As the temperatures rise, so do your energy bills. Increased usage of the air conditioner in your home can keep everyone cool but take a toll on your wallet. Here are some suggestions for cutting down on your energy bills while still keeping cool.
Get Your Air Conditioner Inspected
When your air conditioner is not in perfect working order, it will push itself to work harder to achieve the desired temperature in your home. Not only does this drive up your energy costs, but it also speeds up the wear and tear on your system.
To ensure that your AC is operating efficiently, have it professionally inspected. During the inspection, the HVAC technician can diagnose and repair any issues. He or she can also change the filter and refill the refrigerant, if necessary.
If it has been several years since you purchased the system, talk to your technician about whether or not it is time to update it. A newer system has built-in features that make it more energy efficient. You could possibly qualify for special rebates that can make buying the new unit worthwhile.
Protect the Outside Unit
Air conditioner systems are exposed to various elements outside. Leaves, debris, and high grass can also get into the system and clog the condenser. As a result, the air conditioner will operate less efficiently.
To protect your system, take the time to clear the area around it at least once a week. If you do notice any leaves or debris on the outside coils, use a water hose to clean it. Turn off the system before rinsing it and allow it to dry thoroughly before using it again.
In addition to these measures, consider providing shade to your system. Shade improves the energy efficiency of your system, which means less electricity used. Trees are a good source of shade because they not only protect your unit, but they also help to lower the indoor temperature of your home.
Install Fans Throughout Your Home
Ceiling fans in each room of your home can help circulate the cool air from your air conditioner system. The increased circulation means that your home cools faster, which results in the system staying off longer.
Ceiling fans can also reduce the need for the air conditioner at night. Since it is cooler at night, you can open windows and rely on the fans to keep your family cool.
Visit websites like http://www.cblucashvac.com for more information.
Heating and cooling your home may seem simple, but if you don’t have an adequate system, then you could find yourself in for some very warm summers and some very cold winters. To help you figure out which system is best for you, here is an introduction to heat pumps and several common variants:
How do heat pumps work?
Heat pumps are fairly simple in principle, moving heating in and out of your home at will. This allows you to heat or cool your home by using a single appliance. As you might expect, this can cut down the amount of maintenance that you will need to do, along with simplifying your shopping experience.
Though there are numerous types of heat pumps, two of the main options are air-source and geothermal. They primarily differ in where they get their energy from, but both do rely on a ventilation system to keep your home cool during summers and warm during winters.
What is an air-source heat pump?
The most common type of residential heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which operates a lot like an air conditioner that can be reversed. When in cooling mode, it works like an air conditioner, but when you switch it to heating mode, it can generate heat and blow that air into your home.
What is a geothermal heat pump?
To contrast, a geothermal unit does not use the air outside your home to actually heat and cool your home. Instead, it draws heat from the ground under your home. While this does make your heat pump a little more efficient in cold winters, it can also make installation a lot more complicated.
When is an air-source heat pump better?
If you aren’t interested in an expensive installation, then air-source might be the better option. Similarly, air-source can be much more useful if you live somewhere that doesn’t actually end up getting too cold in winter. If you live in a more temperate climate, than your temperature might never dip low enough for an air-source unit to dramatically lose efficiency.
When is a geothermal heat pump better?
On the other hand, if you do live somewhere that gets quite cold, then a geothermal heat pump can give you dramatically better efficiency. Though the initial cost of installation may be high, you can recoup those losses in a few winters if it gets below freezing outside. Contact a local HVAC installation company for more tips and info.
To get the most from your air conditioner, it must be running efficiently and not overheating when cooling your home. To help it do its job, there are two simple maintenance tasks that you can do. Here is how to change the air filter and clean the cooling fins on your air conditioner to have it ready for the warm weather and keep it running efficiently all summer.
Replacing the Air Filter
This doesn’t sound like a big task, and it isn’t. But if done wrong, or not often enough, you can prematurely wear out your air conditioner. Yes, an air filter that costs just a few dollars is that important.
The air filter removes contaminants such as dust, pollen and pet hair before they move through the system and back out into your home. The clean air is healthier for you to breathe, but it’s also important to your AC unit. Unfiltered air will allow dirt and other contaminants to collect on the motor. A dirty motor runs hotter, which causes it to be less efficient. A severe case of dirt build-up can cause a blower motor to overheat and burn out.
It’s recommended that you change the air filter every one to three months. Expensive HEPA filters are made to remove very small particles in the air. These filters clog up fast and need to be changed monthly. Inexpensive filters do an adequate job cleaning the air and you can get by changing them less often.
Cleaning the Cooling Fins
The part of the AC system that sits outside of your home contains the condenser. This device compress the AC coolant to create the cool air that circulates through the house. Like the blower motor, the condenser becomes quite warm. A fan and special metal fins keep the condenser cool. If these become clogged, the condenser can overheat and shut down. Make it a habit to check on the fan and fins monthly during the hot summer months and remove any dirt and debris.
For more information about getting your AC ready for summer, contact a company like Getzschman Heating, LLC.
With the summer heat on its way, you may want to start getting prepared now. This means that there may be some things that you want do to your AC. There may also be some surprises waiting when you turn your AC on for the first time this year, such as it not even coming on. If you want to be ready for the next heatwave, here are some AC repairs that you may need to do on your own:
1. Checking And Replacing The Filters Before You Do Anything Else
The most important maintenance for your AC is changing the filter regularly. There are several types of filters, which can be disposable or HEPA type filters. The disposable filters need to be changed every couple of months, or more often if you have a lot of dust or allergies. If you have the HEPA type filter, you will want to clean it just as often with a vacuum attachment and you probably want to change it yearly.
2. Cleaning The Outdoor Unit And Keeping Drains Free Of Debris
The outdoor unit of your AC has many different components, which can become dirty with debris from trees and other causes. To be sure your unit does not have problems, keep it clean and free of debris. In addition, these units often have drain pans with a pipe coming out of it. Check these drain lines regularly to make sure they are free of debris and do not have any problems.
3. Repairing Bent Or Damaged Evaporative Fins For Improved AC Performance
On the outside of your AC unit are evaporator fins that look something like a car radiator. These are what displace heat to help cool your home. They can become dent or damaged by people pressing on them or because of debris. It is a good idea to straighten any bent fins on the unit to improve performance and prevent problems. This can be done using a flat putty knife of a special fin repair tool. When bending the fins back straight, be careful not to damage the tubing that they are attached to.
4. Cleaning The Evaporator Coil To Prevent Freezing And Damage To The Compressor
The evaporator coil of your AC is what provides that cooling from the compressor. When it becomes dirty, this can cause freezing of condensation that collects on the coil. The freezing can cause the compressor to freeze up and eventually damage it. To prevent these problems, clean the coil and the housing to prevent freezing problems with your AC.
For more information, contact Mountain Air Comfort Systems or a similar company.
When your central air conditioner won’t turn on or isn’t putting out cool air, it’s always an immediate and easily recognizable sign of a problem. However, there are a few air conditioner troubles that can go unnoticed for quite some time if you don’t know about the more subtle symptoms they can produce. Here are a few signs of air conditioner problems that are easy to overlook.
Your Home is Unevenly Cooled
A central air conditioner is designed to transfer air evenly through the entirety of your home. If you notice that some of your rooms are staying cooler than others, you shouldn’t ignore the possibility of a duct leak. Because your ducts are always out of sight behind your home’s walls, an uneven temperature distribution throughout the home is one of the first signs of a leak that you are likely to notice.
In many cases, uneven cooling indicates that there is a leak in the duct work that leads to the room that isn’t getting adequate cooling. However, the problem can sometimes be in the return duct that delivers air back to your HVAC system to be cooled and recycled.
Your Utility Bill is Steadily Increasing
Even for the most astute budget balancers, a long-term upward creep of a few cents per month can be easy to overlook. If your utility bill is steadily increasing without a significant change in how you cool your home, it is a clear indicator that your air conditioner is losing efficiency.
There are several possible causes for reduced efficiency of your air conditioner, one of which is simply the age of your system. All central air conditioners lose efficiency as they near the end of their life span, so you may want to interpret your rising energy bill as an advance warning that your system needs to be inspected and/or replaced soon.
Another common cause of reduced efficiency is reduced air flow. Cleaning or replacing your furnace filter at least once a month and trimming weeds and shrubs away from the outdoor condenser are two easy ways to reduce how hard your system has to work to circulate air through your home. The easier it is for your air conditioner to circulate air, the less energy it will use to do so and the less you will pay per month.
Keep an eye out for these less noticeable signs of central air conditioner problems so you can avoid unnecessary energy usage and unexpected breakdowns. Visit this website for more information on HVAC issues.
Although it might be cool now, the reality is that the warmer temperatures are on their way. If your current air conditioning unit gave a lackluster performance last year and you considered the idea of a replacement, now is the time to start planning. If you’re anything like the average homeowner, you probably don’t know where to start. This is especially the case when it comes to sizing your unit. Here are some helpful points to help you plan better.
Make sure you understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to air conditioner units. In terms of cost and efficiency, having the proper sized unit is important. A unit that is too small won’t adequately cool your home, which will cause it to work harder and ultimately drive up your energy bills. The same is true for a unit that is too large; however, a unit that is too large can also lead to increased wear and tear, which generally means higher repair cost.
Air conditioner units are measured based on tonnage, but not the weighted tons you typically think of. In this case, tonnage refers to the amount of heat a unit is able to extract from a home within an hour. A one-ton unit can extract 12,000 British Thermal Units, or BTUs, a two-ton unit can extract 12,000 BTUs, for instance.
Making Sense Of BTUs
Now that you understand how air conditioner units are sized, the next question would be how many BTUs do I need for my home? The most conventional method for determining this is based on square footage. Using a simple formula, you would multiple the square footage of your home by 25 to establish your base BTUs. If you have high ceilings, multiple base BTUs by 25% and add this figure. Multiply the number of people who live in the home by 400, and also add this figure to the base BTUs. Divide the final base BTUs figure by 12,000.
The final answer will tell you how many tons you need. To put this in better perspective, take a family of four who lives in a 1,700 square foot home with high ceilings, for example. Using this formula, this home would probably do well with a 4-ton unit.
It’s important to understand that even with a formula, sizing a unit isn’t always black and white. There are a number of factors that can have an impact on sizing. It’s best to consult with a professional (like those at Uni-Serv Air Conditioning Co) before making a final decision on the size of your unit.
If your air conditioner has all of a sudden decided to stop working, it could be due to many things. Some things are very easy to fix so you could have a quick solution. Below are two common things that may be wrong with it.
Not Coming On
If your air conditioner is not turning on, this could be a problem with the breaker itself or the breaker may not be turned on. Go to your breaker box and see if the breaker is turned off. If it is, it could have had a type of power surge that tripped it. Turn it back on, and then turn your air conditioner on. If it will still not come on, the breaker could be bad. If you are not sure how to tell if the breaker is bad, contact an electrician to help you.
You should also check your thermostat to make sure it is set properly. Lower it down a few degrees and see if that kicks your air conditioner on. If it will still not turn on, the problem is something much more serious, such as a faulty compressor or motor.
Noisy Air Conditioner
A noisy air conditioner could be due to many things. First, determine the type of noise that you are hearing, as it could tell you what is wrong. If you hear a screeching or squealing, this could be a motor bearing problem, or a bad belt on the air handler. Belts are easy to replace if they break. Your motor may simply need to be lubricated. Refer to your HVAC unit’s user’s manual to see what type you should use, and where you need to place it.
If your air conditioner is banging or rattling, this may be a problem with the motor or blower assembly. This means something has come loose inside the unit. A very loud banging sound means something has disconnected or broken loose completely. Turn off your AC unit before more damage is caused.
If you hear clicking sounds, this is normal when you first turn the unit on. If you continue to hear the clicking sounds, however, you may have a defective relay. There also may be an electrical problem causing the relay to fail or timeout.
If you continue having problems, contact an HVAC business, such as Daryl’s Heating & Air Inc, to come to your home to determine what is wrong with your unit. While they are there, have them do maintenance on your system to ensure it continues to work well for you.
If your gas furnace doesn’t cycle off and on when the home reaches a certain temperature, check the limit switch for problems. The limit switch is a safety mechanism that controls the blower motor by telling it when to come on and when to shut off. But if the limit switch malfunctions, it can’t relay messages to the blower motor properly. Your blower motor stays on, even when the home is warm enough. Resetting the limit switch may solve your issues. Here’s how you check and reset the limit switch.
Locate the Limit Switch
The limit switch sits just below the draft hood of your furnace. To access the switch, cut power and gas to the furnace, then remove the side paneling from the plenum, which is the large rectangular-shaped container found on the top of the furnace. The limit switch is housed inside a small, metal box. You should see a tiny, white knob or button sticking out of the box. The knob is the piece of the limit switch that controls when the blower motor cycles off and on.
After you locate the limit switch, remove its cover. It’s a good idea that you use a screwdriver with an insulated handle during this part of your repairs. The limit switch uses an electronic system and wires to operate. If the switch still has electrical currents flowing through it, it can shock you, even with the power off.
Now, proceed to the steps below.
Clean and Reset the Limit Switch
Before you do anything else, examine the inside of the limit switch for soot, smoke burns, and fire damage. If the internal parts show signs of damage, stop and contact a heating repair technician right away. The gas furnace may have issues with its burners, elements and gas lines. If the internal parts appear in good condition, you can move forward with your repairs.
Use a small duster with soft feathers to clean out the box. If you run into stubborn pieces of lint and dust, gently blow air into the unit with your mouth. Don’t apply any type of liquids to the parts of the box, including cleaning solution. You can permanently damage the parts and furnace.
After you complete the steps above, check the position of the button. If the button is pushed into the box, carefully pull it out with the tips of your fingers. In order for the furnace’s blower motor to cycle off and on correctly, the button must be set to automatic, or the up position. The blower motor will stay on when the limit switch button is placed in the down position.
Next, put the cover back on the box, then replace the paneling over the plenum. Turn on your furnace’s power supply and gas line, then wait about 15 minutes for the appliance to heat up. If the blower motor goes off and on correctly, you solved the issue.
If the blower motor continues to operate, contact a repair technician (such as one from Controlled Comfort) for services. Your furnace may have other problems to repair.
Have you noticed that your heating costs are more expensive than they used to be? Your gas furnace may be running in an inefficient manner because it is time for you to hire a professional contractor to come and give it a tune-up. Find out in this article what you should know about the importance of making sure a furnace has an occasional tune-up.
Why Does a Gas Furnace Need to Be Tuned Up?
You should invest in a furnace tune-up at least every two years because failing to do so can lead to important parts not functioning as well as they should. For instance, the gas valve on the furnace is one of the parts that is necessary for the furnace to work. If rust or dirt accumulates on the gas valve in large amounts, it can stop being able to be adjusted. If you can’t adjust the gas valve, you can end up with a heating inefficiency due to little to no gas being sent to the furnace burner. The furnace burner is where the gas is joined with fire to keep a flame going in the pilot when you are trying to warm your house up.
What Can a Contractor Do During a Gas Furnace Tune-Up?
The specific tasks performed during a furnace tune-up can vary based on who is hired for the job. However, one of the common things that will be done is giving parts like the pilot orifice, burner, gas valve and other major parts a thorough cleaning. The contractor will also check the gas line to the furnace to make sure there are no leaks. The contractor will also make sure that the pilot flame is completing combustion during the tune-up, as incomplete combustion can lead to the air in your house being circulating with carbon monoxide (toxic gas). The furnace filter will be cleaned or replaced, and the contractor may also inspect the thermostat to make sure it is fully functional.
What Does a Professional Gas Furnace Tune-Up Cost?
You should expect to pay a professional contractor at least $70 to give your furnace a tune-up. However, a complicated task can cost over $200, such as if the contractor has a hard time accessing the furnace. The extent of work involved will play a major role in the overall price that you are charged. Speak to a professional contractor as soon as possible to get your furnace tuned up for better efficiency!
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Having the name and number of a trusted HVAC contractor on file is useful when you encounter a problem with your furnace. When the unit stops producing heat correctly, it’s important to act quickly to arrange a repair visit — especially if it’s extremely cold outside. Any homeowner can play a role in the healthy operation of their furnace. Even if you’re not familiar with how the unit works, some habits related to how you heat your home can reduce undue strain on the furnace and help it run properly and avoid breakdowns. Here are three ways that you can reach this goal.
Remember To Change The Filter
While your furnace’s filter might be the last thing on your mind during your day-to-day activities, remember to change it regularly is important. A clean filter allows the furnace to work properly; pushing air through a blocked one will take longer to warm your home, which means the furnace will suffer extra wear through unnecessary use. The general rule for changing your filter is to do so every month during the months in which you run the unit. Although it’s best to check your furnace manual for specific recommendations, some homeowners find that using higher-quality filters will lead to less-frequent changes.
Make Sure Your Vents Aren’t Blocked
When the floor vents in your home are blocked, the air will take longer to heat up. This means that the furnace will be working extensively when it could otherwise be shut off and resting. Always keep an eye on your floor vents and ensure the air is flowing freely through them. The vents should be open and shouldn’t be obstructed by furniture or even low-hanging curtains. If you have children, ensure that they don’t remove the vent covers and hide toys or other objects in the vents that could block the proper flow of air.
Don’t Heat The Home Unnecessarily
While everyone loves the idea of a warm, cozy home, it’s important to strike a balance between being warm and giving your furnace a break. It’s ideal to set your thermostat so that the furnace isn’t running all day — after all, it’s OK to let the inside temperature drop a few degrees when you’re away at work. Likewise, you should give the furnace a rest during the night. Throw another blanket on your bed and you can save unnecessary wear on the unit, which will help it work optimally for longer.
For additional tips or information on furnace repair, contact a company like Lakeside Heating & A/C Inc. or another location.