When Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

As a summertime life-saver it has served you honorably. But eventually the intense mechanical demands and the ravages of Father Time will take their toll on your air conditioner, leaving it unable to perform its traditional cooling duties.

It isn’t easy to know when the time is right to replace an air conditioner. But there are some clear warning signs that can help clue you in.

Signs of Air Conditioner Failure

If your malfunctioning air conditioner gives out suddenly in the middle of a long, hot summer you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle, suffering in the sweltering heat without the funds needed to make a quick replacement purchase.

To avoid such a scenario it is better to be proactive, to begin planning your purchase of a new air conditioner a few weeks or months ahead of time. In order to do this you’ll need to recognize when a final, catastrophic breakdown may be approaching.

Here are the signs to watch out for:

  • Age: Your air conditioner was installed 15 years ago or more.
  • Escalating repair bills: You’ve had your AC fixed more than once and each time the cost of the repairs is greater.
  • Repairs coming late in life: If your air conditioner is between the ages of 10 and 15 and suddenly needs multiple fixings, you are unlikely to reach that 15-year milestone.
  • R-22 (Freon) leaks: When an air conditioner begins leaking refrigerant it is an early indicator of total equipment failure.
  • Rising energy bills: Are your summer utility costs increasing relative to past years? A struggling air conditioner on its last legs could be the cause.
  • Home comfort is compromised: Your air conditioner has been running constantly, and yet your family has been complaining just as constantly that your home is too hot.

These signs are your air conditioner’s way of letting you know it is time to start thinking about the future—a future that could include a brand new central air conditioning system.

William G. Day Company—Delaware’s Air Conditioning Experts

Before you make any final decision about replacing your current air conditioner, you should have your entire HVAC system inspected and analyzed by a skilled technician. Feedback from an informed source will help you create a rational air conditioning plan of action.

In the Wilmington area William G. Day Company has gained a reputation as the go-to source for expert analysis about issues related to heating and cooling technology. If the future of your air conditioner is in doubt contact us right away, and we will send a certified HVAC technician to your home to inspect your equipment and make a final report on its continuing viability.

Follow our blog for a wealth of insights about your true heating, cooling, plumbing and indoor air quality needs.  

 

Does Insulation Really Help Keep Your Home Cool?

You may be wondering if adding more home insulation will really help keep your it cool. The answer is simple. Yes, your home will be much more comfortable when the right amount of insulation is installed in the appropriate places. Another benefit is that it will help reduce energy bills.

Summer months can be very challenging from a home comfort standpoint. Outside temperatures can soar into the upper 90s or reach triple digits during this time of year. Many people search diligently for ways to improve the comfort inside their homes without having to invest large sums of cash. Insulation has long been considered one of the most effective ways of doing this.

Turning on the air conditioner is a natural response for those who notice temperature levels beginning to rise. This is the only way most of us have of preventing the heat exchange that takes place when the outdoor temperature begins to creep into the home. It’s like when you set a glass of iced tea on the table and the glass begins to sweat. This is due to the tea gaining heat from the room temperature and causing condensation.

While you may not notice condensation on the inside of your home when such energy exchange is taking place, unless you have done something to prevent it the heat will take over. This is where proper insulation is helpful.

A common concern for homeowners is whether or not they have adequate insulation. Adding more is often a good option, but it is also important to check for other problems that could affect an air conditioner’s efficiency. Problems like unsealed drafts, undersized or oversized equipment, faulty thermostats, unsealed air ducts, or maintenance issues with equipment. All of these issues can affect the comfort levels of your home.

Preventative maintenance is one of the most cost effective ways to ensure that your equipment is working at peak performance. We are here to help. If you are concerned that your air conditioning unit is not working like it should, give us a call. To stay informed about what you can do to keep you and your family comfortable with home insulation, follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

Air Conditioner Types For Small Spaces

Space is becoming an ever more precious commodity. Rooms are shrinking in size especially in the cities which leads to poor air circulation and a warmer feeling. Air conditioners can be tapped to cool things down. Below are a few air conditioner types that are suitable for small spaces:

Window AC

These compact boxes can provide much needed comfort without adding clutter to the room. Place them at a window so that the back can blow hot air out while the front blows cold air in. The units have everything inside them including the compressor, condenser, evaporation coils, and so forth. Setup couldn’t be easier and maintenance is a breeze as all the parts are within reach. The downside is that a portion of the window will have a permanent obstruction.

Split AC

Tiny rooms are probably going to have tiny windows. Maybe you would like to keep yours open and unblocked by an air conditioning unit. After all, bright open windows make rooms feel bigger and offer a good view of the outside. In this case, installing a split type AC is more appropriate as only a small tube needs to pass through the window. The two main components can each be placed at opposite side of the wall beside it. The interior component is even smaller than the window type AC so it shouldn’t be hard to find space for it inside.

Portable AC

In case the installation of an air conditioner on the walls of the place isn’t feasible, a good option is to purchase a portable unit instead. These are freestanding air conditioners that can be placed anywhere you wish. The wheels underneath make it effortless to move from one location to the next. You can lend it to a housemate if you are going out or take it to the living room if you’d like to watch TV. The downside is that they tend to be a bit noisy and take up some floor space.

Do you have any questions regarding your HVAC system? Call us for all of your heating and air conditioning needs.

The Benefits Of Purchasing A Service Agreement

A service agreement may make the difference between having a working HVAC system year round and a HVAC system which you are unsure will work at all when you need it most. You can only have confidence in your HVAC when you know you’ve maintained it. Having an HVAC professional keep it in good working order can insure that it is ready to heat or cool your home when it’s needed.

Having a service agreement can give you that confidence. What to consider when purchasing a service agreement? How often will the system be serviced? The good thing is, you the consumer get to determine how often you would like your HVAC unit serviced. Most plans involve two visits per year. If you have an older system, you might request more visits if you anticipate problems. How much will it cost? Again, you the consumer get some say so in how much you will pay based on the number of annual visits you select. All the visits run a complete check of the system. This is to insure that any problems are identified so your HVAC system continues to perform at its optimum.

The first of several benefits of a service agreement is that the whole HVAC system is evaluated so that you do not lose any function when you run your HVAC. The most common reasons for HVAC malfunctions are performed first: coils are cleaned (indoor and outdoor), change air filters, check the fan and remove blockages from the pipes. Additional regular maintenance is also done afterwards: all moving parts are lubricated; the system is checked for leaks and if any are found, they are repaired; the refrigerant is recharged; test the thermostat; replace worn belts; check amp draws; and tighten loosened wires.

All these steps are a part of the semi-annual tune-ups that are included in a service agreement. The technicians touch and examine every area that performs a task related to heating or cooling. When finished they can report of the proper or improper functioning of a HVAC system. Any needed repairs can be caught early before they have had a chance to affect other working parts causing additional damage and expense. With regular maintenance your HVAC can work with precision each time you initiate its operation. Call us to insure you have a reliable service agreement for your HVAC system.

Efficiency Standards for HVAC Equipment: Are They Going Up Soon?

In 2009, working with leading HVAC and utility experts, the U.S. Department of Energy set its sights on improving HVAC efficiency standards. These new HVAC efficiency rates were slated to take effect in 2013. However, it wasn’t long before problems were encountered and a court order delayed implementation.

There is no doubt that raising the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE for combustion systems, especially those installed in northern states, could help increase efficiency and reduce energy usage. However, increasing the AFUE for gas heating brought about some serious problems. For one thing, the only way to increase the current HVAC efficiency rating of 78 AFUE to the proposed 90 AFUE would mean homeowners would need to install a condensing furnace. Unfortunately, a condensing furnace is the only type of furnace that is capable of delivering the efficiency rating of 90 AFUE. A 90 AFUE furnace means it only wastes 10% of the fuel it burns. Obviously, this would provide excellent HVAC efficiency standards, but implementing this change would be difficult and costly for homeowners.

Whether you live in a single-family home, condominium or townhome, retrofitting your home to accommodate a condensing furnace that meets the higher HVAC efficiency standards would pose some challenges. It is important to understand how these furnaces work in order to grasp the difficulty and expense that homeowners would face in trying to have their home retrofitted for a condensing furnace.

A condensing furnace burns gas to heat your home; however, a second heat exchanger is used to utilize the heat from hot water vapor caused by the burning of combustible fuel. This hot water vapor must be condensed and drained through your home’s plumbing. With an entirely different type of venting, a condensing furnace would require extensive retrofitting which would be expensive, especially in homes where access to outside walls might be limited, such as an attached home.

The HVAC industry argued that the expense and difficulty of retrofitting homes to meet these higher HVAC efficiency standards could place a financial burden on some homeowners. As of now, this issue is still making its way through the courts, but it is important to keep in mind that replacing HVAC equipment with new equipment that is energy efficient is always a good idea.

For HVAC repairs and service or if you want to find out more about improving HVAC efficiency, be sure to contact a local HVAC specialist.

Protect Your Home From Power Surges

For most American homes, power surges are rare. However, when they do happen they can be very devastating and can destroy and ruin many different electronics and appliances in the home, including air conditioners, boilers, furnaces, and water heaters. These are all very important pieces of home equipment and can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace. This is why it is imperative to protect your home and your appliances from costly power surges, in addition to HVAC maintenance

There are two types of power surges that can affect your home:

External Power Surges
Hard wired equipment in the home can be damages by power surges that happen due to outside forces, such as power lines being down or damaged due to weather or an accident. Stronger surges of power can also be sent into the home causing problems. Equipment that is hard-wired into the home or plugged into electrical outlets can be affected by externally caused power surges.

Internal Power Surges
The same pieces of equipment and electronics in the home are also subject to internal power surges. If a powerful appliances in the home, such as a freezer or furnace, is cycled on, it accesses more of your home’s power. When it cycles off, that extra power is sent back to the power source and can damage electrical equipment in the home over time, as well as erode electrical components.

Protect Your Home Utilities and Appliances
To avoid falling victim to any type of power surge, whole home protection is necessary where the power supply enters the home. A device can be installed to decrease the effect of power surges to the HVAC system, telephone lines, and cable lines. You can also use power strips with surge protection when you plug in devices like tv’s and computers. In addition, there are special electrical outlets that have surge protectors built in.

Home Power Surge Protection
If you are not sure if your home and appliances are protected against power surges, now is the time to find out. Call your trusted and experienced home HVAC Service technicians to make sure your home/business is protected from power surges. Not doing so can be a costly mistake.

Save Money And Energy When Hiring The Best Of The Best

Whether being new to owning a home or not, there are plenty of tasks and terms to learn that will keep you busy for a while. One thing all homeowners discover shortly after buying a home is the need to learn how to save energy. They also discover the need for an experienced and professional HVAC service. Learning how to save energy and finding a skilled heating and air conditioning service provider starts with learning what does NATE certified mean.

Hiring an HVAC service that employs NATE certified technicians is always recommended. As in any service industry, honest and knowledgeable technicians in the HVAC industry recognized the need to stand out from the rest. This need stemmed from an overwhelming number of HVAC providers all claiming to know the most and be the best. It was hard for consumers to discern which companies lived up to their advertised promises.

The North American Technician Excellence organization, also known as NATE, was formed in the late 90’s. It was developed to help homeowners better decide which HVAC companies were qualified with the knowledge needed to set them apart from the ones that did not. NATE does this by offering tests that ensure that an HVAC technician’s knowledge is modern and accurate.

NATE is a renowned and trusted name in America that is relied upon to point out skilled HVAC workers. A highly trained NATE technician is able to help clients save money through their knowledge of energy efficiency and modern equipment. Many homeowners have discovered that knowing what is nate certification, and only hiring technicians that are certified are two of the vital ingredients needed to save money on utility bills.

A technician is happy to share summer energy saving methods such as utilizing fans, blocking heat that enters through windows, how to keep a home cool for less money with slightly higher temperature settings , changing filters regularly, along with planting shade trees. Introducing homeowners to newer energy efficient equipment and providing clients with honest evaluations and repairs are other things a NATE certified technician proudly does. Schedule an a/c tune up today with a NATE certified company and rest easy knowing you hired the best of the absolute best.

Know When Your Air Conditioner Needs Recharging

Air conditioners are one of those appliances that are expected to work all the time and are hardly noticed until suddenly they are no longer working. Rather than panic and think you need to make the major investment of buying a new unit, it could be that your central air conditioner needs charged services to boost your coolant levels.

However, how do you know when the problem is that your home air conditioner needs to be recharged? The following are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem.

First, begin by checking thermostat settings, changing them to see what your unit will do. Start by moving the reading to 85 degrees and wait about half an hour. Then move the thermostat back down to 60 degrees until you hear the unit click on. If you feel the house beginning to cool, the unit just needed a reset. You can also reset by flipping the electrical breakers to the unit.

The thermostat also may have built up some dust or grime that is causing the problem. Simply remove the cap and use a cloth to clean between the elements inside.

You can also check the vents by holding your hand in front to see if they are blowing room temperature or warmer air into the room. If so, this is a sign the coolant in your air conditioner is low or out and you will need to call a professional to get it freon charged.

Freezing temperatures outside also can cause the coolant gases in your air conditioning unit to become cold enough that it will freeze up any element it comes into contact with. You can spot coolant leaks easily because frost will build up in the area. These leak locations could be where the coolant tank is connected with the unit, or along the hoses, fan motors, or tubes in the area. Having any frozen components means that you have a leak and that coolant is escaping the unit rather than performing its air cooling job.

If you find that your air conditioner is no longer conditioning the air, it is best to have a professional heating and cooling company come in to troubleshoot the issue and repair the problem. They will have the parts and experience to track the leak and fix it promptly and also can make sure it is freon charged. In any case, your air conditioner should be checked regularly to make sure components are clear of any debris build up, which can cause the fans to stop, which will put a stop to any air flow, no matter the temperature.

Split-Zoning Air-Conditioning Provides Refreshing Summer Relief

Twenty-five years ago, air conditioning was still considered a luxury in most homes. Today, air conditioning is taken for granted, and is now considered to be a purchase that every member of the family appreciates. Split-zoning air-conditioning and systems that use split-ductless air-conditioning technology are two commonly used approaches to installation.

Understanding Split-Zoning Air-Conditioning

The most common installation system is the split or central system, which is combined with the forced air heating system of the house. The condensing unit, which is the actual air conditioner, is positioned outside the home, either on brackets attached to the house or placed on a concrete pad. The system works as follows:

· refrigerant from the condenser is carried through small diameter copper pipes to the interior unit, called the evaporator coil

· the evaporator coil provides cooling while it dehumidifies the air

· condensate is removed through a small tube to a drain

· the cooled air is circulated by the furnace fan, using the existing heating ducts

· an anti-allergen filter deactivates harmful allergens

The temperature of the house is controlled by a dual purpose heating and cooling thermostat.

Often it is useful to be able to control temperatures separately for different rooms or areas in the home. Split-zoning air-conditioning refers to the ability to “zone” the air conditioning system. Any central air conditioning system can be zoned, using automatic dampers in the ducts to direct cool air where it is wanted. Here are some reasons for using zoning:

· higher floors usually require more cooling than lower floors

· different people have different comfort levels

· cooling only those rooms being used provides for energy-efficient operation

Carefully maintained, these systems can provide comfortable year-round living for many years.

Understanding Split-Ductless Technology

Split-ductless air-conditioning technology is becoming increasingly popular, especially in homes that do not have installed ductwork. The split-ductless system also has an outside condensing unit to remove heat from the refrigerant. The difference is that the indoor component is self-contained and has its own fan to move the cooled air.

These units are usually placed high on a wall or on the ceiling. They are operated by remote control. Often a unit is placed on each floor, or in rooms like a computer room that may require additional cooling.

Whichever energy-efficient operation is used, the household can enjoy all the benefits of air-conditioning. The bonus with the split technology is that each zone in the house can be cooled to its own optimum temperature. Such an efficient system should reduce the usual arguments about personal comfort during hot weather.

The Scientific Miracle of Central Air Conditioning

Most homeowners think of central heating and cooling as a huge advantage during the hottest summers and most frigid winters. It only makes sense that consumers point to comfort as the primary factor in their attitudes toward air conditioners and heaters.

However, there are several other aspects of central heating and cooling that are routinely overlooked. For one thing, air conditioners allow homeowners to keep windows and doors closed to outside air, a practice which eliminates bugs and noise. Those who live in rural areas appreciate the quiet, insect-free life with central air conditioning and heating.

Modern air conditioners and air conditioning units provide another important advantage to users; the systems offer a level of home security that is impossible when windows and doors are open. City dwellers appreciate air conditioners for that very purpose. Air conditioning units and heaters provide both comfort and home security. With windows and doors locked tightly, even in balmy or freezing weather, a home is safer and more pleasant.

A room air conditioner unit is an alternative to central air. Small, one-room units are economical for those who primarily occupy just one or two rooms of a home or small office. Some home owners want cooled or heated air in, for example, a work area and a kitchen, or a living room and a bedroom. In those instances, the room air conditioner is an ideal solution. It not only brings quick cooling to an enclosed space, it costs much lesser than other system.

Allergy sufferers enjoy another of the many benefits of central heating and cooling systems. Nearly every modern central heating and cooling unit employs filters that rid re-circulated air of allergy-causing dust and contaminants. Again, denizens of big cities are well aware of this advantage. Major metro areas in the U.S are sometimes placed under various types of “air alerts” that indicate unhealthy atmospheric conditions. In those cases, homeowners who have air conditioners & central heating and cooling units are much safer breathing filtered, inside air than the pollution-laden alternative.

Home security, health, comfort, and a quiet environment are among the many benefits of air conditioning units & their central cooling and heating. Those who face limited budgets can take advantage of one room air conditioner with heating and cooling devices.

Even those who do not work in their homes will find household chores more pleasant when ambient air temperatures are not exceedingly high or low. Anyone who has ever attempted to work in a sweltering hot office or freezing room can attest to the wonders of AC central heating and cooling units. Homeowners all over the world sleep better, avoid allergies as a result of the miracle of central air conditioning.