Beautify Your Outdoor Space: How to Conceal Your Outdoor AC Unit

Your HVAC system is an amazing invention. It keeps you cool in summer and warm when the weather starts to cool down. Though your HVAC system is crucial to maintaining home comfort for you and your family, it is not exactly the most attractive piece of machinery. To improve the look of your home’s exterior, try concealing your outdoor HVAC unit. With the DIY tips we have listed below, you can easily camouflage the AC unit without impairing the functionality.

How to Conceal Your Outdoor AC Unit

Concealing your outdoor AC unit doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Here are our favorite DIY tips for hiding your outdoor HVAC unit:

1. Fence it.

Create an adorable picket fence or lattice to surround your air conditioning unit. Add a statement piece, such as a wooden heart, in the middle of the fence or hang other decorative outdoor decorations from the outer side of the fence so that it becomes a part of your living space.

2. Make Something Grow.

If you have a green thumb, then you would be thrilled with a vertical garden. Essentially, you cover the surrounding area of your air conditioning unit with wooden pallets which can feasibly grow your flowers or greenery inside the crevices. This is a great way to create a tiered planting space for herbs, small florals, or succulents.

3. Hedge it.
Plant hedges or other plants around the air conditioning unit to help keep it concealed. If real plants are not your thing, consider an artificial outdoor boxwood hedge. This option is quite simple, but still gets the job done. When planting hedges or hiding the unit behind potted plants, make sure that all of the shrubbery is at least one foot away from the unit to avoid debris clogging the unit.

4. Create an edifice.
Make a faux brick wall or other barricade between your AC unit and the rest of your backyard. You can make this wall out of a variety of materials, including two-by-fours, pallets, or other types of wood. Again, make sure that there is room for the unit to breathe and be maintained.

Remember: In any case, you need to make sure NOT to attach anything directly to your outdoor condenser unit or block it in so that it cannot be accessed by an HVAC technician. In the event that your air conditioning breaks down or requires inspection, this area will need to be cleared. Make sure your beautification can be moved!

Regardless of how you want to beautify or conceal your air conditioner, there are plenty of options out there to look into. It never hurts to use your creative knowledge, either. You can start something trendsetting! For all of your other HVAC needs, contact us now.

 

 

Debunking Indoor Air Quality Myths

 

It is vital to optimize indoor air quality when operating any heating, cooling or ventilation system. Home and business owners can only accomplish this when they abandon popular IAQ myths.

1. Misconception: Air only becomes seriously polluted outdoors. Truth: It is not uncommon for indoor air to contain more than nine times as many contaminants as outdoor environments.

2. Falsehood: Ozone makes humans healthier. Reality: While it is true that ozone combats some types of bacteria and unwanted chemicals, things that produce ozone also generate unhealthy pollutants.

3. Untruth: A permanently installed gas detector will not significantly improve safety. Actuality: When properly maintained and calibrated, this type of detector truly can alert people to the presence of harmful gases.

4. Misconception: Every gas detector contains the same exact components. Truth: Different models use varying methods to detect gas. It is vital to thoroughly research and compare them.

5. Falsehood: The sensors on these detectors never need replacement. Reality: Sensor lifespans vary by manufacturer and the kinds of gases that they detect. Some last only 12 months; others need replacement after a decade.

6. Untruth: It does not matter where the detector is located. Actuality: People should install gas detectors near potential gas leak sources. Avoid placing them near open windows or vents.

7. Misconception: Detectors consume energy, so they raise power bills. Truth: A gas detector can actually cut electricity usage by controlling ventilation fans. It will only activate them when they are needed.

8. Falsehood: Indoor air quality is not a serious concern. Reality: People often stay indoors for as many as 22 out of 24 hours, so this is the most important type of air quality.

9. Untruth: Eco-friendly buildings benefit the environment but cannot make people healthier. Actuality: Green indoor materials enhance IAQ by releasing fewer gases as they age.

10. Misconception: Indoor air quality improvements remain very hard to achieve. Truth: Although they may prove costly, IAQ enhancements are quite possible with the help of skilled technicians.

By casting aside these IAQ myths and taking steps to improve air quality, building owners can prevent a wide range of health problems.

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How Do Air Conditioners Work?

Most people benefit from air conditioning either at home, at work, or both, virtually every day in the summer if they live in a warm climate. But probably most of us, however, have no idea about the process behind this technology that keeps us comfortable.

How do Air Conditioners Work?
The process is actually simple. Hot air flows over cold, low-pressure evaporator coils, allowing refrigerant inside to absorb heat as it changes from a liquid to a gas. The air conditioner, via a compressor, converts the refrigerant gas back to liquid again, which causes unwanted heat. That heat is then dispersed to the outdoors via the condenser coils and a second fan. The gas in the closed system converts back to a liquid, with the process starting all over again. In a central air system, refrigerant chills indoor air, with the resulting gas continually compressed and cooled back to liquid.

The major parts of a central air conditioning system are he evaporator that receives liquid refrigerant, the condenser that facilitates heat transfer, the expansion value to regulate refrigerant flow into the evaporator and the compressor that pressurizes refrigerant.

The cold side of the unit has the evaporator and fan that blows air over chilled coils and through the building. The hot side has the compressor, condenser and a second fan that vents hot air from the compressed refrigerant to the outside. The expansion valve sits between the two sets of coils and regulates the amount of liquid refrigerant that moves into the evaporator. When refrigerant enters the evaporator, it experiences a pressure drop that expands and turns back into a gas.

Variations of this application include window system air conditions that have the coil system on the outside of the unit and, chilled water, sometimes known as chillers and cooling tower air conditioning units used for larger commercial applications. Some of the these larger systems use chilled water that is piped through the building and connected to air handlers to achieve comfortable air, while others used cooling tower technology that creates a stream of cold water running through a heat exchanger to cool hot condenser coils.

How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

If you would like to improve air quality, maybe this will help you. This advice may not completely get rid of air pollutants but it may help some.

The first thing that you can do to help improve indoor quality is to reduce individual sources of emissions and pollution. One thing that you can do for example is if you have a gas stove you can decrease the amount of emissions by adjusting it. Source control can be very cost effective. It is also more cost effective than ventilation.

Even though ventilation may cost you more money, another thing that you can do is ventilation. Doing this will improve air quality in your home. You will save money though when you don’t mechanically bring the fresh air into your home. You can open your doors and windows, use attic fans, or run a window air conditioner.

It is important that you bring in fresh air especially when you are doing indoor activities that bring in high levels of pollutants. Things can include painting, cooking, heating with kerosene lamps, sanding, and welding. If you can, it may be a good idea to do some of these activities outdoors.

One more thing that you can do is look into air cleaners. Some of the air cleaners that you will find remove particles. They are usually designed to remove gaseous pollutants.

Air cleaners work more effectively if the pollutant is not very strong. If the pollutant is powerful, the cleaner may not work very well. Check to find out which air cleaners work the best to get rid of pollutants.

There has been some suggestions that houseplants reduce some levels of chemicals. It hasn’t been shown though that they remove a significant amount of pollutants in offices and homes. Getting plants though for your house a good thing to do though.

So for those who want to improve air quality, call to check your indoor quality and then work on the things that can improve it. You will find that there are a lot of things that you can do to improve the quality of air around you.

Decision On Whether To Repair Or Replace Your Air Conditioner

You may find yourself in a dilemma where you do not know whether to replace or repair your air conditioner. You may feel that you really need a new conditioner and yet you may not have the money to. Repairing on the other hand may be cheaper but there is no guarantee that the machine will last long afterwards. So what do you so? Well, this decision can be made based on several factors.

Energy bills
If there is an upward trend in your recent energy bills paid, then you may need to reconsider your decisions. Rising energy bills shows you that the equipment is not running as efficiently as it used to before. Therefore, it is time you took it up and prevent a further upsurge in the utility bills.

The level of temperatures in summer
If your air conditioner is working at full capacity and yet the temperature in the house still allows profuse sweating, it is time to reconsider repair for replacement. This shows that it has outlived its useful life in your home and thus you may need to replace it. If you are not sure about this, consult your technician for some advice.

Frequency of repairs
Is your air conditioner breaking down every few weeks? Do you have to call your technician every other month for some repair? Are you wondering “should I replace or repair my equipment again?” well reality check seems to incline on the replace. The amount of money you will spend repairing the conditioner is substantial and if you do not replace it, you will continue spending a lot on its repair. So it is better to just replace it.

Age of conditioner
How old the conditioner is determines whether to repair it or to replace it altogether. There is a rule called the $5000 rule. This is derived by multiplying the average cost of the repair by the number of years you have used the equipment. If it is less than $5000, then it is falls in the category of those that require to be repaired but if it is way higher then you need to replace it.

There are times when we let our systems become so outdated that they cannot get spare parts. Such equipment is up for replacement. Other times, your machinery is relatively new and thus you will just need to repair it since it has not exhausted its useful life.

Why Is It Important To Have N.A.T.E Certified Technician Servicing Your Home?

To live in a safe and secure house, you need to ensure that your HVAC is in a good working condition at all times. N.A.TE is a national body whose main mandate is to help homeowners and real estate investors maintain their heating and air conditioning systems. Certified NATE technicians have vast hands on experience and have capacity to carry out virtually any repair and maintenance practices. Here are some of the benefits of hiring these technicians.

It Saves Time and Money

Faulty air conditioning systems have low efficiency that results in high power bills. One of the best ways of avoiding such scenarios is by hiring certified technicians to work on your system. They not only have academic qualifications but also vast hands-on experience. Hence, you can rest assured that the job will be done right for the first time and the problem will never recur in future.

Professional Advice and Guidance

NATE certified technicians will not only expertly analyze the current status of your equipments but also furnish you with professional advice and guidance on how to maintain your systems to derive maximum utility from them. This will go a long way in saving you money on electricity bills and repair services.

Timely Service Delivery

Delayed repairs can lead to secondary complications which might force you to purchase a whole new system. You can avoid this by hiring an expert who can deliver high quality services in a timely manner. The best technician companies have an emergency response team that is always ready to respond to clients queries. This will give you a peace of mind as you will just have to contact them even during wee hours of the night to get expert services.

Value for Money

NATE certified technicians are professionals who don’t solely focus on making money but rather providing high quality services to their customers. By choosing them, you can rest assured that the end results will surpass your expectations. To consistently deliver high quality services, they have invested in modern equipments which are more accurate and reliable.

Hiring NATE technicians is indeed one of the most effective ways of extending lifespan of your HVAC system. Call us for all your HVAC needs, performed by NATE certified technicians.

Efficiency Standards For HVAC Equipment: Are They Going Up Soon?

Recently, the federal HVAC efficiency standards, particularly when applied to propane and natural gas furnaces, have gone from static to unresolved. Propane and natural gas furnaces account for more than 40% of average residential energy consumption; consequently, a modest rise in efficiency requirements can have a big impact on the total national energy consumption. On the other hand, even with the minimum AFUE rating stuck at 78 for more than two decades, raising the HVAC efficiency standards has proven difficult to enact.

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, AFUE, shows the percentage of energy that contributes to heating versus the amount wasted. For example, for a furnace with AFUE rating of 78, 78% of the energy generated from natural gas contributes to heating while 22% is lost. The Department of Energy proposed raising the rating to 90% by 2013; however, a court order delayed the implementation of the new efficiency standards for boilers and furnaces.

Modern condensing furnaces recover a large amount of that lost energy, thereby improving AFUE ratings and reducing the annual utility costs, particularly in the northern states with longer heating seasons. Whereas standard furnaces have a single heat exchanger, condensing furnaces have two. The second one extracts heat from hot water vapor and uses it to heat the home, instead of sending it up the chimney. As the hot vapor condenses, it drains into the home’s plumbing system.

Even as would-be furnace buyers got familiar with the new condensing furnace technology, enactment of the new standards hit a snag. Opponents argued that the extra expenses forced on homeowners by the directive to upgrade were too much. These expenses include retrofitting and installing new venting, and in some cases, modernizing to a new water heater that is compatible with the new venting.

Until a federal court makes a verdict on the matter, the postponement of enactment will continue, and the HVAC efficiency standards will remain at the 1990s levels. However, homeowners who need to upgrade their heating and cooling systems to lower their fuel consumption can buy high–efficiency HVAC equipment, including higher AFUE furnaces.

Homeowners with questions about HVAC efficiency or any other heating and cooling service should contact their local HVAC contractors.

Is Your HVAC System Protected From Power Surges?

Your HVAC system keeps the climate in your home comfortably cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In order to keep it in good working order and also to prevent damage to other utility systems in your home, you must provide protection from damage from electrical power surges.

Protect Your Home Utilities

External power surges that come into your home’s hard-wired equipment such as furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters and boilers are caused by forces from outside your house. External power surges happen when a utility company works on the power lines in your area, when a power line is taken down due to an accident or when lightning strikes a transformer. These actions can send a stronger surge of electricity through the line directly into your home.

Electronic equipment you have plugged into your electrical outlets is suffers from these external power surges. Electronics are subject to internal power surges as well. These occur when your powerful appliances (such as the air conditioner) cycle on and draw a lot of power then cut off and release it back into the house flow, creating a surge. Over time this damages the equipment by gradually eroding components.

Home Power Surge Protection

To adequately protect your home, utilities and electronics, you need two forms of surge protection. The first is whole-house surge protection. This is installed at the point of entry of the power supply for your home. You may have one for the entire house or one for each major system. The second is the point-of-use surge protection. This is installed by either plugging electronic devices into power surge strips or by having power surge protectors built into your wall outlets. Although there is no way to make your home completely free of power surges, these protections will greatly diminish any harm a power surge might cause.

HVAC Maintenance

You probably have power strip surge protectors but might not know if you have protection at the point of entry for your home’s utilities. To be safe, call your Home HVAC Service Technicians and make an appointment soon to have them make sure your home is protected against power surges.

NATE Certification Means Your HVAC System Is In Excellent Hands

When it comes to your HVAC system, you do not want just anyone to come in your home and work on it. You want a technician who knows what he or she is doing and can be trusted to find and fix the problem quickly and effectively. Fortunately, there is a way to determine if the HVAC service company you call has reliable and knowledgeable technicians before you make that call. Simply look for a company that advertises it has NATE certified HVAC technicians.

What is NATE certification? The North American Technicians Excellence certification program was developed to promote excellence in knowledge and skills among the technicians responsible for heating, ventilation, refrigeration and air conditioning service, maintenance and installations throughout the industry. The participation in the program is voluntary but the value and prestige of achieving the certification is real and tangible.

NATE certified technicians must pass a challenging testing process for which the pass rate is relatively low overall, so achieving this certification is something of which to be proud. It definitely means a great deal to employers, who prefer to hire these technicians since they are valuable employees in terms of skills and longevity. Because their work is generally correct the first time, it is also a boost to their customer service reputation.

What does NATE certified mean? For manufacturers and equipment distributors, it means fewer warranty returns because systems installed by NATE certified techs are installed and serviced correctly. For homeowners, it means that their energy bills are lower, because correctly installed and serviced systems function at peak efficiency and effectiveness. The life of the system is also extended when it is properly maintained.

Homeowners can be assured their HVAC system is in good hands when it is serviced by a company that employees NATE certified technicians to handle all service calls. It is important for homeowners to schedule regular maintenance checkups for their HVAC system to make sure it is running as efficiently as it should. Then with regular filter changes or cleanings, the system should keep the home comfortable throughout the year regardless of the season.

10 Tips For A Summer Energy Savings Plan

The summer season doesn’t have to mean higher cooler costs. With an HVAC energy savings home energy savings plan in place, homeowners can reduce their monthly bill. Here are 10 easy tips that you can follow to make your home energy efficient this summer.

1) Change out the filter in the air conditioner in the beginning of the season. Check the filter monthly after that, and clean it when needed. A clean filter will help to ensure that the AC is running optimally.

2) Use window coverings to block out sunlight, which can overheat the interior of the home. Make sure to use curtains, blinds, and shades to reduce the natural light streaming into the home during the day. Choose light colored blinds and curtains so that you can enjoy natural light while still blocking out the heat.

3) Make sure that all windows and doors that lead to the outside are closed and sealed up tightly when the air conditioner is on. An open window will allow air to escape easily, and it can have your AC unit running nonstop for hours.

4) Insulate the attic and the walls to help keep cool air in and hot air out. Air can easily leak in through an attic that hasn’t been properly insulated. Cement wall blocks can also allow air to seep in, so they should be sprayed with a foam insulation.

5) Do a thorough check around the home to find sources of air leaks. Places to check include electrical outlets, windows, doors, and fireplaces.

6) When the AC is running, open up interior doors between rooms to allow cool air to flow. Also, close up the vents in rooms that aren’t being used.

7) Have air ducts inspected for leaks, and if any are found, have them repaired right away. Even a small hole or tear in a duct can result in higher heating and cooling bills.

8) Use fans to cool down. Ceiling fans are perfect for cooling off in a room, but be sure to shut them off upon leaving.

9) Make sure to set the thermostat on “Auto”, and not “On”. When the thermostat is set to “On”, it will run nonstop.

10) Schedule a tune up for your HVAC system to ensure that it is performing as efficiently as possible. A skilled and reputable technician will able to identify any potential problems with your unit, and you can make any necessary repairs to keep your costs down over the years.

Take advantage of summer energy savings by following these tips. Manage cooling costs by ensuring that your HVAC system is running optimally all season long. Call today to learn more about how an energy efficient HVAC system replacement will help you to save money.