Addressing Heat Pump Problems

 

People rely on their heat pumps to be running without problems during the winter time. Even if the weather sometimes is mild during the day it can get extremely cold at night, and that is the wrong time for the heat pump to malfunction. However, there are times when heat pump service is not as good as it could be.

 

Erratic Temperature

 

The most common problem that will arise is when the thermostat is set for a given temperature and yet the house registers a few degrees cooler. While this is not a state of emergency, it is a condition of inconvenience and the heat pump may not be working efficiently. The homeowner may want to take a look at the environment surrounding the heat pump first. It may be possible that the house is poorly insulated or snow and ice is covering the outside unit. Both require very easy maintenance to correct. If after adding insulation or removing the ice there still is some difficulty with the temperature that might be the heat pump mechanism itself.

 

The Need for Professional Attention

 

Anything that involves the internal workings of a heat pump is something that may be above and beyond the capabilities of a homeowner. It is possible a new thermostat may be needed because the present one has some calibration problems. Refrigerant is a serious matter because there may be leakage and that can affect the environment. The compressor valves could be malfunctioning or compressor itself may not be running. These are all situations where an HVAC technician is the best alternative. That individual has the skill set and the tools necessary to see to it that the heat pump service is back to where it should be.

 

Maintenance of the heat pump during the winter can be easy or require experienced hands. The first thing is to always check to see whether or not it is the heat pump or something in the house such as poor insulation that is creating the chill. The inner workings of a heat pump should be something that only an HVAC technician should address. A homeowner could make a mistake in trying to fix heat pump and cause even greater problems as a consequence.

Preventative Maintenance on Heat Pumps

Installing a heat pump is a positive step in the direction towards energy efficiency and lower utility bills. Heat pumps operate with minimal carbon emissions, and have been known to decrease utility bills by double-digit percentages. This machinery does need to be checked for wear and potential problems. Preventive maintenance will keep heat pumps running smoothly.

The Aging of the Heat Pumps

The idea behind the maintenance is to keep the machinery running for an extended life. Heat pumps are a durable appliance and should be able to run effectively for decades. They can, if some routine inspections are done to see if everything is in good order. A good heat pump is going to provide both heating and cooling for the entire year, and that takes its toll. Some parts may be worn down to the point of breaking and have to replaced, while others just need some lubrication.

Common Maintenance on Heat Pumps

Not all of the maintenance work requires expert knowledge or sophisticated tools. Sometimes, it can be just a change of the filters or perhaps replacing a blown fuse. Air ducts can have problems such as leaking points or loose parts. These can easily be fixed. Other maintenance can depend on the noise. Grinding sounds could suggest problems with the motor, and this is not something that a homeowner should try to repair. The same is true if there is a possibility of a refrigerant leak. Both of these situations will require a trained technician to go in and fix things. That is much better than having an untrained person try to do maintenance cause an even greater problem.

A maintenance check up once or twice a year will add considerable time onto the lives of these energy-saving machines. A good heat pump can last up to 30 years if properly maintained. The energy savings and lower utility bills that he pumps provide over extended periods of time gives a real incentive to have at least an annual maintenance checkup on the machinery.

HVAC Improvements for House Selling

There comes a time when a person has to consider selling the house. It may be due to a job transfer or simply moving to a bigger home that causes the decision to be made. Getting the house ready for sale may take some time and a few home improvements will add to the value of property. Work on the HVAC systems, including the air-conditioning and heat pumps, can raise the selling price.

Repair/Renovation

Too many homeowners will make unnecessary renovations to try to improve the value of their house. Some of these are very cosmetic and a prospective homebuyer could care less about them. Working on the HVAC system is different. Seeing to it that the ducts have been properly sealed and that the heat pump is in good working order can be beneficial. Prospective buyers want to be assured that the systems in good working order, so scheduling an inspection and maintenance a few weeks before the viewing will help. A homeowner may even want to keep a copy of the inspection to show to people interested in the house.

Installing New HVAC

Energy-efficient air-conditioning units and heat pumps are definite value adders to the selling price. A homeowner may want to consider installation of either and if that is the strategy, it would be a smart idea to check with a tax accountant on what possible breaks are available. Depending on the terms and conditions, a homeowner could get tax rebates and incentives for installing ENERGY STAR approved HVAC machinery. The HVAC system may also qualify as a capital improvement to the home and that is tax-deductible. It is important, however, to speak with a knowledgeable tax person before making the investment in a new HVAC system.

 A well running HVAC system adds value for no other reason than it keeps utility bills low. That can add a few thousand dollars on to the final selling price of the house. A homeowner should do some planning and get a few cost estimates before doing anything major, but even fine-tuning the HVAC system is going to mean extra cash when the house is finally sold.

Going Over the Checkpoints

This is the best time to take a look at the air-conditioning unit of the house. There won’t be any need for air-conditioning until the weather gets hot, and a little tune-up work can guarantee the best results from the air conditioner. Rather than just looking into the machinery see if anything looks unusual, a decent check checklist can guide the homeowner in doing this winter maintenance on the unit.

Things to Do

ENERGY STAR is a program administered by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and they have developed what can be considered a bucket list for air-conditioning maintenance. Among the things that should be included in a routine inspection include:

  • Checking the condensate drain so there is no water backup occurring;
  • Take a look at the blower components to be sure that they are cleaned. This is important because if the regular flow of air is blocked it can result in a serious reduction in air-conditioning; efficiency;
  • Inspect the thermostat settings to be sure that what is registered is reflected in the actual temperature of the room;
  • Inspect the refrigerant and check for leaks.

Drawing the Line

There should be a dividing point in the checklist. A homeowner must appreciate that he or she does not have all of the expertise needed to do a complete job. There are some assignments like patching a refrigerant leak that ought to be left to professionals. Those people have the proper equipment and stores knowledge to best deal with major tune up work. There’s no reason to risk a mistake.

Maintenance that is governed by a list makes certain that the essential components are inspected and necessary adjustments or repair completed. Air conditioning that is at peak performance will not only provide the cooling air that makes house comfortable, but will also do it using as little energy as possible and keeping utility bills under reasonable control.

Planning the AC Purchase

Summer is not that far away and it is better to get ready for the purchase of a new air-conditioning unit now then to wait until Memorial Day. A smart shopper wants to make the best possible purchase and often the cheapest product on the shelf is not the best quality. There are some things the individual can think about as he or she gets ready to buy a new air conditioner.

Quality Ratings Matter

The quality of AC service in air-conditioning is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). Both measure the British Thermal Unit (BTU) to the watt hours of energy consumed, but the SEER measures the cooling output during a cooling season. The industry sets standards for SEER and EER and the minimum for each is 13 and a range of 8.0 – 9.8 respectively. A buyer should know that these ratings are the floor and that higher rating for either category shows greater energy efficiency. That is important when one considers the long term cost of air conditioning. The units with the lower rating will cost more in monthly utility bills then ones that are rated higher.

Consider the Energy STAR Label

The air-conditioning products that have the ENERGY STAR label are set to a very high standard. For air-conditioning units, the SEER must be at 14.5 or higher and the EER can be no less than 12 (NB. These are for split systems. Single package equipment have slightly lower requirements but well above the industry standard). These have expectations mean that ENERGY STAR labeled products provide more energy-efficient AC service than other commercial brands. They may cost a little bit more, but these air-conditioning units will generate long-term savings in lower utility bills. Over the life of their use, these will consequently be a better bargain for shopper.

Understanding the Terminology

01_hvac_acronym

HVAC equipment has its own terminology which sometimes confuses a consumer. Anyone looking to buy air-conditioning units Phoenix or heat pumps gets a little confused and don’t always understand the importance of certain acronyms. Knowing what the special terms mean can help in making a buying decision.

SEER, EER and HSPF

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is used to measure the efficiency of an air conditioner unit. It is the measure of the cooling output that happens during a cooling season and is divided by the total electrical energy output of the same time. In the United States that would be the ratio of the British thermal unit (BTU) to the watt hours of energy which are consumed. Plainly spoken, this ratio gives a picture of the amount of energy required to create a certain level of cooling output. The lowest SEER permitted commercially is 13, and the higher the rating will mean the more efficient energy-wise the air-conditioning unit happens to be.

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is the ratio of BTU to watt hours of energy consumed. Like the SEER, the efficiency of an air conditioner is greater if the rating is higher. The standard for air conditioner units sold United States is a range of 8.0-9.8 or more.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) measures the energy efficiency over one heating season of heat pumps. It is the ratio of BTU to watt hours during the given period. The industry standard is that heat pumps must have a rating of no less than 6.8.

ENERGY STAR Standards

The efficiency of an ENERGY STAR product can be better understood given these industry standards mentioned above.

For an air source heat pump to be used for a split system, ENERGY STAR requires the following: SEER, no less than 14.5; EER, no less than12; HSPF, no less than 8.2 ratings.

Central air conditioners to be used for split systems: SEER, no less than14.5; EER, no less than a 12 rating.

Single package equipment have slightly less rating requirements, but it is obvious that ENERGY STAR insists on a higher than normal ratings as far as efficiency is concerned. This means that while the product may be a bit more expensive, the energy efficiency is at the top end of the spectrum.

How to Know When to Replace an AC Unit!

trane unit

 

Is the System Working Well?

 

In addition to an AC unit being operational, it should also be working well. It should cool evenly and make the house comfortable. The home should not be humid and there should be a noticeable difference in the air temperature as a result of running the unit. A poorly working air conditioner in Mesa is a sign that major repairs are needed, so unless the unit is new enough to still be under warranty, it might be time to consider a completely new one.

 

What to Expect in a Replacement

 

New air conditioning units are expensive. Energy efficient models with the best ratings will cost more than $3000. However, repairing and maintaining an older unit, and paying the energy cost for it each month, can add up to that quickly. If a homeowner has plans to replace a furnace, replacing the air conditioner at the same time is the most efficient option. The systems usually share a blower motor, so using an inefficient motor with a new high-efficient air conditioner can negate any energy savings that might be available with an upgrade.

Downgrading to a smaller unit might also be an option, especially if other steps are take to upgrade the efficiency of the unit. For instance, if a homeowner takes the time to thoroughly insulate the home and clean the duct system, a less powerful machine might work just as well as the older, bigger unit.

Replacing an air conditioner is a huge expense for a homeowner, but it is one that will eventually come down the pike. If the home is located in a warm climate in which air conditioning is used year round, replacing the machine is likely to come sooner than later.

Is it time to replace an old conditioner? What type of replacement is the best option? Contact Air Care Cooling & Heating LLC to arrange an assessment and help with determining when to replace the AC and what type of replacement to choose.

The Benefits Of Being A Energy Star Partner?

energy star

Consumers shopping for HVAC appliances such as heat pumps and air-conditioning units will often hear of contractors who are ENERGY STAR partners. This appears to be a term associated with green energy and environmentalism. It’s a reasonable question to ask what allows a company to become an ENERGY STAR partner. It is definitely more than just paying a membership fee.

Stringent Standards

ENERGY STAR doesn’t mince words when the program states it is an advocate for energy efficiency. Those who would partner with ENERGY STAR must sign onto a partnership agreement that has very specific activities. An ENERGY STAR partner must keep track of energy performance and develop a plan that is in collaboration with the overall ENERGY STAR strategy for better performance. The program also has a training program for builders and credentialing requirements for HVAC contractors. These are not simple training courses, and the company has to commit to train their staff and educating the public about energy efficiency.

The Benefits

For the contractors and builders there is a very obvious advantage to being associated with the ENERGY STAR program. Consumers trust the label and the certification. Anyone who is allowed to use the ENERGY STAR logo knows that it will draw potential customers and clients directly to them. The benefit to the homeowner is substantial. Working with ENERGY STAR approved builders and contractors, a person can feel confident that any air-conditioning units or heat pump is an appliance that is very energy efficient. This saves a lot of money over time and also helps create a healthier environment within the house. For those people who are concerned about the environment, working with an ENERGY STAR partner is a way of seeing to it that as small carbon footprint as possible is left on the local ecology. Less use of carbon in a reduction in greenhouse gas are important reasons to consider working with an ENERGY STAR partner for building, and HVAC appliances.

HVAC Improvements for House Selling

new ac

There comes a time when a person has to consider selling the house. It may be due to a job transfer or simply moving to a bigger home that causes the decision to be made. Getting the house ready for sale may take some time and a few home improvements will add to the value of property. Work on the HVAC systems, including the air-conditioning and heat pumps, can raise the selling price.

Repair/Renovation

Too many homeowners will make unnecessary renovations to try to improve the value of their house. Some of these are very cosmetic and a prospective homebuyer could care less about them. Working on the HVAC system is different. Seeing to it that the ducts have been properly sealed and that the heat pump is in good working order can be beneficial. Prospective buyers want to be assured that the systems in good working order, so scheduling an inspection and maintenance a few weeks before the viewing will help. A homeowner may even want to keep a copy of the inspection to show to people interested in the house.

Installing New HVAC

Energy-efficient air-conditioning units and heat pumps are definite value adders to the selling price. A homeowner may want to consider installation of either and if that is the strategy, it would be a smart idea to check with a tax accountant on what possible breaks are available. Depending on the terms and conditions, a homeowner could get tax rebates and incentives for installing ENERGY STAR approved HVAC machinery. The HVAC system may also qualify as a capital improvement to the home and that is tax-deductible. It is important, however, to speak with a knowledgeable tax person before making the investment in a new HVAC system.

A well running HVAC system adds value for no other reason than it keeps utility bills low. That can add a few thousand dollars on to the final selling price of the house. A homeowner should do some planning and get a few cost estimates before doing anything major, but even fine-tuning the HVAC system is going to mean extra cash when the house is finally sold.

Window Unit or Central Air which one would benefit my home?

window-ac-vs-central-air2

Central Air VS Window Units

Mesa, Arizona homeowners often ask what type of air conditioning unit would best fit their needs. Both window units and central air systems can effectively cool an enclosed area.  There are differences between window air conditioning units and central air systems.  The type of air conditioning model that is best can depend on a number of different factors. The size of the space that customers want to cool is the most important factor. The power of both Window and Central Air conditioning units are measured in EER’s, which stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio.

Window Units are great for Small Areas

Window air conditioning units are great for cooling small spaces.  A smaller home can be perfect for window units because there is not a lot of space to cool.  They are also great for cooling down one specific area and are a great options for those who are low on funds.  Most  window units rate around 9.4 to 10.7 EER’s.

Central Air are great for large structures

It is one of the most common home improvement projects and they add value to a home. The amount of windows a home has and how the sun hits are factors that can determine which type of air conditioning unit is best. Many different factors are considered for what size central air unit is required.   There are four major brands that we prefer to install which are Trane, Rheem, Carrier and Ameristar.  Central air systems also rate in EER’s minimum of 12, but are measured on a different scale. They are reliable and can last a lot longer than typical window units.

Call a Professional to help with your decision

Customers should contact a Mesa A/C contractor to help them get accurate and reliable information prior to making their purchase to ensure it is the best educated decision for their home.