Central Air Conditioning Buyers Guide

air conditioning buyers guide

Bryant High Efficiency Equipment

Homeowners need an air conditioning buyers guide when they  install a new central air conditioning system or upgrade the one they have.  Although most new homes come equipped with central heating and air, those systems may be a minimal basic system that won’t keep up with a growing family.  Many older homes used window air conditioning units, and those that still have their original central air system are probably at end of life. So, for those of you who are considering a new or replacement purchase, here are the top 2 considerations before you buy.

 

The first consideration in an air conditioning buyers guide is proper sizing of the unit for the amount of space you need conditioned, the usual level of warmth of your local climate, and the number of people and type of activities you do in the home.   Replacing an older unit with the same size new unit would be an easy decision to make, but if the old unit was incorrectly sized, or if you have changed the home over time, the old size might not be the right size for today.  A responsible air conditioning contractor will know how to calculate the cooling load of your home using an industry recognized method.   If a contractor tells you that determining the correct size isn’t important, beware of that contractor.

Sizing involves right-sizing the cooling equipment, the ducts that deliver the air to the rooms, and accurately locating the correct number of supply registers.  If you already have duct work for your existing heating system, the installation cost for adding a central system can be less; however, the ducts used for heating might not be the right size or in the right location for optimal cooling and your contractor should discuss that with you.  Also, if you have older duct work it might be leaky or not properly insulated, so that should be checked by pressure testing.

If your home doesn’t have existing ducts, adding them can be expensive, though if you plan to cool your entire home, central air is typically the best choice.  If you are not planning to cool the entire home, you might want to consider a split-ductless system. Unlike central systems, split-ductless systems need no ductwork so they are easier to add to some homes.

The second consideration for our Air Conditioner Buyers Guide is efficiency.  The industry uses a rating system for called SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.)  The SEER of each device is calculated by the dividing the cooling output by the electric energy input.  The result is a single number, and higher numbers indicate higher efficiency.  Older air conditioning systems have SEER ratings up to 10, but we now have SEER ratings in the mid-20’s.   Buying a higher efficiency unit will cost a little more up front but the utility savings over the life of the equipment will pay back that extra initial cost.  Also be sure to look for the Energy Star label on all the equipment you consider.  Remember, you need to have to get Consideration 1 (sizing) correct before you can get Consideration 2 (efficiency) to give you the most comfort and the most savings.

SEER ratings tell you the potential efficiency of the system if it is operating under optimal conditions.   However, most of the efficiency depends on having a correctly sized unit for your home that was properly installed with properly sealed ducts, so the third consideration is a great installation.   The best AC equipment in the world will not give you results unless it is installed per the manufacturer’s directions.  As a wise buyer, you should be sure to use an experienced and trusted contractor who will ensure all 3 considerations are covered.

If you are considering making a purchase and would like expert advice and pricing, please contact us.   Since 1987 we have helped thousands of satisfied customers with this same decision, and we’d be glad to use our skills and experience to help you.

BE WISER — CALL KAISER!

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Air Conditioner Maintenance

Air Conditioner Maintenance Can Add Years of Life

maintenance of air conditioner

If you have an older air conditioner, you may still be able to get years of relatively efficient use from it instead of replacing it.   However, making that older equipment last requires you to operate it properly and to perform periodic maintenance checks and adjustments.   This article explains what to do, but if you don’t feel qualified to do it, we can do it for you.

Air Conditioning Problems

Some common air conditioning problems come from improper operation.  When your air conditioner is on, all of your home’s windows and outside doors should be closed.  If they are open, it adds more load on the equipment, causing it to run longer than necessary. Another tip is to set the thermostat just low enough to remove oppressive heat and humidity, but not so low that you feel chilled.  If you have to put on a sweater or other clothing, then it is set too low.  Try running it in the 74-75 degree range and see if that is comfortable enough for your family.   Running fans, both floor fans and ceiling fans, when people are in a room will help them to feel cooler and are a great supplement to the air conditioner fan.

Other common problems with existing air conditioners are a result of faulty installation, poor service procedures, and/or inadequate maintenance.  Indicators of this include leaky ducts and low airflow in some rooms.

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Spring has Sprung Tuneup – Only $59

emerging daffodils tuneup for $59Spring has Sprung and flower tops are popping up all over.   They are a good reminder that its time to check your air conditioner before it gets hot outside.

Call T.A. Kaiser Heating and Air TODAY to schedule a Spring tuneup for $59.  In our flat rate service price book, this one of a kind precision tune-up is normally $129. However the first 500 customers who call to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity will receive this outstanding tune-up for only $59 per system.

You can (and should) check some things for yourself, such as removing obstructions or debris from around the outside condenser unit and changing your air filters, but you need a technician to check pressures, coolant levels, electrical connections, pressure switches, and many other components of the air conditioning system.  Our 20 point precision tune-up for your air conditioner will be thorough and complete.

In this industry there is no room for technical errors.   The technical service we provide comes from individuals who have made a career of recognizing your technical issues immediately and knowing how to remedy them in a fast and efficient manner. We recognize budget restraints and will work hard to only advise you on necessary and potential repair needs. Our service technician will proceed with your repairs only after we have received your approval.

In addition, T.A. Kaiser Heating and Air has field supervisors who serve as resources for any unusual technical situations the technician sees. These supervisors bring a wealth of knowledge and are known as industry experts at troubleshooting and problem solving.  Our service vehicles are stocked with all the tools necessary for repair needs, and with add-on items that protect your compressor and other components.

Contact us TODAY for this special offer!  Ask us about our annual maintenance program and you can just leave it all to us.   We’ll remind you at the right times and keep your equipment working at it’s best all year round!

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Zone Your Home for More Comfort

With a big home, or with an office, you can save on energy costs by dividing the space into 2 or more zones and then heating or cooling them differently depending on the activity in each zone.   That is why Bryant offers Zone Perfect technology.

The Total Comfort Thermostat Programmed for Top Efficiency

zone perfect

Bryant’s Zone Perfect digital thermostat lets you program temperature and humidity levels in 7-day cycles, variable in up to 8 zones.  Enjoy greater comfort and lower energy costs, all from a single, powerful source.

Control up to 8 zones for heating, cooling and humidity; each zone can be set for a 7-day program; all settings automatically change over from heating to cooling as needed.   The system also provides reminders for filter changes, provides diagnostic error codes for technicians, and contains sensors for inside, outside, and duct temperatures.

bryant zoneIf you want to learn more about zoning your living space, give us a call today.   T.A. Kaiser Heating and Air has been a family owned business since 1987, and we are proud of the services we perform.   We have a great team and a solid reputation in the HVAC industry.  Contact us for any HVAC-related questions and see why so many people trust us with their comfort.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

Our guarantee:  T A Kaiser Heating & Air, Inc.’s installation technicians are the best in skill, attitude and workmanship. They will care for your home and complete the job with speed and precision. They will not wear shoes on your carpets. They will clean up when they are finished and take personal responsibility for your satisfaction. They will not smoke or swear in your home and they are drug-free. If, when they have finished in your home, they have not performed in accordance with these high standards, you don’t pay until you are satisfied with the results.

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May I Remind You?

may I remind youThis is the card we use to remind customers when it’s time to check their system and  make sure everything is working properly.    With our annual maintenance agreement, you don’t have to remember it — and even better — you won’t forget it!  We’ll send you this card twice a year and ask you to set an appointment at  your convenience.  Because we have so many trucks and technicians, we are sure to have a time available that fits your busy schedule.

When the appointed day comes, our service person will call in advance to verify the appointment, and then will arrive shortly.   They will introduce themselves, put on shoe covers to protect your floors or carpets, and get right to work servicing your HVAC system.  If you have questions or concerns, the technician will be glad to answer those questions or show you on your system when possible.

Annual preventative maintenance is the best way to prevent your unit from unplanned failure, especially on very hot or very cold days.   We want to help you protect the large investment you have in HVAC equipment by extending the lifespan of your unit.     Additionally, annual preventative maintenance will ensure your unit performs as efficiently as possible so that you can receive the lowest possible monthly utility bills.

Call us today to start your annual maintenance plan, and let us remind you when service is needed.   Our goal is to not just serve you, but be your trusted source for all your heating and cooling needs.

At T.A.Kaiser, we want you to feel assured that you have chosen the most efficient and effective heating and cooling units on the market. Being a family owned business since 1987, we know what it takes to provide you with the best service and product in heating and air conditioning so that you will never have to look again.

 

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Am I Losing Hot Air?

Although your family may think you have plenty of hot air, even enough to spare, your HVAC system might be losing it and you could be unaware of that fact.   If heated air is not flowing properly into all of your rooms, or if some of them are colder than others, you should consider this question: “Am I losing hot air?”

am I losing air

published by greathomeinspector.net

This picture was recently posted by Excellent Home Inspection Service in Columbus.  It shows the top an air handler which has a big leak in it, allowing a lot of conditioned air to escape into the mechanical room instead of being pushed through the ducts to the rooms where people need it.  A hole this size would make a big difference in how long the HVAC system would have to run in order to reach the temperature set point so it could shut off.  This type of a leak would clearly run up the utility bill and make the people less comfortable in their home.

Although your family may think you have plenty of hot air, even enough to spare, your HVAC system might be losing it and you might be unaware of that fact.   If heated air is not flowing properly into all of your rooms, or if some of them are colder than others, you should consider this question: “Am I losing hot air?”

am I losing hot air 2

published by ServiceChampions.com in California

You won’t be able to see the duct connections inside your walls, but you can see the duct connections in some places in your home, such as the attic, garage, or mechanical room, and you can feel how much air flow is coming out of each duct in every room.   This picture shows a typical break in duct work that needs repair.    We recommend you take 20 minutes to look at the connections you can see and feel the ducts, then ask yourself “Am I losing hot air?”

If you see a leak you can’t fix yourself, or if you think you have an air flow problem, give us a call.  We offer expert advice on all HVAC-related issues and will be glad to help you with any of them.   Since 1987 we’ve been a family owned business — we are proud of our reputation and would like to show you why we feel that way — because of our great service.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

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Where is All the Energy Going?

Sometimes you look at your electricity bill (especially recently) and wonder how you used that many Kilowatts (a thousand watts) in just one month.   Where is all the energy going?And how can you know for sure if you’re wasting energy or really using it?

One of the best ways to find out is to get a professional energy audit by someone who does them all the time and has the right tools and experience.   Luckily, they are offered free by local utility companies so all you need to do is call them and sign up for an appointment.

Energy use chart

A professional auditor will inspect your home, either with you or alone, and then tell you where you are losing energy.  Often they provide a visual image from a thermal camera showing especially hot or cold spots around windows and doors where energy leakage is occurring.  They will give you advice on how to stop it from happening, and will usually also give you a variety of free items such as outlet gaskets and low-energy light bulbs.   It is up to you whether to use these items or not, but they will save energy if you decide to install them.

The chart above from the US Energy Information Administration shows that the average home uses almost 50% of the energy it consumes in heating and cooling the air.  The biggest improvements you can make in this area are (1) stop air leakage, (2) have energy-efficient equipment performing these functions, and (3) keep the equipment maintained in peak operating condition.  Most utility company energy auditors can help you find the air leaks, but are not technically proficient enough to inspect your heating and cooling system.   Lucky for you - we are!

If you are wondering “Where is All the Energy Going?” or your HVAC system is starting to get gray hair, contact us for an inspection.  We’ll thoroughly check it, tell you what we find, and then you can decide what to do.  If you need a replacement or a tuneup, we’ll be glad to talk to you about maintenance plans, or purchase and installation options.   We proudly sell Bryant high-efficiency HVAC systems, including geothermal systems, and we know the new systems can help save money on your energy bills!

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

 

 

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What is Auxiliary Heat?

auxiliary heatingThe term Auxiliary Heat is not well understood, as shown by this recent contact from a customer: “Our system thermostat is reading Aux Heat when the heat turns on as of today.  Just started this morning. What is the issue?”  

Notice in this image that was attached to the contact form, the outside temperature is -13 degrees and the thermostat is set for 68 degrees in the house, which is an 81 degree difference that the heat pump needs to make up.

When you see the terms Auxiliary Heat and/or Emergency Heat, you can think of both of them as extra heating capability for your home on very cold days.   They are also called “supplemental heat” because they provide heat in addition to your main source, the heat pump.

Heat pumps are designed to transfer heat by removing thermal energy from the air or the ground and adding it to the air being supplied into your home.  They work fine down to a certain temperature, and then they need some extra help to maintain the temperature in the building.   This temperature is based on average local weather conditions and can be set by the installer of your HVAC system.   When you see the AUX notification on your thermostat, it is alerting you that both the heat pump and the auxiliary electric heating strips are working at the same time, so you are using more energy than normal.   The temperature in the home should increase shortly and the AUX alert should go out.  This is normal.

However, if it is extremely cold it could still be normal for the AUX strips to remain on longer to warm your home.   If the auxiliary heat comes on and goes off to supplement your heat pump, there is nothing to worry about.   The time for concern would be when it is not especially cold outside and the auxiliary light comes on, or when the AUX light simply stays on all the time.   If you see that happen, call for professional assistance.

TA Kaiser Heating and Air technicians are well-trained and knowledgeable in all HVAC systems.   We can handle any issues you have and we guarantee satisfaction.   We’ve been a family owned business since 1987, and we have had thousands of happy customers.  Please join them by calling us today and letting us take care of all your heating and cooling needs.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

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Does Closing Vents Save Money?

Lots of people believe that closing vents in unused rooms will save money on their utility bill.  The truth is that closing vents might cause harm to your system that will cost you more in the long run.

closing vents

Although many of the diffusers or vents have a sliding lever that opens and closes the vent, it is never a good idea to completely close off vents.  You can adjust them if a room is too hot or too cold, but they should always have some air flow coming out into the room.

The fan (blower) in your HVAC system is designed to pull air from the house (using air return ducts) and then push it out to the rooms (using supply ducts.)   High-efficiency systems use a variable speed fan which automatically adjusts to the situation, but most systems still use a fixed speed motor.  Both of them are built to work against a certain air pressure, usually a half inch of water column.  As time passes, environmental changes, wear on the system, dirt in the filters, duct leakage, and other factors cause the typical system to be working against a higher pressure than it was designed to do.

closing vents 2When you close vents, you restrict the air flow causing an even higher pressure to build up in the supply ducting.  This new higher pressure causes a variable speed blower to run faster, and reduces the ability of a fixed speed motor to supply as much air as it should.  This higher pressure can also cause more of the supply air to leak out through small openings in the duct work so it doesn’t all get to the rooms where you need it.  The more vents you close, the higher the pressure builds and the more strain you put on the whole system.

Your HVAC system is also heating (or cooling) the air prior to sending it back out into the rooms, so the air has to go through a coil or heat exchanger.  Most systems have a fixed amount of cooling or heating that can be added, but when air flow goes down the system cannot exchange as much heat or cooling as with normal air flow.  This might result in a damaged coil, pressure leaks, a blown compressor, or an overheated heat exchanger. When the overheated metal cracks, you can have carbon monoxide spread throughout your home, a very dangerous situation.

The best course of action is to keep your vents open.  It is fine to modify the vent settings to change the direction of flow, or to reduce the volume of air coming out, but it is not OK to close the vents.  If you keep your filters clean, your system tuned up, and your vents open, your HVAC system will give you years of comfortable, conditioned air in your home.

Please contact us with any questions about your HVAC system.   Since 1987 we’ve been a trusted family-owned business, and we guarantee your satisfaction.   Give us the opportunity to earn your business and provide you with an annual maintenance agreement so you don’t have to worry about your system – leave it to us!

 

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Furnace Odor May Mean Trouble

nose-3With the house closed up and the heating system running a lot, you might be smelling an unusual furnace odor in your home.  Some odors can indicate specific issues with your system, so you should check into the cause if you are sensing them.  Here are some common furnace odors and the problems that might cause them.

Dusty and Burnt Odors

These smells can be generated normally after the system has been unused for 7-8 months, and it is usually comes from dust or a little lubrication that is consumed when the system is started up again.  It will often stop within a few days,  but if it continues, it may well be a larger problem so you should have it checked by a professional.

Natural Gas or Fuel Odor

If you smell the odor of rotten eggs, you probably have a gas leak in the house.  If the odor is strong, leave your house and notify the utility company or fire department.   They’ll be able to turn off the incoming gas supply and find the source of the leak.   If they determine the leak is inside your furnace, not in the incoming supply line, you will need a professional HVAC contractor to check it before you use it again to make sure it is safe.

If smell oil near your oil burning furnace, that also indicates a likely leak.  This is not as immediately explosive as a natural gas leak, but it is still a serious issue.  The oil that has leaked out could catch fire, so stop using the furnace until a qualified person checks it.

Damp or Musty Odors

Mold and bacteria can grow in a home and give off a musty odor or a sensation of moistness.   Homes can experience a buildup inside heating ducts or equipment and gradually give off this scent more and more.  If the smells appear to be strongest at your heating vents, you should have furnace and ducts checked.   You might have ducts that are leaking, and sucking in these odors from a crawl space or attic.  That would make it appear to be a furnace smell even though it is not.

Burnt Wiring Odor

You might sense the acrid smell of electrical wire melting, or sometimes even a fishy smell.  Certain HVAC components may give off an odor like this when they break or stop operating correctly.   If you detect electrical odors coming from your furnace, have your equipment inspected soon to prevent further issues.

The best way to prevent odors before they happen is to change your air filters regularly and to conduct preventative maintenance twice a year.  If you’d like our help, contact us and our team of skilled technicians will find the source of the odors and service your system so that it runs safely and efficiently.

 

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

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