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Monthly Archives: July 2017

  • Does Your Air Conditioning System Need a New Condenser Fan Motor?

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    During the dog days of summer, there is nothing worse than an air conditioning system malfunction in your home or business -- especially if you are unable to determine the cause. Immediately jumping to the conclusion that you need to replace your whole air conditioning unit can be a costly mistake, but it can also be very expensive to hire an expert to identify an easily diagnosable problem. When your air conditioner stops working, one of the simplest things to check for is a malfunctioning condenser fan motor.

    The Importance of the Condenser Fan Motor

    In an air conditioning system, heat from the surrounding air is absorbed by a refrigerant, creating cool air that can be circulated throughout your home or business. The condenser is the part of the system that releases the heat that has been absorbed by the refrigerant during the cooling process, which gets the system ready for the next cooling cycle. As the refrigerant releases the heat, the condenser fan blows the heat past the condenser coil so that the heat can be released. The condenser fan motor is the driver of the condenser fan, so it is essential for the proper functioning of your air conditioning system.

    Diagnosing Problems with Your Condenser Fan Motor

    A telltale sign that your condenser fan motor might not be working is a situation in which your air conditioning seems to work for awhile, but then stops working. When you initially turn on the air conditioning unit, it will blow cold air into your home or office, but a short time later, the unit will just start blowing out room temperature air.

    To further investigate the situation, you can turn the system on and monitor the condenser fan. If the condenser fan does not start spinning within 20 minutes, it is likely that there is a problem with the condenser fan motor. There is a chance that the problem is mechanical -- that is, a stuck fan -- so you can try to get it spinning again by nudging it with a small stick. However, if this does not work, you probably need to replace your condenser fan motor.

    Replacing Your Condenser Fan Motor

    Luckily, most condenser fan motors are not extremely expensive. You can buy a high quality condenser fan motor for $175 to $200, which is much less than purchasing an entirely new air conditioning unit. National Air Warehouse offers top-notch condenser fan motors at competitive prices. Contact us today to find a motor that works for your system!

  • Understanding Insulation Ratings for Duct Replacements: A Guide for Home Remodelers

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    If you are a home remodeler, you might find yourself needing to replace the ducts in existing HVAC systems. Whether the duct is in an attic, a basement, or a crawlspace, the wear-and-tear of long-term usage can damage the duct, resulting in leaks that cause air to escape before it can be released into the home. In many cases, ducting needs to be replaced as part of a larger home remodel, in order to ensure that a comfortable climate can be maintained in all rooms of the house.

    While the ductwork in an older home may be uninsulated, most of the replacement ducts on the market today are insulated. When you consider the options, you will find that different ducts have different insulation ratings, which are expressed as R-values. You need to understand what the R-value means in order to choose the right one for your home remodeling project.

    Thermal Resistance (R-Value) Definition

    The United States Department of Energy defines thermal resistance, also known as R-value, as “the insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow.” Put more simply, the R-value measures the effectiveness of the insulation material. A material with a higher R-value is a better insulator. Some of the factors that influence R-value include the composition of the insulation material, the thickness of the material, and its density.

    The Right R-Value for a Home Remodeling Project

    When deciding how high the R-value needs to be for the home remodeling project that you are currently working on, the two main things you need to consider are the climate zone in which you are working and the location of the ducting within the home.

    • For homes that are located in a COLD CLIMATE, a high R-value is extremely important. If the ducting is located in an attic, the R-value should be between R6 and R11. For ducting located in a crawlspace or unheated basement, anywhere from R2 to R11 will probably suffice.
    • For homes that are located in a MIXED CLIMATE, a high R-value is slightly less important, but it can help to save the homeowner money during the colder months. If the ducting is located in an attic, an R-value between R4 and R8 is sufficient. The range expands if the ducting is located in a crawlspace or unheated basement; anywhere from R2 to R8 will probably work.
    • For homes that are located in a WARM CLIMATE, you should still be looking for replacement ducts with R-values between R4 and R8 if the ducting is located in the attic. If the ducting is located in a crawlspace or unheated basement, you can probably get away with no insulation at all, but to be on the safe side and help save the homeowner money, most home remodelers choose ducting with an R2 or R4 value.

    If you’re looking to purchase ducting for your home remodeling project, National Air Warehouse offers options with R-values ranging from R4 to R8. Contact us today for more information about our products!

  • Understanding the AFUE Rating System

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    When looking for a new furnace, you’ll probably notice different options have different AFUE ratings. AFUE (which may be pronounced as “A-Few” or “A-F-U-E”) stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Essentially, it is a measure of the efficiency with which the furnace operates. Therefore, it essential to consider the AFUE rating when you purchase a new furnace.

    Calculating the AFUE Rating

    The Federal Trade Commission requires all new furnaces and boilers in the United States to display their AFUE rating to consumers. Like SEER ratings for air conditioning systems, the AFUE rating indicates the level of efficiency with which your system operates. However, unlike the SEER rating system, which utilizes an arbitrary rating scale, the AFUE rating coincides with the direct calculation of the ratio of the annual heat output of the furnace to the total amount of energy consumed by the furnace. Put more simply, it is the amount of heat produced per unit of energy consumed.

    AFUE = (Total heat output) / (Total energy consumed)

    When you perform this calculation, you will come up with a percentage -- which is your AFUE rating. If your AFUE rating is 85%, then 85% of the fuel you put in your furnace will be converted into usable heat. The other 15% will be lost to air leaks, burners, and other sources of inefficiency. However, it is important to note that heat losses in the duct system and piping are not included in the AFUE rating. According the the U.S. Department of Energy, additional energy losses can be as high as 35% if your ducts are located in an attic, garage, or other unconditioned area.

    What to Expect from an AFUE Rating

    For old, low efficiency heating systems, the AFUE is usually between 56% and 70%. A heating system is considered to have medium-level efficiency if the AFUE rating is between 80% and 83%. To be considered a high efficiency heating system, a furnace must have an AFUE rating that is between 90% and 98.5%. Choosing a higher efficiency system with a higher AFUE rating will help you save both energy and money.

    An Important Caveat: AFUE Ratings and Fuel Type

    When it comes to energy cost comparisons, AFUE ratings can only be directly compared if you are looking at systems that utilize the same fuel type. For example, natural gas furnaces can vary widely in AFUE rating, while all electric furnaces have AFUE ratings between 95% and 100%, since there are basically no sources of energy loss -- but that doesn’t mean that choosing the electric furnace will yield lower energy costs. Electricity costs more than natural gas in most parts of the country, so a gas furnace with a slightly lower AFUE rating will probably save you money in the long run.

    National Air Warehouse offers a wide range of medium- and high-efficiency gas furnaces. Contact us today to find the right system for your home or business!

  • Choosing the Right Evaporator Coil: Cased vs Uncased Options

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    Evaporator coils are essential to the proper functioning of your air conditioning unit, ensuring an optimal climate in your home or business. Just as the electrical coils that comprise heat strips warm the air that comes out of your heater, evaporator coils cool and condition the air that is released from your air conditioner. Your air conditioner works by drawing in surrounding air from your home. When the air passes over the evaporator coils, the heat is removed. The evaporator coils also work in conjunction with the condenser unit to condense the water in the air, thereby reducing the humidity. That way, the air that is released into your home or business is cool and dry, optimizing the climate during the dog days of summer.

    There are several types of evaporator coils on the market today. Cased evaporator coils are the most common, with several different subtypes available, but you can also find uncased coils that can meet your unique needs.

    Cased Evaporator Coils

    The air conditioning units in most homes and businesses are equipped with cased evaporator coils. Cased evaporator coils are particularly popular because they are highly durable and because they are relatively easy to install. Within this category of evaporator coils, there are three common subtypes:

     

    • A Coils. A Coils are named for the shape that they take within the case, which resembles a capital letter “A.” They are most commonly used in vertical air conditioners, in which the air flows either up or down as it pases through the coils. A Coils can accommodate enough refrigerant to operate at a relatively high efficiency.
    • N Coils. Like A Coils, N Coils get their name from the shape of the coils within the case, which resembles a capital letter “N.” They can work for either vertical air conditioners or for horizontal air conditioners, in which the air flows in one side of the unit and out the other. It is important to note that N coils are growing in popularity because they are smaller than the other options and because they operate at a higher level of energy efficiency.
    • Slab Coils. Slab coils are the least common type of coils on the market. They are usually used for horizontal air conditioning units.

    Uncased Evaporator Coils

    Uncased evaporator coils can work for either vertical or horizontal air conditioning units. They are ideal for systems that require customization because their is no outer casing. As a result, the shape of the coils can be easily maneuvered in an ideal position. However, it is important to note that after you purchase an uncased evaporator coil, you may need an expert technician to help you customize the shape to fit your unit.

    National Air Warehouse offers a variety of cased evaporator coils, and we can also help you find uncased options that can be customized to your individual needs. Contact us today for more information about our products!

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