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Step By Step Installation Of A New Central Air Conditioner

Posted by John Sims on Fri, May, 05, 2017 @ 12:05 PM

If you've never experienced the purchase and installation of a new air conditioner, this will help you understand what to expect when you do; it's not something you do every day. On the day of your central air conditioner installation, expect a process similar to what’s listed below. Of course, the actual steps may vary a little, based your particlar situation.

Keep in mind, no matter how good of an air conditioning system you purchase, you'll be disappointed without proper installation.

Let's take a look at the step by step process:

  • If your local government requires permitting for the HVAC work, either we'll obtain the permit or you can chose to take care of it. In most cases, we do it. 
  • Disassemble and remove the existing air conditioner. 
  • Install new duct systems or performs duct modifications or  repairs. 
  • Prepare the installation site. For homeowners, this involves setting a concrete pad outside to support the air conditioner or making sure your existing one is level. 
  • Your new outdoor unit will be positioned correctly. The contractor will install it and secure it to the site. You don't want it to turn out like this one. It will shorten the life of your system. 

AC Leaning2.png

  • The conditions may be right for you to replace both indoor and outdoor units at the same time, in some cases you may elect not to replace the air handler when you have a new outdoor unit installed. 
  • Connect the indoor and outdoor units by determining the appropriate size for refrigerant lines, drain piping, and electrical lines. These components link the parts of the indoor unit to the outdoor unit. 
  • Check the thermostat to the central air conditioner. You may have a new thermostat installed or continue to use your existing unit. 
  • Pull a vacuum to remove contaminants from the refrigerant lines and charge the new central air conditioner with refrigerant. This is a crucial step in a proper installation. 
  • Start up the new cooling system and check temperatures at the registers/vents. 
  • Perform a complete installation inspection to ensure the installation was done correctly and the system functions properly.

AND, any questions you have before or after the installation are only a phone call away.

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If you're thinking about upgrading your air conditioner, I hope this helps you do your homework

Topics: Installation, AC Replacement, Best Value, How We Work

Replacing Your Air Conditioner With The Same Size May Not Be A Good Thing

Posted by John Sims on Fri, Apr, 22, 2016 @ 12:04 PM

The topic is Load calculations and HVAC equipment specification best practices. I'll begin by using a quote in a study conducted by PATH (Partnership housebtu.pngfor Advancing Technology in Housing) Their report was called Uniform Protocol for Energy-Efficient Remodeling of Existing Housing

“the fundamental problem is that 99% of trades will just bid the same size unit (HVAC) as they are taking out. They don’t go through the analysis needed to properly size the unit based on the loads, duct configuration, etc. Most old systems are already oversized. This ensures that the new system will be too.”

They go on to state:

Very few HVAC contractors use assessment and replacement practices (such as deriving consistent load calculations and duct requirements with ACCA Manual J and Manual D analyses) for every job prior to recommending changes. Standard best practices include the calculation of the room-by-room thermal load of the home to provide an accurate basis for sizing replacement HVAC equipment and ducts. This is particularly important since units are often oversized and ducts undersized or otherwise inadequate. Survey respondent reports and team experience indicate, however, that load calculations are rarely done in HVAC replacements.

Common practice is to replace with units of the same rated output or higher, leading to short-cycling, excessive duct noise and leakage, and early equipment deterioration as well as high energy bills due to low unit efficiency in short-cycle operation.

A further widespread HVAC specification deficiency is the improper matching of air conditioner compressor/ condenser units with indoor coils or air handler/furnace units. Each outdoor unit can be matched with a wide variety of indoor coils, but many choices are inappropriate and inefficient in specific climates due to unbalanced latent vs. sensible heat capacities. In other common cases, an attempt to save money by upgrading only the outdoor unit or by using a cheaper replacement indoor coil inevitably leads to inefficient operation as well as degraded capacity. Many HVAC contractors have inadequate understanding of the relevant principles of unit specification and merely keep using the same wrong choices without analysis, assuring that the replacement unit’s nominal SEER rating will never be approached and causing major long-term losses in energy efficiency. The required knowledge is available and readily learnable.

2 Organization That Keep Us Up To Date With The "Best Practices" 

nate-certified-100.pngNorth American Technician Excellence (NATE) is an independent, third-party organization that develops and promotes excellence in the installation and service of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment by recognizing high-quality industry technicians through voluntary testing and certification. Our technicians have passed the rigorous testing necessary to qualify as NATE Certified Technicians.

acca-logo.pngThe Air Conditioning Contractor's Association of America is the heating and cooling industry's leading trade organization. ACCA members adhere to a standard of ethical best practices that is your assurance of quality and professionalism. Sims Heating & Cooling Service Inc. is an active member in good standing with ACCA.

We're proud of the team members that where our name!

Topics: AC Replacement, Proper Sizing, How We Work

What Is the 'Best Price' For a New Air Conditioner In Battle Creek?

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Jul, 01, 2014 @ 16:07 PM

Like most homeowners, if you've done any research online or had a number of quotes, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed; even frustrated. There's loads of technicalBest price for an air conditioner for my home details; enough to make your eyes glaze over.

When it comes to buying a heating or cooling system, you're making this decision one time and living with it for 18-20 years. The combined costs of owning a system always far exceed the initial cost of buying it.

You could be 'STUCK' with many years of excessive utility and repair bills if the wrong system is installed, and worse yet, improperly installed! Also, it may not deliver the comfort you expect and deserve.

Select The Right Contractor - "What To Look For In A Qualified HVAC Contractor"

To get the best value for your money, solve existing discomfort or dust problems, and end up with a new comfort system you will enjoy for many years to come, take the time to identify one of the few contractors who can really put your new system in right. Even a good piece of equipment can become a source of ongoing problems if it isn’t installed correctly, locating the right company is more important than the actual choice of equipment.  

The first and most important rule when hiring any contractor is that the product is only as good as the company who puts it in. The risks of treating all contractors as the same or equal, are the problems of improper installation arrive after the work is done and you’ve paid for it. 

To get the 'best price', you're looking for a long term relationship with a strong company that will be there to service your system for years to come.

Select The Right Air Conditioner.

A highly qualified contractor will recommend a reliable brand. As far as technology is concerned, there's not a lot a big secrets in the industry and many big manufacturers make good quality equipment. The manner in which they are installed, applied and maintained is absolutely critical.

It's Not The 'Best Price' If You Don't Get The Energy Savings:

When you invest in a new high efficiency system, you expect to reap real energy savings. Just because you buy a more energy efficient rated air conditioner, doesn't mean you'll get the performance when installed.

When a system is improperly installed those savings are often lost. 70% of installed residential cooling systems suffer from inadequate airflow. Improper airflow can result in equipment failure, high energy bills and poor comfort. 75% of installed cooling equipment have been shown in field studies to be improperly charged. Improper refrigerant charge can lower efficiency by 5 to 20%. 

Industry experts like John Proctor will tell you, "the low priced contractor is rarely the best value. It usually ends up costing more, in terms of unreliable operation, an uncomfortable home, repeated visits to get problems resolved, higher utility bills, and even unsafe operation." 

Let's see if we can simplify, before committing to buying a new air conditioner make sure that you trust the contractor that is recommending or installing. Remember, buying an air conditioner is not like buying a TV; you don't just buy it, bring it home, and plug it in! Like we said, proper installation is the key. You want to make sure that you're installing contractor is the strongest link in the chain.

If you're looking to purchase the cheapest possible price for an air conditioner, we're probably not the right company for you. We can not compromise our standards an the expectation of our customers. To us, it's about delivering the best long term value which in the end IS the best price!  

Like To See How We Do It?

Topics: A/C Systems, Installation, AC Replacement, Pricing

Buying A New Air Conditioner for the first time - Advanced

Posted by John Sims on Fri, Jun, 20, 2014 @ 14:06 PM

As the leading HVAC company in the Battle Creek area, helping folks like you understand what’s important to know before you make a buying decision is critical to establishing a longAC Advanced term relationship.

In a previous article we discussed the 'Basics'.  In this article we'll cover some things you probably aren't aware of yet. Hopefully, we can help you simplify your choices.  

First up is comparing the Initial cost vs. Lifetime costs.

The "initial or installation cost" of an air conditioner is what it cost to purchase & install the unit; and unfortunately many homeowners make their decision based on price alone.

However, looking at the upfront cost doesn't give you an accurate picture of all of the costs associated with owning the cooling system.

Lifetime costs

The factors that dictate the lifetime costs of an A/C unit will affect you for years to come. The quality of the system along with its efficiency are just two variables to consider.

One major variable is selecting the system's seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), or SEER Rating. Nationally, a 13 SEER minimum air conditioner efficiency standard went into effect on Jan 23, 2006. It was mandated by the U.S Dept of Energy. Before this change the minimum SEER rating was 10. The new 13 SEER rating is almost a 30% increase in efficiency and to accomplish that manufacturers made significant design changes.

Unfortunately, this new mandate was not accompanied by any requirement regarding installation performance, so much of the potential energy savings that customers expect have not been attained.

The higher the SEER rating the higher the price. That's because an air conditioner with a high SEER employs advanced technologies that help to lower energy consumption. As a general rule, you can expect the energy costs of a system to go down as the SEER goes up.

Paying less up front: you'll usually pay more over the life of the A/C. Equipment that costs less and is lower in quality generally means high operating costs but a low purchasing cost

Paying more upfront generally ensures lower lifetime costs. Equipment that costs more to purchase and is high in quality means low operating costs but a higher first cost.

Matching the Evaporator (Indoor) Coil.

When an old outdoor condensing unit fails, it is very important that the indoor coil be matched and replaced at the same time for a number of reasons.

Industry experts Steve Easley and John Proctor say, do it the right way; match the outside compressor unit with the inside evaporator coil and avoid the potential of wasting 50% of your electric bill even if you install new equipment:

Richard Rue of EnergyWiseStructures (a guy who has engineered over 42,000 homes) recommends, "Only use HVAC equipment from the same manufacturer to optimize operating efficiency. Air conditioning contractors are notorious for mixing and matching equipment to save money. But the system will run more efficiently if all the components—including the condensers, furnace, and coils—are from the same manufacturer.”

The advertised efficiency of a new air conditioner or heat pump is based on the performance of both new outdoor and indoor components working together as a matched system. The EPA states: “...be sure your contractor replaces both indoor and outdoor coils for maximum efficiency.”

Manufacturers of air conditioners and compressors alike state that almost 2/3 of the failures of outdoor condensing units are caused by a restriction or refrigerant leak in the indoor coil. There is the potential of voiding the manufacturer's warranty. 

Noise Levels.

Air conditioner decibel(db) levels – the amount of noise a unit makes – is something you will want to consider when either readying your current system or purchasing a new one. If your system sits next to your patio outside or near a window, consider the db levels.

Today, the noise level of the condenser or outside unit are much quieter than those of the past. Old air conditioners can be as loud as 80db which can be very annoying.

Most popular brands have high-efficiency, low noise models available for an increased price. So make sure you take this into consideration. Also, air conditioner noise levels can be controlled by where you place the unit too; think about the best place for the unit.

No one wants to have to talk over their air conditioner. Trying to sleep with a noisy air conditioner running can be aggravating, it can also drive your neighbor nuts.

Summary:

The combined costs of owning a system always far exceed the initial cost of buying it. The wrong system, improperly installed, could sentence you to over 20 years of excessive utility and repair bills. It may also not deliver the comfort you expect and deserve. Hey, you don't get a do-over or a 'mulligan' here.

We hope this information helps you figure it all out and arrive at the best buying decision for you. If you've got more questions just ask.

 

Topics: A/C Systems, AC Replacement, Buying A/C, Best Value

How Your Air Conditioning System Keeps Your Cool.

Posted by John Sims on Fri, May, 23, 2014 @ 14:05 PM

Knowing How Your Air Conditioning Systems Keeps You Cool, Believe It Or Not, Starts With Understanding Heat Transfer.

First off, this article may be a little more than what you want or need to know, but some folks are curious enough to better understand how there indoor environment stays comfortable in the spring and summertime heat. We hunted around for some information that does a prettyHow Cooling Works good job explaining the physics that help you stay cool in your home. We found it at the Dept. Of Energy:

Understanding how heat is transferred from the outdoors into your home and from your home to your body is important for understanding the challenge of keeping your house cool. Understanding the processes that help keep your body cool is important in understanding cooling strategies for your home.

Heat is transferred to and from objects -- such as you and your home -- via three processes: conduction, radiation, and convection.

  • Conduction is heat traveling through a solid material. On hot days, heat is conducted into your home through the roof, walls, and windows. Heat-reflecting roofs, insulation, and energy efficient windows will help to reduce that heat conduction.
  • Radiation is heat traveling in the form of visible and non-visible light. Sunlight is an obvious source of heat for homes. In addition, low-wavelength, non-visible infrared radiation can carry heat directly from warm objects to cooler objects. Infrared radiation is why you can feel the heat of a hot burner element on a stovetop, even from across the room. Older windows will allow infrared radiation coming from warm objects outside to radiate into your home; shades can help to block this radiation. Newer windows have low-e coatings that block infrared radiation. Infrared radiation will also carry the heat of your walls and ceiling directly to your body.
  • Convection is another means for the heat from your walls and ceiling to reach you. Hot air naturally rises, carrying heat away from your walls and causing it to circulate throughout your home. As the hot air circulates past your skin (and you breathe it in), it warms you.

How Your Body Cools

Your body can cool down through three processes: convection, radiation, and perspiration. Ventilation enhances all these processes. You can also cool your body via conduction -- some car seats now feature cooling elements, for instance -- but this is not generally practical for use in your home.

Convection occurs when heat is carried away from your body via moving air. If the surrounding air is cooler than your skin, the air will absorb your heat and rise. As the warmed air rises around you, cooler air moves in to take its place and absorb more of your warmth. The faster this convecting air moves, the cooler you feel.

Radiation occurs when heat radiates across the space between you and the objects in your home. If objects are warmer than you are, heat will travel toward you. Removing heat through ventilation reduces the temperature of the ceiling, walls, and furnishings. The cooler your surroundings, the more you will radiate heat to the objects, rather than the other way around.

Perspiration can be uncomfortable, and many people would prefer to stay cool without it. However, during hot weather and physical exercise, perspiration is the body's powerful cooling mechanism. As moisture leaves your skin pores, it carries a lot of heat with it, cooling your body. If a breeze (ventilation) passes over your skin, that moisture will evaporate more quickly, and you'll be even cooler.

Did you know two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. Air conditioners use about 5% of all the electricity produced in the United States, at an annual cost of more than $11 billion to homeowners. As a result, roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year -- an average of about two tons for each home with an air conditioner.

Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as your home refrigerator. Refrigerators use energy (usually electricity) to transfer heat from the cool interior of the refrigerator to the relatively warm surroundings of your home; likewise, an air conditioner uses energy to transfer heat from the interior of your home to the relatively warm outside environment.

An air conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper.

A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils.

The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and cooling your home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid, giving up its heat to the outside air flowing over the condenser's metal tubing and fins.

Switching to high-efficiency air conditioners and taking other actions to keep your home cool could reduce energy use for air conditioning by 20% to 50%. 

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Topics: AC Replacement, Cooling, Air Conditioning, Building Science

6 Really Good Reasons You Should Get To Know An HVAC Contractor!

Posted by John Sims on Wed, Apr, 23, 2014 @ 15:04 PM

What we'd like to do is present information which hopefully convinces every homeowner to establish a relationship with a credible, high-quality HVAC Contractor. A company you can count on and trust whether you chose us or not.

air conditioner repair Battle Creek

This following information is not typically understood by homeowners until their system breaks down. What we'd like to do, is build the case where it makes sense to establish that relationship with an HVAC contractor during the life of homeownership.

If you're like most homeowners, you have a tendency to focus on the interior decor and function of your home; things like granite countertops and walk-in closets. These things are very important to all of us. However, you sure could quickly lose the appreciation for all of that if you felt cold in the kitchen or master bedroom in Winter or 'clammy' or hot in Summer. Or worse yet, you have 'NO HEAT' or 'NO COOL' emergencies and the 'headaches' associated with them.

Industry stats have proven the following statement  - "In most homes, heating, air conditioning, and domestic hot water systems are typically ignored until they malfunction". That doesn't make sense to us. Think of it this way, having a breakdown miles from home with your car or truck and not knowing who to call. Isn't that why we make sure our vehicles are in good running order before we take a long trip?

When you take into account that you spend 90% of your time indoors, makes you realize how important it is to have your HVAC system performing at the optimal level all year round.

Here are the 6 Solid Reasons:

First, let's talk about safety for the occupants in your home. You need to make sure you don't have any lurking, unsuspecting health threats. Think about it, you're pumping natural gas(or LP gas) in your home to meet up with a flame....Combustion-based heating systems consume oxygen and produce heat along with two primary combustion products (carbon dioxide and water vapor). There are also unwanted combustion byproducts, including carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and smoke. That's why inspecting the heating system for cracks and failed seals is critical. You do not want flue gases to escape into the home.

Second, maximizing the life of your equipment and preventing premature failure. Ask yourself this question, shouldn't a furnace or a/c tune up be common sense; up there with changing the oil in your car? Think about it, would you go a year without changing the oil in your car or truck..? Would you do that year after year until the engine 'poops' out? Of course not, who goes 6,000, or 7,000 miles without changing your oil? If you don't, your vehicle will begin to experience all sorts of problems: gas mileage suffers, performance suffers, and the potential for premature failure of your engine increases dramatically. Ask your mechanic.

Unfortunately, 87% - 91% of homeowners are doing this very thing with their home heating and cooling system. Regular maintenance is just as important! It's been proven to extend the life of your HVAC system as well as exposing any safety threats to you and  your family. Proper maintenance affects as much as 10% to 50% of your operating costs. Clogged or dirty air filters restricts air flow and makes the system work harder. The lower airflow will cause the furnace to run hotter and your air conditioner to work harder.

Third, keep your utility bills to a minimum year in and year out. Make sure it's performing efficiently; keep $$$ from going up the chimney or over-paying your electric company. Here's an interesting stat: 9 out of 10 of the HVAC Systems in the US are wasting 40% or more in energy costs! Think of it this way, next time you pull up to a gas pump and paying for 10 gallons and dumping 4 gallons on the ground at the pump.

Fourth, enjoy the greatest comfort year-round in all areas of your home. There are plenty of comfort issues that homeowners assume they have to live with, when there are viable solutions available in the marketplace if you get your hands on the right information. You HVAC Contractor should be the source of that expertise.

Fifth, when it's time to replace your furnace or air conditioner, get the best education you can to make sure you get the 'biggest bang for your buck'. New HVAC systems are very sophisticated and not exactly 'cheap'. It's one of the largest investments you'll make in homeownership. Industry experts will tell you, "HVAC equipment is only as good as the HVAC Contractor who puts it in." A credible HVAC contractor should be qualified to deliver the results you are paying for.

Sixth, live in a healthier environment - more and more studies have exposed the harmful effects of indoor air quality problems. The solutions to these problems starts with identifying them first.

To summarize: HVAC contractors are unique; they provide emergency services, repair, maintenance, and installation. Essentially, they provide solutions for all 6 Reasons mentioned. Hopefully, you can see why it's in a homeowners best interest to get to know and trust a credible HVAC contractor for the lifetime of homeownership.

At Sims Heating & Cooling, we continue to provide additional benefits for those that decide to get to know us. Our 'Homes That Perform' educational blog is designed to deliver information that will save you $1000's over the lifetime of homeownership related to all sorts of home improvement topics. You can sign up for our email reminders to change your air filter.

Topics: AC Replacement, A/C Tune Up, Air Conditioning Service, Carbon Monoxide

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