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Living with Home Energy Efficiency
Home energy efficiency is essential in today’s eco-conscious world and there is little inside a residential property that does not come into play, toward creating more energy efficient homes. From light bulbs to water heaters, from home appliances to the way a home is insulated, energy savings always start in the home and they always lie in the details. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home uses 42 per cent of its total energy expenditure on space heating, 18 per cent on water heating, 6 per cent for cooling the home, 5 per cent for lighting and refrigeration (each), while the remaining 24 per cent is spent on other uses. This is why regular home energy audits are important and why they can dramatically improve any home’s energy savings standing.
What makes a home energy efficient?
According to the generally accepted energy efficiency definition, a home is efficient in terms of energy expenditure, when its occupants actively manage and maintain energy consumption levels. The more energy efficient a residence, the more performance and services it manages to deliver, for the less energy consumption. The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) with the U.S. Department of Energy designs, improves, and enforces energy-efficient standards and technologies in several aspects that relate to home building and ownership.
- Home building efficiency. The EERE runs several research and development plans, as well as a host of market stimulation plans, such as Building America and the ENERGY STAR approach to building homes as a whole. It also awards homes an energy score, which gauges their overall energetic performance, encourages students to develop energy efficiency programs and designs, and enforces residential energy building codes.
- Lighting standards. The Office is currently working to promote LED lighting better and to make sure the facts circulated about this technology are accurate. At the same time, it is encouraging the use of SSL (solid state lighting), which may one day cut down nationwide energy consumption levels to half their current values.
- Equipment and appliance standards. The Building Technologies Office of the EERE is already enforcing energy savings standards for some 50 discrete categories of equipment and appliances. Thus far, this has resulted in saving some $55 billion on power bills in 2014 alone. The office projects that the amount of money saved from 1987, when the standards first came into effect, until 2030, will surpass $1.7 trillion.
What is energy conservation?
Energy conservation is closely tied in with energy efficiency. It is a concept that stems from physics, as the energy conservation definition illustrates. In terms of the home use of energy, conservation refers to cutting down on the amount of power used, by saving energy, reducing waste, and making sure the energy available is used rationally.
Nowadays, with several programs across the country aimed at improving energy consumption levels in the residential segment, it’s actually not that difficult to create a tailored energy conservation plan for your own home. For instance, best practice recommendations from the University of Colorado state that an occupied house can reach its maximum energy efficiency when its thermostat is set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The same recommendations advise against installing a central A/C system, save for the situation in which the whole house requires cooling down. Other tips include recycling old appliances and having them replaced with newer ones, which observe ENERGY STAR standards. Finally, if you’re thinking of building yourself a home, or of purchasing a new residential construction, you shouldn’t underestimate the potential of sun-tempered homes. By using passive solar energy, a super-insulated home of this type stands to cut down your energy consumption levels by up to 40 per cent.
Here are some other useful tips for homeowners interested in devising a customized energy conservation plan:
- Thermostats should be set back during the night (by some 8 F) or when the house is not occupied for 24 hours (down to 50-55 F);
- Unused rooms can be heat-sealed by keeping their doors, windows, and heat registers closed.
- Heating systems need to be regularly cleaned, with filters replaced about once a month during the months when heating systems are in use.
- Hot water leaks and other losses can also render a home less energy efficient. As such, owners should make sure none of their faucets are leaking and have low-pressure shower heads installed. Make sure the water temperature on your washing machine is set to an appropriate level and invest in an ENERGY STAR water heater.
- Refrigerators should be set to 35-40F, with freezers at 0-5F. Don’t hold fridge doors open for too long and keep ice buildup levels in the freezer down to an absolute minimum.
- Reduce the intensity of any gas cooker to the point where the flames are blue instead of yellow.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full and let them air dry in there. Newer models no longer require that you rinse the dishes before washing them.
Q: Why is my furnace not heating the house?
A: There can be any number of reasons why your furnace is not heating. We’ve collected the most common ones below, but be advised that testing some of these hypotheses will require the aid of a qualified professional, plus the purchase of furnace repair parts. The parts that might be causing you trouble have been listed in order of how commonly they occur, starting with the most troublesome ones. We’ve also added some less than ideal situations in which your furnace might break down to the point where it’s no longer heating your home.
The igniter that’s supposed to light up the gas flame is not working properly. All furnace igniters have 120 volts running through them, provided by the main control board of the heating unit. When it does work, it’s lit up to the point where it starts glowing a bright hue of orange. A cracked or faulty igniter will need to be replaced.
The flame sensor that’s in charge with monitoring the gas burner is failing to properly detect the flame. This, in turn, will cause the control board to stop supplying the gas valve with power, hence bringing ignition to a screeching halt. Try cleaning up the flame sensor with an abrasive material (nothing too harsh) before you consider replacing it. If the problem repeats itself, then you’re definitely going to have to buy a new flame sensor.
Draft induction motor
When it breaks down or malfunctions due to shoddy manufacturing, the draft induction motor of the furnace stops properly drawing air inside the burner unit. Under normal circumstances, the air brought inside the unit would then go out through the flue of the furnace. There’s also a pressure switch inside the burner unit, which this flow of air needs to close down, in order to indicate to the main control board that air is flowing through the heating system the way it’s supposed to. Without auctioning the switch, the ignition process will fail to start or be delayed.
Main furnace control board
Most problems that require furnace repair parts and professional assistance boil down to a single issue: ignition is not occurring the way it should be. If the control board of the furnace is at fault, then you’ll absolutely have to get a new one, since fixing them is a very complicated process. A control board that’s not working well will fail to power all the other components involved in the ignition process with the voltage they require.
Flame rollout switch
There are several switches inside a furnace heater and this one is in charge with making sure the heat around the burners is being properly regulated. Normally, the flames from the burner should be led into the heat exchanger and exhausted out through the flue. When the roll-out switch is malfunctioning, it will fail to properly acknowledge this process, open, and stop the heating process inside the furnace. This is most often caused by the fact that the furnace is placed in a room where there’s not enough air, or because one of its exhaust vents is jammed. Before splurging on furnace repair parts, always check out if your vents and registers aren’t being obstructed by rugs, furniture, or other items.
Make sure that all the contacts inside your wall thermostat are working properly. If they’re not, then there’s no way your furnace could heat your house the way you want it to.
During ignition, the main control board of the furnace sends 24 volts into the gas valve assembly. If that valve isn’t working well, then it won’t open the way it should, hence not allowing gas to flow inside the burners. First off, you will need to make sure the problem doesn’t lie with the control board, as outlined above. But if there’s proper power flowing through the valve, yet it still fails to open, then that’s your culprit right there.
During draft induction, air flows through the furnace burner; at the end of this process, a pressure switched is flipped, indicating to the main control board that the air is flowing properly through the burner. Subsequently, ignition will be initiated and the furnace will heat up. If the pressure switch won’t close, then there’s no way the furnace can ignite the flame.
Troubleshooting situations unrelated to furnace repair parts
Aside from all the above scenarios, make sure the furnace is being properly supplied with all it needs in order to work well. Here are some of the most common supply-related situations that could be causing your furnace to malfunction:
- Insufficient gas supply. Make sure the gas valve is turned on – if it is, then your gas company is to blame for this. Alternatively, if your furnace runs on propane, it’s time check the levels on that.
- Insufficient air supply. Always check out the manufacturer’s recommendation on ventilation before you have a furnace installed. Some will simply ‘choke up’ due to a lack of sufficient air, when mounted inside a closet or other small, poorly ventilated space. Also, if your furnace draws air in from outdoors, make sure the inlet is not jammed by any foreign object.
- Insufficient power supply. Always check out the circuit breaker or the fuse for your furnace in the proper fuse control panel if it seems like the furnace isn’t getting enough electricity.
HVAC or Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning specialist technicians are people that have specialized in installing, maintaining, and repairing our HVAC systems. All of them are required by law and by most employers to get their certification or license prior to practicing their job as a trained HVAC specialist. If you are planning on becoming one in the near future, here are all the details you need to know on how to get it, why it’s important, and what are the requirements.
Getting your HVAC training
There are certain HVAC mechanics and technicians who work without having a certification or a degree. However, the surest way to prepare for a rewarding career in this field is by completing your HVAC training program and receiving your certification and associate’s degree.
To make matters easier, you can now complete parts or all the courses required online. If you enroll in such a student program, you are given the chance to learn how to design, maintain, and repair different machines that are part of a heating and air-conditioning system. You can also learn about the general industry standards, on-the-job safety, electronics, air distribution, and air flow.
HVAC certification requirements – what you need to do
As far as requirements go, you can only enroll for these courses if you have at least a high school diploma or a GED. Also, most colleges or education centers will require you to take some general education courses prior to starting the HVAC program. This means you need to take some classes in social sciences, math, natural sciences, and English.
Of course, all HVAC training programs differ from one learning center to the other. However, here are some classes they all have in common.
- Electric heating systems
- Air pressure tests and analysis
- Temperature flow
- HVAC troubleshooting skills
- Compressor maintenance
- Compressor installation
- Furnace ignition systems
- Residential HVAC
Apart from completing your HVAC training and getting your certification, you might also want to consider completing an apprenticeship program. This type of practical education comes with both in-class and on-the-job training. Needless to say, it will aid you greatly with the following aspects.
- You will see exactly what being on the job is like
- You gain real-life experience, which you can then add to your resume. It will definitely work in your favor when applying for a job
- You get to interact with real customers, which will give you a sense of what the social interaction for a job like HVAC technician feels like.
Apprenticeships normally last somewhere between three and five years. The length depends entirely on you, though. If, after two or three years, you feel you are now ready to become a self-standing HVAC technician, you can end it prematurely. However, should you wish to go all the way through, this means your entire education program comes to 7 years of studying and practicing. It’s important you take this piece of information into account.
Getting your HVAC certification online
One of the things that makes the entire 7-year education program easier and lighter is completing some of the courses online. If you have that option, we suggest you take it. There are some trade schools and community colleges, for example, that offer split programs. This means you are allowed to complete a portion of your studies online and the remaining ones directly at school. This particular format makes it a lot easier for most students to complete their HVAC certification requirements, simply because they can do it at their own pace. You can arrange your schedule so that the courses fit naturally into it, instead of having your life revolve around college, as traditional students do.
Best online schools for completing your HVAC certification program
Although online courses are one way to go, you need to be aware of the fact that you will not be able to complete your education remotely. Given the hands-on nature of the job, you will have to go to school at some point. However, until then, here are the best online schools to choose from.
- Penn Foster Career School
Minimum eligibility requirements say that you have to be 18 or older to attend. Also, as far as online programs go, they offer:
- The Penn Foster Career School’s HVACR Technician Career Diploma Program, which prepares students to work with air conditioning, heating, and ventilating
- Penn Foster’s Automotive HVAC Essentials Certificate Program that teaches students everything about diagnosing and repairing auto HVAC issues.
- Northern Michigan University
Here are their areas of study:
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies
- Construction Management and Trades
- HVACR Maintenance
- Heavy Equipment Maintenance
- Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
- Precision Metal Working
- University of Alaska
Their areas of study are:
- Construction Management and Trades
- Electrical Repair and Maintenance
- Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, and Refrigeration Maintenance
- Heavy Equipment Maintenance
- Precision Metal Working
- Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
- Dunwoody College of Technology
Their areas of study are the same as University of Alaska’s.
- Oklahoma State University
They offer the following:
- HVACR Maintenance
- Leatherworking and Upholstery
- Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
- Milwaukee Area Technical College
- York Technical College
These two education centers offer the same programs and areas of study as The University of Alaska and Dunwoody College of Technology
- Pearl River Community College
Areas of study you may find at Pearl River Community College include:
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies
- Construction Management and Trades
- Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, and Refrigeration Maintenance
- Precision Metal Working
- Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
- Yakima Valley Community College
Their areas of study are:
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies
- Construction Management and Trades
- Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, and Refrigeration Maintenance
- Precision Metal Working
- Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
Why is it important to earn your HVAC certification?
Statistical labor studies show that, as far as securing a job in the HVAC field goes, applicants who have trade school learning or apprenticeships do have an advantage. Some employers still offer on-the-job trainings, but these types of opportunities are rapidly disappearing. The simple reason is that technological advancements of heating and cooling devices as well as the non-relenting computerization make it too difficult for employers to keep up as far as trainings go. This means they would much rather hire someone who already knows everything, is skilled, and up-to-date than hire a person who needs to be trained and apprenticed before they can even be productive for the company.
The other reason, apart from securing a good job, for which you should consider getting your HVAC certification is money. As with any other line of work, people who have completed education programs will always be better paid than the ones who haven’t. If you are the successful graduate of a formal training program and also have your certification and license as required by law, you can expect to be paid approximately 50% more than your counterpart who hasn’t completed his formal training program.
Getting your EPA Certification
The EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency Certification indicates that you are an expert in the building, repairing, and assessing small and low- or high-pressure appliances. If you are a refrigeration or air equipment professional, you are required by the Clean Air Act to possess said certification. But don’t do it because you have to. It will greatly help you, as it is quite the resume booster. Here are some tips for getting it.
- Give yourself at least three months in advance to study before taking the exam
- Decide which type of EPA certification you need, as there are 3 types:
- Type I – covers small appliances that use a maximum of 5 lbs. of refrigerant
- Type II – covers all high-pressure appliances that use refrigerant at minus -58 degrees
- Type III – covers all low-pressure appliances that boil their refrigerant at temperatures that exceed 50 degrees
- In order to study, buy all the textbooks you need and take a look at all the pertinent materials. You can also download free software from the EPA Test website. It will show you the contents of different tests, which you can use as studying material.
- There is a test fee which you must pay, of $24.95 if it’s the first time you’re taking the test. If you’re repeating the test, you need to pay $5.95, as of 2011. You can pay this fee online, after you have read the exam rules and clicked on the box that certifies you did. After you’ve paid the fee, you can begin your test. Also, keep in mind you need to answer 21 of the 25 existing questions in each test, in order to pass it.
Getting your HVAC, HVACR, and EPA certifications are the surest way to a stable and successful career in this field. People are becoming more and more health-conscious, as well as environmental-friendly. Therefore, when it comes to heating or cooling their houses or electro appliances, they look for the best people in the branch. Make sure that’s you and start studying for your certifications today!
When it comes to home improvements, furnace filters are not the most exciting of items. But that doesn’t mean they’re not necessary. Even vital, some experts argue, as furnace filters save money and improve the air quality in your home. Originally designed to keep all the moving parts of a furnace together, filters have evolved beyond that.
They are now responsible for preventing harmful particles from floating around in the air. If inhaled, they can cause asthma attacks and allergies. So, it seems as though the small and often neglect furnace filter is actually a powerful tool. But how do you choose the appropriate one for your home? Here is your essential guide to furnace filters that will answer that question.
How does a furnace work?
To begin to understand how a filter works, you must first have a working knowledge of your home’s furnace. It’s the only way you’ll be able to shop for the perfect filter afterward. Traditional forced-air furnaces draw in the necessary air through return ducts. They warm it over a heat exchanger and, aided by a blower fan, push it through some ducts that branch out throughout your house. The furnace normally keeps running until your house is warm enough. If you have a thermostat, when the furnace will stop when it reaches the desired temperature.
What does the furnace filter do?
The furnace filter actually connects to the blower fan. Its main job is to keep dust, hair, and other types of gunk away from the fan. The return duct pulls the air in, as shown above, and, therefore, has the tendency of also drawing in said debris and possibly harmful elements. Seeing as the air recirculates via the furnace, the filter ensures all that air does not circulate through your house dirty. However, contrary to popular belief, although it does improve the air quality significantly, the furnace filter’s job is not to clean your air.
How are furnace filters rated?
Furnace filters are rated based on an element called MERV. It stands for ‘minimum efficiency reporting value’ and its ratings range from 1 to 16. The higher the rating, the better the furnace filter is. Simply because a very high rating means it can remove a great deal of possibly harmful particles from the air.
However, there is one vital thing worth mentioning here. High rated filters usually allow a small amount of air to flow through them. This could lead to your furnace working harder, overheating, and possibly malfunctioning. Most homes require a rating between 8 and 11. Just to be on the safe side before shopping, find out if your furnace has a maximum MERV rating your model of furnace needs to take into account.
Furnace filter types
The most common furnace filter type, which you might have seen in shops, is the disposable pleated type. They come in a whole array of ratings and sizes for you to choose from. They are traditionally made of paper and polyester, which allows them to filter the unwanted particles from the air. They are usually not expensive, with prices ranging from $2-$3 to $30-$40. The price, of course, depends on the filter’s size, model, brand, and rating. These filters need to be checked on a monthly basis because they do then to clump the gunk they collect. Also, to keep them clean, you need to replace them every three months.
Apart from the paper and polyester type, there are also filters made of fiberglass available on the market. They are the cheapest furnace filters you can buy. They come in a traditional blue color and almost look like they’re made of spider web. They also come in a whole range of sizes, but you should know they are considered rather flimsy and have lower ratings than the paper-polyester ones. Because of these reasons, they need to be checked and replaced a lot more often.
The third category comprises disposable and washable filters. They both come in electrostatic versions. This means that they have the ability to charge themselves while the air flows through them. This is what enhances their power of sucking and trapping small particles, dust, and hair. In other words, they are more efficient than the other two categories, which makes them the perfect choice for houses with small children and pets. They are also suited for inside smokers. As a safety measure, check your furnace’s manual to make sure you can use an electrostatic filter with ease.
Air filters are always sized according to their thickness or depth, height, and length. As far as thickness goes, the most popular one is 1’’, but 4’’ is also a good choice is you have a larger system. The combination of height and length varies between 10’’X10’’ and 30’’X30’’. Here are the most common furnace filter sizes: 14’’X25’’, 16”x20”, 16”x25”, 20”x25”, and 25”x25”.
To find out what size you need for your home furnace, you have to remove and check your old filter. Its size is generally inscribed on its frame. The other option you have is to check its manual. However, if you know your furnace uses a custom-made filter, you need to refer to the furnace manufacturer. Otherwise, find out where you can buy such a replacement filter from.
How to replace your furnace filter in three easy steps
As stated above, for your furnace and your filter, for that matter, to work safely and appropriately, you need to replace the latter approximately every three months. That’s when it reaches its maximum and, seeing as it’s so important it runs at its peak efficiency, think about replacing it. Fortunately for all of us, it’s a much easier task than it’s believed to be.
However, even if it’s so easy, you can still basically botch this job. For example, you can buy the wrong filter or put it backward in the furnace. This means it will block the entire air flow instead of allowing free passage. It will also not clean the air properly. Therefore, here is how you perform this task in three easy steps.
Find out which type of filter you have. As we have already pointed out, this is, probably, a crucial step. The mere misunderstanding of the kind of filter you need can lead to your furnace breaking down.
The first thing you need to do is to turn off your furnace altogether. This will prevent any accidents from happening because the furnace might start on its own accord. Remove the filter already in place. You will most likely find it inside the furnace or the air vent. Most furnaces have an arrow painted or inscribed somewhere. It will tell you the direction in which the air flows. With a permanent marker, draw a line indicating that direction on the outside of the furnace, so that you always know how to properly install the filter. Next, you need to write down the furnace filter’s size. You can find this piece of information on the cardboard box.
Please note that, upon opening the furnace, you discover the filter has a plastic frame, this means it’s reusable. Therefore, simply clean it from time to time using your vacuum and some water. You will want to do this outside, as it will have a lot of gunk coming out of it. Also, make sure it dries out completely before you reinstall it.
Buy the replacement. You can find furnace air filters at hardware stores, home centers, and, of course, online. You can shop in places such as Builders Square, Home Depot or Amazon, but you might also find furnace filters at your local Walmart for example if that is better suited for you.
Install the brand new filter. Normally, there should be some markings. They will tell you which side your filter should face the furnace. Slide it back into its original slot and replace the cover if it had one to begin with.
It’s a good idea to keep a record of all the times you replaced the furnace filter, so you’ll know when it’s due to be changed again.
Which are the best furnace filters?
Seeing as a high-efficiency furnace filter can actually slow down the air currents that need to waft freely through your house and that a low-efficiency one will do a poor job of cleaning the air, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which one to choose. Therefore, based on user experience and reviews we have put together a list of the best furnace air filters available on the market.
#1. The PUR5000 Whole House Furnace Filter
It has an electrically charged particle collection system which makes it perfect for trapping all unwanted particles from the air. This includes dust, hair, pollen, mold, bacteria, and viruses. It’s so efficient that is actually removes 99.97% of all the gunk floating about. It retails for $700, and you need to change it every month.
#2. The Blueair Central Furnace Filter System with MX2 Particle Charger
It’s considered to be a real breakthrough as far as furnace filter design is concerned because it crossed the barrier to air purifier. It has an ionizer that forces unwanted particles to stick to the furnace filter a lot more than ordinary filters do. It retails for $199.95, and the package it comes in includes two filters for a 6-month filtration period.
#3. The Envirosept Electronic Furnace Filter Air Cleaner System
This one is a permanent filter that is absolutely state-of-the-art. It has an enhanced media filter doubled by dielectric polarization that leaves the air extremely clean. The reason is that it not only removes particles from the air but sub-micron particles as well. It retails for $319.95 and up and is very low maintenance. You can also find some discount filters belonging to this range online.
#4. The Guardian Clean Air Furnace Filters by Aerus
This particular air filter was designed with the idea of maximum air flow in mind. This means its concept was based on it allowing as much air to pass through it as possible. It captures some 95% of all particles, including the ones as small as 0.3 microns. It has a MERV 12 rating, and it retails for $59.95.
#5. The Aircleen 1500
This one is an improvement of the older Airscreen 1000 air filter. It removes 97.7% of all particles up to 0.3 microns, which means it can also trap pollen, mites, pet dander, and mold spores. It retails for $259.95, and you need to replace it every month to ensure optimum air quality. Its pads are very easy to remove and replace and they come in 16 sizes for you to choose from.
As stated in the beginning, furnace filters might not seem so exciting at first glance. But once you start to understand their importance, you discover a whole new multi-layered world behind these white screens. One thing all furnace filter users say is how much they have improved their lives. And it’s true. Imagine not having to inhale dust, mites, dander, and pollen grains every day!
Choosing the Right Air Conditioning Service: Comfort or Misery
The air conditioner is a vital part of our homely existence. It has multiple functions that keep us happy and comfortable, which include cooling, heating, dehumidifying, and cleaning the air of possibly dangerous particles. Therefore, when it breaks down, immediate action must be taken, to ensure it’s back on track in no time. But how do you do it? Do you do it yourself or do you use the proverbial ‘call a guy’ method? If you’re not quite sure what to do, this article will definitely help you. Moreover, we have also listed some top tips and tricks to maintain your AC unit, apart from fixing it.
What does actually go wrong with an AC unit?
As opposed to furnaces, which are quite simple, AC units are complex pieces of equipment. This means they require a whole array of conditions to work properly. For example, they need to have a certain size, so as not to hang too heavy on the house. They must also have a certain volume of refrigerant, also known as the ‘charge,’ they need a certain amount of air to flow through the coils and many other criteria that need to be met. When one of these criteria is not met, the entire system will suffer.
Here are some examples of things that may go wrong with your AC and what causes them.
- if you generate more heat indoors than you normally do, because you are having a party and there are a lot of people in the house or because you’ve plugged in a high number of appliances at the same time, the AC will not be able to keep up
- if the refrigerant leaks out, evidently the AC will not have the same power to cool the air anymore
- if airflow across the condenser reduces, so will the AC’s ability to reject heat outdoors. Yet again, its capacity to keep up when the load increases will diminish, especially when confronted with high outdoor temperatures
- the same problem occurs in dry climates, only with the indoor (evaporator) coil. A low airflow hurts it.
- In humid climates, the problem tends to become more complex. When the airflow is high, there will be less humidification, which will lead to high indoor humidity. But, if the airflow gets too low, the evaporator coil will actually freeze. Not only will this make the AC’s performance drastically decrease, but its compressor can fail. This means you will have to seek help to repair it, and it will not come in cheap.
Air conditioning repair and service – how to do it yourself
If you’ve decided not to ‘call a guy’ and tackle the AC repair yourself, it’s best if you start by doing some research. To help you with that, here are some DIY AC repair and service projects you can try at home and all the ins and outs to help you make them successful.
#1. Cleaning the AC in the spring
This is one chore you’ll be grateful you performed. Not only will you be more comfortable in using you AC afterwards, but you will also pay less on your cooling bills. There are three ways in which you can clean the AC.
Method 1 – Cleaning the indoor unit of an AC
- Turn off the power towards your furnace or blower. If you can’t find the switch, turn it off from the main panel or unplug it.
- Replace the air filter. Make sure you consult the manual before you buy a new one, to make sure it’s the right size.
- Vacuum all the visible dust, hair, and debris in the blower compartment.
- If the motor is equipped with lubrication ports, pour a few drops of oil into it, according to the manual specifications.
- Check to see if any algae have grown in the condensation tube. If so, remove them and pour a solution made of bleach and water into it.
- Clean the drain tube using a brush with small bristles
- Hook the drain line back to the unit and restart it carefully.
Method 2 – cleaning the outdoor unit of an AC
- Shut down the power at the shutoff box which should be located on the exterior of your house. If there is no visible shutoff box, turn off the circuit breaker which normally powers the AC. Either way, the appliance needs to be turned off completely, to avoid it starting unexpectedly and causing accidents.
- Vacuum the condenser fins using the attachment that has a soft-bristle brush. Make sure to check for any debris or gunk that might be trapped in there, such as leaves, grass or weeds. Also, trim all the greens surrounding the box, so that it’s completely free on a 2 feet radius.
- There should be a grille on top of your AC, which you need to unscrew and take off. You will notice the fan lifts even without it, so be careful not to damage the electrical wires. Gently clean the fan with a damp cloth.
- Should your fan have lubrication ports, pour a few oil drops into it. Make sure the oil is specially made for electrical motors and not regular oil.
- You can also clean the empty unit from the inside out, by lowering a water hose in it and lightly spraying it.
- Re-assemble everything together and screw the lid back on.
- Disable the AC by going inside the house and switching it from ‘cool’ to ‘off’.
- Allow it to sit idle for 24 hours so that it has time to dry out completely.
- Restart it and wait at least 10 minutes for it to start working again.
- Check to see if it works correctly.
Method 3 – cleaning a room AC
- Just like for the other two, you need first to unplug the room AC or turn off the breaker that leads to that circuit.
- Remove the appliance’s rear exhaust panel and clean all its fins and coils with the soft-bristled brush of your vacuum cleaner.
- Remember to check the drain channels for clogs. They are usually located at the bottom of the AC. Should you find any clogs, clean them with a pipe cleaner.
- Remove the ACs front grill, take out the filter and clean it. You can do so by either vacuuming it or washing it with some sudsy water, lukewarm. Before you reattach the filter to the unit itself, make sure it has completely dried off.
- Power it back up
Maintaining your AC
As far as central air maintenance goes, the old saying does prove to be correct once more – it’s better to maintain it than having to fix it. There is a whole array of things you can do to make sure it keeps running as smoothly as when you bought it. These things, if done correctly and at regular intervals, will not only help your AC not breaking down but will save you energy as well. Therefore, here are the most important things you can do to maintain your AC.
- Arguably the most important task you need to perform is to clean regularly the ACs filters. It will ensure it keeps on running efficiently, because a dirty or clogged filter blocks the normal air flow and forces your AC to run twice as hard, overheat and, sometimes, malfunction.
Also, replacing a dirty filter will lower the unit’s energy intake by 5% to 15%. Filters need to be replaced every one or two months, but you may need to do it more often if there is an infant or a pet in the house.
- Cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils is important as well. They collect an incredible amount of dirt over the years which insulates the coils and reduces their ability to take in heat. Therefore, the coils need to be checked and cleaned every year. The time between cleanings can be even longer, seeing as the filters, if clean, normally trap all the dirt and dust before they reach the coils.
- Clean the coil fins. The evaporator and condenser coils have some fins that can easily be clogged by debris or get bent. If so, they will block the airflow that should normally run through the coils. Use a ‘fin comb’ to comb them back into their original position.
- Clean the unit’s drains by inserting a stiff wire through them from time to time. If they are clogged, they will stop the AC from absorbing humidity. In turn, this might discolor your walls and carpets and produce condensation.
- Cover the outdoor part of your AC in the winter to protect it from the bad weather and debris flying around.
Hiring a professional to manage the central air conditioning repair service
In case you do not wish to turn fixing and even maintaining your AC into a DIY job, you can always hire a professional. In terms of central air service, here’s what he or she should do.
- Check if the unit has a sufficient volume of refrigerant
- Test said refrigerant for any leaks that might damage the unit
- Capture all the refrigerant that escapes the unit and not release it into the environment, as that is illegal
- Check to see if there are any seal duct leakages in the central system
- Check the evaporator coil by measuring the airflow that passes through it
- Inspect all the electrical terminals, apply a non-conductive coating if they need it, and clean and tighten all the connections
- He or she should also check the oil motors and the belts to see if they have worn down or lost their tightness
- Check how accurate the thermostat is.
Checking, maintaining, and repairing the AC unit might seem like a daunting task or a somewhat unpleasant chore but, as we demonstrated above, it’s crucial. Not only will checking and maintaining it keeps it from breaking down, but it will save you money and energy as well.
Through the wall air conditioners are also known as in-wall air conditioners or, simply, wall air conditioners. They are called thusly because they are mounted into a hole in the wall and because they are attached on a permanent basis to your house. They are the perfect solution if for example, you’ve just bought your dream home or if you’re planning on living in the same house for a longer period. However, if you know this is the right solution for you but are not quite sure which particular one to purchase, don’t worry. Here is an excellent list of the best 9 through the wall air conditioner systems of 2016.
Top through the wall air conditioners and their reviews
#9. The LG LT123CNR
Reviews give this one 6.5 out of 10. That is because it lacks some main features and because of its size. Users believe it to be far too big for the power it offers.
It’s well suited for average and small rooms, and it has a remote control and a timer which you can program. Unfortunately, it’s not equipped with a sleep-mode option and, most importantly, it’s not very energy efficient. For example, say your average use over a three-month period is of 8 hours per day. Then you will have to pay some $113.18, which is quite high compared with other units we have on this list.
It’s quite big and heavy, weighing about 80 pounds, but it’s great for removing moisture from the air, should you live in a humid climate. Also, the LG LT123CNR retails at about $1 150.
#8. The LG LT1235CER
This one retails for approximately $600, and it received a 7.93/10 from users and reviewers. It was designed for large rooms and it really does fulfill its purpose, because it manages to cool them off easily and very efficiently. It has a moderate BTU capacity of 11 500. This means that the size of the room it needs to cool can go up to 700 square feet. Also, its 310 cubic feet per minute air-flow capacity means it will cool a room that large quickly enough.
Its energy-efficiency ratio is of 9.8, which puts it at number two on our list from this point of view. The estimated annual energy cost for this through the wall ac unit is $101.09, better than most products. Apart from that, it’s ENERGY STAR qualified.
As far as size goes, it’s quite small, coming in at 14-13/32 inches tall, 20-3/32 inches long and 24 inches wide and weighing 80 pounds. However, you should know that it doesn’t have a sleep-mode or an auto-mode function, which is why it’s placed almost at the bottom of the list.
#7. The Impecca
The Impecca received a 7.98/10 from users and reviewers alike, and it retails for $500. Its primary quality is that it has an impressive BTU power for heating, cooling, and fan speed options. It comes to some staggering 14 000 BTUs for cooling and 10 600 BTUs for heating a 700 square foot room. Also, it can eliminate up to 2.9 pints of moisture per hour.
Its energy efficiency rating goes up to 8.5, but it’s still one of the lowest on this list. Even if it is ENERGY STAR certified, it will still cost you some $142.56 per three months to run it. On the cons side, the Impecca comes with many acccessories and features, one of them being the remote control. It also has a programmable 24-hour timer and an auto-mode feature which allow you to run it as efficiently as possible.
Another great thing about it is that it goes beyond heating and cooling. It also has the option of circulating the air without refrigerating it, should you consider it’s not hot enough to use the ac. Apart from that, this unit allows you to use only its dehumidifying mode, separate from the ac itself.
#6. The GE AJCQ10ACF
It costs approximately $700, and it received an 8.4/10. Its BTU power is quite median, as the unit offers 10 400 BTUs. These are sufficient to cool a 425 square foot room. It has a moisture-removal feature that can remove up to 2.7 pints per hour in said room. One of its main pros is that it works on R-410a refrigerant. It’s known to be a lot friendlier to the environment than some older refrigerants, such as R-22.
As far as cost and energy-effectiveness go, the GE AJCQ10ACF is one of the best on the list. It has two certifications, one from ENERGY STAR and the other from AHAM (The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers). Its energy-efficiency ratio is a whopping 9.8.
#5. The GE AJCQ12ACF
Another GE model is the AJCQ12ACF. It retails for $711, and it received an 8.4/10 from users and reviewers alike. It was designed for medium rooms of about 550 square feet, so it offers some 12 000 BTUs. It uses the R-410A refrigerant, which is known to be environmentally-friendly. As far as humidity goes, this ac is among the best. It’s actually able to remove some 3.4 pints of moisture from the air. But, it lacks the ability to use the dehumidifier separately from the ac, so you need to run them both at once.
Its estimated annual cost goes up to $105.41 for three months. It received its certification from both ENERGY STAR and AHAM. Also, it’s UL listed. This translates into the fact that it has passed public safety standards. Its energy-efficiency ratio goes up to 9.8.
#4. The Frigidaire FFTA1233Q1
The Frigidaire through the wall unit costs approximately $620, and it received an 8.68/10. It too was designed for medium rooms, which means it brings some 12 000 BTUs to the table that can cool down a 550 square foot room easily enough. In a humid climate, it removes up to 3.3 pints of moisture from the air in the space of an hour.
Its energy-efficiency rate is high – 9.8, it costs a little over $100 to keep it running for three months, and it received its certification from ENERGY STAR. It has an auto-restart function which allows it to turn itself back on after a power shortage. It’s quite small and only weighs 72 pounds. Another great pro for the Frigidaire is that its filter is made of antibacterial mesh and is very easy to clean.
#3. The Friedrich Uni-Fit US12D10B
We have now reached the best three through-the-wall air conditioners of 2016. Third place goes to the Friedrich Uni-Fit US12D10B. It retails for about $690, and it received an 8.68/10.
For its cooling abilities, users and reviewers awarded it 8.1/10. It packs some 11 500 cooling BTUs, enough to cool down a 550 square foot room. This means it’s perfect for people living in apartments. Its humidity removal feature is quite impressive as well, the unit being able to remove 3.8 pints per hour. But, again, just like with other units, you can only run the dehumidifier along with the cooling mode.
For efficiency, it received a whopping 10/10 and for ease of use – 6.3/10. It also has a great design which users loved because it has six-way directional air louvers while most units have only four.
#2. The Keystone KSTAT12-1B
It retails at $635, and it was awarded an 8.73/10. It’s worthy of the silver medal mostly because of its energy saving features. Its energy-efficiency ratio climbs to a satisfying 9.8, as it will cost you approximately $105 to run it 8 hours a day for three months. The unit is ENERGY STAR approved, and it made it onto UL’s list as a public-safe appliance.
It also has quite a few features that will prove highly convenient for the every-day user. It has a remote control which will give you more freedom in operating it and an auto-restart function in case there’s a power-outage, and you forget to turn it back on or you are not at home when it happens. Apart from that, it also has and energy-saver mode, a sleep mode, and a programmable timer.
#1. The Kenmore 70151
The Kenmore 70151 takes home the gold medal for being the best through the wall air conditioner with heat of 2016. It costs $500, and users say you will love it. It’s very effective when installed in large rooms of up to 900 square feet, seeing as it has 15 000 cooling BTUs. Its maximum air flow of 362 cubic feet per minute makes it the most powerful unit on the list. However, take into consideration that, if you have a small room that needs ac, you might be better off with a slightly less powerful unit. The Kenmore might freeze up the space.
It has energy-efficiency ratio of 10.7, the highest on the list as well. The average cost of running this beautiful appliance for three months 8 hours a day is just $121. It has a remote control that manages all its features, a programmable timer, and a very sensitive sleep-mode. Another great thing about it is that it has a fan-only option. This means you can create a breeze without turning on the compressor. You will truly appreciate this feature at nighttime, in the spring, and autumn.
Installing a through the wall air conditioner
After you have decided which of the above 9 through the wall air conditioner systems is best for you, you need to install it. You have two options – calling in a specialist or doing it yourself. In case you have picked the latter, here are the quick steps you need to follow.
- Select the location of the ac
- Locate the wall studs by lightly rapping on the wall and lightly mark them in pencil
- Clear the selected area of molding, drywall, and insulation
- Relocate the ac’s dimensions or sleeve into the inside of the outside wall
- Create the hole that will fit the actual unit
- Build the necessary support
- Fabricate the header which will be top of the opening framework
- Add the studs
- Finish the unit’s frame
- Install all the electrical outlets you believe the ac will need while the wall is still open
- Carefully reconstruct the wall
- Install the actual ac unit
- Caulk around it very carefully, as this is the layer that will keep water out
- Install the molding and secure it with finish nails
Here are the top 9 through the wall air conditioner systems of 2016. Before deciding which one to purchase, make sure you carefully read all the details regarding it. As shown above, the shopping choice very much depends on the requirements of the room you’re planning on putting it in. Even so, you can’t really go wrong if you thoroughly read our guide!
Those days when you used to argue with the rest of your family about the temperature in the house are over and done with. You don’t even have to get up off the couch or be at home anymore, because Honeywell have introduced their brand new super ‘smart’ line of thermostats, specifically designed for you to control via your smartphone. The Lyric thermostat is so smart that it will actually sense when you come home or when you leave and it will set the temperature in every room according to that. It’s a revolutionary product and here are all the details you need to know about it.
The Honeywell Lyric’s Design
The Lyric thermostat is a round device, with a white interface and chrome trimmings. It has a rather small round touch pad in the center that normally displays the temperature. On top of this brand new smart thermostat you will find a screen shaped like an arc, which is there to tell you if the Lyric is cooling or heating up. You also have a weather icon to the left which, upon touch, will tell you the local weather. On the right you have the ‘Away’ button, which will allow you to set your preferences for when you are not at home.
The way in which you can operate the device, meaning turning the temperature up or down is by gently turning its outer ring. As far as the design goes, the Lyric thermostat also comes equipped with a white plastic shield that you can use or not, if you wish to cover up any holes in the wall.
Installing Honeywell’s Lyric Thermostat
Fortunately for all home users out there, installing this super smart thermostat is actually very easy, thanks to the people over at Honeywell. First of all, you need to download the Lyric app on your smartphone, because you will receive all the instructions there.
Then you need to shut down the system’s power. After you’re done with that, mount the thermostat’s baseplate on to your desired wall, cable in all the required wires and then strap on the top half to the baseplate. This piece will complete the set up and hide all the wiring.
You can then connect to the Lyric thermostat through your phone, as long as you have Wi-Fi. While connected, you need to configure the device to the hot and cold temperatures your desire, tell it the type of system you have and let it know your location. Reviews report that, on average, installing a Honeywell Lyric thermostat takes somewhere between 20 to 25 minutes and it doesn’t require a pro to come in and do it for you. You can do it yourself. Make sure it’s well wired before you turn it on.
In order for the Lyric thermostat to work, it will need one lithium AAA battery, which you will need to change every year. Something that you need to know about the installation process is that, after you have put the battery in, you have to let the heating mode run for 5 minutes, then the cooling mode for another 5 minutes, so that the smart thermostat can determine what are your HVAC system’s power requirements.
The Lyric’s App
Reviews show that the app as well, just like the thermostat in itself, is very easy to use and will become your best friend when it comes to acclimatizing your house. When you open it, a small circle placed at the top of your screen will show you the exact temperature in your house, even if you are away from home. The background will be either blue, for when the thermostat is in cooling mode or amber for when it’s in heating mode.
Below this, your entire interface will show your event settings, which you can configure according to your preferences, like “I’m leaving”, during the day or “I’m going to sleep”, during the evening. You can even set the Lyric thermostat to go into Eco mode, for night time and you will find that this particular feature will save you a lot of money when it comes to your heat and electricity bills.
The app itself allows you to virtually control the device from anywhere you are, as long as you have a smartphone, a tablet, or an Apple watch. It has the Geofencing function that uses your location to control all your settings in an automatic way. For example, if you set it up correctly, the programmable Lyric via the Geofencing function will know to start heating up your home right before you come home so that you don’t walk into a freezing house.
Another great app that comes with the Lyric thermostat is the Fine Tune one, which will make slight changes in the inside temperature according to outside weather conditions. So, you really don’t have to worry about anything, just sit back and let the Lyric take care of everything.
It also has a Smart Cues alert which will notify you when your Lyric requires attention, like replacing one of its filters, its battery, or some service. You can use whatever Apple device you own and link it to the thermostat, even your Apple watch, and you can use Siri as well in order to give it commands. However, Siri requires you to install the Apple HomeKit first.
Apple’s HomeKit works like an intranet, which takes control of all your home products via its apps and enables them to interconnect. Privacy is a given with this Apple add-on, so you needn’t worry, because all your personal data is encrypted at all times. This means that when you program your lights to turn off or your thermostat to turn on, for example, the only people who will be aware of these changes and of your settings are the ones who are actually inside the house at that given moment.
As far as the app and programming goes, it will also send you signals or notifications when a person enters or leaves your house, but some users reported that it actually took a few weeks before this feature kicked-in properly and started notifying them about human transit through their house.
On the cons list, users also added one problem that Honeywell seems to be aware of and working on as we speak. The thermostat is not compatible, unfortunately, with every kind of wireless router. So, make sure that you check what kind of router you have before purchasing and installing the Lyric, at least until the mother company takes care of this issue.
Users have also found the Lyric to be a major update in the thermostat world from Honeywell’s older digital models, such as the DT90E, the DT92E, the Honeywell Electric TL8230a1003, the TH8110u1003, FocusPRO® 5000 Honeywell digital thermostat or the VisionPRO 8000. Therefore, when it comes to replacement, the Lyric is the way to go.
Key Elements to Be Aware of Before Installing
Here are some technical facts you need to know about the digital Lyric thermostat, so that you can make sure it’s completely compatible with your house.
- As far as third party products go, the Lyric works with Apple devices, Samsung SmartThings, and the Apple HomeKit. Apart from that, even if you do have Apple products, you need to set them properly in order for them to work with the Lyric. You can find the instructions on Honeywell’s website.
- The Lyric app works with Android as well, versions 4.2 and above, which means starting with Jelly Bean, but Apple is preferable. It’s not supported, however, by Blackberry or the Microsoft technology.
- There are a number of third party apps that can hook into the Lyric and which you can use in order to make it work even better, but you need to check their website to see exactly what those apps are, what they do and how you can install them.
- The Lyric Honeywell thermostat can also control your dehumidifier. If you don’t have one, it’s capable of dehumidifying your home via your air conditioner.
- In order for all the Lyric’s apps to work you need to have Wi-Fi in your home at all times. If you don’t, the apps won’t work, but you can still use it as a basic thermostat and make the changes manually. Be aware that, in this case, the thermostat will be non-programmable remotely.
- The Lyric comes equipped, right out of the box, with a wallplate, a trim ring which is optional, two screws that you will need for mounting, its wall anchors, and a Quick Start Guide that is basically a manual and which will show you how to install and use the thermostat.
- If you have troubleshooting problems, you can visit Honeywell’s website, where you will find all the help you need.
The Honeywell Lyric thermostat retails for $279 and it’s one of the best smart thermostats out there. It offers a variety of apps that will truly make your life easier and definitely more comfortable.
A very beneficial trend has taken rise in the past years and it regards ‘green homes’. With the polar ice caps melting and the weather changing significantly, it has become clear we need to take far better care of the surrounding environment than we have done so far. What better or easier way to start than with our very own homes? Turning our houses into energy efficient units requires some changes, but they are not difficult to make. One of them is changing the heating facilities and, in this regards, pellet stoves have found their way into environment loving people’s hearts quicker than any other solution. Here is a guide of everything you need to know in case you want to aid the planet and install a pellet stove in your home.
What Is a Pellet Stove?
A pellet stove is a specific kind of stove that uses wood or biomass pellets in order to create heat. It’s mostly used in residential spaces, but it can be used in industrial ones as well. If the burner is constantly fed with fuel, the stove will produce a continuous flame, which needs little to no adjustment at all. The fact that they use the pellets is what makes these stoves achieve an energy efficiency factor of more than 90%.
The miniaturized pellet stove appeared for the first time in the 80s, in Washington. It was derived from the idea of using pine sawdust, in the shape of the Presto-Log, back in the 1930s, at the pine mills in Lewiston, Idaho. Pellet stoves can be either free standing units or pellet stove inserts into already existing stone fireplaces. In modern days, they are being constructed from steel or cast-iron pieces. Stainless steel is used to encase the circuitry and exhaust areas. Some pellet stoves are listed for some other types of fuel, rather than pellets, such as sunflower seeds, wheat, corn, or cherry pits. However, most pellet stove manufacturers recommend you use the special corn and pellet mixture designed for this.
A variation of the pellet stove is the corn stove, which uses whole corn kernels as combustions means, rather than pellets. Another difference between the two is that the corn stove has an added metal stirring rod in the burn pot. It can also come with an ash removal system. As far as energy efficiency goes, they are both great.
You will find this material typically sold in bags weighing 40 pounds, at the price of $3 on average per pound. Many wood pellet stove users recommend beginners to buy it by the ton, because it can be hard to find sometimes and you don’t want to be caught in the middle of the winter without any fuel to burn. An average sized house typically requires 2 or three tons of pellets a year. At the cost of approximately $200 a ton, you will find it really is energy efficient. You should also know that most pellet fuels have some moisture content, which is somewhere between 5% and 10%. Apart from that, certain types have petroleum or non-petroleum lignin in them, because it was used to lubricate the pellets while they were being manufactured. Most of them, however, are additive-free.
Some recommendations from experienced users state that one should always check the quality of the pellets before buying them. In order to do this, you can check the bag they come in for dust and dirt, because these two types of debris form clinkers when in the stove. Reviews show that, if the pellets are high quality ones, the bag they come in should hold less than half a cup of dust at the bottom. That is for a standard, 40 pound bag. You can find pellets at specialized suppliers, local tree nurseries, or stores that sell home and garden products.
Pros and Cons of Pellet Stoves
Even though they have been highly praised, some debate still remains around whether they are the best heating solution out there. So, in order to help you decide if this really is the best solution for you and your family, here are some pros and cons.
- They are usually small and so are the pellet bags, therefore storing them will not be a problem and the stove will not disrupt your home’s design or tear away from your limited space.
- They are very easy to use, as they simply require you to load the pellets and light the flame. Actually, the smaller they are, the simpler it gets, because with the small models, you might even have to feed them just once a day.
- Because of the pellets, the stoves create very little smoke and very little ash, which makes them extremely convenient.
- Pellets, as show, are very cheap, which means your heating bills are going to reduce drastically.
- If the pellets are not pricy, the stove itself is. It usually costs somewhere between $1,700 and $3,000 and it needs to be installed, which is an added cost.
- They are usually made in the colder regions, such as the Pacific Northwest, which means you might have to drive up there to get it or have it shipped, which, again, adds to the costs.
- If you live in a small house or in an apartment, if you don’t have a barn, a garage, or any storage space, you will be required to go to the store for pellets very often.
- Pellets aren’t always available, at least not everywhere. In low plains regions, for example, that don’t see many trees, they have to be brought in and that might not always happen.
- They run on electricity, which means that if there’s a power outage, it will go out. You can buy a generator so that you’re prepared, but this is, yet again, an additional cost.
Pellet Stoves vs. Wood Stoves
Although, in essence they might seem like the same thing, pellet stoves and wood stoves are actually different in many ways.
- Pellet stoves are more efficient than wood stoves. It takes far less pellets to get the stove going than wood.
- Wood is much more expensive than pellets.
- Wood stoves give out some 75 to 80% less BTUs than pellet stoves.
- Unlike pellets, you need to buy wood in bulk and you might not have a place to store it all.
- Wood stoves produce a lot more smoke and ash than pellet ones, which are almost zero maintenance.
- Unlike wood stoves, pellet stoves run on electricity and they might fail you if the power goes out.
What Are the Best Pellet Stove Brands?
According to online reviews, here are the best pellet stoves you can buy:
- Harman Pellet Stoves is one of the leading brands on the market today. They offer stand-alone units, which can be personalized according to your wishes.
- Whitfield Pellet Stoves and Parts cover all your heating needs and more, offering chimneys, Quadrafire stove parts, solar products, and hearth accessories and pipes as well.
- Breckwell has been an industry leader since 1987, they have dealerships in many places, and they offer great support should you run into any troubles.
- Englander stoves offer Timber Ridge models for the US and Canada, and they also come with Summers Heat stoves, a very trusted brand all over the world.
- Lopi stoves – have a great selection of both wood and pellet stoves.
- St. Croix Stoves, Maine Stoves, WoodMaster, with the Forced Air pellet furnace 20 and 30 series, Avalon Fire Styles, Lowes, Enviro, Napoleon Fireplaces, and Accentra pellet stoves are some other brands, but less known on the market. You can also buy your stove at your local Home Depot or on eBay.
All these brands offer an enormous range of pellet stoves, which means it will be virtually impossible for you not to find the perfect one. Here are a few things to be on the look-out for when going shopping:
- Decide in advance which type of pellet stove you want, stand-alone or an insert, a modern or a regency one.
- Do some research and find out how the particular model you have in mind is rated.
- Ask from the beginning about the price and be aware of the installation cost, which is usually not mentioned. Also, ask who exactly will be installing your stove.
- Ask your seller about troubleshooting and if they will be able to provide the necessary support.
- Look for all the things you don’t understand in the stove’s manual and ask about them. Remember safety is your first concern when it comes to stoves.
- Try to get a top deal if you can, because, as mentioned before, pellet stove are not cheap. See if you can find them on sale or on clearance day.
- Keep in mind that used pellet stoves need to be checked properly before purchase. They might have problems in how they vent, how they direction the hot air or even with the burning of the pellets.
- Consider buying a window stove, if you have a small home, as they are safer as far as venting and furnace go.
There are many models and designs when it comes to pellet stoves, so it might prove daunting to find one for you. However, once you understand how they work and take into consideration a few basic things, such as the square footage of your home, your budget, and the pellet availability in your area, you’re good to go green for the planet.
Air compressors have been an integrating part of our lives for many years now. They owe their popularity partially to the fact that, in order to run, they use air as a primary resource, which is clean, convenient, found in abundance, and very safe. This is why compressors have become quite a vital piece of machinery in many devices and applications. Copeland compressors are one of the best models you will find on the market today and, if you have your heart set on buying one, here is everything you need to know about them.
What Is a Compressor and How Does It Work?
Any compressor is basically a refrigerant gas pump in which the evaporator part changes the refrigerant gas from a low pressure one to a great pressure one, via compression, which has this effect on gasses. Compressors are made of two parts: the source of power and the mechanism that compresses the air, which can be either a piston or a vane.
In laymen’s terms, here is how a compressor works: the air comes into the machine via the piston or the vane, its pressure is increased while its volume is decreased, and these two simultaneous actions compress it. When the pressure has reached the maximum point, which is usually set by the manufacturer or by the operator, a switch will happen in the mechanism’s workings that will prevent any further air from coming into the compressor. The already compressed air will be used by the device until it’s all gone and the pressure reaches its low again. When that happens, the reverse switch will allow for more air to come in and all the procedure will begin again. The process repeats itself in this way as long as the compressor is in functioning state.
This is the typical way in which air compressors work and the Copeland compressors are no different. They were designed specifically for air conditioning units and are an integral part of the system. Air conditioners and refrigerators actually work in the same way, as far as compressors go. The only difference is that, unlike fridges, which just cool off a small, closed space, an air conditioner cools off a room, a house or a building.
An air conditioner is made of three parts: the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator. The first two are normally placed on the outside of the machine, while the evaporator can usually be found inside the house, as part of a furnace, with some models. This is also the bit that heats up your house.
Compressor Performance Factors
There are some performance factors you need to be aware of when you’re buying a compressor, such as:
- rotation speed;
- suction pressure;
- discharge pressure;
- type of refrigerant that the compressor uses.
While all compressors basically work in the same way, they do operate at different capacities, because they have different sizes, purposes, types of refrigerants, and horsepower input. This is why, when out shopping for a new compressor, you should always check the machine’s characteristics and configuration, its operation type, price and operation cost.
If you cannot decide on your own what type of compressor to buy after checking these specifications, you should ask with the manufacturer for support, who will be more than happy to aid you in purchasing a compressor that will suit your needs and budget. Emerson Climate Technologies, the company that produces the Copeland compressors offers great support to customers in this exact same situation and helps them buy the Copeland compressor perfect for them.
Types of Compressors
Here are the most common types of compressors you can find on the market today:
- Rotary – these ones are usually used in refrigeration machines, not necessarily in air conditioning. They are pieces of equipment with low capacity that are made of one vane, placed inside its body and sealed against the rotor. They can also be made of a multivane rotary, but in this case the vanes will be located in the rotor.
- Centrifugal – These are the ones that revolve at high speed and which compress the air through the centrifugal force. Usually, they need very high and very specific volumes of air to work, which will need low compression ratios. If one is in the need of greater than normal discharge pressures, multi-stage units can be utilized for this purpose. The number of stage units will be given by the gas’ discharge temperature when it makes its way out of the rotor. These are the most used types of compressors in air conditioning for water chilling and in refrigeration for freezing things at very low temperatures.
- Reciprocating – these compressors move in cylinders and have pistons and there are several types out there:
- Open compressors, in which one outer part of the crankshaft is pulled out of the crankcase. That, in turn, allows for multiple drives to be used alongside this compressor. They usually have a mechanic seal, which is utilized to check if the oil or the refrigerant might have leaked out or if any of the air might have escaped inside. This type of compressor runs on an electric motor or an internal combustion engine. It also has belt drive, which allows for changes in speed, by altering the pulleys’ dimensions. Apart from belt drive, it comes with direct drive units as well and through them, an open type compressor can be set to work at the motor speed.
- Hermetic compressors, which are hermetically serviceable. They have the motor and the compressor placed together in the same housing. There is also the welded hermetic compressor, a variation of the hermetic one, in which the motor and the compressor are usually placed in a welded steel shell.
Copeland Scroll Compressors
As far as Copeland compressors go, they come in three different types:
- Scroll – the Copeland Scroll compressor has a reputation of being one of the best in the world, especially the ZR and UltraTech Next Generation series. It has reached the 100 million installation mark world-wide, as it provides home owners and general end-users with a very reliable, compliant and cost efficient piece of machinery. The 1-60 HP scroll compressor fits every need and application, such as: air conditioning, for both commercial and home use, refrigeration, commercial and industrial and refrigerated transport. The scroll compressor can also be digital and it is enhanced with vapor injection technology. If you desire, you can install a capacitor in it as well, because the scroll compressor allows it.
- Semi-hermetic – these are ¼-60 HP DWM Copeland compressors, which provide a top notch alternative for systems that require a full performance as far as temperature goes, including conditions of evaporating at very low temperatures, as much as -40° F. The most famous of the semi-hermetic Copeland compressors is the Copelametic line.
- Hermetic – These one have been designed to respond to evaporating capability needs. They provide very cost-efficient solutions to the systems that require such needs and they come at 1/8-5 HP. A great thing about this type of Copeland compressor is the fact that it comes in more than 300 models, which means you have every chance of finding the specific one for your needs.
- Discus – this is the most energy efficient compressor from the Copeland line and it’s usually used for refrigeration purposes.
- Screw – the screw compressors are the rotary, positive displacement type, which comes with a main screw and two gaterotors.
Emerson Climate Technologies
The producer company of the Copeland compressors, Emerson Climate Technologies, is one of the world’s leading compressor producers. Although US based, the Copeland compressor is available worldwide, from the UK to Canada, Australia, Singapore, and India.
All the compressors come equipped with a highly informative manual, which will help you install and use the device. They also come with a cross reference and troubleshooting guide, where you will find the compressor type, serial number, model, nomenclature chart, technical specifications, and data on various parts and quality.
As far as technical support goes, Emerson Technologies has a Customer Service which you can turn to in case you need a replacement, your compressor has suffered a failure and have tech problems with your ac, freezer, or heater. They can also help you with the wiring part, which can be tricky, even though they do provide a special diagram for it, especially for first time users.
They provide help with the controller as well, which many people ask for help with, especially when they have installed a digital compressor. Warranty is offered and you can use the customer service to ask for the terms and conditions specs, which you can also lookup on their website.
On their official site, you can also find a complete catalogue and brochures that present their entire offer and which will make it a lot easier for you to find the compressor you need. In order to find local dealers or distributors for your area, use the distributor locator app they have kindly provided and it will be a lot easier to shop for your desired items. This is one way of buying the device, via their distributors, but you can also try resellers, such as Ebay or Amazon, that might offer them for sale.
The Copeland compressors have all been specifically designed with the purpose of increasing energy efficiency, lowering noise levels, increasing their durability and reliability. They are environmentally friendly and pride themselves on their high performance levels.