Efficient HVAC Systems in Extreme Climates: Ides for Homeowners

Why Change Your Air Conditioner’s Air Filter?: A Primer

Posted by on Apr 18th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Change Your Air Conditioner’s Air Filter?: A Primer

There are plenty of reasons that you should change your air conditioner’s air filter on a regular basis. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn of three specific reasons why you should do so: you will improve the air quality in your home, prevent damage to both your air conditioner and duct work, and save on bills by improving energy efficiency.   Improve Air Quality There is usually a noticeable difference after you have improved the air quality in your home. Take the time to replace your air filter once every three months in order to ensure that there is a constant and consistent source of fresh air entering your home. A dirty air filter can wind up not doing its job and will cause dirt and debris to enter into your air ducts and through your vents. In addition, much of the debris and pollution that is caught in your air filter can wind up entering your home. This issue can wind up decreasing the overall condition of your health by aggravating issues relating to allergies, bronchitis, and asthma. Prevent Damage To Air Conditioner and Duct Work An air filter basically works as a preventative measure to keep excess dust and debris out of your air conditioner’s duct system. An accumulation of debris can wind up causing serious damage to your ducts and, down the road, could cause you to have them professionally cleaned, which means that you’ll be out a fair amount of cash. By replacing your air filter once every three months with a new and clean replacement, you will keep dirt from accumulating. Dirt and debris can also harm the inner workings of the unit itself, including lodging itself in the motor of the air conditioner. This can be a pricey proposition to fix, and even pricier to replace. Improves Energy Efficiency When your air conditioner is free of pollution, it’s going to work at its best possible capacity. When debris and other foreign objects are present, it has to work that much harder to get the same job done. As such, it’s important to replace your air filter on a regular basis. Doing so can make your air conditioner work much more efficiently and can save you on your monthly utility bill. This brief guide should have given you some idea of the importance of changing your air conditioner’s air filter on a regular basis. For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as D & W Heating & Air Conditioning...

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3 Situations That Warrant An Emergency Whole-House Generator

Posted by on Feb 16th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Situations That Warrant An Emergency Whole-House Generator

You have probably heard of whole-house generators, which can be used to power your entire home if your electricity goes out. However, you might assume that they are expensive, or you might think that you don’t have much use for one. Just about anyone can benefit from having one of these back-up sources installed, but certain people need one more than others. You can talk with a professional, like Childers Enterprises Inc, to see if your family could benefit from one. Also, these are a few situations that you should consider investing in one for your home. 1. You Rely on Power for Essential Medical Equipment If you — or anyone else in your household — rely on power for essential medical equipment, you can’t afford for it to fail. Plus, even a portable generator might not be a good option, since it can take some time to get it set up. An emergency system will flip on automatically if your power goes out, which can protect you or your loved one in the event of a power outage. In some situations, this can make the difference between life or death. 2. You Have Kids Going without power isn’t fun for anyone, but it can be particularly scary and upsetting for kids. Plus, it can be tough to give your kids baths, prepare their meals, and otherwise take care of them when you don’t have electricity. You also have to worry about not being able to keep your home properly heated or cooled during harsh weather conditions if you rely on electricity for your HVAC system. This is why it’s a great idea to invest in one of these systems — along with keeping yourself and other adults in your household as comfortable as possible, you can also ensure that your kids are comfortable and well cared for. 3. You Work from Home If you work from home, you might rely on your electricity more than most people do. For example, you might rely on your computer so that you can work, or you might invite customers into your home. You may literally not be able to afford not having power, since it can result in you being unable to work. Investing in a whole-house generator can help ensure that you’re able to work in even the worst of conditions. As you can see, investing in an emergency generator for your home can be helpful in a lot of situations. If any of these things apply to you, consider contacting a professional to  get a price quote for one of these...

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Use A Green Roof To Save Yourself Money On Cooling And Heating Costs

Posted by on Jan 12th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Use A Green Roof To Save Yourself Money On Cooling And Heating Costs

One of the biggest bills that you have to contend with as a homeowner is the cost of heating and cooling your home. Thus, a wise homeowner will do whatever it takes to reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home. One way to do this is by reducing your heat gain. While upgrading your windows can help with this, so can your choice of roofing. For the best savings and a unique style, you should consider installing a green roof.  What Is Heat Gain? UV rays will heat up whatever surface they hit. Your roof is exposed to the full assault of the sun’s rays all day long. Heat gain is increased when you clad your home with a dark roofing material like asphalt. The tar in asphalt shingles will soak up the sun’s rays and then allow that heat to seep into your home. White roofing materials or reflective roofing materials, such as metal, can reflect the sun’s rays away from your home and reduce your cooling and heating costs by helping to keep your home cooler, so your AC system does not have to work as hard.  How Does Green Roofing Help? The term green usually refers to building materials that help to reduce the amount of energy you use in your home and/or materials that don’t put a huge strain on the earth’s resources. A green roof takes this philosophy even a step further by covering your roof with grass or other greenery. Such a roof has environmental benefits such as helping o purify the air and retain rain water, but it will absorb all of the sun’s energy before it has a chance to heat up your home. This can help to reduce your cooling costs by up to 75%. While you will put a lot of money into installing a green roof, you stand to save more money than you spend.  Trying out-of-the-box solutions for keeping your home cool can pay you back in all sorts of different ways. Green roofing gives your home a unique look that will help it to stand apart from other home’s in your neighborhood or blend into your surroundings. When you consider the advantages that can come from a good green roof, it is worth the extra cost and hassle of setting up the roof. Not all heat enters your home through your roof, but you can still drastically reduce your costs by installing a green roof. For more information, contact companies like Nebraska Heating &...

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AC Problems: Why An Evaporator Coil Might Stop Producing Cold Air

Posted by on Sep 15th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on AC Problems: Why An Evaporator Coil Might Stop Producing Cold Air

Do you sweat a lot in your house because the air conditioner (AC) has stopped producing cold air? The most important part of a central air conditioning system is the evaporator coil, so you may want to hire a contractor to inspect it. Find out in this article what can cause cooling problems for an evaporator coil, as well as what kind of fees you may have to pay if a new system is needed. What Causes an Evaporator Coil to Stop Cooling Air? The main job of the evaporator coil is to transform the system coolant into gas that makes the metal on it cold. One of the things that can pose a problem is the coil having cracks in it. Although the system coolant may be getting transformed into gas, it is possible that air is seeping through cracks when you have the air conditioner on. Small cracks may be able to be sealed, but large cracks may mean that you need to get a new coil installed. It is also possible that the evaporator coil is covered in dirt or debris. The reason a dirty coil can interfere with cold air being produced is because air must touch the metal in order to cool off. A dirty coil prevents air from the system blower from fully making contact with the metal coil. Getting the coil cleaned by a professional should be good enough to bring efficiency back to your air conditioner. If the evaporator coil is not the reason your air conditioner is not producing cold air, it may be that you simply have an old system. If you live in an old house that has a central air conditioning system that has never undergone an upgrade, it may be time for you to invest in a new one. What are the Estimated Fees for a New Central Air Conditioning System? Replacing your central air conditioning system will cost a minimum of $3,500 if the old ducts can still be used. However, you can end up paying over $8,000 if the contractor must make changes to the air ducts. The quoted price is based on a home being 2,000 square feet. The complexity of the installation task will also have an effect on the fees that you will have to pay. Don’t delay speaking to a contractor, like those at Bill’s Heating & Air Conditioning, so he or she can inspect your air conditioning system to find out what kind of repairs are necessary to get cold air...

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3 Reasons Your New Home Has Unusually High Cooling Costs

Posted by on Jul 23rd, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Reasons Your New Home Has Unusually High Cooling Costs

Did you recently purchase a new home and now face cooling costs far higher than you were anticipating? Your inspector should’ve checked that the air conditioning system was working during the buying process, though there are ways an underperforming system can slip through unnoticed. And there are other maintenance and functional problems that can create more work for your cooling system. Here are three potential reasons your new home has higher cooling costs than other homes in the area. Improper Maintenance When you buy a new home, you should call a heating and air conditioner company for a service call. Most HVAC companies, such as Hallmark Service Company, offer an annual maintenance special that includes the basics. Changing or cleaning the filter, cleaning the condensing unit, and cleaning the coils are a few of the services. After the initial maintenance, you need to keep up with changing or cleaning the filters on your own. Ask the technician how often you need to change the filters or consult your owner’s manual for instructions. You can also easily keep the condensing unit clean after the service call. Brush any branches or large debris off of the exterior grate. Carefully remove a grate, consulting your manual to see precisely how to do this with your unit, and use a hose to spray through the gates from the inside. Avoid getting the water down into the bottom of the unit. Duct Issues Problems with the ductwork mean that a perfectly functioning air conditioner will have to work twice as hard to try and cool your house to your desired temperature. Ductwork fixes can become expensive, but the cost will pay off over time in your lowered electricity bills. The existing ducts can be improperly placed or sized from when the air conditioner was installed. This can lead to air having difficulties traveling through your home. If you have certain sections of your home that are far warmer than others, this could be the problem. Duct leaks are also possible even in properly placed ductwork. The joints can separate and allow some of the cold air to release into your walls rather than into your rooms. So your unit will keep pushing out cold air, losing part of it each time, until your temperature lowers. Wrong Type of Unit Was your home previously a duplex or was there an addition built on recently? The central air conditioner might not be strong enough to cool the existing living space. Call for an HVAC service call to see if the air conditioner is strong enough and if enough ductwork was run in the new sections to sufficiently cool the house. Do you have a single-stage air conditioner that only has fully off or fully on positions? You might want to consider spending the money on a two-stage system, which allows you to have a middle setting of low cooling when its warm but not sweltering hot. The two-stage system means you don’t have to turn the air conditioner on to full power to simply cool down the interior by a few degrees. This middle temperature setting can save a great deal of energy...

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An Air-Source Vs. A Ground-Source Heat Pump

Posted by on Jul 13th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on An Air-Source Vs. A Ground-Source Heat Pump

What if you could heat your home without using a fossil fuel? What if you did not have to draw electricity from the grid? What if you only needed one piece of machinery? You can achieve all of these objectives simply by using a heat pump in your home. If green heating is your goal, you have two main types of heat pumps to choose from: air-source  and ground-source. How Does a Heat Pump Work? Heat pumps use one set of fins, known as evaporator coils, to absorb heat from their surroundings. A second set of fins, known as condenser coils, expel this heat. To cool your home, you place the evaporator coils on the inside and the condenser coils on the outside. A heat pump allows you to reverse the function of your coils so that the coils on the outside absorb heat and the ones on the inside expel heat. The difference between the two types of heat pumps hinges on where the outside coils are located.  Air-Source Heat Pump An air-source heat pump is virtually identical to an air conditioner in that it will have a set of coils located at ground level on the outside of your house. These coils heat your home by extracting heat from the surrounding air. In this way, an air-source heat pump can achieve efficiency ratings of up to 250%. In other words, for every unit of electricity the pump uses, it will generate 2.5 units of heat. By using solar panels or wind turbines to generate electricity, you can heat and cool your home independent of any outside utility. The drawback of an air-source heat pump is that the colder it gets outside, the less efficient your pump will be. Also, the hotter it gets outside, the harder it is for an AC unit or heat pump to force hot air into the outside air.  Ground-Source Heat Pump If you dig down 5-10 feet below the surface, you will find that ground temperatures remain a constant 50˚F year round.  By burying specially designed coils underground, you can tap into these moderate temperatures to reach efficiency levels of up to 600%. You will also be able to use the earth as a heat sink to expel heat from your home on a hot day, and as a heat reserve to pump warm air into your home in the dead of winter.  Because of the need to bury coils underground, ground-source heat pumps are considerably more expensive than their air-source counterparts, but because you can eliminate your operating costs by powering your heat pump with solar panels, you may be able to offset the high installation and/or financing costs. On the other hand, whether you use an air-source or a ground-source heat pump, you can have the peace of mind that you are conditioning the air in your home in an environmentally friendly way. For more information, contact a professional like those at D & R Service...

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4 Tips To Keeping Your House Cool When Your Air Goes Out

Posted by on Jun 30th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Tips To Keeping Your House Cool When Your Air Goes Out

If your air conditioner goes out on a hot day, the first thing you want to do is put a call in to an HVAC technician. However, it may take them a while to get to you. Therefore, you want to keep your house as cool as possible in the meantime. Use the tips in this article to keep cool when your AC isn’t working. Open and close windows during best times of the day: Many people make the mistake of keeping their windows open all day when they are trying to cool their house. This can work against you on a hot day. Instead, you want to open your windows during the morning hours and the evening hours. However, close them during the heat of the day. This will allow the cool air in and trap it in during the hot hours. Close all your blinds: When you close your windows, make sure to close your blinds along with them. The blinds will provide your home with added insulation to help trap the colder air in and prevent the suns hot rays from penetrating into the house. Make your own air cooler: Turn on all your ceiling fans to circulate the air. You can put big bowls of ice in front of floor fans to circulate colder air. You can also put ice in a Styrofoam cooler, cut a couple holes in the side of the cooler and a hole in the top (a little smaller than a small fan). Put a small fan on the top hole facing down and turn it on. This will work much like an air conditioner to cool off the air in the room. Close off upstairs rooms: Since heat rises, the upstairs part of your home is hotter. When you are trying to cool down your home, closing off the unused upstairs rooms will allow you to contain the coolness more efficiently in the areas where you need it most. If you live in an extremely hot region, make sure you keep a close eye on any young children, elderly persons and/or pets in your home. You may want to wet down the animals and give everyone cool rags to put on the backs of their necks. Let the HVAC technician know if you have extenuating circumstances that should move you to the top of the line with regards to getting someone...

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Three Simple Steps To Increase The Life Span Of Your Air Conditioner

Posted by on Jun 4th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Simple Steps To Increase The Life Span Of Your Air Conditioner

One of the most essential appliances to any household is the air conditioner. It is one of the most frequently used appliances, and one of the most expensive. Unfortunately, without proper care, the air conditioner will eventually run into mechanical issues. Sometimes there is just not enough time to properly care for all of your appliances, and if that is the case, calling an air conditioner repair service is the best option. However, if you have the time to follow a few simple steps, you can easily prolong the life of your air conditioner. 1. Clean the Filter Regularly It is suggested that the air conditioner’s filter be cleaned at least once every month. Once you have located the filter by looking in your owner’s manual or looking up the serial number online, all you need to do is wash the filter with water. Make sure that the air conditioner is turned off while doing this, as running the air conditioner without the filter can be problematic. Also, make sure that the filter is thoroughly dried before it is replaced in the air conditioner; otherwise some of the internal electronics can malfunction. 2. Run the Air Conditioner Regularly There is a common misconception that leaving electronics turned off for prolonged amounts of time is better than running them in intervals. This is not the case. If an air conditioner is not run at least once a month, you risk things like rust and dust buildup inside of the actual unit. Even if it is an especially cold winter and it seems pointless to run the air conditioner, try running it at the current temperature of the room. 3. Don’t Overrun the Air Conditioner Although this may seem contradictory to the last suggestion, it exemplifies a similar principle. Just as leaving the air conditioner off for too long risks harm, leaving it on for too long risks problems as well. Try using the air conditioner in intervals of 60 to 90 minutes at a time. After around 60 minutes, in normal situations, running the air conditioner is unnecessary because it has probably already cooled the room to the desired temperature. After that point, the air conditioner is simply circulating the same air multiple times. Keeping your air conditioner in the best possible condition is in your best interest because a healthy air conditioner is both better for the environment and saves money. Cleaning the filter regularly, running the air conditioner at least once a month, and reducing the amount of time you run the air conditioner are great ways to keep your air conditioner running normally. If this doesn’t work out, the next best option is to call an air conditioner repair service, like Arlington Heating & Air...

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The Hidden Costs Of An Outdated Fuel Oil System

Posted by on May 27th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Hidden Costs Of An Outdated Fuel Oil System

On the surface, your outdated home heating oil system could look like it’s saving you money by going for so long. However, this is a dangerous game to play, and if you don’t know exactly when to replace your system before it’s too late (a wholly impossible skill), you could be footing a massive bill. Fuel oil remediation is no small business, and if you find yourself smelling oil coming from an outdated fuel tank or line, you could be the next one to shell out big money for an environmental repair job.  The Underlying Issues Spilled fuel oil can cause huge problems– that part is obvious from the massive media coverage that often goes along with oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico or Alaska. However, urban spills can be even more pressing, especially if large quantities of oil are expelled near compact dwellings. These spills can lead to wildlife habitat destruction, injuries and health complaints from fumes, and even potential drinking water contamination. Due to the nature of subsurface aquifers, this contamination can travel great distances if left unattended.  The Costs of Cleaning Up The extent and location of a fuel oil spill can be big determining factors in the cost of fixing the problem. For example, if the fuel oil tank in your basement starts to leak due to old age, and the oil seeps into your concrete floor or wooden walls, you may have to demolish your entire house to mitigate the problem. If this contamination spreads past the footprint of your house, groundwater and soil may need to be analyzed and treated, or even removed if necessary, all at your expense. Since these services can cost upwards of $1,000 depending on where you live and how much soil needs to be removed, it is well worth the relatively easy and cheap process of investing in a new oil system or having your existing system repaired professionally.  Spilled oil is bad news, and if there is any way to avoid this issue, it is in the best interests of the homeowner to do so. When the cost of a new tank or fuel line is compared to a costly legal headache like a full on cleanup job, the answer becomes clear. The cost of keeping an old oil tank or system is infinitesimally more than a few extra kitchen towels and some air freshener, not only for you, but also your neighbors and your environment. Be sure to invest in oil repair, replacement and maintenance services to keep yourself from ever footing a huge...

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Taking Care Of Your Furnace Between Seasons

Posted by on Apr 6th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Now that summer is right around the corner, furnaces will not need to be used for several months. This is the time to do your routine furnace repair and maintenance, as it will not disrupt usage and it will give you a chance to make any bigger repairs before you will need to use your heat again. Here are some routine maintenance steps you can take yourself in an attempt to get your furnace prepared for the next cold snap. Take Safety Precautions Turn off the power supply to your furnace before starting a routine maintenance session. This can be done at the control panel by switching the breaker for the furnace to the off position. If you have a power switch near the furnace itself, it can be done here instead. The switch is usually red or black and will be on a wall next to your furnace. Put on gloves while working with the interior of your furnace to protect your hands from any debris. Clean The Combustion Chamber The combustion chamber is the part of your furnace where the fire is lit to start heating your home. This is located in the front of your furnace. Open the door to the chamber and use a small wire brush to scrape any burnt embers from the walls of the chamber. Use a shop vacuum to suck up all the debris from the combustion chamber floor.  Check On The Flue The flue is the passageway your heat travels through on its way from the furnace to the heating vents in your home. If there are any cracks or holes in the flue, your heat will not be forced out through the vents as effectively as it could be. These areas can be repaired by using foil tape to adhere over the crevices. If the flue pipe has larger holes, replacing the entire flue is recommended. Change Out The Air Filter The air filter in your furnace helps to trap any small debris particles from being distributed throughout your home when the heat blows through the vents. It can even trap allergens or pet dander when you place a higher quality filter inside your furnace. The filter needs to be changed before you start using your furnace again in the fall, otherwise dirt that has been trapped in all summer will still be present when you turn your furnace back on, causing air quality to be compromised. An air filter slides out of the slot and can be replaced by putting a new one in its...

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