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.

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What Is SEER Used For Rating Heating And Cooling Devices?

Energy EfficiencyPeople using any type of cooling device should know what is SEER. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER is used to rate cooling appliances. The rating is based on energy efficiency performance of systems like HVAC, air conditioners and heat pumps. The rating is calculated taking into account an appliance’s cooling output for a given unit of energy that it consumes. Higher rating is given to systems that output more cooling while consuming less energy. The benefit of using such devices is that it results in lower electricity bill. Such a device is eco-friendly because it releases less green house gases. Rebates are available to users who use systems with high energy efficiency.

Devices that have higher SEER ratings provide greater efficiency. Federal government has made it mandatory for central air-conditioning equipment manufacturers to sell only those units that have minimum SEER-13 rating. Buyers should know that air-conditioning equipments with SEER rating of 18 or even 23 are available. An air-conditioning system having a minimum of SEER-16 rating should be installed to realize the advantages of using energy efficient system. Users who want to calculate their savings can easily do so by using Cooling Calculator. The calculator can be used to know the financial and environmental benefit of using high SEER rating air conditioners. In some states, homeowners can save more than $2000 during the lifespan of a system that has minimum SEER-16 rating.

Most homeowners in the US are still using old furnaces with very low energy efficiency. Such systems should be replaced with high-efficiency systems as soon as possible. A furnace’s efficiency is calculated using AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This rating calculates the amount of heat delivered for each unit of fuel consumption. General systems usually have 80% AFUE which means almost 20% fuel is lost in fumes. Now there are furnaces that provide more than 95% AFUE.

HSPF (Heating and Seasonal Performance Factor) is used to rate air source heat pump. This type of pump is used to heat and cool homes in moderate climates. Similar to air conditioners, heat pumps use differential temperature between indoor and outdoor air temperature to cool or heat homes. A heat pump can work in both directions so it can be used to cool during summer months and heat during winter months. Heat pumps with higher HSPF give higher efficiency. Such heat pumps use less energy compared to conventional systems. Call us for the top rated energy efficient HVAC products in the industry.

What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: How To Prevent It

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning may happen if CO from sources such as water heater, or heating system, or other similar gas, oil, or fuel burning appliances build up in an enclosed area. If proper ventilation is not attached to these systems, this can result in build-up of CO above safety levels in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space. Breathing the air in such a space with an over-concentration of CO may lead to CO poisoning in people and animals living in that space.

The common symptoms of CO poisoning include nausea, chest pain, sleeplessness, weakness, dizziness, etc. The problem is that the same symptoms may result from many other underlying conditions, so if a CO built-up in a space is not detected, the symptoms may aggravate and may lead to serious illnesses. It may also lead to death in extreme cases. In fact, each year four-hundred deaths are reported in US which are caused by unintentional CO poisoning.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

The poisoning occurs mainly because our red blood corpuscles have a tendency to attract carbon monoxide quicker than they do oxygen. This means that CO can quickly replace oxygen in our blood, and this will prevent proper oxygen circulation in the tissues, resulting in the death or serious damage of the tissues. At the same time, carbon monoxide also has the potency to combine with proteins found in the human tissues and this may result in the destruction of the tissues and death.
How to prevent CO poisoning

This is why it is vital to make sure that the heating and other appliances we use at home do not build up CO inside the home. Proper ventilation and airduct systems can ensure this for your home. An important thing is to service at least once a year all appliances which can source CO into the air. The modern HVAC systems come with these benefits and as long as you service these systems regularly and ensure that they are in proper order, you can avert all risks of CO build-up inside your home.

We are a company which provides HVAC services to a large base of clients. So, in case you ever suspect a CO build-up at your home, do give us a call and we will tend to all your HVAC needs in the earliest.

Home Energy Efficiency Tips To Help You Save Money

Think GreenChances are, if you want to save money, you are doing everything you know how to do. Do you know how to save money on your electric bill? In the paragraphs below, we are going to give you some energy efficiency ideas that can go a long way.
Here’s our home energy efficiency tips …

Check the Energy-Efficiency Ratio Before You Buy an Air Conditioning Unit

Before you go out and by an air conditioning unit, check to see what its energy-efficiency ratio is. You can find out the energy efficiency ratio by taking the unit’s cooling capacity and dividing it by the energy requirement. If it comes out with an EER of 10 or more, that is great, while 6 or 7 is fair.
Go for the Smallest Air Unit Possible

So many people are under the impression that bigger is better. Don’t go out and buy the biggest system out there — go for the smallest one that will meet your needs.

Energy Efficiency Tip for Doing Laundry

When doing laundry, wash full loads. By doing this, you will be using the machine less and saving energy.

Energy Saving Tip for Your Refrigerator

When it comes to saving money on electricity, you cannot forget about your refrigerator. It is important that you defrost your freezer on a regular basis. When ice starts to build up up, your freezer will be using more electricity. After you defrost it, if it quickly builds up again, you need to check the seals on the door to make sure they are intact.

Save on Your Heating Bill

To save money on your heating bill, change the filters on a routine basis. Also, make sure you check the windows and doors for proper insulation (it is important that you do not let the heat escape).

As you see, there are many ways you can save money on your electricity. By simply following the tips we gave you in the paragraphs above, you could cut a big chunk out of your next electric bill. For all of your HVAC needs, give us a call today.

Whole Home Performance Evaluations

Happy Family with an illustration of an energy efficient house.Paying high costs for energy in your home is never what anyone wants to do. However, there are solutions and answers to help you pay less when your energy bills come due. Home Performance is a complete approach to making your home more energy efficient and provide comfort in your home environment.

What is Whole Home Performance?
Home Performance includes many different factors in the home. Contractors trained in Home Performance are skilled to offer complete home improvements to make your home more energy efficient. This includes insulation, energy efficient lighting and appliances, as well as furnace and air conditioner upgrades. The benefits of the Home Performance upgrade include decreasing and eliminating energy waste in the home, as well as cold drafts and musty smelling air. Your comfort, health and the long term value of your home will increase. Your home environment will also be cleaner while you enjoy lower energy bills.

Cost of Whole Home Performance
Your upgrade will start with a thorough home inspection and evaluation to determine the current energy use of your household. After this, your Home Performance contractor will make suggested improvements that suit your budget and the priorities you have in your home. They will then help you choose the solutions that best fit your needs and the energy needs of your home. Even small changes like caulking and adding insulation can help make a significant difference in the amount of energy your home uses. This is an investment in your home, but will save you money all year round.
In fact, most homes in America end up wasting 20 to 40 percent of the energy that is consumed. This waste can be stopped through these simple home improvement measures, which in the end will decrease the budget for your home’s energy consumption. Your total spending and savings will be based off of what changes the Home Performance contractor suggests and which you decide to follow through with.

Call your trusted HVAC contractors today for a Whole Home Performance evaluation. Not only are they pros at HVAC efficiency, but they also know of other ways to make your home more energy efficient.

Self Troubleshooting Your A/C

Homeowner checking air filterIt is the middle of the afternoon on a hot July day. You remember turning your air conditioning on this morning, but now you suspect the temperature in your house is rising. You run to check the thermostat in hopes that maybe you are just having a hot flash or had been working too hard on your tasks around the house, only to find your hopes dash. The thermostat has crept up five degrees over what you had set it for, or worse yet, the thermostat shows nothing. Sweat drips down your forehead and dollar signs flash before your eyes when you think of you’re a/c not working. Now what? Before you panic and call the HVAC service technician, there are a few things to check on your own.

1. Check the Power to your Home

It may seem simple, but many HVAC service technicians have been called to homes for a case of an air conditioning outage, only to find that there is no power to the entire home. This is embarrassing and expensive to the homeowner. Check this potential issue first before doing anything else.

2. Check the Air Filter

Air filters on your HVAC unit should be changed on a routine basis. Most require changing about every three months, though some require more frequent changes of once per month. If not changed as frequently as they should be, the air filters become clogged and can restrict the airflow causing your air conditioning unit to malfunction.

3. Check the Thermostat Batteries

If the display screen on your thermostat does not light up, it might be time to change the batteries.

4. Check the Circuit Breaker

Find your home’s breaker box and check the circuit breaker. If the breaker to the air conditioning unit or the entire HVAC system has been tripped you will need to reset the breaker. However, if the breaker trips again, you should call an electrician to look into the problem. Breakers were designed to trip for safety reasons.

If none of these solutions fix the problem, it is time to all a trusted HVAC service to diagnose HVAC problems. Anything beyond this and troubleshooting air conditioning should be left to the pros.