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Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning (41)

Split Heating and Cooling Systems Explained


What Is a Split System? A split system simply means a home's heating and cooling system has components that are both inside and outside your home. In most cases, a split system will consist of the following components:

Gas Furnace or Boiler - Provides heating while also circulating air throughout the home year round.

Evaporator coil - The indoor component of the outdoor AC unit that uses refrigerant to cool the air.

Air conditioner or Heat Pump - Works with the evaporator coil to cool the home.

Air Ducts - In homes with central heating and cooling, distribute the conditioned air throughout your home.

Control or Thermostat - The brains and interface of the home homes cooling and heating system.

Indoor Air Quality Accessories - Designed to purify, humidify, and freshen the air for a healthier indoor environment.

Have questions about your home's heating and cooling system? Call Air Specialties. We can answer all your questions.
Zoning a cooling system can help increase comfort and efficiency by adjusting for the many ways you use your home. Maybe you're caught up in family "thermostat wars?" Or perhaps you have unoccupied areas that do not need conditioning? Zoning a heating and cooling allows you to divide your home into separate areas, giving you the comfort and control you've always wanted.

The benefits of zoning include:

Comfort

Zoning meets the specific temperature and airflow requirements of one area, without affecting other areas.

Efficiency

A properly designed zoning system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year.

Control

Zoning divides the home into different areas and comfort into different levels, giving you more choices and control than ever before.

Quiet Performance

When combined with a variable speed and/or two-stage HVAC systems, zoning allows your heating and cooling equipment to deliver peak performance and efficiency without continually operating at peak capacity. Lower speeds mean lower sound levels.

Have questions about how zoning can help optimize the performance and comfort of your air conditioner? Call Air Specialties, we can help.

Today's central air conditioners are designed to never leak coolant. In fact, the coolant in an air conditioner will often outlast the AC system itself. In rare cases, however, coolant may leak from a system and need a recharge – or more accurately, a refill.

Refrigerants are used to extract the heat from the air, without this heat transfer the system will fail to cool, so the most obvious sign of a leak is when the air coming out of your vents feels warmer than normal. Of course, this will also trick the thermostat into making the AC run longer than normal. This will happen gradually over time as the refrigerant slowly leaks out. Another sign of a refrigerant leak is a buildup of frost and ice on the surface of the AC unit. Once outside the coil, refrigerant is a gas that will freeze on any exposed surface.

If the system does need a coolant recharge the work should be performed by a qualified air conditioner technician who is certified by the EPA to perform the work. Annual AC maintenance is also important to find small leaks before they degrade system performance. If the system is 12 years or older and the leak is large, it may be more cost effective to replace the air conditioner with a newer, more efficient model rather than repair and refill unit.

 

Identifying Potential Air Conditioner Problems

May 2012

Your home's central air conditioner is a power-hungry and complex machine that can fail at any time without warning. However, there are a few simple ways you can identify air conditioner problems that could tip you off to a potential problems before the unit fails completely.   

Some of the early warning signs of potential problems are:

Excessive Noise

One of the most common complaints we hear is that the air conditioner is making a wailing noise. Left unchecked, the minor annoyance can quickly grow deafening when the unit is operating at full capacity. Loud noises such as these are generally caused by a fan belt becoming dislodged over time. Your technician will check the bearings in the motor, as they may require lubrication or replacement.

Frozen AC Coils

Another issue that often arises is frozen coils. Frozen coils and ice can impede the operation of the unit, creating blockage in the circulation of Freon and air. Heat pumps often contain heating elements to reduce this problem, but sometimes the unit doesn’t cycle quickly enough. Recalibrating the unit can eliminate this problem.

AC Precipitation

An air conditioner that is leaking water inside your home can cause significant water damage as well as mold and mildew. If your AC unit no longer drains away condensation effectively, it could be the result of a rusted out condensation pan or blockage in the drain itself. Check the pan and drain lines for signs of leaks.

Ventilation Grills

One of the most common causes of air conditioner failure is blocked grills. Annual maintenance to clean the unit's fins, fan, motor and other parts of dirt and debris will allow the unit to operate at peak efficiency during the hottest weather.

Other AC Problems

If the air conditioner simply isn’t cooling, more advanced diagnostic tools may need to be applied. Is the fan or compressor running without the other? Does the unit work only part of the time? Does it over cool or not cool enough? Questions such as these can help you give your technician a head start in quickly zeroing in on the source of the problem, so be sure to take a second to observe operation before you turn of power to the unit and call for service.

Generally most problems can be identified from the details above. If, for instance, the unit shuts off before the room is a comfortable temperature, it may not be cycling enough air through the thermostat to take a measurement. This could be due to poor calibration or a blocked sensor.

A Freon leak can render the machine weak or ineffective, especially if recharging the gas supply doesn’t solve the problem. The thermostat could be broken as well, which usually means it has to be replaced. Finally, the A/C unit may be short-circuited to the ground, causing circuit breakers to fail every time the machine turns on. Be sure to provide a  description of the problem to your technician to help him solve your problem as quickly as possible.

Tips To Survive The Summer Heat While Saving On Your Energy Bill

July 2012

With the summer heat wave upon us, it's is time to break out the swimsuits, iced drinks and power up the air conditioner. Unfortunately, along with the rising temperatures come rising electric bills. Here are a few helpful tips to keeping cool this summer, while saving energy dollars.

Set your thermostat to work around your schedule. When no one is home, set it to kick in a few degrees higher. You might save up to $200 doing this.

  1.  Use ceiling fans to circulate aair through the house. By simply raising your thermostat by a couple degrees and running your ceiling fans, you could save up to 15% on your energy bill. Turn off the fans when you are not using the space.
  2. Close the curtains or blinds during the day when the sun is at its brightest. This will greatly reduce the energy spent on cooling your home.
  3. Have your air conditioner tuned-up annually to keep it operating efficiently.
  4. Replace your filter every at least every three months to ensure that your AC is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
  5. Energy-efficient light bulbs use less electricity and produce less heat, lowering your overall energy costs.
  6. Check for leaking air ducts. If you find air escaping use metal duct tape to seal any leaks.
  7. When it's time to replace your old, inefficient air conditioner, purchase an Energy Star® rated unit designed to use less energy.
  8. Adding insulation to your attic not only keeps your home warmer in the winter, it will help to keep the cool air inside during the summer.

By following a these simple steps this summer you'll be able to relax knowing you've helped keep your home cooling costs in check.

Keeping Your Home's Air Conditioner Operating Reliably

With hot summer weather fast approaching, this is the time to ensure your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems is prepared for the consistently hot months ahead. Proper cooling system maintenance, along with a few simple steps to keep your house cool, will ensure that your air conditioning operates at peak efficiency throughout the summer.

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), your HVAC system could be costing you an additional $1,000 per season to run, due to dirty coils and clogged filters, it if it is not clean and properly maintained.

Air Specialties recommends these HVAC tips to ensure long term reliability and efficiency.

  1. Change your air conditioning filters at least once a month. Clean filters enable your unit to run more efficiently, causing less wear on the motors and parts.
  2. Visually inspect your air conditioning ducts to ensure they are not leaking.
  3. Replace or install weather stripping around doors, windows and baseboards. Cracked or worn weather stripping allows cool air to escape. Replacing weather stripping annually can result in a 15 percent savings on your utility bill.
  4. Make sure that your home is well insulated. Fiberglass insulation is the easiest to install and the most effective. Insulation with an R factor between 30 and 49 is effective and can save up to 10 percent in energy costs.
  5. Manage the temperature with a programmable theremostat. Keep the temperature cool at night and warmer during the day when you're away from home. Programmable thermostats are an affordable way to control indoor temperatures for optimal comfort and efficiency.
  6. Block out direct sun with drapes and window shades.
  7. Keep windows and doors closed when the air conditioning is on.
  8. Use ceiling fans to help circulate cool air throughout the house.
  9. Plan hot work for cooler morning and evening hours. Basic household functions such as washing, drying and ironing clothes, baking and cooking all make it harder for the cooling system to do its job.

If your air conditioner is not effectively cooling all areas of your home, or you notice unusual noise coming from your HVAC system, call Air Specialties, our experienced technicians can help diagnose the problem and repair your cooling system so it provides reliable cooling throughout the summer.

Understanding Energy Efficiency Ratings When Choosing A New Air Conditioner

One common measurement  of unit efficiency is called SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the number the more efficient the system.

A SEER rating indicates how much heat a central air conditioning system can remove per hour relative to the power it consumes. An air conditioner with a high SEER number will require less energy to remove the same amount of heat as a unit with a lower SEER rating

Calculating SEER Ratings

The SEER formula: SEER = BTUs (heat removed) per hour / Watts (power consumed)

For example, if your old air conditioner removes 36000 BTUs per hour while consuming 3600 Watts, you can calculate its SEER rating as follows: SEER = 36,000 BTUs per hour / 3,600 Watts = 10

To achieve higher efficiency while maintaining the same cooling power, you need an air conditioner that consumes less power and thereby has a higher SEER rating. Compare the above calculation with the following examples:

    • SEER = 36,000 BTUs per hour / 2,769 Watts = 13
    • SEER = 36,000 BTUs per hour / 2,571 Watts = 14
    • SEER = 36,000 BTUs per hour / 2,250 Watts = 16
    • SEER = 36,000 BTUs per hour / 2,000 Watts = 18

Calculating Energy Savings

For these examples, assume that you use your air conditioner for approximately 2,000 hours per year, and your electric power costs approximately $0.10 per KWhr (kilowatt hour). You can calculate your annual air-conditioning power cost as follows: Annual Cost = KW (kilowatts) Power consumed X Hours per year X Cost per KWhr

Higher SEER ratings reduce annual energy costs, as shown in these examples:

    • For SEER rating of 10, Annual Cost = 3.6 KW X 2,000 Hours X $0.10 = $720.00
    • For SEER rating of 14, Annual Cost = 2.571 KW X 2,000 Hours X $0.10 = $514.20
    • For SEER rating of 16, Annual Cost = 2.25 KW X 2,000 Hours X $0.10 = $450.00


(These are average estimates and will vary with different types of equipment.)

Have Questions? Call the experts at Air Specialties.  A Home Comfort Specialist will evaluate your home, your comfort preferences, and your budget. We’ll also address issues like allergies and indoor air quality in determining the best air conditioner to matches your home and your lifestyle.

10 Tips To Cut Your Cooling Costs This Season

According to the U.S. Department of Energy In the typical Connecticut area home, 40 percent of energy consumed is for heating and cooling. To reduce these costs as much as possible, we have put together a few tips on you can significantly decrease the amount that you spend to keep your home cool while still being comfortable.

1. Seal Air Leaks - Locate air leaks around windows, doors and outlets by burning a match stick while running the home’s fans. Weather-stripping is a simple and affordable fix that can cut up to 15 percent or more off cooling costs.

2. Switch to CFL or LED Lights - Conventional incandescent bulbs emit a lot of heat. You will keep your home cooler with energy-efficient light bulbs while saving electricity over the long term.

3. Use Curtains and Blinds - Keep south- and west-facing curtains and blinds closed on hot days and opened during cool evenings.

4. Laundry Strategies - Wash clothes in cold water to help keep the home cooler. Hang clothes outside to dry on warm days.

5. Unplug Electronics - TVs, DVD players, and computers that are turned off can still suck power out of outlets. Unplug electronics that are not in use. Use smart strips to make this easier.

6. Programmable Thermostats - Program the thermostat to turn air conditioning off when the household is away to help save up to 10 percent on your cooling costs.
Move the Thermostat - Make sure that the thermostat is located on an inside wall, away from drafts.

7. Insulate Attic Access Points - Insulated covers are available for attic doors, hatches and pull-down stairs. Adequate insulation can cut heating and cooling cuts by 10 percent or more.

8. Ventilate Attics - Ventilation fans help prevent the sun’s heat from building up in the attic.

9. Check the Ducts - Sealing and insulating the home’s duct distribution system enhances the cooling system’s efficiency.

10. Schedule Maintenance - Arrange for regular maintenance to keep your air-conditioning system operating at peak efficiency.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Old Air Conditioner?

With the warm weather just around the corner in Connecticut, many homeowners with older AC systems are weighing the benefits of repairing and maintaining their older unit versus purchasing a newer, more reliable system.

The old saying "if it ain't broken, don't fix it." makes sense for a lot things around the home, but for energy intensive systems like air conditioners, putting off a new system could be costing you more in the long run.

The EPA suggest that homeowners replace their air conditioner if it's beyond 10 years old. The reason is new air conditioners are much more efficient that system installed over a decade ago. How much can you expect to save on your energy bill? With a newer, high efficiency system you could save up to 56% on your cooling costs.

Here are a couple of other reasons to consider replacing your old air conditioner.

1. Your air conditioner is in need of regular repairs and your energy costs are rising as it has become worn out and less efficient.

2. It's LOUD! Newer air conditioners operate at variable-speeds to cool your home more quietly in most situations.

Air Conditioner Refrigerants - A Future Without Freon

Without refrigerants, air conditioning as we know it would not be possible. These liquid cooling agents circulate inside the air conditioner's coils to cool and dehumidify the air in our homes. Up until very recently the most common refrigerant found in home air conditioners was R-22, or Freon. However, Freon is also a very potent contributor to the depletion of the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere, so its use is being phased out.

Alternatives To Freon

As manufacturers phase out R-22 refrigerants, newer environmentally friendly alternative are being developed. R-410A is an EPA-rcognized, ozone-friendly refrigerant. Many of the industry's highest efficiency cooling systems are now designed to use R-410A refrigerant, benefiting the environment as well as your budget.

Freon Use In Air Conditioners Today

Although air conditioner manufacturers are required to phase out the use of R-22 systems, use of R-22 refrigerant is still allowed in older systems manufactured prior to 2010. If you have an older air conditioner that uses Freon, it's important to ensure that the unit is well maintained and not leaking into the atmosphere.

As the availability of Freon for air conditioners become lower in the coming years it makes sense to plan on upgrading to an R-410A system now. When your old air conditioner is removed ABC will properly recycle the components to ensure the Freon does not damage to the environment.

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  • We Service All Makes & Models
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Call Us Today!

Getting the right furnace maintenance is about more than just checking the boxes on your home maintenance list; it’s about having the support of professionals who can help you and your family breathe easy — literally!

Are you looking for seasoned professionals to do your furnace maintenance and get the job done right the first time around? If so, our crew would love to hear from you! To get in touch with the leading AC and heating company in your neck of the woods, don’t hesitate to give our team at Air Specialties a call today!


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