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Most homes with central air conditioners have split systems. These are air conditioners with a set of indoor and outdoor units. The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and the air handler that sends cooled air into the ventilation system. The outdoor unit, also known as the condenser, is a cabinet that holds the compressor, evaporator coil, and exhaust fan.
Any resident of Southern California knows the sight of these outdoor condenser units. They’re usually located along the side of a house or in the backyard, sometimes disguised behind a fence because people generally don’t find them the most beautiful part of the outside decor. Homeowners sometimes try to hide condensers behind shrubs or other plants, making them disappear into the landscaping. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious AC problems! The condenser of a central air conditioner must have a clear area around it to give it room to “breathe,” as we’ll explain below.
The central air conditioning system is one of the biggest consumers of electricity in a house. When the AC goes into active cooling mode and powers the compressor, it can use on average 3,500 watts per hour. The only appliance that might use more is an electric water heater.
Because AC’s can take up such a significant chunk of your electrical budget during a hot So. Cal summer, it makes sense to limit how much you have it running. This is why we recommend keeping the thermostat at around 78°F during the day: it’s a comfortable temperature that won’t force the air conditioner to run too long.
What about when you’re away from home? It sounds like it makes sense to just turn the AC off so it won’t use any power. The situation isn’t so simple, however. Unless you plan to be away from home for several weeks, we advise you to keep the air conditioner on—but not necessarily at the same settings.
A common misconception about air conditioning systems we often encounter is that if an AC isn’t providing enough cooling for a home, the best solution is to upgrade to a bigger air conditioner. On the surface, this seems like a rational basic choice. Sometimes it is the best step: an air conditioning system that’s too small for the house it’s supposed to cool is the wrong AC for the house.
However, if you’ve had the same AC working in your home for several years and have only recently encountered the problem with poor cooling, going to a bigger air conditioner is a mistake. The air conditioner is the correct size to meet your cooling needs, but something else has gone wrong. You might need repairs for the system, or perhaps a new air conditioning installation in Los Angeles, CA—but not necessarily a bigger new air conditioner.
If you use a gas furnace to heat your home, there is some potential for the furnace to become dangerous. Toxic gas and combustion dangers can occur if the furnace isn’t given proper regular care. It’s not difficult to avoid these hazards with a gas furnace, but it’s important to know about the possibilities.
What about air conditioning systems? Can an AC malfunction in a way that creates hazards for your home? The answer is yes, but they’re different from natural gas concerns. They occur with extremely old ACs, and the best way to avoid these problems is to make sure you don’t keep an air conditioner that’s long past its estimated service life, i.e. more than 15 years.
We’ll take a look at how an old air conditioning system can create health concerns.
You can look for many different signs that you have an over-the-hill air conditioner ready for a replacement. General age is a good measure: most ACs don’t last far beyond 15 years. You can also watch for declines in efficiency that create higher electric bills, or a run of expensive repairs that indicate a system approaching the end of the line.
One sign it’s time to repair your AC that is absolute is if it’s an R-22 unit. If you have an R-22 air conditioning system, arrange to have a replacement put in as soon as you can—otherwise, it will force you to replace it at some point when it’s much less convenient for you.
When the summer starts, you know to expect a rise in monthly electric bills. Air conditioning systems require large amounts of electricity to run, and as soon as you start to regularly turn on the AC, you’ll see an increase in electrical usage.
In this post, we’re going to look closer at the amount of electricity your AC consumes and the difference in electrical consumption compared to other appliances. If you’ve ever wondered what’s the difference between “cooling” and “fan only” mode on your AC, this is the post for you.
The AccuComfort Platinum 18 Variable Speed Heat Pump comes with variable-speed technology which consistently adjusts to run at a more efficient speed to maintain your personal level of comfort. It’s a heater when it’s cold outside and an air conditioner when things get hot. It’s also energy-efficient. That means you can enjoy a comfortable home without the carbon footprint of a gas furnace.
Durable, Quiet, and Long-Lasting Comfort
Quiet operation and customizable heating and humidity controls make heat pumps an ideal choice for any home.
Heat Pump FAQ
What does a heat pump do?
A heat pump uses the outside air to both heat and cool your home. In winter a heat pump absorbs heat from the outside air and distributes it throughout your house. In the summer, a heat pump operates just like a traditional air conditioner and includes the same efficiency features.
Is a heat pump right for me?
Every home and homeowner has unique needs, but generally, a heat pump is right for you if your winters are mild – rarely dipping below freezing. Los Angeles that has mild winters is perfect.
How energy efficient is a heat pump?
Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnace and air conditioner systems. Because they run on electricity heat pumps can be a less expensive option over time.
How much does a heat pump cost?
Heat pump pricing depends on several factors like the size of your house, model, installation requirements—and even the climate conditions in your area. Some heat pumps qualify for local rebates.
How long does a heat pump last?
A properly installed heat pump should last an average of 15 years. Several factors can reduce or extend the life expectancy including the type of heat pump you buy, usage, your location and how well the heat pump is maintained.
Do you want to bring your home life to a halt this summer because you need an emergency AC repair in Van Nuys, CA—or elsewhere in our service area? Of course you don’t, although you can always rely on our technicians to come through for you in case this happens.
But we’re here to talk about repair prevention today, and that’s only part of what you’ll get when you have your AC maintained before the summer heat arrives.
This is a question that occasionally crops up because people are used to hunting for bargains with used items. Often, buying “pre-owned” is great. Used books still have the same text, most used CDs and Blu-rays will run fine, and the used car is a classic.
But a used central air conditioner? Is that a possibility?
No. No it is not. No HVAC professional recommends purchasing used air conditioning systems. It won’t save money and will probably cost far more than getting a new system. It’s also simply not practical. Below we’ll go through the reasons why a “pre-owned” AC belongs in the recycling yard, not your house.
We’re a full-service air conditioning contractor for Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. But we go beyond full service to specialize in areas other contractors don’t. One of our specializations is older homes. Vintage homes have specific requirements when it comes to comfort because they were constructed in times when central air conditioning was uncommon in Southern California. For decades, window AC units were the only effective way to deliver any type of electro-mechanical cooling to these houses.
But we can add air conditioning to older homes that are much better than window units. We would love to offer you the air conditioning service in Van Nuys, CA that allows you to get rid of those ugly and inefficient window ACs and enjoy quality cooling around the house. We know how to bring older homes up to modern air conditioning standards.