How Do I Choose the Right Programmable Thermostat?

Thermostats last the longest among the HVAC components. Their lifespan averages 35 years. While manual thermostats are still useful because they can still do some basic things such as switching from heat to cool and adjusting the temperature, holding onto them can lock you out of the benefits that come with programmable thermostats. The latter can enhance the operational efficiency of your HVAC system which directly translates into improved indoor comfort and value for money. To start you off, here are some of the pointers to a good programmable thermostat.

Heating and Cooling Options

First things first, your programmable thermostat must have the ability to manage both cooling and heating. It doesn’t matter whether your home has a heat pump or it operates on a furnace and air conditioner for the heating and cooling seasons. Your thermostat should be able to accommodate them.

A good number of thermostat models can seamlessly switch between cooling and heating automatically following a change in conditions. This can give you a high level of convenience especially if you are used to the manual switching.

Zoning Systems

This is the major divide between programmable thermostats and their manual counterparts. The programmable thermostats can control individual heating and cooling zones within your home. through the zoning system, you can divide your home into several areas which independently rely on different temperature settings during heating and cooling. The best places to install zoning systems is in larger homes as well as those that contend with major temperature fluctuations. There are some programmable devices which allow you to set up to 8 different zones in your home for ultimate convenience and comfort.

Scheduling Capabilities

Programmable thermostats, by design, allow you to set schedules for heating and cooling. That said, some thermostats have limited options compared to others. If you want the greatest flexibility, go for a programmable device which allows you to set a schedule for each day in a week. Devices with more capabilities allow you to program a schedule which accommodates your bed time, your time away, as well as when relaxing at home with your family. Scheduling saves you energy.

Reminders and Alerts

HVAC systems speak, but not to humans rather to thermostats. Having a programmable thermostat that is able to communicate with your HVAC system ensures that you receive reminders and alerts to do some of the basic things such as changing air filters which will go a long way into improving your indoor air quality and performance of your system.

Remote Adjustments

You do not have to be in the house to adjust your programmable thermostat. You can do so even when you are away on holiday or at work. However, this is possible if your programmable thermostat has the capability to link with your smartphone so that you can turn your climate control system either on or off as needed. Some smart thermostats can also pick your location and automatically turn on the HVAC system as you near home so that you find an air-conditioned house.

With all these goodies, it makes sense to upgrade your thermostat. Contact your local HVAC service provider to get the right programmable thermostat for your home.

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Off Grid Air Conditioning – The Future of HVAC Operations

 

There is a growing household trend in the US and other parts of the world where homeowners are going off the grid. As of 2013, data indicates that approximately 180,000 US families were living off the grid. Each year, many more are making the transition thanks to the increase in information access and environmental consciousness.

There are many reasons why an increasing number of Americans are going off grid. Amongst these reasons include:

  • Energy independence and security
  • Expected cost savings from off grid energy consumption
  • Reduction in carbon footprint

Residential cooling and heating systems are the most affected when it comes to energy decisions because they are costly to operate and emit a significant amount of carbon dioxide.

The Basics of Off Grid

The power grid that links average homes to utility services such as natural gas, water, and electricity is known as grid. When you go off grid, it means you literally delink your home from such utilities. The question then comes, where do you get your power from? Instead of consuming power from your local power company, as a homeowner you can generate your own electricity.

Standalone power systems can be used to generate the off-grid power. Some of these systems include solar panels, wind turbines, and other equipment which convert harvested energy into usable electricity. A typical standalone power system consists of safety and metering devices as well as batteries that store excess power so that it can be used for the daily needs.

The beauty with off grid homes is that they utilize natural and renewable resources including wind, solar, and geothermal to generate clean power that comes free of charge without the typical monthly fee. Off grid homes can also include backup fuel generators just in case of emergency situations.

Off Grid AC Solutions

If you make the decision to go off grid, one of the things you have to forego is your HVAC systems. The reason is that these systems are energy hogs and cannot be supported by the off-grid power system. The option you have is to incorporate specific building techniques that keep your structure cool.

There are several original equipment manufacturers who produce AC systems which are powered by solar panels. Some will operate directly from the DC power that is collected by the panels while others operate off AC power which means an inverter is to be used to convert the DC to AC.

There are other AC brands which are considered hybrid and as such can be powered by alternative energy sources. For instance, some may be equipped with photovoltaic solar panels which power most of the equipment thereby using lesser energy.

Geothermal heat pumps are another alternative for off grid homes. These systems get their energy from underground or water sources and have an exceptionally high coefficient of performance.

The last solution is to use evaporative coolers also referred to as swamp coolers. These pieces of equipment use evaporation to extract heat from indoor air as it passes through the unit. Compared to conventional ACs, evaporative coolers use far less energy.

In order to maximize efficiency of your off grid AC unit, ensure it is properly sized for your home. Look for a reputable HVAC contractor to help you in this.

 

 

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Things to Consider before Signing a Contract to Hire a HVAC Expert

hvac expertThe heating, ventilation and cooling system is one of the most complex installations in a home. This is why it is important for you to hire a well trained professional who understands all the safety issues in heating systems including those that use oil natural gas and electricity. A few decades ago, ventilation was a marginally understood concept because many homeowners had learnt to cope in the hard way with natural heat rises and air flows. However, today, the HVAC industry has fully-fledged professionals operating in the different areas to give you comfort, safety, and air quality.

The Requirements of HVAC Contractors

In the United States, a majority of the states require a minimum amount of training and on the job experience normally two to five years for a person to be licensed as a HVAC contractor. Experience is very important because the contractor must have competency and a solid understanding of how the different components of HVAC systems such as refrigerant, electrical wiring, combustion systems, and ducts work. This knowledge is important not only for comfort purposes, but also for safety.

Check the Licenses

There are look-up websites for contractor licenses in most state governments. Through these sites, you can quickly have a look on the type of license your potential contractor has and whether it is in force or something happened in between. Because HVAC may involve plumbing, repair, and installation, getting a contractor who also holds a plumbing license can be such an added advantage for you.

Bonding and Insurance

The reason why it is important to have bonded contractors handle your project is because HVAC repair and maintenance is a technical job and in the course of service delivery, something may happen leading to minor or major destruction of your home. For insured and bonded professionals, the insurance company will come in to compensate for any loss incurred by the homeowner as a result of contractor’s negligence or malpractice.

Brands Carried

There are lots of HVAC equipment brands in the market such as Carrier, Lennox, American Standard, Goodman, Trane and many others. When engaging a contractor, ask them the brands they carry. If you have a specific brand you are after, this process can help you to streamline your search for contractors and only hire those who have what you need.

Apart from the above considerations, you need to also look at the contractor estimates, payment schedule, service contracts if any, tax credits and rebates, as well as references of past customers.

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The Benefits of Condensing Furnace Systems in Heating

Condenser with Furnace

If you are interested in high performance heating systems that will use less energy and give more output, boiler or condensing heating systems are what you need. They are more costly in installation compared to the other conventional heating systems, but in the long run they cost lower in terms of fuel cost.

Thanks to today’s technology, there has been breakthroughs in the design of heating systems that have enabled manufacturers to come up with unique boilers or condensing furnaces which can attain almost perfect performance rating. This article looks at how the condensing furnace works and why you should consider investing in it for your next furnace replacement.

Condensing Furnace Design

A traditional furnace makes us of a heat exchanger in the generation of heat. However, a larger quantity of this heat is lost during the combustion process and it ultimately escapes from your home through the chimney. This is where a condensing unit comes into play; it brings in a second heat exchanger that captures the wasted heat and utilizes it to attain maximum operating efficiency. The secondary exchanger enables exhaust gases to cool down and in the process, transfers the latent heat given out during the vaporization of the gases.

In a study done by energy.gov, condensing models are relatively costly in acquisition and installation compared to non-condensing models, however, the former cost less in fuel expenses and can serve you for a period of between 15 to 30 years.

The Safety of Condensing Furnaces

Condensing heaters have sealed combustion which means the furnace utilizes the outside air only as a resource and thereby eliminates the risk of exposing your home to potentially hazardous combustible gases which are emitted during the heat generation process. There is no chance of backdrafting that can occur in your home. Backdrafting means dangerous exhaust gases are drafted back into your home and then distributed throughout the living spaces.

Flexibility in Installation

Due to the fact that a condensing furnace allows combustion gases to cool off, the venting system doesn’t have to be designed in such a manner as to take into account extreme heat factors. You can easily use standard PVC pipes for the venting system in order to direct the exhaust to the outside environment through a wall vent.

Just like with any furnace replacement or fresh installation, homeowners need to be careful when selecting a condensing furnace. Enlisting the help of HVAC experts can be a good idea because these professionals can help them get a right sized condensing system that will not only run efficiently, but also keep your home uniformly heated throughout the colder seasons. In order for the system to serve you for a long time, having regular annual maintenance appointments with a HVAC contractor is also advised.

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How to Discover Freon Leaks in Air Conditioners

Leak-DetectionFreon leakages from ACs have adverse effects on health and the AC unit itself. This is why it is important to keep these levels on check each and every time. Freon refers to the trademark name given to the chlorofluorocarbons refrigerant manufactured by DuPont. In the industry, this refrigerant is known as R22 and is being phased out by hydro chlorofluorocarbons or R410A refrigerants which are less harmful to the atmosphere.

Most AC units today face the problem of refrigerant leakage which renders the AC unit useless because without refrigerant, there is no cooling that can take place. Freon leakage means your AC will function more or less like an expensive cooling fan. Luckily, there are a number of leak detection solutions available in the market today. This article discusses a number of these solutions with an aim of helping you pick the solution that will serve your home and not throw your budget off balance.

Handheld Detection Devices

These are advanced electronic devices that are fitted with Freon sensors. They can detect the presence of excess gas in your home as well as the concentration of the gas through their semiconductor sensors. The market is awash with audio-visual and audible devices that can help detect leakages. One example is Robinair Leak Detector which utilizes corona discharge technology to sense as low as 0.5 ounce of gas leakage per year.

Electronic Leak Detectors

These detectors are suitable for sensing chlorofluorocarbons, hydro fluorocarbons and hydro chlorofluorocarbons. Normally, leakages occur at points of low pressure because of the changing pressure conditions. One of the top detectors in this category is the one made by Tek-Mate which works extremely well even in damp conditions. The problem with these detectors is that they cannot detect low concentration of leakages.

Portable Burner

This is the conventional method used for detecting Freon leaks. The burners do not harm the AC unit because it is a low flame. In areas that have leakages, the color of the flame will change to bluish green or green instantly. This method does not give results that are reliable.

Liquid Tracers

This is a precise method of detecting leakages. Florescent dyes are used together with the coolant and the AC system is allowed to run for some time. The dye remains in all the points of leakages and this can help you in detecting the malfunctioning regions. The dye is then removed through cleaning solutions. When the leakages are very small, you can use ultra violet lamps for detection.

In addition to the above methods, there is another detection technique known as bubble leak method or the soap bubble solution. This uses high pressure inert gas to help locate the detection. Gas is usually blown over the hose pipes and the AC components in an environment that is controlled. This causes pressure bubbles to emerge from the leaking surface. The bubble leak method is used when the size of the leak is huge.

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Energy Recovery Ventilators – Ventilating Your Home with Minimal Energy Loss

ventilatorThe need for fresh air is part and parcel of the comfort considerations in homes. If your home is energy efficient and air tight, an energy recovery ventilator can help you get sufficient fresh air without sacrificing the aspect of efficiency.

 

Adding insulation and sealing air leaks are two of the most important ways through which you can conserve energy in your home. That being said, some homes are so tightly sealed that they do not allow fresh air to come in hence creating a less healthy environment. In order to allow in adequate fresh air without incurring extra energy expense to cool or heat the incoming fresh air, you need to invest in a ventilation system. Also known as air heat exchangers, energy recovery ventilators are simply mechanical ventilation systems that remove polluted stale air from homes and replace it with fresh air from outside.

In order to conserve energy, these ventilators pass the warm outgoing air from inside the house through a component known as a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger transfers heat from the outgoing air to the incoming cool air. This exchange process is what is known as the heat recovery. For one, the occupants in the home are shielded from the blast of cold incoming air while at the same time; the process saves energy because the heating system in your home doesn’t have to warm the cold incoming air. During summer, the outgoing air cools the warm incoming air thus giving you comfort without skyrocketing your energy bills.

Energy recovery ventilators are normally operated by timers or controlled by humidstats which are sensors that detect levels of humidity in your home. Inasmuch as energy recovery ventilators remove excess humidity from your home, they can also be set to add humidity.

When shopping for an energy recovery ventilator, do not be mixed up by the terminology. Some homeowners confuse energy recovery ventilators with heat recovery ventilators. It should be noted that an energy recovery ventilator has a heat exchanger which transfers a given amount of water vapor together with heat energy to the incoming air. On the other hand, a heat recovery ventilator only transfers heat.

Since energy recovery ventilator transfers moisture which is contained in the exhaust air to the less humid incoming winter air, the humidity levels in homes that have these ventilators installed tend to be more consistent. This feature also enables the heat exchanger core to be warmer thus minimizing freezing problems. There are different varieties of energy recovery ventilators from small ones that can be mounted on windows or walls to large units that are suspended from utility rooms, basements, attics, or crawl spaces.

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Creative AC Strategies for Cooling Efficiency

air-conditioner-unitWhen you invest in an AC or heat pump, your first expectation is that it will perform as expected in cooling your home and last for the stipulated period. However, in most cases this doesn’t happen because of both external factors and other aspects around your AC system which needs to be resolved. The role of AC units in home is so central that many homeowners start taking their systems operation for granted. In providing your family with a comfortable and relaxing home environment, you need a preventive maintenance plan for your HVAC equipment.

A Thorough Cleaning of the HVAC Components

Every year, your HVAC system must be thoroughly cleaned and your coils inspected for any debris or film of dust. When accumulated on the coil, dust and dirt can prevent airflows from cooling off hence affecting the entire cooling system of your house. Dirty HVAC components also make it work extra hard to achieve a simple rise in comfort.

Professional Inspection

HVAC systems normally go through wear and tear cycle which means that from time to time the system should be inspected for cooling efficiency. Any component that may be found faulty should be replaced with an efficient one. The inspection can be a one off or a part of a contractual maintenance agreement where the specialists visit from time to time to look at the whole system and fine tune it just in case of any developing problems. Inspection can be done annually when the system is shutdown particularly over winter.

The inspection should cover the entire system from the air intake to the exhaust dust discharge. The air intake should specifically be checked to ensure it is open and the controls are working properly. External contaminants when drawn into the air supply can choke it and make it inefficient thus affecting the overall efficiency of the cooling system.

Ductwork Cleaning and Repair

Your ductwork is related to the cooling efficiency of your system. When moisture, dirt and other particles get lodged in the ductwork, its ability to complete the indoor air circulation is affected in a large way. This means your ductwork should be checked and cleaned every now and then to ensure it works effectively. Poor connections within the ductwork can also affect the efficiency of the entire machine.

Cleaning and Replacement of Filters

Your filters should be replaced once in a month to ensure efficiency in filtering the passing air. If the filters are not cleaned or replaced on a regular basis, they will accumulate dust and lose their filtration capacity making your HVAC system to work extra hard to deliver the desired temperature.

An efficient cooling system ensures that you and your family are comfortable throughout the year from late spring to summer and early autumn without spending lots of money on energy bills.

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5 Reasons Why a Geothermal Heat Pump Can Be Your HVAC Game Changer

geothermal-heat-pump

In the market today, there are different types of heat pumps you can invest in as a homeowner in Cooper City and the surrounding areas. Making the decision to purchase a geothermal heat pump can be a big plus for you! Discussed below are top 5 reasons why a geothermal heat pump can be your HVAC game changer.

Energy Efficiency

Geothermal heat pumps (GHP) are the most energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. They consume a fraction of the energy used by other types of heating and cooling systems. These heat pumps use stored underground energy as the source of heat. They remove heat from your indoor space in summer and bring it in during winter. Underground temperatures vary little during different seasons of the year which explains the amazing efficiency of geothermal heating systems. This means you will be able to enjoy the comfort of your home all year round without spending much on energy bills.

Takes Up Little Space

Unlike other heating and cooling systems in the market which require big space, geothermal heat pumps don’t require much yard space. This is because you install an underground loop which can either be horizontal or vertical. If you have a small yard, the loop will be installed vertically instead of horizontally. Even if you have a big yard and don’t want to disorganize your landscaping, you can still opt for vertical loop installation.

Durable

Geothermal heat pumps are the most durable types of HVAC equipment. As compared to most heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems which require replacement after 10 to 20 years, your GHP has a longer lifespan. The indoor equipment can serve you for over 25 years with proper maintenance while the underground loop can go for 50 years.

Quiet Operations

Because geothermal heat pumps don’t use outdoor condensers, they run quietly. As a matter of fact, you might not hear when your heat pump is running. This enables you and your family to enjoy the peace and tranquility of your home.

Federal Tax Credits

Because of the fact that these heat pumps are so efficient, the Federal Government provides a 30% tax credit to homeowners who purchase and install these systems. The best thing is that even if you are replacing your older HVAC unit with a geothermal heat pump, you will still qualify for the tax credits. This is amazing since you will save some dollars that you can use for other projects in your home.

For more information about geothermal heat pumps, contact us at Cooper City Air Conditioning today! We provide Quality HVAC Services to homeowners in Cooper City and its environs.

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Benefits of Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems

Hvac-system-efficient

Having an energy-efficient HVAC system in your home has numerous benefits. Your budget, your family and the Mother Nature will all benefit from a more energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Read along for the top benefits of investing in an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Saves You Money

An energy-efficient HVAC equipment can save you hundreds of dollars per year without compromising your family’s comfort needs. One area you will be able to make great savings by investing in this type of system is on energy bills. As a homeowner, you will start noticing a significant decrease in your monthly utility costs once you install an energy-efficient system. These systems are designed in such a way that they run effectively, but making use of minimal energy.

Low Carbon Footprint

Increased levels of carbon in our atmosphere and air cause numerous problems to different spheres of life ranging from water levels to vegetation and to air quality. By using less energy in your home to run your HVAC system, you are putting less carbon into the air and this is beneficial to Mother Nature.

Increased Indoor Air Quality

According to statistics from EPA, indoor air quality can be at times be two or five times worse than the outdoor air. The contaminated air within your house can cause colds to linger longer and allergies to be more severe. Energy-efficient HVAC systems in the market today are designed in such a way that they offer unprecedented efficiency in cleaning your indoor air using the least amount of energy possible. You will therefore enjoy enhanced indoor air quality without spending much money on energy bills.

Apart from investing in an energy-efficient system, you need also to ensure that the unit is regularly serviced by professionals. Regular HVAC equipment maintenance will provide you with a plethora of benefits from healthier family members resulting in lower costs in healthcare to a more comfortable home all year round. The costs of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system maintenance will be recouped easily through the numerous benefits you will get. Always ensure that you are working with a reliable and reputable HVAC company.

Once you install an energy-efficient HVAC system, you will be able to enjoy all the above benefits.

Are you a homeowner in Cooper City and would like to install an energy-efficient HVAC system? Well, look no further! Cooper City Air Conditioning Repair is a premier HVAC company that has established itself as an authority in the HVAC industry. Call us today at (954) 604 – 6350 and enjoy our first class services.

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The Importance of Regular AC Coil Cleaning

Dirty vs Clean Coils

Most homeowners are not sure how often they should clean their air conditioning coils. Coil cleaning is a crucial exercise in the maintenance of your AC unit. This is because dirty coils greatly lower the efficiency of your system and this leads to skyrocketing of electricity bills. You should clean your coils as often as possible but you should always ensure that they are cleaned by HVAC professionals at least once every six months.

Cleaning your air conditioner coils will not only enable your unit to run more efficiently but also you will enjoy better indoor air quality. Additionally, when your system is running efficiently, you will have fewer repairs.

DIY Cleaning Process

Before cleaning the coils, you should always turn off the power to the system. The first step involves applying the cleaner on the coils. Leave it for about 10 minutes and then use a garden hose to completely wash it off. You should also wash the inside part of your coil box. After cleaning, wipe out the water and leave it to dry completely before placing it back. Though it is a simple process, it will go a long way in boosting the overall efficiency of your AC unit.

The best thing with hiring NATE-certified professionals to do your coil cleaning is they have the expertise and modern equipment to thoroughly clean each and every part of your coils. There are areas you can’t reach when you use do-it-yourself techniques, but the professionals will do a comprehensive job. Dirty AC coils are one of the main reasons why most Cooper City air conditioning systems fail. Make it a habit to contact professional HVAC technicians occasionally to check and clean your coils to ensure that they are in perfect working condition.

Why Should You Clean Your AC Coils?

Reduce Costly Repairs Coil cleaning keeps your AC system running in perfect condition and this greatly reduces costly repairs and replacement on your unit.

Lower Energy Bills – Dirty coils affects air flow and this means that your AC unit has to work extra hard to cool your home to the desired temperature. This leads to huge energy consumption which pushes your bills high. However, clean coils enable your AC to operate efficiently thus lowering energy bills.

Improved Indoor Air Quality – Keeping your AC coils clean reduces microbes and other airborne contaminants in your indoor environment. This boosts the quality of your indoor air and significantly lowers any incidence of asthma, allergies and respiratory illnesses that could have been caused by microbes in your indoor space.

Do you live in Cooper City or its environs? Call the Cooper City AC experts at (954)604-6350 for comprehensive coil cleaning services. A professional cleaning exercise today can save you costly repairs and replacements tomorrow in addition to saving on energy bills.

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