ServiceMax Blog: Archive for February, 2015

How Efficient Are Ductless Systems?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Ductless systems may seem like a very odd choice for home heating. They’re limited to serving one room per unit, and usually take up a fair bit of wall or ceiling space in that room. It would seem that centralized heating and cooling systems are better suited to service the house in every way. However, ductless systems do actually have plenty of reasons to recommend them over centralized systems. One of those reasons is efficiency. Let’s explore why ductless systems are so efficient, both in terms of output and energy usage.

Ductless System Construction

In order to understand why ductless systems are so efficient, you must first understand how they work. Ductless systems are essentially heat pumps. They don’t burn any kind of fuel to create heat, and instead work by moving heat from one place to another. Their construction is similar to air conditioning systems, with one unit installed inside the house and the other outside. The inside unit is always installed in the room that it is going to condition, either on a wall or ceiling. The outside unit is either installed on the roof, an exterior wall, or on the ground outside the house.

Ductless Operation and Efficiency

Ductless units move heat from one place to another by evaporating and condensing refrigerant. In cooling mode, the inside unit evaporates refrigerant inside its coil to draw heat from the room. The refrigerant gas then moves down a refrigerant line to the outside unit, where it is condensed back into a liquid. The condensing process releases the heat into the open air. In heating mode the flow of refrigerant is reversed, with the outside unit capturing heat to send inside.

This method of operation makes ductless systems efficient in a number of ways. For one, the system saves a lot of money on heating bills by not burning any kind of fuel. For another, the ability to both heat and cool the room means that a ductless system does not need to be supplemented by any other system. Only heating or cooling one room also makes ductless systems incredibly energy efficient. The average central forced air system loses about 30% of its output to leaks in a home’s ducts. Ductless systems always deliver 100% of their output directly into the room.

If you’re interested in a ductless system, call Malek Heating & Cooling and speak with one of our heating experts. We provide professional ductless heating services throughout Wilmette.

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Is a Ductless System Installation a Good Investment?

Monday, February 16th, 2015

A ductless system has a number of great benefits, but we have many customers wondering: is it really a good investment for my home? The best way to assess this is to review some of the costs involved, as well as the savings you can gain, by using a ductless heating system in your home.

Initial Costs

A ductless system is comprised of an outdoor unit that holds the compressor, condenser and reversing valve, and indoor blowers that deliver the air. A single outdoor unit can support up to four indoor blowers, but when purchasing a ductless system, you should review the package to see how many blowers come in the package cost. On average, an outdoor unit and one blower with an output of 13,000 BTUs will have an average cost around $2,000. The number of BTUs affects the pricing considerably, so it’s important to know what size ductless unit you’ll need for your home, which is something your Malek Heating & Cooling specialist can help you determine. A package with four indoor blowers and an outdoor unit that delivers 36,000 BTUs has average costs of $5,200.

Where You Can Save Money

The first thing to keep in mind when reviewing the initial costs of a ductless heat pump system is that you are getting a device that offers both heating and cooling. When you consider that the average cost for a furnace or boiler is around $2,000 or more, and the average cost for an air conditioning system is around $3,000 or more, you aren’t really paying more for the heat pump. Secondly, heat pumps only use electricity to operate, which eliminates any fossil fuel usage and the costs associated with fossil fuel usage, and the amount of electricity a heat pump uses is about 25% of that of a whole-home AC. What does this mean for you? No more fossil fuel costs for your home heating, which can be a huge savings, and the reduction in electrical usage can equal up to $280 of annual savings per year. Lastly, there are a number of manufacturer rebates you can take advantage of, some that can save you up to $1,500 on purchase and/or installation costs, and there are many states offering tax rebates for using a far more energy efficient heating and cooling system for your home.

Some of these numbers can be a bit daunting, so if you have been considering the installation of a ductless heating system for your home in Winnetka, sit down with one of the experts from Malek Heating & Cooling and see how a ductless system may benefit your home’s budget. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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Valentine’s Day: Pagan Revelry, Clandestine Marriage, and 14th Century Poetry

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Perhaps rushing off to the stationary store after work to choose the perfect card with which to express your feelings towards a loved one? Dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant? Roses, dark chocolates, and other gifts and confections? Whatever Valentine’s Day may look like to you, chances are that it is a far cry from the history surrounding this holiday – or at least we hope so. Here are a few interesting facts about this most romantic of holidays, from your friends here at Malek Heating & Cooling.

The fact of the matter is that there is no definitive history as to how Valentine’s Day came to be. There are a few different saints with variations of the name Valentine, for example. One of the most prevalent legends, and one certainly in keeping with the romantic nature of the holiday as we know it today, pertains to a priest serving during the 3rd century in Rome. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, who believed that young men made for better soldiers if unfettered by marriage, it was illegal for young men to marry. A true believer in love, Valentine would marry young couples in secret. Until, at least, he was found out, and met a very unpleasant end for his crimes.

Like many of our modern holidays, Valentine’s Day can also be traced back to pagan ritual. Lupercalia, as the pagan festival is known, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, a god of agriculture. As is often the case with Roman celebrations, the details of this celebration are unfit to detail here. Suffice to say that, while there is certainly a touch of the amorous in the proceedings, the festival was a far cry from what we associate with Valentine’s Day today.

How, then, did our modern version of Valentine’s Day come to be? The answer may lie in, of all places, 14th century poetry; particularly, in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer. Famed for his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer may well be the very first writer to associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love, in the manner of which we are familiar with it today. His The Parliament of Fowls details the dream-vision of a narrator consumed with the idea of romantic love and the natural order of finding a mate. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by name a number of times, as the narrator witnesses a parliament of eagles vying for the hand – or, perhaps more aptly, the wing – of a mate.

Whatever you may think of the holiday’s sordid and convoluted history, we here at Malek Heating & Cooling hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with the special someone in your life.

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Water Heater Replacement Product Alert

Friday, February 6th, 2015

If you’re thinking about replacing your water heater in the next five years, you really should act in the next 60 days!

New Department of Energy water heater efficiency regulations will force manufacturers of gas, electric or oil fired water heaters to increase their efficiency by April 2015. These changes will have an impact on how water heaters are designed, manufactured, tested and installed. And this will ultimately cost consumers more in equipment and installation costs. Also, since the new water heaters will be larger, they may need to be relocated along with your existing heating equipment.

If your water heater is over 10 years old, it’s about time to change it. You could wait, but if you do, after April 15, 2015, that newly manufactured water heater will have to meet those new, more costly standards… and it will cost you more.

Besides replacing your existing water heater with a similar unit you can choose to upgrade to a tankless water heater. You’ll save energy dollars because it only heats the water when you open up a faucet. It doesn’t store water and constantly heat it waiting for you to use it.

Let the trusted experts at Malek Heating & Cooling help you to make the right decision about your new water heater. But you need to act quickly… there’s less than 90 days before the new rules take effect. After April 15, we’ll be installing the new water heaters at the new, higher cost. Call us or contact us online to schedule service today!


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What Is a Ductless Heating System?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

It wasn’t too long ago that your choices for home heating were limited to a furnace or a boiler. These days, homeowners have a number of choices for heating systems, including ductless heating. Many people wonder how ductless heating works and if it’s sufficient enough to heat the home, so we’ll explain below how ductless heating can be a great option.

Ductless Components

A ductless heating system uses the same components to heat your home as a ductless air conditioning systems uses to cool, but there’s one key difference: heat pump technology. Ductless systems are comprised of an outdoor unit and individual indoor blowers; a single outdoor unit can support up to four indoor blowers. The indoor units are connected to the outdoor unit via a conduit in an exterior wall. This conduit contains a power cord, refrigerant line and condensate drain pipe. The indoor blowers contain a small fan, small air filter and the coils through which the refrigerant cycles when an indoor blower is in operation.

How a Ductless System Provides Heat

The heat pump technology is what allows a ductless system to provide your home with heat. Heat pumps are equipped with a component called a reversing valve; this valve can switch the way the refrigerant flows in the system, allowing for the device to operate in either cooling mode or heating mode. As the homeowner, you’ll have a dual-mode thermostat, so all you have to do to switch modes is press a button.

Benefits of Ductless Heating

There are a number of benefits a ductless heating system offers that can make a good option for homeowners:

  • Very good energy efficiency – ductless heating systems offer very good energy efficiency for two reasons: first, they use only a small amount of electricity to operate and second, there is no worry about air loss from ductwork.
  • Long lifespan – heat pumps have an average lifespan of 20-25 years, whereas a combustion heating system has an average lifespan of 15-20 years.
  • Customized comfort – each blower operates individually, allowing you to have zone comfort.

If a ductless heating system seems like a good fit for your home in Skokie, call the experts at Malek Heating & Cooling and schedule an appointment today!

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