Air Conditioning (10)

If you're looking to buy a new furnace or air conditioner for your home energy efficiency is probably at the top of your list. So how do you know which models will use the least energy to heat and cool your home? There are two industry standards that make it easy to measure energy efficiency.

Air Conditioner Efficiency - SEER

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of efficiency for air conditioners. A high SEER number means more energy efficiency, and lower cost to operate. All new air conditioners have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. The most efficient systems can achieve SEER ratings over 20.

Heating Efficiency AFUE

For gas furnaces, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is a common measure of energy use and efficiency. The AFUE rating tells you how much of the fuel used by your furnace is used to actually heat your home and how much is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. For example, a 90% furnace creates heat, 90% of which is used directly by the home with 10% lost, generally as a result of venting. Some newer gas furnaces have an AFUE rating that exceeds 98%.

Have questions about choosing the most efficient heating and cooling system for you home? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we can help.
When choosing a new central air conditioner from your home there are many important factors to consider. Here are some the top priorities that homeowner's have when buying an air conditioner

1. Efficiency

Look at the system's ENERGY STAR® rating to see how much energy you can expect to pay during a typical year. While more efficient systems often cost more initially, over time they are a good investment and will result in lower operating costs.

2. Reliability

A new air conditioner is a big investment, so it's important to choose a system that will provide years of reliable operation with the least amount of service related costs. Choose products from a reputable manufacturer with a long history in the industry.

3. Quiet Operation

While air conditioners are becoming quieter, they can still produce noise as high as 80 decibels. Look for features like variable speed operation, which can reduce noise significantly.

4. Humidity Control

To maintain proper humidity levels, choose a thermostat that controls both temperature and humidity. You might also consider a comfort system with a dehumidifier.

5. Healthy Indoor Air

If you have pets or someone in your household suffers from allergies or respiratory problems, adding a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler will capture the small contaminants in every room of your home.

Have questions about choosing the right central air conditioner for your home? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we can help.
Most residential central air conditioners contain small amounts of mold. If the mold is allowed to grow and contaminate the ventilation system, it can lower air quality and lead to health issues for those living in the home. The cause of mold is excess moisture. The interior parts of your HVAC system are ideal places for mold to grow. This is usually a symptom of water leaks and flaws in the unit. Total Comfort Solutions can locate the cause of excess the moisture and recommend solutions. 

AC drain pans, which hold standing water for long periods of time, are primary mold sources. Pipes that contain bends and curves may hold water from unit operation, leading to mold growth. Often when there is mold growing inside the unit, you may be able to see it growing on the inside of the air ducts. While it can be easy to spot mold around your air conditioner, it's not as simple as cleaning the surfaces where mold is visible, you must find the source of the problem to prevent mold from growing in the future.

To avoid dealing with mold issues in the future, examine your condensate drain regularly for clogs. If this drain gets backed up, the standing water can develop bacteria, which may turn into mold. Once you’ve removed the mold from the system, you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t return by regularly maintaining the unit to keep the ducts clean.

Have questions about mold in your air conditioner? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we can help.
Is your air conditioner ready for the summer heat? With proper maintenance you can ensure that it runs at peak efficiency while avoiding costly breakdowns.

In addition to scheduling an annual air conditioner tune-up, there are a few things you can do yourself. Watch the videos below to learn more.

Quick Tips AC Maintenance Part One

Quick Tips AC Maintenance Part Two

Have questions about maintaining your central air conditioner? Call Total Comfort, we can help.
When choosing a new air conditioner energy efficiency is at the top of most homeowner's list. So how can you ensure you are getting the most efficient central air conditioner for your needs? Watch the video below for a simple explanation of how AC efficiency is measured.

Have questions about choosing the right central air conditioner for your home? Give us a call, we can help answer all your questions.

Is Your Thermostat in the Right Place?

Finding the right location for your thermostat is important. An improperly placed thermostat will give you false readings, reducing comfort and wasting energy. To ensure your thermostat is in the right location, follow these simple rules:
  • Place the thermostat on an interior wall
  • Place the thermostat near the center of the home
  • Don't place the thermostat near heat registers or vents
  • Avoid walls that receive direct sunlight
  • Avoid areas near the kitchen, where cooking will generate heat
By following these simple steps you can ensure your heating and cooling system are affected by false thermostat readings. Need help with your thermostat? Call Total Comfort Solutions. We're here to help.
Choosing a furnace filterWhen it comes to choosing the right furnace air filter, there are many options available. The efficiency of furnace filters is measured on the MERV scale, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, which rates filter efficiency on a scale of 1-20.

On the low end of the cost scale and MERV scale with a rating of 1-3 are disposable fiberglass filters. Made of 1-inch thick fiberglass, these filters are designed to prevent larger particles of dust, lint, and other debris from damaging your furnace.

Disposable pleated furnace filters are probably the most popular option. These filters are made from polyester or cotton paper and remove smaller particles like mold spores and mites, but should be changed frequently to avoid clogging and reducing airflow to the furnace. Pleated filters have a MERV rating of 6 and cost more than fiberglass filters.

The most effective furnace air filters are disposable or permanent electrostatic filters. With a MERV rating of 10 or higher, they offer highly effective filtration and are recommended for homes with persons with allergies or upper respiratory conditions.

Have questions about furnace filters and indoor air quality? Give us a call, we're here to help.
As the heating season winds down and the warm days arrive, many homeowners find that is it difficult to maintain even temps throughout the house.  One day it's in the 80s and the next day it's back down to the 40s, making it a challenge to find an ideal thermostat setting. One option is to zone your home's heating and cooling system.

As the name implies, zoning involves dividing areas home into environments that can be controlled individually to maintain a comfortable temperature. This way if one family member wants to sleep in a cold upstairs bedroom, others in the home's lower levels can set their own thermostat. By working with your home's HVAC system, zoning will increase, reduce or shut off heating and cooling to each zone by opening and closing dampers located inside the air ducts. A programmable thermostat regulates the damper's operation, allowing each zone to be climate controlled separately.

Zoning will not only maintain comfort levels in all areas of the home, it will significantly reduce energy consumption and utility costs. When properly set up, a home zoning system can pay for itself in just a few years.
Air Conditioner MaintenanceWhile central air conditioners have become more efficient and reliable over the past 10-20 years, regular maintenance is still as important as ever. Recent studies have shown that putting off maintenance can degrade system performance and shorten the lifespan of the system.

“A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool – wasting energy and leading to expensive repairs and/or early system failure...A buildup of .042(1/20) inches of dirt on the heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease inefficiency of 21%.” –

“1/8th of an inch of dirt and dust build-upon the blower wheel can reduce airflow by up to 30%” – Texas A&M Study

Like your car, your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to keep it operating in peak condition. In addition to keeping your air conditioner clean, a comprehensive tune-up includes the following:

  • Air filter replacement
  • Check supply and return temperature
  • Return air wet bulb
  • Check ambient temperature
  • Check suction line temperature
  • Check liquid line temperature
  • Approach method
  • Check for proper air flow
  • Check electrical connections
  • Inspect blower compartment
  • Check blower motor, wheel and belt
  • Clean out blow-out drain
  • Lubricate motor
  • Check thermostat
If you're leaving home for a few days it may seem like a good idea to lower your thermostat, or even turn the air conditioner off. However, setting your thermostat too high when you leave for vacation could actually end up costing you more. The reason is, if the house is allowed to get too hot the air conditioner will have to work overtime when you return to restore the temperature to a comfortable range, negating much of the energy savings.

Turning the temperature up too high can also cause problems with excess humidity, which can damage furnishings and cause mildew to grow.

So what is the best temperature? We recommend setting the temperature 4-5 degrees higher than the normal setting to save energy and keep your house safe from excess heat and humidity. So if you normally set your temperature to 72, turn it up to a maximum of 77 degrees.

Have questions about cooling and heating your home? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we're here to help.