Atlanta Air Conditioning Pointer: Different AC Fan Modes

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Have you ever looked at your thermostat and wondered just what all those fan modes on the selector switch really mean? Is high better than low? What does “smart fan” mean? Can you use your Atlanta AC system as just a fan?

Yes, AC systems and thermostats these days have several fan modes, some of which are straightforward, and some of which are confusing. To see what each of these settings means and figure out which one you should be using, read this brief guide.

  • Low/Medium/High

These are the standard settings for air conditioner fan speed, and they pretty much speak for themselves. The “low” setting represents the slowest fan speed, which also uses less energy than the faster speeds. The “high” setting is obviously the fastest. Some models may not have the “medium” setting, but should still have the other two. Keep this at the lowest comfortable setting to save energy.

  • Auto

Sometimes labeled “Energy Saver” or “Smart Fan,” this mode is designed to automate your home’s cooling. An automatic mode does pretty much exactly what the name implies – it automatically turns the fan on and off depending on the temperature of the house. Some newer, “smarter” systems can also adjust the fan speed automatically in order to cool the house quicker. Automatic fan modes are the most energy efficient and represent the least hassle for the user, especially in combination with a programmable thermostat.

  • Fan Only

Some air conditioner models also have a mode that operates only the fan. With this setting activated, the AC will do no actual cooling and the compressor/condenser unit will not run. Instead, the air handler will just circulate air, which helps the home feel cooler. This setting can save energy during those times when it is not necessary to run the whole AC to keep the house comfortable. However, a fan by itself does nothing for actual cooling, so leaving your AC in fan only mode while the house is empty will actually waste energy.

While having so many modes can get confusing, they are designed to give you maximum control over how your home is cooled, as well as how much energy your AC system consumes. With that in mind, you can choose the right configuration of settings that works for you. For more information about your Atlanta air conditioning system, give Cool Air Mechanical a call!

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Atlanta AC Maintenance Tip: Why You Cannot Neglect It

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Household chores are no fun, including AC maintenance. But, there is a good reason we do some of the maintenance tasks we have to keep up with as homeowners. Next time you need motivation to get started your Atlanta air conditioner’s maintenance, review these five compelling reasons to stay on top of it:

1.       Hinders performance

Air conditioner maintenance keeps the various components of the AC system working optimally. When coils are dirty or filters are clogged, the air conditioner cannot cool the air as efficiently as it is supposed to. As a result, you have to cope with air that is not as cool as it should be, so your home is less comfortable.

2.       Speeds up wear and tear

Having to deal with issues like dirty blower fans makes air conditioners work harder than they would otherwise have to. This puts undue strain and stress on various parts of the overall system, which causes it to wear down more quickly. You probably selected your air conditioner on the assumption that it would last many years, but this won’t be the case if it is neglected.

3.       Causes more frequent repairs

Aside from performance problems and simple wear, neglect also promotes malfunctions and broken parts. This means more breakdowns and repair calls, both of which can be prevented or at least minimized with some routine maintenance.

4.       Can be hazardous to your health

A lot of people don’t think of this, but because your air conditioner circulates air throughout your home, it plays a key role in your overall health. It filters out impurities so that the air you breathe is reasonably free of allergens, bacteria and other nasty stuff. Neglecting routine maintenance can result in dust, dander, mold spores and other potential health hazards winding up in your lungs.

5.       Costs money

The overarching theme of each of the first 4 reasons is money. All of those problems cost money, and that is money that could easily be saved with a little maintenance. To keep that money in your pocket, adhere to a diligent AC maintenance schedule.

As a reminder, in addition to your own regular maintenance as a homeowner, you should also schedule regular annual maintenance by an Atlanta air conditioning professional to keep your AC running like a champ. To set up an appointment, call Cool Air Mechanical today!

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Tips to Make Your Atlanta HVAC System More Efficient

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Considering the fact that up to half of the energy used in a home goes toward heating and cooling, it is smart to make sound decisions regarding the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.   Below are some tips to make your Atlanta HVAC system more efficient:

Regularly Maintain HVAC Equipment

Annual tune-ups of heating and cooling systems can easily improve HVAC system efficiency. Some of these steps a professional tech will do include:

  • Ensure outdoor unit has proper ventilation, is free of debris or foliage growth, and is located in the shade
  • Check thermostat settings for comfort while home and to save energy while away
  • Tighten electrical connections and measure voltage and currents on motors
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Inspect and clean out the condensate drain on central air conditioning units
  • Check controls of the system for proper operation

Change Air Filters

Many air filters should be changed every three months, but some as often as every month.  Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation as well as simple common sense by checking the filters frequently during high-usage times and replacing as necessary.

Seal All Household Ducts

Heating and cooling ducts can be huge energy wasters if they are improperly sealed.  These ducts can be in an attic, basement, crawlspace, or garage, and can be easily repaired with duct sealant, or metal-backed tape along seams and connections.  As well, wrapping the ducts in insulation will keep them from overheating in the summer or freezing in the winter.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can control how hot or cold a home is every hour of every day within a week.  During the summer they can be set to higher settings while residents are away on vacation, and during winter they can be set to lower settings while residents are away at work or school.  This is a great way to save on energy costs throughout the year, as keeping a more consistent house temperature also helps the HVAC system to run more smoothly.

Install ENERGY STAR® Certified Equipment

When an HVAC system is more than ten years old, or if it no longer works properly it is probably time for a replacement.  Prior to replacing an entire HVAC system, it is prudent to check for air leaks in ducts, which can be a major cause for heating and cooling issues.  If it is determined that it is time for a professional to come in and install a new HVAC system, the savings in energy will be quite dramatic indeed.

Use any or all of the above tips will make your Atlanta heating and air conditioning system more efficient, while saving you money throughout the peak seasons of heating and cooling usage.

Give Cool Air Mechanical a call today if you need any help choosing upgrades for your home’s HVAC system!


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How a Ceiling Fan Can Help Heat Your Whitesburg Home

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Most people who have ceiling fans in Whitesburg never turn them on in the winter. They assume that the fan is designed solely to cool the house – after all, blowing air feels pretty nice doesn’t it? But, a ceiling fan can actually help to move heat around your home and lower your heating bill if used properly. Here are some tips to do just that.

Rotating Warm Air

Warm air naturally rises. So, when you turn on your furnace and the blower fan pushes warm air through your ductwork into the various rooms of your home, the warm air immediately rises to the ceiling. So, for the room to feel as comfortable as you want it, you must wait for enough heat to circulate into the room to displace the cold air that was already there.

However, instead of waiting for warm air to fill the room, you can circulate the warm air as it arrives with a ceiling fan. By turning on your ceiling fan and changing the direction so it blows down (which most people already have it set to), the warm air will be pushed toward the floor, mixing it smoothly into the room and keeping you more comfortable without having the furnace on constantly.

This does two things. First, it keeps the room comfortable regardless of when the furnace cycles on or off. Second, it keeps the thermostat reading stable so the furnace doesn’t cycle on and off so quickly. If the warm air regularly rises up and the lower levels begin to cool, your furnace will frequently turn on and off as it tries to maintain the same temperature.

A Low Cost Addition to Your Home

Ceiling fans are inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing. They move air throughout the room, keep warmth low where you need it and can help reduce your energy bill in multiple ways. If you’re not sure whether a ceiling fan is right for you, talk to a technician about just how much money one of these simple devices can save you. I bet you’ll be convinced.

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Energy Star Rated Heat Pumps: A Guide from a Conyers Heating Contractor

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

If you live in Conyers, you are almost certainly familiar with EnergyStar ratings. They are those little stars you see on a lot of common household appliances, consumer electronics and other products. EnergyStar is a government program run by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to identify and clearly label products that meet strict efficiency guidelines. Products that carry the EnergyStar logo have been shown to be among the most highly efficient out there.

This labeling is important and arguably becoming more so every day. Homeowners want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the appliances in their homes are running efficiently, helping the environment and saving them money.

But have you ever wondered how a product gets to wear that EnergyStar logo? What are the guidelines it has to meet or exceed in order to be approved?

The short answer is that it varies across product lines, as you might expect. An air conditioner is very different from a personal computer. For heat pumps, though, there are some pretty simple and consistent specifications to meet.

Heat pump ratings are based on two numbers—one for cooling and one for heating. Cooling efficiency is rated on a scale called the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. This number simply describes in a nutshell how efficiently a unit can cool the area it’s installed in. Most heat pumps these days have a SEER of at least 10, and the most efficient ones carry a SEER of around 18. To meet EnergyStar requirements, a heat pump must carry a SEER of at least 14.

The second number involved in rating the efficiency of a heat pump is the heating season performance factor, or HSPF. This number describes the heating efficiency of a heat pump by dividing its estimated heating capacity by the amount of electricity it draws. Most new heat pumps have an HSPF of at least 8, which is what is required for EnergyStar approval.

A third rating criterion for heat pumps is the energy efficiency ratio, or EER. This is like SEER, except that it is an instantaneous measurement rather than one over a whole heating season. This rating is less commonly considered by consumers, but it is part of the EnergyStar criteria, so it’s worth mentioning. EnergyStar requires heat pumps to have an EER of at least 11.

Only when a unit meets or exceeds all three of these specifications is it eligible for EnergyStar approval. Keep in mind that the requirements vary for split systems versus single package systems, and that they may change over time. Consult with a professional during the purchase process to be sure the unit you want is EnergyStar approved.

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