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How Does Central Air Conditioning Work?
Posted: July 23, 2021 by Andy
There's plenty of benefits to having a central AC system in your home, but the most important one is keeping your home nice and cool and rid of excessive humidity. Not only does your system keep your home comfortable, but it also cleans the indoor air you breathe. When the air passes through the filter, airborne particles such as dust, bacteria, and allergens are removed.
Plus, a central AC system is far quieter than a free-standing or window-mounted air conditioner, as the compressor unit is located outside your home, which keeps noise levels down inside it. But, how does your central air conditioning system actually work?
The AC pros at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling are here to help you understand it.
An AC system's parts
A typical central AC is made up of two main components, also called a split system. This type of system includes:
An outdoor unit. The equipment outside contains the compressor, condenser coil, electrical components, and a fan.
An evaporator coil. The coil is generally installed above the furnace inside your home.
Refrigeration lines. These lines connect the inside equipment to the condenser unit outside.
Refrigerant. This liquid/gas cools your house and is circulated through the refrigeration lines from inside to outside and back.
Ducts. These airflow conduits serve to supply the various spaces in your home with cool air during the warmer months of the year and heated air when it's chilly outside.
A thermostat. This wall-mounted unit controls your entire heating and cooling system and allows you to set the temperature and airflow, and temperature to your desired setting.
The refrigeration cycle
Now that you know a bit about your central air conditioner's components, let's explore its refrigeration process step by step.
1. Refrigerant flows through the system's refrigeration lines between the indoor unit and the outdoor one.
2. Warm air from your home's inside living space is pulled through the ductwork by a fan.
3. Refrigerant is pumped from the compressor coil outside to the evaporator coil inside, absorbing heat from the indoor air.
4. The cooled air is distributed through the ductwork and vents in your home, lowering the temperature to the desired level.
5. This cycle repeats as often as necessary to make your home cool and comfortable.
Central air conditioning in detail
Now that you have some understanding of how central AC works, let's dig a bit deeper into the process.
As we mentioned above, the thermostat monitors and controls the air temperature in your home. Cooling begins when the thermostat senses that the air is warmer than the target temperature. The thermostat then signals to the AC system to start running.
Once the inside and outside components begin to run, your furnace's fan pulls hot air from inside your home through the return air ducts. The air then passes through air filters where dust and other airborne particles are trapped for easy removal when you clean or replace your filter. (You're doing that every month, right?)
The air then passes over the cold evaporator coil, and as the liquid refrigerant inside the coil becomes a gas, the heat is absorbed into the refrigerant, cooling the air. Your indoor unit's blower then pushes the cool air through your home's ductwork to keep your family cool.
Next, the gas travels through copper piping to the outside compressor. The compressor then pressurizes the refrigerant gas back into liquid form and sends it to the condenser coil.
Your condenser unit's fan pulls outside air through its condenser coil, allowing the air to absorb heat from your home and releases this heat outdoors. During this process, the now-liquid refrigerant then travels back to the indoor unit. Once there, it passes through a device that regulates the flow of refrigerant to the evaporator coil.
The cold refrigerant then absorbs more heat from your home's indoor air, and the cycle continues.
Central air conditioning maintenance and repair
If your central AC decides to take the hottest day of the year off, don't panic! Call Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling and get cool fast! Our expert HVAC technicians get the job done right every time! If you need emergency service, we provide 24-hour AC service to the Northeast Ohio area for a wide array of air conditioning repairs. Broken AC got you down? Call us for fast service - 877-247-7661!
Air Cleaners vs. Air Filters
Posted: July 8, 2021 by Andy
Our climate-controlled indoor environments are usually quite comfortable in the modern world. So many of our daily needs are easily met without venturing outside; we're a society that spends most of its time indoors. As a result, indoor air quality has become an area of concern, contributing to potential health problems.
Our team here at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling, along with the manufacturers of air purification and filtration products, are working to provide solutions to help you ensure there's clean indoor air in your home for you and your family. Here are some details about what's currently available.
Often used in conjunction with HVAC air filters, these are usually separate appliances typically designed for a single room or specified square footage of space. A wide variety of different systems and technologies are available, and each option tends to focus on a specific set of particles.
For example, ultraviolet (UV) air cleaners for the home were developed from purifiers used in hospitals for disinfecting the air. They tackle bacteria, mold, viruses, and other pathogens. Or, you might opt for activated carbon filters, which are very effective for removing odors, gases, smoke, and similar particles.
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air purifiers work similarly to HEPA filters and remove pollen, dust, mold spores, and pet dander from your indoor air. However, although HEPA air purifiers effectively filter out tiny particles, they can't remove bacteria and viruses.
Another type of air purification technology uses ions to clean the air. These units disperse negative ions into your living space, which attract positive ions such as dust. The resulting fused particles are heavier and fall onto your home's flooring and other surfaces to be removed during dusting and vacuuming chores. Neighborly Tip: Remember to use a HEPA vacuum bag to maximize the capture and disposal of these particles.
Although each of these air purification systems typically works in a single area or confined space, you can invest in a whole-house purification system as well. For instance, an electronic air cleaner works with your heating and cooling system by employing ionic cleaners, static electricity, and HEPA filtration in a single unified system. A centralized air cleaner can be installed as a component of your ductwork and complements your HVAC system's filtration. Something to consider for added indoor air freshness - an air-to-air exchange unit enables your system to pull in more outside fresh air, enhancing the effectiveness of the other purifiers in your system.
An essential part of your Northeast Ohio home's HVAC system, your air filter traps and removes a wide range of airborne particulates before the circulating air enters your furnace or air conditioner to be heated or cooled. Many different air filters are available, ranging from basic and inexpensive to more costly but effective versions that filter out even microscopic particles.
A filter's minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating measures its ability to remove particles from the air. Filters carry a MERV rating between 1 and 16, with higher values indicating better filtration.
Air filters are composed of many different types of materials. For example, your system can use a pleated polyester filter in a cardboard frame or a layered fiberglass filter surrounded by a metal grate. Regardless of its composition, consider replacing your filter at least every month or so.
Homeowners with family members with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory illnesses may want to consider using a HEPA filter. These filters capture 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger.
Contact us for clean indoor air!
At Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling, our professionals can provide more details about air purification systems and air filters. Our trained team of experts will help you choose an air treatment system that will meet your family's needs. Call us at 877-247-7661 or request service online today. You'll be breathing more easily before you know it!
4 Signs It's Time For A New AC
Posted: June 24, 2021 by Andy
Is your family trying to decide if you should invest in a new air conditioning system? It's a tough decision because a new AC is expensive, and choosing the wrong one could cost you more - both up-front and in the future.
Our expert team at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling understands the importance of this decision, and we've come up with four signs that may point you toward a new AC system this summer.
Your AC system is old or inefficient
The age of your air conditioning unit plays a key role in your decision to get a new one. Keep in mind that the average working life of most air conditioners is about 15 years. So, if your AC is older, it's probably time to upgrade to a newer, more energy-efficient unit.
The likelihood of a terminal equipment failure and more frequent repairs are good indications that it's time to replace your system.
Your energy bills are on the rise
If your monthly energy costs keep going up, it's almost certainly due to the decreasing efficiency of your AC system as it ages. New air conditioning systems are far more energy-efficient than older models. In addition, as technology improves, each new year brings innovations and more cooling power that uses less energy. A recent US Department of Energy report found that a high-efficiency AC unit can lower your energy cost up to 50% percent a year!
While installing a new air conditioning system can be a considerable up-front investment, the amount you'll save on your monthly energy expenses will add up over time. It'll eventually pay for the unit in full.
It's hot and humid inside
That last word is key - inside your home. Your AC system's job is not only to cool your home but remove humidity from your indoor air too. So, if you notice that your AC isn't removing enough moisture during the dog days of summer, your system might be having a hard time keeping up.
High humidity levels in the home can cause more than just discomfort. They can promote the growth of mold and mildew in your Northeast Ohio home. Nobody wants that.
If your air conditioner is blowing warmer air than you'd prefer or it has stopped cooling completely, you may be facing a complete system breakdown soon. And as we all know, AC failures tend to happen on the hottest days of the year, when your system is stressed the most.
Although repairs might resolve the problems for now, if you have a combination of age and several other issues, it's time to consider a new air conditioner. If you've been unable to set money aside for a system upgrade, don't worry! We have a wide array of easy financing options to fit your situation.
You know your service technician by name
We love our customers, and it'd be wonderful to be on a first-name basis with everyone. Still, if we're getting called out to your home more than a couple of times a year (other than seasonal preventative maintenance visits, of course!), you have a problem that only a system replacement is likely to resolve in the long term.
Naturally, you'd prefer to repair and replace components that are causing your AC unit to malfunction rather than purchase a new one. That said, frequent repairs are a telltale sign that you need to invest in a new system.
Energy-efficient central air conditioning systems
Suppose you've experienced one or more of the warning signs above. In that case, it's almost certainly time to say goodbye to that old, unreliable AC unit and hello to a new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we only install new AC units that meet today's energy-efficient standards. And as always, we're available 24/7 to help your family with all of your heating and cooling needs.
A brand new energy-efficient central air conditioning system is waiting for you, and it's likely much more affordable than you might think. Save money on repairs and call the pros at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling today - 877-247-7661!
Exploring Your Central AC System
Posted: June 10, 2021 by Andy
Central AC systems have been popular in homes across America since the 1970s, offering comfort and convenience in every room via a single whole-house thermostat control. Central systems have several components that work together to produce cool, drier air for your family's comfort on hot days. Understanding how all of these parts work together and how to spot a problem can help you keep your central air conditioning system running at optimal performance year after year.
Central air conditioning systems feature two main components - an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor evaporator unit. The outside condenser is housed inside a metal cabinet with fins along each side to direct airflow. A condenser is typically located on a concrete or high-impact plastic pad near the home. The evaporator removes heat from your indoor air, where it's absorbed by a refrigerant and is then sent to your condenser, where the heat is radiated into the outside air. Once the refrigerant has released its absorbed heat, it is pumped back into your home to start the cooling process again.
To keep your condenser working properly, it's a good practice to clear the area around it of debris and keep shrubbery trimmed away from the unit a minimum of three feet in all directions. Periodically clean your condenser using a garden hose, or have our expert HVAC technicians perform this task during your annual air conditioning maintenance visit.
As we briefly touched on above, the air conditioner's evaporator unit draws your indoor air across the evaporator coil. This coil contains your system's refrigerant, which absorbs airborne heat to cool it. Once the air has been cooled, it's blown through your ducts by the air handler. Your air conditioner and furnace share the same air handler system. Like your condenser, your evaporator will be cleaned by our HVAC technicians during a maintenance visit. Additionally, changing the system's air filter regularly will help keep the system free of dirt and dust and ease the strain on the blower motor by enabling airflow.
Your central air conditioning system uses ductwork to distribute cooled air throughout your home. The air is blown into the main duct by your air handler, which then branches out into each living space in your home. Each branch ends in an air register, which contains an adjustable grille that can be opened or closed to allow or restrict airflow. You can keep your registers clean using your vacuum cleaner's hose attachment. Also, be sure not to block registers with furniture or other things. In addition, avoid closing too many registers simultaneously, as this can strain your air handler.
Think of the thermostat as the director of your home's central cooling system. Based on your temperature setting, your thermostat directs your air conditioner to run or stop running by comparing the target temperature with the actual temperature in your home. Ideally, the thermostat should be located in a shaded area, well out of range of any air registers that may skew its temperature reading. If your air conditioning system seems to run too often or not enough, it could be an issue with your thermostat.
Caring for your home's central air conditioning system means following smart cooling practices and scheduling regular professional tune-ups to maximize your AC system's efficiency. So book your annual air conditioning tune-up with our experts today by scheduling an appointment online - you'll gain peace of mind and enjoy a cool, comfortable summer!
AC Repairs - Least & Most Expensive
Posted: May 27, 2021 by Andy
On average, when you call an HVAC technician out to service your central air conditioning system, you can expect to pay between $200 and $600 in repair costs. Prices for AC repairs vary widely depending on the problem, the part(s) needed, and the complexity of the repair. Use the following guide to learn how much air conditioning repairs typically cost, from the cheapest overall to the most expensive.
A seasonal maintenance visit - usually referred to as a tune-up - will be around $80 to $100. Annual maintenance is essential for preventing major repairs to your system and saving you a lot of money over time. Also, regular service can help a home inspector certify that your system is in working order, should you decide to sell your home.
Troubleshooting an air conditioning issue can vary from $75 to $180 depending on where you live, the unit's size, and what time of year it is. HVAC professionals' time is at a premium in the sweltering summer months, so some companies charge a higher hourly labor rate. Neighborly Tip: We charge the same hourly rate year-round, even after hours and on weekends!
Replacing a fuse, breaker, or relay
Since these kinds of simple projects are relatively quick to complete, it generally only costs between $15 and $300 to replace an AC unit's fuses, circuit breakers, or relays.
You could pay between $115 and $250 to replace your thermostat. Repairing the unit is a little less expensive but isn't recommended. Upgrading to a smart thermostat will enhance your AC system's efficiency and save you money on your monthly energy bill.
You can expect to pay from $120 to $475 to replace an AC capacitor, and the repair should take less than an hour when done by a professional.
The cost to recharge a central AC system can vary greatly, depending on the size of your air conditioner, the type of refrigerant your unit uses, and the amount that you need. This could be as low as $100 for newer units, but you should be prepared to pay over $600 if your system is over ten years old. This is due to R-22 refrigerant being obsolete and much more expensive than modern R-410A.
Repairing an AC blower motor can cost as little as $150. However, if it can't be fixed, replacing the motor can cost on average $250-$800, or possibly even $2,000 for a high-end model. The more premium the model, the more its blower will cost.
Replacing an AC compressor
An AC compressor replacement is quite costly and can be upwards of $1,200 to install. If you notice that your air conditioner is blowing warm air, is overly noisy, or vibrates when starting, a failing or failed compressor could be the issue. Repairing a compressor isn't usually as cost-effective long-term as replacing it.
Freon leak repair
A professional visit for an AC Freon leak costs $225-$1,600 depending on the time to fix and the leak's severity. If the leak caused other damage, it could take more than eight hours to detect and fix.
A new condenser averages about $1,750 to install, but this varies on the unit. Ask your AC tech if the condenser can be repaired instead of paying for an outright replacement to save some money.
Fan coil leak
Replacing your system's fan coil could run you $2,000. Though occasionally you might opt to repair a fan coil leak, it's usually best to replace it instead.
Replacing an air handler
Your HVAC system's air handler works to circulate hot and cool air throughout your home. As one of the main components of your AC system, the air handler is an expensive thing to replace. Installing a new air handler could be $2,200-$3,800.
For the installation of ductwork alone, you can expect to pay about $2,000 for replacement. If you need entirely new ductwork and an HVAC system, it could cost you from $9,200 to $12,300 since this project is very involved and can take up to several days to complete.
Don't get sticker shock!
Virtually every heating and cooling repair and upgrade is money well-spent toward your home's value and your family's comfort and safety. It's wise to keep a "rainy day" fund for unforeseen HVAC problems, but if a breakdown catches you unprepared, don't worry! We offer an array of payment and financing options to help you out of a jam.
If your air conditioning system quits working and you need help fast, call in the pros from Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling! We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to ensure that your family is safe and cool. Plus, we can perform seasonal preventative maintenance to help prevent issues and breakdowns.
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