Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

Now days an air conditioning system can do a lot more than just heat and cool your home. A good filtration system can clean the air as it passes through your air conditioner, removing odor and allergy causing contaminants from the air in your home so your family doesn’t have to breathe them in. When your home’s air is clean, your family can breathe and feel better.

Your home filtration starts with a few high quality air filters to catch airborne contaminants from the air in your home but can be upgraded with a host of high quality options.

Germicidal Ultraviolet Lamps
Germicidal UVC Lamps are ultraviolet lamps that can be installed directly into the ducts of your air conditioning system. These high intensity UV Lamps disinfects the air by neutralizing airborne pathogens with ultraviolet light.

Germicidal UVC Lamps harness the energy of the sun’s UVC rays to disrupt the DNA of living viruses and airborne organisms so they can no longer reproduce. Germicidal UVC is effective against viruses, bacteria, molds and mold spores, pollen, and other pathogens.

According to the EPA, the combined use of filtration and germicidal UVC light is an effective means of preventing the distribution of airborne viruses in occupied spaces.

Whole Home Humidification System
As your air conditioning system cools your home, it is also removing moisture from the air. Here in Las Vegas, where the air is already quite dry, many people find that adding some humidity back into the air can do wonders for increasing the comfort in their homes. By connecting a whole home humidification system into your duct system you can supply your entire home with properly moisturized air.

Glossary

Glossary

Making informed purchasing decisions and getting the best performance from your home comfort system is easier when you know the common terms.

A
AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute)
AHRI is an abbreviation for the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, a trade association that develops standards for measuring and certifying product performance. AHRI standards and guidelines are used throughout the world. Equipment with the AHRI Certified® mark has AHRI’s assurance that it will perform accurately and consistently.

Air Handler
An air handler, or air handling unit, is the indoor part of an air conditioner or heat pump that moves cooled or heated air throughout the ductwork of your home.

B
Bioaerosols
Bioaerosols, or biological aerosols, are tiny airborne particles that are biological in nature. High concentrations of bioaerosols in indoor air can lead to respiratory problems and disease. Maintaining proper home humidity levels and installing advanced filtration devices can help reduce bioaerosols and maintain a healthy environment.

British Thermal Unit (BTU)
A measurement of heat energy. One Btu is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the Btu rating, the greater the heating capacity of the system.

British Thermal Unit Per Hour (BTUh)
British thermal units per hour.

C
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to by its chemical abbreviation, CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and poisonous gas that’s produced when fuels such as natural gas burn with insufficient air. When carbon monoxide leaks into your home’s air, it can lead to serious health problems for your family. Regular maintenance of your home’s heating and ventilation system will help ensure it’s not a source of a carbon monoxide leak.

Central Air-Conditioning
Central air conditioning (or central A/C) is a system in which air is cooled at a central location and distributed to and from rooms by one or more fans and ductwork.

Coil
There are typically two HVAC coils in a system—the condenser coil in the outside air conditioning condenser unit and the evaporator coil in the indoor unit. The coils are what increase or decrease the temperature via heat transfer.

Compressor
An AC or heat pump compressor is the part of an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump that compresses and pumps refrigerant to meet household cooling requirements.

Condenser
A condenser (or AC condenser) is the outdoor portion of an air conditioner or heat pump that either releases or collects heat, depending on the time of the year.

Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)
Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM) is a measurement of airflow volume, determined by how many cubic feet of air pass by a stationary point in one minute. Having an accurate estimate of your home’s CFM is key to choosing an HVAC system with the right capacity for your space and needs.

D
Decibel (dB)
A decibel (dB) is a unit used to measure the relative intensity of sound. For example, sound levels in a library are normally about 40 dB, normal conversations range from about 50 to 60 dB, and an operating motorcycle or garbage truck can be as high as 100 dB.

Department Of Energy (DOE)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is a federal agency responsible for monitoring the consumption of energy sources and setting industry efficiency standards for all heating and cooling units manufactured in the U.S.

Ductwork
Ductwork refers to the system of ducts (metal or synthetic tubes) used to transport air from your AC equipment throughout your home. Properly installed and well-maintained air ducts are a key component of indoor air quality and home comfort.

E
Electronic Air Cleaner
Electronic air cleaners, sometimes referred to as ionizers or electronic air purifiers, use electrically charged filters to reduce the number of airborne contaminants in your home. As air passes through your heating and cooling system, the cleaner uses electrically charged filters to attract and trap harmful particles to prevent them from recirculating through your home.

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
The ratio of cooling capacity to the power input (in watts). The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner.

Energy Star®
ENERGY STAR® is a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to help consumers and businesses save money by choosing energy-efficient products and technologies. AC equipment with the ENERGY STAR® label meets or exceeds federal guidelines for energy-efficient performance.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal agency that develops and enforces federal environmental regulations and oversees the nationwide ENERGY STAR® program.

Evaporator Coil
The part of an air conditioner or heat pump that absorbs the heat from the air in your house. It is located inside the air handler or attached to the furnace.

H
Heat Exchanger
A heat exchanger is a heating component that is located in the furnace and transfers heat to the surrounding air, which is then pumped throughout the home.

Heat Pump
A heat pump is an AC unit that heats or cools by moving heat. During the winter, a heat pump draws heat from outdoor air and circulates it through a home’s air ducts. In the summer, it reverses the process and removes heat from the house and releases it outdoors.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
The heating efficiency rating for heat pumps. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump.

Humidifier
A humidifier is a device that adds moisture to indoor air in a single room or throughout an entire house. Whole-home humidifiers may use the fan in your furnace or air handler to blow humidified air throughout the ductwork, or they may work independently of your heating and cooling system to maintain humidity levels even when the furnace or air handler isn’t operating.

HVAC
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

HVAC Zoning System
An HVAC zoning system (also referred to as “zoned HVAC”) is a heating and cooling system that uses dampers in the ductwork to regulate and redirect air to specific areas of the home. This allows for the creation of customized temperature zones throughout the home for increased comfort and efficiency.

I
Indoor Coil
See Evaporator Coil.

M
MERV Rating
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating is used to rank the efficiency of air filters. Every air filter has holes that allow air and particles to pass through. The smaller the holes, the fewer particles that can pass through. Higher MERV ratings indicate smaller holes, and therefore a more efficient filter.

Micron
A unit of measure equal to one millionth of a meter, or 1/25,000 of an inch. Airborne particles – such as dust, dander, mold and viruses – are measured in microns. These tiny particles can circulate in your home’s air and have harmful effects on your family’s health and comfort.

N
NATE Certification
North American Technician Excellence (NATE) conducts rigorous, independent testing verifying the real-world knowledge and application of HVAC technicians and installers.

O
Outdoor Coil
See Condenser.

P
Packaged Units
Heating and cooling systems contained in one outdoor unit.

Particles
Particles are tiny substances measuring less than 100 microns in diameter. Indoor air can be filled with particles, some of which can be seen with the naked eye, such as dust and dirt. Others can only be seen with a microscope, such as bacteria and viruses, which typically measure only one micron or smaller in diameter. All of these airborne particles can have significant impacts on your family’s health and comfort.

Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is a thermostat with the ability to adjust home heating and cooling equipment according to a pre-set schedule. For instance, a programmable thermostat could be set to maintain a home temperature of 72 degrees throughout the day, and 65 degrees from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. every night.

R
R-22 Refrigerant
The old standard for residential air conditioners, now being phased out by the U.S. EPA

R-410A Refrigerant
A chlorine-free refrigerant that meets the U.S. EPA’s newest, most stringent environmental guidelines.

Refrigerant
A chemical that produces a cooling effect while expanding or vaporizing. Most residential air-conditioning units contain the standard R-410A refrigerant, or freon.

Refrigerant Lines
Two copper lines that connect the outdoor air conditioner or heat pump to the indoor evaporator coil.

S
Scroll Compressor
A specially designed compressor that works in a circular motion, as opposed to up-and-down piston action.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is an energy efficiency rating for air conditioners. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit.

Split System HVAC
A heating and cooling system that includes an indoor unit, outdoor unit and a thermostat.

T
Thermostat
A thermostat is a device that monitors the indoor temperature and automatically adjusts your heating or cooling system to maintain the desired level.

Ton
Unit of measurement for determining cooling capacity. One ton equals 12,000 Btuh.
Two-Stage Operation
Provides two levels of heating or cooling output for enhanced temperature control, energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

V
Variable Speed Motor
A motor that operates at a wide range of speeds to precisely control the distribution of heated and cooled air throughout the home.

Ventilator
A ventilator is a device that replaces the stale, recirculated air inside your home with fresh, filtered outdoor air. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) is ideal for warm and humid climates, since it cools and dehumidifies the incoming outdoor air. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is more appropriate for colder climates, as it transfers heat from recirculated air to the fresh incoming air.

Repair vs Replace

Repair vs Replace

When your air conditioning system breaks down, the most difficult decision is often deciding whether to upgrade to a new, more efficient system or just repair your existing air conditioner. There are a number of factors that should be considered when making this decision. We have trained our technicians to give you all of the information they can to help you make an informed decision but ultimately, it will be up to you to decide which option is best for you and your home.

Age of your system
Air Conditioning systems can be expected to last an average of 10 to 12 years. Once your system starts getting into this age range, you can start expecting a higher fail rate from many of the major components in your air conditioner.

Outdated technology
As with all technology, air conditioning equipment manufacturers are constantly looking to improve on their existing line of products both in energy efficiency and the level of comfort that they provide. In fact, if your current air conditioner is over 10 years old, you can expect to cut your cooling energy costs by as much as 20-40% by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model due to the increased SEER rating of a new, high efficiency system.

How Air Conditioning Works

How Air Conditioning Works

The first modern air conditioning system was developed in 1902 by an electrical engineer named Willis Carrier. Mr. Carrier was working for a publishing company that was having trouble with the paper stock absorbing moisture from the humid air at their manufacturing plant. He came up with the idea of cooling the air by blowing it across chilled pipes. Since cool air can’t carry as much moisture as warm air, the process reduced the level of humidity in the plant and minimized the amount of moisture that could be absorbed by the paper stock at the plant.

Cooling the air, in fact, was just a side effect of the moisture removal process. But it didn’t take Mr. Carrier very long to realize the potential of his new invention. Soon after that, air conditioners started popping up in public arenas like movie theaters and restaurants.

Price Guide

Price Guide

Many factors should be considered when receiving a quote for a new Air Conditioning system. It can be a lot more involved than just “replacing one box with another.”

Maybe you have one room that is always hotter or colder than the rest of the house. Southern-facing windows can be great. They let natural light and warmth into your home and can be great during colder months, but can lead to an uncomfortable “hot spot” in your otherwise well air conditioned home if you live in a warmer climate like we do here in Las Vegas.

Or maybe you live in an older home that still has the original duct work. Over half of an Air Conditioner’s efficiency can be lost due to a poorly insulated or leaky duct system.

These are just a couple examples of the types of problems beyond just replacing the Air Conditioning system that we solve for our customers every day. It is important to discuss any potential concerns that you may have with your Air Conditioning professional so that we can work together to make your home as comfortable as possible.

Energy Ratings

Energy Ratings

The Department of Energy has established a standardized efficiency rating system that all Air Conditioning manufacturers must adhere to and make readily available to consumers known as a system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. Since as much as half of a household’s monthly energy bill can be made up of your family’s heating and cooling needs it is important to understand this rating systems when replacing your home’s AC equipment.

The higher the SEER rating of your equipment the more efficient your Air Conditioner will be and the more savings you will see on your energy bill every month. In fact, if your current Air Conditioner is 10 years old, you can cut 20-40% off of your cooling energy costs simply by replacing it with a modern, more efficient model.