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Bell Home Solutions Spring 2013 Newsletter

Tune–up your AC unit and get ready for the heat

When your air conditioner is fully operational, it can keep you comfortable during the hottest days of the year. It’s imperative, therefore, that you maintain your AC unit throughout its lifetime. Spring is a great time to think about how you might tune–up your AC.

To tune–up your AC means inspecting, cleaning, repairing, and, if necessary, replacing parts of your system. To be done properly, much of this work requires the expertise of an air conditioning professional. A properly installed and serviced AC unit will maximize your energy–efficiency, and will help to save you money.

The first step is to call a professional. An expert technician will be able to assess any issues in the compressor, coils, refrigerant levels, electrical supply and thermostat. Attempting to do so yourself may be dangerous and could prove costly. Here a few maintenance tune–ups even the most efficient air conditioners could benefit from:

? Clean or replace the air filter. Your air filter is one of the most important parts of your AC unit. It promotes airflow and prevents the passage of dust and other allergens from entering your ductwork or home. If you are highly–sensitive to allergens, particularly those that come about in the spring time, then this is an absolute must. Air filters also keep the parts of your AC unit working properly by preventing the accumulation of dust and other materials on the internal structure. Check your air filter monthly.

? Insulate the ductwork. Your ducts are the structural skeleton of your indoor air system. They make the measured and even distribution of cool air possible, but they depend upon a closed system. As well as repairing or sealing any duct leaks and testing that the system is efficient, insulating ductwork tends to significantly reduce heating and cooling loss, sometimes up to 30%. By sealing air leaks, your cooling professional may be able to save you serious money this spring and summer.

? Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to customize your home temperature for specific times of the day and days of the week. Not only will adjusting your temperature automatically cut costs, but it is also takes care of your home comfort for you.

Remember that only a professional AC technician can tune–up your system for this upcoming cooling season. Call one today.

What is SEER rating and why is it important?

Your entire home cooling system is much more than the air conditioning unit: it includes the ductwork, electrical circuitry, and also structural elements of your house like insulation and the way the rooms are organized. But the energy efficiency of your cooling system is in large part determined by the energy efficiency of the air conditioner. Having a high–efficiency unit goes a long way to ensuring your home is cooled effectively and efficiently.

Every AC unit that is manufactured is tested and given a SEER rating by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). The acronym stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it measures the total cooling output (measured in British thermal units, or BTUs) divided by the electrical input (measured in watt–hours) during a season. The higher the rating the better the energy–efficiency. As of January 2006, the US requires that home air conditioning systems built after 2005 require a SEER rating of at least 13. An increased SEER rating often comes at a premium. Efficiency requires added mechanical complexity with larger coils and multiple compressors, the cost reflects as much.

However, replacing an older, inefficient unit may be a cost–effective option for your home. For example, if your AC unit requires frequent repairs accompanied with a low SEER rating, it may be more cost–effective over the span of the next decade or so, to invest in a newer model. In this case, the more efficient unit will pay for itself in the years to come, and you’ll have the added advantage of an often quieter and more “green” unit. The installation of units with high SEER ratings may also take advantage of utility rebates and governmental tax credits.

There are recent developments in air conditioning technology that boast very high SEER ratings. Mini ductless home units can be available with SEER ratings up to 27. They hang high on the wall or suspended from a ceiling. They offer customized zone control of your home’s cooling system and do not require ductwork.

Remember that your SEER rating, however excellent, is only as useful as your ductwork, insulation and the care with which you maintain your system. Preventive maintenance on an older system can often reduce your energy costs without a system replacement. If you think your air conditioner can do better, or if you’d like to hear more about SEER rating and how it affects your home, call a local air conditioning technician today.

Bell Home Solutions
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