Tag Archives: HVAC

Is it Time for a New HVAC System?

A heating and cooling system is one of the biggest investments we make for our homes, so it’s only natural we want to get the most out of them. Unfortunately, no matter how well-maintained your HVAC system might be, you’re going to have to replace it at some point. An old, damaged system can result in growing energy bills and poor indoor air quality, which no homeowner wants to deal with. Here are five indicators that a system needs to be replaced.

1. Aging equipment

When was your current HVAC system installed? The Department of Energy recommends homeowners replace their HVAC system every 10 to 15 years. Modern units possess greater longevity compared to their predecessors, but major components may begin to deteriorate and fail after the 10-year mark depending on how well you maintained the unit.  

2. Costly HVAC repair

If you can’t make your mind up about whether or not to repair your old system and it’s more than a decade old, then purchasing a new system is the better investment. All HVAC systems require an occasional repair, but if your current system starts racking up repair bills and begins to cost as much as a new system, that means it’s time to invest in a new one.

3. Increasing energy bills

In Texas the seasons don’t change too drastically, so if you notice your bill increasing significantly, it’s most likely not because you cranked up the heat and forgot. Rather, it’s most likely due to your aging system not operating as efficiently as it should be.

Regular maintenance will help to increase the lifespan and efficiency of your HVAC system, but at some point, an upgrade will be necessary. Upgrading to a high-efficiency system can cut your monthly energy bills by as much as 20 percent.

4. Uncontrollable temperatures

As an HVAC system ages, it may begin to struggle regulating the temperature in your home. This could be the result of a variety of issues such as a damaged thermostat, low fluid levels, clogged filters, cracked ducts, or damage to the motors.

Temperature inconsistency typically means that your air conditioning system isn’t powerful enough, you have bad air flow, or the duct work isn’t properly installed. In either case, keeping the existing system will result in an unfavorable home environment and may even raise your energy bill.

5. Excessive dust buildup

On top of supplying cooled and heated air into your home, your HVAC system is responsible for proper ventilation. If your system is operating efficiently, it should improve the air quality in your home by removing dust and other allergens as well as maintaining the humidity level. If you begin to notice an increased amount of dust and other allergens in your home, that could be a sign your HVAC system isn’t up to par anymore.

Need an HVAC Expert in the Houston Area?

If you’re looking for professionals in the Houston-area who can help make the HVAC assessment process easier, then you don’t need to look any further than Air Specialist. We have the expertise to help you choose the perfect heating and air conditioning system for your home. If you’re interested in any of our services, please give us a call at (713) 481-1305 or schedule an appointment online!  

How to Prepare your HVAC System for Spring Storms

Here in Texas we have expansive land area with very diverse climates throughout the state. The Houston area is a part of what is known as the Piney Woods region of the United States. Some areas of this region receive more than 60 inches of rain annually, and with spring right around the corner, we’re expecting frequent thunderstorms and rain showers.

If you live in this area, you may be wondering “what’s the best way to protect my HVAC system from exposure to these elements?” Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with some easy steps to help you and your HVAC system weather the storms to come.

Protect your outside HVAC unit

When it comes to your HVAC system, your external unit is vulnerable to the strong winds, rain and debris that accompany thunderstorms. Make sure all furniture, tools, and other items have been secured to keep them from blowing away or into your home and outdoor unit. If you’re expecting torrential rain or hail, it’s a good idea to cover your unit to protect it.

Install a surge protector

Lightning can cause severe damage to property outside your home and destroy electrical devices and appliances in your home. To keep this from happening having a surge protector installed will ground the lightning in case it hits your house.

Turn it off (when in doubt)

A surge protector is an excellent device that can save you thousands of dollars if your home is struck by lightning; however, it’s not 100% guaranteed. Turn off your HVAC system and unplug all other appliances if you want to be even safer.

Prevent with regular HVAC maintenance

A regular HVAC inspection can save you time, money and headaches in more ways than one. If your system is experiencing problems prior to even a minor storm, it could sustain damage that makes it worse. Preventative maintenance will catch the problem before it happens and ensures your system runs as efficiently as possible.

For more help and to schedule professional spring HVAC maintenance and storm preparation, Air Specialist is the heating and air conditioning company to call in Houston. Call us today call at (713) 481-1305 or schedule service online

Show Your HVAC System Some Love

February is a month dedicated to things people love: their spouses, their kids, their pets and even their homes. With that in mind, showing some love to the inner intricacies that make your home function on a regular basis isn’t a half bad idea, actually it’s a great one!

HVAC system maintenance is often overlooked on a daily basis. Instead people opt to sweep the floors, dust the windows and tend to the yard without even thinking of the HVAC systems that keep us comfortable each and every day.

To ensure your HVAC system is getting all the love and attention it deserves, here are a few easy ways to keep it running smoothly the rest of the year.

Check/change air filters

A great place to start is with the air filters. Even though in Texas it doesn’t get bitter cold it does get chilly during the nights, so you may be cranking up the heat. During these cooler months, it’s always a good idea to check the filters once a month for contaminants. If you notice your filter picking up a lot of contaminants, it may have to be changed sooner than the standard recommendation of every three months.

Check vents

Checking your vents is the second easiest thing to do after checking your air filter. Go around your home and simply make sure that the vents and air grilles aren’t blocked or obstructed. If they are, this can cause performance issues and system overheating. Your HVAC system is designed to move air, and if it can’t do its job, that’s bad for your system and your wallet!I

Install carbon monoxide detectors

Most heating and cooling systems use fossil fuels to power them; yours is more than likely one of these systems. A byproduct of this energy use is carbon monoxide, but you would never know this because your home vents it outside where it’s safe to release. However, HVAC systems can create what is called a “carbon monoxide build-up” which typically occurs when the vents that lead outside are blocked or obstructed in some way. It’s always a good idea to check these vents if you can access them. It is also highly recommended to have carbon monoxide detectors placed around your home.

Need an HVAC pro in the Houston area?

If you have any questions about your HVAC system, vents, air filter etc., Air Specialist would be more than happy to help. Give us a call at (713) 481-1305.

Related Article: 6 Common Causes of Air Conditioner Failure

Different Heat Pumps, Different Technology

A heat pump and a furnace are not the same thing. The furnace uses energy to create heat, a heat pump uses (much less) energy to move heat. Even the name “heat pump” may be slightly misleading, since it is both a heating and cooling system.

Although the concept has been around for centuries, the modern heat pump was invented in the late 1940s by American inventor Robert C. Webber. Because the physics behind heat pump technology is more about energy exchange than consumption, it is a more efficient way to heat and cool space.

While one type of heat pump (air-source) is by far the most commonly installed, there are different types of heat pumps which use different types of technology.

Air-source heat pumps

An air-source heat pump is aptly named – it uses air. It works by transferring heat in the air out to produce cooler temperatures, or transferring heat in to produce warmer temperatures. Because they move heat instead of generating it, the demand for electricity is approximately half that used by conventional furnace and baseboard heaters.

Heat pumps have been around for several years and available in most parts of the U.S., although not widely used in areas that have extended periods of very cold weather. New technology in recent times is making them more effective in colder areas as well.

Ductless mini-split heat pumps

For older buildings which used radiator heat or space heating, a ductless, mini-split heat pump can be retrofitted to provide heat pump efficiency. They have a small outdoor compressor/condenser connected by a conduit to as many as four indoor air-handling units – each with its own thermostat. Because there are no ducts, you avoid losing energy through the ductwork.

Mini-splits can be floor-standing, hung from a ceiling, or mounted flush from a wall – providing options for interior placement. It is important to install them correctly, however, because oversized or poorly located units can end up wasting energy and costing more. Installation costs can be higher than other systems, but then offset by lower energy costs. Check which of your local HVAC contractors have experience installing ductless mini-split heat pumps.

Geothermal heat pumps

The temperature may rise and fall dramatically above the earth where we live and breathe – but a few feet underground, the earth stays at a constant temperature (ranging from 45°F to 75°F, depending on where you live). So instead of using air, geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth as their exchange medium – transferring heat between your house and the ground or a close water source.

These heat pumps are significantly more expensive to install, but they are significantly lower operating costs and do not depend on outside temperatures. Additionally, they can reduce energy consumption by as much as 60%, control humidity levels, and they require less maintenance over their expected life of 25 years (for inside components – 50+ years for the outside components).

Absorption heat pumps

A newer model is the absorption heat pump, sometimes called gas-fired heat pump. These systems are powered by natural gas, propane, solar energy, or geothermal-heated water instead of electricity.  They work by way of an ammonia-water absorption cycle, absorbing heat from the interior of a room to provide cooling, and/or releasing heat into the interior to provide heating.

Generally, absorption heat pumps are used in commercial or industrial settings, but are available for some large (4,000 square feet+) residential homes. They are best utilized the most sense in areas which have no easy source of electricity.