Estimating Air Conditioning Costs: A Guide

Many homeowners wish they could know just how much money running their air conditioner costs them. Calculating the exact amount running an air conditioner costs depends on many factors, including your home’s size and the efficiency of your unit. There is, however, a simple method for estimating cost.

Key Terms for Estimating A/C Costs

To understand the information in this method of estimating the cost of running an air conditioning unit, a homeowner will need to know a few key terms:

  • An ampere (amp) measures how much electricity is flowing through something.
  • Watts measure the amount of energy transferred over time. One thousand watts is a kilowatt.
  • Volts measure the electrical potential between two points on a wire.
  • Kilowatt-Hour. A kilowatt-hour measures the number of kilowatts used in one hour. This is the basis for electricity bills. The amount of kilowatt-hours used during the month will determine a home’s electricity bill.

Estimating Air Conditioner Operating Cost

With a basic understanding of the terms above, it is possible to find an estimate of how much an air conditioner costs to run for a month. These are the steps to the estimation process:

  1. Find out the amount of amps drawn by the air conditioner. This will vary depending upon the unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating, but a quick estimate is:
    • 2-ton unit – 15 amps.
    • 3-ton unit – 18 amps.
    • 4-ton unit – 21 amps.
  2. Calculate watt and kilowatt usage. Central A/C units use power from a 240-volt outlet. Multiply the amount of amps the unit draws by 240 (110 for window A/C units) to find the number of watts the unit uses. Divide that number by 1,000 to find the number of kilowatt-hours the unit uses.

    21 X 24 = 5040

    5040 ÷ 1000 = 5.04

  3. Multiply the number of kilowatt-hours found above by 24 to see how many the unit uses in a day, then again by the number of days in the month to find out how many kilowatt-hours it uses for the month. Finally, look up the price charged for each kilowatt-hour by your electrical company, and multiply this by the kilowatt-hours found above. (For this equation, we will use 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.)

    5.04 X 24 = 120.96

    120.96 X 30 = 3628.8

    3628.8 X $.15 = $544.32

    Now, this number will probably be much, much higher than a homeowner’s entire energy bill for the month because this would be how much it costs to run the unit continuously.

  4. Use the outside temperature to find how much the unit runs. Another rough estimate can be used to find out how often an A/C unit runs.
    • At 110 degrees – the unit runs 80% of the time, or.8.
    • 100 degrees – .4.
    • 90 – .3.
    • 80 – .25.

    Multiple the dollar amount from step three by the multiplier determined by the outside temperature to discover the final estimated cost of running an A/C unit for a month.

    5544.32 X .3 = $163.30

  5. Once you figure out the cost of running your AC unit, it will be easier to create a monthly budget for your cooling costs. If you find your air conditioning costs are too high, there are many ways to reduce these costs. Contact us for more information on how to save money on your monthly cooling bills.

The Top Commercial HVAC Problems: Solved

Studies have shown that your employees’ productivity, work satisfaction, and mood while at work can be affected by the temperature in your building. Even further, your health and the health of your employees is impacted by the air you breathe all day and that air is impacted by your commercial HVAC system.

We encourage all of our commercial customers in the same way – to take preventative maintenance seriously and to monitor system function. However, even in the best-case scenario, problems can happen and repairs can become necessary. Look for the following warning signs to know it’s time to take care of your system.

Commercial HVAC Problems: Warning Signs

  • Poor-quality of breathable air
  • Knocking, or other strange sounds
  • Airflow issues or a lack of temperature performance
  • Quick-rise in costs to operate your system

These warning signs – or any other anomalies in your system’s performance or behavior – could indicate that you have one of the following common commercial HVAC problems.

What are the Top Commercial HVAC Problems?

1. Your Air Filter Needs Cleaning or Replacement

One of the quickest and easiest ways to self-diagnose and DIY repair your commercial HVAC system is to check on the filter. If you find that your system isn’t performing well enough or that it is behaving erratically, checking in on the filter and changing it out is a great instant-fix. If your filter is filthy, your air conditioning or heating system will need to work harder to push air through the filter. Further, the quality of air that you and your employees breathe will obviously be affected. For optimal performance, replace your filter quarterly. You may find – especially if your building is industrial or involved in dirty work – that you require more frequent filter replacements as well.

2. Your Refrigerant is Leaking

Refrigerant is a liquid substance that allows your air conditioning system to work; it cools the air that moves through your system. With too little refrigerant, your system will perform poorly and your building’s air conditioning will feel too warm. This is a dual issue – your employees will be hot and mad at you, but your system will also be doing overtime and this could lead to issues.

3. Your Thermostat is Malfunctioning

If your building is too hot, too cold, or if the temperature fluctuates more than you’d prefer – your thermostat may be the cause. Troubleshoot your thermostat by testing various temperature settings and testing your system’s ability to meet the determined temperature with a thermometer. Many commercial building owners “set it and forget it” and neglect to check in on their thermostat, so they fail to realize that it is displaying an error or a blank screen.

4. Your HVAC System Needs Maintenance

Commercial HVAC Systems require as much – or more – maintenance than residential HVAC systems. Routine maintenance provides that minor HVAC issues that come up – and they do! – can be taken care of before they become highly expensive and complicated.  Complete system failure is common mostly among systems that do not receive consistent maintenance. If you find that your system is performing unsatisfactorily or behaving in a way that concerns you, we always suggest

As the owner and operator of a commercial building, it is important for you to understand all of the systems that make your building work while you work. Your air quality and the temperatures your team lives with while working every day impact your productivity, your health, and your happiness. By being proactive about the maintenance of your HVAC system you can preven the issues covered here today.

We would like to help! If you are ready to set up a proactive and preventive maintenance plan with a dedicated professional OR if your system is underperforming and you require a check-up, call us. We’re waiting by the phone!

Fans Or A/C – Which Is Better?

Woman with FanBefore the 1900s, mechanical fans were considered as the most sophisticated and preferred cooling device. They were used in various applications from residential cooling to commercial processes. They are still widely used today albeit they no longer occupy the dominant position in most people’s minds. Fans are cheap and they get the job done without consuming an enormous amount of energy. The operational cost of a typical unit running 12 hours a day is no more than $5 per month. It simply makes sense for a household that is trying to keep its expenses under control.

The invention of air conditioners started a large shift towards this new technology. Everyone who experienced the cooling effect of A/C systems could feel that this was far superior to anything that was ever offered before. Electricity was also cheaper back in the day so they did not have to worry much about energy consumption. Nowadays, people don’t have the luxury of taking energy for granted both due to environmental and financial factors. An air conditioner that runs 12 hours a day will set a household back around $150 per month. That is a lot of money that could have been used for other essential needs.

Many have suggested implementing a dual approach to cooling. This involves the use of both a fan and an air conditioner. It may seem counterintuitive but this strategy does work. Fans improve air circulation and provide a evaporative effect on the skin similar to wind chill. They don’t lower the room temperature per se but they make people feel as if it was colder. This allows occupants to set the A/C at a slightly higher temperature so that it doesn’t have to work as hard. Energy consumption falls lower resulting in net savings despite operating two devices at the same time.

Fans or A/C? The better question is, “why not both?” They don’t have to be pitted against each other. These two can work in tandem to give people reprieve from the scorching heat while reducing the cost of operation.

Call us for all of your heating and air conditioning needs.

Temperature Control Tips & Tricks For HVAC Systems

Air Condioner Repairman ThumbsupIf you want your AC units to run efficiently then you should follow some HVAC tips. A lot of people are ignorant about how to care for their HVAC systems, which is why they face problems when the summer season sets in. To prevent this from happening, it is advisable to call for a professional tune-up before the summer season arrives, this way the AC unit would be all prepped up for giving an optimum performance throughout summer.

It is also advisable to have the air filter of the AC unit cleaned thoroughly every month. You can also have it changed every month, if it is feasible for you. It is best to invest in electrostatic filters as these give an impressive performance. If you are taking out the air filters for cleaning then be mindful of the fact that the AC should not run without the filter. Also, ensure that the filter is completely dry before fitting it back into the device.

In case of outdoor condenser units, one of the most useful HVAC tips is to have the debris or leaves removed from the outdoor condenser units for best results. Also, don’t forget to clean the coils, fan grills and fan blades of such outdoor units. For a thorough cleaning, you can use a hose to spray away all the dust and debris stuck to such components. Before hosing the unit, you should cover the motors and other essential components with plastic bags so that they do not get wet. A lot of times, people forget to clean the base pan of outdoor condenser units, which are located at its base. Cleaning this out is most likely to make a huge different in the unit’s performance therefore you might as well carry out this chore.

When checking HVAC systems it also helps to take a look at the fan because sometimes the blades may be striking an object in its way. The blade also becomes bent at times, thus causing it to become unbalanced. As far as possible, you can fix this issue with your bare hands otherwise you can have the blades replaced.

For any HVAC related needs, give us a call at (909)786-2808.

What Is The Difference Between Manual And Electronic Thermostat Controls?

Hand setting digital thermostatA thermostat is used to control the temperature of heating and cooling systems. If the temperature falls below the set temperature point then the device starts the heating system. In case of cooling, the device starts the air-conditioning unit if the environment in the room gets too warm. Thermostat is an excellent way to keep temperature inside a room to the required level. There are different types of thermostat systems. Digital programmable units are preferred but many people still want to use manual thermostats.

Manual thermostats are easy to use because these units have fewer features. A device in this range has just the main function and can be operated easily by anyone. There is no learning curve, complex programming to master, or any need to consult the manual every time before use. People who prefer simplicity or do not need lots of functions and features in the thermostat use the manual unit. A big plus point in favor of anual thermostats is that devices in this range are quite cheaper compared to other types of thermostats. Also known as electromechanical thermostats, the manual units remain popular with some people due to these advantages.

Electronic thermostats also known as programmable digital thermostats are advanced version of manual thermostats. The digital units have a digital display and a few buttons to program the temperature settings. These devices do temperature controlling work by self. Once you have set the temperature preference then it will do all the work automatically. Just program it and relax to enjoy your comfortable room with the right temperature. The record of your temperature preferences are kept in its memory. Just program the temperatures as you want during different periods of time.

Depending on the electronic thermostat model you select, you can set programming for a week. Temperature settings for each day of the week can be set. Such a unit has vacation setting and hold setting. There is manual override. This type of unit works smartly and helps you save energy and money. To avoid searching the manual every time you want to change something in the device, choose a unit that has instructions printed somewhere on the device itself.

Both types of units have their own advantages and disadvantages. Choose a unit that works best for your needs and preferences. If you need professional guidance then call us to learn more about home thermostats or to install a new programmable thermostat today.

Qualifications Of An HVAC Technician That You Should Know About

Qualified HVAC Technician The heating, ventilation and air conditioning of a home is quite a complex system, and requires a trained and qualified technician to handle the job. A sound background in HVAC knowledge puts the technician at a vantage of understanding any safety issues that arise in heating systems operated by gas, oil or electricity. Here are important factors to consider when deciding on what technician qualifications to look for.

Licensing

In many states, part of the qualifications of technician services includes licensing. You can check on government licensing websites to see the status of the respective HVAC technician you are about to hire. Having a license also indicates that the technician has gone through the necessary education and expertise in the field.

Experience

Education is not enough; having some experience on the job is another important qualifications of technician services. A minimum of 2 to 5 years of experience is an assurance that the technician has already interacted with home HVAC systems and will be faster in troubleshooting the problem. Additionally, it is important to get a technician who is experienced in the specific HVAC system that you have in your home.

References

Any good HVAC technician should have a list of customers he/she have worked for before. If the technician doesn’t freely offer his/her references, it is good to ask him/her for a list. Be sure to call a few of the references to know if they were satisfied with the technician you are about to hire.

Any heating, ventilation or air conditioning problem experienced at home or office needs the right technician to perform the job. For any HVAC needs you have in your house, be sure to call our hotline number and we will send an expert right away.

Advancement In Heating And Cooling Technology

Hot water heater , gas furnace and air conditioning unitCompared to older models, a lot of technological changes have been made to the modern HVAC system, providing home and business owners with more efficiency when heating and cooling their rooms.

Energy and operation costs have risen in the past few years, and everyone seems to looking for new ways to improve HVAC efficiency of their units. HVAC manufacturers, who are always looking for new ways to meet the consumer’s needs, have responded to this demand and are producing more efficient products.

Just a few years back, the amount of electricity that HVAC systems consumed, the unseemly levels of noise produced by the units and their effect to the environment was a major concern for most people. With more people becoming aware of how their actions affect the environment, there has been a rising need for better products and services that help protect the environment. Also, no one wants to spend more than they should on energy cost.

The technology in new HVAC system seems to improve these areas, allowing you some peace of mind when cooling and heating your home or business. A lot of improvements have been made in the shape of the fan blade in new units, reducing the noise produced. You will be able to heat or cool your rooms without the usual rumbling noise produced by HVAC systems.

R410A is the generic name given to a new refrigerant, which reduces the harmful effects HVAC units have on the ozone layer. R410A does not use chlorine and allows the consumer to play their part in protecting the environment.

Compared to older versions of HVAC units that could consume as much as 6,000 watts per hour of electricity, the newer ones can operate on as little as 1,710 watts. This allows the consumer to save huge amounts of money on electric bills from running HVAC systems.

When it comes to maintenance, newer models come with diagnostic software tools that are able to identify the areas in your unit that need servicing. This means that the consumer will always be updated of any changes in their units, allowing them to take necessary steps on time.

For this and more information on heating and cooling technology, call us and we will be able to assist.

Cooling Tips For Your Home

The thought of summer brings to mind a trip to the beach or spending time by the pool with a cold drink. However, summer can also mean mercury–bursting, sweltering days and night filled with humidity and oppressive heat. On such days, everyone’s first instinct is to set the thermostat as low as possible; however, there are other summer cooling tips for cooling down the home without abusing the electricity bill.

Cooling Tips for Your Home

· One of the most obvious house cooling tips is to keep the sun out. Summer sunshine brings excessive amounts of heat into the house. Therefore, one should keep out the sun and its heat by closing the drapes, shutters, blinds, and windows during the day. In fact, shutters are excellent for both summer and winter since they provide adequate insulation value during the winter season.

· Some people are their own worst enemies when it comes to keeping their home cool in summer. They leave the light on during the day and use appliances that generate a lot of heat when in use. The best remedy for this is to turn off all unnecessary lighting or swap the heat–producing bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs, and use appliances during the cooler parts of the day.

· When looking at tips to stay cool in summer, one must address the subject of fans. It is important to make good use of all types of fans including ceiling fans, attic fans, and box fans. It is significantly cheaper to run a fan than it is to run the air conditioning unit. In addition, running a fan together with the air conditioner can produce excellent results and help in reducing utility costs.

· It is possible to cool a home by strategically opening windows depending on the direction the wind is blowing. When wind blows against the house, it produces a high–pressure area where it hits and a low–pressure area on the opposite side. Therefore, opening windows on both sides of the house will create a breeze as the air moves through the house.

Experts recommend scheduling a maintenance inspection to analyze and maintain the efficiency and performance of the air conditioning system.

Poor Cooling Might Indicate Central Air Conditioner Needs Charged

Technician charging freon and doing maintenanceWith temperatures finally on the rise, many homeowners are turning to their air conditioning system to get a little relief. Unfortunately, sometimes problems arise and you find that your central air conditioning system is simply not providing the cooling benefits you need. There can be many reasons why your air conditioner is not providing sufficient cool air, one of them being that your central air conditioner needs charged. Fortunately, you can save time and money by doing a little trouble shooting to determine if the problem can be resolved by having freon charged by a professional HVAC technician.

One of the first things you should do when you notice that your air conditioner is not cooling is to make sure you are actually running the air conditioner and that it doesn’t need to be reset. Turn your air conditioner on and set the thermostat to 80˚ F and let it run for approximately 30 minutes, then turn the thermostat down to 65˚ F and let your air conditioner run for another 15 minutes. This will help ensure your air conditioner is reset and can begin cooling your home if this was all that was necessary. If a reset was needed, you should quickly begin to notice a change in temperature. If not, it’s time to begin a little troubleshooting to determine the problem.

Start by making sure the fan for your outside unit is running. You should be able to take a look at the unit and see the fan going around, never stick your hands or anything else inside to see if it is moving. If the fan isn’t running, chances are the motor has burned out, in which case, you are going to need a professional HVAC technician to provide the necessary repairs.

If the fan is running, your next step is to check the thermostat. A professional HVAC technician can use an Ohm meter to determine if your thermostat is functioning properly; however, if you notice that your home is cooler than the outside temperature, you might have a broken thermostat. Again, checking thermostat and providing the necessary repair or replacement should be left to a trained professional.

Another important troubleshooting tip is to place your hand over one of the air vents. It is important to be sure that you are not doing this over a cold air return vent, but rather, over a vent that typically blows cool air into your home. With the air conditioner running, place your hand over the vent and check to see if the air is cool. If the air coming out feels warm or room temperature, you most likely need to have your unit charged. Contact a professional HVAC technician for charging your air conditioning unit. This is not something you should do on your own.

Air Conditioning Repair And Maintenance

Everyone in Glendora understands the benefits of having a well functioning Air Conditioning unit. However, we don’t always take the right steps to ensure that our A/Cs are in tip top shape. Perhaps if Glendora locals had a better understanding of the different components of their air conditioners and why they require routine maintenance, they would be more willing to take on the minimal costs of repairs and maintenance to improve their system’s efficiency and prolong its productivity.

Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance

Why do Air Conditioners Need Maintenance?

In the warmer months, A/C units are a must to ensure home comfort and safety. It doesn’t just stop there. Air conditioners also improve, condition, the air inside of your home by controlling humidity, circulating the air and purifying it. While controlling temperature is the main function of an A/C unit, without these additional comfort benefits, your home would simply not be the same.

Taking into account all of what your air conditioner does for your home, it makes it easier to factor in routine maintenance into your schedule. However, it would help even more to have an understanding of how each component in your system contributes to these benefits and why they need to be maintained regularly in order to your system to run effectively.

The different components of an air conditioner explained

Compressor – The compressor is the single most important component of an air conditioning system. While an A/C needs all of its components to function, the compressor is the catalyst to the entire cooling process. It pressurizes refrigerant and in a series of heat transfers, sends it into the home as a cool liquid to cool the home. A well maintained compressor will ensure that your home receives cold air and releases warm air. Which, of course, is the goal when running the A/C

If your A/C runs loudly, your compressor could be the culprit. A leak and the system not cooling as efficiently are also signs that your compressor may need servicing. Do yourself and your bank account a favor and ensure your compressor never has issues with routine maintenance.

Expansion Valve – Once the refrigerant has been compressed into a cool liquid, the expansion valve gives way for the refrigerant to take its gaseous state. This allows for the cooled, now gas, to flow throughout your home and reduce the indoor temperature. Any issues in the expansion valve will absolutely affect system performance.

A few things to watch for as signs of a faulty or failing expansion valve are poor AC efficiency, frost and a continuously running compressor. If you notice any of these signs of a failing expansion valve, contact an HVAC tech immediately. Any of these signs would be easily noticed during an inspection from a trained AC specialist.

Evaporator – The evaporator coils work to extract the heat and humidity from each individual room of your home. This is the process of conditioning your hoe and is what gives the illusion that an A/C “cools” your home. In reality, it is simply extracting heat and moisture and replacing it with a more neutral air (refrigerant).

Condenser – As evaporator coils draw in hot air from within the home, condenser coils work to push hot air outside of the A/C system’s outdoor unit. They are complimentary systems in this way and, therefore, require similar maintenance. As they work to consistently transfer air throughout the day, both systems of coils are exposed to dust and dirt. Keeping these coils clean is a must to ensure the best system efficiency possible.

Homeowners likely won’t feel comfortable inspecting these coils themselves. This means that regular AC maintenance is a must. Dirt buildup can eventually clog up these coils entirely, rendering your system, useless. Leaks can also occur in older systems. Have an HVAC tech ensure that your system is ready to handle the heat.

If you notice a problem in any of these key components of your HVAC system, contact 25 Dollar Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning right away to get your system back in working order. To make sure your system runs smoothly throughout the year, ask us about maintenance plans.