- Seer Ratings. One thing you will most likely find is your new unit will be much more energy efficient that your older unit, resulting in lower utility bills. Energy efficiency is measured by The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER rating. Entry level units have a SEER rating of 13 and they go up as high as 21.
- Size (cooling capacity). Make sure the AC unit you buy is big enough to cool your entire house, but not so big that it wastes energy. Your AC contractor should take measurements and consider other factors like the amount of insulation in your home to help you determine the appropriate size. Capacity is determined by BTU units, which stands for British Thermal Units.
- Price. The SEER rating has the greatest impact on price. Do shop around for the best price, but remember you frequently get what you pay for. So price shop, but only do so with established and reputable contractors. However, when price shopping, also check for manufacturer rebates.
- Refrigerant. The traditional R-22 refrigerant, sometimes known as Freon, has been restricted from use in all new units. Make sure your new system uses an approved refrigerant such as R-410A.
- Tax rebates. Many governmental entities offer tax credits, especially when purchasing highly energy-efficient units. Check that out.
- Warranties. Carefully investigate the warranty, including both the manufacturer’s warranty and a labor warranty from the contractor.
- Maintenance. In order to make sure your new unit runs as efficiently as possible as long as possible, it needs to be properly maintained. Many contractors offer programs that offer annual maintenance at reduced costs as well as other benefits, such as emergency service and extended warranties. Be sure to check that out.
So your air conditioner is 15 years old or older. Or your utility bills are going up. Or the AC is noisy or in constant need of repair. Or maybe all of the above. So you decide to take the plunge, making the wise decision to purchase a new unit. The question: how do you go about doing it? Here’s some advice.
As you start contemplating all those fun things you are going to do this summer…gardening, bike rides, trips to the beach, just hanging in the back yard, think about how you want to cool off when you go inside. Not going to happen with a broken air conditioning unit. So before it gets super hot, put some thought into replacing your AC unit. Check out these symptoms to determine whether replace your AC makes sense.
There are a few factors to consider. First, the average life of an air conditioning unit is 15-18 years. If your unit is more than 15 years old, you might want to consider replacing it before it breaks down. Additionally, older units may use R22 refrigerant, which is being phased out due to environmental factors, making R22 very expensive. Finally, if you are considering moving, a new air conditioner can enhance the resale value of your home.
Increasing and more expensive repairs
As units age, repairs become more frequent, and more expensive. If you are experiencing more repairs and more costly repairs, consider a new unit.
Rising utility bills
If your utility bills are increasing and you have not changed the way you are using your AC system, that could be a sign the system is not as efficient as it used to be.
Your home is humid
A well-functioning AC unit will remove humidity from the air. If you notice the air becoming more humid (you are experiencing a cold, clammy feeling), that is another sign you may need a new unit.
A well-functioning unit should also provide the same level of cooling in every room. If that is not occurring, consider a new unit.
As systems begin to wear, they may become noisier. If you are noticing more noise coming from your system, that could be another sign it is time to replace it.
People like to do things themselves. It makes them feel useful. It gives them a sense of accomplishment when the task is complete. And they can save money. The downside: if you do it yourself and do it wrong, you may have to pay a hefty price to fix it.
This is especially true with heating and air (HVAC) projects. Mess up an HVAC repair or maintenance project in the middle of summer or dead of winter, and not only will the problem be expensive to fix, you’ll be facing the prospect of living in a stifling or frigid environment until the problem can be fixed.
Still, there are some basic HVAC things you can (and should) do yourself. Here are a few.
programmable thermostat, consider getting one (but don’t try installing it yourself).
b. Sealing any gaps in doors and windows.
c. Keeping drapes and shades open during the winter to let the sun warm the home, and keeping
them closed during the summer to keep the sun’s heat from heating the home.
d. Deploying ceiling fans both in the summer and the winter.
Winter means spending more time indoors. And that means breathing a lot more of that indoor air which, believe it or not, may not be as clean as outdoor air. That’s because your indoor air is comprised of outdoor air, plus all the pollutants, allergens, etc. that inhabit your house. So here are some tips on improving indoor air quality and preventing air pollution.
, workplaceEvery year, more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning not linked to fires, more than 4,000 are hospitalized, and more than 20,000 visit the emergency room due to exposure to this lethal, odorless, colorless gas.
While everybody is at risk for CO poisoning, those especially at risk include infants, the elderly and those with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems.
One of the challenges in recognizing CO poisoning are the symptoms resemble those of the common cold or flu. These include headache, dizziness, weakness, blurred vision, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. More severe problems include brain damage and cardiovascular issues.
Here are several tips for preventing CO poisoning in your home, workplace or car.
If you suspect someone has CO poisoning, do the following:
Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve.
As we enter 2018, those are three words we are all vowing not to say. We are intent on keeping our resolutions. As you are preparing your list, here are 12 resolutions (one for each month) for caring for your heating and air conditioning system. These preventive tips will help you keep your central air conditioning system and other HVAC appliances in optimum condition.
When your homes furnace is bringing warm air into your home this winter, that air is dry. You’ll notice that in several visible ways, such as those annoying static electricity shocks and a dry throat. But that’s not all. Air that is too dry is not good for your health, your possessions, or your pocketbook.
For those reasons, a whole house evaporative humidifier makes sense to keep your indoor humidity of your home between the 30% and 60% levels recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here are the benefits.
Selecting a Humidifier
First, note that many furnace manufacturers offer humidifiers that are compatible with your unit. Also make sure installation of another humidifier will not void your furnace warranty.
There are two types of whole house humidifiers: evaporative and steam humidifiers.
Evaporative humidifiers work by having warm air pass through an evaporator pad saturated with water. The air absorbs the moisture and moves it throughout the home. These humidifiers are powered by the furnace’s fan and must be installed in your ductwork.
Steam humidifiers operate by heating water in a canister and converting the water to steam that is forced through the ductwork. These humidifiers must also be installed in the ductwork, but may not need to be connected to the furnace.
Evaporative humidifiers are less expensive upfront, sometimes as low as $250. These units also use little electricity, but lots of water. Steam humidifiers can require less maintenance, since evaporator systems’ evaporator pads can become a breeding ground for bacteria and should be replaced each year. But even for steam humidifiers, you should flush sediment from the tank annually.
Another important consideration is capacity and compatibility. You need a humidifier that will provide enough moisture for your entire home. A rough rule is approximately 12 gallons a day can humidify up to 3,000 square feet.
Also, some humidifiers now offer “smart” features that can operate independent of your home heating.
As we head into cold weather season, you may already have had your furnace inspected and you may have discovered you need a new furnace. Or your furnace may be 15 years old or more, and you might think it is better to be safe than sorry.
No matter why you have decided to buy a new energy efficient furnace, here are some important tips.
While this blog is being written with the temps nearing 90, odds are this is the last blast of summer, and cold weather is just around the corner. Hopefully you’ve already scheduled your furnace maintenance. But there is one more thing you need to do. Ask yourself: is it time for a new furnace? When mulling this over, consider that the last thing you want is for your furnace to break down during one of our obscenely cold days. You will be miserable. Your pipes could freeze or burst, causing extensive and expensive damage.
Here are some warning signs to consider while diagnosing your furnace:
It’s that time of year again. Your mailbox and email inbox are about to be inundated with reminders (including from us) that it is time for your annual furnace heating inspection in Chicago. And you are going to ask yourself: do I really need to?
Obviously we’re biased, but our answer would be a resounding yes. Here’s why.
Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning
Family owned since 1943