Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for July, 2012

Monroeville HVAC Tip: How Indoor Air Quality Controls Can Help People with Asthma

Monday, July 30th, 2012

If you, your child or anyone else in your family suffers from asthma, you know that it can be brutal. There is evidence to suggest that higher quality air can help keep asthma symptoms in check. While you can’t control air quality everywhere you go, you can be in charge of the quality of the air in your Monroeville home. Take a look at how controlling indoor air quality can help ease the suffering of asthma symptoms.

One study at Johns Hopkins found that indoor air pollution plays a large role in increasing asthma symptoms, especially among children. Without getting too technical, essentially the study explains that there are particles in the air we breathe, including indoors. Aside from the standard mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases, air contains these solid and liquid particles, which are essentially pollutants. Common household tasks like dusting and cooking can generate more of these particles.

When these particles get into the respiratory system, they can irritate the lungs, which triggers asthma symptoms. Since children spend about 80% of their time indoors, this is a very big deal.

To help this problem, there are ways to control and improve the quality of air in your Monroeville home. One simple way to do this is to have filters with high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings in your heating and cooling system. MERV ratings describe how well filters catch particles of certain sizes and keeping them out of the air—and your lungs.

The particles identified in the Hopkins study were as small as 2.5 microns, which would require a filter with a MERV rating of about 12 to catch. Higher MERV ratings mean more efficient filtration, but they need to be replaced more often. If you or child has asthma, it’s worth it.

For severe asthma or allergies, consider even higher-rated filters, like HEPA filters, which sport a MERV of 17 or higher. These will catch nearly all allergens, irritants and other particles that can make you sick. If you are wondering which system will work best in your home, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today!

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Pittsburg Air Conditioning Tip: How to Fix Wrong Sized Air Filters in HVAC Systems

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

If you moved into a new home or had someone change the filters on your Pittsburg heating or air conditioning system for you, you may notice that whoever did the job put on the wrong size filter. This is not uncommon and is usually the result of an effort to save either time or money. However, in the long run it actually costs both. Here is how you can fix the problem of a wrong size filter.

The WRONG Way

If you have a filter that is too big for your system, it may seem like an easy enough fix– just fold it over or trim it down, right? Not so fast. 

Folding the filter over makes for an imperfect seal. Air will leak through and around the bend, bypassing the filter entirely. This causes dirt and debris to build up on the fan, slows down air flow, degrades performance, decreases air quality and overall makes a big mess that you will have to pay to fix or clean up later.

Bending or cutting the filter also decreases its structural integrity. The whole filter can collapse while installed, creating not just a performance issue and a potentially costly repair, but also possibly creating unsafe conditions.

Furthermore, don’t give into the temptation to run your Pittsburg HVAC system without a filter for the time being. The debris will quickly build up in your AC system, as well as being blown into your home. Heating and cooling systems should always be operated with the proper filter installed.

The RIGHT Way

So, what do you do when you have an air filter that is the wrong size? The only solution is to find the right size. If you are having trouble finding the right air filter for your system, try these tips:

  • Refer to your owner’s manual for the filter model number.
  • Have a Pittsburg air conditioning professional inspect your system and replace the filter. (You should have a professional inspection once a year, anyway.)
  • For HVAC systems that are large or have special dimensions, special order custom filters to fit.

Above all, never operate your HVAC system without a clean, correctly sized filter properly installed. Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today if you need any help with your HVAC system!

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Pittsburgh AC Tip: Quick Tips to Save Money on Air Conditioning

Monday, July 16th, 2012

You’ve probably heard once or twice that the cost of running your Pittsburgh air conditioner is more than that of any other single electrical device in your house. That means you’re money each and every year to stay cool. It’s well worth the investment, but there must be ways to cut the costs, right? With careful attention to how your AC operates and when you use, there are some things you can do to slash those costs. Here are a few of the easiest:

  • SEER Matters – What is this magical acronym you hear so much? SEER refers to how many BTUs your air conditioner can produce with a single watt of electricity. A low SEER device therefore uses a LOT more electricity to produce the same volume of cooling as a high SEER device. Since current devices offer SEER of 13 or higher (some are up to 20+), just about any upgrade will save you money relatively quickly if your current air conditioner has a rating of 8 or lower.
  • Program Your AC – If you have a single point analog thermostat, you’re wasting a LOT of electricity. You’re either paying to cool your house while it’s empty or you’re coming home to a roasting hot living space. Purchase a programmable unit and set the system to 85 degrees when you’re not home. With timers in most digital units, you can tell it when you’ll be home so that you walk into a cool, comfortable space without having to keep it cool all day long.
  • Use the Landscape to Your Advantage – Instead of relying solely on your air conditioner to keep the house cool in the summer, plant some trees and shrubs around the house to block the sunlight. Simply adding some shade to your property can directly reduce how much heat your home absorbs throughout the day and reduce how much your AC unit needs to work to keep you cool.
  • Ventilate Your Roof – A good third of the heat in your home is absorbed directly through the roof. To keep this heat from affecting the rest of your home, install a roof fan that ventilates the excess energy and keeps the attic at a steady temperature. Less heat up top means less cooling needed down low.

A good Pittsburgh air conditioning system is effective no matter what the temperature does, so it’s easy to forget how big your bill will soon be. To avoid an overblown bill, keep an eye on your cooling and follow these simple tips to cut back on use. For more ideas about how to keep your home cool this summer, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call!

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Save $500 on a Ductless Air Conditioning System

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Save $500 Ductless AC | Pittsburgh | Boehmer Heating and CoolingIs your home without ductwork, or the space to install ductwork? Perhaps you only want to cool a few rooms? There are many reasons to chose ductless split air conditioning systems, and many benefits to doing so.

Ductless systems offer various ways to mount the indoor units, increased temperature control, and fast installation. For a limited time only get a $500 instant rebate with the purchase and installation of a new ductless mini split system from Boehmer Heating and Cooling.

 

Mitsubishi Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners
Sales, Installation, Maintenance & Repair Services Instant Rebate of $500 (On New Mitsubishi Ductless Mini Split AC Units)

 

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Pittsburgh AC Tip: Why Are Cleans Filters So Important to AC Efficiency?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Air conditioners cost money to operate – even more when they don’t work at 100% efficiency. So, it is important to perform the various regular maintenance tasks on your Pittsburgh AC that ensure the system uses as little electricity as possible. The first thing on your list (and the easiest) is cleaning those filters.

Keeping Filters Clean

The Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website states that you can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by as much as 15% simply by keeping the air filters clean. Why do they matter so much? Consider the nature of a filter.

The filter on your AC unit is designed to capture any dust, debris and sediment in the air supply. If that dust and sediment was allowed in, not only would it gum up the mechanical workings of the device, it would get into your ductwork and reduce the air quality of your home. So, filters are used to capture such things. However, when a filter gets clogged, the system must work harder to draw the air in. As it works harder, the motor turns faster and more electricity is used.

It takes very little to clog the filter of an AC unit, especially if it is running 24 hours a day for two or three months out of the year. So, it’s best to check your filters once every 30 days regardless of what type of filter you are using.

Which Filters to Check

The main filter on your AC unit should be checked along with any air handler filters and any air cleaner filters you have installed in your system. Another thing to consider is the condition of your home and the area around your outdoor condenser. If you have pets, lots of plants or your condenser is located in a dusty area, you may need to check and change those filters even more often.

Most filters are located along the return length of the ductwork – sometimes in ceiling ducts and walls, though they may also be located in your furnace’s air handler or inside the air conditioning unit. If you have window units or mini splits, the filters are frequently in the unit.

Clean air filters are important for your health, your wallet and the longevity of your Pittsburgh AC system. Stay on top of them and you will save money in more ways than you might expect. To schedule your annual maintenance visit today, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call!

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Pittsburgh AC Guide: Things to Look for in a New Central Air Conditioning System

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

When it comes time to buy a new air conditioner in Pittsburgh, there are a lot of factors to consider. Beyond the obvious issues like cost, you need to consider how that system will operate once installed. What factors are most important to you? Control? Comfort? Cost? Here are some things to consider when selecting your new air conditioner.

  • SEER – The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating measures the efficiency of your cooling system during a typical hour. To calculate this number, we divide the total BTUs of cooling produced by the watt/hours of electricity consumed during that hour. So, the higher your SEER rating, the less electricity is used to produce the same amount of cooling. Standard SEER ratings are between 11 and 15 these days, but some high end units have SEER ratings of up to 20.
  • Controls – How much control do you want of your system? Many air conditioners these days come with multiple speeds, allowing you to control the air flow as well as the amount of energy consumed by the device in cooling. Do you want it to constantly blow at 100% or would you like it to run at 50% to reduce consumption. Another option available in central air conditioners is zone control, allowing you to determine which rooms receive cooling with separate thermostat settings.
  • Dehumidification – Air conditioners are dehumidifiers by default, but not every system offers the same degree of humidity control. Some simply remove moisture as part of their regular operation. Others have more advanced controls to provide specific humidity control throughout the year.
  • Sound Dampening – Newer models have sound dampening features like insulation and vibration isolation to reduce sound. These are also great for weather protection and help to maintain your system for more years.
  • Refrigerants – Most new air conditioners now use the R410-A refrigerant which will be required in all new units starting in 2020, but there are some lower cost units still using R-22. Check to make sure you have the environmentally friendly coolant offered by newer models.

A good central air conditioner will keep your family cool and comfortable for years to come so make sure to do your research and choose a model that fits your needs in advance. If you’re not sure about any one feature, a  Pittsburgh air conditioning professional can help you make your decision.  Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today if you need any help choosing a new air conditioning system!

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