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Is It Time to Replace Your AC Unit?
Posted: August 17, 2017 by Andy
When your air conditioner breaks down, repairing it is the usual option. If your unit is constantly malfunctioning, wastes too much energy or is simply getting too old, now might be the time for a new central air unit. Here are some questions to ponder when deciding between repairing and replacing.
Are you happy with the system you have now?
Regardless of other factors, if your AC unit usually performs well enough, doesn't cost too much to operate, and hasn't required more than occasional low-cost repairs, replacing it probably isn't necessary.
How often do you use your AC?
If you only run it now and then, repair is probably a better option than replacement unless the unit has suffered a catastrophic failure.
How old is your AC unit?
With regular maintenance, your AC unit should keep running efficiently for many years. Experts agree that air conditioning units typically last about 12-18 years, but there are exceptions. A unit that is properly maintained and only sees light use may last 20 years or longer. On the other hand, if a central air unit has been poorly maintained, used heavily, or was improperly installed initially, it may fail far sooner than 12 years. If your AC is more than seven or eight years old and needs more than the occasional tune-up, it's probably a good candidate for replacement.
How efficient is your air conditioner?
If your system continues to cost you a lot to run even after its annual tune-up, you might think about upgrading to a new Energy Star model. Even if your older unit is performing adequately, it might be worth replacing in the interest of efficiency. According to the EPA, a 20-year-old system might cost 2x as much to run as today's more efficient units.
How much will it cost to repair your unit?
If you're faced with a hefty repair bill of $500 or more just to get your old system up and running again, it's probably more cost-effective to replace it altogether - especially if it's been in service a long time. The same goes if your system always seems to be letting you down; eventually, the smart choice is to replace it with a new, more reliable, and more efficient unit. If you do opt for a replacement, make sure you get an Energy Star verified installation. Doing this ensures that your new AC is designed and sized correctly for your living space, and is professionally installed by the qualified local technicians at Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man!
3 Ways to Save on Home Cooling Costs
Posted: August 10, 2017 by Andy
Keeping your home cool during hotter weather is an important part of staying comfortable. After all, your home should provide the perfect place to relax and enjoy life whenever you aren't at work or school. Turning on the AC unit is one of the best ways to ensure a cozy atmosphere. At the same time, you probably want to minimize the cost of cooling your home so you can avoid expensive electric bills. Here is a look at three simple ways to save on the cost to cool your home.
Get Your AC Unit Cleaned and Serviced
A clean and well maintained air conditioning unit delivers more efficient cooling than a dirty one that is in need of repair. Your cooling unit won't have to work so hard if it is clean and all of its parts have been properly serviced. During the checkup, the technician can replace worn parts, a task that improves the energy efficiency of your AC unit on top of the benefit received by cleaning the cooling system.
You should try and schedule an appointment with your local HVAC specialist at the beginning of the spring. If you wait until the summer to schedule your service, you'll probably have to stand in line for your turn. If you've forgotten to arrange for annual cleaning and maintenance this year, it's never too late to do so!
Install Exterior Awnings on the Sunny Side of Your Home
The sun can really heat up the interior of your home, especially on days when the outside temperature soars into the nineties. If you install awnings on the windows where the sun spends most of its time, you should be able to minimize the increase in temperature experienced inside of your home. Keep in mind the style and color of your home's exterior when making your selection so you can maintain the attractiveness of your home. Once the awnings are installed, they should provide shade for your windows that helps to keep the temperature from rising.
Install Ceiling and/or Attic Fans
While fans cannot create cold air, they can be used to circulate the air within your home, mixing warmer air with cooler air. As a result, the overall temperature in a room with a ceiling fan should be even and cooler than it would without this type of circulation. Another type of fan to consider installing is an attic fan. This style of fan is designed to draw heat through and out of the attic, helping to keep your home's interior cool and comfortable.
If your electric bill is higher than you would like it to be, you might be able to lower it with a few changes to your home. Consider using ceiling fans to circulate interior air, and attic fans to draw warm air to the outside of the home. If your home receives too much sunshine, think about getting a few awnings to keep it out. Of course, annual maintenance often makes a big difference in energy efficiency as well, so remember to schedule a seasonal service call for your HVAC unit or air conditioner.
Landscaping Around Your Outdoor A/C Unit
Posted: August 4, 2017 by Andy
Many homeowners consider an outdoor central air conditioning unit to be an eyesore and like to conceal it with strategically planted landscaping. That's all well and good, but it's crucial not to block air flow to the unit in the process. Here are three things to consider when planning your next lawn beautification project.
Make sure to leave adequate space between the air conditioning unit and your plants to avoid restricting air flow around the coils. Plants should be at least 2-3 feet from the unit on all sides, and plan the landscaping so that the air conditioner is easily accessible for maintenance and repairs. If you have trees or other tall plants growing above the unit, trim them regularly to keep a minimum 5-foot clearance between them and the air conditioner. It is also beneficial to position your plants so that minimal matter falls into the unit.
One thing that many homeowners never consider is the fact that, in addition to making the area look more natural, landscaping around your air conditioner can actually help improve its efficiency. Placing plant life around your A/C unit so that it's in shade most of the day helps keep the temperature down so the unit doesn't have to work as hard to cool your home.
Types of plants
Homeowners have many plant options to choose from when planning landscaping around an air conditioner. Plants that don't lose their leaves during the colder months are ideal for concealing the unit, and because their leaves don't fall, they reduce the amount of sweeping and raking needed to keep the area clear of debris. Hedges and shrubs are a popular choice, and can be trimmed to your preferred shape and height. Building a lattice around your A/C unit and landscaping with climbing plants is also a relatively simple and attractive option.
Whatever landscaping options you choose, make sure to trim plants, hedges and trees near the air conditioner regularly to maximize airflow and efficiency. If you have any questions about your air conditioning unit, or are looking for additional tips for landscaping around an air conditioner, contact Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man today - we're here to help, because that's how neighbors should treat neighbors!
Should There Be Ice on Your Air Conditioning Unit?
Posted: July 27, 2017 by Andy
Ice and air conditioning may sound logical. Ice is created from cold; air conditioning creates colder temperatures. If your A/C unit is working properly, you should never see ice in the summer. An A/C unit that is being run in the winter might lead to icing. If there are reasons why the unit needs to be run in the winter (i.e. for a restaurant) a professional technician can install a package that can reduce the icing problem. Setting the thermostat too low can also cause the unit to ice up. Most experts agree that you should never have an A/C thermostat set below 70 degrees.
If you see ice on your HVAC system in the summer, you should turn the unit off and begin troubleshooting steps. Some issues may be easily fixed by the homeowner. Other issues may be more complicated or serious and may require the services of a professional HVAC technician.
The first step is to check all air filters and vents for blockage. Blockage of the air filters or vents can cause the system to ice up, but can probably be easily fixed by the homeowner. Also, make sure the thermostat is set high enough for the unit to function properly. If windows are left open while the HVAC system is running, this can also cause the unit to ice up. Check these conditions and if they exist, solve them yourself instead of wasting the expense of a service call.
If your investigation reveals that none of these problems are the issue, it is time to schedule a visit from a professional technician. If the icing is not due to the above problems, it may be a symptom of a more critical issue with your cooling unit. Icing could be caused by problems with the fan or by various types of blockages inside the cooling system. Ice could also be related to a damaged thermostat or a coil that needs repair. Low levels of refrigerant can also be a cause of icing problems.
Remember that you should never see ice on your cooling unit during the summer. If you do see ice, first follow the troubleshooting ideas above, then contact a professional technician, if you are unable to find the source of the problem.
4 Bad Mistakes You Don't Want Your HVAC Contractor Making On Your New Central Air System
Posted: July 20, 2017 by Andy
If you are planning a new HVAC system, it's important to understand that competent installation isn't something that you can take for granted - not even if you go with a well-known, name-brand contracting business.
Many homeowners make the mistake of believing that the quality of their installation is mostly down to the brand of equipment that they get. This isn't the right way to think about such installations, however. There is room for serious error every step of the way. Poor quality installation can render the best HVAC equipment inefficient and ineffective. It is the contractor's knowledge of his trade that makes HVAC equipment actually usable.
Your first step to finding the right contractor is learning how to recognize how things can go wrong and what there is to watch out for.
You may get equipment that's too powerful
Many HVAC installation contractors prefer to sell their customers more HVAC power than they need. They do this, usually, because they aren't confident in their ability to make precise calculations. They choose to err on the side of caution. In the event of an underestimation, the home can turn too warm in summer, and the client could find it easy to blame the contractor.
On the other hand, if an installation is too powerful, the problems that arise can be complicated ones. They can be hard to pin on the contractor. If it's hard for you to imagine what kind of problems an overpowered installation might come with, here are examples:
- With excess capacity, air conditioning units tend to lower the temperature of the space to be cooled too quickly. This way, the unit has little time to remove moisture from the air before it cuts out. The result is indoor air that's strangely cool and heavy with humidity at the same time.
- With its short run cycling, such an air conditioning unit is likely to either keep the temperature too cool or too warm.
- There's likely to be excessive noise.
In addition, you're likely to pay more up front for such a system, and more to run it. An oversized unit will usually receive inadequate airflow, and have its coils ice over. This can decrease efficiency.
They can install a poorly planned HVAC ducting system
A professionally done ducting system should use wider ducting for larger rooms or rooms with greater heating or cooling needs, and smaller ducting for smaller rooms. There's an easy way to determine if the ducting system in your home is correctly sized - if it uses ducting of the same size for every room of the house, no matter how large or small, there's something wrong. A poorly done ducting system will end up being inefficient.
Poor design in a ducting system can also cause mold, excessive power consumption and structural damage to a house. When a ducting system's vents are positioned to directly aim air at the floor, for example, the hardwood can dry out and cause warping. If every joint in the system isn't properly sealed (while good contractors use mastic, the others use tape), it can cause considerable air leakage and moisture formation that leads to mold. Experts estimate that 80% of homes have poorly designed ducting systems, and these families lose about 35% of the cool or warm air that they pay for.
A bad ducting system can also cause serious health problems. Many contractors design these systems to pull air in from crawlspaces. If a crawlspace has mold, the whole home becomes contaminated.
They can put in installations with poor filtration systems
Many homeowners don't realize how important the filter rack of an HVAC system is. It keeps dust out of the system, makes for cleaner internal coils, and provides greater efficiency. A dust-clogged system cannot cool or heat air well and ends up wasting a great deal of energy. Unfortunately, there are plenty of new installations that come with loose, incorrectly sealed filters that liberally leak air.
There's so much more that can go wrong...
There are other mistakes possible with an installation, as well. A thermostat that's placed too close to a vent can fail to register the right temperature because it is directly exposed to cool or warm air. An outdoor condenser system that gets too much sunshine and too little ventilation, or one that has poorly insulated copper interconnect tubing, will waste energy. A refrigerant valve without a protective cap will get dirty, will leak refrigerant as a result, and will cost you lots of money for recharging.
The answer isn't simply to go with some big-name installation company. They make these mistakes all the time. Instead, it takes some hard research. You need to look up reviews and ask pointed questions of every installation contractor that you put on your shortlist (you should look into at least three contractors). In an industry prone to unscientific practices, you can't afford to be shy. If your contractor makes a mistake, you could end up paying for it for the next 20 years.
... but it won't - not with us!
While everything you've read so far in this article definitely is worthy of being mindful of, the professionals here at Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man will go above and beyond during every step of the installation process to ensure that you don't encounter any issues. Even if we somehow do make a mistake... we'll make it right, because that's how neighbors should treat neighbors!
We proudly offer quality service in the following counties and cities:
Ashland - Ashtabula - Carroll - Columbiana - Coshocton - Cuyahoga - Delaware - Franklin - Geauga - Guernsey - Harrison - Holmes - Jefferson - Knox - Lake - Licking - Lorain - Mahoning - Medina - Morrow - Muskingum - Portage - Richland - Stark - Summit - Trumbull - Tuscarawas - Wayne
Akron - Alliance - Barberton - Boardman - Cambridge - Canfield - Canton - Carrollton - Chardon - Cleveland - Columbus - Coshocton - Cuyahoga Falls - Dover - Elyria - Green - Lisbon - Louisville - Massillon - Medina - Millersburg - New Philadelphia - Painesville - Parma - Ravenna - Stow - Strongsville - Tallmadge - Wadsworth - Warren - Wooster - Youngstown - Zanesville
... and all points in-between!
We expertly service many furnace and air conditioning types, accessories and brands:
Central Air Systems - Electric Heaters - Gas Furnaces - Heat Pump Systems - Mobile Home Furnaces - Mobile Home Air Conditioners - Propane Furnaces
Electronic Air Filters - HEPA Air Cleaners - Humidifiers - Thermostats - Ultraviolet Lamps
Air Flow - Amana - American Standard - Arco-Aire - Armstrong - Bryant - Carrier - Coleman - Comfortmaker - Concord - Conquest - Daikin - Ducane - Franklin - GE - GMC - Goodman - Heil - Honeywell - Janitrol - Kalvinator - Lennox - Luxaire - Miller - Payne - Ruud - Tempstar - Trane - WeatherKing - Weathermaker - White-Rogers
... and many more!