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  • Key Pre-Summer Maintenance Tips for an Efficient HVAC System

     

    There is no avoiding the hot summer months. It is already upon us and for that reason your air conditioning unit has to be efficiently working to combat the heat. You have to now prepare for the additional use of your AC during this time of the year in order to avoid the inconvenience of AC repair. There are several things you can do in the meantime for proper AC maintenance.

    Test Refrigerant Levels

    One of the primary elements of maintaining your HVAC system is the refrigerant level, which should be tested and checked regularly. If the refrigerant level is low, this could be as a result of some type of leaking. When the refrigerant level is low, it does not cool the house as adequately as would be the case if the refrigerant level was at the appropriate level. In addition, when refrigerant is leaking from your AC unit, it is considered an environmental hazard to the household. If you don’t know how to check the refrigerant level, call in an HVAC contractor for help.

    Air Filter Change

    If your air filter is dirty, it can cause a wide range of AC issues that will need to be repaired. You should ensure that air filters are changed up to four times annually. As it gets hot during the summer months especially, you will use your AC unit more frequently. For that reason, you should clean air filters and change when necessary.

    Digital Thermostat

    Choose a digital thermostat to get the most regulation in temperature. The traditional types of thermostats do not provide accurate temperature reading. This can cause the unit to work much harder. You can also program the digital thermostat to turn up or turn down the temperature at specific intervals, subsequently saving on energy, lessening the stress on your HVAC system and maintaining comfortable temperature inside the house.

    Clean Condenser Unit

    There is a condenser on the outdoors and this should be efficiently maintained as well to prevent AC repair. So, be sure to clean all the bushes and shrubs, if any around the AC unit, preventing these from blocking the AC’s airflow.

    Proper Ventilation

    Your HVAC system has to circulate in the attic too, if you have one. So, prior to the summer months, be sure to check your attic to see if there is anything blocking or preventing air circulation. Get rid of debris or clutter around the air vents or air ducts. This will lessen any additional load on your HVAC system.

    Conclusion

    If you can get some of these things done, your air conditioning system will remain in excellent condition, keeping your house cool during the summer months and beyond. It is time to get your house in order.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moria/95480015/

  • Factors to Consider in Making an Air Conditioning Brand Selection

    AC Brand AC Brand

    It is quite difficult for someone to feel comfortable during the summer months without having air conditioning in the home. It is also difficult when your air conditioning unit breaks down and you don’t know a good HVAC contractor to call for repair services. It is even more difficult when you have upgrade plans for the home and are getting ready to purchase a central AC unit, not having a clue on which brand to purchase.

    The Pros and Cons

    Each air conditioning brand comes with different pros and cons. Even for a specialist or expert in the industry, it is a tossup at times to suggest the ideal brand for a customer without first inspecting the home and discussing the client’s needs. There are several critical aspects to consider when choosing the right AC brand whether you are upgrading or making your first purchase.

    Longevity

    When you are trying to select the ideal air conditioning brand, lifespan and longevity should be your first concern. You want to buy an AC unit that can stand the test of time and still operate efficiently over a number of years. The earlier AC systems will tend to last longer, usually about twenty years. However, the advancement and development of more sophisticated systems and mass production may not hold true to the same longevity of the past. For example, you may find the thermostat on one AC brand works better than on another. Contact a HVAC contractor with the knowledge and experience to advise you on which of the AC brands will last longer and work more efficiently. It is good to also note that most air conditioners that are the most recent models will come with five year warranty on servicing of parts, labor and compressors.

    Energy Efficiency

    Even if durability is not one of the advantages of newer models of air conditioner units, energy efficiency tends to be an area of strength. This could be due to the interest that consumers now have in energy saving devices. Manufacturers have answered the call in making appliances with the energy star score in mind. Most of the leading AC brands have up to a seven star rating. This significantly reduces the amount of energy air conditioning units required for use. So, when you are looking to choose the best brand, pay attention to the energy star score. This will help you to save on your utility.

    The Features

    Look for the features on the brand that you are interested in. Some of these features will give you a better cooling performance. This could include:

    • Inverter
    • Compressor size
    • Timer control to preset the on and off times
    • Thermostat
    • Zoning – dividing the home into different zones
    • Advanced and sophisticated climate control to regulate the temperature in each room
    • WiFi and remote access to turn on the air conditioner several minutes before getting home

    Conclusion

    When selecting your AC brand, you should also consider the reputation of the company and if there will be any additional support offered after your purchase. Most of the well-known brands are Toshiba, Samsung, Mitsubishi and Carrier. However, consult with your HVAC contractor before you make the purchase.

     

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/69680718@N06/6333946280/

  • Typical Maintenance Services to Expect from a HVAC Contractor

    HVAC Contractor HVAC Contractor

    The efficiency of your HVAC unit can be increasingly improved if you adapt to the idea of regular maintenance. In addition, in so doing, you will end up saving on energy costs and avoiding costly replacements and repairs. Many homeowners don’t realize the dramatic results that can be gained from regular maintenance.

    General Services

    There are some general services that the HVAC contractor can perform in your home to make sure that your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system remains efficient. For that reason, you will feel warm inside your home when it is cold outside and cool when the weather is warm outside during the hot summer months. If regular maintenance is not performed, then your HVAC system will be overworked and eventually run into instances where repairs and parts replacements are unavoidable.

    Poor Maintenance

    When your HVAC system is poorly maintained or not maintained, it will use more energy to regulate the necessary temperature. If you already have an inefficient AC and heating system, it could be that you have not had them regularly maintained. It is then time to call on a HVAC technician for an inspection and assessment. Let’s take a closer look at the type of general services that you should consider with regular maintenance of your HVAC system.

    The Inspection

    An HVAC contractor will start by giving you a free estimate for an inspection. The technician will evaluate the system and the space where the system provides ventilation. If you have a centralized air conditioning and heating system, the contractor will have to do a more intense inspection, which will take more time. Find out if your HVAC contractor offers free inspection estimates or a special package.

    Repair and Cleaning

    If you have an HVAC system that is fairly new and in good condition, your technician may only need to clean and repair your system. Some HVAC companies will utilize advanced and sophisticated technology with specialized tools. So ask about the pricing first before moving forward.

    Installation and Replacement

    If you have had your HVAC system for a while, you may need a replacement or possible repair. If you have to replace your system, then the HVAC contractor can usually do the installation of any brand. Your contractor may be able to suggest a specific brand selection for more efficiency and energy saving. It is best to have a professional do the installation because of the technicalities involved in the process.

    Continual Support

    After the installation of your HVAC system, you should consider employing the services of the contractor for continued support and maintenance. You will be able to get answers to pertinent questions and have your cleaning and repair done.

    Conclusion

    Be sure to use the services of a reputable HVAC contractor, one with years of experience and the right licensing and insurance. Regular maintenance will ultimately extend the life of your HVAC system.

     

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heather_north/6332589215/

  • Avoid HVAC Installation Mistakes Commonly Made

    HVAC System Installation HVAC System Installation

    Your HVAC unit has many complicated elements that only an HVAC specialist can understand and determine. Many mistakes with HVAC installation are mostly made by the unprofessional. However, there are mistakes that can be made by some professionals. There are some common errors that can be avoided if attention is keen during the installation process. Let’s explore.

    Furnace Size

    It is important to choose the right furnace size. Bigger does not necessarily mean better when trying to select a furnace for installation. Many HVAC contractors will often recommend that you select a furnace that matches the size of the one you had before. In doing so, you will get an accurate amount of airflow. For the correct installation of your HVAC unit, there are calculations required to make the right choice furnace. A professional HVAC contractor can do the calculations for you, especially in the case that you are moving into a newly constructed home.

    Combustion Appliance Safety

    Modern appliances tend to have a distinctive backdraft that can sometimes be confusing to some contractors. It is important, then, for the contactor to put safety first and check for combustion related to your appliance unit before doing an installation. Some of the essential steps may include:

    • Assessing whether there are any cracks found in the pipe
    • Test for flue gases
    • Depressurization

    Leaks from carbon monoxide can result in dangerous poisoning and harm to your household.

    Duct Lines

    The wrong size duct can cause leakage in your HVAC unit, if not properly chosen. It can also result in improper flow of air or low flow of air, which will subsequently cause the overheating of your furnace.

    The Ventilation

    In any HVAC unit, ventilation is also an important commodity, but there are some HVAC contractors that concentrate only on keeping the home either cold or hot. It is important also to have the right ventilation in order to maintain balance and a clean air flow.

    Home Size

    Additionally, when you are choosing the appropriate HVAC units to install, it is essential to consider the size of the home. If the home is too large, meaning that it has multiple rooms and floors, you should think about installing various units or consider a zoned system for smooth temperature flow in all spaces. If you have a smaller home, a single HVAC system installation is convenient and recommended.

    Conclusion

    Many homeowners will have their HVAC system installed without considering that it needs proper maintenance in the future. For that reason, it is important to install the system at a good location for easy access for servicing and maintenance. For all these nuances, it is best to think about hiring a professional HVAC contractor to get the job done right the first time around.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/drh/2853389258/

  • Common HVAC Problems to Look For

    HVAC System HVAC System

    When homeowners experience problems with their air conditioning unit and heating systems, it calls for finances to make the repairs. It also involves the time it takes to fix the problem. However, when there is experienced and knowledgeable assistance, the result is improved efficiency. It is very critical to seek the help of a reputable HVAC contractor with the expertise necessary to resolve the issue in a fast, affordable and effective manner. When your HVAC system needs to be repaired, it can truly create havoc in the home. Below are some common problems that you may encounter, which will need professional help.

    Air Conditioning Unit

    A central air conditioning unit is the ideal option to keep the entire house much cooler and more comfortable. The common problem associated with an AC unit is the compressor’s failure to turn on. In addition, you may not feel cool air coming from the AC, which may be caused by insufficient air flow. If your AC unit is leaking water, it is also time to call a HVAC contractor.

    Furnaces

    All homeowners should be aware that a furnace should be serviced on an annual basis, if you want to have it properly functioning. If not, you may encounter problems. If parts need to be replaced, it is best to obtain the assistance of a qualified HVAC technician to install a new one, maintaining efficient operation of your furnace.

    Heat Pumps

    For your heat pumps, you should have a regular maintenance system, which can be provided by a HVAC contractor or HVAC company. In doing so, the heat pump will function at a higher comfort level.

    Air Handler

    The air handler is an important component of the HVAC system where it moves air efficiently and easily around the home. When this part is not working, your system will malfunction.

    Boiler System

    To keep your water heater operating at its peak, the boiler system also has to be properly and frequently maintained.

    Thermostat Control

    Your thermostat is essential to circulating heat and cool air within the home. You must know how to set the temperature to get the most energy efficiency. If your thermostat malfunctions, this objective won’t be met. So, make sure that it is good working condition. If flawed, you may need to call a HVAC contracting company.

    Conclusion

    Other problems that you may encounter are the leaking of your refrigerant, dirty air filters or clogging of your drain pipe clogged. Many of the common problems with your heating system and air conditioning unit are as a result of faulty installation, and poor or no maintenance. You can easily have your HVAC system working throughout the year by having regular maintenance from an HVAC service professional.

     

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127461982@N05/15096542930/

  • How to Maintain Your Heat Pump for Adequate Efficiency in Cold Temps

    Heating System Heating System

    A heat pump can be effective in keeping you warm, if sufficient maintenance and care is applied, especially during the winter months. If regular maintenance is not conducted, then you may experience higher-than-usual electric bills. In addition, you may have to spend more money on repair. So be sure to consider ongoing heat pump maintenance as part of the preventative measure to having an efficient system. Yes, there are minor things that homeowners can do with their heat pump equipment, but for the most part, it would be more beneficial to hire a HVAC contract to provide regular maintenance or to handle the technical issues deriving from a much larger problem.

    Air Filter

    To make sure that you heat pump equipment is performing at its optimum level in the winter season, it is important to replace the air filters. Over time, the air filters will get dirty and this can greatly decrease efficiency, resulting in subsequent damage to the heating system. A HVAC contractor will ensure the appropriate fitting and accurate size of your air filter. These air filters have to be changed at least one time during a three month period.

    Programmed Thermostat

    Use a thermostat that can be programmed so that you can set schedules of heating to save money on electricity when you really don’t need any heating. A programmed thermostat will also help to run your heating system more efficiently. Choose the right programmable thermostat that will give you the most value.

    Air Ducts

    Make sure that your air duct is not leaking. If it is, then you will lose energy. A HVAC technical will seal the air ducts found in places like your basement, garage and attic. The technician will also check to make sure that your registers are installed properly. It is best to have your heating and cooling system serviced during the fall months in order to prepare for the cold.

    Air Flow Increase

    Be sure that the air duct system in each room comprises of a supply register and return register. Many homes do not have enough return registers to facilitate good air flow and so the result is lack of energy efficiency. With only one return register, the air flow will be obstructed with diminished air circulation, pressurizing some areas in the home. Improve the air flow in your home by cleaning the return ducts and the coils in your heating system.

    Conclusion

    Nine times out of ten, you may need a HVAC contractor to make sure that you have an efficiently working heat pump. Your contractor will also ensure that the heat pump equipment was properly installed in the first place. So, don’t wait until something happens. Call a HVAC company today for proper maintenance and installation of your heating system.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lucidcommunication/4892698226/

  • Issue that Regular Air Conditioning Maintenance Can Solve

    A/C Maintenance A/C Maintenance

    As with any equipment or appliance in the home, the air conditioner is a system that will ultimately need to be repaired due to wear and tear from being used regularly and possibly due to its age. When an air conditioning unit starts to lose its efficiency and capacity, most owners will be at a loss of what to do; whether to spend money on A/C repair or purchase a new air conditioning unit.

    Efficiency and Comfort

    Air conditioning maintenance is important throughout the life of your unit if you want to enjoy optimum efficiency, savings and comfort. In the meantime, it is best to take several preventative steps to avoid certain air conditioning problems, reducing recurring issues and allowing you and your family to enjoy the proper functioning of your A/C unit.

    Finding a Solution

    Air conditioning maintenance is essential to identifying problems and finding the right solution. First, though, you have to be aware of the common problems that could arise with your air conditioning unit. That way, you will know when to call an HVAC technician to assist you.

    Common Problems

    If your AC unit is not cooling as it should be, there is obviously a problem that you have to possibly repair. There are several things that could cause the AC unit from cooling:

    • It could be that debris or dirt has restricted the flow of air, resulting in blockage and therefore, a decline in the cooling capacity. The best solution for this is to do a periodic check of your AC filters, cleaning them or replacing them as frequent as every three months or according to the recommendations from the manufacturer. You could also schedule air conditioning maintenance with an experienced, professional and reputable HVA contractor.
    • Another possible cause for your AC not cooling properly is clogging of the heat exchanger. This subsequently results in the reduction of efficiency. The HVAC contractor, if called, would clean your radiator, but would first plug out the AC for safety.
    • In addition, your AC unit needs the right amount of refrigerant gas to operate properly. If not, then the excess heat in the room cannot be removed. The HVAC technician will identify if there is any leakage of refrigerant gas and may suggest that you schedule air conditioning maintenance to keep this from happening again.

    Other problems to look out for are the inconsistency of your run cycles, which could result from debris or dirt in your air conditioning unit. The dirt will cause the temperature sensor to rapidly cool and result in longer or shorter run cycle. The evaporator coils could also be affected.

    Conclusion

    An HVAC technician will check for corrosion in the plugs, terminals or wires of your air conditioning unit, inspecting also for electrical issues in the connections. If you believe that there is a problem with your AC, contact a professional AC technician for air conditioning maintenance.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/graken/535929474/

  • Myths about Air Conditioning and Heating

    Air Conditioning Unit Air Conditioning Unit

    Air conditioning and heating are essential to a person’s comfort. It is also important to energy efficiency. Therefore, if you have a heating and air conditioning system, it is best that they cover these two things. If you really want to know the facts about HVAC, then you also have to become aware of some of the common myths that people have spread as it relates to your A/C and heating system. Let’s explore some of these myths.

    Temperature Adjustment

    Some people will say that temperature adjustment to your A/C unit and heating system is not necessary when you leave your house. However, this is not true. Paying attention to the temperature is important if you want to save on your utility bill. To save on energy during the winter months, it is best to lower the temperature and during the summer months, the opposite is true. You could invest in a thermostat that you can set to automatically adjust on schedule.

    Regular Maintenance

    Some homeowners don’t place a lot of emphasis on regular maintenance of their HVAC system. However, this is necessary if you want your units to last you for a longer period of time and operate efficiently. Don’t wait until your HVAC system breaks down to call a contractor. If your system is properly and regularly maintained, it could save you the headache.

    Higher Temperatures

    Don’t believe the myth that if you turn up the heater temperature, the entire house will heat up faster. The same thing is true for your air conditioning unit. The temperature will reach to the desired threshold in the same time period, no matter what you set it at. So, don’t waste your energy by setting it at high temperatures.

    Standing Fans

    Some people believe that using both the standing fan and air conditioner unit will lower the energy used. That is not true. Fans only circulate air and not keep the area cool. Therefore, the energy expended to circulate air carries no weight, if you are looking to cool your home. Moreover, you would be using unnecessary energy to operate the fans.

    Flexibility

    An A/C is not only beneficial if you want to keep an area of your home cool. No, an air conditioning unit does much more. In fact, it helps to lower the humidity in the air, making cooling more effective.

    Using Space Heaters

    There are people who genuinely think that the use of space heaters in a few rooms is less costly than operating a gas heater. A space heater only heats up a small portion of the space in comparison to your gas heating system. The best option is to have one heating system in a home instead of several space heaters.

    Conclusion

    If you have any issues with your air conditioning system or heating system, it is best to get the facts from a reputable and experienced HVAC contractor and not listen to what others say. Before making any decisions as it relates to your A/C and heater, it is best to speak to a professional.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moria/95480015/

  • An Overview of Single Stage Furnaces and Variable Speed Furnaces

    Variable Speed Furnace Variable Speed Furnace

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cqbk/91221089/

    In the general market today, there are three kinds of furnaces, but two of them are the most popular: variable speed furnaces and single stage or single speed furnaces. The HVAC system that operates your home most efficiently would be based on several factors, which include requirements for heating, insulation, size of the home, levels in the home, current duct work and budget; just to name a few.

    The Consultation

    Prior to investing in a new heating system, it is best to consult with an HVAC Contractor for recommendations and suggestions. These professionals have in-depth knowledge and experience of assessing the home to determine and establish the right options for your heating system.  Below are the most popular and suggested types of furnaces.

    Single Stage Furnaces

    The single stage furnaces are popularly called ‘single speed furnaces.’ Why? It is because of the fact that they consist of only one stage of high heat output, continually dispersing maximum heat capacity that the furnace was made for, even regardless of the outdoor and indoor temperatures. The single stage furnace runs from an on speed to an off speed without anything else to gauge it. In other words, it is from one speed to the next with no variations. For this reason, it is not cost efficient. In fact, it could run your energy bill increase at a higher than normal cost during the winter months when you turn the furnace on.

    Variable Speed Furnace

    The variable speed furnace operates on various speeds with the ability to control the precise heat flow or cool air throughout the house. With improved control of the air flow, it means that the humidity and temperature are balanced. With the use of advance technology, the variable speed furnace does a constant monitoring of data that comes from the HVAC system. It then adjusts the comfort level of the heat automatically. If you have a blocked ventilation system or dirty filters, it will inhibit the performance of the variable speed furnace because air would not be able to circulate efficiently.

    The Comparison

    In comparison to the single stage furnaces, the variable speed furnace does not typically operate on a number of stages, but instead refers to the furnace’s fan motor. This motor operates at varying speeds in order to control the dispersed heated air. When the furnace is off in the variable speed furnace, the fan motor is still able to operate, circulating air through the house.

    Conclusion

    Many people believe that the variable speed furnaces have an intelligent side because of how they operate and possibly will provide more energy savings than the single speed furnaces would. Speak to a professional HVAC specialist to find out which one works best for you.

     

  • What is the best Central Air Conditioner brand?

    Central Air Conditioner Unit Central Air Conditioner Unit

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/achome4/7787732266/

    If you are an HVAC contractor or specialist, you should have all the products in your inventory necessary to do a heating and cooling system installation. The only time the manufacturer should be involved is when they are creating and testing the product. Air conditioners and furnaces take thousands of dollars in tools to repair or replace. This means that the contractor has to invest in tools to get the job done right. Now, an experienced contractor who has done installations over and over again will know the ins and outs of the HVAC system and what brands are the best and which ones aren’t. Do you agree? It makes sense! It would be safe to say then that the contractor is the middle man when it comes to HVAC parts and products.

    The Recommendation

    What if your central air conditioner broke down or wasn’t performing? You would call on a HVAC contractor to advise you if replacement is necessary and if it is, which brand is best to purchase. That would be the wise thing to do since you don’t know yourself. The contractor is the expert since you may not be able to reach the manufacturer directly for the appropriate solution. In that case, the recommendation should come from the middle man who is the HVAC contractor. You could rely on reviews and testimonials from customers who have purchased the product, but they don’t have hands-on experience and knowledge of the makeup of the air conditioner unit and what it takes to operate it.

    The Most Popular

    While several brands of air conditioner units exist, most of them are manufactured by a handful of well known companies and not necessarily a wide range of companies. The most popular brands of air conditioner units are:

    • Carrier
    • Trane
    • Lennox
    • Goodman
    • Rheem
    • York
    • Maytag and Westinghouse

    The Stand Outs

    Most people would recommend the Maytag because of its years on the market and its selling points such as how quietly it runs and its efficiency. Its SEER ratings are up to a 25.5 level and its EER ratings are up to a level of 15 if you take the cooling capacity into consideration. Lennox, Trane and Carrier are all regarded fairly well by HVAC contractors and many consumers. It may have to do with the reputation of the company and its policies as it relates to qualified and quality installation. All three of these companies are very particular about their product installation, being selective as to which HVAC contractor does the installation. Lennox boasts an efficiency rating level of up to 26 SEER. Carrier does the same thing at a rating of 21 SEER. Trane is a hot competitor with also a 21 SEER rating.

    Conclusion

    So, it is safe to say that Carrier, Lennox and Trane are the better brands and have received national coverage to prove that they are products to contend with. However, when you get ready to change out your air conditioner unit, speak to a qualified HVAC contractor for the best recommendation and solution.

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