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Hot Tips To Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

Running your A/C in the summer can be a real drain on energy and your pocketbook. Here are some tips that will help you save on both fronts without having to compromise comfort.

1. Don’t create heat inside the house. If you can cook outside on the BBQ, do it! You only have so many months to soak up the sun anyway, and it keeps us from using the stove inside.

2. Use your ceiling fans in summer, your ceiling fans should run counter-clockwise. This forces air downward, providing a cooling breeze effect. The temperature doesn’t actually change, but the breeze helps your body move heat out.

3. Plant some shade trees around the house. Some of the best shade trees to consider include: hybrid poplars, red maples, willow trees, and eastern white pines.

4. If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, a smart purchase in the next few years will be a new air conditioner. You could also look into insting ductless air conditioners if you live in an older home where ducts don’t make sense.

6. Make sure that your ducts are sealed well, and insulate the ducts running through unheated basements, crawl spaces, etc…

7. Don’t forget about maintenance. The moving parts of your air conditioner wear down, fluid levels drop and (unfortunately, but realisticy) problems develop through the year. Professional maintenance in regular intervals will keep your air conditioner running cleanly and efficiently.

What Does SEER Mean?

A question we get a lot here at Langton ClimateCare in Hamilton is what does SEER mean and why does everyone who comes to my home mention something called SEER? In this article we are going to educate you on what SEER means and why this term is very important when it comes to choosing an air conditioner to cool your home.

Air conditioners are rated on whats called a SEER rating which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. All that means is the cooling output during a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period.

To keep it very simple all you need to know is the higher the SEER rating of an air conditioner the more efficient it will be. In Hamilton, all you can install is high efficient equipment. There are different levels in efficiency and knowing this is very important. The minimum SEER rating you can install in your home is 13 SEER. A 13 SEER air conditioner is high efficient but it’s at the lower end of the scale. When you install an air conditioner we always recommend you install something that is energy star rated. If you have ever seen the blue energy start symbol on different appliances that’s what we recommend you buy.

To install something with the energy star label it has to be rated at least 14.5 SEER. Here in Hamilton we recommend installing equipment rated from 14.5 to 16 SEER. Anything higher than that is kind of over kill when it comes to comparing value and price.

SEER ratings can reach all the way up to 25 SEER but that is not something you need to install here in our climate in Hamilton. If you were living in Florida where you need to run your air conditioner all year long then a 25 SEER air conditioner may be a good choice. It’s not something you really need to get involved with here in our climate.

If your air conditioner is over 10 years old it’s most likely operating at 6-7 SEER. You will notice a big difference in efficiency when you install an Energy Star rated air conditioner at 16 SEER. If you’re tired of paying those ridiculously high hydro bills in the summer give us a call at Langton ClimateCare at 905-312-9644 and we will be happy to help you.

How to get your Central Air Conditioner ready for summer ?

In Hamilton, our cooling season is typically five months; May to September. A furnace AND air conditioner require yearly maintenance which should be performed by a qualified heating and cooling contractor. Yearly maintenance keeps parts properly lubricated, the unit running at its highest efficiency and creates the best situation for extending the life of the unit.

Beyond a qualified technicians expertise, there are some things that you can do in order to prepare you’re A/C for the upcoming season. Before you start the unit in the spring, make sure you have removed the cover from your outdoor condensing unit. We recommend in Hamilton just covering the top and not the whole unit. Set the outdoor disconnect back to the ‘ON’ position and check that the A/C breakers are also in the ‘ON’ position. It is important to let the unit sit for about 24 hours with power restored before trying to start the unit; this allows time for the warming element to heat the compressor’s internal lubricant.

The next step is to remove any yard debris or plant growth near your outdoor condensing unit. It is extremely important to keep the area around the outdoor condensor clear so that it receives proper air flow. Check the area around the unit during summer months for new growth and remove as necessary. It is also a good idea to check through the grass near the unit and remove any stones, debris or objects that the lawn mower could hurl toward the condensor.

If you have a humidifier bypass, make sure it is in the ‘CLOSE’ position. After the warming element has had the proper time to heat the compressor’s lubricant, turn on your air conditioner at your thermostat by selecting the “cool” mode. Allow the unit to run for about an hour before shutting it off to ensure that it is cooling properly. Go outside and check the outside condensor for any signs of icing. Report any problems to your technician when he arrives to perform the units’ yearly tune-up.

Langton ClimateCare has been keeping residence in the Hamilton and surrounding area comfortable for over 20 years. We offer Maintenance plans as low as $9.99 per month that includes a yearly tune-up.

What to consider when shopping for a new air conditioner

When you make the decision to replace your old central air conditioner in Hamilton, there are a few things to consider. We are going to touch on two of those considerations; size and SEER of the unit. Let’s concentrate on proper sizing first. An oversized unit will be expensive and inefficient to operate. An undersized unit won’t be able to get the job done and will not provide the comfort you desire. The sizing of the units cooling capacity also has an effect on the ability to properly dehumidify the air.

An over-sized air conditioner will quickly cool the air, without running long enough to operate at peak efficiency or dehumidify the air. This creates a cold and clammy feeling. An undersized unit can result in uncomfortably warm rooms even though the air conditioner is constantly running. This reduces its lifespan and creates high energy bills. A properly sized air conditioning unit cannot be determined by simply calculating the square footage of your Hamilton home. For instance; a home’s construction, insulation values and amount and quality of windows are just a few other determining factors.

Let’s move on to SEER and how it can affect your decision on the purchase of your new air conditioner? First of all, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient a given air conditioner is. Simply put, you will most likely pay more for a higher SEER rating at purchase, but it will use less energy to run, which saves you money on operating costs over the lifespan of the unit. A little more cost upfront, can save you a lot in the long term.
When you combine proper sizing, with the energy efficiency you desire, you will be much happier with your purchase.

Langton ClimateCare has been keeping families in the greater Hamilton area comfortable for over 20 years. We carry a variety of products and are always happy to assist those who require heating and cooling services.

What is SEER and how does it affect my choice of air conditioner?

So you’ve determined that you need a new air conditioner in the Greater Hamilton area. You understand that there are different SEER ratings, but you are not quite sure what that means for your pocket book. Let’s start with the basics. First of all, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient a given air conditioner is. Great, but now you have to know how to determine how much a 13 SEER saves versus a 14 SEER, or a 16 SEER–and so forth. How much you’ll save depends on several factors, such as; amount of insulation in the home, quality of windows, proper sizing etc. For demonstration purposes, let’s assume that all is adequate and the unit is sized properly.

To determine how much each SEER rating will cost to run, you will need a few tools.  You will need to know how many hours you run your air conditioner annually, what the size (BTU’s) of the unit is, the SEER rating of the unit and cost of hydro per KWH.

Here’s how to determine energy consumed (watts)

Divide Btu’s produced by the stated SEER rating

Ex. 24,000 Btu (2 ton) divided by 13 SEER = 1846 (watts)

Convert this figure to Kwh (1000 watts per KW)

Ex.1846 watts divided by 1,000 = 1.9 Kwh (rounded up)

We will use 1,700 annual hours of operation as an example

Multiply the number of Kwh your air conditioner consumes (1.9) each hour times the number of hours it operates annually (1,700) to determine annual Kwh usage

1.9 Kwh X 1700 hours annually = 3,230 Kwh annual consumption

3,230 x 11 cents cost per Kwh (example) = $355.30 annual cost of operation for a 2 ton, 13 SEER air conditioner.

Now, let’s compare that to a 16 SEER, 2 ton unit under the same circumstances.

24,000 Btu’s divided by 16 Seer = 1,500(watts)

1,500 divided by 1000 = 1.5 Kwh consumed each hour

1,700(hours of operation) x 1.5 (Kwh consumed each hour) = 2,550 Kwh consumed annually

2,550 x 11 cents cost per Kwh = $280.50 annual cost of operation for a 2 ton, 16 SEER air conditioner.

 

Assuming an air conditioner lasts an average of 15 years, you can determine whether the annual savings is worth the investment in a higher SEER rating.

Langton ClimateCare has been keeping families in the greater Hamilton area comfortable for over 20 years. We carry a variety of products and are always happy to assist those who require heating and cooling services.