Learning about my AC options

My husband and I bought our dream home, but sadly our dream came with no HVAC. Since the summer season was around the corner, the two of us really just wanted to get an air conditioner for now. After research proved to be just too overwhelming, I finally called up a local HVAC company for assistance. 

Calling the professionals for help was such a good idea! I expected to be put on hold for a long time with an automated voice telling me how important my call was. Instead I spoke to a friendly, live representative from the company. The woman on the phone was so sweet and knowledgeable. She asked if the house had existing ductwork and told me that I could hook a new central air conditioning system to that or just close off the vents and choose a ductless mini split. Which one is the better option?

The girl went further into detail the pros and cons of each system. I could get whole home temperature control with using central air conditioning. I already had the ductwork so the installation setup process will be quick. However, ductless mini splits mean that I can have zone control. Each room can have its own air handler and thermostat. I could set the rooms differently based on where the sun is or where I am in the house. Zone control saves energy and ups comfort! I was still wishy washy even after all that information. The woman was so great and transferred me to a HVAC contractor in order to learn even more. If you want to know what the HVAC contractor said, check out my next blog post titled, Getting the expert’s opinion.

Smart thermostats paired with ductless mini splits

If you have read my latest blog post, you know that I did a lot of research before getting my unit. Once I had a ductless mini split installed, I fell in love. I got a smart thermostat to go with my unit and I really enjoy that too. The smart thermostat makes this already wonderful device even more amazing. Any wifi operated product like an ipad, smartphone, or computer can hook up to the smart thermostat app. That means I can be in my office on the computer and alter the heating and cooling program on my mini split if I want. 

Since wifi is literally everywhere, I am able to go on vacation now and not worry about the HVAC. I can alter the settings from a beach resort, a swanky cafe or even in the rental car while on a trip. If the weather suddenly turns sweltering or cold, I can check out the indoor temperature and adjust accordingly. It is so nice and stress free doing this!

Another benefit of owning a smart thermostat is that my thermostat has learned what I like. Not only does it automatically sense when I am in the room and turn on, but the thermostat has learned my cooling behaviors in the summer. The thermostat knows when I want AC for working out and to power off when I am done. It has learned from my weekly adjustments. I hardly touch the device anymore. It even is saving me money by telling me energy efficient temperatures to set!

Ductwork, energy savings and your home

If your system has ductwork, have you thought about getting ductwork cleaning or sealing? Ductwork accounts for 30% of energy consumption. What happens when the ductwork has a tear along the seam or a hole in the middle of it? The home energy bills significantly go up. The HVAC system works longer, harder hours since the temperature controlled air is literally flying out the door. Trust me, you will know when your ductwork has a leak. The home won’t be the right temperature and the bills will be through the roof. Get a HVAC contractor to perform ductwork sealing. It is an easy, non invasive procedure that saves a homeowner a lot of money. In the end too, most HVAC companies offer a five year guarantee that their sealant will hold up or they will come back for free.

What about the ductwork sealing? Not only is dirty ductwork bad for the air quality, it is no good for the system either. Any part of the HVAC system with dust is sluggish, tired and more likely to produce inferior results. Every 5-7 years make it a point to clean out your air ducts. 

Choosing a heating system

With so many choices on the market, how do you decide which one is right for you and your family? There are boilers, central heaters, underfloor heating, and others. How do you choose what’s right for you? Well one thing that many people consider when choosing a heat source is energy consumption. Nobody wants to pay a hefty energy bill. Despite this, one heat source that is frequently overlooked is heat pump systems. Heat pump systems use about 50% when compared to other heat sources. 

Heat pumps  are not just heating your home either, heat pumps can also be used to cool the home. It is this versatility that makes me a fan of heat pumps. Of course, the energy savings help out too. I’m not suggesting that you throw out your working furnace or other heat source. If it’s working fine, keep it but if you’re in the market for a new heater, there are several reasons why you might want to look at heat pumps. I am going to explore some of those reasons here in my blog.

But, before I get started, I’d like to add a bit of a disclaimer. Heat pumps are not for everybody. Heat pumps tend to work best in moderate climate. This means areas that are neither too hot nor too cold. This is just due to the nature of how the heat pumps work. So if you live in a nice comfortable area, like the Bible belt, heat pumps are for you. If you live somewhere like the deep South or the extreme North, you might need to stick with a heating or cooling that is more energy consumptive. 

Reasons to consider a ductless mini-split air conditioner

For those of you who are thinking about getting a new A/C system for your home, you might want to consider opting for a ductless mini-split air conditioner. There are many reasons why this would be a beneficial choice for you. First of all, you don’t have to worry about using a system of ductwork. Because you lose a great deal of energy just by having to rely on a ductwork system, eliminating the need for that will result in excellent energy savings. There is also the added benefit of HVAC zone control with a ductless mini-split air conditioner. You will have mounted A/C units all around your household in strategic areas for the ultimate cooling satisfaction. With individual temperature controls on each A/C unit, you can keep certain areas cooler than others and save significantly on your energy bills. Ductless mini-split A/C units are also far more energy efficient than window A/C units and they don’t block your precious window space. Now you can cool down your household without using the ductwork and also without blocking the views from the windows. One major thing that I really love about ductless mini-split A/C units is the fact that they require less maintenance from your HVAC company. You must clean the A/C condenser unit at least once per month, but other than that, the maintenance is not very costly. Another great reason to get the ductless mini-split A/C unit is to improve the air quality in your home. When you don’t use the ductwork system any longer where all kinds of dust and debris accumulates, naturally your air quality will be better.

Looking for an air conditioner? Read this blog first!

If you happen to live in a place where it gets really hot, then you know that it’s important to have A/C. The thing is, it can be difficult to choose which A/C unit or system is right for you. You really have to think about a few living factors when it comes to choosing a good A/C unit or system:

  • Do you own or rent your property?
  • Do you have a lot of windows?
  • Will you need to move your A/C from room to room?

If you own your property, you can actually improve the value of your household. This is why it’s a great idea to invest in a quality A/C system. You can feel confident that you will have an air conditioner that makes you comfortable and will allow you to sell your home for more money down the road. It’s always a good idea to make investments in your home.

If you rent a property, you’ll typically have to go through a landlord to see about improving the residence. You might live in an apartment that doesn’t even have A/C and perhaps the landlord made you sign a lease that says they only take care of the heating equipment. In a case like this, it would be a wise move to opt for a portable A/C unit or a window A/C unit. It really depends on how many windows you have in your residence and if you wish to move your A/C unit around for your cooling needs.

Air Purifiers can keep your home from smelling while you cook!

I have always loved to bake, and for the past few years I’ve gotten asked to provide cookies, cakes and other treats for birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, showers and all sorts of occasions.  What started as a fun hobby has gradually grown into a small business. Although I still work entirely out of my own home, I’ve need to make some upgrades to my set up. I couldn’t manage demand with my small oven, refrigerator and mixer.  I’ve now invested in commercial grade equipment and expanded the size of my kitchen. One of the most expensive upgrades was to the heating/cooling system. When I first got started in this endeavor, I didn’t even have air conditioning in my house.  I always managed with open windows and a few electric fans. This would not suffice once my oven was pumping out heat during the day. The kitchen quickly became severely overheated and sticky. Not only were these conditions unpleasant for me, but I was having difficulties with cooling the baked goods and  frosting melting. The heat also put added strain on my refrigerator and coolers. I needed to add central cooling to my home and extend the heating system to include the addition to the kitchen. This required adding on to the duct system, and it was a big project with lots of mess. While I was at it, I also invested into a whole-home air purification system.  While the smell of baking muffins and cookies is enjoyable now and then, my family was complaining about the constant odor throughout the whole house. The air purifier not only took care of odors but created a much cleaner, healthier home and workspace.  

How zone control systems work

Last winter, I got injured in a car accident and spent almost a week in the hospital.  The experience was horrible. Although the doctors and nurses were wonderful, the hospital is unpleasant in every way.  I was in quite a bit of pain and simply wanted to sleep. The bed and pillow were uncomfortable, and the sheets were thin and scratchy.  The room was never dark enough, and there was constant noise. Nurses repeatedly entered the room and woke me up. The food was downright awful, and I hated the antiseptic smell of the air.  The worst was the freezing cold temperature. I understand that the hospital maintains a very low temperature to combat the spread of bacteria and infection, but I shivered the whole time. There were half a dozen vents in the ceiling, and no escape from the blast of air conditioning.  I kept asking if the thermostat setting could be raised just a bit and was assured it would be taken care of. Nothing was done, and the air conditioner never shut off.

I finally begged my husband to bring in warm clothes and a heavy blanket from home. I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital and enjoy my own bed.  At my house, I have zoned heating and cooling, as well as a smart thermostat. I can make adjustment to everything from fan speed to temperature from an app on my phone. I can target the bedroom without affecting the rest of the house. I was so much happier and more comfortable once I was back home. This new technology has made my home more comfortable. I highly recommend zone control and a smart thermostat.

Adjusting your thermostat to save energy

I find it really interesting that heat and air conditioner settings vary quite regularly among all my friends’ and family members’ houses. Some of our friends have even complained that our house is too warm in the summer. We keep the air on the main floor set at 78 degrees in the warm months, which is quite comfortable for us. We have a second A/C unit that provides air to the top floor, and over the years, I have noticed we are having to keep the thermostat set lower and lower. We used to be comfortable with it at 78 degrees as well, but then at night, we started dropping it to 77 degrees. During the really hot months, we have had to drop it at night to 75 degrees. I sometimes wonder if our second HVAC unit isn’t working properly or maybe it’s just because it’s warmer upstairs and requires more to cool it down. Some people I know keep their thermostat set on 70 or below all day long, and I need a sweater just to walk in their house! I don’t think I want to know what their utility bill is in the summer. It’s also interesting how you grow accustomed to the cooler or warmer temperatures. Your body seems to adjust. However, mine seems to adjust better to the warmer temperatures, and my husband can adapt better to the cooler thermostat settings. Generally though, he and I are on the same page, and I just grab an extra blanket when the air conditioning gets a little too chilly for me.

The benefits of HVAC maintenance

If you’ve never heard of HVAC system maintenance plans, you might not believe what I’m going to tell you. You can get an HVAC system maintenance plan with pretty much any legit HVAC company. Not all of them will be up front and tell you about the maintenance plans, but this is why you need to bring it up and ask them about what they have. HVAC maintenance plans allow you to pay a much lower amount than what you normally would with just calling up for HVAC system maintenance. They will contact you about your system maintenance and repair dates. There are even plans where you can have them cover everything including your air filter changes. Of course, plans like that cost a little more money, but most plans are really great and save you a ton of money. Just think, you can have all your HVAC system maintenance covered and you won’t have to worry about a thing.

You will pay much less money than what you normally would and you even get priority scheduling. You get up to a certain amount of repairs on your HVAC system for no additional cost, and if anything goes wrong with your HVAC system, you are covered! Having this type of plan with your HVAC company is so good, I can’t imagine why anybody wouldn’t want to get enrolled with a good HVAC maintenance plan. I have been on a plan like this for a few years now and my savings are through the roof! Because of getting on a good plan, I have been able to afford a new smart thermostat and a few other nice things around the house. I couldn’t be happier!