Is your home energy efficient?
Sure, you’ve got the energy efficient appliances. You’ve got the energy efficient light bulbs. You’ve even got green ethernet for crying out loud. But what about the single largest energy-user in the house? Your HVAC system.
Even with the very best home construction and design — and even that fancy schmancy refrigerator — if a qualified HVAC contractor hasn’t been consulted with regard to the efficiency of your unit relative to the uniqueness of your home, you’re probably spinning your wheels… and your electricity meter.
So, how’d this happen? How’d we get to a place where windows and washing machines are more highly scrutinized than your home’s air conditioner?
The short story is this: The pioneers of energy efficiency came primarily from government-funded weatherization programs around four decades ago. Others began with solar water heaters — a result of the … Continue reading
Keeping cooling costs manageable during the dog days of summer can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to keep your checking account from feeling the heat.
Change the filter often.
Very few duct systems are air tight. The increased resistance caused by a dirty filter can make your air-conditioner pull in more air through any cracks and crevices in the return air duct system. If your return is in the attic, that means it’s pulling in extremely hot air.
Keep your condenser coil clean.
The condenser coil outside is where your air-conditioner gets rid of the heat it absorbed inside of the home. Having your unit washed regularly increases the efficiency of your air-conditioner. Also, keep shrubs, grass and leaves away from the outdoor unit.
Reroute your dryer vent.
You can’t fix stupid—but you can reroute it. If your dryer vent is close to or blowing … Continue reading
Losing our air-conditioning during the summertime can be an altogether awful experience. Should you find yourself in need of an emergency repair, let’s hope your thought process goes a little something like this:
If “R22” just sounds vaguely like a smallish robot from Star Wars, don’t worry—you’re in the vast majority. The U.S. government-enforced restrictions—and the ultimate phase out—of R22 Freon probably isn’t on your radar, but it has been on ours for years.
The impact for you, the consumer, has been—and will continue to be—felt when you get the bill for an air-conditioning system recharge. A once small fee has skyrocketed as production of R22 continues to drop.
In fact, only 13 million pounds will be produced in 2017, followed by 9 million pounds next year and 4 million pounds in 2019. Finally, beginning in 2020, only reclaimed or recycled R22 refrigerant will be available to service existing systems.
But, why? What’s the deal?
The deal is that the government hopes to replace R22 with a safer material—one that goes easier on the ozone layer. That’s an initiative we can all get … Continue reading
Life in Northwest Arkansas was very different before air conditioning. In fact, without air conditioning, we wouldn’t have all those “Best Town in America” awards we’ve received.
Before air conditioning, towns like Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers had no chance of competing successfully for national businesses. Just like the airports, roads, and educational institutions that made prosperity possible for Northwest Arkansas, air conditioning was a necessity for getting a seat at the national and international table.
Early residents of Northwest Arkansas relied on design features to keep their homes relatively cool. Dogtrot houses, high ceilings, and sleeping porches helped families make it through the summer by taking advantage of the breezes. Factories? There were canneries in Northwest Arkansas in the early 20th century, but actual industrialization was just not practical. The heat inside a factory in an Arkansas summer made it impossible to run machinery. Even if the workers could tolerate … Continue reading
Not much beats stepping into an air-conditioned room on a hot day. But have you considered what’s happening inside of your home to keep it cool?
A building’s air-conditioning is part of a larger system commonly referred to as its heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system – HVAC for short. Your home’s HVAC system is essentially an expansive machine that consists of a ventilation system, a thermostat, and various devices that either heat or cool the air. Understanding the basics can be very helpful when trying to decide whether to repair or replace your unit.
The following helps to break down what goes into keeping your home comfortable.
Ventilation is Key
The ventilation portion of your system is comprised of return and supply vents, ductwork, filters, and a circulating fan. The circulating fan pulls air from inside your home through the return vents, into the ductwork, and over the devices … Continue reading