Category: Air Conditioning

Most Common Problems With Your Houston AC

How To Solve The Most Common AC Problems In Houston

In Houston air conditioning is an absolute necessity, and life can be miserable if your air conditioner breaks down. Repairs can be expensive, so it is very important to ensure that your air conditioner is in optimal shape through regular maintenance. It is a good idea to always be aware of some of the most common problems that can occur with your air conditioner.

10 Of The Most Common Air Conditioning Problems & How To Solve Them

Filter

One common reason why air conditioners do not work correctly is a dirty or clogged filter. Follow the recommendations of the manufacturer to find out how frequently to change the air filter on your air conditioner. Some are once a month, others are every three months, and others are reusable and need to be cleaned whenever they get dirty. One way of determining whether a filter should be cleaned or not is to check to see if there is any light passing through it. If you can’t, then it is time for you to clean it. Not only do dirty filters reduce air flow but may cause the air conditioner unit to freeze as well.

Thermostat

Another thing that is easy to fix is to ensure your thermostat (which controls your home’s temperature setting) is turn on, that it is clean inside, that it is level, that sunlight is not affecting it, and it is on the proper setting. If the problems still persist, then there might be another problem.

Refrigerant Leaks

Whenever the coolant starts to leak in your air conditioner, then the unit will not perform properly, and the temperature is going to fluctuate. The leak’s location with affect how much the repair costs so it is recommended that you have a trained AC technician examine your unit every year.

Drainage

The drain line, like the filer, can become clogged with lint, dust, and dirt. If it does become clogged, then the drain pan will start filling up, and water is going to leak out which can potentially cause damage to the air conditioning unit or whatever is surrounding your pan.

Fuses Or Breakers

The fuses and breakers protect the AC unit’s compressor or motor from overheating. Whenever a motor dies, quite often one of the first parts checked by the HVAC technician is the breaker.

Capacitors

If there were no capacitors, then the motor powering the fans and compressor will not work. A jolt is sent by the start capacitor to activate the motor and the run capacitor sends out a series of jolts in order to keep the motor operating. If either one burns out the AC unit will not run efficiently.

Compressor

Energy is applied to the refrigerant by the compressor and propels it throughout the coils in order for heat exchange to be carried out. If the compressor does not work, then the AC until cannot cool your home. The compressor will start running hot and seize eventually if there isn’t enough refrigerant. If there is too much refrigerant then it will return back into the compressor, and that may cause the compressor to fail.

Evaporator Coils

Heat in the air is absorbed by the evaporator coils and send it back into the house in the form of cold air via air ducts. Evaporator coils can become corroded. However, if they are inside, then typically they will only need maintenance once every three years or so.

Condenser Coils

These coils are on the outside along with the compressor. Therefore, they can get dirty from the element. Usually, you can use a water hose to clean them one per year. However, if they become too dirty, you will need to get an HVAC technician to use a chemical cleaner to get them clean.

Worn Contactor

AC units have contractors for the condenser fan motor, the blower motor, and the compressor. These contractors make electrical connections that start the compressor and motor. If the contractor has pitting and arcing on it, then it becomes hard for the motors to be started by the electrical current.

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How To Save On Houston Air Conditioning By Keeping Things Chill

Top 15 Ways To Keep Your Home Cool With No Air Conditioning In Houston

Warmer months can be particularly hot making you want to sit close to the fan or crank the AC up. While the trick may work, it isn’t the most convenient way to keep your house cool. Turning the AC up only leads to increased energy consumption hence higher electricity bills. Outlined below are a few ways you can keep your home cool and comfortable without air conditioning.

1. Keep blinds closed.

While it may seem like nothing, keeping your blinds closed helps block excess heat from entering your home. Opening the windows and doors equates to around 30% of heat gain in your house, Family Handyman. Keeping these closed and using shades, curtains, and blinds can help keep your home cooler for longer, thus saving you at least 7% in energy bills. Keeping blinds closed prevents the greenhouse effect, a typical case in west and south facing windows.

2. Use blackout curtains.

Blackout curtains create an extra layer of insulation around your windows by blocking direct sunlight. Consider investing in neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backings for better results. According to Consumer Reports, this helps reduce heat gain by up to 33%.

3. Keep your doors closed.

Any entries that aren’t in use, especially access doors, should be kept closed at all times. This helps prevent hot air from getting in the house, as well as prevent fresh air from escaping. You can, however, open these doors in the evening when the air outside is cooler. This should help keep the house fresh and cool.

4. Switch the fans on.

The AC isn’t particularly efficient when the weather is too hot. Fans, however, help keep the air around you in motion, thus giving you a faux sea breeze. You can even hack the fan by placing a bowl of ice in front of the fan facing you. You will be surprised at the extra-chilled air being blown your way through the ice bowl.

5. Swap sheets.

Changing your sheets often helps keep the room fresh, and is healthy for you as well. Swapping the current sheets with those that promote cooling should help keep you comfortable while asleep. While flannel sheets and fleece blankets are good for insulation, cotton sheets are a better option. This is because cotton breathes easier and stays cooler than any other material. You might also want to add one or two buckwheat pillows for extra comfort and cooling.

6. Set The Ceiling Fan To Anti-Clockwise Rotation.

Some people believe the ceiling fan only rotates in one direction. What they don’t know is that it can turn in all direction. The direction of the fan needs to be changed seasonally for improved efficiency. Setting the fan to turn anticlockwise creates a wind-chill breeze that helps cool your home.

7. Lower your body temperature, not the houses.

Air conditioning units were a fantasy several decades ago, and yet our ancestors still survived. Doing it their way by drinking lots of water, and especially iced drinks will keep you cool for several hours. You can also apply a cold cloth on your neck and wrist to drive the temperature down even farther. You might also have to change to lighter clothing as well. Dipping your feet in a bowl of cold water should help lower your body temperature as well.

8. Turn on bathroom and exhaust fans.

Exhaust and bathroom fans are designed to pull hot air out of the house. Turning them on will help get rid of the hot air paving the way for a cool breeze.

9. Heat-proof your bed.

Use a cool chillow as a pillow when you go to bed. Keep your feet cool by placing a bottle filled with cold water at the foot of the bed. If this doesn’t seem to work well, dampen your sheets by popping them in the freezer, and only take them out when you go to bed. This should help keep you cool for some time.

10. Sleep low.

According to science, hot air rises. That said, sleeping low might help keep you cool through the night. One way to do this is by sleeping on the couch downstairs, or even in the basement. If this isn’t enough, put the mattress on the floor. Sleeping on the floor should help keep you cool and comfortable through the night.

11. Open the windows at night.

Despite the hot weather during the day, summer nights are particularly cool and chilly. You can, therefore, take advantage of the chilly air outside to cool your house. One way to do this is by opening the windows to let fresh air in. The fresh air should push hot air out too. You can take this a notch higher by using a fan to force the cool air in. Simply place the fan close to the window to help force fresh air in the house. Remember to close the windows and blinds first thing when you wake up.

12. Play around with the windows.

Did you know you can hack into your windows to create a cooling pressure current? To do this, open the top section of windows downstairs, then open windows the bottom part of the windows upstairs. Use a fan to push hot air our through the upper windows. This effect can be amplified by hanging a wet sheet in front of the window, like a curtain.

13. Switch to CFL and LED lights.

Most households use incandescent bulbs for lighting. These bulbs not only waste energy but also release heat making your home warmer than it should. Replacing these with LED or CFL bulbs should however take care of the heat gain. LED and CFLs use up only a fraction of the energy hence lower electricity bills. Making the switch will also help keep your home cooler.

14. Do your grilling outside.

Many of us use the oven or stove for grilling. This only leaves your home hotter than it was. The last thing you want to do under the hot summer sun is turning on the oven. Consider grilling outside or in the backyard. It is much safer there.

15. Take on long-term improvements.

There are many ways of ensuring your home is cool and comfortable. Taking on long-term home improvements to make your home energy efficient will go a long way in avoiding the AC route. Simple things such as installing window films, planting vines and trees around the house, and adding awning near windows and other openings should help reduce heat gain in the house. These also absorb heat inside the house leaving it more comfortable than it was.

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What Is The Life Span Of Your Houston Air Conditioning Unit?

How Long Does an AC Unit Last In Houston Texas?

Is your air conditioner giving you signs that it is about to quit? If so, you may be wondering if it has lived a full life or not. The average life expectancy of a central air unit is about 15 years. If the unit is well maintained it can last for 20 years.

To keep an air conditioner running well it has to be maintained. This involves a few simple steps. Get it tuned up once a year, change the filter out and keep the outside condensing units free of debris, dirt or leaves.

Another factor that determines the lifespan of your AC is where you live. An AC unit in Texas, for instance, will run about 24 hours every day. An AC unit in Indiana, however, only runs for a season. When an AC runs often it undergoes a lot of wear and tear. Even if you keep it maintained it will still fail a lot sooner than a unit that only runs once a season. If you live near an ocean, the salt air will rust the AC’s components out and cause it to fail soon. Never point sprinklers at the unit. This can also cause rusting to occur which is another way an AC unit can fail faster.

You know the saying that “you get what you pay for” is true. Keep it in mind whenever you buy an air conditioner. Buying an HVAC system is a significant expense. Do your research carefully. Make certain that you work with an experienced HVAC technician to determine which system is best for you.

You want the HVAC to last. So, you need to be sure to get a product that is built to last and get it from someone from a quality team. Ignore any company that sends a salesperson out while wearing an HVAC tech’s outfit. It’s a gimmick! At AC Man, we treat you with respect and do so without any gimmicks. Both the salesmen and technicians work to sell and service equipment fairly. They go over all your options in detail.

If your AC unit goes kaput – stay cool! Remain calm and collected – AC Man is here to help!

We are the first choice for Houston AC service and AC repair in Katy, TX as well as the Greater Houston area. You have choices when it comes to your heating and cooling service. We know that. This is why we go out of our way for our residential and commercial clients. We can service and repair all types of AC units from all top makers.

Our technicians are professional, courteous and knowledgeable. They will provide you with a detailed estimate that you approve before the work even begins. When the summer heat hits hard, you need your AC to be working optimally. Having a fully functioning AC unit is essential and it can be a true lifesaver. Do not get caught with an air conditioner that is on its last legs.

Our Highly Rated Air Conditioning Repair Services

Come to AC Man in Houston for complete and reliable air conditioning repairs. Our top-notch technicians can help you with every one of your AC needs including maintenance and repair, or replacements and routine servicing. We take care of all makes and models of air conditioners. Depend on us for a huge selection of central AC systems. We are proud to be one of the few companies around that have certification.

We are the best of the best. So many others just will not pass this test. If you have received quotes for low-quality AC units, consult with us. Your home must be a comfortable, safe place that offers plenty of space for your family to rest and relax. Do not let indoor air pollution spoil it. Did you know that indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental dangers?

Give us a call today for more information or you can visit our blog for more related articles.

Tips On Maintaining Your Air Conditioning Unit In Houston

Maintain Your Houston Air Conditioner For Better Results

In many areas, an air conditioner is really an absolute necessity, and that doesn’t even dive into the idea of how much AC really affects the quality of life. However, an air conditioner isn’t magic, it’s a machine, and that means it needs proper maintenance to keep it up and running at full efficiency. This means paying special attention to the coils, fins, and filters in an air conditioner. If you don’t pay attention to these, then over time the air conditioner will steadily lose power and effectiveness.

Don’t Forget The Filters!

This is one of the most frequent, and important, tasks that will fall to you to make sure your air conditioning unit is running at full capacity. Filters get dirty over time and with a lot of use, and that means not only does the air not get as cold, but the air conditioner works harder to push that air through. Add in the fact that not changing filter can eventually result in dirt, dust, and other things getting through to the coils and that can cause bigger issues with other parts of the air conditioner.

Pay attention to how often air filters need to be changed and make sure to change them out on a regular basis. They aren’t expensive and changing out a dirty filter can help increase an AC unit’s efficiency a full 15% or more in some circumstances. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Air Conditioner Coils

There are a couple of coils that need attention. There are the condenser coils and evaporator coils. Both can collect dirt and other airborne debris. A clean filter is a great way to prevent more dirt from gathering. At the same time, making sure to keep the coils clean is important. Reducing airflow isn’t good for the air conditioner. The good news is that these coils don’t need to be checked up as often as filters.

Generally speaking, you want to look at cleaning the coils once a year. This will normally be enough, and keeping all the coils clean is important to prevent additional heat from building up within the system. You want heat absorbed where it is supposed to be, but the other parts of the unit to cool air that is brought in without bringing in a lot of other dirt and gunk.

Maintaining The Coil Fins

Generally speaking, the fins that are found on both types of coils are made with aluminum. This means that they can be fairly easily bent and when that happens airflow can be partially blocked. This is why you will want a “fin comb” which is a pretty common tool available in most handyman type stores. Using these fins will allow you to comb them back to their original pristine condition which will maximize the cool air flow.

Check The Condensate Drains

The biggest concern with drains is if they get clogged. If this happens, then the air conditioner is going to have a tough time reducing humidity. It only takes a stiff wire to run through the drain channels to see if there are any clogs and then clear them out. Clearing these out will help the air conditioner work at full speed once again.

Check The Seal

If you’re using a window unit as opposed to centralized air then you will want to check the seal around the unit before each summer to make sure that it is solid and will keep hot air out so the air conditioner’s cold air can be more effectively contained inside.

Talking To A Professional

Sometimes you will need a professional technician to check on things. The technician will have the skill and tools to check on refrigerant levels, see if there are any leaks, take care of any necessary repairs, measure air flow, and make sure your unit is fully back up to snuff and working at full capacity. There are many small issues that can affect the overall effectiveness of the air conditioner that only a fully trained and certified technician can figure out so if you’ve gone through all the basic maintenance steps and still can’t figure out what’s wrong then it’s time to call a professional.

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.