Archive for August, 2011

Why Install a Ductless Air Conditioner? A Question From Tukwila

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

As you explore your options in terms of a new home air conditioning system in Tukwila, you will probably have to decide whether you want a system that uses ducts to get the cooled air around the house or one that is considered ductless. Each type of air conditioning system is appropriate in certain situations, so it is important to understand the benefits of each before you can make a decision.

Duct air conditioning systems are the more traditional type on the market today. They generally consist of an outdoor compressor and condenser unit and an indoor air handler. The outdoor unit passes the cooled air through ducts to the air handler, which then takes over circulating the air through the house and back out to the condenser again.

It makes sense to install this type of air conditioning system if you have a large house or if you have ducts already in place. Duct air conditioners can cool a moderate to large sized house quite effectively and they can also be coupled with zone control systems to give you multiple climate zones within your house.

Ductless air conditioners, as their name suggests, do not rely on a system of air ducts to get cooled air distributed throughout your house. These types of systems use refrigerant lines to transfer coolant from the outdoor compressor to the indoor, wall mounted units. Each of these indoor units can take care of cooling one or two rooms, but in order to cool an entire house with one of these systems, you will need to install multiple indoor units.

However, these multiple indoor units can all be connected to the same outdoor compressor, and they can also be controlled independently. That gives you much greater control over which parts of your house are cooled and how much energy you are using to cool areas that may or may not be occupied.

Ductless air conditioners are generally more energy efficient than ducted ones, but their real advantage comes from the facts that they can be installed even in places where air ducts do not exist or cannot go. If you do not already have ductwork in your house, installing a duct system will add considerably to the price of installing a ducted air conditioning system. In a case like this, a ductless system is much easier and cheaper to install and certainly makes more sense.

The Advantages of an Air Conditioning System: A Guide From Seatac

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Just about everyone in Seatac knows that air conditioning systems keep your indoor environment cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. While this may be enough of a benefit for you, there are also some other benefits to having a central air conditioning system installed in your house as well.

For instance, if you have someone in your household who is more susceptible to extreme temperatures than most people, an air conditioning system can actually help improve their overall health. Babies certainly fall into this category, as they have more difficulty than older children or adults do controlling their body temperature.

Also, many elderly people or people suffering from certain medical conditions, particularly heart conditions, are especially sensitive to the heat. If they are unable to stay cool, it can be very dangerous and damaging to their health, and an air conditioning system helps to guarantee that they will be able to stay cool and comfortable even on the hottest days of the year.

Aside from direct health concerns, air conditioning systems can also help to alleviate the symptoms of colds and allergies. They do this by controlling the level of humidity inside your home. If the air in your house is too moist or too dry, it can exacerbate cold and allergy symptoms, as well as dry out skin and make the indoor environment generally uncomfortable.

Proper humidity control is also important because it helps to ensure that any air filtration or purification system you have in place is able to operate at peak efficiency. Many of these units have a hard time extracting particulate contaminants from the indoor air that circulates through them if that air is too humid or too dry. With a state of the art air conditioning system in place, however, you will not have to worry about whether or not the humidity level in your home is out of balance.

It is also worth noting that a central air conditioning system can be preferable to a window mounted unit because it provides for a more even distribution of cool air throughout the house. Also, when you have a central air conditioning system, the condenser which is the source of most of the noise and vibrations that air conditioners make will be located outside and out of earshot. With window mounted units, on the other hand, there is really no way to block out or diminish the noise.

If you have any questions about how air conditioning help you feel more comfortable, contact your local contractor.

How to Handle an Overloaded AC: A Tip From Auburn

Friday, August 26th, 2011

The last thing you need on a hot summer day in Auburn is for your air conditioner to suddenly cut out. Without the cooling power it provides, your house will get uncomfortable quickly. Fortunately, once you know why this happens, there are several things you can do about it.

Why Air Conditioners Cut Out

The most common reason for air conditioner failure is an overabundance of pressure in the unit. This happens because the coil gets too hot, causing the pressure to rise in the entire device. As the pressure rises past a certain point, an automatic safety shutoff system is engaged. If you can stop the coil from heating up to this point, you can keep your air conditioner running.

How to Keep Them Running

Of course, this is easier said than done. Since your condenser unit with the coil inside is located outside in the heat, it’s only natural for it to get hot during the day – especially an extra hot day when you’re using your air conditioner a lot. You also need to be careful not to put anything over or up against your outdoor condenser unit.

While this may block the sunlight, it will also keep heat in the system and prevent the air conditioner from removing exhaust naturally. So in order to keep your air conditioner as cool as possible, make sure there is nothing up against the vents or impeding air flow in any way. Once you’ve done this, try and find a way to provide shade for you air conditioner without placing objects near the device. Blocking out direct sunlight is the best way to keep your air conditioner cool as long as you can do it without interfering with the system’s natural air flow.

Getting it Back On

If your unit does cut out on you, don’t despair. The best thing to do is to wait about a half hour to give your unit a chance to cool off on its own. Then, spray the coil and other overheated areas with a fine mist of cool water. This should lower the temperature enough that the system can come back on without any further complications.

If the problem persists despite the work you’ve done to keep it cool, you may want to call in a professional to take a look and make sure nothing is broken or worn inside to cause the overloads. Most of the time a little maintenance will take care of the problem, but if not, you’ll want to get repairs done quickly to avoid a full breakdown.

Green House Gasses and Air Conditioners: Some Pointers From Issaquah

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

There’s simply no way around it: the air conditioner you probably depend on all summer in Issaquah is emitting a constant stream of greenhouse gasses contributing to the warming of the Earth. While it’s true that the coolants used today, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), are much less damaging than the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) initially used in air conditioning, they are still harmful to the environment.

Environmentally Friendly Coolants

Recently, research has led to the development of more environmentally friendly coolants. One in particular, HFO-1234yf, is scheduled to be introduced for use in the air conditioning systems of all GM cars beginning with the 2013 models. This is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to address this growing problem before it’s too late.

Electricity and Carbon Dioxide

The use of environmentally friendly coolants will only go so far towards curbing the environmental impact of air conditioning. That’s because air conditioners are universally powered by electricity, and electricity is almost universally produced by the burning of fossil fuels like coal. When coal is burned, it generates a great deal of carbon dioxide, a substantial pollutant on its own.

An Intensifying Cycle

Of course, the more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are introduced into the atmosphere, the hotter the planet will become. And as the average temperature rises, air conditioning will be used more and more to combat these effects. This is a cycle that could quickly spiral out of control if something is not done to disrupt it.

What You Can Do

There are several things you can do if you’re concerned about how your air conditioning usage impacts the environment. First of all, make the switch as quickly as possible to HFO-1234yf or a similarly environmentally-friendly coolant when it becomes available. And remember that the air conditioning in your car counts too.

You can also go a long way towards reducing your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by keeping your overall energy consumption down. Try relying on other, natural methods of cooling your home as much as possible. And when you do turn on your air conditioner, make sure you use all of the energy being consumed as efficiently as possible.

That means keeping your unit in good shape to maintain its energy efficiency and making sure that your home is properly sealed and insulated so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work overtime maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. If you have more questions about energy efficient air conditioners, contact your local contractor.

Air Conditioners and Humidity: A Tip From Steilacoom

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Ever wonder why all of those air conditioners hanging out of people’s windows in Steilacoom are constantly dripping water on hot summer days? All they’re actually doing is disposing of the moisture they’ve removed from the indoor air. That’s right – air conditioners are dehumidifiers too.

When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. After all, you know how much more uncomfortable 90° is when the humidity’s up around 90% than when it’s closer to 60%. Of course, some air conditioners are better at removing moisture from the air than others, so you should definitely consider how well an air conditioner dehumidifies when evaluating your air conditioning options.

Why Humidity Matters

High humidity, even at lower temperatures is uncomfortable. But there are more reasons than simple comfort to want an air conditioner that reduces indoor humidity levels. For instance, high levels of humidity promote the growth and spread of several allergens like dust mites and mold spores. High indoor humidity can also cause problems for the wood fixtures and furnishings in your home.

The Importance of Proper Sizing

Most air conditioners do a decent job of controlling humidity indoors. But depending on the severity of your problem and the typical levels of humidity in your area during the summer months, you may want to pay special attention to each unit’s capabilities when evaluating your options.

An air conditioner’s ability to maintain proper humidity levels indoors has a lot to do with how well it’s matched to the size of your room as well. An air conditioner that’s too small likely won’t get the humidity or the temperature down to a comfortable level. On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily mean that bigger is better.

In fact, an air conditioner that’s too large for the space you’re using it to cool will have a hard time bringing down the humidity level. Sure, you’ll wind up with a cold room, but that room will remain damp, making it no more comfortable than it was before the air conditioner was turned on.

For all of these reasons, it’s important to carefully evaluate your options when buying an air conditioner and make sure that the unit you buy is the right kind and size for the area you’re cooling. A little extra time spent researching your options will make your home infinitely more comfortable this summer. If you have more questions about which air conditioner is right for you, contact your local AC contractor.

What is the COP and Why Is It Important? A Question From Tukwila

Friday, August 19th, 2011

If you’ve been researching air conditioners in Tukwila, you’ve probably seen all sorts of numbers associated with each model. One of these numbers is the Coefficient of Performance (COP). While it’s good to gather as much data as you can before you make a purchasing decision, you also need to know what that data means if it’s going to help you make the best selection possible.

Measuring COP

Calculating the COP for any air conditioning model is relatively simple. The number you see displayed on the box is the ratio of energy input to cooling output. For the most part, the air conditioners you’re probably been looking at have a COP of between 2.5 and 4.0, although newer models are beginning to appear with COPs of up to 5.0.

The higher the COP, of course, the more efficient the air conditioner, so it makes sense to take this number into account when you’re making your purchase. You should also keep in mind, though, that the COP is not a constant measurement. The warmer it is outside, the lower your unit’s COP will be. However, this is standard across all units, so a relative COP comparison is still a viable evaluation method.

If you’re not sure what COP you should look for or whether a lower number will be effective for your home (especially if you only need to cool a small space), you should talk to a professional who can help you match the right COP level to your particular living space.

Improving Efficiency

While it’s always a good idea to get an air conditioner with the best energy efficiency ratings possible, that’s not the only thing you can do to reduce your energy usage and keep your cooling costs down. For instance, there are plenty of ways to keep your home naturally cooler without even turning on the air conditioner.

Even when you do need to flip it on, anything else you can do to reduce the indoor temperature will make it easier for your air conditioner to keep your house comfortable. So put up some awnings, run the ceiling fan and close the blinds to block out that harsh afternoon sun. The more you can do to reduce your indoor temperature naturally, the less your air conditioner will have to do, and the lower your cooling costs will be.

Cooling Your House Naturally in Sammamish

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In this day and age, it seems like no matter what type of problem you have, there’s a technological solution for it. But is that solution always the best? For instance, just because you can get a high-tech air conditioning system to keep your Sammamish home at the same temperature regardless of the weather outside, does that mean that you should rely solely on that system?

Of course, the choice is yours, but before you decide how best to keep your house comfortable during the warm summer months, it’s a good idea to learn a little bit more about what your other options might be.

  • Cross-Ventilation – One of the easiest ways to take the edge off when the temperature starts to rise inside is to open windows on both sides of the house. This allows the breeze to come in one side and pass out the other, taking the stale, warm indoor air with it in the process and cooling off your house naturally.
  • Stack-Ventilation – If you have a two-story home, you may want to try stack-ventilation. This variation on cross-ventilation involves opening the windows on the bottom floor on one side of your home and on the top floor on the other. The differences in pressure from one area to the next cause fresh outdoor air to be sucked in on the ground floor and pushed out on the top floor, thereby creating a strong air current throughout your home.
  • Blocking Out the Sun – The number one reason that the interior of your house gets hot in the summer is exposure to direct sunlight, so anything you can do to diminish the amount of sun that actually makes it into your home, the better off you’ll be. All you really have to do is close the blinds on those windows where sun can come in to keep the majority of that heat from impacting your indoor environment.
  • Stay Away from Dark Colors – The color of the outside of your home can also have an impact on how hot it gets indoors. Dark colors absorb the heat, while light colors reflect it. So if you want to keep the temperature down inside, stick to light colors on the exterior of your home.
  • The Importance of Shade – Any type of shade will also keep the sun’s heat out of your home. Trees are a great source of natural shade. Awnings can provide great cooling power too without blocking out your view.

If you need more information about how to keep you house cool, ask your HVAC contractor.

Ductless vs. Duct Air Conditioning Systems: Some Pointers From Des Moines

Monday, August 15th, 2011

When it comes time to pick out a new air conditioning system for your Des Moines home, you will have to make the choice between ductless and duct models. While both of these types of systems have their advantages, the specifics of your situation will go a long way to determining which one is right for you.

Ductless air conditioning systems are becoming more and more popular these days for a number of reasons. For one, they are generally considered more energy efficient than their ducted counterparts. Also, ductless systems are often cheaper and simpler to install, particularly in a house that does not already contain ductwork.

These types of air conditioners use refrigerant lines to connect the indoor unit or units to the outdoor compressor. The refrigerant lines take up much less space than ducts do and they also are much easier to install. Refrigerant lines can also reach into areas of your house that ducts may not be able to, making it possible for you to bring the benefits of air conditioning to places that did not have access to it before.

The indoor unit of a ductless air conditioning system can generally handle the cooling load of one or two rooms, but if you want to cool a larger space, it will be necessary to install multiple indoor units throughout the house. All of these units can connect to the same outdoor compressor and they can also be controlled individually. That means that you can set different temperatures in different parts of your house and you do not have to pay to cool the entire space if no one is occupying certain parts at the moment.

A duct air conditioning system also involves indoor and outdoor components. However, these elements are connected to each other by a system of ducts rather than by refrigerant lines. In a duct system, cooled air is brought inside from the compressor and then circulated through various ducts by the air handler.

The latest duct systems are quite energy efficient as well, and they can also be coupled with zone control systems to create different climate zones within your house. Particularly if you already have some ducts in place, a duct air conditioning system can be a great option for you. If you need more information, talk to an air conditioning contractor.

New Thermostats – Are they Worth the Investment? A Question From Yelm

Friday, August 12th, 2011

When you are trying to save money around your Yelm house, a new thermostat is definitely worth looking into. Sure, your old thermostat works fine. But there are a lot of features available on newer models that can help you save money on your heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

And you do not need to wait until it is time to replace your home comfort system to upgrade your thermostat. Most thermostats can work with many different types of heating and cooling systems. So no matter what type of HVAC system you have or how old it is, you should be able to integrate some type of new thermostat into it.

But how can a new thermostat save you money? Well, they simply offer a lot of features that you can use to your advantage. For instance, even the most basic programmable thermostat can let you set different temperatures for different times of day. You can program the thermostat to turn the heat down during the day when no one is home and then you can have the heat switch back on just before you get home.

That way, you can come home to a nice, warm house without having to pay to heat it all day long when it is empty. Many newer thermostats also are more accurate and can provide more pinpoint control of your heating and cooling system. That means that you will not be wasting money because your heating system gets the actual temperature in your house up to 75°F when you only really need it to hit 72°F.

Newer thermostats help you to save money in a variety of ways, and that savings will more than pay for the cost of having a new thermostat installed. That is because thermostats are actually quite cheap and easy to install. A relatively basic programmable thermostat should not run you more than $100, and even if you opt for one of the more advanced systems out there, you will not pay more than a few hundred dollars.

That is a small price to pay considering the increased comfort possible with a state of the art thermostat and the potential for savings every month on your heating or cooling bills. Plus, you likely paid a considerable amount to have that state of the art HVAC system put in. It is worth paying just a bit more so that you can get the most possible out of it.

Window and Through Wall Units – Benefits and Disadvantages in Kent

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

When you’re trying to decide what type of air conditioner to get for your Kent home, you’ll first have to determine whether a central air conditioning system or smaller individual unit is best for you. These smaller air conditioners are generally installed either in a window or through the wall of your home, and they can provide excellent cooling under the proper conditions.

If you’re still on the fence about what type of air conditioner is right for your home, here are a few items to consider:

  • Ducts – If your home already has ductwork installed for a central forced air heating system, it should be relatively easy to hook up a central air conditioner. But if there are no ducts currently in place, your installation costs will be a lot lower with window or wall mounted units.
  • Portability – Most window units are designed to be removed and stored at the end of the summer, so you can have your windows back and not have to look at that unit all winter long. Through wall units aren’t generally removable, but because they don’t take up window space and provide a more thorough seal against the elements, that’s not as much of a concern.
  • Aesthetics – With both window and through wall units, you’ll have something protruding into your room at least a few inches. These types of units are hard to hide, particularly when compared to the simple air ducts that central air conditioning systems use.
  • Flexible Sizing – No matter how big or small your room is, you should have no trouble finding a window or through wall unit to match it. A central air conditioning system needs to be sized to fit the entire house. If you’re only inclined to use air conditioning in two or three rooms during the hottest months of the year, you may not want to pay to cool the entire house all of the time. Smaller units provide that type of flexibility.
  • Affordability – Installing a central air conditioning system, even if you already have ducts in place, is a large undertaking and likely to cost you several thousand dollars up front. On the other hand, small window and through wall air conditioners are available for as little as $200 and you can buy more whenever you’re ready to spend that extra money. You can also usually install a window unit yourself, and the cost of having a through wall unit installed is minimal compared to that of a central AC unit.