Air ConditioningHow does an air conditioner work?
Heat is extracted from the home by passing indoor air across a refrigerant coil in the indoor unit. Refrigerant lines then carry the heat to the outdoor unit, where it is released into the outside air. The cooling cycle continues until the indoor temperature reaches the thermostat setting.
HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is a measurement similar to SEER, but it measures the efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump.
Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control. Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air. This is important because when moisture levels are high, there’s a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.
Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home. When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.
Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.
Zoning meets the specific temperature and airflow requirements of one area, without affecting other areas.
A properly designed zoning system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year.
Zoning divides the home into different areas and comfort into different levels, giving you more choices and control than ever before.
When integrated with variable speed and/or two-stage HVAC systems, zoning allows your heating and cooling equipment to deliver peak performance and efficiency without continually operating at peak capacity. Lower speeds mean lower sound levels.
After replacing or cleaning the filter, you can speed up the thawing process by turning the system off and turning on the fan. If you have a heat pump system, you can try turning the system to heating mode until the ice has melted. After the ice has melted, switch the system settings back to normal. If the system refreezes, contact ACE to correct the problem.Low refrigerant
In some cases, freezing is caused by a leak in the refrigerant lines. Weak solder joints, friction from piping rubbing or vibrating against an object, open valves or loose fittings are all factors that can cause leaks. When determining whether to have the system repaired or replaced, the age of the system and the nature and location of the leak are important considerations.
Dirty evaporator coil
Over time, the evaporator coil will become dirty. When this happens, you will begin to lose airflow, slowly enough that you probably would not realize it until it freezes up or cooling performance is compromised. At this point, you will need to contact ACE to correct the problem.
Defective blower motor or relay
A blower motor not running at the proper speed or not running at all is another factor that can cause freezing. Motor operation may be intermittent, starting at full speed and slowing down after it heats up. Or, a relay could cause it to start one time and not the next. In either case, you will need to contact ACE to correct the problem.
Matched system design
All outdoor cooling units are specifically designed to work with matched indoor units for optimum efficiency and performance. Air conditioner and heat pumps may “work” with other indoor units, but the result is a definite compromise in overall system performance.
In recent years, indoor blower coil units have undergone numerous design advances—especially in the areas of air handling performance, filtering efficiency and operating sound levels. A new outdoor unit will also include the latest design advances.
Higher cooling and heating efficiency The cooling and/or heating efficiency rating assigned to a given air conditioner or heat pump is based on matched system performance. While you may gain higher efficiency by replacing only the outdoor unit, the efficiency levels (and savings) will not be as high as with a matched system.
Equipment age If an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit is 10 years old and needs to be replaced, the indoor unit is just as old and has been subjected to the same amount of wear and tear. Replacing both units means you won’t have to replace the indoor unit in a short time—you’ll have years of service from both units.
A new unit also gives you a new product warranty. Replacing the indoor unit at the same time as the outdoor unit gives you added peace of mind, knowing the new warranty covers the entire system.
At first, replacing only an air conditioner or heat pump outdoor unit may appear to be a bargain. That is, until you consider the lower efficiency, decreased reliability and high cost of ownership associated with single-unit replacement. It may cost more to replace an entire system, but this gives you more efficiency, reliability and comfort.
During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses—the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transferring it inside your home.Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm your home. When there’s not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the home. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump’s ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.
Energy EfficiencyShould I be concerned about new energy-efficiency standards?
Zoning A zoning system can drastically lower your heating and cooling costs. With zoning, you no longer have to pay to heat or cool areas of your home that are rarely used.
Programmable Thermostats According to the Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat can reduce your heating costs by up to 35% and cooling costs by up to 25%.
For more energy-saving solutions, contact ACE.
*According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
Consistent comfortTwo-stage heating eliminates the temperature swings associated with standard furnaces, regulating temperature to within as little as one degree of the thermostat setting.Quiet operation Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage, when the amount of heat required is lower, instead of reaching full capacity all at once. That means there’s no sudden “kick” or blast of air.
Improved air filtration
Low-speed operation allows your filters to capture more contaminants (because air is constantly passing through them), so you can breathe easier.
Because the furnace operates mostly in its lower-capacity first stage, it burns less fuel than a standard furnace that always runs at full capacity and shuts off when the heating demand has been met.
FurnacesWhat are furnace ratings?
A variable speed motor can also help clean the air in your home. When the fan is in constant operation (indicated by the “Fan” setting on your thermostat), the motor will continue to slowly circulate air, allowing filters to capture more contaminants.
A variable speed motor combined with a ComfortSense 7000 programmable thermostat Home Comfort Control allows you to control the amount of humidity in your home for improved indoor air quality and comfort.
Indoor Air QualityWhat causes indoor air pollution?
1. Store household cleaners, paint solvents and chemical products in tightly sealed containers. If possible, keep them outdoors.
2. Clean and vacuum at least once a week.
3. Regularly wash bed linens and stuffed toys.
4. Keep windows closed when pollen, pollution and humidity levels are high.
5. Ask you local Healthy Climate dealer to test the air in your home for dust, pollen, chemicals and other pollutants (data is evaluated by an independent testing agency).
6. Make sure your home is properly ventilated. (Modern homes are well insulated and sealed to conserve energy, which means airborne pollutants have no way to escape).
7. Keep humidity levels within a healthy, comfortable range to prevent growth of mold and mildew (25% – 55%).
8. Avoid using scented deodorizers and odor-masking air fresheners, which may cause toxic chemicals.
9. Have your HVAC system regularly inspected to make sure it is clean and in good operating condition.
10. Choose furnishings that emit the smallest possible amount of chemical vapors.
11. Do not allow smoking inside your home and make sure all gas appliances are properly vented.
What causes the lingering odors? Sometimes, poor ventilation in a home causes unpleasant odors. Moisture condensation on walls or windows and stuffy air are signs of poor ventilation. A qualified service technician can inspect your home comfort system to determine if this is indeed the problem, and the technician can also inform you whether or not your equipment is working properly.
Purify the air
Bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva and mold may also be roots of your home’s odor problem. You can reduce these odor-causing contaminants with a germicidal (UV) light, which inhibit the growth of biological contaminants, sterilizing surfaces in the HVAC system. Germicidal lights are designed to work with your home comfort system.Activated carbon and microbiocide-treated filters can also purify your home’s air. Both the carbon and the microbiocide-treated filters remove odor and kill bacteria. The carbon filters are more effective at removing odor, and the microbiocide-treated filters trap bacteria as the air is pulled through, which inhibits biological contaminants from growing.
Electronic air cleaners clean the air by taking recirculated air and passing it through a prefilter that traps large pollutants. Then, ionizing wires give a positive electrical charge to remaining particles. The particles are collected by a negatively charged collecting section. Pollutants pass through an optional carbon filter that absorbs unwanted odors.
To find out which indoor air quality products are right for you, contact ACE today.