September 2014 - ACS Absolute Comfort Heating & Cooling

Hanging on to Your Old A/C Another Season? Get More Out of It

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old A/CHouston is known for its summertime heat and humidity, and air conditioning is essential for health, comfort and safety in our extreme climate. If your system is on the verge of needing replacement, you may be able to squeeze another season or two out of it. While older air conditioners are much less efficient than the newer systems on the market today, there are a number of things you can do to keep your old A/C humming as efficiently and problem-free as possible toward the end of its operating life.

Schedule Maintenance

Annual preventive maintenance can maintain the efficiency of even a old system, through tune-up tasks that reduce energy consumption, improve comfort, and prevent common problems during periods of heavy use.

Perform DIY Tasks

Throughout the summer, there are two monthly tasks you should perform to keep your old A/C in good shape.

  • Inspect the air filter. A dirty filter restricts the flow of air, causing damage and reducing efficiency. When the filter is dirty, replace it with a clean one.
  • Hose down the outdoor unit to remove dust and debris that can interfere with heat exchange and reduce your comfort and system efficiency.

Seal Air Leaks and Ducts

Air sealing your home’s envelope and repairing loose duct joints will lower the cooling load of your air conditioner to help it do its job more efficiently, and it will reduce wear on the system.

Use Fans to Stay Cool

Ceiling fans and portable fans make you feel cooler, allowing you to turn up the thermostat without losing comfort, and further lowers the cooling load on your system.

Combat Heat Gain

Help your air conditioner keep you cool by closing window shades during the day to keep the sun from warming your rooms. Use heat-generating appliances during the cooler part of the day, and make sure your attic is adequately insulated to help keep your home cool.

For more expert tips on how you can keep your old A/C operating efficiently for another season, please feel free to contact us in the Houston area at ACS Absolute Comfort.

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Replacing an HVAC System: Four Key Things to Think About First

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 Replacing an HVAC SystemThe Houston area climate requires an HVAC system that can keep up with both the cooling and heating load, operate efficiently to save you money, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and provide you with a high level of comfort. If you’re thinking about replacing an HVAC system with a newer, more energy-efficient system, here are a four major considerations to think about before committing to a new furnace, air conditioner or heat pump, to ensure you get the system that will best suit your needs for the next 10-20 years.

1. Replace It All? Or Just One Part?

If the indoor unit of your split-system A/C or heat pump is in good shape but the outdoor unit could use replacing, you might be tempted to replace only the outdoor unit.

In fact, replacing just one component of a split-system HVAC system can lead to serious and expensive operating problems down the road. Mismatched indoor and outdoor units won’t typically live up to the standards of efficiency you expect, and will likely result in the poor performance of both parts. And they may not work together at all.

Depending on the size of your new system and the condition of your ductwork, you may be able to use the existing ducts instead of replacing the whole duct system. However, it’s essential to have a professional evaluate the ductwork to determine if it’s sized properly for the new HVAC system and whether it’s in good enough shape to ensure the highest possible efficiency of the new equipment. Either way, the ductwork should be properly sealed and insulated to provide the highest level of comfort at the lowest possible cost.

2. What’s the Best Size?

Time for Fall HVAC Maintenance: Don’t Delay

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Fall HVAC MaintenanceSummer is drawing to a close in the Houston area, and that means it’s time to start thinking about scheduling your fall HVAC maintenance. An annual tune-up will increase the efficiency of your furnace or heat pump to save you money on energy costs, and it will help ensure a problem-free heating season.

Fall HVAC maintenance should be performed by a qualified technician from a reputable contractor who has the skill and expertise to spot problems and make repairs. This is to ensure quality, guaranteed work.

What’s Included in Professional Maintenance?

Over time, normal wear on your heating system results in a loss of efficiency, increasing your energy costs and reducing your comfort level. The following tasks likely will be included in the annual tune-up, and will go a long way toward saving you money and keeping you cozy this heating season.

  • Tighten electrical connections and belts.
  • Inspect the terminals and wiring for damage and corrosion.
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat.
  • Measure airflow for optimum heating.
  • Measure voltage on the motor and other electrical components.
  • Lubricate the moving parts to reduce friction and help prevent premature failure.
  • Clean and flush the condensate drain to prevent water damage, mold and increased humidity.
  • Test the controls of the system to ensure it starts, cycles and shuts off properly.

If you have a gas furnace, these tasks also should be included in the tune-up:

  • Inspect the fuel lines and connections.
  • Measure the flue gases.
  • Check for dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Clean and inspect the burner assembly and heat exchanger.

What You Should Do

After your tune-up, you can help keep your heating system operating efficiently for the duration of the winter by inspecting the air filter and replacing it when it’s dirty. A dirty air filter will restrict airflow, which reduces efficiency and can cause serious damage to your system. A clean filter will help keep your home’s air clean and protect your system against dust buildup on essential components.

To schedule your fall HVAC maintenance with one of our skilled technicians, please contact us in the Sugar Land or Katy areas at ACS Absolute Comfort.

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