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Air Conditioning

Ask Dirk: What Are My Options When Buying or Replacing My Air Conditioner?

Ask Dirk - Nevada Appeal Column photoAsk Dirk: What Are My Options When Buying or Replacing My Air Conditioner?

Overwhelmed by your choices when purchasing a new air conditioning system? Central air conditioners fall into three categories based on your budget and what works with your existing system. Here is a look at each category.

High-end air conditioners

The ultimate in comfort and efficiency

There’s no doubt you are paying a premium for comfort with high-end systems. If you like to run your AC all day and all night to maintain a steady 72 to 73 degrees, these are the systems for you. As the name implies, high-end central air conditioners tend to be the most expensive. You’re paying for comfort and quiet with these systems and may not recover your costs in energy savings over the lifetime of the equipment.

Precise temperature control

When paired with the right furnace, an air conditioner with multiple cooling levels can reach your set temperature more efficiently and accurately. Instead of switching on and blasting cold air, these systems can use lower stages of cooling.

Lower capacity = steady temperature

Variable speed air conditioning operates at lower capacities during the day, depending on how hot it is outside. Single stage systems blast cold air until it reaches a certain temperature. Variable speed runs longer at lower capacities keeping a steady temperature throughout the day.

Clean is good

Additionally, variable speed AC can also act as an air purifier, filtering your air if you run the blower constantly at lower speed and capacity. This helps to improve indoor air quality, reduce contaminants, limit mold growth and prevent dust mites.

Quiet is better

Variable speed systems run more quietly than single- or double-stage units.

Mid-range air conditioners

Cost less to own

Mid-range air conditioners often have the lowest cost of ownership over the life-time of the equipment.

Mid-range air conditioners are typically two-stage systems. A two-stage system offers two operating speeds: high and low.


Efficiency

Two-stage systems will run at full capacity when necessary and at a lower level when it’s not. Less cycling equals lower energy bills and the system may pay for itself with energy savings over the years.

Budget friendly solutions

The basic AC system

Many cooling systems are single-stage systems with one level of cooling. Single stage systems may have the lowest upfront cost. They turn on when the indoor temperature exceeds the setting on the thermostat. Single-stage air conditioners are the least expensive to buy and generally cost less to install. They have tried and true technology are great for their simplicity and reliability, as well as their lower cost.

Not so efficient, but still reliable

Single-stage air conditioners are the least efficient. They draw more electricity because they run at 100 percent capacity, turning on and off throughout the day. If keeping upfront cost low is important to you, you’ll be happy with this system.

So, which do you choose?

The type of system you choose depends on the size and design of your home, your existing furnace, your needs and your budget. If comfort and quiet are important to you, you may consider going with a two-speed or variable speed. If lower upfront cost is more important to you, stick with a single stage system, again, only if it meets your needs.

Do your research, then talk to a reputable dealer. You’ll feel better making an informed decision, and you’ll find the right system for your situation.

 — Dirk

About Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning: For more than30 years Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning has been providing essential indoor climate management services to the citizens of western Nevada. Roper’s is a family-owned, community-oriented business that specializes in the restoration and preservation of Total Home Comfort. Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning is located at 2062 S. Edmonds Drive in Carson City. For more information, visit https://roperhvac.com/.

 

2018-08-17T13:21:23-07:00August 17th, 2018|

Is ice on my air conditioner a problem?

If you’ve noticed ice or frost on your outdoor air conditioning system, you definitely have a problem. Your system is out of balance. Here are the primary causes of an iced-up unit. Ice on my air conditioner

Your AC is gasping for air

Fixing this could be as simple as changing your filters. Filters are there to remove debris and pollution from your system. When they get choked up, your system has to work harder to move air.

Change your filter regularly. When you run your AC more often, more air flows through and filters collect more stuff.

Refrigerant

Your AC is a sealed system, which means refrigerant should never leak out. If you’re losing refrigerant, you either have a leak or an installation problem.

You can “top it off” but the issue won’t go away. Your technician should identify the problem and solve it. Leak checking can be quite difficult depending on the size and location of the leak.

Environment

So, you want to be cool. Really cool. So you set your thermostat to 65 degrees inside.

Some higher end systems have internal controls to manage temperature extremes but most systems do not. Now there’s ice on the system and it’s working at lower capacity, or not at all.

Your AC is specifically designed to work within a narrow range of temperatures. It’s an air conditioner, not a refrigerator! Setting your thermostat to less than 70 degrees is likely to make your system work too hard, freeze up and possibly die.

On the flip side if it’s cold outside and you still want to run your AC, you still  may have an issue. Air conditioners are not typically designed to run when it’s lower than about 55-60 degrees outside. If it’s too cold outside, refrigerant acts differently than your system is designed for and your AC will work too hard, freeze up and possibly die.

What’s the best thing to do?

OK, so your AC isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. Here’s what to do:

1.         Shut it off.

2.         Set your thermostat back to a reasonable temperature.

3.         Change your filters.

4.         Wait for the ice to melt before you try to switch the system on again.

5.         If none of that works, call your friendly local service company. Have your system checked for leaks or mechanical issues.

Have your system checked when you first notice trouble. It may save you more expensive repairs later on. Ask your technician to leave you some extra filters on your next scheduled maintenance and show you how to change them or ask him or her to come back and change them for you. Your AC will thank you.

Dirk

2018-06-28T15:16:35-07:00June 28th, 2018|

Is Annual Maintenance Really Necessary?

Preventative care is better than an emergency room visit.

Should you have annual maintenance service on your air conditioner? In a word, yes. Here are my top reasons why.

Improved reliability

Improved reliability, lower energy bills, longer life are reasons why annual maintenance is a must.

You will be less likely to suffer the inconvenience of a system breakdown. A system that is running well doesn’t have to work as hard and is more likely to keep running. Instead of replacing parts when they fail, you can replace them at your convenience.

Repairs that are less costly

Often parts fail over a period of time, from a few minutes to many weeks. Parts that are failing can increase stress on other parts, causing them to fail too.

It’s important for your service professional to look at the whole system. A part may have failed on its own, but it may also have failed because another part is failing. You pay less when you make repairs before they fail, and cause others to fail too.

Lower energy bills

A well-running system uses less energy to do the same amount of work. This savings will help to offset the cost of maintenance.

Longer equipment life

A well-running system will last longer. This spreads the cost of the system over more years, lowering the annual cost.

Safer, healthier indoor environment

Replacing filters and cleaning indoor equipment makes your indoor environment cleaner and healthier. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming blog post on ways that a properly running system is safer.

Warranty protection

Most major equipment manufacturers require annual maintenance to keep your warranty in effect.

Planned replacement

Your service professional will be able to inform you as your system nears the end of its useful life. You can be in control and replace your equipment at your convenience, instead of having to make a crisis replacement. You can choose the replacement system that’s exactly what you want, and not whatever happens to be available during an emergency.

Take control of your health, your safety, and your home comfort by investing in the proper care of your equipment.

Dirk

2018-06-27T17:40:49-07:00June 27th, 2018|