DUCTS MATTER – A LOT

One reason systems may appear not to be producing enough cold air is because of duct leakage. Duct leakage can sap 20 to 40% of the energy out of even a well-operating air conditioner, if the ducts pass outside the cooled space (this includes attics, crawlspaces and garages). Ducts outside need to be well insulated. Various products exist specifically for insulating ducts that can be installed by a keen home owner or a professional contractor.
You might be able to get an extra half ton of air conditioner capacity for free, if you seal your leaky ducts. If the ducts are accessible, handy consumers can seal ducts with mastic—that white sticky stuff you can paint on the ducts. Otherwise you would need a professional to seal the ducts.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

How Much Does Air Conditioning Cost?

Most homeowners report spending between $3,699 and $7,153 to have air conditioning installed. This price is more typical of a central A/C unit installation rather than a window air conditioner addition which typically averages about $300. Your total cost for the job will depend on the type of system you choose.
The size of your home will determine the type of air conditioning system you will need.
There are several types of systems, including:

  • Window units: installed in windows as a singular unit
  • Split systems: either as mini-split (ductless) or central systems that are installed as inside and outside units
  • Central system: uses duct system that’s usually combined with the heating system to cool a whole house
  • Portable units: comes as a split, hose or evaporative system for ease of movement around the house
A window air conditioning unit will generally suffice to keep a smaller home cool on warm spring and summer days. The cost to install a window air conditioner averages between $150 and $300, depending on the size you need. Installing a window air conditioning unit can bring added comfort for a reasonable price, but it will be less powerful than a central air conditioning system.
If you have a bigger home with multiple rooms, you will probably need to have a central air conditioning system installed. Homeowners can pay between $500 and $4,000 for central air conditioning. The final cost will depend on the unit, additional installation items such as ductwork and the professional’s installation rates. Here are some additional factors that will determine the kind of system you will need, as well as its price.

Measuring Home Size in BTUs

The first major factor in determining what kind of air conditioning system you’ll need is the size of your home. Air conditioning units are measured in tons or the amount of heat they can remove from a home in one hour in British thermal units (BTUs)–more information on this measurement below. The larger your house, the more cooling power you’ll need. However, bigger isn’t better in every scenario. If the system is too large it will cycle on and off all the time, wasting energy and emitting a loud, disruptive sound. On the other hand, if the system is too small, it will run constantly and cool your house inefficiently.

New Air Conditioning Unit Load Calculation

An air conditioning contractor will do a load calculation to determine the proper air conditioning unit for your home. This calculation takes into account the climate, size, shape and orientation of your home, as well as its square footage. A professional will also look at the insulation, windows, walls, floors and other materials that compose your home. He will then examine any leaks, seals and existing ducts or vents. The general rule is that every 500 or 600 square feet requires one ton of cooling. However, this calculation varies from place to place and contractor to contractor.

Load calculating is often referred to as the Manual J methodology. Cooling professionals use a variety of computations to analyze your home’s heating and cooling characteristics, determining how much air it will lose. Factoring in environmental considerations like geography and solar rays, professionals can decide which system will best cool your home. There are two types of Manual J load calculations:

  • Whole House: Provides the air conditioning load calculations for a whole house with an existing duct system.
  • Room by Room: Used for calculating the air conditioning loads in every room of a house, which contributes to determining individual duct sizes and layout of a duct system

What are EER and SEER Ratings?

The best cooling unit for your home will be the most energy efficient and the least expensive to run. Air conditioning professionals help determine this factor in their load calculations, but the next step is looking at the energy efficiency ratio (EER) and seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings of cooling units. Here’s what you need to know about these two units of efficiency.

EER Ratings

An EER certifies the cooling efficiency of HVAC units. It’s calculated by the rate of the cooling in British thermal units (BTUs) per hour and divided by the rate of energy input in watts at a specific temperature. The calculation goes as BTUH/WATT at dry bulb (db) versus wet bulb (wb) temperatures. The optimal rating for a cooling unit is about 80db/67wb inside and 95db/75wb outside.

SEER Ratings

An air conditioning system’s SEER is especially important if you live in a climate that changes temperature dramatically. The SEER is determined by the cooling output during the winter divided by its electric input during the winter. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient it will be. Cooling units specifically must have a minimum SEER of 13 as of January 2006, according to U.S. standards, so if you live in a home with a system installed before then, consider having it replaced. SEER 13 units increase home efficiency by 30 percent.
Once you’ve determined the size of the air conditioning unit you need, it’s time to look at different brands. Various manufacturers produce heating and cooling units, and there are pros and cons to each. Units also vary in cost, depending on bells and whistles. So, consult with a professional about what you need and ask about any additional features that may benefit your home. Here are some of the cooling unit manufacturers and their average costs (in alphabetical order):

  • Aire-Flo — $1,700
  • Amana — $2,600
  • American Standard — $3,200
  • Armstrong — $2,000
  • Bryant — $2,200
  • Carrier — $3,200
  • Coleman — $1,700
  • Comfortmaker — $1,700
  • Frigidaire — $2,900
  • Gibson — $2,300
  • Goodman — $2,100
  • Heil — $2,600
  • Lennox — $3,400
  • Payne — $1,400
  • Rheem — $2,500
  • Ruud — $2,400
  • Tempstar — $1,800
  • Trane — $3,300
  • Whirlpool — $1,900
  • York — $2,800

There are a few factors in addition to load calculation, energy efficiency ratings and brand manufacturers that homeowners should consider before they invest in an air conditioning system:Common AC Unit Brands and Average CostsAir Conditioning Installation Cost Factors

Installing the Air Conditioning Unit

It’s important to have made an informed decision about an air conditioning system before initiating an installation, as this will determine a large percentage of your cost. If you decide to have a split or central system installed, you will need to hire an air conditioning professional to install the system. You cannot do this installation as a DIY project because it involves handling refrigerant, which cools the air. Professionals must be licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before they can handle this substance because it’s a harmful chemical.

Installing an air conditioning system is an involved process. To that end, it requires the help of many professionals whose rates will drive up the cost. You will need at least:

  • Air conditioning contractor: he or she performs an assessment to determine what kind of system you need and installs it
  • Assistant(s): additional team that helps with the wiring, ductwork and metal bracket mounting
You will also be charged for the materials involved in the installation, including the air conditioning unit and chemicals. Check with your contractor to see whether you might cut costs by buying the air conditioning system yourself or using existing heating system ductwork in your home.

Additional Questions and Considerations

Do you already have a central heating system?

Many central air conditioning systems use the furnace blower to distribute cool air through the home. If you do not have a central heating system installed, it is cost-effective to install a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the same time. If you already have central heat, you can use the existing fans and duct system for the central air system.

Do you need ductwork?

Although most new homes have ducts and vents already in place, many older homes have old convection heating systems or baseboard heaters without ductwork. In such cases, you will need to install ducts and vents to provide the air conditioning with a flow system. This would be the time to explore upgrading the existing heating system as well, as it will be much cheaper to do together.

How’s the insulation in your home?

If your home is well built and well insulated, your heating and cooling systems will work more efficiently and save you money. If you have poor insulation, you will spend considerably more on utility bills. Explore the costs of new insulation or upgrading your old insulation as it might save you money in the long run.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

What Never To Put Down Your Drain

Our trash that goes in the can or recycling is waste we have no choice but to face. Whether it’s hauling the trash cans to the sidewalk, bringing recycling to a center–it’s a mass of garbage that we have to contend with.
Liquid waste, on the other hand, simply gets rinsed down the drain and it’s “bye-bye never have to think about you again.”
It’s a much more expedient process–one that’s hidden from the eyes of any sanitation departments–and one that can wreak waves of environmental chaos, not to mention what it can do to your pipes. We often don’t realize the harm we are doing by what we rinse down our kitchen sinks, bath and shower drains, and even what we flush down our toilets.
In a study published in 20015, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected and analyzed water samples from 139 streams in 30 states. The goal of the study was to measure concentrations of 95 wastewater-related organic chemicals in water. And guess what? One or more of these chemicals were found in 80 percent of the streams sampled.
Half of the streams contained seven or more of these chemicals, and about one-third of the streams contained 10 or more of these chemicals. Pharmaceutical and personal-care products are to blame for many of the chemicals found in the USGS study. Research has shown that there can be effects on aquatic organisms like fish and frogs. Lesson here: don’t flush unwanted prescriptions and try to purchase all-natural personal care products.
But another area of concern is kitchen waste–namely fats, oils and greases which can not only clog pipes, but are terrible for sewage systems. According to the Watership Environment Foundation (WEF), sewer overflows and backups can cause health hazards, damage home interiors, and threaten the environment.
An increasingly common cause of overflows is sewer pipes blocked by grease–this results in raw sewage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home; An expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by you, the homeowner; Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets; Potential contact with disease-causing organisms; and an increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, which causes higher sewer bills for customers.
Where does the grease that causes sewer overflows come from? Much of it from the kitchen sink.

  • Meat fats
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Shortening
  • Butter and margarine
  • Food scraps
  • Baking goods
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products

Grease sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, the grease can build up and block the entire pipe. Note that home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system. These units only shred solid material into smaller pieces and do not prevent grease from going down the drain. Commercial additives, including detergents, that claim to dissolve grease may pass grease down the line and cause problems in other areas.
WEF suggests these tips to alleviate pipe blockage and sewer overflows:
• Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
• Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, and grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal (or recycling where available).
• Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty the drain baskets/strainers into the trash for disposal.
• Speak with your friends and neighbors about the problem of grease in the sewer system and how to keep it out.
• Call your local sewer system authority if you have any questions.
Other things to never wash down your drain:

  • Fats, oils or grease from cars or lawnmowers
  • Coffee grinds
  • Egg shells
  • Produce stickers
  • Chunks of garbage
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Paper towels
  • Flushable cat litter
  • Rags
  • Condoms
  • Motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze or other toxic chemicals
  • Solvents, paints, turpentine, nail polish, polish remover
  • Flammable or explosive substances
  • Corrosive substances that are either acidic or caustic
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Preparing Your Heating System for the Summer

We still have cool-to-cold weather here in NJ, and can expect a few more weeks of it before the temperature begins to warm up. Your home’s heating system will keep working for a while longer, but you should also know how to prepare your heating system for the time when it will shut off for a few months during the summer. You don’t want it to have trouble starting up again when the fall and winter weather return.
Here are some ways to prepare your heating system for its summer siesta. For professional assistance with your heating—from maintenance to repairs to new installation—trust to the skilled workers at Green Apple Mechanical.

Preparing for summer—with your heater

  • Have lingering repairs taken care of now: It is very tempting to put off fixing a malfunction in a heater with the warmer weather approaching. However, you should make sure that your heating system shuts off for the season working as well as possible, since you do not want to encounter trouble when you really need it later. This time of year is less busy for HVAC repair technicians, making it easy to schedule the work—the winter rush will present a much more difficult time for scheduling. Also, any repair needs your furnace has can deteriorate during the long period of inactivity and become worse.
  • Have a maintenance visit if you haven’t already: Spring is when most homeowners have a maintenance visit for their air conditioner. If you’ve delayed maintenance for your heater for more than a year, you should also have maintenance done for it now so that it will be in good shape for when you need it again. You want your heating system in the best shape possible when you need it once more. Maintenance will also make sure there are no safety issues in the system—such as gas leaks—that can become problems.
  • Check and replace air filters: This is part of regular maintenance that you can do on your own. If the air filter for your heater is clogged, or if you haven’t changed it in over a month, you should switch it out now. Your air conditioner will probably use the same filter, so this will help you during the summer as well.

Schedule service today

Get a head start on the summer, and next winter, with the service your heater requires. Call Green Apple Mechanical and set up an appointment for maintenance or repairs for your heating in NJ.

Central Air Tune Up?

At Green Apple Mechanical NJ, spring marks the beginning of our busy season. And, as we encourage New Jersey area residents to schedule their annual air conditioning tune-ups early, we are sometimes met with resistance and questions of, “Do I really need to get an air conditioning tune-up every year?”
We understand the hesitance to spend money when you think everything is fine, but annual air conditioner tune-ups are recommended not only by Green Apple Mechanical NJ but also by the EPA, ENERGY STAR, the U.S. Department of Energy, and local utilities. Here are several things to consider when thinking of skipping your tune-up.

It’s for your own good.

As we said earlier, summer is an extremely busy time for air conditioning companies like Green Apple Mechanical NJ. One of the main reasons is that some homeowners decide to skip regular maintenance on their air conditioners or heat pumps. Then, when the extreme  heat hits their homes, their cooling systems are not prepared. An annual air conditioner tune-up is much more convenient (and less expensive) than having to call us later in the summer for a repair.

Your air conditioner has been dormant for months.

Have you ever noticed a musty or burning smell the first time you turn on your air conditioner in the summer? That’s dust and other debris that has collected on your coils over the winter. A large build-up of such debris can actually cause inefficient operation of your cooling system.
Other problems may also have surfaced during your air conditioner’s winter hibernation, such as refrigerant leaks and electrical problems. When you schedule an annual air conditioner tune-up, the technician will clean your coils and other critical components and check for any internal problems.

And you will save money!

If car insurance ads are any indication, everyone likes saving money. An annual air conditioner tune-up will save you a significant amount of money for a small up-front cost. Some of the ways a tune-up saves you money, include:
  • Reduced breakdowns – Annual air conditioner tune-ups allow you to find small problems before they turn into large ones. For example, a plugged A/C drainage line is an easy fix, but if left untended could lead to a much larger repair.
  • Increased efficiency – The Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR, and local utility companies all recommend annual air conditioner tune-ups to increase your cooling system’s efficiency.
  • Increased lifespan – Regular maintenance can extend the useable lifespan of your home’s air conditioning system. An annual air conditioner tune-up can also give you an idea of how much longer your system may have before you should consider a replacement.
So before the heat really hits New Jersey and your NJ area home, get an annual air conditioner tune-up and insure your cooling system against costly repairs. But be aware, not all tune-ups are created equal.
Green Apple Mechanical NJ has been providing world-class heating, cooling, and air quality service to New Jersey and the surrounding counties for years.  We employ  certified technicians that will make sure your job is done right the first time.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191. Hope to hear from you soon!

Give Yourself A Bit O’ Luck And Install Central Air Conditioning Now

Considering adding central air conditioning to your New Jersey home? Read on for a list of features and reasons why you should go ahead and take the central air conditioning plunge.

  • Central air conditioners provide cool air flow directly from the source into every room of a house, not into just one or a few rooms, as do unit air conditioners. Cool air travels through the air ducts and vents to cool individual rooms, as well as hallways.
  • Central air conditioning is less noisy than room or unit air conditioning.
  • The only visible component of central air conditioning is the compressor, which is usually placed in a hidden spot outdoors. Therefore, central air conditioning is not cumbersome nor does it take away from your window view.
  • Many high efficiency central air conditioners are available on the market today.
  • Most central air conditioners also act as air filters and dehumidifiers.
  • Many central air conditioning systems also pump hot air in the winter, or work in a reversed cycle.

Need more reasons why you should choose to install central air conditioning in your New Jersey? Green Apple Mechanical NJ who provide expert heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and geothermal services throughout the entire New Jersey area.
Central air conditioning requires regular maintenance – including duct cleaning.
If you have any questions or concern feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Things to Do Before Turning on Central Air for the First Time

Before turning on your central air for the first time, whether it has just been installed or for the first time of the season, there are some things that should be done beforehand. By working off a check list, you will be able to catch problems or issues before they occur, so that when the central air unit is up and running, you will know that the unit will be good to go for the entire year. Always perform these procedures with the air conditioning breaker switch in the “off” position.

Checking the Condenser Fan

The condenser fan is located outside of the building in a large metal box-like container called the condenser box. Remove any plastic or tarp cover from this unit, if applicable. Remove the grill that covers the fan and clean the blades with a vacuum attachment brush. Vacuum out the bottom of the condenser box to remove any debris, dead leaves or anything else that may have been sucked inside from the operation of the fan. Make sure nothing is blocking the airflow to the fan blades. Vines or bushes that interfere with the airflow must be trimmed back, and any debris that may have stuck to the fan grill must be removed.

Cleaning the Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are located inside the condenser box, and both the side and top panels must be removed to gain access. These are generally held on with screws. The coils will look like the fins on a radiator, and can be cleaned with either a water hose or a vacuum cleaner and brush attachment. Any stuck-on grease or gunk can be removed with condenser coil spray and then hosed off. Always be extra careful to not bend the coil fins during cleaning. Bent fins will reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of your air conditioning unit.

Checking the Coolant Lines

The coolant lines must be checked for both leakage and insulation continuity. Damaged, crimped or leaking lines must be replaced by a professional heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor. All coolant pipe lines must be covered by intact insulation, and any areas of damaged insulation should be cut off with a utility knife and replaced. Coolant pipe insulation is readily available at hardware stores.

The Filter and Ductwork

Change the filter in your HVAC unit before the air conditioning unit is turned on for the first time. Check the ductwork that supplies the conditioned air to each room. All of the ductwork seams must be sealed and intact, and any damaged or compromised ductwork runs must be repaired or replaced before the unit is turned on.

Electrical Aspects

Check the battery in the thermostat if you have a computer-controlled model. A good idea is to change the battery every year at the start of the cooling season. This will ensure proper and maintenance-free thermostat function throughout the entire year. Make sure the breaker switch is operable. Flip it to the “on” position and notice if it stays on. If it breaks after a few seconds before the unit is running, there is an electrical short in the system, and a qualified electrical technician must be called in to troubleshoot the problem.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Why Spring time Is The Perfect time to Install Central Air

Is your old air conditioner collecting dust? If so, spring is the perfect time to have central air conditioning installed by the professionals at Green Apple Mechanical NJ. In the HVAC industry, central air conditioning is a major advancement because it replaces individual air conditioners and can cool an entire house with the flick of a switch.
Central air conditioning is the best way to effectively circulate cold air throughout your home. Another advantage of this state-of-the-art system is that it can improve air quality in your home. Indoor air pollutants won’t be able to call your house their home.
When it comes to installing central air conditioning systems, our goal is providing your home with comfort and efficiency.Starting in the spring and during the summer, there is nothing more refreshing than basking in central air conditioning. Also, traditional air conditioners use more electricity than central air conditioning units. Therefore, a new central air conditioning unit will be more energy efficient than an old one.
The pros at Green Apple Mechanical can install a new central air conditioning that is the most conducive and effective for the layout of your particular home. Give your friends at Green Apple Mechanical a  call toll free at 888-611-7191 for a free estimate or consultation. So go ahead and take a well deserved breath of cool air.

World Plumbing Day

There are many things that make our lives easier that we often take for granted such as electricity, cell phones, and air conditioning.
I personally would add indoor plumbing to that list mainly because I enjoy the easy convenience of taking a hot shower in the morning and running my dishwasher at night not to mention the most convenient feature of all…an indoor toilet!
And yes, there are still people out there who choose to forgo this modern convenience but I am definitely not one of them. But indoor plumbing not only makes our lives easier, it also plays a critical role in public health.
While we take plumbing for granted when it works, we definitely do not when it doesn’t. Who wants to deal with a sink that won’t drain let alone a toilet that’s backed up and overflowing? Many people take the work of the plumber, the one we call to fix a leak and unclog the drain, for granted and who hasn’t heard a plumber joke or two?
In reality, plumbing, when properly installed and maintained, is critical in ensuring that our health is protected. Unsafe water supply systems within buildings and ineffective sanitation could, and sadly does, lead to significant health problems and even, at times, death.
With an increasing global focus on climate change, the plumbing industry is again a major player whether in relation to water conservation, use and reuse issues or in the installation and maintenance of equipment using renewable sources of energy.
In many developing countries, lack of an effective plumbing infrastructure is a huge factor in the tragic statistics when people do not have access to safe drinking water or to effective sanitation systems. The World Health Organization estimates over three million children under the age of five die each year due to water related diseases.
On a local level, we have seen issues with improperly installed or clogged plumbing vents causing sluggish drains and even worse, allowing unsafe sewer gas to enter the home. Faulty plumbing has also caused waters systems to become contaminated and broken sewer pipes have led to sewage leaking inside and under homes.
For these reasons, March 11 has been designated by the World Plumbing Council (WPC) as World Plumbing Day. The aim of the Day is to raise awareness about the critical role which today’s plumbing industry plays in relation to public health and the health of our planet and the environment. So take the time to thank a plumber for all their hard work in keeping our world a little safer and healthier and a whole lot more convenient.

Spring Furnace Care

Change your furnace filter.

There’s no reason to wait to change the filter in your furnace.  Over the winter, your filter operated as the “lungs” of your home.  As you can imagine, those “lungs” got pretty dirty in the process of keeping the air clean.  If you’re not sure how to change your furnace filter, call Green Apple Mechanical NJ and we’ll arrange to come for an end-of-season house visit.  During the visit, we’ll show you how you can change the filter yourself in the future.

Make sure your carbon monoxide monitor is still going strong.

If you didn’t change your carbon monoxide monitor during the “spring forward” time change, do it now.  Any indication of carbon monoxide in your home necessitates an immediate call to your gas furnace utility provider after getting your family out of the house to prevent fatalities or illnesses.  Once you have protected everyone and the utility has turned off the natural gas to your home, Contact Green Apple Mechanical NJ so it isn’t a danger to your family’s health.

Check your pilot light and burner assembly.

The pilot light and burner assembly are located in your furnace and can be visually inspected.  However, many homeowners aren’t certain as to what they are looking for.  In this case, it’s always better to get the assistance of an expert so you can be sure the pilot light and burner are a-okay.  Occasionally, they may need to be cleaned or replaced.

If you will need a new furnace (or you want to switch from oil to gas or electric), start shopping now.

Most furnaces are operable and efficient for around 15-20 years.  This means yours could be on its last legs if you’ve had it for the better part of two decades or even longer.  Start investigating your new furnace options during the spring and summer; that way, when you are ready to purchase another furnace in the fall, you’ll have all the information you need to make a smart decision.
As with all home improvement projects, the more preventive steps you take to care for your furnace, the less concerns you’ll have when the weather cools down again.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191