Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New AC or Furnace

Furnaces and air conditioners are big-ticket, must-have items in most American households. In order to justify the expense involved, you must buy units that work reliably and help you keep your home comfortable for years to come. However, certain mistakes can potentially lead to disaster when it’s time to purchase a new furnace or AC. Familiarity with these pitfalls can save you both money and long periods of unnecessary regret.

Buying a Unit with Too Little or Too Much Capacity

All furnaces and ACs have a minimum and maximum operating capacity, and are only fit for use in homes within a certain range of layouts and square footage totals. Many people shopping for a new heating or cooling system don’t know which units work best for their needs and end up installing underpowered or overpowered models in their homes. If you fail to avoid this pitfall, you leave yourself open to problems such as premature AC or furnace component damage, an inability to keep your household comfortable and needlessly high utility costs.

Making Price Your Only Consideration

Everybody loves a bargain. Unfortunately, when it comes to buying a heating or cooling system, a purchase that initially seems like a bargain may cost you both money and peace of mind in the long run. Simply put, a contractor who will install a furnace or AC for a rock-bottom price may rely on cheap materials and/or shoddy workmanship to make that price a reality.

Forgetting to Consider Energy Efficiency

When reviewing your options, you may be tempted to avoid highly efficient furnaces and air conditioners, since these units often come with an upfront price premium. However, by paying that extra bit of money at purchase time, you may provide your household with a long-term reduction in energy costs that actually saves you money over the working life of the unit.

Not Checking Out Multiple Contractors

You may be tempted to take the path of least resistance and only explore the options provided by a single HVAC contractor. However, for a number of reasons, another contractor may offer the same types of options at a significantly lower price. You’ll never know if you fail to check out multiple contractors before making your final decision.

Not Probing Your Contractor’s Background

Like any other industry, the HVAC industry has its share of untrustworthy and downright fraudulent providers. Unless you get verifiable information on your contractor’s background, you leave yourself vulnerable to the occasional unscrupulous or incompetent HVAC practitioner.

Not Specifying Your Contract Details

Even after verifying your contractor’s reputation, you can easily run into trouble if you fail to get a clear, detailed contract in writing. In addition to giving you general peace of mind, a well-articulated contract will help protect you if rare or unexpected problems occur during or after installation.

Make sure to check this blog often for additional advice on ways to get the best in heating and cooling services for your home.

How To Add Air Conditioning To A Boiler

There is a world of difference between the air conditioning system and the boiler system. The formers keeps your homes and offices cool during the summer months while the latter keeps your establishment warm during the winter. Many people believe that you can only install either one or the other but this is not really true. It is possible to use both a cooling system and a heating system. All you have to do to enjoy both systems simultaneously is to choose the right option.

The process of adding air conditioning to a boiler comes down to choosing the right system. There are three options here and each one comes with its peculiarities and advantages. For the first option, you can simply buy a mini-split air conditioning system. This unit is fixed to the wall and cools or heats a particular part of your home or office.

The second alternative is called the attic system. If you want to use this system, you install the air handler in the attic but the condenser stays outside the house. Install the duct work to transfer the cool or hot air from the attic to different parts of the house and the system is ready. One advantage of this system is that it can heat or cool the whole house.

The third alternative is an improvement on the attic system and it works very well for large buildings and office complexes. In the attic system, you use rigid duct work to cool or heat the house. In this high velocity version of the attic system, round tubing is used to move the hot or cool air to different parts of the house. The tubing is small and works effectively. It also produces minimum noise and looks better than any other system. The price may be on the high side but it is perfect for people who can afford it. It is also the best system for people who consider the cosmetic appearance of their cooling and heating system.

As you can see, adding air conditioning to a boiler is not rocket science. It can be done easily by the right expert. Choose any of the options above and you will enjoy convenient temperatures in your homes and offices. Please follow us for more articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

Common Air Conditioning Myths Explored

Air conditioning myths are plentiful. As a matter of fact, they seem to be on a rampage these days because just about everyone out there thinks that he/she knows a thing or two more than the rest. As a result, they circulate wrong information. So, there is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the right and the wrong way to use the air conditioners. Needless to say, having wrong information about your air conditioner can prove to be an expensive affair. Let’s have a look at few of the most common air conditioning myths to avoid some pitfalls along the way.

Many people out there believe that investing on the largest air conditioning system will keep their home very cool with less effort. Contrary to the popular belief, this is not true. The fact of the matter is that a big air conditioner will not necessarily keep your rooms any cooler than the small air conditioners. An air conditioner should be sized in accordance to the area it needs to cool efficiently. So, getting a bigger one is not always a better choice. There are others who believe that the location of the air conditioner does not matter at all. Again, this is not true at all. The location of the air conditioner does have an impact on its performance. One’s best bet would be to install the air conditioning system away from the impact of direct sunlight. Now, there are others who believe that turning the thermostat way down will cool the room faster. What one should know over here is that regardless of the temperature settings, air conditioners always cool at the same rate. So, turning the thermostat way down will do no good over here.

Since we have cleared the air on air conditioning myths, chances are that you will never ever fall for these again. For home cooling, leave it on the experts as and when you can. Since air conditioners cost a lot of money, do not leave anything on chance and take good care of it with regular inspection and maintenance. For more information on air conditioner myths and other valuable insights, do follow us.

What Regular Maintenance Do Heating And Air Conditioning Systems Need?

Maintaining your HVAC unit will not only prevent future problems but also save you money on both repairs and energy costs. Finding a contractor who will perform yearly pre-season checks can save you a lot of trouble with your unit. To save yourself the trouble of finding contractors during busy seasons such as beginning of winter and summer, have your heating unit checked during the fall and your cooling unit during spring.

Here are some tips on HVAC maintenance.

General Maintenance Check-up

  • Adjust thermostat settings to ensure your heating and cooling systems keep you comfortable while in the house and that they save energy while you are out of the house.
  • Fix all loose electrical connections to prevent accidents and to improve your unit’s life.
  • Check your unit’s controls to ensure the start cycle, operation and shutting down processes are normal.
  • Lubricate moving parts to reduce friction between different parts in your unit.

Cooling System Maintenance

  • Clean condenser and evaporator coils. Failure to clean air conditioning coils will not only interfere with normal operations of your unit, but also increase energy costs.
  • Check refrigerant levels. Too little or too much refrigerant will reduce your unit’s life as well as increase energy costs. You should therefore make the right adjustments to make sure these levels are just right.
  • Adjust and clean blower components. This will improve airflow and at the same time increase efficiency.

Heating System Maintenance

Check the heat exchanger, burner combustion, gas pressure and all oil or gas connections. Improper oil or gas connections can easily cause fire outbreaks. A cracked exchanger or dirty burner can reduce your system’s efficiency and reduce its life.

DIY Tips

Check, clean or replace air filter. It is advised that you carry out these tasks every month on your heat pump, furnace and central air conditioner. Dirty filters can easily damage your unit and also increase energy costs. If you are not sure how to clean or replace your filters, get some tips from your contractor or simply consult your user manual. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

The Effects Of Humidity On Air Conditioning And Heating

There is a misconception that HVAC systems are all about controlling the temperature. While it is the main focus of these appliances, air conditioners and heaters are also designed to manage humidity. The moisture level in the air can make the environment feel hotter or colder that what the temperature reading might suggest. If it is not addressed properly, then it the uncomfortable feeling will not go away. HVAC units simultaneously manage heat and humidity for best results.

Air Conditioning and High Humidity

Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling itself. When the indoor humidity is high, a hot room can feel even warmer because the sweat on our skin cannot evaporate as readily as it should. The windows might even fog up because of the vapor in the air. In extreme cases, it dampens things inside the house which eventually creates a musty odor. These are best resolved by using a dehumidifier in addition to an A/C.

For mild humidity, the air conditioner should be able to handle things by itself. The condenser coils get cold enough to turn the moisture in the air into liquid form which eases things a bit. This should work well as long as the size of the A/C is right for the room. If it is too small, then it will have a hard time providing enough cooling power. If it is too big, then it will cool the room too quickly and go idle before removing enough moisture from the air.

Heating and Low Humidity

Low humidity triggers the opposite effect. The sweat on the skin evaporates much faster so it tends to feel colder than it really is. Turning up the thermostat settings may help with this but it would consume a lot of fuel. Heaters are capable of slightly increasing the humidity level for better comfort. In case homeowners are not content with this, they can use a humidifier for added moisture. This can be installed on the heating system to augment humidity before the warm air goes through the ducts.

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Refrigerant Leaks And Health Issues

Refrigerant is a trade name used to refer to a wide range of industrial chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons. However, its wide use raises serious health concerns. refrigerant comes in form of colorless, non-flammable liquids and gases mainly used in making fluorocarbon resins and lubricants, as well as a refrigerant in cooling systems and as a solvent in aerosol propellants. If not used properly, refrigerant can pose a danger to human health. Read on to learn about the relationship between refrigerant and Health.

Effects of refrigerant Exposure

refrigerant is not completely harmless to humans. Therefore you need to go for medical check ups at least once a year if you are exposed to refrigerant at work. refrigerant in air conditioners and refrigerators may leak if there is a flaw in the system, exposing you to small quantities of refrigerant. With time, this may affect your heart. If you have a known heart problem, continued exposure to refrigerant may cause irregular heartbeat.
In high concentrations, however, refrigerant can cause asphyxia, dizziness and loss of concentration as well as coordination. Additionally, you may get dermatitis and skin rashes among other types of skin problems.

Effects of refrigerant Exposure on Kids and Pets

refrigerant is 3 to 4 times denser than air, so it is normally found near the ground. This means that kids and pets are at high risk of getting exposed to refrigerant because they are shorter. Prolonged exposure can cause serious problems in kids and pets because they are more sensitive to these chemicals.

refrigerant and the Environment

Environmentalists have identified refrigerant as one of the major pollutants of the environment. The chemical is known to deplete the ozone layer, which protects the Earth against harmful UV radiation. Fortunately, the use of refrigerant has already been phased out, so modern refrigeration and air conditioning systems may not contain this chemical.

If you live or work in a place that is likely to have refrigerant, be sure to go for health checkups every year to ensure that you are in good health. You may also want to hire a qualified HVAC technician to inspect your equipment to ensure that it is not leaking refrigerant. Alternatively, you can have the technician replace the refrigerant with a safer refrigerant. Follow Our Blog for More Great HVAC Information.

How Is The Efficiency Of Heating And Cooling Equipment Measured?

Heating and cooling units are standard features in almost every building in the US. However, these units play some part in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year. Since it is impossible to live in houses that do not have HVAC units especially in winter, an effective way of reducing greenhouse gases emissions is by measuring their efficiency. Read on to learn more about this topic.

Why Efficiency Measurements Matter

In general, the more efficient a cooling/heating unit, the smaller its carbon footprint because it requires less energy to operate. Remember fuels like natural gas play a big role in release of greenhouse gases. To curb this problem, the Department of Energy has set efficiency standards governing HVAC products. With this in mind, here is how efficiency ratings are measured.

The Energy Star

For a product to bear the Energy Star designation, it must satisfy stringent guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For example, a heating/cooling unit’s energy savings and performance should be verifiable via scientifically acceptable measuring techniques. Moreover, consumers should be able to recoup price difference between such units and less energy efficient units via energy bill savings within reasonable timeframe.

EER

EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio shows how much cooling efficiency one can expect per dollar spent on energy bills. This efficiency ratio is based on hottest seasonal day of year.

SEER

Unlike EER, SEER is based on average cooling efficiency over an entire season per dollar spent on electricity. This rating ranges from 13 to 22 with higher figures indicating better efficiency.

HSPF

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor simply shows the efficiency of a heating component in a heat pump. A rating to between 6.8 and 10 generally offers good efficiency.

MERV

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value shows HVAC unit efficiency in terms of filter size holes. Smaller holes make a filter more efficient at keeping contaminants from making their way indoors. MERV ratings range from 1-16 with higher figures indicating better efficiency.

Conclusion

If you have a heating/cooling unit at home, a good grasp of its efficiency rating is important to ensure it does not generate huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Common efficiency measurement benchmarks include Energy Star, SEER, EER, MERV, and HSPF. Follow Our Blog for More Great HVAC Information.

Ways To Increase Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency

The average central air conditioning system consumes a lot of energy, accounting for over half your utility bills. This means that consumers can save a lot of money if they find ways to make their air conditioning system more energy efficient. The following are 4 ways to increase air conditioning efficiency without spending any money.

1. Adjust the Thermostat Appropriately

If you want to cut down on energy consumption attributed to the HVAC system, you may want to set your thermostat a few degrees lower than the current setting during winter, and a few degrees higher during summer. You may have to live in a house that is a little it warmer, but comfortable, during summer, or a little bit cooler, but not chilly, during winter.

2. Clean the Condenser Unit

Getting rid of debris and any other type of obstruction around the outdoor condenser unit may help to improve the efficiency of the system. Once the area around the unit has been cleared and the unit cleaned, air will flow easily through the system, thereby leading to reduced energy consumption.

3. Close Blinds and Curtains

Sunlight carries a lot of heat, so you do not want it to get into the house during the day as it will reduce the efficiency of the cooling system. This means that the AC will only consume energy to cool the air inside the house.

4. Seal Gaps and Holes in Air Ducts

If cooled air leaks out to unwanted spaces, or hot air gets sucked into the vents, the efficiency of the air conditioning system will reduce. To prevent this from happening, you need to seal these gaps using a suitable duct-sealing tape. On the other hand, naked or exposed vents should be insulated with an appropriate insulating material to prevent losses through radiation.

Implementing these measures will not cost you a single cent, but the savings on utility bills can be quite significant. There are several other cost effective methods of improving air conditioning efficiency. A qualified HVAC firms can advise you accordingly. Call us today for all heating and air conditioning needs.

5 Home Cooling Myths

As temperatures rise over summer, most people are going to be looking for ways to cut down on their utility bills. However, before making any changes to your home, it pays to be aware of a few air conditioning myths to prevent you from going astray.

Fans keep a room cool

Unlike popular belief, fans will do nothing for the heat inside the room. They merely make you feel cooler by moving air over your skin. This means that it would be a waste of energy leaving the fan on in a room you’re not using. The only exception to the rule is if the air temperature outside the house is cooler than the air inside. In such a case, placing a fan near a window can help to exhaust trapped hot air or draw cool air into the room.

A bigger AC will yield better results

Before heading to the stores to buy a bigger AC, carry out a few checks. Start by cleaning the air conditioner and try to get it serviced. Moving the AC to a shadier location might also help. In fact, the problem might not be the AC at all. Try to look for leaks and gaps and seal them up.

An air conditioner is just a device to cool air

In addition to producing a steady stream of cool air, ACs also have a huge role to play in making your home more comfortable by reducing humidity levels. Many units even have a dedicated drying function.

Lower the temperatures down for faster cooling

Central air conditioners usually work at fairly constant rates and then turn off once your home gets to the set temperature. Therefore, turning down the temperatures won’t necessarily cool your home faster. In fact, you might end up with a frigid house and waste more energy if you forget to readjust the temperature.

It’s more efficient to leave the AC on all day than to raise or lower the temperature

Most people believe that the air conditioner has to work extra hard to cool the house when you get home so they leave it on. Unfortunately, there is nothing further from the truth. A lot of energy is wasted when you leave your unit on. You can dramatically cut down on energy usage by taking advantage of programmable thermostats. Call us for all your heating and air conditioning needs.

Is A Programmable Thermostat Worth It?

Almost from the moment they hit the stores, programmable thermostats have been touted as huge money savers, allowing energy savings of as much as 10 to 30 percent on home heating a cooling costs. Many consumers, however, have not realized these savings, and some have even claimed their energy costs have risen with the installation of the device.

The idea of a programmable thermostat seems logical on its face. This is a devise the homeowner can program to automatically turn down the heat or air conditioning at night or when the user is not at home, thus generating an automatic energy savings. That this is not what is happening in many cases, research is showing, is not the fault of the device, but rather the way it is being used. In other words, it is not the car, but the driver.

To get the most out of a programmable thermostat, which can cost between $25 and $230 depending on features, there some basic rules to follow:

Temperature savings set-points should be calibrated for eight-hour increments and there should be a 10-degree difference between the normal use and the nighttime or away settings.
Allow temperatures to change gradually. Do not attempt a rapid warm up or cool down.
Try not to use the manual override too often.
If you have zoned heating and cooling, install one unit per zone.
Install the thermostat away from sources of heat and cooling to avoid false readings. This means keeping them away from doors and windows, fireplaces, heating equipment, and drafts.
If the thermostat runs on batteries, be sure to change them every year or when the unit indicates a battery change is needed.
Use the “vacation” feature whenever you will be gone for more than a day. This feature promotes energy savings by keeping the home at a safe and efficient temperature to protect electronics and plumbing, which may be well below the normal comfort level.

When used as recommended, programmable thermostats can result in significant energy savings for the average homeowner and be well worth the investment. Call to have your programmable thermostat installed today.