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Posts Tagged: AC Installation

Things to know when adding air conditioning to your home

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning 1 Comment on Things to know when adding air conditioning to your home

Tips for avoiding uneven cooling with AC

“Why is the upstairs not as cool as the downstairs and what can we do to even it out?“ This has become a popular question as Seattle is having more 80 degree days, and adding air conditioning is getting more common. We custom install AC systems throughout the Puget Sound and have tips to maximize your overall cooling comfort.

Your house was built for heating

Northwest houses, even ones built recently, are built with ductwork that supports efficient heating, not cooling. (Many older homes weren’t built with enough ducts even for the heating.) The majority of Northwest homes don’t have sufficient airflow in upper floors of the house for effective cooling. Our ducts aren’t large enough and they are in the wrong spots. It takes a lot of cool air to overcome the heat gain on higher floors. Case in point, your registers are most likely in the floor, because hot air rises through the room. But cold air sinks! So that cold air is fighting gravity to get to you. In southern US homes, where cooling is the major season, their registers are in the ceiling.

Say no to vent closing

Many people want to try to even out cooling between floors by shutting the registers downstairs in hope that more cool air goes upstairs. This is not a good idea and does not work. Your system was sized to fit your house based on having those registers open to provide air flow to and from the equipment. Shutting one or two in a whole house is okay, but more than that and you put undue static pressure on the equipment. Said another way, this could damage your coil and greatly shorten the life of your AC equipment. Think of it like driving your car with the parking brake on!

Tips to improve upstairs cooling

If you have a big remodel of your upstairs in mind, that would be the time to permanently solve this issue by adding or enlarging duct work through the walls and ceiling. Another option, especially good for larger homes, is to have two separate heating and cooling systems – one for each floor. These are expensive solutions, and if this type of remodel is not in the plan, we have more practical tips:

1. Start your AC early in the day

Heat rises so by the time you get
home the natural forces will make your upstairs hotter than the downstairs. Cranking the AC will start the process of cooling it down, but the upstairs will take longer because it had a chance to get hotter. Newer air conditioning systems are energy efficient, so the extra electricity used from running it on low during the day vs cranking it up when you get home, will be minimal. And you are giving it a better chance of overcoming the heat gain throughout the house.

2. Insulate your attic and upstairs walls

Insulation will keep the cool air in, and proper sealing and caulking of bathroom fans, windows and balcony doors will keep heat outside. Insulation is a great year round energy saving investment and there are excellent utility rebates to help you do this affordably.

3. Add a solar attic fan

Adding a solar attic fan can affordably drop your upstairs a few degrees by pulling cool air upstairs and sending the hot air out of the roof. It will help to even out the temperature in a cost effective way.

4. Add a return air vent to improve system air flow.

This is less expensive than new ductwork and may make a small improvement.

5. Get good blinds

Keep heat out. Get good blinds, particularly on the south and west sides of the house, and keep them shut during the day. Keep windows closed until evening. Remember that heat will rise, so leaving windows and blinds open downstairs will disproportionately heat the upstairs.

6. Consider a ductless heat pump

For an old Craftsman house where the upstairs has little to no ducting and is too cold in the winter, and too hot in the summer, consider a ductless heat pump for the upstairs, as it will independently heat and cool that area without the need for ductwork.

 

Whatever you choose, Washington Energy Services is Puget Sound’s leading contractor providing tailored home comfort solutions including: energy efficient air conditioning, heat pumps, ductless split systems, insulation and solar attic fans. Are you planning to add air conditioning to your home? Contact us for a free estimate and stay cool this summer.

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A fitness plan… for your air conditioner

Posted On: Filed Under: Air conditioning, Heat pump 2 Comments on A fitness plan… for your air conditioner

As outside temperatures start reaching 60 degrees or above, it’s the perfect time to “test run” the system. Though many companies will tell you they can check your air conditioner while the outdoor temperature is below 60 degrees, this is false. Almost every manufacturer recommends checking air conditioners when temperatures are above 60 degrees.

I recommend annual air conditioning check-ups in the spring and furnace check-ups every fall. Although regular checkups will not absolutely guarantee that a unit will continue to work perfectly throughout the season, they will reveal most small problems that can lead to major, far more expensive problems if left unattended. Click here to see some of the services we provide.

Other things you should do for your fitness plan:

  • Change your filters regularly. This is the #1 cause for service calls and can damage your system. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and worst case, can cause the evaporator to ice up. Disposable fiberglass filters should replaced. Electrostatic or electronic filters need to be washed regularly. You can contact us for filter size and cost if you need assistance. Click here to see some of the filter options we provide to the Seattle, Tacoma, and the Puget Sound region.
  • Clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, etc. from around the exterior of the outdoor unit. The coil needs to have maximum air flow to be efficient and reduce wear and tear on the compressor.
  • Be sure the thermostat is set in the cooling mode. Just setting the dial below room temperature will not activate the air conditioning if it is set in the heat mode.
  • If you have a cover for your outdoor unit installed, make sure it is removed before starting the system. By not removing the cover you may cause major damage to your system.

If this sounds like too much trouble or you are not sure how to do it, a qualified professional can service your air conditioner. Call us and we’d be happy to set up an appointment.

Summers in Seattle and the Puget Sound area have been getting hotter. Did you know that heat pumps are a great option for this region. They cool your home in summer and warm your home in winter much more efficiently than a regular air conditioner or furnace. For more info on our York Affinity Series air conditioner and its distinct advantages, click here.

If you are interested in getting central air conditioning installed in your home at a great season price, click here.

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