Apr 26 , 2016

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Did you know that changing your HVAC filter can help improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment up to 15%?  You heating and cooling unit makes up approximately 50% of your energy bill so by changing your filter on a regular basis, your $200 month bill could be lowered by $15 to $30 a month.  Not bad!

How do you determine when your filter needs changing?

  • Do you have pets? You should consider changing the filter monthly unless the pet is a fish.
  • What is the current air quality? If you have allergies, change the air filter monthly to keep the air fresh and clear.
  • How many people live in your home? More people = more dust that is flying around.  If you live alone with no pets, you can change seasonally.
  • Get in the habit of checking your filters at the beginning of every month. Temperature and seasons effect the dust collection of the filter.

Mar 08 , 2016

The temperature is heating up early this year in Southern Arizona. Did you know that 54% of your utility bill is from heating and cooling your home? Right now you might be enjoying low utility bills, but summer days are coming, and you need to be prepared!

Here are some tips:

Clean or Replace the Filters

Clean or replace your filters on a monthly basis. If you don’t, air flow will be restricted which will reduce efficiency and you will be recirculating dust into your home. Your allergies will thank you!

Clean the A/C Condenser Coils

A central air conditioner’s condenser unit is essentially a large fan in a metal box with sides that look like grilles. If debris has gotten inside your unit, dirt is probably clogging the coils. Anything that obstructs the flow of air will cut down your condenser’s efficiency, so it is important to clean the coils at the beginning of every cooling season.

Check the Coolant Lines

The refrigerant tubes or pipes that run from the evaporator on the air handler to the condenser outside are typically covered with foam coolant line insulation to prevent them from losing energy. If you have areas where the insulation is frayed or missing, you need to replace it with either foam insulation sleeves or by wrapping the lines in a spiral fashion with foam insulation tape.

Test the Unit

If your A/C unit isn’t running properly, please contact us at Family Air.

Tips taken from Don Vandervolt’s article on HomeTips.com

 

Feb 17 , 2016

Now you can receive instant rebates on air conditioners, heat pumps and duct system sealing from TEP when you hire Family Air for your cooling and heating needs.

The following rebates are available to TEP customers:

ENERGY STAR® AC/heat pump quality installation $500
ENERGY STAR® AC/heat pump quality installation with early retirement of qualifying existing system* $850
Equipment downsizing or variable speed unit incentives (with qualifying AC/heat pump) $150
Duct sealing — varies based on actual leakage reduced: up to $450
Existing unit being replaced must have a rated or operating EER of < 8.5 as screened by a TEP Efficient Home Program contractor.

Give us a call today to see how we can save you money on your air and/or heating unit!

Jan 20 , 2016

There are a variety of ways to protect and improve your indoor air quality. The 3 basic strategies to improve indoor air quality are as follows:

Source Control

The most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions.Some sourcescan be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs.

Ventilation Improvements

Another approach is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors.Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors increases the outdoor ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate. This is especially important while painting, paint stripping, cooking, or engaging in maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, or sanding.

Air Cleaners

There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.

The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute).
A very efficient collector with a low air-circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but a less efficient collector.

Contact Family Air to check the indoor quality of your home and suggest improvements.

Content provided by USA Environmental Protective Agency

Dec 02 , 2015

The average life span of a furnace is approximately 20 to 30 years, however if your unit is over 15 years old it is probably a good idea to review and consider furnace replacement options which will be more efficient and save you money.
Here are some indicators it may be time for you to replace your furnace

  • The furnace constantly needs repairs.
  • Yourgas/electric bill is going up despite usage staying the same.
  • The rooms in your house are heating unevenly
  • The furnace is cycling on and off frequently
  • Your furnace is noisy and develops hums, buzzes and rattles
  • Your furnace puts out excessive dust particles.
  • You see signs of rust in and around your furnace, or the components show cracks or corrosion.

If your furnace is exhibiting any of the above warning signs, call Family Air to inspect the unit. A simple repair may be able to solve your problem or they can give you advice on the best type of unit to replace it with.


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Oct 18 , 2015

Sure the weather is still warm in October but you should not wait until the cold weather arrives to maintain your furnace. Through preparing your furnace for winter requires a little effort to keep you and your family comfortable when the cold weather finally gets here. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests checking your furnace before cold weather arrives so if your furnace malfunctions, you can have it repaired before you need indoor heating~ what a concept!

Here are some helpful tips for you:

  • Replace the air filter in your furnace each Locate the filter and pull it out. Slide the new filter into the slot, following the arrows on the frame of the filter.
  • Consider upgrading the filter if your current filter is a flat filter. Upgrading to a pleated filter, HEPA filter or electrostatic filter increases the energy efficiency of your furnace and allows the warm air to flow unimpeded through your home.
  • Clean your air vents and ducts. Remove the vent covers with a screwdriver. Use the extension hose of your vacuum to remove the dust.
  • Inspect the blower belt for cracks. Turn off the power to the furnace at the main circuit breaker. Use a screwdriver to remove the steel cover of the air handler. The blower belt is the largest rubber belt that you see. Replace the belt if it is cracked.
  • Engage your set-back, or programmable, thermostat so it automatically lowers the temperature while you are asleep or away from your home. According to the Consumer Energy Center, you could save from 20 to 75 percent on your furnace’s operating costs by using this type of thermostat.
  • Inspect the exhaust flue outdoors to ensure it is free of obstructions such as branches or animal nests.
  • Keep the area around your furnace unit free of debris and clutter.
  • Open all your air vents. Remove furniture, boxes and clutter that get in the way of air flowing from the vents.
  • Any problems? Call Family Air Cooling and Heating and we’ll get it fixed for you!

Tips from SF Gate Home Guides, Jessica Lietz

Sep 15 , 2015

SEER measures the ratio of cooling capacity to power input, and the higher the rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. SEER ratings have gradually increased in recent years, so you might find great value in replacing your 10 year-old system with a more efficient and newer model. Even new entry-level models are much more efficient than standard models of decades past.

Nationwide, EPA standards require all air conditioners manufactured after the first of January 2015 to have a minimum rating of 14 SEER.  Prior to that, all systems had to achieve at least a 13 SEER rating.

The federal Energy Guide label can help you determine your current unit’s SEER rating at a glance. It will be prominently displayed, along with a range comparing it to other units.  If you are thinking about purchasing a new unit, the Department of Energy offers online energy efficiency calculators http://energy.gov/eere/femp/energy-and-cost-savings-calculators-energy-efficient-products  to help you forecast how much money you will save on energy costs with equipment that carries a different SEER ratings.

Aug 30 , 2015

When is it time to replace?

Energy Star lists the following telltale signs that indicate that it is time for you to consider replacing your heating and cooling equipment, or improving the performance of your overall system.

Your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old.

Consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs.

Your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.

Consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, which is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace. If you have a boiler, consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.

Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up.

Your cooling or heating equipment may have become less efficient.

Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.

Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.

No one is home for long periods of the day and you do not have a programmable thermostat.

Install a programmable thermostat or have a good contractor install one and instruct you on its use — to start saving energy and money while they’re away or sleeping.

Your home has humidity problems.

Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.

Your home has excessive dust.

Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.

Your heating or cooling system is noisy.

You could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.

Family Air can help you determine if you need to make a change.

 

Jul 07 , 2015

Excerpt from This Old House Magazine article on “Air Conditioners Really are Getting Better” by Max Alexander

 

All in the Sizing

No matter how efficient your air conditioner is, it needs to be sized correctly for maximum comfort and minimum energy expense. The key is proper balance between the condenser, where the refrigerant is pressurized and cooled, and the evaporator, where indoor air is cooled and dehumidified before being circulated through the house’s ductwork by the air handler.

Condensers are sized by the refrigeration ton, or “ton” for short. That’s the amount of refrigeration needed to freeze one ton of water in 24 hours — 12,000 Btus per hour. As a general rule, it takes a ton of air-conditioning to cool 1,000 square feet of well-insulated space. When recommending size, a savvy air-conditioning contractor will take into account the home’s layout, insulation levels, air leakage, sun exposure, and general climate.

Undersizing a system can overwork the condenser and clog it with frost, which shuts the system down (for a time). But according to Richard Trethewey, This Old House’s plumbing, heating, and cooling expert, oversizing is the more common problem because contractors tend to jack up the tonnage in hopes of avoiding future complaints. “More is not better,” Richard warns. The house cools down so quickly that the thermostat shuts off the air handler before it has a chance to fully circulate and dehumidify the inside air. “Your house ends up feeling cold and clammy,” he says. His advice: Tell your contractor that you intend to keep the summer thermostat at 75 degrees — perfectly comfortable if the inside air has been sufficiently dehumidified.

Richard also recommends investing in a two-stage compressor, which works at full power only on the hottest days. The rest of the time, it doesn’t compress (and, by extension, cool) the refrigerant as much, so the air handler operates longer and has more time to squeeze humidity out of the indoor air. “You save energy and you’re more comfortable,” he says. “How can you beat that?”

Still, before you run out and replace your old system with a new and improved one, do some homework. The amount you should invest depends on how many days you’re likely to run it and your cost of electricity. “You don’t want to spend $2,000 for a system that saves you $100 a year,” Richard says, especially since condensers last only about 15 years. And when it’s time for an upgrade, make sure to replace the evaporator at the same time. If you try mixing old and new components, you’ll probably end up with a ruined compressor and no AC when you need it most. And that’s definitely not cool.

Jun 02 , 2015

https://news.azpm.org/p/news-spots/2015/5/25/64595-when-it-hits-100-those-who-keep-cool-air-blowing/