Do you still have a old thermostat? See why you need a programmable one.

Even though thermostats can help homeowners save money, few know how to program them. A programmable thermostat can help you get the most out of your heating and cooling system so you can reduce energy bills and stay comfortable year-round.

Continue reading to learn why you should install a wireless thermostat in your home.Old Thermostat


A smart thermostat can help reduce energy bills so you save money in the long run. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners could save about 10% on heating and cooling if they decreased their home’s normal temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day. While this may seem like a long period of time, you can easily achieve this by setting the change for when you’re sleeping or out of the house.


A remote thermostat can be programmed online or through a smartphone app. While this may sound complicated, a HVAC company can help you understand how to use the latest technology. Being able to change thermostat controls on the go, can help you save money and energy. For example, there’s no reason to have the furnace cranked up if the family’s away on vacation. Just make sure to set your Wi-Fi thermostat higher than 55 degrees to prevent frozen pipes.


Did you know that you can get away with less heating and cooling for the hours you’re asleep or out of the house? A programmable thermostat can help you adjust the temperature settings to your schedule and make your home as energy efficient as possible. By programming your thermostat to the hour, you’re able to take advantage of seasonal changes. For example, the cool morning air in spring makes it unnecessary to run your air conditioner.

If the house is empty until 5:00 pm, it doesn’t make sense to have the air conditioner running at full blast if there’s no one at home to enjoy the cool air. For your comfort, we recommend setting your air conditioner to turn on 30 minutes before you come home. That way, you don’t come home to a sweltering humid house after a long day of work.


Do you or a loved one suffer from allergies or asthma? If so, you may be interested in a thermostat that can help you improve the indoor air quality in your home. Certain models of home thermostats allow you to monitor pollen levels and air quality. You might be surprised by how much cleaner your indoor air could be with a programmable thermostat.

Let Mount Vernon Heating and Cooling help you find the best Wi-Fi thermostat for your home so you can save money in the long run.

Top 10 HVAC Myths You Might Believe

What is a Myth?

  • Traditionally a story explaining some unusual event or concerning the early history of an ethnic group.
  • A widely held, but (absolutely) false idea or belief.

We have a lot of myths, fairy tales, and urban legends that keep getting repeated and believed by the unsuspecting. Ever hear the one about the girl who had spider eggs growing in her cheek and didn’t know it? Never happened. What about how swallowed gum stays in your stomach for seven years? Not even close to true. Eating carrots improves night vision? The British made it up in World War 2 to distract from how they used radar in nighttime aerial combat. Seriously, look it up.

Point is, we could go on and on forever. Unfortunately, we could also spend quite a lot of time on HVAC myths, because there are way too many of those. Unlike a fun urban legend, believing in HVAC myths might cost you a bundle.

Before you do that, let’s drop some knowledge.

10. Closing a vent saves heat.

airflow problemsMany people close off certain rooms of their house in winter in order to save money and energy. They shut the vents, close the door, and forget about it while thinking they’re improving their home efficiency. Unfortunately, they are not, because this is one of the more common HVAC myths.

A modern forced air heating system is designed to distribute the heat load throughout a building. When the flow is blocked, the system can be thrown out of balance. This may cause it to break down over the long term. In the short term, it means the system has to work harder to do its job.

“Work smarter not harder,” as the old saying goes. A harder working furnace wastes energy, costs you more money, and can cause excess wear and tear on the unit.

The ideal way to save money during winter heating is to allow your central heating system to do its job as efficiently as possible. That means heating evenly throughout your home regardless of whether or not you regularly use certain areas. Not only will this prevent unnecessary energy consumption, but it will also make the house feel warmer overall since cold rooms aren’t dragging heat from elsewhere in the house

9. Ceiling fans reduce room air temperature.

Many people consider ceiling fans an excellent way to make their house cooler without having to turn up the air conditioning. Ceiling fan operation can improve your interior air comfort, but it does not actually reduce air temperature. Any fan works by circulating air throughout an interior space. Cool air moving across your skin disturbs heat, and makes you feel more comfortable.

Now, that being said, ceiling fans are a good way to save money via turning the air down a few degrees. On the other hand, if you leave a ceiling fan going in a room no one is using, you’re wasting energy. The comfort created by a ceiling fan is only effective if there’s someone there to feel it.

In short, don’t leave the ceiling fan on if you’re in the room, but you can use them to make your house seem cooler. That will allow you to turn the AC down, save a little money, and still enjoy the comfort level you’re used to.

8. The furnace heats faster if you turn the thermostat way up.

When you arrive home to a cold house after a long trip, everyone knows you turn the thermostat way up to get the house warm as quickly as possible. After all, the higher the temperature is set, the harder the furnace works, and, obviously, the faster it works too.

This is 100% a member of the HVAC myths club.

Whether you’re using a furnace, boiler, energy efficient heat pump, or some other heating element, pretty much all of them deliver heat at a constant rate. Your thermostat does not determine how hard they work, only how long they run to ensure there is sufficient heat inside your house to reach the desired temperature.

Okay, so what does that mean?

Turning the thermostat way up to warm your house faster doesn’t work. If you let the system get to that higher temperature, you’re wasting money, since you’ll just turn it back down to the ‘normal’ level anyway.

In the same vein, turning the thermometer way down in the summer doesn’t mean your air conditioner goes faster. It doesn’t. Like your furnace or boiler, the air conditioner cools at a constant rate, and turning it way down to ‘work faster’ just wastes energy and money.

7. Lowering the thermostat when you’re not going to be home doesn’t do any good.

Everybody knows that lowering the thermostat in winter when you leave the house doesn’t save any money or energy. After all, your furnace will just have to work even harder when you get home to catch back up. This has gotta be true. This isn’t one of those HVAC myths, right?


The less your furnace operates, the less energy it uses. The less energy it uses, the more money you save. When you’re gone for long periods of time, your furnace doesn’t have to put in the same level of work as if you were at home, so it’s not using as much energy. The ‘extra work’ it does when heating the house back up after you get home is nothing compared to the hours it spent working heating an empty house.

Some math would be nice to back this up wouldn’t it? Fortunately, there has been plenty of research down in this area. Reducing the interior temperature by 10 degrees or more when you’re at work can save you as much as 15% on your monthly bill. If you think you won’t remember to do this, invest a little money in a programmable thermostat and have it do the adjusting for you.

6. Energy efficiency doesn’t make a home more valuable.

air conditioner sizingAn energy efficient home might allow you to save a little money here and there, but it won’t increase the resale value of your home, or, at least, that’s how the myth goes.

Yes, obviously, this myth is false. Whether for pragmatic fiscal reasons or due to increasing environmental-awareness, many Americans are interested in reducing their energy consumption. High efficiency homes can sell for more money, and homes with poor efficiency sit on the market longer.

How do we know this? A 2008 NAHB study of homebuyers in the United States provides the data. If a home reduces annual energy expenses by only $1000, more than 50% of buyers were willing to pay over $10,000 more to purchase the house. Since many energy efficiency improvements can cost far less than $10,000, the incentives for someone looking to sell a home on the open market are obvious.

5. The thermostat can go wherever you want.

programmable thermostats save energySome people would have you believe you can put a thermostat on any wall in the house, and you’re done. This could not be further from the truth. If you want to ensure you get good air comfort, where you place the thermostat is very important.

Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Never install a thermostat on an exterior wall.
  • Always install the thermostat in an area of the house that will have be representative of how you want the house to feel. In other words, a bathroom you rarely use is not an option.
  • Make sure there aren’t any hot pipes in the wall where you aim to place the thermostat. This can throw off the operation.
  • Stay out of direct sunlight. This will artificially increase the reading in winter, and make you a whole lot more uncomfortable.

Follow those basic steps and you should be fine. Ignore them, and you will have air comfort problems.

4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Routine checks are a waste of money.

So long as your air conditioner or furnace is running fine, there’s no need to have it checked by an HVAC professional, right?

Wrong. Chances are your system is perfectly normal, and, in fact, will be for the foreseeable future. After all, modern HVAC technology is a lot more reliable than it used to be. That does not make it perfect. A mechanical problem can always arise even as the system functions normally, and you’ve done everything you’re supposed to do.

To ensure long term operating reliability and energy economy, your best move is to schedule an annual maintenance check with a local contractor. They will inspect your system to make sure it is actually fine and running smooth. They’ll identify the beginning of long term mechanical problems, nip them in the bud, and ensure you get a lot of years from your system. Even better, their maintenance checks will prevent efficiency decreases due to wear, tear, and particulate build up.

3. You don’t have to change your air filters once a month. Once every three months or so is fine.

The absolute, no joke, number one thing you can do to keep you air conditioner and furnace running effectively is to keep your air filter clean. Whether your clean a permanent air filter or replace a disposable one, a dirty filter is the #1 HVAC problem in America. Dirty filters can cause efficiency loss, mechanical breakdown, and, if left too long, total system failure.

You need to check and change your HVAC system air filter, at minimum, once a month. If you have a lot of interior pollution due to local factors, shedding, pets, or even a house full of relatives during the holiday season, the filter might need to be changed more regularly.

Keep an eye on your air filter, and you’ll reap the rewards long term. If you don’t, all you’ll reap are expensive repair bills and annoying breakdowns. Plus, your interior air will be a whole lot dirtier.

2. Bigger is always better! Too hot for you? Get a bigger air conditioner.

air-source heat pumpIf there is one thing American’s believe, it’s that bigger is always better. Want a drink? Get the 20 ounce instead of the 10. Need a new car? Get the Hummer! Want reliable air comfort? Get the biggest air conditioner and furnace you can afford!

Actually, that last one is 100% wrong. A bigger air conditioner than you need will not give you better air comfort. In fact, it will deliver inferior air comfort, waste energy, and be more prone to mechanical breakdown.

What you need for your home is a properly sized system. You want the Goldilocks Solution: not too big, not too small, just right. Anything else, and you’ll have problems.

1. The longer my air conditioner runs, the more it costs.

geothermal tax creditsNot true, not true at all. Yes, if your air conditioner runs 24 hours a day, that’s a problem you need to get checked out. Either your unit is too small to adequately cool your house, or something has gone wrong. However, an AC unit that runs a long time is not necessarily a problem.

Look at it this way: air conditioners typically use more energy in the first 5 minutes of running than they do in the next half hour. A unit that starts and stops 4 or 5 times every hour is actually using more energy than if it ran the whole hour uninterrupted.

Rapid start-stop operation is also bad on the compressor. Activation and deactivation puts more stress on the compressor than continuous running, so a unit switching on and off frequently is more likely to have a fouled compressor than not. Plus, you’ll get worse interior humidity and overall air comfort.

So, what’s the solution?

First, ensure your air conditioner is properly sized for your home. That should eliminate a lot of the problem. Second, if you can, invest in a two-stage compressor. These are both more energy efficient, and they last longer since one compressor operates at a lower operational cycle for a longer period of time. This actually saves energy and increases reliability.

Finally, if you notice your air conditioner or furnace kicking on and off a lot, get in touch with your HVAC contractor and get the system checked. Something, somewhere is wrong.

HVAC Truths are Better than HVAC Myths

Those are the top 10 HVAC myths we hear most often. Hopefully, we’ve successfully shown why you shouldn’t pay much attention. The truth, as they say, will set you free. In the case of HVAC myths, the truth will give you better air comfort and help you save money without sacrificing home comfort.

Are you Ready for Spring? Is it time for you to have your A/C checked?

Is your home’s air conditioning system ready for the dog days of summer? Prepare your home for those summer heatwaves with air conditioning repair and service from Mount Vernon Repair ServicesHeating and Cooling. we are standing by to ensure your home is cool and refreshing all summer long. We are trustworthy air conditioning repair services to homes in the Cedar Rapids and Corridor area.

How Does An Air Conditioner Work?

Air conditioners remove moisture and heat from the outside air through the use of a compressor. An air conditioner’s compressor is filled with refrigerant that circulates through the outdoor unit, changing from a gas to a liquid. This liquid is then sent through the indoor evaporator coil where it changes from a liquid to a vapor, removing heat from the surrounding air. This cool air is then circulated throughout the home. As a closed-loop system, this process is then repeated as often as needed to cool the home to the desired temperature.

5 Common Air Conditioner Repair Issues

Are you having trouble with your air conditioner? Don’t fret! As air conditioners age, simple cleaning and small repairs may be needed to keep them in top form. Below are five common reasons your air conditioner may be having an issue and how to repair them:

Low Refrigerant

Refrigerants are what removes the heat from our homes. When a leak occurs in the coils that house the refrigerant, the levels can become too low to effectively cool the home. Snell Heating & Air Conditioning offers air conditioning services in Arlington, Alexandria, and other areas of Virginia. Our technicians can find and repair the leaks and replace the refrigerant to get your AC unit back up and running.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

If the evaporator coils on your air conditioner freeze, there is no way for heat to be absorbed and removed from the home. If your AC unit is blowing warm air, this may be the issue and calling a service technician should be your next move.

Dirty Condenser Coils

As air conditioners age, dirt can build up on the condenser coils. This dirt can make it harder for the AC unit to do its job and may lead to premature failure. We suggest scheduling an air conditioning repair or tune-up once a year to remove dirt and grime build-up.

Fan Problems

There are two fans that work to provide cool air to your home. When these fan motors begin to fail, aren’t lubricated properly, or their belts are worn, they lose the ability to circulate air within the home. Have a certified technician take a look if you suspect a worn fan may be causing an issue.

Clogged Drains

The moisture that is removed from the air in your home needs to be released somewhere. Typically this moisture is removed through a drain line. When this line becomes clogged, the water can back-up into the system, causing it to malfunction. Look for leaks around the unit book an air conditioning service appointment with our team if your system stops working.

Air conditioning systems don’t last forever. While your air conditioner may only require a few small repairs, keep in mind that the average lifespan of an air conditioning system is 15-20 years and it may be best to consider a replacement.

Spring is the Best time to Schedule Air Conditioner Maintenance

The air is warmer and flowers are beginning to perk up again. Spring is clearly on its way, and after a long, cold winter, both homes and humans are ready for rejuvenation. To prepare for the seasonal shift, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that your residential or commercial property is in tip-top condition.

The best time to schedule air conditioning maintenance is early or pre-spring. Any damage or stress caused by the unforgiving old man winter can be treated and reversed with some springtime TLC.

A/C maintenance includes a 60 to 90-minute professional walk-through and cleaning by a trained technician. We highly recommend scheduling bi-annual HVAC tune-ups, one in the fall for your heating and one in the spring for your cooling.

Why schedule HVAC service in the spring?

With warmer weather comes a renewed need for air conditioning. Late spring and summer are the peak times for blasting the A/C. It’s also the busiest time of the year for HVAC repair specialists. Anything that can go wrong with overused air conditioning units, usually does, putting HVAC specialists in high demand.

By scheduling a professional tune-up before we hit peak temperatures, you’re guaranteed a convenient appointment time, and a sense of relief heading into the heat. You’ll know your unit is ready to perform reliably through the summer and any necessary post-winter repairs can be dealt with without much discomfort or inconvenience.

Don’t wait until your air conditioning system breaks down on a hot and muggy day!

Who knows how long you’ll have to wait for service. Instead, take the preventative route and schedule professional maintenance in early spring.

Benefits of Springtime A/C Maintenance

  1. Reduce Energy Bills

Are you looking for a simple way to lower your utility bills in 2018? Bi-annual tune-ups keep your unit up-to-date and your bills under control. The smoother your machine is functioning, the more reliable both the unit and the amount on your monthly bill will be. Remember, more build-up and neglect in your unit = more money and repairs.

We recommend maintenance because it’s has been proven to reduce your heating and cooling bill by up to 20%, when your unit is running efficiently.

  1. Not Another Repair!

Maintenance by trained professionals is guaranteed to curb the need for costly repairs. When maintenance is scheduled and followed through, we save HVAC units and wallets from more frequent breakdowns. These repairs are typically more expensive than any preventative tune-up would have been.

Tune-ups and maintenance are meant to catch any problems before they become extensive and expensive.

  1. Extend the Life & Efficiency of Your Unit

Did you know that bi-annual maintenance could increase the lifespan of your HVAC unit by 30-50%? An average unit has a lifespan of about 15 years. With cost-effective maintenance plans, you’re looking at least an additional 5 years. On the other hand, if you neglect professional maintenance for years on end, you could experience a major repair or breakdown before the unit hits its 10th year.

Better yet, maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your system, it also makes it more efficient. Routine maintenance tune-ups can improve your system’s efficiency by 25%!

  1. Maintain Manufacturer Warranties

Without regular HVAC maintenance, the manufacturer may choose to void any warranties attached to your system. This is because manufacturers and technicians alike know how important regular maintenance is. So, in addition to changing your filters every 1-3 months, it’s also important to maintain records of your regular professional maintenance.

The HVAC manufacturer may also choose to void your warranty if the unit was improperly installed, off-brand replacement parts were used, or you never registered the warranty in the first place.

Prolong the life of your unit and maintain your manufacturer warranty for as many years as possible.

Should I Conduct Any DIY A/C Maintenance?

The only thing you should definitely be doing is remembering to replace your air filter when it gets dirty and clogged. This is the single most important thing a homeowner can do to keep their system clean and efficient.

We recommend setting reminders to check your filter every month. Remove the filter and hold it up to a light source to see how clogged it is. If barely any light can pass through, it’s a good idea to replace the filter. Depending on a variety of factors including the number of pets and people in your household, expect to replace your HVAC filter every 1-3 months.

What are the signs that my Water Heater is Dying

At Mount Vernon Heating and Cooling, we specialize in water heating repairs and replacements. Of course, we’re here for when your water heater decides to quit, but how can you be proactive about noticing it before it stops completely? The last thing you want is for your water heater to fail unexpectedly, which can cause damage to your home. A busted water heater can cause soggy carpets, extensive water damage and can make for a bad day.

We’ve created a quick reference guide for homeowners to use when you happen to notice something abnormal about your water heater.

1. The area around your tank is wet.

If you happen to see moisture and condensation outside of your tank, it could be a sign of a slow leak. As the metal heats, it expands, and if you have any kinds of cracks in your heater, then water may leak from the tank. When the metal cools, the inner tank will stop leaking, but it is important to observe your tank and the after effects. Make sure that no other cracks have formed around critical areas, like fittings or the connection to the tank.

2. You see rust forming.

If you see orange or dark red rust in the water surrounding the tank, it could be a sign that your heater is corroding. If you start to smell something metallic, it could mean that rust is developing inside of your heater, giving off that odor.

3. You hear loud or unusual noises.

If you hear strange noises coming from your tank, it could be caused by interactions between the heating elements and the mineral deposits inside your heater. These deposits harden and cause a low rumbling, popping and cracking noises from inside. Flushing your water heater periodically can stop these sounds, but if the problem persists, it may be time for a new heater.

4. Last but not lease the obvious one. The tank just is not producing as much hot water anymore.

Decrease in hot water productionIf your water isn’t quite as hot as it once was, and it feels lukewarm, it could mean that you need to replace your water heater. Pay attention to the water pressure as well – lukewarm water and low pressure water is a sign that your water heater needs replacing. How long does it take for your water to heat up? If it takes longer than usual to reach a warm temperature, the heating mechanism in your hot water tank may be broken.

Don’t wait for your water heater to quit while you’re in the middle of a relaxing shower. Use this guide as a checklist, and call us with any questions or concerns. Contact us today, and we’ll get you back under hot water fast.