Is your home’s second floor too hot? You’re not alone. Many homeowners experience a second floor that simply doesn’t seem to be getting any air conditioning during the summertime. Here, our air conditioning experts share some tips on what may be causing the situation and how to cool it down:
When the temperatures rise outside, the last thing you want to be is hot and uncomfortable in your home; that’s when you head to your thermostat to turn your air conditioning on. But have you ever wondered how your air conditioning actually works? Here, our air conditioning installation experts explain:
While the use of air conditioners is increasing throughout the world, it’s growing exponentially in China. Here, our air conditioning installation company shares this interesting Quartz article by Zoe Schlanger that explains just how large that growth is and what could happen if it continues:
We’ve hit the peak of summertime and at Oliver, we know the temperatures aren’t going down anytime soon. While you’re turning to your air conditioner to cool down your home, you may be putting more stress on it than necessary. Here are some tips from our air conditioning professionals to get you through the rest of the summer:
Fix Your Leaks
If your home is older, chances are there are several areas that are leaking your air conditioning out of your home. Check the seals around your windows and doors and make sure your attic is well-insulated. By replacing the weatherstripping (or the windows or doors themselves), you can create a better barrier between your home and the outside world that keeps your air conditioning inside.
Upgrade Your Model
Is your air conditioner more than 10 years old? If so, it may not be as efficient as it could be and in return, you’re likely paying more to cool your home than you think. The right air conditioner fits the size of your home and your family’s needs, so talk to one of our air conditioning professionals today to learn more about an upgrade.
Use Your Fans
If you have overhead ceiling fans, you can use them in conjunction with your air conditioner to better circulate cold air around your home. Switch each fan to run counterclockwise so it pushes cool air downward. You can also use your fans during days that aren’t as hot so you save energy.
Don’t Keep Your AC Cranked
If it’s hot outside, your first instinct is probably to keep your thermostat low all day – even when you’re not home. Many people believe that by keeping the air conditioner running, it won’t have to work as hard to re-cool the home later. However, keeping your AC low means using energy that you don’t need to use and in return, racking up your electric or gas bill.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
To expand on our previous point, investing in a programmable thermostat can help you keep your home warmer while you’re away and cooler while you’re back. With a programmable thermostat, you can set your ideal temperature for certain times of the day so you only use energy while you and your family are at home.
Replace Your Filters
Spring and summertime pollen have likely built up in your air filters (as well as dust, dirt, dander, and other airborne particles). To maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency, make sure you replace your air filters on a regular basis. Our air conditioning professionals recommend replacing them every 2-3 months.
Close Your Blinds
While natural light is great, the sun can also heat up your home more than you’d like. If you have windows that face the sun, be sure to take advantage of blinds or curtains to help block out the heat. You’ll keep your home cooler and put less stress on your air conditioner to provide the cold air.
What to Know About Both
At Oliver Heating and Cooling, we’re already thinking about summer vacation plans, and we know you are too. If you’re thinking about taking a road trip, you can save money by knowing when to use your air conditioning and when not to use it.
Car Air Conditioning
Car air conditioners and rolled-down windows can both help you save money while you drive – you just have to know when to use which cooling method. If your road trip consists of highway driving (we’re assuming it does), keep your windows rolled up and your air conditioner on when you’re going above 50 miles per hour. Traveling with your windows down at high speeds will actually reduce the efficiency of your vehicle (by up to 20%), which means you’ll use more gas to maintain your highway speed.
On the other hand, if you’re driving around town (or under 50 miles per hour), opt to roll down your windows instead of use your air conditioning. Because there’s less wind force than when traveling at higher speeds, you won’t decrease your vehicle’s efficiency, and if you do use your air conditioner, you’ll be using more fuel to run it.
As a general note, if you get into your parked car and it’s hot, you may be tempted to cool it down with the air conditioning. If you do this, roll down your windows to let some of the heat out – the car will cool off quicker.
Home Air Conditioning
Summer road trips also mean time away from your home, and you may be wondering whether you should turn your air conditioning off or simply turn it down. The truth is, it doesn’t hurt to turn your air conditioning off – in fact, you’ll save a lot more money than if you keep it at a higher temperature.
In addition, air conditioners actually run more efficiently when they’re running at full power, which means they’re more efficient when cooling a room down from 80 to 75 than when they’re working in short spurts to keep the room at a constant 80 degrees. We know that during winter months, it’s important to keep your home warm to avoid freezing your pipes, but in the summer months, it’s perfectly safe to turn off your air conditioning.
If you’re having trouble with your air conditioner, call our air conditioning repair company before you leave and we’ll have it fixed for you as soon as possible.
Beat the Heat
Though it’s not technically summer yet, it’s getting hot out there. At Oliver, we know that while the season is all about having fun, it can be hard to stay cool. That’s why we’ve come up with some tips that can help you beat the heat:
1) Cool your veins
On hot days, wrap an ice pack around your wrists or run them under cold water. The chilly temperature will cool down the blood in your veins and you’ll instantly feel better. Repeat every time you’re feeling overheated.
2) Drink water
Drinking cold water on a hot day is like eating hot soup on a cold day. The cold temperature will help cool your body down (and bonus – the colder the water, the more calories your body will burn trying to warm it up!). Drinking water also helps keep you hydrated, which is very important to do when it’s hot outside.
3) Check your air conditioner
When it comes to cooling services, the experts at Oliver know best! Before you blast your air conditioner, give us a call and let us check it. We’ll make sure everything is working properly and that your air filters are clean so that cold air can flow through your home or office as fast as possible.
4) Turn off the lights
Lights give off heat, so instead of using your lamps, open your blinds or curtains and let the sunlight help you out. You can also invest in LED light bulbs or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) that aren’t as hot. These bulbs are also energy efficient, so you’ll save money on your electric bills!
5) Eat ice cream
Ice cream, Popsicles, water ice, and other frozen treats can cool you down in a hurry (not to mention they’re delicious). Stock up your freezer when you know there’s a heat wave coming and you’ll make everyone happy.
If all else fails, just jump in a pool or run through a sprinkler – that always works for us!
Be Prepared This Season
We know it’s not quite hot enough for you to have to use your air conditioner yet, but we also know that the last thing you want when it does get hot is an HVAC system that doesn’t work. That’s why, as HVAC repair experts, we recommend turning your air conditioner on for a few hours in the springtime to make sure it’s running smoothly.
By turning on your air conditioner early, you’ll give your system time to adjust to providing cold air instead of all the hot air during winter. You’ll also be able to make sure all of the equipment is operating correctly. Plus, running your air conditioner before you really need it will give you time to call us to take care of any HVAC repairs you may encounter.
Before you turn on your HVAC unit, refer to our checklist of things you should do:
1. Check the condenser fan: Make sure no debris is stuck inside the blades of the fan (such as dead leaves or twigs) and that nothing is blocking the fan’s airflow.
2. Replace your HVAC filter: Your current filter has spent all winter collecting dirt and dust, so start fresh with a new one.
3. Check the coolant lines: Inspect the lines to make sure their insulation is still intact and there are no leaks. If you see any damage to the lines, call our HVAC repair experts.
4. Clean your coils: Winter weather can leave your outdoor condenser coils covered in dirt and dust. Remove any debris around the coils, then use a garden hose to gently clean them.
This summer, you’ve probably heard at least one person talk about how cold it is in their workplace, but did you know that air conditioning actually affects men and women differently? According to a study in the Nature Climate Change journal, many office buildings adjust their thermostat temperatures based on a male’s metabolism.
Well back in the 1960s, the majority of the workforce in office buildings was made up of men, so employers were encouraged to choose their office temperature based on the comfort of a middle-aged man who weighed around 150 pounds. This ensured that bulk of the employees were happy and productive.
On average, male bodies have higher metabolic rates than female bodies, which means they burn energy faster and need cooler temperatures in order to stay comfortable. In fact, men prefer a home temperature of around 72 degrees while women prefer a home temperature of around 77 degrees. This means that women in the workforce (and there are many more these days) now have to deal with too much air conditioning.
So what temperature should office buildings opt for? Many think that a cold workplace means employees will stay awake and be more focused, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Studies have shown that when you’re cold, you’re actually less productive and more likely to make mistakes. With this in mind, employers may benefit more from a warmer thermostat instead of a colder one and in return, they’ll be able to save money on their energy bill.
The same idea goes for homeowners – if you want to lower your energy bill and be more productive, turn your thermostat up a few degrees. Since males prefer about 72 degrees and females prefer about 77, try keeping the thermostat at 74 or 75 degrees.
It’s hot outside, and if you’ve unfortunately experienced a broken or overheated air conditioner, you probably don’t want to go the rest of the summer without one. At our HVAC company, air conditioner installation is one of our specialties, but before you decide on a new unit, there are a few things we think you should think about:
The Right Contractor Is Key
There are a lot of HVAC contractors out there and before you schedule your air conditioner installation, make sure you know the company well. Sometimes homeowners who are unfamiliar with the world of HVAC feel pressure to make decisions about their new system. A reputable, trustworthy contractor will answer your questions thoroughly, provide examples of high quality workmanship, and employ technicians and installers you feel comfortable with in your home. We know an air conditioner is a big investment, and finding the right contractor is key. Do some research on each company and find out how long they’ve been in business, if they’re focused on customer satisfaction, and if they have the proper licensing (like us!).
You Don’t Need to Go Big
While it may seem like a larger air conditioner will do a better job of cooling your home, that’s not always the case. Today, air conditioners have been getting smaller while still being able to give you the amount of energy you need. If a contractor suggests a larger, more expensive air conditioner for your home, be wary and get several other opinions before you agree. Also keep in mind that a larger air conditioner will cost more to run and put more stress on your equipment than a smaller one.
As we said, an air conditioner installation is a big investment, which means you should talk to more than one HVAC contractor before making a decision. Each contractor may offer you different prices, warranties, labor costs, and more, so make sure you get written estimates from each one and don’t just choose the one who will do the job for the least amount of money. Also make sure you choose a contractor you feel comfortable with and who isn’t afraid to answer any questions you may have.
Don’t Forget About SEER
Today, each air conditioner has a SEER (or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating number that will tell you how efficient an air conditioner is. The higher the SEER number, the better the air conditioner. We recommend not making a decision on an air conditioner until you’ve talked to an expert about what SEER number is right for your lifestyle. For example, if you’re planning on selling your home in a few years, you may only need a mid-rated unit instead of a high-rated one.
For any other questions you may have (and for the best air conditioner installation experts in the area), give us a call today.
Many homeowners don’t realize how important insulation is for their home. Insulation not only reduces the transfer of sounds, but also reduces the transfer of heat to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Because energy costs have risen in the past century, a properly insulated home is a must. Here are some fun facts about insulation from our heating and cooling service company:
1. Dirty homes
The earliest form of insulation was during the Middle Ages, when the walls of homes were stuffed with mud and straw to keep out the cold.
2. Early asbestos
Asbestos insulation originated in Ancient Greece. The term translates to mean “inextinguishable.”
3. A step toward better health
In the mid-1970s, home improvement companies traded asbestos insulation for fiberglass insulation after finding out the harmful effects asbestos has on lungs.
Fiberglass was invented when a young researcher named Dale Kleist attempted to create a vacuum-tight seal between two pieces of glass and a high-pressure jet of air shot through and turned them into fibers.
5. Losing energy
Today, an un-insulated home can lose up to 60% of its energy through walls and the attic.
Insulation is measured using an “R-value,” which refers to its resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better it will insulate.
7. Jean insulation?
Some of today’s environmentally friendly insulation materials include recycled cotton denim, paper or plant cellulose, and sheep wool.
8. A name for those blankets
Large blanket pieces of fiberglass insulation are called “batts.”
There are around 10 different types of insulation that you can use to keep your home comfortable and energy efficient.
At Oliver, we offer home insulation including spray foam, blown fiberglass, blown-in, radiant barrier, rigid foam, injection foam, and cellulose. If you believe your home is under-insulated or improperly insulated, give us a call. We’ll help you figure things out.
Do you have rooms over a garage that are constantly cold? Watch how proper insulation and air sealing solved this homeowner’s common problem:
If your home has problems with hot and cold spots like this, schedule an appointment for a free in-home analysis performed by one of the Oliver experts.