What the SEER Means for Your Air Conditioner

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

In the summer, your energy bills just seem to keep rising. But new air conditioning installation gives you the opportunity to select a system that may actually bring cooling costs down. Since cooling costs take up a large portion of most energy bills in the summer, finding a high-efficiency unit should be a top priority for most homeowners when selecting a new AC. But how do you decide which system is right for you? Easily—look at the SEER!

The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is written on the EnergyGuide label of every air conditioning system. This number is a measurement of the cooling capacity of an air conditioner, measured in BTUs (British thermal units) per hour divided by the total energy output of any system. A higher SEER will usually save you more money on your cooling costs.

According to the U.S. government, all air conditioning systems sold in the country must have a SEER of 13 or higher. However, to receive the ENERGY STAR logo, a distinguished mark for many home appliances, an AC unit must have a SEER of 14 or greater. ENERGY STAR systems meet criteria set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the amount of pollutants released in the air without sacrificing the performance homeowners want.

The SEER isn’t the only thing you should look at when selecting a new system. Systems with higher SEERs are usually more expensive than those with lower ones, so some homeowners may try to save money by choosing a smaller cooling capacity. This is problematic; smaller air conditioners may never get your home to the correct temperature, and the extra wear on your system will cause it to fail sooner.

A system with a high SEER does not guarantee unlimited efficiency. All air conditioners should be professionally maintained and cleaned, and you should replace air filters about once a month.

A professional technician can help you find a system with a high SEER, and can tell you about many other money-saving upgrades for your new system. For air conditioning services in Kennesaw, call Cool Air Mechanical today!

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Causes of Inefficiency in Your Air Conditioner

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

It’s not unusual to see a small rise in your energy bills at this time of year, but if you’ve noticed a sharp increase in your bills, and you haven’t changed how you typically operate your air conditioner, you may be dealing with inefficiency issues. There are a number of factors that can cause your air conditioner to run less efficiently, even if your system appears to be fine. Unfortunately, inefficiency can point to developing or existing problems with your air conditioning in Alpharetta, and the sooner these issues are attended to, the better.

Culprits of Inefficiency

There are a number of things that can reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning system, but here are three that our Cool Air Mechanical technicians see frequently:

  • Dirty Air Filters

The air filter in your air conditioner helps stop dust and dirt from entering your system. It’s a big job, which is why the filter should be changed every 1-3 months. When your air filter isn’t changed, it becomes clogged, creating a layer of dirt, dust and debris that can restrict the air flow in your system. Restricted air flow forces your AC to work harder, so it uses more energy – energy that will show up in your monthly utility bill.

  • Fan Issues

Your air conditioner has two fans, one near the condenser and the other near the evaporator. Fans have multiple parts, including blades, motors, fan belts and ball bearings, all of which can experience problems. Once a fan turns slower than usual, or stops completely, the air flow in your system decreases, creating strain on your system.

  • Low Refrigerant

The refrigerant in your system has to be at a specific level in order to work properly; this amount is in the manufacturer’s handbook. There are only two reasons your refrigerant level changes: the wrong amount was administered during initial installation, or you have a leak. Low refrigerant can cause system-wide problems, but most of all, it causes your air conditioner to compensate for the loss by working harder.

Maintenance Is the Key

Any time your air conditioner operates inefficiently, it will use more energy. A great way to keep your air conditioner running optimally is by scheduling bi-annual maintenance. During routine maintenance, your system is thoroughly inspected and cleaned, and repairs are made as needed. Regular maintenance allows you to get ahead of small problems and prevent bigger ones from occurring.

If you think you may be dealing with inefficiency, or you are ready to schedule a routine maintenance visit, call Cool Air Mechanical today!

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3 Common Air Conditioning Repairs

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Here at Cool Air Mechanical, we know it’s summer when the phones start to ring. Air conditioners work extra hard in the Georgia heat, and, as a result, some may run into problems. If you need air conditioning repair this summer, you’re not alone. Here are 3 of the most common air conditioning repairs our technicians encounter here in Lawrenceville.

1. Refrigerant Leak

One of the most common air conditioning repairs is a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant continuously moves through your AC system to remove heat from your home and release it outdoors. There’s a set level at which the refrigerant is meant to remain at all times. If this level ever changes, the exchange of heat may be unable to take place, and your unit won’t be able to properly cool your home. Refrigerant sometimes escapes from your AC system through a small leak, which a professional technician can locate and correct.

2. Frozen Evaporator Coil

An air conditioning unit is designed to accommodate a certain amount of airflow. If the airflow changes for any reason, such as a blocked duct or a dirty air filter, the evaporator coil may freeze. The evaporator coil, located inside your home, helps to evaporate the refrigerant so it can take in heat. When freezing occurs, a technician will not only take care of the frozen coil but will also look for the source of the problem, so the unit is less likely to run into airflow issues in the future.

3. Faulty Thermostat

A faulty thermostat is often the root of your AC problems. If your air conditioner won’t run, or if it does not turn on and off at the proper times, it may just mean that your thermostat is not functioning properly, so that your system cannot sense when to turn on and off. A technician can check for problems with the sensor or other wiring issues during a service call.

When your AC needs repair, don’t stress. At Cool Air Mechanical, we’ve seen it all. Call us any time of the day for AC service in Lawrenceville.

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What the ENERGY STAR Label Means for Your Air Conditioning

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to start looking at your options for air conditioning in Duluth, GA. If you’re comparing AC systems, you may have seen the ENERGY STAR label printed on product descriptions and packaging. But what does this mean for your air conditioning? Do you need an ENERGY STAR certified air conditioner in your home?

If you want to save on your energy bills this summer, an AC system backed with the ENERGY STAR label may be the right choice for you. Read on to discover how an ENERGY STAR product can save you money without affecting the performance you expect from your new AC.

Increased Energy Savings

The ENERGY STAR label is a government-regulated symbol that allows you to identify whether your appliances are energy efficient according to guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR certified AC systems help to decrease pollutants, which not only helps to protect the environment but also allows you to save money on your monthly energy bill.

Products with this symbol must meet certain qualifications to earn the ENERGY STAR label. This label means that energy savings will increase significantly when compared to less efficient systems. While ENERGY STAR air conditioners may cost more than other systems, the savings over time can offset the initial fee.

No Need to Sacrifice Performance

If an air conditioner uses less energy, you may assume that the performance of the system suffers as a result. However, in order to earn ENERGY STAR certification, a product must meet consumer demands for system performance. As a result, your air conditioner will offer the same features and high performance you would expect from any other system while saving you money over time.

Only a technician can help your AC to remain energy efficient throughout the years. In addition to purchasing an ENERGY STAR air conditioner, we recommend professional maintenance once a year to clean and adjust the components of your AC system and to look for any potential problems that could affect energy efficiency.

Cool Air Mechanical offers ENERGY STAR air conditioning in Duluth, GA. Call now!

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How Does Humidity Affect Air Conditioning Systems?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Your air conditioner is responsible for making your home comfortable during the hot months of summer, but that equation involves more than just lowering the temperature. Humidity plays a huge role in determining the comfort levels of your household, and the levels of humidity in your home can affect your air conditioning system accordingly. When it comes to air conditioning service in Dunwoody, GA, residents need to keep that in mind: our summers are as humid as they come, and if you’re not careful, it could adversely impact your AC unit.

Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. The higher the humidity, the more moisture is present. This affects our comfort levels because we sweat to cool off. As the sweat evaporates off of our skin, it lowers the temperature of our bodies. However, if the humidity in the nearby air is too high, the sweat won’t evaporate, and our bodies won’t get cool. Human beings tend to be most comfortable with relative humidity levels between 25% and 50%. As you probably know, things can get much steamier here in the South.

Your air conditioning system can help somewhat. As it cools the air inside of its system, the humidity solidifies into beads of condensate, which drip into a pan and can then be carried out via a line. That helps lower the humidity in your home and make it more comfortable. Unfortunately, it also tends to put a lot of extra strain on your air conditioner, which ends up using more power than it should to keep your home cool, and if too much condensate builds up in the system, it can overflow into the rest of the system.

In cases where the humidity affects the air conditioning system unduly, you can install a whole house dehumidifier to keep it in check. Not only will it improve comfort levels overall, it will reduce the strain on your air conditioner and lower the risk of a breakdown. For this and similar upgrades to your air conditioning, Dunwoody, GA residents have an answer in Cool Air Mechanical. We have the personnel and experience to do the job right, so give us a call today!

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What Is a High Velocity Comfort System?

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Because people usually don’t think much about the comfort systems in their homes—unless they malfunction—they are often unaware of the continual development of comfort technology. When the time comes for replacing an old system with a new one, a homeowner may not know that recent advances offer an even better way to heat and cool a house than before.

One of the most exciting advances in home comfort is the invention of high velocity comfort systems. These forced-air HVAC systems can provide both air conditioning and heating superior to what standard ducted systems can, but without needing space-gobbling ductwork. If you live in an older house without room for extensive ductwork, you can toss out your old window AC units and instead invest in a high velocity system. If you are planning new home construction, a high velocity system is also a great idea.

Because of the complexity of these systems, you must have a qualified professional installer handle the work. For the necessary skill installing air conditioning in Alpharetta, GA, call Cool Air Mechanical and our skilled team.

The High Velocity Comfort System Basics

The current high velocity comfort systems available are air conditioners (which can also heat with the addition of a hot water coil, add-on heat pump, or electric duct heater) that use small sized tubing for ducts rather than large ductwork channels. Most the plastic tubing used for high velocity systems are no larger than 2.5” in diameter, which makes them easy to fit into almost any space. Older buildings that don’t have room for ducts adapt easily to these miniature air channels, and they will add on to almost any house without requiring much (or any) remodeling.

But the small ducts do not mean a compromise on comfort. It’s the opposite, actually. High velocity systems spread even temperatures throughout rooms through an air principle called aspiration. Where standard ducts simply billow conditioned air into a room, taking time to fill up the space and creating uneven temperatures, the air from a high velocity system enters to room at a speed that creates suction that draws the room’s air into its airstream—this is the action of aspiration. The result is an even temperature throughout the room, no more than 2° different from the thermostat setting.

High velocity systems also operate with less noise than standard air conditioners and heat pumps. The special air handler isolates noise and vibrations, and the supply tubing reduces sound down to that of a whisper.

To learn more about how a high velocity system can work in your home, talk to our specialists in heating and air conditioning in Alpharetta, GA. At Cool Air Mechanical, we’re proud of the service and superior comfort we bring to our customers. Give us a call today to set up your next service appointment.

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Prolong Your Air Conditioner’s Life with These Steps

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Part of saving money with your home’s central air conditioning is ensuring that you receive the longest life possible from it. Nothing wastes money faster than investing in an air conditioner, only to have it fail a few years later… a decade before it should.

Although we cannot control all the factors that can lead to the premature demise of an AC, we can still control most of them. The following tips will help you prolong your air conditioner’s service life so that it reaches it manufacturer’s estimated lifespan—and possibly beyond.

You will need the assistance of professionals, like those at Cool Air Mechanical, to help your air conditioning in Atlanta, GA operate for many years keeping you cool.

Tips to extend your AC’s life

  • Regularly change the air filter: This is an essential step to ensure that your air conditioner 1) doesn’t overwork because of restricted airflow, and 2) doesn’t receive damage from debris getting inside. You should change the filter regularly during the summer.
  • Use fans in your house: The less you need to run your air conditioner, the slower it will age and the longer it will last. If you can, install ceiling fans in the rooms, which increase air circulation and break up pockets of hot air. However, standing fans can work almost as well at keeping you comfortable during moderately warm temperatures so you won’t need to run the AC.
  • Install an upgraded thermostat: A programmable thermostat will help you have better comfort from your air conditioner without requiring it to run as often. Even updating to a basic digital model from a manual model means greater precision cooling and less time spent running the AC unnecessarily.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: If you air conditioner goes for a year without a maintenance visit from an HVAC technician, it will run on average 20% less efficiently. This puts enormous strain on the system and prematurely ages it. Maintenance will also catch repair issues early, so you can arrange to fix them before they become more serious and impair the AC.

When in doubt, turn to HVAC professionals

Although you can take many steps to cool down your home without putting extra pressure on your AC, you’ll need skilled assistance to keep an air conditioning system running at its best throughout its lifetime. Call Cool Air Mechanical and sign up for our Preventive Service Plan to give your air conditioning in Atlanta, GA the longevity you need to receive the most value from it.

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3 Common Problems Requiring Commercial HVAC Repair in Atlanta, GA

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Commercial HVAC units run according to the same principles as home heating and air conditioning systems, though they must often shoulder a heavier load. During the summer, you can ease the burden on your AC system by running the fan or opening the windows instead of using the AC when the sun goes down. However, that isn’t possbile with most commercial buildings. An office or retail business needs reliable air conditioning in order to function; otherwise, customers will stay home and employees will be miserable until you can arrange for proper commercial HVAC repair. Atlanta, GA compounds the issue with its hot humid summers. When issues arise, you can’t let them wait in the Georgia heat without causing significant damage to your business. Here are 3 common problems requiring commercial HVAC repair services.

  • Dirty components. Often, commercial HVAC components are located outdoors (usually on the roof with full exposure to the elements). When they get dirty or dusty, it can seriously interfere with the unit’s ability to function. For example, dust on the coils prevents the cooling process from working as it should, causing ice to form on the surface and reducing the amount of cool air going into the building. On a similar note, the drain line can become clogged with debris and build-up, creating stagnant water that could overflow and damage other components in the HVAC system.
  • Electrical issues. Most commercial HVAC systems require electricity to function, and problems can arise when electrical components break down. Worn contacts can result in arcing, or may shut down electrical power completely. Similarly, an overloaded component may trigger the circuit breaker connected to the HVAC system. (Some components may have individual shut-off switches, designed to cut power to the unit before any other parts of the system are damaged.)
  • Refrigerant leaks. Refrigerants are the gaseous chemicals that circulate through the AC unit, making air conditioning possible. When leaks develop in the lines, they can cause all kinds of problems, from an overheated compressor to ice forming on the evaporator coils. A trained technician can identify and seal the leak before recharging refrigerant levels.

If you experience any of these issues, you want to contact someone who knows the specifics of commercial HVAC repair in Atlanta. Call Cool Air Mechanical today to set up an appointment. 

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Atlanta Air Conditioning Guide: What Is in My Outdoor Unit?

Monday, September 9th, 2013

If you’ve spent any time walking around outside your home during a beautiful summer day, you’ve probably at some point wondered what exactly is in the outdoor unit of your air conditioner. Here is a list of the most crucial components contained in your outdoor unit—also called the condenser—and what they do to keep your air conditioner working.

  • The Compressor: This cylindrical device is what moves the refrigerant around your air conditioning system. It’s a pump that does quite literally what its name says: compressing the refrigerant, changing it into a highly pressurized hot gas that will move into the condenser coils.
  • The Condenser Coil: This is where the heat exchange takes place. The refrigerant heated from the compressor moves through this coil, where the heat is released to the outside.
  • The Fan: The fan does the job of  blowing air over the condenser coil, allowing it to dissipate heat to the outside. As the hot gas begins to cool down (condense) and turn into a liquid, it releases heat that the fan pushes to the outdoors. The liquid refrigerant now moves toward the indoor unit.

An air conditioner doesn’t just create cool air out of nothing and blow it into your home. It uses refrigerant to absorb the heat from the air inside your home and move it to the outside. The outdoor unit takes care of the job of removing that heat through the actions of the compressor, the condenser coils, and the fan. All of these components need to be in the best condition for your air conditioner to work effectively and to offer you a comfortable and pleasant living space.

The experts at Cool Air Mechanical have years of experience with air conditioning in Atlanta, and can take care of your needs if something goes wrong with your air conditioner’s outdoor unit. Our trained technicians are also available to perform preventive maintenance on your AC that will keep you from having to do more costly repairs later on. Call us today to schedule service!

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Reducing Environmental Impact While Enjoying Air Conditioning in Atlanta, GA

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

It’s hard to imagine how the people in Atlanta, GA, handled its summers before the advent of air conditioning systems. The sweltering heat and high humidity of July and August take their toll, but thanks to air conditioning technology, we can relax in the cool indoors and wait for the heat to subside. Many people may be concerned about the environmental impact of all that cool air, both in terms of energy consumption and in the use of refrigerants which may damage the environment. Luckily, there’s things you can do about it. Here are a few ways to reduce environmental impact while still enjoying your air conditioning.

In first place, check the type of refrigerant your system uses. Newer air conditioning units need to use environmentally friendly forms of refrigerant, as stipulated by the Montreal Protocol in an effort to lower the amount of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) in the atmosphere. R-22, a refrigerant used for most air conditioning units in the past, is being slowly phased out. Older units can still use R-22, but new units need to use more environmentally friendly refrigerant. If you want to reduce your environmental impact, see about replacing your old air conditioning unit with a new one.

Along those lines, you can also replace your existing air conditioning unit with a more energy efficient one. Units that feature the EnergyStar label meet certain exacting standards from the government and can be counted on to produce higher levels of efficiency than those without the label.

If installing a new air conditioning system is more than you’re ready for these days, you can keep your existing system clean and well-maintained. A regular “tune-up” from a qualified technician can clean dirty parts, tighten seals and fittings, and identify problematic components that might not be functioning as well as they should. Such maintenance will improve the efficiency of the unit, using less energy and making less of an impact on the environment. If you want to set up a regular maintenance schedule, or discuss the possibility of installing a new air conditioning unit, speak to the professionals at Cool Air Mechanical. For Air conditioning service in Atlanta, GA, give us a call today!

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