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  • 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 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!

  • Optional Heat Strips for Gas Split Systems: Preparing for Unusually Cold Temperatures

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    If you are thinking about installing a heat pump system in your home or business, you might be considering a gas split system -- the most common type of heat pump system on the market today. A gas split system consists of an outdoor heat pump condenser and an indoor handler that is usually stored in your basement or attic. While there are a variety of decisions you will have to make when choosing a gas split system, one important question is whether or not you want to include optional heat strips in your system.

    How Heat Strips Work

    Heat strips provide supplemental heat during unexpectedly cold periods, when your regular heat pump system cannot adequately warm your home or office. To understand how heat strips work, it can be helpful to know how the heat pump operates under normal conditions. The heat pump pulls in air from the surroundings, and the liquid refrigerant captures the heat in the air. This causes the refrigerant to be converted into a warm vapor, making it possible for the heat to be dispersed throughout the building.

    However, when the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees, there is very little heat for your heat pump to use, and the heat pump system is unable to draw in enough warm air to sufficiently heat the building. That’s where heat strips come in. Heat strips are strips of electric heating coils, consisting of wire elements that can be heated using electricity. When air flows over the heat strips, it is warmed before being distributed throughout your home or business.

    Choosing a Gas Split System with Heat Strips

    When choosing a gas split system, you will have to decide whether you want to buy a traditional system or a complete system that includes supplemental heating via heat strips. It might be a good idea to choose a gas split system that includes heat strips if you live in a location that is prone to low temperatures and sudden cold snaps in the winter.

    Some buyers shy away from heat strips because the heat pump system operates less efficiently when they are in use. You might worry that heat strips will start working when supplemental heat isn’t actually needed, unnecessarily driving up your energy bill. However, there are certain things you can do to prevent this from happening -- like keeping your thermostat set at a constant temperature, gradually increasing the temperature on your thermostat when it does need to be raised, and avoiding the emergency heat setting. If you follow those procedures, you can avoid unnecessary energy expense, but still have optional heat strips available to provide supplemental heat when you need it.

    National Air Warehouse offers a wide variety of gas split systems, including our featured Rheem Gas Split Systems, some of which include optional supplemental heating via heat strips. Contact us today for more help choosing the gas split system that is best for you!

  • Choosing Between Programmable and Non-Programmable Thermostats

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    When you look for a new thermostat for your home or business, you are often faced with a dizzying array of choices. The many thermostats on the market today have a wide range of capabilities, so it can be challenging to figure out which one best meets your needs. The first decision that you need to make in the thermostat purchasing process is whether you want a programmable thermostat or a non-programmable thermostat.

    Programmable Thermostats

    Programmable thermostats are becoming increasingly popular for controlling the heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature in advance. That way, you can coordinate your heating and cooling needs with your schedule. For instance, if you work a 9-to-5 job in the summer , you might set the thermostat so that the air conditioner doesn’t waste energy running all day long, but it turns on just soon enough that you come home to a cool kitchen. Similarly, in a small business, you can set your heating and cooling system so that it ensures a comfortable environment during working hours, but doesn’t cut into your budget by running at night.

    A programmable thermostat can be especially helpful if you live in a place where there is a large temperature swing at night. You don’t want your air conditioner running when the temperature drops to 55 degrees in the early morning, but if you know that it will be 85 degrees by 3pm, you can set the thermostat to keep the building cool in the afternoon.

    Non-programmable Thermostats

    Non-programmable thermostats, sometimes called manual thermostats, provide a more traditional way to control the heating and cooling system in your home or business. You’re probably familiar with these thermostats, which allow you to manually choose the temperature of the building at any given time. Some people prefer non-programmable thermostats because they make it easier to change the climate of your home in response to changing weather conditions -- with programmable thermostats, it can be harder to alter the program when a heat wave or a cold front comes in unexpectedly. In addition, manual thermostats usually cost less upfront.

    If you are retired, work at home, or spend all day in the house caring for kids, you might always be around to change the thermostat, so a non-programmable thermostat may be just as good as programmable one. Also, if you live in a place where the outside temperature doesn’t vary much, leaving a non-programmable thermostat at a single temperature level can ensure that your building maintains a consistent temperature too.

    To meet the specific needs of your home or business, National Air Warehouse carries both programmable and non-programmable thermostats. Contact us today to find out more about what we offer!

  • The Importance of Changing Out Copper Refrigerant Lines

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    Copper refrigerant lines play an essential role in air conditioning systems: They are responsible for carrying the refrigerant between the condensing unit and the evaporator coil. There are two copper lines that run between the condenser and the evaporator coil. The larger line is known as the suction line, return line, or vapor line. It carries cool gas, so it must be insulated with tubing. The second copper line is small and bare, and it is commonly known as the liquid line. Because the liquid line carries warm liquid, no insulation is needed.

    When to Change Out Copper Refrigerant Lines

    As you might expect, copper refrigerant lines need to be changed out whenever you are replacing an air conditioning or installing a new one. However, it is also important to note that copper refrigerant lines are also recommended to be changed out when upgrading your air conditioning system. It can be tempting to reuse old copper refrigerant lines after a system upgrade, but it is never a good idea. In order for a copper line to work properly, it needs to be fully dehydrated. An old copper refrigerant line may not be adequately sealed from moisture. As a result, any moisture in the line will combine with the refrigerant to form an acid, which can damage the compressor motor.

    You might also need to replace your copper refrigerant line in case of leaking. A sure sign of a refrigerant line leak is an oil stain, because oil travels through the air conditioning system alongside the refrigerant, and it remains visible even after the refrigerant has boiled off. Some of the most common causes of leaks include:

     

    • Mechanical damage. When outdoor copper refrigerant lines get bumped by lawnmowers, exposed to harsh weather, or stepped on by kids or workers, it can cause a leak.
    • Corrosion. If the copper refrigerant line is exposed to contaminants, it can lead to corrosion and subsequent leaks. This could occur through direct contact with ductwork or other dissimilar metals, or it could result from exposure to a corrosive atmosphere from chemical storage or furniture refinishing
    • Settlement. When the building or the condenser settles, it puts stress on the copper refrigerant lines, making leaks more likely.

    Ultimately, a leaky line can reduce the quality of the performance of your air conditioning system, so it is critical to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

    Changing Out Your Copper Refrigerant Lines

    When changing out copper refrigerant lines, you need to make sure that the length and the diameter of the new line fit with your air conditioning system. National Air Warehouse offers a wide variety of copper refrigerant line options, and we can help you figure out which one is right for your project. Contact us today for help!

  • Furnace Airflow Options: What Home Builders and Remodelers Need to Know

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    For home builders and remodelers, summer is a peak time for business. With good weather and lots of light, you can really make progress on major construction projects. At this time of year, most people aren’t worried about indoor heating, but for all of your home building projects, you need to think about the best way to make sure the house stays warm during the cold, dark days of winter. That means choosing the ideal furnace for the building.

    One of the factors to consider when choosing between furnaces is indoor airflow -- that is, the way that warm air flows out of the furnace. You can choose between an upflow furnace (with top discharge), a downflow furnace (with bottom discharge), and a horizontal furnace (with side discharge). As a home builder or remodeler, there are important things you need to know about each time of system in order to find the best one for your project and install it in an appropriate location.

    Upflow Furnace (Top Discharge)

    An upflow furnace draws air in from the bottom of the unit. The air is warmed in the heat exchanger, and then it is discharged from the top of the furnace into the ductwork of the house. Because heat rises, it is best to place an upflow furnace in a basement or crawlspace. If the building you are working on has a basement with a low ceiling, you need to make sure that the furnace fits in the space. That often means choosing a “lowboy” furnace (which is typically about 4 feet in height), rather than a “highboy” furnace (which is usually about 6 feet in height).

    Downflow Furnace (Bottom Discharge)

    Just as you would assume, the air travels through a downflow furnace in the opposite direction as it does through an upflow furnace. The air enters at the top, is warmed in the exchanger, and then is released from the bottom of the furnace into the ductwork of the home. Often, a downflow furnace is placed in the attic, but it can also be installed in the garage or some other location on the main level. A downflow furnace can be a good choice for a home that does not have a basement or a crawl space.

    Horizontal Furnace (Side Discharge)

    A horizontal furnace takes air in from one side, warms it in the exchanger, and then pushes it out into the ductwork from the opposite side. Horizontal furnaces, like “lowboy” upflow furnaces, usually have a relatively low vertical clearance, so they can be installed in basements and crawlspaces. When choosing between different horizontal furnaces for a home with highly specific space constraints, you may want to check to see if the furnace discharges the air to the left or to the right, in order to ensure that it will work for your project.

     

    National Air Warehouse offers a wide range of upflow furnaces, downflow furnaces, and horizontal furnaces. If you are building or remodeling a home this summer and need help finding the right one for your project, contact us today!

  • Choosing a Home Air Filtration System

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    This summer, you’ll be relying on your home air conditioner to keep your house cool. Memorial Day is only a week away, which means that for the next few months, your air conditioner will probably be running most of the time. Before the dog days of summer hit, it is critical to make sure your air conditioner is working properly, but you also need to think about indoor air quality. Even a well-functioning air conditioner can’t prevent the circulation of environmental pollutants without an air filtration system.

    In recent years, better home construction and insulation methods have made buildings air-tight and easier to cool, which has improved energy efficiency. At the same time, however, these improvements make it harder for pollutants to escape from your home and be replaced by fresh air. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now ranks indoor air pollutants among the top five environmental health risks. Your family may be exposed to a wide range of damaging particles in the air, including contaminants that can trigger allergies and cause breathing problems. Dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and even mold spores are all commonly found in the air in people’s homes.

    Home Air Filtration System Options

    One way to improve the air quality in your home is to install a home air filtration system. When choosing between filters, one of the most important factors to consider is the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating, which ranks home air filtration systems on a scale of 1 to 20, based on the following three categories:

    • The filter’s ability to remove particles from the air.
    • The filter’s ability to resist air flow.
    • The expected operating lifetime of the filtration system.

    Some of the most common types of systems you’ll find on the market today include pleated media air filters and washable/reusable air filters. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type, so you must consider your individual situation when choosing between them.

    The main benefit of pleated media air filters is that they are particularly efficient for catching both small and large particles in the air, compared to some of the other types of filters that are available. They also operate relatively quietly, and they have relatively low airflow resistance. The MERV rating for pleated media air filters typically ranges between 5 and 13.

    The best thing about washable/reusable air filters is their durability. They are designed to last a long time, and the washable filters are easy to clean and reuse. It is important to note that the MERV rating can vary widely. For traditional models, the rating is usually between 2 and 8, but for high efficiency models, it can be as high as 14 or even 16, depending on the airflow.
    National Air Warehouse offers both pleated media air filters and washable/reusable air filters. With hot temperatures right around the corner, now is the time to add one to your home air conditioning system in order to ensure that you stay cool and healthy all summer long! If you need more help determining which air filtration system is right for your home, contact us today!

  • Spring Check-In: Is It Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

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    It’s finally May, which means that summer is just around the corner. That means you can start looking forward to all the things you love about summer -- backyard barbecues, garden-fresh vegetables, beach days, baseball games on TV, ice cream... But it also means that temperatures are going to start creeping up, and you need to make sure that your air conditioning system is ready for the warm weather. Spring is the best time to determine whether your air conditioner will make it through another long, hot summer, or if it is time to replace it.

    Checking Your Air Conditioner

    It is critical to check your air conditioner in the spring to make sure it is working. That way, if you need to get a replacement, you will have ample time to look into the options and find one that works for your building and your budget. When getting your air conditioner ready for its first test after winter, there are a few things to check for before turning it on. Some of these can serve as red flags, indicating that it may be time to find a replacement.

    • Outdoor unit panels. Sometimes, in the winter, the panels covering the electrical connections in the outdoor unit get misaligned or blown away by heavy winds. Severe damage or missing panels could be a sign that it’s time for a replacement. It is not safe to start the system until all panels are in place.
    • Suction line insulation. The insulation of the suction line, which is the large pipe on the outdoor unit, may also be have been damaged, by ice or small animals. It’s usually not very hard to find replacement insulation before testing the unit, but if the suction line itself is damaged, you will likely need to replace your system.
    • Debris in the outdoor coil and surrounding area. For the air conditioner to run efficiently, it is critical to remove debris from the outdoor coil, and also to clear the area around it of leaves and mulch that may have accumulated during the winter months.
    • Dust in the supply vents and return air grills. Inside the building, it is common for dust to accumulate in the supply vents and return air grills. You can usually clear away the dust with a vacuum cleaner.

    After all that is done, and it looks like everything is in place, it’s time to turn the air conditioner on. Within a few minutes, cool air should start to come out of the registers. If the air is warm, or if there is no air at all, you should turn off the unit immediately and start looking for causes of malfunction.

    If it turns out that your air conditioner isn’t ready to handle the summer season, you’re in great shape, because you still have time to replace it before the temperatures get too high. Learn more about some of the best-priced replacement options offered by Air National Warehouse.

  • 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.

  • When do I upgrade my HVAC system?

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    One of the most common questions asked about HVAC systems is, if my old system is running poorly, can I repair it cheaply? Or do I need to purchase a new system? Like most things in life, the answer isn’t simple: it depends on the age of the system, how well it has been maintained, and your current usage of it. In this article, I will go over a few of the things that you need to look at when deciding how to make your system more functional.
    First, consider the age of your system. It is important to examine not just how long you have used it, but how old the model is. Older models will usually be much less efficient, and can end up costing you more in the long run. So even if it seems to be somewhat fixable, if it is a very old system, it might be worth it to simply buy a newer model. You will save on energy, and have what is usually a quieter, more reliable system. A well-maintained HVAC system can last for 15 years or so, but generally if it is more than ten years old, it is time to think about a replacement.
    Second, look at the cost of a repair. Unfortunately, the cost to repair a system can sometimes cost near the price of a new unit. If you are facing a very expensive repair, then it might be a lot better to simply buy a new unit. This will be especially true if the unit is in poor condition, and will likely need more repairs in the future. Thankfully, lower end units can be purchased somewhat inexpensively if money is a major issue.
    Another important factor to keep in mind, is the energy efficiency of your old machine. Many older HVAC units have chemicals that are bad for the environment, in addition to being energy hogs. Check the SEER rating of your unit. A poor rating could definitely indicate that your unit is taking a lot more energy than would be needed by a newer unit.
    So, when weighing the cost of a repair with the cost of a new unit, make sure to keep these guidelines in mind. Often investing the money for a new system will save you money in the long run, and if you keep it well maintained, it will last you for a long time.

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