Are Your Pets Causing Your Utility Bill to Skyrocket?

The Unexpected Costs of Pet Ownership

San Diego is pet friendly! We love that about our city! Surely, your pets are a part of the family. Fido & fluffy are a comfort for you, fun for your children and visitors to your home, and they’re the perfect welcoming committee at the end of a long day. However, your pets probably also have their own column in your budget every month. As their caregivers, we must feed and provide medical care for our animals and we’d be lying if we said we don’t spoil them with treats & toys! It’s all expected as part of caring for a pet. However, there may be a cost you didn’t expect to accrue.

costs of owning a pet

If you’re staring at your most recent utility bill from San Diego Gas & Electric is through the roof, it may not be your spouse who mistakenly leaves the hall light on all. the. time. or your kids who never stop charging their devices. It could be your HVAC system!

Is my PET really affecting my utility bill?

There are a lot of reasons your HVAC system could be hiking your utility bill. You may need to upgrade to a newer, more energy efficient furnace or the SEER rating for your air conditioning system might be less than ideal. However, it could also be the way you operate your machine OR how hard it’s working to push air through debris.

If you are a pet owner and you find that your utility bill is too high, try these fixes for your HVAC system:

  1. Set your HVAC system on a timer while everyone is gone.
    Do your pets stay home while everyone else is at work or school? If so, you may make efforts to accommodate them while you’re out – you leave on a television so they’re not as lonely, leave them a new treat, and keep your thermostat kicked to ‘comfortable’ all day long. They’re SO lucky to have you.However, if your HVAC system is laboring to heat or cool your home all day long while Rover slips in and out of the doggie door casually all day, you might be wasting home comfort resources. Instead, we recommend setting your thermostat on a timer so that periodicially throughout the day, your home is warmed or cooled to your usual standards but it isn’t kicking on all day, unnecessarily. Bonus: Your home will be sunny and 70 when you get home from a hard day!
  2. Brush your pets more often.
    The other BIG effect your pet has on your utility bill comes straight from the fur – you know, the stuff you pull off of your favorite pair of pants and sweep off the floor every. single. day? By brushing your dog or cat and disposing of the hair, you can stop all that extra fluff from circling the air and ending up coating your vents and gumming up your air filters. Not only does this require extra wear & tear on your system, it also requires more energy for your system to push air through all the fuzz, thus raising your bill!
  3. Change your air filters more often.
    In reference to the previous issue, homes with pets require more frequent replacement of filters to better combat the hair issue. Even with regular brushing, our furry friends still shed like crazy!
  4. Clean & monitor your outdoor heating and cooling unit.
    It’s less common, but more rough & rambunctious pets like to climb on and play with outdoor AC units and other backyard paraphernalia. To avoid damage, teach your pets to avoid the area, provide a barrier to the unit such as a low fence or trellis, and monitor the unit often to check for debris. This is a good practice for homeowners anyway as loathsome pests can infiltrate & damage your system.
  5. Have your HVAC system inspected.
    There are elements of your HVAC system that simply must be inspected and maintained by a professional. This is especially the case for homeowners with ductwork, but it’s true for even the simplest packaged unit. Your Airmaxx technician can inspect the entirety of your system and determine if there are any other energy efficiency solutions not being implemented yet.

For more tips on saving money, or to schedule your HVAC system inspection, contact Airmaxx n San Diego or El Cajon today!

Refrigerant Charging Basics

Maintaining your HVAC system is practical and necessary. Additionally, checking your own system helps you cultivate knowledge and communicate effectively with professionals should problems occur. However, most people aren’t as familiar as they should be with basic HVAC maintenance. In particular, refrigerant charging is a mystery to some homeowners.

Why Is Refrigerant Charging Needed?

The most technologically and structurally sound HVAC systems will need maintenance occasionally. If you notice your air conditioner is blowing warm air or the airflow is insufficient, it’s probably time to recharge. Extra refrigerant isn’t always necessary, but it can help cool your airflow again.

Using The Total Superheat Method

There are two ways to charge your HVAC: the total superheat method and the condenser subcooling method. The total superheat method is used for machines with fixed meter devices; the condenser method is used for machines with TXV.

Always charge your HVAC system in the correct temperature. For a successful charge, the temperature must be above 55 degrees Fahrenheit outdoors and 70 degrees Fahrenheit indoors. The indoor wet bulb temperature should be over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check the total superheat for current load conditions. If you have charged your system correctly, your total superheat will be within three degrees of target superheat for current load conditions.

Before charging, check that your HVAC system is clean. Thoroughly clean coils, filters, and all other parts. The tiniest speck of dust or other contaminate will negatively influence your airflow, air temperature, and many other factors. It may also disrupt your home’s air quality. If you can’t see all possible contaminants, consider using a video scope. These are particularly helpful when cleaning high or low parts of your system, or cleaning in small spaces.

Once the system is cleaned, set required airflow back to the manufacturers’ settings. Don’t attempt to charge a system using anything except original settings. The typical setting is about 400 CMF/ton, give or take 10%. When the airflow is correct, you can begin charging your HVAC system.

Identify your metering device, which will tell you how fast your refrigerant is changing from a liquid to a gas or vapor. The metering system’s measurements will help you determine how to charge the system and whether you need more refrigerant. Attach a high-quality digital gauge and temperature probes to your system to complete the charge. Add or remove refrigerant as desired, and allow about 15 minutes after refrigerant has been added or removed to determine final total superheat.

Using The Condenser Subcooling Method

The condenser subcooling method is meant for HVAC systems using a TXV metering device. Other than that, the biggest difference between this and the superheat method is the temperature under which a charge can be executed. The indoor wet bulb temperature should still be above 50 degrees, but it should be above 60 degrees outdoors and 70 degrees indoors. Note that in a TXV system, suction pressure will stay relatively constant. Also note that you shouldn’t continue to add refrigerant after optimum cooling is reached.

If you have any questions regarding refrigerant charging, such as what refrigerant to use or how to identify your metering device, contact us online or by phone. We’ll be happy to consult with you.

HVAC Solutions for Tiny Homes

How Do I Heat & Cool My Tiny Home?

Tiny Homes HVAC OptionsIf you have been paying attention in the greater San Diego area, you may have noticed the uptake of a global trend: tiny homes. We love the tiny house trend and we’re happy to see tiny homes in San Diego because they’re energy efficient & sustainable and because they challenge the status quo and that’s what we’re all about. In their efforts to maintain a lifestyle that is both energy conscious and affordable, many tiny home owners and builders will find themselves with questions:

How can I cool my tiny home?
Which HVAC system is best on such a small scale?
What is the HVAC load calculation for my tiny house?

 

HVAC for small spaces is completely different than a typical home or commercial location. However, fear not – maintaining your thermal comfort index in a tiny home is easy, affordable, and eco-friendly. Here are the major tiny home HVAC solutions you have to consider:

 

Passive Cooling / Passive Heating

 

Passive cooling and passive heating refer to ventilation which is not motivated or generated by an electrical fixture, with ductwork and other technologies. Passive heating or cooling would not require a thermostat or other active controls. Tiny home builders in California may prefer this avenue because they may not be required to make modifications to suit the system, or the modifications will be minimal. For the homeowner, these solutions are often less expensive but can also be less effective. Here are a few examples:

 

  • Windows
    In a tiny home, you’re not cooling a massive space and you can probably achieve a decent cross-breeze just by opening cross-home windows and letting freshness in. The trouble starts when the heat or humidity – especially here in the hot San Diego weather – end up inside your home with no recourse for removal. Also, this doesn’t work as well to heat the home later in the winter.
  • Ceiling Fans
    Ceiling fans can manage to cool or somewhat “heat” your tiny house. While they do not generate their own temperature air, they do effectively circulate cool air and generate a breeze. In the winter, you can turn your ceiling fan in the opposite direction and it will push warm air that has risen to the rafters of your home downward into your living space for an effect of warmth. The drawbacks to ceiling fans include that they are a threat to air quality if not cleaned well and often, they do not generate temperate air so you’re still working, essentially, with the temperature given in the home, and they can sometimes make a small room feel smaller.
  • Floor Fans/Window Fans
    If you are willing to part with the space in your tiny home, a floor fan will make you feel cooler by drawing a draft across your skin. Whether you insert one in a window to draw warm air out from your home or stand one in the room and let it oscillate you will find an increase in comfort. However, these fans struggle to warm up a room and in the warmest of conditions, will struggle to cool it to comfortable levels also.
  • Roof Vents/Attic Fans
    These are a little pricier than the options listed above because they do require a hole to be cut in your roof. One potential drawback to this is that if the unit is not sealed well, moisture leakage can become imminent. That said, these units can warm or cool your tiny home and will provide an increase in ventilation which will increase your comfort. If the weather is hot and heavy, however, this solution will feel uncomfortable.

 Air Conditioner Options for Tiny Houses

Active Cooling / Active Heating

Simply put, when we refer to active cooling or active heating, we are referring to air conditioning units. These will require some type of controls, either by thermostat or on the unit itself. While all of the following examples would require some installation for your tiny house, they are all effective. There are many active air conditioning systems that are highly energy efficient as well. Here are a few examples:

 

  • Window AC Unit
    Say what you will about the aesthetic of a window air conditioner, this solution will work for your tiny home. Of the active cooling solutions here, this is the most affordable and the easiest to install yourself. That said, if your tiny home only has 1-3 windows, as most do, it may feel foreboding to eliminate one by stuffing it with one of these bad boys.

All of the following active cooling systems will require an HVAC technician for installation and maintenance.

  • PTAC
    The term PTAC, which stands for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner, may not sound familiar but if you’ve stayed in an economy hotel room, you’ve likely used one. This will take up precious wall space in your home but it will effectually heat and cool your space with ease and in 2016, these come in highly energy efficient AC models.
  • RV-Style Roof Unit
    This is another solution, commonly used in RVs, which will both cool your tiny home and heat your tiny home. It is installed into your roof so it takes up less living space. However, if your roof operates at a slant greater than 15 degrees, you will find that this unit shuts down easily. Flat-roof tiny homes will love this option.
  • Mini Split System
    A common mini-me to the traditional air conditioning system, the Mini Split is such that your home will have an interior ventilation unit and an outdoor cooling unit, similar to your large home counterparts. The difference is in the size alone as the Mini system will use a compact air conditioner. To calculate your tiny home’s BTU, follow the same BTU calculation instructions as with a larger home, subbing in your actual square footage and accounting for any outlying factors such as multiple occupants, the probable use of a kitchen, and accounting for sun vs. shade.
    Shop Compact AC Units

 

{Builders: Are you curious about how to design and engineer an HVAC system in a tiny home from scratch? We’re happy to partner with you, too!}

 

If you’re looking to cut down on your tiny home costs and still heat and cool your space with ease, no worries! There are many passive and active HVAC solutions available for your tiny house. For more information or to request an estimate on HVAC services for your tiny home in San Diego or the surrounding area, contact Airmaxx today! We’re happy to help.

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Energy Efficiency Tips for Your Business

Throughout the U.S., commercial buildings account for a high percentage of total energy consumption. If you run a business, this reality may hit you every month in the form of a hefty utility bill. Fortunately, you can take a number of steps to reduce your energy use an make your business operate more efficiently. Here are some tips to help improve your efforts.

Reducing Your Cooling and Heating Costs

First, it’s important to note that even small changes in your business’ thermostat setting can translate into noticeable cost savings. In fact, you can shave about 3 percent off your monthly bill just by increasing building temperature by 1 F in summertime or decreasing building temperature by 1 F in wintertime. Other important tips for improving heating and cooling efficiency include replacing your HVAC filters on a regular schedule (typically once a season), keeping your HVAC system components well-maintained, installing a programmable thermostat, using window treatments to minimize interior heat buildup and making sure that nothing blocks your building’s air vents.

Reducing Your Lighting Costs

There’s a pretty good chance that your business uses more light than required for a safe, productive work environment. Start by assessing your usage patterns and keeping any unnecessary lights turned off. You might want to consider installing an occupancy sensor that turns lights on as needed. Other steps you can take include switching from older lighting fixtures to modern fixtures that use less power, switching to energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and shutting down your lights when the work day ends.

Reducing Your Office Equipment Costs

Even if you don’t work in a traditional office environment, your business almost certainly uses office equipment such as computers and copiers or printers. You can reduce your energy usage by doing such things as putting your computers and/or monitors into sleep or hibernation mode between periods of active use, turning equipment off when your business is closed and unplugging equipment that still draws power when not turned on.

Additional Steps

Before determining the best ways to keep your business’ energy costs in check, you may want to conduct an energy audit that gives you a better understanding of your current usage patterns. It will also pay in the long run to buy and maintain equipment that’s well-rated for low energy use. You may also save money if you keep your power usage low in the late afternoon and early evening, when energy demand typically spikes. For more information on how to keep your business’ energy costs in check, bookmark this blog and check back with us often. If you have any questions about the efficiency of your commercial HVAC system, be sure to give us a call.

All about Carrier Cor Thermostats

Carrier is fueling the fires of the smart technology revolution in the HVAC field with a brand new entry: the Cor Wi-Fi thermostat.

If you’re still programming your HVAC system the old-fashioned way, the Cor could show you what you’ve been missing. Savings of up to 20 percent on home energy costs are possible for those who purchase and install the Cor, which makes this smart thermostat one of the best energy-efficient investments you could ever hope to find.

Want to know what living with the Cor could do for you? Read on to find out …

Cor Wi-Fi Thermostat Features

In appearance the Cor is a simple device. With its ultra-slim design and polished black surface the Cor can be mounted on any wall and will blend in unobtrusively with its surroundings.

But when the Cor is activated it blossoms into something special. From that point on you’ll have a fully functional, Internet-ready programmable thermostat that offers a wealth of convenient options and detailed information that will help you make smart, sensible energy-consumption choices.

As a state-of-the-art smart technology thermostat, the Cor features:

  • Reliable home Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Full programming and monitoring capability through the downloadable Cor app and the Cor online web portal.
  • Complete remote accessibility through Apple or Android smartphones and tablets, as well as through your laptop or PC.
  • A color-touch screen with motion sensor and on-screen prompts that make programming the Cor a breeze.
  • A basic display face that includes the time, date, indoor temperature, indoor relative humidity and outdoor temperature plus climate.
  • Local four-day weather forecasts on demand.
  • Seven-day guided programming with day-by-day, moment-by-moment display.
  • Vacation mode settings for energy conservation while you are away.
  • Monthly energy-use reports that let you track your energy consumption by time and date.
  • Customized energy-saving tips based on your personal habits and patterns of behavior.
  • Total compatibility with Hybrid Heat System and Ideal Humidity System technologies.

The magic of this smart thermostat is its programming versatility along with its breadth and depth of function. Precise customization of heating, cooling and air quality management is what defines the Cor Wi-Fi thermostat, and its ability to save you money by guiding you toward wiser practices makes it an intelligent investment in any circumstance.

For More Information about the Cor Wi-Fi Thermostat Contact Airmaxx Today

The Cor Wi-Fi thermostat is a retailer-installed product, which means you won’t have to worry about trying to put it in yourself.

Airmaxx Heating and Air Conditioning is honored to be an authorized dealer of Carrier products, so if you are interested in the Cor consider us your go-to source in the San Diego area. Please contact us to find out more, and if you decide to purchase the Cor we will handle the installation and walk you through the set-up and programming procedures so you can start cutting your energy costs immediately.

Follow us here for important information about indoor climate control and management practices that can save you money.

What Is An Energy Management System?

Managing energy usage is a concern for all business owners who are searching for effective ways to save money and minimize their impact on the environment. Reducing your company’s carbon footprint and lowering your operating costs requires you to put energy management systems in place that allows you to monitor, control and conserve energy.

Energy conservation is a hot topic right now because the world’s fossil fuel resources are dwindling. By saving energy, you can reduce your dependence on fossil fuel. Doing this allows you to save money as energy costs continue to rise.

The first thing you should do is implement systems that allow you to collect data about your company’s energy usage. There was a time reading your meter once a month or once a week was the best way to gather information about when and how your company uses energy. The problem with that is the data offered no information about how much energy a company was using throughout the day and on different days of the week. Now there is sophisticated interval-metering equipment that can gather data every 15 minutes. Having this kind of detailed data makes it easier to see exactly when you are wasting the most energy.

In many cases, you do not even have to invest any money to control usage. Implementing routines requiring your employees to turn the heating and air system and business equipment off at night and during the weekends when the building is empty can greatly reduce your energy usage.

Analyzing interval data allows you immediately identify waste without having to spend time an effort to patrol the building just to verify that equipment is turned off. If you are having trouble receiving cooperation from your employees, timers can do the job automatically. If your data shows that you are still using a lot of energy, you can consider upgrading equipment to more energy efficient models or adding insulation to prevent heat loss during the winter and heat gain during the summer.

Business owners who implement an effective energy management system can reduce overhead costs and increase profits. At the same time, they are doing what is right to save our planet’s valuable natural resources.

Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

Energy Saving Technologies For Your Business

Although HVAC systems are very crucial in promoting comfort in every building, these systems consume a lot of energy every day. The extent in which commercial HVAC systems consume energy is well known—HVAC systems are responsible for over half of the total energy consumption in commercial buildings. In light of this, it is becoming extremely important for buildings to find better and effective ways to manage HVAC energy consumption without affecting the comfort of the building. Here are some simple technologies that can help you save energy in your HVAC system:

Demand Control Ventilation Systems

Demand control ventilation systems are designed to prevent over ventilation in a building. They combine economizers with innovative carbon dioxide sensors to ensure that the level of ventilation is exactly what is needed. This is very crucial in making sure that the HVAC system only works based on the cooling demands in a specific building. Ultimately, this limits energy wastages.

Electronically Commutated Motors

The main goal of electronically commutated motors is to control HVAC blower speed. The system is able to detect the cooling demand in a building at a specific time and uses this data to regulate the speed of the HVAC blower ensuring that only the right amount of cooling is delivered in to the building. This helps to reduce unnecessary energy consumption in the long run.

Duct Sealing

Duct sealing simply helps to eliminate any form of leakages. In most cases, one of the biggest sources of energy waste in a HVAC system is the duct leakage. This is therefore one area you have to carefully consider. You can make duct sealing part of your regular HVAC system just to make sure you are on the safe side.

Saving energy through your commercial HVAC system can really go a long way in reducing the overall energy costs in your commercial space. Although there are different ways to do it, the best approach to take is to find energy conservation solutions that don’t affect the performance of the HVAC system. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

Ideal Temperatures To Set Your Thermostat To

Heating and air conditioning is all about maintaining a constant indoor temperature, humidity and air quality. For instance, the best temperature during winter may be 68 degrees Fahrenheit, so setting the thermostat on your HVAC system to that temperature to get the best results. The heater will continue heating air inside the house until this temperature is attained before turning off. Read on to learn about Ideal Thermostat Settings.

Temperature Control in HVAC Systems

The device responsible for switching the HVAC system on and off to maintain a constant indoor temperature is the thermostat. Programmable thermostat can be programmed to turn off the heating or cooling system at certain times. For instance, you can program it to turn off the system on weekdays between 9:00am to 3:30pm since nobody will be in the house. Alternatively, you can program the thermostat to maintain a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit during these times, or at night when you are sleeping. This will save you a significant amount of money.

Ideal Thermostat Settings

Thermostats are usually set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during winter. However, it can be set to 55 degrees on winter nights as well as when there is nobody in the house during the day. Every degree the thermostat is turned back can translate to 1% saving on energy bills. During summer, the AC can also be set the same way. For instance, you can set it to turn on when temperatures reach 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and turn it off altogether on weekdays when there is nobody in the house during the day.

The beauty of using a programmable thermostat is that it switches the HVAC system on and off automatically, even when you are away from home. All you need to do is enter some simple instructions and you’re go to go.

Before buying a programmable thermostat, it is important that you get professional advice from an HVAC expert to ensure that you choose the right device. After all, some heating systems, such as heat pumps and electric heaters, cannot use regular programmable thermostats. It is therefore recommended that you get professional assistance before making a purchase. Follow Our Blog for More Great HVAC Information.

A Budget-friendly Way Of Investing In Your Home’s Comfort

 

Everybody would like to do up their homes. For some it may be the first time setting up their place, and for others, it may be a home improvement session that has been long due. Most people tend to spend a great deal of money on the aesthetics and looks of their home. While this definitely cannot be ruled out, it would be a good idea to invest in your home’s comfort as well. This means looking at products that will improve the functionality of your home and make it a more comfortable place to live. Heating and cooling systems are one such valuable investment.With the summer months soon upon us, now would be the time to look into some Innovative Carrier products. There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a cooling system. Measure the size of the room that is going to house the air-conditioning unit. The power of the unit you purchase will depend on the size of the room it will cool. Also, look into the Energy Star rating of the product. This will give you a good idea about which model will give you the best cooling with minimal power and carbon output. When you are narrowing down on the cooling unit, make sure that the service provider you are opting for includes installation as well as maintenance in the contract. This is essential in the long run, when you need your unit serviced each year. Having a maintenance contract in place will ensure that it takes place even if you forget about it.

Once you are sure of the unit you want to purchase, financing your new Carrier product should be the next thing on your mind. In most cases, the agency you approach will have a tie-up with an organization such as Wells Fargo Financial National bank. You will be able to get a range of loans, including those that allow you to make low monthly payments for a new air conditioner, rather easily.

The quickest way to get financing for the product you choose is to do it via the agency where you are making the purchase. The process will be through much faster, and you will be able to take advantage of low installments and special interest rates as well as flexible terms. All of these features will allow you to hold on to your regular finances without the worry of eating into your regular budget for the house.

These are some simple ways in which you can invest in the comfort of your home.