Prepare For Winter With A Little A/C Maintenance

An important part of home maintenance is taking care of your HVAC system. A little end of summer air conditioning maintenance is the best way to be sure it will be ready to cool your home when spring rolls back around. Of course, prolonging the lifespan of your equipment is important, especially given the high cost of a replacement HVAC system, so take a few minutes at the end of the season to take care of essential A/C maintenance.

Most people know that they need to replace their air filter on a regular basis. Whether you have a washable filter that can be reused or you have a disposable filter, it is important to make sure your HVAC system has a clean filter. Typically, the filter will need to be changed once a month; however, if you are shutting down the A/C until next summer, replacing the filter now will ensure your cooling system will be ready to start cooling your home when the temperatures begin to climb again.

When your air conditioner is running, air is drawn over the evaporator coils, removing the warm air and replacing it with cool, comfortable air; however, the coils and fins in your indoor unit can get dirty. Dust and other airborne debris can leave them dirty, blocking air flow and diminishing the cooling capacity and efficiency of your air conditioner. For good airflow and proper ventilation the coils and fins should be wiped clean at the end of the season.

Similarly, your outdoor condenser unit will collect dirt, pollen and other debris that can make the unit run poorly. Gently spray with a garden hose and remove anything from around the unit that is blocking the airflow.

Finally the drain line and condensate pan should be emptied. The line needs to be free of any type of blockage and there should be no water sitting in the condensate pan. Completing these end of season A/C maintenance procedures will leave your air conditioner ready for another summer of efficient cooling.

When you need HVAC service or help with your A/C maintenance, give a trusted local HVAC contractor a call.

Proposed Changes For Higher HVAC Efficiency Standards

Many people are unaware of the proposed changes the Department of Energy tried to implement back in 2013. While they began working on new higher minimum requirements for HVAC efficiency in 2009, the changes were to be made effective in 2013. Unfortunately, this plan to decrease energy consumption ran into a few obstacles which resulted in a court delay for implementation of the new HVAC efficiency standards.

Basically, in order to reach the proposed AFUE or annual fuel utilization efficiency of 90 that the DOE was striving for, homeowners would need to install a condensing furnace in their home. The higher fuel efficiency of the condensing furnace would be the only combustible heating equipment capable of achieving the required level of HVAC efficiency.

The problem with the new requirements is that it would put many families in a very difficult financial position. While there would be the benefits of increased energy efficiency, retrofitting homes to meet these requirements would ultimately be very complicated and costly. A condensing furnace would require extensive retrofitting in an effort to make use of the two separate heat exchangers.

Most homes are equipped to handle the installation of a traditional heating system; however, with the condensing furnace, a second heat exchanger is necessary to capture and condense the hot water vapor which is created during the use of a combustible heating system. Rather than exhaust this wasted energy out of the home, the condensing furnace is able to capture it and use it to provide a more efficient way to heat the home.

There is certainly no doubt that a condensing furnace can meet the higher AFUE standards for increased HVAC efficiency, but it can also require a financial burden for the homeowner who must pay for extensive retrofitting and installation costs. Due to these problems, the HVAC industry was able to successfully argue against implementation of these higher standards, at this time. With a delay in implementation, homeowners still have an opportunity to increase the efficiency of their HVAC system.

Whether you need fast HVAC repairs or you want to discuss the benefits of a new high efficiency furnace or air conditioner, your local HVAC contractor can help. Give them a call today.

Save Money When You Diagnose HVAC Problems With Simple DIY Solutions

Do you have an A/C not working? Think twice before making a call for professional repairs. There are many AC problems that you can fix on your own and that will allow you to save the cost of an expensive AC service call. Troubleshooting air conditioning problems can be as simple as going through the following tips.

The first step necessary in order to diagnose HVAC problems is to determine whether or not you have electrical service to your home. If your home is without power, your air conditioner will also not have the electricity needed in order to operate. Once you have determined that you have electricity to your home, it is necessary to check to see if the AC system is getting electricity. Check the fuse or circuit breaker for your cooling system to be sure the circuit hasn’t been tripped.

If you have electrical power to your air conditioner, other factors are causing the problem. Check the air filter, if you find that it is dirty, chances are your air conditioner is not providing sufficient cooling. This can also lead your system to freeze, leaving you with little or no cool air. You should also make sure that your thermostat has batteries in it and that it is set properly to cool your home.

Many air conditioners have a built-in switch designed to protect your home from water damage. This switch will turn off your air conditioning system if the drain line is clogged. Check the drain line and flush it out if necessary, then empty the pan of water. Additionally, sometimes this switch can inadvertently get switched off if the unit or pan is accidentally bumped. If there is no water in the pan, check to be sure that the switch is still on.

When troubleshooting air conditioning problems be sure to check both the indoor and outdoor units. There are switches both by the inside air handler as well as by the outside unit that can turn off your air conditioner. Make sure that both of these switches are on.

If you are unable to diagnose the air conditioning problem, a local HVAC contractor will be able to help. Call a reputable AC technician to get your air conditioner repaired and back to cooling your home.

Devices That Protect Your Most Valuable Appliances

Owning a home is a give and take experience. You provide your home and its appliances with routine maintenance and protection and in return, your home will be preserved and your utilities will operate smoothly. A big part of keeping up with your utilities is to keep HVAC Maintenance tasks up to date. One aspect of protective maintenance on HVAC equipment is to ensure that it is plugged into power outlets that offer surge protection.

A power surge can literally fry your homes utilities and other electronic appliances such as computers and televisions. Every home is in danger of external or internal power surges because a surge can happen at any time. There are numerous causes of power surges, making protection against them a must.

Though lightening is a major cause of a power surge, it is not the only threat. Electricians working on lines, vehicle accidents, as well as fallen trees and other similar things can cause an external power surge. Your large home appliances and HVAC equipment can also cause internal power surges because of the extra energy they require.

An internal power surge is caused when the equipment is shutting off and sending unused electricity back into your wires. Over time this can wear out the sensitive electrical components inside of the appliances. To better Protect Your Home Utilities you will need to install electrical outlets that have a built in surge protection device. These outlets actually boost the whole home surge protection equipment that is located inside your breaker box.

It is advisable to also use power strips with surge protection to enhance your outlets and main surge protector. Installing these surge protective devices increases the safety of your home appliances. Since repairs and replacements cost a fortune, it is also advisable to have an HVAC technician check your homes electrical grounding system on a regular basis.

This inspection will let you know if your Home Power Surge Protection equipment is working properly. Remember, a power surge is one of the worst dangers that your expensive HVAC equipment and home appliances face. Schedule an inspection today and rest easy knowing your home has full surge protection in place.

The Importance Of NATE Certification

Certification is about much more than contractor professionalism and knowledge; it is also about customer assurance. NATE certified technicians can legitimately claim that they have exceeded the minimum industry standards by passing a stringent certification test with a national scope. Data from the American Home Comfort survey shows that 88% of homeowners prefer having a certified service technician install or repair their home comfort system.

What is NATE Certification?

The North American Technician Excellence or NATE certification indicates that a technicians experience, skills and knowledge have gone through meticulous evaluation and verification by an independent organization in the industry. It proves that the technician has achieved the required grade and possesses the requisite training to handle a wide range of heating and cooling system installation, maintenance and repair tasks.

What Does NATE Certified Mean to a Customer?

There are numerous HVAC technicians and companies in the market; therefore, it is very difficult to pick one that offers reliable and quality services. However, choosing an NATE certified contractor is a wise decision. In addition to the peace of mind that comes with hiring an NATE certified contractor, the customer will enjoy many more benefits. Advantages include:

· Nate certified technicians are familiar and competent with a wide range of manufacturers’ models and makes.

· The contractor can troubleshoot, diagnose, replace and repair equipment with fewer chances of callbacks or warranty returns caused by problem that was inadequately addressed the first time.

· A certified technician can offer more reliable and accurate advice on equipment condition, maintenance requirements, lifespan and more.

· Customers can depend on fast, friendly and professional service from certified technicians.

· A certified technician will guarantee proper installation and maintenance of all HVAC equipment, which will lead to less energy consumption and lower utility bills.

· A certified contractor is more likely to do the job right the first time.

Due to the large number of technicians and companies offering heating, ventilation and air conditioning services, having an NATE certification can make all the difference. As a trusted and marketable standard in the HVAC industry, it is a valuable addition to one’s resume. Achieving this industry certification is crucial for a technician’s career path.

If you want to get the most out of your air conditioning unit, call a certified technician and schedule a maintenance inspection.

Stay Comfortable With These Summer Cooling Tips

When the temperature starts to rise outside, many want to feel the temperature go up inside of their homes. Finding relief from the heat is important, especially for older people, young children, and those with certain health conditions. These helpful summer cooling tips will keep your costs low and your home comfortable throughout the warmer months.

Air conditioners have a filter that needs to be cleaned and changed several times a year. When the filter is clean, it circulates fresh air through the home, and it allows the AC to run more efficiently. An old or dirty filter will cause the unit to be overworked, and it also means that dirty air will continue to stay inside and be recirculated. Check the filter, and be sure to change it at the start of the season.

Another one of the more popular house cooling tips is to keep heat out by covering windows and glass doors. Use blinds to control the flow of natural sunlight into rooms. Curtains and blinds can be kept closed when the sun is high. Consider installing white blinds, which reflects the heat from the home. Sunlight can quickly warm up a room. Use blinds to block it out, and turn on fans to maximize coolness inside.

One of the most common tips to stay cool in summer is to use fans. Installing ceiling fans makes it easy to circulate air throughout a room. A window or tabletop fan will bring in any breezes from the outdoors when the AC is off, and when it’s on, it will help circulate the cooler air. Fans provide one of the most effective and affordable ways to beat the heat.

Finally, be sure to schedule a maintenance inspection for your home’s AC unit. One of the best cooling tips for your home is to have a skilled technician check your HVAC system to ensure that it runs optimally all summer long. It will save you money on cooling costs and keep your air conditioner in good shape. Summer is the perfect time to have your HVAC system inspected and tuned up.

High Winds Across The United States Affecting Indoor Air Quality

A HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) system is an important system that is designed to improve the humidity and air temperature within a room or house. A HVAC system that is properly designed and functioning can provide thermal comfort by distributing adequate amounts of outdoor air to achieve desirable ventilation needs of a home’s occupants.

It helps to isolate and remove contaminants and odors through filtration, pressure control and exhaust fans. However, high winds have been undermining the performance of many AC systems around the country, in turn affecting the indoor air quality. High winds transport dust and debris into homes, through the AC system. With time, the accumulated dust and debris damage the AC system if the problem is not addressed early enough.

IAQ problems
An ineffective HVAC system can promote the growth and spread of micro-organisms, such as thermophilic actinomycetes and Legionella pneumophila. Therefore, it is important to keep the cooling tower clean using a chlorine treatment that can get rid of these health hazards. Indoor air pollutants trigger various reactions among different people, such as headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, sinus congestion, sneezing, cough, nausea, dizziness, skin irritation and eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Leaving mold spores in the AC system can easily compromise the indoor air quality. Therefore, it is advisable for property owners to develop and implement an effective plan that can help prevent the growth of mold in the system. Unfortunately, the majority of home owners seek to destroy mold using biocides, fungicides and cleaners. Such efforts may kill the mold, but not eradicate the problem. Part of an effective AC management plan involves preventing the growth of mold and evaluating the situation by involving professional assistance.

Efforts of cleaning the system
Professional HVAC Vent Cleaning tries to clean dust and debris transmitted by high winds out of HVAC components and machinery, which goes a long way in preventing broken parts and eventual expensive repairs. Rinsing the exterior condenser coil of the system helps to get rid of dust covering the condenser. A dust covering can lower the system’s performance, resulting in the AC running inefficiently.

High-efficiency filters are recommended as a cost-effective measure of improving IAQ, while reducing energy use. Manufacturers’ recommend changing the AC system’s filters at least once every 3 months. However, for areas prone to high winds and dust, filters need to be changed at least once every month. Filters tend to trap more dirt and dust brought about by high winds, which could readily travel into the ductwork and get transmitted into the home. It is also common for filters to get clogged with lots of dust, making it practically impossible for air to pass through. With the absence of a steady flow of clean-filtered air, the HVAC system uses air derived from leaks along the ductwork, coming from a hot, dirty attic.

HVAC system assessment
HVAC system assessment seeks to perform duct cleaning, maintenance and home air quality Testing. When dust storms blow, the dust often enters the attic of the home through the attic vents. The dust eventually gets into the living space through leaks between the attic and the home or through leaks in the AC system’s ductwork. Hiring a licensed HVAC professional can help seal the ducts and ensure the seals do not generate static pressure that damages the system.

America Needs To Adjust To Growing Global Warming Impacts

Global warming impacts are only likely to grow in severity over the coming years, according to the vast majority of the world’s climate experts. Scientists predict a rash of likely effects on the world’s environment, including warmer summers and higher temperatures generally. This is almost certain to disrupt the world’s weather patterns, increasing the chance of freak weather events, and perhaps altering the climates of many countries across the world.

Certainly, people are going to have to ready themselves to adapt to this rate of change. A warming world means higher sea levels, which means a much greater risk of flooding, unbearably hot weather, and storms. The US government’s own National Climate Assessment puts it in rather blunter terms: “This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.”

You might work in agriculture, where the effects of a changing climate can seriously affect your livelihood. Higher temperatures and warmer summers can seriously disrupt growing seasons, as well as affecting irrigation. The greater risk of droughts could well put many farmers in the USA out of business, and much sooner than has previously been anticipated.

A changing climate can also have serious effects for homeowners. Higher temperatures can make it hard to live and work in some parts of the USA, especially those places where summers are already very hot, such as Arizona. Owning air conditioning is going to be become a key part of staying healthy, and even alive, with a professional HVAC technician likely to become an ever-more-important person to know.

The 800-page National Climate Assessment makes a point of stating that the effects of climate change are occurring now. Whereas many people, and a number of climate experts, thought that the effects could be many years away from reaching their peak, that opinion is changing. Many scientists assert that the consequences are already being felt, by oyster farmers in Washington State as much as by corn growers in Iowa.

The end of the 21st century could see temperatures rise as much five degrees, a huge increase. Even with aggressive attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they could still rise by as much as 10 degrees, according to the Assessment. Dealing with the consequences of such an increase is likely to be challenging and testing for the human race.

The National Climate Assessment does not carry good news for anyone. Ignoring it, or pretending that the situation does not somehow exist at all, is likely to be very costly, for America and the world.

When To Replace Heating And Cooling Equipment

 

Maintaining a home, or any other premise, at optimum temperatures, and air quality requires the use of efficient HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) equipment. This does not mean that a person should ensure the running of these equipments at whatever costs as they can consume high energy; incurring higher energy bills. It is, thus, a wise move to install high-efficiency units or replace existing inefficient, high-energy consuming equipment with high-efficiency ones. Replacing equipment may be much cheaper, in the long run as it may reduce power bills and regular repair expenses. It is vital for a person to know when to replace heating and cooling equipment, and the following could be red flags that the equipment must be replaced.

Red flags to equipment replacement

Constant breakdown

When fans, air conditioners, boilers and other HVAC equipment stop functioning as well as they once did, they should be replaced. For instance, when the equipment has to be set a higher degree to provide the same comfort (heating, cooling or air quality) as before, then it is failing and will consume more energy and result in higher energy bills. When the equipment goes off on its own, regularly and for no reason, and repairs and check-ups have done nothing to rectify the situation, it should perhaps be replaced with an efficient one.

High energy consumption

Some equipments may not show any signs of aging, but an outrageous increased unit consumption of energy whenever the equipments are on, should be an indication that the equipments are energy-inefficient and should be replaced. Modern inventions of equipments consume less energy, yet provide the same level of home/ office comfort as their older, energy inefficient counterparts. A client should choose products with Energy Star label, reflecting their energy consumption. A programmable thermostat is a good investment in saving energy with HVAC equipment as it can be set to regulate equipment operations, only when needed.

Equipment age

New equipments function optimally, but with time, they lose their efficiency; provide less comfort, consume more energy and sometimes cannot operate for long durations without being switched off. Any equipment that is over 5, 10, 15 or 20 years, depending on its manufacturer’s validity label, should be replaced. Whereas it may not require regular repairs, its efficiency reduces and energy consumption increases, and this reduces home comfort while incurring higher energy bills. New, high-efficient units save much more power than old equipment and provide much comfort.

 

The decision to replace HVAC equipment should be triggered by, among other factors, its irregular output, high energy consumption and inefficiency. The option to replace the equipment lies with the consumer, but HVAC professionals should be employed to recommend high-efficiency units and conduct the manual work (installation and replacement). The choice of high, energy efficient equipment not only saves the consumer repeated and expensive HVAC equipment repair trips but also ensures optimum indoor and outdoor conditions with lower energy bills.

The Benefits Of Regularly Replacing Your Air Filters

According to Energy Star, the number one reason for the breakdown of HVAC systems is dirty air filters. These filters are easy to buy, fairly inexpensive, simple for a layman to install and critical to the proper operation of a homeowner’s expensive heating and cooling unit. Yet many of us fail at the task of changing the air filter on a regular basis. The fact is that there are many benefits of regularly doing exactly that. Here are five of them.

Changing the filter extends the life of your HVAC unit. The filter prevents dirt, pollen, debris, dander, and other particle in the air from entering the system and causing damage to parts that might lead to the need for repairs. Be sure to turn off your unit before you replace the filter. Use a new, clean, undamaged filter and follow all directions to install it properly. There are many types of filters. Choose the correct size for your model with the MERV number of your choice. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value indicates the amount of filtration of which the filter is capable. The higher the number from one to twelve, the better the filtration is.

A unit with a clogged air filter has little to no air passing through. The motor works harder and it can even overheat. It is not operating efficiently and uses more energy with less success. Receiving you utility bill can become a big shock. Clean filters help the system run smoothly, use less energy and cost less in your utility bill. The Department of Energy states that regularly changing filters can produce utility cost savings of from five to fifteen percent each
month.

If you regularly check your air filter’s condition you maintain a healthier air quality inside your home. This is particularly important for family members who suffer from asthma and/or allergies. Air pollutants just exacerbate their symptoms and make breathing more difficult. The cleaner the air is, the more comfortable your home will be for them. When pets are in the home, the whole family benefits from regular filter replacements because this reduces the presence of pet dander in the air.

Clean filters keep your HVAC system clean. If a filter is ever damp or shows evidence of mold, the system may have a condensation problem that can lead to severe health problems and a need to clean out ductwork and coils. Regular maintenance and filter replacements can prevent this problem from developing.

Finally, the greatest benefit to be obtained from changing your filter regularly is that it is an extremely inexpensive step to take to save a lot of money, extend the life of a major home system and improve your family’s indoor air quality. Change your filter every three months at a minimum. Every month is the best.