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Category Archives: Cooling Your Home

Questions to Consider Before Adding Central Air to the Home

Getting the best possible fit for comfort and the investment is important when adding central air to the home. The following questions may be of assistance in making an informed decision to achieve this goal.

1. What type of system is the best choice for this home?

Would a split system that provides both heating and cooling options be a good choice? This type could provide a secondary source of heat in colder climates or the primary one in warmer locales. Another factor to consider is whether to purchase a cooling system with higher than the minimum required 13 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, SEER, rating and heat pump with higher than the minimum 7.7 Heating Season Performance Factor, HSPF. Energy Star models with HSPF ratings greater than 8.2 and SEER ratings above 14.5 will require a larger initial investment, but will cost less to operate. An air conditioning professional can provide estimated annual operating costs for the different systems. From this, the approximate total lifetime investments in the units can be calculated to determine which would be more cost effective.

2. What size unit will be right for the home?

Both too large and too small can result in the inability to maintain proper temperature and humidity. Consulting an air conditioning professional for a load calculation evaluation or doing some research can yield answers to the capacity needed and proper air distribution for the home. Some factors to consider are; how well insulated it is, size of the home, where it is located, and how it sits in relationship to prevailing climatic factors.

3. Is there pre-existing ductwork in the home?

If so, is it compatible with the planned central air system? Already having ductwork could save money, but this is not always the case. Ask an air conditioning professional to access the existing ductwork and determine its compatibility with the new system, adequacy and condition. If problems with the ductwork are uncovered, can these be repaired or would it be better to replace it with ductwork that will enable the system to operate more efficiently?

4. Is the house adequately insulated? Are doors and windows properly sealed and fitted?

In addition to higher or lower energy costs, the answers to these questions may enable the homeowner to purchase a smaller unit if the house is sufficiently weather proofed.

5. Is a central air conditioning system really necessary? What about smaller units?

Mini split systems and window units are available, of course. However, although cheaper to purchase and install, they may be more expensive to operate. In addition, they will not cool the house evenly.

6. Does the system come with guarantees and a warranty? What do the guarantee and warranty cover and for how long? What is not covered?

7. What about an extended warranty?

In addition to asking what the warranty covers and the length of service, the cost of the warranty should be ascertained.

8. Is a maintenance agreement necessary? What services are included in the agreement and what will it cost?

The homeowner may do some maintenance themselves, such as keeping the outside unit clean and preventing obstructions to the flow of air to and from the system. However, lubrication of moving parts, checking the refrigerant charge, inspecting the system for wear and examining the ductwork for leaks are some of the tasks best done by professionals. Therefore, a check should be made to be sure there is a qualified service professional in the area that services the type of unit to be installed.

9. When is the best time of year to purchase and install a new system?

Prices are generally lower and installers will have ample time to assist in selection of the best system and options for a particular home during the off-season. On the other hand, if temperatures are already soaring and conditions in the house are sweltering, choosing to install a system as soon as possible may be the choice preferred by many.

Answers to the above questions will help identify the type and size of the central air conditioning unit best suited for a specific home so that temperature and humidity will be controlled evenly and efficiently.

Is Your Air Conditioning System Going Extinct?

Is your current air conditioning system cooling your home in danger of extinction? Since 2010, all new air conditioning and heat pump units manufactured in North America have been required to use chlorine-free refrigerants. If you have an air conditioner that is more than a few years old, it is probably using an R-22 Freon refrigerant. This is a coolant that is thought to deplete the ozone layer.

All of the major residential HVAC equipment manufacturers now manufacture AC units using the new R-410A refrigerant. R-410A is an environmentally friendly, next-generation refrigerant. Many previously-used refrigerants (including R-22) contain chlorine, a chemical which is considered harmful to the ozone layer.

As the government continues to force the phase-out of R-22 production over the next ten years, prices for R-22 are continued to rise. For homeowners who still use, R-22, they are finding that the costs are being passed along to them.

There are several benefits of the new R-411A refrigerant:

  • R-410A does not contribute to ozone depletion.
  • Air conditioning systems that now use R-410A have a higher EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) for increased heat pump efficiency.
  • Parts that are compatible with R-410A will be available well into the future, but production of R-22 units ended in 2010. If you are installing a new air conditioner or heat pump, be sure that the new unit uses R-410A refrigerant, as parts for R-22 will become increasingly scarce.

New AC equipment is specially designed for the higher operating pressures of R-410A. That means that your old condenser and system needs to be replaced if you decide to switch from the old R-22 refrigerant.

As old AC systems are phased out and replaced, there is a good chance that there will be a niche market for R-22 parts and repair. In other words, over the years the older systems are going to become harder and more expensive to repair.

Homeowners and business owners buying a new AC system should ask for an air conditioner or heat pump that uses the more efficient and environmentally friendlier R-410A refrigerant. When you buy a system using R-410A, you future-proof your investment and virtually eliminate the possibility that any leaking refrigerant from your system will contribute to ozone layer depletion.

Many homeowners can improve cooling efficiency without equipment-related changes. For example, rinsing dirt from the condenser fins of the outside unit, changing filters routinely and raising the thermostat when not at home all help save energy and money.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7788971

What To Do If Your AC Freezes

There are few things more disappointing than finally making it home after a long, hot day in the sun and discovering that your AC is on the fritz. One of the most common air conditioning malfunctions is for a unit to freeze up. Don’t let its name fool you, when your AC freezes, you and your home are left in the heat. You can either open up all of your windows and hope for a breeze, or follow these three steps to getting your air conditioner up and running again.

1. Check your filter

A dirty filter could be the underlying cause of this sweaty debacle you now find yourself in. Locate your return vent, unscrew the cover and check your filter. If it’s dirty, simply replace it. It’s an easy process and new filters can be found at almost any home improvement store.

2. Thaw out your AC

To thaw out your AC, you need to take two easy steps. First, switch your thermostat to OFF and your fan to ON. This will start defrosting your A-Coil, found inside your home. Give your unit a few hours to fully defrost. If you want to escape the heat for those few hours, head to your local movie theater. High temperatures and air-conditioned movie theaters are what gave birth to the summer blockbuster. You can take a page out of your great-great-grandparents’ book and escape the heat at the movies.

The second step is to locate your air handler and the frozen coil. Due to all of the melting and dripping about to take place, it’s a smart idea to inspect your condensate pan. If it isn’t draining properly, you could wind up with a lot of water damage on your hands. If it is draining properly, you can treat your home to cool and fresh-smelling air by dropping a few condensate pan-cleaning tablets into your pan. This will help in preventing any build up over time and eliminate any odors.

3. Start ‘er up!

After allowing your AC reasonable thawing period, switch your thermostat back to COOL. If the air comes out cooler than room temperature, your AC is up and running again.

It’s always smart, however, to call a local AC company, let them know what happened and have someone come out to inspect your unit. If the system is freezing (especially if it’s happening over and over), that’s usually a sign that something is wrong.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7653784

Tips for Caring for Air Conditioning Units

With the hot months of summer just around the corner, you will soon find yourself relying on the your home or business air conditioning unit as a way of ensuring that you can enjoy relief from the heat and humidity after a long day. However, air conditioning maintenance can be expensive and so you may find yourself neglecting your AC unit with the hope that it will last you for another year to come. Still, air conditioning problems are inevitable and will only be more likely to occur the longer you go without performing the necessary air conditioning repair. Fortunately, however, there are some simple steps that you can take to care for your air conditioning unit.

Replace Your Filters Regularly 
One of the simplest and most effective ways of keeping your air conditioner working properly at all times is to keep the filters on it clean. Depending on the specific air conditioner that you have and the amount that you use it, the frequency with which you will need to replace your filters can vary greatly. However, it is generally recommended that you replace your air filter at least once every few months. This is a great way to keep your air conditioning running efficiently while also keeping the air quality in your space as high as possible.

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Air Conditioning Mistakes That Can Cost You Money

As a homeowner, you want to keep your utility costs as low as possible. When it comes to these costs, air conditioning plays a very significant role. While some people think of steps like ensuring their lights are turned off and not letting water run for long periods of time, the truth is those aspects of utility consumption only account for a small fraction of the total cost. If you want to noticeably bring down your charges, you need to focus on the large impact that your air conditioner can have.

One of the most common reasons that homeowners end up paying more than they should for utilities each month is because they make one or more mistakes with their AC unit. The good news is once you’re aware of those mistakes; it’s actually quite easy to avoid them. To keep your utility costs under control, here are the mistakes you need to avoid:

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