Summer is around the corner; and along with it the summer heat. From year to year it is hard to say exactly what the weather will be like, but you want to be ready. How can you stay cool, sipping your lemonade, during the next heat wave?
Humidity is a key factor to consider. The best humidity level for your indoor environment in the summer is less than 60%. So think about how your central air conditioner and its running time helps. When air conditioners are running a lot during a heat wave, people tend to think something must be wrong, that the unit is inefficient and not working properly. But that may not be true. During the summer your AC unit is not just cooling the temperature, it is also removing humidity from the air. So constant operation is something to welcome, not to lament.
Sadly, it is common practice for central air conditioning units to be installed based on a ‘rule of thumb’ which may result in a system that is 30 — 100% oversized. The idea sounds good: “blast the cold air throughout the house and get it cool quick!” But that assumption is contrary to how AC units are designed to keep your house comfortable.
Really the opposite is true. Oversized air conditioners cycle less frequently, remove less moisture, and waste energy. During that short burst of cool air very little humidity is removed. Then, during the “idle time” until it comes on again, indoor humidity levels continue to rise. What really will make you and your family feel uncomfortable, more than an elevated temperature in your home, is high humidity.
Starting in 2015, the federal government has implemented new minimum efficiency ratings on air conditioning units, and heat pumps. If your system is over 10 years old, then it probably had a 10 SEER rating when it was installed. Over time systems become less efficient, so the true current rating of your system could be 8 SEER or lower. Nowadays the least efficient system that can be purchased is 14 SEER in many parts of the country, although 13 SEER is still acceptable in some parts. Replacing your system can result in 35% or more in energy savings!
If you feel your system is oversized, or just not keeping you comfortable, give Ackerman Heating & Air a call at 4104048247, or use our online form to schedule a free, no obligation visit. We’ll be happy to show you your options for installing a new system.
However installing a new system is obviously a big investment. It may very well be worth it, and our qualified staff can help you decide. On the other hand, here are some simple tips that can help during the hottest days of the year:
Use a fan. Sound too simple? It works! Why? When you’re hot you sweat, even if it isn’t dripping down your face. Well, ceiling, floor and table fans cool your skin by speeding up the evaporation of your sweat. If the air is moving at about 350 feet per minute (fast enough to rustle papers on the table) then they can make you feel 4 to 8 degrees cooler than the temperature in the room.
What else? Don’t go away, we’ve got more simple, "Stay-Cool" tips coming up!
Have a question that just can’t wait? Click here: “Ask An Expert”, submit your question, and our resident expert will get back on the double!
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Are you getting spring fever yet? I can’t speak for everyone here at Ackerman Heating & Air, but I think it is safe to assume that some warm, sun-shiny days will be welcomed with open arms. Of course this is the time of year we can almost get by without heating or cooling our house. Just open the windows and Let the Fresh Air IN!
However, now is the perfect time to schedule an annual check-up to make sure your whole home is ready for those blistering summer days. Doing this before the summer months can be a real money saver. When your air conditioner is running at the top of its game it uses less energy to cool your house. And the bottom line of that logic is: lower monthly utility bills. The average air conditioner running at peak efficiency will use up to 20 percent less electricity, plus the fact that it will last years longer.
Checking your cooling system early will reveal most small problems that could turn into major, expensive problems if they aren’t taken care of. Not just that, but if you take care of this in the spring then you’ll get ahead of all the people that wait until the first heat-wave to find out they need an HVAC service repair visit. That’s gives you the flexibility of scheduling a HVAC professional to come out when it’s most convenient to you. As you know, if you wait until later in the summer then all of the pros are booked for days even weeks.
So we invite you to give the friendly staff at Ackerman Heating & Air a call at 410 404-8247 or use our online form to request a tune-up and safety check.
Would you like to check out your air conditioner yourself? Here are some basic tips for that you as a homeowner can do. (If you are renting or leasing your home, we highly recommend not getting personally involved but rather contacting the landlord to get your system checked out.)
If you turned your system off for the winter, then first make sure the outdoor unit is not covered up with a tarp, or even a pile of leaves. This unit needs to have good airflow on all sides and the top in order to keep cool. So clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, bushes, etc. from around the exterior of the unit. Most outdoor units need at least 18-inches on all sides.
A thoroughly cleaned air conditioning unit will operate at top efficiency. But we respectfully ask you to not try cleaning it out yourself with a hose and water. There is a risk of electric shock from the components inside. But an even more like outcome is damaging the delicate coil fins and causing bigger problems than just a dirty coil. Contact a trusted HVAC professional if you want to be sure the coil is clear and free of dirt and debris.
Be sure all access panels of both your indoor and outdoor unit are secure, with all the screws in place.
Next turn on the breaker or main power switch for your AC, and then (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT)... WAIT at least 8 hours before you turn your system on. This is to make sure that there is no refrigerant in the compressor before it is turned on. Please follow this step to avoid critically damaging your unit.
Change the air filters in your house regularly. Dirty filters restrict airflow, reducing the efficiency of the unit. But even worse, if they are not replaced for several months it can cause the indoor coil to ice up and potentially cause irreversible damage to the compressor. If you use disposable filters we recommend replacing them monthly. Your electrostatic or electronic filters should be regularly washed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If your thermostat has a switch to go from Heat to Cool mode, be sure you have it set to Cool.
After you are sure the power has been on for about eight hours then turn your thermostat to cool and get the system running. It is better to run it for 10 to 20 minutes now, when it is still mild outside, then to not use it until the first swelteringly hot day and realize it is dead in the water!
Need to ask someone a quick question? Visit our Contact Us page and get a quick answer from our resident expert.
Money-Saving Tips... Were you shocked when you saw your recent utility bill? You weren’t alone. So you are probably asking the same question we hear from many homeowners: “How can I lower my utility bills?” Do you remember the record high and low temperatures we had throughout much of the United States in 2011 and 2012? This resulted in higher energy bills for many. The average American family spends about $1,600 per year on energy costs. However these increasing costs can be counteracted by taking some simple, common sense steps. So what can you do? Your HVAC system accounts for probably half of your yearly energy usage. So your first step should be to hire a certified HVAC technician twice a year to do a system tune-up; once before the weather gets too cold, and again before it gets too hot. At Ackerman Heating and Air our technicians are trained to inspect your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems and the ductwork. These tune-ups can increase the efficiency of your system by up to twenty percent. Increased efficiency means lower utility bills! Give us a call now at 410 404 8247 to schedule a visit. But after taking this important step many homeowners still ask: “How can I lower my utility bills even more?” A good place to start is to cut down on drafts by installing weather stripping around windows and doors and also adding door sweeps. These are inexpensive but can keep out up to fifteen percent of unwanted winter cold, or unwanted summer heat. This means your system doesn’t have to work so hard and use so much energy to keep your house comfortable. Another simple step is to inspect the insulation in your home. Does it have enough? Does it have any? Energy efficient insulation, such as cellulose, can be easily installed in the ceiling, attic and walls of existing homes. The better your home’s insulation, the less energy is needed to heat or cool your home, which will lower your utility bills. Want another simple suggestion? Try turning off and unplugging unused devices, chargers, and electrical appliances. Believe it or not, electricity used by devices in ‘stand-by’ mode accounts for five to ten percent of the average yearly residential energy consumption. If you are still wondering about lowering your utility bills, the answer can often be found in alternative energy sources such as Geothermal or Solar. Installing such systems can have a high upfront cost, but the long-term savings in reduced energy consumption is an attractive advantage. You, as a homeowner, can research and select companies that install geothermal or solar equipment. Alternative energy sources can give you freedom from relying on the volatile prices of oil, gas and coal.So start by scheduling a system tune-up. But then, whether you take some simple steps with immediate results, or decide to invest an alternative energy system with great long-term results, the above suggestions can really help you and anyone that asks: “How can I lower my utility bills?” Do you have any other suggestions? We'd love to hear what you think. What have you found helpful for keeping your utility bills down?
The Importance of Maintaining Your heating and air conditioning System’s Air Filtration. http://ackermanheatingandairconditioning.comDo you know where your home’s air filter is located? HVAC systems should always employ some kind of filtration system to remove dust, dirt, pollen, and other particles from incoming air before it is heated or cooled. This filtration system is extremely important for many reasons: it protects both your HVAC system and your family’s health. All home air filtration systems share one similar characteristic—they must be cleaned or replaced regularly to maintain HVAC efficiency and indoor air quality.
Protect Your HVAC System
Your home’s air filter is an important component of your HVAC system. It is there to help manage and remove dust, dirt, and other contaminants from the air as it is drawn into your cooling or heating system. Without an air filter, dust, dirt, and other debris can easily accumulate inside your HVAC system and ductwork, coating its insides. A dirty HVAC system can suffer significantly in efficiency, and its parts may wear out more quickly when they are not clean. Furthermore, the buildup of dust, animal dander, and lint inside your HVAC appliances or ductwork can pose a significant fire threat in your home. Even if you do use a furnace filter, it must be cleaned or replaced regularly. A dirty air filter that has become clogged with particles reduces the amount of air your HVAC system can draw inside. This makes the system to work much harder and causes it to overheat or wear out quickly, requiring repairs or replacement parts to restore indoor comfort.
Protect Your Health and Comfort
A dusty HVAC system that suffers from poor air filtration can affect the quality of your indoor air. Without a properly-functioning filter, your HVAC system cannot remove airborne contaminants, allergens, or mold spores as it functions. Instead, these particles are simply circulated time and again throughout your home, coming to rest on surfaces and coating your home in a fine layer of dust. Homes with unmaintained HVAC filtration systems become dirtier more quickly, so you must clean more often to maintain a clean environment and protect your furnishings and valuables. Additionally, airborne allergens can lead to poor health in those with allergies or asthma. If your home has a mold problem, airborne mold spores circulated by your HVAC system can also lead to health concerns, including respiratory tract infections. Replacing or cleaning your filter on a regular basis will ensure the filter can do its job to remove particles from the air so you can breathe more easily.
Maintaining your HVAC system’s filtration will prolong the lifetime of your equipment while protecting your home and your family. You can find more simple HVAC tips for a happier, healthier home all year long on our blog http://www.ackermanheatingandairconditioning.com/baltimore-air-conditioning-blog . If you need to contact a heating or cooling service in your area for repairs, maintenance, or personalized advice, visit our website http://ackermanheatingandairconditioning.com to schedule your expert service.