An AC unit is a major asset, and it is important that home and property owners understand the basics of their systems and how to identify problems when they arise. Improper maintenance or an inability to spot the early signs of a potential problem could lead to increased operational costs, reduced service life, and larger repair bills. Understanding how an air conditioner operates and how to fix the problems that may develop is a responsibility that no homeowner can afford to ignore.
While air conditioners may seem like complex machines, the basic premise behind their operation is actually quite simple. An AC unit uses compressors and a closed system of coils in order to compress special compounds, known as “refrigerants.” The compression and subsequent expansion of refrigerants within the system allows for the absorption and removal of heat from an interior environment. Major components of an AC unit include the fan, compression and evaporation coils, lines for transporting refrigerant, numerous electrical components as well as any ducts or vents used to circulate cool air throughout the home.
There are a range of problems that may impair the output or performance of an AC unit. While routine maintenance and periodic inspection of an AC unit can help ensure proper operation, mechanical issues and other problems may still develop. Properly identifying a problem is essential for ensuring that it can be addressed and resolved before it develops into a more serious or costly issue.
Although it is important as a home or property owner to be able to identify whether the problems that you are having with your AC unit is a maintenance or serious repair issue, the average individual often lack the training necessary to fix the problem themselves. When it comes to an operating system as complex, vital, and expensive as an HVAC, it is recommended that homeowners contact a professional once they have recognized that there is an issue so that it is properly fixed. It is better to pay to have the problem solved correctly than to ignore the issue until it magnifies into something costlier.
When you’re choosing a new HVAC system, one of the factors your San Diego HVAC technician will present you with is each potential unit’s SEER rating. But what does the SEER rating mean and how should it factor into your decision about what HVAC system to choose?
What is SEER?
An air conditioning unit’s efficiency is often measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER. The air conditioner’s SEER is calculated by dividing the unit’s cooling output during a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. In the U.S., the SEER is the ratio of cooling in British thermal units (BTU) to the energy consumed in watt-hours. The higher the HVAC unit’s SEER rating, the more energy efficient it is and the more money you could potentially save on your energy bills.
Factoring SEER into Your Purchase Decision
Since January 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy has required that all new air conditioning systems installed in California must be a minimum of 14 SEER or higher, so you can’t choose one below that threshold. However, choosing the HVAC system with the absolute highest SEER rating may not be the correct decision either, even though a higher SEER rating can mean more efficiency. Your purchase decision must also be based on the square footage of the area you are trying to heat or cool. A unit that is too big for an area will not yield any efficiencies but will actually overcompensate, while a unit that is too small will have to work overtime, driving up utility bills and putting strain on the HVAC equipment that will cause it to wear out faster.
You’ll also need to consider other factors that influence the temperature in your home or business and how they can impact energy efficiency in order to fully realize the potential savings of your new HVAC system. Make sure your building is properly insulated and sealed against air leakage and radiant energy; you can check out our blog for tips on weatherization.
Your local San Diego HVAC professional can help you decide what size heating and air conditioning unit your home needs, recommending the SEER rating that will help you achieve maximum savings both short- and long-term. Call Precision Temperature today at (619) 588-5321 to upgrade your HVAC system and start saving on energy bills today!
Incidents of teens huffing HVAC refrigerant in order to get high are on the rise. This can cause health problems such as difficulty breathing, irregular heart rhythms, nerve and brain damage, and even death. If your air conditioning unit isn’t effectively cooling your home during the hot summer months and your HVAC technician discovers that your system’s refrigerant is low, but finds no leak in your equipment, it is possible that someone is tampering with your system to huff the refrigerant.
To prevent these incidents, the California Mechanical Code was changed, resulting in CMC 1106.3.1. CMC 1106.3.1 mandates that all outdoor refrigerant service ports be fitted with locking-type tamper-resistant caps or be otherwise protected from unauthorized access. Locking refrigerant caps and the tools to remove them are not sold to the public; only an HVAC professional can install and remove them, ensuring that the refrigerant in your system isn’t accessible to your teens or those who would harm themselves by huffing it and that your HVAC system will continue to function effectively.
Be proactive about ensuring the health and safety of yourself and those around you. If your outdoor HVAC unit’s refrigeration ports are not currently fitted with these locking, tamper-resistant caps, contact a local air conditioning professional such as Precision Temperature today.
On incredibly hot days, San Diego summers can turn deadly without a proper cooling system. Precision Temperature believes that you and your family shouldn’t have to suffer when it’s hot outside or struggle to keep your home climate controlled throughout summer or winter. That’s why we offer financing for your HVAC project with Ygrene Works™.
What It Is
Ygrene Works™ offers financing for home improvement projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water efficiency projects, including HVAC systems. Through this program, up to 100% of the costs for your new climate control system could be covered at no upfront cost to you. You also reap benefits of lower utility bills, improved comfort and indoor air quality, and increased property value.
How It Works
Ygrene provides you with 100% HVAC project financing, making it fast and affordable to upgrade your home today. There are no upfront payments, and the cost of your project can be spread out over terms of up to 30 years. The cost is incorporated into and repaid as part of your property taxes. If you sell your home, payments may transfer to the new owner – the costs stay with the property, so you’ll only pay for the project while you use it! Your eligibility is based on the equity in your property, among other factors, not your credit score. Best of all, you may qualify for tax benefits as part of the program!
Finance Your Home Comfort Project with Ygrene Works™ and Precision Temperature
Ready to begin your heating, ventilation, an air conditioning project for nothing down today? Give us a call at (619) 588-5321 to get started!
Summers in the San Diego area are known for being hot and humid, especially in inland areas such as El Cajon and Alpine. Leaving your home and heading to an indoor, heavily air conditioned public space such as a mall or movie theater are common suggestions to beat the heat. These tips don’t help you to enjoy the summer in the comfort of your own home, however. Here are three ways to keep your home cool this summer so you don’t have to flee the house.
The outdoor air cools off significantly during the night. You can take advantage of this to help keep your home cool during the day. Open all the windows in your house each night to allow the cool night air inside; in the morning, close all the windows and the shades to trap the cool air inside and prevent warming sunlight from entering and heating it up again. This has the added bonus of also keeping you comfortable while you sleep!
A ceiling room fan or table-top fan can provide great relief from the heat, albeit only in a small area of your home. Fans work by helping to speed the evaporation of perspiration and carrying heat away from your skin. It is therefore worth noting that a fan only cools people; it cannot alter the actual air temperature of the room. Turn off fans when no one is in the room to avoid wasting electricity.
Of course, the quickest and easiest way to chill down your home is to turn on the air conditioning. Your air conditioner will provide a more comfortable environment than either trapping cold air indoors or using a fan because it is the only home cooling method that also reduces humidity. You’ll also have more control over your home’s temperature when using your air conditioner. In order to reduce energy consumption and lower your cooling bill, the Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 78°F when you are at home in the summer and even warmer when you are away.
Precision Temperature’s certified HVAC technicians can help prepare your air conditioning system to keep you comfortable all summer long. Give us a call today at (619) 588-5321 for any of your home cooling needs!
People are spending more time than ever indoors. The quality of the indoor air you breathe is therefore extremely important to your health. Poor air quality can contribute to health problems including asthma and other respiratory diseases, heart disease, and even some cancers. Just short-term exposure can lead to immediate effects such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.
But what causes indoor air pollution, and how can you reduce it in your home or office? Below we discuss some common sources of indoor air pollution and three ways you can improve indoor air quality.
Indoor air pollution can come from a multitude of sources. These can include: outdoor air pollution that is brought indoors; radon; household cleaning and maintenance products; fuel-burning appliances; building materials; home furnishings; personal care products; moisture; tobacco products; and central heating and cooling systems.
Which of these indoor air pollution sources are most and least important to your health depend on how much pollution each source contributes and how harmful each pollutant is, as well as the frequency of pollutant emission.
There are three main strategies to help improve indoor air quality:
Preventing indoor air pollution in the first place or reducing the levels of pollutant emissions is often the most effective, cheapest way to improve indoor air quality. This can be done by eliminating the pollutant source, such as tobacco products; physically enclosing the source, such as those containing asbestos; or maintaining and adjusting the source to reduce emissions, such as in the case of gas stoves.
Pollutants can accumulate to unsafe levels if too little fresh air enters indoors from outside. While reducing the amount of air that leaks into and out of your home can help lower heating and cooling costs, a controlled means of ventilation is then needed to prevent high levels of indoor air pollution.
Most heating and cooling systems do not bring fresh air into the building. Natural ventilation via opening doors or windows or mechanical ventilation involving fans and outdoor air intakes helps remove indoor airborne pollutants, improving indoor air quality.
Air scrubbers are mechanical systems that remove particles from the air. They may use physical filters or UV lights, or even a combination of the two. How effective an air scrubber is at removing indoor air pollutants depends on how efficiently it removes pollutants from the air, how much air it draws in, and the strength of the pollutant source. While not all indoor air pollutants can be combated using an air scrubber, air scrubbers can help improve indoor air quality.
Without proper attention to indoor air quality, the air you likely spend much of your day breathing in might be creating serious health problems. Take action by controlling the source of indoor pollutants, increasing ventilation, and investing in an air scrubber. Precision Temperature’s knowledgeable technicians can answer any questions you have about improving indoor air quality in your San Diego home. Give us a call today at (619) 588-5321!
Spring is in full-swing in San Diego and it’s time to get your home ready for the year ahead. Think you’re done with your spring cleaning? Think again! Your air conditioning system probably needs some TLC before it is ready to help keep you cool all summer long. Follow these steps to get your AC system ready for summer:
Your central air conditioning system has two parts: an inside system that contains the evaporator coils and an outdoor unit that houses the compressor and condenser. Learn more about these parts and how they work here. Dirt and plant debris can impede the functioning of these outdoor parts, preventing your air conditioner from operating efficiently. You should keep plants near your outdoor unit trimmed back year-round and check periodically that nothing has become overgrown. Spring is a great time to give your outdoor unit a quick rinse with the garden hose to help clear any debris that may be stuck in it.
You should also clean or replace your HVAC system’s air filter in the spring to prepare your system for the heavy use of summer. Our easy three-step guide can walk you through this.
The hottest day of summer, with San Diego’s full heat in force, is a bad time to discover that your air conditioning isn’t working properly! Warm but not sweltering spring days offer a chance to test that your AC can do its job and keep you cool. Turn on your AC now, before you need it, and you may be glad you did come summer.
Insulation and air sealing are equally as useful in the summer as they are in winter. Prevent hot air from leaking in to your home and cool, air conditioned air from leaking out and both your AC system and your wallet will thank you. A professional contractor can help you with determining what type of insulation you need and where you need it, while you can probably air seal your home on your own.
One of the best ways to be sure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is functioning normally is to have it inspected by a professional. These inspections can help catch any issues before they become major expenses. In addition to looking for problems, the technician can perform any needed maintenance to help get your system ready for the summer months ahead. Preventative maintenance is key to improving your air conditioning system’s efficiency and longevity, saving you money in the long run.
If you need assistance readying your AC system for San Diego’s warm summer, give Precision Temperature a call at 619.588.5321. And for a limited time, take advantage of $250 in free program incentives from SDG&E for your HVAC system maintenance with the AC Quality Care program! Must be a San Diego Gas & Electric customer, call for details.
Air conditioning is key to many people’s comfort and health during hot San Diego summer months. Yet for all its popularity, do you know how your air conditioner works? Let’s take a look inside the ubiquitous machine.
A chemical that easily converts from a liquid to a gas and back again
The part of the air conditioning system located inside the house, often as part of the furnace. Where heat is extracted from indoor air and introduced to the air conditioning system, making the refrigerant into a gas
Usually located outside the house. Pressurizes the refrigerant in order to allow for more efficient transfer of heat
Usually located outside the house. Dissipates heat from the refrigerant to the outside environment, returning the refrigerant to a liquid
Air conditioning cools indoor air by taking advantage of the way in which liquid absorbs heat as it converts into gas. By forcing a refrigerant to evaporate into a gas and condense back into a liquid repeatedly in a closed system, the air conditioner regulates the temperature of your home. The process works like this:
Fans direct hot indoor air over evaporator coils filled with cool, liquid refrigerant. The liquid inside absorbs heat from the air and is converted into a gas.
Having absorbed some heat from the air, the refrigerant is now a fairly cool, low-pressure gas. This gas is directed into the compressor, where it is squeezed to raise the gas’s energy and temperature.
Now a hot, high-pressure gas, the refrigerant enters the condenser. Metal fins on the condenser dissipate the heat contained in the refrigerant into the environment outside the house. The refrigerant is returned to a cool liquid state and enters the evaporator to begin the process again until your desired indoor temperature is reached.
If your air conditioning system isn’t functioning properly, you could have an issue in any one of these areas. Give Precision Temperature a call at 619.588.5321 for quick and reliable diagnosis of any heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) problems today, or take advantage of our Maintenance Agreement to catch any potential problems before they start!