Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Lahaska’

What Are Thermostatic Expansion Valves?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

The thermostatic expansion valve, sometimes known as a TEX, TEV or TXV, is a critical piece to influence the efficiency of your Blue Bell air conditioning and refrigeration units.  A tiny sensor controlling the evaporating phase of process, the valve can have a big effect.

Cool air is manufactured by a re rapid movement of a refrigerant between liquid and gaseous states.  Compound chemicals that are able to do this at a low temperature are compressed and expanded, absorbing and releasing heat at different points along the way.  The TEV controls the flow of the refrigerant into the evaporator coils according to the temperatures of the various ingredients.

Cool Air 101

To condition air, the refrigerant, most often freon or another fast acting, low temp compound, evaporates into a gas that runs through a coil and absorbs heat.  Passing through a compressor, the freon condenses under pressure back into a liquid again and releases the heat, becoming cool enough to chill a party.

Too much freon in the evaporator tube and the pressure is not low enough to expand to gas and absorb heat, working inefficiently for no gain.  Too little freon and the conversion is also ineffective by not reaching the density needed to condense.

There are four types of valves with different benefits for different types of cooling environments.  With its ability to adjust minutely to changing conditions, the thermal expansion valve creates the perfect mixture of pressure and freon for more complicated systems.

At the Starting Gate

An interactive device, the valve senses the evaporator pressure and temperature and adjusts the flow of the refrigerant so as to maintain a given “superheat”, the differ­ence between the refrigerant vapor temperature and its sat­uration temperature.  By controlling superheat, the TEV keeps nearly the entire evaporator surface active while not permit­ting liquid refrigerant to return to the compressor.

Some valves operate on an electrical impulse from sensors that can measure the temperatures.  Others are open all the time.  The thermostatic expansion valve actually utilizes the pressure between the two sections to open or close itself, regulating flow based on the very same pressure it is designed to moderate.

Like the buildings they comfort, Blue Bell central air conditioning systems are varied and diverse.  There are nearly as many thermostatic expansion valves as there are units to receive them. Call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today if you need any air conditioning service in the Blue Bell area!

Continue Reading

Quick Tips From Perkasie: How to Save Money on Air Conditioning

Friday, August 26th, 2011

You’ve probably heard once or twice that the cost of running your air conditioner is more than that of any other single electrical device in your Perkasie house. That means you’re spending hundreds and possibly even thousands of dollars each and every year to stay cool. It’s well worth the investment as the risk of not having air conditioning is much too high, but there must be ways to cut the costs, right? With careful attention to how your AC operates and when you use, there are some things you can do to slash those costs. Here are a few of the easiest:

  • SEER Matters – What is this magical acronym you hear so much? SEER refers to how many BTUs your air conditioner can produce with a single watt of electricity. A low SEER device therefore uses a LOT more electricity to produce the same volume of cooling as a high SEER device. Since current devices offer SEER of 13 or higher (some are up to 20+), just about any upgrade will save you money relatively quickly if your current air conditioner has a rating of 8 or lower.
  • Program Your AC – If you have a single point analog thermostat, you’re wasting a LOT of electricity. You’re either paying to cool your house while it’s empty or you’re coming home to a roasting hot living space. Purchase a programmable unit and set the system to 85 degrees when you’re not home. With timers in most digital units, you can tell it when you’ll be home so that you walk into a cool, comfortable space without having to keep it cool all day long.
  • Use the Landscape to Your Advantage – Instead of relying solely on your air conditioner to keep the house cool in the summer, plant some trees and shrubs around the house to block the sunlight. Simply adding some shade to your property can directly reduce how much heat your home absorbs throughout the day and reduce how much your AC unit needs to work to keep you cool.
  • Ventilate Your Roof – A good third of the heat in your home is absorbed directly through the roof. To keep this heat from affecting the rest of your home, install a roof fan that ventilates the excess energy and keeps the attic at a steady temperature. Less heat up top means less cooling needed down low.

A good air conditioning system is effective no matter what the temperature does, so it’s easy to forget how big your bill will soon be. To avoid an overblown bill, keep an eye on your cooling and follow these simple tips to cut back on use. To get more energy saving tips, talk to your HVAC contractor.

Continue Reading

How Can I Prevent Clogged Drains?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

One of the most frustrating plumbing issues any home owner will encounter is a clogged drain. Not only are clogged drains a nuisance, they are largely avoidable, so it becomes that much more frustrating when it happens since you know that you could have taken preventative measures long before the problem occurred. To help stop your drains from clogging in the future, here are some useful preventative tips:

  • Set Cooking Grease Aside – Cooking grease is thick, viscous and clings to the sides of almost all types of pipes. So, instead of pouring it down your sink and hoping it clears out on its own, pour it into a coffee can and set it aside. There are a number of places where you can recycle old grease.
  • Flush Garbage Disposals – When you use your garbage disposal, it is imperative that you flush cold water through the system at the same time. Without water to flush the food particles through the pipes, anything ground up in the disposal will become stuck and with the application of grease or other food particles can easily become a thick clog.
  • Pour Boiling Hot Water Down the Pipes – At least once a week it is a good idea to pour 2-3 quarts of boiling water down your sinks and bathtub to loosen any pre-clogs that have formed. Things like soap, grease, food, and hair can all be dislodged by an application of hot water on a regular basis.
  • Taking Care with Your Toilet – A toilet is not designed to flush anything that will technically fit down the hole. Even for paper products that seem to be flushable, take care in what goes into the toilet bowl. Paper towels, garbage, and wrappers should not be flushed or they are likely to cause clogs.
  • Use Strainers – Install strainers on all of your sinks, including the ones in your bathroom. A simple strainer will catch excess bits of food, hair, and other grime that has a habit of falling down the drain and getting flushed along with the dishwater or during a shower.

With care, your drains will remain clog free and never require the services of a snake or a plumber. If you do get past the point of no return, do not panic just yet – there are a number of steps you can take to remove a small clog without chemicals or professional help. However, if the clog refuses to budge or begins to backup, know when to call a plumber.

Continue Reading

Propane, Oil or Natural Gas: Which One Should I Choose?

Friday, March 4th, 2011

In most cases, you’ll have a choice concerning what type of fuel you’d like your furnace to burn. For most people, this choice comes down to propane, oil or natural gas. The one you choose could significantly impact the cost of heating your home for many years to come, but it’s usually a pretty clear cut decision.

One thing to remember is that most furnaces that burn natural gas can also burn propane. If you don’t yet have a propane tank but are considering getting one, you might not have to make a final decision just yet. Although it’s generally better to set up your furnace for one type of fuel and then leave it that way, you will likely still have the option of converting later on if you should choose to.

If you do have access to natural gas, though, that’s probably going to be your best option. Furnaces that burn natural gas or propane are generally much more efficient than any other type of furnace on the market. You can get them with annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings as low as 80% and as high as 97+%, so that ensures that you’ll be able to find the one to fit your specific situation.

If you’re facing particularly harsh and frigid winters, you’ll want to choose the most energy efficient option available to you and that’s pretty much always going to be a natural gas furnace. Of course, when you’re looking to decide between natural gas and propane as a fuel source, you’ll just want to compare the relative cost for each in your area. For some people natural gas is cheaper, while it’s propane for others. And since your furnace will operate at the same efficiency no matter which of these fuels you choose, you just need to choose the cheapest.

Oil is certainly an option as well, but if you’re looking for a very high efficiency furnace, you’re not going to find one that burns oil. That doesn’t mean that an oil burning furnace might not be a good investment for you. If you don’t have access to natural gas in your area and your heating load isn’t that high, oil might be a perfectly economical choice for you.

If you do opt for a super high efficiency furnace, but don’t have access to natural gas lines, propane is probably the way to go as opposed to oil.

Continue Reading