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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

Nest Thermostat ConnecticutHow Smart Thermostats Improve Comfort and Safety

A traditional home thermostat works by reading the temperature in the room and sending a signal through wires to the home's heating or cooling system to turn up or down when the temperature goes above or below the preset temperature.

By comparison, a smart thermostat consists of a control panel that connects wirelessly to a home's HVAC system. To control the thermostat you can either use the interface on the wall mounted unit, or an app for your wireless device, like a smartphone. One advantage of a smart thermostat is you can monitor and control your home's thermostat from any location. Alerts can also be set up to notify you if the temperature drops to an unsafe level during the winter... providing additional peace of mind while you're away from home on vacation during our cold Connecticut winters.

Another key benefit of smart thermostats is their ability to learn your household's routine and adjust the temperature accordingly to maximize comfort and reduce energy waste. When the thermostat senses that no one is home, the temperature is adjusted to maximized energy savings over comfort. When the thermostat detects that a room is occupied, it sends conditioned air into the space.

Have questions about smart thermostats or other heating and cooling technology? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, we can answer all your questions.
Published in Air Conditioning

Managing Temperature Differences In the Home During the Summer

During our hot, humid Connecticut summers it's common for homeowners tell us that the upper levels of their home feel hot and stuffy, while the lower levels are freezing cold. In multi-level homes there can be as much as a 8-10 degree difference between the lowest level and the highest level in the home. Here are some steps you can take to even out the temperatures.

First, it's important to leave all of the air ducts open throughout the house. Central heating and cooling systems are designed to work with the air volume of every room. Closing air ducts can reduce the performance of the system and waste energy.

Leaky Air Ducts

Even minor leaks from poorly aligned or uninsulated ducts can dramatically reduce airflow, making it difficult for conditioned air to reach the outer reaches of the home. An HVAC professional can help find and seal leaks with with special pressurizing equipment.

Check Insulation Levels

Improving attic insulation can mitigate air leaks and can reduce the effect of environmental factors on the temperature inside of the home. The US Department of Energy has some great tips for installing insulation here.

Consider a Zoning System

A zoning system allows you to control the temperature on multiple levels of the home independently using thermostats installed on each floor. The thermostats are rigged to control panels that adjust dampers installed inside your ductwork.

In addition to balancing the temperature on different floors, a zoned system will allow you to heat or cool individual rooms on demand, or close off unused rooms entirely.

Have questions about uneven cooling in your home? Call Air Specialties Heating and Air Conditioning, we can help.
Published in Air Conditioning

Air Conditioners Are Not DIY - Call the Pros

Lot's of homeowners like to tackle home improvement projects around the home to test their skills and save some money. However, there are some projects that are definitely not for the inexperienced and untrained – espeically any project that involves electrical systems and air conditioners.

Because there are few if any owner maintainable parts on today's central air conditioners, slways contact a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home, including the installation and servicing of air conditioning and heating equipment.

Consider These Statistics
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 15% of consumer-product related electrocutions are related to contact with large appliances. These electrocutions occur most commonly while someone is attempting to service or repair the appliance.
  • In 2006, an estimated 33,500 injuries were reported to hospital emergency rooms as involving air conditioners, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and heat pumps. The leading types of injuries were laceration (14,890), contusion or abrasion (6,110), and strain or sprain (4,430).
  • In 2006, air conditioning or related equipment was involved in an estimated 7,400 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 270 civilian injuries and $200 million indirect property damage.
  • In 2003-2006, the 7,000 reported home structure fires per year involving air conditioning and related equipment included 2,400 per year involving central and room air conditioners specifically and 3,700 per year involving fans.
  • In 1995-2003 (excluding 1999, which was not reported), there were 11.5 electrocution deaths per year involving air conditioners and 4.3 electrocution deaths per year involving fans.
So the next time you need air conditioner service, play it safe and call the pros at Air Specialties Heating and Air Conditioning.
Published in Air Conditioning

How Annual Air Conditioner Maintenance Saves You Money Every Year

With the hot summer weather right around the corner in the West Haven area, your air conditioner will soon be working hard to keep your home cool and dry. Annual 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. 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

Scheduled maintenance will ensure that your air conditioner is running efficiently and at peak performance.
Published in Air Conditioning

How New Air Conditioner Technology Improves Comfort and Saves Energy

It's that time of year again when many Connecticut homeowners are deciding whether to replace their old, inefficient central air conditioner with a new model. If it's been 10-20 years since your replaced your air conditioner you may be surprised at how far the technology has evolved. Here are just a few of the improvements that new central air conditioners have to offer:

Less Noise

By redesigning the shape of fan blades manufacturers have been able to make air conditioners run with much less noise. In addition, newer refrigerants enable compressors to operate more quietly.

Environmentally Friendly Refrigerants

Unlike the Freon® coolant used over a decade ago that caused damage to the earth's ozone layer, newer R410A are environmentally friendly and also perform better.

Lower Energy Use

Decades ago it was not uncommon for a central air conditioner to consume 6,000 watts of electricity every hour to cool a typical house. Today, that level has been reduced to around 1,700 watts an hour, thanks to technology like variable speed fans and scroll compressors.

For all your home air conditioning needs, call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating.
Published in Air Conditioning
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