What Sort Of Questions Should You Be Asking Your Houston HVAC Repair Company

HVAC Questions That You Should Ask Your Service Provider (And The Answers You Should Get) Part 1

Do you trust that your contractor will answer the HVAC questions that you have honestly? When you are looking for an HVAC service provider to repair broken equipment, do preventative maintenance or install your new unit, we know you will have some questions that you need answers to. Over our many years in business, we have been able to figure out the top HVAC questions that people are wondering about but are not comfortable to ask. That might be due to the fact that you don’t think you will get an honest answer from a service provider who only wants to sell services to you.

So today we will be giving you honest answers to some of the toughest HVAC questions that people ask. AC Man of Houston is the Houston metro area’s biggest HVAC service provider. We have been providing these services for over 60 years. Therefore, we have plenty of information about everything we are telling you. So go ahead, ask your HVAC company these questions and find out if they give you the same answers that we are giving you today.

Reliable answers to the main 5 HVAC questions

1. How long is my new air conditioner expected to last?

A majority of light commercial systems have been built to last for approximately 15 to 20 years. However, there are various conditions that may shorten their life expectancy. When rooftop and outdoor units get exposed to salt air and smog, since they are in Houston, build-up and corrosion of debris may damage the parts. This is also true when it comes to corrosive chemical exposure as frequently occurs in manufacturing plants.

Probably the most common thing that causes the early demise of an air conditioner is neglect. Your system needs to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to get the maximum life expectancy from them. that means twice per year at least (once before starting it up in the spring and then again in the fall when the system is shut down), you will need to have a certified HVAC professional to come out and tune up and thoroughly clean your air conditioner. Having an annual maintenance contract means you will receive the best price and get reminders.

2. Does it really pay off to spend money on maintenance on a regular basis?

As previously discussed, AC Man of Houston repairs and maintains thousands of HVAC systems each year (sometimes during the busy season it is every month) so our answer is based on our extensive experience. I promise that our customers who have a preventative maintenance contract, with well cared for equipment, experience few costly repairs and breakdowns compared to those who neglect replacing worn parts, tune-ups, and cleaning. Preventative maintenance not only helps you save money on repairs but also helps your equipment to last for a longer period of time.

It can also help save money on your energy bills also. When deposits and debris build up in your air conditioner’s fan blades, coils, and other parts, it results in the metal corroding, which can lead to refrigerant leaks and finally system failure. This results in a drain on your system, which forces it to constantly run to keep the area cool and to use more electricity during the process. If you clean the unit on a regular basis it will help to ensure that it runs at its optimal efficiency and will keep its parts in good condition in order to last longer.

3. Can Your Maintenance Staff Do HVAC Cleaning?

There are some cases where this is possible. If you have an air conditioner that has a heavy load, your cleaning crew could be able to dust the soils and remove debris from around the unit. However, you need to ensure that they do not use any liquids around the electrical components.

While this is possible, you will still need to have the system cleaned by a professional twice a year. Professionals have special chemical cleaners that will remove any scale and other buildup from the coils. They are also able to clean parts of the system that would be dangerous for the maintenance staff to work with including the fan blade.

Drain lines will also be kept clear by a professional cleaning and drip pants will be emptied to prevent mold. If you work with a certified HVAC technician, they will be able to check the electrical connections and refrigerant while inspecting the whole system for any wear. Potential signs of trouble will also be picked up by a professional and these are all tasks that you do not want to leave to the maintenance team.

4. Your Air Conditioning Unit Keeps Breaking Down, Should You Repair Or Replace?

There is no simple answer to this and you will need to take a number of factors into account when you make your decision. You need to consider how old the unit is. If it is older than 10 years, it would be better to replace the unit instead of repairing.

The maintenance that has been done on the unit is also important. If the system was regularly maintained, cleaned and serviced, you could probably keep it going for longer. This is particularly true if the parts are still in good condition.

What is broken will also need to be looked at. If you have a problem with the compressor or the coils ate leaking, you should replace because repairing will be expensive. If it is an electrical problem, you should consider repairing because this may be simple and inexpensive.

If your unit is using R22 refrigerant, you should look at replacing it. This refrigerant is being phased out by the EPA and you will need to replace the unit at some point.

5. How Can You Reduce The Expense Of The Air Conditioner In The Summer?

There are a number of ways that you can improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system. Some of these ways are easy such as replacing the filters and using a programmable thermostat. You should also ensure that all maintenance is being done including the cleaning of the coils and fan blade. This will keep your system running correctly and reduce energy waste.

You should also look at adjusting the temperature by a few degrees. You might be surprised at the amount that you can save by doing this. This is generally something that you should do when there are fewer people in the building.

Replacing your old system with a new one can also help you save money. A new unit will often use less electricity which enables it to pay for itself through your energy savings. If you know the SEER rating of your current unit, you will be able to calculate how much you can save. If the unit has a SEET rating of 8 to 10, a new unit with a rating of 18 will save you up to 50% on your energy bills.

How Do You Know You Can Trust Your HVAC Service Provider?

Unless you have worked with the provider for a number of years, it can be hard to determine if they are trustworthy. There are some companies that will show you what they are doing during their maintenance visits and this can help you trust them.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

Houston HVAC Company Addresses Heat Pump Maintenance & Their FAQ’s

Learn More About How Houston Heat Pump Maintenance Can Benefit You

We’ve been discussing in our blog all month that heat pump technology is rapidly evolving, and heat pumps are picking up in popularity in colder climates. In fact, you may be considering a heat pump yourself, if you’re interested in:

  • Supplementing your existing heat system
  • Replacing your existing combined systems with one combined solution
  • Reduce your carbon footprint and boost your energy efficiency
  • Reduce your regular energy costs and enjoy the heat pump tax credit

However, if combining heating and cooling into one system concerns you, especially when it comes to maintenance, you don’t need to worry.

This week, we’d like to go through the questions that we get asked most often, as well as offer some standard heat pump maintenance tips to help you feel more at ease.

Do heat pumps require service?

Like any other heating or cooling system, your heat pump will benefit from regular preventative maintenance. The difference between a system that is well-maintained and a system that is neglected can range from 10% to 25%, according to energy.gov.

Heat pump maintenance on a routine basis will help ensure that the system performs at its best. It will also help limit damage to the components, including the compressor, making sure that your expensive investment is well protected.

Routine service limits the risk of the heat pump needing unexpected and expensive repairs, as well as helping the system to run more reliably.

What does it cost to maintain a heat pump?

The cost of maintaining a heat pump will vary quite a bit, depending on where you live, how often you have the service performed, the age of your system, and who provides the service.

To understand why the preventative maintenance is worth the ongoing investment, let’s examine the difference between the cost of this important preventative measure and replacing a heat pump after it’s gone bad.

The national average cost for residential heat pump repair ranges from around $350-$1250.

The cost of preventative maintenance on the heat pump averages $170, making this service both cost-effective and a smart option. You can also save on the price of this routine maintenance if you sign a contract for ongoing service with the same HVAC provider.

Can I troubleshoot my heat pump on my own and do my own maintenance?

You should definitely keep an eye on your heat pump for specific issues that commonly develop so that you can prevent future issues.

For example, the defrost cycle will typically run when it is quite cold outside. However, if you notice that the defrost mode keeps coming on, or stays on for more than fifteen minutes, it may be time to call in a professional to evaluate your system.

You can also keep your heat pump running at its best by taking care of routine tasks like dusting around the vents and replacing the air filters.

The reality is that preventative heat pump maintenance is not a job that you can do on your own. If you’re not experienced and trained, it’s very dangerous to work with refrigerant and high voltage electricity. You could wind up doing more harm than good. In these cases, it’s important to turn to a skilled professional for ongoing HVAC maintenance.

How often should the heat pump service be scheduled?

Professional heat pump maintenance should be scheduled at least once per year.

If you use the heat pump for the main heating and cooling system, as opposed to a supplemental system, it may mean that you need to schedule this service twice yearly – once in the spring and once in the fall.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

How to Eliminate Bad Locker Room Smell Before You Lose Customers Part II

Have Houston HVAC Technicians Take A Closer Look At Your Gyms’ Bad Locker Room Smells Part II

Deep Cleaning At Least Once Every Week

If regular cleaning is not helping with the situation with the locker room, then you should consider deep cleaning because it can help go to the root of the problem. Scrub and sanitize lockers and benches at least once a week so that you will be able to reach spots that you miss when cleaning daily.

Removing The Carpeting

Have you ever seen someone put a carpet in the bathroom or kitchen? People don’t do this because it ends up getting stained, damp, and gross very easily. This is the same case with a carpet at a fitness center.

Carpets absorb humidity and this can result in the room smell. A gym is a place that has a lot of traffic and this makes it hard to keep the carpet clean. You should consider replacing the carpet with less absorbent options like a tile. This will help in eliminating odors and making it easier to clean the floor.

3 Ways Of Controlling Humidity To Lose The locker room smell

Improving Ventilation

Keeping humidity low is important if you want to control odor. This is because moisture in the air will lead to the odor lingering, so ensure you have humidity levels in check, and more importantly the locker room. Locker rooms are the most humid part of gyms because of people sweating and showering. Other high humidity areas are pools and steam rooms.

According to the International Building Code, moist air needs to be vented out instead of being recirculated. This will mean having a proper ventilation system that will be able to keep the room healthy, odor-free, and up to code.

Fitness centers have a higher risk of air quality issues like increased CO2 levels. Exercising results in a number of changes in the body, and these include faster breathing and elevated heart rate. Breathing faster will lead to a higher production of CO2. Breathing too much CO2 is unhealthy, and it will leave a person feeling tired and foggy, which is not something anyone wants to feel when they are exercising. This is a common problem in dance studios, weight rooms, and an enclosed space where classes are taking place. This is why it is important to ensure ventilation is there.

If you are still using an old system (you have not updated your HVAC), you should get it checked by an HVAC professional so it can work how it is supposed to. There are a number of things that can be done to increase the effectiveness of the ventilation system. Some features that can help with these include HEPA filters, which traps mold, bacteria, and small particles.

Duct Cleaning

The HVAC ducts are responsible for moving air around the gym and through the HVAC system. With time, they can start clogging with dust and accumulate moisture. When the air is traveling through these ducts, it will end up picking the smell then carry it throughout the building. If you have to deal with nasty odors inside the gym, then it is a good idea to have the ducts checked and cleaned by a professional.

When the ducts are cleaned, the HVAC will circulate fresh air.

Regular HVAC Maintenance

When the ventilation is working well and the ducts are cleaned, it is still important to maintain the HVAC equipment. This is because things such as blocked condensation drains, clogged air filters, and water leaks can all lead to smelly gyms.

You should consider getting maintenance services twice a year. This ensures everything is working well and prevent the gym from smelling. Regular maintenance will prevent breakdowns that can sometimes affect your business because of the lack of AC or heat. The cost you are to spend on maintenance is less than what you could have spent or repairs.

Clean air is important for any clean gym. There is no need to lose your customers because of issues like odor. You can schedule regular HVAC maintenance so you don’t have to worry about it again.

Visit the first part of this article by visiting here. Call or contact AC Man of Houston today with any questions that you might have!

How to Eliminate Bad Locker Room Smell Before You Lose Customers Part I

Have Houston HVAC Technicians Take A Closer Look At Your Gyms’ Bad Locker Room Smells Part I

The New Year has started and what this means is more people coming to use the gym. It is normal to see a high number of people showing up in the gym at the beginning of the year. There are many new and returning customers looking to accomplish their resolutions. You should ensure your gym is a place where people will want to come back to. Having a bad locker room smell is the fastest way of ruining your first impression.

The good thing is that it is not hard to fix this problem. Below are some tips you can use to deal with locker room odor and keeping the air clean and fresh.

Let’s start by looking at why the odor is more than just a nuisance; it is also bad for health. This is not something you want in a place where people are coming to improve their health.

The Smell Could Be A Sign That There Is Poor Air Quality Indoors

Poor indoor air quality could cause the gym locker to smell bad. When there is odor around, then there could be pollutants and bacteria too. Odors are usually carried around by humidity, and when there is moisture in the air, it provides the perfect condition for bacteria or mold to grow. Spreading of germs in the gym is easy because there are many people entering and coming in contact with equipment. When you improve the air quality in the room, you will make the place a little healthier.

There are other causes of odors in the room. There was a study done and it showed that the gym has a high level of indoor pollutants like carbon dioxide, dust, VOCs, formaldehyde, and dust. If you notice a chemical smell, then that could be VOCs from the paint, carpet, and other building materials. This is more common in old buildings that have an outdated HVAC system. When you breathe in these substances over time, they will start causing health problems such as breathing difficulties, infections, rashes, nose, eye, and throat irritations.

When people are searching for a gym, they will look for a place that has a pleasant environment. You can easily lose a lot of customers because of the smell in the locker room of the gym and poor quality of air. This is why it is important to ensure there ventilation and quality air inside the room, or else you end up losing a lot of money. People going to the gym want to improve their health, and the last thing they need is the poor quality of air as they exercise.

There is a good chance you have tried different products to get rid of the odor but they don’t work. They will succeed in covering up the odors, and some will even absorb them. But they are not able to deal with the source of the problem. How can you get rid of this problem once and for all?

The Basics For Odor Control

Removing Used Towels Regularly

One of the biggest contributors to the nasty smell in the locker room is used towels. In order to contain the odors and humidity, consider using laundry baskets that have lids. The laundry baskets should also be emptied on a regular basis. You should also look out for any towels left on the stalls, hooks, and benches too.

Stepping Up Dialing Cleaning

You already have a system you follow when it comes to cleaning, but if you have not gone through the routine for some time, then the routine might not be working the way it should be. There are some areas that you will need to clean more regularly. Some of these areas include bathrooms, drains, showerheads, and saunas.

Emptying The Lockers On A Daily Basis

You should not wait for your customers to properly clean the lockers. If you don’t know what has been left inside, it could be contributing to the smell in the locker room. It is a good idea to empty them every day. You should tell the customers that anything they leave behind will be put in the lost and found or thrown out.

Find out more. Give us a call or contact AC Man of Houston today with any inquiries!

Our Houston HVAC Technician Helps You Eliminate Musty Odors In Your Space

Addressing The Musty Smell Of Your Home Or Business With An Experienced HVAC Technician In Houston

Have you been plagued with a musty smell that continues to stick around your business or your home? This is why you’ll need to act on it, and quickly:

Living with a bad smell isn’t just unpleasant, it can actually cause ongoing physical symptoms such as headaches.

Bad smells can also be embarrassing if you have visitors to your office or your home.

If you’re talking about a business space like a restaurant or store, it may hurt your profit margin by driving away employees and customers.

Worse, what you may observe to be a very slight odor could seem much worse to others entering the building. This is because individuals can become used to odors over time. You may have become “nose blind” and stopped noticing the musty smell, but new visitors to the property may be aware of it from the second they enter the building.

We’re sure that you’ve already tried all the simple things like air fresheners for your home and office. You’ve likely already tried using an odor eliminator for mildew, as well as completely cleaning the space. You may have also tried office or home air purifiers.

However, if the smell of mildew or must continue, there’s a good chance that it’s closely related to your HVAC system and how well it’s working.

There are numerous ways that the HVAC system can contribute to a musty smell:

Layers of grime and built up dust and dirt in your HVAC system’s ducts may cause an overall musty odor that spreads through the building along with the air that has been heated and cooled.

Additional moisture can cause mildew and mold, and along with them, bad smells.

Poor HVAC system design may also cause bad airflow conditions, which can spread unpleasant odors from one area of the building to another.

Clean Your Entire Houston HVAC System To Get Rid Of The Musty Smell Completely

If you think that your HVAC system could be playing a part in the musty smell that you’re experiencing, one of the first things you should do is to set up a complete inspection of your HVAC ductwork and equipment.

A skilled HVAC professional should look for the following:

  • Clogged Air Filters
  • Dirty Ducts – It’s amazing what can lurk here, from mold to pest infestations.
  • Clogged Drains – Along with other issues leading to excess moisture and mildew buildup
  • Inadequate Ventilation – This and other system design issues can spread odors around

If it’s been a while since you had your HVAC system serviced, it’s likely that one fairly inexpensive maintenance visit and a duct cleaning may be all you need to eliminate the musty smell that you’re experiencing.

You’ll also want to keep up with ongoing regular service, to keep the smells from coming back. This will also help prevent system breakdowns, help you save energy, and provide you with many other benefits. The least expensive way to do this is to sign up for an ongoing service contract with a reliable HVAC service professional.

It could also be possible that ongoing issues with your HVAC system’s design are contributing to the overall odor problem.

Improve HVAC Airflow to Eliminate Unpleasant Odors

Your HVAC system was designed to regulate the airflow through your commercial space and your home. Properly controlled flow of air is important for both comforts and for controlling odor.

Here’s an example:

Areas of your home like bathrooms and kitchens may have odors that you don’t want to linger. Your HVAC and your ventilation equipment, such as fans, ducts, and vent hoods, should be installed with the goal of getting rid of these odors and not spreading them throughout your space.

This means that the system needs to balance the air that is mechanically removed from the home and circulate it around the building correctly while adding air from outside.

If the balance is off, it’s far too easy for odors to travel where they aren’t wanted.

The solution may be to change the location of vent fans, add an additional air unit, or reroute the ductwork.

Call or contact us today for more information. Visit our blog for more related articles.

Choosing Between A Heat Pump And An Air Conditioner In Houston

Heat Pump Or Air Conditioner: Which Is Better?

To give it the simplest possible definition, a heat pump is an air conditioner that also has the ability to heat the air it delivers as well as cool it down.

The benefits of a heat pump start getting interesting when you find yourself in need of a replacement air conditioner or even an all-new HVAC system. Under the right circumstances, a heat pump can replace an air conditioner and even a heating system at the same time. You have to have a clear understanding of your needs and the capabilities of a heat pump before deciding whether or not one’s right for your home.

This article will give you a thorough run-down on the differences between air conditioners and heat pumps and explain the benefits and potential drawbacks of a heat pump.

The Key Differences Between Heat Pumps And Air Conditioners

Heat pumps and air conditioners operate exactly the same way in hot summer months when their job is to cool down an indoors space. They both extract heat from the indoor air and dump it outside the building.

When the weather turns cold, though, the traditional air conditioner’s job is done. In most homes and businesses, air conditioners are teamed up with furnaces or electric heaters to deliver the heat required for keeping indoor spaces comfortable.

A heat pump gets its name from its ability to inject heat into space as well as take it out.

How does a heat pump do this? As we’ve already suggested, it’s capable of running in reverse to put heat into an indoor space instead of taking it out. That means that a heat pump has the ability to gather heat from the outside air, even in cold weather.

That sounds a little crazy, right? Rest assured, the technology is in there to make it all work. While the outdoor air certainly feels chilly in the winter, it still contains plenty of heat energy. Heat pumps are built to scavenge up that heat energy and transfer it into a building.

The Benefits Of The Heat Pump

Heat Pump Operation Is Very Affordable

One of the most common reasons for owners to install a heat pump instead of a traditional air conditioner plus furnace combo is that the heat pump is cheaper to operate. Thanks to outstanding energy efficiency, heat pumps can reduce your utility bills significantly. (Want the technical details on heat pump efficiency? Check out energy.gov’s article on the subject.)

Heat Pumps Have Lower Environmental Impact

A lot of the traditional options for heating a home or business oblige you to burn fossil fuels, like gas or oil. Heat pumps deliver useful heat energy without this reliance on non-renewable resources. While heat pumps still require power, which might be derived from fossil fuels depending on your local energy provider, overall they are much more environmentally-friendly tools for heating an indoor space.

A Simpler System Means Easier Maintenance And Repairs

When you use a heat pump to provide both heating and cooling, you have a significantly simpler system to take care of. Maintenance is faster and cheaper on a heat pump than a combination system. It’s also easier to diagnose heating and cooling problems. This simplicity translates into overall savings on operational and maintenance costs.

Heat Pumps Are Compact

Relying on a single system for both heating and cooling saves you space as well as money. The lower space requirements of heat pumps make them particularly popular in urban environments where every square foot is precious.

The Potential Drawbacks Of Heat Pumps

Heat Pump Efficiency Has Its Limits

The biggest limitation that holds heat pumps back is the unavoidable fact that they become less efficient the colder the weather gets.

Check our very basic description of heat pump operation above. It heats an indoor space by pulling heat energy from the outdoor air. The colder that the air is, the harder the heat pump has to work to produce the heat you’re looking for. The cost of operating a heat pump can rise significantly if it has to deal with very low temperatures for long periods of time.

Supplemental Heating May Be Required

While heat pump efficiency is improving all the time, they have not yet become viable all-year, all-climate sources for indoor heating. In regions where temperatures drop below freezing and stay there for a long time, you may have to make alternate arrangements to ensure that your home or business remains comfortable in the coldest months.

This applies particularly to home and business owners in the Northeast. It is common in these sorts of climates to add a backup heat source (like a furnace or central electric heater)to a heat pump. This adds to the overall cost of your HVAC system.

Heat Pump Vs. Air Conditioner: The Cost

The initial cost of equipment and installation is higher for a heat pump than an air conditioner. The difference between the two can run into the multiple thousands of dollars.

If your climate makes it feasible to use a heat pump for all of your heating and cooling needs, though, you may end up saving money by ditching the heating components of your system.

TIP FOR COMMERCIAL HEAT PUMPS

Up to the end of 2018, you have the opportunity to save big on a heat pump installation. A special tax rule allows you to deduct the full cost of heat pump equipment and installation from your 2018 tax return. Previously, tax incentives only allowed you to depreciate the cost of a heat pump across the equipment’s lifespan.

The net effect? You get a big tax break up front instead of a smaller one delivered over time.

Additional Guidance

Choosing a heat pump instead of a traditional air conditioner is a big step. It’ll have an impact on your home or business for many years, so seeking out expert guidance is a good idea. Talk to us when you need an HVAC replacement or upgrade! We’ll carefully review your specific needs and make sure you get the best equipment (at the best price!) to meet them.

Call us now if you have any questions on what you should choose!

Houston HVAC and Home Automation: Smart Thermostat and Speaker Capabilities Part 3

Guide to Home Automation Device And HVAC Compatibility Part III

Thermostat By Idevices
  • Capability with many smart speakers: Amazon Echo or other speakers using Alexa, as well as Google Home, or Apple Homekit
  • No learning capabilities
  • Main Features: You can control the thermostat when you are away from home using your phone and the app
  • Group settings for many different devices with a single command. Say something like “bedtime” to turn off lights and change the thermostat.
Insteon Smart Thermostat model 2441TH
  • Smart Speaker Compatibility: includes working with Amazon Echo, and Alexa devices (it requires Insteon Hub)
  • No learning capabilities – but can be programmed for 7 full days.
  • Main Features: Has an app to let you control it using your phone while away from the house
Lennox’s Icomfort E30
  • Smart Speaker Compatibility: includes working with Amazon Echo, Alexa devices, and the Apple Homekit
  • Learning Capability allows it to be programmed once and then adapts to any changes in your routine
  • Main Features: Will start fan when pollen levels are detected and are high
  • Has a remote control app so you adjust thermostat on-the-go
  • Uses a geofencing tracking sensor to let the thermostat know when you are close to home. Adjusts temperature to your desired setting.
  • Sets alert for the temperature, humidity, or for service issues.
  • Tells you when to change filters
Nest’s Learning Thermostat
  • Smart Speaker Capabilities allows it to work with Amazon Echo, Alexa devices, Google Home, and IFTTT
  • Has learning capabilities
  • Main Features: Gives you energy reports
  • Works with an app on your phone as a remote control
  • Provides alerts for the temperature, humidity, and service issues.
  • Tells you when it’s time to change filters.
Radio Thermostat 7 Day Programmable Thermostat CT 50 or CT80
  • Smart Speaker works with Google Home
  • No Learning Capabilities but can be set for a full 7-day schedule
  • Other Features: Use the app with it as a remote control
  • Uses geofencing location tracking so that your device knows when you are going home and sets your thermostat for you.
Venstar Colortouch T7900 Thermostat
  • Smart Speaker Compatibility works with Amazon Echo and Alexa devices
  • Learning Capabilities: None but can be set for a 365-day schedule
  • MORE FEATURES: The app works as a remote control
  • If your HVAC has a humidifier, use it to control humidity
Venstar’s Residential Explorer
  • Smart Speaker Compatibilities will work when you buy the Wi-Fi module on Amazon Echo and Alexa devices
  • No learning capabilities but can be programmed for 7 days
  • Other Capabilities: App works as a remote control

Setup A Smart Speaker

Smart thermostats usually communicate with smart speakers using a set of skills. Every brand of a smart speaker has its own set of skills which you can read about online. To connect the devices, simply download a skill or enable it. The choice depends on the brand you choose. When you set up the thermostat you learn the phrase that will allow you to control the thermostat with the speaker.

In a short time, you will be controlling the comfort of your home by speaking a simple phrase or command!

Call or contact us today with any questions that you might have. To start over on this article, visit here.

Houston HVAC and Home Automation: Smart Thermostat and Speaker Capabilities Part 2

Guide to Home Automation Device, Home Control systems and HVAC Compatibility Part II

ECOBEE 4
  • Smart Speaker Compatible – Yes! This smart thermostat is not just fully Alexa-compatible, it has a built-in speaker and is capable of functioning as an Alexa hub right out of the box. It’s also compatible with Apple Homekit, Samsung SmartThings, Google Home, Wink, and IFTTT.
  • Learning Capability – The Ecobee 4 starts with a preset schedule. Over time, it assesses how long your specific equipment takes to reach temperature targets and adjusts itself accordingly. (aka Adaptive Recovery)
  • Other Features – The Ecobee 4 can respond to voice commands (thanks to its built-in Alexa functionality) without the need for any additional smart appliances. The thermostat is compatible with individual-room thermometers (sold separately) and can adjust its settings based on which rooms are and are not occupied. The Ecobee 4 creates energy usage reports. It also comes with a remote-control app so you can adjust it from anywhere.
EMERSON SENSI
  • Smart Speaker Compatible – Yes! This thermostat works with Alexa devices, Wink, and Google Home. Some Sensi models (Sensi WiFi and Sensi Touch WiFi) are compatible with Apple Homekit.
  • Learning Capability – None. The Sensi accepts a completely customizable 7-day program, though.
  • Other Features – Connects to HVAC equipment without a C-wire, allowing compatibility with older heating & cooling systems. The Sensi has a remote-control app available. The Sensi offers Geofencing location tracking to sense your approach and adjust your home’s temperature before you arrive.
JOHNSON CONTROLS GLAS SMART THERMOSTAT
  • Smart Speaker Compatible? – Yes! The Glas has a built-in hub and speaker that use Microsoft Cortana. The thermostat also works with Amazon Echo/Alexa and Google Home.
  • Learning Capability -The thermostat gathers preference information by asking questions during the setup process.
  • Other Features – The Glas monitors air quality in your home. It has a remote control app. The thermostat also has a cutting-edge transparent OLED control panel.
HIVE HEATING AND COOLING PACK
  • Smart Speaker Compatible? – Yes! Works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices.
  • Learning Capability – None. But its schedule can be programmed
  • Other Features – Comes with a remote-control app. The thermostat can be purchased separately or with a Hive Hub. The Hub is required for tying in other devices and controlling them (including the thermostat) through the app.
HONEYWELL SMART COLOR 7-DAY PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
  • Smart Speaker Compatible? – Yes! Works with Google Home, Amazon Echo/Alexa devices, and IFTTT.
  • Learning Capability – Yes! The thermostat will learn how long your system requires to reach set temperatures and adjust its programming accordingly. (aka Adaptive Recovery)
  • Other Features – The thermostat creates energy use reports. It can be controlled remotely with its app. You can also set alerts for equipment issues, temperature, and humidity. The thermostat even tracks filter life and lets you know when it’s time to replace!
HONEYWELL WIFI 7-DAY PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
  • Smart Speaker Compatible? – Yes! Works with Apple Homekit, Google Home, and Amazon Echo/Alexa.
  • Learning Capability – None. The thermostat does accept 7-day schedule programming.
  • Other Features – Can be controlled remotely using the appropriate app.
HONEYWELL LYRIC (T5)
  • Smart Speaker Compatible? – Yes! Works with Amazon Echo/Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings.
  • Learning Capability – Yes! The thermostat learns how long your HVAC system needs to achieve set temperatures and adjusts its settings accordingly. (aka Adaptive Recovery)
  • Other Features – The thermostat features geo-fencing capability – it can tell when you’re on your way home and make suitable changes to your home’s temperature. It can be controlled remotely via an app. The thermostat has alerts for temperature extremes and tracks filter life.

To continue on with the rest of this article, visit here. Call or contact us today with any questions that you might have.

Houston HVAC and Home Automation: Smart Thermostat and Speaker Capabilities Part 1

Guide to Home Automation Device And HVAC Compatibility Part I

Are you searching for a smart speaker to get for your house? In order to maximize your investment, it is essential to choose one that will work with smart devices you already own, including your home’s HVAC smart thermostat.

Also, if you have a smart speaker already, like Amazon Echo (and Alexa) or Google Home, you may want to consider getting upgraded to a smart thermostat so that you can use simple voice commands to adjust the comfort settings. For individuals who don’t want to have to stop what they are doing in order to make adjustments to their home comfort settings, this is the ultimate luxury. The problem is, it isn’t an easy task to determine which smart speaker devices work with which thermostats. It also can be very time consuming and confusing.

This is why we have compiled this guide on home automation and HVAC. You will find useful information on the leading smart thermostats along with whether they are compatible or not with the smart speakers that are the most popular. If you are wondering how smart thermostats and smart speakers work together along with what you are going to need to connect the devices, at the end we will describe this process.

Important: As smart speaker and thermostat manufacturers continue to introduce new features and models, compatibility might change. The information contained in the guide is for helping you save time by narrowing your options down. You always need to confirm compatibility (between smart speakers and thermostats as well as between HVAC systems and thermostats) with device manufacturers prior to buying anything. You might be able to get advice from your residential HVAC provider.

Compatibility of Smart Speakers with Smart Thermostats

Are you wondering which smart thermostats work with Apple Home Kit, Amazon Echo, and Alexa, or Google Home? Use our chart to find the models that are compatible.

Smart Thermostats: Key Features and Compatibility

Carrier Cor TP-WEM01-A WiFi Thermostat
  • Compatibility With Smart Speakers: Apple Homekit, Amazon Echo (and other Alexa devices)
  • Learning Capabilities: None, but may be programmed on a 7-day schedule
  • Other Features to Note (Similar to the Bryant Housewise, given that the same manufacturer makes both brands)
  • Controls humidity settings (using compatible HVAC equipment)
  • Monthly energy reports are generated
  • An app is available for the remote control (which allows you to control it while you are away from home)
  • Alerts are created for service issues, humidity, temperature, and it even alerts you when you need to change the filters on your system.
Ecobee 3 Lite
  • Compatibility of Smart Speakers: Apple Homekit, Amazon Echo (and other Alexa devices), Google Home, Wink, IFTTT, Samsung Smart Things, Cortana
  • Learning Capabilities: A preset schedule comes with it, and then it learns the amount of time it takes for the HVAC system to get to the set temperature and then adjusts automatically (adaptive recovery)
  • Other Features To Note
  • Room-specific temperature sensors are optional, and even can detect which of your rooms are currently occupies and make the proper adjustments
  • A C-wire is not required to connect with HVAC equipment – so it might work with HVAC systems that are older
  • Energy reports are generated
  • An app is available for remote control (allows you to control it while you are away from home)

To continue on with the rest of this article, visit here. Call or contact us today with any questions that you might have.

Furnace Fussing? Houston HVAC Repair AC Man Has Your Back

Why Your Furnace Is Acting Up

A clanking furnace definitely can cause you to lose sleep, but it is also an indication that extra attention needs to be paid to your HVAC system. Think of those sounds as being symptoms. If you are running a fever, then you know your body is trying to fight an illness off; in a similar way, those strange sounds alert you to the problems within the inner workings of your furnace.

HVAC issues, in particular, are likely to arise in Houston during the fall and winter. If you own a heat pump, it probably isn’t used to having to work in reverse in order to heat your house, which makes it more likely for previously unnoticed problems to arise during the brief heating season here. The same is true for a furnace if you own one.

Fortunately for you, an experienced professional can provide you with a diagnosis of your HVAC system which is based on the noises that your heat pump or furnace is making. The following are the most common sounds that are an indication that your furnace has a problem.

Chirping, Screeching, and Squealing

If you hear a chirping, screeching, or high-pitched squealing sound, most likely the problem relates to the blower motor. That is the part of the furnace that powers the fan that distributes warm air throughout your home. when the blower motor is impaired there is less heat inside your house.

In this situation, there might be one of three issues that could be causing the blower motor to make loud noises.

  • No lubricant – Without any lubricant, the blower motor gets subjected to additional friction that is unnecessary. Search for oil ports on the two sides of the blower shaft or blower motor. Then put two to three drops of oil into each of them, if your system does have them. It very important to not use all-purpose oil, but furnace-specific oil instead.
  • Loose fan belt – It is on the motor pulley. If the belt has too much slack, the belt will need to be tightened in order to restore the tension. Also, if the belt is too worn it will need to be replaced.
  • Motor bearing problems – Bearings make it possible for the motor to deliver the necessary force for powering the furnace and also reduce unwanted friction at the same time. You will have to replace any worn or broken bearing with new ones so that the functionality is restored.

Thumping, Scraping, and Clanking

If they are loud noises and they continue to persist even when the furnace is on, and not only when it is first starting up, there may be several potential things that are causing it.

  • Broken or loose blower wheel – The blower motor spins this wheel, and it may move around and get loose, which can produce a loud metallic noise. Over time that may cause more serious damage, so the best thing to do is to tighten it right away. If it gets damaged you will need to replace it.
  • Loose motor mount – At times, the motor mount may come loose, which will allow parts along the housing to clang and clatter.
  • Unbalanced or rattling parts – Many parts are contained in the entire blower assembly that may come out of alignment. A professional will be able to asses which parts have to be replaced and which ones can be salvaged.

Banging Sound on Startup

If there is a banging noise only when your furnace comes on, then it is probably not a loose mechanical part. It is most likely one of the following problems.

  • Delayed ignition – A chain of reactions runs a furnace. Based on the specific temperature chosen by the thermostat, a valve will open and allow natural gas inside of the combustion chamber. Then the igniter or pilot light ignites the burner, and your home is warmed by the heat that comes from the reaction.

At times the ignition doesn’t work immediately, which leads to gas building up. When it ignites finally, it results in a mini-explosion – which is the loud banging sound that you hear – and that can damage the heat exchanger to the point beyond repair eventually. The delay may be caused by improper gas pressure, an ineffective flame on the pilot light, faulty igniter, or dirty burner.

  • Funky ductwork – If it doesn’t appear like the bang is coming from the actual furnace, then most likely it is a result of the ductwork expanding and then popping out. Your ducts might be rectangular or too small and may need to be replaced so that the noise issue is alleviated. The fix might also be as simple as getting more vents opened to relieve the pressure or double-check to make sure the air filter does not have any debris inside of it.

Other Sounds

There could be other sounds made by your furnace like clicking, rattling, rumbling, or humming. If only a humming or clicking noise is made by your furnace when it first starts up, then everything is probably functioning okay. However, although it is easy to fix some of those noises, you don’t ever want to place your family and yourself at risk for something that is more serious, such as carbon monoxide poisoning or complete loss of heat. Erring on the side of caution is the best thing to do, and get a professional HVAC technician to make an assessment of the condition of your furnace.

AC Man is a professional HVAC repair company in Houston, TX. We offer both commercial and residential HVAC services. Give us a call today to speak with a professional HVAC repair technician, or check our services.