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Friday, 22 June 2018 22:06

Choosing a Ductless Cooling System

Choosing a ductless cooling system

As technology and efficiency have improved over the years, ductless cooling and heating (also call mini-split systems) have increased in popularity. For homes without central heating and cooling or air ducts, and difficult to cool and heat rooms like attics, garages and additions, ductless systems can be a good option. When deciding which ductless system is right for your home, consider the following questions.

How Many Zones?

One of the advantages of ductless mini-split systems is the ability to control each zone separately. Depending on the model, you can have from 1 to 8 seprate zones. Maybe you will have only one zone, say a 3-season porch. Or, you may have a zone for every room in your home. Having multiple zones controlled independently not only improves comfort in each room, it can save you a lot of money in lower utility bills.

Sizing

Choosing the right size unit for your home is critical to ensuring comfort and efficiency. The power of air conditioners is measured in BTUs. The higher the BTUs, the larger the volume of air an air conditioner will be able to effectively cool. Some product specs will list the size of a room it is designed to cool. Or, you can also do the calculations yourself based on the products BTU rating.
Generally, the square footage of a room translates into the following number of BTUs needed:
  • 300 sq. ft. 7,000 BTUs
  • 350 sq. ft. 8,000 BTUs
  • 400 sq. ft. 9,000 BTUs
  • 450 sq. ft. 10,000 BTUs
  • 500 sq. ft. 11,000 BTUs
  • 550 sq. ft. 12,000 BTUs
  • 625 sq. ft. 13,000 BTUs
  • 700 sq. ft. 14,000 BTUs
  • 1,000 sq. ft. 18,000 BTUs

Installation Location

One of the main advantages of ductless systems is the flexibility of installation locations. While a window air conditioner is stuck in the window, a ductless unit can be installed in the floor, the ceiling or on the wall. Wherever they are installed, most mini-split units are compact and unobtrusive.

Additional Features

• Remote control operation - Most ductless systems come with a wireless remote for controlling the unit. Some offer smartphone apps that let you monitor and control the system while you're away from home.
• Timers
• Reusable filters

Have questions about ductless cooling and heating for your home? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We can help answer all your questions.

Published in Air Conditioning
If you're considering a window air conditioner to cool individual rooms in your home, you may want to consider a ductless, or mini-split system instead. While initial installation costs are usually higher, in most cases a ductless system will offer better aesthetics, efficiency, convenience and versatility that will pay for itself.

Ductless or Window Air Conditioner?

Here are a few of the advantages ductless systems offer versus window AC units.

1. No window needed. A window air conditioner blocks the view outside and can present security issues. Window AC units can also be unsightly both inside and outside the home. Ductless systems are typically small, narrow units that can be mounted up high near the ceiling or in the floor where they won't get in the way.

2. Heating. In addition to cooling, some ductless systems can provide heating.

3. Expandability. Mini-split systems can be connected together to cool and heat up to 8 rooms.

4. Lower Noise. Because the condensor is located outside the house, minisplit systems are typically much quieter than window air conditioners.

5. Advanced Features - With some models you can monitor and adjust your ductless system with a remote control and create programs and schedules from your smartphone or tablet.

If you're considering replacing your window air conditioners with a ductless cooling system, call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We can help answer all your questions.
Published in Air Conditioning

Thermostat


Central air conditioners are one of the most energy intensive appliances in the home. Using a programmable thermostat to automatically control the cooling schedule can avoid wasting energy, increase comfort and save you money. So what about when you're going to be away from home on vacation for more than a week or more? Should you turn the AC completely off, or just turn the temperature up so it runs less often?

One important factor to consider is humidity. If the forecast includes a chance that the temperature and humidity are going to reach tropical levels, mold and mildew could be a concern if the windows are closed. Remember, an air conditioner doesn't just cool the air, it removes moisture. Turning the thermostat up 10 degrees will enable the AC to turn on every occasionally and keep humidity levels in check.

Have a smart thermostat? Some thermostats like the Nest® include a phone app that will let you monitor the temperature and humidity in your home while you're away. If the temperature and humidity get too high, you can simply turn on the AC remotely while your away. 

If excess humidity is not a concern and you plan to turn off the air conditioner while you're away, it's also a good idea to close the drapes and blinds on all windows that are facing sunlight during the day.
Published in Air Conditioning
How Long Does a Central Air Conditioner Last?

As the hot, humid weather arrives in the West Haven area and you prepare to switch on your central air conditioner for another summer you may be wondering just how many more years of service it will provide before needing replacement. The short answer is approximately 10-15 years. The long answer, however, is a little more complicated. How long your air conditioner will last depends on many factors. Some of these factors include the quality of the air conditioner itself – lower costs models will likely need replacement before a more expensive, higher end model does. A lower cost air conditioner may be ready for replacement in as little as 8 years.

The good news is that many of the factors that determine how long your central air conditioner will last are under your control. The most important thing you can do is have your air conditioner professionally maintained each spring. Annual maintenance will not only help the unit last longer, it will allow it to operate more efficiently, saving you money on your utility bill and reducing the likelihood of unexpected repairs.

Because most air conditioner parts can be replaced as they wear out, it's usually a good idea to repair parts as wear out. With new air conditioners operating at much higher efficiency than units made just a decade ago, replacing the unit could ultimately be more cost effective in the long run when compared to the cost of keeping an aging 10-15 year old unit running.

Have questions about your central air conditioner? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call, we can help answer all your home cooling questions.
Published in Air Conditioning
Monday, 19 March 2018 22:00

Choosing a New Air Conditioner

Buying a new central air conditioner is a major investment. When repairing your old unit is no longer an option and it's time to purchase a new air conditioner, here are some things to consider.

West Haven Air Conditioning

1. EFFICIENCY - Depending on the age of your old air conditioner, installing a new, energy efficient system could pay for itself over time. By looking at the Energy Star Label on new air conditioners you can find out how efficient the unit is, as indicated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The SEER rating tells you how efficiently a unit uses electricity: the higher the number, the greater the efficiency.

The typical SEER rating of units manufactured prior to 1992 is about 6.0. In 1992, the government established a minimum cooling efficiency standard for units installed in new homes at 10.0 SEER. High efficiency units have a rating of at least 12.0 SEER.

2. MULTIPLE SPEED OPERATION - Multi-speed units can run on low-speed (using about 50 percent of the energy) 80 percent of the time. Consequently, they use fewer on/off cycles and produce fewer drafts and small temperature swings.

3. AIR QUALITY - If indoor air quality is a concern, you can effectively reduce indoor pollution by installing a whole house air cleaner to the AC units air handler. You'll breathe easier knowing that your new system is capturing the contaminants that can cause health problems.

Have questions about choosing the best air conditioner for your home? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We have decades of experience in air conditioning.
Published in Air Conditioning
With warm weather right around the corner we will soon be turning our central air conditioners on to cool our homes.  Regular maintenance is critical to ensuring that your cooling system is running reliably and efficiently. A dirty, unmaintained air conditioner not only costs you money in the form of more frequent repairs and a shortened lifespan of the unit, but every time it's running in the form of higher utility bills.

West Haven AC Maintenance

Consider these facts:

“A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool – wasting energy and leading to expensive repairs and/or early system failure...A buildup of .042(1/20) inches of dirt on the heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease inefficiency of 21%.” – EnergyStar.gov

“1/8th of an inch of dirt and dust build-upon the blower wheel can reduce airflow by up to 30%” – Texas A&M Study

In addition to keeping your air conditioner clean, an Air Specialties Air Conditioning tune-up includes lubricating moving parts, checking coolant levels, inspecting the blower motor, belts, electrical systems and much more. So call us today to schedule your AC tune up and keep your cooling system is operating reliably and efficiently all year long.

So don't wait until the busy summer season to tune-up your air conditioner. Schedule you air conditioner tune-up today and rest easy knowing your air conditioner is running efficiently all summer long.
Published in Air Conditioning

How Good Is My Furnace Filter For Cleaning the Air In My Home?

Furnace Air Filter

If you want to find out how effective your air filter is at removing contaminants from the air, check the filter's MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV is a standard that rates the effectiveness of air filters. A higher numeric rating means the filter will remove finer particulate matter from the air.

Filters are tested for for their ability to trap pollen, dust mites, mold spores, dust, pet dander, bacteria and tobacco smoke. Here are how effective the different MERV ratings are at removing various contaminants from the air.

1-4 : Filters out pollen and dust mites.

5-8 : Removes mold and dust.

9-12 : Traps lead dust and most bacteria

12+ : Filters out all bacteria and tobacco smoke

When choosing an air filter for your HVAC system it may seem like a good idea to buy the filter with the highest MERV rating, since you want to have the cleanest air possible, right? In most cases, you should use a filter in the 5-8 range. The reason is that filters with a high MERV rating will have the smallest pores for air to pass through. This can make it harder for the HVAC system to push air through the filter, reducing system performance. To avoid restricting the air flow, filters with a higher MERV rating should be changed more frequently (at least every three months) to prevent damage to the HVAC system.

Ultimately, if your home's air is dirty enough to require a higher MERV rating, or you're changing air filters more than once a month, you may be better served by having a whole home air filtration system. A furnace air filter is really just designed to keep your HVAC equipment clean to prevent wear and tear. A whole house air filtration system is designed to actually clean the air inside the home.

Have questions about air filters? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We can help answer all your questions.
Published in Indoor Air Quality

Learning Thermostats - the Smart Way To Save On Heating and Cooling

Learning ThermostatLearning Thermostats, or smart thermostats, have been around for a while now, and they keep getting smarter. Here are some of the features you will find that can help keep your home more comfortable while also reducing your energy usage.
  1. Learns your routine. Built-in sensors track activity in the home and use algorithms a custom, auto-adjusting temperature schedule based on those movements in the home. If you turn down the heat before bed, the thermostat learns this routine.
  2. It knows when you're away. Using your smartphone's location and sensors in the home, a learning thermostat can switch to economy mode to save energy.
  3. Tracks energy usage. Knowing your energy usage history can help you better manage your heating and cooling schedule and save on your utility bill.
  4. Early warning of an emergency. If the temperature drops unexpectedly when it's below freezing because your furnace is not working, you will be warned before pipes freeze and your home is damaged.
Upgrading to a learning thermostat is easy, and can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.
Published in Heating
Tuesday, 22 August 2017 19:24

4 Home Cooling Myths

4 Home Cooling Myths

Home Cooling MythsWe all have habits when it comes to keeping our home cool and comfortable during the cooling season that we think will keep the house cooler and save us on cooling costs. However, there are a few common habits that can actually end up costing you more without making the home any cooler.

1. Turning The AC Off When You're Away From Home For More Than a Couple of Hours Saves Money.
MYTH: While an air conditioner is obviously not using energy when it's turned off, turning the A/C back on makes it run longer to remove the heat that has built up inside the home, which can use a lot of energy.

2. Ceiling Fans Should Be Run All the Time During the Summer
MYTH: Ceiling fans don't actually cool the air in your home, they simply move the conditioned air down into the living space and provide evaporative cooling on the skin, making you feel more comfortable. They provide little if any benefit in unoccupied rooms. So they should only be used when the room is occupied.

3. Turning the Thermostat Temperature Way Down Will Cool the House Faster
MYTH: Lowering the thermostat temperature will not affect how quickly your air conditioner cools down your home.

4. Air Conditioner's Built Today are Better Made and More Reliable, So Annual Maintenance Is Less Important Than It Used To Be.
MYTH: Annual A/C maintenance is just as important as ever. In fact, to fully benefit from the high efficiency features of your new air conditioner, it needs to be kept clean and well maintained.

Have questions about your home's central air conditioner? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, we can help.
Published in Air Conditioning

Air conditioner maintenanceTips For Maintaining the Outside Air Conditioner Equipment

Professional air conditioner maintenance by a certified air conditioning technician is essential for keeping your home's central air conditioner working reliably and efficiently. But, there are also maintenance tasks you can do yourself to ensure that your cooling system is kept in good operating condition between professional tune-ups. As the cooling season comes to an end you can do some cleaning and maintenance tasks that will help ensure that it is kept in good condition.

Here is a list of tasks you can safely perform yourself on the outdoor section of the air conditioner:
  1. Shut-Off Power to the AC Unit - First, and most importantly, always turn off power to the AC unit before performing any cleaning or maintenance tasks. There are electrical and moving parts that can easily injure you, so always use caution. On the outside of the home near the condenser/compressor, there should be an exterior shut-off box. Also turn off power to the unit at the breaker box.
  2. Clean the AC Unit - Remove the fan cage on top of the condensor/compressor. You will need either a screwdriver or wrench to remove the fasteners. Next, lift the fan grill off the top of the unit and set it aside. Using a wet/dry vacuum or gloved hands, clean away leaves and debris from the interior of the unit.
  3. Clean The Fins - Using a garden hose – NOT a pressure washer – gently spray through the fins from the inside out to blast away any built up dirt or debris from between them. If the water from the hose is not able to remove dirt that has built up, there are commercial sprays available at most home stores that can safely loosen the dirt so it can be sprayed off. Never use unapproved detergents or solvents to clean the air conditioner.
  4. Straighten The Fins - bent fins can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. One way to straighten fins is with a butter knife. Fin straightening tools are also available. Be careful not to damage the tubing that is embedded within the fins.
  5. Clear the Area Around the Air Conditioner – Cut away tree branches and shrubs in all directions within two feet the unit. Rake away debris and leaves. If the unit will be unused for a period of time, cover the top of the unit to protect it from falling debris. Enclosing the entire condensor unit in a plastic cover can reduce ventilation and cause corrosion, and is not recommended.
Have questions about air conditioner maintenance? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning a call, we are here to help.
Published in Air Conditioning
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