Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Red Hill’

How Do I Find the Right Size Unit for My Room?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

When buying an air conditioner, there are a lot of things you need to take into account. One of the most important is the size and power of the unit you choose. Air conditioners come in many different sizes, so if you really want to get the most out of your purchase, you need to do your research and pick one that fits your home like a glove.

Square Feet and BTUs

The best way to determine how large of an air conditioner you need is to match the number of BTUs the unit has to the square footage of the room you want to use it in. That means you need to know what room you’re buying it for before you make your purchase.

The number of BTUs needed goes up proportionately with the room size, so even if you don’t have exact measurements or if your room is oddly shaped, you can get a good idea of how large an air conditioner you need. For instance, a 400 to 550 square foot room is best served by an air conditioner with between 8,000 and 11,000 BTUs, while a room that’s only 250 square feet would probably be fine with a 6,000 BTU unit.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying an air conditioner is to assume that the bigger the unit the better it will work. The truth is that buying an air conditioner that’s too big for your room is just as much of a waste as buying one that’s too small.

A larger air conditioner will cost more, and it will probably make the room too cold. It will also cycle on and off more frequently than a properly sized unit and it won’t be able to properly control the humidity level, leaving you with a cold, damp environment. That’s not very comfortable.

Other Factors

The square footage is definitely the most important piece of data you’ll need before buying a new air conditioner for any room in your house. But don’t forget to take some other factors into account as well. For instance, if the room has particularly high ceilings or receives a lot of direct sunlight, you’ll probably need a slightly more powerful unit than the straight square footage would indicate.

If you’re not sure how certain features of your home will impact your buying decision, call a professional who can help you get a more exact idea of what it will take to stay cool.

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2011 AC Federal Tax Credits

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

You’ve probably heard many arguments for why you should purchase an energy efficient air conditioner. They may cost a bit more up front, but they’ll save you money in the long run by cutting down on your monthly energy bills. They’re also better for the environment because their lower energy usage means less fossil fuels are burned to keep them running.

But there’s another reason energy efficient AC units are better buys than your standard alternative. There are Federal tax credits available to consumers who purchase them. This tax credit can more than make up for the higher purchase price of the units, allowing you to enjoy your monthly savings much sooner and know you’re doing your part to protect the environment.

How to Qualify

In order to qualify for 2011 air conditioning Federal tax credit, you need to purchase an appropriate energy efficient AC system. Your HVAC contractor or salesperson can tell you which models and units qualify for this program. Just make sure you save all documentation and proof of purchase in case you need them to validate your claim.

The AC units that qualify you for this tax credit include those with a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 16 or greater and an EER (energy efficiency ratio) of at least 13. These two numbers are the best and clearest indicators of the overall energy efficiency of the product and can easily be found on the packaging for any air conditioning unit. While a 16 SEER is very good, it is not the highest rating currently available, either, so you won’t be forced to buy the most expensive model available to get your credit.

Credit Details

The tax credit is good for up to 10% of the purchase price of the unit up to $300. Keep in mind, though, that you can only claim up to $500 lifetime towards this program. So if you’ve previously claimed $250, you can only claim an additional $250 for 2011. That’s still a significant savings, though, and well worth looking into if you’re in the market for a new AC unit or system.

So if you’ve been thinking about upgrading your AC system, but haven’t quiet gotten around to, now may be the time to take advantage of this great tax credit opportunity before it’s too late.

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How to Plunge a Clogged Drain

Friday, April 15th, 2011

It is almost inevitable that you will have to deal with a plugged drain somewhere in your home at some point. This drain may be in the bathtub, a sink or a toilet. But wherever it is, a plunger is usually your best bet for getting it out. If you are going to be successful, though, you need to know how to set yourself up and use the plunger properly.

To begin with, remove the strainer or pop-up plug from the opening of the drain. You want the material that is clogging the drain to be able to come back up through that hole when you apply the plunger suction. Next, make sure the sink or tub has enough water in it to cover the head of the plunger completely. A toilet generally has enough water in it already. This water helps to create a better seal for the plunger and allows you to generate better suction, both of which are essential if you are going to dislodge that plug.

You should also make sure you block off any other outlet connected to the drain you are going to plunge. To do this, stuff an old rag or sponge into the overflow opening or into the second drain of a two compartment sink. That will make it possible for the entire force of your suctioning to reach the clog because it will not be compromised by air escaping through an alternate opening.

Now you are ready to plunge. Place the plunger over the opening of the clogged drain. While keeping constant contact with the sink or tub floor, move the plunger rapidly up and down between 10 and 20 times. After the last plunge, pull the plunger off of the sink or tub floor quickly. This should break the seal you have established and help to pull the clog back up the drain towards you.

It can take a few cycles like this before you are able to dislodge the clog completely. But each time you plunge, you are doing more to break up the clog. The pressure from the plunger can eventually get rid of many difficult clogs, so do not be discouraged if it takes a few tries.

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What Is the Most Efficient Way to Heat My Home?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

When it comes to home heating, efficiency is one of the main factors most people take into consideration. There are quite a few different options in terms of home heating, including oil, gas and electric furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers, and each of these have their own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on your own particular situation.

For better or worse, there is no one system that is universally more energy efficient and effective than the others. The one that will turn out to be the best choice for you is the one that fits best with your specific heating needs, the climate you live in and the relative price of the fuel sources available to you.

For instance, if you live in a relatively moderate climate, a heat pump may very well be a good option for you. These systems are able to operate much more efficiently than furnaces because they extract heat from the air rather than generating it themselves. That means that in the winter, a heat pump can take heat from the outdoor air and pump it indoors to heat your home. In the summer, the heat pump can actually do the opposite, taking the excess heat from indoors and transferring it out to provide you with a yearlong temperature control solution.

Heat pumps generally run on electricity which can be expensive, but since they use so much less energy than something like an electric furnace, they can still be a very energy efficient home heating option. However, these systems are not as effective in areas with harsh, long winters, and so would likely require a supplemental heating system as well. Also, the lower the outside temperature, the less efficient a heat pump is going to be.

Furnaces, on the other hand, are quite effective at heating homes no matter how harsh or cold the climate. Gas furnaces are generally the most popular of the models available now, mostly because the cost of natural gas is lower in most areas compared to the cost of other potential fuels.

However, it may be worth considering an oil or electric furnace if these types of energy sources are relatively inexpensive in your area. No matter what type of furnace you get, you’ll be able to choose how energy efficient you want it to be as well, with lower efficiency 80% AFUE furnaces costing substantially less than those with an AFUE of 90% or more.

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How to Maximize Savings in Your Home

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

When you are thinking about different ways you might be able to save money around the house, the tendency is to think big. Maybe you need to upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace, or it could be time to install a new central air conditioning system. Maybe it is even a good idea to switch to solar or geothermal power.

But before you do any of that, you may want to try some quick and easy ways to save money around the house with the equipment you already have. Here are 10 great ways to cut your power usage and keep those energy bills down without investing a lot in new equipment.

  1. Seal Up Your House – No matter how energy efficient the heating and cooling systems are in your house, you will be using more energy than necessary if your house is not tightly sealed. Make sure there are not cracks or places where drafts can get in and you will start saving money right away.
  2. The Right Thermostat Setting – Are you really going to notice the difference between 72°F and 69°F? Probably not, but you will save about 3% off of your monthly heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down. The same goes in the summer too, just backwards.
  3. Programmable Thermostats – And while we are on the subject of thermostats, it is a good idea to invest in a new one with programmable settings. That way you will be able to set your house to be warm when you will be there and you do not have to pay to keep it warm all day long if it is empty.
  4. Water Heater Temperature – Most hot water heaters are set to about 140°F. However, you really only need your water to be at 120°F. So turn down the hot water heater and you will save a lot.
  5. Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans can help keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plus, they cost very little to run so they are a great investment.
  6. Light Bulbs – Switching to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs all over your house will save you a ton even though they cost a bit more to begin with.
  7. Lights Out – But energy efficient bulbs will only get you so far. You should also be sure to turn off the lights in any room you are not using.
  8. Insulation – Proper insulation will go a long way towards keeping in the temperature controlled air that you want and keeping out the outdoor air that you do not.
  9. Power Strips – Many home appliances draw a small amount of power even when they are not turned on. Use a power strip to easily cut the power to them completely and eliminate that drain.
  10. Sealing Windows – Plenty of air can come and go through your windows as well. Upgrading to more energy efficient windows is certainly an option, but you can also help to seal up your home inexpensively by covering your windows with plastic.

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How Efficient Is a Heat Pump?

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Heat pumps are actually remarkably efficient when compared to some of the home heating alternatives out there. Especially if you’re already using electricity to heat your home, you can get generate huge savings on your monthly energy bills by switching to a heat pump system.

As their name suggests, heat pumps remove heat from the air and transfer that heat from one area to another. That means that in the winter, your heat pump will remove the heat from the air outside your home and pump that heat in to heat your home. During the summer months, that process is actually reversed, and heat pumps are able to cool your home by collecting the heat from your indoor air and pumping it outside.

Since heat pumps are actually just moving heat from one place to another rather than generating it all on their own, they don’t require much energy at all to operate. While you can buy furnaces that are as much as 97% energy efficient, they’re still using more energy than a heat pump would. The fact that the furnace is turning the vast majority of the energy that it uses into heat doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t require more energy to operate.

Just because heat pumps are more efficient than many other types of heating systems, you can’t just assume that all heat pumps are equally energy efficient. Just as different types and models of furnaces have different energy efficiency ratings, so too do the many types, sizes and models of heat pumps. Make sure you thoroughly compare your options before you settle on the right system for your home.

The energy efficiency rating of a furnace is easy to recognize, as each of them comes with a standard AFUE rating. If you’re looking to switch to heat pumps, however, it’s easy to get confused when you’re trying to compare the energy efficiency of various models.

Heat pumps actually have two separate measurements for energy efficiency. These are the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). Energy efficiency measurements for heat pumps reflect both the cooling and heating efficiency of the system, and so what’s best for you may vary depending on what you’re more likely to use your heat pump for.

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