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What Exactly Does 'Best Price' Mean Anyway?

Posted by John Sims on Wed, Jul, 05, 2017 @ 12:07 PM

I don't know about you but when I hear in advertising the claim of "best prices", IBestPrice.jpg always ask myself what exactly do they mean. They didn't say lowest prices, cheapest prices or best value.

If you're a Detroit Tigers fan and watch their games, another HVAC contractor on the eastside of the state makes that statement in their advertising.

Now, I'm not saying anything disparaging about the contractor. They may very well do a great job at what they do. But I know a lot of people I'm sure hear the same thing. I'm not sure how they back up that claim. 

In order to determine what the 'best price' is, it would take some algorithm and computing power to take into account and evaluate all the factors to arrive at that conclusion. It's a fair amount of data inputs.

I realize having an idea about what a new furnace or air conditioner will cost installed is important. It's just not something we can quote over the phone and hopefully this will help you understand why.

Based on over 40 years of consulting with homeowners, what they really want is the confidence that they feel like they're making the best buying decision for them. 

Here are the major variables or data needed to determine best price:

Our goal is to provide enough information before we ever step foot in your home and then meet your expectations so you feel confident in the decision you make for us to do the install; as well as the months and years after the installation we continue a long term relationship.  

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Topics: HVAC Systems, Best Value, Proper Sizing, Best Price

How Long Should My Air Conditioner Run?

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Jul, 12, 2016 @ 12:07 PM

When the humidity reaches 70 - 75% like we've experienced lately, it becomes humidity-body-effects.pngvery uncomfortable. Everyone runs to the thermostat to turn the air conditioning on. Maintaining 35 - 50% humidity levels in your home is when you're comfortable and your air conditioner is working correctly when it is the right size.

Homeowners will call us 'complaining', "My AC kicks on every 10 minutes or so, seems really high to me."

Temperature and humidity are two key factors to achieving comfort. An air conditioner actually does two jobs - it lowers the temperature and removes moisture from the air,

To remove the moisture, however, the air conditioner needs long runtimes. That's because the air moving over the cold evaporator coil causes the water vapor to condense. The more air moves over the coil, the more water condenses out and gets carried away in the condensation drain. It takes about 15 minutes of runtime before you start getting serious dehumidification of the air, so oversized systems will not dehumidify well.

If the AC comes on, runs 10 minutes or less, and then shuts off, the house may be cool, but in a humid climate, the indoor humidity levels will stay high, probably over 60%.

Here's a rule of thumb: if your A/C runs 3-5 cycles/hour it suggests an oversized system. While running continuous suggests an undersized system. Of course there are possible other problematic reasons that could cause either condition...

You will never get good dehumidification with 3-5 cycles/hour. Under normal conditions at average summertime highs and a correctly sized system, 2-3 cycles/hour would be good. At extreme outside temps, it is possible to see system running continuous for hours. Not an ideal situation especially if system is not maintaining your inside comfort temperature.

An Oversized Air Conditioner Is The Problem - unfortunately a very common problem.

How to tell if you have an oversized air conditioner. Just get your stop watch and time how long the AC runs on a hot afternoon. Ten minutes or less, and it's definitely oversized. Twenty minutes would be OK. Thirty minutes at a time or longer, and your humidity levels should be fairly low.

It should run long enough to make the house comfortable. So, how long does your air conditioner run on a hot day?

When You Decide To Replace Your Air Conditioner, Make Sure Someone Correctly Sizes The Replacement!

Best Price Air Conditioners

Topics: Air Conditioning, Comfort, Proper Sizing

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

A Critical Mistake Homeowners Make...

Posted by John Sims on Wed, Mar, 02, 2016 @ 15:03 PM

... when replacing their air conditioner is automatically replacing it with the same Sad_Emoticon.jpgsize unit. It's an assumption that may not be in your best interest.

What made me think about is was looking ahead at next week's forecast. It's that time of year again: 'March Madness' weather - not only for college hoops. GO SPARTANS! (had to work a plug in there)

Here's the thing. For years and years the heating and cooling systems in most new homes were NOT designed or sized correctly! In fact, the Air Conditioning Contractors Association, admits that the average air conditioner in this country is from 150% to 200% as big as it really needs to be. This was attributed to a business environment where lowest bid got the business.

Let's add to it the 'Confessions' of Doug Garrett, a building science expert at Building Performance and Comfort:

He says, "over the last few decades, many cherished beliefs about buildings and construction have been turned upside down. One belief that I, as a product of the South, had a hard time surrendering was the notion that there was no such thing as an air conditioner that was too big."

Bigger is better is an American mantra and, when it came to air conditioners, it was unquestioned wisdom. If a three-ton air conditioner was good, a five-ton unit was better. Not that we really knew what a ton of air conditioning was, but we knew that we wanted as much of it as we could get.

Building science research has not only turned this assumption upside down but also has revealed that following this mantra can lead to serious health problems. The right size for an air conditioner is the size that will cool your home on a hot summer afternoon with only about 15% to spare. Why? We found that when we install more air conditioning than this, it will do what we call short cycling. 

When the air conditioning (A/C) unit is oversized, it can cool the house like it's doing a part time job. It only runs for a few minutes--maybe five or ten at a time--and then shuts down for a few minutes, before starting up again. In these short cycles it cools the house, but it does a very poor job of removing humidity.

Here's the problem: Usually as an A/C cools the hot air in a home, moisture condenses out of the air and gets discharged into the condensate line, because cooler air cannot hold as much moisture as warmer air does. But an A/C doesn't get cold enough to remove water until it has run for three to five minutes. It also can't pull enough indoor air through the unit to wring out the water during such short run times. So homeowners get the cave effect in which a home is cool, but damp feeling. The excess moisture that builds up in the house encourages mold and dust mites to reproduce like mad is not a good situation for the occupants.

The solution: how big should your air conditioner be? The size of an air conditioner depends on: how large your home is and how many windows it has; how much shade is on your home's windows, walls, and roof; how much insulation is in your home's ceiling and walls; how much air leaks into your home from the outside; and how much heat the occupants and appliances in your home generate.

An air conditioner's efficiency, performance, durability, and initial cost depend on matching its size to the above factors. All of this is taken into account when we use the industry standard software to do the calculation.

It's important to know. When you work with a contractor who understands this and is qualified to do the installation correctly, the new A/C unit may be smaller, but will do a better job of cooling and dehumidifying your home at less cost.

If replacing your air conditioner is on your spring check list. Let's set up at time to do an evaluation. Just click on the "Need An Estimate" below

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Topics: HVAC Systems, Cooling, AC Problems, Proper Sizing

Home Air Conditioning Systems Are High Tech.

Posted by John Sims on Fri, Jul, 12, 2013 @ 04:07 AM

Today, your choices of home air conditioning systems includes more high tech, variable speed furnaces and air handlers. These systems tend to run longer at lower blower speeds in an Tachometerattempt to improve comfort and increase dehumidification. This is great when you have a well-designed tight, balanced duct system.
A single-speed furnace or air conditioner comes on full-blast no matter what. That may be okay in the dead of winter or heat of summer, but in the spring or fall, when outdoor air temperatures are less extreme, a single-speed unit may heat or cool rooms too quickly.

Besides this basic functionality on forced air HVAC systems, there are only about two real comfort feature options. The two features that can increase your comfort, though, are noteworthy and valuable. They are two-stage heating, and self-adjusting blower speeds. Both of these are available for forced air furnaces.(Remember, it's the blower system of your furnace that moves the cool air from the evaporator through your duct systems.)

The benefits of a two-stage furnace with variable speed blower are that it makes you more comfortable due to more even temperatures throughout the home, maintains a more steady
temperature (keeps the house at nearly the exact temperature you set your thermostat), increases your air conditioning efficiency about 8% (if you have air conditioning), has a lower operating cost (due to a DC voltage variable blower motor), increases efficiency of any attached air cleaner, and is quieter than other furnaces. The benefits of a two-stage furnace with multi-speed blower
are similar to the Two-Stage Variable Speed models. However the Two-Stage Variable Speed models are even more quiet, even more electrically efficient, and even more comfortable.
Richard Rue, an energy efficiency building expert, whose engineering firm has engineered over 42,534 Ultra Energy Efficient homes tells his clients this:

“Variable-speed equipment can ramp down from a 5-ton unit, for example, to as little as a 1 1/2 tons; this will help control moisture in a house much better because the unit will operate at a lower speed and run longer to control humidity. Keeping humidity levels below 50 percent creates an environment where even dust mites and mold spores can’t grow.”

Another reason why replacing your home air conditioning system is not the same as swapping a new refrigerator for your old one.

Topics: HVAC Systems, Buying A/C, Proper Sizing, Planned Right

Home Air Conditioning: The Problem With Oversizing Part #2.

Posted by John Sims on Sat, Jun, 22, 2013 @ 11:06 AM

Air Conditioning Oversizing Causes and Effects Part #2

When it comes to this topic, Doug Rye, a nationally known speaker says it this way, "DO NOT, DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT let anyone install your air conditioning system without first Air Conditioning Repairusing an approved computer program to size it correctly for your home.  Too many homeowners allow the contractor to estimate or guess the size of the system.  This nearly always results in an uncomfortable home. Ask for a copy of the calculations before installation.  A reputable contractor will be happy to provide them for you."

Here are the problems of not sizing the system correctly:

Moisture Buildup

The ability of the air conditioner to remove moisture (latent capacity) is lowest at the beginning of the air conditioner cycle. The moisture removed from the indoor air is dependent upon the indoor coil temperature being below the dew-point temperature of the air. The moisture then wets the indoor coil and, should the unit run long enough, will begin to flow off the coil and be removed out of the condensate drain in your floor by the furnace.

Uncomfortable humidity levels. One of the consequences of short cycling is uncomfortable humidity levels, which compounds the problem by compelling homeowners to turn the thermostat even lower because they feel clammy. “In a house that’s properly engineered, you’ll feel cool even when the thermostat is set as high as 74 degrees, because the humidity levels are low. The house should not be above 50% humidity in the summer.

Mold, mildew, and warping. High humidity can encourage the growth of mold and mildew. You may notice mold growth in bathrooms and on interior walls or ceilings. Another sign of too much humidity is warping of wood floors and wood-framed windows.

Also, according to Doug Rye, buying an oversized air conditioner penalizes you in the following ways: a large air conditioner will not provide the best cooling and it costs more to buy a larger air conditioner than you need.

If You're Thinking About Buying A New Air Conditioner, Make Sure You Review Our 6 'SUREFIRE' Steps To Buying A New Air Conditioner. It'll Insure You Get The Best Value... (It's Also Why We Do Twice As Many Installs As Our Closest Competitor)

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Topics: HVAC Systems, Proper Sizing, Selecting A Contractor

Home Air Conditioning: The Problem With Oversizing Part #1.

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Jun, 18, 2013 @ 14:06 PM

Air Conditioning Oversizing Causes and Effects Part #1

Customers depend on the expertise of contractors in selecting air conditioners. Yet contractors generally size air conditioners at least a half-ton larger than necessary and oftenAir Conditioning Battle Creek oversize by a ton or more. Even the most conscientious contractor is driven to avoid call-backs (or even lawsuits). An oversized air conditioner can mask problems from duct leaks, improper flow across the coils, and improper charge.

Sims Heating and Cooling is rooted in "engineering". So we take this approach when we correctly-size air conditioners for our customers.

Unfortunately, many customers think that "bigger is better,"

Too often many contractors will say, "I've done it this way for 30 years and I've never had a complaint." It is no surprise then that air conditioners are oversized; however, the advantages of a properly sized air conditioner are so large that these barriers need to be overcome. Customers pay a price for oversized air conditioners, and in many climates, lose comfort as well. A properly sized air conditioner costs the customer less.

Here are the problems of not sizing the system correctly:

#1 Short cycling. One of the easiest symptoms to recognize is short cycling of the central air conditioner. If the unit is turning on and off four to five times per hour in the heat of summer, it’s not operating efficiently. Instead, the unit should run continuously for 40 to 50 minutes out of every hour to maintain consistent room temperatures and achieve more comfortable humidity levels. Building Science Experts will tell you, “most homeowners don’t realize that when the AC unit first turns on, it goes through a startup process that will use more energy in the first 3 minutes than it will use in 30 minutes; and if a unit short cycles four times an hour, it’s using as much energy as it would running two hours continuously.”

Little Known Fact: It Takes More Energy To Start-Up Than Run Continuously For 30 Minutes! Most homeowners think it's a good thing if your HVAC system runs less. That's wrong.

Best Value For A New Air Conditioner

Topics: Installation, Comfort, Proper Sizing, Planned Right

Solving Problems In Your Home, Begins With Identifying Them.

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