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

Having Problems Cooling Your Second Floor? Here Are Some Suggestions

Monday, July 6th, 2015

If you have a two-story home, you know that heat rises. But if you are experiencing very disparate temperatures between your downstairs rooms and upstairs ones, something is amiss. Some homeowners may think this is an indication that your air conditioner isn’t big enough; this isn’t likely. If your AC wasn’t big enough, your entire home would be affected, not just the upstairs. So what can cause your upstairs living spaces to be considerably warmer than your downstairs ones? Here are some thoughts:

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Benefits of Replacing Your Thermostat

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Spring is here, which offers homeowners a chance to examine their heating and cooling system between the snows of winter and the heat of summer. Nowhere is that more important than your thermostat, which controls all aspects of your HVAC system. A malfunctioning thermostat needs to be replaced quickly: here in Pittsburgh, PA, weather is usually too hot or too cold to go without it. But even if it’s working just fine, the benefits of replacing your thermostat are hard to ignore. Here’s a brief list of some of the things a new thermostat can bring you.

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Make Air Conditioning Maintenance Part of Your Spring Cleaning This Year

Monday, April 6th, 2015

As our temperatures edge a little higher each day, our attention starts to turn towards the warmer weather. We may not be fully ready for spring cleaning yet, but this time of year is perfect for scheduling maintenance for your air conditioning system in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Hiring a professional to perform a full tune-up on your AC system brings benefits that will last all season long, and scheduling your maintenance appointment now gets you ahead of the crowd. So what kind of benefits can you and your AC gain from a spring maintenance appointment with your Boehmer Heating & Cooling expert? Let’s take a look:

Benefit #1: Better energy efficiency.

During a maintenance appointment, your air conditioning system is thoroughly inspected, cleaned, lubricated and adjusted to optimize performance. Your AC was made to operate at a certain level of efficiency, and without regular maintenance, your system can lose up to 5% of its original efficiency each year it isn’t maintained. Annual maintenance helps your system regain its energy efficiency levels.

Benefit #2: Helps prevent future repairs.

The thorough inspection your AC system undergoes during a maintenance appointment allows the technician to spot both existing and developing problems. If the issues are small, such as frayed wiring or a stretched fan belt, these items can be repaired during the appointment. Should a bigger issue be discovered, such as a refrigerant leak, you’ll be advised of the problem so that you can make additional plans for having the problem repaired by an expert. The steps of maintenance help get you ahead of potential repairs and also help you control existing ones before they can become bigger.

Benefit #3: Extends the life of your system.

Maintenance keeps your air conditioner in good working order, which means the system won’t operate under unnecessary stress. Stress is the number one reason that air conditioners can prematurely age, which can lead to frequent malfunction, breakdown and a need for early replacement.

When you start to clean this winter’s dirt and grime from your home and yard, don’t forget to include your air conditioning system in the spring cleaning. The experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling are ready to help, so schedule an appointment today!

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What Does the SEER Number Mean for My Air Conditioner?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Just as a car has the miles per gallon rating (mpg) to assess how well it uses its energy source (gasoline, in this case), so, too, does an air conditioning system. This rating is called SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and it tells you how efficient a specific air conditioning system in Brentwood will be. Understanding what SEER means for your air conditioner is important when installing a new or replacement AC, so our Boehmer Heating & Cooling technicians have taken some time to explain this below.

What Is SEER?

As mentioned above, SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and it is a number placed on all air conditioning systems. SEER is rated on a scale of 1 to 23; energy efficiency improves with each higher point.

Today’s air conditioners have to be manufactured with a minimum SEER of 13, a law that went into effect in 2006; prior to this the minimum required SEER was 10.

What Is the Importance of SEER?

SEER isn’t just a number; it tells you how much energy your air conditioner will use to cool your home. According to, each point higher on the SEER scale equates to an approximate savings of 10% on your annual air conditioning costs. As an example, let’s say an AC with a SEER of 16 will cost you $300 for the year; the same model with a SEER of 21 would cost you $150. By comparing SEER numbers, you can estimate the annual cost of your air conditioning and how much you can potentially save with each SEER number.

How Is SEER Calculated?

SEER is calculated by measuring the amount of cool air an air conditioner expels for every unit of energy it consumes to do so.

Benefits of an Energy Efficient AC

The clear benefit of an energy efficient air conditioner is the savings you can achieve in monthly utility bills. If you have seen your energy bills rise due to an aging or seriously malfunctioning system, it may be time to think about replacement.

The second benefit of purchasing an energy efficient system is the benefit to the environment. Less energy means a smaller carbon footprint and less greenhouse gases for the planet.

Have questions about what SEER means to you? Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

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How Can I Save Money on Air Conditioning?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Running your air conditioning in Baldwin, PA can get expensive, but this summer you may be able to cut costs significantly with a few energy saving tips and by considering investing in energy-efficient solutions for your home.

To start saving money on air conditioning today, try some of the following tips:

  • Set a programmable thermostat: There’s no point in running the AC at full blast when no one is home. Today’s digital thermostats have many features to help you increase efficiency. If you enjoy coming home to a cool house, set the thermostat to come on thirty minutes before you arrive. You can also set your thermostat to automatically switch to lower and higher temperatures at warmer and cooler times of the day.
  • Clean or replace air filters: By inhibiting proper airflow and forcing your AC system to work harder than it needs to, dirty air filters not only reduce indoor air quality, but also energy efficiency. Replacing filters on a regular basis or washing reusable ones can help you save every month.
  • Turn on fans: Ceiling and room fans help circulate the air, distributing it evenly throughout your home. Your skin tends to feel cooler with moving air, so you’ll likely be able to lower the temperature and save energy. Open all bedroom doors for increased circulation, and open windows at night to cut down on cooling costs.
  • Regular maintenance: If you schedule regular maintenance by an HVAC professional, your system is far more likely to remain energy efficient than without it. During a maintenance visit, a technician checks for any issues that may inhibit efficiency, cleans AC components, and adjusts refrigerant levels. Air conditioners that are regularly maintained are less likely to need unexpected repairs.
  • Invest in energy-saving solutions: If you have an older system, you may consider buying a new energy-efficient AC unit. This isn’t always necessary though; you can also have a professional add insulation to the outside of ducts to prevent the loss of cool air that often escapes through the ductwork of your home and costs you money.

For energy-saving solutions for your air conditioning in Baldwin, PA, call the AC experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We offer quality air conditioning services from installation and replacement to repair and maintenance.

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What You Need to Know about the Freon Phase Out

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Freon is a form of refrigerant gas, used in air conditioners for many years to help cool the air of your home. This can have an impact on your existing system, especially if you have an older system that still uses Freon as its primary form of coolant. Repair services that handle air conditioning in Brentwood can fill you in on most of the details, but with the Freon phase out well underway, we thought it would be a good idea to fill our customers in on the basics. Here’s what you need to know about the Freon phase out.

The phase out was actually kicked off in 1987, when the Montreal Protocol established a timetable for the gradual elimination of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage the planet’s ozone layer. A big part of that was the Freon-based refrigerant gas R-22, which had been in regular use almost since the invention of air conditioning systems over 40 years ago. But R-22 is damaging to the environment, which means that it has gradually been eliminated in new types of air conditioner in favor of several acceptable substitutes (including Puron, Forane, and GENETRON AZ-20.) However, units that were running on R-22 when the protocol was initiated could continue to do so until they finally broke down and could be replaced by more recent versions.

We’re currently in the midst of the timetable by which we are supposed to lower the use of R-22. By January 1, 2015, the U.S. needs to have reduced its use of CFC by 90%, and by 2020, that number needs to be at 99.5%. What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re using an older system that still relies on R-22, now is the best time to consider replacing it with a new one. By definition, it must be very old and with the looming deadlines, air conditioning companies are motivated to install a brand new unit in your home. The experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling can tell you what you need to know about the Freon phase out, and install an updated air conditioning system in Brentwood.

Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

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Air Conditioning in Pittsburgh: Ways to Improve Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Your air conditioner’s efficiency can translate directly into savings for you. How? The more efficient your air conditioning system is, the less energy it uses to do its job. Many systems are quite energy efficient on their own, but there are a few things Pittsburgh property owners can do to help boost the efficiency even more.

Tips on Making Your Air Conditioning in Pittsburgh More Efficient

Following are some tips our experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling have put together to help you achieve greater efficiency with your air conditioner this summer:

Change your air filters regularly – air filters can become clogged with dirt, dust and debris. By changing your air filter regularly, you can help your system’s air flow to stay consistent and healthy.

Bi-annual maintenance – having professional bi-annual inspection done on your system by an AC maintenance expert means your system will be checked for any potential problems and cleaned as needed. Cleaning and regular maintenance can go a long way toward maximizing your system’s efficiency and increasing its longevity.

Use a programmable thermostat – a programmable thermostat enables you to run your AC as needed. For instance, if your property is empty during the day, you can program your thermostat to accommodate this, as well as to start up right before you get home.

Shade indoors against daytime heat gain – throughout the day, the sun changes positions; as such, there will be one side of your home that will have the sun shining on it for the afternoon. Use drapes, shades or solar screens to help reduce the heat gain from daytime sun.

Don’t block air registers – blocking registers can interfere with the system’s air flow. Clear register areas of any curtains or furniture that may be blocking.

Keep fan setting to “auto” – the fan setting on your thermostat has 3 choices: on, off and auto. While the “off” setting is clear, there can be some confusion when it comes to “on” and “auto”. The auto setting means your system is running as it is programmed; the on setting will keep your fans running all the time. For efficiency purposes and for the better of your system, it is strongly recommended you keep the setting to auto.

Still Not Running Efficiently? Call an Expert

If, after utilizing some of these tips, your air conditioning in Pittsburgh is not running as efficiently as it should, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling to schedule an appointment.

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What’s More Beneficial for My Home: Air Conditioning Repair or Replacement?

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Any time your air conditioning unit requires repairs, it raises the question of whether you’d be better off with wholesale replacement. Air conditioning repair can address certain lingering issues, and a regular maintenance program can extend the life of your unit, but eventually, full-bore replacement may be in order. But when exactly?

The decision to repair or replace ultimately rests with individual circumstances. If the repairs are sufficiently minor and the air conditioning unit looks to keep running for the foreseeable future, it’s probably best to conduct the repair and leave the unit in place. If repairs grow too frequent or cost too much, however, then it may make more sense to install a newer and more efficient unit. It all comes down to money: how much you’re spending on repairs and upkeep versus how much the initial cost of a new unit might be.

A general rule of thumb is to evaluate your AC’s performance after ten years to see if you would benefit from a new unit. Proper maintenance can keep your AC system running for longer than that, but if you’ve passed that 10-year mark and you’re investing in significant repairs, you may want to think about a new unit. Another sure sign is the size of your electric bills every month. If your bills seem inordinately large in the summer months when you run your air conditioner – even after you’ve paid a bill to have it repairs – then the benefits of replacement may outweigh the initial cost.

A good litmus test for efficiency is the unit’s SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. If you’re going to replace your air conditioner, you should look for a unit with a higher SEER rating than your old one. Units with the EnergyStar sticker have a SEER rating of at least 14.

Whether you need to install a new unit or simply need to repair your old one, it pays to consult with an expert. The professionals at Boehmer Heating & Cooling handle air conditioning repairs and installation throughout the Pittsburgh area. Call us today and let us show you what we can do for you!

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How Programmable Thermostats Work With Your AC

Monday, July 29th, 2013

The thermostats in your home often go unnoticed because of how small they are. However, they are actually one of the most powerful components of your air conditioning system. We wanted to assemble a short explanation of why thermostats are so important and how programmable thermostats interact with your air conditioning system.

Most homeowners are familiar with digital thermostats—which are essentially the digital version of the old, round manual thermostats. But programmable thermostats offer homeowners a much higher level of control over their home’s air conditioning system . Basically, these thermostats will automatically adjust the temperature of your home during different parts of the day, such making your home warmer during times it is usually empty, which allow you to save energy without sacrificing comfort.

Programmable thermostats come in several different types and homeowners should look over each one to determine which one is best for them. If you have a consistent schedule where you work 5 days a week and then stay at home on the weekends, then a 5-2 or a 5-1-1 thermostat might be best for you. These allow you to set one schedule for the work week and then another schedule for the weekend. However, if you have a schedule that changes often, you may want to think about a 7 day programmable thermostat. This allows you to set a different schedule for each day of the week.

Programmable thermostats come with a variety of different functions depending on the model and brand that you get. Some can access the internet and others have a remote control which allows you to adjust the temperature of your home from anywhere in the house.

When you get a new programmable thermostat, many of them will start with a comprehensive on-screen interview that will allow the thermostat to determine your schedule and your energy usage goals. This kind of personalization is one of the main reasons why homeowners decide to get a programmable thermostat.

If you need help with any services for your air conditioning in Pittsburgh, just call the friendly experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

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Pittsburgh, PA Air Conditioning FAQ: Why Your System Short Cycles

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Air conditioning systems are designed to turn on when the temperature rises to a certain level, and then turn off again after the temperature drops. Normally, an air conditioning unit will run for at least 10 minutes before turning itself off. In some cases, however, your air conditioner may “short cycle,” turning on and off more frequently than it should. If your system short cycles, you need to address the issue lest it result in higher electric bills or additional damage to your unit. A number of factors may cause short-cycling, most of which can be diagnosed and fixed by a trained technician.

  • Size: If your air conditioning system is too large for the space it needs to heat, it may short cycle very quickly. The best way to avoid this problem is to have a load calculation performed on your home to determine exactly what capacity air conditioning system that you need.
  • Refrigerant leak: Air conditioning systems use refrigerant to absorb the heat in your home and carry it outside. The refrigerant is supposed to be in a completely self-contained system; and short cycling may mean that that a leak has sprung up somewhere.
  • Icing: The evaporator coil may develop ice on its surface, which can cause your AC to turn off and on very quickly until the ice melts. Icing on the coils suggests a larger problem with the system, and again requires the attention of a trained expert.
  • Control board: Though unlikely, a control board or control switch might be damaged or broken, which is causing short cycling. In such an event, the control board will probably need to be replaced.

For over 80 years, Boehmer Heating & Cooling has handled air conditioning problems in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Our knowledgeable staff is fully certified and dedicated to customer satisfaction. If your system is short cycling and you need to pinpoint the cause, give us a call to set up an appointment immediately. We’ll root out the source of the problem and make sure it gets fixed the first time every time.

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