What is the truth behind fans during the summer?
How do you use fans during the summer? Do you substitute it for an air conditioner? Do you use it for white noise as you sleep? There are many ways we can use fans during the summer. But, is it really an efficient use of energy?
Here are two myths about fans in regards to cooling your home. Think you can leave a fan on all the time? Think again.
Myth: Fans create cool air.
Fact: Fans circulate air. Fans only make you feel cooler because it is continually moving hotter air from around your body, away. Also, a fan helps your perspiration evaporate more quickly – speeding up the natural process your body uses for temperature regulation.
Myth: You should keep fans running at all times for circulation.
Fact:You should treat fans like you treat lights – always turn them off when you are finished using them. Or, better yet, unplug them.
There are a couple more things to know about fans.
- Fans can keep mosquitoes away.
- Be careful when putting fans in windows. Remember, the air you bring into your home is unfiltered. Plus, during the summer, you could be bringing in hotter air.
- In terms of types of fans, ceiling fans are the most beneficial when it comes to mixing the air in a room.
Of course, the only way to fully achieve a well-cooled home is through central air conditioning. If you’re strictly using fans to cool your home down during the summer, talk to a local HVAC tech.
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Why switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner is a good idea
Are you feeling the heat? Summer can really hit us where it hurts – our wallets. That’s why it’s important to do all you can to save money on utilities. After all, you want all of your extra cash going towards fun summer activities, not the utility companies.
Not surprisingly, heating and cooling equipment during the peak seasons are going to comprise the majority of your utility bill expenses – sometimes 60% or more! That’s why it’s so important that you do things to make sure your air conditioner or heat pump is running at peak efficiency during the summer.
The best thing you can do for your current cooling system is scheduling preventative maintenance in the spring. But, as we are into July already, that isn’t an option. If utility bill expenses seem high, you can always have a contractor come out and make sure your existing equipment is running as efficiently as possible. But, if your air conditioner is reaching the 10-year mark or beyond, it’s probably time to start looking into a replacement. Old models had to meet lower efficiency standards than even standard-efficiency equipment manufactured today, AND they may suffer from reduced efficiency due to years of operation.
Your best bet when replacing an old air conditioner is to invest in a high-efficiency model. This is going to give you the biggest return on your utility bills. Systems today go into the 20-SEER range. The system you have in your home today may be rated at 10 SEER or lower.
Not only can high-efficiency air conditioners reduce the amount you spend on cooling during the summer, but they also come with additional features that can improve home comfort. These features include: reduced noise levels, more even temperatures and multiple stages of operation. Plus, they are compatible with programmable thermostats and zoning systems that can help you save even more during the summer.
Yes, a high-efficiency air conditioner is going to cost more upfront. But, at the end of the month, it’s an investment that you won’t regret making.
If you want to reduce utility bills, make sure you get in touch with your local HVAC contractor – no DIY here!
If you’ve had a high-efficiency air conditioner installed in your home, have you seen the benefits?
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The dos and don’ts of air conditioner troubleshooting.
Let’s set the scene. It’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk outside, you’re escaping from the heat inside your home, and you have the air conditioner blasting. All of a sudden, warm air (or no air) starts coming through your vents. Oh no!
This can be a worst nightmare for homeowners. Air conditioners are a big investment, and they do many things that improve your quality of life. So, when your system is not working, it can be very tempting to want to a) avoid spending more money fixing your system, but b) find the quickest solution possible.
This can lead to a dangerous situation where you attempt to fix your air conditioner yourself. This is NEVER recommended. When you attempt DIY air conditioner maintenance and only have a degree from “The University of the Internet” you can wind up paying more in replacement costs and putting yourself in danger.
However, there are a couple of things you can do to either find a temporary solution or make sure that the problem isn’t as serious as it seems. Again, DIY maintenance or repair is never encouraged. But, you can check for more simple things before you hit the panic button.
Start at the power supply. Your air conditioner or your air distribution system may not be receiving power. This could be from an outlet being turned off, a tripped circuit breaker, or a host of other scenarios. Make sure that your unit is receiving power before panicking.
Move onto the thermostat. It’s very possible that your thermostat could be out of batteries or malfunctioning. Someone may have fiddled with the settings so that your air conditioner isn’t turning on at the correct temperature, or it has been switched from cooling mode to heating mode.
Go outside and check your condenser. This would not be a quick fix, but you can quickly identify whether there is a problem or not by looking at your condenser. If there are visible signs of damage, make sure to call your local contractor.
If there are no visible sings…pick up the phone and call your local HVAC contractor. There could be a ductwork issue or there could be another internal problem. But, you will never figure out exactly what the problem is without getting someone with knowledge and experience out to your home.
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Going beyond comfort. What are the real benefits of air conditioning?
Did you know that people are more productive when they are working in an air conditioned building? The benefits of a whole-home cooling system extend well beyond just making you comfortable. There are many things that we do (especially in the summer) that wouldn’t be possible without air conditioning.
From the workspace to the home, air conditioning plays a role. Here are some things that are made better (or wouldn’t be possible) without air conditioning.
People who are comfortable, work better and more efficiently. A more comfortable work environment is linked to increased productivity and clearer thinking. A cool employee is a happy and productive employee.
High indoor air quality. Air conditioning and heating systems have greatly improved the quality of our indoor air. Indoor air systems (IAQ systems) have greatly reduced levels of allergens and pollutants in the home. Take that season allergies!
Better sleep. If you have an air conditioner in your home, you can keep the windows closed at night. Even the running sounds of an air conditioning system are quieter than noises from outdoors – whether that’s wildlife or the hustle and bustle of city life.
Reduction of heat-related deaths during the summer. We aren’t even two weeks into summer and many areas of the country have already experienced one or more 100F days! Even in the shade, temperatures can get dangerously high. The only relief from summer temperatures is a quick pop into an air conditioned building.
Healthier air means fewer days missed from work. Not only does air conditioning create a more productive working environment, but it creates a healthier work environment as well. This means fewer sick days over the course of the year.
Reducing heat stress for many of our technological devices. Did you know that special air conditioning technology is used to keep data centers cool? These hubs hold important information that is crucial for our increasingly connected society.
It’s crucial for modern medicine and patient care. Comfortable patients that receive higher quality air are more likely to successfully recover. Air conditioning systems also help prevent the spread of bacteria, infections and more from being distributed throughout a hospital or care facility.
Of course, all of these air conditioning systems need to be maintained. That is what local HVAC professionals do. They help keep these crucial comfort systems running in hospitals, data centers, homes, workspaces…you name it!
How does air conditioning improve your life every summer?
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Welcome to summer 2016!
This Monday, June 20th, marked the first day of summer. And, as many people around the U.S. can attest, it’s already been a hot one! During the summer, it is important that you and your family stay safe and healthy. High summer temperatures can mean spending more time indoors enjoying the AC.
Here are some HVAC related things to keep in mind during the summer.
Indoor air quality is important. Like winter, people spend a lot of time indoors during the summer. That makes it more important than ever to make sure you have a clean filter and keep your windows closed. Open windows (on more mild days) may invite a gentle breeze, but you will also be breathing in unfiltered air. Remember, it is always a good idea to regularly change your furnace filter – at the very least once before the heating season and again before the cooling season.
When you go outside, be safe! Make sure you hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! The summer sunshine does make spending time outdoors more inviting, just as long as you take the proper precautions. Make sure you spend time in the shade and make sure drinking water stays at the forefront of your mind – even if you are doing activities that conceal the heat – like swimming!
If there seems to be a problem with your cooling system, turn it off. Going without air conditioning during the summer can be a scary prospect. But, if your system is blowing warm air or no air at all, make sure you turn your system off before any more damage is done. And, while it can be tempting to avoid wait times and service charges, NEVER try to fix your own air conditioner. You could do more harm than good. Plus, you could void your warranty! Always call your local HVAC professional and whip out the fans or a temporary window unit while you wait.
These are just some of the things you should keep in mind during the summer. Air conditioning has made the season that much more enjoyable for everyone. So, make sure you treat your system to yearly maintenance during the spring. Heck, you can even schedule a check-up now to make sure that everything will operate smoothly for the entirety of the cooling season.
What’s your favorite thing about the summer? Ours is central cooling!
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Tips for having fun and staying safe in spite of the summer heat.
This week has been a real scorcher for many parts of the United States (looking at you Southwest). When temperatures get that hot, it can be both frustrating and dangerous to go out and try to enjoy the summer sunshine. As a matter of fact, it can even be hard to hide from the heat indoors! That summer sun beating down on your home can really heat things up – especially for your south-facing rooms.
So, what can you do to make sure that you beat the heat without a staggering electric bill? Well, here are a few things we recommend.
Shade your south-facing rooms. The biggest source of heat (and uncomfortable variations) during the summer is going to be the sun streaming in your south-facing windows on hot, sunny days. Luckily, you can shade these rooms using solutions as simple as blinds, curtains or even outdoor trees/plants. Now may not be the time to plant in your area, but it is something you can keep in mind for next year. If that still doesn’t do the trick, research the zoning options that your contractor offers.
If you do go outside, hydrate! Stay safe when you are spending time outdoors. It doesn’t have to pass the 100°F mark for people to start breaking a sweat. And, you should remember to hydrate not just during obvious activities. It’s also important to remember this when you are at the swimming pool (or participating in other outdoor water activities).
Find the highest temperature setting you are comfortable at and stick with it. A few degrees may not make a big difference when it comes to comfort, but it can make a difference on your electric bill. The Department of Energy recommends a temperature setting of 78°F, but that may be too hot for you – adjust to your liking. But once you find the sweet spot, stick with it. Thermostats set at cooler temperatures just run longer – they don’t necessarily cool any more quickly.
Understand the function of fans. Yes, it can feel cooler in front of a fan. And, they can be a great idea to get the air circulating in your home. But, fans do not create cool air. That’s important to keep in mind when you aren’t at home. You should treat fans like lights – use them only when you need them and turn them off when they aren’t in use.
Create a functional, outdoor living space. When you have the opportunity to take the party outside – take it! Shade an area of your backyard and invest in an outdoor fan or two. While it doesn’t create cool air, it can make you feel cooler. Plus, it can help keep mosquitoes away. Of course, not every day is going to be suitable for an outdoor get-together. But, for cooler days and evenings it is a good idea to take advantage. For additional savings, fire up the grill! Remember, an oven can really heat up a home.
Of course, the best way to make sure your air conditioner is ready to efficiently tackle the heat is scheduling preventative maintenance during the spring with your local HVAC professional.
How do you tackle the heat during the summers? Do you have some tricks that we left out?
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Tricks for getting your home ready for summer (and hotter temperatures)
Temperatures are rising and the summer is here. Now that we’ve trudged through the cold of winter and the allergies of spring, it is time to kick back and enjoy the sunshine. Just make sure you are staying safe in the heat and maximizing efficiency by preparing your home.
I’m sure there are many other things you’d like to spend your money on other than utility bills. That’s why there are things you can do in your home to make sure that you minimize air leaks, maximize efficiency and wind up paying less money at the end of each month.
Here are some things you should do to prep your home for summer.
Change your furnace filter. A clean air filter means better air flow. And, better air flow means better efficiency.
Add window treatments for hotter days. There’s no use running the air conditioner if you’re just going to bake in the sunlight streaming in your south-facing windows. This is an initial investment that could have big comfort pay offs.
Plug air leaks around windows and doors. Fresh air can be great…during the spring and fall in small doses. Small air leaks can have big repercussions at the end of the month. Use caulk or weather stripping to make sure that all air leaks are plugged.
Remove debris from your condenser. Chances are, you’ve already had to use your air conditioner. So, make sure you turn your air conditioner off at the source before you remove any debris. Better yet, have a contractor come out and professionally clean your unit.
Decide at what temperature to set your thermostat. And stick to it! There’s no better way to raise utility bills than constantly fiddling with your thermostat.
Invest in other cooking methods. An oven can really raise the temperature of your kitchen. And, if your thermostat is located near the kitchen, this can result in your system running when it shouldn’t be. Crock pots and grills are great alternatives.
Replace light fixtures with ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can be great for air circulation. This is a particularly good idea for bedrooms.
Utilize shade. Shade your south-facing rooms, your air conditioner or heat pump condenser, and any outdoor living spaces. It’s gearing up to be a hot one and utilizing shade can make all the difference.
If it’s just looking like your air conditioner needs an upgrade, make sure you talk to your local heating and cooling contractor. They can also give you cooling advice to make your summer the best it can possibly be.
What would you add to this list? Do you have something you always do to get your home ready for summer?
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Things you need to know when you first buy your air conditioner.
Have you just made the switch from window units to a central cooling system? Then you know just how wonderful a central cooling system can be – especially during those long, hot summer days.
But, there are some things you should know about your new air conditioner. There are best practices when it comes to running and maintaining your system that must be followed to enjoy premium comfort at the friendliest monthly operating costs.
Registering your unit... Ask your contractor whether this is their responsibility or yours. This is important as most HVAC equipment must be registered within a certain time period to ensure full warranty protection.
Starting at the thermostat... There are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, a programmable thermostat is going to be your best bet when it comes to saving energy on cooling costs month-to-month. If you have a non-programmable thermostat model, know that it is best to choose a temperature and stick to it. Air conditioners actually consume the most energy during on/off cycles. So, it is better to run your air conditioner for longer at a lower level than going through on/off cycles.
Maintaining your system... There are a few maintenance tasks that should be performed routinely to make sure that your system continues running efficiently. These tasks include: regularly changing your furnace air filter, keeping debris and plants away from your outdoor equipment, making sure all registers and vents are open, and scheduling maintenance with your contractor during the spring to ensure the best operation during the summer.
If any problems arise... You should always make sure to turn to your local heating and air conditioning specialist if anything seems wrong with your unit. In all aspects of HVAC equipment, DIY is strongly discouraged – whether it is a repair, maintenance or an installation.
Remember, your air conditioner is one of your most important home comfort systems. A little care can go a long way for long term performance and satisfaction.
What other things do you want to know about your air conditioner?
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Air conditioning facts.
The calendar says that it is not quite summer yet. But, the temperature may beg to differ. Pools are officially open and the mercury is rising higher and higher in thermometers around the country. We don’t have to tell you that it is important to make sure your air conditioner is in good shape for the cooling season.
Every day during the summer, chances are you will come in contact with at least one air conditioned room, car, building, etc. The use of air conditioning just keeps rising and rising. But, how much do you really know about those boxes that sit outside? Here are five air conditioning facts that you may not have known.
When air conditioners were first introduced, they were perceived as a luxury item. It wasn’t until the 1960s that you can actually see a widespread use of central air conditioners in homes.
There is more than one type of air conditioner. If you’ve spent any time on this site, you’ll notice that there are many different home cooling options – from packaged to split, air conditioner to heat pumps.
Air conditioner efficiency is measured in SEER. SEER stands for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is defined as a unit’s cooling efficiency over the course of a season of use. Higher SEER = greater efficiency.
You should turn your thermostat temperature up when you go out of town. This is in place of turning the system off all together.
On and off cycles actually consume the most energy. It’s actually a better idea to keep your air conditioner running longer at a lower operation speed than constantly turning the unit on and off.
For more air conditioning facts, talk to your local heating and air conditioning specialist.
Did you know these things already? What other things do you think are neat about air conditioning units?
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How to save on electricity during the summer cooling season.
With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about preparing for those hotter temperatures. We’ve been blessed with a couple of years of mild summers (in the Midwest at least), but this year isn’t looking like it will further the trend.
What does it mean to be prepared for hotter temperatures? Well, it means doing a few things, including: making sure your air conditioner is in tip-top shape with preventative maintenance, changing furnace filters and reading up on the best ways to save electricity during the summer.
Here are some general rule-of-thumb electricity savings and ones specifically tailored to those of us with air conditioners and heat pumps.
Invest in an efficient air conditioner. Next time you are looking for a cooling system replacement, go with the most efficient system you can afford. You’ll thank yourself when utility bills arrive.
In fact, invest in energy-efficient appliances. From washers to refrigerators, all of your household appliances run on electricity. Switching to energy-efficient products across the board can really make an impact.
Turn off lights and fans when you’re not home. This goes without saying, but a light here and there can really add up when it comes time to read your meter at the end of the month. Make sure to do a quick walkthrough before you leave the house.
Switch from window and portable units to central air. If you are looking for targeted cooling, then you may want to stick with portable or window options. But, for whole-home comfort, central is the way to go. It can get pricey to try and control each room in the house by a portable or window unit.
Take shorter, cooler showers and use a dishwasher. If you have an electric water heater, you want to be conscious of how much hot water you are using. Did you know that a dishwasher actually saves more water than hand washing?
Invest in a programmable thermostat or zoning system. Customized comfort schedules and room-by-room comfort control can really translate to savings on your electricity bills. Just make sure you are doing it with smart HVAC systems and not fiddling too much with your thermostat.
Turn up the thermostat a few degrees. A degree or two difference on your thermostat can translate to savings on your monthly bills, and you won’t be sacrificing too much comfort. But, make sure when you find your temperature…stick to it! Constantly fiddling with your thermostat can result in more frequent on and off cycles, which can really run up the meter.
Turn things off at the power strip, or unplug. A lot of people don’t know this, but a lot of modern-day electronics actually continue using electricity when they are turned off by still plugged in. Think about all of those chargers that you keep plugged in during the day??
If you’re seriously considering upgrading to a high-efficiency HVAC system, make sure you schedule a consultation with your local heating and cooling contractor. They will be able to guide you through the process and help you choose the most efficient air conditioner for your needs.
What else do you do to save electricity during the summer?