Best Air Conditioning Thermostat Setting

Best Setting for Your Central AC Thermostat

If you live with another person, there is a good chance that you have had a battle over the thermostat. These disagreements typically arise out of varying comfort preferences as well as concern over saving money, especially during peak cooling months. The following are simple guidelines to help you find the right balance between comfort and economy.

Thermostat Settings for Saving Money

According to Energy Star, a program aimed at promoting energy-efficient appliances and practices, the coolest you should keep your home during the summer months is 78°F. Energy Star only recommends keeping your home this cool when you are at home and awake. You should bump the thermostat up to 82°F at bedtime and 85°F during the workday when you are away.

While these recommendations are on the warm side, using ceiling or box fans can help make the temperature more tolerable by creating more air movement across the skin. Remember to turn fans off when you leave the room since they serve no purpose when the room is unoccupied and will waste electricity. If you are still too warm, adjust the temperature down one degree at a time. Every degree that you adjust your thermostat up or down can affect your utility bill by as much as three percent.

Thermostat Settings for Comfort

Older individuals often prefer warmer temperatures than young adults. Certain health conditions and medications can make a person more sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Of course, the humidity level also has a significant impact on your comfort level since 80°F with 80 percent humidity feels a lot hotter than the same temperature with 20 percent humidity. Ultimately, the right temperature setting is the one that keeps you and your family comfortable without forcing you to take out a second mortgage in order to keep up with your utility bills.

The Beauty of a Programmable Thermostat

While it is certainly possible to adjust a thermostat manually, a programmable model offers the greatest convenience, accuracy, and efficiency since they can be set to remember your temperature preferences based on time of day, the day of the week, and even the season. Energy Star offers the following tips for getting the most out of your programmable thermostat:

• Set the thermostat for its energy-saving set points for at least eight hours at a time.
• Do not use the “hold” or “vacation” feature to manage your daily temperature settings. This feature is intended to keep your home at a consistent temperature when you are away for extended periods.
• Regardless of the type of thermostat that you have, you should never adjust it way down in order to try to cool your house quicker. Your air conditioner cools at a set rate no matter where you set the thermostat. Cranking the thermostat down will not get you cooler any faster and will use more energy.

Ways to Beat the Heat While Saving Money

• Try opening your windows during the cooler part of the morning and at night.
• Keep your curtains closed during the hottest part of the day to block the direct sunlight.
• Avoid using major heat-producing appliances during the middle of the day. This includes your oven, washer, dryer, and dishwasher.
• Plant shade-producing trees on the west and south-facing sides of your home to block the summer sun and to allow more light in during the winter months.
• Add insulation to your attic to keep hot air from seeping into your home.
• Install ceiling fans in each room of your home.
• Have an HVAC professional seal and insulate your ductwork to make sure that all of the cool air reaches your living space.
• Make sure that your air conditioner is the right size for your home. A unit that is too small will not have enough cooling capacity to keep your home at the desired temperature. An AC unit that is too big will cycle too quickly to adequately control the humidity, which will make your home seem warmer than it actually is. If you have changed the footprint of your home, added rooms, or installed new windows or other energy-efficient features, your home’s cooling needs have probably changed and should be evaluated by and HVAC professional.
• Consider adding a dehumidifier to your home so that you can remain comfortable at slightly higher temperatures.

Call SWAN Today

At Swan Plumbing, Heating & Air, our home comfort experts are available to answer all of your air conditioning questions. This is also the perfect time to call us to schedule a pre-season tune-up for your air conditioner so that you will have peace of mind knowing that your AC is ready for the demands of the summer heat.

No Nonsense Goodman Air Conditioner Review 2017

A No-Nonsense Review of Goodman Air Conditioners

If you were to look at recent Consumer Reports® rankings, there is a good chance that you would probably not give Goodman air conditioners a second glance. Goodman ranked lower in reliability than all other brands tested except for York; however, there may be more to the story than meets the eye.

The Truth About Air Conditioner Parts

Most consumers do not realize that virtually all of the leading air conditioner manufacturers rely on the same companies to make their components. Regardless of the brand, most air conditions will have a compressor manufactured by Copeland and fan motors made by GE or AO Smith. This may leave you wondering why there is such a difference in reliability between various air conditioner brands since they all use essentially the same parts. The answer may be twofold.

Lack Installation Requirements

The majority of the leading air conditioning companies are very choosy about the companies and technicians that they allow to install their products. Most of these companies only sell their products to licensed contractors and require the installation technicians to undergo ongoing training. These companies realize that even a well-made AC unit will not function properly if it is not installed correctly. Goodman does not follow this practice. Anyone, even someone who is unlicensed with no experience in HVAC installation, can purchase and install a Goodman air conditioner. As a result, Goodman’s reputation for reliability has been negatively impacted since consumers are more likely to blame the equipment rather than the installation when something goes wrong.

Popularity in the New Construction Market

HVAC companies are typically classified according to whether they predominantly serve the new construction industry or homeowners. These companies tend to approach the business with different mindsets and employ vastly different types of technicians.

HVAC contractors that specialize in new construction are brought in by the general contractor during the framing process to install the ductwork. They then come back toward the end of construction to install the equipment. As is the case with many subcontractors, the HVAC company is chosen on the basis of its low bid and not necessarily the expertise of its employees or the quality of their workmanship. In order to keep their costs low, these contractors often hire technicians with little to no formal HVAC experience, and they only provide minimal on-the-job training. Since Goodman does not restrict who installs its equipment, it is often used in the new construction industry since many of the contractors have no other alternatives.

Companies that cater directly to homeowners know that their ability to remain in business depends on their reputation within the community. They are more likely to hire licensed, experienced, and certified employees, which means that you are less likely to have installation issues that affect the functioning of your HVAC system.

The Bottom Line

Since virtually all HVAC equipment is made from the same parts, there is an argument to be made that the quality of the company and the expertise of the technician installing the system play a bigger role in determining reliability than the equipment itself. Goodman’s issues with reliability are largely a factor of its decision to not be more proactive in managing its reputation by restricting who can sell, service, and install its products and are not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the equipment.

If you have to choose between a top-rated air conditioner installed by a company with a mediocre reputation or a low-rated unit installed by a trusted company, it is always better to go with the company that you can trust rather than worrying about the brand. You can protect yourself by looking for a company that is licensed to install one or more brands of air conditioners. You should also look for a company that holds its employees to rigorous training and certification standards and that is willing to stand behind its work.

Swan Air Conditioner Installation

Swan Plumbing, Heating & Air is a family-owned business, and we are committed to providing unsurpassed HVAC service to our friends and neighbors in Denver and the surrounding area. We service and install air conditioning units from all major manufacturers, including Goodman. All of our technicians are licensed, industry-certified, and receive ongoing training. All of our HVAC installations, regardless of the brand of equipment that you choose, are backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your new air conditioning system, we will repair or replace it at no cost to you anytime during the first year. We are proud to have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We have also been named a preferred service provider by Xcel Energy and Energy Star. Contact us today to find out more about our HVAC installation services and the equipment brands that we carry.

How to Easily Identify AC Refrigerant Leaks

An air conditioner refrigerant leak is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a system that is supposed to keep your house cool. Refrigerant is not consumed when you are running it during hot summer months. Instead, the refrigerant gets cycled back and forth as it removes heat from your house. The initial charge when the AC system is installed should last throughout the lifespan of the unit.

However, there are instances when a leak occurs, depriving the system of the vital fluid it needs to operate efficiently. When this occurs, a number of problems can accumulate and eventually causes your air conditioner to break down. Before you and your family get into a hot situation, let’s look at ways to identify refrigerant leaks.

Drops in Refrigerant Output

Your air conditioner cannot remove heat from your house when the refrigerant level is too low. Most leaks start small, so the rate of losing refrigerant from the system is slow. Over time, the output of your air conditioner begins a slow but steady, decline. If you notice a difference in the unit’s performance in keeping your house cool, you might have a leak.

Strange Noises Coming from Air Conditioner

Listen for any strange noises in the unit. This is one of the best ways to determine whether your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant or on the brink of breaking down. Air bubbles can form in the refrigerant line as coolant leaves your air conditioner unit. Some noises make a hissing sound; others sound like bubbling noises whenever the unit is running.

Identify Dirty Spots on Refrigerant Line

It is not unusual for refrigerant to attract dirt, so leaks in the line may appear dirty or oily. Examine the line to detect whether there is a leak. If there appears to be a problem, call a professional to thoroughly inspect the refrigerant line.

Apply the Bubble Method

One of the oldest ways to detect a leak is by using the bubble method. To do this, apply a soap solution to areas where you suspect a leak has occurred with a brush squeeze bottle or dauber. Typically, any escaping refrigerant produces bubbles at the leak points. The only way this method proves ineffective is if it is windy outdoors or a leak is very small.

Use a Corona-Suppression or Heated Diode Detector

Two basic types of electronic detectors can be used to identify AC refrigerant leaks.

The first is the corona-suppression detector. This technology is used to measure varying conductivity of how gases pass between two electrodes. An instrument is used to create a high-voltage spark from one point of the sensor to another point. This is done to establish a baseline between both points.

If there is a drop in the current between these two points, an insulating gas is present a higher concentration is identified when there is a tremendous current drop.

The other electronic method is using heated diode technology. This method involves using a ceramic element to heat the refrigerant to break up molecules. When this occurs, chlorine or fluorine ions are left positively charged, which attracts center collection wire that is negatively charged.

The ions flow to the center collection wire to create a small current. As refrigerant increases, so does the current level to set off an alarm. Generally, this method provides a more accurate detection than the corona-suppression method.

Add Fluorescent Dye to Refrigeration System

The fluorescent leak detection requires the addition of a fluorescent dye into the refrigeration system. This is done for the dye to mix with the lubricant to circulate throughout the air conditioner. If there is a leak, dye will come out with a bright yellow-green color to help you pinpoint where the leak is located. Typically, this also requires scanning the system with a blue light or UV lamp.

Generally, this method may require a contractor who will use an OEM-approved dye compatible with your system’s lubricant. Dyes that contain co-solvents should be avoided. These can have a negative effect on the lubrication makeup of the system’s oil. Destroying these qualities may cause the compressor to fail prematurely.

A blue light or UV lamp that has a high-intensity output is preferred when using the fluorescent leak detection method. Greater light intensity produces a brighter dye glow so you can easily find any leaks.

This detection method also works well as a preventive maintenance technique. Periodic checks of the system is best so small leaks are identified before losing substantial amounts of refrigerant from a larger leak.

Repairing the AC Refrigerant Leak

Repairing a refrigerant leak in your AC unit usually requires hiring a skilled technician. For the DIYers, repairing a refrigerant leak in the air conditioner unit can be inexpensive if all that’s needed is to tighten a fitting or replace a valve core. At the same time, it can be very pricey if it repairs involve replacing the evaporator coil or copper line set.

Whether you try to repair the leak or hire a technician, there are some common sites to watch for leakage. These include:

  • Copper tubing
  • Shipping valves
  • Filter canisters
  • Weld joints
  • Valve cores

As mentioned previously, technicians may use an electronic sniffer to identify AC refrigerant leaks. Bigger leaks typically require using soap bubbles or the black light method.

The black light method requires installing a liquid tracer into the system and let it circulate for a couple of weeks. During this period, the tracer will ooze out slowly from places where there is a leak.

It is common knowledge that refrigerants are very expensive. Time and effort spent to locate leaks, plus repairing AC equipment makes it imperative for preventive maintenance of systems. The best way to begin repairing to select a method that can quickly pinpoint leaks. This will not only keep loss of refrigerant at a minimum, but it will also help you avoid headaches and scorching heat.