How to Reduce Energy Costs This Summer

You love when summer rays radiate down on you outside, but why don’t you feel the same way when you are inside?

When the sun permeates through windows, the temperature quickly rises, making a home feel more like a greenhouse by the minute. To counteract this effect, homeowners will resort to blasting their air conditioners excessively. This not only increases their energy bill but also wastes energy. Below are some helpful tips for saving on both!

Close Windows When AC Is Running

We all know those people that want the best of both worlds —fresh air and the nice blast of cool air from the air conditioner. However, running the AC while the windows are open makes your unit work harder than it needs to, taking your home longer to reach your desired temperature. If you want fresh air, open your windows during the evening when it is cooler outside.  

Close Curtains & Blinds When Not At Home

We spoke about how the sun can turn your home into a greenhouse above, but how does that happen inside your home? When your windows are closed and the sun radiates through to the inside, the temperature in your home increases. The warm air rises, filling and trapping heat in any room it finds.

Investing in some solid blackout curtains and closing them during the hottest parts of the day can significantly decrease this effect. While they do not completely stop heat from entering your home, blackout curtains drastically reduce the impact of the sun’s rays.

Run Your Fan When At Home

A common misconception about fans is that they help cool your home, but they are actually quite inefficient. Fans circulate air throughout a room. When you feel hot and sweaty, this breeze can feel refreshing on the skin and help to lower your core body temperature. However, the actual temperature in the room remains unchanged.

Fans use a lot less energy than central AC (55-90 watts vs 3500 watts depending on the size of the unit), so using them while at home will save you a significant amount on your electricity bill. Avoid running the fan when not at home, however, because it won’t affect the temperature. You’ll just waste electricity.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are a more expensive initial purchase, but their benefits far outweigh manual models. First, they save you time, which we all know is precious. Stop wasting time flicking between degrees. Programmable thermostats allow you to set them once, based on recommended levels or personal preferences, and be done with them! Second, they use less energy, saving homeowners upwards of $150 each year! Lastly, unlike some manual models that contain mercury, programmable models are mercury-free. Save the environment, one thermostat at a time!

Don’t let your discomfort overshadow your energy costs! Use the above tips in your home. For more savings tips, or for technical HVAC services, call us to schedule your very own appointment today!

Top 5 Reasons for Air Conditioner Failures

Last month, you fulfilled your curiosity about how air conditioner parts function together to cool the air in your home. That knowledge is all good and dandy, but there are more questions to be answered. Do you know the reasons why an air conditioner would fail and what to do in the event that it does? Below is a breakdown of the top 5 reasons for an air conditioner’s failure.

Faulty Circuit Breaker, Fuse or Electrical Wiring

If your air conditioner fails, first check your fuse and circuit breaker to make sure that there aren’t any electrical issues present. Turn off your air conditioner, allowing 15 minutes of cool down time before replacing the fuse or resetting the breaker. If that doesn’t do the trick, your AC could have been improperly wired or you could have tripped a high-pressure limit switch. In those cases, call a trained technician to inspect the problem.

Refrigerant Leak

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A refrigerant can leak for several reasons: natural wear and tear, formic acid buildup, or formaldehyde exposure. Over time, acid can build up, burning a hole through the copper tubing or coils of the air conditioning unit, resulting in a leak and a change in pressure. If an air conditioner does not reach an adequate pressure level, this can cause it to fail.

TIP: If you see a refrigerant leak, call a trusted HVAC technician immediately! Refrigerants are harmful substances to the environment.

Frozen Coils

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Air conditioners need a passageway for warm air to travel in order to reach the cold coils that cool the air. If there is a blockage within this passageway, your coils can freeze from a lack of warm air passing over the coils. To prevent this issue, change your AC filter regularly and don’t skip your HVAC maintenance inspections! If you see frost, call us!

Age & Wear and Tear

Is your air conditioner 5 years or older and constantly toggling on and off? This could be a sign that there is damage to one or more parts within your unit, such as the fan blades, compressor, or electrical parts. Regular inspections can catch these issues before they become too large to fix.

Faulty Thermostat

If your thermostat is not properly calibrated, it can cause your air conditioner to work harder than it needs to. Thermostats exist to control the amount of air being circulated within your home. If the thermostat is faulty, it can send your air conditioner into overdrive.

Don’t let the humidity in your home get you down! Talented HVAC technicians are just one call away. Reach out to us and we will get that cool air flowing in no time!

Air Conditioner Deconstruction: How It Functions

You know that an air conditioner brings joy to your life during the hot summer months, but are you ever curious about how it works? An air conditioner essentially works by transferring heat and humidity found inside your home to the outside. In order to understand why an air conditioner would fail (covered in next month’s blog), you must first understand how it functions.

To break it down, there are 7 essential parts of an air conditioner.

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The evaporator, comprised of cooling coils, removes heat from the air using a refrigerant. A refrigerant is a substance that changes states from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid as it absorbs heat. As a blower ‘blows’ air over the coils, this substance cools the air. At the exterior of the house, a condenser, made up of hot coils accumulates all of the hot air and releases it back into the outside world.

In order for the evaporator and condenser to work together in unison, a compressor, with the aid of a fan, exists to pump refrigerant between the two, chilling the air, dispersing and dissipating it as it travels. Within the air conditioning unit, there is also a filter whose job it is to remove particles, like dust and debris, from the air in your home. Lastly, a thermostat exists to regulate the level of cool air being distributed.

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These 7 parts are essential for the lower temperature bliss you crave during the humid summer months. If you are in need of an air conditioner, contact us! Our knowledgeable technicians would be happy to help you find the right unit to fit your home!

Ratty Radiator: Refurbishing Your Old HVAC Units

Hunting for a home can be a challenge, especially with the way the housing market has been looking lately. Now add the new home vs old home debate into the mix and you’re sure to be even more confused! New homes have that clean look and fresh smell that homeowners love. However, there is something to say about the charm and durability of an older home. Older homes have a unique structural design, are often found in desirable locals close to city centres, and are constructed with high-quality materials. If you want the best of both worlds, there are ways you can renovate your home, keeping safety and HVAC in mind.

Ratty Radiator – Towel Rack Transformation

I am sure you’ve heard of the term ‘vintage’ being thrown around in the last decade or so. More and more people are infusing their homes with vintage elements to get that unique flare and old-school charm. A few weeks ago we got the chance to revamp a ratty radiator, featured below, by making it into a fully functioning heated towel rack for one of our fantastic clients!

HVAC Vintage Finds

This project inspired us to explore other ways homeowners can renovate their old or new home, by keeping the elements they love intact. Check out this old boiler and German-style thermostat we found online! If you have one of these kicking around your home, instead of throwing it out, incorporate it into your interior design. This will add that little bit of history to your home’s otherwise cookie-cutter construction.

Old A/C DIY Project

Do you have an old air conditioning unit in your home that stylistically you just don’t know what to do with? Instead of moving or tearing your wall apart, try covering it up using inexpensive wood panelling. Vintage Meets Glam transformed the look of her bedroom by doing just that!

Safety First

DIY projects can be exciting and fun, however, working with HVAC units, whether functioning or not, could pose safety risks. Before starting a project like the ones above in your home, talk to a professional to determine whether or not a risk is present. Stay safe and happy decorating!

What to Expect During Your AC Appointment

What to Expect During Your AC Appointment

As if a broken air conditioner isn’t enough, how do you make sure you don’t get sub-par service as well? Don’t leave your air conditioning repairs to chance. Check out these crucial steps an expert tech will take to ensure your AC is up and running again before you can break a sweat.

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Check Thermostat

Before beginning any work on your air conditioner, the tech should check to make sure it is not simply a thermostat error. Your problem could be as simple as a faulty thermostat or a loose wire.

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Circuit Breaker Box
If there is nothing wrong with the thermostat, the tech will then move onto your circuit breaker box. If the breaker is switched to off or malfunctioning, your air conditioner issues could be a wiring issue.

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Up-Close with the Air Conditioner
The next step is the air conditioning unit itself. The tech will begin a trial and error process, testing wires, circuits, connections, etc. in order to identify where the specific problem lies. During the AC system diagnosis, they will most likely check the air filter to make sure it’s not blocked or needs to be replaced. They may check the AC refrigerant levels, make sure the air condenser fan is spinning properly, confirm that the size of your AC system is appropriate for the size of your home, and examine the wiring, electronics and safety controls.

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Identify Issue
This process could take 5 minutes or an hour depending on how long it takes the tech to identify the problem.

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Present Options
Once the issue is identified, the tech will provide you with your options. They will present the issue, the possible options for repair and then costs associated with the option you choose.

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Future Prevention
In an effort to help the customer, the tech should then advise the client on how to prevent this issue in the future, saving you time and money

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Explain How To Fix
Once you’ve made your choice, the tech will then come back to your home (assuming they do not have the part you need in their truck) and explain to you in detail what they will be changing and how this will fix your problem

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If you want expert service, make sure you call an expert. Afterglow specializes in repair and maintenance, call us today! 519-747-7732