Fall is here, temperatures will be dropping, and furnaces are about to start up for the first time in approximately 6 months. Dust typically builds up on the heat exchanger and will burn off when your furnace is used for the first time of the season. This smell will usually dissipate within the first hour but a burning smell can also indicate more serious issues. That is why furnace maintenance is important this time of the year. Call Advanced Services Heating and Cooling at 740-773-4499 to schedule a visit and take advantage of our $89 furnace maintenance special today.
With winter winding down, everyone is more than ready for the warmer days ahead. Now is a great time to schedule your HVAC maintenance during the transitional spring season when your system is switching from heat to air in a single day.
Parts Wear Out
Parts wear out, no matter how durable modern HVAC systems are designed to be. If it’s been a while since your last maintenance appointment, spring is a great time to make that call. Our technicians can identify any worn parts before you’re left to suffer in the sweltering heat.
Extend the life of your system
Annual HVAC maintenance is a must to keep your system running at peak efficiency. Scheduling a spring maintenance ensures your system is properly lubricated and clean, which is essential after the long winter months. Regular maintenance also prevents breakdowns and avoids costly replacements, which is something no one wants to deal with in the heat of summer.
Improved Air Quality
Our homes tend to get stuffy in the winter. Spring is a great time for opening the windows and letting in the fresh air, but our HVAC systems can also help when they’re properly maintained. A good spring cleaning takes care of clogged air filters, dust buildup, and other issues preventing your family from enjoying the healthiest indoor air quality possible.
Beat the Rush
One of the best benefits of scheduling your HVAC maintenance now is that you probably won’t have to wait long for an appointment. Frantic calls are much more common during summer and winter when people need cooling and heating the most, which tends to keep us HVAC contractors on our toes. With a spring appointment, you’ll beat the rush!
Don’t put off your annual HVAC maintenance any longer. Schedule your spring maintenance with Advanced Services today by calling 877-947-4499 or requesting an appointment online. We’ll ensure your home stays comfortable no matter the season.
If your old AC unit is on its last legs, you’re probably considering a new air conditioner.
But when can your old AC unit be repaired, and when is it too late to save it?
Here are the key signs you need to look out for that tell you it’s time for a new air conditioner.
1. Smells in Your Home
As a first step when you notice any odd smell from your AC, change the air filters. You should do this regularly, not just when you notice a smell. If you don’t keep the unit clean, it can really stink – it’s scientifically proven!
If you do this often, but the smell remains, there may be something wrong with your unit’s ability to dehumidify the air and remove mold and mildew.
This can lead to mold problems within your home, so it’s important you get that new AC installed as soon as you can. It can also be quite difficult to get rid of these smells once they’ve established themselves.
2. There’s Not Enough Cool Air
A lack of cold air is a sure sign that either your AC needs to be serviced, or that it’s on its last legs.
It might blow warm air, or it just may not blow much at all.
Either way, this is a clear sign you need repairs or a new installation.
3. Weird Sounds
It’s not only weird smells you need to be aware of.
If there are odd scratching and clunking sounds coming from your AC, or if it’s noisier than normal, this is a common sign it’s wearing out.
They tend to get noisier as they age, and this can also be a sign that certain parts need attention, or need to be replaced.
4. Poor Airflow
Your air conditioner might be blowing out air very slowly, and the flow of air might also start and stop.
This is another key sign that an aging unit is finally giving up. It can’t produce the pressure required to keep up with demand.
From time to time, it might suddenly speed up and start blasting air at a high speed. This variation is a sign that there’s a pressure imbalance within the system.
Often, this can be fixed, but sometimes a new air conditioner is the only viable solution.
5. Your Utility Bills are Shooting Up
As air conditioning units get older, they become less efficient at cooling your home.
This means that they use more electricity, which in turn increases your energy bills.
So if you notice your energy bills creeping up in the summer, this could be the reason. It’s easier to spot this during the warmer months of the year since you’ll probably be using less electricity for heating or lighting.
If You Think You Need a New Air Conditioner
Since 1999, we’ve been the coolest people in Southern Ohio.
If your old unit is showing all the signs that it’s wearing out for good, call us today for options.
We’re looking forward to helping you stay cool.
Most homes in warm climates have air conditioning. For some, air conditioning may be a luxury, but for many, it is a necessity. Given the expense of the equipment and the power to run it, ASHRAE wants consumers to be informed about their air conditioning systems. These ten points should make a consumer more aware of the air conditioning system and better able to care for it and use it well. Should it become necessary to replace that system, seek out a qualified HVAC professional.
1. HOW AN AIR CONDITIONER WORKS
2. WHAT A “TON” OF COOLING IS
3. WHAT GOES WRONG
4. WHAT THOSE FILTERS DO
5. MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM
6. DUCTS MATTER - A LOT
7. HOW TO INCREASE ENERGY EFFICIENCY
8. LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD
10. IT’S NOT THE HEAT, IT’S THE HUMIDITY
What is Air Conditioning?
The first functional definition of air-conditioning was created in 1908 and is credited to G. B. Wilson. It is the definition that Willis Carrier, the “father of air conditioning” subscribed to:
- Maintain suitable humidity in all parts of a building
- Free the air from excessive humidity during certain seasons
- Supply a constant and adequate supply of ventilation
- Efficiently remove from the air micro-organisms, dust, soot, and other foreign bodies
- Efficiently cool room air during certain seasons
- Heat or help heat the rooms in winter
- An apparatus that is not cost-prohibitive in purchase or maintenance
HOW AN AIR CONDITIONER WORKS
The job of your home air conditioner is move heat from inside your home to the outside, thereby cooling you and your home. Air conditioners blow cool air into your home by pulling the heat out of that air. The air is cooled by blowing it over a set of cold pipes called an evaporator coil. This works just like the cooling that happens when water evaporates from your skin. The evaporator coil is filled with a special liquid called a refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs heat from the air. The refrigerant is pumped outside the house to another coil where it gives up its heat and changes back into a liquid. This outside coil is called the condenser because the refrigerant is condensing from a gas back to a fluid just like moisture on a cold window. A pump, called a compressor, is used to move the refrigerant between the two coils and to change the pressure of the refrigerant so that all the refrigerant evaporates or condenses in the appropriate coils.
The energy to do all of this is used by the motor that runs the compressor. The entire system will normally give about three times the cooling energy that the compressor uses. This odd fact happens because the changing of refrigerant from a liquid to a gas and back again lets the system move much more energy than the compressor uses.
WHAT A 'TON' OF COOLING IS
Before refrigeration air conditioning was invented, cooling was done by saving big blocks of ice. When cooling machines started to get used, they rated their capacity by the equivalent amount of ice melted in a day, which is where the term “ton” came from sizing air conditioning.
A ton of cooling is now defined as delivering 12,000 BTU/hour of cooling. BTU is short for British Thermal Unit (and is a unit that the British do not use) The BTU is a unit of heating - or in this case, cooling - energy. It’s more important, however, to keep in perspective that a window air conditioner is usually less than one ton. A small home central air conditioner would be about two tons and a large one about five tons.
WHAT GOES WRONG
Unlike most furnaces, air conditioners are complex mechanical systems that depend on a wide variety of conditions to work correctly. They are sized to meet a certain “load” on the house. They are designed to have certain amount of refrigerant, known as the “charge”. They are designed to have a certain amount of air flow across the coils. When any of these things changes, the system will have problems.
If you produce more heat indoors either from having more people or appliances or because of changes in the house, the air conditioning may not be able to keep up.
If the refrigerant charge on the system leaks out, it lowers the capacity of the system. You will simply get less cooling and system will not be able to keep up when the load gets high.
If airflow across the outdoor (condenser) coil is reduced, the ability to reject heat outdoors is reduced and the again the capacity of the system may go down, especially at higher outdoor temperatures.<
In dry climates such as the Southwest United States, the same issues happen with regard to the indoor (evaporator) coil: higher airflow helps, lower airflow hurts. In humid climates, the situation is more complex. At higher airflows, there will be less dehumidification, leading to high indoor humidities. If the airflow gets too low, however, the evaporator coil may freeze. This makes performance worse and can damage the compressor until it fails - leaving you with an expensive repair bill and no cooling!
WHAT THOSE FILTERS DO
Almost every air conditioning system has a filter upstream of the evaporator coil. This can be in the return grille or in special slots in the duct system and can be a fuzzy-looking or a folded paper filter. This filter removes particles from the air stream to both keep the air conditioning system clean and to remove particles from the air.
As the filter does its job, it gets loaded with more and more particles. This actually has the effect of making it more efficient, but it also increases resistance and reducing airflow. When this happens, it is time to change the filter. How long it will take to happen depends on how dirty the air is and how big the filter is.
If you don’t change the filter, the air flow will go down, and the system will not perform well. Not only that, but if the filter is too dirty, it starts to become a source or air pollution itself.
If you take the filter out completely, you would solve the low air flow problem, but this victory would be short lived. The particles that the filter would have taken out will now build up on your evaporator coil and eventually cause it to fail. A new filter is a lot cheaper.
When you do buy a new filter, ASHRAE recommends getting one with a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value of MERV 6 or higher.
MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM
Routine maintenance such as changing filters can be handled by most consumers, but others require professional service.
It’s a good idea to brush dirt and obstructions from the coils and the drains at the start of each cooling season. Depending on the system and the consumer, this may require a service call from a professional.
If the system is not producing as much cold air as is normal, it could also be an indication of a refrigerant charge or airflow problems. These problems may require servicing.
DUCTS MATTER - A LOT
Another reason systems may appear not to be producing enough cold air is because of duct leakage. Duct leakage can sap 20 to 40% of the energy out of even a well-operating air conditioner, if the ducts pass outside the cooled space (this includes attics, crawlspaces and garages). Ducts outside need to be well insulated. Various products exist specifically for insulating ducts that can be installed by a keen home owner or a professional contractor.
You might be able to get an extra half ton of air conditioner capacity for free, if you seal your leaky ducts. If the ducts are accessible, handy consumers can seal ducts with mastic—that white sticky stuff you can paint on the ducts. Otherwise you would need a professional to seal the ducts.
HOW TO INCREASE ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Sealing leaky ducts may be the biggest single thing you can do to improve efficiency, but a lot of the issues mentioned above will help as well: replace dirty filters, keep the right charge and airflow, clean the coils.
Another thing to do is to make sure the outdoor (condenser) unit is not so hidden from sight that its air flow is blocked or that leaves or other matter are not clogging it.
If you are replacing the air conditioner, look to buy high efficiency equipment. The most generally known efficiency rating is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). SEER 13 is the minimum efficiency you should consider, but higher efficiencies are likely to be quite cost effective.
Depending on your climate, you may wish to consider other efficiency numbers as well. For example, in hot, dry climates you should look at the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) which says how well the system will work at peak conditions. If you live in a hot, humid climate you need to consider how well the unit can dehumidify.<
LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD
You can make your air conditioner work better by reducing the size of the job it has to do. You can do this by improving the building or reducing the internally generated loads that your air conditioner must deal with.
Improving the building “envelope” includes things such increasing insulation levels or shading windows or reducing air leakage. Such improvements will reduce energy spent on heating and cooling, but may require substantial time or investment. When putting in a new roof or new windows, it is usually cost effective to use high-efficiency products. “Cool” roofing, for example, can save half a ton of cooling and a lot of energy over the year.
Reducing internal loads can be simpler. Shut off unneeded electrical appliances, lights and equipment. Shift appliance use (such as washers and dryers) to cooler times of the day. Use local exhaust fans to remove heat and humidity from kitchens and baths. Buying Energy Star or similarly efficiency appliances helps as well.
In some climates other techniques can be used to reduce the load on the air conditioner. In dry climates evaporative air conditions (the modern version of what used to be called “swamp coolers”) can provide substantial cooling. In climates with large temperature swings, such as the hot, dry climates, you can reduce the load by bringing in large amounts of cool outdoor air. Such systems can be called “night cooling” “ventilative cooling” or “residential economizers”.
The previous points have focused on cooling, but the original definition of air conditioning contains more than that; an ideal air conditioner should heat, cool, clean, ventilate, humidify and dehumidify as needed to provide health and comfort. In fact the second most important objective of the original definition is to provide ventilation. Whether or not the piece of equipment we call an air conditioner provides it, ventilation is needed.
Without adequate ventilation, contaminants generated indoors will can lead to significant health and comfort problems. ASHRAE recommends that there be at least enough ventilation to exchange the air inside house once every four hours, depending on house design.
Older homes tend to have leakier walls and leakier ducts and mostly get sufficient ventilation through such leakage. Such leakage and infiltration may not be the most energy efficient approach to ventilation and is an opportunity for savings.
Most new homes and some existing homes are relatively tight and thus require mechanical ventilation to meet minimum ventilation requirements.
IT'S NOT THE HEAT, IT'S THE HUMIDITY
Humidity control was the problem that originally spurred the need for air conditioning. Lack of humidity control in hot, humid climates, in particular, can lead to mold growth and other moisture-related problems. High indoor humidities can lead to health and comfort problems.
Modern air conditioners dehumidify as they cool; you can see that by the water that drains away, but this dehumidification is incidental to their main job of controlling temperature. They cannot independently control both temperature and humidity.
In hot, humid climates the incidental dehumidification that occurs may not always be enough to keep the indoor humidity conditions acceptable. (ASHRAE recommends roughly a 60% relative humidity maximum at 78F.) The maximum dehumidification happens not at the hot times of the year—when the air conditioner is running a lot—but at mild times of the year when the air conditioner runs very little.
Although there are some leading edge air conditioning systems that promise to independently control humidity, conventional systems may not be able to sufficiently control the problem and can cause comfort or mold problems in certain situations. Some current high-end systems have enhanced dehumidification, but when the existing system cannot sufficiently dehumidify, it may be necessary to buy a stand-alone dehumidifier.
There are things that consumers can do to lessen the need for dehumidification:
Do not set your thermostat to the “fan on” position. In this position the fan blows air all the time whether your cooling system is running or not and one key impact is that a lot of the moisture your system just took out of the air, will be blown back into the house before it can drain way.
Use exhaust fans during moisture-producing activities. Cooking, bathing, washing, and similar activities produce a lot of moisture inside the home. Exhaust that moisture directly outdoors using a fan. Similarly, avoid drying clothes indoors except with a clothes dryer that is exhausted directly outdoors.
Do not open windows or use ventilative cooling when it is too humid outside.
Have you scheduled Spring maintenance for your heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) system yet? You might balk at this task, but it’s more important than you think. No matter how new or how expensive your system is or what the manufacturer promises, a complicated piece of equipment is subject to breakdowns and necessary repairs. Regular maintenance helps to reduce the incidence of repairs while maintaining the manufacturer’s warranty.
Benefits of Regularly Scheduled HVAC Maintenance
What should you expect from your newly tuned-up HVAC system? Is maintenance necessary and worth the cost? Some of the benefits of regular maintenance are immediate while others prevent problems from developing. Some of the more prominent benefits include:
· Lower Energy Bills – You may assume that since your furnace or air conditioner is working without any problem that everything is fine. However, have you checked your energy bill lately? Poorly maintained equipment will quickly lose its ability to keep your home comfortable as efficiently as it once did.
· Fewer Repairs – Do you hear an odd sound or notice an odor coming from your furnace? Scheduling a tune-up right away could help catch problems before they become significant—and expensive. As systems age and parts begin to wear down, the chance for a breakdown increases. And as we all know, those breakdowns seem to always happen on the coldest winter night or the hottest summer day. The odds of this happening can be greatly reduced when you perform regular maintenance.
· Longer Equipment Life – All HVAC equipment functions best when regularly serviced and cleaned. One malfunctioning part can start a domino effect that causes your entire system to fail. Regular maintenance prevents this from happening and adds years to your equipment’s lifespan.
· Safer Equipment Operation – Not only does a failing HVAC system cost a lot of money to repair, it can endanger your family. For example, if the furnace develops a cracked heat exchanger, carbon monoxide can escape into the air you breathe in your home. Clearly, the safety of your family is just one more reason to schedule HVAC system maintenance.
· Maintain Manufacturer’s Warranty – Imagine that you never change the oil in your car; how likely do you think it is that the manufacturer’s warranty would cover the resulting damage to your engine? Many newer HVAC systems carry up to a 10-year warranty on parts, but without maintenance records, this warranty could be voided.
Regularly scheduled HVAC maintenance is an investment. It’s an investment in your system, your comfort and your safety. For most homeowners, purchasing an HVAC system is the single largest expense for their home. Advanced Services has preventative maintenance programs available to meet your needs and protect your HVAC equipment. We currently serve thousands of area residents and would love the opportunity to serve you. For more information on preventative maintenance programs, contact Advanced Services Heating & Cooling at 740-773-4499.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling is often referred to as Geoexchange, Geothermal, or Ground Source Heating and Cooling. They all mean the exact same thing, so don’t get confused by these names being interchanged. We are NOT talking about geothermal power (involving power plants generating electricity).
Geothermal heating & cooling is not to be confused with a geothermal power plant. A geothermal power plant generates electricity using the core of the earth – we are not referring to this, ever. We are talking about using the crust of the earth to heat and cool a home or building; there is no lava or electricity generation involved.
Ground temperatures are a constant 55° all year no matter what the weathers like
Geothermal works because the ground beneath our feet is warmer then the outside air in the winter and cooler in the summer. Inserting a series of small pipes into the ground allows heat to be transferred to and from your home. In this process heat is not created, it is transported therefore no fuel is burned.
1. Heat Pump - the inside unit known as the heat pump
2. Ground Loop - underground pipes which connect to the heat pump
Winter Operation: The underground pipes, called a ground loop, circulate water which absorbs the heat from the earth and returns it to the indoor heat pump. The heat pump extracts the heat from the liquid then distributes it throughout your home as warm air. With the heat removed, the water is re-circulated to collect more heat from the ground. In this case the loop water is warmer when it comes into the home than when it goes back into the earth since the heat is being removed.
Summer Operation: The indoor heat pump takes the hot air from your home and removes the heat. This leaves behind cool air to be distributed through your vents as air-conditioning. The removed heat from the air is rejected into the earth through the ground loop. In this case the water is warmer leaving the home then when it returns since heat is rejected into it.
This is not a new technology, this is not a science experiment, this not rocket science. In fact in many European nations geothermal heating and cooling is the standard. In Sweden and Switzerland more than 75% of new homes have geothermal.
The EPA has acknowledged geothermal systems as the most energy efficient, environmentally clean, & cost-effective space conditioning systems available.