FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW AIR CONDITIONERS WORK?

Air conditioners perform two basic functions: heat removal and moisture removal. In Florida, we have higher-than-normal humidity levels. The lower the humidity level, the more comfortable you will feel at a given temperature. As your warm indoor air is drawn up through the filter, it passes over a very cold coil whereby the heat and moisture are removed.

Unless you are using an electronic air filter that requires a continuous stream of air, you’re better off setting your unit’s fan on “auto” and using ceiling fans in occupied rooms.

If designed correctly, the air delivery system in your house has been sized according to the flow requirements of the unit and each room. Closing off vents can create a pressure imbalance within the system that can reduce the effectiveness of your cooling system. By closing off registers, the increased pressure within the ducts can also cause increased duct leakage.

Anytime you increase the temperature on your thermostat, you save money. When a unit first turned on, it takes seven to 10 minutes of continuous operation to reach maximum efficiency. The longer it runs after reaching peak efficiency, the better it is for the unit. When you return home at night and the unit is forced to run longer to bring the temperature down, it is running at peak efficiency.

An air conditioning system performs two specific functions. Not only does it remove heat from your home, it also removes moisture from the inside air in order for you to feel comfortable. When the unit first turned on, it will take about seven to 10 minutes for the unit to get to its peak efficiency and remove the moisture from your home. By allowing a unit to run five to seven minutes, you’re not getting the most out of the system. The starting and stopping is also hard on the system.

Because the air-conditioning systems in our homes are closed-loop system, they are designed to move a specific amount of air throughout the house. Closing bedroom doors causes the air pressure in those rooms to increase. The air-conditioning unit pushes air in but cannot get it back out, which causes the unit to force conditioned air out of the bedroom under the door and through cracks or leak around the windows, wall plates and ceiling fixtures and draw in hot attic or outside air through similar cracks and leaks in the rest of the house.

THERMOSTATS

Because heat rises and extra heat gain exists on the second floor because of the windows and attic, the upper level will require more cooling than the lower level. To maintain a constant temperature in your home, set each thermostat at the same temperature. However, to reduce energy costs, you can maintain a comfortable temperature on the floor you are occupying. If you’re not using the upstairs, set the second-floor thermostat a couple of degrees higher. Reverse the process at night when you’re upstairs.

You will save money anytime you can increase the temperature on your thermostat and cause the unit not to run. The old myth that says you will spend more energy bringing the temperature back down than you would have spent just leaving the thermostat alone is just that, a myth.

Assuming there are no interior doors closed in the home, there should be no air imbalance caused by running the air-handler fan. However, in typical Florida construction, with a central air-conditioner return, you can get significant pressure imbalances when interior doors are closed. Because the door undercuts are not large enough to allow for sufficient free flow of air, it is common to create imbalances.

Using a programmable thermostat to control the operation of your air conditioner will provide you the greatest. Not only will scheduled operating schemes reduce the unit’s operating time during on-peak periods, but they also will increase the run time of the unit during off-peak periods and this increased run time will allow the air-conditioning unit to run more efficiently.

Rather than selecting a certain brand, make sure you select the right programmable thermostat for your system. There are different models for single-stage heat pumps, multistage heat pumps, straight air conditioning, air conditioning with gas heat, etc. Ask your service contractor what type of system you have and what model thermostat you need. After you know what model to get, determine your programming requirements:

  • 5-2 programming maintains two temperature schedules — one for weekdays and one for weekends.
  • 5-1-1 programming provides the added flexibility of setting different programs for Saturday and Sunday.
  • Seven-day programming lets you have different settings for every day of the week.

AIR CONDITIONING SIZE AND RATING

That is an accurate statement. R-22 has been mostly phased out in new equipment in the United States under the Montreal Protocol and has been replaced by other refrigerants with lower ozone depletion potential such R-410A. If you have an old system that uses R-22, one of the replacement refrigerants can be used instead.

Variable-speed blower motors are designed to provide greater comfort through reduced initial air velocities and noise. When the unit first turned on, the blower operates at low speed, which not only provides less noise than a single-speed blower, but also allows the compressor and coil to ramp up before the unit begins moving large volumes of air through the system.

It is important that new or replacement equipment not be sized by “rule of thumb” or by the existing equipment. The only accurate way to determine the correct capacity of heating and air-conditioning equipment for your home is to have a heat-load calculation performed on your home. This will give your dealer the heat gain and heat loss design data for your home. These figures can then be used to select the appropriately sized cooling or heating system for your home based on equipment performance data, which will determine the correct sizing for a new air conditioner or heat pump.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measurement of a unit’s efficiency and ton is a measurement of a unit’s size.

It is important to make sure your new unit is properly sized. The best way to determine the proper size is to request an evaluation by a professional to perform and evaluate load calculations on installations of replacement and new heat pumps. A calculation determines the size of the air-conditioning unit required for your home.

HEAT PUMPS

Heat pumps take heat from the outside air and moves it inside the house. The mild winters in Florida provide plenty of heat in the outside air that you can use. In summer, the heat pump moves heat from inside the house to the outside, providing efficient cooling.

When a unit first turned on, it typically takes about seven to 10 minutes of continuous operation before it reaches the steady state and highest efficiency. The longer the unit runs after it reaches its steady state, the longer the unit will be operating at its peak efficiency. Anytime you can reduce the number of cycles and increase the run time, you will save money and increase the comfort level of your home.

New high-efficient heat pumps often cause lights in homes to flicker. The motors used in high-efficiency heat pumps draw more in-rush current (amps) when they first start (compared with older, less efficient units). This will cause the voltage to drop at your service panel for a fraction of a second. This can sometimes be observed as flicker (dimming of the lights).

You would get better humidity control by setting the thermostat and leaving it. However, if the contractor oversizes the unit, there may still be a reason to set the temperature higher while you are away. Correct system sizing still has to be the number one issue and then nearly everything else will fall into place.

AIR FILTERS

The use of high-efficiency filters won’t necessarily harm your air conditioner. By adding a high-efficiency filter to your system, you add resistance to the air moving across the filter. Because the fan in your system is rated to move a certain amount of air, it will get this air from anywhere it can. If the added resistance of the filter makes it easier to draw air into the ducts through leaks in the ductwork, then it will do so.
Aside from the added resistance of a high-efficiency filter, this scenario is exactly why it is so important to replace your filters on a regular basis. As the filter becomes dirty, the resistance increases and the unit begins to pull more and more air in through the leaks in the ductwork. If your ducts are tight and in good shape, the use of a high-efficiency filter is fine. However, to avoid possible airflow problems, I recommend the 3/4-inch to 1-inch pleated filter that usually costs $4 to $6.

Never having to change your filters is unusual, If you are using very inexpensive filters, they may be too loose to catch any of the fine dust. This allows the dust to accumulate on the unit’s evaporator coil, which could cause problems down the road. I recommend trying the 1-inch pleated filter (typically $4 to $6). More expensive filters may be too restrictive and could cause problems for your air conditioning unit.

AIR CONDITIONER MAINTENANCE

The only accurate way of determining how to set your supply registers is to have a contractor complete a load calculation on your house. As part of this process, the calculation software will identify how much air should be delivered to each room. Once this is known, the contractor will measure and adjust the amount of air being delivered at each register. The “do-it-yourself” approach is to experiment with different settings over the course of a couple weeks until you get an even comfort level throughout the house.

Shading the coils of an air conditioning unit has the potential to modestly reduce energy demand. However, improper shading techniques can result in a net increase in energy consumption by blocking proper airflow or trapping radiant heat. In many cases, a simpler approach is to plant trees strategically around a building to reduce indoor cooling loads or pursue other, more surefire air conditioning efficiency upgrades.

ENERGY COSTS

To do this, take your March bill, which is typically a month when you do not operate either cooling or heating equipment and subtract it from your summer bills (May through October). After the subtraction, what is left is an estimate of how much you spend on air conditioning.

We guarantee the work that we perform on your AC system. If the work that we have completed on your new air conditioning system fails within one year from the date of installation, we will repair it absolutely free.

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