April 2016


Urban Heating and Air Conditioning sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the great Texas inventor, Leonard L. "Lynn" Northrup, Jr., who passed away March 28, 2016. Captain Northrup served in the United States Corps of Engineers World War II. He designed one the first central air conditioning systems in his own home in the late 1940's, and patented the first automobile air conditioning in 1951. Lynn's insightful inventions led the way for many of the popular systems now used throughout the world, including geothermal heating and solar powered water heaters. For more information the incredible life of Captain Northrup, please read http://allotsego.com/lynn-northrup-98-inventor-pioneer-solar-energy/.


More March 2016 News


Agreement on Residential Efficiency Levels for 2023

 

The process for changing residential HVAC efficiency levels has completed its first step towards an increase in 2023. The Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) has reached an agreement on their recommendation to DOE for the next round of residential air conditioning efficiency requirements, which would be implemented in 2023. In Texas, the proposed efficiency levels would be: AC <45,000 Btuh 15 SEER, AC >45,000Btuh 14.5 SEER, HP split 15 SEER/8.8 HSPF, Package AC and HP 14 SEER/8.0 HSPF.


March 2016


Last December, the US Department of Energy announced the largest energy-saving standard in history! A coalition of industry, utilities and environmental professionals worked together to create these standards that are expected to SAVE BUSINESSES OVER $167 BILLION on their utility bills, while reducing our carbon pollution by an estimated 885 million metric tons!

To learn more, please check out :   http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-announces-largest-energy-efficiency-standard-history


February 2016

Common HVAC Terms:

 

Here are some terms you may hear our technicians use:

 

A-Coil: This heat exchanger depends on two coils, placed diagonally in the middle.  The result is a coil that looks like the letter "A".

 

Air Handler: This piece of the air conditioning system regulates and directs air throughout the duct work, spreading heated

 

Compressor: This piece of equipment pumps refrigerant through a sealed system.

 

Condenser Coil: Also known as an outdoor coil.  This piece of the air conditioner removes heat from refrigerant in vapor form.  When the heat is removed, the refrigerant becomes liquid and moves back to the inside of the machine.

 

Contactor: This piece of equipment cycles electrical current.  A contact switches on and off, connecting and breaking an electrical current.

 

Crankcase Heater: A piece of equipment that maintains the vapor form of refrigerant in the crankcase part of the system.  By heating the crankcase oil to a higher temperature than the coldest part of the system, refrigerant remain in its vapor form.

 

Damper: A plate that opens and closes to regulate air flow through the duct work system.

 

Dehumidifier: This piece of equipment extracts humidity from the air.  It cools air to the point where water turns from vapor to liquid form and then removes the liquid.

 

Evaporator Coil (or indoor coil): Also known as the indoor coil, this piece of equipment removes heat and humidity from the air inside.

 

Filter: This part removes particles of dust and other debris from the air.

 

Heat Exchanger: This part of the system allows heat to be transferred from the hot parts of the machine to the cold parts of the machine.

 

HVAC: Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning.

 

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer.

 

SEER: (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) the measurement of seasonal or annual heating or cooling efficiency.  This rating is used nation-wide and is a good indicator of operating cost.

 

Sensor: The piece of equipment that measures and regulates changes.  Air conditioning and heating sensors measure the air temperature and humidity among other things.

 

Thermostat: This system monitors and regulates a heating or cooling system.

 

Ton: The measurement of the cooling capacity of a heating or cooling system.

 

January 2016

Benefits of AC Maintenance:

 

Your air conditioner cools and filters the air inside your home, so you can enjoy worry-free clean, fresh air throughout the day.  In fact, it can be easy to overlook the importance of your air conditioning unit until is stops working properly.  Most air conditioners require occasional preventative maintenance to keep them running smoothly throughout their lifetime.  Performing preventative maintenance can ensure your unit operates at the highest efficiency without premature breakdowns.

 

1. Lower Energy Bills:

Regular preventative maintenance as simple as cleaning can help improve the efficiency of your air conditioning unit and save money on your electric bill.  A dirty air filter in an AC unit can interfere with the machines ability to circulate cool air throughout the room.  As a result, the air conditioner can run longer each day or cause you to change the temperature setting because the room feels warm even though the unit is running.  High Performance HVAC indicates that dirty condenser coils can cause the air compressor to run harder, which draws more amps from your electric service and results in higher electric bills.

 

2. Lower Repair Costs:

Preventative maintenance can save a lot of money in repair costs by catching small problems before they become bigger, more expensive problems.  Not only does a dirty condenser coil typically force the air conditioner to work harder and drive up the electric bill, but a dirty coil can also force the compressor to work much harder and can result in premature failure of the compressor.  The cost to check and clean condenser coils is generally much lower than the cost of replacing the compressor.  Preventative maintenance can also detect other issues such as a water leak in the system that could cause damage to the AC Unit or to the building structure.

 

3. Extended Equipment Life:

Extend the life of your air conditioning unit by taking care of it throughout its working life.  Air conditioners work best when they are regularly serviced and cleaned as needed.  If one part fails to work as it was designed to, it can cause stress to the entire air conditioning system and result in a total breakdown.  Keeping all parts in good working order means less stress on the equipment overall.  The unit functions better over the long term and it can last much longer than a unit that has not been sufficiently maintained.

 

December 2015

Space Heater Safety Do's and Don'ts:

 

As these cold blasts move in and out, some of you may be firing up your space heaters for small spaces or individual rooms. Here are some safety do's and don'ts to keep in mind:

 

DO:

1. Make sure the space heater you are using meets the latest safety standards - older space heaters may not meet these standards. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper use.
2. Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface.
3. Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable items.
4. Make sure to keep children and pets away from the space heater.
5. Turn the heater off if you leave the area.

 

DON'TS:

1. NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
2. Don't place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
3. Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater - any small amount of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
4. Don't use portable propane space heaters indoors unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.

 

Also, be sure to place smoke detectors on every level of you home, outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Install carbon monoxide alarms as well in your home. And make sure all the batteries are working properly.

 

As always, we are here to help with any questions you may have! Have a safe and warm holiday season!

 

November 2015

Fast and Free tips to save energy tips

 

Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to keep your hard earned money in your pocket.  Here are some suggestions you can do at home, and they cost you nothing!

 

1. Open drapes and let the sun heat you for free.  Close them at sundown to help insulate.

2. Move your furniture around so you are sitting near interior walls...don't sit in the draft

3. When fireplaces are not in use make sure the damper is closed. 

4. Eliminate wasted energy.  For example: turn off lights not in use, turn of bath ventilating fans after you are done.

5. Love to linger in the shower?  Cutting back those few extra minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water.

6. Be efficient.  Do only full loads when running your dishwasher and washing machine.  When permitted, use the cold water setting on your washing machine.  This reduces its energy use by 75 percent.  And remember to clean the dryer lint trap after each use.

7. When you're not using your computers, but them to sleep. 

 

Each step you take will make your home more energy efficient reducing the money coming out of your pocket! 

 

 

September 2015

New Dept. of Energy Regulations for Heating and Cooling Efficiency

 

New SEER Standards went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015:

 

Beginning on that date, air conditioners installed in homes in the South (Texas included) must have at least a 14 SEER rating.  The same goes for heat pumps and gas package units installed in the South.  A SEER rating is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio: a number prominently displayed on the bright yellow Energy Guide sticker on the side of air conditioners, heat pumps and other equipment.  This means the higher the SEER rating the more efficient the units is and the more money you can expect to save operating it.

 

The majority of US manufacturers already offer 14 SEER heat pump systems and many manufacturers may spruce up current 14 SEER designs to meet product demands for 2015 inventory stocking.  While the changes were effective January 1, 2015, the new regulation also includes an 18-month grace period for distributors to sell their remaining inventory.

 

So why is switching to a high-efficiency system so important?  Again a high-efficiency air conditioner, heat pump or packaged unit may help you save money on your utility bills - less energy used means less money you are charged.  This also depends on the efficiency of your previous system, the quality of the installation of your new unit, how often you keep up with maintenance and more.  A high-efficiency heating and cooling system setup can also be a big selling point for a potential buyer and may up the resale value of your home. 

 

Contact us today to discuss the changes.  We will be happy to help you find a new system that meets the new standards and discuss our yearly maintenance agreement for your new system.

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