Getting the Most out of your Air Conditioner

 

Most of the electricity used in the home during the warmer months is by the air conditioner. This is one area where homeowners can save money. By becoming aware of certain habits that need to change, the home will run more smoothly. The first tip for saving money is to choose the air conditioner size correctly. Sometimes, people think that bigger air conditioners will provide more home comfort and feel that it is the best for the home. This is not always true. Using an air conditioner unit that is too big for the home will not provide uniform temperatures or lessen humidification, so in this case, bigger is not necessarily better.

 

 

Placement of the thermostat and proper usage can help save money. Many times when people come home from work, they flip the thermostats to an excessively low level thinking it will make the air conditioner get colder faster. This is not true and can damage the unit and cost more money when the unit works harder to get to the low temperature. It will not enhance the air conditioning and repairs may be necessary from overuse. The placement of thermostats is another great factor to consider when saving money. It should never be located around warmer items, like televisions, lamps, or stereos. This could accidentally trick the thermostat into working harder than is required.

 

 

Another common mistake that wastes money is placing the air conditioner in a spot that collects heat. Just because there is an available space beside the house does not make it the best choice. Make sure that the unit is placed in a shady spot or else it will have to work harder than necessary. Being in direct sunlight hinders the unit from working properly. Similarly, you will not want to place it behind bushes or shrubs to hide the unit. This will obstruct ventilation and can clog the condenser coils so that repair is needed, along with making it less efficient to run.

 

 

If your home currently uses several window air conditioning units to provide home comfort, it would be less expensive to cool the area with ductless air conditioning. These units are revolutionary cooling solutions and situate in one or two story homes. Many homeowners are switching to the ductless air conditioning these days, due to the money saving factor of running traditional air conditioning units. If you have any questions about your current air conditioner, or if you are looking for a new one, make sure to contact us, and we can advise you on the options you have.

Setting the Thermostat to the Right Temperature

 

 

The right thermostat settings can do wonders for your energy costs. You can save up to five percent in heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees. Many people find that setting the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter provides a comfortable home environment and keeps heating costs under control. At the night, or during the day when everyone is away, the temperature can be set to 6-10 degrees cooler to provide more savings.

The key to making these temperature changes effortless is to install a programmable thermostat with which you can assign different temperatures to different times of day or even different days of the week. Some households have different schedules on Mondays as opposed to Thursdays, for examples. These household rhythms can be programmed into the thermostat. For example, if people in your household wake later on weekends, you probably won’t need to raise the temperature to 68 degrees until 9am. Then on weekdays, you might like your house to be comfortably warm by 6:30am, when the earliest riser stumbles into the kitchen seeking coffee. Programming your thermostat to raise or lower the temperature according to your family’s schedule can save a great deal of money.

During the summertime, keep your air conditioners or central air unit set at 75 degrees or above for cost-efficient cooling. Your family’s habits may allow you to keep the temperature higher. Consult your family and see what everyone is comfortable with. Additionally, a box fan can allow you to raise your thermostat by making rooms feel cooler than they are, and they cost about one tenth as much to run as an air conditioner. If you notice that the air conditioner is no longer efficient, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the HVAC system to ensure it is working properly for you.

Why having a Dehumidifier is Beneficial

 

A dehumidifier may be the simple solution you are looking for to decrease the humidity in your home.  Many people don’t realize humidity is their issue because the air “feels” dry.  Air with humidity levels as low as 50% or less can substantially reduce your comfort level and cause permanent damage to your home.  There benefits of using a high quality dehumidifier in any enclosed spaces of all sizes.

Mold and dust mites thrive in moist environments.  Most people associate mold with standing water or areas with that damp, musty smell.  The truth is the rate of mold growth skyrockets when the relative humidity reaches 50%.  Not only does this mean more mold but more mold spores contaminating the air you breathe.  Dust mites react to humidity in the same way mold does.

Humidity is nothing more than the amount of moisture in the air.  Unfortunately, moisture is the perfect container for dirt, dust, mold, spores, and other allergens.  The higher the relative humidity is, the more likely an allergic reaction will be triggered.  This is especially true for people with a very low tolerance to light-weight allergens like dander, mold, and dust.

Humid air acts a tipping point in the favor of mold, fungus, and rot.  While every home is less durable when it contains humid air over an extended period of time, wood is particularly vulnerable.  This includes flooring, cabinets, furnishing, and the wood supporting the weight of your home.

One of the most popular reasons people add a dehumidifier to their home is comfort.  Air with a lot of moisture tends to feel much warmer than it actually is.  As a result, people force their air conditioners to work extra hard which shortens the unit’s lifespan and drive up utility bills.  A simple dehumidifier will go a long way in helping you save money and feel more comfortable. If you notice an issue with the air in your home, or comfort level, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the HVAC system in your home, as well as advise you on the type of dehumidifier you may need. This can help you to have a cool and comfortable home this summer.

Getting the Air Conditioner Ready for Summer

 

You will want to make sure that your air conditioner is in the best condition for the upcoming summer months. By doing so, you can help to ensure your home stays cool and comfortable during the summer months. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the HVAC system for you.

On the first really hot day of summer, the last thing you want is to flip the switch on your central air conditioner only to find that it doesn’t work. When an air conditioner sits idle for months, collecting leaves and debris, a bit of maintenance is often needed to get it running properly. If you don’t do this maintenance before summer arrives, you may end up waiting several hot days before we can come and inspect it.

A central air-conditioning system employs two main components: a condenser unit, which is typically located outdoors, and an evaporator unit mounted on the air handler or furnace. Together these extract heat from room air through refrigeration technology. The air handler or furnace blower blows the resulting chilled and dehumidified air through ductwork to the home’s rooms.

Clean or Replace the Filters

This is the easiest and often most important step. Clean or replace your furnace or air-handler filters twice a year or whenever they begin to look clogged with dust. If you don’t, air flow will be restricted, reducing efficiency, and you will recirculate dust into your home

Clean the A/C Condenser Coils

A central air conditioner’s condenser unit, typically located outdoors, is like a large fan in a metal box with sides that look like grilles. Ideally, it is protected through the winter by a condenser cover or tarp to prevent accumulation of debris inside it. Otherwise, it is likely to contain leaves, yard debris, and dirt—and you will need to clean it. A large fan inside the metal box moves air across radiator-style condenser coils. If debris has gotten inside the unit, dirt has probably clogged some of the coils, as shown at right. Anything that obstructs the flow of air will cut down the condenser’s efficiency, so these coils should be cleaned at the beginning of every cooling season if they are clogged.

 

Why you Should not Ignore the Thermostat

 

The thermostat is a vital component in your heating and cooling system’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.  It detects the temperature of the air in your living space while the system is running.  The thermostat gives you the ability to set a comfortable temperature for your home.  If the thermostat detects that the temperature in your home has surpassed your personally preferred temperature, it will pause the air conditioning unit until the temperature has dropped to the level you indicated as desirable.  Likewise, the thermostat will activate your heating system if it detects that your home’s temperature has dipped below your desired set point.

There are a variety of types of thermostats that can provide you varying levels of climate control in your homes.  The two most commonly used types of thermostats are the digital non-programmable thermostat and the programmable thermostat.  The digital non-programmable thermostat provides consumers with manually controlled settings and accessible, easy-to-read buttons and LCD display.  These types of thermostats use electronic means to determine your homes temperature and control the cooling and heating of your living space accordingly.  They offer programmability, quick response time, and automatic setback.

The programmable thermostats provide consumers even more control over the heating and cooling of their home.  These systems present the ability to set different desired temperatures for your home based on the time of day.  With the ability to coordinate hours of absence with less temperature variation, consumers can conserve energy.  This allows consumers to avoid wasting money and energy on an empty house and provide their families with the most comfortable and cost effective environment while they are at home.  These systems provide a wide range of programmability, from simple daytime and nighttime options to the option to program appropriate temperatures for different days and times of the week.  Programmable thermostats give consumers the ability to make the most productive use of their system, resulting in the most efficient energy use and lower energy costs.

Regardless of your choice of thermostat, it is important to maintain this essential component of your climate control system.  Thermostats control when your heating and cooling system turns on and off, how long it runs, and the subsequent temperature of your family’s living space.  They control how much energy your system uses and, consequently, how much money you spend on your home’s climate control.  If your thermostat is installed improperly or calibrated incorrectly, it will not measure your home’s temperature correctly which can result in sporadic, inappropriate activation of your heating and cooling systems.  Consequently, this will decrease your systems energy efficiency and create an unpleasant environment for your friends and family.

 

 

Why your Air Conditioner should be Inspected

As the heat and humidity in the outside air rises, homeowners will switch from using their furnace to heat their homes to using central air conditioning to keep their homes comfortable. Humidity levels can be a factor in home comfort and HVAC performance in both the cold and warm weather. Because one of the important functions of an air conditioning system is to remove excess humidity from the air, it is logical that the process can take a toll on your air conditioning equipment and potentially affect its efficiency as we approach the warm weather months.

Humidity and the Air Conditioning

If your air conditioning system is working efficiently, it will remove the proper amount of heat and moisture from your living area, resulting in the comfortable environment you want. If not, you may not achieve the comfort level you desire for your home, regardless of the temperature setting you are using. When humidity is high, it makes sense that A/C systems have to work harder to keep the home cool. If you are dealing with an older, inefficient or wrong-sized system, it may not be able to handle the job. Your home may end up feeling warmer than it actually is because the air is holding extra moisture that isn’t being properly removed. What’s more, the system will be working longer and harder without providing the desired result. This adds wear to the unit and can result in higher utility bills. It’s important to know that a larger capacity air conditioning system will not necessarily produce the cooling effect that you want in your home.

If you are using your central air conditioning system, but not getting the results you want, you can safely assume one of the problems is excess moisture in the air. Some obvious signals that you’ll experience may include the air feeling moist, a damp or must smell in parts of the home, or if the windows get foggy. These factors can tell you there is too much humidity present and you should take action to adjust humidity levels.

Strategies for Dehumidification 

It’s a good idea to have a plan to deal with humidity before the hot, humid summer months begin. For the summer months, a humidity level below 60% is recommended by most experts for indoor comfort. The most efficient and reliable way to manage the moisture in your home is to have a professional install a dehumidifier directly on your HVAC system. The dehumidifier will work with your air conditioning system to pull excess water from the air before it is sent through the air ducts in your home. With this option, you will be able to manage both temperature and humidity levels in your home at the same time. You can also purchase a stand-alone dehumidifier and manage the humidity level using a manual humidity level indicator. This will require you to monitor humidity levels ongoing and run the appliance when you need it.

 

 

Remembering to Clean the Filter for your Air Conditioner

 

The air filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. You would be amazed how much builds up on there in a very short time. Just think about the air quality outside, and the dust that you pick up every day. Imagine how much grime would accumulate if you did not clean for a month. That is how much debris is clogging your air filter, and much more if you have not remembered to change the filter in a while.

 

 

When the filter gets clogged, dust and dirt start getting into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. This can mean even more wear and tear on the parts, the sooner they wear out and you are dealing with a breakdown. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly.

 

 

According to research, you should check and change the filter every month during peak season. Make sure to check the filter so it is not clogged with dirt. If you do notice that filter is clogged, or if the HVAC system is not working efficiently, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.

 

Why Preventative Maintenance is Important for your HVAC System

 

Just as your vehicle needs regular service to ensure that everything is operating correctly, your heating and cooling equipment should be inspected and adjusted to achieve optimum performance. You might choose to put off that service for your vehicle, but you know that there could be serious consequences in the long run. Similarly, failing to maintain the HVAC system regularly, can lead to serious problems. By choosing a preventive maintenance plan, you can take advantage of timely service to help reduce the chance of an unexpected breakdown.

 

HVAC maintenance enables you to begin the season with reliable and efficient service from your home comfort equipment. You can reap numerous benefits from regular preventive care, including:

  • * Improved efficiency – annual efficiency loss for normal system use can be five percent or more and a tune-up can counteract this loss.
  • * Identification of faulty parts – a mechanical system experiences wear over time, and regular HVAC maintenance allows for worn out or broken parts to be repaired or replaced as needed.
  • * Averting system problems – regular maintenance can reduce the potential for a later breakdown by as much as 95 percent. While it is impossible to avoid all HVAC repair, preventive care can save a lot of money  on unanticipated cooling emergencies.
  • * Longevity of your equipment – you can expect quite a few years of service from an air conditioner. Regular maintenance reduces the risk of early equipment failures and costly upgrade needs.

A maintenance plan allows you to take care of your equipment and identify problems early. You will be able to manage your home comfort levels effectively throughout the year. Make sure to contact us, and we can schedule an appointment to inspect the air conditioner for your home. Noticing a sign of an issue early can help save you money, as well as wear and tear on the HVAC unit.

 

The Right Thermostat for Your Home

 

A programmable thermostat allows you to create and maintain preprogrammed settings for hours and days of the week. This applies for when you are home, away at work, or even vacation. By having the temperature in you home programed based on when you are home or at work, you can save money on monthly energy bills. You can program the thermostat to turn on an hour before you arrive home, so you can come home to comfort.

 

Programmable thermostats are different from non-programmable thermostats because they can adjust to the temperature in your home at different times of the day, or days of the week without you having to be there. Many models also come with additional features like backlit displays, touch pad, or voice programming for the thermostat. Some also include indicators that let you know when it is time to change the air filters.

 

Programmable thermostats have become popular because of their ability to save on the cost of energy. The thermostats can also automatically store settings and repeat the settings each day. The thermostat can still be manually set, and override the pre-set program when needed. Programmable thermostats can have your HVAC system operate less frequently. It will also result in consuming less energy and creating lower utility bills because energy will only be produced when it is needed.

 

Programmable thermostats come with the ability to program the temperature in your home, based on your schedule. Typically, there are three different models of programmable thermostats you can choose between for your home.

 

The 7-day models are best if your schedule is different each day of the week. This type offers the most flexibility because different temperature setting can be programmed for each day of the week. If the hours in your home vary each day, this model may be the best for your home.

 

The 5-2-day models allow you to program the temperature settings so they are consistent during the weekdays. A second program setting is for Saturday and Sunday. This way you can control the temperature differently during the week and weekend.

 

The 5-1-1 models are best used if your weekday schedule is consistent, and typically Saturdays and Sundays are different. You can always override the preprogrammed system to ensure that your home is at a temperature you want it to be at.

 

 

Spring Maintenance for your Air Conditioner


As the seasons start to change, make sure to set aside some time to get your HVAC system inspected and cleaned. Over time, the system can have a build up of dirt and debris, which can result in reduced efficiency when they choke off airflow to your condenser. A quick way to start off HVAC maintenance season right is to clear away any debris from this critical component, making sure plants are a safe distance away. A way to avoid condenser buildup is through the use of a cover during the off season. If you are using a cover, make sure you remember to remove it before kicking the air conditioner on. Condenser covers can block airflow and reduce efficiency if they remain on your unit.

Your furnace filter acts as a buffer between the air you breathe and any potential contaminants. Making sure it is clean is important not just in the spring, but during each season. Some homes may only need two changes, during the fall and winter, while other homes may need filter changes as frequently as once per month. It all depends on your particular home. Make sure you are regularly checking your furnace filter and we can advise you when the filter should be changed.

Both your condenser and air distribution component, either an air handler or furnace, need power in order to work. This may seem ridiculous, but a switch or fuse may have blown and you wouldn’t even know it. If your air conditioner won’t turn on, look here first. If it does not seem like this is the issue, make sure you turn off your equipment immediately and call a professional. If you notice an issue between visits, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the system for you.