The High Cost of Neglecting Your Central Air Conditioner

Try this simple homeowner test:
When was the last time you had you car tuned-up?
When was the last time you had your heating and cooling system tested and tuned-up?
Maybe regular auto service is perceived as more important because when your car breaks down, you are always away from home, while you will never be left stranded along the highway when your air conditioner breaks… but what if your central air conditioning system dies on the hottest day of the year?
Summer AC failure is considered an emergency by just about everyone with a pulse and can be life-threatening to elderly family members during a heat emergency. Getting a quick fix will leave you at the mercy of any random HVAC contractor you are lucky to find because all the good ones are too busy with everyone else’s emergencies.
Worse yet, the cost of neglecting routine maintenance on your mechanical systems is paid through higher utility bills, reduced indoor comfort and sometimes, unhealthy indoor air quality.
The cost of emergency replacement of home central air conditioning is a missed opportunity to optimize the replacement and will cost hundreds or thousands more to operate over the life of the equipment.
To avoid getting stuck in a compromising position make sure to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ to have your annual maintenance done. Call for any of your HVAC needs. We look forward to serving you soon! Call Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONER MAINTENANCE TIPS You Must Know

AC maintenance tips homeowners can use to keep their central air system running at peak performance.

In most homes, central air conditioners work together with an existing forced-air system to cool and circulate air.  The air is cooled when it passes over the central air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which is the main component of the system located inside the house.  The cooled air then travels through the ducts into the home while room-temperature air is pulled into the furnace’s return air duct, beginning the cycle again.
The condeser unit, which is located outside the home, is the other main component of the central air conditioning system.  Both the evaporator coil and condenser are sealed systems, and require servicing by a Green Apple Mechanical NJ professional technician.  However, homeowners can perform some basic air conditioner maintenance that can keep the system’s components clean and functioning properly.

EVAPORATOR CLEANING

The evaporator is usually located above the furnace in the plenum.  If the front of the plenum is covered by foil-wrapped insulation, you should be able to clean the evaporator – but if you’re not comfortable cleaning the evaporator yourself, a Green Apple Mechanical NJ professional technician can do this as part of your A/C system’s annual maintenance.
Carefully remove the insulation from the front of the plenum, which may be taped in place.  Ac access plate should be located behind the insulation – remove the screws securing it to the plenum to gain access to the evaporator.
The underside of the evaporator should be cleaned with a stiff brush.  When the coils are free of dust and dirt, clean the tray below the evaporator, then replace the access panel and insulation.  Periodically cleaning the evaporator allows heat to transfer easily from the air to the coils, and can help maximize the efficiency of the air conditioner.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical New Jersey toll free at  (201) 300-5554

Should You Turn The Central Air Off When You Go On Vacation?

With summer in full swing, homeowners are beginning to leave their homes for long-awaited vacations filled with warm weather activities. As you prep your home for the time away, it’s important to plan for how your will manage certain systems in the home during your vacation. Specifically in this post, we’ll discuss the issue of whether to turn your central A/C on or off while away.

Managing Central A/C While on Vacation

 
There are several factors to consider, including the length of your vacation, as we discuss below. But the bottom line to understand is that if saving the most energy is your primary concern, turning the system off completely will give you that result. However, the more widely recommended option is to turn the thermostat up while away, not off. Read on to understand why this is the case.

Length of Vacation

 
If you’re only going to be gone for a short time, just a day or two, it’s better to keep the air conditioner on, but set at a higher temperature. Cooling an empty house to the temperature you’d be comfortable at while home can be wasteful and unnecessary. While it puts some extra strain on your central A/C to return a hot house to a more comfortable temperature, you’ll save energy and keep the humidity level under control by leaving it on.
This is when a programmable thermostat comes in handy. These nifty little devices allow you to set the desired temperature at varying times so that it kicks on and off automatically. Simply set the thermostat up between seven and 10 degrees higher than normal while you’re away. You can also reduce the strain on your air conditioning unit by closing the curtains before leaving. This will block the afternoon sun and help keep your home a bit cooler.
For longer vacations when no one will be using your home for a week or more at a time, you’ll save the most energy and cost by turning the system off. In this case, you can use your programmable thermostat to begin to cool the home a day or so before your return. Be sure to remember the safety and comfort of any animals that will be left in the home.

Other Factors to Consider

 
Along with the length of your getaway, several other factors will help you determine whether to turn the A/C on or off while you’re gone.
Weather. Check the local forecast for the timeframe you will be away as the weather plays an important role as to whether to turn the A/C on or off. If the weather will be relatively mild, it may be best to simply turn the A/C off since there is a minimal risk of heat building up indoors. If, however, forecast is promising scorching temperatures, consider keeping the A/C on. This will help prevent your cooling appliances from running overtime to compensate for the high temperatures in your home. In addition, indoor temperatures above about 80 degrees can cause distress to any pets left at home.
Efficiency. The overall energy efficiency of your home will also help determine if you should turn your cooling system off while away. Homes with ample attic insulation, lower air infiltration and efficient windows have a higher resistance to heat buildup. Adding solar window films or thermal drapes can help improve inefficient windows. If you can minimize air leaks, your home will be able to retain cooler temperatures for a longer period of time.
Protecting Other Parts of Your Home. Keeping the air circulating in your home while away will help the system do an important part of its job — that is, keeping the humidity down inside. Moisture holds heat, which will make your system work harder to cool down the home upon your return. In addition, the extra moisture can impact other features of your home, including wood floors, doors and cabinetry.

Other Steps to Prep Your Home for Vacation

 
Here are a few other helpful steps to take before you head out on vacation. These measures will help you save some energy and keep your home safer while away.

  • Turn off the main water supply
  • Schedule a neighbor or landscaper to water indoor/outdoor flowers and plants
  • Leave ample food and water for any pets that will remain at home
  • Plan for daily mail pickup by a friend or neighbor
  • Save some power by unplugging electronics
  • Leave a light on or use a timer to light rooms

When deciding whether to turn the A/C on or off while on vacation, take into consideration all the factors above. This will help ensure you are making the best choice for your specific situation and needs while preparing your A/C system and all your home’s systems for your time away.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

How To Save Money on Central Air Conditioning and Heating Bills

Saving on Central Air Conditioning and Heating Bills – Air conditioners are responsible for the major part of most peoples electric bills during the summer months and heaters are responsible for a large part of the utility bills during the winter. While they can be significant there are several simple things you can do to cut back on our bills.
Potential for Savings – Air conditioners are responsible for the major part of most peoples electric bills during the summer months and heaters are responsible for a large part of the utility bills during the winter. While they can be significant there are several simple things you can do to cut back on our bills.
1) Maintain Your System – With the proper maintenance your air conditioning and heating equipment will work more economically and be dependable for years to come. With a few easy and routine procedures you can keep your unit at peak performance and get the maximum amount of comfort from your HVAC system.
2) Get a Tune Up – To keep your central air conditioner and heater working to its fullest potential occasionally you need a tune up. If you choose to skip regular maintenance you will find yourself paying for a major repair down the line. If you skip your regular maintenance, you will cost yourself money and be inconvenienced in the long run. For maximum performance and long life have a professional perform needed maintenance on your air conditioner in the spring and your furnace or heat pump in the fall.
3) Have Refrigerant leaks repaired – Leaks in your system will lower its efficiency and will only get worse with time. Refrigerant is not a fuel source it is only a cooling medium and like the water in your radiator it should only need to be replaced if there is a leak.
4) Buy an Efficient Unit – On of the most important things to consider when purchasing a unit is the efficiency. The higher the efficiency of the unit the more it will cost you in the beginning but an investment in a higher efficiency system will return your investment many times over in cost savings over the course of the equipments life span. Air conditioner efficiency is rated in SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER ratings tell you how much cooling you get back for a unit of electricity so the higher the number the more you get for your money. Before 1992 most units manufactured were at a 6.0 SEER rating. Today the lowers efficiency unit you can buy is a 10.0 and high efficient units start at 12.0. If you replaced a unit that was rated at 6.0 with a 12.0 you would save half of the cost of the electricity to run the unit. Two speed units can run on low speed 80% of the time which allow them to get ratings as high as 16.0+ SEER. Most heaters are rated in AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. AFUE measures the amount of heat actually delivered to your house compared to the amount of fuel that you must supply to the furnace. A furnace that has an 80% AFUE rating converts 80% of the fuel that you supply to heat and the other 20% is lost out the chimney. AFUE refers only to the unit’s fuel efficiency and not its electrical usage.
5) Get a Programmable Thermostat – You should consider investing in a programmable thermostat especially if your house is empty for part of the day. This will allow you to set your unit to a more efficient temperature while you are gone and then have it drop back to a comfortable level thirty minutes before you are due to arrive home. Some people also like to set a different temperature for when they are asleep then their waking hours. Most thermostats can be set for a particular day of the week so you can bypass your program or change it on days when you are home like weekends.
6) Match the Indoor and Outdoor Units – If you have to change the outdoor air conditioning or condensing unit consider changing the indoor coil to match it. Ask your contractor if the indoor or evaporator coil is compatible or if it also needs to be changed. Mismatching a high efficient condensing unit with a low efficient indoor coil can not only cost you most if not all of the added efficiency but can also damage your compressor valves and cause your compressor to wear out much sooner than it normally would.
7) Adjust the Thermostat – Set your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter. Many experts agree that 78°F is a good starting point in order to save money. Every degree below 78°F that you set your thermostat for AC will increase your energy usage by around 8 percent.
8) Don’t Humidify in the Summer – Don’t use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating because it will force the air conditioner to work harder.
9) Properly Seal your Ducts – Have your ductwork checked to see if it needs any repairs or if it needs to be replaced. If some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, if the insulation is peeling or if there is a buildup of contaminates inside consider having your ducts evaluated to see if they need replacing. Also return grilles and grills in each room should be evaluated to see if they are properly sized and working correctly.
10) Don’t Run the Continuous Fan – As a rule it is a good idea to set your air conditioner fan setting to auto instead of on. Air conditioners make very inefficient fans. Use a ceiling fan instead.
11) Consider Zoning your AC and Heating Unit – Many people can save energy from heating and cooling costs by using a zoned system. Zoned systems can be as simple as two heating and cooling systems, one for two different parts of the house such as one for upstairs and one for downstairs or they can be a bit more complex utilizing baffles and separate thermostats so that you can heat and cool only the areas you need. If you live in a two-story home and spend most of your time downstairs you should keep your downstairs air conditioning running and turn off the upstairs unit when not in use. At night while you are asleep you may find it is possible to reverse the process if the downstairs in unused.
12) Repair Air Leaks – You should have a professional examine your air conditioning unit and see if air is leaking out of it. Some experts report the average home leaks 30 percent of air that the AC and heating unit is putting out. This is a huge source of wasted energy that can be easily recouped.
If you have any more questions or concerns about any of your HVAC needs please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

7 Things That Can EXPLODE in Your Home!

If your attitude towards home maintenance is “I don’t want to know about it, unless it will keep my house from blowing up!”, then you will love this article . In it, we will be discussing seven things can can explode in your home.
The seven things are:

  • gas leaks
  • water heater
  • furnace boiler
  • gas grill
  • combustible products
  • glass containers
  • cooking flour

. . . and we will be discussing what you can do to prevent explosions from each one of these.
Gas Leaks
While explosions from gas leaks are fortunately not very common, their impacts can nonetheless be devastating. To prevent an explosion from leaks of natural gas or propane, everyone in your home should be familiar with the smell of gas. Your gas company should be able to give you a “scratch & sniff” card to help you learn this distinctive odor. You should also have all of your gas appliances serviced and inspected each year by a trained professional. And you should consider installing a gas leak detector, especially if anyone in your home has trouble identifying smells.
It is important to note that if you ever suspect that you have a gas leak, that you should immediately leave your house, and do NOT touch any electrical switches and do NOT use your home phone or cellphone until you are a safe distance from your house. The reason is that even the slightest electrical connection can touch off the gas, and trigger an explosion.
Water Heater
A water heater tank that is over-pressured can generate tremendous force when it explodes. To prevent this from happening in your home, you should have your water heater serviced once a year by a trained professional. And you will want to check with them to be sure that you have a relief device installed on your unit that protects both against excessive pressure AND excessive temperature. Also, to be safe, you should have your pressure and temperature relief valve replaced every 3 years. And if you ever adjust the temperature limit on your water heater, be sure to never allow it to exceed more than 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Furnace Boiler
Similar to a water heater, if your home has a furnace boiler for creating hot water for your heating system, then you will want to take similar precautions to what we just described for water heaters.
Gas Grill
6,000 gas grill explosions occur every year, causing severe injuries and sometimes deaths. To prevent you or your family from being part of this statistic, you should read all safety instructions before using your grill. You should do routine maintenance inspections, and replace any damaged parts immediately. Also, do not use a propane tank if it is dented or damaged in any way. And do not store your propane tanks near any heat sources, nor carry a propane tank in your car trunk on a hot day.
Combustible Products
The next cause of too many explosions in the home is from combustible household products. You should be aware of which products that you use in your home are flammable, and be sure to store these combustible liquids, sprays and powders in cool locations. And you will want to be sure that these storage areas are very well ventilated, so that you don’t have a chance of fumes building up. Although it may be convenient, you should never store any cooking spray, flammable insect repellants, or any other combustible products near your stove. And get rid of any dented cans or damaged containers for any flammable products.
Glass Containers
A frequent cause of eye damage in the home is from explosions of glass containers. To prevent glass container explosions, never shake carbonated liquids that are in glass bottles or containers. And especially keep carbonated beverages that are in glass containers away from children, who may shake or run with them. Also, before you use any glassware in your microwave or oven, you will want to be sure that they are a type of glass which is made for this use. Do not leave glass containers on stove burners, and never put glass containers of liquid in a freezer (unless they have very high alcohol content, which lowers the freezing point).
Cooking Flour
And lastly, cooking flour dust is highly flammable, and so you should avoid creating flour dust clouds around any heat sources in your kitchen, and you will want to especially keep open flames (such as candles, gas stove burners, cigarettes, etc.) away from your flour when preparing your baking.

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