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  • 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.

  • Heat Pump Replacement: How to Tell Your Heat Pump Needs Replacing

    Heat pump replacement Heat pump replacement

    Heat pumps allow thermal energy to move against its impulsive flow direction by applying heat absorption within a cold space and then continue movement to a warmer space. A heat pump is a mechanical device that can break down and likely needs to be replaced. Your HVAC system does not need to stop functioning completely for you to think about replacing any part of it. You will notice warning signs that will alert you when it comes time for a heat pump replacement.

    Taking Steps

    If your heat pump stops functioning altogether, then the next step is to get a replacement. However, in the meantime, there are signs that you can look for in order to consider replacing your heat pump before it completely breaks down. Let’s take a closer look at this.

    Constant Heat Pump Repairs

    If your heat pump is constantly breaking down and having to be repaired, you may have to look at heat pump replacement. In fact, if it breaks down several times within the same year, this is a sign that replacement should be the next step. If repair costs are too high, then this may call for purchasing an entire HVAC system or just a heat pump, depending on how much you will save. When your heat pump breaks down at a time that it is needed the most, then it can cause so many inconveniences. Therefore, it is wise to make sure that you hire a professional HVAC contractor to inspect your system before the weather becomes cold.

    Abnormal Noises

    If you hear abnormal noises coming from your HVAC system, it may be time for heat pump replacement. All mechanical devices are designed to operate smoothly with no internal resistance or too much friction. With abnormal noises coming from the heat pump, you may have loose parts and components that have started to wear down. A professional HVAC technician will assess the situation, tracing the specific parts or components that may be loosened. This includes:

    • Depleted motors
    • Vents
    • Defective ductwork
    • Dirty filters

    The moving parts may be able to be repaired. However, if nothing changes after the repair, it may be time for a new heat pump replacement. This is the more permanent solution.

    Increased Energy Consumption

    If you notice that your energy bill is steadily increasing and you are still operating the same number of mechanical devices and appliances in your home, this could point toward energy being lost somewhere. The only time you should see an increase in energy consumption is when you add a new appliance. A professional HVAC contractor will be able to determine the cause of the increase and if the heat pump is the cause, a replacement should be done.

    Conclusion

    If you have had your heat pump for a number of years, it may be the time for a heat pump replacement. A professional HVAC contractor will assess and make the appropriate recommendations of how long you should keep your heat pump before doing an upgrade.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecolivinguk/8019127396/

  • A Look at HVAC Maintenance for Each Season

    HVAC Maintenance HVAC Maintenance

    One of the poignant facts in life is that nothing is perfect and that includes your HVAC system. One day, everything may begin to fall apart. Therefore, landlords and homeowners alike have one main responsibility and that is to make sure that the tenants or family members can live inside the building comfortably all throughout the year. What does this mean? It means that your home or apartment will be kept cool during the warm months and whenever you need to have air conditioning unit turned on.

    The Truth

    One more regrettable truth about this is that HVAC maintenance and repair needs to have specialized expertise and skills as well as necessary equipment that many homeowners and landlords do not have. For that reason, you are going to need the services of a HVAC repair contractor. The trick about saving money is to schedule an appointment with a HVAC contractor as soon as possible. You cannot procrastinate, but you must know when to make that phone call.

    Do Not Procrastinate

    If you wait too long, or until the AC system is broken, then you may have to wait for weeks or days to get the contractor to come to your home. Remember, these specialists are always busy serving other clients. Below are some suggestions on when you should call the technician so your system can run smoothly all year round. Let’s look at the different seasons.

    The Summer Time

    During the summer, you will definitely need your AC. It is important to get preventative maintenance done during the spring so that you don’t encounter any problems during the summertime. If your air conditioning unit is running, but it is not doing so efficiently, you may want to have the air filters changed and get rid of dust in and around your AC unit. Otherwise, you should solicit the services of a HVAC technician to see what the problem is.

    During the Fall

    As summer ends, the temperature will begin to drop. This is the ideal time to contact an HVAC contractor to inspect your heating and furnace system. The goal is to try to apply preventative measures prior to waiting until issues arise. Furnaces are like any equipment. They need frequent tune up. This is the perfect time, too, to ensure that you have enough filters for your furnace and that they are changed as needed.

    Winter Weather

    There are not many things that are more risky and uncomfortable than to be inside a home with no heat during the winter. While you may have had preventative maintenance done on your heating system, something can still go wrong. Make sure you have the phone number of a reputable HVAC technician that you can call on a moment’s notice.

    The Springtime

    A reasonable time to contact an HVAC contractor is in the middle of spring. At this time, the contractor will look at your HVAC system to see what kind of preventative measures need to be performed. The HVAC contractor may conduct a check and balance on your refrigerant levels, replace filters and clean your system.

    Conclusion

    Lucky for homeowners, most of the HVAC problems can be fixed. However, these problems will usually need specialized skill. Always include your HVAC contractor when heating and cooling system issues arise, no matter the season.

    Image credit: https:[email protected]/14539555336/

  • How Natural Disasters can Adversely Affect your HVAC System

    HVAC system HVAC system

    Even though, you may be keenly concerned about your uprooted trees, windows, and roofing system, after you have experienced a natural disaster, your HVAC system could also be in jeopardy. Once the natural disaster passes and your electricity is restored, it is crucial that you become familiar with the ways that a storm or hurricane could damage or destroy your HVAC system.

    Lightning Effect

    When lightening does strike, it can adversely affect your air conditioning or cooling system since this relies on electricity in the home to function properly. When the electricity is disrupted, it could cause issues to your air conditioning system. The additional power resulting from a lightning strike could flood the circuit breaker in your home. It could damage electronics and appliances. It would be recommended that you install a surge protector prior to any natural disaster. This can absorb most of the electricity before it can damage anything in your home. A surge protector is also important in saving your HVAC equipment.

    Hail Effect

    When a tornado strikes, it comes with high winds, but also lightening. Hail, on the other hand, could follow a tornado or severe storm. It comes with heavy pelts that could subsequently damage your HVAC system. To protect the fragile parts of the condenser coil, it would be ideal to install a hail cover over the air conditioning unit. It may not deflect everything since small debris can go through the guard, lodging in the equipment. When this happens, you should contact an HVAC contractor for some assistance before even making an attempt at using your air conditioning again.

    Water Damage

    A storm or hurricane comes with lightening and heavy rains, causing water damage. In fact, when the storm hits an area, its slow movement could cause a significant amount of water to accumulate in your yard and around your HVAC system. Debris and grass could wash into the HVAC unit as water rises.

    Conclusion

    Before you experience severe weather, it would be an excellent idea to contact an HVAC contractor to inspect your outside HVAC unit. The HVAC professional would make sure that the unit is elevated to a height to keep out as much standing water as possible. You could also consider placing a mesh cover over the condensing unit. The mesh cover will be able to keep water from heavy rains from getting inside the unit. Always be mindful, though, that you should remove the mesh cover when you want to use your air conditioning unit. If you don’t, it will block the air flow.

    Image credit: https:[email protected]/16549050914/

  • Hysteresis Thermostat and What You Should Know

    Hysteresis Thermostat Hysteresis Thermostat

    Individuals get hung up over complicated terminologies like ‘hysteresis’ and more often than not, these terms can be simplified with an easy explanation that can be understood by anyone. In the same manner, hysteresis is considered an engineering terminology that is used to explain a simple ‘lag.’ It is specifically the way that a reaction lags a step or an action. Let’s take a closer look at this simple example below.

    An Example

    If you were to squeeze a piece of foam and then release it, you would hear a popping sound as if it popped back to its original form. However, it does not do so immediately. It goes back to its normal state in a slow motion. It lags this action until the release of your hands. Other forms of hysteresis are the same way.

    The Thermostat

    The common use of hysteresis is during the use of magnetic and electronic systems. Thermostats are a perfect example. Without using technical applications and definitions of hysteresis, let’s look at how it applies to thermostats. The hysteresis thermostat also goes through a similar motion; it lags inputs from the surroundings for the main purpose of saving energy as well as preventing a furnace or air conditioner from enduring wear and tear as it frequently turns on and off.

    Poor Insulation

    If you live in a house that is poorly insulated and the temperature outside is a scorching 104 degrees, your main concern is how long it will take for the heat to penetrate your house while the air conditioning unit is running. Believe it or not, this would not take long. With a good HVAC system, your house will cool to about 72 degrees, which is quite comfortable. When the insulation is insufficient, in about one minute, the temperature will increase to 73 degrees and your air conditioner will kick in again. This cycle continues to be repeated frequently as your air conditioning unit is overworking due to the poor insulation. It is, therefore, difficult to maintain the comfortable temperature in the home.

    Saving Energy

    You would not classify this thermostat as a hysteresis thermostat because of its lack of hysteresis in the programming. For that reason, it will constantly turn on and off. With a hysteresis thermostat, you can set your temperature to 72 degrees and be able to maintain it. Why? The temperature will go up to 74 degrees before cooling it to down to 71 degrees, allowing the HVAC system to relax. This saves on wear and tear and also fosters energy efficiency.

    Conclusion

    It is important to get your HVAC system working efficiently and therefore, you could consider using a hysteresis thermostat. It will definitely work in your best interest. Speak to a HVAC contractor to discuss your immediate needs.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rvthereyet/9098037736/

  • What the HVAC Contractor Thinks About the Trane and Lennox Brands

    Lennox and Trane Lennox and Trane

    If you are going to purchase an air conditioner unit or heating system, you want to do a comparison brand. In this case, let’s take a look at the Trane and the Lennox brand. Comparing these two will give you a general idea on how to compare others.

    Lennox

    Lennox provides materials and equipment that may equally compare to the competition. However, their parts are difficult to find. The competition, Trane, provides a wide range of logistics supply chains and Lennox does not since its supply chain is proprietary and does not give as many choices to the consumer. What does this mean for the consumer? Well, if you were to order replacement parts from Lennox, you would have to wait sometimes for weeks for it to arrive. If you were in need of repair, it is best to hire a professional HVAC contractor. If you sent your air conditioning unit, for example, for a Lennox repair, you would have to wait much longer for their technician to get the parts. Not that the Lennox brand will break down often. It is that when they do break down, it is difficult to handle the repair aspect.

    Expensive Brand

    On the other hand, the Lennox brand tends to be more costly than the Trane brand. Many people think that the more expensive brand is superior to the other. However, this is not necessarily true in all cases. Both brands can break down does as its competitors and none of these two seems to offer any advanced technology that the competition does not have. The point is you are looking for the best value for the money you spend as a consumer. Many consumers tend to think that the customer service offered by Lennox is poor, even though, their equipment has a warranty. They are hard to deal with and don’t have many distribution centers to handle customer complaints efficiently.

    Trane Brand

    Trane, on the other hand, does not have the issues that Lennox does. However, many consumers found that warranty payouts were hard to get. Trane and aluminum coils go hand in hand. In the past, most air conditioners were made with copper and there weren’t as many repair problems. Aluminum coil is used by Trane and other brands to reduce the cost, but it does not necessarily help the consumer in the long run. Air conditioners with copper coils are easier to fix.

    Conclusion

    The bottom line is that the HVAC contractor that you use for your air conditioning or heating system installation is far more important in comparison to the equipment brand you choose. However, at the end of the day, despite the fact that Lennox brand has a good reputation, there are too many issues that can go wrong with its HVAC system. It is best to conduct an extensive research, but even better, it would be more ideal to hire a good HVAC contractor. You cannot afford to hold back on on this part of the equation. One more point to make is that you should take care of your equipment and try to have a contractor provide regular maintenance.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/reuserecycle/19102456369/

  • What are the Different HVAC Systems to Consider?

    HVAC Systems HVAC Systems

    There are different HVAC systems that homeowners and business owners need to consider when choosing the system that is appropriate for their particular needs. Two such systems are the cooling only split system, cooling only packing system, heat pump, chilled water system, window air conditioners and packaged terminal heat pump.

    Split System

    What is the cooling only split system? It is a blend of outdoor condensation and indoor air handling. The unit for handling indoor air consists of a cooling coil and air supply fan as well as the expansion apparatus. The unit for condensation contains a condenser coil and compressor. These make up the split system, usually found in small commercial offices and residential homes. If you are looking for a high energy efficiency rating for your air conditioning systems, then this split system is recommended. System manufacturers have been required to increase the EER rating to offer varying degrees to accommodate various seasons. If the building requires heating, then a different method is used, but it is generally in the form of gas or electric.

    Packaged System

    The cooling only packaged system is a sole unit with a combination of the same elements in the split system. The unit has to be installed on the exterior of the building since it is packaged. The indoor air has to be ducted away from the building and enter through the utilized air distribution system. The SEER rating for the packaged system starts from 10 and goes up to 18. In a situation where heating is necessary, a different method is used, which is generally gas or electric.

    Heat Pump

    HVAC systems that offer only cooling are similar to the heat pump, but with a single exception. Heat pumps have a unique valve found in the refrigeration piping, which allows the cycle to run in the reverse. The cooling only system works by cooling the air indoors and rejecting the outdoor heat. The heat pump works by cooling the air indoors and upon reversing the valve, it can heat the air indoors.

    Window Air Conditioners

    An air conditioner unit installed in a window or customarily in the opening of a wall is usually accommodated by some homeowners and business owners. This option should be the last resort since a window unit only cools a small and confined space.

    Packaged Terminal Heat Pump

    The window air conditioner unit and the packaged terminal heat pump are quite similar in features. They are installed through a wall opening and are self-contained, requiring electrical connection. The downside is the noise that is emitted and the high operating cost.

    Conclusion

    Choose from the list of HVAC systems wisely. You can receive recommendations from an experienced HVAC contractor before you go ahead and purchase one. You will also need help from an HVAC contractor to install your system.

    Image credit: https:[email protected]/5923527935/

  • The Main Reason for Condensation in an Air Conditioner Unit

    Air Conditioner Air Conditioner

    Air conditioner units are considered closed cycle system because of the condensation of coolant that transforms to liquid, forcing coolant to expand and then vaporize, after which it uses heat from its transfer coils to pump into the cooling tower. Subsequently, it re-condenses and passes through the same closed cycle system again.

    The Vaporization

    When vaporization of the coolant takes place, it does one of two things:

    1. Absorbs the necessary heat for vaporization
    2. Changes its pressure to the energy that is needed

    As the air begins to cool, humidity lessens, but whatever humidity comes from the air will condense on the coils, considerably cooling the air in multiple ways:

    • The coils get cold and so the air becomes cool
    • The condensed water and the air combine to provide generated heat, which condenses the water

    For that reason, the water gains additional thermal mass more than the air that remains. The additional thermal mass energy is eliminated from the coils in the water.

    Leaking AC

    Whenever you notice water leaking from your AC unit, you shouldn’t assume that the unit is operating at its full capacity. There is several times that water leaking from the HVAC system will reveal that some of the elements in the air conditioner unit may be broken or has a malfunction. To avoid a high air conditioning repair bill, you must either have an AC maintenance service in place or watch to see when problems arise, which is never easy.

    Leaking Condensation

    It is possible that on a very hot day, the air conditioning unit in your home will continue to run throughout the day to keep the home and its occupants comfortable. If you see water leaking out of the AC unit after running your AC for long periods of time, the leakage is normal. It means that the air conditioner unit is experiencing condensation as a result of the evaporator coils being excessively used, dehumidifying the air inside the home as it is supposed to do. As the humidity is reduced, dryer and cooler temperature is pumped out, circulating the interior of the home. On days where the temperature is really high, it will also increase condensation, resulting in an overflow inside the drain pan. When this happens too often, you may want to call a HVAC contractor for help.

    Conclusion

    If your AC filter is clogged with dust, small particles or debris, it may also restrict the air flow inside the home. Overtime, this can build up and make it even worse. Filters have to be changed on a regular basis. It may be best to have air conditioning maintenance service prior to the summer months so that your AC unit will be working efficiently. Whatever is resulting in leakage from your AC unit, a skilled HVAC technician can assist you.

    Image credit: https:[email protected]/5691811358/

  • HVAC System Design for Commercial Installation

    HVAC Systems HVAC Systems

    Did you know that your heating and ventilation and air conditioning system provides your home with about 30% energy? This is common for small offices and residential homes as well. When you have a well-designed air conditioning system, it does adequately cool a building, but it also reduces the energy consumption. In addition, it also improves the building’s air quality without causing any damages to the environment.

    Industrial and Manufacturing

    In a manufacturing warehouse or industrial building, the HVAC system has various combinations of devices for heating and cooling. Some of these devices include:

    • Electric heat
    • Heat pump
    • Rooftop unit
    • Furnace
    • Chillers
    • Boilers
    • Central AC units

    For the commercial HVAC system installation, there are various system designs to choose from. For this reason, the installation should be done by an HVAC technician with industrial installation experience because some of these designs can be complicated while others are simple.

    Industrial Plant

    In the industrial plant, a basic system would be utilized in a single zone. Modifications are made when necessary to offer coverage to multiple plants or other large areas. For the basic industrial system, the air comes in from the air intake feature, which is usually found on the side or top of the building. Through atmospheric pressure, the forced air goes through a damper. The air is regulated to take in the amount that is required to cool the building. The air that previously went through the HVAC system will subsequently join with the external air.

    The Combination

    This combination is then filtered through the air filter, removing any large particles in it such as bugs, leaves and dust. After this, there is a second filtration process that handles the smaller particles prior to going through the fan. Once the air comes through the fan, it is then cooled or heated by the coils. If there is any condensation, a drain pan does the collection from the coils. The air then goes through the air duct to heat or cool the building, after which it returns through the air registers to be combined with newly created air or it goes out the building.

    Conclusion

    A basic HVAC system offers comfort to a specifically small space while a commercial HVAC system covers a wider space and has elements that consist of:

    • Packaged units
    • Window units
    • Heat pumps

    You will find a commercial system with evaporative coolers, chilled water systems and direct expansion coolers. So, if you own an industrial plant and need to have your HVAC installation done, the complex nature of it will require an experience and specialized HVAC technician. With a bad HVAC installation, you can end up paying higher cost in energy and have terrible air quality.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/elinoralex/6374891781/

  • 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/

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