Q. If I want to circulate air through my home, is it better to turn on ceiling fans or turn the fan on the thermostat on?
A. You’re better off turning the ceiling fans on. Unless you have an electronic filter that requires steady air.
Q. Is it ok, to close the air conditioning vents in rooms that are not occupied, or rooms that are used less.
A. Although some would tell you that it’s not ok. In reality it’s acceptable to close off a few if you’re having trouble getting enough air to your favorite rooms. Never should you close off more than 20% of the vents through the entire house. Your air conditioner needs to breath so don’t choke it. But, closing off one vent will cause more air to be forced through the ducts to other vents.
Q. What temperature should I set my air conditioning thermostat to?
A. Typically in the summer setting your thermostat to maintain 75-78 is pretty comfortable. Although 75 will cause the unit to run more raising the power bill, some people just won’t be comfortable any higher. If you’re very warm blooded then 74 might be to your liking. 74 will give you a high power bill, so I’d suggest either only using this temperature when extremely hot then once you’re comfortable turn it back up to 76-78 or buy a digital, programmable thermostat. This thermostat can be told what time you go to bed, wake up, shower, leave the house for work and when you return. Changing temperature just prior to, to ensure your always comfortable. When you’re at work the system will stay off, not wasting any electricity. The unit will turn on about 30 minutes before you get home to cool off. Remember anytime you can raise the temperature, you will save money.
Q. I want to replace my home thermostat, what kind should I buy? Do you recommend a certain brand?
A. As far as the brand goes we install Honeywell thermostats, and that’s also what I use in my own home. Now what type of stat that’s a little trickier, there are many types to choose from. We’ll start with the basics. First off, you need to buy the right type. If you have gas heat then you need a single stage thermostat unless you have just recently purchased a new 16 or 18 seer air conditioner that uses two stages of cooling then you’d need a 2 stage cooling 1 stage heat stat. If you have a straight cool ac system with heat strips, then you also will need a single stage thermostat. Now if you have a heat pump ac system, you will have to make sure to purchase a 2 stage stat. If you don’t know exactly what type of unit you have ask your service professional or ask the expert on our site, to find out. Once you have the type of stat figured out, determine whether you want a digital non-programmable or a programmable stat. non- programmable will only have one setting for the temperature and will stay constantly where it’s set, until you change it. A digital programmable will have the options to change temperature automatically according to your sleep, work or arrival times. There are a few different programmable options also.
Q. I have an old R-22 air conditioner, is the refrigerant really being banned and becoming obsolete.
A. Yes, R-22 has been deemed hazardous to the ozone by the E.P.A. and they have already started restricting manufacturing of r-22. They just recently cut the allowable amount of r-22 to be made in half. From now they are going to be steadily restricting the manufacturing more and more until 2020, when it will become unavailable. As the supply has been cut down the prices have skyrocketed. If you have an R-22 system expect higher than normal ac repair costs, as the air conditioning repair companies are paying triple what they paid in 2011. The E.P.A. is purposely trying to make you upgrade to a new high efficiency, R-410A, air conditioning system. We can no longer purchase new air conditioners with R-22 in them. As of 2010 manufacturers are no longer allowed to make any more R-22 AC units. If you’re getting a new air conditioner this year or any year before 2020 think about investing the extra money to get an R410A air conditioner. The new refrigerant is better in a lot of ways. It doesn’t hurt the ozone, it blows colder air in the summer and the system could save you 50% off the power bill.
Q. What is a variable speed motor?
A. A variable speed motor can spin at many speeds. It starts slowly allowing the compressor and coil to get going cold before it picks up the speed. Variable speed motors are also much quieter.
Q. What size air conditioner should I have installed?
A. Air conditioners are made in tons, no not the weight of the unit; it’s a ton of air. A ton of air is capable of cooling 400 sq ft in homes and 200 sq ft in businesses. Since businesses usually have more windows, less insulation and a much higher heat load from all the customers, computers or in the case of restaurants or bars all the extra equipment like stoves, grills, ovens, fryers or even all the extra refrigeration equipment. Now if you have a 2000 sq ft home that requires 5 tons of air, you need a 5 ton air conditioner. In a business with 2000 sq ft you would need 10 tons of air. Don’t ever try and save money by buying a smaller air conditioner, it will not work.
Q. What is a SEER rating I keep hearing about?
A. SEER stands for (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) it is the performance and rating standard issued by the manufacturers, energy star and the U.S. government. This rating is designed to provide an easily understandable energy usage rating for consumers. It’s universal and is applicable to all units. No manufacturer can call a unit a 16 SEER until it’s built and shipped to another source for testing. Not until the E.P.A. and energy star says so can a unit be labeled, a specific SEER rating. Since 2006 nobody is allowed to sell anything below a 13 SEER that’s the bare minimum. A SEER rating is a lot like MPG for your car, except it’s for electricity. The same principals apply. A 6 SEER ac system which is the standard around, since that’s what was made in the 1990 would basically get 6 miles per gallon. A new 16 SEER unit will get 16 Miles per gallon. So the lower the SEER rating the more electricity will be needed to produce cool air. The SEER rating should be the most important thing to consider when deciding whether to fix or replace that old air conditioner, especially with the ever increasing cost of electricity.
Q. How does a heat pump work?
A. Heat pumps rely on the laws of physics (heat is attracted to cold). So in the summer the heat from your home is attracted to the refrigerant pumping through the coil in the ac it is the rejected outside with the condenser fan motor. In the winter it does the opposite, it attracts heat from the outside (even when it’s cold out, the refrigerant is much colder attracting what heat is still in the outside cold air). It then pumps the warmed refrigerant into the indoor coil to reject the heat into the air being drawn across it. The warmed air is then pushed into your home.
Q. How often should I change the air filters?
A. Manufacturers say to replace filters once a month. With that said, in reality, it is not practical to replace a clean filter just because it has been a month. Every home is different, start by checking filters in the light. If you can clearly see light through the filter after 1 month, well you then know that in your home you could wait and change air filters every 2 months. If in 2 months they are still clean then, wait 3 months. However never leave a filter in there more than 3 months. When choosing an air filter I find the white pleated filter, it looks sort of like an accordion works the best as the accordion shape provides more filter space.
Q. Should I build some sort of shade from the sun for my air conditioner?
A. Yes, Shade will help the air conditioner to run cooler, lower pressure and very slightly lower the power bill. When building shade for an air conditioner. Be sure not to obstruct the air flow. Nothing can be within 2 feet of the coils or the electrical panel. Building obstructions closer than 2 feet can cause bad air circulation causing high pressures, compressor failure, high energy bills and slightly warmer air in the home. Aside from that, shade is a good idea.
Q. How much am I spending on air conditioning in the summer?
A. Take your power bill from July and compare it to the March bill. March is typically a month that’s comfortable and you won’t run the air conditioner or the heater much. Now take your March bill subtract 10% and subtract that from
Q. Should I get my old air conditioner repaired or should I replace it?
A. There are many things to consider when deciding whether to replace an air conditioner or to just fix it. The biggest factor is obviously money. If you have the money right now to spend, or can come up with it, then it would not matter if your old unit still worked. It would still be a good idea to replace the old unit, because the new ones of today are so much more efficient. A new air conditioner saves you approximately 38%-65% off the power bill depending on what model or SEER you choose. Systems typically pay themselves back by saving money on the power bill in somewhere between 2 ½ and 4 ½ years. Depending, on what kind of unit is coming out of your home and what SEER you put back in. It’s simple math if you have to pay the power bill and plan to live there or pay the bill for four or more years, it makes “math sense” to replace the unit with something more efficient. If you have to do an expensive repair on the old system that is equal or greater than 30% of the new one then there is another reason to consider a replacement. Typically, once systems start acting up at around 10 years of age, they tend to keep breaking. Spending $1,000.00 on a repair of a 12-year-old system would not make sense after knowing all the facts. Now on the other hand if you plan to move or stop paying the bill within the next couple of years, then you might want to opt for the repair. There is an increase in property value for putting up a new ac system, but not the full value of the system.
Do replace if:
Do not replace if:
Q. How much should a new air conditioner cost?
A. Great question, there are many different types of air conditioners. Typically, they should range in price from $2,000.00 for a low end model all the way up to $10,000.00 for the top of the line system. I’ll further elaborate. An air conditioning condenser on the side of your house is the most inexpensive type ranging from $2,000.00 for a 1 ton, $2,900.00 for a 3 ton unit and all the way up to $3,600.00 for a 5 ton system. If you get a company doing this for less than that, you need to find out where their cutting corners. Because that’s what it costs for reputable ac company to install a unit and make enough profit to stay in business, pay the bills and be around to honor your warranty. Additionally all units no matter what the brand will have a minimum of 5 years warranty on all parts.
Q. What is the best kind of heat?
A. Gas heat is by far the best option, Gas heat is warmer than a heat pump by approximately 20 degrees. It also costs less on your power bill, since it relies on mostly gas instead of electricity.