Lower Costs By Reducing Your Need for Air Conditioning

Of course, it should go without saying that if we use less air conditioning then that should reduce our costs. However, most of us just want to run out and buy a new, bigger, better, more energy efficient air conditioning system. That, too, can be a solution to high summer energy costs. But, before you do that, try some of these cheaper ways to reduce your cooling costs by reducing your need for mechanical air conditioning in the first place. 

Improve your insulation and air sealing to prevent heat from entering your home, much the same as you take precautions to prevent cold air from entering your home in the winter. Rid yourself of old appliances that give off a lot of heat. Consider replacing that energy wasting, inefficient refrigerator and remember to unplug anything electronic if you are not using it. Even light bulbs can give off heat, so replace those incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Shade those east and west windows during peak sun exposure times. If you are considering repairs or replacement of your exterior finishes, look for energy products that will help to cut down on heat gain through your roof, paint or siding. Fans can create a lot of comfortable cool air when there isn’t much humidity; they are quite effective, especially ceiling fans, while using much less energy than an air conditioner. 

If you are still looking to upgrade or purchase a new air conditioning system for your home, remember that every home has specific requirements. Your local HVAC professional contractor can ensure that you get the most effective and energy efficient air conditioning system for the your individual needs.

Oh, How Marvelous Is Air Conditioning!

Air conditioning is a fact of life these days. Most of us expect it’s comforting availability when the long days of summer test our personal physical heat tolerance. Invented in 1902 as a way to reduce air moisture in a lithographing company, few people could afford the luxury in their homes, so most visited theaters and department stores to enjoy a brief respite from the heat. 

Today, the ease and automated comfort of central air conditioning has taken the sting of extremely hot days out of most homes. Cooling the inside air is the main function of an air conditioner, but it is not all that it does. Air conditioners use a thermostat to regulate the air temperature. They also perform as a filter to remove airborne particles from the air. Since reducing the temperature of a volume of air causes it to release moisture, air conditioners also serve as a dehumidifier. 

Air conditioners work much like refrigerators and use refrigerants to move air in two directions. Air conditioners actually have two sides; the cold side moves air inside while the hot side moves air outside. A fan blows air into the room over coils that are chilled while another fan vents the hot air coming off the compressor to the outdoors. Liquid refrigerant is compressed and moved into the evaporator by the expansion value; the refrigerant’s pressure drops, expands and returns to a gas while in the evaporator; following which, the refrigerant is then pressurized by the compressor which results in its liquefying once again; and, so the cycle repeats. 

While there are some differences between window units, split-system units and central air units, your local HVAC professional will know which system is best suited to meet the individual needs of your home.

Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

The most reliable sign of an air conditioning unit that needs replacing is one that no longer works. Still, there are a variety of reasons along the way to your AC’s last gasp that may indicate that it’s time to consider installing a new air conditioner

Before your air conditioner completely gives up, you may be faced with a series of expensive repairs. If you’re calling an HVAC technician on a fairly regular basis to diagnose and repair yet another problem with the AC unit, it’s wise to start looking into replacement options. By beginning your search while the existing unit is still marginally functional, you’ll be afforded a bit of time to do some research regarding this large purchase. When you’re not under the time constraints introduced by high temperatures and air conditioning that isn’t working, you’re able to more thoroughly examine your options. 

Another sign of a faltering AC unit is the constant need to adjust the thermostat. If you’re never quite comfortable, your air conditioner could be struggling to keep up with the distribution of air throughout your home. 

Even if your AC is still in good working condition, you may find that upgrading to a newer, more energy efficient model saves so much on your monthly cooling bills that the new unit effectively pays for itself over just a few years. Discussing the age, condition and level of functionality of your AC unit with an experienced HVAC contractor is the best way to determine what, if any, action should be taken in regard to your air conditioning system.

Choosing an HVAC System for Your Home

When it comes to HVAC system replacements, today’s homeowner has many different types of heating and cooling systems to choose from.  Those choices are almost unlimited for new home construction, but for most existing homes a homeowner will be choosing between a heat pump and a traditional furnace combined with a central air conditioning system.

The location of the home plays a very important role in the choice of HVAC system.  One of the best things a homeowner can do is to talk to an experienced local HVAC contractor.  They will have a good handle on the types of systems that make the most sense for your area.

For example, in the Pacific Northwest and in other mountainous regions, many homes are not equipped with an air conditioning system because temperatures rarely exceed comfortable levels.  In these areas, a high efficiency furnace may be a good choice.  A heat pump might be a more efficient user of energy, but unless you have a need for at least occasional cooling, you would be wasting money on a system that heats and cools, no matter how efficient.

On the other hand, in warmer climates a heat pump is an excellent alternative.  Heat pumps offer energy efficient heating and cooling in a single system and are a great choice where air conditioning is needed and winter temperatures do not routinely stay below freezing for extended periods of time.

In northern climates that get cold in the winter and hot in the summer, a heat pump can be an excellent energy efficient heating and cooling system for most of the year, but they lose some efficiency in extremely cold temperatures.  One alternative is to use a heat pump with a traditional fossil fuel burning furnace installed as a secondary heat source for the coldest winter temperatures.