How Does Air Balancing Work?

The basic purpose of air balancing is to measure how well your HVAC system performs its duties, and while there are multiple ways to carry out air balancing, today we will focus on just two of them: Certified Air Balance, and Comfort Balance.

 


Let’s take a look at Comfort Balance first. As the name would suggest, with Comfort Balance we take a look at the level of comfort the conditioning brings to a room. How strong is the airflow? Do registers need to be added or removed, or simply adjusted? The circulation of the air will ultimately decide whether there is a problem with your unit or if all is working as it should.


Next, we have Certified Air Balance. Unlike Comfort Balance, this form of inspection will take a closer look at the unit itself, and will often be performed with newly purchased or built homes, or with other large-scale projects. Throughout the inspection process, the system’s capacity will be tested to ensure that all parts are compatible, and the overall performance is optimized for the building’s layout.


Certified Air Balance inspection goes something like this:

  • The HVAC Contractors in Philadelphia will research local regulations and AHRAE standards, and ask about your needs. Based on these details, they will then utilize their experience and training to draw up a detailed plan of the air conditioning system, including ducting, registers, requirements for the ventilation, exhaust vents, air flow, and the overall performance of the unit.

 

  • Blade dampers will be fastened to each duct branch, and behind the intake and exhaust openings.

 

  • An air balance technician will be brought in to replace filters and open up each damper before a reading is performed on all openings on the roof and inside.

 

  • With everything now optimized, all devices and dampers can be locked in order to fix the settings.

 


It should be noted that, even once locked, the occupants of the building can mess with the settings, should they neglect to replace dirty filters, drastically change the indoor layout, or otherwise mess with the factors which were considered during the optimization process. Questions and concerns in regards to your air conditioner, or air balancing specifically, can be directed at AC professionals in your area. If given the opportunity, they can come in and thoroughly inspect your unit to ensure everything is working as it should.


It is important to have the right professionals do the required services because they are licensed, insured and bonded. Apart from having years of experience, the HVAC contractors have the skill and knowledge to handle varied size units. If you have questions or queries, give Affordable Fixes LLC a call today.

How to Prepare Your Air Conditioning For Winter

Although it’s the end of summer, there are some last minute considerations before you tuck your cooling systems away for the year. Home maintenance never ends. The same goes for your heating and cooling systems. In order for you to ensure that your air conditioning system will work without problems come next summer, it’s important to prepare it for a long winter slumber.

The outdoor component of your AC system is subject to winter weather in the way of snow, ice, and oxidation. It is also subject to yard debris. A quick winterization can prevent damage and rust and ensure that your air conditioning system is kept from harmful weather and will operate smoothly and efficiently next summer.

Turn Off the Power

Your exterior power circuit for your AC system is located on the side of your home. Lift the cover and flip the switch to the “off” position, then close the lid. This is important to ensure that there is no risk of electrocution while you are maintaining your unit. It also ensures that your air conditioner doesn’t accidentally engage during an unseasonably warm day, possibly resulting in a nighttime freeze and subsequent damage.

Clean Your Unit

Using a broom, sweep away any leaves or yard debris that may be on or surrounding your unit. Use a hose to wash away any dirt or other debris. Allow the unit to dry. Making sure your unit is clean ensures that it won’t get clogged during the winter resulting in a breakdown when you turn it back on next summer. Inspect it for any cracks or rust that may become potential problems. Finding problems now cuts the risk for a breakdown in the middle of the summer. If you see any problems, call your Philadelphia AC repair technician.

Cover Your Unit

There are covers specifically made for your outdoor AC unit. You may also use any type of waterproof or vinyl covering in order to protect it during the upcoming winter. Make sure the covering is secured so it doesn’t blow away in the wind.

Provide Extra Insulation

The exposed pipes and wiring around your unit should be insulated, particularly those that go into the home. This insulation keeps pipes, fluid, and wires from freezing and cracking.

Check Periodically

Throughout the winter months, you will want to check your AC unit weekly in order to clear away any accumulated debris and to remove any water or ice that may have accumulated on top of the unit. This accumulated weight can be potentially damaging.

This seasonal maintenance will extend the life of your AC system, fend off potential problems, and enable you to check for any issues before the next summer season begins. If you do find any irregularities, make sure to call the Philadelphia air conditioning repair professionals at Affordable Fixes LLC to address any issues before they turn into costly malfunctions.

Summer Routine Checks for Your HVAC and Plumbing

We all love summer for those long lazy days and summer vacations. But with the kids home from school and extra showers, laundry, and dishes not to mention your air conditioning working overtime, summertime can put a strain on your air conditioning and plumbing systems. As we move into the hottest part of the summer, there are some things you should be prepared for. With some simple routine checks, you won’t be caught off guard this summer.

Air Conditioning Drain

When was the last time you checked your air conditioning drain? If you are like most homeowners, your answer may be “never”. With warm, moist weather, a build-up of mold and mildew can occur and clog your AC drain. Clogs can also occur due to mineral deposits over time. A block can not only cause backup into your home but can also cause mold growth inside your home. Clean your drain with a simple bleach technique or call a Philadelphia AC repair professional to make sure your air conditioner drain is free of blocks.

Water Pressure

Did you know that winter isn’t the only time that water pipes can break? Hot weather can cause this as well. One of the first symptoms that your pipes may be in jeopardy is the water pressure in your home. Low water pressure can point to other larger problems as well. These can be leaks, corrosion, or other malfunctions in your water supply. This is something you will want to leave to your Philadelphia plumber.

Foundational Shifts

Large fluctuations in weather and moisture over time can cause shifts in the foundation of your home. Foundational shifts and cracking can cause problems with your plumbing, shifting the pipes and, at times, causing them to burst. If you are noticing cracks in walls and around the outside of your home, chances are that your foundation has shifted over time.

Keep watchful of any ways your plumbing may show issues if this is the case before you experience bursts and floods. Philadelphia plumbers also suggest the planting of foliage around your home to help moderate temperature around the foundation.

Gas, Water or Sewer Line Disturbances

When planting, make sure to get professionals from your utility companies to come out and mark where their lines are in your yard. Unfortunately, these lines can be disturbed by homeowners planting gardens or trees. Know where your lines are before you begin to dig.

Outdoor Plumbing and Irrigation

During the off months, your outdoor plumbing may have developed leaks that can go undetected for quite a while. If you are seeing standing water in your yard or are seeing warped floors and cabinets, you may have a leak. You can check this by monitoring your water meter while the water to your home is turned off. If the water meter is still running while the home’s water has been turned off, you have a leak. Call your local Philadelphia plumber.

Whether your problem is an HVAC problem or your plumbing needs an experienced professional, trust the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC to have your back.

Save Energy While You Keep Your Cool This Summer

In the middle of summer, you may be feeling frustrated with regulating temperatures to keep you comfortable. Too hot. Too cold. You may find your thermostat getting a real workout and it is sure to show in your monthly energy bills. But our Philadelphia AC repair pros are here to offer some simple tips to allow you to be comfortable while still saving on those high electric bills this summer.

The Battle Between Outside and Inside Air

Your air conditioning is waging a constant battle with the outside air temperature. The larger the difference between the outdoor air and the desired inside air temperature, the harder it must work. And the harder your air conditioner works, the more you spend on energy. When considering the outdoor air temperature, you must make a decision what your temperature comfort level will be as close to possible as that outside temperature and set your thermostat accordingly.

So, what does that mean? If you are coming in from a hot outdoor temperature, you may immediately go for your thermostat and set it down to a temperature that is unreasonably cold. Your thinking is that it will cool your home down faster but it’s flawed thinking. Your air conditioning is limited in its capability to cool hot air down quickly and it is a matter of patience on your part. If it is hot outside, set your thermostat at your reasonably comfortable temperature. And wait.

Programmable and Smart Thermostats

If your thermostat is programmable, use this feature to ensure that your home cools down at a certain time of the day before you come home. In this way, you will not be cooling your home needlessly while no one is at home and coming home to a hot and uncomfortable house. New smart thermostats allow you to control temperature settings from your smartphone and change them in real time. This is a great advantage for a busy family that keeps inconsistent schedules.

Maintenance and Filter Replacement

Maintaining your system is key to keeping air moving efficiently and effectively. Make sure that any air filters are replaced regularly. A clogged and dirty air filter is by far the biggest reason that air conditioners struggle to circulate air and maintain proper temperatures during the summer and cause breakdowns to occur.

Add Some Fans

Ceiling or box fans offer added relief during the summer months. Although fans do nothing to regulate the temperature, the movement of circulated air makes the air feel cooler and less stagnant. In many cases, homeowners can keep their air conditioning set a few degrees higher just by incorporating a few fans in the home to move air around. And fans take far less energy than your air conditioning system.

If you find your air conditioning is still struggling to keep you cool this summer, call the Philadelphia air conditioning repair experts at Affordable Fixes LLC. There is no need to get hot under the collar with an experienced professional to the rescue.

Should You Turn Off Your AC if You Are Going on Vacation?

If you are like most people, summertime means vacation time. But should you leave your air conditioning on while you’re gone, or should you shut it down to save on energy costs? The answer is: it depends.

Considering Some Factors

Managing your cooling system while you are away depends on a few different factors. Turning off your AC will save money in the short term but there are other things you should consider before you take that approach.

Turn Up the Thermostat, if Possible

Most Philadelphia air conditioning repair professionals recommend turning your thermostat up while you are gone instead of shutting it entirely off. If your vacation is a relatively short one, it’s far better to just set the thermostat up a few degrees. It’s true that cooling an empty house while you’re not home is wasteful. But it can put unnecessary strain on a system to cool it down completely when you return if it is only for a short duration.

Insulate Your Home

One thing you may consider is closing all curtains and blinds while you are gone. This will cut out the amount of sun and heat that will infiltrate your home while you’re away. You may want to check the forecast to see what the weather will be like while you’re gone. Mild weather may justify a higher setting inside the home. But a very hot forecast may mean you want to keep the inside temperature in your home a bit cooler.

Moisture Control

Remember that your air conditioning system helps remove moisture and humidity from your home. If your vacation will be a relatively lengthy one, you have a few more considerations.

If you turn off your air conditioning entirely, the humidity level in your house will build. If you have important belongings that don’t fare well in a humid environment, you should not turn your AC off entirely. Also, a hot home will make things such as your refrigerator work harder.

Your Home’s Efficiency

How energy efficient is your home? Homes that are well insulated are far more resistant to heat buildup. Window films, attic insulation, and thermal window coverings help to make your home more efficient and less likely to build up heat and humidity while you are away.

Smart Thermostats

Today, we have the availability of smart thermostats. In the case where you are gone for any extended period, you can make adjustments from your phone or electronic device. These will also enable you to cool your home before you return.

Call a Professional

If you are looking for expert air conditioning repair in Philadelphia, call the professionals at Affordable Fixes, LLC. For over three decades, we have been the ones to turn to for dependable heating, cooling and plumbing services in the Philadelphia area. Call us today for affordable and trustworthy air conditioning or heating services.

Should I Replace My Air Conditioner or Fix It?

You’ve been putting it off, but with summer just a couple months away it has come back to haunt you. If your air conditioning was struggling at the end of last summer, you now need to make a decision. Is it worth the cost of a repair or should you just bite the bullet and replace it?

Pat Yourself on the Back

First, you should be commended. You are getting ahead of the game simply by being proactive. Whether you decide to repair or replace, once summer rolls around you will be waiting for an HVAC repair company in Philadelphia to schedule you right along with everyone else. Scheduling an air conditioning repair once summer hits can become an uncomfortable waiting game.

How to Decide

When you are trying to figure out if a repair makes sense, you want to consider some things about your system.

Age

First, how old is it? There is a simple calculation that most Philadelphia AC repair technicians use when deciding if a repair is worth it. They will take the age of the system and multiply it by the anticipated cost of the repair. If this exceeds $5,000, you may want to consider a replacement.

Sometimes it makes no sense to put money into an older system. Your AC system has a functional lifespan of about 15 years. If you are repairing a system that is nearing the end of its life, you may be wasting your money. You may also want to consider your refrigerant here. Manufacturers stopped using Freon back in 2010 and Freon production will end in 2020. This may be your perfect excuse to get rid of an old system that will soon be obsolete and get a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Efficiency

An inefficient system can be a huge drain on your energy expenses once summer hits. Systems on the market today have far superior energy saving technology than old systems. According to energy.gov, even if your current system is only ten years old, you could save between 20 to 40 percent on your cooling costs by replacing your current system with a new, more efficient one. That is no small savings.

Consider the amount of the repair against the potential cost savings of a new system and you may see that putting money into an old system that is draining your wallet in other areas doesn’t make sense.

Size

If you have had a continuous issue with your old system not getting your home sufficiently cool even when it is operating properly, your AC may just be too small for your home. This is one of the most common problems we see. This is another energy drain because a small system will work nonstop trying to keep your home at a cooler temperature. This may be another waste of a repair cost. A new system that is appropriately sized for your home will make a remarkable difference in your comfort and your energy bills.

Call a Professional

If you need AC repair in Philadelphia and need an expert’s advice, call the professionals at Affordable Fixes. We can take the mystery out of air conditioning repairs before you get hot under the collar.

Schedule Your Air Conditioning Tune-Up Before Summer is Here

Summer is right around the corner. Don’t get caught with a malfunctioning air conditioning system. When the temperature climbs, you don’t want to be caught waiting for service during the busiest time for Philadelphia HVAC repair companies. With a preemptive air conditioning tune-up, you will be ready for summer. (more…)