Cool Touch Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Air Conditioning Installation’

The Benefits of Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Monday, April 16th, 2018

ductless-air-conditioningAir conditioning season starts early and stays late in Arizona, and selecting the best kind of system for your home is of paramount importance. Air conditioners need to be properly sized and suited for the specifics of the building in question, and while traditional centralized air conditioners are often the best fit, they’re not the only option for your home.

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Air Duct Leaks – Is It Happening In Your Home?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

AIR DUCT LEAKS – HOW A LEAKY DUCT SYSTEM AFFECTS YOUR HOME AND UNIT

    Air leakage in your duct system can have a poor effect on your heating or cooling unit, reducing the efficiency, lifespan, and performance of the system.  Air duct leaks can increase your energy bills, create excessive dust, and cause poor indoor air quality.

    In order to fully understand how air duct leaks and a leaky duct system can affect your unit, it is important to know how the duct system works in conjunction with the unit to heat or cool your home.  We will use the example of cooling your home, rather than heating, because we have such harsh summers it helps put things into perspective.  When you turn on your A/C at the thermostat during the summer, the unit turns on and a motor turns a fan to suck air through the “return” ductwork to the inside of your unit.  The air from inside your home is sucked in through that “return” duct and passes over a filter to catch dust particles. The air is then blown over a coil that is made of copper and aluminum, and looks similar to a giant radiator.  That coil has refrigerant inside of it that cools the coil ice cold in the summer.  The air gets sucked through that coil and cooled down.  After the air gets sucked through the coil and is cold, it gets pushed out the other side of your unit into the “supply” ductwork.  The ductwork is either made of metal tubes or rectangular boxes that are connected together in sections, or it can be flex tubes that are like a giant slinky wrapped in insulation, or sometimes a combination of both.  The air travels through the “supply” ductwork and is spit out of all the different registers in your home.  

    You also have a “return” duct that connects to a filter box and grill.  Some homes have multiple return ducts, each connecting to a box with a filter grill.  In many cases, those “return” boxes are leaking at the seams and at the main collar connection where the ductwork is attached to the box.  The return ducts may also be leaking at various connections in the ductwork, and at the main connection at the unit.  The unit should pull air from the inside of your home over the filter to remove particles, and blow it over the coil to be cooled and distributed throughout the home.  If the return ducts have leakage it causes some of the air to bypass the filter.  That means that the unit is sucking in some air from your home and the filter is catching the particles, and some of the air is sucking in through all of the seams, gaps, and holes in the “return” ducts from the attic.  That attic air is full of dust and debris, as well as fiberglass insulation that you don’t want to breathe.  Also, the attic air is usually between 120-170 degrees in the summer, much hotter than the 75-85 degree air inside your home.  So the unit has to work much harder to cool down 120-170 degree air, rather than 75-85 degree air.  That reduces the lifespan of the system and increases your energy bills.  The system is also affected by the particles that bypassed the filter.  You don’t want to breathe the attic air full of dust and fiberglass, but it also hurts the unit.  The air from the attic gets blown over the coil to be cooled, and that causes the coil to sweat condensation.  Some of the dust and fiberglass particles from the attic air end up sticking to the wet coil, and it creates build up, sort of like a lint trap in a dryer.  Most manufacturers recommend that you clean the indoor coil every 2-3 years, and APS and Energy Star recommend cleaning it every 2-4 years, but with leakage, it needs to be cleaned more often.  Cleaning the coil is difficult and costly, so sealing the ductwork will help keep that coil cleaner.  When the coil gets residue and build up, it causes the motor to run harder in order to suck the air through that coil because it’s impacted with debris so the airflow is restricted.  When the motor runs harder, the amp draw increases, and so does your energy bill, not to mention the fact that it reduces the lifespan of the motor.  The dust and fiberglass particles that make it through the coil are pushed through the “supply” ducts and distributed in the air throughout your home.  Those particles also build up in both your “return” and “supply” ducts as well.  So if you have leakage in your “return” ductwork, it creates poor indoor air quality, an increase in dust throughout the home, an increase in your utility bills, and it reduces the efficiency and lifespan of the unit.

    There can also be leakage from the “supply” ductwork.  The leaks are usually also found at connections, as well as the seams and gaps inside the trunkline, distribution boxes, or the “supply” boxes that have the registers attached to them.  So after the air is sucked through the unit and cooled from the coil, it travels into the supply ductwork and some air just blows into the attic.  So besides cooling down your home, you’re also cooling down your attic, which is a waste of money.  

    The other issue is that the leakage from the supply ductwork will cause a vacuum effect on the home.  A five ton unit is made to suck in 2,000 cfm of air through the filter, and spit out 2,000 cfm through the registers.  So if that five ton system has 10% air leakage from the “supply” ducts, it’s sucking in 2,000 cfm, but it’s only blowing about 1,800 cfm into the home, and 200 cfm into the attic.  The unit still needs to suck in 2,000 cfm, and since it can’t get all of the air back that it spit out because 200 cfm went in the attic, it causes a vacuum in the home.  That vacuum pulls in warm outside air from doors and windows, and it also pulls in dusty and polluted air from behind electrical outlets and switches, as well as from any gaps at plumbing penetrations, light fixtures, ceiling fans, recessed can lights, and so on.  So once again, the leakage is affecting your indoor air quality.

HOW DO YOU REPAIR A LEAKY DUCT SYSTEM?

    Sealing air duct leaks in your duct system is usually an all day job, and in some cases it may take 2 or 3 days.  The total cost to make the necessary repairs depends on the size of the home, the type of ductwork used in the system, the amount of air leakage detected during the negative pressure test, and the overall condition of the duct system.  The cost can be as little as a few hundred dollars, or as high as several thousand dollars.  The good news is that both APS and SRP offer rebates to homeowners who have their duct system properly sealed by a certified contractor.  APS will refund up to $325.00 towards repairs and SRP will refund up to $400.00 towards repairs.  In many cases, customers who seal their duct system see a reduction in their utility bills and a return in their investment in just a few years.  Our home comfort specialists seal all of the supply and return ductwork in the attic at all seams, connections, and collars using a high temperature fiberglass reinforced elastomeric sealer.  We also seal any distribution boxes and trunklines at seams, collars, and end caps using the same sealer.  Our specialists then remove all supply registers and seal the ductwork from the inside at seams, joints, collars, and connections with a high temperature fiberglass reinforced elastomeric sealer.  Then we fill up any gaps in the drywall behind the registers using a silicone latex caulk, and reattach the registers.  They also seal inside all return boxes at seams and collars with the sealer, and fill up the gaps in drywall around the filter grills using a silicone latex caulk.  Some circumstances require additional sealing.  Duct systems that use return air platforms may require plating off areas using duct board or sheet metal and sealing over the plates.  Systems with fresh air return ductwork also usually require plating off areas and sealing over the capped section with sealer.  Sometimes leaks in the duct system are located at torn or deteriorated flex duct runs, or damaged hard duct runs or distribution boxes that cannot be properly sealed.  In those cases we replace or repair the ductwork as needed, and proceed with sealing the ductwork after making the repairs.

    Some homeowners have conditioned air loss from the shell of the home, referred to as the home envelope.  In some cases, customers request that Cool Touch make the necessary repairs to reduce the conditioned air loss as well as seal the duct system.  Our specialist can explain the benefits of sealing the home envelope after performing the negative pressure test, and inform you of the priority of the repairs, depending on the issues (allergies, asthma, COPD, dust, warm or cold rooms, energy consumption, etc.) each customer is concerned about the most.  There are a variety of repairs that can be made to the home to help reduce conditioned air loss, ranging from replacing leaky can lights with air tight can lights and sealing around plumbing pipe penetrations and installing weather stripping around door frames, to sealing inside electrical outlets and switches and sealing around speakers, sky lights, and light fixtures.  In some circumstances Cool Touch is unable to repair the issues we locate, such as replacing a leaky window.  In those cases, our specialist will inform you of the problem, and recommend a company that can perform the repairs.

    Once we have completed all of the necessary repairs to all of the leaky ductwork and conditioned air loss that we detected in your home, we perform the air duct leak test again to ensure that the duct system is properly sealed.  We guarantee that you will have a 60% or more improvement in air loss from the duct system after we have completed the sealing, and in many cases we have made a 70%, 80%, or even 90% improvement in the leakage.  We use high quality products when sealing your duct system, so the seal should last decades, and you will most likely never need to seal your ductwork again in the future.

FIND OUT IF YOUR HOME HAS AIR DUCT LEAKS – Contact Cool Touch today!  ON CALL 24 HOURS (623) 584-3761

Cool Touch LogoCool Touch is a family–owned, Phoenix area business established in 2002. The owners, Chris & Charmaine Funk, have over 20 years of experience in the air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electrical industry.  We install American Standard, Goodman, and Amana equipment, but we service almost all other makes and models. We also offer service agreements for preventative air conditioning and heating maintenance. Cool Touch installs and repairs air conditioning and heating systems throughout the greater Phoenix and surrounding cities. Our air conditioning and heating technicians are highly skilled and provide exceptional customer service to both our residential and commercial clients. The team at Cool Touch has a combined 50 years of experience in the Arizona heating and cooling, plumbing and electrical industry. To learn more about us CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE.

 

 

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Central Air Conditioning Installation in Phoenix: Factors to Consider

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Opting for central air conditioning is a big step, and one that many Phoenix homeowners take happily as they look forward to the comfort that the cool air will bring. But there is the little matter of installation to consider, and some less known factors that are tied up in that.

 1.       What you can afford

Before making any major purchase, including central air conditioning, first create a budget for yourself. Determine how much you can afford and let that drive and inform your decision making, rather than falling in love with a particular model or set of features regardless of price.

 2.       Getting the right size

If you ask a Phoenix AC professional, he will tell you that getting air conditioning equipment that has been properly sized is essential. To get an AC system with the right capacity, you must consider not just the size of the rooms to be cooled, but also the local climate, the function of each room (bathrooms and kitchens require extra cooling), the usual number of occupants of a given room, the quality of insulation in the house and other factors. The best way to do a thorough job with this step is to have a professional do a load calculation for our whole home.

 3.       Working with what you have

Many homes have ductwork already in place, which is great for adding central air. If your home does not have ductwork installed already, then consider a ductless mini-split system as an alternative to the expensive and time-consuming task of installing new ductwork.

 4.       Where to place the outdoor unit

The outdoor condenser/compressor unit should be carefully and strategically placed for optimal operation and functionality. It should be on a concrete or vinyl pad, with space between it and the house and with no vegetation encroaching upon it. Consider all these things when choosing a place for it to rest. A professional installer will know how to place it properly.

You can see that purchasing and installing central air conditioning is not a particularly simple process, but that’s only because there are these important things to consider. With careful consultation with a Phoenix air conditioning professional like Cool Touch Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing & Electrical to guide you, it does not have to be a stressful or frustrating task.

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AC Question: How Do Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners Work?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Ductless mini split systems, or just ductless mini splits, are actually very simple devices. Despite their small size and sleek appearance, they are less complicated than many alternative systems. The elimination of centralized ductwork is to thank for this simplicity, as well as making ductless mini splits a great option for Phoenix residences without room for bulky duct systems.

Like more traditional centralized cooling systems, the noisy components of a ductless mini split system are kept outside. The wall units themselves emit little more than a hum as they disperse the conditioned air throughout your home. These wall units each contain a refrigerant coil and blower internally. Because both the refrigerant coil and blowers are found within the wall unit it is simple to control the temperature of different rooms separately. This zoning process adds to the system’s overall efficiency, allowing you to cool only those rooms in use through the use of multiple wall units.

It is the connection between these indoor and outdoor components that make the installation of ductless mini split systems so convenient. Installing a traditional forced air central cooling system can be a big project. When installing a ductless system all that is needed is a three inch hole drilled in your wall. Small copper pipes connect the components of the system, piping refrigerant between the compressor and the indoor wall units.

Like any HVAC unit, it is important to remember that ductless mini splits do have some possible drawbacks. While the lack of ductwork does make for easier installation and eliminate the need for a lot of space, it also means that a ductless mini split system does not provide ventilation. This is not a problem in most residences where operable windows allow for easy ventilation, but some commercial spaces may require an AC unit capable of ventilation.

If you are considering a ductless mini split system with heating in mind, know your climate. Some models come equipped to heat with an electric source, but there are also heat pump type ductless systems that work much like an air-source heat pump. These can be supplemented electrically, but if you live in an area where extremely cold weather is common you may want to consider a different HVAC system.

As is the case with any investment, you want to be sure that you are getting a product that will work for your specific needs. Ductless mini splits are not right for everyone. Call the professionals at Cool Touch Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing and Electrical to help you decide what system you’ll benefit most from.

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

Monday, June 18th, 2012

For any type of air conditioning system in Phoenix, 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 Phoenix air conditioning experts at Cool Touch if you have any questions how to calculate your AC system’s cooling capacity.

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