The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the building that is designed to push heat from the inside of the building to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal “fins” that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat.
- Remove any leaves, spider webs and other debris from the unit’s exterior. Trim foliage back several feet from the unit to ensure proper air flow.
- Remove the cover grille to clean any debris from the unit’s interior. A garden hose can be helpful for this task.
- Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.
- Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year. When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.
Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit. They are located on the side of the inside fan unit.
- Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.
- Make sure the hoses are secured and fit properly.
Air filters remove pollen, dust and other particles that would otherwise circulate indoors. Most filters are typically rectangular in shape and about 20 inches by 16 inches, and about 1 inch thick. They slide into the main ductwork near the inside fan unit. The filter should be periodically washed or replaced, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. A dirty air filter will not only degrade indoor air quality, but it will also strain the motor to work harder to move air through it, increasing energy costs and reducing energy efficiency. The filter should be replaced monthly during heavy use during the cooling seasons. You may need to change the filter more often if the air conditioner is in constant use, if building occupants have respiratory problems, if you have pets with fur, or if dusty conditions are present.
HVAC units are not all about the cold or warm air that is pumped into your home. Whether you need air conditioning repairs or you want to install a new system, you want to be sure that you understand more about HVAC units and their options to be sure that you will get maximum value from the money that you are spending. From indoor air cleaners to solar heating and cooling to hybrid systems and more, you want to do your research to ensure that you will get what you want and what you are paying for. If you are considering purchasing a new HVAC unit or are thinking about repairing your own, you want to understand more about the systems in general. This can go a long way to allowing you to get the most value from the system that you choose, as well as get the system that you will be most comfortable with.
Ductwork is the foundation of any HVAC unit, unless you have a ductless air conditioning system, as it is the conduit in which your air travels from the unit into your home or business. Having the ducts in the right location in your rooms can make the difference between keeping your home cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Duct cleaning can keep these ducts efficient for your use and make sure that you have the best chance possible at keeping your home or business in a comfortable temperature zone.
The energy that your HVAC unit will run on is another decision maker that you will have to consider. Whether you choose energy-efficient boilers, a geothermal heating and cooling system, or a solar heating and cooling system, you will want to be sure that you consider your needs as your wants as far as energy usage. Whether you choose a system that will work entirely on alternative energy or you choose one of the many hybrid systems, you will find one that will work great for you.
Some optional things that you will want to consider in an HVAC unit are indoor air cleaners, in-floor heating, comfort zone finder, and more. While you may think that these are not necessary options, you may be surprised by how much that they can add to your home. Keeping the air clean can help to keep everyone healthier, while having a comfort zone finder can help you to save money on your electrical costs. If you are tired of your feet being cold when you walk around during the winter, in-floor heating may be something you want to consider. By thinking about your family and your life, you will be able to determine which optional features you want to include.
During the inspection of the air conditioning system, all parts should be checked to ensure it is working efficiently. The inspection should include examining the outdoor cabinet, refrigerant lines, the indoor unit, and ductwork.
Examine the compressor/condenser unit. Note the presence of an electrical disconnect, clearances around the unit, the condition of the cabinet and fan blade, whether the cabinet is level, whether the refrigerant lines are kinked or damaged, and the insulation on the lines.
Go outside once more to check the outdoor unit. Check fan operation and feel for warm air blowing out of the unit. Also, feel the refrigerant lines for an indication of any problems. The larger line should feel cold and be insulated and the smaller line warm.
Allow the cooling system to continue operating while you listen to the indoor evaporator unit. Check the temperature of air before and after the coil for appropriate differential (14-22 degrees). Note any excessive vibrations, fan motor problems, condensate leaking, or any other issues.
Finally, turn of the system by turning the thermostat back up to either whatever the seller had it set at, or if it was off, turn it back off. Then inspect the indoor unit more closely, checking the condition of the air handler for rusting and corrosion, the presence and condition of the air filter, and the condition of the condensate tray and lines.
If you notice anything out of the norm with your air conditioner, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the system to ensure it is working properly and efficiently for you this summer.
When you are indoors, you will want the air to be the best quality possible. Air that has been filtered in some way has been proven to be healthier for people who breathe it. A variety of respiratory illness symptoms have been directly linked to the quality of air breathed by the victim. An air filter is specifically designed to filter incoming air and trap many harmful known airborne substances. An individual who suffers from asthma, hay fever, and allergies find that using a special filter helps to relieve some of their breathing problems. There are numerous harmful particles that float around aimlessly in air, a filter added to an air handling system helps to trap these particles and prevents them from being breathed in. Adding an air purification device to boost the benefits of an air filter helps keep most of the air safe to breathe.
Many people have discovered that using air cleaners in addition to specialty filters in their air handlers provides an even higher quality of air. There are two types of air cleaners on the market today; one is known as an electrostatic precipitator and the other an ionizer. Both of these air cleaning devices make a great addition to the use of a HEPA filter in an air unit and have been known to provide tremendous results.
An electrostatic type of cleaner pulls air into its system and charges particles with either a negative or positive charge. The air is then passed through to a set of plates that hold an opposite charge and trap the particles by attracting them to the plates where they get stuck. An ionizing air cleaner basically does the same type of charging process, however charged particles are released into the air with the electronic charge and they become attracted to surfaces and stick to them. Generally the charged particles will fall to the floor or become attached to fabric surfaces such as curtains. Both types of cleaners have been proven to be extremely efficient at providing cleaner air for breathing.
People who suffer from breathing conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma, and other breathing conditions benefit the greatest from air purifying devices. These devices are designed to trap the very particles that irritate breathing conditions. Many people who have tried an air cleaning device experience far less breathing symptoms and find that their overall health can improve as a result. It is important to keep an air purifier clean for maximum results. In addition to keeping air purifying devices clean it is equally important to vacuum and dust on a regular basis as well. People with breathing problems that use air cleaners to clean the air in their home have a wide array of brands to choose from. If you are not sure which one is right for you, make sure to contact us.
Keeping your home at an ideal comfort level is important. Heat pumps, furnaces, electronic zoning, air exchangers, and ground source heat are just a few of the terms that you may hear when you are trying to choose a new heating and cooling system for your home. While you may think that it is one size fits all in HVAC units, this is not the case anymore. There are a wide variety of different units of all different types and sizes to allow you to find the one that will work best for your needs and your wants. Heat pumps can provide year round performance to help keep your home cool during the summer months and warm during the winter months. Heat pumps can move heat energy from one location to another and when it is time to cool the home, it works almost like a regular air conditioner to add cool air into the home. It is a more energy efficient way to heating and cooling a home than a regular HVAC unit.
A geothermal heating and cooling system works by converting the energy found within the heat inside the Earth to help to heat and cool your home. This is an energy efficient method of keeping your home comfortable, simply by using the heat energy in the Earth. The temperature inside the Earth is relatively constant and this can be used to help heat and cool your home. Geothermal is an energy source that people do not really know much about, but it can be a very viable option.
A hybrid system can take the best of the heat pump and the electric world and combine it in a heating and cooling system. If you are not sure that you want to go with a heat pump alone, a hybrid heating and cooling system can be a great choice for you to consider. It is energy efficient and can offer you the power and the capacity that you are looking for to keep your home comfortable, no matter how hot or cold it gets over the year.
If you want to keep your garage comfortable to help you to be able to work out there year around, you will want to consider a ductless air conditioning system or a heat pump. The fact that you do not have to have a duct system can make it a great choice for a garage or for an outbuilding that you want to be able to use all of the time. Anytime you notice something out of the norm with your HVAC system, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the air conditioner and other parts to ensure they are working correctly and efficiently.
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.
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.
If you want to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system, one thing you can benefit from is a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to fine-tune the temperature in your home for every hour of every day. You can enjoy the optimal level of comfort when you are at home and active, and your thermostat will save you money by automatically adjusting the temperatures when you are away or asleep.
Most of the programmable thermostats you can purchase come with user friendly digital displays that make it easy for you to set them. Many models let you differentiate between weekday and weekend programs. Some devices are Wi-Fi enabled, so you can change the settings from your computer, smart phone, or tablet. Others come with thoughtful extras such as alerts that tell you when it is time to change your air filter. Virtually all of the models on the market today let you manually override the setting whenever you like without losing your preset programming.
For each degree that you adjust the setting over an eight-hour period, you can expect to shave one percent off your heating or cooling bill. During the summer, program the device to raise the temperature in your home a few degrees while you are away at work or when you retire for the night, and you can reduce your cooling costs by up to twenty percent.
If you have any questions about the programmable thermostat, make sure to contact us. We can advise you on the options and recommend which thermostat would be right for your home.
In the summer, you will want to keep your air conditioner working efficiently. You will want to make sure you contact us so we inspect the system for you. Between visits, be aware if there is anything out of the norm with the system. This can help you to prevent further damage to the parts of the system.
Make sure to inspect the filter for the air conditioner. The filter is important because it helps to capture the dirt and dust that is in the air. Over time the filter will become clogged and need to be cleaned and replaced. If you are not sure how often to inspect the filters, make sure to contact us and we can advise you on how often the filter should be inspected and changed. The correct air filter you choose is important, as you will want one that fits the air conditioner.
Another task is to inspect the ductwork. It should be free of any cracks or gaps in it, as well as puncture marks. If there is damage, it can result in the air being produced to leak out of the system. This will result in your air conditioner having to work harder, and a higher monthly energy bill.
Anytime you notice an odd sound or issue from the air conditioner, make sure to schedule an appointment so we can inspect it for you. This can help you to have an efficient air conditioner this summer when it operates.
You will want to make sure that your air conditioner is operating efficiently and at top performance levels this summer. It is important to schedule an appointment with us so we can inspect the air conditioner. We can check the parts and components of the system and advise you if there is an issue.
One of the first things you should do is check the filter on a regular basis. The air filter that is dirty will cause your air conditioning to run less efficiently. We recommend installing a new filter every month during the summer for central and window air conditioners. Air conditioning needs more air flow than heating so it is very important that the air filter does not go past the 50% used or plugged mark. Anything past the 50% point will affect your air conditioner performance and will increase the power consumption.
If you have any leaks in your ductwork, you could lose up to 30 percent of your airflow. For window units, foam works wonders for sealing gaps between the unit and window frame, which is a common way for hot air to get in and cool air to get out.
The more your system runs, the faster it breaks down. When you are not at home, turn your system off or set it to a higher temperature. For central systems, installing a programmable thermostat can let you set temperatures and even adjust them while you are away from home. You can also extend the life of your air conditioning system by keeping your blinds or shades down during the day and installing awnings to shield windows from direct sunlight. If you have ceiling fans, use them along with your air conditioner to help circulate cooled air more efficiently.