You’ve Got HVAC Questions – We’ve Got Answers!

We know that sifting through pages of information on HVAC control systems can be tiresome and mind-numbing. You have enough going on in your busy lives. That’s what your local Las Vegas HVAC specialists are for. We have compiled the most frequently asked questions we get from our local community and provided the answers to these crucial HVAC questions.

What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. These functions are interrelated, seeking to provide good air quality and thermal comfort throughout the year. All are crucial to combat the temperature and humidity variations that come with the changing seasons.

Do heating and air conditioning systems require regular maintenance?

Absolutely. Regular maintenance is imperative for your system to function at its optimal level throughout the year. It is natural for dust and dirt to build up in your ducts, vents and especially filters. Filters are advised to be checked and or replaced monthly. The rest of your unit, especially if it is more than 5 years old, should be inspected before the seasons of heavy use, winter and summer.

What factors should I consider when choosing the size of my HVAC unit?

The size of your home is of course a large component when deciding the size of your new HVAC unit. However, other factors such as the energy efficiency of your home, the size and quality of your windows and your home’s orientation to the sun. If your home isn’t very energy efficient, it may require a larger unit than usual to effectively cool and heat your home.

How should I clean my air filter?

Cleaning your air or furnace filter is an important part of maintaining your home’s air quality and your units integrity as a whole. This is why you should use the proper technique when cleaning your units filter. Sinks and tubs will not provide an adequate amount of pressure to clean your filter. Utilize your home’s hose or a vacuum with a powerful suction tool to flush out dust and dirt. If you use a hose, make sure to get both sides and start cleaning against the airflow (there should be an arrow indicating the flow of air on your filter). Make sure your filter dries completely before inserting it back into your unit.

During winter, should I cover my outdoor unit?

No. Not only is it not necessary because all major brands’ units are built to withstand harsh temperatures, but it can actually invite pests to set up their homes underneath your covered unit for the winter.

Should I be concerned about plants growing around my outdoor unit?

Yes. If vegetation grows too close to your unit, it could invite curious pests to investigate your condenser. Pests like rats and other rodents can nibble and gnaw their way through a unit and use your unit as an entry point to your home. This can lead to serious allergy and air quality issues.

If you still have more questions, we would love to answer them. Contact Cal Air Cooling and Heating for a trusted Las Vegas HVAC expert!

 

The Latest HVAC Trends on the Market: What the Future Holds and What Customers Need to Know

The HVAC industry has been going through a lot of changes brought on by the rapid evolution of technology as well as changes in regulatory statutes. In the U.S., new central air conditioning systems as well as heat pumps installed in residential homes have had the rating requirements increased from 13 SEER (seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) to 14 SEER for Southern states. States in the Southwestern region of the U.S have had their Energy Efficiency Ratio reduced to 11.7.

Overall, the new regulations call for a heat pump efficiency of 14 SEER with a heating seasonal performance factor of 8.2 HSPF. The regulations allowed manufacturers who still had the old rated equipment to have their inventory installed by July 16, 2016. This deadline has come and gone and those builders and manufacturers who are found in contravention of the laws will be fined accordingly.

Latest HVAC Trends

Here are some of the latest HVAC trends that customers should be aware of:

HVAC Regulatory changes

In addition to the Department of Energy’s changing efficiency standards, the EPA has also increased its efforts to phase out HFC refrigerants (also known as R404a). The legislation will impact commercial manufacturers and HVAC operators who use HFC refrigerants. The Clean Air Act has been updated to prohibit the release of known ozone-depleting refrigerants during servicing, repairing, maintenance and disposal of appliances. These regulatory changes will surely drive new product designs and bring a healthier, cost-effective way to install and run HVAC systems.

Intelligent HVAC Systems

We are moving towards an age where technological advances have altered every facet of our lives. The HVAC industry has become one of the fastest technologically evolving industries. Manufacturers have become more innovative in designing heating, cooling, and ventilation products. HVAC systems and controls are getting smarter and more efficient. The tech revolution enables HVAC owners to utilize smart automation platforms, smart ventilation systems even smartphone integration through applications that can help people manage more than just their home security but the efficient use of energy as well.

Integrated HVAC systems

There is a growing trend for HVAC systems that are integrated into the design and construction of a building. This means that HVAC systems are now required to be integrated in a meaningful way with the mechanical systems of a building and consequently into the building management system that controls lighting, water or security. These mechanical systems can be integrated into one point of control and be managed on one panel making it easy and convenient for building owners to monitor energy use.

HVAC Goes Mobile

As the industry embraces smart solutions, they have to look at using mobile apps that will not only allow users to control their air conditioning units remotely on the smart devices but also help create a program for preventative maintenance.

These technological changes in the HVAC industry call for a relook at how technicians are trained and what they are trained for. Homeowners who are looking to buy an HVAC system should look at the innovative products that are available on the market. If you want more information or want to see the latest products and services we offer, visit our website or better yet, call us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Save on Cooling Costs in 2017 by Doing This Now

With summer ending, you may be looking at your cooling costs for the season wondering how you managed to afford to cool your home & feed the family. While customarily less expensive than usage costs for heating, your air conditioning system requires energy usage. Even bigger costs can surface when repairs or other maintenance become necessary – especially during the busy season for HVAC contractors.

How to Save on 2017 Cooling Costs

Summer Sixteen might be fading away, but there are things you can do RIGHT NOW to make sure next spring and summer are less costly.

Replace the Air Filter.

Your air filter can affect the cost of operation for your AC in two ways. First, failing to frequently replace your filter can cause system performance issues that will require repair. That costs money! Also, if you opt for a HEPA filter, you may notice your energy bill goes up because your system has to work harder to push through such high filtration.

Clean your Outdoor HVAC Unit.

Debris and growth can cause your AC system extra labor, resulting in excess energy costs as well as fatigue to your system. Avoid this by clearing a 2 foot radius around your outdoor unit and monitoring it to make sure pests aren’t infiltrating. Catching this before big problems happen can save money, too!

Monitor Refrigerant Lines.

Letting your refrigerant go can cause major problems in the performance of your air conditioner. Monitor your refrigerant levels, and have your HVAC contractor visit annually to make sure your refrigerant is at a proper level. If you think that your refrigerant may be too low, it is important to call an HVAC specialist to remedy the problem.

Use a Cool Mist Humidifier in Fall & Winter.

Another way to make sure that your HVAC unit works well year-round is by using devices like a cool mist humidifier to help control indoor air quality. By keeping your home misted and your rH levels optimal, you can ensure that your air conditioner starts up next spring in the best conditions possible.

Have Your Cooling System Serviced.

The shoulder seasons – Autumn and Spring – are the best time to get your HVAC system serviced. Call us and we can come out and do a once-over of your entire system, prepping your heating system before winter hits and checking up on issues and efficiencies for your cooling system.

Routine maintenance is an important part of keeping your HVAC unit running efficiently and effectively year-round. Contact the HVAC experts at Cal Air Cooling and Heating today for a tune-up or service visit.

Proper Disposal of HVAC Refrigerant

The ozone layer is a pretty cool thing. It helps to keep radiation from the sun from beaming down on us. Most refrigerants will deplete this layer which is why there are now strict regulations on how to properly dispose of used refrigerant. There is special equipment to be used and protocols to be followed when recovering refrigerant.

When recovering the refrigerant from an AC unit, heat pump, or appliance, care must be taken to not vent any of the refrigerant into the atmosphere. It is also imperative that proper EPA-certified equipment, such as recovery cylinders, are used. The pump down procedure for an HVAC system allows for easy recovery of the refrigerant into one of the approved cylinders.

Once your refrigerant is recovered there are several options.

  • Storage in approved containers
  • Reuse or resale
  • Recycling or destruction

If you put a filter-drier on the recovery line when recovering the refrigerant from the HVAC system, something you really should do to extend pump life, then the refrigerant will be clean and able to be reused. It is possible to store it long term until needed in approved recovery cylinders.

There are any number of companies that will recycle or destroy the refrigerant for you. Most of them will pay you for the used refrigerant. At the recycling facility the refrigerant must meet minimum purification standards before it is able to be resold, set by the American Refrigeration Institute. They will purify the refrigerant and then make it available for sale.

If intended for destruction, the refrigerant must be sent to a facility that uses any one of several exciting-sounding destruction methods such as, radio frequency plasma, liquid injection incineration, gaseous/flume oxidation, cement kiln, and rotary kiln. These destruction methods when performed properly achieve the 99.99% destruction and removal efficiency set by the EPA.

Empty refrigerant cylinders must also be disposed according to specific guidelines. First, they must be empty. Secondly, the have to be rendered unusable. The recovery cylinder will have a punch-out feature at the top of the cylinder you can knock out with a hammer and screwdriver, completing the requirement to render it unusable.

At Cal Air Cooling & Heating we have technicians trained in the responsible recovery of refrigerant from HVAC systems. If your system needs servicing, give us a call today!

Benefits of Controlling Indoor Air Quality

Air quality has a huge impact on your indoor environment, both at home and in the workplace. In turn, the quality of your indoor air depends largely on the health of your household or commercial HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. A well-maintained system provides several distinct benefits, especially when it comes to your ability to stay healthy.

HVACs and Air Quality

An HVAC system is designed to heat and cool the air inside a sealed indoor environment. When running during any part of the year, the system acts as the main portal for essentially all of the air passing in and out of your home or workplace. This is especially true in many office buildings, which have windows that don’t open. When indoor pollutants (e.g., dust, cigarette smoke and toxic gases) accumulate, your HVAC system plays a crucial role in removing these hazards from the air and preserving air quality. In addition, if not properly maintained, your HVAC system has the potential to actively introduce air quality problems in the form of disease-carrying microorganisms or toxic gases.

Air Quality Benefits

The chief benefits of controlling indoor air quality are all health-related. For example, you have smaller chances of getting sick if the air you breathe at home or on the job doesn’t contain high levels of bacteria, mold, fungi or other microorganisms. Similarly, you have smaller chances of experiencing asthma symptoms or developing some sort of allergic reaction if the air you breathe doesn’t contain lots of mold, pollen, dust or pet dander. An indoor environment free from carbon monoxide and secondhand cigarette smoke is substantially less likely to promote the potentially fatal short- and long-term health conditions associated with exposure to those substances.

Getting the Best From Your HVAC System

There are quite a few things you can do to get the best out of your HVAC system’s ability to control indoor air quality. The most basic step is setting up a regular maintenance program that involves steps such as changing out dirty filters and checking for leaks and wet insulation (a perfect environment for the growth of many dangerous microbes). An HVAC professional can help you develop an effective maintenance routine, in addition to carrying out all aspects of that routine. An HVAC professional can also equip your system with an air-purifying unit designed to eliminate the vast majority of possible airborne pollutants, as well as a monitor designed to check for the buildup of carbon monoxide, formaldehyde or any other common toxic gas. In addition, a heating and cooling specialist can install devices that support high ongoing air quality by checking temperature and humidity levels inside your home or place of business.

Make sure to bookmark this blog and check back often for more information on the best ways to preserve your indoor air quality.

Residential vs Commercial HVAC

Commercial HVACWhen it comes to keeping cool, both commercial air conditioning and home HVAC systems do the job. You can rely on your system as long as you take care of them and understand the differences. Here at Cal Air, we pride ourselves on giving you the best in service for your residential HVAC systems and your commercial HVAC.

There are similarities and differences in the two systems. Check out the points below and learn how to compare the two systems in your office and home.

Commercial HVAC Installation Location

When it comes to the location of the commercial system, a commercial HVAC contractor will typically place the unit on the roof. Commercial units are big, and need a lot of space. In general, roofs are unused spaces and ideal for commercial HVAC units. You’ll notice most often times the home HVAC systems are in the back yard or somewhere on the outside of the home.

Commercial HVAC is Larger

The commercial air conditioning systems is much larger than a typical home system. It has a lot more area to cover and cool so it has to have the power to do it. A home system can range in sizes depending on the square foot of your house. Sometimes it is necessary to have two units on your home such as when you have an upstairs and downstairs.

Maintenance

Both systems require maintenance on a regular basis. When it comes to keeping comfortable and being efficient at it, the maintenance will help you do both. It is important that both units have sufficient maintenance to insure they are working properly. Most often it’s recommended to have it checked out at least once a year, sometimes more if you’re noticing problems.

Commercial HVAC Repairs

While repairs can cost a bit if not taken care of in a timely manner, the commercial units will typically cost more to repair. This is due to the size and more complexity that commercial buildings have. Repairs do not need to linger. If you notice an issue it’s important to have our technicians come out to inspect it. This can save you money in the long run if you catch the problem early.

Split vs. Packaged

You’ll find that most commercial systems are packaged whereas the residential are split air conditioning systems. This simply means that the system on the roof typically has everything in one area while the home unit has a few different places where components are housed.

Modular vs. Stand Alone

When you install a unit in your home it is a stand-alone unit. This means that if your need for energy increases, the whole unit has to be replaced. In commercial units you’ll find that these can be added on to over a time period if the need for output increases. It saves you from having to replace your expensive commercial unit all at once.

Both the systems will heat and cool your home or business efficiently. Taking care of both units are key to the long life of the unit. Whether you’re at the home or the office, you can count on your HVAC system to keep you comfortable.

Our technicians at Cal Air make it easy to stay cool and confident in your system. Set up your routine maintenance inspections to make sure everything is running properly before you run into a repair issue. Whether you need a commercial HVAC contractor or a technician for your home, our office is proud to offer a variety of services for your needs. Make an informed decision today by talking with one of our highly trained and qualified technicians. Call our office and see how our technicians can keep you cool in the hot summer months to come.

5 Steps to Get Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer

Infinity Air ConditionerSummer is here which means one thing, warm weather. Is your air conditioner prepared for the hot summer months? We sure hope so! If you are unsure or think that your HVAC system may be in need of maintenance now is the perfect time to do it. Here at Cal Air we have worked hard to provide you with some air conditioning maintenance tips so that your air conditioner will be up and running good for the hot summer months.

Clean The Outside Condenser Unit

Before you ever turn your air conditioner unit on it is important that you make sure your air conditioner unit is free of any debris for they can easily clog up your unit. We recommend that you leave at least 2 feet of clear space open around your unit. If your unit is placed under trees or around any bushes it is important that you trim any low-hanging branches or trim back any bushes that may obstruct the air flow through your air conditioner unit. If your air-conditioning unit has gone through the winter without being covered up it probably needs to be cleaned up. We recommend that you hose your unit off with a garden hose to remove any dust or debris, but never use a pressure washer because it can easily damage the fins inside your unit.

Check the Ductwork

Most of the time the majority of your air duct system is going to be hidden behind a wall, however there are usually some areas where the ductwork will be exposed for inspection purposes. For example if you have an unfinished basement or an attic you should examine your ductwork in these areas. It is not uncommon for rodents to take shelter in your ductwork for the winter months and they can do some serious damage to your ductwork. You also need to look for any signs of rust or damaged insulation while inspecting your duct system. You should always do a test run of your air conditioning unit to check for any odd smells that may be coming from your vents. It’s not completely impossible for a rodent or some type of animal to get in your duct system and die. If this were to happen it is important that you have a professional come out and clean your ductwork. Our professionals at Cal Air would be more than happy to help you find the problem and clean your ducts if necessary.

Change The Air Filters

The number one thing that we recommend that you do is changing your air filter. The whole purpose for a filter to be in your HVAC system is to remove the dust and debris from the air flow so that they don’t get inside your home and if your air filter is not changed properly the filter will become clogged allowing dust to get into your air system. Depending on what type of filters your HVAC system uses we recommend that you change your filter once a month to once every three months.

Tune Up Your HVAC Equipment

Over time your HVAC system will begin to require maintenance. Some of the things you can check yourself while others may be a little more difficult so it’s best to leave it up to us. It is important to keep your HVAC maintenance up to date because your system could develop a loose connection, the belts may begin slipping, or the lubricants can even evaporate.

Install A Programmable Thermostat

The last step that you should take in order to prepare your air conditioner unit for the summer is to install a programmable thermostat if you haven’t already. A programmable thermostat will be very beneficial to you because it will save you money on your utility bills.

Overall HVAC Care

Your overall home comfort is easily cared for when you request service from our top rated company. We can provide you with residential and commercial options including indoor air quality, air duct sealing, repair service, maintenance, installation and more. Our team can provide you with every service needed to have a healthy and comfortable home year round. With over 30 years in the industry, Cal Air is ready to provide you with excellent support for your HVAC systems. Let us care for your household or business with our long list of service options. Contact our company today to learn more about the many services we provide or to schedule an appointment.

We are ready to serve you in Las Vegas! Contact us today!