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What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Home?

When it comes to air conditioners, one size doesn’t fit all, and bigger isn’t always better. The size air conditioner you choose will depend upon a number of factors, including the size of your living space and the age of your home.

How to Determine the Size Air Conditioner You Need

An HVAC technician can help you figure out what size air conditioner you need for your home. He or she will perform an inspection and ask you questions to help determine your home’s needs. Some of the factors to be considered are:

  • The size of your home’s living space, in total volume.
  • The area of exterior walls that are exposed to the sun.
  • How many windows you have, how old they are, their condition and how they’re oriented in relation to the sun.
  • When your home was built.
  • The amount and quality of the home’s insulation.
  • The existing ductwork and ventilation system.
  • How much shade the house gets from trees and shrubs.

Any good HVAC contractor will perform this very necessary inspection before installing a new heating and cooling system.

Why Installing the Right Size Air Conditioner Is Important

Once air conditioners are installed, they usually last for over a decade. Unfortunately, many homeowners purchase the wrong size air conditioner, either because the HVAC company didn’t provide a consultation to determine the correct size, or because the homeowner wasn’t aware of just how important size is. Units that are too big shut on and off too quickly, and units that are too small never reach the desired temperature. If the wrong air conditioner is installed, the system will encounter a variety of problems that affect the consumer in the following ways:

  • Wear and tear—If a unit has to shut on and off frequently, or has to run continuously, you’ll find that it will need repair much too early, and way too frequently. The parts will be under undue stress, which can cause various complications to the system.
  • Decreased energy efficiency—If a unit isn’t cycling properly, it’ll use energy much less efficiently. For instance, if a system is never able to shut off, it will be exerting energy continually that will then show up on your utility bill.
  • Discomfort—A system that isn’t the proper size won’t heat your home very well, and it will cause the air inside your home to never reach its optimal temperature. This can create discomfort for you or anyone else inside the home.

When it’s time to choose a new air conditioner, make sure you contact your HVAC company for a consultation. The company’s thorough inspection can give you the information you need to confidently purchase a system that is just the right size.

 

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Should I Leave Interior Doors Open Or Closed During Heating And Cooling?

Many people think that they can simply shut the doors to their bedrooms, laundry room, home office and other interior rooms and they’ll be able to save a little money on heating and cooling bills. Unfortunately, while this practice is fairly common, the homeowner is setting in motion an inefficient and, even, dangerous situation.

Today’s HVAC systems move a great deal of air during the normal process of heating and cooling a home, and proper air flow is crucial to energy efficiency as well as personal comfort. When one or more interior doors is closed, air flow is interrupted and serious problems can arise.

For example, when a bedroom door is closed, the HVAC system will still be putting air into the room, but the air is trapped and pressure begins to build up. Of course, the air that you have paid so much to condition is then forced to find a way to escape. It will be forced back out of the house, following any escape path it can find.

Unfortunately, for every cubic foot of conditioned air that is forced out of a room, an equal amount of unconditioned air will be drawn back into the home from outdoors. The more interior doors that are closed, the more conditioned air will be forced out with more hot or cold air from outside being brought into the home. In fact, the draw of unconditioned air can increase by 300 to 900 percent depending on how many doors are closed. This not only dramatically increases utility bills, but indoor comfort decreases and health problems can occur.

As the HVAC system requires large amounts of air to replace the air that is forced out from the pressure of closed doors, outdoor air finds its way in through the easiest path. This is typically a reverse air flow from the furnace flue, fireplace flue or chimney. As this air comes into the home, it brings outdoor pollutants, increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and a greater risk of mold and mildew due to higher humidity.

So in short, we recommend keeping your doors open or only shutting them for as short of a period as possible when your HVAC unit is running.

Keep following our blog for more great air conditioning and energy efficiency tips.

Climate Change Disrupts Classrooms Across The Midwest

For teachers, getting a classroom of simultaneously hyperactive and drowsy children to remain alert and interested is a monumental task on an average day. Keeping them attentive while sweating indoors without air-conditioning is a feat that’s virtually impossible for the best teachers and even the most prodigal students. That’s why schools across the midwest are having to shut down classrooms because of the new snow day — the sun day.

For schools in the southeast and southwest, this isn’t an issue. Used to temperatures soaring 100 degrees and above, central air conditioning is taken for granted. Having young children pass out from dehydration is a liability schools that don’t have air conditioning can’t afford.

School closures in the Midwest have been spreading like a tidal wave across Baltimore, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Fargo and North Dakota. These cities are used to having cool summers with the real weather problems surfacing during the winter in the shape of blizzards. Now that they’re starting to experience longer summers and hotter record-high days, the lack of air-conditioning is starting to become an emergency situation.

The lingering recession has been a hindrance as well. Many of these cities have been hit hard with budget cuts especially to public services like education. Retrofitting schools with AC vents isn’t a feasible option for school boards which are faced with a large number of financial burdens like paying teachers’ salaries and providing free school lunches for a growing population of children with unemployed parents.

In order to accommodate air conditioning in schools, simply fitting window AC units to the wall is not a solution. These are more expensive to maintain and can compromise air quality. Window AC units have also been held responsible for spreading pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria in immune-compromised populations. In an environment of young children who are already prone to waves of flus, colds and other infections, this could prove be an even bigger disaster than lack of air conditioning. The only solution for now is central air cooling and heating.

In the past few decades, there has been great stress on equipping classrooms with technology. As a result, most students have access to computers, which have replaced encyclopedias, which are difficult to use or update.

Unfortunately, staying updated with advancing technology and information has been eclipsed by the need to maintain the learning environment with tech which was introduced to the mainstream in the 1960’s – the office air conditioner. Without doing so, classrooms will continue to be disrupted and children will continue to miss valuable learning time.

How To Choose The Best Air Conditioning Repair Company

When you need an air conditioning repair or air conditioning replacement in Philadelphia, it’s best to take some time to research AC repair service providers instead of just choosing one out of the phone book and trusting they’re a good company to deal with. But, how do you pick a reliable air conditioning installation and repair company? Here are some factors you need consider.

License

You’ll definitely want to ensure that the air conditioning service provider you choose to deal with has a license. Make sure their license is valid and up-to-date. You may verify the company’s contractor’s license by visiting contractors-license.org. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure that there haven’t been any complaints against the company.

Insurance

When looking for an AC repair company, you should also check whether the company is insured or not. A reliable AC repair company usually carries both general liability insurance to cover your property in case something goes wrong and also worker’s compensation insurance in case one of their workers gets hurt while fixing your AC.

Qualifications

HAVC systems have become increasingly complex over the years. For this reason, you should make sure that the AC repair service provider you will choose has all the proper training and certification to work on the latest AC models. Today, there are four major organizations that provide HVAC training and certification. These include HVAC Excellence, North American Technician Excellence (NATE), Refrigeration Service Engineer’s Society (RSES), and UA Star.

Positive Referrals

Always check the company’s references. Any reliable AC repair service provider is always willing to provide you a solid list of referrals, so you can check the quality of the work they do. If they can’t provide you a number of references, then it’s a sign that you should look for another AC repair service company. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) to see what complaints they have had against the AC repair company and if they resolved the problem appropriately or not.

Easy to Contact

You’ll also want to ensure the HVAC company you are considering have a good history. Ensure that they’ve been operating in the same city for a long period of time and have an office you can locate and visit and not just a mobile phone number. It’s best if they are easy to contact by telephone and provide a 24 hour emergency service.

Comfortable to Deal With

Last, but not the least, you should rely in your intuition. Be sure that the people you’ll be dealing with make you feel comfortable. Of course, you want to choose with an air conditioning repair company that you feel comfortable about working with for many years to come. Save yourself the time of researching for another reputable company. Your ultimate goal is to build a good relationship with an AC repair service provider that you will feel good about for many years to come.