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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Why Cleaning the Ductwork is Important

 

 

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if you notice visible mold growth inside hard surface ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists. Also notice if the ducts are infested with vermin, rodents, or insects. Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Most people are now aware that indoor air pollution is an issue of growing concern and increased visibility. If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for mold growth is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits.

How to Prevent Duct Contamination

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent dirt from entering the system:

Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system. Also remember to change filters regularly. If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently. Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.

During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust. Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high efficiency vacuum cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).

If you need to have the ductwork cleaned in your home, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the system, and schedule a cleaning. This can help the air in your home to be clean, as well as having an efficient furnace.

Reasons why you should Not Ignore Furnace Maintenance

 

Keeping your home warm and comfortable is important. To accomplish this, you should make sure that your HVAC system is inspected on a regular basis.
If you are not taking proper care of your furnace, the air filter becomes damaged and will produce poor and sometimes harmful air in your home. Because furnaces can clog, and clog quickly, dust, debris, and noxious mold can accumulate and cause serious harm to the air. If your filter cannot keep unwanted particles out any longer, the furnace and duct will have these airborne particles building up and infecting your home. When you ignore your heating and cooling systems for too long, there will be much worse consequences than just dust particles in the air. Over time, system neglect will make your home susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. This poison is both odorless and colorless, so it’s extremely difficult to identify and can pose a serious and potentially deadly threat in your home.
No one wants to live in an uncomfortable home, but that’s unavoidable once your furnace dies. If you notice anything out of the norm with the HVAC system, make sure to contact us. This can help to prevent any further issues with the unit. It can also reduce the chance of a costly repair bill in the long run. If you are not sure how often the filters should be inspected or changed, we can also advise you on a schedule for them. This will help to capture the dirt and dust in the air of your home, keeping the air quality the best that it can be.

If the HVAC system is starting to wear out, you will be money ahead by purchasing a new one. This will reduce the amount of frequent repairs that would otherwise be needed on your old system. If you are not sure what system would be beneficial for your home, make sure to contact us and we can advise you on the correct unit.

The Difference between a Furnace, Heater, and Boiler

 

In the middle of this frigid winter, you may wonder what device is causing your living room to maintain that comfortable 72 degree temperature. Most homes are equipped with a central heating system, though the parts that make up that heating system can be a bit confusing.

Heaters

 

A heater is really just a catch-all term for a device that heats up an environment. Central heating units tend to have a location for the heating device, be it in a machine room or attic or basement, where the heat is created and distributed throughout the building. These are quite common in most houses, apartment complexes, and commercial buildings.

A central heating system uses some form of energy combustion or release, be it from a furnace or furnace and boiler combination. Essentially, a furnace or boiler is the mechanism that produces the heat that your central heating system will then distribute to keep your home warm.

Furnaces

The first furnaces were stone or clay structures that used coal and/or wood to create intense heat. These furnaces were primarily used for ceramic work, such as with kilns, and smelting ore to create metal objects, tools, and materials. They are still the primary appliance in industrial metal production.

Modern day home furnaces tend to run off gas or electricity or induction (a reaction of electricity and metal to create heat). They are much safer and contained than their older counterparts, are the cornerstone for most modern central heating units, producing high amounts of heat that feed into a ventilation system and flow throughout all of the connected rooms.

Small furnaces, usually electrical, are often attached to boilers and water heaters to apply the necessary energy in order to give us hot showers and scalding sink faucets, or even to circulate heat from the boiler to heat our home.

Boilers

Often a smaller gas or electrical furnace is attached to the boiler, heats the water, and once the water has hit its boiling point, the heat is distributed through a series of pipes and ducts that make up your central heating system. This process is also applied to your water heater providing the warm water you need for washing clothes and dishes. Using a boiler can eliminate the need to have a separate traditional central heating system and hot water heater, and are highly efficient due to the fact that the steam is in a closed loop that recycles steam back into water to be boiled again.

Keeping your Home Warm and Comfortable in the Winter

To help improve your overall home comfort this winter, make sure that the furnace system is operating efficiently. This not only provides warmth, and a comfortable home, but it will also make for a pleasant home for you and your family. By improving your heating system in your home, you can also improve the air quality as well.

 

There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market. These can range from relatively inexpensive small models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including smaller models, are less effective. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.

 

The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor air and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element. A very efficient collector with a low air-circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but a less efficient collector. The long-term performance of any air cleaner depends on maintaining it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Another important factor in determining the effectiveness of an air cleaner is the strength of the pollutant source. Small air cleaners, in particular, may not remove satisfactory amounts of pollutants from strong nearby sources. People with sensitivity to particular sources may find that air cleaners are helpful only in conjunction with concerted efforts to remove the source.

 

To help improve the efficiency of the heating system, it is recommended to check the air filter on a regular basis. When it is recommended, make sure to change the filter. If you are not sure how often this should be done, we can advise you on a schedule. The air filter is important because it will capture dirt and pollutants that are in the air of your home. Over time, the filter will become clogged with the dirt. This will prevent proper air flow to the furnace and heating ducts. By having a clean air filter, you can help improve the warmth and comfort of your home.

 

The most important thing you can do for the air quality in your home is to have the heating system maintained on a regular basis. This will help to ensure the parts are working efficiently and effectively with one another. If you notice an issue between regular visits, make sure to contact us. This can provide a warm and comfortable place to be in while the weather outside is cold.