Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Air Conditioning Installation’

Here’s What You Should Know About AC Refrigerant

Monday, July 31st, 2017

ac-maintenance-air-conditioner-unit-toolsRefrigerant, a substance you may sometimes hear referred to by a name brand—Freon—is a necessary component of any conventional central AC system. There are a lot of misconceptions about refrigerant that cause some homeowners to assume problems exist where they don’t, or worse—that there is no problem when one does exist.

Your air conditioning system is charged with a set amount of refrigerant upon installation (which may not be “Freon” by name). We want to tell you more about the purpose of refrigerant and why low refrigerant may be more of a problem than you think.

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Air Conditioning Installation: What Does SEER Have to Do with It?

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Whole home air conditioning installation isn’t a single-step process. There are multiple items to be factored in and determined to ensure you install the right system for you and your home. One part of the process is determining just how energy efficient a system you want, and the way to determine this is by the SEER rating. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and it tells you in a nutshell where a system falls in terms of energy efficiency. But choosing a system based on SEER alone isn’t advisable; instead, SEER should be one of several aspects that guide your choice for a new AC installment. The experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling can help you review different SEER numbers to help you arrive at the right one for your home in Pittsburgh, PA.

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How Technicians Determine the Size of Your New AC

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

In order for an air conditioner to work well for a home, it must be properly sized for the home. The installers need to determine how large a cooling load a new air conditioning system must produce in order to keep the home at the temperature that the homeowner wants for comfort.

Sizing is a complicated process. It’s easy for an amateur to assume that the more powerful an AC, the better it will cool a house. However, an oversized air conditioner can be a major a problem as an undersized one: it will lower the temperature so rapidly that it will shut off the cooling cycle before completing it, only to turn back on a short time later, and continue to repeat the process. This is called “short-cycling,” and it leads to wasted energy and a shortened lifespan for the system.

For your air conditioning installation in Brentwood, PA, call on Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We’ve helped keep homes comfortable in the Greater Pittsburgh Area since 1933.

How Sizing is Done for an AC

The way that technicians find out the cooling load (in tons) an air conditioner needs to supply to both keep a house cool and not to short-cycle, they perform a heat load calculation. This complex calculation collects data about the house to determine how well it traps heat and keeps heat outside. The more heat that stays inside a home, the more powerful an AC is needed to combat it.

The basic part of the heat load calculation is the volume of the house; square footage along is enough to determine how much space the AC must cool down. The technicians then analyze other parts of the home to see where heat is entering and where it is being generated.

Heat can enter a home through poor insulation, especially in the attic, so the technicians look over the insulation in the walls and ceilings. They also factor in the number of windows and the directions they face to see where radiant heat is entering the house.

Technicians look over the number of heat generating appliances in the house and how often they run: washing machine, laundry machine, oven, entertainment center, lights, etc. The number of people regularly in the home also affects how much heat is inside it.

Once the technicians have gathered all the pertinent data (and there’s even more than we’ve listed here), they can plug it into the calculation and return with the amount of cooling load necessary to keep the home comfortable.

The heat load calculation is one of the many reasons to rely on professionals for your air conditioning installation in Brentwood, PA. The only way to receive the right AC working at its best is to leave the job to the experts. Call on the experienced team at Boehmer Heating & Cooling the next time you need a new AC sized and installed.

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Pittsburgh Air Conditioning Tip: Why Hire a NATE-Certified Professional

Monday, April 29th, 2013

As the summer approaches in Pittsburgh, you may be thinking about upgrading your AC, or perhaps simply calling for some minor repairs or maintenance. It’s important that you hire a NATE-certified professional for any work done on your home cooling system. NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. Founded in 1997, and headquartered in Arlington, VA, NATE is the largest and most widely recognized certification organization for the HVAC industry, including air conditioning installation, repair, and maintenance. NATE certification gives you confidence that the work to be done on your home is of superior quality, and that your tech has the latest skills and knowledge. For more information, or to schedule Pittsburgh air conditioning services, call Boehmer Heating & Air Conditioning today!

Let’s take a look at why you should hire a NATE-certified professional:

  • Training: NATE-certified technicians have to pass a rigorous examination, which, in combination with conscientious on-the-job training and practical application, gives them the fundamentals of safety, tools, construction, science, mathematics, measurements, and basic electrics. The AC specialization exam gives the NATE-certified tech a comprehensive test about AC plumbing (brazing, flare fittings, soldering), ductwork, electrical systems, leak detection, and measuring airflow, among other subjects.
  • Confidence: The NATE logo is a standard of excellence and consumer confidence. It helps you sift through the many AC contractors available in your area so that you can receive the best possible AC service for your home. This gives you peace of mind, so that you know your home is in good hands.
  • Up-to-date know-how: A standard NATE certification lasts 5 years. One of the reasons why NATE certification is highly prized is due to its recertification policy, which ensures that NATE AC techs are up to date on the latest technology and industry equipment. This is important. It allows you to take advantage of the latest developments in energy efficiency and cooling performance so that you can make an informed decision.

Still unconvinced? Talk to a NATE-certified professional at Boehmer Heating & Cooling for excellent Pittsburgh air conditioning services! 

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Pittsburgh Air Conditioning FAQs: How Do I Determine the Cooling Capacity of My Central AC or Heat Pump System?

Monday, August 13th, 2012

For any type of air conditioning system in Pittsburgh, the cooling capacity is measured in BTU’s. This is important to know if the system doesn’t seem to be adequately cooking your home, and there are many different ways to check the cooling capacity of your AC system.

1. Air Conditioning System’s Age and Serial Numbers

An air conditioner’s age will usually give you a general idea for its cooling capacity, and if you aren’t sure, you can always check the serial number. Because serial number formats vary by the year the equipment was made, you can check to see how old an air conditioner is from looking at the serial number.

The first four digits of every serial number is the week and year the unit was manufactured.  For example, the serial# 1188E53294 on a compressor unit tells us that it was made between 1980 and 1990, and to be more exact, week 11 in 1988.

2. Air Conditioner’s Model Number

You should also look at the model number for your specific model because some manufacturers also vary how they assign each number in the serial number; however, they usually stand for tonnage or MBTUH. You can always call us if you aren’t sure how to read the serial number or model number.

3. AC Equipment’s RLA Numbers

RLA stands for “Rated Load Amps,” which means that it’s the manufacturer’s rate of the cooling capacity (also known as the draw) or load while it’s operating (minus the draw when you start the system). Most air conditioning compressor or condenser units will draw 5 to 6 RLA per ton of cooling capacity. You can check the data tag on the compressor for the RLA rating; however, this will need to be translated into BTUH for the total cooling capacity.

Feel free to call one of the Pittsburgh air conditioning experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling Company if you have any questions how to calculate your AC system’s cooling capacity.

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Pittsburgh AC Question: Refrigerant and Load Capacity – How Are They Linked?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think too much about how your Pittsburgh air conditioning system works. All you really need to know is that when you switch on the system, your house gets cooler. But if you’re looking to purchase a new air conditioner for your home, it’s a good idea to know how to select the right one to fit the space you’re trying to cool.

Air Conditioning Basics

Air conditioners use refrigerant as a coolant to remove heat from indoor air and transfer that heat outside. To do this, they cycle the refrigerant through a closed loop of coils. When the cold refrigerant enters the cooling coil of the air conditioner, it absorbs heat from the air passing by, thereby lowering the temperature of the air. That cooled air can then be transferred into your home and more warm air can be cycled past the cooling coils.

Air Conditioner Sizing

The more air your air conditioner can cool at once, the larger its load capacity. In order to keep a particular space cool, an AC unit has to have a large enough load capacity to accommodate that type of air volume. A unit that’s too small will obviously never be able to keep your room cool enough, but one that’s too big will have a similar problem.

The truth is that when it comes to air conditioner sizing, bigger is not better. It’s best to simply get as good an estimate as you can of what type of load capacity is ideal for the space you’re trying to cool and stick as close to that as you can.

Load Capacity and Refrigerant

Of course, if you want your air conditioner to cool more air at a time, you’ll need more coolant. But simply increasing the amount of refrigerant in your air conditioner won’t make it cool any better. Refrigerant is simply one of many elements that contribute to effective cooling. And the larger the entire system is, the more refrigerant is needed.

So more refrigerant technically contributes to greater cooling capacity, but it’s not enough to accomplish that all on its own. There is really nothing you can do to increase the load capacity of your Pittsburgh air conditioner once it’s in place. So for best results, make sure you pick out an appropriately sized unit the first time around. For any help choosing the right AC for your Pittsburgh home, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call!

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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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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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Pittsburgh Air Conditioning Installation Tip: Why it Is Important to Examine Your Ducts

Monday, June 18th, 2012

For most homeowners the day a new air conditioner gets installed is a great one. It means you can look forward to plenty of days of cool comfort, sheltered from the blistering summer heat that would otherwise make you feel sticky and sluggish.

Before that installation can take place, however, there are many smaller tasks that must be performed. You have to do some research, shop around, consult with a Pittsburgh air conditioning contractor and finally decide on the best system for your home. Finally, you should have your ducts examined.

Your ducts are the pathway by which cooled air will be distributed through your home. Without regular maintenance, ducts are less efficient in transferring air and can cost you money, not only in electricity but in air quality control. Like any major component of your HVAC system, they need to be properly maintained to work properly.

So, you want your ducts to be in tip top shape for your new Pittsburgh AC system. Having a professional inspect them thoroughly prior to installation will identify any damage, dirt, debris, leaks, corrosion or other trouble spots that could impede your air conditioning.

This gives you the opportunity to get any of those problems fixed before the new system is installed. Plus, a professional inspection is an important part of routine duct maintenance anyway. Having it done at this juncture is easier and ensures you know will have a smooth running air conditioner for some time to come.

Having duct work in good repair is vital to the operation of your HVAC system, including the new AC system you want to install. If you are contemplating having a new air conditioning system installed or even if you are not, now is the time to call a professional for full inspection of your ductwork. Especially if you have a forced air heating system and those ducts are used year round, you want to know for a fact that they will work properly in the future, no matter what is hooked up to them. Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling to schedule your appointment today!

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Pittsburgh Air Conditioning Tip: What to Do About Cool Spots

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Sitting on your couch watching TV should be an enjoyable experience, especially after a long day at the office. But, if your Pittsburgh air conditioner deposits an abnormally high volume of cold air directly onto your couch, making you shiver despite the 90 degree heat outside, you may have a cool spot.

Cool spots are an unfortunate side effect of modern air conditioning technology. They occur when HVAC systems are improperly sized or ductwork is improperly installed. Other factors like insulation, vent configuration or window placement can also contribute to the presence of a cool spot (and possibly some hot spots). So, what can you do about it? There are a few options, starting with a quick inspection of the space.

Checking for Common Problems

Your inspector will check a number of things. Most importantly, they’ll measure the size of your HVAC system and compare it to the dimensions and particulars of your house. Usually, in the case of cool spots, the problem is directly related to an oversized system. When it turns on, even for a few minutes, it produces more cold air than is necessary, flooding your home with cooling. The thermostat recognizes this and the system shuts off soon after turning on. As a result, you’ll feel fluctuation between cold and warm as the system fails to properly condition the space.

Modern systems are sized for your house at 100% capacity. So, when the system turns on, it should stay on for a substantial period of time, keeping your home cool. Turning off and on frequently is bad for the system and wastes energy (plus it produces those pesky cool spots). Keep in mind that hot spots can also occur if the system isn’t powerful enough.

Your inspector will also look for vent placement and duct configuration. Improper placement of vents can lead to pooling of cool air that creates cool spots. By checking for potential problems in the layout of your Pittsburgh  HVAC system, an inspector can determine if new vents or ducts are needed to solve the problem.

Fixing the Cool Spots

For now, you may just want to move to another part of the house. Cool spots rarely affect the entire space – they tend to cluster around vents and outlets and can usually be fixed by resizing or adjusting your system. However, only your Pittsburgh air conditioning contractor can tell you for sure what the best solution will be for your air conditioning issues so make sure to schedule an inspection.

Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today if you are concerned about cool spots in your home!

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