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  • Heat Pumps vs. Standard Air Conditioners: Comparing the Prices of Split Systems

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    If you are looking to upgrade the air conditioning system in your home or office, one of the decisions that you might have to face is whether to buy a standard air conditioning system or a heat pump system. While a standard split system air conditioner provides familiarity and reliable performance, heat pump split systems also have a wide range of benefits, including a higher degree of energy efficiency. As you weigh the options, one of the things that might be on your mind is price. Read on to look at side-by-side comparisons of air conditioner split systems and heat pump split systems from one of the top retailers in the industry.

    Current Prices for Rheem Split Systems

    Rheem is one of the top HVAC retailers in the industry, providing both electric split system air conditioners and heat pump split systems. Take a look at the prices for some of their comparable products:

     

    1.5 Ton / 14 SEER / R410A / Air Conditioner Split System: $1,637.05

    1.5 Ton / 14 SEER / R410A /Heat Pump Split System: $1,945.44

     

    2 Ton / 15.5 SEER / R410A / Air Conditioner Split System: $1,713.41

    2 Ton / 15.5 SEER / R410A / Heat Pump Split System: $2,079.56

     

    3 Ton / 15 SEER / R410A / Air Conditioner Split System: $1,978.41

    3 Ton / 15 SEER / R410A / Heat Pump Split System: $2,041.74

     

    4 Ton / 15 SEER / R410A / Air Conditioner Split System: $2,505.42

    4 Ton / 15 SEER / R410A / Heat Pump Split System: $2,649.36

     

    Analyzing the Prices of Rheem Split Systems

    As you can tell, there are multiple factors that affect the price of Rheem split systems. One of the most noticeable takeaways from this side-by-side comparison is that heat pump split systems are slightly more expensive than air conditioner split systems. However, it is important to note that a heat pump split system might save you more in the long run by cutting down on your energy bill.

    Other factors that can affect price include cooling capacity and SEER rating. Also, if you haven’t bought a new air conditioning system in a long time, you should take note that all new split systems use the R410A refrigerant, which is much more environmentally friendly than the refrigerants that were previously used -- another great reason to upgrade your system!

    National Air Warehouse offers a wide range of air conditioner split systems and heat pump split systems, including many manufactured by Rheem. Contact us today to find the product that is right for you!

  • The Rise of R410a Refrigerant

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    If it’s been a long time since you last replaced your air conditioner and you’re on the market for a new one, you might realize that new air conditioners with R22 refrigerant are no longer available. Instead, all new air conditioners use R410a refrigerant. The good news for buyers is that R410a refrigerant provides a lot of benefits that R22 did not. When you purchase a new air conditioner with R410a refrigerant, you can expect cost savings in the future, and you can feel good about making a more environmentally friendly choice for your air conditioning system. Read on to learn more about what the rise of the R410a refrigerant can mean for you.

    Comparing R410a Refrigerant to R22 Refrigerant

    R410a refrigerant is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). Unlike R22 refrigerant, which a hydrofluorocarbon (HCFC), R410a refrigerant does not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. Even better, R410a refrigerant absorbs and releases heat more efficiently than R22 refrigerant. There are several key benefits that result from the higher energy efficiency of R410a refrigerant. Specifically, air conditioners that use R410a refrigerant:

    • Save homeowners money in the long run.
    • Contribute less to energy-use-related environmental problems like climate change.
    • Are less likely to overheat, which can reduce the risk of compressor burnout and the long-term deterioration of the air conditioning system.

    Legal Regulations Surrounding R410a and R22 Refrigerants

    Starting in 2010, all newly manufactured air conditioning systems sold in the United States were required to use R410a refrigerant rather than R22 refrigerant. Beginning in 2015, R410a refrigerant officially became the new standard for residential air conditioning systems in the United States.

    However, it is important to note that you can still order replacement parts for air conditioning systems that use R22 refrigerant. Some of the products on the market that are compatible with older air conditioning systems that use R22 refrigerant include:

    • Vertical evaporator coils
    • Horizontal evaporator coils
    • Front return upflow air handlers

    Of course, since it’s been so long since R22 refrigerant was used in AC systems, you may want to consider replacing your old air conditioning system altogether and investing in a new one. Whether you decide to opt for a replacement part or make the switch to a newly manufactured air conditioning system that offers the environmental and economic advantages of R410a refrigerant, you can find what you need at National Air Warehouse. Contact us today to learn more about the products we offer!

  • Choosing an Air Conditioner with the Right Heating Capacity for Your Home Building Project

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    As a home builder, choosing the right air conditioner can make or break the success of your project. If you make the right choice, you can ensure an optimal climate for the home without busting the homeowner’s wallet. With the wrong air conditioner, the new house might remain uncomfortably warm, even when the AC system is running at full capacity, and and it can significantly increase the homeowner’s energy bills.

    Some of the aspects of air conditioning systems that home builders have to consider include heating capacity, cooling capacity, cooling efficiency, heating efficiency, air flow orientation, price, and brand. Read on to learn more about choosing a system with the right heating capacity for your project.

    Understanding Heating Capacity Measurements

    For HVAC equipment, heating capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Formally, one BTU is defined as the amount of energy that is required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In the context of an air conditioner, the heating capacity is the amount of energy that it takes to remove a certain amount of heat from the surrounding air. For air conditioners than are intended for entire homes and buildings (rather than single rooms), you will typically see BTUs ranging from about 40,000 to over 115,000.

    Factors Affecting Air Conditioner Heating Capacity Needs

    At the most basic level, the number of BTUs you need the air conditioner to have depends on the size of the home you are building. Put simply, a larger home needs an air conditioner with a higher heating capacity. However, there are also other factors that can affect the needs of the home. These include:

    • Window type, size, and location. Windows affect the amount of sun the home gets in the summer, which in turn impacts the amount of heat that must be removed from the air by the AC system.
    • Insulation type and quality. If the home has excellent insulation, you may be able to get away with an air conditioner with a lower heating capacity.
    • Height of the ceilings. The height of the ceilings affects the overall amount of heat that must be removed from each individual room, and it also impacts how much heat is retained within each room.
    • Location of the home. If the home is located in a cool climate, the necessary heating capacity for the AC system is lower than it would be for a house of the same size in a warmer climate.

    At National Air Warehouse, homebuilders can find air conditioning systems that work for any project. Contact us today for more information!

  • 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!

  • Choosing a New Air Conditioner Condenser

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    Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about getting your air conditioning system up and running for summer. That means you need to make sure that all components of your AC system are in top shape. If they’re not, you may need to repair or replace individual parts or the whole system. For owners of split systems, it is not uncommon to find that the condenser -- also known as the outside system or the outdoor unit -- has been damaged by inclement winter or spring weather. If you need to replace your condenser to get ready for summer, there are a few important things to know.

    Condenser Basics

    The condenser is an essential part of a split system air conditioner, which is why it is necessary to have it replaced if it is not working. After the refrigerant is heated in the compressor, it is transferred to the condenser, where it passes through a series of coils. As it passes through these coils, the heat from the refrigerant escapes through the fins of the condenser, and by the time it reaches the end of the coils, it is much cooler. Ultimately, the refrigerant leaves the condenser as a mist, which is turned into a gas and cooled in the evaporator coil before being blown out as cool air by the fan.

    Today, most condensers come pre-charged with a refrigerant. R-410A is the newest type of refrigerant and the one to look for when you are buying a condenser. In contrast to alkyl halide refrigerants that contain bromine or chlorine, like R-22, R-410A does not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. It also allows for higher seasonal energy efficiency (SEER) ratings than R-22.

    Understanding SEER Ratings

    When choosing between condensers, you are likely to encounter models that have different SEER ratings. Most commonly, you can find 14 SEER and 16 SEER models, but 18 SEER condensers are also available. The SEER rating indicates the energy efficiency of the condenser model, with a higher number indicating a higher level of efficiency. Although it may cost more upfront, choosing a system with a higher SEER rating can save you money in the long-run and reduce the degree to which the refrigerant contributes to climate change.

    Understanding Cooling Capacities

    If you are replacing your condenser, it is essential that you choose a model with a cooling capacity (tonnage) that is consistent with your indoor system. If you are unsure about what size to buy for your split system, it can be helpful to contact your retailer.

    National Air Warehouse provides a wide selection of condensers at multiple sizes, and we can help you figure out which size you need. All of our condensers come pre-charged with R-410A, and we ship to your home or office for free. Contact us today to replace your condenser before summer heats up!

  • Planning for Summer: Do You Need to Replace Your Evaporator Coil?

     

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    As temperatures heat up and spring turns to summer, you have to make sure that your air conditioner is ready for the hottest months of the year. Last week, we went through the basic steps you should take at the beginning of the season to figure out whether you need to replace your air conditioner. Another issue to consider when planning for summer is whether or not you need a new evaporator coil. There are a few reasons why you might want to replace this essential part of your unit, including malfunction and inefficiency.

    Malfunctioning Evaporator Coil

    When going through the steps to check whether your air conditioner is ready for summer, you may find that your evaporator coil isn’t working. Here are some of the scenarios that suggest malfunction:

    • When you flip the switch, the air conditioner will not turn on.
    • You feel warm air coming through the vents instead of cool air.
    • You hear unusual noises, like hissing and banging, when your air conditioner is running.
    • There are air leaks around the indoor unit.
    • The air conditioner turns itself on and off randomly.

    If you find yourself in any of these situations, it may be unsafe to run the unit, and you should turn it off until the problem has been diagnosed. A new evaporator coil may be able to resolve the issue.

    Inefficient Evaporator Coil

    Older models of evaporator coils can prevent an air conditioning unit from running with maximum energy efficiency, so investing in a replacement could pay off in energy savings in the long run. Plus, most evaporator coils are only built to last for seven to ten years, so if you’ve been using your evaporator coil for almost a decade, there is a much greater risk that your evaporator coil will malfunction at the peak of summer, when it will be much worse to have no air conditioning while you get a replacement installed. If you’re looking to improve energy efficiency anyway, spring is the ideal time to replace the evaporator coil.

    When looking for a more efficient evaporator coil, you can choose between models with different Seasonal Energy Efficiency (SEER) ratings. The most common options are SEER 14 and SEER 16 rated products. While SEER 16 rated evaporator coils provide slightly higher cooling efficiency, both can provide greater cooling efficiency than legacy models. However, when choosing a new evaporator coil, it is critical to make sure that it is the same size as your original model, or your  cooling efficiency could take a hit regardless of the SEER rating.
    If you need to replace your evaporator coil before the summer starts, National Air Warehouse offers a wide selection of models at affordable prices, entirely online. Explore our offerings to find solutions for all of your HVAC needs.

  • Choosing Between Air Conditioners with Single Stage and Two Stage Compressors

    When considering air conditioner options, the question of whether to choose a unit with a single stage or two stage compressor inevitably arises. The answer depends on a wide range of factors. In order to figure out which one works best for you, it can be helpful to have an idea of how each one works and what might make you want to choose one over the other.

    The Mechanics of Single Stage and Two Stage Compressors

    Fundamentally, the difference between single stage and two stage air compressors is the process by which the air is compressed within the air conditioning unit in order to generate the power needed for operation. In a single stage air compressor, the air is drawn into the cylinder and compressed to about 120 psi in a single piston stroke. From there, it is transferred to a storage chamber. In contrast, there is an extra step in this process for two stage compressors. After the initial compression in the first cylinder, the air is moved to a second, slightly smaller cylinder where there is another piston stroke, this one at about 175 psi. Only then is the air transferred to the storage tank, where it is ready to be used to power the air conditioning unit.

    What Does That Mean for the Air Conditioning Unit?

    Operationally, this means that a single stage air conditioner only works at one level. Any time the temperature in your building exceeds the temperature at which you set your thermostat, the air conditioner automatically runs until the set temperature has been reached. Then, it turns off until the temperature rises again.

    But with a two stage air compressor, the air conditioner can work at two speeds. When temperatures start to rise, the air conditioner runs on low speed, maintaining a mild environment. Only when conditions really start to heat up does the high level of operation kick in.

    Evaluating the Benefits and Drawbacks of Air Conditioners with Single Stage and Two Stage Air Compressors

    When making the final decision between an air conditioner with a single stage compressor and one with a two stage compressor, there are a few key factors to consider, including:

    • Efficiency. Because they can run at two different levels, air conditioners with two stage compressors operate more efficiently than single stage compressors, especially when temperatures are warm, but not blazing.
    • Upfront cost. Although choosing an air conditioner with a two stage compressor may be able to save you money in the long run by working more efficiently, upfront costs for air conditioning units with single stage compressors are typically lower.
    • Maintenance and repair. Two stage air compressors have a longer lifespan than single stage compressors, so they need to be replaced less frequently. At the same time, it is easier to conduct routine maintenance on single stage compressors, and they are less expensive to replace.

    Ultimately, the decision to choose an air conditioner with a single stage compressor or a two stage compressor depends on the needs of your building, as well as your personal preferences and budgetary constraints. Both are great options for different users.

  • Purchase a Higher SEER to Reduce Cooling Costs

    SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a specification that homeowners should take into account when purchasing a new air conditioner. This number, which ranges from 10 to 30 in newer units, indicates the amount of energy required to meet a specific cooling output. Higher numbers indicate greater efficiency. Homeowners with older air conditioning units may have a SEER of 6 or less, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Upgrading to a higher efficiency unit will save many homeowners money in the long term.

    What level of SEER efficiency is cost-effective for a homeowner though? Our 2.0 ton air conditioners have 14, 15 or 16 SEER ratings available. A customer that wants to purchase a Rheem air conditioner may spend up to $600 more for a SEER 16 as opposed to a SEER 14. Is it worth the extra cost? That depends on the temperature fluctuations in each homeowner's area. Let's look at some examples using the SEER Savings Calculator.

    Our first example customer lives in Phoenix, AZ. His current air conditioner has a SEER rating of 10 and he wants to upgrade. With an upgrade to a SEER 14, he will save 29% of the energy cost of his original air conditioner. However, by upgrading to a SEER 16, the same homeowner can save 38% of the energy cost of his original air conditioner. With the typical energy rates in Phoenix, Arizona, after five years, the SEER 14 will save $932 and the SEER 16 will save $1224. At this point, it doesn't seem like upgrading to the SEER 16 is worth the extra $600. However, air conditioning units are intended to last for 10 to 15 years. After 10 years, the increased cost of the SEER 16 will be offset by the savings in efficiency.

    It makes sense to upgrade to a high efficiency SEER in hot areas that require regular use of the air conditioner. No matter if the homeowner decides between the SEER 14 or the SEER 16, the reduced energy cost will offset the cost of the new air conditioning unit in about 10 years. That's also assuming that the current air conditioning unit is decent with a SEER of 10. Many people have much less efficient units, which means that upgrading saves even more money.

    Homeowners that live in cooler regions may not be as impacted by the SEER ratings. For example, in Seattle WA, there is little need for cooling except for one week a month. Upgrading from a SEER of 10 to a SEER of 14 will still save 29% of the cost, but the cost is much less. Many Seattlites spend only $65/year on cooling. Upgrading will not have such a large impact on the energy cost because the air conditioner is not used that often.

    To determine the right SEER for their needs, homeowners should evaluate how often they cool their homes. The more cooling that is required, the more it makes sense to upgrade to a high efficiency air conditioner.

  • Use a Heat Pump for Air Conditioning and Heating

    One way to think of a heat pump is as a reversible air conditioner, which means that one device can provide both heating and cooling. Heat pumps capture heat from the outdoors and compress it. The compressed heated air is then pumped around the home or business. The heat pump doesn't actually generate heat. The principle by which heat pumps work is the same as air conditioners. However, air conditioners cycle the opposite way, expelling heat to the outdoors, instead of drawing it in. While heat pumps are typically reversible and can function as air conditioners, not all air conditioners can be reversed to function as heat pumps.

    Although heat pumps have the advantage of both cooling and heating, their functionality is limited to a moderate climate. An example of an appropriate climate for a heat pump only system would be Washington, DC. As an air conditioner, a heat pump can provide cooling air during hot temperatures. When temperatures drop below freezing though, it becomes harder for a heat pump to work as a heater. Since it functions by drawing heat from the air, it struggles to draw heat from freezing air. One solution is to add electric resistance coils to the heat pump. These coils function as a furnace and provide heat when it's too cold to draw warmth from outdoor air.

    Above freezing temperatures, heat pumps can be up to 40% more efficient than gas furnaces. Heating air requires a great deal of energy. Gas furnaces physically heat the air with a flame. However, heat pumps transition the warmth outdoors into the indoors (though compressing the air can be energy intensive). Heat pumps are more efficient than furnaces until additional electrical resistance coils need to be used to heat the air, which usually occurs around freezing temperature. At this point, the electrical or gas resistance coils are not as efficient as a gas furnace.

    If a heat pump promises to meet your heating and cooling needs, there are a few options to consider. Heat pumps come in a variety of sizes, measured in tonnage. To properly size a heat pump, home and business owners should complete a heat load calculation. This calculation takes insulation, square footage and climate factors into account and then recommends a tonnage. Heat pumps are usually electric, but some resistance coils can be gas-powered, depending on your preferences. SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency rating, is another way to determine the best heat pump for a home or business. Higher ratings translate to a more efficient heat pump. With these options in mind, it's easy to select the appropriate heat pump for your home or business.

  • HVAC Sizing: Why do a load calculation?

    A whole new vocabulary greets those who want to purchase a new HVAC system. Instead of seeing the normal housing “square feet” metric, people are likely to see measurements in “tons.” These are not the same tons that semi-trucks are hauling on the freeway. It's a measurement of the cooling rate, and it's about equal to 12,000 Btu/hr. To properly size an HVAC system, the buyer needs to determine how the home or office building loses and maintains heat.

    Since HVAC may seem like a complicated new world, new HVAC buyers might be tempted to use a 'rule of thumb' to determine the size of their HVAC system. These “rules” can be as simple as holding up a cut-out to the home. The hole that the house fits within is labeled with a ton amount. Other people will recommend a certain number of tons per square foot. This method is slightly better because it takes into account the weather conditions for the local area. However, there are disadvantages to using a rule of thumb.

    Using a 'rule of thumb' is like going to the store and picking out a shirt in your size without trying it on. If you are usually a medium, it's a good bet that a medium shirt will fit you. But, in some stores, a medium can be too tight to fit around your chest or so loose that the shirtsleeves go down to your elbows. Without accounting for the unique contours of your body by trying it on, it's possible that you can buy the wrong size. An improperly sized HVAC system is like an ill-fitting shirt; it does the job, but it doesn't do it as well as it could. For example, an over-sized HVAC system doesn't de-humidify the air as efficiently during the summer.

    The secret to purchasing the right size of HVAC system is to take more factors into account. Like the unique contours of your body, your home or business has unique characteristics. For a building, the unique characteristics are the materials used for the construction. Are the walls made of brick or siding? What type of insulation was used? How many vents are in the floor? The doors are made of what type of material? These characteristics (and others, such as your location) are used in a Manual J load calculation, an industry standard method to determine the HVAC size for a home or office building.

    With the internet, it is possible to do a Manual J load calculation yourself. There are many sites dedicated to the task. However, they do assume that you have the basic information about the materials used in the construction of the building. Many homeowners don't know what type of siding or insulation they have (or where to find it). If you don't know what ceiling type you have in your home, it's probably worth asking a professional to complete a calculation (according to Manual J or another method). A trained technician can quickly assess the location.

    An HVAC is a long-term investment, often heating and cooling a location for decades. Isn't it worth it to get the right size for maximum efficiency?

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