Why Regular Inspections are Needed

 

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.

 

 

 

Keeping your Home Cool and Comfortable

 

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.

The Benefits of a Generator

 

There are several reasons why a generator can be installed on your house, no matter what age it is, would be a good idea for the future. By having a generator, you will be able to keep your home running in the time of a crisis or bad weather. If you have a generator, make sure to inspect it so it can operate efficiently when you need it to. You can also invest in a generator so that you will have one incase the power goes out. If you are not sure what type of generator is right for your home, make sure to contact us, and we can recommend one.

 

 

Even though there is the initial expense of the generator, that will pay for itself over the years as the power shuts on and off and you save in other ways. The first way is to think of the contents of your refrigerator and freezer. Having a standby generator to kick on when the power goes out will prevent any spoilage of the food. Therefore, since you do not have to empty the contents of the freezer or the fridge, you will save money. Restocking one or both can be very expensive and costly, especially if there was a large supply of meat on the inside. Another way generators save money is that if your own few lights, they will turn on during a power outage, then you can stay in your home. Even with minimal functions on, the house can be comfortable and lived in until the power comes back. Then there will be no expense for a hotel stay where the air is the right temperature and there are lights to see by.

 

Since the generator can run several functions through the house, then you can be comfortable. Your house will not be affected much because the generator will still run and power the air conditioning unit that will keep the house at a more comfortable level than if the power were to go completely off and leave you in the sweltering heat. The same is also true for the reverse conditions. Having a generator kick on during any electrical malfunction can also be a safety factor. No matter what type of device it is, with a generator on standby, then you know it will always work and be able to help your loved one, no matter if the real power is off for one hour or one whole day. If you need help deciding what type of generator is right for your home, make sure to contact us and we can recommend one based on your home.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.