Air Conditioning: What’s it about?

IT’S ALL ABOUT “AIR!”

First, your home’s air conditioning system must be sized correctly to provide the proper CFM of air and BTUs of cooling to each room of your home.

What is CFM?
CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is a measure of volume of airflow rate. Visualize a basketball. A basketball is approximately 1 cubic foot in volume.

How many CFM’s does your system require?
For example, a typical 3 ton system (36,000 BTUs) requires a minimum of 1,050 CFM to a maximum of 1,200 CFM to perform to manufacturer’s specifications.

What are BTUs?
(British thermal unit) – 1 BTU is equal to the heat produced by burning a single wooden match or can be defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1°F.

Once you have the proper airflow, you can cool it, heat it, dehumidify it and clean  it, to provide you and your family with total personal comfort.

Bedroom airflow issues — how to know if it is a lack of supply air or lack of return air:

1st – Does the room cool fine during the day with the entrance door open?

2nd – Is your problem only when the door is closed for privacy issues?

3rd – If the room cools satisfactorily and only has issues when the door is closed, add a properly sized return air grill with duct work ran back to the air handler plenum.

4th – If cooling is not adequate with door open, increase airflow supply, enlarge supply duct or add additional supply register with accompanying duct work coming from supply air plenum, plus add a return grill with accompanying duct work ran back to return plenum for good performance.

NOTE: The new building code requires all major rooms to have properly sized return air grills to allow free flow of return air back to air handler.

Who and What is ACCA?

WHO – is a non-profit association serving more then 60,000 professionals and 4,000 businesses in the HVAC community, working together to promote professional contracting, energy efficiency and healthy, comfortable indoor environments.

WHAT – they are the go-to organization for all residential home indoor energy conservation, design, and installation procedures. All NATIONAL, STATE, and LOCAL building codes utilize ACCA’s expertise in the writing of the Building and Energy Conservation Codes. ACCA’s technical manuals are the bedrock of air conditioning in America. ACCA manuals will be referred to many times throughout this website.

  • Manual J, Residential load calculations
  • Manual D, Residential duct design
  • Manual B, Air balancing and testing
  • Manual S, Residential equipment selection

Air Conditioning Phone Solicitations

The only way to stop these solicitations are to report the violators!

Phone Solicitations

Fact: in this life, there has never been any POSITIVE results happen for a homeowner that accepted an offer from a phone solicitation.

Once you accept a phone solicitor’s offer, giving them permission to come to your home, you have become the biggest pawn in which they can now prey on.

IF YOU GET A PHONE SOLICITATION CALL–DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND “HANG UP!”

Steps to Stop a Phone Solicitation

(We have attached a PDF file below for you to print. Print by clicking “download” on the document bar. Cut along the dotted lines and you’ll have 6 forms to leave by your phone with the information to fill out.

If you don’t have a printer, you can write down the following steps below to keep on hand.)

1. Florida residents who do not wish to receive sales calls may have their residential, mobile or paging device telephone number included on Florida’s “Do Not Call” Program.

2. Write down or print the following to collect information if you are to encounter a phone solicitation:

Name of the company
Telephone number of the company
Name of person making the call
Date and time of call
Products or services offered

Refer to the online complaint form from the program where you will submit this information here.

3. Register your phone numbers and mobile phone numbers on the “Do Not Call” Program.

HOMEOWNER–it is NOT RUDE to HANG UP on a SOLICITOR!
… They are like a wolf in sheep’s clothing…

Note: If you make a mistake and ask them to come out to your home, it is in your best interest to call back and cancel the call. And if they still show up and harass you–PLEASE CALL THE POLICE.

Typical solicitation pitches:

“We just happen to be in your area.”

“We have taken over your existing company’s customers.”

“Your existing company is out of business.”

“We just had an opening so we can give you a fantastic special.”

 

Visit this website for more information on the “Do Not Call” program.

Duct Cleaning and Sanitization

Duct Cleaning

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems.

EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) website.

Since 99.9% of all Southwest Florida residential homes have a certain amount of fiberglass duct board incorporated into the air distribution system, making it impossible to clean. Fiberglass duct board is porous, allowing any contaminants to absorb into the duct board. Duct cleaning equipment was designed for hard surface duct systems, such as sheet metal.

Once fiberglass duct board or liner is contaminated with mold, cleaning is not sufficient to prevent regrowth and there are no EPA-registered biocides for the treatment of porous duct materials. (located under bullet point “Unresolved Issues of Duct Cleaning”)

Click here for EPA guidelines – (located under bullet point “Unresolved Issues of Duct Cleaning”)

Duct Sanitization

Since 99.9% of all residential duct systems have a certain amount of porous fiberglass duct work, you should never try and sanitize it. The sanitization product will be absorbed into the porous fiberglass. Chemical biocides are regulated by EPA under the Federal pesticide law. It is a violation of Federal Law to use a pesticide product in any manner inconsistent with the label directions. There is NO product currently registered as biocides for use on fiberglass duct board or fiber glass lined ducts.

Be careful of companies offering duct sanitization.

Click here for EPA biocide guidelines(located under bullet point “Unresolved Issues of Duct Cleaning”)

It’s NOT the Heat – It’s the Humidity! How do you control it?

True home comfort is when your air conditioning system provides your home with acceptable humidity control and comfortable temperature, all while performing quietly.

What is acceptable humidity control? – When your home’s humidity is under 50% with the ultimate goal to be in the 42% to 45% range.

How to Control Your Humidity: 

1st) An accurate load calculation (a computer program that calculates your home’s exact cooling and heating BTUH requirements) MUST be performed. Please! No rule of thumb, guessing or just replacing with the size you presently have. This will lead to a poor performing system and unacceptable humidity control.

FACT: Today’s single speed air conditioning systems under perform older systems in humidity control by upwards of 30%. This is the result of Federal Government Department of Energy intrusion in the engineering of air conditioning systems, mandating higher efficiency with no consideration for those who live in a subtropical environment. For engineering information to show the results of this intrusion on your Southwest Florida Home, click here.

Note: An air conditioning system can only remove humidity when it is running, therefore an over sized unit will not  remove moisture sufficiently, due to short run times.

FACT: Every time your system comes on it takes up to ten minutes of run time before it will start to do any significant dehumidification in your home. Therefore the first ten minutes is mainly  producing only what is termed “sensible cooling” which lowers the homes temperature and satisfies your thermostat. Your system may shut off before any significant dehumidification is obtained, and if your system is over sized this just magnifies the dehumidification problem.   

2nd) The best product on today’s market for True Home Comfort is a full Variable Speed System. This product is designed to vary the speed of both the indoor unit and the outdoor unit to provide you with the humidity level and the temperature you desire. Upon start up both the outdoor unit’s compressor and the indoor unit’s fan varies in speed to maximize the humidity removal from your home.

FACT:  An outdoor unit running at a higher speed and the indoor unit running at a lower speed will allow the indoor coil to get to a much lower temperature, enabling an increased amount of dehumidification to occur.

What is YOUR comfortable temperature setting? – Comfortable temperature varies with most people, therefore move your thermostat setting as high as possible to keep your home comfy. The higher you can set your thermostat, the less power consumption. Therefore, lower electric costs. To see the relation between your home’s humidity and temperature, click here for your personal comfort.

What is quiet running performance?:  – No noise should be heard from your indoor unit. Most noise from your indoor unit is usually caused from a poorly designed and installed duct system, causing extreme strain on your indoor blower motor. Besides the objectionable noise, premature failure of your indoor blower motor is assured. The next area of objectionable noise is from the air distribution system; this could be in both supply and also return grills. Undersized grills or lack of the number needed to provide quiet operation. Duct systems that are undersized will also cause unwanted noise levels.

Humidity Control Settings

For YOUR Florida Home:

You live in a sub-tropical paradise, which means your home’s humidity level must be controlled for your personal comfort.

The first step is very critical. Your air conditioning system must be sized to a very close tolerance in order to control the homes humidity, keeping you personally comfortable, protecting your health and your furnishings, and lowering your power bills.

You probably have heard advertising or had companies promoting “whole home dehumidifiers”. These are needed usually because the air conditioning system was never sized properly for your home. An over-sized system has no ability to control your humidity personal comfort.

  While away on Vacation:

The tried and true method to control your homes humidity while you are away for extended amount of time is by a programmable thermostat, programmed to run for only two hours per day. (Schedule to call daily for cooling at 70 degrees from 5AM to 7AM–all other schedules set to 90 degrees, 2 hours of run time is all you need.)

This schedule maintains good control of your relative humidity and is a recommendation from the local power companies.

Florida Power and Light recommends this humidity control method and schedule:

Cost to operate $:

Since you have set the air conditioning system to only operate for 2 hours per day your monthly energy cost can be calculated.

Example of cost: A base 13 seer 3 ton system requires approximately 3 KW of power at standard design conditions. Therefore, 3 KW times your power company’s cost per KW of 10 cents approximately equates to- (3KW x 10¢ x 2 hrs. per day = 60 cents per day). Therefore, your cost to control your homes humidity while you are away will be approximately $18.00 dollars per month.

HOW to SET:

    Example: Program a call for cooling at 5 am daily with a temperature request of 75 degrees at 7 am set temperature back to 90 degrees. All other programmable settings to be set for 90 degrees. The home only needs two hours of run time per day.

Tested home at these settings- maintains a relative humidity between 45% to 55% and a temperature range between 75 degrees to 83 degrees.

Old technology (dehumidistat): The goal was to keep your relative humidity (RH) at approximately 65% RH.

New technology (programmable thermostat): Set at the above time frame, testing, proves better relative humidity (RH) control with an average of 52% RH and a monthly power bill that is constant. Come back to a fresher, drier home.

If this was MY home, I’d choose 50% RH.

Thermostat Battery Replacement

We highly recommend you pick a day each year to always replace the batteries in any device that requires battery backup, such as thermostats, smoke detectors, CO detectors, etc. Batteries may last two to three years before they fail and/or leak. But if they leak, your device will be destroyed. Batteries are very inexpensive in comparison to the cost to replace the destroyed device.