Monthly Archives: September 2011

Finding an Ozone Friendly Air Conditioner in Amado

We’ve heard about ozone depletion in Amado for almost 20 years as a major problem caused by a variety of chemicals we use almost every day. Propellants in aerosols, certain cleaning materials and the refrigerant in your air conditioning system are all culprits in the depletion of the ozone layer. So when you purchase a new AC unit, you want to be sure you won’t continue to contribute to the problem.

What Causes Ozone Depletion?

The number one contributor to ozone depletion is chloroflourocarbons, the man-made chemicals used in air conditioners since Thomas Midgley, Jr. invented the compound in the 1920s. When these chemicals reach the stratosphere, the ultraviolet light from the sun breaks the compound down to its base components, including chlorine atoms which subsequently break down thousands of molecules of ozone before dissipating.

The earliest CFCs used in air conditioners were incredibly damaging to the ozone. But since legislation was passed to stop the damage and new technologies were developed, there are less damaging alternatives.

Specifically, the refrigerant R410-A is considered environmentally friendly in that it doesn’t cause ozone depletion. Some air conditioners still ship with the older refrigerant R-22, however, which has been linked to ozone depletion and will no longer be allowed in new products after 2020.

Which Products Can You Buy?

When searching for a new air conditioner, look for a system that uses only R410-A. On average, these systems tend to cost more money, but keep in mind that in less than 10 years, refrigerants for older R-22 models will become much more sparse while R410-A will be an industry standard.

Key Components for Annual Maintenance of Your HVAC System: A Guide From Casa Adobe

Annual HVAC service checkups are an important component of your Casa Adobe home’s ongoing operation. Without these checkups, your HVAC system may not run properly. While there are some tasks you can perform yourself, most of the vital maintenance tasks need to be performed by a professional annually.

As you look for a contractor to perform your annual maintenance, make sure you find someone who will perform each of the most important tasks listed below for your system each year:

  • Electrical Connections – These should be tightened, tested and replaced as necessary.
  • Thermostat – A professional thermostat calibration ensures the system runs at the right temperature throughout the summer.
  • Control Panel – The control panel is checked for error codes and recalibrated to ensure it continues running as intended for another year.
  • Blower Parts – The fan and motor are checked and serviced as needed. Replacement parts are installed.
  • Condenser Coils and Evaporator – Both are cleaned and checked for signs of wear. Any bent coils are repaired.
  • Exchanger and Combustion Components – If you have a packaged system, these are checked for the entire system.
  • Refrigerant Check – If you have a refrigerant filled air conditioning system, it will be checked to ensure levels are high enough for another summer.
  • Air Filters – While you can do this yourself each month, a professional will check permanent and replaceable filters for wear and tear.
  • Moving Parts – All moving parts are inspected, oiled, and checked for damage. If a part needs replacement it is done now to avoid future problems.

Good annual maintenance is necessary to keep your system running smoothly year round. While there are plenty of cleaning tasks you can perform each month, the most important tasks are those performed by your contractor.

If you are interested in learning more about how maintenance will be performed on your system, call your local contractor today.

Top 4 Upgrades For Your Green Valley HVAC System

Your HVAC system is a trusted part of your Green Valley home’s comfort system. Without it you would be cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and breathing in contaminant laden air year round. So, it’s important that you install the best systems and subsystems available for your HVAC system. Here are some options to keep in mind when looking for ways to get the most from your heating and cooling.

  • Humidity Control – Don’t rely on your air conditioner to remove humidity in the summer. A dehumidifier is more energy efficient and reduces stress on your air conditioning system when the humidity gets high. In the winter, humidification allows your home to hold more heat, effectively increasing the efficiency of your heating system.
  • Air Filtration – Every air conditioning system and furnace comes with some form of air filtration, but is it enough? Standard filters are effective, but they are not always comprehensive. A good HEPA quality filter for your air handler and duct system will severely reduce the number of contaminants in your air supply and ensure that you and your family feel much better year round.
  • Ductwork Cleaning – If nothing else, having your ductwork cleaned on a regular basis removes excess mold, dusty, pollen, debris and other pollutants that can affect your health and the quality of the air you breathe. Schedule annual cleanings of your ductwork.
  • Air Quality Controls – Beyond air filtration, you can upgrade your air handler’s ability to remove pollutants with a dedicated air cleaner and UV lights. These systems are installed in your air handler and/or ductwork to remove advanced pollutants like bacteria and mold and remove smaller particles including smoke, gas, and exhaust. Which system you need will depend on the level of contaminants in your home, so make sure you check with a contractor before choosing anything.

These upgrades are a great way to get more out of your HVAC system – in terms of both comfort and safety. Discuss your options with a contractor today to learn more.

Handy Ways to Remember Your Filter Changing Schedule: A Tip From Bisbee

Changing the air filters in your furnace and air conditioner is an essential maintenance task in your Bisbee home. The benefits of having a fresh filter for the air circulating in your home are numerous. The better air quality is good for your respiratory health, fewer allergens permeate the air, your system runs more efficiently and you save money. So why is it so difficult to remember to replace those filters? To help prevent those issues, try some of these tips to remember your replacement schedule.

Set Reminders for Later

Think of the last time you inspected and replaced your air filter. Was it more than three months ago? Replace it now. Can’t remember? Replace it anyway. Go ahead; this post will wait. Now that you’ve taken care of that, set a reminder for three months from now. Try one of these systems to remind yourself:

  • Put it into your cell phone calendar.
  • Use a calendar application that sends email alerts to remind you.
  • Circle the day on your wall or desk calendar.

Whatever method works best for you, make sure to use it and stick to it. While you are at it, set monthly reminders to inspect the filters. The EPA recommends making the switch every three months, or whenever the filter is visibly dirty.

Make a Connection

If you don’t like to have reminders, or perhaps find yourself forgetting to even set the reminders, hope is not lost. Try scheduling filter changes to coincide with something you will remember, or putting it on the same day as other routine maintenance tasks. Here are some examples:

  • Make the day of the month the same as that of your birthday or anniversary. Bonus points if your birthday is June 25, since that combines with Christmas to take care of two replacements a year. Just remember March and September and you are all set!
  • Three months is about as often as cars need oil changes, so do both on the same day. Drove 3000 miles already? Time to change the furnace filter.
  • Schedule on a holiday. In the U.S., for example, Martin Luther King Day, Easter Sunday, the Fourth of July and Columbus Day are all approximately three months from one another.

The Failsafe

If all else fails, hire a professional to inspect and change the filters for you, and rely on his appointment keeping skills to make up for any memory lapses you may have. It will cost a bit more than DIY, but at least it will get done, and the maintenance will save you on the costs of wasted energy.

Humidification/Dehumidification: A Guide From Benson

Most people don’t think much about the humidity in their Benson home. However, even slightly low or high humidity levels can have a huge impact on your indoor air quality, so even if you feel comfortable most of the time, a humidifier or dehumidifier is something you should look into. Many homes have humidity problems, and even if it’s not something you notice on a regular basis, air that’s too moist or too dry can have a large impact on your family’s health and the overall quality of your indoor air.

The Risks of High and Low Humidity

There are many reasons that proper humidity in your home is so important. For one thing, air that’s too humid promotes the growth of things like mold and dust mites that are significant airborne allergens. Without enough moisture, however, mold and dust mites can’t grow, so if you keep your indoor humidity below 50%, you’ll likely never need to worry about these allergens disrupting your family’s health or causing damage to your furniture.

But, dry air isn’t much better. Once the humidity level gets below 35%, a number of negative things can happen. Dry air enhances the symptoms of asthma, colds and allergies, and it causes damage to the wood fixtures and furnishings in your home. Even if it doesn’t do so much damage, dry air is simply uncomfortable, causing dried out skin, eyes, and hair.

Why Humidity Control Matters

Even if you have a state of the art air quality system installed in your home, humidity is very much something you need to be concerned about. Air that’s too moist or too dry can actually make it more difficult for indoor air cleaners and filters to get those contaminants out. In effect, poor humidity control makes every aspect of your air quality worse.

So if you want to be sure you’re getting the most possible out of your indoor air cleaner, the best thing you can do is put in a good humidification system as well. And when you’ve done that, you may even find that you can turn down the heat and air conditioning as well. Properly humidified air makes home heating and cooling more efficient, saving you both money on your monthly energy bill and wear and tear on your system. No matter how you look at it, proper humidity control is good for you and your home.

Save with Insulation in Casa Adobe

When you are looking for ways to save money around your Casa Adobe house, it can be difficult to know where to begin. However, if you start examining things closely, you can actually find many small ways to cut here and there to save a few dollars. Of course, the savings you will generate by making these moves need to be worth the expense of making them, and it some cases that equation does not work out to your advantage.

For instance, when you are trying to save money on your heating or air conditioning bills, is it really worth it to get a top of the line system installed? Do you really need a 97% AFUE furnace? Sure your monthly heating bills will be lower, but it costs so much to install that it might not be worth it. For some people, the right choice will be to opt for the highest efficiency system, but that is far from a universal truth.

However, there is one investment along these lines that will be worth it no matter what your particular situation is. And that is making sure that your house has proper and effective insulation installed everywhere necessary. Certainly, most houses have insulation of some kind. But do you really know that your insulation is effective and that it is in the right place?

With the new technologies and types of insulation available, you should not have to pay too much to have someone come in to check your insulation and improve upon it. And you very likely will not believe the difference it can make in the way your house feels.

Proper insulation will keep heat in and cold out in the winter and the opposite in the summer. You will quite simply be more comfortable all year round. Plus, you will see a pretty dramatic drop in your home heating and cooling bills because your HVAC systems will not have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.

This will also translate into less wear and tear on the system over all, making it possible for you to extend the useful life of your HVAC system as well. The savings that can be generated by having proper insulation put in will well outweigh the cost of that insulation in just about every case.

Things You Should Have Inspected: A Tip From Sahuarita

Life would be great in Sahuarita if we could just depend on things to work and last without requiring any sort maintenance or upkeep. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As good as modern manufacturing and engineering are, our devices, appliances and machines still need attention in order to stay in peak condition.

The Body Is a Machine

To illustrate this, think about the human body. We put a lot of wear and tear on ourselves, which can lead to minor illnesses, injuries and the like, especially when combined with the effects of aging. One way we attempt to stay ahead of the game is to get an annual physical. Once a year, we pay a visit to our doctor to make sure everything is in tip top shape. He checks everything out, lets us know what’s going on, helps us treat anything that may be acting up and then off we go, ready to go for another year.

And So Is Your Furnace!

Likewise, your furnace needs annual attention as well. Although newer electrical furnaces can go up to three years without regular maintenance, gas and oil models should be inspected every year, as should older systems. During an annual inspection, an HVAC professional will:

  • Clean out fuel lines, keeping every flowing freely and efficiently.
  • Check for parts that are wearing out or need to be replaced.
  • Clean and inspect the heating ductwork as well as the vents.

These simple and routine maintenance tasks can extend the life of your furnace by years, keeping your home warm and your heating costs low.

The Best Time for Inspection

The best time to get your furnace inspected is in the late summer to fall months. Although you may still be trying to squeeze every bit of enjoyment from those last warm days, the cold weather comes not far behind, and you will want your furnace ready when that happens. A fall inspection ensures that your furnace will be all set when those temperatures start to drop, so your family won’t have to tolerate any chilly nights.

Annual maintenance is important for health and longevity, both for you and your furnace. You can even schedule your physical and your furnace inspection around the same time so you don’t forget. Make an appointment for your car while you’re at it, too. That makes three things you won’t have to worry about during those cold winter months.

How Often Do You Change Your Filters? Some Advice From Country Side

The core component of any good air quality system for your Country Side home is the filter. A good air filter removes almost all of the particles that inundate your home every day – from the pet dander that flakes off of your cats or dogs to the pollen released by plants both indoors and out.

But many homeowners are not aware of when they should change the filters in their air quality system. They know it should be done regularly, but how often and when do you ignore the manufacturer’s recommendation to ensure higher quality air?

Know Your Home

The first thing to consider is the size of your home and what types of contaminants you must deal with each day. Air testing helps with this, as does regular cleaning of the areas around your air filter, including your ductwork. If you don’t have any pets and don’t keep any plants inside, your biggest air quality issue is likely dust, and dust will only fill up the filters quickly if you have a large family.

However, if you have a lot of pets, multiple plants and a large family, the odds are that your filter is being put through the ringer every day – asked to filter out a tremendous number of contaminants. This is when you might need to change the filter more often.

Changing Your Filter

If you have a high quality HEPA filter, it’ll probably work for as long as it’s rated. Only lower quality filters or those not large enough for the space in which they are installed will fail early. However, keep in mind that a HEPA filter, even when it can last longer, should always be changed no later than the manufacturer’s recommended date.

For most homes that timeframe is about 6 months. However, some higher quality filters can last as long as 12 or even 18 months in the right conditions. If you use your air filter in conjunction with an air purifier, you should also have the cartridges changed out at the same time as your filter.

If you think you are changing your filters too often, you can always have your air tested to determine if the contaminants in your home require less filtration. Some home have filters larger than they need installed or lower grade filters that get changed too often unnecessarily. As long as your family is safe and healthy, you might as well try to save some money.

Your HVAC System and Electricity: A Tip From Catalina

While not every HVAC system in your Catalina home requires electricity, many of them do. Your air conditioner, electric furnace or ventilation system all need access to the central power line. So what does that mean for your system and what problems should be you beware of?

How Your HVAC System Uses Electricity

How your HVAC system works depends largely on which components need electricity to operate. Here is a quick summary of how each system uses electricity:

  • Air Conditioning – Most air conditioners are electric and therefore use electricity based on the number of BTUs produced. For example, if your air conditioner produces 25,000 BTUs and has a SEER of 16, it can produce 16 BTUs for every watt of electricity consumed per hour. As a result, it consumes 1,562.5 watts per hour when the system is running at maximum capacity. If it runs at full capacity for 8 hours per day, 30 days a month in the summer, that’s 375 kilowatt hours – which is the measurement unit you’ll see on your electric bill.
  • Heating – Your heating system may not use electricity, as many homes today use gas or oil combustion furnaces or boilers to produce heat. However, if you have an electric furnace, that electric power is used to heat the filament in the furnace. Electricity also powers the blower fan motor which pushes air across the filament and into the air handler. An electric furnace sized to heat a 1500 square foot home can use up to 8,000 watts per hour to produce enough heat for your home. That converts to roughly 5,000 kilowatt hours per month. The current price of electricity will determine how much this actually costs, you but it can really add up quickly.
  • Ventilation – Your ventilation system is almost always going to use electricity to circulate and filter air. While mechanical filters rely on the movement of air to remove certain particles, ventilation systems have a variety of components including fans and possibly even condenser coils to conserve energy as air is exchanged between the inside and outside.

Electricity plays an important role in your HVAC system no matter how your system works. To ensure yours continues to operate as intended, have your power system checked on a regular basis when the rest of your HVAC system is serviced.

Is it Cost Effective to Use a Ceiling Fan and AC at the Same Time? A Question From Elgin

There are a lot of ways to keep your Elgin house cool in the summer, and chances are you’ve incorporated more than one of them into your home already. For instance, ceiling fans are great and can really keep you comfortable in moderately hot weather. But when the heat and humidity really get to you during the dog days of September, you need something a little more powerful to take the edge off, and that’s usually some type of air conditioner.

One or the Other?

If you’re like most people, you switch off your ceiling fan when the AC comes on. After all, the air conditioner is powerful enough to cool the house on its own. So is it really worth it to expend energy running another, secondary cooling device?

In fact, it is. Ceiling fans in particular use very little energy. Yet they’re quite effective at making your home feel cool and comfortable. So there’s really no reason not to take advantage of their benefits while running your AC.

Cutting Costs

You might be surprised to learn that far from being a waste of energy, using your ceiling fan and AC at the same time can actually save you money. That’s because the cooling power of the fan allows you to turn up the thermostat on your AC unit a couple of degrees without compromising your comfort levels.

And turning up the thermostat on the AC just that small amount will translate into pretty substantial savings on your monthly energy bills. That savings will more than pay for the cost of running the ceiling fan, and you save money.

Better Air Circulation

Running the ceiling fan with the AC on or off is always helpful in terms of promoting good air circulation throughout your house. And the more air circulates, the more comfortable your indoor environment will be. Good air circulation is also important because it helps to minimize the number of air contaminants that build up inside.

More Efficient Heating

The benefits of ceiling fans don’t stop with cooling either. In fact, you can run them in reverse to help maintain even heating in the winter. Essentially, there are few investments you can make that will serve you better throughout the year than a ceiling fan regardless of the other home heating and cooling systems you have in place.