Ways to Reduce AC Costs

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a good 43% of your utility bill every month is due to heating and using the air conditioner. With the summer months coming up, it’s important to cut back on costs!

Shade Your Home

When heat accumulates in the home, it tends to come directly from the sun shining down on the roof or through windows. Try planting leafy trees around the building. This will help block the sunlight that hits your home, which in turn will keep the heat away. If you can shade your A.C. unit, you could manage to boost its efficiency by as much as 10%, at least according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Keep Your Windows Protected

Install solar screens. These are mesh-like screens for your windows, and they can stop as much as 70% of the sun’s energy before it manages to seep into your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, screens are most effective on windows facing east and west, due to the rising and setting of the sun.

Alternatively, you can try window films. They’re transparent sheets that have been metalized. This is a process of treating a film with metal. The end result is that the film reflects the heat, much like a mirror.

The downside of films over screens is that with films, the windows must be shut. Solar screens allow you to keep the windows open, while still keeping the sun out.

Raise The Thermostat

When you’re at home, naturally you want to feel comfortable. However, if you leave the house? Why not raise the thermostat? You’re not home, so you don’t need to cool the house. And setting the thermostat higher can save as much as 15% on the cost of your utility bill every month.

Try Using a Fan

Fans can keep you cool, but their primary purpose is air circulation. Keep your fans on the upper level of the home, and open the windows on the lower level. This helps ensure that you have air constantly moving through the home, thus keeping it from sitting, stagnating, and heating. If you only have one story, close the windows near the fan and open the windows further away.

Avoid Using the Stove

It’s a well known fact that the stove or the oven can heat the entire house. People often bake during the winter for just that purpose. Try using the microwave when possible, or eating food designed to be cold. If you have to cook or bake, do so in the evening or at night. These are times when it’s naturally colder. Also, make sure to turn on the kitchen exhaust fan. Similarly, use the bathroom exhaust fan when you take a shower. This helps cycle the heat out of the home.

Replace Your A.C. Unit

As machines age, they become less efficient. Not only do machines wear down over time, but new innovations in technology create more efficient machines. Finding a high energy efficiency air conditioner could cut your costs by as much as 50%. Look for the highest EER rating you can find.

Reduce A.C. Speed

On dry days, set the fan speed high. Meanwhile, on days that are more humid? Set the speed to low. When the A.C. fan is moving at slower speeds, the unit has more time to remove the humidity from the air. Faster fan speeds give the unit less time to do so. This keeps the A.C. unit from working quite as hard, which could save money http://www.plumbers-edmonton.ca/.

Different Types of Air Conditioners on the Market

The latest AC units on the market are much more energy-efficient, quieter, and are easier to install in a home compared to the units that were available a couple of years ago. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the major types of air conditioners on the market and their advantages as well as disadvantages.

Wall Mounted Units – These units are mounted on a wall using a metal sleeve through the wall. Then, the AC unit is slid from the inside. These units are available as cooling-only, or heating and cooling units.

Pros: They are aesthetically appealing while fitting better than window units. It is easy to repair or replace these units, and no storage is required. The best part is, even you have one window in your room, the wall-mounted unit will let the sunlight into your room.

Cons: Installation costs a lot. The homeowner needs to cut an opening through the wall. If you purchase a larger unit, you may have to install a dedicated 220-volt line. Most of the brands don’t provide the metal sleeve which will have to be purchased separately. It may cost you between $50 to $100.

Price: This unit will cost $400 (cooling a room of 400-700 square foot) or $700 for cooling a 1,000 square foot room.

Window Mounted Units – This is a very common type of air conditioner on the market. They are made to temporarily slide into a double-hung window opening. They are available as cooling-only units or heating and cooling units.

Pros: These units are quite easier to install and works with the existing wiring. They are low-cost compared to the other types highlighted in this article.

Cons: These units will fit only double-hung windows. You will require t remove these units at the end of the summer season if you happen to live in the North.

Prices: A unit that can cool a 100-square-foot room will cost only $200. If you are looking for a bigger unit that cools a room between 200 to 500-square-foot, it will cost you $400. If you buy a model that is worth $800, you can cool a room between 700 to 900-square-foot.

Wall/Window Mounted – These units can be permanently installed in a wall or temporarily installed in a window.

Pros: This is the best component if you want an AC for your rental apartment window and plan to install it in a wall later on.

Cons: These units don’t come with the window installation kits such as the bolts, nuts, and frame required to secure the unit to a window. You may sometimes need a dedicated 220-volt depending on the plug type of the unit.

Price: These units cost the same as wall-mounted units.

Portable AC Units – This is a mobile unit on wheels. It can be rolled from one room to another. There is a tube that comes with the unit to exhaust heat out of the window.

Pros: Very easy to store when the hot season is over.

Cons: This unit is a bit expensive compared to other AC units on the market. It also takes a lot of floor space.

Prices: A unit that can cool a 150-300-square-foot room cost only $700. If you are looking for a unit that cools more than 500-square-feet, you will have to pay $1,000 or more.

How to Work with Drain Snakes

It’s inevitable to experience clogged drains in your home. And when you encounter one, you can attempt to fix the problem yourself. The common solutions are pouring hot water into the drain, using a plunger, pouring in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, or pouring chemicals. However, tough clogged drains may call for a professional to get it fixed especially when plungers and mixture of baking soda and vinegar do not work. But a do-it-yourselfer can go as far as using a drain snake. Why not? Having a plumber fix the drain can cost you hundreds of dollars while a drain snake will only take about $25 off of your pocket and it’s an easy solution in a professional level.

snakedrain

Let’s learn what a drain snake is before we discuss how to use one.

A drain snake which can also be referred to as a drain auger or a plumbing snake, is a long and flexible metal cable that has a cone-shaped auger on its end. It is called a snake due to its resemblance to the animal, snake. A small home drain snake is usually 50 feet long and is hand-powered. The cable of the snake will be fed down the drain, and as it is being pushed down, the handle should be turned which means the cable will be spinning as it goes down the pipe.

Due to the snake’s flexibility, the snake will go down the drain easily even with its twists and turns, until you reach the obstruction. The twisting motion will allow the end of the auger to hook the clog and you can simply pull it out of the pipe.

A home drain snake is different from the one that is used in the toilet. A toilet snake would have a plastic cover that protects the porcelain from scratches that may be caused by the metal cable and the auger. That’s beside the obvious reason that you wouldn’t want to use one snake for your toilet and your kitchen sink.

So how do you use a drain snake?

First, you will need to wear some protective gloves as you will be touching the cable once you have pulled it out and also the cause of the clog. You might want to use work gloves because the cable coils can rip thin latex gloves. Then, spread some towels around the drain. Next, have a pail where you can discard the debris that will be taken out of the pipe.

Feed the auger end into the drain then feed the cable with a twisting motion. Keep twisting as you slowly allow the cable to go down the pipe. If you’ll be unclogging a tub, be sure to feed the auger into the overflow drain. This is to prevent the snake from traveling up to your air vent instead of the drain.

The cable will back up as soon as it gets to the clog. You’ll have to keep on cranking so it’ll catch onto the clog. When there is resistance, you can then pull the cable out slowly and remove the clog it has taken. Flush with water to remove whatever the snake has dislodged and clean your snake for future use.

Using a drain snake isn’t really rocket science and that’s why having one and knowing how to use it is very convenient and money-saving.

How to Fix your Own Air Conditioner

Did you know that minor repair of an air conditioner can cost from $80 to $100? And by minor, we mean repairs that you could actually do yourself. So to prevent you from paying a repairman for repairs that you could actually do, here are some common problems and the simple steps that you can do to have your cooling unit working again:

Indoor fan is not running. First thing to check is the thermostat. Make sure it’s receiving power. You’ll know that the digital thermostat has no power if it’s blank. If it’s blank or if it has batteries, go to the fan coil or the furnace and unplug it. Plug it back in after a few minutes. This will reset the system and should cool again. If the unit’s a fan coil which might be hard wired, you can simply trip the circuit breaker or you can also pull the disconnect’s handle to the off and turn it back to its ON position.

Indoor unit is leaking water. Check the drain pan at the bottom the cooling coil. If it’s full of water, then the power may have been cut off by the overflow switch to prevent your house from being damaged by the water.

To solve this, unplug the white plastic pipe or the emergency drain line which runs by the side of your house, outside. There are units that do not have overflow switches, so if your unit doesn’t have one, here’s the next step:

Unplug your furnace and have a lamp plugged into the same socket. Remember that this will not work if what you have is a fan coil since circuit is 230 volts which is high voltage. Only a professional should check the socket using a volt meter. If the lamp won’t turn on, then there is no power to your indoor unit. In this case, you will have to check the circuit breaker and trip it until the lamp lights up. If it turns on, then the problem is fixed. You can plug the furnace back in and you can then set the desired temperature on the thermostat. Note that due to internal time delays, the thermostat may take 4-5 minutes to call for cooling. The thermostat should also have a green light on or it should display the word cooling once it calls for cooling. If the air conditioner doesn’t come on, turn the fan switch on to see if the fan will run.

Indoor fan is running but there is no air flowing from the air registers. If the fan comes on but there’s still no cooling, check the supply air register for air flow. If there’s no air flow, the filter may be clogged. Take the filter out, unplug the fan coil or the furnace, plug it back in after a few minutes, and restart the system. If there’s still no air flow, then your coil may be iced up. Let the ice melt into your drain pan for several hours because having the fan run continuously will defrost the coil, then start the system again. Note that the thermostat should not be calling for cooling if the fan is running.
The fan is running; there is no air flow in the supply registers, but there’s good air flow in the return air grills. Have a notebook paper placed flat against your supply air registers. This will check the air flow at the return air grills. If the paper stays and sticks flat, then there is airflow. If there’s no airflow, then one of the ducts in the attic, crawl space or wall has come loose from the fitting. There may also be a hole in the ductwork. Place the duct back over the fitting and use a duct tape to tape it securely. You can also use the duct tape to patch the holes in the duct. If you have metal ductwork, it might’ve come loose, too. You can still use the duct tape it to reconnect the ductwork.

There is good airflow but it’s not cold. If the fan runs, the thermostat calls for cooling and there is air flowing out of the vents but there’s no cooling, you will need to check the outdoor unit. Make sure the compressor and the condenser fan are running. If you can hear the compressor but the condenser isn’t running, keep your compressor from being damaged by turning the unit off right away. Once it’s off, try using a stick to give the blade of the fan a push. If it moves easily, the condenser fan motor may be burned out. However, if the fan blade is very difficult to move, the bearing may be bad and in this case, spray WD40 on the bearing as it will get the unit running shortly until you have a technician who will have the fan motor replaced. Also, the fan blade should not be scraping onto something. If it does, simply bend the blade until it does not scrape again.

If both the compressor and condenser do not work and there’s no sound at all, check if you have a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. For blown fuse, simply replace them and if it’s a tripped circuit breaker, simply flip it back and forth.

Condenser runs for a few minutes but stops even before it has cooled your home. If the condensing unit still does not run after checking the circuit breaker and the fuses, then you may have high pressure limit which is usually caused by a clogged or a dirty condenser coil. For this, you can turn the unit off, clean the condenser coil with a broom, and then wash it with a water hose. This will also lower the temperature of the coil. Once it’s done, turn the unit on, turn the thermostat off and then turn it back to cooling. The unit should start working normally again.

If none of these steps work, then you will need to have a technician over as it may already be a problem with the control circuit board, refrigerant, capacitors, or compressor. Be sure to have a qualified technician http://air-conditioning-edmonton.ca do the work for you.

One thing to do to prevent future problems is to install a programmable thermostat as it can monitor your heating and air conditioning equipment and make sure that it’s running efficiently.

How Split Air Conditioner Works

You know you need it when the sun strikes your home and the heat finds a home in your house. Air conditioning is indeed a necessity today. It’ll regulate two issues that summer brings: high temperature and humidity. A split air conditioner is a type of air conditioner that works by blowing cold air from units mounted on your wall.

A split air conditioner has two separate parts which gives it its name. It has an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit consists of the compressor and the condenser coils while the indoor unit has the blower and the evaporator coils. This is the type of most central air conditioning unit http://www.furnace-repair-edmonton.ca/. One reason why it’s split is because it keeps the cool inside and the hot outside.

split ac

Here’s how a split air conditioner works:

  • A refrigerant will be pressurized in the compressor which will also cause the gas’ heat to rise.
  • The pressurized gas will then go through a series of tubes which will turn it to liquid.
  • The liquid will still be pressurized and will go through the condenser coils until it reaches the expansion joint.
  • As it passes through the joint, it will reduce the pressure and will turn to gas.
  • As the pressure is reduced, the gas also releases heat and will become much cooler.
  • The gas will return to the compressor to repeat the same process while the air that is being drawn from the room will pass over the evaporator coils which will cool it.
  • The cooled air will be blown back to the room by the blower.
  • The air will continue to circulate in the air conditioner until it reaches the set temperature.
  • Once the temperature is reached, the apparatus will automatically shut off.

This process is very much the same as that of other air conditioners. The difference is that one unit is outside while another is inside.

The compressor, condenser coils, and vent fan (which are located outside) are connected to the evaporator coils and blower (which are inside) by pipes or tubing.

Central air conditioners are considered a split air conditioner; although people see split units as a unit with a smaller compressor box which is placed outside and individual units inside the house.

Split air conditioners are made to cool your rooms even without ducting. It’s a simpler system and it gives you better zone control.

What makes this type of air conditioners effective?

  • Compared to a window unit, this type of air conditioner has a bigger compressor which can cool a larger area.
  • You can attach one compressor to different ducting or ductless units.
  • Easy maintenance for the two units.

Another concern would be the efficiency. Know that when the individual units in rooms aren’t running, then they’re not operating; however, the compressor’s always ready which means there is less cost in the starting and shutting down of the system.

What makes this type different?

There’s really no difference since central air conditioners are technically split systems, except that split air conditioners do not require ductwork.

However, compared to a window and portable air conditioner, the difference with a split system is the size and the area that it can effectively cool.

Also, a split AC has a greater overall capacity and a larger compressor compared to portable and window air conditioner.

Lastly, compared to smaller units, the split system’s two main parts are separated unlike the smaller units that has all parts in one box.

Here are the parts that a split system contains:

Just like other air conditioners, a split system has a compressor, condenser coils, expansion joint, and a vent fan; however, these are in the outside unit. As for the inside unit, it has the evaporator coils, blower, filter and the individual unit boxes. It also has a thermostat that controls the entire unit.

All the information mentioned above should help you decide if you should go for split air conditioners. As always, you can discuss your cooling options with your trusted HVAC company.