Signs You Need a New Heating and Air Conditioning System

As one of the top heating and air conditioning experts in our area, McMaster Heating and Air Conditioning recommends keeping a close eye on your HVAC system’s performance. Certain warning signs indicate when to consider replacing your heating and cooling equipment. Doing so can greatly improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. Read more

Adding Air Conditioning To A Boiler

Boiler systems are used to heat the home during cold winter months while air conditioning systems are used in the summertime to keep the indoor space cool. The two are not interchangeable. For this reason most people get confused when the discussion about how they are used turns to integrating the two systems. Adding Air Conditioning To A Boiler is possible.

It makes little sense trying to operate a heating system in a manner for which it was not designed, but that in no way prevents both systems from being installed alongside one another. Therefore, it is possible to increase the comfort of a home by adding air conditioning.

Three options are available when it’s time to add new or replace an air conditioning system in a home with a boiler heating system. To begin with, a mini-split AC system can be installed with an air handler and condenser installed outside the home and in the wall. These are designed to cool specific portions of the building and is an affordable option, often starting at $3,500.

Second is an AC system in which the condenser is installed on the outside of the home and the air handler in the attic. Cooled air is distributed throughout the home or to specific rooms by way of air ducts. This system can also be used to heat the home if desired and comes at a higher price. Homeowners can expect to pay from $8,000 to $15,000 for these units.

Next is an attic air system, also called high velocity. The difference between this system and the attic air system is primarily in the ductwork. The high velocity system uses smaller, round tubing instead of rigid ducts. Noise levels on this system are lower while delivering better cooling. It is also more aesthetically appealing at a cost of $12,000 to $20,000.

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My Air Conditioner Is Frozen! What Happened?

Air conditioners are designed to provide cooling but they are not supposed to freeze themselves. Unfortunately, this can happen in certain cases causing inefficiencies and headaches. A frozen air conditioner cannot function properly. It needs to be shut off to allow the ice to melt and get things back to normal. Otherwise, the system might get damaged and be due for a costly fix. Freezing can occur in the following scenarios:

Incorrect Installation

Installing a window type air conditioner is best left to professionals to ensure that everything is done right down to the smallest detail. Sometimes it is the little things that count. Take for instance the tilt of the unit. Contrary to popular belief, the A/C should not be exactly parallel to the ground. It should lean slightly towards the back so that any debris or liquid that might get inside will roll down to the outside. This is vital for the built-in drainage system which collects condensed water from the evaporator coils. The water should flow down to the pan and then to the pipes. However, without proper tilting water will get stuck inside where it may freeze.

Drainage Clogs

Aside from having the unit correctly installed, homeowners must also see to it that the drainage system is working well. Check it once a week or so just to be on the safe side. Drops of water should flow out from the drainpipes. The flow is generally at its heaviest when the weather is hot and humid. The humidity in the air is reduced by the A/C using the cooling power of the evaporator coils. Moisture from the air around it gets so cold that water vapor turns to liquid. This needs to be evacuated right away otherwise it will freeze in the event of a clog.

Slow Fans

The cold air surrounding the coils is blown towards the room by the built-in fans. If the fans are operating slower than they need to, then the coils will keep dropping in temperature until they freeze. Increasing fan speed can reduce the problem.

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How Does Humidity Affect Air Conditioning And Heating

Humidity affects the efficiency of HVAC systems in cooling or heating your indoor air. Your heater or air conditioner requires a certain level of humidity in the air for it to produce the required heating/ cooling. Excessive moisture or limited moisture reduces the efficiency of your air conditioner and heater, respectively. A humidifier can be installed, together with your heating system, to increase its effectiveness, and a dehumidifier can be installed together with your air conditioner to increase its effectiveness.

Humidity and heating

During winter, the low temperatures freeze most of the moisture in the air, reducing the air’s humidity level significantly. Low humidity pause a challenge for heating equipment, which must run longer and work harder to heat the now-cold indoor air. It is, however, impossible for the heating equipment to generate the required heat or to maintain a relatively warm air due to the low humidity in the air. Thankfully, property owners/ users can install humidifiers that add moisture to the air, hence raise the humidity levels in indoor air to levels that can attain and maintain optimum heating temperatures.

Humidity and cooling

During summer, the high temperatures increase the amount of moisture that air can air hold. As such, the air has a high moisture content (excessive humidity), which makes the environment (whether indoors or outdoors) feel excessively warm. Indoor cooling is less efficient because the excessive humidity makes the air clammy and heavy. Without additional HVAC equipment, air conditioners are forced to run longer and harder to try and reduce the excessive temperature, almost always without the desired results. To increase the efficiency of air conditioners in the cooling of indoor air, people can introduce dehumidifiers that can remove excessive moisture from the air.

A certain level of humidity is essential for adequate indoor cooling and heating. However, excessive or limited humidity is a challenge to effective heating/ cooling as heating, and cooling equipment are forced to run longer and harder to achieve the desired indoor air temperature. Additional equipment, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, can be installed to add and reduce air moisture, respectively. The addition or reduction of air humidity levels increases HVAC systems efficiency in the indoor heating or cooling.

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The Different Kinds Of Air Conditioning Systems

No matter whether we are talking home or commercial establishments, air conditioners as well as other types of heating and cooling systems have become all but indispensable. Now, when it comes to air conditioners, there are different types of air conditioning systems and a number of different terms are used in connection to them. This may sometimes lead to confusion for a common buyer. The present article will give you a list of the most common air conditioner types and will talk briefly about how the units are constructed and how they work. The knowledge, we hope, will help you make an informed choice the next time you go to buy an air conditioner unit.

Window air conditioners: You may have already heard about ‘unitary’ air conditioners and window air conditioning units are one such example of a unitary unit. The other is portable air conditioner, but it is much less commonly used than widow conditioners. These units are installed in a window (hence the name), although they can be placed through a hole in one of the exterior walls of your building. All the refrigerant components (compressor, condenser, refrigerant, evaporator oil and expansion valve) in these units are included in a compact the box, which is why they are called unitary units. These units release the cooled and fresh air inside the conditioned space and eject the heated air outside from the other end.

Portable air conditioners: This is another variety of unitary air conditioners. These units are typically used in places of excessive heat. Like window systems, the unit assembles all components in a compact box. However, unlike the former, portable systems can be placed on the floor with a hose vent that releases the heated air outside.

Ductless or split air conditioners: These types again are known by another technical name which is PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner). The systems consist of two different units—the condensing unit consisting of condenser fan, condenser and compressor are placed outside and the evaporative unit which includes expansion valve, fan and the coil are located in the interior of the house. Central Air Conditioners is a more elaborate version of this same type of PTAC conditioners.

For any more information on this subject or for any of your outstanding HVAC needs, please give us a call and we will attend to your needs immediately.

Ways To Increase Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency

Keeping a home cool and comfortable in the summer is, without a doubt, one of the biggest household expenses. In fact, heating and cooling costs can make up more than half of the total utility expenses. Although central AC units are usually much more efficient than window units, they still consume a tremendous amount of energy. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to improve air conditioning efficiency without compromising comfort. Homeowners who follow these steps can save money and decrease their impact on the environment.

To begin with, homeowners should clean or change their AC system’s air filters every three months. Nothing lowers an air conditioning unit’s efficiency more than dirty or clogged filters. When the filters are clogged or dirty, the system has to work harder to provide comfort, which uses more energy, damages the system, and increases utility bills. It is better to pay a few dollars for new filters than to spend much more on a new AC unit or higher electricity bills.

In addition to replacing filters, homeowners should clean around the outdoor condenser unit, which works more efficiently when it is clear of debris and clean. However, homeowners should hire a qualified heating and cooling technician for a more in–depth and thorough cleaning.

It is also important to vacuum indoor vents and keep then unblocked. Vacuuming debris and dust away from the supply vents will help maintain a steady airflow. In addition, it keeps items like toys, blinds, and furniture away from the vents.

Adjusting the thermostat temperature settings by a few degrees can go a long way in saving energy. Typically, adjusting the settings by five to eight degrees up in summer and down in winter can help save energy and money. With a programmable thermostat, homeowners can automatically set the temperatures for different times of the day, or during periods when they are away from home.

Other ways of improving air conditioning efficiency include:
• Keeping lamps and other heat producing equipment away from the thermostat
• Keeping blinds and curtains closed
• Clearing the drain line
• Not using the oven and dryer in the hottest hours of the day
• Insulating any exposed ductwork

Homeowners do not need to spend a lot of money to improve the efficiency of their air conditioning systems. Understanding the different parts of their AC system and keeping it running efficiently will keep it in top working condition for when they need it most. Call us for all your heating and air conditioning needs.

Five Home Cooling Myths

Many people look for ways to keep their electricity bill low while keeping their home cool during the summer months. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about home cooling. Below are five of the most common home cooling myths:

Myth: A Fan Will Keep Your Room Cooler

Fact: A fan does not lower the temperature in your room. However, it does help you feel cooler. That is why you are wasting energy if you leave a fan on when you are not in the room.

Myth: You Will Get Better Results By Upgrading To A Bigger Air Conditioning Unit

Fact: Many people think that it is best to replace their air conditioner if it is struggling to keep the home cool. However, your air conditioner may only need a thorough cleaning. If your air conditioner is installed in a place that receives a lot of sun, you may want to remove it. Additionally, poor insulation and cracks around the windows can cause your home to lose cool air.

Myth: Air Conditioners Only Cool The Home

Fact: Air conditioners not only keep your home cool, but they also reduce the humidity. Your home will feel hotter if it is humid.

Myth: Turning Down The Temp Will Help It Cool Faster

Fact: Central air conditioning units are designed to work at a constant pace and shut off after the area reaches the desired temperature. Your home will not cool faster if you turn down the temperature. You may end up wasting money because you have to adjust the temperature if you turn it down too low.

Myth: Leaving The Air Conditioner On All Day Is More Efficient Than Adjusting The Temperature

Fact: Programmable thermostats can help you save money on your energy bill during the winter and summer months. If the air conditioner works extra hard when you are not around, you will end up wasting a lot of money.

There are many tricks and tips you can use to keep your home cool during the summer. However, many things people do to keep their home cool do not work. This is why it is essential to separate the myths from the facts. Call us for your heating and air conditioning needs.

The Importance Of Changing Your Air Filter

A lot of people do not realize the fact that it is extremely important to have the air filters of their HVAC systems changed regularly. A dusty air filter adversely affects the performance of the heating or air conditioning device by reducing its air flow. As a result, more energy is required in order to run the device. Thus, if you don’t engage in air filter change regularly then be prepared to pay costly energy bills!

There are many advantages associated with the process of air filter change. First and foremost, you will be able to keep your home comfortable by engaging in this task on a regular basis. When you change your air filters, you will be able to decrease the circulation of bad air in your house. Thus, this will help to keep respiratory difficulties, allergies, illnesses, etc at bay. If you don’t replace your air filter for a long time then it will ultimately lead to a dirty coil, which diminishes the performance of the HVAC system significantly.

When you carry out air filter change regularly, you will be able to save a lot of money as well. By helping the HVAC device function optimally through frequent air filter change, you will be able to avoid making a service call to the company. Repairs and tweaking resulting from service calls can be extremely expensive, therefore it would be wise to take precautions and to maintain the HVAC system well so that you won’t need to call for service. Moreover, a clogged air filter can wreak havoc on your HVAC system, therefore it would be best to have the dirty filter replaced from time to time. This way, you will be able to bring longevity to your system.

If you have children, elderly people or pets in your house then it is all the more important for you to change your air filter from time to time in order to ensure that your family breathes in clean, fresh and healthy air. After all, the last thing that you’d want is a dirty filter circulating dust mites, pollen and other undesirable particles in the air. So call us to have your air filter changed!

A Guide On SEER And EER Ratings

When looking for a new air conditioner, one is likely to be confronted by SEER and EER numbers for different makes and models. These are measurements used to evaluate a unit’s energy efficiency. However, these two numbers are different, and understanding them could help one make a better decision.

What are SEER Ratings?

SEER is short for seasonal energy efficiency rating, which is a measure of how much energy an air conditioning system uses to deliver cooling power. The benchmark is controlled by the Department of Energy, who also decide on the testing benchmarks. A higher SEER number translates to a higher score of efficiency.

What are EER Ratings?

EER is an abbreviation for energy efficiency ratio. This was an early attempt at standardizing how to calculate the efficiency of an air conditioner. The number is arrived at by dividing the input electrical wattage over the cooling created, which is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Typically, EER is calculated at 50% humidity with outdoor and indoor temperatures of 95 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.

Comparison Between SEER and EER Ratings.

Previously, AC systems were only assigned EER ratings. These are still commonly used today, more on commercial HVAC units exceeding 6 tons. It was felt that this system wasn’t a good efficiency measurement system. This is because it fails to consider the time taken to reach peak efficiency. SEER measures the efficiency of a HVAC unit at varying temperatures, taking into account how these affect efficacy.

Which Rating is More Significant?

Manufacturers are mandated by law to display SEER. However, most air conditioners come with energy efficiency ratings as well. Both of these can be helpful in different circumstances.

EER is the expected efficiency at peak cooling time, usually in the middle of the summer, because it can only be measured at one high temperature. The rating is more accurate in areas where the temperature exceeds 95°F most of the time. SEER is an average which takes into account the lows and highs of the cooling pattern of a typical house. This is more appropriate for moderate climates.

When comparing different air conditioners, it’s important to use similar benchmarks. One must ensure they compare the SEER and EER to corresponding ratios. Call us to learn more about efficient heating and air conditioning options.

Protect Your Investment With HVAC Surge Protectors

If you have surge protectors providing protection for your TV and computer, it should not surprise you to know those surges you are so concerned about could also negatively affect your HVAC system. HVAC surge protectors protect one of the largest investments you make in your home. It may surprise you to learn that the surges are not only caused by your electric company’s power fluctuations, they are also generated by appliances you run in your home such as the dishwasher, dryer and well or pool pumps.

Buying HVAC surge protectors provides protection from the over 300 surges each American home experiences annually. Between the fluctuations caused by appliances receiving current in your home, your electric company and nature’s addition of lightning strikes, you HVAC system is in relatively serious danger of being damaged by a surge. It is the most susceptible to damage during a surge because of the vulnerability of its internal circuitry.

Damage to these circuits is also very expensive to repair and not always covered by the unit’s warranty. An HVAC surge protector can protect the whole system. The surge protector provides protection against surges effecting air conditioners and furnaces. A single phase HVAC Surge protector will also protect refrigeration systems, air handlers, heat pumps, motors and circuit boards. With many of these surge protectors a warranty is also offered to guarantee protection. Often a payout of thousands of dollars is pledged should the surge protector fail to provide protection for your system.

This type of protection cannot be installed by the do-it-yourself plug-in surge protector. It must be installed at the power sources for your HVAC system by a professional. The actual surge protector may be installed in more than one location along the HVAC system’s primary points in your home.

Save your investment and use your HVAC system for years to come by protecting it against power surges. Have HVAC surge protectors installed and never worry about lightning strikes or surges caused by your power company or your home’s appliances. Three hundred surges will occur this year in your home. Be prepared and protect your valuable investments by investing in HVAC surge protectors.