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SEER Rating – The AC Efficiency Rating Explained

Author: Steve LaTart

A family enjoying time

Saving Money & Energy Efficient

You’re looking into purchasing a new AC unit and keep hearing the phrase “SEER Rating”. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states that heating and cooling account for 55% of the energy used in residential homes. Energy prices aren’t getting any cheaper, therefore, maximizing efficiency is an excellent way to keep money in your pocket at the end of each month. Learn what that means, and how your SEER rating relates to buying a new furnace and air conditioner.

What is a SEER Rating?

All HVAC systems have SEER ratings which stand for Seasonal Energy Efficiency ratio. This ratio allows individuals to determine the efficiency of an AC system. The higher the final number is, the more efficient.

The average production of an air conditioning unit is measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs, and the average energy expended is measured in watts. The result will be a number from 6 to 23. The most popular systems boast a SEER of 20 or higher. A system with a SEER of 20 would use 1/20th of energy as one with a SEER of 10, even though they may have the same output.SEER ratings are only used to determine the energy efficiency of air conditioners and home heat pumps

An HVAC unit that has a higher SEER is often due to two components that provide greater indoor comfort.

  • 2-stage or variable-speed compressor
  • Variable-speed blower
Seer rating effienc

Differences Between Single-Stage and Two-Stage HVAC systems

Air conditioners with lower SEER ratings are usually single-stage and only run on one speed. This means they’ll frequently turn on and off during mild weather and you’ll experience uneven cooling or hot and cold spots. Y

You’ll also experience higher humidity levels which makes it feel hotter than it is. Your A/C needs to run for a long period of time to remove humidity from your home’s air. A single-stage system’s ups and downs don’t accommodate this, and it might require maintenance for them to run comfortably.

Price of a Two Stage HVAC system


It’s a trade-off, the higher the SEER rating now equals lower costing energy bills for years to come. 
The SEER rating of an air conditioning unit is one of many features that have an effect on the price.  Higher-performing units can be more costly than older units or units for each increase in SEER rating, expect to pay anywhere from $350 – $1500

See Rating Graphic

Minimum SEER Ratings For HVAC Units in Minnesota


Between extreme weather swings and Increases in energy cost, living in Minnesota, we know the importance of having an energy-efficient HVAC system to deal with the heat and the humidity.   The Department of Energy determined in 2015 that starting in 2023, the SEER minimum in Minnesota should be 14 to keep up with both increased energy costs and warming trends.

Interested in options for a new energy-efficient Air Conditioner or Heat Pump for your home? Contact Dean’s Home Services to schedule a free home comfort consultation where an HVAC professional can review the options which make the most sense for you.

A Pinhole leak is a home issue Plumbers deal with on a daily basis. Typically, these holes are less than 1/8 inch wide.  Although very small on the outside of the pipe, a pinhole leak is actually a sign of a much larger corrosion problem inside the pipe and a symptom of long-term corrosion damage. If you live in Minnesota and have hard water there are some steps you can take to avoid these sorts of problems. Nate a Plumber with Dean’s Home Services describes what can cause a Pinhole leak.

Pinhole Leak

Signs That You Have a Pinhole Leak

  • Dropping Water Pressure. One thing a pinhole leak can affect immediately is water pressure. If you’ve noticed a drop in pressure, whether in your shower, your faucet, or anywhere else where you use running water, there could be a leak somewhere.
  • Running Water Meter. Another way you can check for a small leak in your home (or any sized leak for that matter) is by checking your water meter. First, make sure that there is no water running in your house from any of your appliances, and then check the meter. If it’s showing signs of water running, then there might be a leak somewhere in your plumbing.
  • Mold and MildewPinhole leaks are notorious for causing mold and mildew growth because they often occur inside the wall where they go undetected, creating the ideal environment for growth.
  • Pipe DiscolorationThe exterior of your copper pipes should always look copper-colored.  If you’re noticing brown, green, or blue discoloration, that’s an indication of trouble.
  • Water Damage. This is the last and worst sign. If you’re seeing water damage either in your walls, floors, or anywhere in your home, it means there’s been a leak that’s run for quite some time. Water damage can cause mold growth and will weaken the structural foundation of your home when not treated quickly.

Have a Pinhole leak? Dean’s Does Plumbing

Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid major damage from a leak in your home. If you do end up with a small water leak a Professional Plumber is able to ensure the small, annoying leak doesn’t become something bigger.

It’s summer in Minnesota, and that means lots of hot humid days. You probably spend a lot of time inside so use these AC tips to stay cool this summer. Otherwise, the heat and humidity may end up creeping into your home through the AC vents. Follow these simple AC tips and tricks for keeping your air conditioner running efficiently.

AC Tips That Actually Work

Minnesota, historically speaking, averages above 12 days a year of 90 + plus degree weather and from June – July 2022, Minneapolis hit 90+ degrees at least six times.

We can’t change the weather but we can change how we cool our houses to stay safe on the hottest days of the year. Use these tips to keep your air conditioner running smoothly all summer.

Change the air filter

One of the best ways to keep your air conditioner clean is by replacing the air filter. This is the first layer of protection against particles, allergens, and other contaminants.

When choosing a filter, pay attention to its size. If the filter is too small, it will not be effective. If the filter is too big, it will lose suction power and increase energy costs. Another important factor is the material used to make the filter. Typically, the best air filters are made from synthetic fibers. They are easy to clean, reusable, and highly efficient.

AC Tips for a comfortable home

Keep the outdoor unit clear of anything that can prevent airflow

The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is what brings the cool, fresh air inside your home. This unit can be easily clogged by leaves, sticks, and other debris. If the flow of air is blocked in any way, the indoor unit will have to work harder to cool the home. This leads to an increase in energy consumption.

Be sure to keep the area around the AC unit neat and tidy and check the outdoor unit for possible obstructions and remove them.

Air Conditioner Cleaning

Cleaning your air conditioner is even more important than cleaning your ducts. This is because the air conditioner filters out the air, while the ducts just circulate the air inside your home. Over time, the air conditioner accumulates dirt and grime inside its internal parts.

The excess dust and dirt will reduce cooling efficiency, increase energy consumption, and even lead to health issues. The best way to clean your air conditioner is to hire a professional company to do the job. They have all the necessary equipment and knowledge to thoroughly clean the entire AC unit.

Manufacturers HVAC Tune-Up

The air conditioner was built with proper engineering and design. However, over a few years, the moving parts can get worn out and require maintenance or a tune-up. This service is offered by Dean’s Home Services.

An HVAC company will inspect the entire system and make any necessary repairs to keep your AC unit running well. The tune-up service includes cleaning or replacing parts in the indoor and outdoor units. The technicians will also check the ducts and any other parts of the HVAC system. They will also make any necessary adjustments to the thermostat settings. This way, you can ensure that the AC unit keeps running properly for many more years.

Need more help with your HVAC unit, trust the air conditioning repair and installation experts at Dean’s Home Services.

Technologies that make our lives easier are constantly evolving. We are now seeing rapid advancements in the smart home space, and lighting is one of the fastest-growing segments in this space. It’s predicted the smart home lighting market will grow to a value of over $10 billion by 2024.

There are many reasons why smart lighting has become so popular, but it comes down to three main factors: energy efficiency, ease of use, and security.

Smart home lighting also opens up a world of opportunities for homeowners who may not have had access to light in the past.

Take a look at trends we can expect from smart home lighting in 2022 and beyond…

Smart Home Lighting Trends for 2022

Smart home lighting

Intelligent Lighting Controls

The first trend we see in smart home lighting is increasingly intelligent lighting controls. Many smart home lighting control systems are designed to work with specific brand of light bulbs. However, with the growth of the Internet of Things, we are seeing lights being able to work with other products and systems. This means that lighting controls will become more sophisticated as they link to other systems — such as sensors, cameras, and smart appliances — that can analyze data and provide feedback.

Voice-activated Lighting

Another trend we expect to see in smart lighting is voice-activated lighting. We have already seen this trend take off in smart home assistants like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Josh.AI. However, we expect to see this functionality expand to other devices, like smart wall switches and remote controls.

This will allow people to easily control light switches and dimmers with their voice, making it easier for homeowners to control their lights remotely. In addition, voice-activated lighting also makes it easier for people with limited mobility to control their lights.

Smart LED Lighting

LED lights have existed for some time, but they have really taken off in the smart home lighting space. One of the main reasons for this is that they are more energy efficient than other forms of lighting.

Additionally, they also allow homeowners to control the level of brightness of their lights remotely, making them more convenient.

lighting Design

Color Changeable Lighting

Another trend we can expect to see in smart home lighting is color changeable lighting. Although not a completely new concept, we expect to see this technology advance as more homeowners become interested in it. Color Changing bulbs are not just for decoration.

This technology can be used to create a well-lit environment that is ideal for different activities, such as reading and relaxation. This means that homeowners have an added level of control over the lighting in their home that is not available with standard light bulbs.

Smart Security Lights

Another trend we can expect to see in smart home lighting is the emergence of smart security and surveillance lights. These types of lights are designed to turn on automatically when people are detected on the property.

This is ideal for homeowners who want some added security without having to install cameras and sensors.
(if you’re interested security cameras and locks, the technology and integration of AI is incredible)

These lights can also be programmed to turn on and off at certain times of the day. What’s more, some brands of smart security lights are even designed to change color when they sense a fire. This means they can double as fire alarms when they detect smoke.

Overall, the future of smart home lighting looks bright. As people become more concerned about the environment and their energy usage, they will be increasingly interested in investing in more efficient light bulbs.

As we progress further into the 2020s, we can expect to see even more advancements in the world of smart home lighting.

Kiwi, Strawberries, and Lime Recipe

A delicious and refreshing water recipe for you to enjoy at home!

Ingredients:

Ice
Kiwi, peeled and cut into slices
Strawberries, hulled and cut into slices
Lime, cut into slices
Sparkling or regular water

Directions: Fill a glass, bottle, mason jar, or pitcher with all your ingredients. Enjoy immediately. Refill with more water and ice until the flavor is gone.

An air conditioner cleaning has a number of benefits which improve its efficiency as well as the life of the unit.

Do You Need an Air Conditioner Cleaning?

If your outdoor AC unit is dirty, it can lead to poor air quality inside your home which reduces its efficiency.

Signs your AC needs maintenance
  • Poor indoor air quality – Excessive amounts of dust, pollen, and mildew can accumulate in your AC unit, eventually being blown into your home. This can be especially problematic for those with allergies or asthma.
  • Reduced efficiency – A clogged or dirty AC unit can reduce efficiency which in turn will drive up your energy bills. A clogged or dirty unit can also result in a shorter lifespan for your AC unit.
  • A decrease in airflow – If your unit is dirty, it will reduce the amount of air flowing through it. This can lead to increased energy usage and poor indoor air quality.
air conditioner cleaning

Make sure you have clean air filters

For your AC unit to work properly, you need to have clean air filters. Similar to how your car will not run as smoothly if you don’t change the oil, a clogged air filter will cause your unit to work much harder than it needs to. That could mean less efficient cooling and a shorter lifespan for your AC unit. Changing out the furnace filters is a task that should be done every few months but if you have pets or notice dust, you’ll want to do it more often.

Ensure none of the vents in your home are blocked

When your AC unit is running, it’s just as important that nothing is blocking the vents where the air is flowing out of your home. If the vents are blocked, the unit will have to work harder and may not adequately cool your home. Vents can become blocked by leaves, dust, and other debris. As autumn approaches, it’s especially important to keep your vents clear of leaves, as they can easily block your vents. You may also want to check your vents during spring and summer as well, as pests such as mice are also known to nest in vents.

To keep your vents clear, consider installing a leaf blower attachment on your vacuum. This will allow you to quickly and efficiently remove leaves and other debris that may have built up around your vents.

Check that your outdoor AC unit isn’t obstructed

To ensure that your unit is operating at peak efficiency, you should periodically check that nothing is obstructing it. You should make sure that any trees, plants, or shrubs are not growing too close to your unit.

This could result in damage to your unit and reduced airflow through it. You should also make sure that there are no fallen branches or other items near the unit that could be blown or thrown into the unit during high winds.

Air Conditioner Cleaning by a HVAC Professional

In order to clean the coil of your outdoor AC unit, a professional will use a cleaning solution that’s specially formulated to break up the dirt and grime on the coil. The cleaning solution is then vacuumed out, leaving the coil clean and operational once again. The process is relatively quick and shouldn’t disrupt the operation of your AC or cause any damage. And, it will help prevent the coil from becoming blocked by dirt and debris, allowing the unit to operate more efficiently. This can translate into reduced energy bills and a longer lifespan for your AC unit.

A Professional AC Tune Up

A professional AC tune-up or annual AC Maintenance will allow a technician to examine your outdoor AC unit and diagnose any issues that may be contributing to reduced efficiency or reduced lifespan. During the tune-up, the technician will examine the condition of the coil, check for possible damage caused by animals or weather, replace any filters that may be dirty, and thoroughly clean the unit. A tune-up is recommended every two years. If you notice reduced airflow, an increase in utility bills, or that your unit is making strange noises, it’s best to have it examined as soon as possible. A technician can help identify potential issues and resolve them before they become serious problems.

Keeping your air conditioning unit clean can help ensure that it’s operating efficiently and that it lasts a long time. To keep your outdoor AC unit clean, you should check it once a month during the hotter months and more frequently during the cooler months when leaves and debris tend to build up quickly.

Dean’s Club Evaluations Help You Avoid Costly Repairs

Dean’s Club Members get the added value of a Dean’s Club evaluation where we we examine the coil for damage, check for any obstructions, and clean the air filters as needed. Keeping your AC unit clean can help reduce energy usage, cut down on utility bills, extend the lifespan of your unit, and keep your home cooler and more comfortable all year long.

What to Do When Your Lights Keep Flickering

When you’re trying to relax at home or get ready for the day, lights flickering are probably the last thing you want to deal with. The causes can range from small to major, either way, it’s something that you’ll want to fix. Learn how to know when it’s a DIY job and when it’s something you should leave for a professional electrician.

lights flickering

Reasons for Lights Flickering In Your House

What Causes House Lights to Flicker?

There are a lot of potential causes for flickering lights, which means you’ll have to troubleshoot the problem a little to find the cause. Here are common reasons why your lights might be flickering.

Poor Wiring: If the wiring in your home is old and/or hasn’t been properly maintained, it could be causing your lights to flicker. A common reason why wiring may be causing your lights to flicker is if the wiring isn’t grounded properly. If the wiring in your home isn’t properly grounded, it can cause excessive current flow in the wiring to occur, which can cause flickering lights.

Wiring Issues: Aside from wiring issues caused by poor wiring, wiring issues that are inherent to the wiring in your home can also cause flickering lights. Electrical wiring issues most commonly occur with age, but they can also happen as a result of high usage.

Light Fixture Issues: Your light fixtures may be causing your lights to flicker, especially if you have an older home. Light fixtures that are older can sometimes cause flickering lights due to the wiring inside them being worn out due to use.

When the Lightbulb isn’t the Problem, Check the Wiring

If replacing the light bulb doesn’t correct the problem, you may want to replace the wiring inside the light fixture. If it’s an antique, then it may be worth taking the time to have the wiring replaced.

Have a professional electrician evaluate your home

If you’ve tried troubleshooting the problem and you’re still dealing with a light that flickers, you may want to have a professional electrician come out and take a look at your home’s wiring. Dean’s licensed electricians are experienced with troubleshooting electrical issues in the Twin Cities

Electrical issues are often easy to spot, but they can be very dangerous. Because of this, it’s best to leave electrical issues to the professionals.

A professional electrician can look at your wiring and let you know if there are any issues with it. A professional electrician can also let you know if there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of dealing with flickering lights in the future.

Having the lights in your home flicker is a real annoyance and when you’re able to tell the difference between a minor and major problem, you can save yourself from a major disaster.

A bathroom fan is something you rarely think about but it plays an important role in your home. A fan helps with Indoor Air Quality by getting rid of both moisture and airborne contaminants inside of your home.

modern home bathroom

When Should I Clean My Bathroom Fan?

Cleaning the fan in your bathroom is a simple DIY project and should be a part of your home cleaning routine. If you start to notice dust on the fan or notice that moisture seems to stick around the room longer than usual, it’s time to clean.

How to clean a bathroom fan

DIY Test to see how efficient your exhaust fan is working?

Hold a piece of toilet paper up to the fan. If it’s getting sucked up by the fan, it’s still working. 

How to Clean a Bathroom Fan

Step 1: Turn the fan off at the circuit breaker or switch. No electricity allowed.

Step 2: Remove the cover. Pull the fan cover down gently. If there are metal pins/spring clips on each side, squeeze gently to release the fan cover. You may see just a tab depending on the model.

Step 3: Wash the fan cover in a sink with soap and warm water. Or vacuum to clean the vent cover.

Step 4: Unplug the fixture.

Step 5: Depending on the model of your fan, remove visible screws and motor. (we are going in for a deep cleaning)

Step 6: Clean the fan blades and surrounding motor parts with a damp cloth. If you are not comfortable taking the motor out, you can just vacuum inside the fan housing and around the motor. 

Step 7: Clean the exhaust vent and surrounding area. Let everything dry out before replacing your vent cover.

Step 8: Reinstall your exhaust fan. 

Step 9: Turn the electricity back on.

Step 10: Enjoy a cleaner, more efficient exhaust.

Plumbing Tips for Saving Water

Saving Water advice and tips from Dean's Home Services

Minnesota’s growing population uses water faster than some aquifers can replenish. We all know the importance of saving water but do you know how to do it?

When it comes to conserving water, the focus is usually on the outdoors. However, it’s also possible to save a considerable amount of water by focusing on indoor water usage. Plumbing systems are often overlooked when it comes to saving water, but they account for a significant amount in most homes. In fact, if you add up all the faucets and showerheads in your home, they likely account for more than half of the total indoor use of water. Toilet leaks, dripping faucets and showerheads, and other plumbing issues can waste a lot of water without you even realizing it.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your home’s indoor water usage and cut back on your water bill as well as your outdoor usage at the same time.

How to Save Water in Your Home

Change out your showerhead with a water-saving model

Perhaps the most obvious place to start cutting back on water usage is with your showerhead. Most showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (GPM), but there are models that use as little as 1.5 GPM. Switching out your old showerhead for one of these models can significantly reduce your indoor water usage, and it’s easy to do. For maximum savings, choose a low-flow showerhead that has an Energy Star label. Not only will they use less water, they will also cut down on heat loss during showers, which helps to lower your electricity bill as well.

Use Faucet Flow Reducers

Another way to cut back on water usage at your faucets is to replace the flow reducer or “pop-off” valves with a flow reducer. These devices can reduce the flow rate of your faucets by as much as 50%. If you do a thorough check of all faucets in your home, you will likely find some that are running constantly without need, wasting a significant amount of water. A flow reducer can help fix this problem. In addition to reducing flow, these devices can also help reduce the noise level of your faucets, making them a good option for homes with children or pets. Unfortunately, flow reducers are not suitable for all types of faucets. If you are not sure how to proceed, you should consult a plumber before attempting to replace your flow reducers.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are one of the best things you can do to conserve energy!

The average tankless water heater can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your utility bills. Most tankless water heaters are considered 95% efficient, whereas standard water heaters are only 70% efficient. That means 95 cents out of every dollar spent with your tankless water heater goes toward actually heating the water and only 5% is wasted smoke, unlike the 30% that a tank water heater wastes.

Fix leaks

An easy way to waste a significant amount of water is to have a leak, but many homeowners are not even aware of this problem. Most leaks are caused by worn or corroded pipes, but they can also occur at connections between pipes, such as a toilet’s supply line or a faucet’s supply tube. Leaky faucets are particularly common, with one study showing that a startling number of faucets have leaks. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to detect a leak and have it fixed, but you have to know what to look for.

Water-Efficient Appliances

When you are done with your indoor fixtures, be sure to turn off the water. Many homeowners forget to do this, and it can result in a significant amount of water waste. If you have a dishwasher, be sure to use it. Many people do not turn them on because they think they are wasteful. However, new models are highly water-efficient and can save you as much as $80 a year on your water bill. To reduce the flow in your bathroom and kitchen faucets, install flow restrictors in your toilets and faucets. By doing so, you can cut back on indoor water usage by as much as 25%.

Saving Water is Easier with a Dean’s Club Membership

A major benefit of our Dean’s Club Membership is access to Dean’s professional plumbers. During your annual plumbing evaluation, we evaluate the plumbing system in your home and provide you with information that allows you to maintain, update, and save both money and water!

Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters: A Complete Guide

When you have a tankless water heater, you never run out of hot water. Plumbers with Dean’s Home Services install hundreds of energy-efficient tankless into homes in the Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN area every year! Rather than storing gallons of heated water in a tank, this compact unit heats water as you need it. This means that at any given time, there’s a ready supply of hot water. But do these benefits come with downsides? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of tankless water heaters.

Woman taking shower

What are the benefits of a tankless water heater?

A tankless water heater has a lot of advantages.

  • The big one is limitless hot water. Whether you’re taking a shower or doing a load of laundry, you can always get warm water. This is especially helpful if you have many people living in your home.
  • Tankless water heaters are also very energy efficient. That’s because they don’t store gallons of hot water. Instead, they only heat water as you need it. This means that tankless water heaters use less energy than standard storage water heaters.
  • They also take up very little space and leave a very small carbon footprint compared to traditional tank water heaters.
  • Another big advantage of having a tankless water heater installed by Dean’s Home Services is the rebates that Dean’s will file on your behalf. (We also file permits and many manufacturer warranties are voided if not installed by a licensed plumber)

What are the cons of a tankless water heater?

One disadvantage of using a tankless water heater is that it’s more expensive upfront than a conventional tank heater. While it’s true that tankless water heaters use less energy than standard water heaters, it’s not always obvious how much less. This is just one of many reasons it’s important to use a professional plumber. If you don’t install a tankless water heater correctly, it could use more energy than a traditional water heater.

How do tankless water heaters work?

Like standard water heaters, tankless water heaters use gas or electricity to heat up water. The big difference is that they don’t store the heated water. Instead, they release the water as soon as it reaches the right temperature. That’s why these water heaters are sometimes called “demand-type” water heaters. When you turn on a faucet in an area with a tankless water heater, water passes through a heating unit. This unit uses gas or electricity to heat up the water. While it’s heating up, the water sits in a pipe. That pipe then feeds the water to your faucet. The water only sits in the pipe for about a second before it goes through a pressure regulator. The regulator ensures that it’s the right pressure for your faucet.

How much gas does a tankless water heater use?

The amount of gas that a tankless water heater uses varies. That’s because a lot depends on factors like the unit’s size, flow rate, and gallons per minute (GPM). However, on average, a tankless water heater consumes around 0.8 to 1.1 GPM. That’s around half as much as a traditional water heater.

Overall, a tankless water heater is a great choice for your home. However, you have to make sure that you install it correctly. If you don’t, you could end up using more energy than you should. If you’re wondering if a tankless water heater is right for you, look into local rebates and contact Dean’s Home Services Plumbing to determine if a tankless water heater is right for you.

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