Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Air Conditioning Verses Triple Digit Temps

A little refresher on what an AC actually does. AC moves heat from somewhere it is not wanted (inside our homes) to somewhere it doesn’t matter (outside). Keep in mind that when moving heat from a cooler location (inside at 758 to 80*) to a much warmer location (outside at 95* to 105*+) the higher that outside temperature is the harder it is to move that heat into it. Most systems at designed at 95 to 97 outside and 75 inside, that’s a20*split, once the temp outside goes above 95* the actual capacity of the system decreases, because it is so much harder to push that heat out into an already hot area. Look at it like a car, when you are going 65 mph on a flat highway the car is chugging along just fine , and even going downhill your engine may be too big, (like a big AC system when its only 85* outside). But when you are climbing a hill the car starts to slow down and the steeper the hill the harder for the car to make it up ( like moving 75* air to an area that’s already over 100*). So if your system struggles to keep the temp more than 20* to 25* below the outdoor temp, during the heat of the day, but catches up within 2 hours of the sun going down, then your system may be working as intended. If it does not seem to catch up during the night or you have not had it serviced recently then it may be a good idea to have it inspected by a reputable contractor. IF you need to have your system replaced, do not put in a bigger system just to keep your house at 70* on a 100* plus day, because if you do that then you may actually increase your electrical usage and decrease your comfort during the remaining 340 days of the year. Don’t forget that your duct work and air filter are very important parts of your system. a clean filter and sealed, well designed and insulated duct system can go a long way toward increasing your comfort and efficiency.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Externally Insulated Sheet Metal Ducts are Best!

Externally insulated sheet metal ducts are best. The smooth interior surface of metal allows the air to flow freely with little resistance for maximum efficiency. The smooth surface also makes it harder for dirt and contaminates to stick, and also discourages molds and fungi to grow. Metal can also be cleaned and last forever if installed and maintained properly. If you have an older but properly designed and installed metal duct system there is a good chance that the external insulation is deteriorating and is no longer as efficient as it could be. When I say properly designed, I mean if you are comfortable in your entire home the majority of the time regardless of the outdoor temperature then your duct system is probably properly designed. When it comes to proper installation, older homes were built to different codes and standards, many of which ignored energy efficiency. A lot of older round metal ducts were just stuck together with duct tape at best. Also up until the last few years, building codes in Texas did not require the seams to be sealed and secured. IF your externally insulated duct system is properly designed and is secure enough to not fall apart, then we can do what we refer to as a “peal and seal”. We remove the insulation, make sure each joint has at least 3 screws and seal all seams and joints with a code approved duct mastic. We also add or replace the hanging brackets and strapping to meet or exceed current code and then reinsulate the ducts with at a minimum 3” fiberglass duct wrap. 2” is still available but considering the high cost of energy the few bucks you would save upfront would not benefit you in the end.

Other types of insulation are available, of those, cotton is the very best available in my opinion. It’s much denser and will last longer than fiberglass and can be installed in some very tight applications where fiberglass is not as feasible. It does cost substantially more, so you have to consider all of your options.
Some other bubble foil type insulations are starting to expand in the market place. I am in favor of these, however the installation practices are much different so if choosing these, make sure it will be installed properly.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Replace your old leaky duct work!

Would you buy a NEW CAR and put on your OLD TIRES? That’s just what you are doing if you buy a new Air Conditioning system and leave you’re your old leaky worn out duct work! Like tires on a car take you where you want to go, the ducts carry the air your system is heating or cooling where you want it to go. If you have the most expensive, most efficient AC and Heating system in your attic, producing clean refreshing air and then that air has to pass through 20 year old, dirty, leaky ducts to get in to your home and lungs, how clean is that air when it gets there? Or how much of the air that you are paying for end up in your attic and doesn’t even make it into your home? There are other factors here as well, if your system and duct work is located in the attic, as the majority of our systems here in the south are.

Your indoor equipment, I will refer to as your air handler, removes (returns) air from the house, passes it through the cooling coil or heater (conditions it) and puts it back (supplies) into the house. Assuming no air leaks, the same amount of air that is removed from the house goes back into the house and the system is balanced and efficient. However, most systems have leaks, so what does that mean? If the leaks are on the supply side of the system, more air is removed from the house then is put back in, creating a negative pressure in the home. When this happens the many small leaks around the doors and windows (among other locations) will literally allow dirty unconditioned air to be “sucked” into the house. On the other hand, if there are more leaks on the return side of the system, then dirty unconditioned air is drawn into the system causing the blower, coils, heater, etc. to become dirty and inefficient as well as causing the system to over work to deal with the extra unconditioned air. And if you have leaks on both sides of the system, as is common, well you can imagine how much money is being wasted. If you look at the pay back cost, not counting increased comfort, less money on cleaning and maintenance, then replacing old ducts can give you a great bang for your buck.

There are many types and levels of duct work available. In future articles I will discuss these various types and the pros and cons of each.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Runny Nose?

Right now a lot of people I know are complaining of having a runny nose, watering eyes & congestion. I’m told that some of it can be attributed to Cedar pollen in the air, among other airborne contaminants that are just playing havoc with their breathing.
Your home is your refuge from this onslaught. But, If your Air conditioning system isn’t equipped to kill and/or remove these irritants, then you’re no better off inside your home than outside.
I believe we have a solution to take care of this! In your home we can reduce your exposure to germs,bacteria & viruses. By using the activTek INDUCT 2000. AKA “Air Scrubber Plus”
A University of Cincinnati study states that the activTek Air Scrubber can REDUCE APPROXIMATELY 90% OF AIRBORNE MICRO ORGANISMS.
So, if this is you,and your sick and tired of being sick and tired. Why not give us a call and talk to one of our Comfort Specialist at A J Warren Service Co. and let us help you breathe easier in your home.

The “Air Scrubber” cleans while your sleep. It’s the 21st Century way of cleaning the air you breathe.

Give us a call at 713-466-6135 and let’s talk about it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Improve your Indoor Air Quality

There are many ways to improve your Indoor Air Quality through options like whole house Air Cleaners, UV lights and purification systems, dehumidifiers, humidifiers and fresh air ventilation. You may be thinking, why humidifiers? Sometimes during long cold winters the humidity drops in the home to the point that one, we need to raise the heating temperature to be comfortable and two, the lower humidity can cause skin and sinus irritation making you more vulnerable to infection. The solution is a duct mounted humidifier. It can only operate if the heater is running and the humidity is lower than your adjusted set point. The dehumidifier on the other hand can operate based on high humidity regardless of the temperature or a call of cooling.
A very tight home can sometime become stagnate and/or contaminated with everyday smells from cooking odors, to cleaning supplies. Also whenever we use exhaust fans such as stove hoods, clothes driers and bath room exhaust fans, the air that is removed from the structure has to be made up some how. Usually this comes back into the house from the worst places, such as down fireplace chimneys, dryer, cooking and bathroom exhaust vents. If the pressure inside your home is lower than the outside barometric pressure, guess what happens when you open a door to the outside. Unconditioned air, moisture and particulates come rushing in. However, bringing in a little fresh air, through an Energy Recovery Ventilator, can help reduce many of these issues. The ERV brings in fresh air while simultaneously exhausting stale air from the home. The heat and humidity is transferred from the incoming air into the outgoing air stream through a special heat exchanger. Ultra Violet air purification is also available in different forms from a simple UV light to Photo Catalytic Oxidation devices. The PCO type systems utilizes ionization to reduce particles, UV rays and a catalyst to create oxygen and hydrogen based friendly oxidizers to reduce microbial contaminants and low level ozone to reduce odors. Air cleaning systems range from HEPA filters to Electronic Air Cleaners to a basic 4” to 5” media filters. There are many things to be considered when choosing the right air cleaner for your home. I consider the 2 most important factors to be, your particular needs, such as health concerns, and the type of central heat and ac system you are installing it on. Sometimes the better filtering capability means it is more restrictive to air flow. This can translate to higher energy cost to operate and reduced system capacity if not selected and designed properly. Another factor to consider is maintenance cost. Some systems are more expensive to maintain or require more frequent service than others.

Regardless of your Indoor Air Quality needs, a good HVAC contractor will work with you and help design the right solutions for you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Buyer Beware


We received a call from a new customer wanting a second opinion about the condemnation of two of their three central furnaces. It seems a very large and well advertised company had just left their house and told them two of their furnaces had cracked heat exchangers and the furnaces needed to be replaced for thousands of dollars apiece. This other company had used a video camera with a snake attachment for the lens to condemn these heaters. The cracks they were showing the customer, were actually scratches made on them when the attachment was put into the furnaces. We took the heat exchangers out of their housing to verify to the homeowner that they were indeed not bad. The video cameras are a great diagnostic tool, when used by someone with scruples. However, this was not the case in this instance. Both of these heaters were less than 10 years old, which is what alerted the homeowners to a possible misdiagnosis. Less than a week later we went behind this Company again on an 8 year old furnace, with the same results.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How to Select your A/C Contractor

Most Houston homeowners have some kind of fear and trembling about their air-conditioner. It’s that essential to living in this part of the country. And that makes having true professionals in your corner a smart strategy.

We believe that membership in trade organizations, such as the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of Greater Houston, implies integrity. “It has a code of ethics that we subscribe to. All members must be licensed and insured. In the event of a dispute, the association can arbitrate.

Air-Conditioning is a building science these days and the better companies realize that the a/c and heating is a system within the larger system of the house. Sometimes that means we need to fix the house – not just the a/c .We do it by testing such factors as air pressure, humidity levels, air filtration and leaks in the thermal envelope.

For more information please visit our site at: http://www.ajwarrenservice.com