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How to Buy an Energy-efficient Central Air Conditioner

A central air conditioner can reasonably be expected to last for between 15 and 20 years. If your current unit is close to or at this mark, it’s time to think about replacing it with a new energy-efficient central air conditioner. While you will have to spend money at the outset, updating your unit will help you save money on your monthly energy bills. Before you can make a good decision about your next central air conditioner, you’ll need to gather information so that you have all the facts you need to make the right decision for your home.

Two Types of Central Air Conditioners

Before you make a decision about replacing your current air conditioner system, you’ll need to know which type of central air conditioner you have in place: a split system air conditioner or a packaged central air conditioner.

Split-system air conditioners have an outdoor cabinet which contains the condenser and compressor. An indoor cabinet houses the evaporator; in many cases it also contains the indoor part of a heat pump or a furnace.

Packaged central air conditioners have the condenser, compressor, and the evaporator in an outdoor metal cabinet. It is usually positioned on a concrete slab next to the foundation. Air supply and return ducts extend from the cabinet through the home’s exterior wall to a series of internal supply and return ducts. They circulate and return cool air throughout the home.

Tips for Buying an Energy-efficient Central Air Conditioner

  • Consult with an experienced HVAC contractor to make sure you buy the right size unit for the square footage of your home. If the unit is too small, it will have to work too hard to keep your house cool, which will raise your energy bills. If the central air conditioner is too big, it will cycle on and off too quickly, which will result in too much humidity in your home.
  • Look for a system that runs quietly. New, energy-efficient systems on the market make about the same level of noise as a distant conversation and you will not find them disturbing to your everyday activities.
  • An air conditioning system with a check filter light to remind you to check the filter after a certain number of operating hours will help you to perform this necessary function regularly.

Call Air Depot at 281-477-3700 to get a quote for installation for your new energy-efficient central air conditioner.

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Thermostat Maintenance: Calibration Check

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A thermostat is a very sensitive instrument that is made to respond to even the slightest change in temperature. It has fewer parts that are likely to break down than the rest of your air conditioning system, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t present some problems for you. You should still perform regular thermostat maintenance to keep it working properly, which will, in turn keep your Cypress air conditioning system performing at its best.

If your thermostat cover is not installed properly or it gets bumped, your air conditioner or heater may not start when you turn it on. The base may slip out of level, which means it will not operate properly. A dirty thermometer will not calibrate or operate properly . Wires can become loose or corroded over the years, and they will need to be tightened with a screwdriver and and cleaned with a cotton swab.

Thermostat Maintenance: Check the Calibration

  1. Pad a glass tube with paper towels and tape it to the wall a few inches away from your thermostat. The paper towels will prevent it from touching the surface of the wall directly.
  2. Wait about 15 minutes. At this point, the mercury will have stabilized. Compare the reading on the thermometer with the reading on the thermostat needle.
  3. If there is a variation by more than a degree, you’ll need to check to see whether the thermostat is dirty. Remove the faceplate; it is usually held in place by a friction catch or a snap. Blow away any dust you see inside it. Do not use a vacuum cleaner; the suction power will be too great. If you see accessible contact points, rub a new dollar bill between them to clean them up. If the element is coiled, you can use a soft brush to clean it up.
  4. If you see a mercury vial inside your thermostat, use a level to make sure it is straight. If it isn’t straight, loosen the mounting screws and readjust the vial until it is level. Retighten the screws.
  5. Check the thermostat again to make sure it is giving you the same reading as the thermometer. If it is not calibrated properly, the thermostat will need to be replaced.

Air Depot is your one stop for all your air conditioning needs in Cypress. We offer sales and service. Give us a call at 281-477-3700.

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How to Replace a Thermostat

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If you have gone through the steps involved to clean your thermostat and it is not calibrated properly, your next step is to replace it. When you decide to replace a thermostat, you need to make sure that the faulty one is being replaced with a new one that has the same voltage. It must also be compatible with your heating system.

Replace a Thermostat: Step by Step Instructions

1. Remove the old thermostat.

Take the faceplate off the old unit and locate the mounting screws. Remove them to release the thermostat from the wall. To remove the wires from the back of the old thermostat, turn the connection screws counterclockwise (to the left). Do not let the loose wires fall into the space between your walls.

2. Clean exposed wires and attach to new thermostat.

Scrape exposed wires with a utility knife until their ends shine. Attach the wires to the new thermostat. The new thermostat must have the same electrical rating as the one you are replacing.

3. Attach wires to replacement thermostat.

Once the wires are attached, push them back into the wall. Tape up the opening to prevent cold air from inside the walls from having an effect on the thermostat.

4. Install mounting screws for new thermostat.

Next, install the mounting screws for the new thermostat into the wall. If the thermostat has a mercury tube, set the unit against a level during installation. This style of thermostat must be perfectly level to work properly.

5. Snap the faceplate into place. Make sure the thermostat turns the heating and cooling system on and off when you adjust the temperature setting on the unit.

If you need to schedule a service call or are looking to replace your air current conditioning system for a more modern, energy-efficient model, Air Depot is your local expert in the Cypress area. Give us a call at 281-477-3700 for all your air conditioning needs.

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Consumer FAQs: Choosing an Air Conditioner

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Before you make a decision about buying a central air conditioner, you’ll want to make sure that it is the right one for your home. It’s important to do your homework before you make a buying decision. Here are the answers to some common consumer FAQs. Choosing an air conditioner that will keep your house cool without being too small or too large, adding excess moisture to your home, and being energy efficient is import to today’s homeowners.

Get Answers to FAQs: Choosing an Air Conditioner

Q: How do I know what size air conditioner I need for my home?

A: Determining the right size air conditioner for your home depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Orientation to the sun
  • Number and location of windows
  • Construction details

Buying a system that is too small for your needs may lead to your home feeling too warm or too cool, according to some of your family members. If you install one that is too powerful, it may add too much humidity to your home.

Q:What is a good relative humidity level for a home?

A: The recommended indoor relative humidity level is between 30-60 percent. Keeping it at this level will minimize the growth of molds, allergens, and dust mites.

Q: What is a BTU?

A: BTU is a British Thermal Unit. It is a unit of measurement of heat energy, and one BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit from 58.5 to 59.5. It is used to give you some idea of the heating and cooling capacity of an air conditioning system. A 10,000 BTU window air conditioner will remove that level of heat per hour. The amount of heat that one person at rest will add to a room is about 230 BTU per hour.

Q: What is a SEER rating? Is it worthwhile to spend more for a higher SEER unit?

A: SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of the air conditioning unit. The higher an air conditioner’s SEER rating is, the more energy efficient it is. You will save money on your energy bills by choosing one with a higher SEER number.

Call Air Depot at 281-477-3700 for all your air conditioning service and installation needs.

Air Conditioner

Why is there an Ice Buildup on my Air Conditioner?

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Finding an ice buildup on an air conditioner is not uncommon. It is a sign that there is a problem in the system. You’ll need to arrange for a service call to find out the exact reason why you have ice on and inside your air conditioner.

Possible Causes of an Ice Buildup on your Air Conditioner

Some common reasons why you may see ice forming on your air conditioner include:

Low Coolant Level

If your coolant level is too low, the coils will be at lower temperature than normal. The excess condensation builds up and becomes ice.

Fan Issues

The evaporator unit’s fan is supposed to keep the coil temperature above the freezing point so that the condensation on the coils will not freeze. If the fan spins too slowly or not at all, the temperature will drop and the buildup in condensation will freeze.

Debris

Debris in the evaporator unit can restrict the air flow to the coils, which will result in fan problems.

Troubleshooting Tips for ice Buildup on an Air Conditioner

If you notice ice buildup on and inside your air conditioner, here are a few things you can try:

  • Adjust the temperature setting on the thermostat so that it is no more than 18 degrees cooler than the outdoor temperature. You may be seeing ice because your air conditioner is being overworked.
  • Run the air conditioner system in fan-only mode for several hours. This will allow the ice to melt.
  • Remove any debris from around the condenser unit and evaporator unit.
  • Clean the air filter or replace it to improve air flow through the house.

Regular inspections can lower the risk that you will have to deal with an ice buildup on your air conditioner. Call Air Depot to at 281-477-3700 to schedule a maintenance inspection or all your air conditioning service needs.

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