Important facts about Air Conditioning

An air conditioning system can vary by the particular brand. That being said, here are some of the common components you will run into.

A true airconditioning system performs three basic functions. The one that would first occur to anyone entering an air conditioned room from the outside during the summer is air cooling. The lowering of the temperature of the air is one of the basic characteristics of an air conditioning system. Cooling capacity is measured, strangely enough, in a heating measurement, the BTU. A BTU is a British Thermal Unit which is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree of temperature measured in Fahrenheit.

The efficiency of an air conditioning unit can be measured by a standard known as SEER rating. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The minimum SEER rating has been 10, but recently was raised to 13 in January of 2006. The SEER is defined as the total annual BTU output of the unit defined by its energy input. The Federal Government and the Department of Energy have regulated the required SEER of all new air conditioning units in an attempt to reduce energy consumption.

High efficiency in cooling is more critical in climates where annual temperatures are higher and the demand for air conditioning is greater. It is actually worse to have a unit that is too large for the size of the building being cooled. An oversized unit not only costs more than it should, but runs efficiently. It will also not run long enough to properly dehumidify the air.

The ability to remove moisture from the ambient air is another characteristic of an air conditioner. Humidity is often as important to comfort as air temperature. High humidity also can contribute to health problems and contributes to mold growth in the duct work of the system and in the home itself. A regular refrigerant type air conditioner removes moisture from the air by condensation as the moist air passes over the cooling coils. The process is similar to what happens when you have a glass of cold liquid on a hot, humid day. Just as water will condense out of the air on the outside of the glass, it condenses on the tubing of the cooling coils. The condensed moisture drips off the pipes and is removed by a drain in the duct work.

Air filtering is the third characteristic of an air conditioner. Filtering is done by passing the air intake flow through a filter that removes dust and lint. Some filters can be used that remove microscopic pollutants from the air. The filters need to be changed on a frequent basis as a clogged filter greatly reduces the efficiency of the unit. Cooling, dehumidifying, and filtering are all characteristics of a good system, and produce air that is comfortable, dry, and clean.

Posted on March 17th, 2008 by luke and filed under Central Air Conditioning | No Comments »

Tips for cutting heating costs

After last winter’s fuel frenzy, I may not be alone in trying to figure out how to reduce home heating costs. Based on what I’ve learned at various workshops and research in the field of home heating, I would like to share some information that may be helpful in your present or upcoming heating system renovation or installation. In our society, the heating industry just can’t compete for your attention like the massive automobile industry. You more than likely won’t see a boiler commercial on TV any time soon. Allow me to highly encourage you to learn more about home heating.

Just 100 years ago, only the wealthy had central heat. They were mighty in size - both steam and gravity hot water systems. As some people rejoiced with warm radiators for the first time in history, other people feared for their lives. While it is almost unheard of today, boilers were literally exploding week in and week out throughout America , claiming lives and ripping houses apart. While the “man of the house” was at work, the mom would stoke the fire, shoveling in coal to keep the fire going. Steam was and is a good heating system. However, its efficiency doesn’t compare to today’s technology. Things are different now.

Lots of options

We have numerous options in heating systems available these days. The average consumer may have a difficult time making sense of the fuel efficiency rating system. For example, some claim condensing warm-air furnaces are the way to go because of the 90 percent plus efficiency. Others claim that an 83 percent boiler can be just as, if not more, efficient to operate. Let me clarify that statement: the rating that comes with all heating appliances simply doesn’t tell the whole truth. Consider the following: first, warm air systems are notoriously “leaky” meaning that a concentrated amount of warm air that the furnace discharges into the duct system will leak out into the basement and wall partitions. Second, the cooler room basement-temperature metal ducts will first have to warm before the floor register will deliver the 130-plus degree air that the furnace delivered. Third, the blower motor consumes a healthy amount of electricity. My point is simply this: while the rating system measures steady sate burner efficiency (continuous running), it does not take the aforementioned factors into consideration.

With a modern control system known as an outdoor reset control, boilers can now benefit from huge savings in fuel consumption. The control can be added to a new boiler system or an existing one. The way it operates is fairly simple. With a temperature sensor attached on the north (or at least out of the sun’s warmth) side of the house, it sends a signal to the control mounted in the boiler room. It will then dictate the boiler temperature for that given outdoor condition. There is a commonly accepted rule of thumb to take into account. For every 3 degrees you can lower the boiler’s operating temperature, you can realize a 1 percent savings in the fuel bill. For example, the average boiler operates at 190 degrees. The outdoor reset control will bring the average system temperature down to 145 degrees F. Forty-five degrees (which is the difference between 190 - 145) divided by 3 = 15. Your new control will save you about 15 percent on your heating bill. Small house? It may not be worth the extra cost. Medium or large house? You may want to give your heating contactor a call.


Let me talk about comfort. Few people out there will argue that hot water heating is far more comfortable than warm air heating. For that reason alone, many people in New England opt for the boiler (hot water) system. But the advantages of an outdoor reset control system don’t stop with fuel savings. It also will be even more comfortable for your home. Here’s why. All baseboard heating systems are considered a convective current system. This means the air is heated as it passes through the fins of the baseboard unit. With a conventional control system, the boiler will pump 190 degrees water through the pipes. This creates more natural air current in your living area. Although it’s not as significant as a warm air system, it still is a factor. With the outdoor reset control, the system basically operates like the cruise control in your car. The system temperature will gradually rise and decline depending on outdoor conditions.

Some European boiler manufacturers already offer these controls as a part of their product line-up. If you have a domestic boiler, there are several heating control companies that make these devices as well. Speaking about the Europeans, I humbly have to say that they are decades beyond our technology here in America .

Posted on March 12th, 2008 by ed and filed under Heating, Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Benefits of Closing Off HVAC Floor Ducts

Floor_DuctWith the rising cost of heating and cooling homes many people are exploring the advantage of closing off HVAC floor ducts to save on expense and energy.  The problem is knowing whether or not this step is actually beneficial in the long run.  The answer is it depends on the room and what it is used for.  You will need to carefully evaluate your individual situation in order to know if this method of heat and cooling control is actually to your benefit.  Read on for some ideas on how to determine the best course of action for you and your family.

Closing Off HVAC Floor Ducts

In determining if you should be closing off HVAC floor ducts to encourage more effective heating and cooling benefits you should first figure out which areas of the house are giving you a hard time.  Let’s say one of the rooms in your home you only use for storage stays very hot regardless of the weather conditions.  In this case, it is likely that closing off the duct may benefit your energy usage.  There is no real purpose in heating or cooling a room no one really uses.  On the other hand if the room is used and members of the family are forced to be uncomfortable due to the odd heating and cooling situation, closing off the ducts or only one of them in the room, could be effective in regulating the temperature. If, for example, you have tried closing off HVAC floor ducts and there is no significant change in your energy usage or the comfort of the temperature of the room, you may want to have the heating and cooling system checked out by a professional if you aren’t confident in your own abilities.  It could be that you have clogged ductwork somewhere in the house that is causing your problem.  There could also be some other kind of internal problem with the unit itself.  Either way, it is important to determine the cause of temperature problem to decide on the best way to correct it. Closing off HVAC floor ducts can be incredibly beneficial in some situations.  Once you have the problem corrected, you will surprised by your savings and how more comfortable your home feels.

Posted on February 19th, 2008 by luke and filed under Ductless Air | No Comments »


Great Tips from A Budget Heating and Air Conditioning

  • What is the most efficient thermostat setting for air conditioning?
  • What does the term “tons” mean in the context of air conditioning?
  • When I replace my central air conditioner, would it be more efficient to get a larger unit? Will it make the house more comfortable?
  • What does the “EER” or “SEER” rating on an air conditioner mean?
  • What is the recommended SEER rating for a central air conditioner?
  • I have one room in my home that is always too hot in the summer – what can I do to make that room more comfortable?
  • I have my air conditioning system checked every year, and it always seems to need “recharging” with refrigerant – is this normal?
  • Will ceiling fans help cool my home in summer, and should I run them constantly, even when my air conditioning is running?
  • Should I remove window air conditioners in the winter?
  • What is a “whole house fan” and is it a good option for cooling my home?

  • Q. What is the most efficient thermostat setting for air conditioning?A. The best setting is the highest temperature at which you are comfortable. The cost of operating your air conditioner increases significantly with each degree the thermostat is lowered. Most people can be comfortable at settings between 24 - 26°C (75 - 78°F).

    Q. What does the term “tons” mean in the context of air conditioning?A. A ton is a measure of the size or cooling capacity of an air conditioner. One ton is equivalent to removing 12,000 BTUs of heat per hour. For example, a three ton air conditioner can remove 36,000 BTUs per hour.

    Q. When I replace my central air conditioner, would it be more efficient to get a larger unit? Will it make the house more comfortable?A. It is best to get a properly sized unit. Although a larger unit may run for shorter periods of time, it will use more electricity due to its larger size.

    Q. What does the “EER” or “SEER” rating on an air conditioner mean?A. Both EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) and SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) are cooling efficiency terms and are indicators of how efficient the unit is. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit and the lower the operating cost. SEER is used with central air conditioners, while EER is used with room air conditioners. For new central systems, SEERs of 12 or higher are generally considered high-efficiency units. For room units, EERs of 11 or higher are considered high-efficiency.

    Q. What is the recommended SEER rating for a central air conditioner?A. Ratings of 11.0 to 12.0 are common, and will have lower operating costs, and units with SEERs as high as 15 are available. The more you use your central air conditioning, the more you will benefit from higher SEER ratings, and the more likely that the additional cost will be offset by energy savings.

    Q. I have one room in my home that is always too hot in the summer – what can I do to make that room more comfortable?A. If the room has a large area of exposed glass, keep curtains or blinds closed during daylight hours, particularly at times when the sun would shine directly in. You might also ask your air conditioning contractor to check whether you are getting enough air in that room - there may be a problem with your duct system.

    Q. I have my air conditioning system checked every year, and it always seems to need “recharging” with refrigerant – is this normal?A. Refrigerant does not shrink or disappear – a need for regular recharging indicates a refrigerant leak. The solution is to fix the leak, not to keep recharging the system.

    Q. Will ceiling fans help cool my home in summer, and should I run them constantly, even when my air conditioning is running?A. Ceiling fans can help make the home more comfortable, either alone or in combination with your air conditioner, by creating more air movement, which makes the air feel cooler. But remember that they do not actually cool the air, so there is no point in running them in unoccupied rooms or when no one is at home.

    Q. Should I remove window air conditioners in the winter?A. Window air conditioners should be either removed or sealed in winter to prevent cold air from entering the home and warm air escaping. Insulated covers are available, which can be effective in reducing this air leakage if it is not feasible to remove the units. Sealing the inside and outside of the units with plastic sheeting can also be effective.

    Q. What is a “whole house fan” and is it a good option for cooling my home?A. A whole house fan is a large ventilating fan, typically mounted in a ceiling between the living space and attic. The fan draws air out of the living space and exhausts it to the attic, and then out through the attic vents. For the most effective ventilation, a window or windows in the lower part of the house should be partially opened, to bring cooler air into the home. These fans can be an effective supplement to air conditioning, but unlike an air conditioning system, they do nothing to reduce indoor

    Posted on February 14th, 2008 by luke and filed under Central Air Conditioning | No Comments »

    Central Air Conditioning

    Central AirNew or existing system: Knowing your plans for A/C installation will help your service provider give you a more accurate estimate. For example, if you are tying into an existing system, odds are you will want to use the same brand as the older system. Completely replacing your system will call for tearing it out and having it disposed of both jobs that could mean additional cost to you.

    Addition or remodel: Knowing whether an addition or remodel is in process will help your service professional size up your air conditioning needs and give you a more accurate estimate. A house’s structure, window area, sun exposure, and the climate will affect your cooling needs.

    Power: A central air conditioner’s cooling capacity is rated in Btu’s (British thermal units) per hour. As a rough rule you need 12,000 Btu’s for 1,000 square feet of well insulated space or 400 square feet of poorly insulated space. If you have high ceilings, your cooling needs will be different; it takes more cooling power to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house.

    Aging system: Air conditioners have become increasingly energy efficient in the last decade. If your system may have cooled better days and nights years ago, you may want to consider having it completely replaced. If your service professional is tying into an existing system, the older system’s age will help determine its compatibility with the newer system.

    Wall access: Knowing how much open access is available will help your service professional give you a more accurate estimate. Installing central air conditioning requires access to the home’s heating and cooling duct system. The more open access there is, the less labor that will be involved.

    Common A/C problems: If your central air conditioning isn’t performing up to par or isn’t performing at all, here are some easy troubleshooting tips that you should try before contacting a Service Professional.

    • If the compressor doesn’t turn on, check the fuse and breaker.
    • If it runs but doesn’t cool, the refrigerant could be low.
      If that’s the case, call a service professional.
    • Check to see if the condenser coils on both sides are dirty. If they are, brush and vacuum them. (This is a good idea to perform at least twice a season.)
    • If the A/C is performing inefficiently (partial cooling), check to make sure the condenser is clean, also check to see if the filter is clean.
    • If the water leaks at the furnace, it could be a clogged drainpipe from the evaporator coil pan. Check the pipe and clear it if it is clogged.
    Posted on February 12th, 2008 by admin and filed under Central Air Conditioning | No Comments »

    Ductless Air Conditioning

    Ductless AirDuctless air conditioning makes it possible to air condition areas of your home that were previously difficult to reach. Instead of installing a central unit with ducts, many homeowners choose ductless air conditioning for just one or two rooms.

    Right from the start what is an air conditioner? An air conditioner (often abbreviated to AC in the United States and Canada, and air-con in Australia and in Britain) is an appliance or mechanism designed to extract heat from an area using a refrigeration cycle. In construction, a complete system of heating, ventilation and air conditioning is referred to as HVAC.

    Without any doubts this system has great advantages but it can lead to increasing of utility bills, trapping yourself indoors, noise, blackouts, illnesses because of coldness and to climate change and smog in the perspective. Moreover, some problems can appear because of improper installation of air conditioners as well as possible inadequate maintenance. But the most widespread fault in using air conditioners is to leave windows and doors open. So what is the possible way out? To abandon using a device that can create a suitable microclimate in your apartments? Definitely NOT! Why not try the latest achievement in the cooling sphere?

    Ductless Split Air Conditioners offer wide variety in solving your cooling and heating requirements.

    The evaporator – that is an indoor unit - is installed inside the room, enclosed in a handsome space saving cabinet. Then it should be connected with an outdoor part scientifically called a condenser via refrigerant (coolant) pipes. Simple to install – simple to operate. No ductwork is involved and you save hundreds of money on electricity consumption. Such conditioners do not require much free space and won’t spoil your room planning and design. Such an indoor unit was specifically designed to provide whisper quiet operation at the same time this doesn’t recoil on the efficiency - rotary compressors provide powerful cooling at the lowest noise levels in the industry.

    Posted on February 12th, 2008 by admin and filed under Ductless Air | No Comments »