Heater Maintenance Tune Up

Heater Maintenance Tune Up

Benefits of an Annual Heater Maintenance Tune Up

The time to use our heaters is upon us. We’ve had some extreme temperature drops and we are expecting more to follow. The key to keeping your furnace running consistently is an annual tune-up of the electrical and mechanical components. Here’s a quick look at the Heater Maintenance Tune Up tasks we complete during a tune-up and how this benefits your home and family.

What You Can Expect During a Heater Maintenance Tune Up

Your technicians will arrive on time and ask you a few questions. In order to make a thorough inspection and tune-up, they will need access to various parts of the property indoors and outdoors. Prepare for someone to be present for a couple of hours, although the tasks may not take quite that long.

Outdoor Tasks 

  • The technicians will inspect the condenser unit. You may associate the condenser with air conditioning functions, but the same system can be accessed for heat when the weather is moderate. The condenser will be cleaned as needed and the refrigerant gas level checked.
  • Because this unit uses a lot of power, the electrical components will be tested and cleaned.
  • If your furnace uses natural gas or propane, the technician will check the supply lines as they enter the house.

Mechanical Room Tasks

  • The electrical controls, switches, sensors, and capacitors will be cleaned and tested. The furnace is a finely tuned system that requires precise controls; wear and tear can weaken these switches and put stress on the entire system.
  • The blower motor will be cleaned and lubed, and the blower fins will be cleaned as needed.
  • The air filter will be replaced by a new, high-quality filter.
  • For natural gas furnaces, the heat exchanger, supply line, and valve will be checked for leaks, soot, and any corrosion will be cleaned away from the burner units.

Indoor Tasks

  • The thermostat will be inspected tested and calibrated as needed. New batteries will be installed.
  • Supply vents and return air will be inspected to ensure they are not covered.

The Benefits of an Annual Heater Maintenance Tune Up

  • Your system functions more efficiently when the furnace components are cleaned and worn parts are replaced. An efficient system uses less energy, reducing your monthly utility bills.
  • Tune ups result in fewer major repairs. When technicians address minor issues, such as a worn electrical component, they prevent potential stress on other parts of the system and oftentimes the need for major repairs.
  • Annual tune-ups add years to the life of your system. The key is avoiding the catastrophic failure of major components, like the compressor unit. No system lasts forever, but you can delay replacement with regular tune-ups.
  • When your furnace functions well, it responds better to sudden or extreme temperature changes. Your technician can even demonstrate the scheduling function of your programmable thermostat.
  • Airborne particles –dust, pollen, and mold spores— can threaten your family’s health, even if the air quality seems fine. Cleaning the system and changing the air filter regularly ensures good air quality in your home and helps keep your family healthy.

Have questions about Heater Maintenance Tune Up? We can help!

Schedule your free Heater Maintenance Tune Up consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

 

4 Furnace Maintenance for Homeowners

Furnace Maintenance

Furnace Maintenance Tips You Need to Know

When your HVAC system was installed, it was customed-fit to meet the heating and cooling needs of the space in your home with well-designed components. However, like every well-designed mechanical system, it needs periodic maintenance; some maintenance tasks can be completed by homeowners, and some will need to be completed by HVAC professionals. Here are a few helpful Furnace Maintenance tasks any homeowner can complete to keep their system functioning efficiently.

Furnace Maintenance: Replace Your Filter Regularly

You are very familiar with the heating and cooling function of your system, but it also provides a vital purpose in cleaning the indoor air. An air filter removes a significant amount of dust and dander, made more important during the winter when windows and doors remain closed. When too much dust accumulates on the filter, this creates problems for the system.

A clogged filter reduces the amount of air that can pass through the filter and, as you know, your heating system depends upon great air movement. So, to keep your air clean and your home warm, change your air filter regularly. You can find the air filter in the furnace cabinet, located where enters the cabinet from the rest of the house. The filter size is printed on all four sides of the filter. Purchase the correct-sized filter, slide the old filter out and slide the new filter into the slot. For most homes, the filter should be changed once every three months; if your filters are very dirty each time, consider changing the filter every two months.

Furnace Maintenance: Use Your Thermostat Intentionally

Old-style thermostats were merely switched on the wall to call for heat or AC as needed. Newer thermostats are programmable, and some come with Smart capabilities, so there is a little bit of a learning curve for using them properly. New thermostats use batteries and batteries will need to be changed—a good rule is to remove them annually. Occasionally, the thermostat setting does not match your indoor experience. If this happens, a professional may need to recalibrate the thermostat; this can be completed during an annual preventative maintenance visit.

Both programmable and Smart thermostats can be used to customize a schedule of temperature changes to improve comfort and save money. Research has shown that reducing your thermostat setting by 70 or more for at least 8 hours can save approximately 10% on your heating bill. Finding an 8-hour window is not as hard as it sounds: lower the temp at night while the family is sleeping or away during the day. Since it is programmable, you can schedule a warm-up 30    minutes before the alarm clock sounds to ensure a comfortable morning.

Furnace Maintenance: Keep The Ductwork Clear

Ducts supply warm air throughout the house and return cool air back to the furnace to be warmed again. Openings in the ductwork are scattered around the house strategically, including supply vents and cold air returns. It is not usual for furniture, accessory, or drapes to completely cover these openings and restrict the free flow of air. Do a regular inspection of the vents and returns to ensure they are all open. For best results, have your ductwork cleaned regularly—schedule duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years or as needed.

Furnace Maintenance: Schedule Professional Maintenance Annually

Even when you complete these simple maintenance tasks, your HVAC system should be inspected, cleaned, and fine-tuned annually. A technician will check the electrical and mechanical components to keep your system running efficiently, making needed repairs as they arise. Catching small problems early can avoid large problems, giving longer service life for the entire system.

Have questions about Furnace Maintenance? We can help!

Schedule your free Furnace Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

 

 

Energy Efficient Heating Tips for Winter

Energy Efficient Heating

Energy Efficient Heating Tips for Homeowners

When the utility bill arrives, there is often a quick twinge of panic and a desire to find Energy Efficient Heating methods to result in energy lower costs. Oh, and if we could find some Energy Efficient Heating hacks that cost absolutely nothing, that would be even better! Well, hang on, because we have a few real Energy Efficient Heating tips. You might not be able to use them all, but see how many will help.

Energy Efficient Heating: Solar Energy Hacks. The sun delivers 10,000 times more energy to the earth than the amount of energy that people use. If you stand in front of a window on a cold, sunny day and you will appreciate passive solar gain. Capturing a portion of the sun’s energy inside your home will save you money.

  • Winter sun is low in the sky during the winter and high in the sky in the summer. A low sun pours more sunlight into your home on winter days.
  • The sun allowed inside warms the flooring, the furniture, and the walls. This energy radiates into the air in your home, raising the temperature by as much as 150 on a sunny day.
  • Windows are the key to solar gain. New double-paned windows trap heat in the space between glass panes and that costs nothing. Open the drapes and blinds during the day on South-facing windows between 9 am and 3 pm on sunny days. Close the drapes and blinds after the sun sets to reduce the amount of heat escaping into the cold, dark night.

Energy Efficient Heating: Fan Hacks. To maximize solar gain, move the free solar heat with ceiling fans. The wintertime setting for ceiling fans turns the fan in a clockwise rotation; this pulls air up and pushes the warm air toward the outside of the room, and potentially into other areas of the house. Set the fan at the lowest speed and move this air around. Also, use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans sparingly. The air being pulled outside is warm, air—the kind of air you are trying to keep indoors.

Energy Efficient Heating: Thermostat Hacks. The thermostat is a switch that turns the heat on or off based on a pre-determined temperature setting. All but the oldest thermostats are programmable; that is, you can program the switch to change the temperature on a timed schedule. How does that help?

  • Be slow to switch the heat (or AC) on at the season change. Develop a little tolerance for a cooler temperature setting. Set the temperature at the lowest comfortable setting for your family.
  • The EPA has demonstrated that if you lower your thermostat setting by 7 to 10 degrees for a minimum of 8 hours, you will save 10% on your heating bill.1  That does not cost a thing and you enter the scheduled changes only one time.
  • There are two ideal times to program a reduction in temperature for 8 hours: overnight, while everyone is sleeping, and during the day, while the whole family is away from home. Try a few different schedules to see which works for your family.

Energy Efficient Heating: Appliance Hacks. Some of your household appliances create significant heat for cleaning and cooking. Wash dishes and clothes later in the day to fully appreciate the heat they generate. Exhaust the hot, moist air produced by showers during the summer, but retain it in the winter as much as possible. Cook and bake to your heart’s content on cold days; exhaust only the most disagreeable cooking odors.

Energy Efficient Heating: Maintenance Hacks. Make sure to follow your manufacturer’s user guides concerning regularly scheduled preventative maintenance visits; annual maintenance is usually the guideline. Be sure to change your air filter regularly, at least every three months. These steps keep your HVAC system functioning efficiently and this saves you money.

Have questions about Energy Efficient Heating? We can help!

Schedule your free Energy Efficient Heating by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Energy Efficient Heating

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/programmable-thermostats#:~:text=Thermostat%20Operation&text=You%20can%20easily%20save%20energy,asleep%20or%20away%20from%20home

Furnace Maintenance: 6 Tips to Energy Savings

Furnace Maintenance

Energy Efficiency Requires Furnace Maintenance

Whoa! Energy costs are way up and paying your heating bill this winter is tough, with a capital T! If only there were some low-cost or no-cost options to lower that nagging utility bill. Here are a few things to try:

  1. Make sure you change your air filter regularly. The air filter constantly cleans airborne particles from your home’s indoor air. Air filters tend to be very effective, so the dust builds up rather quickly. However, once the filter is clogged, it restricts airflow. That seems like a small thing, but heating and air conditioning depends upon good airflow.
  2. Speaking of good airflow, check all of the supply vents and return air registers to make sure they are not covered. Occasionally a drape or piece of furniture gets moved and covers the opening.
  3. If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when not in use. Remember, heat rises and when it is open heat is escaping from your home.
  4. Learn to appreciate solar gain and begin a habit of opening and closing window treatments to heat your home. Opening the drapes and blinds on the south side of your home during sunny days can warm your home by 100 Be sure to close them after the sun goes down since they can prevent heat loss.
  5. Use the existing ceiling fans in your home to enhance your comfort. The wintertime setting for ceiling fans is clockwise; this draws air up and pushes the warm air trapped in the ceiling out and down. For your comfort, keep the fan on the lowest setting.
  6. Pay attention to your thermostat and learn how to program it for energy/cash savings. Newer thermostats are either programmable or have smart capabilities, with a cell phone app to customize your programming. Find agreeable times with your family members to lower the thermostat for several hours. Ideal times for lowering the temp include while everyone is asleep or away at work or school. Reducing the temperature by 6 or 80 for at least eight hours per day will make a discernable dent in your utility bill.

Don’t forget that you are also heating water; check the temperature setting on your hot water heater to make sure it is not set too high.

  • Whenever possible, take the opportunity to add insulation, caulk, and weather stripping to prevent heat loss.
  • Schedule a routine preventative Furnace Maintenance visit with an HVAC professional annually. Keeping the system clean and in proper repair will ensure your furnace is functioning at peak efficiency. This does reduce costs as much as possible.

Have questions about Furnace Maintenance? We can help!

Schedule your free Furnace Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

 

 

3 Steps to Better Indoor Air Quality

3 Steps to Better Indoor Air Quality

One of the changes that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic is a major interest in improving indoor air quality. If people were spending 90% of their time indoors, everyone would benefit from improved indoor air quality. If we face an unseen, airborne virus, how can we remove the virus to avoid the disease it causes? The sale of air quality monitoring and air cleaning technology has grown exponentially, up 800% since 2015.

Indoor Pollutant Sources. The building material of each home often contributes to indoor air quality. Older homes might contain harmful substances, such as asbestos or lead. Generally, these products are inert and do not become airborne unless disturbed during renovation. Newly manufactured items, including carpet and paint, release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), usually in the form of a gas.

Human activity also contributes pollutants to indoor air; just breathing adds CO2. The skin and hair of family members and pets add dust and dander. Cooking, smoking, cleaning, and lighting candles add gases to the indoor mixture of air. If you cook, heat water, and heat the air with natural gas or propane, the combustion contributes CO to the pollutant level.

Outdoor Pollutant Sources. The airborne particles in outdoor air are much more dilute since they move around a lot. The level of pollutants varies according to location and season. Organic particles include pollen, mold and mildew spores, and mites—microscopic insects that feed on organic dust particles. Pests, including both rodent and insect varieties, can contribute to indoor air pollution.

Let’s be clear; every home will contain some of these pollutants, but no home will contain all of these pollutants. It is important to first determine which pollutant category(categories) is the most troublesome in your living space.

Steps to Cleaner Indoor Air

1 Monitor Indoor Air Quality.

Do you have an indoor air quality (IAQ) problem? What type of pollutants contributes the most? Monitoring the air quality is the only way to define any IAQ issues. Most indoor spaces already utilize some IAQ monitors; smoke and CO detectors are examples. Examples of further monitoring devices include:

  • Single Pollutant Monitors. If a space is known or suspected of high concentrations of a particular pollutant, find a sensor that measures the known particulate and monitors its presence continuously.
  • Multi-pollutant Monitors. These sensors measure the concentration of several pollutants at once. They can be set to monitor particulates by size—10 microns to 2.5 microns, as well as monitor the presence of gases—VOCs or formaldehyde for example.
  • Monitors are available for both commercial and residential spaces.

2 Source Identification.

When a pollutant is identified, the next step is to find the source of the pollutant; does it originate from an outdoor or an indoor source? There might be a hidden problem that monitoring exposes.

3 Source control.

Identifying the pollutant type leads to finding steps to reduce or eliminate the source of the pollutant. If particulate size suggests a problem with pollen, possible sources include open windows, a leaky building envelope, or shoes/coats that carry pollen into a space.

IAQ Solutions. The type and concentration of pollutant determine the necessary step(s) needed to mitigate the situation.

  • Air Filters. Filters remove airborne particles, but cannot remove gaseous pollutants. Filters are semi-permeable barriers, with small holes that let air through but capture other items. They are rated by the size of the hole by a MERV rating—the larger the MERV number the smaller the hole. The best air filters are high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, that capture 99% of solid airborne particles.

Consult with your HVAC technician to determine the appropriate filter for your system. Most residential HVAC systems cannot utilize HEPA filters. Filters will need to be changed periodically, often every three months.

  • Ultraviolet Light(UV). When you are in direct sunlight it is in your best interest to apply sunblock to your skin. The UV light from the sun damages the cell walls of your exposed skin, a condition we call sunburn. The same principle is used by adding UV light to the HVAC ductwork; the light damages the cell walls of bacteria, viruses, pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. The inert cells are readily captured by the air filter or collected during vacuuming/dusting.
  • Air Purifiers. Both small, portable, and large-scale air purifiers are available for any size of space. Air purifiers draw indoor air through a multi-phase filtration system, including an activated charcoal filter. Charcoal contains small pockets that attract, collect, and keep gaseous odors and pollutants. Often, these filters can be manually cleaned, so maintenance is required. Neither air filters nor UV light can remove gases from the air.
  • Bipolar Ionization (BPI). BPI is installed inside the ductwork of an HVAC system. Ions are atoms or molecules that have at least one too many or one too few electrons compared to a more elemental form of the same substance. PBI creates both positive and negative oxygen molecules and releases them into an indoor space. The benefit is these ions readily attach to airborne particles and change their chemical formulas. Ions attach to VOCs and formaldehyde, creating inert organic compounds that become dust. They attach to organic material, such as bacteria and pollen, damaging cell walls. They also are attracted to other oxygen molecules, exchanging electrons and forming stable oxygen molecules.

Continuous follow-up air quality monitoring will help you keep apprised of the IAQ so that solution methods can be re-implemented in a timely manner.

Have questions about Indoor Air Quality? We can help!

Schedule your free Indoor Air Quality consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

3 Steps to Better Indoor Air Quality

5 Signs You Need to Make an AC Repair Appointment Today

Warning Signs You Need AC Repair 

Warning Signs You Need AC Repair

Well . . . your older air conditioner made it through another summer. It ran well, but you are a little concerned; it has been around for a while and last summer it required a minor AC Repair. The fall is a good time to replace it but is considering taking a chance for one more year. What should you know before making that decision? Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Old Age. It really is a key consideration. Keeping it clean and well-maintained will prolong its usefulness, but eventually, large components will fail. Efficiency will drop. Economically, it will make sense to replace your air conditioner. The age range for AC components is between 15 to 20, more if maintained. Research the installation year and it can help you determine the urgency of replacement.
  2. Duplicate Repairs. Another key consideration is needing to replace the same part or similar part multiple times. When electrical control switches, sensors, and capacitors weaken and fail, this puts stress on larger motors. The stress will accumulate and lead to failure in these larger parts.
  3. Efficiency Loss. You might notice this when the AC takes longer to cool your home than normal or struggles to cool during heat waves. Or the system might blow hot air. You might also notice a loss of efficiency when you open your utility bill each month—more than the rise attributed to inflation.

Before you assume the worse, have your AC unit checked; this might indicate the loss of coolant gas. Sealing the coolant line and recharging the system is an easy fix.

  1. Efficiency Loss. Another indication of efficiency loss is higher humidity in your home. Surfaces might feel sticky, or the air may feel heavy and wet. High humidity might promote the growth of mold or mildew, so the air may smell musty. The coolant gas is also responsible for removing humidity, so let a technician check your system. Again, this is an easy fix.

If the coolant pressure is fine with a marked loss of efficiency, it may indicate deeper problems for AC Repair.

  1. Unusual Noise. The noise your AC makes should be minimal; you may hear the blower motor and the whoosh of air near the vents. Screeching, squealing, or rattling noises are not normal. When the normally slight noise becomes loud or unusual, this needs to be addressed. Noise can come from moving parts, such as the blower motor, or it can come from the stress on stationary parts.

If your aging air conditioner is experiencing a combination of these indicators, it is sending early warning signs of failure or AC Repair. By listening to your system, you will be able to plan accordingly. The early warning gives you time to shop around to find a brand and contractor. It gives you time to schedule the installation.

Most of all, you avoid replacing your air conditioner under the duress of an emergency; that emergency will most likely happen during the hottest part of the summer or the coolest part of the winter when your aging system is under significant stress.

Have questions about AC Repairs? We can help!

Schedule your free AC Repair consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

2023 HVAC Regulation Changes that End up Costing Homeowners Money

2023 HVAC Regulation Changes That End Up Costing Homeowners Money

Minimum Efficiency Requirements Increase for 2023.

The “old” HVAC systems, called 14 SEER (which is a basic solution for our weather conditions) are being replaced by the “new” 15 SEER, with a new rating of 14.3 SEER2 as the required minimum rating.  Essentially the government is mandating air conditioning manufacturers to change their equipment testing and rating procedures, which is forcing HVAC manufacturers to redesign their equipment to achieve the new minimum efficiency standards. Larger more powerful machines are the result…

 

SEER & SEER 2 ratings are like gas mileage – the higher the better. (Learn more about the new standard at SEER2.com) And if you think it’ll cost more to buy the “new” one, you’re right.

The “new” equipment requirements for air conditioning equipment begin in January 2023. I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly using my air conditioner then. So, this is the last time you can get the far less costly 14 SEER installed in your home.

Now for the Good News…Since they’re phasing out the 14 SEER, you can get the best value ever on these incredible systems. The parts will be available for the life of the system; our service techs know them inside and out; and with our installation expertise, they will save you a bunch of energy and we will make your home more comfortable!

The 14 SEER is superbly reliable, efficient, quiet, and easy to work on. It is a wonderful solution if you want a basic replacement for your existing air conditioner. We’ve sold a bunch of these. It was the “standard” and still fits our climate. The “new” one will cost you WAY MORE than the little savings you MIGHT get with it. Why do I say, “might get”? Well, with heating and cooling equipment, the installation expertise is what makes the thing save money, not the so-called rating. In essence, performance versus potential.

Hey, I can get in a car that’s “rated ” at 30 miles a gallon, but if I put rocks in the trunk and drive like I’m a stock car racer, it’ll struggle to get 10 miles to the gallon. Same thing here!

Look at the 9 Ways You Can Save Big Right Now, plus your happiness GUARANTEED!

  • Free In-Person Estimate Just for Calling – NO OBLIGATION at all.
  • Last chance to get the less expensive 14 SEER system – In fact, supplies are running lower than ever
  • Get a full $750.00 trade-in for your old system. (No matter how old!)
  • Energy Savings – more money in your pocket!
  • 10 Years parts and labor warranty. You won’t spend a penny on repairs for a decade!
  • One year of annual comfort and performance maintenance (a $189 value)
  • Smart Thermostat – Saves you even more and provides better control of your comfort!
  • Great Payment Options, for the lowest payment possible for qualified buyers. What you save in energy and repair costs will offset your investment.
  • Inflation-proof as you’ll secure today’s price and avoid any future increases

Please call us at 281-238-9292 to schedule your free estimate. It won’t cost you a dime, and there’s no obligation at all. It may be the most valuable 3-minute phone call of the year!

AC Maintenance Katy Tx: The Importance of HVAC Maintenance

AC Maintenance Katy Tx

AC Maintenance Katy Tx: The Importance of HVAC Maintenance

There are two awesome things about autumn in Houston: football and cooler fall weather. In the spring, everyone seems to long for the summer heat and all of the outdoor activities we can only do in the summer. But after a few months of intense heat, the heat seems to lose its appeal–the heat of summer can be very long. By this time of the year, we look forward to cooler weather, when air conditioning is not necessary.

Actually, the fall is a perfect time to have your residential air conditioner serviced. During the heat of the summer, air conditioning technicians are extremely busy handling repairs and replacements. As the weather cools, the pressure is off of both your AC system and the technicians who complete preventative maintenance. Scheduling an annual maintenance visit yields quite an advantage for your home.

Standard Preventative Maintenance for AC Maintenance Katy Tx

Our air conditioning technicians have the training and experience necessary to maintain modern air conditioning systems. Our trained professionals will locate components that require attention with equipment designed to monitor and measure performance. Our maintenance program includes:

  • Clean the dust from the condenser coil outdoors and check the refrigerant gas
  • Clean the evaporator coil and make sure the drain line is clear
  • Clean the blower fins as needed
  • Check and calibrate electrical component parts in the cabinet
  • Inspect and calibrate the thermostat as needed
  • Check the supply vents and return air registers, making sure they are uncovered
  • Measure the cooling performance to make sure it functions properly

Preventative maintenance ensures your system will be ready for the cooling season next spring

Why Perform AC Maintenance Katy Tx?

As an investment.

For most Americans, a home purchase is the largest investment they will make. Your air conditioning system is vital to making your home healthy and comfortable. You change the oil in your car. Schedule maintenance on your AC unit.

Better performance.

Cleaning and caring for your air conditioner will ensure it functions properly; your system is designed to both cool the air and remove moisture.

Energy Savings for AC Maintenance Katy Tx

Making sure your air conditioner is functioning well makes sure it runs efficiently, saving energy with each cooling cycle. Of course, saving energy also saves money on each utility bill; saving energy is also healthy for the environment. Way to go!

Reducing repairs and prolonging the usefulness

Keeping existing component parts is usually preferred to paying to replace parts prematurely. By inspecting and maintaining these expensive parts regularly, you extend usefulness—sometimes by 5 or 10 years. Extending the life of your air conditioner puts off replacement. When the time comes to replace your air conditioner, you can do it knowing you did everything you could to spend money wisely.

Peace of mind

When you maintain your air conditioner in the fall you have the satisfaction of knowing your system is primed and ready for the next cooling season. In late spring, you can slide the thermostat control to cool with confidence that your system is ready for the heat of the coming summer.

Have questions about AC Maintenance Katy Tx? We can help!

Schedule your free AC Maintenance Katy Tx consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

 

 

 

New AC Installation FAQs

New AC Installation: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

New AC Installation: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

If you find yourself needing a new New AC Installation, a.k.a., your HVAC system, you have some exciting choices about features that will impact comfort and health for many years to come. Most well-maintained HVAC systems last 20-25 years, so expect to keep this system around for a while. In order to prepare you for this important decision, here is some basic information to help you.

New AC Installation: Two Basic Systems

While it has been around for decades internationally, the mini-split ductless air conditioner system is gaining traction over central heating/air systems in the U.S. Here is a short description of the two types of systems.

  • The biggest difference between the two systems is . . . ducts. Ductless systems provide both heating and cooling using very similar technology, but the delivery system is via a wall-mounted unit instead of floor vents. These wall units are quieter than a central air system. Each room has a separate thermostat, allowing for zone heating and cooling. These systems are very energy efficient and can save money each month. They are especially useful when adding rooms or renovating older homes without existing ducts. Since mini-split systems use heat pump technology, they struggle to produce heat when the temperature drops below 320
  • Traditional central heat/air systems are good, efficient systems and can be found in most homes in the U.S. Typical central systems will have component parts indoors and outdoors. The blower motors on central systems move a lot of air—the entire volume of your home circulates every few minutes. While the air is moving, it filters well. One system can cover large areas, but creating zones is usually not possible. Central heat will use heat pump technology, just like the mini-split system. However, an auxiliary heat source, either electric or natural gas, handles low temperatures.

New AC Installation Proper Sizing and Ratings

Both mini-split and central systems are sized using the same method. A technician will complete a load calculation to determine size; square footage, insulation type, window and door openings, and other factors that are entered into an algorithm. The heating need is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) and air conditioning is measured in tonnage. Larger numbers are not better or worse, they just measure the need. An important fact: for a number of reasons your new system might not match the size of your old system.

Ratings measure the efficiency of heating and cooling functions. The basic information on New AC Installation ratings is:

  • Air conditioner efficiency is measured in SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The minimum SEER rating is 13 and the (current) maximum rating is 22: in order to qualify as EPA Energy Star, the SEER rating must be 14.5. Energy efficiency will cost more upfront and be repaid for lower bills over time.
  • The amount of energy lost by electric furnaces is negligible, so they are considered 100% efficient. Gas furnaces receive an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating that measures the percentage of fuel energy successfully captured for indoor heat. Watch for AFUE ratings between 90 and 98(%). Again, energy efficiency costs more with the purchase but is recouped with lower utility bills.

Features to Explore

The basic technology for heating and air conditioning has been around since the 1960s, but engineers keep improving system components. Some improvements to watch for include:

  • Blower motor technology. Mini-split systems have very small quiet blower motors and room occupants might not notice the noise. Central systems have larger motors and in the past, the noise was very noticeable. New technology includes variable speeds and whisper-quiet technology.
  • Air Filters. Mini-split systems may come with washable air filters and save money on the cost of replacing filters over the years. Watch for systems with better air filtration: look for a MERV rating on available filters—the higher the number the better.
  • UV Lights. Ultraviolet light will neutralize organic airborne particles, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, bacteria, and viruses. This is a definite plus.
  • New thermostats allow you to schedule regular temperature changes. This adds comfort and helps save on the energy bill. Programmable thermostats allow you to set the schedule and forget it. Smart thermostats include a phone app that allows you to make changes on the move.

Are you researching a New AC Installation? We can help!

Schedule your free New AC Installation consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

New AC Installation: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

6 Tips to Keep Your HVAC Compressor from Failing

6 Tips to Keep Your HVAC Compressor from Failing

HVAC Compressor Maintenance Tips

As a homeowner, you understand the importance of your HVAC Compressor and AC system: it heats and cools, cleans the air, and removes humidity on hot summer days. You often hear that maintenance saves you money, avoids repairs, and keeps the whole system running longer.  All that is true: maintaining the whole system is more convenient and less expensive than repairs.

This article will focus on caring for the compressor—the workhorse of your system. HVAC Compressor failure is a catastrophic loss; compressor replacement often leads to AC replacement. Let’s take a look at what makes it critical and how to take care of it.

With heat pump technology, the compressor is used for both heating and cooling. The technology is based on gas science; when a gas is compressed, it heats and when the pressure is released, the gas cools. This is done at a predictable rate, so engineers make use of this science to accomplish a desired task.

As the name implies, the compressor compresses the gas and pushes it into the evaporator coil, where the gas pressure is released.

The blower motor is continuously moving air from your home through the evaporator chamber. Inside the evaporator chamber, this cold refrigerant gas completes three tasks simultaneously; cools the air in the evaporator chamber, removes humidity when the moisture condenses on the coil and absorbs heat from your home.

Now the hot gas moves outdoors to the condenser unit and the heat is released. During the winter, the same system works in reverse order; the gas picks up heat from outdoors and brings it inside.

HVAC Compressors generally fail when other components are under increased stress. Maintaining your compressor requires a few basic steps that you can accomplish and further steps that require a technician with professional equipment and training.

  1. Basic cleaning. Contaminants are the nemesis of any mechanical system. It is true of your car. It is true of your lawnmower. It is true of your computer. Your HVAC system is no different. Start by making sure to change your air filter on a regular schedule—every three months is enough for most settings. Use a garden hose and gently wash grime and dirt out of the condenser coil—the outdoor component. Ideally, you should clean your ductwork every three to five years.
  2. Professional Service. Develop a relationship with a local HVAC contractor and schedule an annual PM visit for your system. A qualified technician will ascertain the condition of your compressor and other components. Professional equipment is required to measure gas pressure and recharge the system if pressure is low.
  3. Recharging the system. A loss of cooling capacity (or heating capacity in the winter) might be an indication of low gas pressure. The refrigerant gas is kept in a closed system of copper or aluminum tubes, so low pressure indicates a leak. Before the technician can recharge the system, the leak will need to be repaired. Since some refrigerant gases pose a danger to the environment, 33all refrigerant gases are highly regulated. A professional license is required to handle these gases.
  4. Clean the evaporator coils. Dirty coils can lead to a loss of cooling capacity, gaining access to the coils requires accessing the central air unit. While the cabinet is open, the technician will also clean the evaporator drain pan and make sure the drain line is open.
  5. Inspect electrical controls, sensors, and wiring. Even a small amount of dust can interfere with the sensitive control mechanisms. This investigation can detect electrical components that are under stress and subject to imminent failure.
  6. Repair the compressor as needed. The lubrication for the compressor is in a closed system and when the system is compromised it will need to be repaired and lubed again. Your technician will have the correct parts available and the necessary skill to make repairs.

The best way to take care of your HVAC Compressor is to maintain the whole system. A preventative maintenance plan can keep your HVAC Compressor, and therefore, your entire HVAC system viable for years to come.

6 Tips to Keep Your HVAC Compressor from Failing

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Schedule your AC Maintenance assessment by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.