looking for ways to reduce energy costs and consumption, primarily due to increasing fuel prices and increased environmental awareness.  The fact is, accomplishing these goals is fairly easy with just a few small changes and a little effort.

At Haley Mechanical, we’re happy to provide you with a few tips to help you save on both energy costs and usage:

Consider a programmable thermostat.  This “smart” thermostat makes it possible to keep your home comfortable while saving on energy use.  Depending on your family’s schedule, you can pre-program temperature settings for night time, while you are away during the daytime hours, or even while on vacation.

Don’t skip seasonal maintenance.  HVAC equipment that is running smoothly is more efficient, thereby less costly to run.  You may not be aware that cooling and heating your home accounts for about 50% of the energy you use each month!  Consider scheduling preventive maintenance services in spring and fall, just prior to hot summer months and the cold winter season.

Change the filter regularly.  We know – you’ve heard it time and time again, but do you do it?  Filters collect dust, dirt, and other debris, making your HVAC system work harder to keep your home comfortable, which means increased cost.  Not only that, a clogged filter can lead to a buildup of dust and dirt within the components of your heating/cooling system, resulting in damage or unnecessary wear and tear.  Change it regularly, especially during summer and winter months.

Check the ducts for leaks, and seal any cracks or holes.  Because the ductwork is something you don’t see often, it’s easy to forget about it.  Check your ducts for leaks, which often occurs in areas where cracks or breaks exist.  Tape any visible leaks using a metal-backed or duct mastic tape instead of duct tape, which doesn’t hold up well.  Also consider additional insulation on ducts located in a garage, attic, or other unconditioned space.

Replace older or inefficient HVAC equipment with Energy Star qualified equipment.  A heating/cooling system that’s older than 10 years may not be efficient.  If your current system isn’t operating efficiently or is getting on up there in age, consider replacing it with an Energy Star qualified system.  These products are proven to help lower energy costs, and consume less energy.

Most important of all, choose your southeast Michigan HVAC contractor wisely!  It is critical that your air conditioning and heating equipment is properly sized for your home and installed correctly.  Improper installation of your HVAC system could cost you more in terms of energy usage – up to 30% more.

Learn more about how you can lower energy costs and consumption in your home this summer.  Call Haley Mechanical today, and let our experts help you enjoy a comfortable home that costs less in terms of heating/cooling costs!

Prepare Your Greater Ann Arbor Home for Summer with These Tips

Girl Swimming in Pool During the Summer

Recent temperatures have been incredibly warm, almost brutal for those in Southeast Michigan. We always look forward to summer months – but those increased energy bills, not so much. We have a few tips to help you enjoy a comfortable home this summer while keeping energy costs down.

Upgrade to a programmable thermostat

No more turning the temperature up or down manually. You do not want to come home to a hot house after work, but why cool an empty space? A programmable thermostat lets you program the thermostat to cool your home just before your family comes in at the end of the day.

Have your AC cleaned and inspected

A dirty air conditioner that hasn’t been properly maintained is less efficient and more prone to break completely down on you. Decreased efficiency means reduced comfort, and higher energy bills. Have a qualified technician inspect and clean your system, and enjoy greater comfort all summer long.

Consider an insulation upgrade

If your home lacks sufficient insulation, it impacts comfort. Insulation does not only keep cold air out in winter months; it also keeps out heat/humidity during summer months. Having extra insulation blown into the walls and/or around windows and doors is an easy process that can save you big time.

Install ceiling fans and awnings

While ceiling fans will not lower the temperature in the room you are in, they will circulate the cool air which makes it feel much cooler to your skin. You can set the temperature up a couple of degrees higher, and not notice a difference – other than lower energy costs.

Awnings placed above windows are another way to keep the hot direct sunlight out, without darkening your home or having to repeatedly open/close blinds, shades, or curtains. They also add to the exterior appeal of your home!

Ventilate the attic

When the attic lacks adequate ventilation, the hot air that rises from the rooms in your home gets trapped. Temperatures in the attic can reach as much as 150 degrees on super hot days, so you know that “holding in” of heat makes your home feel like an oven. Hot air can escape from the attic by simply installing vents or attic fans.

At Haley Mechanical, we want to help Ann Arbor and Dexter homeowners enjoy a cool, comfortable home without dreading those huge monthly utility bills. For more tips or to schedule an inspection/cleaning of your HVAC system, give us a call today!

Is Your Southeast Michigan Home Prepared for Fall?

Fall Leaves in Dexter, Michigan

For many people, fall is a favorite time of the year.  While spring is always welcome after a long winter, there’s just something about the crunch of leaves, smell of wood smoke, and cool, crisp days that make autumn a much-anticipated season – not to mention it’s a prelude to the holidays!

Enough about the autumn season and all it brings.  What we need to talk about here is your home, and whether it’s ready for the coming cooler weather.  With every new season comes a new set of tasks for homeowners; here are a few you’ll want to consider before fall is upon us:

Rake leaves away from your home.  While there is no doubt the crimson, yellow, and orange leaves of autumn are beautiful, you don’t want them near your home!  Not only are piles of leaves a fire hazard, but they’re also home to insects which can make their way inside your home.

Clean and inspect your gutters.We know, we know; this is perhaps one of the most dreaded tasks of the year – but it’s highly important.  Gutters that are in disrepair can lead to roof and foundation damage.  Before the cooler weather, rain, snow, and other inclement conditions set in make sure your gutters are repaired or replaced if needed and add downspouts where needed.

Have the chimney inspected by a professional?If you burn wood in a fireplace or wood stove, it’s essential to have the chimney inspected and cleaned if necessary.  This helps prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide hazards.  A professional chimney sweep will vacuum debris, and check flashing/mortar from the roof.

Has your heater inspected now, before the frigid conditions of winter set in?Waking up on a bone-chilling morning to find your heater has gone on the blitz is the last thing you want to think about, especially when you live in Michigan.  Why wait until the technicians are busy working on everyone else’s issues – and it may take days for them to get to you?  Check your furnace early for obvious problems, and remember it isn’t a bad idea to have your heater inspected by a professional on a yearly basis.

At Haley Mechanical, we want to help SE Michigan homeowners in Ypsilanti, Dexter, Chelsea, Howell, and surrounding communities enjoy the fall season by being prepared!

Open Loop vs. Closed Loop Geothermal Systems

Geothermal Heat Pump Installation

Ground source geothermal heat pumps have become highly popular in recent years for home comfort and other benefits. In fact, each year more homes in the U.S. switch from standard air source heat pumps to ground source geothermal systems. At Haley Mechanical, we understand why so many homeowners are making the switch, and the exceptional benefits of geothermal systems – reduction in harmful emissions, long lifespan, outstanding performance and energy savings, and efficient heating even during the most frigid winter temperatures in Michigan.

What is the difference between open loop and closed loop geothermal systems?

An open loop system consists of a pipe that is buried beneath the ground using nearby groundwater for the heat exchange process. Unlike a closed loop system that circulates a mixture of anti-freeze and water, the water does not circulate but instead is directed into drainage after use.

With a closed loop system, a pipe is also buried beneath the ground. However, a mixture of water and anti-freeze is circulated to cool and heat your home. Essentially, the water/anti-freeze solution either deposits or absorbs heat from the ground, depending on the season. The solution enters a heat exchanger located inside your home that transfers heat via the refrigerant in the heat pump. With a closed loop system, loops are placed according to the space available, and depending on your situation will be laid either as vertical loops after drilling or in a horizontal configuration.

While the type of geothermal system that’s right for you depends on some factors including groundwater availability, closed-loop systems are the most common. Not only is a water source essential for an open loop system, these loops may collect debris inside the piping system that can result in repair issues and costs. Your installation professional can guide you regarding the differences between an open or closed loop geothermal heat pump system, and which is best in your situation.

At Haley Mechanical, we realize that geothermal heating and cooling systems are something still relatively new to southeast Michigan homeowners. Have questions regarding home comfort, energy savings, and the benefits of this type of system to the environment? Give us a call today!