When to Replace Your Air Conditioner

It’s springtime in Philadelphia. As we enter April, the warm spring days will slowly turn to hot summer ones, and our air conditioners will be working in full force.

Since the weather isn’t quite warm enough for air conditioning yet, now is the perfect time to make sure your A/C unit is ready for spring. In some cases though, it’s much more cost effective to replace your air conditioner instead of getting it repaired. Let’s explore when to replace your air conditioner.

How Old is Your A/C?

Age is one of the first indicators that it’s time to replace your air conditioner. Old air conditioners are much less efficient than new ones due to dated technology and years of wear and tear. Even the best-maintained air conditioners lose efficiency as they age.

replace your air conditionerIf your air conditioner needs a to be repaired, and you aren’t sure whether or not you should just replace it, you can use the “5000 test” to decide. Simply multiply the cost of the repair by the age of your air conditioner. If the outcome is more than $5000, then you should replace your air conditioner.

For example, say your air conditioner is 9 years old, and you get a quote for a $400 repair.  When you multiply (9 Years) x ($400), you get $3,600, so you’ll be fine with a repair for now.

Let’s look at another case. If you have an 12 year old air conditioner, and you need a $500 repair, you’ll get $6000 and should look into finding a replacement.

In general, an air conditioner is good for around 13-15 years. Any longer, and you’ll be seriously wasting money.  If you’re wondering how much you can save with a new air conditioner, give us a call today. We’ll help you figure out whether or not a new air conditioner is right for you.

Consider the Efficiencynew air conditioner philadelphia

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of how much energy your air conditioner needs to provide a unit of cooling.  The required SEER for air conditioners was 10 until 2006. Now, the requirement is 13, which means 30% less electricity consumed and paid for.

Now, it’s common to see models with a SEER of 16! That means 60% less energy consumption cost than a standard air conditioner from 2006. These units are more expensive, but again, we can help you determine exactly how much you’ll save and if you should buy a new air conditioner.

Don’t Forget the Ducts

When most people think of an A/C replacement, they’re thinking of the mechanical A/C unit that does the cooling, but it’s just as important to consider your ductwork.  Leaky ducts can lose up to 30% of cool air before it can do anything!  The best air conditioner in the world won’t make a significant difference if you’re losing all the cool air it outputs through your duct work.

The same goes for general insulation in your house. A leaky house puts necessary strain on your A/C system.  An HVAC technician can also examine your ductwork and general insulation to ensure there are no weak spots. Just make sure you pick the right one.

If you live in Philadelphia, Montgomery, or Bucks County, give the experts at HVAC Philly a call today at 215-725-6111! We have over 20 years of experience and offer unparalleled service. Most importantly, we are HVAC technicians, NOT salesmen. We want the best for our customers and will never try to sell you unnecessary repairs or replacements.

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How Humidity Can Affect The Temperature Of Your Home

How ready are you for those sweltering hot summer days? True spring has just come a few days ago, and it’s still quite chilly here in our beloved Philadelphia , Montgomery, and Bucks County, Pa, but spring it is, and summer is heading our way.  For those of us that have been putting off preparing our A/C units, and buckling down to get those much needed air conditioning repairs done, here is a word or two on how humidity can affect the indoor temperature of our Horsham, Pa, and Huntington Valley, Pa homes.

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Everyone has had those broiling moments on a humid day, despite the weather report indicating it to be just an average warm summer day. The reason is that the humidity can corrupt our judgement of  what the temperature feel is. That is the same thing that happens inside our homes.

This is how humidity can affect the temperature inside your home

When humidity levels are too high or too low, it affects the temperature inside our home.

When we feel hot, our bodies generate sweat, and as the sweat dissipates from our skin, we then cool down. High humidity inhibits the dissipation process. The air is so full of water it can’t take much more, so the sweat on our skin evaporates much more slowly, if at all. When this occurs, we don’t get the cooling effect sweating usually provides, and we feel hotter.

In a like manner, low humidity levels can make a room feel cooler than it really is. That’s because in very dry air, sweat evaporates from the body more rapidly.

What are the signs that the indoor humidity is high?

There are many signs that you are living in a humid home. You may notice a clammy  feel to your skin when you’re indoors. A musty smell in your home will also indicate high humidity levels. You may also notice your windows will be fogging up.

What are the signs that the indoor humidity is too low?

Most likely you will notice the low humidity by the affect it has on your body.. As well as feeling cold, low humidity make your skin feel dry and your eyes itch. You may also notice your sinuses and throat become irritated. After a while, living in a home with low humidity can dry and inflame the mucous membrane that lines your respiratory tract. This can make you more susceptible to colds, the flu, and in other infections, especially because low humidity increases the lifespan of certain viruses. If you notice you can’t seem to shake feeling sick, low humidity levels in your home may be to blame.

How can I take care of a low or high humidity problem in my home?

An efficient HVAC system regulates moisture levels, which cause humidity within the home. When humidity levels are too high or too low, the harder the system needs to work. If your HVAC system hasn’t been serviced in a while, or if it’s not powerful enough, it may not be up to the task. Book a HVAC service if you notice your home is uncomfortable to ensure your system is running efficiently and is effective for your space.

Regardless of its size, you can ease the pressure on your HVAC system by using a humidifier or a dehumidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to the atmosphere while dehumidifiers pull moisture from the air before it travels through your home’s air ducts. When HVAC systems work with these appliances, you can enjoy a more comfortable home without significantly impacting your power bills. Rather than using a separate unit, you may like to add a dehumidifier to your HVAC system.

Use vented exhaust fans when you shower and cook to remove water vapor in the bathroom and kitchen, which are prone to high humidity.

When humidity is too high or too low, it impacts the temperature within your home. Taking steps to balance humidity and counteract temperature fluctuations can help you feel more comfortable indoors.

For more questions on how to combat humidity with your HVAC system, contact HVAC Philly at http://www.hvacphilly.com or call 215-725-6111.

Is Your AC System Ready for Spring?

Although the recent snowstorm may indicate otherwise, Spring is almost here, and that means AC season is just around the corner! As we approach the warm days of Spring, it’s important to make sure your AC system works before you actually need it to.

Most of the time, simple preventative maintenance and cleaning will be enough to get your AC system ready for the warm weather, but if your system was damaged during the winter, you’ll be happier finding the problem sooner rather than later. Read on for our tips on how to prepare your AC system for Spring in Philadelphia.

Uncover and Clean

If you have any protective winter covers on your unit, make sure to take them off. If you have one, start by inspecting the outdoor condenser unit. It’s an important part of your AC system and is most likely to need cleaning after a long winter. You’ll want to clear away any debris or plant growth that might affect system performance. An easy way to remove dirt and debris is to simply use a garden hose to spray down the condenser. We see a lot of avoidable problems with clogged condensers simply because people forget to remove their winter covers or clear away debris

It’s also a good idea to clean the return and supply vents for your system. You can vacuum the vents yourself or have them professionally cleaned and cleared. This will increase system efficiency and eliminate harmful dirt particles from being circulated around your house.

Check the Wiring and Insulation

Do the connections running from your outdoor condenser into your home look normal? It’s not uncommon for animals to gnaw on wiring or insulated lines running into your house. If you notice any cracked or torn insulation, you can purchase some at a local hardware store and easily replace it. Remember, proper insulation ensures your system is running at peak efficiency. Extreme cold weather can also damage wiring and insulation, so call a trusted HVAC technician if you aren’t sure that your connections are safe and normal.

Change Your Air Filter

Read any one of our previous blog posts, and you’ll see that this is the easiest way to keep your AC system or heater healthy! A clogged air filter will reduce your system’s performance, cause damage to your system, and cost you money in the long run. A clean filter equals a happy and efficient cooling system. They’re easy and cheap to replace, so there’s no excuse for not changing your filter regularly.

Schedule a Tuneup

Sometimes, it’s much less of a hassle to have the pros come in and make sure your AC system is ready for the spring. Especially if you aren’t the handy type. Having a professional HVAC tuneup ensures you won’t miss any potential problems and can be sure your system will run at its maximum potential. Just make sure you pick the right HVAC tech. During a tuneup, your HVAC tech will clean your system, test the electrical components, top off refrigerant, and check intricate components like the capacitor and compressor. Besides, every year you go without an AC tuneup, you’ll lose around 5% of your system’s efficiency.

Once you’ve gone through the preventative maintenance steps, turn your system on and give it a quick test. Make sure that the air coming from the vents is cool and you don’t hear any rattling or clanging sounds coming from your system.

If everything runs fine after the test, you’re all finished! When the weather gets hot, you can be sure that your system is ready to go and enjoy that sweet cold air.

If you need an AC system tuneup in Philadelphia, Montgomery, or Bucks County, the professionals at HVAC Philly have you covered. We have over 20 years of experience and offer unparalleled service. Give us a call at 215-725-6111.

Stay cool, my friends.

Things to know before replacing your HVAC system.

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Nothing is less enjoyable than spending money when you “don’t have to”, but savvy commercial  property and home owners do just that. If a packaged terminal air conditioner or heating, ventilation and air conditioning system component breaks on your property, finding the device in question and deciding whether to replace the component or not can be a costly decision. Sometimes it comes down to preventative measures. 59 percent of people who bought new HVAC systems in the past two years were buying due to the failure of their existing system or the costly repairs required to keep it running.

Meaning instead of the band aid fix, actually updating an aged system could inevitably save you more money than constantly trying to fix small breaks in your system. Most people don’t think about their air conditioning and heating system until it breaks or becomes so old it is not worth repairing.

While air pressure, electrical consumption and squeaky bearings can all be altered or fixed by a qualified technician, like our NATE certified HVAC Philly technicians, some improvements in modern appliances are worth reaching into your pocket for.

Here are some things you’ll want to know before replacing your HVAC system.

 

Your HVAC is a big component to the comfort of your home.

Aesthetic fixes usually are the main focus of homeowners, however the U.S. Department of Energy states that the air conditioning and heating system in your home represents 40 percent of your total annual energy costs. This is more than water heating and lighting costs combined.

Your HVAC is also probably one of the more expensive appliances you own (approximately $8,000 in replacement costs) and it uses more energy than almost all of your other major appliances combined as well.

In the heat of the summer or dead of the winter, the appliance you need the most is your HVAC system.

Make sure you do your due diligence, and don’t wait too long to replace your system. 

The average age of a HVAC system in the U.S. is about 12 to 13 years old. The average age of systems when they are replaced is just 16 years old, but the lifespan could range from around 5 years to over 25 years.

Age of your system is not as important as the run time. In the case of HVAC, how much you run it determines its useful remaining life.

If you have an older system (16 years+) or one that has been having frequent problems, now is the time to decide on a new system and choose a reputable installation and service provider.

Research EVERYTHING before buying. Putting time on your side before purchasing a new HVAC system can save you time and money in the end.

Research your contractor and find the one that best suites your needs and can get the job done efficiently the FIRST time.

 

Be sure to engage in a conversation with the contractor you choose about the various higher efficiency systems.If your system is not properly sized or installed, you might not be gaining the energy savings you were expecting and you might not be satisfied with the comfort (temperature and humidity control) your new system provides. Hiring a thorough contractor who takes the time to explain this and what it means to your energy costs and overall comfort is essential to being satisfied with your purchase.

Plan ahead 

The average cost of an HVAC system replacement is $8000. Laying out a plan for how much your new system will cost and a timeframe into when you should be looking into a replacement will save you from scrambling to cover costs.

There are HVAC contractors who offer financing, like HVAC Philly, so again, research is key.

Remember, your HVAC system is your most expensive appliance in your home. If your system is older or beginning to fail, you can save both time and money and increase the satisfaction with your replacement if you do your research up front, plan for financing and find a good contractor to help you make these decisions.

HVAC Philly services the greater Philadelphia, Bucks, and Montgomery Counties in PA, including Holland, PA, and Elkins Park, PA.  Contact us today with any further questions about HVAC system replacement. 215-725-6111

 

Advice For Air Conditioning Thermostat Installation

If you are getting your new ducted air conditioning system installed you will most likely need to decide where you will be wanting your air conditioner controller installed. HVAC Philly who serve the greater Philadelphia area, including Holland,PA and Glenside, PA, provide some helpful tips below on air conditioning controllers (Thermostats).

images (1)The first question to ask is, should you have only one air conditioning controller for your system or would it be best to have more than one? If you have a multi story home with two or more floors, it would be wise to really have more than just a single controller. With only a single air conditioner thermostat, you will be continuously going up and down the stairs to adjust the temperature and settings on the controller.  At first it may not be a big  deal but eventually it will get tiresome to manage.

It is common for most people to make the decision to put an air conditioning controller in their main living area and a second controller in their master bedroom. The controller in the main living area makes it handy during the daytime and having the controller in the master bedroom permits the homeowner to have control of the system during the night time. Some homes have the master bedroom and the living areas are on the same level, in this case you may even want to install a third controller to put on the other level.

Single story homes could also benefit from having two thermostats (one in the living area and one in the master bedroom). It is less expensive and takes less effort to have this done at time of installation rather than having to reschedule another time to have the installers come back to retrofit the second.  This is why it is important to go over these details with your HVAC professional to avoid extra cost. The cost should be no more than an extra couple hundred dollars for a second, worth the consideration.

Where exactly should you place your air conditioning controller? The best and most convenient place would be to ask the controller to be placed at your light switch height. Installing the controller near other switches and controls (like security controllers or light switches) make it easier to operate than having controllers placed throughout your living room, or master bedroom. A central location makes sense aesthetically and for convenience as well. If possible, try to place the controller in an inconspicuous location. Commonly the controller will need to go on an outside wall (or cavity wall) to be able to get the wire back up to the roof space. Be sure to speak with the electrician on the day of install as he will be able to give you the best advice as to where the controller/s can and should be located.

Keeping this advice in your mind, you should have no problems placing your main controller in a great location. Remember to try to install in an inconspicuous location. Also try to have several controller locations in mind in case the electrician cannot install the controller in your first preference.

HVAC Philly has over 20 years experience in the HVAC industry. Please visit our site www.hvacphilly.com or call 215-725-6111 for more information on air conditioning brands, air conditioning prices and more.

Why HVAC Philly? You Deserve To Live In Comfort.

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With over 20 years in the HVAC industry, you would be hard pressed to find anyone better that would provide you with an extraordinary customer service and knowledge, than HVAC Philly.  They have been serving the greater Philadelphia areas like Central Philadelphia as well as surrounding areas such as Feasterville, PA. (see a complete list of our service areas here) with exceptional results and delighted customers.

Spring is just about sprung and it’s time to start thinking about your AC.  Is it in top working condition?  Ready for the hot summer days and nights, coming sooner than you think?  With current weather already nearing the 80’s it is well on its way.

The heating and cooling experts of HVAC Philly are committed to ensuring that you live in comfort all year round.

As heating and AC repair contractors, we operate on an ideology of making customers the priority and preserving a healthy work environment for our employees. We believe that our job is to provide service to people and not equipment. Our focus stays on your goals first, and perform the air conditioning and heating repair needed to make them happen.

Our technicians are certified by the leading HVAC program in the nation – NATE. Going even further, we maintain a high standard of professionalism, and keep a reputation for being customer service oriented. Positive feedback and customer satisfaction is our reward and motivation that makes HVAC Philly a success.

Whether you are a residential or commercial customer, we want to be available when you need us most. That’s why you can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week for unbeatable customer service. Never hesitate to give us a call when you are in need of furnace or AC repair service.

HVAC Philly promises to be the best cooling and heating contractors you can find in the greater Philadelphia, Bucks County, and Montgomery County, PA area. Call today to make your appointment and learn about our services and experience.

215.725.6111   http://www.hvacphilly.com