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News & Articles

Browse these articles for news and helpful info about the A/C and heating system that keeps your home comfortable.

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Energy Efficient Improvements
From Energy Star – Edited by Golden Rule AC & Heating LLC
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It Pays to Maintain Your A/C
LSU AgCenter Research and Extension Program
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Heating & Cooling Service Checklist NATEX
How You Can Help the Technician Diagnose Quickly
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Energy Efficient Improvements

Improve Your Home’s Comfort, Save Energy, and Save Money!

Written by Energy Star – Edited by Golden Rule AC & Heating LLC

  1. Know the Facts
    The average family spends $1,400 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that spent on heating and cooling. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, sized and installed correctly, with properly sealed ducts, can save homeowners as much as 20 percent on their annual energy costs.
  2. Keep it Clean
    A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system monthly. (NOTE: Some systems only require that you change them quarterly). Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently and safely – check-ups can identify problems early. Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of system failure.
  3. Bundle Up Your Home
    Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. The more heat that escapes, the more cold air enters, causing your system to work harder and use more energy.
    Home Sealing can improve your home “envelope”—the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors—and can save up to 10% in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation—pay special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.
  4. Tighten Your Ducts
    If you have a forced air furnace or heat pump, then a duct system is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your home. Leaky ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20%.
    Sealing your ducts can save up to $140 annually on energy bills and help you consistently heat every room.
  5. Don’t Oversize
    If you’re replacing old equipment, make sure your new equipment is properly sized for your home — bigger isn’t always better. An oversized system will cost more to buy and operate and will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing your comfort and leading to early system failures and repair costs. An increase of moisture
    will add mold to the home. Correct size and proper airflow will ensure that your equipment works efficiently and save you money.
  6. Put Your Home to the Test
    Doing a home improvement project this fall or winter? ENERGY STAR has online tools to evaluate your home’s energy performance and offer solutions to increase comfort and energy efficiency.
    Visit www.energystar.gov/homeimprovement. Have your utility bills handy for savings calculations.
  7. Consult a Professional
    Find an experienced, licensed contractor before embarking on any heating and cooling overhaul. Visit www.natex.org to find a contractor whose technicians are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), the leading industry-supported testing and certification program. Your contractor should properly size your equipment, test airflow, and perform a quality installation.
  8. Cash in on Special Offers
    Concerned about the cost of new heating equipment? Check with your local utility or visit the rebate finder at www.energystar.gov/rebatefinder to see if there are any special deals on high efficiency equipment. Manufacturer rebates are usually offered in fall and early spring. Ask for ENERGY STAR qualified
    equipment—it might cost more up front, but will offer you greater savings and comfort for years to come.

DISCLAIMER: Golden Rule Air Conditioning & Heating LLC does not edorse all of the Energy Star / US EPA systems of thought or underlying theories.

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It Pays to Maintain Your A/C

Provided by the LSU AgCenter
Research & Extension Program

Maintaining your air conditioner can save up to 30% on operating costs, protect it from early failure, prevent mold from developing in the system, and help it perform at its best.

Follow these tips to save money and protect your health. They will also keep you cool and comfortable this summer.

Filter
A dirty filter restricts airflow, placing a heavier work load on your air conditioning equipment, increasing your energy bills, and decreasing the comfort of the home. How often you need to change the filter varies with the type of filter, how often the system is running, and the cleanliness of the air inside your home. For a typical home, a standard filter should be changed (or cleaned, if washable) every month.

Pleated filters have more surface area and can last two or three months before replacement. They cost more, but they capture finer particles and can help to keep your equipment and air cleaner. NOTE: Golden Rule Air Conditioning recommends using poly filters rather than pleated filters because the poly filters are much less restrictive of airflow.

Be sure that air cannot leak around the filter. Seal gaps around the frame that holds the filter and make sure the return plenum (the path between the filter and the unit) is airtight. Leaky returns and unfiltered air that is drawn in from the walls and attic are major causes of dirty air handlers and ducts.

Indoor Unit
The indoor coil, also called the evaporator coil, is located in the inside air conditioner or heat pump cabinet. Air from the home is pulled across the coil for cooling. This can cause the indoor coil to become damp, attracting dirt and potentially harboring mold and other contaminants. The blower (fan blades) also collect dirt.

A dirty coil and air handler can endanger your health, waste energy, and cut the capacity of the cooling equipment. Dirty coils reduce airflow through the equipment. For each 10% reduction in airflow, the efficiency of the equipment drops about 5%. Naturally, reduced airflow means less cooling.
The indoor coil should be checked every year and cleaned as needed. This task generally requires a service technician.

The indoor coil should be cleaned with a chemical solution; especially dirty coils may require two treatments. The cost of cleaning a coil depends largely on its accessibility. Typically, it will range from $50 to $200 and take one to two hours. Click Here to schedule your next Tune-up or Maintenance.

Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit, also called the condensing unit, contains the condenser coils — thin fins of metal with refrigerant tubes that discharge heat to the outside air. These coils usually are easy to access and should also be
checked annually and chemically cleaned periodically. If the fins become bent, they should be straightened with a special comb. Most service contracts include cleaning and straightening these coils. This takes only about 15 minutes.

The outdoor unit depends on good airflow to work efficiently. It should be clear of tall grass, leaves, and other obstructions. Do not enclose this unit by placing it under a deck or near fencing or dense vegetation. A top discharge unit (blows air out the top) needs two feet of clearance on all sides and 5 feet of clearance above the top.

Avoid venting a clothes dryer within 10 feet of the outdoor unit. The lint from the dryer can block airflow, reduce the life of the compressor, and increases your air conditioning cost.

Temperature Check
The difference in temperature between the supply air (coming out of a register) and return air (at the filter) is a useful indicator of air conditioning problems. NOTE: This change in temperature is also referred to as the “Delta T“.

To find the temperature difference, set the thermostat low enough to cause the air conditioner to operate for at least 15 minutes while the outside temperature is about 80 degrees. While the unit is running, use an accurate thermometer to measure the temperature of the air at the return register and the closest supply register. The temperature drop from return air to supply air should be 14 to 20 degrees. If it is less than 14° F, have your air conditioner serviced.

Duct Leakage
Leaks and losses through the ducts in an attic typically account for 30% to 50% of a home’s total heating and cooling costs. They are often the cause of uncomfortable room air temperatures and can lead to a negative
pressure in the home, causing more air infiltration and hidden molds.
NOTE: Duct leakage is very common, but it need not be. Click to schedule your duct repair or renovation and solve this energy-wasting, money-wasting problem today.

The best way to check for duct leakage is to have a technician pressure test the ducts with a special instrument. However, if you don’t have access to this service, you can try a visual inspection. With the unit operating, check
around the cabinet for supply leaks. You may be able to feel air escaping from the ducts.

Often the duct connections are not sealed, or are poorly sealed with duct tape. Have all duct connections sealed with mastic, a thick paste designed this purpose. Never use duct tape to seal a duct.

Posted on: 3/14/2005 8:01:18 PM

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Heating & Cooling Service Checklist by NATEX.org

How You Can Help the Technician
Diagnose Quickly

Provided by: NATE Tips & Resources
http://www.hvacradvice.com/Tips_and_Resources/Heating/Cooling_Checklist/default.aspx

For heating and air conditioning units that may need to be repaired, you should be prepared to provide important information to your technician. You know the “personality” of your heating or cooling unit. No fact is insignificant and may help your technician diagnose and fix a problem.

Be prepared to tell the technician:

  • The brand and/or model number of your unit.
  • The age of your furnace or air conditioner.
  • When was it last serviced and who serviced it?
  • When where the filters last changed?
  • Did you check your circuit breakers to make sure none were “tripped”?
  • When you first noticed that it seems to not be working properly.
  • Was it making any unusual noises?
  • Are there any unusual odors?
  • Was there any unusual weather activity before the equipment acted up?
  • Did you see unusual fluids or leakage around the unit?

A NATE-certified technician will perform a thorough evaluation of your heating or cooling unit. By providing detailed information, you can speed up the diagnosis and service of your equipment, thus returning your home to a comfortable level faster.

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