Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for the DIYer

How to protect your AC from hurricanes

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hurricane blowing trees

Hurricane season lasts June 1 to November 30, with September as the most active month for hurricanes in the Atlantic. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) forecasted an above-average hurricane season this year. 

NOAA predicts 14-21 tropical storms in the 2022 season, most of which will occur between mid-August and mid-October. Typically, there are 14 tropical storms per season, which peaks around September 10.

With tropical cyclones becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change, consider adding a few steps to your hurricane prep to protect your HVAC equipment. 

How to prepare your AC for a hurricane

Window AC

If you have a window air conditioner, it’s best to unplug it and remove it as a hurricane approaches. Strong winds can blow a window AC out of place, damaging the unit, your window, and anything in and around your home.

If removing your window air conditioner isn’t possible, purchase a cover with straps like this one to protect it during extreme weather. 

Portable AC

If you have a portable AC inside your home, we recommend running it until the storm arrives. This will cool your home as much as possible before a potential power outage. When the storm hits, unplug the AC to avoid damage due to power surges.

Central AC

Defending your central AC against a hurricane is a little more complex. Follow these steps to keep your AC safe and your home comfortable.

☂️ Put on a waterproof cover Purchase a waterproof cover to protect your AC compressor from the elements. Make sure it’s the right size to cover the whole unit. 
🌊 Elevate the slab In hurricane-prone areas, you should mount your AC on a concrete slab. If yours is not high enough to protect from potential flood waters, engage a contractor to make it taller.
🔩 Check the anchor bolts Tighten the bolts that anchor your compressor to the concrete slab. Yours should be able to withstand 160 MPH winds at a minimum.
❄️ Cool your home Drop the temperature on your thermostat to cool your home before the storm arrives. Close all windows and doors. This will help keep you comfortable if the power goes out.
⚡ Shut the power off Turn your AC off at the breaker box as the storm approaches. This will protect it from power surges.
🔌 Consider a surge protector An HVAC pro can install a surge protector designed to protect your compressor if you live in an area prone to power outages or lightning strikes.
🔒 Secure outdoor objects Put away patio furniture and other large items that may blow into your AC compressor, causing damage. Make sure to trim large tree branches.

Once the storm passes and power restored, go outside and check your compressor for visible damage. Clean out any debris that’s become stuck in the unit. If everything looks OK, turn the power back on and start your AC.

Contact an HVAC professional if you need help getting your AC prepped for hurricane season, or if you suspect a hurricane has damaged your AC. 

Contact an HVAC expert now!

Best air conditioners for coastal homes

Several manufacturers make HVAC equipment specially designed to withstand the unique challenges of coastal climates. When you’re ready to upgrade your system, consider one of these options.

Carrier coastal ACs

Carrier’s Comfort and Infinity lines of central AC compressors and heat pumps have coastal-specific models. These units feature the company’s WeatherShield protection, which eliminates corrosion from salt air. 

Since most coastal areas experience more temperate climates, we recommend installing a heat pump rather than an AC compressor. Heat pumps have a number of advantages, including improved energy efficiency, cost savings, and the ability to provide both heating and cooling. 

Carrier recommends its coastal systems for homeowners who live within 10 miles of the shoreline.

Bryant coastal ACs

Bryant is a sister brand of Carrier. Many of its models are the same as Carrier’s, but they’re often priced more affordably.

Bryant’s Legacy and Evolution lines of air conditioners and heat pumps have coastal models designed to withstand corrosion from salt air. They also have DuraGuard Plus protection, including a steel coil guard and baked-on powder coating. 

Trane coastal ACs

Trane doesn’t offer coastal-specific models. However, its ACs and heat pumps include aluminum coils and a painted finish that resist corrosion and rust. 

I need a coastal AC!

Though you should still perform the prep tips above when a hurricane is on its way, purchasing an AC or heat pump intended for coastal environments can extend the life of your investment.

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HVAC Repair in NYC: Does Your Tech Get Enough Training?

It’s not rocket science, getting competent HVAC repair in NYC, right? At least you might not think so. So then why are you experiencing so many problems? Customer service and scheduling issues are bad enough: making you wait days or longer for an appointment, showing up late, then taking even longer to get HVAC repair … Continued

The post HVAC Repair in NYC: Does Your Tech Get Enough Training? appeared first on Arista.

Lennox mini split troubleshooting

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If your mini-split isn’t working right, these Lennox mini split troubleshooting tips might help you fix it yourself. Of course, if you aren’t comfortable performing these tasks, call a certified HVAC pro. They can help you get your mini split back in shape. 

Connect me with an HVAC repair technician now 👩‍🔧

Lennox mini split is dripping water or not draining properly

First, check your air filters. You should clean these every few months. Dusty filters can cause a host of issues with your HVAC system because of reduced airflow.

Open your evaporator (the indoor cabinet) and remove the air filter. You can rinse it in the sink, or vacuum it with a hose attachment. When it’s clean, return it to the evaporator.

Mini splits remove moisture from the air, so there may be some condensation at your heat pump. But if it’s making a puddle, you have a problem. Some models do have a drain pan under the heat pump that collects condensation. It may be overflowing because of mold or debris.

Turn the power to your heat pump off at the circuit breaker. Clean out the drain pan with an old towel. Open the unit (you may need to unscrew the cover with a screwdriver). Look for clear tubing inside. If you see a visible clog or mold in the tube, use a shop vac to suck it out. Alternatively, you can remove the tubing and use your garden hose to clean it out before replacing it. 

If these Lennox mini split troubleshooting tips don’t work, call a technician. Your issue requires professional attention.

Lennox mini split is not heating or cooling

Check your thermostat. Set it at your desired temperature. Choose “cool” if you want AC or “heat” if you want heat. Put it on “auto” instead of “on.” If you choose “on,” the mini split will blow air when it’s not actively heating or cooling.

Go around your home and feel for air leaks. If you feel a draft, especially near a window or door, seal it with weatherstripping tape. Your mini split may be working but unable to keep up if the cool/warm air is escaping. 

Check the air filters. They may be dirty, blocking cool/warm air from entering the home. Open your indoor evaporator and remove the air filter. Vacuum it with your hose attachment or rinse it in the sink. You can purchase a replacement on Amazon – just be sure it’s the right size and compatible with your model. 

Call a professional if these Lennox mini split troubleshooting tips don’t help. It’s likely your refrigerant is leaking. If this is the case, the coils (metal tubing that zigzags inside your heat pump) may appear frozen.

mini split in home

Lennox mini-split is making unusual noises

Identify where the noise is coming from.

If you hear popping or clicking coming from your evaporator (indoor cabinet), it may just be the plastic cabinet expanding during use. No need to troubleshoot – this is normal.

Check the air filter if you hear a whistling sound coming from the evaporator. Pop it out and clean it. Vacuum it with a hose attachment or rinse it in the sink. Make sure you dry it thoroughly before putting it back.

If you hear gurgling or crackling coming from the heat pump (outdoor unit), it may be turning on defrost mode. This is part of its normal operation. 

If you hear clanking or jangling from the heat pump, turn off the power and remove the cover. You may need to unscrew it with a screwdriver. Check inside for any loose debris. If sticks, rocks, or leaves are inside, clean them out. Check for screws or bolts that have fallen inside. Make sure any visible screws are tight and holding the components in place.

If these tasks don’t alleviate the noise, or if you hear a more jarring noise like screeching or banging, call a professional for help. 

Book an appointment with a technician now.

Lennox mini-split has a strange smell

If your home smells of mildew, it’s possible the cause is your mini split. If mini splits aren’t cleaned regularly, they may not drain condensation properly. This excess moisture causes mold. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests calling an HVAC professional to handle mold removal properly. Check your owner’s manual for cleaning instructions. 

You may have a refrigerant leak if you detect a smell like vinegar or nail polish remover coming from your mini split. Call a technician. They can repair the leak and refill the refrigerant.

If you smell burning or an “electrical” scent coming from your unit, you may have wiring issues or a failing motor. This isn’t a DIY job – call an HVAC pro.

With any of these smells, it’s best to turn your mini split off until you can give it proper attention. You don’t want a mold odor spreading through your home. And you don’t want to further damage your system.

Lennox mini split troubleshooting resources

Lennox has a troubleshooting tool to help identify and fix issues with your system. Its site also has a product literature lookup, where you can find the owner’s manual for your model. These Lennox mini split troubleshooting resources may help you identify parts and determine whether you need to call a pro to fix your issue. 

If you’ve tried our Lennox mini split troubleshooting suggestions and still need help, reach out to a certified HVAC professional. A technician can also perform troubleshooting for you if you prefer not to do it yourself.

Click below to connect with a top-rated local HVAC technician who can get your Lennox mini split back up and running! 

Fix my mini split now!

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How to clean air ducts yourself

Your ductwork is an important piece of your HVAC system. Duct cleaning can help improve HVAC performance and home air quality.

This piece will review the benefits of duct cleaning and provide an overview of how to clean air ducts yourself. 

DIY air duct cleaning tools

Vaccum

bissel vacuum

Bissell 2252

  • Affordable
  • Powerful

Cleaning brush

rubbermaid cleaning brush

Rubbermaid 14.5-inch brush

  • Under $5
  • Versatile

Screwdriver

screwdriver set

Amazon Basics 51-piece bit set

  • Good value
  • Easy to use

Paper towels

bounty paper towels

Bounty quick-size

  • Thick
  • Flexible sizes

Air filter

air filters

Filtrete AC furnace air filter

  • High quality
  • Filters allergens

Why clean air ducts yourself? 

According to HomeAdvisor, it costs an average of $376 to have your air ducts professionally cleaned. The price may vary based on elements like accessibility and lifestyle factors (e.g., if you have pets or smokers in the house).

DIY air duct cleaning will save you money since it involves tools that most homeowners already have. It can also help prolong the life of your air conditioner and furnace. It eliminates dust in the home and may improve air quality for your family.

Is duct cleaning a waste of money?

Professional duct cleaning is worthwhile. Experts have tools that can reach deep into your ductwork. You won’t be able to access all of your ducts with DIY cleaning.

Additionally, duct cleaning companies can identify and remedy potential issues in your ductwork, including leaks or blockages.

Duct leaks and obstructions can damage your overall HVAC system without immediate attention. They may also result in increased utility bills.

Cleaning your air ducts yourself is also beneficial. You can do a DIY cleaning between professional cleanings to keep your system running smoothly. 

Connect me with an HVAC pro to clean my ducts.

Air duct cleaning: do it yourself

Cleaning your air ducts yourself is a simple process involving tools you probably own already. The job may take several hours, depending on the size of your home and the number of air registers.

Tools for DIY air duct cleaning

Before you begin, gather the necessary tools. These include:

You may also choose to invest in:

DIY air duct cleaning steps

1. Loosen up dust

If you have visible ductwork (in your attic or crawlspace, for example), lightly tap the outside with the handle of your cleaning brush. This will help loosen up dust and dirt.

Turn your thermostat to “fan” and “on.” Let it run this way for a few minutes. The air will push any dust closer to the registers where you can reach it for cleaning.

2. Turn off your HVAC system

The simplest way to make sure everything is off is via your electrical box. Turn off the breakers associated with your HVAC equipment, including the furnace and AC condenser.

Switch your thermostat to “off” as well.

3. Remove your vent grates

They may simply pop out. Or you may have to unscrew them first. Once the grates are off, cover the vent opening with a paper towel. If you have vents on a ceiling or a wall, you can use painter’s tape to secure the paper towel.

Covering the vent opening with a paper towel will prevent dust and debris from entering your rooms as you clean.

If you have different size grates, use a Sharpie to mark the inside with a number. Write the same number somewhere you can see it within the vent. This way, you’ll be able to easily match the grate to the correct vent later on.

Make sure you also remove and clean the grate on your air return. It’s typically larger than the other grates around your home.

4. Clean your vent grates

If your grates are plastic or metal, load them all into your dishwasher (top shelf for plastic) and clean them that way. Ensure they’re completely dry before replacing them.

If your grates are wooden or another material that’s not dishwasher safe, clean them in the sink. Run cold water over them and scrub the dirt and dust off. Dry them immediately to prevent warping.

man cleaning air ducts

5. Clean your vents

Start with one vent in your home. Remove the paper towel cover.

Insert your cleaning brush and jiggle it around to knock off anything stuck to the insides of the vent like spiderwebs or dust bunnies. We recommend using a toilet brush because of its long brush handle. But devote the brush to vent cleaning only. Don’t use a brush you’ve already used to clean the toilet (😬).

Insert your vacuum wand into the vent as deep as it will go. Vacuum out all debris.

Using a dampened rag or paper towel, wipe out the inside of the vent as far as you can reach. You can use tap water or your favorite multipurpose cleaner. 

Re-cover the vent with a paper towel when you finish. Continue this step until you’ve cleaned all the vents in your house.

6. Clean your air return

Take out the filter in your air return. Throw it away.

Use your cleaning brush, vacuum, and paper towels to clean out the air return. Only go as far as you can safely reach.

Replace the filter with a fresh new one.

7. Return your grates

Once your grates are clean and dry, remove the paper towel covering each vent. Replace the grates. You may need to use a screwdriver to secure them.

8. Clean your furnace blower compartment

Lots of dust accumulates in this area. To access it, remove the cover on your furnace. You may need to unscrew it with a screwdriver.

Take the furnace filter out and dispose of it. Use your cleaning brush to remove cobwebs and other stuck-on dirt from the compartment.

Vacuum out the blower compartment with your hose attachment. Then clean it out with a damp paper towel. Again, you can use plain water or your favorite multipurpose cleaner. If you can reach the furnace fan, clean that as well.

Replace the filter with a new one. Close and secure the furnace cover.

9. Clean your air condenser

Check out our step-by-step guide for cleaning your air conditioner

10. Turn your system back on

Enjoy your fresh ductwork!

Sound like too much work? You can always call a pro to get your ductwork spic-and-span. 

Connect me with a local HVAC expert.

Benefits of clean air ducts 

Fewer allergens

Keeping your air ducts clean reduces the number of allergens circulating in your home. This includes pet dander, pollen, and dust.

Unattractive to animals

Sometimes, rodents and birds can make their way into your ductwork. Dust and debris provide good nest-building materials for them. Clean air ducts are inhospitable – those pests will leave and find shelter elsewhere.

Additionally, air ducts can host insect infestations. These are much less likely to happen when your ducts are clean and dry.

Mold prevention

Clean, sealed ductwork keeps mold out. If your ducts are dirty with leaky joints, mold can flourish.

Mold inhalation is a potential health hazard. And it smells bad.

Don’t attempt to clean your air ducts yourself if you suspect mold growing in your ductwork. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends hiring a professional for HVAC mold removal. 

Lower utility bills

Clogged ducts make your HVAC equipment work harder than it needs to. Your system can function at max performance with clean air ducts, thus reducing your utility bills.

You may also save money by proactively finding and fixing potential furnace and AC repair issues in the cleaning process.

Prolonged HVAC system life

Maintenance is necessary to keep your HVAC system at its best. Duct cleaning should be part of your regular AC maintenance.

Be sure to schedule HVAC system checkups every year. We recommend having your ductwork cleaned professionally every 3-5 years. Between those appointments, clean your air ducts yourself to ensure your HVAC equipment lasts as long as possible.

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The Noises You Don’t Want To Hear From Your AC

covering-ears

Keeping your air conditioner in proper working order when you live in Florida can honestly be more important than it could be elsewhere, if only because of how much longer our hot weather lasts–the truth is that is almost year-round.

With that said, it makes sense that you’d want to keep up on maintenance and address any air conditioning repair in Palmetto Bay promptly. Waiting can undermine your system’s ability to do its job and leave you with a system in need of replacement years too early.

When it comes to getting AC repairs, sooner is always better. So how can you figure out that you need to schedule a repair for your system? Keeps your ears on the alert!

Warning Noises You Might Hear From Your AC Unit

If you hear any of the following sounds from your AC while it is in operation, it is a good idea to reach out to schedule repairs for your system.

  • Rattling: If there is a part that is coming loose in your system, it may create a rattling or even a clanging sound. The sooner this is addressed the better since loose parts can easily cause additional damage to the system that requires more expensive repairs.
  • Hissing: Do you hear hissing while your AC is running? If so, don’t mistake this for the same sound as the air coming from your system. What you are actually hearing is the sound of refrigerant in its gaseous form escaping the refrigerant line. This will rapidly worsen the performance of your AC.
  • Bubbling: If you hear bubbling from your AC unit then it is also likely a sign of a refrigerant leak. The difference here is that you are hearing air bubbles in the portion of the refrigerant line where the substance is still in liquid form.
  • Screeching: Yikes! This sound is highly unpleasant on the ears but it will also be unpleasant for your system’s long-term effectiveness too. What you are hearing is metal grinding on metal such as when you have a dry blower motor belt.
  • Silence: Have you stopped to listen to your air conditioner and instead discovered that you can’t hear anything at all? This is a problem just as much as some of the noises we’ve discussed here. That is because a silent air conditioner is one that isn’t operating at all.

If your air conditioner is fighting to get your home cool then you might hear it make some of the sounds we’ve listed here. The faster your system is repaired, the sooner you can relax at home without worry. What’s more, quick repairs will help keep the overall cost of the service lower than it would be if you wait.

If you need repairs for your air conditioner, you’ll want to reach out to a professional team of technicians to get the task taken care of. This is something that you can trust our team with.

Contact Air On Demand to get your air conditioner back into peak condition again.

The post The Noises You Don’t Want To Hear From Your AC first appeared on Air On Demand.

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Thermostat wiring: how to install a thermostat

At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.

Bought a new thermostat and wondering if you can install it yourself? For some, thermostat wiring is a DIY job, but we won’t blame you if you opt for a local pro to handle the work.

We’ll give you all the information you need to successfully install your new thermostat below. Plus, we’ll explain the thermostat color code.

thermostat wires

Before you get started, make sure you have all the tools you need to complete the task. To install a thermostat, you’ll require:

If your new thermostat is a different shape and size than your existing one, you may also need spackle to patch holes and paint to match your current wall color. If you don’t have any leftover wall paint, have your wall color matched at the paint store before you begin.

Keep your cell phone nearby. Its camera will come in handy once you get started.

How to install a thermostat

1. Turn the power off

Go to your breaker box and switch off the power to your HVAC system, including the thermostat.

2. Remove the existing thermostat

Detach the cover by gently pulling it away from the base. If it doesn’t come off easily, check if there’s a screw or latch to release it.

You will see several colorful wires inserted into terminals. Use your phone to photograph the thermostat wiring. Doing so will help you remember which wire goes in which terminal. Alternatively, some new thermostats come with stickers to label the wires. (See our thermostat color code chart below to learn more about each wire’s purpose.)

Once you’ve recorded your thermostat wiring, disconnect each wire from its terminal. You’ll likely need to loosen each terminal screw to free the wiring. Next, remove the screws holding the thermostat base to the wall.

Carefully take the thermostat base off the wall. Hold the wires securely while doing this, so they don’t slip into the wall.

If your thermostat is more than 20 years old, it may contain mercury. Don’t just throw it away. Follow the mercury disposal guidelines for your area.

3. Find the common wire

The common wire is also known as the C-wire because it connects to the C terminal of the thermostat. It’s generally blue, but it may also be brown, black, or purple.

The common wire is necessary for modern thermostats – especially smart and programmable thermostats. Your old thermostat might not have used the common wire.

If you don’t see the common wire, look inside the hole where the other thermostat wiring is coming out. Carefully pull out any wires you find tucked inside the wall.

If you still can’t find it, contact an HVAC technician for help. Or choose a thermostat model that doesn’t require one.

4. Repair the wall

Now is the perfect time to fix your wall. Ensure the thermostat wiring is secure by taping or clamping the wires together – you don’t want them to slide back into the wall.

Fill any holes your old thermostat left behind with spackle. Touch up the wall with your current paint color.

Leave the hole with the thermostat wires open. Wait for the spackle and paint to dry before moving on to the next step.

5. Install your new thermostat

Place your new thermostat’s backplate on the wall. Make sure it’s level, and screw it into place. If it requires drywall anchors, use a drill to make your holes in advance.

Using a wire stripper, ensure about ⅜-inch of the wire is exposed. Then insert each wire into the corresponding terminal, referring to the photo you took or the labels you placed earlier.

Once you insert the wires, tighten the terminal screws. Attach the thermostat’s faceplate.

6. Turn the power on and complete the installation

Turn the power back on at your breaker box.

Complete the installation instructions for your specific thermostat model. For smart thermostat installation, that will likely include connecting to your home WiFi network.

Programming the thermostat is the final step. You’ll need some technical understanding to complete this portion, and we recommend following your installation manual step-by-step. If the programming isn’t completed successfully, your system won’t operate optimally.

Sound like too much work? Hire one of our licensed HVAC pros to install your thermostat.

Thermostat color code

In most cases, thermostat wires have a universal purpose. Each color usually corresponds with the same terminal regardless of the thermostat model.

There are occasional outliers. But for the most part, HVAC systems use the thermostat color code below.

Wire color Purpose Terminal

Red

Power Rc and Rh

Orange

Heat pump O

Yellow

Cooling Y

Green

Fan G

Blue

Common C
White Heat W

If your thermostat controls both your heating and cooling systems (e.g., your air conditioner and furnace), you will have two red wires. The Rc terminal connects to the cooling system, and the Rh terminal connects to the heating system.

Depending on your unique HVAC system, you might not have all of these wires.

Thermostat wiring: the bottom line

Installing a thermostat is a DIY job that requires some basic knowledge and tools. If wires aren’t how you prefer to spend a Saturday afternoon (and we certainly don’t blame you), hire an HVAC professional to handle your thermostat installation.

Connect with a pro now.

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

Propane tank size guide

At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.

Propane tanks aren’t just for grilling. There are many uses for propane gas, including heating your whole home.

Considering buying a new propane tank and not sure what size you need? We’ll give you the lowdown on propane tank sizes below.

We’ve got you covered whether you need a propane tank for your space heater or your whole-home heating system. Want the short version? Check out our propane tank size chart

propane tank outside of house

Propane tank sizes for homes and commercial use

Larger propane tanks are typically buried underground near your home. When they’re nearing empty, you can pay a propane delivery company to refill the tank.

120-gallon propane tank uses

A 120-gallon propane tank is typically used to power multiple gas appliances in a home. This can include things like a clothes dryer or water heater.

250-gallon propane tank uses

Like a 120-gallon tank, a 250-gallon propane tank can fuel several home appliances.

350-gallon propane tank uses

A 350-gallon propane tank can power the heating system for a home smaller than 2,500 square feet. It’s the most common size for this use. Alternatively, you can use it for multiple large gas appliances.

500-gallon propane tank uses

500-gallon propane tanks are usually for mid-size and larger homes (2,500-4,500 square feet) and are the most popular for residential use. They can fuel the home’s heating system plus several gas appliances.

A 500-gallon propane tank can also be used commercially by businesses like restaurants or dry cleaners that rely on multiple large gas appliances.

1,000-gallon propane tank uses

A 1,000-gallon tank is used for heating and appliances in extremely large homes (more than 4,500 square feet). They’re also used for commercial and agricultural installations with high-volume gas needs. 

Not sure what size propane tank you need? Connect with an HVAC expert who can help.

Propane tank sizes for grilling and other small appliances

Smaller propane tanks are typically sold by weight. But a 20 lb. propane tank actually weighs more like 37 lbs.

When you buy a 20 lb. propane tank, you’re buying 20 lbs. of propane. The tank itself weighs an additional 17-ish lbs.

These smaller propane tanks are typically portable. You can exchange them for a new full tank when they’re empty.

20 lb. propane tank uses

This is the size propane tank you’ll see at the gas station or in front of the grocery store. It’s commonly used for things like:

  • Grilling 
  • Patio heaters
  • Mosquito traps
  • Small vented heaters (learn more about vented propane heaters here)
  • Commercial buffet food warmers

30 lb. propane tank uses

This size propane tank is generally used to fuel:

  • Camper and RV appliances
  • Space heaters
  • Forklifts (33 lb. tanks specifically)

40 lb. propane tank uses

This propane tank size is commonly used for:

  • Commercial grills
  • Construction heaters

100 lb. propane tank uses

100 lb. propane may seem heavy, but they’re considered portable. They can be picked up and exchanged for a new tank when they’re empty. They’re not usually buried underground like some larger tanks.

100 lb. propane tanks fuel a single home appliance, such as a:

  • Clothes dryer
  • Kitchen stove
  • Fireplace
  • Water heater
  • Generator
  • Pool heater

Propane tank size chart

Tank size Common uses
20 lbs. (4.5 gallons) Grilling, patio heaters
30 lbs. (7 gallons) RV appliances, space heaters
33 lbs. (7.8 gallons) Forklifts
40 lbs. (9.4 gallons) Commercial grills, construction heaters
100 lbs. (25 gallons) Single home appliance (e.g., clothes dryer)
120 gallons Multiple home appliances
250 gallons Multiple home appliances
350 gallons Heating system for a small home or multiple home appliances
500 gallons Heating system for a large home plus home appliances or small commercial uses (e.g., restaurant)
1,000 gallons Large commercial or agricultural installations

Confused? Talk to one of our gas heating experts now.

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Space heater safety: the safest space heaters for 2022

At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.

Space heaters are an effective solution for keeping warm in the winter months. But they don’t have a great reputation for safety.

In this article, we’ll review space heater safety tips and share our picks for the safest space heaters on the market.

Safest space heaters

Best overall

vornado

Vornado MVH Vortex

  • Powerful fan
  • Built-in thermostat
  • 5-year warranty

For large rooms

dr infrared

Dr. Infrared DR988

  • Humidifier
  • Eco mode
  • Sleep mode

Gas-powered

mr heater

Mr. Heater F232000

  • Indoor/outdoor
  • Low oxygen sensor
  • Rugged

Best design

honeywell heater

Honeywell UberHeat

  • Modern look
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Affordable

Pet-safe

delonghi space heater

De’Longhi Mica Thermic

  • Wall-mount
  • Slim form
  • Safety indicator light

Are space heaters safe?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that portable electric heaters cause about 1,200 fires per year. But most of these fires could have been easily prevented with proper usage.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends you follow some basic space heater safety tips if you choose to use one in your home.

Space heater safety tips

  • Keep your heater at least 3 feet away from flammable materials, including curtains and blankets.
  • Place your heater on a flat, stable surface.
  • Ensure your heater is in a low-traffic area that isn’t blocking an exit.
  • Don’t operate your heater near water. (Except if you’re using a waterproof bathroom space heater.)
  • Plug your heater directly into the wall outlet – do not use an extension cord.
  • Don’t run your heater’s cord under a rug or carpet. It may become damaged.
  • Don’t operate a heater you know is damaged.
  • If you have a fuel-burning space heater, make sure your room is ventilated properly.
  • Never leave your heater unattended. Turn it off when you go to sleep.

Space heater safety features

In addition to following the space heater safety tips above, make sure the space heater you choose has built-in safety features such as:

  • Automatic shutdown for tip-overs
  • Built-in thermostat
  • Overheat protection
  • Cool-touch casing
  • Grill cover
  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification to ensure safety testing
space heater on floor

Choosing the safest space heaters

Space heaters are typically powered by either gas or electricity. 

Gas vs. electric space heaters

Gas-fueled space heaters usually use propane, kerosene, or another fuel to create heat. Their pilot light burns the gas as fuel to warm the room. Electric space heaters plug into a standard electrical wall socket.

In addition to the general hazards of using a space heater, portable gas heaters can create deadly carbon monoxide if your room isn’t ventilated properly. They employ an open flame and flammable gas, so many are not a great choice for safe indoor warmth.

Companies label their heaters for indoor, outdoor, or multi-purpose use. Follow all manufacturer guidelines when it comes to safe use.

Electric space heaters are generally the safer and more practical option compared to gas heaters. However, gas heaters are usually less expensive to run and more energy-efficient.

When purchasing a space heater, there are a few common styles to choose from: convection, radiant, and conductive.

Convection space heaters

Convection space heaters produce heat as air passes over a heating element. They slowly create long-lasting heat. Convection heaters offer quiet operation and may have a fan to circulate heat.

Radiant space heaters

Radiant space heaters pass liquid through a system of pipes to generate warmth. They are a great option for quick heating.

Conductive space heaters

Conductive space heaters use electricity to produce heat via heating elements (usually metal coils). They create warmth by having direct contact with another object or person. For example, heated seats in a vehicle are conductive heat.

The safest space heaters

We’ve combed through expert and customer reviews to choose the following space heaters with notable safety features.

Safest space heater overall

The Vornado MVH Vortex heats your room safely and efficiently. It has a number of safety features, including a cool-touch exterior and automatic shut-off for overheating and tip-overs.

The MVH Vortex has three heat settings and a built-in thermostat. You can consistently keep your room at the temperature most comfortable for you.

Vornado products use “vortex action” to spread heat throughout a space. That’s how this relatively small space heater packs enough power to warm a whole room.

We appreciate this safe space heater’s five-year warranty. The Vornado customer service team is based in the United States, so any service needs can be addressed rapidly and without hassle.

Buy on Amazon

vornado

9.2” x 10.4” x 10.6”

Electric, convection

Safest space heater for a large room

The Dr. Infrared DR988 is our pick for safely heating a large room. It has overheat and tip-over protection. It’s cool to touch and UL-certified for safety testing.

In addition to its safety features, the Dr. Infrared DR988 has a number of other useful elements. It operates as a humidifier and a fan in addition to its heating capabilities. It comes with a remote control for convenience. And it has a timer for automatic shut-off.

We like that this space heater has low and high heat settings in addition to eco and sleep modes. Its internal thermostat allows you to precisely choose the temperature you desire.

The DR988 operates quietly. Though it’s large compared to other space heaters, it’s easy to move with rolling casters.

Buy on Amazon

dr infrared

16” x 11” x 16”

Electric, convection

Safest propane space heater

The Mr. Heater F232000 is a propane heater designed for safe indoor and outdoor use. If you choose to use it indoors, ensure your room is ventilated and use a carbon monoxide detector.

Many people prefer to use propane heaters because they heat more efficiently than their electric counterparts. Overall, propane heat is less expensive and burns cleaner, leaving less of an impact on the environment.

We like the heavy-duty grill on the F232000, protecting the heating mechanism. This propane heater will automatically shut off if it detects low oxygen levels, its pilot light goes out, or it tips over.

This Mr. Heater space heater is lightweight and easy to move, with a sturdy handle. It’s an especially good option for construction sites or rustic locations lacking electricity.

Buy on Amazon

mr heater

7.7” x 13.4” x 15”

Gas, radiant

Most aesthetic safe space heater

The Honeywell UberHeat is an attractive and safe space heater designed for small spaces. This little heater produces a surprising amount of heat for its size. 

From a safety perspective, it has solid features, including a cool-touch exterior, automatic overheat shutoff, a tip-over switch, and non-slip rubber feet.

The UberHeat has two heat modes and a programmable thermostat, allowing you to keep your space at the precise temperature of your choice.

This space heater has a simple, modern look that fits well with many decor styles. However, it is a bit noisier than other comparable heaters, so it’s not ideal for bedroom use.

Buy on Amazon

honeywell heater

8” x 5.8” x 9”

Electric, convection

Most pet-safe space heater

The De’Longhi Mica Thermic Panel Heater is perfect for pet owners. Its slim form can mount to the wall, so you won’t need to worry about your pets knocking it over or brushing against it. If you prefer to use it on the floor, it comes with a rolling stand. 

This De’Longhi space heater has a thermal cut-off to prevent overheating and an internal tip-over switch in case its mount becomes unstable. It also has caution indicator lights to notify you of potential safety issues.

With two settings, you can choose the level of heat required in your space. Additionally, this heater has anti-freeze capabilities, which turn on automatically to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Though the De’Longhi Mica puts out a powerful stream of heat, the front doesn’t become too hot to touch (though it does get warm). You can let your fur babies gather around it for a nap to warm up on cold days without any safety concerns.

Buy on Amazon

delonghi space heater

27” x 10” x 22” inches (thinner with casters removed for wall mount)

Electric, radiant

Safest space heaters for a baby’s room

Maintaining a safe temperature in your baby’s room is important. Babies can’t effectively regulate their body temperatures, and overheating is linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

Experts say the ideal temperature for a baby’s room is between 68℉ and 72℉. If you can’t maintain that temperature in your home, consult your pediatrician for advice on the best safe space heater for your baby’s room.

The bottom line on space heater safety

Before investing in a space heater, make sure it has safety features such as overheat protection and a tip-over switch.

Always follow the directions and refer to any safety notices or warning labels on the heater itself.

With proper usage, any high-quality space heater should safely heat your space throughout the winter.

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The Inflation Reduction Act “pumps up” heat pumps

At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.

President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) into law on August 16. The IRA aims to alleviate inflation by lowering prescription drug prices, reducing the deficit, and halting global warming. 

The largest ever federal legislation addressing climate change, the IRA invests $369 billion in clean energy sources and technologies that improve energy efficiency. Part of this includes offering significant rebates and tax incentives to homeowners who purchase heat pumps

In fact, many Americans will be eligible for a free heat pump to cool and heat their home in 2023. Wondering if you qualify? Click here to skip ahead!

I’m ready for my new heat pump!

What’s a heat pump?

A heat pump is an appliance that warms and cools your home. It’s a more energy-efficient alternative to a furnace and AC compressor

In the warmer months, a heat pump pulls heat from the inside of your home and moves it outside. In the colder months, it does the opposite, collecting heat from the outdoor air and moving it indoors.

Heat pumps are most popular in the Southern states. In North Carolina and South Carolina, for example, more than 40% of homes have heat pumps.

Older heat pump models could not heat well in frigid temperatures. So, they are generally not as popular in colder areas of the country. But new technologies let modern heat pumps operate effectively in temperatures of -10℉ and below.

Since electricity powers heat pumps, they’ve been slow to catch on in areas with mostly older homes with gas hookups. Generally, gas is less expensive than electricity, so people with access to a gas utility often prefer to use it for their heating needs.

Why heat pumps?

Part of the IFA funds the development of renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, and hydro. Energy made by these means produces no carbon emissions, so it’s considered “clean.”

The government seeks to ultimately move away from energy sources that burn fossil fuels, including gas, towards clean electricity sources. The first step in that direction is for homeowners to upgrade to energy-efficient electric appliances. Next, the IFA will support an infrastructure that eventually swaps out traditional energy for a cleaner variety.

Besides the enhanced energy efficiency, heat pumps have several advantages over traditional heating equipment, like a furnace:

📏 Space savings Heat pumps do the job of an air conditioner and a furnace, reducing the amount of bulky equipment in and around your home.
💰 Cost savings An AC and heater combined, you’ll only need to purchase one unit instead of two.
✉️ Lower utility bills Heat pumps run more efficiently than traditional furnaces. That’s good for the environment and your monthly bills.
💨 Better air quality Many heat pumps have dehumidifying and air filtering capabilities, improving your home’s air quality while heating or cooling.
🛟 Improved safety Heat pumps don’t have potential gas leaks or tip-over dangers associated with other types of heaters.
👂 Less noise Heat pumps run more quietly than a traditional furnace or AC compressor.

One of the biggest benefits is that buying one could net you hefty savings thanks to the IFA.

What is the HEEHRA?

The IFA offers rebates or tax deductions to homeowners that purchase a heat pump.

The High Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEEHRA) is the official name of the IFA’s heat pump incentive program. It offers point-of-sale rebates on any heat pump for home heating and cooling up to $8,000. “Point-of-sale” means the rebate amount is automatically deducted from the price at the time of sale – no need to send in for a refund.

The HEEHRA rebates are available for low- and moderate-income households. The amount of each rebate depends on your household income and the heat pump you choose.

Inflation Reduction Act heat pump rebate

If your household income is 80% below your area’s median income, you receive the maximum rebate, covering your new heat pump at 100% up to $8,000. If your household income is 81-150% of your area’s median income, you’ll receive up to 50% of the heat pump’s cost.

To look up your area’s median income, use this tool from Fannie Mae. 

You’re not out of luck if your household income exceeds 150% of your area’s median income. These homeowners receive a 30% tax credit of up to $2,000 on new heat pumps.

The HEERHA heat pump rebates are significant for low-income homeowners. According to HomeAdvisor, heat pumps cost an average of $5,792. In most cases, low-income households will get a new heat pump for free.

Middle-income households will save an average of $2,896 on a new heat pump. And above-middle-income households will get an average tax credit of $1,737.60. 

How to get a heat pump rebate

State governments will execute the HEEHRA rebates. The Department of Energy will likely issue guidelines to the states in late 2022. The heat pump rebates will presumably apply to equipment purchased after January 1, 2023. 

The IRA heat pump tax credits will likely also go into effect in 2023. To receive your tax credit, save your receipt and declare it on your tax return. If you can’t wait until 2023, there is currently a lesser $300 tax credit for heat pumps that meet the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)’s top-tier efficiency standards

Will a heat pump work in my area?

Heat pumps can work in temperatures below 0℉ and colder. Some manufacturers design special models that perform better in more extreme climates.

However, heat pumps do not perform at their most efficient when the temperature reaches freezing. Many homeowners in cold areas supplement their heat pump with a furnace. Doing this can still reduce energy consumption and net you IRA incentives. 

Similarly, your heat pump might not deliver peak cooling performance at temperatures above 100℉. Consider ceiling fans or portable air conditioners to keep comfortable if you live in an area that experiences excessive heat regularly. 

Click below to connect with an HVAC professional who can help you choose the right heat pump for your home. 

Tell me more about heat pumps (and rebates!)

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