The HVAC Industry isn’t a static field. It’s always evolving. A good AC Repair or Installation contractor has to be ready to change and adapt. That’s why technicians at our company are always enrolled in continuing education, and why we focus on keeping certifications current.
The name of the game for many years now has been energy efficiency. That’s come about for a few reasons, but the most compelling reason has always been you.
That’s right. You.
Every innovation and evolution in this industry is due to customer demand. The influence of consumers on heating and cooling companies in Orlando and elsewhere cannot be overstated.
In recent years, we’ve noted that two major concerns seem to be battling for your attention, and they are interrelated. The two driving desires seem to be:
Now, you might find yourself saying, “Aren’t those functionally the same?” Given that energy efficient HVAC systems do lead to lower monthly bills, that’s a reasonable question. Of course, they’re not the same. They’re just connected in many ways.
The reason we separate them, however, is simple: our customers don’t always equate the two. Sometimes, we have a customer who is very focused on keeping their electric bill under control, and we might advise them to purchase energy efficient equipment and improve their home’s thermal envelope (the rate at which heat exchange occurs with the outside world).
Other times, we might have a customer who is highly focused on their home being “green” and environmentally sound. They might get similar recommendations from our AC installation technicians. However, as their concern is not budgetary, they might deliberately choose to opt for more expensive options to minimize their carbon footprint.
Those motivations lead to similar, but not identical, outcomes. As ACcontractors, our job is to make recommendations based on your specific needs. That allows us to strike a fine balance between overall cost and benefit. More importantly, it allows you to make a cost/benefit analysis and judgment with all of the right information at your fingertips.
In many ways, that’s why this series of articles exists. We want our customers to have specific and detailed facts.
So, when our customers start asking about energy efficiency, we often respond with a series of questions, like:
When deciding whether energy-efficient systems are worth the cost of installation and maintenance, we have to be prepared to discuss the benefits. For that reason, we’re always learning.
In this article, we’re going to discuss three major ways energy efficiency could impact you: your monthly expenses, your carbon emissions, and your overall installation cost. We’ll cover how efficiency affects each of those, and (we hope) you’ll leave here ready to make a decision for your home.
Orlando HVAC Companies: Your Money Is Green, Too
Trees are green, and money is green, but that’s about as far as the connection goes. As many of our parents have reminded us over the years, money does not grow on trees. HVAC units aren’t cheap, and neither are the associated energy costs. In fact, they’re the single largest investment in the average home. We all have them because going without is, frankly, uncomfortable and often dangerous. That’s particularly down here in Florida. Orlando air conditioning repair companies often work overtime to keep residents cool in the vicious summers.
If budgetary concerns have driven you to consider energy efficient air conditioning solutions, you’ll be pleased to know that you’re on the right track.
About half of your annual utility costs (at least) come from heating and cooling. In the average Sunshine State home, air conditioning can be 70% of the electric bill.
When that’s the case, the impact of an energy efficiency upgrade is even greater than usual. Energy Star qualified air conditioners can cut energy bills by a quarter. If you’re using an HVAC system that’s over ten years old, you could see even greater savings.
It goes completely without question that an energy efficient air conditioner will more than pay for itself over the course of its life. Additionally, you’ll have the piece of mind and internal satisfaction of knowing that each month, a little less of your money is flying out the windows and escaping into the attic.
Energy loss in older HVAC systems is a major concern.
Less efficient units burn more electricity for the same amount of cooling. They’re also usually accompanied by a greater degree of “energy loss,” which is what we call it when cold air is going somewhere it isn’t needed.
Older, less efficient systems often aren’t capable of “zoned” cooling, or only cooling rooms that are occupied. They’re also rarely equipped with modern thermostats, capable of learning your schedule and adjusting their cooling programs to adapt to your needs, or of working with your cell phone via a Wi-Fi connection. That, and general improvements in design and component function mean that newer AC installations are just flat-out better.
We’ve seen upgraded air conditioning and heating systems save homeowners and commercial businesses anywhere from 10% all the way up to a staggering 30%. Most of that is attributable to smarter control systems, better units, and a smarter approach to home insulation. At the end of the day, our job is to provide you with options, and your job is to decide how much money you want to spend or save.
If you want a home energy audit to find out how much money we can save you, call us today.
AC Repair Orlando: Going ENVIRONMENTALLY Green
Americans make up about 5% of the world’s population and consume at or over 20% of its energy. Regular commitments to reducing our carbon footprint are made, but we remain the biggest carbon creators in the world. China uses more energy than we do, but their population is also more than four times larger. Conversely, India has far more people than the United States, but consumes far less energy each year.
We use more energy each year than the entire continent of Africa, which is larger than the United States, India, China, and any six or seven European countries combined. Africa also boasts the hottest climate in the world. Really, our consumption levels are kind of staggering.
That’s why it’s nice to see more and more homeowners focusing on reducing their carbon footprint, and your HVAC system is a great way to do exactly that.
What do we mean by “Energy Efficiency” anyway?
It’s not just a buzzword. In HVAC terms, it literally means delivering the same amount (or greater) of cooling using the same (or less) energy. The EPA’s Energy Star label on your system means it meets certain criteria. That blue sticker means that a given air conditioner has been independently certified to cause fewer emissions and use less energy.
It’s an immediate identifying label that tells you something has been designed to minimize its impact on climate change. Energy Star appliances, to date, have saved families and businesses save about $300 billion dollars – and about 2 billion metric tons of pollution.
In addition to upgrading your air conditioner, we recommend sealing and insulating your home to reduce energy loss and increase comfort. That means adding new insulation, looking for and sealing drafts and leaks, and – depending on your budget – looking into new windows.
You could be looking at substantial savings. We know, to many homeowners, that is a secondary concern, but as incentives go, it’s not bad. More attractive to our eco-minded customers is the notion that their energy-efficient upgrades means they are contributing less pollution to the environment without sacrificing comfort in their home.
AC Installation in Orlando could be eligible for tax credits.
If you have, or are considering an energy-efficient central air system, talk to us. We’ll help you determine if you are eligible for federal tax credits and incentives. These can absorb as much as 30% of the costs of upgrading.
In order to qualify, you have to install equipment with a minimum SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). That information is readily available, usually in the form of a yellow sticker on the condenser or blower unit, or both.
That kind of federal assistance can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in overall expenses. That’s on top of the money you’ll already be saving month by month on energy expenditures.
If you aren’t sure about making the switch, and you’re just looking for more information, we’re at your disposal. Orlando Air Conditioners is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we offer free in-home estimates!
(You didn’t misread that. We’ll come out and give you information without charging you a cent!)
Whether you’re looking to make the switch to a new air conditioning system or just looking to maximize your existing system, our technicians have got the tools and the know-how you need. Call us today!
Ask any air conditioning contractor in Orlando about commonly asked questions they receive from customers and "what is the best air conditioning system brand?" will certainly be at, or near, the top of the list.
And, if by "best brand" you mean the most reliable and longest lasting, then here are my thoughts. Back in the 1980's Trane and Carrier were the dominant brands with the greatest name recognition. And, for the most part, this dominant positioning was well deserved.
Trane acquired the GE brand of air conditioning equipment in 1981. By most accounts, and in my own experience, GE was the most dependable and reliable brand on the market. To this day, I occasionally come across old GE A/C units out there that are still churning out cold air. The last of the GE air conditioning brand came off the line in 1981, so that makes them at least 35 years old.
Willis Carrier invented what we know as the modern air conditioning system in 1902 and the brand dominated for many decades right up until very recently when Goodman Manufacturing overtook them in worldwide sales of compressor-bearing units.
Of course, sales volume and brand longevity don't necessarily add up to reliability, but it's safe to say the leading brands have established themselves in terms of name recognition and brand awareness.
My advice? Focus your energy and attention on the air conditioning contractor who installs your system instead of trying to subjectively pick the "best" brand. If you check with the state regulatory agencies, 99% of complaints involve the air conditioning contractors, not manufacturer's.
Unlike a commodity such as a dishwasher or dryer, which are both delivered and simply plugged in, air conditioning systems require professional installation and assembly in the field.
Imagine if your next car was delivered to you in 50 pieces and required professional assembly by a skilled dealer. It is a certainty that the quality and longevity of the vehicle would be dependant in large part on the skill and training of the assembling dealer.
The vehicle brand may become a lower consideration factor than the local assembly team you choose. Now, imagine how differently you would treat the decision to purchase a vehicle.
Here are the critical aspects of any residential central air conditioning installation:
1) Proper system sizing - an undersized system will perform poorly, rarely turning off. An over-sized system will "short-cycle", or cycle on and off too frequently, reducing humidity control and the life of the system.
2) Properly sized ductwork - This is one of the biggest plagues in the industry. Your air conditioning system has to deliver and return a given volume of air based on its capacity. The individual designing the duct system needs to understand some basic math, including the dynamics of air flow delivery and velocity rates.
3) Ensuring that no installation flaws are inhibiting system performance - I once saw an air conditioning system with a rigid duct connected to the top of the indoor air delivery unit. The duct only rose about 18 inches before it made an abrupt 90 degree horizontal turn.
This means that the air being delivered by the indoor unit was immediately chocked off before it even entered the duct system. This back-pressure, of course, led to very poor performance, high utility costs, and unneccessary comfort losses for the homeowner.
4) Connecting to a defective, leaky duct system - the average duct system in homes over 10 years old is responsible for up to a 38% reduction in airflow due to poor quality ductwork and leaky connections. This leads to increased running time, higher utility costs, and very poor indoor air quality due to the transfer of attic air directly into the living space.
5) Ensuring that the system properly heats and cools every room in the house - Actually this is something that has to be isolated up front because even a perfectly installed air conditioning system will not fix an area of your home that is not receiving proper airflow.
It may help to some degree, but if you have a room that is 5 degrees behind the rest of your house, there is another issue that should be addressed by the installing contractor prior to, or during, the installation.
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