Mini-splits, What Is That? — Mike’s Heating & Cooling

Mini-splits are over 40 years old, but consumers are just now hearing about them. Some terms you hear might be: “mini-split”, “ductless”, or “duct-free split”. They all mean the same thing. A system that can heat and cool a small space, an addition, or even help with custom heating and cooling options in a certain spot in […]

via Mini-splits, What Is That? — Mike’s Heating & Cooling

How an Air Conditioner works #1 of Top Ten Things You Should Know

ASHRAE posted the top ten things you should know about your Air Conditioning System. Today we will address number one on that list. How an Air Conditioner Works.

The basics are: warm air is pulled by a fan over a coil of cold pipes (an Evaporator Coil) filled with a refrigerant, as the refrigerant absorbs heat it turns from a liquid to a gas, it is then pumped into another coil (Condensing Coil) where it is condensed back to a liquid and the process cycles again. This process requires a lot of movement, air, liquid and gases are all cycling through the system. If the flow is interrupted, issues arise. The interruption might be as simple as a clogged filter, which will cause the entire system to work harder and possibly overheat. Maintenance, is the single most important thing you can do to keep cool and lower operating costs.

Below is a more detailed explanation written by ASHRAE:

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Clogged Condenser

The job of your home air conditioner is move heat from inside your home to the outside, thereby cooling you and your home. Air conditioners blow cool air into your home by pulling the heat out of that air. The air is cooled by blowing it over a set of cold pipes called an evaporator coil. This works just like the cooling that happens when water evaporates from your skin. The evaporator coil is filled with a special liquid called a refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs heat from the air. The refrigerant is pumped outside the house to another coil where it gives up its heat and changes back into a liquid. This outside coil is called the condenser because the refrigerant is condensing from a gas back to a fluid just like moisture on a cold window. A pump, called a compressor, is used to move the refrigerant between the two coils and to change the pressure of the refrigerant so that all the refrigerant evaporates or condenses in the appropriate coils.

 

The energy to do all of this is used by the motor that runs the compressor. The entire system will normally give about three times the cooling energy that the compressor uses. This odd fact happens because the changing of refrigerant from a liquid to a gas and back again lets the system move much more energy than the compressor uses. The harder the compressor has to work the less efficient it is.

 

The Top Ten Things a Consumer Should Know About Air Conditioning

 

ASHRAE – the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers says:

Most homes in warm climates have air conditioning. For some, air conditioning may be a luxury, but for many, it is a necessity. Given the expense of the equipment and the power to run it, ASHRAE wants consumers to be informed about their air conditioning systems. These ten points should make a consumer more aware of the air conditioning system and better able to care for it and use it well. Should it become necessary to replace that system, seek out a qualified HVAC professional.

1. HOW AN AIR CONDITIONER WORKS

2. WHAT A “TON” OF COOLING IS

3. WHAT GOES WRONG

4. WHAT THOSE FILTERS DO

5. MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM

6. DUCTS MATTER – A LOT

7. HOW TO INCREASE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

8. LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD

9. VENTILATE

10. IT’S NOT THE HEAT, IT’S THE HUMIDITY

You may follow the links above to learn more, or watch for my next blogs going into more detail about these important factors in understanding your system.

https://www.ashrae.org/resources–publications/free-resources/top-ten-things-about-air-conditioning

Routine Air Conditioner Maintenance Saves $$$

Louie at Fesmire Heating and A/C agrees completely. Neglecting your equipment will lead to more expense. The costs come from added energy consumption, damage to equipment because it is working harder than it needs to, and possibly voiding of your warranty. A service and maintenance fee is actually inexpensive insurance in maintaining your comfort and lowering your expenses.

Mike's Heating & Cooling

Mike’s Heating & Cooling offers customers complete air conditioner maintenance.

Facebook Ads - SPRING AC TUNE-UPA neglected air conditioner:

  • uses more energy to run
  • has more frequent break downs
  • may have restricted air flow, causing icing
  • may have a shorter lifespan

Routine air conditioner maintenance:

  • should be preformed on your A/C unit at the beginning of the cooling season
  • keeps your A/C operating at peak efficiency
  • can catch repairs early before you need emergency service or costly parts

Many of the big repairs we see could have been avoided by catching the problem when it was small.

air conditioner2Save On Your Cooling Costs

A tune-up can actually save you money. It is estimated you can improve your cooling efficiency by 25% and lengthen the life of your unit.

Mike’s Air Conditioner Tune-Up includes:

  • Checking refrigerant pressure and amount of refrigerant
  • Check motor voltage and amp draw
  • Check controls, thermostat and temperature rise and drop
  • Check condenser unit and coils

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Spring is here, time to think about Air Conditioning!

In Colorado the switch from Heating to Air Conditioning can be a little difficult. Temps in the 80’s one day and freezing with snow the next. Do you wear shorts or a parka when you leave the house? Maybe a parka with shorts to be safe. The crazy weather makes it difficult for small animals as well. So often they will take up residence in your heating and Air conditioning system. While hanging out in your system or duct work they can cause much damage, from nibbling on the wiring and nesting in the insulation to adding allergens, bacteria & viruses to the air you breathe. Nesting materials combined with nibbled wiring might cause a fire. mouse curious

It is important to have your equipment properly serviced, most warranties are void if the units are not serviced. Even if you have older equipment that is not under warranty, a proper cleaning and once over will ensure that your equipment will work in the optimal and most efficient way. A proper servicing will check filters, wiring and clean the system to ensure it is working efficiently.

It is difficult to know when to get call to have your A/C unit serviced and your furnace shut down for the season. The good news is you can call now and beat the rush and be ready when the weather turns warm or cold again. Louie can service both and you don’t have to be at the mercy of Colorado’s crazy weather patterns.

4 Steps to Prevent Mold from Growing in Your Home

Having mold in your wall will cause you paint in neck, as it will be difficult to get rid of them once they occur, even repainting it with airless spray cannot help you since it surely will be visi…

Source: 4 Steps to Prevent Mold from Growing in Your Home

Common Heating Problems

Poorly-sealed-ducts

I agree with everything this post says, but would like to add, if your furnace does not work, before you panic, check the batteries in your thermostat and check your filter. These are two very simple things that cause issues that you can easily fix yourself.

1. Total loss of heat Suppose you turn the furnace on and the heating system gives you no response; you could say there is a total loss of heat. The problem could be as simple as a blown fuse to fu…

Source: Common Heating Problems

9 Unintended Consequences of Closing Vents

Shared from Mikes Heating & Cooling.

Many people think that closing vents to unused rooms will save energy, however before you do that, you should be aware of potential issues it might cause and check with your HVAC professional.

When you close the vents in your home the first thing that happens is the air pressure in the duct system increases, which may give rise to these negative consequences:

  • Increased duct leakage
  • Lower air flow with PSC blowers
  • Increased energy use with ECM blowers
  • Comfort problems because of low air flow
  • Frozen air conditioner coil
  • Dead compressor
  • Cracked heat exchanger, with the potential for getting carbon monoxide in your home
  • Increased infiltration/exfiltration due to unbalanced leakage , as I described last week
  • Condensation and mold growth in winter due to lower surface temperatures in rooms with closed vents

You’re not guaranteed to get all the problems that apply to your system, but why take the chance.

Source: 9 Unintended Consequences of Closing Vents

How does your furnace work? What can you do to make sure it continues to work.

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How does your furnace really work? You know that you turn the thermostat up or down and it comes on or turns off. What more do you need to know?

If you want to reduce the need for an emergency service call there are a few things you should know.

1. Your furnace while not a living creature; it needs to breathe. Basic principles of air flow, if air can’t get in, the furnace cannot blow hot air out.
Change your filters regularly and make sure there is plenty of air flow to your furnace
DO NOT block intake grilles with furniture or other items, move furniture a few inches from the wall to allow air flow
• If located in a closet, the closet should have a louvered door
Do not store items on or around the furnace

2. Most modern furnaces are very safe, however, regardless of being gas or electric they have a heating element of some variety.
DO NOT store flammable items on or near a furnace, including cardboard boxes, clothes, chemicals…
DO NOT place items on top of the furnace in the summer and forget to remove them before winter
Keep the furnace clean of dust and other contaminants that might ignite

3. Dust dirt and other contaminants can clog the pressure switch ports, flame sensor, control board, etc
• This may cause the furnace to not start
• May cause failure that requires replacement of parts
• May cause allergy attacks
• May cause the belt to slip

Why do furnaces always seem to break down after hours during unbearable cold spells?

It is no coincidence, you come home from work and kick up the thermostat, the furnace is working to warm the cold house and due to any of the above items, it has to work even harder and something has to give. That is why so many emergency repairs are done at night in bitter temperatures.

What can you do to prevent emergency calls?

When you call for a routine service the technician should clean the furnace of dust and contaminants, inspect the air flow to ensure the furnace is getting enough air, check all wiring, check the filter, and look at the belt to ensure it is properly adjusted and in good shape. This is a relatively inexpensive service call that will help ensure the continued efficiency of your furnace. In many cases the warranty on your furnace requires regular service every 6 months. There are many youtube videos showing how to clean your furnace, however, that will not typically cover your warranty requirements and there are parts they may be damaged if you are not careful.

Regular service of your furnace will not guarantee that you will never have a furnace failure, however, but it will greatly reduce the possibility of needing to call someone out at midnight in the middle of a snowstorm.

Fesmire Heating and Air Conditioning is small business at it’s best. When you call Fesmire HVAC you speak to Louie Fesmire, a Pueblo, CO native serving Southern Colorado since 2000. They are a BBB A+ rated, Armstrong Air certified Technician and they care about their customers. 719-240-5109

Serving: Pueblo, Penrose, Florence, Fowler, Pueblo West, Rye, Colorado City, Walsenburg and surrounding areas

Programmable Thermostats-True energy saver or not?

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Do programmable thermostats really save money?

In theory they are a great idea, in reality they have actually been shown to cost you more.

It is easier for your furnace to maintain a consistent temperature than it is to bring the temperature up 10 degrees or more. Everything in your home absorbs heat; the furniture you are sitting on, the floors and walls… If you set the temperature much lower than your normal setting, everything cools off. If the furnace is off for 8 hours while you are at work, all the heat stored in your walls and furniture is spent and now your furnace has to work to reheat them. You can sit in a 68º room and be comfortable, however, if everything in the room is colder than 68º then it absorbs the heat from the room and the room “feels” colder.Ice Furniture

It is more efficient and comfortable to maintain a relatively consistent temperature.

In May 2009, the EPA suspended Energy Star certification for programmable thermostats [PDF], writing:

EPA has been unable to confirm any improvement in terms of the savings delivered by programmable thermostats and has no credible basis for continuing to extend the current Energy Star specification.

Best practices to save money on heating/cooling
1. Program the thermostat to lower heat by 8 percent when away from home or asleep. (At 72º that’s less than 6º)
2. Keep blinds, shades and draperies open during the day to allow sunshine in to warm up the room.
3. Properly seal and insulate the attic, exterior walls, floors, basements and crawl spaces.
4. Install a weather stop to prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from escaping.
5. Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen as little as possible.
6. Change air filters at least every three months to prevent dust and dirt buildup.
7. Close vents and doors to unused rooms or bedrooms when not in use.
Programmable thermostats if used properly can offer some savings, however, it has been shown that few people actually use them correctly.