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Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

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.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

The Importance of Annual Air Conditioner Maintenance

Spring has arrived, and while it may still feel like winter, our air conditioners will soon be working hard to keep our home's cool and dry. Before your air conditioner is called into service, now is the time to schedule your annual cooling system tune-up.

Proper cooling system maintenance, along with a few simple steps, will help keep your house cool, ensuring that your air conditioner is operating at peak efficiency, while also keeping your utility bill as low as possible.

Your cooling technician will perform a comprehensive inspection to find any potential problems that could lead to a breakdown. A dirty, unmaintained can cost you hundreds of extra dollars in extra energy costs each season, while also shortening the lifespan of the unit, so a tune-up is cheap insurance.

There are other steps you can take yourself to keep your cooling systems working smoothy, these include:
  1. Changing your furnace air filter regularly. Clean filters enable your HVAC system to operate more efficiently, causing less wear on the motors and parts. It will also keep the air in your home cleaner and healthier.
  2. Inspect your air ducts to ensure there are no leaks. Seal any leaks with high quality duct sealing tape.
  3. Replace or install weather stripping around doors, windows and baseboards. Cracked or worn weather stripping allows cool air to escape.
  4. Ensure 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 your home's temperature with a programmable thermostat. 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. Use ceiling fans to help circulate cool air throughout the house.
If your air conditioner is not effectively cooling all areas of your home, or you notice unusual sounds coming from your air conditioner, call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, our experienced team can help diagnose the problem and repair your cooling system so it provides reliable cooling throughout the hot summer months to come.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

How A Central Air Conditioner Condensing Unit Works

A central air conditioner consists of two main parts (a split system): an indoor section with an air handler and/or furnace and an outdoor section called the condensing unit. The outdoor condensing unit cools the air and sends it to the indoor air handler to be circulated through your home by a blower and air duct system.

Air conditioners cool the air in your home by a process of refrigeration. The condensing unit uses special chemicals called refrigerants to evaporate and condense over and over again in a closed system of coils. A fan is used to move warm interior air over these cold, refrigerant-filled coils, cooling the air.

When replacing an old air conditioner it's important that the condensing unit be matched to the furnace or air handler. If they are not properly matched, the result can be inefficient operation and a shortened life of the central air conditioner.

When choosing an air conditioner, you can determine it's efficiency by finding its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). A higher SEER signifies higher energy efficiency.

Have questions about central air conditioning? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call, we can answer all your home heating and cooling questions.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

The Benefits of Mini-Split Ductless Heating and Cooling Systems

Ductless heating and cooling systems are popular options when you need to heat a home without ductwork or are adding an addition and don't want to deal with the expense or complexity of upgrading an existing central heating and cooling system.

Here are some advantages of ductless mini-split systems over conventional heating and cooling systems.

1. Cleaner indoor air - unlike central heating and AC systems, mini-split systems don't have extensive ductwork that can trap dirt and dust, making for cleaner, healthier air.

2. Efficiency - Mini-splits reduce the heat and energy loss that is common in central heating and cooling systems that have extensive ductwork.

3. Flexible installation - Because the air handler is compact, it can be attached to a wall, inside a ceiling, and in most cases requires only a 3-inch hole to the outside. This makes ductless systems a great option for three-season porches, additions, attics and basements.

4 Zoned for comfort - While most central heating and cooling systems operate best when utilizing all the air volume in the home, ductless systems can be turned to heat or cool only rooms that are occupied, saving energy.

5. Convenience Features - Most mini-split systems come with features like remote, controls, timers and more.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

What to Consider When Choosing a New Heating or Cooling System For Your Home

If your home's heating and cooling system is getting on in years and it’s time to replace your furnace or air conditioner, here are a few things to consider when it comes to new systems.

1. Reliability - A furnace or air conditioner is a major investment. Do your research and go with a proven brand and you'll reduce the chances of having problems down the road.

2. Efficiency - By choosing an EnergyStar rated system you'll save you up to 30% on your annual heating and cooling costs.

3. Professional Installation - The most important day in the life of your air conditioner or furnace is the day it's installed. Proper sizing and correct installation is critical. Choose a heating and cooling company with experience and one that stands behind their work, now and down the road.

4. Air Quality - To reduce indoor pollution consider attaching a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler. You can have peace of mind knowing your new system is capturing small contaminants that can cause health problems.

Have questions about heating and cooling your home? Call Air Specialties, we can help.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

Tips For Heating a Basement

As the lowest space in the home, heating a basement can be a challenge. When finishing a basement a common heating option is to simply use the existing central heating unit, by expanding the home's ductwork and ventilation system.

Another option for homeowners looking to provide heating as well as ambiance is to install a gas fireplace. If an existing chimney is available it's a straightforward installation process. Otherwise, a ventless gas fireplace is another option.

Other basement heating options include mini-split system (also called ductless systems) and radiant baseboard heating. Keep in mind that while electric baseboard heat can be less expensive to install, depending on how much volume you're heating, it can cost more to heat with electric heat than natural gas.

Have questions about heating your basement? Give Air Specialties a call, we can help.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

Winter Heating Checklist For The Home

Winter is here and our heating systems are working away to keep our homes warm. To keep your heating system working reliably and efficiently Air Specialties recommends checking that the following tasks are performed for the winter.

1. Schedule a furnace tune-up. Keeping your furnace maintained will keep it running longer while helping it operate more efficiently.

2. Replace your furnace filter. A dirty filter makes your furnace work harder and can reduce its lifespan.

3. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

4. Program your thermostat. If you're on a regular schedule, set your thermostat to turn the temperature down when you're not at home.

5. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to direct the warm air downward towards the living space.

6. Check your smoke and CO detectors. Replace the batteries as needed.

7. Ensure that air ducts are not covered or restricted by rugs or furniture.

8. Seal air leaks around windows and doors.

9. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

How Many Years Will a Furnace Last?

As the cold weather arrives in Connecticut and you fire up your trusted old furnace you may be wondering just how many winters it will keep heating. The short answer for a gas furnace is approximately 20 years. But it's really more complicated than that and depends on many conditions. Some of these conditions include how well made the furnace is and whether it is a budget model or a higher end model. If it's a lower cost furnace it may be ready for replacement in as little as 8 years. Newer, variable speed units can last considerably longer.

Fortunately, how long a furnace lasts has a lot to do with how well you take care of it. The most important thing you can do is have your furnace professionally maintained every year. This will not only make the furnace last longer, it will help it operate more efficiently and reduce the likelihood of unexpected repairs.

Because most gas furnace parts can be replaced as they wear out, it's usually a good idea to repair the unit as parts wear out. The one part that usually ends the life of a furnace is the heat exchanger. Constant heating and cooling eventually causes the heat exchanger to perforate or crack, leading to failure. Since new gas furnaces operate at much higher efficiency than units made just 10 years ago, replacing the furnace may be more cost effective in the long run when compared to the repair cost of keeping a 10-15 year old furnace running.

Have questions about your gas furnace? Give Air Specialties a call we're here to help.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

Managing Humidity Levels During the Winter

During the cold winter months when the temperature regularly dip below zero the air in our homes can become extremely dry. This dry air can have a direct impact on our health. Without a humidity level of at least 35% and 55% our skin becomes dry and nasal passage become more susceptible to infections from bacteria and cold viruses. Low humidity can also lead to excessive airborne dust and pathogens.

If you have expensive woodwork in your home, such as antique furniture, pianos or violins, dry air can cause expensive damage by drying out and cracking wood and fine finishes.

While forced air furnaces often get the blame for drying out the air in our homes, it is really the air leaks around the house that allow cold, dry air to intrude and warm, moist air to escape.

To achieve the correct levels of healthy indoor humidity, we often must use a humidifier to add additional moisture to the air. Whole-house humidifiers mounted to a central heating system will add around 12 gallons of water to your air per day, something that would be impractical with plug-in room humidifiers.

Have questions about maintaining healthy humidity levels in your home? Call Air Specialties air conditioning and heating. We can help.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

5 Tips To Save On Your Heating Costs This Winter

Falling temperatures don't have to mean rising heating bills. We’ve put together five simple ways to reduce your heating bill and save energy this winter.

1. Instead of using your home's central heating to heat the whole house all day, use small room heaters to heat just one room at a time. This works well if you spend most of the day in a home office room or in the evening when your in the bedroom.

2. Choose an Energy Star® furnace. Upgrading your older heating system, to an energy efficient unit can save you 15 to 30% during over the course of the heating season.

3. Use the sun's energy. Open your blinds during the day to soak up the natural warmth of the sun. Close them again at night to prevent heat loss.

4. Use a programmable thermostat. No more forgetting to turn down the heat before you leave during the day or when you go to bed.

5. Replace your furnace filter regularly. Replacing your furnace filter when it's dirty will allow your furnace to operate more efficiently.
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