Efficient HVAC Systems in Extreme Climates: Ides for Homeowners

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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Two Questions About Heating Systems You May Need Answered

Posted by on Apr 3rd, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Your home’s heating system is likely the single most important factor in determining how comfortable your house is during this time of the year. Unfortunately, it is possible for your heating system to encounter major problems, and this can quickly cause the temperature to plummet. Learning some questions and answers about routine issues that your home’s heating system may encounter will help you to know what to do when these issues appear: How Do You Improve Performance On Mildly Cold Days? A common problem for homes with furnaces or boilers is difficulty controlling the temperature inside the home when it is only slightly cold outside. During these days, your heating system will only need to run for a few minutes before it is already starting to get too warm in the house. As a result, you may find that your heating system will spend these days cycling on and off, and this can both reduce the efficiency of your system and the comfort of your home.  To avoid this problem, you should invest in a smart heating system. These systems are able to operate on a lower setting, and this will help reduce the rate at which the house warms up. By giving you more control over this part of your heating system, you can always ensure your home is at a comfortable temperature regardless of what the weather is doing.  Why Is The Heating System Triggering The Breaker? In older homes, it is not uncommon for the heating system to cause the circuit breaker to flip to the off position. This occurs before the home’s wiring or breaker box may not be able to accommodate the electrical loads needed for the heater. In addition to being highly inconvenient, this problem can cause result in a higher risk of a fire. Due to this threat, you should always have the breaker box inspected by a licensed professional when you are noticing that it is repeatedly switching off. In many cases, you will simply need to replace the breaker box with a new model. However, if you need to have the home’s wiring upgraded, this is a far more intensive upgrade to make. As a result, it will take longer, but this may be the only way to avoid this type of catastrophic damage to your home.  Maintaining the heating system that warms your home is a  very important task for any homeowner. However, limited knowledge or experience with these systems may cause you to need some questions answered. By knowing the benefits of installing a smart heating system and what it means when your breaker is constantly switching off, you should be able to help your home avoid some major problem that can cause your home to be freezing on the interior this winter. To learn more, contact a company like http://www.alliedairheat.com with any questions or concerns you...

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3 Potential Fixes For A Central Air Conditioner That Isn’t Cooling The Air

Posted by on Apr 1st, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Central air conditioners are like any other appliance in that the unit requires occasional maintenance and repair to work efficiently. If the vents in your house have stopped putting out cold air regardless of your thermostat settings, there’s a problem somewhere in your unit. A few different problems can cause the cooling to stop. You can diagnose the problem through a bit of cleaning and testing or skip ahead to calling an air conditioning repair technician for assistance. Here are three potential fixes for a central air conditioner that isn’t cooling the air. Condenser Coils The cooling process begins in the condensing unit outside your home. Inside the condensing case, there is a compressor that pushes refrigerant gas into condenser coils, which turns the gas into a liquid. This liquid is then able to pass through pipes into your home to power the cooling process in the air handler. If the condenser coils are dirty or damaged, the coils aren’t able to convert enough of the refrigerant to pass along to the evaporator coils inside the house. How do you know if it is the condenser coils causing the problem? Troubleshoot by cleaning the coils and then testing the system again. To clean the coils, turn off all electricity going to the condensing unit. Remove the unit’s cover and locate the coils that line the interior wall. Point the end of a spray nozzle hose through the coils form the inside – meaning, you want to point the hose back out towards where you’re standing. Rinse the coils until they appear clean. Put the unit back together and turn the power back on. Lower the thermostat inside the house and wait an hour or two to see if the air becomes cool. If it doesn’t, you can continue troubleshooting and then call a professional. Evaporator Coils The evaporator coils inside the air handler transform the gas refrigerant back into a liquid. This phase change cools the coils, which then cool the room’s air that’s sucked in by the return vent. If the evaporator coils become dirty or damaged, the coils won’t cool enough to lower the temperature of the air sucked into the air handler. So when the blower fan goes to push that air back out into the room, the air is essentially the same temperature it was when it went into the handler. You can clean evaporator coils using a store-bought foaming cleaner that doesn’t require rinsing. Follow the package directions on the cleaner. As always, make sure the electricity is turned off to the unit before you clean. And call a professional if the task seems above your knowledge level. Refrigerant Over time, the refrigerant in the system can degrade and become less efficient at moving through and cooling the evaporator coils. If the condenser and evaporator coils both seem fine, it’s likely a refrigerant issue. You always want to leave refrigerant issues in the hands of a professional. In many areas, it’s illegal for a novice to own and operate the type of refrigerant used in an air conditioner. So it’s not the sort of fluid you want to improvise with if you don’t know what you’re doing. Talk to experts like Daryl’s Heating & Air Inc for more...

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Troubleshooting A Leaky Garbage Disposal: What You Need To Know

Posted by on Mar 31st, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So, you’ve opened up the cabinet underneath your sink to find a puddle of water. Oh no! Your garbage disposal is leaking, and you’re not sure what to do. Can it be repaired? Will you need to replace the disposal altogether? By keeping some important tips in mind as you troubleshoot your garbage disposal issues, you can have the problem diagnosed and fixed in no time. Unplug the Disposal Before Servicing Once you’ve determined there’s water leaking from your garbage disposal, the best thing you can do is to shut it off and place a drip pan underneath where the leak is coming from. This way, you won’t have to worry about accidentally injuring yourself while working on the disposal. Furthermore, you’ll have a container to capture the leaking water, which can help protect your cabinets and the surrounding material from potentially expensive damage. Most garbage disposals are electric, so you’ll just need to locate where yours plugs into the wall and unplug it. Check for Bad Plumber’s Putty and Gaskets Next, based on the location of the leak, try to figure out what might be wrong. For example, if the leak is coming from the top of your garbage disposal, there’s likely a problem with the seal between your garbage disposal and your sink. Loosen the screws or bolts holding the disposal in place and check underneath the gasket; there should be a layer of plumber’s putty. Over time, this can become brittle and break away, resulting in gaps large enough for water to leak through. You can purchase plumber’s putty at your local home improvement store and replace it easily. If the leak is coming from the side of the disposal, there’s a good chance it’s leaking around the drain pipe. Try tightening the gasket between the pipe and the disposal. If that doesn’t do the trick, the gasket itself may need to be replaced. Know When it’s Time for Replacement Most garbage disposal leaks can be repaired, but if you find that your disposal is leaking from the bottom, this is often a sign that you need total replacement. Usually, a disposal will only leak from the bottom when rust, corrosion, and wear and tear have eaten a hole through the metal tank itself. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that can be patched; you’ll need to purchase and install (or have a professional plumber install) a new disposal right away. If you need help, call plumbing services — they’ll get things sorted...

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Four Costs Associated With Heat Pump Upgrades

Posted by on Mar 27th, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are you thinking about adding a heat pump to a home or property? Check out what kinds of costs are involved. Lots of older properties can benefit from getting a heat pump installed on-site. In many cases, the overall costs are going to be balanced by massive savings in winter heating bills. For instance, some old buildings may have gas or oil furnaces that are improperly calibrated and burning hundreds of dollars worth of fuel in one winter month. Here are some of the things that shoppers should know about when looking at heat pump options. Cost of the Heat Pump Unit The cost of the heat pump unit differs depending on the brand and model — but these items don’t come cheap. Buyers may be able to get a better deal on a starter model or generic built heat pump, but when you get toward a top rated model such as a TRANE, you start to see much bigger price tags. Shoppers can generally expect to pay a few thousand dollars for a good heat pump. Costs of Labor It can cost hundreds of dollars to prepare a site, fit a home space for installation, and install the heat pump on-site. Workers have to make sure that the pump is properly set up on a level and supportive space, and that there is sufficient room for all of the connections to the heat pump. Area prep and cleanup are often included these costs. Materials Costs There will be typically be some other costs related to materials and equipment such as tubing, piping and assorted accessories and adjustments. These don’t usually rise above a couple of hundred dollars, but it’s something to keep in mind when looking at the overall cost of getting a heat pump for a property. Duct Work Costs This last cost issue is a major one — the cost of retro-fitting duct work or adding ventilation to a property can be enormous. There is the logistical struggle to including vents and duct work where there was none before, as well as the cost of actual installation. The bottom line is that properties that have existing duct work for central air are going to be much easier to install a heat pump in, because there’s no need for workers to go in adjust or run duct work. For properties that don’t have existing duct work, such as properties that have electric baseboard heating, an upgrade is going to be much more expensive. For more information, contact Enright and Sons or a similar...

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