Annual HVAC Maintenance: What Is It, and Why Do I Need It?

Your home’s HVAC system is the most important part of your indoor safety and comfort, and it’s critical that it works constantly and efficiently — especially in our unique climate. Cheaper is most definitely NOT better when it comes to annual HVAC maintenance.

What Is the Cost of an HVAC Tune-Up?

It is hard to drive down the street without seeing a billboard advertising an HVAC tune-up for $59. Just about anywhere you look you’ll see an advertisement for a $59 tune-up and then the next ad is for a $58 HVAC tune-up. Have you ever stopped to ask why tune-ups are so inexpensive and seem to become cheaper year after year?

When considering the cost of an HVAC tune-up, think about what it costs to send an expert technician in a fully stocked truck with all the proper tools to your home. Think of the office staff that must answer the phones and then dispatch the technician to your home when you call to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance. Not to mention paperwork to process after tune-up completion — all for the low price of $59 (or less).

Buyer Beware

One way a company can be profitable performing a tune-up on your system for that cost is if they do it quickly and forgo performing a thorough examination and cleaning of your system. They may skip critical steps or try to hard sell you on items you may not need.

What Does HVAC Maintenance Include?

Now that you have a better idea of why you need to have your HVAC system tuned up and maintained, the next question you need to ask is what exactly should be performed on an HVAC tune-up, and who sets the standard?

Setting the Standard

ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) is a national nonprofit organization with more than 60,000 industry professionals and businesses that work together to promote professional contracting energy efficiency as well as healthy, comfortable indoor environments. They are also the organization that writes the standards for design, maintenance, installation, testing and performance of indoor environment systems. Every five years the ACCA updates the ACCA Standard 4, which establishes maintenance and tune-up standards for residential heating, ventilating and air conditioning applications.

This is the standard used to define the tasks to be performed. Any tune-up performed should provide you with the specific measurements of the components tested and recommendations to repair or replace any item that falls outside of the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.

Professional HVAC Maintenance

Our professionally trained technicians provide the most comprehensive air conditioner and furnace maintenance services in the area backed by a seasonal guarantee. They are trained and equipped to perform high-level services as a part of our regular process because we understand it can make a difference in how long your system lasts and how much it costs you each year to operate.

We also offer Plus Service Plans with the following benefits:

  • Service appointments within one business day
  • Priority for plan holders
  • No overtime or after-hours charges EVER
  • Two tune-ups per year – heating and cooling
  • 2-year part warranty
  • Up to 20% savings on repairs
  • Reduced diagnostic fees
  • Complimentary 1” filters
  • Plan includes annual humidifier pad

Contact us online, or call Sedgwick Heating today to schedule your tune-up at (952)881-9000.

Why Does My Furnace Smell Bad? 4 Dangerous Reasons

Woman holding nose because her furnace smells bad

HVAC systems can naturally emit odors that you may or may not notice, but there are some smells that indicate a serious problem that needs immediate attention. There are a few malfunctions that cause specific odors, and ignoring them or thinking you can fix them yourself can put your household in danger.

If you’re asking, “Why does my furnace smell, and what do I do?” here are four distinct odors that are major red flags.

Furnace Smells Like Rotten Eggs

This smell is all too familiar to most people, but if you get a whiff of this in your home, it means there’s a gas leak and it may be coming from your furnace.

If your furnace smells like rotten eggs, get everyone out of the house immediately and call the gas company. Make sure to remain somewhere safe until the leak has been repaired by the proper technicians.

Once the leak has been repaired, bring in a trusted HVAC technician for a maintenance check. Even if your furnace needs additional repairs or even replacement to prevent a potential gas leak in the future, this is not a situation you want to mess around with. Keep your house both comfortable and safe for your family!

Furnace Has an Electrical or “Overheating” Smell

If you notice an overheating smell, this could mean that a motor function or other electrical functions in your furnace are getting too hot. If you smell something similar to hot metal or rubber, it may mean a component of the furnace is actually burning, and there’s a strong possibility for the problem to escalate and cause a fire.

This kind of smell is usually electrically related and can be very dangerous. Turn off your HVAC unit and contact a technician as soon as possible.

Furnace Emits a Burning Smell

Keep in mind that the smell of burning and overheating are not the same. Your furnace may emit a burning smell within the first 24 hours after starting it up for the season due to dust that has built up over the off season.

If the odor lasts longer than 24 hours or if it returns, then it is a dangerous sign. Use the shutoff valve to turn off the furnace, and shut off the gas supply as well. When you call your HVAC repair technician, be sure to tell them the steps you have already taken and where you believe the problem lies.

Furnace Smells Musty

This is a smell you will notice more in your air conditioning unit due to the buildup of moisture that generates within the unit. It can migrate into the air ducts and cause mold, which will result in a musty, mildew-like smell.

When mold develops in your air duct system, your family will inevitably be exposed to breathing it in which can cause serious respiratory problems. However, this is easily fixed with a thorough cleaning of your air duct systems by your repair technician, who can also determine where the excess condensation is coming from and how to remedy it.

If your furnace is emitting a concerning odor, do not hesitate to contact the HVAC repair technicians at Sedgwick Heating! A team of repair technicians is available 24/7 to aid in any emergency heating or cooling situations.

New HVAC Technology That Will Transform Your Home


HVAC home automation system


Since the invention of air conditioning systems back in the 70s, HVAC technology has continued to evolve with some of the largest advancements happening in the 21st century. For Minnesota families, having up-to-date heating and cooling systems can make your home far more comfortable during those unpredictable winter and summer months. That includes more energy efficient systems, smart products, home automation systems and more.

So how is HVAC technology evolving? Here are a few of the latest advancements, and how they can improve your home.

Zone Systems

If you have a thermostat downstairs, it may not manage to keep the upper levels at comfortable temperatures. Additionally, if you have rooms that are not typically in use, it would be nice to control whether or not they’re being heated during winter if they don’t need to be.

One of the most common inefficiencies with heating and cooling systems is a lack of temperature consistency throughout the home. HVAC zone systems allow you to precisely control the temperature in every room of your home, keeping any room comfortable regardless of the outside temperature, and ultimately resulting in better cost efficiency in your energy system.

Smart Products

The whole world is using smart technology for more and more products daily: phones, cars, computers, appliances — and heating and cooling systems are no exception. Families are incorporating smart systems into their energy systems to be able to have remote control and maximize efficiency in the home.

One of the largest benefits of a smart home system is the ability for your thermostat to work with your HVAC system to detect the temperatures in different areas of your home and adjust temperatures accordingly. This will prevent one having to constantly change temperature settings, and for certain home automation systems you can control temperature right from your smartphone.

Energy Efficient HVAC Systems

As technology advances, the most common trend is to maximize energy efficiency. The most up-to-date HVAC systems can include sensors that monitor temperature and even whether or not people are physically in a room, keeping the temperature controlled as necessary.

These automatic sensors that allow for zone control temperatures will not only keep the home more comfortable but keep your energy costs low as well.

As government requirements rise for SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings, there has been an increase in technological changes in HVAC systems to make heating and cooling systems more effective. Similar to any other industry, it can be hard to manage all the changes that occur within the technological world that affect an industry that’s over 40 years old. At Sedgwick, we have the expertise and technology to keep your home up to date on the latest in HVAC technology to ensure your home is comfortable all year round.

Contact us to find out how you can receive the latest technological advances for your HVAC system today!

How Long Does a Furnace Last and How Do I Know When to Replace It?

A furnace that needs replacing

When the sub zero temperatures start to set in, we all look forward to a warm, cozy home where we can put up our feet and relax. But what if your furnace is heading toward the great white light? Like many appliances, how long a furnace will last depends a great deal on the extent of its use, and the last thing you want to deal with is a furnace breaking down when the harshest winter temperatures hit.

The majority of homeowners are not completely aware of their furnace’s age, the extent of its use, or how long a furnace lasts. What are the signs your furnace may need replacing? This post walks you through what you need to know.

How Long a Furnace Typically Lasts

The average lifespan of a gas furnace is approximately 15-20 years. This doesn’t mean that a 15-year-old model should be scrapped tomorrow, but it does give you an idea of the amount of service the furnace has behind it and a better indication of whether replacement is a better option than repair in the future.

If you are unaware of the age of your furnace, you can find the manufacturer serial number on the inside of the furnace cover. Simply note the number and contact a heating professional to get a manufacturing date. If you discover that you are approaching or past the 15-year mark and have put a significant amount of repair into your furnace already, it may be time to consider replacement.

What Does the Age of Your Furnace Mean?

Understanding the age of your furnace is important in making proper judgements in handling issues your furnace may have, but the sheer age of your system does not indicate a need for replacement alone. If you have a 20-year-old furnace that still works well, you have a superior model that will most likely hold strong. However, there are still some things to keep in mind.

Regular Maintenance

No matter the age of your furnace, regular maintenance by a professional is guaranteed to keep it working in the best condition possible. Your air filters will be kept clean, ventilation and fan systems will be inspected, and repairs will be addressed before they become serious.

Make Note of Your Furnace Model

If you have a long withstanding furnace that does end up needing replacement, you may want to invest in the same or similar model that is simply more updated. A sturdy, reliable furnace model is going to be the best investment for your heating system — and in Minnesota, it’s worth it.

Signs the End Is Near

Discovering your furnace needs replacing after it has completely shut down is less than desirable. Keeping an eye out for warning signs that your furnace has seen better days is going to be your best bet to keep your costs low and prevent your family from freezing while you wait for a replacement. Here are some of the most common signs your furnace needs replacing:

● A large rise in energy bills
● Uneven heating
● Low air quality
● Frequent repairs

My Furnace Needs Replacing. Now What?

If your furnace has been inspected, repaired, inspected again, and simply won’t work the way it needs to, it’s time for a new one. Where do you start? As mentioned, if you have a model that has proven itself to be durable over time, consider a newer version of the same model. While the upfront investment may seem high, newer versions of furnaces have a lot of perks in comparison to their older counterparts.

Modern furnace models are built with an annualized fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating that represents the efficiency of each model. This represents how much heat the furnace can create versus how much is lost in the combustion process. A standard gas furnace will have a rating of 80% or higher, with some top of the line units maintaining a rating of up to 98%. The higher the efficiency, the lower your heating costs.

If your furnace has seen better days and you’re unsure of what your next steps should be, contact the experts at Sedgwick Heating. We’ll help you understand the current efficiency of your furnace and find an affordable model should you need replacement. Let us give you comfort you can count on today!

Top DIY Furnace Repairs: What You Can Fix On Your Own

There are a few indicators that your furnace may be acting up and many of the issues don’t require a professional, just a little elbow grease! Check out these DIY furnace repairs that you can do to keep your home warm and cozy.

Uneven Heating

If your furnace provides very little heat when it’s running, there are a few steps you can take to fix the issue:

  • Verify that nothing is blocking the airflow.
  • Make sure the thermostat is set to “heat.” Try raising the temperature five degrees and wait a few minutes to see if it improves.
  • Put in a new filter if it’s time for a replacement.

An out of date filter is one of the most common issues that many furnaces face. Keep yours regularly changed in order to avoid any buildup of dirt, dust, and other contaminants.

No Heat

If you notice that the heat doesn’t come on even when you adjust the temperature on the thermostat, there are a number of things that could be happening. You could be facing a thermostat malfunction or a tripped circuit breaker, or maybe your pilot light has gone out. Here are a few tips to solve the problem:

  • Check that the circuit breaker is on and that the fuse has not blown.
    • If the circuit is blown or tripped, reset the breaker by turning it all the way off and back on.
    • If necessary, replace the fuse.
  • Make sure the power to the furnace is on.
  • With a gas furnace, light the pilot light if it went out and verify that the gas valve is on. Be sure to check the furnace’s ignition as well.

If there still isn’t any heat, the thermostat may be faulty, in which case you’ll want to call in an expert to assess the situation.

Furnace is Turning Off and On

This is more than likely due to an issue with the thermostat. There is a small lever on your thermostat (not the heat adjustment lever) — this is your heat anticipator. If your furnace is going off and on too often, set your anticipator closer to the “longer” setting.

You may not see the heat improve for a couple of hours. Wait for a bit, then readjust if necessary.

Funny Noises

Heating ducts can expand or contract as they heat up and cool down, so there are plenty of noises that should not be a major concern. However, there are a few that deserve closer attention, and can be easily remedied.

  • Rattling: If your furnace cabinet is making a rattling noise whenever it runs, this is likely due to loose cover panels. Be sure they’re all screwed on nice and tight.
  • Squealing: These sounds occur when the belt that connects the motor to the fan slips. This is something that can be fixed by either tightening the motor mount or replacing the worn out belt. You can tighten the belt by removing the access panel, loosening the bolts that keep the blower motor at the correct tension, and either adjusting the distance or realigning the belt. Be sure to check your instruction manual before making any adjustments.

If you find that your furnace is not responding to your repairs or that a part needs replacing, your safest choice is to call a repair technician. A trained expert will not only be able to assess the problem and fix it properly but will also be able to audit your HVAC system and make recommendations for how to keep your heating and cooling systems running long term.

For further information on DIY furnace repairs or to schedule an appointment with a repair technician, contact the experts at Sedgwick today!

Time for Your HVAC Checkup! The Perks of Regular HVAC Maintenance

Cooler weather is setting in, and as any true Minnesotan knows, sub zero temperatures will be here before we know it. Extreme weather can hit at any time, as anyone who remembers the famous Halloween blizzard of ‘91 can attest to. This means you’re ready to schedule a professional HVAC tune-up to ensure you won’t get caught with a failing heating system in temperatures that leave plenty to be desired.

Minnesota Winters up the Ante for Heating Systems

Regular HVAC maintenance is recommended in any state; even warmer climates need to maintain a proper working heating system for colder temperatures. However, the winter climate is significantly more difficult in Minnesota than in other areas of the country, meaning your heating system needs to be up to date, and the benefits of regular HVAC maintenance in the winter are significantly greater. A failing heating system during our winters can result in an emergency situation, higher repair costs or even a full replacement of your HVAC system.

Investing in the Future of Your HVAC System

Maintaining regular maintenance of your HVAC system is investing in the long term life of your heating and cooling systems. Regular inspections keep an eye out for necessary repairs, keep your coils clean, and keep air filters clean and changed when necessary so your home and family are comfortable all year long.

Energy Savings

Keeping your heating systems properly tuned up will save you plenty in energy bills, as well as being more energy efficient for the environment. When your heater is working consistently throughout the winter to keep your home heated, you’re already spending more on keeping your home comfortable than in other seasons. If your HVAC system is not in proper working condition, it’ll be working twice as hard to create the same amount of heat, causing your energy bills to skyrocket. Regular maintenance will keep your energy bills at a sane level and everyone at home happier.

If you are ready for a proper HVAC tune-up, trust the heating and cooling experts at Sedgwick. Whether or not we installed your HVAC system, we offer the highest quality maintenance plans to keep your equipment in proper working order, including proper service diagnosis, emergency services 24/7, repairs, parts discounts and much more. If you’re ready to schedule your maintenance appointment, contact the experts at Sedgwick today!

Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace? 6 Major Considerations

Man determining whether to repair or replace your furnace

With the unpredictable weather fall brings, it’s likely your furnace is already in use. But before the bitter cold sets in, is your furnace working at peak performance? If not, it may be time for some repairs — or maybe even a new furnace.

It can be difficult to recognize whether a furnace is in need of some minor repairs or if it’s time to replace it entirely. Here are 6 factors to consider about whether you should repair or replace your furnace.

Furnace Age

The age of your system is the first factor to consider. The average lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years; after that the system will start to fail more often. If your furnace is 10 years old or less, repairs should be effective. If it has reached 12 years or more, it’s time to consider replacement. If your furnace is more than 10 years old but having consistent issues, consult an expert.

Frequency of Repairs

The frequency of furnace issues that you cannot solve without an expert can indicate your furnace is no longer able to bounce back. Attempting to keep an unreliable furnace functioning means potentially having no heat on cold days, and it could also end up costing you more in the end. Here are two rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  • If your repair costs are less than ⅓ of the cost of a new heating system, repair is your best choice
  • If your furnace has undergone repairs that haven’t keep it functioning for years, it’s time for a replacement

Change in Energy Bills

If your energy bills are increasing without an increase in usage, your furnace efficiency is definitely going down. Your furnace may be working twice as hard to create the same amount of heat. This is the first sign that it’s time to call in the experts and find out whether your furnace has seen better days.

Find out from your HVAC expert whether simply updating the thermostat or your ductwork will solve the problem, or if it’s time to retire your furnace for a new one.

Uneven Heating

If heat isn’t being distributed evenly, it tends to pertain to a duct issue in your home. If your home doesn’t heat up evenly, your home won’t be comfortable and your furnace will have to work twice as hard. This is a good time to call a repairman and determine whether the issue is your duct system or if a furnace replacement is necessary.

Strange Noises

Older furnaces are usually working harder, causing them to make rattling, popping, or banging noises. This can also result in a lack of ability for your furnace to properly moisturize the air, resulting in dry or stale air quality in your home. These are good indications that your heating system needs replacing.

Burner Flame

A natural gas burning will produce a blue flame with a light shade of yellow at the top. If the flame is yellow, it’s an indication that the fuel combustion is incomplete and your furnace could be producing carbon monoxide. In this instance, call an expert right away. A minor repair could be in order; however, it could be an indication that your furnace has worn out.
If you are looking to prevent several costly repairs, a proper inspection of your heating system will help determine what repairs, if any, are needed to keep your furnace working its best this winter. The last thing you want is to find out your furnace needs substantial repairs or replacement when we’ve already hit sub zero temperatures. Contact the experts at Sedgwick today and keep your home warm and cozy this season!

5 Unexpected Reasons to Use a Humidifier

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Summer is winding down, and it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for another frigid winter. It goes without saying that you will need a heating system to maintain home comfort when temperatures plummet — but how will you deal with plummeting humidity levels?

Many people don’t notice decreasing humidity levels until they have cracked skin, dry eyes or a scratchy throat. By the time these symptoms have set in, nearly all moisture in the home is long gone.

Dry air affects you and your home in ways that aren’t always immediately obvious. What you don’t see can hurt you, so learn about some of the surprising reasons to use a humidifier in your home.

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3 Steps to Prevent Air Conditioner Overheating



There’s nothing better than spending a day soaking up the sun during the summer, whether you enjoy biking, jogging, swimming, or lounging by the pool. But when it’s time to cool down, there’s no bigger disappointment than heading inside to find your home is hot and muggy due to your air conditioner overheating. Keep your AC running in top condition all summer with just a few easy steps.

1. Schedule HVAC Maintenance Regularly

Your air conditioner has an indoor and an outdoor unit that relies on clean condenser coils to lower air temperature. The inside unit uses refrigerant to absorb the air and cool it down, while the hot liquid refrigerant flows to the outside unit that releases the heat. Continue reading

Chill Out: Fixing a Hot Second Floor

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Venturing to your second floor shouldn’t feel like walking into an oven. Unfortunately for many homeowners, heat in the upper levels of the home is a daily annoyance. Even with a central HVAC system, there may be operational issues that keep the upper floors toasty. When your home cooling system feels unevenly distributed, it’s time to do some troubleshooting to pinpoint the source of the problem.

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