Heating and Air Conditioning Considerations for Basement Finishing

Homeowners sometimes fall prey to the notion that basement spaces should look like dark, damp dungeons. But you don’t have to let all that space go to waste. By completing a basement finishing project, you can utilize your basement to its full potential. However, you’ll need to consider your heating and air conditioning needs before you start planning for the project. Read more

Can I Save By Replacing the Outdoor Unit on an Old AC System?

Replacing components on your AC unit could actually cost more than installing an entirely new system. A short-term solution could turn into a long-term problem.

Are you debating whether or not you should replace your entire air conditioning unit or only a few select components? It might seem easier and cheaper to replace components, but introducing new components to an old AC system can inhibit its operation and cost you more money in the long run.

Air conditioning units are designed to function with their specific compatible components. Old air conditioning units, made with older components, are not designed to function properly with newer components. When new components are introduced into older AC units, it can lead to operational issues and reduced energy efficiency, which means that your energy bill may increase significantly.

 

How Air Conditioning Works

If you’re going to make an informed decision on how you should repair or replace your air conditioning unit, then you need to understand how your air conditioner and its various components function.

Your air conditioner essentially uses a condenser, a compressor, refrigerant coils and an air handler to remove heat from the air in your home. The refrigerant flows through HVAC tubing, absorbing heat at the evaporator coil and then transferring it to the outdoor unit of the air conditioner. The compressor then squeezes the refrigerant at the condenser, which releases the heat outside.

While this process seems simple, it depends on the optimal function of each and every component, which is why those components must be compatible.

 

Why is Compatibility Important?

It is difficult, if not impossible, to match new AC components with old components for several reasons:

  • New components are designed to achieve a higher energy efficiency than older components
  • Combining new, more efficient coils with old coils can reduce cooling capacity, increase energy consumption and cause motor failure
  • New coils are designed with different grooves and spacing, making them physically incompatible with older coils
  • New AC units include thermal expansion valves that provide enhanced control of refrigerant by using a shut-off system that limits the movement of refrigerant to the compressor—this limitation can cause the old compressors to break down

 

How Mismatched Components Break Down

Many industry tests have been conducted to study how mismatched components can negatively affect the function of AC units. These tests have found significant issues, including:

  • Minimized cooling capacity
  • Significantly reduced operational efficiency
  • 45% chance of the compressor breaking down within a year

Significant functional breakdowns can occur when new components are introduced into an older air conditioning unit. If you are considering replacing the outdoor components of your AC unit without replacing the entire system, make sure you consult an HVAC expert who will understand the affect this could have on your system’s efficiency and performance. Call Solano Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today to schedule a consultation.

Information About HVAC System Replacement

87701128-compressedOutdated heating and cooling systems are not as efficient as modern HVAC units. Old air conditioning systems are costly to run; hence it is worth investing in smart energy efficient equipment. If an HVAC system replacement is necessary, you should contact reliable heating engineers. A leading provider of cooling and heating services will tell you all you need to know about a replacement heating, ventilating and air conditioning unit.

 

Here are some simple questions homeowners should ask before buying a new air conditioning or heating unit:

  • Does the HVAC installation company concerned provide a free HVAC estimate?
  • Trustworthy central air installation firms offer a free no obligation quote. The free HVAC quote should include the efficiency rating, parts, labor costs and type of warranty
  • Inquire about the various types of HVAC unit and how to choose a suitable heating and cooling system
  • Forced air cooling and heating is popular; however, HVAC alternatives include heat pumps, radiant heat systems. Ask the air conditioning installers to help you to choose a home heating system to suit your needs
  • Inquire if you need to install a whole house humidifier?
  • Query the Pros and Cons of HVAC zoning systems?
  • The multi-zone HVAC units enable homeowners to keep each zone at a comfortable temperature. So, are zoned cooling and heating units more energy efficient?
  • Ask the contractor for information about the different kinds of HVAC filter
  • HEPA filters protect family health by improving indoor air quality. However, washable air filters and disposable air filters remain popular
  • Inquire about the energy efficient heating and cooling systems that are eligible for Federal Energy tax credits
  • Find out if you qualify for the heating and cooling incentive program
  • Ask the HVAC Company if they offer an affordable service plan

An HVAC system replacement is a huge investment. However, continuous heating breakdowns are costly. We have a wealth of tips to help you keep your heating and cooling system functioning properly this winter.  We hope you have found our HVAC checklist useful. Our team look forward to sharing many more tips to help you keep your heating system working efficiently during winter.

Does Insulation Really Keep Your Home Cool?

Making sure your home has the proper amount of insulation is one of the most effective ways to improve the efficiency of any residential heating and cooling system. Insulation plays a critical role in preventing heat loss, which allows the heater and air conditioner to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.

The laws of physics dictate that hot air naturally flows toward areas that are cooler in an attempt to achieve equilibrium. This means cool air from a room with air conditioning will flow toward the attic or other areas where the air is warmer. Home insulation provides a physical barrier to slow down heat exchange. It keeps warm air inside the home during the winter and outside during the summer.

Home builders will typically install insulating material inside attics, ceilings, and walls. Insulating the heating and air conditioning ducts prevents energy exchange while the units are circulating air throughout the home.

Insulation is just one component of the home’s climate control system. Achieving maximum energy efficiency involves maintaining every part of the system. Leaky ducts, faulty thermostats, worn out equipment and unsealed drafts in attic, basement or crawlspace can all contribute to a loss in efficiency and an increase in monthly heating and cooling costs. Preventive maintenance should include cleaning the air conditioner coils to improve performance.

Hiring a qualified HVAC technician to inspect the system once per year can uncover small problems before they require expensive repairs or replacement. The technician should check the refrigerant in the heat pump or air conditioner and adjust the level if necessary.

A professional can perform an energy audit and offer suggestions to improve efficiency. This includes making sure the equipment is the proper size for the space. An air conditioner that is too big or too small cannot operate at maximum efficiency, so it wastes energy and drives up operational costs.

Making sure the home has enough insulation in the proper locations will allow the heating and cooling systems to operate at maximum efficiency and prolong the lifespan of the equipment.

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Should I Leave Interior Doors Open Or Closed During Heating And Cooling?

Most literature on HVAC systems call on homeowners to seal every hole and crack in the house to prevent air leakage, as this would compromise energy efficiency. Naturally, doors would be closed as well, as they could let a great deal of air escape.

While this advice is based on solid principles, there are other factors at work that should be considered when it comes to heating and cooling, with air pressure being a primary concern.

The Pressure To Stay Cool

With everything sealed up, the pressure inside a room will slowly escalate. This is the natural consequence of continuously pumping a massive volume of air from the outside into a finite space. This can be relieved by opening the door from time to time while the occupant is awake. However, the door would presumably stay closed during bedtime. The pressure may eventually reach the point where additional input from the AC forces air to escape through whatever small openings it can find. Conversely, the rest of the house will experience a negative pressure that would suck in air from the surroundings. Outside air is likely to come from passageways like a furnace flue or a chimney.

This outside air carries with it pollutants that have not been filtered out. In fact, the number of contaminants is likely to be higher because of the way in which they got inside. The humidity and carbon monoxide levels will also spike, possibly causing alarms to set off. The health risks involved have to be taken seriously. Try to feel for incoming drafts near the areas mentioned to see if your house is experiencing this problem. Open the bedroom doors to see it anything changes. The reduced air pressure should stop the house from drawing air through these undesirable pathways.

Possible Remedies

So how does the issue get resolved? Opening the doors would be a good start, but leaving them this way throughout the night may not be feasible to most people. The key thing to remember is that we simply need to increase airflow by a small amount to prevent pressure buildup. Transfer grilles are good candidates for a remedy. They do not compromise privacy and are fairly easy to install.

Continue following our blog for more great HVAC information.

How Does An Air Conditioner Work?

When the heat of summer makes a home inhabitable, the AC turns on automatically and provides the much needed cooling. For most people, air conditioning is one of the best inventions of all time. Over the years, different types of air conditioners have been invented. While they may all be equally appreciated, they have different designs. How do air conditioners work? This is a question for the experts. Below is the answer.

AC Components

To fully understand how these machines work, you should know what air conditioners are made up of. The following are the most important components of air conditioners:

– Evaporator: This is the wall-mounted indoor component of the AC system. It draws warm air from the room and passes it through the refrigeration coils. The result is cooler air, which comes out the other end.

– Thermostat: This is a temperature-controlled switching device. It is responsible for turning the AC on or off depending on room temperatures and user settings. For instance, when the temperature in a room is higher than the temperature setting on the AC, the thermostat will turn on the air conditioner. Once the desired temperature is achieved, the thermostat switches the AC off.

– Condenser: This is the outdoor component of an AC system. It is responsible for dumping heat outdoors to cool the refrigerant. The condenser consists of a compressor, condenser coils, blower and a pressure valve, which releases the refrigerant once it attains the required pressure.

How Cooling Takes Place

Air conditioners and refrigerators use the same cooling principle. A compressed refrigerant is released into the evaporator coils. As it expands, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the surrounding air, cooling it in the process. The refrigerant is then taken to the condenser coils where it dumps heat before being compressed. Refrigeration is based on the fact that when a liquid transforms into a vapor, or evaporates, it absorbs heat from the surroundings.

If you need to service, repair, install or replace your air conditioning system, you want to find the best HVAC company in town. Call us for all heating and air conditioning needs.

5 Home Cooling Myths

When warmer temperatures arrive and utility bills rise, it is not uncommon for people to seek energy-saving tips. Unfortunately, many renters and homeowners are deceived by fan and air conditioning myths that appear to make sense. The reality is that most of these common misconceptions can actually cause electricity costs to increase.

1. “You can always make your home cooler by installing a larger air conditioning unit.” This statement misleads people because excessively large air conditioners are inefficient. Most inadequate cooling is caused by a range of other problems, such as poor sealing, insufficient maintenance, direct sunlight or limited insulation.

2. “Turn the thermostat way down to cool the house quickly.” This is a myth because central A/C units always operate at the same speed until they shut off. A thermostat setting is simply a temperature goal. People usually waste electricity by following this advice; they make their homes excessively cool before readjusting the dial.

3. “Air conditioning systems only reduce the air temperature.” In actuality, they do much more than produce refrigerated air. Unlike fans, they also filter it and remove considerable amounts of moisture. This is very important because less humid air seems considerably cooler.

4. “The least expensive way to run an air conditioner is to always keep it at the same temperature.” This misconception stems from the belief that air conditioning systems use more energy to achieve sudden temperature changes. The truth is that this equipment consumes much less power when people let their homes heat up while they are away.

5. “Leave the fan on to make the room cooler.” In reality, fans only cause buildings to seem cooler; they do not actually reduce the temperature. Unless it is a window unit, it only makes sense to run a fan when there are people in a room.

Rather than wasting time and money on these cooling myths, use HVAC maintenance and upgrades to cut costs. Professional tuneups, new air filters and highly efficient equipment can make a big difference throughout the summer. Please contact us for all of your family’s air conditioning and heating needs.

Learn More About SEER Ratings

When comparing air conditioners, SEER ratings are often compared to identify the most efficient device. SEER is an acronym for seasonal energy efficient ratio. It is an important metric to consider because it shows how the efficiency of a machine will vary from one season to another.

Calculation

SEER and EER ratings (Energy Efficiency Ratio) are related. The latter takes into account the efficiency of an AC device at a single set of condition. To get the SEER, the efficiency of an AC machine is calculated using different sets of conditions. Energy efficiency ratio is calculated by dividing the power consumption, or input, of a machine by the cooling power of the machine (in BTU’s) under a certain set of conditions. To determine the SEER, the performance of the device under different outside temperatures, ranging from 65 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit is considered. The average of these energy efficiency ratios is usually the figure that is put on AC machines. The government requires manufacturers to indicate the SEER ratings on the units they manufacture. While manufacturers are not required to put the EER ratings, many units still have this rating.

Which is More Important?

Air conditioners are more of a necessity than a luxury during summer, when temperatures are uncomfortably high. This is when air conditioners give their best performance to cool down the internal temperature of a room. In such cases, the EER rating of a machine should be considered. This is because EER’s are normally calculated based on peak temperatures experienced in the country during the hot summer months. Therefore, devices that have high EER ratings are more likely to perform better during summer than those with lower EER ratings. Since SEER ratings are simply average EER ratings over different environmental conditions, they cannot inform the user about the performance of the machine when peak temperatures are experienced.

When comparing the ratings of different AC machines, consumers should always make sure that the EER of one device is compared to the EER of another, and not EER to SEER, or vice versa. This will help to ensure that they get the most energy efficient device. Feel free to call us for more information on energy efficient heating and air conditioning solutions.

Reasons Why You Should Invest In A Whole Home Electrical Suppressor

An excellently performing whole home electrical suppressor should only allow the electricity needed in your home. The suppressor should keep at bay raucous over-voltages that could damage electrical devices in use in your home. For as low as $200, you can get a whole-house surge protective device (SPD) to keep your home appliances and electrical devices safe from destructive wattage surge. Here are top reasons why you should you invest in a whole home electrical suppressor?

It Has Become a Necessity

Today, almost all appliances and devices in use at homes have electrical wiring. From the energy saving LED lighting to dryers and washers, there are small circuit boards in the devices. These electrical systems are at risk during a wattage surge.

You Are To Blame for the Surge

In any home today, it is common to find most of the electrical appliances and devices plugged into power at the same time. Some devices like motors and generators are known to cause small power surges. These surges are destructive in the long term. Slowly, they degrade our electronics. They don’t get to serve you as long as they would have if the surges had been kept at bay. Your electrical devices may be getting damaged while you rest easy thinking lightning is the real danger to your equipment.

Whole Home Electrical Suppressor Protects Everything

Like the name suggests, whole home electrical suppressor protects the whole house from power surges. Using it will ensure that the electrical wiring of the entire house and all the power outlets are protected.

Whole Home Electrical Suppressor Keeps Surge Protection Layered

One appliance sharing a circuit with other devices would more often than not compromise the state of the other devices when it is affected by a power surge. That is why surge protection should always be layered. The layering should be done at point of use as well as point of service. Whole home electrical suppressors provide home appliances with filtered power. This is especially helpful for entertainment and home theater systems.

You should never compromise on the quality of power surge systems you install in your home. If you are looking for the best available in the market, we have the perfect match for you. Call us for all your home HVAC needs.

How To Save Yourself From Future HVAC Headaches

If you are looking for an air conditioner or heater replacement, you’re probably hoping to get your hands on the most reasonable options around. Then again, your eagerness to get a good deal may not be enough to get the best one. Since there are many HVAC units advertised in the market today, it can be hard to tell which of them are worth to spend for. If you want to make sure that you will get a decent furnace or air cooler, check out the tips below and save yourself from future headaches.

Go for Higher SEER Rating

You might be wondering what SEER is all about. SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it is responsible for the amount of power that you save when using your HVAC machine. The higher the SEER rate is, the bigger your savings are. Make sure that you look for items with a SEER rate of at least 13, if you want to cut down your energy bills.

Follow Regular Maintenance

Don’t wait for your unit to be in bad shape. Regular maintenance will prevent your heater or air conditioner from breaking down easily. You can absolutely prolong the life of your machine if you follow regular maintenance schedule, no matter what.

Warranty

When choosing a new heater, you should check the duration of the warranty to ensure that you can have it fixed in case it doesn’t work properly. The same applies when choosing new air conditioner units. Always check if they have warranty stickers or if they are tampered. This will save you from heaps of headaches, particularly when having them repaired or replaced.

Ask for Professional Help

If there are things that you are not quite sure of and you need expert advice, it is best to ask questions. It’s not bad to be inquisitive when it about HVAC devices because you will be using them for many years. Of course, it’s best to ask professionals rather than depend on speculations. You can call us for help in choosing a new HVAC product and we will guarantee to give you the best advice we can.