Fall Maintenance on Your HVAC System

Fall maintenance for your HVAC systemSummer officially ended last week, so now is the time to schedule Fall maintenance on your HVAC system.  If you are already signed up for our annual maintenance plan, you will receive a reminder card in the mail, but for those who aren’t in the program, getting scheduled is just one more “to do” item that you need to remember, and hope you don’t forget.

Your system worked hard over the Summer keeping you cool, so it needs to be checked and adjusted.   Maybe some components are starting to wear out and need to be replaced, or maybe you have developed a small leak that you haven’t noticed yet.  A professional HVAC technician can find those things and make sure they are corrected now.

Also, Winter will be here before long, and you want to be sure your heating system is ready to go when  you switch over.  If it doesn’t come on for the first cold night, you will be uncomfortable and unhappy.   Now is the time to check the heat ex-changer for cracks, the ignition system, the amperage and voltage at various places, and to make sure the safety controls are working properly.   For those with humidifiers, you need to have your filter changed and the condensate line cleaned.    Although homeowners can do some of these tasks, it just makes sense to have a qualified professional with a lot of experience do them for you.

Our annual maintenance program is comprehensive, and covers all the components of your equipment.  We service nearly every brand of HVAC system ever made.   Since 1987, we have installed and serviced thousands of systems and we have thousands of satisfied customers who rely on us.

If you live around Indianapolis, Nashville or Charlotte, please contact us about Fall maintenance on your HVAC system.    We’d like to be your service provider, and we’ll show you why so many people believe this phrase.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

JulianCenter logo-transparentAs a special offer, if you donate 2 non-perishable items, we’ll take $5.00 off your bill and get them to The Julian Center to help victims of domestic violence.   Their food pantry is available daily to people who need assistance.


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Ten Minute Water Heater Maintenance

If you want to prolong the life of your water heater (and who doesn’t) here are two quick types of water heater maintenance you can do in ten minutes.  Doing them twice a year may add years of service to that appliance.

Check the Pressure Valve

water heater maintenance safety pressure valve The first item is a safety check of the Pressure Relief Valve, which looks like this and will be located on the top or side of the heater.  It is designed to open automatically if the pressure gets too high inside the water heater and thereby avoid an explosion.  Lift the valve handle and listen for the sound of  pressure escaping, then let it snap back closed.  If it works that way, then everything is fine.  If it doesn’t release pressure or doesn’t close, then the valve needs to be replaced.

Check the clarity of the Water

The second item for water heater maintenance is to check the condition of water inside the heater.  There is a drain valve near the bottom on the side and it probably looks similar to this image.   Some valves have a handle and some just have a slot for a screwdriver.  You can add a hose, or you can drain it directly into a bucket if you can position it under the valve.

Open the valve and drain out about a half gallon of water, then close the valve.   Look at the water to see whether it is clear or it contains sediment.  If sediment is forming in your heater, it will collect near the bottom, so you should see it in the sample you have drawn.

If the water is clear, you are done.  See, it only took ten minutes!

Flushing the Tank

However, if the water is cloudy and contains sediment, you should flush the tank to clean out a good portion of the sediment.  This can take an hour or so, and you will not have any hot water for several hours after you do this.

You can get a contractor to flush it for you, or you can do it yourself.   Here are the basic steps for the process.

  1. Turn off the electricity (or gas) to the water heater.
  2. Shut off the cold water coming into the water heater.
  3. Connect a hose from the drain valve to a sump or floor drain, then open the valve.  Run all the water out of the tank into the sump or drain.  It may take 30-40 minutes to fully drain depending on the size of your tank.  When the hose stops running, the tank is empty so close the drain valve.
  4. Open all hot water faucets in the house to let air escape as the tank refills.
  5. Turn the cold water supply back on to refill the water heater completely.  You will hear it running into the tank.
  6. When the hot water starts to run from the open faucets, turn them off.
  7. When the tank is full (you no longer hear water running in) turn on the electricity (or gas) so it can start heating the water.  (If gas, light the pilot.)

Although these steps can add years of service, the water heater will wear out someday.  When that happens, consider going to a tank-less water heater.  It will save you money and you can avoid this water heater maintenance entirely.




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Proper Sizing is the Key to Efficiency

Proper SizingWhen it comes to your heating and cooling system, proper sizing is the key to efficiency. You know this when you buy new clothing –  bigger sizes and smaller sizes don’t always work out as well as you thought.  Since you want the most comfort and efficiency for your family, your HVAC system needs to match the characteristics of your building.  These include such things as location and direction of the home, local climate, insulation levels, number of windows, number and ages of residents, and the presence of a fireplace.

The most common sizing mistake is installing a system that is larger than needed.  The bigger system will be more expensive to install and more expensive to operate.  Over-sized heating equipment can cause big temperature swings in the house, which can be uncomfortable for your family members.  A heating or cooling system that is too large will “short-cycle” — turn on and off too often, which can affect the humidity level as well as the temperature level.   Frequent start ups makes the system less efficient and puts extra strain on some components, such as the compressor.

Alternatively, if your system is too small for your home, it will struggle to maintain the set point (desired room temperature.)  The air conditioner or heat pump also might not have the capacity to adequately remove excess moisture from your home, and it might feel clammy to some people.

Today’s new homes are built more tightly and have more protection against air leaks than previously-built homes.  Because of expected air leaks and low levels of insulation, it was common in older buildings to install heating and cooling systems with extra capacity to overcome those deficiencies.   However, many people have added better windows, improved caulking, extra weather-stripping, and more insulation to their older homes.  This type of improvements have reduced heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer so the original size of the system with the extra capacity may no longer be needed. When a replacement is installed, a smaller system might be the right size for comfort and that would lead to reduced energy bills.

If you are considering a new or replacement heating and cooling system, remember that proper sizing is the key.   General estimates on square footage, or simply using the same size as the prior system, are not a good way to determine proper sizing.  Ask for a thorough review of all the characteristics of your house, commonly called a load calculation, to ensure you are buying enough, but not too much, capacity.

T.A. Kaiser Heating & Air has been a family owned business since 1987, and we have thousands of satisfied customers in the Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte metropolitan areas.   Contact us today and we will provide all the information you need to make a solid decision about your heating and cooling needs.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!



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Free Energy Audits Save Money

energy auditFree Energy Audits are offered by most major utility companies in metropolitan areas, such as Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) and Duke Energy for the Central Indiana region.   Their intent is to help homeowners discover problem areas they might not be aware of, and to promote  energy saving solutions.

I have had an audit done on my home by IPL, and want to explain the great results I got.  The program initially got my attention because it is completely free and there is no obligation to do anything else. I like those kind of programs!

All I had to do was sign up and agree to an appointment time for about a one hour visit.   When the energy inspector arrived at my home, I found him to be very helpful as well as knowledgeable about the telltale signs of energy loss.  As we walked around the house, both inside and out, he checked my HVAC system, the seals around windows and doors, water faucets and shower heads, as well as all the lighting fixtures.

Although not an HVAC technician, he was able to review the size, age and efficiency of my system including the filters, duct work and the thermostat, and provide me with answers to my questions.   I am sure that if he had found anything troublesome, he would have pointed it out and advised me to call an HVAC professional.

He looked for clues of small water leaks or drips in toilets and sinks, and checked the flow rate of the shower head.   At each doorway and window, he looked for how it fit and operated and checked for any small cracks where he could see light.  And as we looked at lamps and light fixtures and outlets, he made suggestions for improvement related to replacement bulbs or dimmer switches or foam insulators that I could install myself.

At the end of the visit, the inspector offered me a number of free items that he had suggested for my individual situation.  These included foam strips for windows, foam outlet insulators, a low flow shower head, a thermometer for the refrigerator, an  aerator for each sink, and several packages of both CFL and LED light bulbs.

All the items were appreciated, but we really liked the light bulbs.  We have a large makeup mirror that uses 8 light bulbs, and multiple can lights in the kitchen, so that is a lot of bulbs to change out.   The inspector offered enough new bulbs to replace all of those older bulbs in both places, and we were especially happy with the improvements it made to the light level and appearance of the makeup mirror.

My advice is to contact your utility company and sign up for an energy assessment now, before cold weather gets here again.   We all want to keep our energy bills down all year long, but it seems to be much more important during freezing weather.   These programs are free to you, and only takes a little of your time.   It also presents a good opportunity for the family to interact with the inspector so that children can learn more facts about energy efficiency.



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Time to Replace that Heating System?

Most years we have a pretty cold winter here in the Midwest, although occasionally we see a mild one.   How did your heating system hold up this past winter?   Is it time to replace that heating system, or upgrade it to a system with higher efficiency?  The Farmers’ Alamanac is forecasting an especially cold winter for 2016, so we should all get prepared in case they are correct.

replace that heating systemRight now you don’t have to worry about below zero temperatures and shockingly large heating bills, so you have time to look at multiple options and make an un-hurried decision.   We recommend that you do research on new models by talking to more than one heating system expert, let them see your current configuration, and then compare the features and prices and options they recommend.

If you are faced with a decision to repair or replace a heating system that couldn’t keep up with the cold, you might feel like repairing the current furnace is a good plan. However, this choice may mean you’re putting money into a system near it’s end of life.   We know that as heating systems age, just like a car, they need more repair work in their last few years of life.   When you are not in a rush to decide, you can really evaluate the benefits of replacement versus repair.

The high-efficiency systems available today provide monthly savings and better performance, along with the peace of mind that comes from the manufacturer’s warranty. You know it will run properly and keep running for many years to come, without paying for more and more repairs.

If you want to replace that heating system or just make major repairs, start planning now to evaluate the available options.   If you have questions about options, prices and what would be best for your home, we would be glad to advise you.  Call us today to start gathering the information you need to make the best choice.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser

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What is Capacitor Failure?

capacity failure 1One of the most common problems we see in cooling systems is capacitor failure.  The large fluctuations in temperature between hot and cold recently have been a big factor in causing those failures, so we wanted to explain what that means.

Capacitors are electric components that look like these examples and that are designed to store and release energy when it is needed. They come in various sizes and capacities which makes them useful for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.  They are used in virtually all electronic equipment including computer circuit boards, home appliances and industrial machinery.

capacitor failure 2The compressor motor on an air conditioner needs a strong shot of power to get it spinning, so a strong starter capacitor is used for that purpose.  Capacitors are also used on other electric motors in the system, including the blower motor capacitor (shown in this image) which starts the fan to circulate cool air inside the house, and on the condenser fan motor outdoors which pushes out the hot air from the home.  When you turn on your thermostat, the system will use the stored energy in these capacitors to start each of the motors as needed.

If a capacitor fails, the electric motor will not start, and a replacement will be needed to get it working again.   During the troubleshooting process, technicians visually inspect each capacitor to see if they are still normally shaped, or if they have bulges somewhere on the surface.  They also use a meter to measure the voltage on each capacitor and determine whether it is still operating within the correct parameters.

Capacitor failure can happen for multiple reasons, including overheating, a short circuit, or when it remains under load for a long time.  Capacitors are supposed to come on for a short period to get a motor going, and then to stop working.  If a motor gets stuck due to worn bearings or a foreign object stuck in the fan blades, those conditions can lead to capacitor failure.   Also, power surges can harm capacitors, so it is good to have surge protection in your home or on your HVAC system itself.

They will also fail after a certain amount of time and usage.   Six years of life and 50,000 motor starts are reasonable expectations, but some last longer or shorter.

The best protection against unexpected failure is periodic maintenance.  We can tell if a capacitor is getting weaker and when it is getting close to end of life.  We also sell a product called the 5-2-1 Compressor Saver which reduces the stress on the electrical components and can lead to a longer capacitor life for your system.   If you are interested in learning more, contact us and we’ll be glad to explain or install one for you.

T.A.Kaiser Heating and Air have been a trusted family business since 1987.   Give us a try and see why we have tens of thousands of satisfied customers in the Indianapolis, Nashville, and Charlotte metropolitan areas.


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5 Home Improvement Projects that Save Energy in Your Home

Home Improvement Projects That Save Energy

This is a guest post by Illinado Home Solutions, LLC of Front Royal, VA.

It’s time to go green.

Energy-saving remodeling and renovation projects are among the most popular home improvement trends of 2015. And it’s really no surprise. You put some money into improving your home and, as a result, you save money on energy bills. It’s easy to see the value. Because of their popularity, as well as their high-value/low-cost nature, we decided to put together this list of 5 Great Home Improvement Projects That Save Energy In Your Home.   

Let’s get started.


 If you’re like most homeowners, your heating and cooling system is probably running almost every day. And like most things that get used daily, HVACs deserve regular check-ups and maintenance to make sure they are working right and running efficiently. Replacing or repairing an HVAC system with one that is energy efficient can lower your monthly energy bills and keep those precious greenbacks close to your wallet. HVACs are first on this list of home improvement projects that save energy because they often get overlooked by homeowners despite their great value.


 If you really want to achieve maximum energy-saving results, then your house needs to be properly insulated. If the energy you’re pouring into your home is slowly leaking out through the walls, floors, or ceilings then you’re simply shooting yourself in the foot. Adding insulation (especially in the attic) is a great way to energy-proof your home and can cater to a low budget.


 Like insulation, sealing up your house with caulk or glue is great way to keep your home energy efficient. Covering cracks or filling in gaps can help lower the cost of your heating or cooling bills. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to save energy in your home and most people could accomplish this project in a single Saturday afternoon.

Home Improvement Projects that Save Energy Windows

 Replacing old, leaky windows is always among the best home improvement projects that save energy in your home. Because of age or use, windows often have loose gaps, letting cold/warm air into your house. As children, we used to stuff paper towels into the gaps of our windows to keep the cold air from drifting into the house. Although this approach can help, it’s only a fraction of the energy you would save by installing energy-efficient models.


Replacing thin, cheap or old doors is another basic project to help cut back on heating or cooling costs. Having gaps between the door and floor or between the bottom of the door and threshold can quickly sap energy from a home. Search around in your price range for a door that’s thicker and more insulated.

Illinado Home Solutions, LLC is your Front Royal Remodeling, Renovation & Deck Building company offering custom and affordable home improvement services. Our team is waiting to help you improve your home and your lifestyle.

For more home improvement advice similar to “5 Home Improvement Projects That Save Energy In Your Home” visit www.illinado.com.

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Ultra Clean Air and Good Health

We all know how important clean air is for good health, and we all want good health for our families.  That is why T. A. Kaiser Heating & Air proudly recommends and installs the Respicare Ultra Clean 99.

clean airThis system can be easily added to your existing heating and cooling system, or it can be included as part of a new system installation or a replacement system.   The equipment is attached in the air flow stream to clean the air before it gets to your rooms.  The two stage filtration attracts, collects and kills allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses as well as other general airborne contaminants.  It is exceptionally efficient with a micro-particle rating of 99% on some of the most troublesome airborne contaminants.  The system also only uses 10 watts of power, so it won’t even be noticeable on your electric bill.  The combination of a HEPA pleated cartridge and a dual charging process is what makes the Respicare Ultra Clean 99 so effective.  The system has earned a MERV 15 rating by ASHRAE, which means it is suitable for a hospital in-patient environment.

Whether your family suffers from allergies, asthma, senior citizen breathing problems, chemical reactions, or any other complications from airborne pollutants, this equipment would help reduce the problem.   Ultra clean air can make a significant difference in the health and quality of life of your family member.   Give us a call today and let us explain to you what is available for your specific situation.

We’ve been family owned since 1987, and have thousands of satisfied customers.   It would be a pleasure to add you to our family and provide all your services for heating and cooling comfort.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

Offices in Indianapolis, Charlotte and Nashville







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Quiet Your Noisy Air Conditioner

noisy air conditionerMany new homes are built close together today, so small irritations like a noisy air conditioner or a barking dog can lead to big problems with the neighbors.  In order to keep the peace and do something neighborly for those close to you, here are some suggested ways to quiet the outside unit of a noisy air conditioner before calling a professional.   Share these tips with your neighbor if their unit is bothering you.

Start to find the solution by walking around the unit while it is running.  Listen closely and decide what kind of noises you hear and which are the most bothersome.

  • Rattling can be caused by a loose connection, so look closely around the outside for loose screws or fasteners that you could tighten.  Rattling can also be caused by leaves or branches that got through the grille work and are stuck inside.  You might be able to use a garden hose to spray a powerful jet of water that removes the object quickly.  If you decide to remove the item with your hand or a stick, be sure the power to the system is turned off before you stick anything through the grille.
  • Grinding or squeaking noises can be caused by a lack of lubrication between moving metal surfaces, or by a worn bearing that needs to be replaced.   If you are able to spray a lubricant, like WD40 0r silicon spray, into the area you might get it to quiet down a little; however, that noise is probably going to come back soon.  A professional inspection is the best bet for resolving the issue and preventing it from becoming a larger and more expensive problem.
  • You will hear some level of general fan noise and that is normal for your unit.  That type of noise can be lessened by installing a fence, a small wall, or an acoustic blanket near the unit to act as a sound deflector or a sound barrier.   Another good approach is to plant shrubs, flowers or trees nearby for this purpose, but you’ll have to remember to trim them periodically so they don’t grow into the equipment.   If you create any kind of barrier, be sure to keep 36″ of space for air flow on all sides, or your equipment will not run efficiently.

The best way to keep your equipment working properly is to have a regular inspection by a qualified HVAC technician.  TA Kaiser Heating & Air is a family owned business and has been providing comfort for its customers since 1987.   Contact us today for immediate service, or let us keep your equipment in shape all year long with an annual maintenance agreement.   We look forward to meeting you.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!




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Know the Signs of a Dying Air Conditioner

dying air conditionerReplacing your air conditioner is a major purchase for homeowners. Planning ahead and budgeting for when your system will need updates can help you to avoid stress when the time comes. How do you know when its time to consider replacement?

Know the age of your equipment.   According to Energy.gov, central air conditioning units have an average lifespan of about 15 -20 years although after 10 years they may become inefficient enough to replace. This lifespan can increase with lower usage and proper care. On the other hand, it can decrease with excessive use, extreme conditions, and neglected maintenance.

While the weather is up and down so far this year in Central Indiana, the frequent storms and high humidity likely caused you to run your air conditioning often.  If it was keeping you cool, you probably weren’t thinking there could be a problem with your unit. When hot weather rolls in to stay it will put additional stress on your equipment. Have you been using your air conditioner this frequently every year? These conditions can decrease the lifespan of your equipment.

Think back upon the life of your equipment. Have you been changing the filter regularly? Have you had a technician our for maintenance service, or have any components needed replacement before? The way you care for your system plays a role in its longevity.

When considering the age of your equipment and your household’s habits, here are some signs that may indicate the need for a replacement is nearing:

  1. Your utility bills have increased over the years. While differences in outdoor temperatures from one year to the next can factor in, it may be a sign your air conditioner is losing efficiency.
  2. Your home isn’t as comfortable as it used to be; the air conditioning isn’t keeping you as cool as it once was, or you notice more humidity in the home.
  3. You notice more noise coming from your equipment.
  4. Your air conditioner is running longer than it used to in order to keep your house cool.

Being able to recognize potential problems can prevent you from being surprised when its time to replace your air conditioning unit. It will also give you more time to consider benefits and features you’d like to have with your new unit, and research the best solution for your household.

Regular preventative maintenance can help prolong the life of your HVAC equipment. A certified HVAC technician who inspects your equipment on a seasonal basis can troubleshoot issues which can lead to an early death for your air conditioner if left uncorrected. If you suspect you have a dying air conditioner, or want to get on board with a Preventative Maintenance Agreement to protect your equipment, call T.A. Kaiser. Our technicians can diagnose the symptoms of your air conditioner and recommend a course of action.

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