4 Common Misconceptions About Air Conditioning

Most people have enjoyed the cooling abilities of an A/C to provide comfort indoors, especially when the temperatures start to rise. There are, however, several misconceptions about air conditioning and what an A/C unit actually does within one’s home or office.

Read on to learn the truth about air conditioners so you can better understand what these incredible systems can do for your home comfort needs.

 

Common Misconceptions About Air Conditioners

Common Misconceptions Air Conditioners

If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, don’t hesitate to give us a call! We have a team of highly trained technicians to help you choose and install your new home cooling system. Check out our products page for more information, or give us a call directly at Phone: 818-477-4547.

The Dangers of Counterfeit R-22

Incidents of counterfeit R-22 are on the rise—with dangerous and costly results. Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning cares about our clients, and we want to ensure they have the best information available. Consider the following before buying or recharging an AC unit.

Learning About R-22

R-22 is the refrigerant inside many air conditioning units; the refrigerant is composed of liquids and gases with cooling properties. The refrigerant has a negative impact on the ozone layer when emitted from cooling units. As a result, the government mandated that production must slow down and come to a halt by 2020. Recycled R-22 will remain legal after the cutoff. However, timeframe of the completed phase-out will depend on contractors turning in the refrigerant for recycling, making it difficult to determine how much will be available.

Decreased availability of R-22 caused its price to soar. In 1998, a pound of R-22 cost about $10, but by 2013, the same amount cost approximately $50—and prices have continued to climb. Lower availability and higher costs led to a growing counterfeit industry, which presents serious risks.

Understanding The Dangers Of Counterfeit R-22

Counterfeit R-22 usually contains combinations of hydrocarbons that make it flammable. Fake versions of the approved alternative R410 (M099 and R438A) are flooding the market. Exporters, most often China-based producers, are importing both of these substances illegally.

It’s important for all American distributors and contractors to buy only from trusted sources and to quality-check these products. We encourage all homeowners to use reputable sellers to avoid potential hazards.

In the short term, counterfeit refrigerants are costly to use because they’re frequently less effective than their legitimate counterparts. Our experience is that users must run cooling units more often to maintain a reasonable temperature, increasing energy bills. In the long term, counterfeit R-22 can cause severe damage; the flammable substances may ignite, leading to fire or explosion, which can cause injury or loss of life.

Producers typically incorrectly label much of the counterfeit R-22 as nonflammable, and some counterfeits even bear knock-off name-brand labels. However, propane and isobutene are often primary ingredients in these substances, making them incredibly dangerous.

Use Trusted Sources Of HVAC Refrigerants

Always use reputable sources for refrigerant in your air-conditioning units. We at Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning pride ourselves on using only the best products from trusted sources. If you live in the Greater Los Angeles area, call us today if you need a new air conditioner or want to recharge an older unit. We use only the best refrigerants for all our clients.

Warnings On Portable Air Conditioners

As summer heats up in California, many people seek air conditioning solutions for their homes. Portable air conditioner units may seem appealing at first, but several factors make them less attractive than window units. At Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning, were committed to connecting clients with the best possible units for their spaces. Before investing in a portable AC, review the FAQs below and feel free to reach out with any questions.

How Portable Are These AC Units?

We’ve found that portable AC units aren’t as mobile as advertised. Frequently displayed without hoses and marketed as no-installation systems, these units seem like quick, easy cooling solutions. However, all AC units work by dispersing warm air outside the building,  which presents some difficulties when it comes to portable devices.

Window AC units employ coolants to move heat from inside the home into coils outside the house, where it’s expelled. A portable device works similarly, except the coils are indoors. A hose resembling a clothing dryer vent hose must connect to the coils. Warm air travels through these tubes and is released outside. In combination with its 50- to 80-pound weight, this large hose attachment makes portable AC units less mobile.

Because the tube must connect the coil to the outdoors to expel hot air, you must install venting kits in a window or wall for every room in which you use the AC unit negating the claim that a portable air conditioner needs no installation.

Is A Portable Air Conditioner Unit Energy Efficient?

We measure the amount of hot air an AC unit can remove from a given space within an hour in British thermal units (BTUs). A larger room or warmer climate requires a higher BTU air conditioner to be effective. Portable and window AC units are both measured with this system, but these ratings can be misleading.

A portable unit measuring the same BTUs as a window unit doesn’t cool at the same rate. Since air moves through coils and a hose that are both indoors, some redistribution of heat into the home is inevitable with portable units. In general, portable AC units are dramatically less energy efficient because they must run for extended periods to attain the same cooling impact as window units.

Will A Portable Unit Create A Vacuum?

Window ACs can circulate air from the outside to the inside, producing fresh air. People tend to seal off areas that have an AC running to make the most of the cooling capacity, which is safe with a window unit. However, portable units create a closed system, since they only expel and don’t bring fresh air into the home. An unfortunate side effect this recycled air, is that occupants re-breathe the same air, which isn’t healthy. The vacuum that portable AC units create in a home is a serious concern.

Are The Risks Worth The Benefits?

Consider the above complications before investing in a portable air conditioner unit. Are the risks worth the benefits you have from owning a portable AC unit? If you have any questions, contact us at Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning. We’re here to help residents of the greater Los Angeles area with all their HVAC needs, and we’ll happily answer any of your questions.

History of Air Conditioning: Keeping Cool Through the Centuries

In 1902, Willis Carrier invented the first modern electrical air conditioner. However, previous generations had their own ways of fighting the heat and keeping themselves cool during the summer. Throughout human history, people have come up with ingenious ways to stay cool during the hottest times of the year.

Geothermal and Water Cooling: Everything Old Is New Again

In almost every way, human technology has advanced by light-years since the Stone Age. However, state-of-the-art geothermal cooling relies on the same principle that our cave-dwelling ancestors understood millennia ago: it’s cooler underground. The earliest humans dug burrows or settled in existing caves in order to escape the heat above ground.

Water cooling is another piece of technology that we associate with modern air conditioning, but this idea is as old as the Pyramids—literally. The ancient Egyptians used to hang wet reeds in their windows so that the water would cool the breezes sweeping in from the hot Nile River valley.

The Invention of the Fan

Moving air has a greater cooling effect on the skin than stationary air, which is why breezes feel so delightful on hot days. Centuries ago, people realized they could make their own breezes with the use of hand-held fans. The invention of the fan cannot be traced to a single person or place, but archeologists have found evidence of hand-held fans as far back as the 2nd century BCE in China and the 4th century BCE in Greece.

Almost all modern air conditioners still rely on fans, albeit mechanical ones. Fans in modern air conditioners help to cool the air, and are also used to moved cool or warm air from one place to another through systems of ducts.

Going With the (Air) Flow: Victorian Ingenuity

The Victorian corset may have made breathing difficult, but in other ways the Victorians were masters of air flow. High ceilings, large recessed windows and covered porches all helped to maximize cross-ventilation in Victorian homes in order to improve natural cooling. High ceilings allow warm air to move upward, away from the people trying to stay cool. Covered porches and recessed windows use shade to cool outside air before breezes move this cooler air inside.

The Accidental Invention: Willis Carrier Modernizes Air Conditioning

Human ingenuity has repeatedly tackled head-on the problem of staying cool, and yet the modernization of air conditioning happened almost by accident. Willis Carrier, inventor of the first electrical air conditioner, was actually trying to find a way to control humidity in a printing plant. He decided to reverse the process of steam heating by passing air through cold coils , thereby causing the air to cool and the water in it to condense. It was a great way to control humidity, and an even better way to air condition a building.

Please follow our blog to keep learning more about the past, present and future of heating and cooling!

My Air Conditioner Is Frozen! What Happened?

Frozen air conditioner
When your air conditioner is running but your home is gradually getting warmer, you have a problem. Hold your hand over the supply registers. Do you feel little to no airflow coming from them? Your air conditioner is frozen. Whether you see any ice or not, your air conditioning unit is clearly letting you know there is ice in it. There are steps you immediately need to take to prevent damage to your unit’s compressor and further waste of money.

Handling Air Conditioner Freezes

Turn your A/C unit off immediately to prevent any (or further) damage to your compressor. While waiting for the accumulated ice to melt, find the drain for the condensation pan and be sure it is not blocked. If it is, unblock it. If you can, turn on the air conditioner’s fan without running the compressor. This will accelerate the melting of the ice. Once all the ice is melted and unblocked drains are clear, turn your unit back on. It should begin to cool your home again right away.

What Causes My A/C to Freeze?

Several maintenance-related issues are usually the culprits of air conditioner freezes. One of the main ones is low airflow due to a dirty air filter. When the filter is dirty, less air flow is delivered to the evaporator coil for cooling and distributing throughout the house. Having a sufficient flow of humid, hot air is important to prevent stress on your A/C compressor and to flow over the coil to keep it from freezing. Clean your filter monthly. If you close supply registers in unused rooms to save money, be sure not to close more than one quarter of your home’s total registers to prevent a freeze. Closing too many will overload the system.

 

Click Here to Schedule a Preventative Maintenance Visit

The unit’s fan has to blow fast enough to send the right volume of air streaming over your evaporator coil. If slow fan speed caused your unit to freeze, a HVAC technician can increase the speed of your fan to eliminate this problem. If your air conditioner runs all night, it will eventually lead to a frozen unit. Your thermostat can be adjusted to prevent this. If an adjustment does not correct this, then your thermostat needs maintenance or replacement. When your refrigerant level is too low, either from improper charging or leakage, these low levels will make the evaporator coil too cold and lead to a freeze. Call an HVAC professional to check the unit and repair/recharge your coolant level.

 

As mentioned earlier, make sure your window unit is tilted correctly. The indoor portion of the unit should be slightly higher than the outdoor portion for proper drainage and the drain hole should remain open. The central air conditioner coil removes water vapor from that humid, hot air that blows across it. This water drips into a drainage pan then out through a floor drain unless the drain becomes blocked. When blocked, it freezes all the way back to the coil, blocks the drain and increased the trouble. Check and clear your drain each week during the hottest weeks of the year.

Regular Maintenance is the Best Prevention

The best way to prevent a frozen air conditioner is also the proper way to maintain the life of your unit. Change your filter each month and have a thorough performance evaluation check of your system’s components yearly.

We are a family owned Factory Authorized HVAC Carrier Dealer with NATE Certified technicians who are customer focused and ready to handle your home comfort needs.

Call Canoga Park Heating and Air Conditioning today at (818) 477-4547 to schedule a maintenance appointment or Schedule Online.

How Do You Know When AC Replacement Is Needed?

AC ReplacementAir conditioners, like other machines, wear down with time. As a result, they become inefficient. They start consuming more power, performing poorly and making strange noises. When this happens, property owners might start to consider AC replacement options. Unfortunately, it is somewhat challenging for the average person to decide whether to replace or repair. The following tips will help you know when it’s time to replace your AC system.

Life Expectancy of AC Machines

A good indication that it’s time to replace your air conditioner is the lifespan of the machine. The average AC unit has a lifespan of 8 to 12 years. As the device nears the end of its life, it becomes too inefficient to operate. The repair costs arising from frequent breakdowns also become unreasonable. Once a machine reaches the end of its useful life, it should be replaced. Property owners should therefore start making the necessary arrangements well in advance.

Current Condition of the Air Conditioner

While a machine may have reached the end of its useful life, it may still be functioning properly with high efficiency. In such a case, there is no need to replace the device immediately. However, there are cases where the air conditioner may be breaking down frequently and performing poorly even before it reaches the halfway mark of its expected lifespan. Air conditioning replacement may be a good idea in such cases.

Energy Efficiency Ratios

It is a well known fact that newer air conditioning machines are much more efficient than older devices. This is largely due to improved cooling technology. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio and the energy efficiency ratio (SEER and EER respectively) of the AC should be compared to the efficiency of newer machines. If increased efficiency leads to huge energy savings, then replacing the machine makes sense.

Consumers are always advised to get expert advice from reputable companies like us here at Canoga Park Heating and Air Conditioning. Our experts know what to look for in an air conditioning and heating system, so we can give the best recommendations for your specific needs.

Call us today for all of your heating and air conditioning installation and replacement needs.

(818) 477-4547

Common Cooling Myths You Need to Know

Cooling MythsLike most of us, you have probably been influenced by stories of how to improve your home cooling. Some of these suggestions may be among the many falsehoods that are generously shared between homeowners. Here, are at least five common cooling myths that can be discredited:

Myth No. 1: Fans Cool Down a Room

Fans have one purpose, to move air around. When this air blows across your body, it feels cool, so you naturally assume the air is cooled down. In fact, the air is as uncomfortably warm after it’s blown across your body as before it began to move. The only time fans cool a room is when they draw cooler air from outside to the inside.

Myth No. 2: Air Conditioners Only Cool Air

It is a known fact that humid air feels hotter than dry air. Another function of your air conditioner is to remove humidity from a room using a drying function built into the unit. When this function isn’t working properly, your home will seem hotter. If your air conditioner lacks this function, try adding a dehumidifier to the rooms you want cooled.

Myth No. 3: A Larger Air Conditioner Will Cool Your Home Better

The reason your air conditioner is not cooling your home sufficiently may be due to it needing maintenance. It may be installed in an area that receives direct sunlight for too many hours, limiting its effectiveness. The last reason your air conditioner may not be cooling down your home is due to your home’s weather proofing. Too many air leaks and/or too little insulation can be reducing the effects of your air conditioner. Repair these problems and your old unit will probably cool your home once again.

Myth No. 4: Lowering the Temperature for Faster Cooling is good

Setting the thermostat at a lower temperature could be a problem if you forget to turn up the thermostat again. Your home could get too cold and you’ll be just as uncomfortable cold as you were when it was hot. If you have a window unit, lowering the thermostat is fine as long as you remember to raise the temperature at some point, so your family can be comfortable, not cold.

Myth No. 5: It’s More Efficient to Keep the Temperature Constant All Day

The fact of the matter is adjusting the temperature only allows you to get the comfortable setting you desire. Adjusting the temperature when you are sleeping, when you’re away from home and when you are at home only allow you to use the energy your family absolutely must use to keep your home comfortable. When you keep the temperature higher all day, you use too much energy, energy that is wasted.

Ignoring these of wives’ tales will save you money and possibly increase your comfort level. Erase these myths from your thoughts and try the alternatives.

Call us for all your heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, installation and replacement needs.

(818) 477-4547

How Can A Programmable Thermostat Increase Energy Savings?

Digital Thermostat and male handSavings is important for every household. If you wish to save more on your future electricity bills, you can get a programmable thermostat to control your HVAC system. It’s not enough to have heaters and coolers with the Energy Star logo, especially if you are in a place where you need to use your HVAC system on a daily basis. If you haven’t heard about syncing your HVAC machine to a programmable thermostat before, make sure that you read the article below so you can start saving.

How does a programmable thermostat work?

This tiny device works by controlling the heating and air-conditioning units in your home. This means that when you set a specific temperature, the system will automatically adjust to meet it. Through the help of a programmable thermostat, you don’t need to manually change the settings on your HVAC system often. You also don’t need to carry the cooler and heater remote controls wherever you go just to meet your cooling and heating needs. Though this device is small, it can help you save energy because your system won’t have a hard time adjusting to the altering weather conditions.

Can a programmable thermostat help me save energy when I am away from home?

Yes, you can have energy savings, even when you are not at home if you have a programmable thermostat linked to your HVAC system. Most modern-day thermostats have energy-saving gauges that can be activated whenever needed. For instance, if you are going to work and you want to make sure that your place is as cool or warm when you get back, you can use the specialized dials on your thermostat so your machine won’t need to work double-time in case it gets too hot or too cold when you’re away.

What should I do if I can’t activate or link my programmable thermostat to my heating and cooling system?

If you are having troubles about your programmable thermostat, there’s no need to take risks. You can call experts to handle it and walk you through the options. Call us to have your programmable thermostat installed today and we will assist you as soon as possible.

Difference Between Manual Thermostats And Electrical Thermostats

ThermostatA thermostat is a temperature–sensitive device that turns HVAC systems on and off when the temperature of an environment reaches a preset level. Essentially, it turns on the air conditioning when it gets too warm, or the heating when it gets too chilly. Thermostats control the workings of comfort systems by directing energy to the appropriate system when needed. When selecting a thermostat, property owners can either go for simple manual thermostats or sophisticated electronic thermostats that provide improved functionality and highly efficient operations. Thanks to the easy to understand packaging and universal compatibility, choosing a thermostat is easy.

Systems that Use a Thermostat
Single–stage heating systems have one electrical or gas heating device, which may consist of a heater or an AC device as well. Most units that use natural gas provide single–stage heating. Usually, a single–stage thermostat should have room for three wires if the system handles heating only. However, if the system handles heating and cooling, the thermostat will have to accommodate five wires or less.

Multi–stage systems have a standard electrical or gas heating device as well as an emergency and/or auxiliary heating device. The emergency or auxiliary heating kicks in when temperatures drop faster than the standard heater can handle, or if the standard heater fails. Line voltage systems, on the other hand, use direct current. Homeowners should choose line voltage thermostats that can handle additional conducted power.

Difference between Manual and Programmable Thermostats

Electromechanical or anual thermostats are the traditional mercury units that have internal coils to contract and expand in response to changes in temperature. They are becoming obsolete because of two main reasons:
• Products containing mercury are banned or restricted in most states
• Programmable thermostats are more accurate and sensitive to temperature changes
However, manual thermostats are still popular due to their ease of use, low cost, and the familiarity of their controls.

Digital manual thermostats use an electronic sensor to register temperature changes in an environment and then compare those changes to the preset settings. If there is a difference, the thermostat sends a warning to the cooling or heating system that immediate action is required. However, users still have to physically adjust the settings to their preferred level.

Programmable thermostats are an upgrade from the manual thermostats. In addition to saving energy costs, they allow homeowners to program their preferred temperature settings into the unit’s memory, along with the time of day they would like the changes to occur.

For most homes, a pre–programmed thermostat does not need any adjustment. Homeowners simply need to install it and they are ready. When determining the right thermostat, homeowners should consider the flexibility and functionality they need from day to day. Call us to learn more about home thermostats or to install a new programmable thermostat today.

Making The Right Choice: Replace Or Repair My Equipment?

The act of replacing or repairing your air conditioner is not one that should be taken lightly. It is very important especially because it relates directly to the quality of life you lead. There are essential questions to ask when contemplating on whether to repair or replace it. Has it exhausted its useful life? How much have I spent so far on its repairs? For how long have used this conditioner?

Consult an expert
Most experts especially those you have heard long working relations with will give you an excellent report on things as they stand. This will enable you make the right decision on the course of action to take. An expert will be able to determine the extent of damage to the equipment and the probability of lasting for a certain period after a repair.

Age
As equipment ages its level of inefficiency increases and should therefore be replaced. The machine may have exhausted its useful life and all it does is break down. When a machine is constantly in need of repair, then it is high time you replaced it. If it is just few times, then it can be repaired and used for a while.

Cost of repair
Sometimes the cost of repair may be as high as the cost of replacement. If your machinery has used up a lot of money in repairs, then you need to consider replacing it. If you do not, you will continue using up your money for repairs only to realize the machine cannot be repaired any more a few months down the line. Instead of spending substantial amounts in repair, you had rather purchase a new conditioner.

Power bills
As the machine becomes inefficient, it will require more power to function. This will gradually increase your power bills to an unmanageable level. If this happens, then your machine is up for replacement. If the power bills do not show any sign of gradual increases, you can still use the conditioner for a few more years.

Should I replace or repair my equipment is a decision that requires a lot of thought. Make the right choice to prevent the recurrence of problems, wastage of precious resources and time. Maybe you may have some questions on your HVAC systems or a comment. If so, feel free to dial up and reach us.