Americans spend a great majority of their time indoors, thus indoor air pollution can be a huge nuisance. If symptoms arise in infants, the elderly, or those suffering from respiratory illnesses, air pollution could be the cause. Air conditioning isn’t all about heating and cooling; it’s also about the quality of the air you breathe. By filtering out pollutants, you can improve indoor air quality and minimize health risks at the same time.
HVAC systems may be built to last a long time and withstand any weather condition but a pre-summer tune-up is always in order. No matter what type of system your home unit has, it is important to ensure that it is ready for the summer heat. This ensures that it is in prime condition going into the summer months. Tune-ups are particularly important if you want to avoid a non-functioning air conditioner or an overheated system. Here are a few reasons why summer HVAC service is so important:
Benefits of Summer HVAC Service
For those that have already experienced a mid-summer breakdown, it goes without saying that a pre-summer HVAC system tune-up is beneficial as it helps in the prevention of costly repairs now and down the road. The Corona maintenance professional will be able to identify any problem areas that may need addressing before they become critical issues. As your system will be overworked during hot weather months, examining your air conditioning unit’s components will help in avoiding a failing system or any future mishaps.
In order to ensure that your HVAC system can keep up with the summer heat, a tune-up will help in increasing its efficiency. During the process, dirty filters are replaced and this ensures that the system is running at peak performance.
Lowering your utility bills
An average pre-summer tune-up can save an upwards of 15% on your monthly energy bills. Considering the fact that sufficient ventilation and cooling is needed during the summer means that cutting down on electricity bills will go a long way. The money you will be able to save on power alone can cover the estimated $100 in household maintenance expenses.
Ensuring thermostat quality
A summer HVAC service ensures that all the critical components of the system are well inspected before it is put to use during the summer. A thermostat is a temperature control guide and a pre-summer tune-up ensures that it gives the correct reading. For instance, when the thermostat is set at 70 degrees; that should be the temperature in your home.
Better quality of indoor air
This is perhaps the most important reason for conducting a pre-summer tune-up on your HVAC system. Many choose to service their system in the spring in order to avoid any breakdowns that may occur in the summer. This will, in turn, improve indoor air quality which often causes a number of respiratory issues.
Lubrication of bearings and other moving parts
A tune-up often involves the lubrication of moving parts. By applying the right amount of oil to the system’s most delicate parts, friction will automatically be removed. As such, even if the HVAC system is frequently used during summer months, its components will not wear out prematurely.
Extend the lifespan of your system
Taking a proactive approach with a pre-summer tune-up will extend the overall lifespan of your HVAC system. A tune-up is considered a service that prolongs the life of the system and cuts down on costly repairs.
Ensuring that your HVAC system undergoes a pre-summer tune-up will allow you to keep your home’s cooling during hot weather months in tip-top shape. Remember, the more efficient your system, the less you will spend on repairs and monthly bills.
If you weren’t able to get your system serviced before summer, don’t wait to reach out to our team at Amber Air for AC maintenance as the summer season fills up fast! Don’t miss out on the many benefits of a summer HVAC service, schedule now.
More and more American families are choosing to live off-grid or at least adopt some of the practices of homesteaders in order to make a more positive impact on their environment. Even if you are not planning to live completely off the grid, these alternative heating and cooling options can help you reduce energy consumption and may even be able to help you save some money in the long run.
Tips for Off-Grid Heating and Cooling
Here are some tips for heating and cooling for those who want to live off-grid:
- Make sure that your home is well-insulated.
One of the most important first steps in transitioning to off-grid heating and cooling is making sure that your home is well-insulated. A significant amount of energy is wasted when poor insulation allows warm or cool air inside the home to escape. By checking that your home is well-insulated and fixes any problem areas, you can help increase energy efficiency.
It is important to note that this is vital for any homeowner, not just those who are living off-grid. Making sure that your home is well-insulated will help you reduce the amount of energy needed to heat your home in cooler months and cool it down during warmer seasons. If you have an older home with an attic, make sure that you check this insulation. Any cracks or leaks in doors and windows should also be sealed as these areas often let air escape.
- Harness the power of the sun.
Solar energy is not only great for producing electricity, but it can also be used to heat your home. With passive solar heating, you can heat your home by designing your property to allow sufficient amounts of sunlight in. This type of solar heating requires special modifications such as dark colored floors, many windows, and insulation. Active solar heating involves using solar collectors to heat water that is used to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the home.
There are also solar air conditioning options which allow you to harness the power of the sun in order to cool your home down. A DC air conditioner runs on solar power during the day and solar-powered battery by night. These air conditioners sometimes require a larger up-front investment. However, there is often a quick return on investment given that they do not use electricity to run.
- Heat your home the old-fashioned way.
One of the most common off-grid heating options is the use of fire. Throughout history, this has been one of the most popular heating methods because it is fairly simple and quick to implement. This is also one of the more cost-effective options for those who are not able to implement solar technology right away.
Though heating with fire can be effective, it can only cover so much of an area. Back when fire was the main source of heat, families would heat the main living areas, allowing the bedrooms to become heated through convection and using blankets and layers of clothing to keep warm during the night. If you want to heat the entire house, you would need to have a fireplace or wood-burning stove in each room of your home. Due to the fact that most homes do not have these accommodations, this off-grid heating option requires some lifestyle changes.
Do you want to find ways to save energy without going completely off-grid? We would love to talk to you about your energy efficient heating and cooling options. Give us a call today.
On those really hot days when you can’t imagine being out of an air conditioned home or office, aren’t you happy to live in the 21st century? Luckily, your descendants and those before had all types of inventive ways to keep cool. And all of that clever thinking eventually led to the development of the air conditioning that you enjoy today!
Let’s get started with a brief, yet surprisingly fascinating history of air conditioning.
The Fascinating History of Air Conditioning
The cave dwellers found that it was cooler underground and inside the Earth. They built homes in caves to get themselves out of the hot sun. Although this was around 12,000 years ago, the cave dwellers knew what they were doing. (Today we call this geothermal cooling, and it’s highly efficient and green!)
First Water-Cooled AC
Fast forward to the days of the Egyptians, when the first water-cooled air conditioner was discovered. The Egyptians worked hard in the Nile River valley, so they needed ways to keep cool. They succeeded by hanging wet reeds in the windows to cool off the breezes that came through.
Discovery of Central AC
The Ancient Greeks and Romans moved things along by crafting the concept of central air conditioning. The Greeks used water piped from water source channels, and the Romans developed a hypocaust system. In fact, the spaces underneath their tiled and stone floors carried warm air similar to how our modern ducts in our home pass warmed air to heat our homes!
Fans and Cooling Towers
The Chinese invented the first fans. They’ve become a staple for easily keeping cool and comfortable, and they are even included in today’s AC units. Then, the Middle Eastern architects impressed everyone by inventing cooling towers to catch and circulate cool breezes. Interestingly, cooling towers are still used today for large buildings.
Air Flow in Homes
In the Victorian era, homes were smartly built with comfort in mind. Victorian homes had tall ceilings (heat naturally rises, keeping those inside cooler), large windows for cross ventilation and covered porches. What the Victorians taught future generations is that air flow plays a large role in how cool and comfortable the home is. This is still a major factory today.
An Accidental Discovery
Even with all of these advancements, the modern-day AC unit still hadn’t been discovered. That is, until an American accidentally created it. Willis Carrier was trying to remove humidity from the air in a publishing business office. The purpose was not temperature related. It was to encourage the ink to dry faster and prevent the paper from getting damp. The rest, they say, is history.
We all appreciate air conditioning on a hot, humid day. You can thank your grandparents and great-grandparents for paving the way for powerful, efficient AC units that keep your home cool and comfortable!
Central air conditioners have two parts: an indoor unit that sits in an attic or other unfinished space, and an outdoor unit that sits on a concrete slab. The indoor unit houses a critical component called an evaporator coil, while the outdoor unit houses two critical components: a compressor and a condenser coil. If you have an older air conditioner, there’s a pretty good chance that the outdoor unit will fail before the indoor unit. You might think that a simple replacement of the outdoor unit will return your AC to good working order. In reality, partial replacement of the components in an older air conditioner can lead to significant, expensive problems.
Understanding Your Air Conditioner
When you turn on your central air conditioner, the system pulls warm air from the interior of your home to the evaporator coil in the indoor unit. This coil contains a refrigerant in gas form. The heat in the air transfers to the gas, and the gas moves outside to the compressor. This component squeezes the gas down and makes it even hotter. Next, the hot vapor passes to the condenser, where it sheds heat before turning into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant travels inside to the evaporator, where an attached fan distributes chilled air. In the final step of the process, the evaporator turns the liquid back into a gas that can accept more heat from inside your home.
What Is an AC Component Match?
In order to do their job, the evaporator coil, compressor and condenser coil in your air conditioner must work in a compatible fashion. In other words, they must “match.” If the technology used in one of these components doesn’t interface well with the technology used in the other components, compatibility breaks down and problems start to arise. In most cases, the specific source of these problems is a higher level of operating efficiency in newer air conditioner components.
When you couple new replacement components in an outdoor AC unit with older original components in an indoor AC unit, a mismatch caused by differences in operating efficiency can trigger a component failure in a relatively short span of time. This means that, instead of saving money by only replacing part of your air conditioner, you may actually have to spend extra money to purchase the same parts over again. Even before a breakdown occurs, you’ll also lose cooling efficiency and decrease the day-to-day comfort of your indoor environment.
Replace Your Entire Air Conditioner
Although it may cause you some initial financial pain, it just makes sense to replace your entire older AC system once serious problems start to appear. That way, you’ll avoid the need to go back and do the job all over again. You’ll also ensure the comfort of your household and improve your control over your monthly utility costs. For advice on the details of AC replacement, call the experts at Amber Air Conditioning. You can also follow this blog for information on air conditioner maintenance and repair.
Recently, researchers have found out that simply keeping a bedroom door closed can adversely affect comfort, safety and health in a house. This is because it blocks the air’s pathway, thus reducing air flow into the room and through the system as well. Pressurization of the room, which is caused by air trapped within the space, forces the cool air out of the house. All this has a significant impact on the energy efficiency of a house.
How Closed Doors Affect Energy Efficiency
When air is forced out of a room under pressure, an equal amount needs to be drawn so as to replace the expelled draught. Depending on the number of closed doors, the rate of entry of hot or cold outside air could go up by anything between 300% and 900%. This raises utility bills, decreases comfort and brings in a host of health problems.
Since fluids seek the path of least resistance, the largest, straightest and smoothest holes offer the best pathways. Such include the water heater flue, chimney and furnace flue. This reverse flow of air brings in outdoor pollutants and humidity. The only noticeable symptom of this effect would be smoke being pumped back into the house.
Typically, indoor humidity will be at a level that’s more than 60%. Other telltale signs include streaks around the bedroom doors. There are charts that enable homeowners calculate the amount of air flowing into the building, which would be helpful. In some cases, the house could be drawing in about 1000 cubic feet of air per minute when all doors are closed.
Such issues can be tackled by relieving the pressure in the bedrooms. This stops the carbon monoxide sensor from going off. The indoor humidity also plummets to an acceptable level, which creates conditions that are unfavorable for mold growth. Of course, any mold that’s already grown would need to be cleaned up.
One can also undercut the door by a few inches to allow the escape of air. However, some homeowners would find this unacceptable. As such, a return duct that goes back to the AC unit in each room can be installed to provide the necessary pathway. It can however be very expensive.
A cheaper solution would be the installation of transfer grilles or jump ducts to allow air movement between rooms. These give air a path back to the system which is always open. However, they don’t transfer sounds and cannot be seen through. This can be installed by the homeowner if they’re equipped with sufficient DIY skills or by a competent HVAC contractor. Follow our blog for more great HVAC information
Everybody wants to live in a comfortable home with the right temperature. During the summer months, temperatures can get quite high and this is the time to consider the perfect cooling system. The fans or A/C debate appears to be a no-brainer because most people prefer air conditioners. Your decision to cool your home with either an air conditioner or a fan depends on your inclination as well as your budget. Just look at the facts and numbers below and decide whether to use fans or A/C to cool your home.
The high cost of air conditioning
Cooling your home with an air conditioner does not come cheap. A typical window air conditioner that runs for 12 hours per day will cost the average American $40 per month at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. The 2.5-ton residential central air conditioner uses about 1,300 kilowatt-hours per month. This costs approximately $150 monthly. On the other hand, a midsize ceiling fan that works 12 hours per day costs slightly over a penny per hour. This works out at just $3.50 per month. Even if you use the higher revolutions box fans, you will spend just $7.50 per month.
Circulation vs. cooling
Unless temperatures get unbearably high, you may not need air conditioners to cool your homes. Air circulation can keep your homes relatively cool and this is what the fan does for you. Fans use the action of convection and evaporation to keep humans cool. Moving air convects the heat from the body while the evaporative effect cools the skin.
The combination approach
Cooling your home is not always a choice between fans and the air conditioner because you can also use the combination approach. In fact, using both the fan and the A/C is a good strategy to save money and provide home comfort. Simply put on the A/C to cool the room then turn it off and switch on the fan. This way, you enjoy the best of both options and pay lower electricity bills.
As you can see, the laws of cooling your home are not cast in stone. You can use ceiling fans and box fans or you can use air conditioners. You can also go for the combination approach if you like. If you have any questions or issues, just get in touch with us and we will take care of all your heating and air conditioning needs.
If you are a first time shopper for an air conditioner, chances are that there are a lot of terms that you will want to become familiar with. While some may be less important than others in the long term, there are a few terms that can help you make a more informed purchase.
Among those terms are different types of chassis. Some buyers may ask: what is a fixed chassis? Understanding how the chassis works and what kind of difference it makes in the system is an important part of selecting the right one for your home.
There are two main types of air conditioners, just like there are two main types of corresponding chassis. If you are considering purchasing a single unit air conditioner for your room, it is important to look into either a window mounted air conditioner or a wall mounted one. Both can offer various advantages and disadvantages, but their chassis can provide homeowners with further utility.
A fixed chassis is typically found in most window mounted units. This type of chassis is specifically designed to help the window mounted air conditioner stay firmly in its place. It ensures that the unit is able to removed when it is necessary and serviced when it is necessary, and is vital for the unit’s overall operation.
With a sliding chassis, on the other hand, the chassis can be removed quickly and as necessary for service by the specialist. This is necessary for a wall mounted installation, where the air conditioning unit will be set inside of the wall, where it will need to be placed in a special and secure way to ensure that it can function correctly. The chassis is designed to make maintenance easy and applicable, no matter where the unit is mounted.
If you are having trouble deciding what unit to purchase, our group will be more than happy to help you learn more about the benefits of each type of installation. All of our specialists will be able to help you with any set up, and we ensure that all of our repairs and maintenance procedures are quick and efficient.
Winter is a time when the mercury drops and you are required to use devices to raise the temperature inside a home, so that you can live comfortably, without being overwhelmed by winter wear. In fact, the ideal comfort comes from temperatures that give you what is called “shirt sleeve weather”
Heating can be through fireplaces that use coal, wood or other fuel, but this gives localized areas of warmth, that can restrict movement within the home. Furnaces that heat up air and fans that blow them through ducts to the areas where they are needed are other alternatives. Individual heaters can also be used in spaces to heat air to the desired level. All these gadgets require different forms of energy whose costs for a home can be quite staggering. Are their methods to help in controlling home comfort costs?
The obvious one is to use equipment that is energy efficient and produces the maximum heat for the lowest consumption of energy. So, look at equipment with high energy efficiency ratings and you can save on running costs. You can also conduct an energy audit for your home with the help of experts. These professionals will come in with instruments that inspect each part of your home and try and spot any leakage that is leading to greater energy requirements. They will look at the equipment being used and suggest changes or modifications that reduce energy requirements. They will look at insulation of walls and the seals on your windows and doors of your home that is allowing heat to escape and increasing requirements for the equipments to function for longer hours. They will suggest the use of zone controls so that only the spaces that are in use are being heated. Technology has improved to allow this to be done automatically to set thermostats in different areas from a single control point. It is also possible for equipment sensors to switch off when they detect that an area is uninhabited.
Controlling home comfort costs is possible with a systematic assessment of present systems and their efficiencies. Make an effort to learn more about this from experts by calling on them for the right advice, which can lead you to the right solutions.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy’s plan for increasing HVAC efficiency was to go into effect. After working with leaders in both the HVAC and utilities industries, the DOE’s plan to increase HVAC efficiency standards from a minimum of 78 AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) to a new minimum of 90 AFUE seemed destined to make a significant impact in reducing energy consumption. Unfortunately, these standards came at a high price. It became evident that many homeowners would struggle financially trying to comply with the proposed higher HVAC efficiency standards.
The major problem presented with these higher AFUE ratings is that only a condensing furnace would be able to meet the new minimum requirement. While there is little doubt that a condensing furnace can offer increased energy efficiency and meet the 90 AFUE proposed by the DOE, implementing this plan would require homeowners to undertake costly and extremely difficult retrofitting measures before this new type of heating system could be installed.
Condensing furnaces offer a great way to increase HVAC efficiency, but because their design is different than traditional furnaces and boilers found in most homes today, retrofitting an existing home to accommodate this new system would put a financial strain on some homeowners. This is especially true in attached homes, condominiums and townhomes where accessing external walls could be problematic.
A condensing furnace requires a very different type of venting from other heating systems. While they do have a primary heat exchanger that is used in converting the heat generated from burning gas into usable heat to keep your home warm, these furnaces also utilize a secondary heat exchanger designed to capture and use the heat that typically is wasted in a combustible heating system.
With the high cost homeowners would face in retrofitting their existing homes to accommodate a new condensing furnace, individuals in the HVAC industry argued against implementation of the higher minimum AFUE requirements. At this time the courts have delayed implementation, but as this case works its way through the system it is hard to say what the end result might be.
When you want to increase HVAC efficiency or if you need other types of HVAC service, be sure to contact a local HVAC contractor.