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What You Need to Know About Energy Audits

By on Apr 3, 2019 in Air Conditioning, energy efficiency, Furnaces, Residential |

Saving money is always a plus, especially while being comfortable in your own home.  Be it winter or summer, the potential savings can be phenomenal. Back in August 2013, the government published Energy Saver 101 picturing a Home Energy Audit.  This publication has 101 ways to be protected from high energy costs.   What an energy audit is, and what it can do for you.  A home energy audit is an assessment of how well your home uses energy.  For instance, small cracks in the siding or foundation, can bring as much air into your home, as if you had left a window open for 24 hours.  Imagine leaving your window open overnight during subzero temperatures, how much harder is your furnace running? Or, leaving your window open all day while it is over 90 degrees and humid?  That’s when your air conditioning unit will be choking!  Take that extra pressure off your furnace and air conditioner by calling in a professional auditor.  Steps to take before signing a contract:  Check with your utility companies. They may do the audit themselves or be able to recommend a local company.   References. Get several references from the auditor company and contact them all.  Ask each referenced customer if they were satisfied with the results.  Call the BBB. The Better Business Bureau may have information on any complaints against the company.  Ask questions of the energy auditor.   Does the energy auditor use a calibrated blower door?  How about thermographic inspections?   If not, ask another auditor company.  Preparing for an audit.  Before the energy auditor visits your house   Make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms.   Have copies or a summary of the home’s yearly utility bills (electric and heating if other than electric; such as gas, fuel oil, and coal).  The auditor then will analyze the residents’ behavior:   How many people live here?   Is your home occupied during the day?  What is the average thermostat setting for summer? For winter?  Do you use every room in the home?  What to expect during an audit.   Room-by-Room. The energy auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the residence.  Utility Bills. A thorough examination of your home’s bills for electric and heating. This will give the auditor an idea of what to look...

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DIY versus Professional Air Conditioning Tune-up

By on Apr 2, 2019 in Air Conditioning, Cooling, energy efficiency, Residential |

How would you feel if you came home after a long, hot summer day, only to find the air conditioner has stopped working? And, then, to be on a waiting list, as the repairman made his rounds to all the other people who also are waiting? Guessing it would make you a bit hot under the collar, wouldn’t it? (pun intended) Preventive maintenance in the springtime is a much better option… Plan ahead and Enjoy your summer!     Benefits of Having an Annual Air Conditioning Tune-up  Spring is the perfect time to have your air conditioning unit checked out… That way you can be sure your system is ready when you are! While there are many things you can do yourself, there are still other things it’s best to call in the professionals for. To see what they are, feel free to reference one of our previous articles:   Besides coming home to a cool house when it’s super humid outside, here’s some other benefits to maintaining your air conditioning unit:  Prevention truly is the best medicine for keeping you cool. Scheduling your annual maintenance check is your first step!  You want your air conditioning unit to be in peak condition for the summer season. Plus, ongoing and preventative maintenance help contribute to the longevity of your unit.    Increase efficiency of your system. You not only want your air conditioning unit to work, but you want it to be as efficient as possible. Regular maintenance will ensure your air conditioner is running at peak efficiency as you keep your home cool and comfortable. Plus, it saves you money by helping you avoid some of those mid-summer repairs and it lowers your electric bill.   Improve the performance. Remember last summer when you noticed that the air coming out of the vents wasn’t quite as cool or blowing as strong as you would’ve liked it to? An annual maintenance check in the spring helps your air conditioning system provide a better cooling output throughout the humid summer months.  You can schedule your tune-up here!   So, what can you expect from your technician during an annual air conditioning maintenance check?  Following are three things your technician will do and why:  Clean the coils. Your technician will clean the evaporator and condenser air coils, because dirty coils can decrease the ability of your HVAC system to cool your home. Dirty coils can...

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A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

By on Aug 27, 2018 in Air Conditioning, Furnaces |

Every home and commercial building utilizes HVAC – heating, ventilation and air conditioning – systems to control the temperature, humidity and air quality indoors. This means residential houses, offices, schools, stores, restaurants, factories and so on all rely on the same basic type of system to keep the people indoors comfortable throughout the entire year. An HVAC technician, therefore, is trained in all three components, and uses those skills to install, maintain and repair heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration systems. What Does an HVAC Technician Do? A typical day in the life of an HVAC technician will begin with learning about which types of specific jobs are on the schedule for the day. The technician may be required to fix a broken component, advise whether an entire new system is needed, or simply adjust settings so the system is working more efficiently. Here are a few more tasks HVAC technicians are responsible for on a daily basis: Installation: HVAC systems need to be installed by licensed professionals to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Additionally, a technician will understand and recommend the right size system for both residential and commercial sites, completing the necessary calculations to determine that information correctly. He or she will connect the systems to water lines, fuel lines, air ducts, electrical wiring and more to ensure everything is working effectively. Repair: HVAC technicians are often called in to troubleshoot issues with the HVAC unit itself, the thermostat, compressors, refrigerant levels, air handling systems and more. He or she understand how all components work and can fix the problem or recommend the necessary solution. Maintenance: Properly maintaining an HVAC system is key to keeping it working efficiently for as long as possible. This is why it’s recommended to schedule an annual furnace check or an annual air conditioning check. In these checks, usually performed in the spring and fall, the technician will test and clean the blower fan, inspect the level of coolant, and test the system’s overall operation and functioning. HVAC technicians generally travel to several different customers every day. They might have a fairly regulated schedule if they’re working on a construction site. Or, they may not know what tasks are ahead for the...

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Why Isn’t My Central Air Conditioner Blowing Cold Air?

By on Jul 30, 2018 in Air Conditioning |

Summer in northeast Ohio is hot, sticky and let’s face it, there are some days that are just downright uncomfortable. You can cool down by jumping in a pool or spending a day at Lake Erie, or you can head to your favorite ice cream shop for a few of your favorite scoops. However, there’s nothing quite like coming home to a cool, refreshing home after a long day out in the sun. Central air conditioning is many homeowners’ saving grace this season, but sometimes you might notice that the air blowing out of the vents doesn’t quite seem as cool as it could be. On these hot, humid days, this can be a real issue in keeping your family comfortable inside. The Top Reasons Your Central A/C isn’t Cooling Your Home If you’re dealing with lukewarm or even hot air coming out of your vents this summer, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot on your own before seeking professional air conditioning services. These include: Check your air filter. A dirty air filter is often the culprit for a variety of issues with your central air conditioning, including blowing lukewarm air from the vents. This is because when the filter is clogged with dirt, dust, pet dander, etc. less air passes through the system. Your central air is actually working just fine, however, there’s so little air getting back into your home that it feels warmer than it is. A simple fix is to replace the air filter; in fact, set a reminder to replace it every month to ensure your system is working as efficiently as possible. Check the vents. Take a walk around your home and inspect the return vents – those metal vents that suck air in, not the supply vents that blow cool air. The return vents should be totally clear of any type of obstruction, including curtains and furniture. If they’re blocked, they will take in less air which can weaken the output from the supply vents. Check your thermostat. Perhaps someone inadvertently changed the settings on the thermostat, or maybe it was never set correctly in the first place. Take a look at your thermostat, specifically checking the fan...

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Why is My A/C Short Cycling?

By on Jun 11, 2018 in Air Conditioning |

As the temperatures finally start to rise, many of us here in northeast Ohio have already turned our air conditioning units on to keep our homes cool and comfortable. A/C is a luxury we all appreciate on those hot and muggy days! As your home begins to cool down, however, you might notice that your air conditioning is running for a few minutes, shutting off, and then starting back up again. What’s causing this, and should you be concerned? 5 Reasons an Air Conditioning Unit Short Cycles Air conditioning units switch between off and on modes by design in order to maintain the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. It’s a process that’s essential to proper functioning of your unit – the A/C removes heat from the air using refrigerant chemicals such as Freon, and afterwards cools the air by using compression. Then, the excess heat is absorbed and expelled outside. However, when the system goes through those off and on modes too quickly, this is known as “short cycling.” There are a few reasons this occurs, including: A dirty or clogged air filter. If the air filter is dirty, the airflow becomes restricted, making your system work harder to effectively cool the air. The unit won’t be able to absorb the heat sufficiently, and consequently will shut down early. Always make sure to clean or change out the air filter monthly throughout the summer. Your A/C unit is too big for your home. We recently talked about how an improperly sized system can cause a variety of issues. Short cycling is one of those issues. When your air conditioning unit is too big and powerful for your home, it can cool your home too quickly, turning off and on constantly and causing big temperature changes. This can also lead to higher monthly energy bills, too. Issues with your thermostat. Sometimes, air conditioning short cycling is due to issues with the thermostat. For instance, maybe the thermostat is positioned in such a way that it’s in a drafty spot or in direct sunlight, which will make the compressor turn off and on incorrectly. In this case, you may need to consult a professional to move your thermostat to a...

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Air Conditioning Units: Is Bigger Really Better?

By on May 28, 2018 in Air Conditioning |

When you’re upgrading the central air conditioning unit in your home, a common notion is that the bigger the unit, the more comfortable your home will be – even on the hottest, most humid summer days. And while installing a unit that’s too small causes an array of problems, such as the unit cycling more frequently to keep your home cool, which means overworking the system and driving up your energy bills, an A/C unit that is too big can also be harmful. 5 Issues that Occur with an Oversized A/C Unit When your air conditioning unit is too big for your home, the following issues can develop: Inconsistent temperatures. When your system is oversized, the air cannot be distributed properly and you’ll notice uneven temperatures throughout your home. Short-cycling is a common problem, and when the unit keeps shutting off too quickly, some of the rooms in your home won’t get enough airflow to truly cool off. Higher humidity. When your air conditioning unit runs, the humidity in the air is simultaneously removed, increasing the comfort levels in your home. However, a unit that is too big may be doing a decent job cooling off the home, but it’s not running long enough to remove the humidity completely. Mold growth. Because the humidity is not being effectively removed from the air, mold can easily start growing in your home. If the humidity levels aren’t being kept below 50 percent, mold can become a real problem. Less energy efficiency. A bigger air conditioning unit is not only more expensive upfront, but it will also increase your energy bills. Because the air will feel more humid, you’ll find yourself cranking down the temperatures in an attempt to keep your home comfortable. A properly sized unit may run for longer cycles, but it will be using less energy and hence, saving you money every month. More frequent repairs. Excessive cycling – when the unit is constantly starting and stopping – is hard on the system and can lead to it breaking down more often. All that wear and tear could even mean the unit will have a much shorter lifespan than it should. The Proper Size Air Conditioning Unit for Your...

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