Learn The Different Parts of Your Air Conditioning System

Home air-conditioning systems seem way too complicated to understand. Furnaces are much easier to understand for most of us – they heat up the air and filter it into your home through your ductwork. Your boilers create steam and hot water and then they relocate it around your house via pipes. But how in the world do air-conditioning systems create dehumidified, cool air when the outside temperature is high? In order to fully understand your air-conditioning system, you must go back to some basic principles your learned about in your school physics courses: the scientific law that as gas continues to cool, it slowly expands in volume.

What are the main components of an air-conditioning system?

There are 5 main components that go into any air-conditioning system and they must all work properly in order to have a fully-functioning air-conditioning unit.

The Refrigerant

We often refer to the refrigerant as the “blood” of the system, which is pumped through tubes within the air-conditioning unit. While it is moving through these specialized tubes, the refrigerant changes from a gas vapor to a liquid due to the heat it collects from your house, and then it ejects that heat outdoors. Refrigerant has a very low boiling point, which means that it changes from liquid to vapor at low temperatures. This refrigerant is moved around the air-conditioning system via a compressor.

The Compressor

Since we refer to the refrigerant as “blood”, we can therefore, think of the compressor as the “heart” of the system. It continuously pumps the refrigerant through a large copper loop. This allows the refrigerant to enter into the compressor (or heart) as a warm, low-pressure vapor, and leave as a hot, high-pressure vapor.

The Condenser

Now that the refrigerant is a hot, high-pressure vapor, via the compressor, it moves into the condenser, which is then cooled down. Condenser coils have small metal fins on them that draw heat from the coils. The condenser fan blows air on the fins, which helps the vapor cool down. Due to this cooling, the refrigerant is converted into a hot liquid, and then moves into the expansion valve.

The Expansion Valve

Now we get to the main way the refrigerant is cooled; the expansion valve. Now that the refrigerant is a hot liquid, it passes through the valve at very high pressure, and then comes out as a cool mist. This is able to happen due to the fact that, as the gas continues to expand, it naturally cools down.

The Evaporator Coil

The final part of the air-conditioning unit cycle happens in the evaporator coil. Low-pressure liquid is now led to the evaporator coil, which is located in your furnace. This is where the warmer air inside blows onto the evaporator coil and begins to heat it up. At the same time that this heating is occurring, the coil, which is carrying the cool gas, is blown across the evaporator. The refrigerant vapor moves back to the compressor and the outdoor condensing unit, and then expands. It cools one more time, and this continues the cooling cycle.

The Difference Between Regular and Emergency Furnace Repair

Furnaces typically work without any issues, especially if they are less than 3 years old.  Regular maintenance decreases the likeliness of running into a trouble with your furnace as well.  However, there may be times where a furnace just isn’t working right, so it is important to understand the difference between a regular furnace repair need and an emergency repair need.

If you live in the Tri-state, you understand what kind of emergencies can occur in the dead of winter.  There are instances in which you may be in need of emergency furnace repair or system replacement.  With some general investigation, you should be able to determine whether your furnace only needs some minor attention, or if it will take a licensed expert to solve the problem.

How To Know If You Should Call In A Professional

1. The Problem Seems to be With the Electrical Components

Electrical components play a vital role in how your entire home functions.  You are reliant on the electrical system in your home to provide power you need to continuously run your heating or cooling systems.

If your lights flicker when your system is running, it may be a good indicator that it is time to call a professional to come diagnose your unit.  A solid understanding of even the basics of your electrical system can provide you with the knowledge you need to spot potential hazards, but you should still consult a professional.

View the video below if you’d like to see some basic information about every home’s electrical system and also basic electrical system safety.

ESFI.org – Electrical Safety Foundation International, Home Electrical Safety, via Youtube

If you are uncertain about exactly what is the problem with the electrical system, do not try and repair the system yourself.  Electrical systems can be dangerous to tamper without the proper knowledge and training.

2. The Furnace System is Making Loud or/and Unusual Noises

Even when a furnace appears to be running without any issues, they can start making loud or unusual noises, seemingly out of the blue.  If you are certain the noise is coming through the ductwork, you may need to insulate your ductwork in order to bring down the noise.  If the furnace itself is to blame for the noise, it could be one of several things:

  • Pilot light is improperly adjusted
  • The blower motor lubrication ports need oiling

Sometimes, the nature of the noise can hint at what the underlying problem is.

a. Popping/Pinging Noise: This could perhaps be due to thermal expansion.  That is, the ductwork is expanding or contracting due to the change in temperature.

b. Squealing Noise: Perhaps a belt that connects the fan to the motor is slipping or may need replacement.

c. Rattling Noise: There may be loose panels that should be tightened.

d. Grinding Noise: Possibly motor bearings in need of repair.  Definitely call a service professional if this is happening to you.

3. The HVAC System is Repeatedly Turning Itself Off and On

If your issue with your furnace seems to be that it continuously turns itself off and then on, you may have a worn out air filter.  Try remember when the last time you had your air filters replaced, as that could hint at whether it actually is an air filter or not.

If the filter is new and the problem is still occurring, it may mean that your system has a more serious underlying issue.  It is recommended to call a service professional at this point, as continued use without addressing the issue could stress the compressor and lead to a mechanical failure.

 

The Single Piece of Equipment that Saves You Thousands

Do you know what a surge protector is? No, not the outlet strips that get tangled behind the television! Those are designed to manage small variations in voltage that your many household electrical items may require.

What we’re talking about are surge protectors that are more robust! Our devices affix to your HVAC unit to make sure that, if lightning strikes or there’s a sudden electrical event in your home, your unit will be protected from being damaged or destroyed. They’re important to have, because the small price you pay to protect your unit could save you thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs.

We’re often asked: “If you’re at risk for lightning striking, wouldn’t you want your entire home protected?” If this is a major concern for your home, it may be worth the investment to have a whole-house surge protector installed. These, however, are incredibly expensive and not a viable option for many of us.

The surge protectors we offer are simple to install and affordable. They’re a simple way to protect one of the most vital components of your home.

The only catch? Once these surge protectors have done their job and successfully absorbed the electric shock headed towards your unit, they have to be replaced. That’s why recommend getting yours checked for replacement at your maintenance visits. Yours may have already protected you without you even knowing it!

Make the smart move and take advantage of our June offer! This month only, you can get $10 off up to three units. Stock up!

Have more questions about the products or services we offer? Go ahead and give us a call so that we can help you today!

The Cost of a Broken AC for Businesses

For business owners, scheduling an HVAC checkup is probably the LAST thing on your mind. But we’re here to tell you to raise it to the top of the list, because an unexpected breakdown could seriously cost your business.

Follow along to learn how.

Customer Happiness

Are you a retail space? Then you know how important customer satisfaction is. Even if a customer comes in and doesn’t buy anything, a pleasant shopping experience will encourage them to keep coming back until they find something they want to buy.

Say your system breaks down and you decide to keep the store open. Each and every customer that walks through your doors that day will be itching to get out as soon as they step in.

You don’t want that to be their memory of your store!

These retailers are innovators in the realm of creating a customer experience. Do you think they’d risk a day of providing a miserable shopping experience to their customers?

Employee Performance

If your customers are dying to leave the store, you can imagine how miserable your employees are, sitting there all day sweating it out. Do you think they’ll be perky enough to sell your product if they’re unhappy at work?

Even if you’re not in retail.

Office workers NEED to be happy in their workplace. It increases their satisfaction and actually drives your bottom line. Don’t sacrifice your employees’ comfort, even if you think the HVAC outage is only for a short period of time. The message will be clear: The boss doesn’t care about their comfort or their happiness at work.

Office Closure

If you’re being kind to both your employees and your customers and closing your doors during the HVAC breakdown, you’ll likely be facing days of unproductively and revenue loss. As a small business ourselves, we know the kind of impact that has on a business.

That’s why we’re here to remind you that scheduling regular HVAC maintenance checkups for your business is incredibly important!

And partnering with BNG to get that done will take it off your list, so that you don’t even have to worry about it.

Call us to schedule your commercial HVAC consultation today!

How Energy-Efficient Units Save Big Money

We know what you’re thinking—this is just a sales pitch for an HVAC company to sell you a new thermostat.

The truth is that we’re always reminding our customers to update their thermostats because we see, time after time, how the upgrade significantly impacts our customers’ monthly energy bills.

Here’s how:

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

With energy-efficient HVAC systems, you will find that cooling load capacities vary with the size of the house the unit is cooling.

It seems like this would be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to know just how many homes are fitted with HVAC units that have to work extra hard to cool a home too large or that work too hard for the smaller-sized home it serves.

Simply put, energy-efficient systems don’t waste any energy by working to cool or heat a home that doesn’t fit its capacity.

Newer, Smarter Technology

It goes without saying that these new units have been made with the most innovative materials and technology yet, but you may not know that they’ve also been made to work even more successfully with programmable and smart thermostats.

You’ve heard of programmable thermostats and smart thermostats by now, right?

If not, you should check out this blog and this blog to learn of the many ways that these tools work to ensure that your unit is as intuitive and efficient as possible.

If you currently have an old-school system, consider using this web tool to calculate the potential energy AND utility bill savings you could achieve by switching to an energy-efficient system.

Even better, you can get us to calculate your potential energy savings by conducting a home assessment.

Call us to schedule your consultation today!

Common HVAC Myths

As Halloween approaches, we see more and more of the same horrors: ghosts and ghouls roaming the earth, zombies craving brains, and people who don’t know they can leave their AC on when they leave the house! Oh the horror! If the most terrifying thing you can imagine is a ridiculously high energy bill, this post is for you. We’re going to address some of the most common HVAC myths we see.

Myth #1 You should always turn off your HVAC system when you leave the house.

While you may want to turn off your HVAC system when you’re leaving the house for more than 24 hours, it’s not necessary when you’ll be gone for a shorter period of time. In fact, turning your HVAC off and on could be costing you more! HVAC systems work to cool or heat your home to a pre-selected temperature. Your home’s insulation helps to keep the heated or cooled air in your home, and keep outdoor temperatures out. Turning off your HVAC system every time you leave the house, especially in extreme temperatures, makes your system work harder and against your insulation to get your house to the appropriate temperature. A better idea is to adjust your thermostat by 5 to 10 degrees when you leave. If you have a programmable thermostat, this is even easier, because your thermostat will automatically adjust to those temperatures. If you have it set to 88 degrees during the day, for example, you can set it to start lowering as you’re leaving work. Your home will be the perfect temperature when you get home!

Myth #2 Setting your fan to “On” is better than “Auto”.

Your HVAC system comes with those two settings, ‘on’ and ‘auto’, but many aren’t sure of the difference since both keep your house cool. “On” is exactly what it sounds like; even after your home has reached your ideal temperature, the fan stays on, circulating that air around your home. It sounds good, but keeping your system switched “on” is a great way to run up your energy bill and wear out your system faster. We recommend keeping your unit set to “auto” in many cases, which will run the fan to circulate air until it reaches the designated temperature. The fan will then run periodically to maintain that temperature.

If you’re wondering what the “on” setting is good for now, don’t worry! It does have some specific case uses. If you need to drastically change the temperature of your home, “on” can help move the air faster, to make you more comfortable. It can also be good for allergy sufferers, since it will circulate the air more regularly, moving allergens into your HEPA filters. Finally, it’s also great when vacuuming. Since vacuuming kicks up a lot of dust, using this setting while cleaning will help that dust move into the filter- instead of settling back onto your floor!

Myth #3 Closing air vents will save you money.

This is something we see a lot of. If you close off vents to a room in your home, you won’t be heating or cooling that room, so you’ll save money, right? Actually closing off air vents can cost you more money. When you close off vents, you’re preventing air from escaping the vents, which build up pressure on those closed vents. The air pressure and subsequent attempts to recirculate that air actually make your system work harder to cool your home. Keep your vents open!

Myth #4 Having a service subscription is a waste of money.

This is absolutely not true! Just imagining the inconvenience, frustration, and repair costs when your system goes out unexpectedly (and it always goes out when you need it most!) should be enough to convince you otherwise. The cost of most service agreements are marginal when compared to the costs of having to replace your unit when it goes out. Most issues that call for the entire unit to be replaced can be avoided with regularly scheduled maintenance to your HVAC unit.

Maximizing your HVAC unit’s efficiency while saving money

If there were a magic thermostat, keeping your house comfortable and your energy bill low would be easy. This thermostat would know to anticipate your every move, knowing when you come and go, tracking outdoor humidity levels and watching the calendar to adjust by one degree with every half rotation of the Earth. Without that, most of us just rely on common sense. When it’s hot outside, indoor should be cool. When it’s cold, making your home warmer is essential.

While the magical thermostat doesn’t exist, the key is the same: Your home should be the most comfortable for you. There is absolutely no point in having an HVAC unit if you’re going to sweat all summer or freeze all winter. For most people, this means a daytime temperature of 70 to 75 degrees, and a nighttime temperature of 65 to 72 degrees. The keys to saving money on your energy bill are directly related to these temperature ranges, but in ways you may not know. Setting your thermostat to the top of the day range will be cheaper, especially during peak AC usage hours (3PM to 7PM), but again, it’s all about comfort. Don’t sacrifice your comfort in an effort to try to save a few bucks; just a 1 degree temperature increase can save you money.

At night, feel free to lower that temperature. Your HVAC systems actually does less work at night (meaning a lower bill for you!) You can turn it down without spending more since your unit doesn’t have to fight against the sun or warmer outdoor temperatures to maintain the lower indoor temperature.

In the winter months, the ideal range is between 60 and 65 degrees. During winter months, it’s easy to throw on another layer. The main concern with your home’s or business’s indoor winter temperature is keeping your home above freezing to prevent your pipes from freezing, so if it’s possible to keeping your home between 50 and 55 degrees for 7 or 8 hours a day, you can save you 30% on your bill.

While you may have heard some of that before, one of the biggest questions we get about heating and cooling your home is about leaving your HVAC system on while you’re away from home.

You probably turn off your air conditioning while you’re on vacation in summer or turn off thefurnace when you head to the slopes in winter; as you should anytime you leave home for more than 24 hours. However, turning your systems on and off while you’re gone for shorter amounts of time, particularly during very hot or very cold weather, can actually end up costing you more money!

It may sound counterintuitive to leave your unit running during the day, but think about your home’s construction. Each home is insulated to help maintain the internal temperature, and prevent extreme outdoor temps from sneaking in. If you turn it off while you leave on a hot day, and then turn it back on, it can take your unit hours to get through the insulation. Your unit will be working to cool a higher temperature for a longer amount of time, costing you more!

If you’re looking to save money and energy, let’s revisit those temperature ranges from above.

  • In the summer, boost your AC between 5 and 8 degrees above your ideal temperature.
  • In the winter, lower your heater between 5 and 8 degrees below your idea temperature.
  • Only turn the unit off if you’ll be gone for more than 24 hours.

Hopefully this will help you make the best decisions for your comfort and AC bill until the magical self-assessing and operating HVAC unit is invented! If you have more questions about insulation, updating your HVAC system, regular maintenance or just how to better optimize your unit, call BNG. We have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, or your money back.