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Posts Tagged: air conditioning

A Brief History of Air Conditioning

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning No Comments on A Brief History of Air Conditioning

Nowadays we have a hard time imagining the sweltering hot temperature of some locales without the luxury of a cool breeze from the central air conditioner blowing in our face. But in fact, people lived for centuries without cooling appliances.

When did the need for cool air indoors arise, and where does the invention of air conditioning units fall in history?

Early use

Though they had nothing like modern-day air conditioning, human beings used little tricks to cool themselves since ancient times. Though dates aren’t known for some of the early methods of cooling air, there’s evidence of the use of air conditioning science that dates back millennia.

Ancient Egypt: Some evidence suggests that ancient Egyptians understood the power of evaporation for cooling purposes. They were one of the first people to use a rudimentary form of air conditioning by hanging wet cloths in doorways to create an evaporation cooling effect. When the wind blew past such hangings, it produced a fresher breeze.

Ancient China: Air cooling can be traced back as early as 180 AD in China, and the time of Ding Huan. Huan invented a hand-cranked rotary fan that produced a breeze.

Ancient Rome: This Mediterranean empire created many ingenious inventions that made life easier: the aqueduct was one of the most famous. Aqueducts were used to pump water to various parts of the city, and even to individual homes. There is evidence of aqueducts that were routed inside the walls of wealthy Roman homes to circulate water and cool the air.

1758: Benjamin Franklin and his colleague John Hadley, professor at Cambridge University, gave a presentation on their investigation of the effects of evaporative cooling. They stated that evaporating inconstant liquids (such as alcohol)on the surface of water can cool an object to freezing.

1820: English inventor Michael Faraday successfully performed a similar experiment using ammonia, which was the volatile liquid used in the first modern air conditioning unit.

1830s: Dr. John Gorrie, an American physician, began work on the first mechanical cooling apparatus ever recorded. It blew air through a cloth doused in ice-cold water. Though large and bulky, and requiring an unearthly amount of ice water to work, it had the power to cool a room by as much as 20 degrees.

1851: Dr. Gorrie patented his ice-cooling invention, which by this time was used specifically in hospital rooms.  It was revolutionary in creating a healthier environment for treating yellow fever and other ailments.

 

Modern air conditioner

The first modern air conditioners arrived at the turn of the 20th century, and involved several rudimentary models. Thanks to innovations that came with the industrial revolution, we can enjoy cooling effects that dramatically improve our quality of life.

1902: Willis Carrier invented the first air conditioner reminiscent of today’s models. This discovery was driven the need for cooling in certain manufacturing processes. Working with the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co., who needed an efficient way to cool paper during printing, Carrier invented a machine that blew air over cold coils to produce the cooling effect. The machine de-humidified and cooled the air so paper would stay smooth and the ink fresh. This machine had the ability to cool air significantly and lower humidity levels by nearly 55 percent.

1911: Carrier presented his Rational Psychometric Formulae, which is the fundamental science used behind air conditioning technology today.

1914: The first in-home air conditioning machine (made by Carrier) is installed in a Minneapolis mansion. It was seven feet high and 20 feet wide. Up to this point, air conditioning had only been used in hospital or manufacturing settings.

1915: Carrier joined a group of engineers from the Buffalo Forge Company to establish the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, which created air conditioning units for other manufacturers.

1920: Carrier and his engineers discovered a replacement for toxic ammonia in their cooling system: the much safer coolant dyeline. They also made the units significantly smaller so they could be placed in department stores, office buildings, and railroad cars.

1930: The White House and several executive office buildings were equipped with air conditioning.

1931: H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invented the first window unit air conditioner at an extremely steep cost.

1950s: Air conditioners became extremely popular in suburban homes during the middle of the century, and records show there were roughly 74,000 air conditioners installed during this time.

1953: The popularity of air conditioners had risen so much there were more than a million requests for air conditioning, and the supply could not equal the demand.

1957: Quieter air conditioning units were produced, thanks to the invention of the rotary compressor, which created the same effect with greater efficiency.

1970s: Central air conditioning was implemented in most commercial buildings in large cities, and many air conditioning companies popped up to help meet the demand.

1990s: Energy used for air conditioning doubled over the span of 10 years, which made it necessary to produce more energy-efficient units in response to modern environmental laws.

2007: The percentage of US homes with air conditioning reaches 86 percent.

2010: The percentage of homes with air conditioning in the Puget Sound area was estimated at only 14%.

2015: Today, in excess of 100 million US homes have air conditioning, and that number is growing all the time. Carrier and their top quality Bryant brand, remains the top seller of air conditioning systems.

 

The future of air conditioning

Future of Air Conditioning - couple with salesperson

Improvements continue to be made in air conditioning systems, with a bright future ahead that promises even more efficient cooling. As the EPA continues to improve its energy efficiency standards, so do air conditioning companies who wish to comply and save consumer as much money as possible.

One innovation that’s slated to arrive in the near future is the magnetic air conditioner, which works with the magneto caloric effect. Magnetic materials heat up when exposed to a magnetic field and cool down to extremely cool temperatures when the magnetic field is removed.

This new air conditioner is meant to be more environmentally friendly than traditional air conditioners, as well as more energy efficient. Prototypes are currently being tested, and are not yet available for mass marketing.

Until the time when newer products come out, you can enjoy the top-of-the-line products we sell here at Washington Energy Services. Browse our collection of Bryant heating and air conditioning units and maintenance services, and contact us with any questions.

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5 ways to beat the heat wave

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Cooling, Air conditioning, Ductless heat pump, Home energy audit, Heat pump, Insulation 2 Comments on 5 ways to beat the heat wave

Revamp or install air conditioning.

Sure, this one is obvious. In weather like this, air conditioning creates an oasis for you and your family. You may hear people say that air conditioning is “not necessary in the Northwest.” Wrong! With each passing summer, rising temperatures necessitate air conditioning. Luckily for homeowners, cooling systems continue to improve in performance and energy efficiency, so there’s never been a better time to make this important home investment. Here are a few options:

Heat pump: This all-in-one system provides energy efficient heating and cooling. This is a great option for homes with an older or inefficient furnace.

Air conditioning unit: If you have an energy efficient furnace, you may just need an air conditioning unit.

Ductless systems: For homes without ducts (and even those with them), ductless systems are a cost effective option. These workhorses allow homeowners to heat and cool specific areas, saving money and energy.

Replace or fix your windows.

Energy efficient windows make a big difference in home comfort and cooling. Old, cracked, or broken windows or windowpanes allow warm air to enter the home, and cold air to escape. If you’re dealing with aluminum framed or single pane windows, this might be the time to upgrade to vinyl windows. You will also be making an investment in future winter comfort, as energy efficient windows will help keep your home warm when the weather turns cold. If your windows are already vinyl, but leaking air, be sure to caulk and seal any cracks and air leaks. A slow leak of hot air really adds up… especially in your wallet.

Weatherproof your front door.

When we hear the word “weatherproof”, it’s easy to think of blustery winds and relentless rains. But weatherproofing is also crucial in the summer, particularly for doors. Is your weather stripping around the door cracked or insufficiently affixed to the door frame? Don’t waste precious cool air—fix it ASAP. It’s an inexpensive way to keep cool air where it should be.

Install a programmable thermostat.

Is your home stifling when you get home from work? Is it already stuffy when you wake up in the morning? Cool your home on your schedule with a programmable thermostat. With several utilitarian and high tech options from Honeywell, Washington Energy Services has a thermostat to meet any need and budget.

Conduct a home energy audit.

Through comprehensive testing, a Home Energy Audit from Washington Energy Services can pinpoint the areas where your home isn’t performing to its full potential. This includes areas where you may be losing cool air, and ultimately, losing money.

We may already be in the middle of summer, but there’s plenty more heat to come. Keep your home cool and your family comfortable with help from Washington Energy Services.

Get an estimate

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Spring is the time to think about air conditioning

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning 1 Comment on Spring is the time to think about air conditioning

We’re sure you’ve heard it: “You don’t need air conditioning in the PNW.” But as each summer seems to get more stifling, this is no longer the case. In fact, many homeowners are finding their homes to be unbearable. In order to keep you and your family comfortable, happy, and productive all summer long, air conditioning is becoming increasingly crucial.

Spring is the perfect time to make this important investment in your home. As we said before, we’re still dealing with chilly weather, so air conditioning may be the last thing on your mind. (In fact, you’re probably still cranking the heat on a daily basis!) But if you get the ball rolling now rather than in July, you won’t have to wait in repressive heat while we meet the needs of hundreds of homes. You’ll be provided with an air conditioning solution now, so you can chill later.

Plus, contacting us for an estimate is a no-pressure, no-commitment decision. We’ll come to your home, present your options, provide an estimate, and offer guidance and expertise. Once you have all the information, you can decide which solution is right for your home and budget. Washington Energy Services has a myriad of air conditioning systems and options to help you break through the heat… without breaking the bank.

If you already have an air conditioning unit, spring is an important time for you, too. If you haven’t already, check out our past blog article about getting your air conditioner ready for summer. If your air conditioner is in less-than-stellar shape, give us a call for maintenance or repair. The same reasoning from above applies: the summer A/C rush is coming—and you can beat it.

Yes, we’re still dealing with some cool weather. But look into your summer crystal ball. Connect with Washington Energy Services—we predict a cool, comfortable summer in your future.

Get an estimate

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3 ways to help your home get lucky this month

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Air conditioning, Siding No Comments on 3 ways to help your home get lucky this month

Get cool with A/C.

Sure, St. Patrick’s Day is forecast to be a chilly one. But in just a couple short months, you’ll be perspiring in the PNW sun. Get a jump start on your air conditioning game by installing a new unit now. Not only will you save 20% this month, but you’ll also beat the summertime rush of boiling hot homeowners.

See clearly.

Windows should make your home feel brighter, larger, and fresher—not colder. Are your windows letting in more than light? If you’re dealing with drafty seals, condensation between panes, old aluminum frames, or just unsightly windows, now’s the perfect time to replace them. Several of these issues contribute to poor energy efficiency, which can wreak havoc on your energy bill.

Enjoy the light of spring without all the hassle and cost. Plus, with 20% off through March, you’ll see more clearly than ever.

Look on the bright side[ing].

Think of your home’s siding as a fine suit. It’s the first thing you notice on a home’s exterior. Is your siding just not fitting well? Is it showing wear and tear? Is it straight out of 1977? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider upgrading your siding to a more contemporary, tailored solution. When you replace your siding, you instantly increase the value and durability of your home. Fiber cement siding is low maintenance and comes in beautiful shades of baked-on color.

During the month of March, James Hardie fiber cement siding is 20% off. Who said a finely tailored suit had to be full price?

Heating units, gas fireplace inserts, generators, insulation, and tankless water heaters are also 20% off through the end of March. Check out our Offers page for all sales and specials.

March is a time to save some green and get lucky. Washington Energy Services’ great prices, expert specialists, and huge product selection will help you accomplish both.

Book your free estimate

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Getting your home A/C ready for spring in Seattle

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning No Comments on Getting your home A/C ready for spring in Seattle

Throughout the winter season, keeping your heating system functioning efficiently is your main concern. However, even while it’s not in use, it’s important to continue caring for your air conditioner to prevent problems in the spring. Although warm weather may still be a few weeks away, there are several steps you can take today to help get your air conditioner ready for the cooling season. Now is also a good time to schedule your home’s spring HVAC tune-up—a professional inspection and cleaning is the very best way to enjoy problem-free cooling throughout the spring and summer months.

Check and clear the outdoor uUnit

Central air conditioning systems are comprised of one unit located indoors near your furnace, and a second unit located outside. While the outdoor component of your A/C is designed to withstand the winter weather, it’s a good idea to check on it periodically and clear the area of any debris. As the cold weather begins to wane and the growing season begins, check this area again and cut back any trees, landscaping, or other plants to keep the space within three feet of your air conditioner’s condenser clear in all directions. Inspecting the unit for signs of damage from falling objects or pests over the winter gives you time to address any concerns you may have or make any repairs necessary well in advance of the cooling season.

Adjust your cooling program

Programmable thermostats make maintaining home comfort easy and convenient by adjusting the amount of heating or cooling your HVAC system delivers to fit your schedule. If your cooling program from last year is still programmed into your thermostat, check it against your upcoming schedule to determine whether changes are needed, based on the times you will be at home and away. The best way to save energy and reduce stress on your HVAC system is to call for less cooling during times when you aren’t home, and more during the hours you’re present. Making adjustments to your cooling schedule now means you can’t forget to do it later, allowing you to enjoy energy-efficient cooling from the moment you activate your air conditioner for the season. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, it’s never too late to consider installing one to enjoy the benefits it can offer.

Test your A/C

Even though the weather may still be cool, there is no better way to ensure your A/C is ready for the spring than to test it. Take a moment to set your thermostat to a temperature at least three degrees cooler than the current reading and switch your system to cool. Make sure your air conditioner activates, and take note of the delay between switching your A/C on and the activation of your cooling system; if the delay seems longer than you remember, your air conditioner may need attention. Let your air conditioner run for a few minutes to make sure it seems to be operating as you expect—if you notice any loud or strange noises while the A/C is running, call your HVAC service for an inspection to handle the issue before the cooling season begins.

Taking care of your cooling system, even during the off season, will ensure efficient function and reduce the risk of breakdowns when you’re ready to switch on the A/C. For Seattle air conditioning service, trust Washington Energy. We provide the highest quality HVAC service in the Seattle market. Request an appointment online today or call to schedule an appointment at 800-389-4463.

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Air conditioning history and timeline

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning No Comments on Air conditioning history and timeline

 

Nowadays we have a hard time imagining the sweltering hot temperature of some locales without the luxury of a cool breeze from the central air conditioner blowing in our face. But in fact, people lived for centuries without cooling appliances.

When did the need for cool air indoors arise, and where does the invention of air conditioning units fall in history?

 

Early use

Though they had nothing like modern-day air conditioning, human beings used little tricks to cool themselves since ancient times. Though dates aren’t known for some of the early methods of cooling air, there’s evidence of the use of air conditioning science that dates back millennia.

Ancient Egypt: Some evidence suggests that ancient Egyptians understood the power of evaporation for cooling purposes. They were one of the first people to use a rudimentary form of air conditioning by hanging wet cloths in doorways to create an evaporation cooling effect. When the wind blew past such hangings, it produced a fresher breeze.

Ancient China: Air cooling can be traced back as early as 180 AD in China, and the time of Ding Huan. Huan invented a hand-cranked rotary fan that produced a breeze.

Ancient Rome: This Mediterranean empire created many ingenious inventions that made life easier: the aqueduct was one of the most famous. Aqueducts were used to pump water to various parts of the city, and even to individual homes. There is evidence of aqueducts that were routed inside the walls of wealthy Roman homes to circulate water and cool the air.

1758: Benjamin Franklin and his colleague John Hadley, professor at Cambridge University, gave a presentation on their investigation of the effects of evaporative cooling. They stated that evaporating inconstant liquids (such as alcohol)on the surface of water can cool an object to freezing.

1820: English inventor Michael Faraday successfully performed a similar experiment using ammonia, which was the volatile liquid used in the first modern air conditioning unit.

1830s: Dr. John Gorrie, an American physician, began work on the first mechanical cooling apparatus ever recorded. It blew air through a cloth doused in ice-cold water. Though large and bulky, and requiring an unearthly amount of ice water to work, it had the power to cool a room by as much as 20 degrees.

1851: Dr. Gorrie patented his ice-cooling invention, which by this time was used specifically in hospital rooms.  It was revolutionary in creating a healthier environment for treating yellow fever and other ailments.

 

Modern air conditioner

The first modern air conditioners arrived at the turn of the 20th century, and involved several rudimentary models. Thanks to innovations that came with the industrial revolution, we can enjoy cooling effects that dramatically improve our quality of life.

1902: Willis Carrier invented the first air conditioner reminiscent of today’s models. This discovery was driven the need for cooling in certain manufacturing processes. Working with the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co., who needed an efficient way to cool paper during printing, Carrier invented a machine that blew air over cold coils to produce the cooling effect. The machine de-humidified and cooled the air so paper would stay smooth and the ink fresh. This machine had the ability to cool air significantly and lower humidity levels by nearly 55 percent.

1911: Carrier presented his Rational Psychometric Formulae, which is the fundamental science used behind air conditioning technology today.

1914: The first in-home air conditioning machine (made by Carrier) is installed in a Minneapolis mansion. It was seven feet high and 20 feet wide. Up to this point, air conditioning had only been used in hospital or manufacturing settings.

1915: Carrier joined a group of engineers from the Buffalo Forge Company to establish the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, which created air conditioning units for other manufacturers.

1920: Carrier and his engineers discovered a replacement for toxic ammonia in their cooling system: the much safer coolant dyeline. They also made the units significantly smaller so they could be placed in department stores, office buildings, and railroad cars.

1930: The White House and several executive office buildings were equipped with air conditioning.

1931: H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invented the first window unit air conditioner at an extremely steep cost.

1950s: Air conditioners became extremely popular in suburban homes during the middle of the century, and records show there were roughly 74,000 air conditioners installed during this time.

1953: The popularity of air conditioners had risen so much there were more than a million requests for air conditioning, and the supply could not equal the demand.

1957: Quieter air conditioning units were produced, thanks to the invention of the rotary compressor, which created the same effect with greater efficiency.

1970s: Central air conditioning was implemented in most commercial buildings in large cities, and many air conditioning companies popped up to help meet the demand.

1990s: Energy used for air conditioning doubled over the span of 10 years, which made it necessary to produce more energy-efficient units in response to modern environmental laws.

2007: The percentage of US homes with air conditioning reaches 86 percent.

2010: The percentage of homes with air conditioning in the Puget Sound area was estimated at only 14%.

2015: Today, in excess of 100 million US homes have air conditioning, and that number is growing all the time. Carrier and their top quality Bryant brand, remains the top seller of air conditioning systems.

 

The future of air conditioning

Future of Air Conditioning - couple with salesperson

Improvements continue to be made in air conditioning systems, with a bright future ahead that promises even more efficient cooling. As the EPA continues to improve its energy efficiency standards, so do air conditioning companies who wish to comply and save consumer as much money as possible.

One innovation that’s slated to arrive in the near future is the magnetic air conditioner, which works with the magneto caloric effect. Magnetic materials heat up when exposed to a magnetic field and cool down to extremely cool temperatures when the magnetic field is removed.

This new air conditioner is meant to be more environmentally friendly than traditional air conditioners, as well as more energy efficient. Prototypes are currently being tested, and are not yet available for mass marketing.

Until the time when newer products come out, you can enjoy the top-of-the-line products we sell here at Washington Energy Services. Browse our collection of Bryant heating and air conditioning units and maintenance services, and contact us with any questions.

Tags: ,

Do you really need air conditioning in Seattle?

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning 3 Comments on Do you really need air conditioning in Seattle?

Air conditioning — more specifically central air conditioning — may not seem like a necessity, but recent summers in Seattle have changed many new residents’ minds.

What are the Benefits of air conditioning in the Seattle Area?

Air conditioning in Seattle offers a variety of benefits, whether they’re obvious and on the surface or not. If you’re wondering how central air conditioning can keep you comfy and save money in the summer, here’s the scoop.

Combats the hot days: Though most temperatures in Seattle are acceptably average, you can expect a minimum of 30 days during which temperatures will reach above 80 degrees. There were 45 days above 80 last year! Just a few years ago, Seattle saw a record temperature of 103 degrees, and there have been plenty of long, dry, hot streaks since then. A central air conditioning system in your home means you have the power to adjust the temperature to a consistent temperature when the heat gets unbearable.

Creates options: Installing air conditioning into your central air system is one of the smartest things you can do for comfort and efficiency, because it gives you the option of cooling automatically when you need it. Having air conditioning or a heat pump, as part of your central air system doesn’t mean you have to use it, but it’s there in case the temperature gets too hot to handle.

Central air over single unit: Besides providing you with even and consistent cooling, a central air conditioning system will ensure many more benefits over a single room A/C. If you have a studio apartment, a single air conditioning unit should be sufficient for your needs, but if your home is bigger, central air is a great choice. Today’s central air conditioners are far more energy efficient than having 3 or 4 separate room air conditioners and without the noise and blasting of air. Central air disperses cool air into each room equally, so you’ll be running the air conditioning system for a shorter amount of time before the whole house is cool. In addition, central air conditioners last 10-15 years with maintenance, which is longer than most single room A/C’s.

Added security: On days when your option is run the air conditioning or suffer in boiling heat, a cooling system provides you with added safety. You don’t want to leave your windows open and risk a burglary, especially in the Seattle area, and an air conditioning system will allow you to keep them closed while you stay cool at the same time.

Improves allergies: Along with a security risk, opening your windows also invites dust, pollen, and other allergens into your home, which can make you and your family sick. Central air reduces the need to open the windows, and filters the air, which lowers the risk of allergy attacks during the warmer months.

Adds value to your property: If it ever comes to selling your home, you hope it will be as appealing as possible. One of the ways to ensure this is to add a central cooling system, which is especially attractive to home buyers in the Seattle area. You will be able to raise your asking price and invite more potential buyers to your door.

How to choose your Western Washington cooling system:

Once you’ve established a clear desire for air conditioning in your home, you’ve got to decide which option will be the best for your specific circumstances. There are several things to consider when you’re trying to decide on the best cooling system for your home.

Here are a few of the most important.

Your home: Consider the type of home you live in. If it’s a condo, you’ll need HOA approval to make changes to your central air. Often these buildings have electric resistance heat and so the approval may be for ductless heat pumps. Seattle is also famous for old Craftsman or pre-war homes, which can present a considerable challenge for most central air installers. We at Washington Energy Services can help you install heat pumps or central air conditioners that will work with just about any home, however, no matter what its age is. Both heat pumps and air conditioners provide cooling and are good choices for our area. If you have a larger home with multiple levels you might need to evaluate getting two smaller central air conditioners vs. one big one. Though the initial cost of a single unit is cheaper, it can cost you more in utility bills, since it will have to work extra hard to cool every room in your house. Having two smaller units can also provide greater cooling control.

Proximity: Your home’s proximity to other structures may play a role in the type of central air options you have. If that’s the case, your contractor will help you choose a central air system that meets the sound and noise ordinances of your area, and fits in the space you have. Most cities around the Puget Sound have noise ordinances.

Power resources: Verify your access to electrical resources. Many older homes have limited ability to add major appliances at the level of a central air conditioner. If that’s the case with your residence, a ductless heat pump may be the right fit for you, since it requires less electrical service, or for a central air unit, new electrical service can often be added. Your AC installer will know what to look for.

How to sustain energy efficiency with Central Air Conditioning

One of your biggest concerns with regard to central air is probably your ability to sustain energy efficiency. You don’t want to see your utility bill jump hundreds of dollars each month because of your new central air system. The good news is that today’s modern air conditioners are much more energy efficient than even 10 years ago. In addition, you can take other steps to improve your energy efficiency.

Be smart when you set your thermostat:
man at thermostat
For optimal efficiency, reset your thermostat at 78 degrees instead of 72. Although that may seem a little warm for Seattle, it will ensure your air conditioning doesn’t turn on until it’s absolutely necessary, and it will save you plenty.

Start your air conditioner early, even in Washington State: You might think it’s counter intuitive to run your air conditioning all day even if you are not home, but this is a great way to save energy. It allows the A/C to keep the house cool and run at lower speed (using less power), vs. starting up at full blast when you get home during the heat of the day.

Consider modern, energy efficient lighting: While you’re redoing your central air, think about also improving your light fixtures for more energy-efficient processing. Shop for LED light bulbs which can last for up to 25 years and save dramatically on energy vs incandescent bulbs while reducing the heat your lighting produces by just being on!

Keep the oven off: Do your best to keep the heat down in your house by keeping your oven off during the day. As much as possible, do your baking and cooking at night, and use a microwave, toaster, or outdoor grill for daytime cooking.

Weather-proof your home: Keep the hot air out of your house through weatherproofing. Close your blinds during the day to keep the beating sun out, and open them at night to allow cool air to seep in. Also, have your caulking and insulation inspected to ensure that no air is leaking into your home around your windows.

Most residents agree that air conditioning is worth the start-up cost, even in Seattle, Lynnwood & Tacoma. It will help you and your family to remain secure and cool during the hot summer days.

Use the foregoing tips to help you keep your utility bill low while improving your quality of life. If you think you might like central air installed in your home before the hot weather arrives, contact us today for a quote or to get any of your questions answered.

Get your free estimate

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My air conditioner isn’t keeping me cool enough

Posted On: Filed Under: Air conditioning No Comments on My air conditioner isn’t keeping me cool enough

If you’ve turned on your central air conditioner only to find it isn’t cooling you down enough, Washington Energy Services has tips to help. These are for air conditioning systems, not heat pumps.

Many homeowners in the Northwest are getting central air conditioning for the increasingly long months of heat. When it gets hot, we get many AC service calls. Since we service all major brands of air conditioners, we get to see a variety of issues. One of the issues we see in the summer is from people who find their AC isn’t cooling their home to a low enough temperature for their liking. Washington Energy Services has these tips to share from our experience:

First, we will assume that the AC unit is actually able to run. If it is not running at all, you will need a service call by a trained air conditioning technician. If it’s just underwhelming you with its cooling, you may have one of the following conditions:

1. The Air Conditioner has not been recently serviced. Maintenance is recommended to ensure the unit is working properly and to manufacturer specifications. This is especially important in areas like Seattle where the AC is not used until July-Sept and then sits idle for 9 months. Leaves and debris can get into the unit in the offseason too`.

2. The air handler or furnace that sends the cool air through your house via the ducts may not be working properly. There could be dirty air filters as well as dirty coils.

3 The duct work may leak and need sealing and insulating—especially if the cold air return is in the attic. Duct leakage in older homes without duct sealing can go from 10%- 40% of total air lost in transit.

4. You may have insufficient duct work to send cool air everywhere in your house.

To ensure you get the maximum cooling, have an Air Conditioning technician make sure the AC system is charged correctly, the filters are clean, the temperature across the coil is a 20 degree drop, and duct leaks are sealed. Heat Pumps are typically sized for heating as the primary function and do not have this issue when they cool.

If you suspect you are just losing your cool because of airways in a drafty old house, the solution is to tighten up the seal of your home. That may involve air sealing, duct sealing, insulation and weather stripping among other solutions. The best way to determine what should be done is to have a home energy audit by a BPI certified contractor.

Washington Energy Services provides air conditioning systems and service, plus certified home energy audits for customers in Western Washington. Right now all air conditioning systems are 15% off through August 31st. Call 800-398-4663 for a free estimate.

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AC vs Heat Pump: The Cooling Battle!

Posted On: Filed Under: Air conditioning, Ductless heat pump, Heat pump 107 Comments on AC vs Heat Pump: The Cooling Battle!

To start, let’s examine some similarities between heat pumps and air conditioners. Both systems are powered by outdoor units. They use the science of thermal energy to transfer heat in the air from one place to another. The units connect by a line-set charged with eco-friendly refrigerant to a coil that is placed above your furnace.

Air conditioning

An air conditioning system, like your fridge, absorbs heat from air that passes over the coil, and the resulting cool air is moved into your ducts and through your home. The collected heat is expelled through an exhaust process. Okay, there’s more science than that, but you get the idea (or check out http://home.howstuffworks.com/ac.htm). There are room air conditioners that hang out your window and cool one room and air conditioning systems, aka central air, which is what we are comparing to heat pumps today.

Heat pumps

The heat pump’s main advantage is it can cool and heat, so you can use it all year round. A heat pump pulls heat out of the outside air when it heats your home but can be reversed to pull heat out of your house and cool. In fact, our climate is one of the most efficient for heat pump operation. Heat pumps provide an economical source of heat (the air, it’s free!) down to freezing, when you’ll want to have a back up heating system kick in. If your home is currently heated by an inefficient heat source, for example oil, you’ll see much lower heating costs with a heat pump. The investment could pay for itself on the heating costs alone – and your air conditioning would be free! Our local Washington utilities offer rebates for heat pumps because of the real energy savings they provide. The heat pump is also one of the ‘greenest’ ways to heat and cool your home because it is powered off of renewable electricity.

But don’t count air conditioners out just yet! The largest advantage is an air conditioner will give you a cool, comfortable home in the summer with less upfront cost than a heat pump. If you already have an energy efficient way to heat your home, such as a high efficiency gas furnace, then perhaps a heat pump will not yield a high enough return on investment. Or, if space is an issue then an air conditioner may be the right choice as they are more compact and fit into tighter spaces.

Ductless heat pumps

There are also other options out there. Ductless heat pumps can provide super-efficient cooling and heating to homes with no or insufficient ductwork. A ductless heat pump can lower energy costs 25-40% when replacing electric baseboard heat. If you are an electrically heated home, chances are your utility is offering $800-$1200 rebates on these units. They are great for combined heating/cooling of the whole house or just for one room. Another option for a lot less money is a Solar Attic fan. These will use solar power to run a whole house fan. They don’t cool off the house per se, but pull the heat right out of the house and reduce upstairs temperatures but as much as eight degrees.

The important thing here is that you do not need to suffer through those hot summer nights and prices can be reasonable to cool down. Washington Energy Services’ home energy specialists can help you choose your best cooling option. Call 800-398-4663 or

Get a free estimate

Learn more with our infographic about Home Heating and Cooling and how it works

Coil Rumble: Heat Pump vs Air conditioners in Seattle Tacoma Lynnwood WACoil Rumble: Heat Pump vs AC for lynnwood washington homes

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Maximum cooling

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Below are simple actions you can take to help prevent any system breakdowns during the hot days of Summer!

Colling conservation

 

    • To comfortably cool your home, your heat pump or air conditioner must remove both heat and humidity. Don’t turn your system off even though you will be away all day. On a hot day, your system may have to operate between 8 to 12 hours to reduce the temperature in your home to a normal comfort level.

 

  • Keep windows closed after sundown. While the outdoor temperature at night may be lower than indoors, the air is generally loaded with moisture which is soaked up by furniture, carpets, and fabrics. This moisture must be removed when you restart your system.

 

 

  • The hotter the outside temperature, the greater the load on your system. Therefore do not be alarmed when your system continues to run after the sun has set on a hot day. Heat is stored in your outside walls during the day and will continue to flow into your home for several hours after sunset.

 

 

  • Use your kitchen exhaust fan when cooking. One surface burner on HIGH requires one ton of cooling.

 

 

  • Turn on your bathroom exhaust fan while showering to remove humidity. However, exhaust fans should not be run excessively. It would decrease efficiency by removing conditioned air.

 

 

  • You can also help your system in the summer by closing drapes or blinds and by lowering awnings on windows that get direct sunlight.

 


Coil care

    • Keep the outdoor unit free of loose snow, foliage, grass clippings, leaves, paper, and any other material which could restrict the proper air flow in and out of the unit.

 

  • The coil may be vacuumed to remove any debris from between the fins. However, don’t knock ice off the outdoor unit’s coil surface following an ice or severe snowstorm. The blows could mash the coil fins shut (blocking air passage), or break the refrigerant tubing allowing the refrigerant to escape.

 

 

  • If the coil becomes excessively dirty, turn the main disconnect switch to OFF and wash the coil with your garden hose. Avoid getting water into the fan motor and control box. Flush dirt from base pan after cleaning the coil.

 

Filter care

    • Inspect the air filter(s) at least once a month. If they are dirty, wash reusable filters with a mild detergent per manufacturer’s recommendations.

 

  • Replace disposable filters with new filters.

 

 

  • Install the clean filters with “air flow” arrow in the same direction as the air flow in your duct. Filters should be clean to assure maximum efficiency and adequate air circulation.

 

 

  • Drapes, furniture or other obstructions blocking your supply and return air grilles will also decrease efficiency.

 

Annual maintenance

A periodic inspection, cleaning, lubrication and adjustment of your heat pump or air conditioner is recommended.

The Owner/user should not attempt to disassemble the equipment nor perform the periodic maintenance unless they are experienced and qualified to do so.

To schedule your systems annual maintenance call us today at 1-800-398-HOME (4663) and check out our Guardian Maintenance options.

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