What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Home?

Shopping for an air conditioner can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure what to look for. Air conditioners come in a variety of sizes, each of which greatly impacts energy efficiency, performance and price.

How to Choose the Right Size Air Conditioner for Your Home

For air conditioners, bigger isn’t always better. There are so many factors to consider when choosing the right size, and many of these factors can’t be figured out by the homeowner. For this reason, it’s important to schedule a consultation with an HVAC specialist.

Factors that Affect a Home’s Cooling Needs

The HVAC specialist will do a thorough consultation in your home that includes going over various physical aspects of your living space. The factors will help determine your home’s cooling needs include:

  • The total volume of your home’s living space (aside from merely the square footage)
  • The area of the exterior walls that are exposed to the sun
  • How many windows your home has, as well as the condition, age and orientation of the windows (north, south, etc.)
  • How much sun your home gets
  • When your home was constructed
  • The level of insulation
  • If the existing ductwork and ventilation system work properly
  • How much shade the home gets from trees and shrubs

How SEER Affects an Air Conditioner’s Energy Efficiency

Once you’ve determined what size air conditioner to get for your home, you’ll then want to pick one with the appropriate SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating. A system’s SEER rating represents its level of energy efficiency. Units with higher SEER ratings are generally more expensive, so you’ll want to balance what you can afford with what will provide you the best savings. Higher efficiency models require less energy and therefore lower your monthly utility bills, so they can save you money in the long run. For each increment, your unit will use approximately 5 percent less energy. For instance, if you upgraded from a 12 SEER to a 16 SEER, your unit would be about 20 percent more efficient. Good SEER ratings are between 16 and 23.

Buying a new air conditioner is a big investment and requires careful thought and consideration. A quality air conditioner should last you many years, so you’ll want to make sure you choose something dependable for the long run. When you’re able to select an HVAC system that will really work for your home, you’re able to enjoy quality cooling that’s worth every penny.

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Bigger Is Rarely Better When It Comes To A New Air Conditioning Unit For Your Home

When looking to replace an air conditioning unit, you’re not only seeking a modern, more efficient air conditioner or heat pump, but you might be inclined to purchase something significantly bigger than what you had before.

Not so fast.

Just because you purchase a bigger air conditioning unit doesn’t mean that it’s going to work better for your home. In fact, it could lead to an increase in utility expenses, for a variety of reasons. Below are some of the pitfalls of buying a cooling unit that that is significantly larger than you previous one.

Larger AC Could Lead to Increased Utility-Related Costs

Any mechanical device that starts and stops experiences a significant amount of wear and tear. A cooling unit that is too big for your house will cycle on and off more often, thus leading to more frequent breakdowns, higher repair costs and a shorter life. The key is to select an AC that is properly sized for your home’s cooling or heating demand.

Also worth noting is a larger cooling unit is going to cost more to purchase, and they cost more to run over the span of their lives. Their efficiency goes out the window because of the excessive on and off cycling when paired with a home that’s too small. A unit that is the proper size for your home will run for longer periods, but they will actually consume less total energy.

Oversized Air Conditioning Units Cause Uneven Temperatures in the Home

You could end up with rooms that are noticeably hotter than others if you splurged on an AC that’s too large for your property. An oversized cooling unit could lead to poor air distribution and uneven temperatures in your house. This is because the AC unit is cycling off after a short amount of time, thinking its job was complete in just a few minutes. It’s usually the rooms farthest from the unit that suffer hot or cold problems because of this. A properly sized unit will reduce such symptoms, as it will mix the air better than a system that’s too large for your home’s needs.

Leaking Ducts and Increased Noise

If you buy a noticeably larger AC unit than your previous one, you’re going to see an increase in your home’s air flow, but that may not actually be a good thing. Your existing ductwork was set up for your previous unit, and the system may not be equipped to handle stronger force of air flow. You may hear short, intense, noisy blasts of excessively cold or hot air from the oversized unit, and your ducts may eventually leak more, which would waste energy and make your home dirtier.

Oversized AC Causes Humidity to Rise in the Home

An air conditioner not only cools the air inside a building, but it dries it as well. An oversized AC will cool your home too quickly, believe it or not. The unit would shut off before finishing the job of removing moisture in the air, and the result is an indoor environment that is too high in humidity. With an uncomfortable indoor air quality due to the humidity, you may head to the thermostat and turn it down a couple more degrees, raising your energy expenses.

Higher Humidity Brings Increased Threat of Mold and Dust Mites

To ward off mold growth and dust mites in a home, your indoor humidity level needs to be kept below 50 percent. If your AC is too large for your house and you live in a humid climate, it’s not likely to stay below that level. That’s not a good prognosis for an allergy sufferers in your home, as they are likely sensitive to mold spores and dust mite droppings.

Have a Professional Assess Your Home’s System and Your AC Needs

If you were unhappy with your old air conditioning unit, it may have more to do with your ductwork or insulation than the AC being too small for the job. At McLay Services, we see many homes that have some form of air flow deficiency, including a poor air conditioning and heating system design. We offer our Rancho Cucamonga area, and Southern California customers the opportunity to get a whole home inspection, to see if their heating and cooling system is running at peak efficiency.

And if you’re looking into a new cooling unit, we can assess your home or business property and recommend the correctly sized AC or heat pump for your needs. We can then show you the high-quality Carrier products we carry that will work with your property. As you have read in this post, having the properly sized AC unit is crucial to saving money on your power bills and upkeeping the integrity of the entire cooling system.

How To Control Your Nest Thermostat With Google Now

Did you know you can control your home temperature on your mobile phone while you are away? The Nest temperature control thermostat is the new cool way to operate your HVAC system at optimum levels saving energy and your monthly bills. The Nest thermostat employs cutting edge features to ensure you live comfortably in your home without having to frequently adjust the HVAC thermostat.

The New Features

You can monitor the Nest thermostat on your Smartphone simply by downloading the Nest thermostat app. With this app you can check your current home temperature at any given time and even make temperature changes right on your phone. If granny is right at home and need the room warm, you no longer have to call your technician to rush over and check the thermostat.

Another exciting feature in the new Nest temperature control is the auto away option. This feature senses when you are away from your home and makes temperature regulations accordingly. Being outdoor for a few hours will switch the HVAC to substantial efficiency to save energy. On the other hand, if you are on vacation, the HVAC system will further drop energy consumption until you are back home.

The nest temperature control thermostat will also vary your room temperature according to your taste and preference. It does this using the schedule and set-point learning feature which records both your daily schedule and temperature preferences. If you come home from a morning jog all sweaty, you will definitely enjoy the cool atmosphere in your house because Nest knows the last thing you need is heat!

With a new feature known as ‘Nest Leaf’ you no longer have to guess the right temperature for your house. The thermostat records the existing temperature in your environment and will turn the green leaf on when you set the right optimum temperature with respect to the surrounding. The Time to Temperature on the other hand prevents you from setting extreme temperature point to either cool or warm the house faster – which is often an ineffective way of energy consumption.

If you want to learn more about the Nest temperature control thermostat or order your new thermostat today, feel free to call us and we will help you out.

Does My House Need Surge Protection For The HVAC System?

HandymanA power surge is a huge risk to all types of items commonly found in a household, like cables, Ethernet wires, regular wires, electronic devices or home equipment. These can be extremely deadly for HVAC equipment as well, which is why they are referred to as ‘silent killers’. Surges are capable of wiping out the entire equipment, leaving one baffled! Therefore if you have valued equipment in your house that needs to be protected, such as an HVAC system, then you should consider investing in a surge protector. This investment will prove to be a wise move on your part.

When you have an efficient surge protector installed in your home, you will not have to worry about lightning or power surges causing downtime or wreaking havoc on the equipment. HVAC surge protectors are capable of securing HVAC units. These are all the more important in older homes having HVAC units because modern homes using up-to-date HVAC systems are well protected against power surges.

Since these surges are such a big threat to the wellbeing and efficiency of HVAC systems therefore it goes without saying that having a surge protector around surely provides peace of mind! This is because the device would monitor the current entering the HVAC unit. In case the amount of current flowing into the unit suddenly spikes up then the surge protector would adjust it by sending the extra electricity back into the ground, thereby preventing the device from getting damaged due to excess electricity.

HVAC surge protectors do not just prolong the lifespan of the HVAC devices but they also improve the functionality of these devices. In fact, such surge protectors act like an insurance policy for your HVAC unit, but unlike regular policies, you do not need to pay the premium on a monthly basis since it is a one-time charge. HVAC systems play an extremely important role in households because they keep the home environment comfortable and cool in the sweltering summer heat. Therefore, it is only right that you should get an insurance plan for such an important device in your household!

For installing an HVAC surge protector please get in touch with us today.

Controlling Home Comfort Costs

Think GreenIt seems as soon as the summer begins to fade, and the consumer breathes a sigh of relief, the winter comes along and causes new strains on the family energy budget. There appears to be no respite in site as energy demands and costs continue to increase. It would be worth the time to ask that if energy prices continue to escalate, what would be most effective in controlling home comfort costs? Fortunately, there are dozens of avenues a homeowner may pursue in their search for relief from the energy squeeze.

Sometimes it is necessary to invest money in order to save money. However, this makes sense because the investment is usually a one time expenditure, and the savings roll in every month. A homeowner can, for instance, add reflective roofs, attic fans, or weather stripping. Weather stripping is a process of sealing windows and doors from the elements. This simple step, if done right, will go a long way toward reducing energy bills. Consumers also need to know there are some home projects that create an energy savings, but also yield tax cuts or reduced rate loans for the project materials.

A small investment with a potentially large payoff is a programmable thermostat. Anyone whose thermostat is either warming or cooling the house while they are not home, is throwing sizable chunks of money out their newly weatherstripped window.

A house can be a home, or it can be like an inferno in the summer. The air conditioning would love some help, and a white cement, or just a white roof will ease its burden. In fact, by painting a white roof with an insulating paint, the white roof can reflect away as much as 80 % of incident heat. Speaking of roofs, solar panels always bear a second look. Not only will the use of solar panels slash electrical bills for a family, studies have shown that they add about $20,000 onto the value of a $500,000 house.

Whether you live in the Sahara or Alaska, there are rosy possibilities in the bleakest of energy bills. Feel free to call us for additional energy savings solutions. We’d love to hear from you.

Carrier’s The Winner Of The Consumers Digest Best Buy Award

Carrier Infinity ProductsConsumers Digest recently awarded four models in Carrier’s current HVAC line with the Consumers Digest® Best Buy award. They are proud to boast of having achieved this very prestigious accomplishment considering that this award is only given to the top three percent of competing models. Three Carrier HVAC products: the Infinity 19, the Infinity 16 and the Infinity with Greenspeed were found to have exhibited exceptional performance in the heat pump categories. The fourth award was given to Carrier Performance Boost 80 gas furnace.

Why did these units warrant this show of appreciation?

The Infinity 19 is a mid-range series that surpasses its competitors in its reliability and its super quiet operation. This Energy Star heat pump provides efficient cooling and heating due to the advanced technology of Infinity’ two-stage compressor. When used in conjunction with the Infinity control, the unit offers exceptional heating and cooling efficiency with the benefit of energy savings, convenience, operation noise levels at a low 65 decibels.

The Infinity 16 is Energy Star rated and comes with a variable-speed blower motor producing efficient hybrid-heat. Again this unit is quiet when compared with other heat pumps, operating with noise levels as low as 67 decibels.

The Infinity with Greenspeed has a variable speed compressor, which takes efficiency to new heights. It offers unlimited adjustments between 0 and 100% for heating and cooling comfort. These tighter temperature control options allow for greater efficiency due to the extended operation of steadier controls. This unit is the quietest of the three creating only 58 decibels of sound.

The Carrier Performance Boost 80 gas furnace was acknowledged because of its performance and its exceptional warranty. This unit is equipped with a multi-speed blower and ComfortFan technology for improved air flow control. It has a 10 year part limited warranty and a 20 year heat exchanger limited warranty.

Carrier has produced several outstanding HVAC units for 2014. They will continue to place quality, durability, function, comfort and value remain among the top concerns for Carrier’s HVAC research and development departments. Consequently, the consumer will continue to reap the benefits of the great products Carrier develops. If you, on the other hand are working with HVAC units that aren’t as well conceived and executed, make sure you call us for help.

What Does Energy Factor Mean?

Many people wonder what does energy factor mean? This is because they notice that many appliances have an energy factor rating. Below is an explanation of what this all means.

What Does Energy Factor Mean?
It is a metric that is used, and it is used to compare residential appliances and equipment’s energy conversion efficiency. It is commonly used to determine the energy factor of washers, dryers, water heaters and even dish washers. The better the energy factor rating, the more energy efficient that appliance is.

Benefits Of Owning Appliances With A Good Rating
The obvious benefit of owning an appliance with a good rating is it will not consume as much energy as appliances that have a very low rating. This means that you could end up saving some money on your energy bill.

Not only may you save money when you purchase appliances with a good energy rating, but you will be doing your part in doing something good for the environment. Energy efficient appliances tend to not be as bad for the environment as appliances that have a very low rating.

Energy Efficient AC And Heating Systems
Energy efficient air conditioning and heating systems are great to have, especially if you live in a region that is prone to getting very hot and/or cold weather. This means you will probably use it often in the summer or wintertime, but the good news is that your system shouldn’t cause you to end up with a huge energy bill.

Do you already own an energy efficient AC and heating system? If not, then you should buy one soon. If you do, then you may need someone to come out and look at it when it’s not working properly.

Call Us Today
Do you have a problem with your system? It does not matter what type of problem you are experiencing with your energy efficient air conditioning and heating system, we can help you.

Call us today and tell us what type of problem you are having with your system. We will be more than happy to help you get your system running the way it should be running.

3 Steps To Hiring An HVAC Contractor

servicemanWhen it comes to your home’s HVAC system, you want to be sure that you hire a skilled and experienced professional to do any maintenance and repair work. A job well done with energy efficient equipment will save you money on your annual energy costs. Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring a heating and cooling contractor:

Ask Around

If you have no idea where to begin the search for a trustworthy HVAC specialist, ask your friends and family members for referrals. Perhaps your neighbors can recommend someone who has done A/C maintenance on their property. Any time that you can get a recommendation from someone that you trust, it’s far better than trying to hire a contractor based on reviews that you come across on the web. Your friends and loved ones are not going to refer someone who does shoddy work.

Get an Estimate

Whether you are just in need of summer air conditioning maintenance, or a replacement for your HVAC system, the contractor should be willing and able to give you a detailed estimate for the costs. Ask to have an estimate in writing, and ask for a time estimate, as well. You want the most energy efficient model and parts available today to help keep your annual costs low. A reputable contractor will be willing to give you an itemized estimate and provide you with details about the efficiency of any products that they will be installing.

Expect a Thorough Inspection

Once the contractor comes to your home to do an evaluation of your HVAC system, expect them to spend some time doing a thorough inspection. If they only take a few minutes to look things over before giving you an estimate, they may not be the right contractor to hire. It should take them some time to inspect the various elements, and then to come up with a plan for repairs and replacements.

Hiring a contractor for A/C maintenance is not something to take lightly. You want a skilled professional to handle the job. Contact your local HVAC contractors for all of your HVAC maintenance needs.

A/C Maintenance That’s Important To Complete Before The End Of The Summer Season

Senior man opening air conditioning filter in ceilingSummer is a busy time of year. As the summer season winds down, HVAC maintenance is probably the last thing on your mind. However, for homeowners performing some simple summer air conditioning maintenance tasks can save a lot of money and hassle later in the year. In order to keep your system running as it should and to avoid costly and unexpected breakdowns, perform these simple steps before autumn is in full swing:

Change or Clean Air Filters
If you have an older a/c unit or HVAC system, you will need to gently remove and wash your reusable air filter. If you have a newer system, the disposable filter needs changed at least every three months. These filters help sustain your indoor air quality by reducing allergens, pollutants, dust, animal hair, and danger in the air. If the filters are not changed and cleaned as they should be, your system will not be as energy efficient as it was designed.

Coils and Fins
Dirt loves to hide within the coils and fins of your evaporator. This can slow your cooling process in the a/c unit and cause the consumption of more energy. It can also increase drag on your system and cause it not last as long.

Remove Water
The condensate pan and drain were created to collect moisture that is created in the cooling process of the air handler and to transport it outdoors. If the pan and drain have water in them, it should be removed. This is especially true if the drain and pan are located in a non-insulated area of the home, as this can cause the water present freeze.

Check the Condenser
Finally, be sure to check on your condenser. Be sure the area around it is clear of any overgrowth of bushes or anything else that could impede the airflow and cause a problem for your a/c unit or HVAC system as a whole. You should also gently wash any dirt away from the coils and fins with a hose.

If you prefer to leave the a/c maintenance to the pros, call your local HVAC contractor today to get your system ready for the next season. Completing these tasks will help extend the life of your system and save you money in the long run.

Are Higher HVAC Efficiency Requirements Expected Soon?

Energy EfficiencyFor many people, the thought of increasing the efficiency of HVAC equipment is welcome news. The U.S. DOE has been looking at ways of raising the minimum requirement for HVAC efficiency standards since 2009. After working with leaders in the HVAC industry as well as representatives from utility companies, a higher minimum AFUE requirement was set to be adopted in 2013.

After working to raise the AFUE requirement to 90, from its current minimum standard of 78 AFUE, it became evident that implementation of the new HVAC efficiency standards might cause some homeowners financial difficulties. One of the biggest problems associated with the new minimum standard is that there is only one type of furnace capable of providing this level of efficiency. A condensing furnace offers exceptionally high HVAC efficiency; however, it is also quite different from other heating systems and would mean most homeowners would face expensive and difficult measures to retrofit this type of furnace to work in their current home.

A condensing furnace needs an entirely different venting system which can be problematic to install in existing structures, especially those where outside walls can be a challenge to access, such as townhomes, condominiums and attached homes. These condensing furnaces require a primary and secondary heat exchanger to handle not only the burning of gas as a primary heat source, but also the capture of heat that results from the resulting hot water vapor.

The reason condensing furnaces are so highly efficient is because they are able to extract the heat from the hot water vapor rather than allowing it to be released up the chimney. However, capturing the hot water vapor and then condensing it, requires a different type of installation than what can easily be installed in most homes. As a result of these difficulties, the HVAC industry argued that implementation of the new HVAC efficiency requirements would be too much for some homeowners to handle. For the time being, the courts have delayed implementation of these new standards, but that could change in the future.

When you need HVAC repairs or service, your local HVAC contractor can help. From energy efficient HVAC systems to maintenance and emergency repairs, call a local HVAC contractor for professional results.