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Ejector Pump vs. Sump Pump: What are Their Differences?

Sump Pump

Many homes with finished basements often have an ejector pump near their washer and dryer. An ejector pump can appear identical, or at least similar, to a home’s sump pump. 

Despite tricky appearances, this is a classic ejector pump versus sump pump situation. Both perform different jobs for your home. 

Homeowners in various areas of the country are fairly familiar with sump pumps. Sump pumps have been around for years, playing an essential role in keeping your basement dry and protected against flooding. 

Before you can determine which is best for you — sewage ejector pump versus sump pump — you need to understand the differences between both of these pieces of equipment. 

What is an Ejector Pump?

An ejector pump looks a lot like a sump pump and can be installed similarly: In a pit or basin built into the floor of a basement. The purpose of an ejector pump, however, is quite different from a sump pump. 

A sewage ejector pump is designed so that its basin fills with accumulated water from the basement floor drains or the gray water coming from a washing machine or spare sink. 

It can also be necessary for wastewater if the home has a below-grade bathroom.

If an ejector pump must process wastewater, then the basin will have a sealed lid with a vent pipe for gases from the sewer. If an ejector pump only processes gray water you can expect it to have a lid, but no vent for gases. 

Both types of ejector pumps will be connected to a sewer line, like all of your home’s plumbing and drainage systems. 

What is a Sump Pump? 

Now let’s discuss sump pumps to help clarify the difference between a sewage ejector pump vs. sump pump. What is a sump pump, exactly?

A sump pump is a small, submersible water pump that’s typically installed in a pit in the basement that is at least two feet deep. Basement Sump Pump

It doesn’t need to be installed near any water-consuming equipment, so it won’t necessarily be beside a washer and dryer, basement bathroom, or spare utility sink.

Groundwater from the soil surrounding your home drains to this pit, accumulating until the waters rise enough to lift the sump pump’s float switch, triggering the sump pump to activate. 

When this happens, your sump pump pushes the water out of your basement, through the discharge pipe, forcing it away from your home and into your lawn or sewer system.

A sump pump is designed to keep your home from flooding and to keep groundwater from seeping into your home. 

If a sump pump ever fails, your entire basement could flood since there isn’t anything keeping the water out anymore. 

Do I Need Both an Ejector Pump and a Sump Pump?

So, what do you need in your home: Sump pump versus ejector pit? Or do you possibly need both? The truth is, both types of pumps perform different tasks. 

A sump pump is necessary for basements since heavy rainfall or snowmelt can cause flooding and excess water accumulation. 

Without a sump pump, this water collection can severely damage your home’s foundation, basement, and anything you keep in your basement.

An ejector pump is needed for any water-consuming equipment, appliances, or plumbing fixtures installed in the basement of your home. If your home doesn’t have anything like this in its lower level, then an ejector pump isn’t necessary.

However, if you have a washing machine, bathroom, or utility sink in your basement, then you can switch your “sump versus ejector pump” conversation into a “sump and ejector pump” discussion. 

Ejector Pump Versus Sump Pump Installation

Like all the other equipment, appliances, and machinery in your home, your various water pumps require certain maintenance and attention to operate properly, something you should only trust an expert to handle. 

Whether you need a sump pump or ejector pump installation, or you’re having issues with your current sump or ejector pump, our express at John C. Flood can help resolve your issue.

Contact John C. Flood online to schedule a service or get your questions answered.

The post Ejector Pump vs. Sump Pump: What are Their Differences? appeared first on John C. Flood.

3 Signs You Need a New Heat Pump in Oyster Creek, TX

With the cold weather approaching, it is advisable for you to ensure that your heat pump works efficiently. If you have noticed some signs or suspect that a new heating system might be needed, you should contact professionals for an expert opinion. Here are three signs you may need a new heat pump for your home in Oyster Creek, TX.

The System Runs Constantly

Normally, the heating system operates in cycles. This is where the thermostat prompts the system to start and switches off once it reaches the desired room temperature. If you notice that the heating system is constantly running, that is an indicator that there is a problem.

Repair technicians will help determine if your system needs a new thermostat or replacement. If repairs are very costly, they may recommend a heat pump replacement, which could reduce your energy bill and repair costs.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

A heatand cooling system can control interior air quality issues, including ventilation and humidity. If your heat pump is malfunctioning, you may be experiencing stale air and a more humid environment.

Repair professionals will inspect your heating and cooling system, diagnose any problems and fix it. If your existing system is old, or will need repairs that approach 50% of the cost of a replacement, they will recommend a few system replacements.

Increased Utility Bills

When temperatures are extremely high or low in Oyster Creek, TX, it makes sense that your utility bills will be higher than normal. However, if you notice that the electricity bill has gone abnormally high, your heat pump could be having an issue. Contact repair technicians so that they can check the cause of the high bill.

We also highly recommend routine check-ups since they help identify issues before they become problems or repairs. Contact Davis Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., today to get quality HVAC services.

Image provided by iStock

Cleaning Your AC Coil Impacts Comfort, Air Quality & More

Reliable air conditioning is something we tend to take for granted… until all of a sudden it’s not reliable anymore. It’s tempting to hope that you can start up your AC and everything works perfectly. But if you want that to happen, you need to take steps to make sure your air conditioner can handle … Continued

The post Cleaning Your AC Coil Impacts Comfort, Air Quality & More appeared first on Arista.

7 Pros and Cons of Sump Pumps

Sump Pump

Water damage is a massive problem for homeowners in America, with the number of Americans facing emergency related water damage reaching 14,000 yearly. 

The annual cost of water damage and removal in the United States is $13 billion. Thankfully, there’s something you can do to protect yourself and your home from such severe water damage.

Issues with your plumbing and appliances are the most common reasons for water damage in a home, and most homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding in the basement. 

That’s why installing a sump pump in your home—with all its pros and cons— can help save you a lot of headache and money in the long run. 

Let’s explore the pros and cons of sump pumps to help you determine if they’re right for you and your home.

What is a Sump Pump?

To fully understand sump pump advantages and disadvantages, it helps to understand what a sump pump is and how it operates. 

A sump pump is a plumbing device meant to be installed at the lowest point of the home, typically a basement—or a crawl space if there is no basement. 

While sump pumps are submersible, they are on standby most of the time, waiting to keep water from flooding your home when it’s necessary.

Heavy rains, a clogged drain, or even excessive snowmelt can all end up flooding your home and causing water damage. 

A sump pump is designed to keep that flooding down, keep water away, and keep your home protected. They do this with their fairly straightforward operation. 

As rain or excessive snowmelt over-saturates the soil around your home, the groundwater collects and funnels toward the sump pit where your sump pump is installed. 

This causes the sump pit to begin filling with water. As the waters rise, the float switch on your sump pump activates the sump pump, which starts diverting water away from your home and lowering the water levels. 

This entire process keeps water from rising in your basement and prevents flood damage to your home.

Let’s dive into sump pump pros and cons.

Pros

As you consider the pros and cons, keep in mind that getting a quality sump pump is dependent on you working with a quality plumber. 

A bad installation job or an improperly skilled technician can make even the best advantages of a sump pump pointless. Always work with the professionals.

Now let’s explore sump pump pros and cons, starting with the pros.

Removes Flood Water from Basement

One of the most obvious advantages of sump pumps is that they remove excess water that gets into your basement. This means that if your basement ever ends up flooded, or if you live in an area with frequent flooding or heavy rains, your basement is better protected. 

Flood Water Ankle Deep

Sump pumps are capable of draining a flooded basement and pumping away water from the earth beneath your home to prevent flooding from happening in the first place.

Performs Better than Waterproofing

While external waterproofing can help your home, it doesn’t do nearly as good of a job of protecting your home from flooding as a sump pump does. 

Waterproof coatings often crack, weaken over time, or just fail to work properly and can lead to your home flooding without a way to get the water out. A sump pump keeps you prepared and protected in these situations.

A Water Powered Sump Pump Always has Power

A water powered sump pump’s pros and cons are slightly different from an electric sump pump. If you get an electric sump pump, obviously it will need a power source to operate properly, but a water powered sump pump always has power and keeps the same pumping rates (though it does require municipal water).

Sump Pumps are an Active System

This means that sump pumps work actively to prevent water from getting into your home and pump water out if it does get in. 

They are constantly working to keep water away from your home before it makes its way through any cracks. Basement drains or even external waterproof coatings are passive systems in that they are simply present to whatever ends up happening.

Cons 

Now let’s consider some cons to sump pumps.

Sump Pumps Require Electricity

Unless you have a water powered sump pump, your sump pump needs electricity when it turns on. 

This can be a problem if a severe rainstorm has caused a power outage, since you could end up with a flooded basement. Making sure that your sump pump has a battery backup that is sealed against water damage is the best approach to resolving this con.

Requires a Pit

To install a sump pump, you need a sump pump pit. This process creates an opening in the earth under your home, which not only is a substantial task, but it creates a Radon risk. 

Zoeller Sump Pump

Any whole in your foundation creates a risk for Radon getting into your home, but a sump pump pit is substantial.

Unsightly Appearance 

Many homeowners find the sight of a sump pump unattractive. The installation process leaves an exposed hole in your foundation, which many homeowners don’t feel great about. 

If you need a neat, tidy basement appearance, then a sump pump may not be your best option.

As you consider the sump pump pros and cons, it’s important to also consider the cost of the job. While sump pumps aren’t overly expensive and the installation cost is manageable, the overall cost that goes into waterproofing your home can add up. 

Many homes have more than one type of waterproofing, so be sure you consider all your options alongside your budget as you make your decision.

When Should I Install a Sump Pump?

The best time to install a sump pump depends entirely on your local weather. 

Fall is a great time to install a sump pump in many northern states, so it can be done before the winter sets in and the ground freezes. In areas that deal with a lot of rain, especially southern states, it’s important to install your sump pump before the heavy rain season sets in. 

Consider any past weather or water issues you’ve had in your home. If you’ve dealt with basement flooding during the rainy season before, you absolutely want to get a sump pump installed before the rain comes again.

If you’re not sure what the water history is with your home, then consider the location of your home. Groundwater is more likely to rise up under your basement if your home has poorly draining soil, is on a flat plot with bad drainage, or is on a low-lying plot below a water table. 

If you have a finished basement or want to protect any storage in your basement, it’s also a good idea to get a sump pump.

Protect Your Basement

If your current sump pump is malfunctioning or if you are looking to install a new one, trust John C. Flood for the job. 

You can schedule a service with us online or call our expert team to get all your questions answered. 

Don’t wait for a big rainstorm or a flooded basement to get your sump pump working. Schedule your sump pump service today.

The post 7 Pros and Cons of Sump Pumps appeared first on John C. Flood.

Come to Us When Your AC Acts Up

service-timeIt is less than enjoyable to discover your air conditioner is acting up. When it happens,  you may need to start shifting around tasks and adjusting your schedule to find room to get those Homestead air conditioning repairs knocked out. Having an air conditioner that is encountering trouble is already a big enough hassle. Why not come to a team that makes repairs as easy and stress-free as possible?

When your air conditioner acts up, the best thing to do is to reach out to a  professional to get those repairs done. A pro will be able to find the source of the issue and address it head-on. Here’s how to tell you should make a call for expert assistance:

5 Signs You Should Reach Out to Us For Repairs

Here are the indicators that you should look for that will tell you when you should schedule AC repairs with a team like ours:

  1. You hear uncommon noises: When you run your air conditioner you shouldn’t hear much noise other than the whoosh of air. If you end up hearing sounds that concern you such as screeching, hissing, clanging, or rattling then it is worthwhile to have a professional check things out.
  2. You see signs of a leak: Your air conditioner doesn’t utilize water to do its job. That means if you notice it leaking water, it should be an alert to a problem within the system such as a refrigerant line leak or a condensate drain clog.
  3. You notice weak airflow: How strong is the flow of air coming from the vents in your home? If you notice that your airflow has gotten weaker it may be a problem with your system fan or even a ductwork issue.
  4. Your system is producing warm air: Another indicator that you have an AC in trouble is that your system is pushing out warm air instead of cool air. This could be due to multiple issues within your system but ultimately the main thing to note is that it requires professional service.
  5. Your energy bills are too high.  Have you noticed that your energy bills seem to be reflecting twice the amount of energy use that you are actually using? That isn’t normal and it is more than likely a sign your system is having problems.

Why Schedule Repairs with Air On Demand?

So, you are pretty sure that you need a repair for your air conditioning system. But why come to us? You can schedule your repairs with our team because we are experts in our field who are proud to work with just about any AC system out there. We have served homes throughout the Homestead area for more than 20 years and we are proud to say we are known for our top-quality work.

When you come to Air On Demand for your repairs you’ll always receive expert service that works to identify and address the core issue in your system. We won’t rest until your comfort is exactly where it needs to be.

Schedule your AC repairs with Air On Demand today.

This post appeared first on AironDemand.com

Tent heaters: best portable tent heaters for camping in cold weather

Cold weather camping offers beautiful views and unmatched seclusion, but it’s hard to enjoy if you’re shivering the whole time. A tent heater is an affordable way to keep cozy and make the most of your fall or winter getaway. 

What are tent heaters? 

Tent heaters are portable devices that help warm your camping space. Most run on gases like propane or butane, but electric models have become more popular in recent years. 

Types of Tent Heaters

  • Gas: Most gas tent heaters are propane-powered, but some use butane. These models are cordless, and they can be set up anywhere. The portability makes gas-powered tent heaters a great fit for campers who roam far off the grid. To replenish your heater, just bring along a canister of the gas your device runs on. A gas heater’s output is measured in BTU (British Thermal Units). 
  • Electric: Electric tent heaters are marketed as a safer alternative to gas-powered heaters. Here’s the catch: they need to be plugged into a power source. This means they’re ideal for occupied campgrounds, like an RV site. Some are battery-powered or even solar-powered, but the battery life is usually not long-lasting. An electric heaters’ output is measured in Watts. 

Depending on the model, tent heaters warm anywhere from 50 to 300 sq. ft. of space. A pound of propane or butane will last a gas tent heater anywhere from three to six hours.

Most electric heaters need to be plugged into a power source, so they can warm your tent for as long as they are connected. Some electric models are battery-powered, but the batteries tend to drain within an hour or two. 

Small tent heater models can cost as little as $30, but some electric models cost upwards of $1,800. Tent heaters are widely available, both directly from the manufacturers and through third-party retailers.

Generally, tent heaters are not noisy. Most operate below 60 decibels, which is as loud as hair clippers. However, some electric models get loud enough to wake light sleepers on their highest settings. 

How does a tent heater work?

When you attach a propane or butane canister to a gas tent heater, an igniter will spark. When the fire and gas combine, your device starts to create heat. 

Electric tent heaters often run on batteries or generators. The batteries drain quickly, though, since these heaters work at a high wattage. 

There’s no installation required for gas tent heaters, but you’ll need to bring along canisters of the gas your model uses. Electric tent heaters need an extension cord or a generator, but setting up either type of tent heater is a DIY project. 

Are tent heaters safe? 

When powering a small and insulated space like a tent, carbon monoxide poisoning is a safety concern. Although gas heaters concern some campers, they are not inherently unsafe when used properly. 

Most tent heaters come with safety protocols that help prevent tragic accidents. For example, many have sensors that turn off the device if it’s tipped over or gets overheated. 

Tent heater safety tips

We have a few more safety tips to keep in mind if you’re looking for a gas-powered tent heater: 

  • When you fall asleep, turn your heater off or run it on the lowest setting.
  • Don’t place any clothing or flammable items on top of or near your heater.
  • Make sure your heater is labeled ‘indoor-safe.’
  • Let some air in. You’ll need to ventilate your tent as directed by the heater manufacturer to prevent a carbon monoxide buildup. 

Best Tent Heaters 

We chose a wide variety of tent heaters for our best-of list. These picks include both gas and electric heaters, and all cost under $100. 

We’ll go into more detail below, but here’s a quick peek at our top tent heaters for camping.

Some of our choices can do more than just heat your tent. We’ve included multiple 2-in-1 heating and cooling systems, and our versatility pick doubles as a stove. 

Whether you’re a rugged backpacker or a backyard glamper, we’ll help you find the best tent heater for your next excursion. 

Best Small Propane Heater

Mr. Heater Little Buddy | $79.39

Say hello to our little friend. The Little Buddy portable tent heater powers up to 95 square feet, making it perfect for a couple or small group. 

This 3800 BTU machine can make a pound of propane last almost six hours. If you want something more powerful, the Mr. Heater brand offers higher-BTU options

We love the safety settings on this heater. While many tent heaters come equipped with safety measures, the Little Buddy goes above and beyond the competition. This unit comes with a wire guard to prevent burns. The guard helps keep your clothes and hair safely away from the flame. 

This heater also comes with a tip-over sensor, but our favorite safety measure on the Little Buddy is its low oxygen detector. This detector will shut off the heat if it senses low oxygen levels, keeping any worries about harmful emissions at bay. 

The Little Buddy is a smart choice for small-tent campers. This heater may only weigh five pounds, but it packs a punch with top-notch safety features and a reasonable price tag to boot.

Best Electric Heater

iPower Heater Electric Fan | $69.99

The iPower heater and electric fan was originally designed for greenhouses and grow tents, so it’s perfect for camping in wet climates. It boasts IPX4 waterproof status, meaning that it protects from splashing water coming from any direction. 

This heater gets up to 210 degrees, but it comes with safety grills to prevent injuries and burns. It also has an anti-tip design and stands only 13 inches tall. 

There’s two catches to this heater: for one, it comes unassembled. You can order it assembled, but it’ll tack another $115 onto the price tag. 

A second drawback is that you’ll need a power source for this 120V heater. If you camp in rural, unoccupied areas, you may need to look for a gas-powered model. 

Still, we love how this pick is water resistant and packs a lot of heat into a small stature. With the iPower, keeping warm and staying dry is a cinch. 

Most Versatile

Campy Gear 2-in-1 Portable Heater and Stove| $55.90 

What’s a campfire without s’mores? The Campy Gear 2-in-1 heater doubles as a stove, helping both you and your food stay toasty. 

You can use either butane, propane or isobutane to power this flexible device. Just attach a one-pound canister and your heater will get to work. 

One pound of gas should be enough to power the heater for 3-5 hours. But if that won’t cut it, Campy Gear also has attachment hoses and adapters available. These tools allow you to plug in heavier gas tanks for longer-lasting power. 

This heater/stove combo weighs a petite two pounds, making it easier to transport than many competitors can offer.

You’ll also have peace of mind knowing Campy Gear stands behind its products. The brand offers a year-long warranty and a 24-hour customer service line. 

If you’re looking to test your cooking chops on your next camping trip, give this 2-in-1 heater and stove a try. 

Best Value

GiveBest Portable Space Heater | $39.99

With a $40 price tag, the GiveBest electric tent heater can outperform pricier competitors. It can heat up to 158 degrees in seconds, warming up to 200 sq. ft. of tent space.

This electric pick comes with two heat settings and a cooling setting. If you like to camp somewhere with freezing nights and hot days, the dual heating and cooling could come in handy.

GiveBest’s portable tent heater is a petite 3.5 pounds, so it’s easy to carry across camp. It operates below 50 decibels, which is about as loud as your fridge. 

Safety features also come standard with the GiveBest. If it’s overheated or tips over, the heat will automatically shut off. This safety measure makes the heater safe for any pets or children that may join you on your trip. 

If you prefer camping on occupied grounds like an RV lot, this 120V electric heater could be a great fit. Campers that prefer going off-the-grid will need to bring a generator if they want to use this electric option. 

Between 2-in-1 heating and cooling, safety features, and an affordable price point, there’s a lot to love about the GiveBest. 

Best for Large Groups

Mr. Heater Big Buddy | $173.23

A big group needs a big heater to match. The Mr. Heater Big Buddy can warm 450 square feet of tent space, so you and your group won’t have to huddle together to stay cozy. 

To get this heater working, just hook up two one-pound cylinders of propane. Its fuel lasts a mere two hours on its highest 18,000 BTU/hour setting, but you can reduce it to medium or low heat and make the propane last longer. 

If you buy your gas in bulk, you’re in luck. Mr. Heater sells hose attachments, so you can attach a 20 or 30-pound propane tank. 

The Big Buddy has a low oxygen sensor, a tip-over safety shutoff, and grills to cover the heat. Mr. Heater makes reputable gas tent heaters, and the Big Buddy is no exception. 

Tent Heaters: Worth the hype? 

Camping is a great way to connect with nature. Tent heaters help you get closer with the great outdoors, even when the frigid outdoor air is uninviting. 

These budget-friendly devices are a great way to make winter camping more comfortable and safe. With one in hand, the cold will be no match for your next adventure. 

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

Trane vs. Carrier vs. Lennox

Searching for the best HVAC system can feel like you’re diving into a giant, murky pool. The heating and cooling industry has made some major advancements over the past decade, so researching the best brands like Trane vs. Carrier, allows you to feel confident in your investment.

The top HVAC brands offer a variety of systems. Whether you’re in the market for the best value, an energy-efficient model, or the best warranty, our review will help take the pressure off of shopping for the best AC unit. 

We’re comparing three powerhouse brands in the HVAC space: Lennox vs. Trane vs. Carrier.

Each brand offers a long-standing reputation for high quality and reliability. Still, they have differences in categories like energy efficiency, compressors, and smart features. 

The HVAC features that create an ideal atmosphere for your family may differ greatly from another shopper. In our HVAC brand comparison guide, we highlight main categories so you can choose the right AC unit based on the factors you care about most. 

What do they have in common?

As unique as each brand is, Carrier, Trane, and Lennox share some important characteristics. From notable customer satisfaction to standing behind the workmanship of the equipment, these brands note the following commonalities: 

  • They are considered reputable brands in the HVAC industry. According to a Consumer Reports study of 24,000 AC unit owners, Trane, Carrier, and Lennox were three of the five brands rated “Excellent” in user satisfaction. 
  • All three cool your house with a blend of refrigerants called R-410A. Carrier’s trademarked term for this refrigerant is Puron®. 
  • Their AC units fall under three pricing tiers, ranging from value to premium. 
  • All three offer single-stage, dual-stage, and variable-stage compressors.
  • All offer ACs that are compatible with smart thermostats and digital assistants.
  • A limited warranty comes standard with their AC units.

Smart Features

Winner: Trane

Trane, Carrier and Lennox all bucket their AC units into three different tiers. Each brand has a basic and most affordable tier, a premium tier with their most expensive units, and a middle tier between those two. Here’s what each of the brands call their value, mid-level and premium models.

Brand Value Mid-Level Premium
Trane XR XL XV
Carrier Comfort Performance Infinity
Lennox Merit Elite Signature

As price increases across each brand, so do the smart features and amenities that come with your unit. Below is a list of notable features and their availability by brand.

Trane vs. Carrier vs. Lennox: Smart technology

If setting your thermostat to the ideal temperature from your smartphone is your idea of an HVAC system that keeps you comfortable, Trane may top your list. 

Digital assistant compatibility

Winner: Trane

Use your smartphone to link your AC to other smart home equipment, like light fixtures and thermostats, with digital assistant compatibility. It’s convenient and practical, especially if you’re big into smart technology and want an easy way to interconnect your devices. 

All three brands offer ACs with this feature. Trane’s technology is called Nexia, and you can pair your AC with Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Lennox’s iComfort technology can pair with the same digital assistants as Trane, plus Siri. Carrier’s Cor Smart Home technology is compatible with Alexa. 

Smart thermostat

Smart thermostats allow you to control your AC from your phone. You can adjust the temperature and monitor your system’s energy use. This convenient tool also updates you on your AC’s condition, so you avoid having problems fester or go unnoticed. 

Each brand offers a variety of smart thermostats. If you replace your HVAC system, we recommend installing a smart thermostat of the same brand. The wireless technology often works best when partnered with the intended system. 

Trane: Trane offers four varieties of smart thermostats. The two most expensive models use ComfortLink II technology. On the Trane website, its thermostats range from 3.6 to 4.8 stars. Its Nexia app also has 4.8 stars across almost 67,000 Apple app store reviewers, so users seem satisfied with its quality.

Carrier: When comparing Carrier vs. Trane, Carrier has six varieties to Trane’s four smart thermostats. Many allow you to control three or more separate zones within your house. This could be ideal if you live with loved ones who have strong, conflicting opinions on comfortable temperatures. 

Carrier’s higher-end smart thermostats use Infinity technology. Note that Carrier’s Cor Thermostat app has an average of 1.6/5 stars among 589 App Store reviewers. There are complaints about the app crashing and the level of difficulty to use the tool.

Lennox: Lennox offers three varieties of smart thermostats, all of which use its proprietary iComfort technology. But even on Lennox’s website, its systems have mixed to negative reviews. Its three models range from 2.2 to 3.5 stars. 

Carrier offers a wider variety of smart technology, but both it and Lennox’s products have left many users desiring more. Trane earns the top spot when it comes to smart technology thanks to the Home App’s ease of use and ability to integrate with other products.

Energy Efficiency

Winner: Lennox 

An AC unit’s energy efficiency is measured on the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or Rating) scale. This number gets calculated over one cooling season, from April 15 to October 15. 

The SEER rating is the cooling output of your equipment divided by the amount of electric energy it takes to complete the cooling process. The higher a unit’s SEER, the more energy efficient it is, and the less you’ll have to fork over to the electric company every month. 

Below is a table showing each brand’s maximum SEER range for its AC units, organized by price tier. 

Maximum SEER Range by Brand and Tier

Trane Carrier Lennox
XR: 14.5-16 Performance: 13-17 Merit: 13-17
XL: 17-18 Comfort: 13-17 Elite: 15.5-21
XV: 18-22 Infinity: 16-26 Signature: 20-28

When pitting Lennox vs. Carrier, their basic tier models both cap out at 17 SEER. While Trane’s value models begin with a SEER rating up to 14.5, it loses footing to competing brands with a cap of 16 SEER.

Carrier has one AC unit with a maximum 26 SEER, but Lennox’s high SEER ratings in the middle and premium tiers gives it an edge over the competition. Both Lennox and its value brand, Ducane, have long prioritized high energy-efficiency. 

Lennox boasts the highest SEER rating available with the SL28XCV air conditioner, which is part of the Dave Lennox Signature® Collection. While a number of factors can affect your HVAC system’s energy efficiency level, like quality of insulation, age of windows, and routine maintenance to the system, Lennox is the best place to start if you want to lighten your carbon footprint.

Price Comparison 

It’s rare to find clear pricing for a specific unit on Trane, Lennox, or Carrier’s website. The problem with nailing down an exact price is that so many factors go into determining your cost. 

For example, installation costs vary by geographic location and climate, sometimes by thousands of dollars. Elements of your home, like if ductwork is already installed, the need for more than one HVAC, or additional equipment you may want to include all affect the bottom line.

All three brands also partner with HVAC dealers, who act as the service provider between the brand and the customer. Those dealers set their own fees when it comes to labor and materials, which again, can adjust the price you would pay for a system in North Carolina compared to the exact same system in California.

Trane lists the total cost averages (unit price + installation fee) for all its AC units on its website. Trane’s installed costs on its XR models range from $5,800-10,800. If you want an XL or XV model, you’ll invest $14,000 or more. 

Carrier’s website claims it does not list pricing “due to the wide variety of factors that influence the cost to install central [AC] units.” However, buyer data suggests Carrier’s Comfort tier prices range from $4,892 to $7,224

A Lennox Merit AC will likely cost you between $3,100 and $7,340 to install. Just like Trane, the price goes up if you want an Elite or Signature model.

All three brands are known for high quality and durability. That’s why they’re all in comparable price ranges, and why price alone isn’t a great way to compare Lennox vs. Trane vs. Carrier. 

We recommend contacting a local contractor for the most accurate quote. Ultimately, your contractor may be able to offer better deals than the national averages suggest. 

Compressors

Winner: Lennox

Think of your AC unit as a boxing ring. The compressor is the coach, or the vital component, that powers and instructs the entire system what to do. The AC compressor moves the refrigerant through the system to collect warm air from inside your home and deliver cool air back through the ductwork.

All three brands offer single-stage, double-stage and variable compressors. Before we discuss the differences across brands, we’ll first explain the different types of compressors. 

Compressor Types

  • Single-stage: This compressor activates as soon as the indoor air becomes hotter than your thermostat’s temperature setting. For example, if your room is set to 70 degrees, your single-stage compressor kicks in once the room’s temperature hits 71 degrees. These compressors literally go from zero to 100 percent power. They can only operate at their highest capacity. Single-stage compressors repeatedly rotate between on and off during the day. While this style of compressor is the most common and least expensive, it’s also the least energy efficient of the three.
  • Double-stage: This variety, also known as dual-stage, has both high and low speed settings. While it is capable of running at full capacity, it can also run at 60 to 70% capacity. Double stage compressors are on and running more frequently than single stage, but they save more money on energy. The lower capacity setting is used most of the time and is to thank for the unit’s high efficiency. 
  • Variable stage: This compressor wins best-in-show for its impressive performance and unmatched energy efficiency. Variable stage compressors have three or more settings, and they can run as low as 25 to 30% of their full capacity. These compressors will run almost all day in the warmer months, rotating between high and low settings as needed. The best energy-efficiency comes with a high price tag compared to single and double-stage compressors. 

Now, we’ll get into the types of compressors each brand uses (and whether they’re up to snuff).

Trane vs. Carrier vs. Lennox: Compressors

Trane: All of Trane’s home AC units use its proprietary Climatuff™ compressors. Trane mainly uses single or dual-stage compressors, but two of its premium units offer a variable-stage compressor.  Climatuff™ compressors have a reputation for being quieter than other options on the market.

Carrier: Copeland compressors are standard for Carrier products. Almost all of Carrier’s basic and middle-tier ACs use a single-stage compressor. The one exception is the Performance 17, a mid-tier product that offers dual-stage compression. Its premium tier has a mix of single and dual-stage compressors, and one model offers variable-stage.

Lennox: Like Carrier, Lennox uses Copeland compressors. Its basic tier offers both single and dual-stage compressors. Its middle tier offers single and variable-stage compressors, and its premium tiers have both dual and variable-stage options. 

The choice between a variable-stage compressor or single or dual-stage ones may come down to the importance you place upon energy use, your climate, and budget. Lennox offers an impressive array of compressor types across all three pricing tiers, giving it a leg up over Trane and Carrier’s more limited selections. 

Capacitor Performance

The capacitor is the powerhouse of the AC unit. There are three different types of capacitors: run, start and dual. 

Capacitor Types

Start capacitors help rev up the AC motors, giving them the voltage boost they need to power the unit. HVAC units require a large amount of power to get up and running, and without a properly working capacitor, your AC won’t perform.

Run capacitors give the motors energy once they’ve already gotten up and running. A dual capacitor is a two-in-one device. It can jumpstart the motors and keep them running. Regardless of which capacitor type your unit uses, your AC can’t run properly without it. 

All three brands are compatible with a wide range of third-party capacitors. Capacitor performance shouldn’t be the sole metric to use when comparing these brands.  

You can purchase capacitors online, or through an HVAC contractor. AC capacitors usually range from $9 to $45, and the installation generally falls between $120 and $250, with the majority of repairs landing in the $170 range, as estimated by Home Advisor.

While you can DIY a capacitor purchase, the same can’t be said for installation. If you try to install or replace a capacitor yourself, the high voltage can shock you and lead to injury or death (even if your AC’s power is turned off). 

Warranty

Winner: Trane 

Regardless of your budget, reliability should be a top priority in your quest for the perfect home AC. Heating and cooling systems are an investment, so take the opportunity to evaluate the warranty before making the purchase. Warranties create a safety net, giving you peace of mind that your AC will work well for years. 

All three brands offer limited warranties for each of their AC units. Note that none of these brands’ warranties cover the cost of labor to repair these parts. 

Limited Warranty Options

Compressor

  • Trane: 12 for XL or XV models, 10 for XR
  • Carrier: 10 years 
  • Lennox: 10 for Signature and Elite models, 5 for Merit

Parts

  • Trane: 10 years
  • Carrier: 10 years
  • Lennox: 5 years

There are a few notable outliers. Trane and Carrier go almost neck-and-neck in coverage, but Trane’s 12-year compressor warranty on its XL and XV  models gives it a slight edge over Carrier. Some of Trane’s ACs also offer a 20-year heat exchanger warranty, which goes far beyond what the competition offers.

Plus, Carrier’s 10-year warranties only apply if you register your AC within 90 days of installation. Otherwise, the Carrier AC warranty reduces to five years. If you’re a homeowner who plans on staying put for the long haul, a Trane premium model could be a great option.

In comparing Lennox vs. Trane or Lennox vs. Carrier on warranties, Lennox offers a 5- or 10-year compressor warranty, depending on the model purchased. If you want a 10-year parts warranty, which comes standard with Carrier and Trane, you’ll have to buy the highest-end model. 

If these brands’ limited warranties aren’t cutting it for you, all three offer extended warranties that you can purchase from third-party HVAC dealers. 

How to choose an HVAC technician

Deciding on the best HVAC brand and model to buy is only one piece of the puzzle. Connecting with a qualified HVAC technician is equally as important.

A three-year study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that poor AC installation can lead to leaky ducts and other problems. These issues can lower your AC’s efficiency by 30% or more, making your SEER rating tank and your energy bill spike. 

That’s where we come in. We’ve gathered tips for selecting the best HVAC technician. By asking the proper questions and understanding HVAC basics, you’ll find a local HVAC installation company that offers the quality work you need to protect your investment.

Our Tips for picking a contractor

Shop around. It may seem obvious, but you’ll want a range of quotes from local contractors. Even if the first contractor you talk to sounds perfect for the job, cross-check their quote with at least two others in your area. 

Ask the contractor to verify that they’re licensed, bonded and insured. If they hesitate to provide proof or act offended by the question, steer clear. Sadly, your path to legal recourse is extremely difficult if an uninsured or unlicensed contractor botches your AC installation. 

Watch out for extremes. If a low quote feels too good to be true, it likely is. Your contractor may be less thorough, leading you to pay more per month in energy bills and repairs. 

If a rate feels unreasonably high, the contractor may be trying to sell you extra services or parts that you don’t need. It’s also a red flag if the contractor pressures you to buy anything on the spot. 

Keep a written record. Ask the contractor to write down their rate, the product name, and other important info so they don’t upcharge you on the back end. 

Use the Better Business Bureau’s search to confirm that the contractor is reputable. 

Best Overall

You may have clicked on this article expecting a clear-cut winner from the Lennox vs. Trane vs. Carrier debate. However, the best qualities of each of these brands are just as unique as your needs.

These three brands each make products that meet the needs of families during the hottest and coldest days. Trane’s lengthy warranty may be a great fit if you’re planning on staying in the same home for over a decade. 

Lennox’s lofty SEER ratings make its units ideal for anyone looking to save money on their electric bill. Carrier’s reliable ACs boast wide part availability and relatively inexpensive repairs. 

Allow your family’s needs to guide your decision for the best HVAC brand choice. If you’re still deciding which features mean the most to you, explore our top HVAC brands guide.

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Best Bathroom Heaters of 2021

If your bathroom is colder than the rest of your house you may need a bathroom heater. Especially during the winter months, these supplemental heating devices can help keep your home comfortable. 

There are many types of bathroom heaters to choose from, and each has its own pros and cons. With this buying guide, you’ll be able to review the top bathroom heater choices and find the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Things to Consider When Buying a Bathroom Heater

Whether you’re looking for a quick solution, as with a portable bathroom heater, or want to invest in a permanent modification and install a bathroom exhaust fan with heater, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.

Space

First, you may want to consider the layout of your bathroom. The average full-size bathroom is around 40 square feet, which is roughly a 5 by 8 feet space. Larger master bathrooms with double vanities can be 150 square feet or more, so consider the amount of space you need to heat. 

Powder rooms and half baths can be easily warmed with a small bathroom heater that uses a standard electrical outlet. If, however, you’re heating a larger space, consider a wall- or ceiling-mounted bathroom heater for more power.

Durability

If you’re looking to invest in a bathroom heater, you’ll want one that will last a long time.The typical lifespan for a heater varies by model and can range from 10 to 20 years depending on usage. Some units also come with warranties that range between 1 to 5 years varying by brand. 

A durable bathroom heater is one that is made from strong materials, like metal, and has fewer moving parts. Most of those models will be ceiling or wall-mounted options, but some portable units also boast a long lifespan.

Durable bathroom heaters aren’t necessarily the most expensive options on the market, but it’s important to consider your budget partnered with online reviews. Before investing in a device, see what other buyers have to say. 

Noise

Bathroom heaters vary in noise levels. Wall heaters may range in noise from 50 to 60 decibels which is equivalent to the sound of an electric toothbrush. Portable heaters may be quieter with a range of 30 to 40 decibels, or about the volume of a conversation in a library. If creating a quiet space is a priority for you, look for a bathroom heater that boasts quiet operation as one of its features. Paying close attention to the reviews of certain bathroom heaters can help determine what noise levels others have experienced from their heater.

Safety

One of the most important things to keep in mind when purchasing a bathroom heater is safety. As you explore the different models available, look for a few key safety features, including auto shut-off, tip-over protection, and a cool-touch exterior.

These and other safety mechanisms will help prevent accidental fires from the heater being left on too long or from it sitting too close to other objects. The cool-touch and tip-over protection features are especially important if you have children or pets in the home. The online product description or box should identify which of these functionalities is available, keeping you warm and safe.

Types of Bathroom Heaters

Before tossing the first bathroom heater that pops up on an Amazon search into your virtual shopping cart, consider the different styles. Each model is equipped with unique features, so let’s find the one that best fits your needs.

Portable

Portable heaters are one of the most popular kinds of bathroom heaters as they are budget-friendly and can be used throughout your home. Portable bathroom heaters are also able to be stored away during the summer months when you may not need the added warmth. Many units vary in size which makes them a great choice regardless of the size of your bathroom. 

Small

Small bathroom heaters provide lots of functionality without taking up precious bathroom space. These may be a good choice for your home if you’re looking to save energy. The average half bathroom ranges from 18 to 32 square feet. Smaller portable heaters may be preferred for these sized bathrooms. 

Ceiling/Wall Mounted

Ceiling and wall mounted bathroom heaters work to heat rooms while still saving space. Bathrooms that range from 75 to 150 square feet may be best served by ceiling or wall mounted heaters as these types of units generally have the energy capacity to heat these sized spaces. 

Many ceiling or wall mounted heaters require some form of hardwiring and may need professional installation. 

Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Heater

A bathroom exhaust fan with heater is a great choice if you want to save space and quickly dehumidify the bathroom. These units can typically be installed in place of your current ceiling exhaust fan unit. 

While some units can be easily installed, others may require professional installation due to hardwiring or drywall cutting. Certain models include both a heater and a light feature to add an extra touch to your bathroom.

Best Bathroom Heaters

There are many options to choose from when deciding which bathroom heater is best for you. After comparing models, these are the best bathroom heaters that may suit your needs.

Best portable heater

Vornado MVH Vortex Heater | $69

The Vornado MVH Vortex Heater is our top choice if you plan to use the device in different spaces. The unit features vortex air circulation to quickly heat your bathroom, and at under 4 pounds, you can easily move the device from room to room. 

This model prioritizes safety with advanced features that include tip-over protection, a cool touch exterior and an auto shut-off system. The design of the heater also features an integrated handle which allows for easy portability. 

We especially like that this portable bathroom heater has three power modes (Low/750W, Medium/1125W, High/1500W). Since you’ll need about 10W of power to warm each square foot of space, you can count on the Vornado to efficiently warm an area up to 150 square feet. Plus, this unit is backed by a 5-year warranty and a dedicated customer service team.

Best wall mounted heater

Stiebel Eltron CK 15 E Wall Mounted Heater | $135

The sleek design of the Stiebel Eltron CK 15 E Wall Mounted Heater caught our eye. The heater pulls cool room air through the top and blows warm air out the bottom of the unit to evenly distribute warm air throughout the space. The unit offers a built-in thermostat, timer, and a frost protection setting that will maintain above freezing temperatures in the appropriately sized space. The device requires hardwiring and, depending on your electrical skills, may need professional installation. The unit effectively heats up to 150 square feet of space. One note on this heater, the device comes out from the wall approximately 3 to 4 inches, depending on how it is installed. This unit comes with a 3-year warranty.

Best bathroom exhaust fan with heater

Broan-NuTone Exhaust Fan Heater Light Combo | $198

When you need a multi-purpose bathroom heater, the Broan-NuTone is a powerfully versatile option. If your bathroom constantly feels humid and muggy, you’ll appreciate that the fan vents moisture in bathrooms up to 65 square feet to help prevent mildew from forming. 

The bathroom exhaust fan with heater combo is best for full size bathrooms, but its 1500W power may not perform as well for larger master ensuites. The unit also features a 100-watt light and a 7-watt night light to add a soft glow to your bathroom. This unit is backed by a 1-year warranty. 

Best small bathroom heater

Minetom Portable Electric Heater | $39

When small meets mighty, you get the Minetom Portable Electric Heater. It’s our top pick for best small bathroom heater. At just 9 inches tall and weighing in at 3 pounds, this device puts out a surprising amount of heat.

The heater saves on space and still makes your bathroom a comfortable temperature. The unit offers three different operation modes, two of which provide heat (1500W and 750W)for up to 200 square feet, and a fan mode for cool natural winds. With tip-over and overheat protection, the heater offers a safe yet powerful option for your bathroom. Plus, the sturdy handle makes portability as easy as possible. 

Best bathroom ceiling heater

Broan-NuTone 157 Ceiling Heater | $99

The modern design of the Broan-NuTone 157 Ceiling Heater makes it a great option for your bathroom. The unit is powered by 1250W and can comfortably heat a 125 square foot space. If you are comfortable wiring a ceiling electrical box, then installation can be completed in about an hour. Otherwise, opt for a professional electrician to do the job.

The unit features automatic overheat protection and a UL Listing, demonstrating it has been tested for safety and reduced risk of fire hazards. Broan-NuTone also offers a variety of timers and thermostats that are compatible and recommended for this product.

Professional installation of bathroom heater

Regardless of which heater you choose, there are options to fit every bathroom situation. Keep in mind that some of these options may require professional installation. Use our top questions to ask a contractor when choosing a local pro.

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Furnace flame sensors: How they work, when to repair or replace, and their cost

A flame sensor is one of the most important safety features of your furnace. This component is responsible for ensuring that your furnace doesn’t create a dangerous gas leak or explosion.

By understanding why the furnace flame sensor is crucial to the unit’s operation, you’ll be better prepared to recognize when a flame sensor is bad. Our guide will walk you through cleaning the sensor and furnace flame sensor replacement.

What is a flame sensor?

The flame sensor is a safety component of a furnace located on the interior of the burner assembly. It monitors and verifies whether a flame is burning inside the unit.

If the sensor does not detect an active flame, then it will shut the furnace off to avoid a potential gas leak. The furnace flame sensor helps prevent explosions that could occur if gas were allowed to continue to flow into the home as well as carbon monoxide poisoning of those inside the home.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning each year and some 50,000 visit the emergency room because of the gas. While home furnaces are responsible for only a small percentage of these cases, it’s a worthwhile reminder to install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home.

Flame sensor vs. thermocouple

A flame sensor and thermocouple are often referred to as the same or interchangeable parts, but that’s not the case. While they both serve as a safety feature on the furnace, you would need to know which you have in order to replace or repair the component.

A thermocouple is often found on older model gas furnaces with a standing pilot. It has a small flame that burns continuously, keeping the top of the thermocouple at a high temperature. If the flame goes out and the tip of the thermocouple cools, it will automatically shuts off the furnace’s gas valve.

Flame sensors are used in modern furnaces that operate via an electronic ignition rather than a standing pilot light. These models use electronic igniters to light the gas. As mentioned above, the flame sensors ensure the burners are operating properly and have ignited the gas. If the sensor detects that the burner has failed, it will turn off the gas.

Furnace flame sensor location

When trying to determine how to find a flame sensor, you’ll want to remove the furnace access cover to begin. Depending on the model of your furnace, you may have to remove screws or bolts to release the access cover.

The sensor is located just outside the burner assembly and looks like a small rod with porcelain surrounding the end that connects to the burner. Some furnace flame sensors are straight while others bend at a 45-degree or 90-degree angle. The sensor leads into the fire chamber where the flame burns.

Signs of a bad flame sensor

As with any other component in your heating and cooling system, the flame sensor can go bad. If your furnace stops working properly, look for warning signs that your flame sensor has failed:

  • Furnace burners turn on but go out after a few seconds
  • Soot and other debris is covering the end of the sensor (cleaning the flame sensor may fix this issue rather than a flame sensor replacement)
  • Tip of flame sensor is black
  • Porcelain/sensor casing is cracked

If a flame sensor replacement is necessary, it’s a low cost fix that you can likely handle yourself if you feel comfortable working with the unit. Most furnace flame sensors cost less than $20, but if you opt to have a professional HVAC technician make the repair, you can expect to pay between $75 and $250.

Flame sensor lifespan

If you’ve just replaced the sensor or had a new furnace installed, you can expect the flame sensor to last for about five years. The average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 30 years, so you can anticipate a flame sensor replacement once or twice over the course of your homeownership. 

To extend the lifespan of the sensor, seasonal furnace maintenance and cleaning the flame sensor is necessary. Even if the furnace seems to be operating smoothly, cleaning the sensor each year can prevent you from calling for emergency heating services in the middle of winter.

Furnace flame sensor cleaning

Before you begin the flame sensor cleaning process, turn the gas and electricity off to the unit. The valve handle on the gas pipe will allow you to stop the gas flow and turning off the furnace breaker at your electrical box will ensure all power is shut down.

If the furnace has been running, wait at least 30 minutes before attempting these steps:

  1. Locate the flame sensor (refer to the furnace flame sensor location portion above)
  2. Remove the furnace access cover, which may involve releasing screws or bolts
  3. Unfasten/unscrew the flame sensor from the burner assembly
  4. Disconnect the wiring that leads to the sensor and control box
  5. Loosen the screws and remove the flame sensor
  6. Use an emery cloth to gently remove soot and other debris from the sensor
  7. Reattach the sensor
  8. Reconnect the wiring to the sensor and control box
  9. Secure the flame sensor to the burner assembly
  10. Reattach the furnace cover access  

Test the furnace to see if cleaning the flame sensor was the solution you needed. If the unit turns on and off properly, a flame sensor replacement may not be necessary.

Replace furnace flame sensor

During the sensor cleaning process, if you discover the tip of the sensor is black or the component is misshapen or broken in any way, replace rather than repair the part. Follow the flame sensor cleaning steps, but install the new sensor instead of cleaning the old one.

Your furnace will only operate with a certain type of flame sensor. Ensure the component you purchase is compatible with your unit. Check the owner’s manual for guidance on the type of sensor you need.

If working with a furnace or handling the gas line is not within your DIY comfort level, take the safe route and call an HVAC expert. A furnace specialist will test the flame sensor and replace it if needed.

To avoid being caught in a situation where furnace service is needed immediately, schedule routine inspections. Seasonal maintenance can support your unit in working properly when you need it most and expanding the lifespan of the furnace. Explore our top furnace brands if it’s time to replace your unit. 

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