Decide Between An Air Conditioner And A Dehumidifier

We frequently receive calls from potential customers, and they ask us whether they need an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.

We typically receive most of these calls during the hot months of summer when homes tend to get warm and clammy from interiors that are high in humidity. Those who live near coastal areas certainly know what “humidity” means, but it’s not just in those areas where humidity can be a problem. That stick, clammy, damp feeling seems to fill the air. With high temperatures and high humidity, people often complain of a hot, heavy feeling that is very uncomfortable. In these situations, reducing the humidity can also help reduce the heat in your home.

At HVAC FL, we don’t like to subject our customers to a lot of jargon, so to keep with normal terms most people can understand; there is water vapor in the air, the amount depending on the temperature. The most important takeaway from this information is that with higher humidity levels, the greater discomfort you and your family will feel. When homes suffer from high levels of humidity, it’s also not unusual for them to develop a musty odor.

So, then what is needed?

First of all, it’s important to understand the differences between choosing a dehumidifier and air conditioning in Florida. Your specific objective will determine which you’ll need. A dehumidifier is designed to remove excess humidity, but not to drop the indoor temperature. An air conditioner can reduce humidity, but it is also designed to significantly lower indoor temperatures. This means that dehumidifiers are a great choice when moisture or humidity is the problem, but significant cooling isn’t needed. In situations where cooling is a primary goal, an air conditioner will be the best option, even though it can also act as a dehumidifier.

Nowadays, there are many portable air conditioners that are good and can even separate the dehumidifying function from the cooling function. This is an excellent option because it allows you to use the air conditioning function as an effective dehumidifier during the winter months (without making indoor temperatures even cooler), and during the summer months, you can switch it over and use the air conditioning function to cool your home.

Tech Alert Information!

A dehumidifier uses cold and hot coils. The dehumidifier sucks in air from the room; this air passes over the unit’s cold coils which results in condensation. Then the air passes over hot coils as it exits the dehumidifier, restoring the air to room temperature.

On the other hand, an air conditioner has only cold coils. So, like the humidifier, the vapor condenses, but the air that gets released back into a room is significantly colder.

It’s never actually necessary to operate a dehumidifier and an air conditioner simultaneously.

Summary

A dehumidifier will generally cost less than an air conditioner, and it uses less energy. However, regardless of how strong your dehumidifier is, it’s not going to be able to make a hot room significantly cooler. It will, however, reduce the level of humidity and help protect your home from condensation, dampness, and mold throughout the entire year. It is also less noisy and smaller than a typical air conditioner.

When you purchase an air conditioning unit, it will usually cost more, and you’ll spend more to run it, but its main job is to cool your home during the hot summer months which it certainly does much better than a dehumidifier will do. Additionally, if you want to, you can also use your air conditioning unit during the winter and run it as a dehumidifier. So, if your goal is to cover both cooling and dehumidifying, then a portable air conditioning unit or an easy to install wall mounted unit can make a great choice.

Off-Season Air Conditioning: How To Keep It Up

Certain times in the year, you need to look after the maintenance of your heating and cooling unit. Usually, for springs, the air conditioners are the prime concerns, and when fall hits, you must think about your heating system arrangements. Another matter is about the outside air conditioning unit and to put it in a cover during the winter season or leave it without any covering.

Covering your A/C

You need to cover your air conditioner after the end of summer, and it does not necessarily mean you do it for the winter season. Your unit outer covering is hard to deflect damages that comes from rain and snow; however, it is not a cover that will keep the outside unit safe from leaves, debris, or seeds.

So it is better to prepare for the fall season and have a cover ready. “If leaves and other elements like dust and seed enter the air conditioner, they will settle in the system and attract moisture that can lead to the corrosion of the AC system,” says Reliance Air Services. It can also add up and block any drainage moisture system you have installed.

Make sure you only cover the top of the air conditioner. When making the cover by yourself, it should not go over 6 inches down the side. If you end up covering the unit entirely, it may lead to other problems as it will not allow any air to get in and will lead to the formation of corrosion and rust.

Why You Should Not Cover the Air Conditioner

People are in practice to cover things to keep it clean and safe from outside elements like dirt and water. You can see people covering law chairs, swimming pools, or other outdoor furniture regularly. If you are wondering whether you should have a cover for the outside of your air conditioner, the answer is it is not necessary to cover the outside arrangments of air conditioners by any means.

Dust

When switched on, the unit absorbs in air, which also takes in the dust. Once it is switched off, it is highly unlikely for the atmosphere dust or other trash will go in.

Snowfall, Frost, and Cold Weather

Outdoor cooling systems are made to survive these severe wintertime climate situations, which excludes the requirement for a cover.

Mist

Mist or moisture from the water can halt the AC condenser coils, and this can result in damages with time. However, it is not possible to control the moisture 100%, and it is most likely that some moisture will settle in because of humidity or the wind. The cover will trap this moisture and will lead to the formation of mold, so it is better to avoid using the covering altogether.

Rodents and Small Animals

You are wrong if you think a cover will keep small animals at a distance, in fact, it is most likely that small rodents like rats or insects take shelter in the sheets and make it their winter home. What’s worst is that these animals can even find the resting spot comfortable enough to nest and can then try to find ways into your home!

All in all, you should understand that the ACs have a specific design, and they contain a structure to help the system from the winter climate. So you do not have to cover the air conditioners for such reasons. You need to make sure you adequately cover the unit during the fall period, and we provide secure, attractive, and durable covers to give your air conditioner the protection during the fall season.

Buying A New Air Conditioning System: Installing & Managing Systems

If you’re thinking about purchasing a new AC unit, you may be thinking if it’s okay to buy central air conditioning or you would be better off with the ductless system everyone has been talking about lately.

Your selection depends on your situation and preferences. However, for your ease, we are listing some details that will help you in making the selection.

Understanding the Ductless System

If you are scratching your head wondering what the ductless system is all about, on the surface you will find the assembly similar to a conventional air conditioner. Like an A/C it also has two units: one is the condenser that will rest outside your house and the inside evaporator that is inside the home. In between these two units, the coolant passes, taking away the heat from inside to the outdoors where the temperature is released.

In a central system, the mechanism differs as the cold air travels through the air handler on your furnace and trip into the ductwork, and from there it spreads inside the house. In structure the ductless system uses a thin cable that lies between the condenser and the box on the wall, there is no need for any ductwork, neither you need any vents on the floor.

How to Select the Right System

We ask our clients the following questions to understand their need and to recommend the best system for their homes.

1. Does your Home have a Ductwork?

An important thing to consider when making a decision is to check for your ductwork. If you already have ductwork, it will be more comfortable and less costly to go with a central system.

However, if you do not have ductwork, it is better to install a ductless system. Not only it is cheaper but will also save you from the usual construction mess. You will need a small 3-inch hole in the wall that will support the cable to go through. Similarly, ductless units are better for those houses where all the new systems have no direct connection to the ductwork that help the rest of the links in the house.

2. Are you Okay with the Visibility of Your Air Conditioner?

An indoor air conditioner is visible whereas the ductless system uses a vent that is somewhere in the ceiling on the wall. If you want a sleek interior of your rooms, you will like the simplicity of the vents that do not disturb your interiors. Indoor A/c may not blend with your room and will give it an odd look at times. If you are concern about your decor, going for a central system is a better option for you.

3. What is the Area of Your House?

A ductless system may not have the power to cool a large area. If your home is over 2,500 square feet, you are better off with a central. You will get more efficiency and performance from the central air system owing to its power to handle cooling in larger areas.

If your house is less than 2,500 square feet, you can go for the ductless system.

4. Your Noise Tolerance Preference

If you are sensitive to noise, you will find ductless systems a relief as they are quieter and more comfortable.

You need to discuss with your technician to understand the noise level that measures in decibels for whatever system you are considering for installation. You may find a ductless system making more noise than a central system so be sure to check for the noise level before making a selection.

5. What is Your Budget?

A sound ductless air conditioning unit will cost anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to a lot more if you want installation of multiple indoor units, or are looking for the highest efficiency in the models. Generally, the central system cost more where you can expect to pay more for those more upper-end models of ductless systems that are the top selling brand in the market. Quoting the exact price is not possible as there are so many ranges and models to consider. Then there is also some seasonal rebates you may be eligible to while making a purchase.

The great news is that we offer many financing offers for you to get any system of your liking, starting as low as $40 per month.

6. How Major is Energy Efficiency to You?

There are different consideration to this question. Firstly it depends on how well the ductwork assembly and installation is when it comes to the construction. This constructions directly contributes to the efficiency and performance of the central system.

For example, if the ductwork wasn’t planned well (more twists and curves than required) or if it isn’t sealed correctly and the air is flowing, the performance of a central system falls. In terms of installation condition, the engineer has to do things like ensuring the proper level of refrigerant, a level surface for the outside assembly, the arrangement equals the air handler, etc.

The best ductless units have higher potential energy efficiency (going to 27 SEER) when you compare it with the best central systems (going to 21 SEER).

7. Do You Require Separate Zoning Authority?

If there are people in your home that prefer different room temperatures, or there are areas in your house that require low or more cooling, you will need a zoning system to set up the specific temperatures on preferences and area of cooling.

While zone control function is available in both central and ductless system, it comes cheaper with the ductless arrangement. In a central system for zoning, you need an upgrade of existing ductwork with inner dampers.

8. Do You Require Supplemental Heating?

Some ductless arrangements aren’t merely an air conditioner, and they also function as a ‘heat pump.’ So in cold weather, you can use the same system to bring warm air inside and keep the area warm during winters as long as the temperature stays above -7° C.

The Benefits of Properly Sizing An Air Conditioner For Your Home

Remarkable Benefits of sizing air Conditioners Properly

Different writers have presented several articles on oversized air conditioners. Ideally, HVAC contractors outdo HVAC design processes through the use of the rules of the thumb. Further on how they fault up the manual J load calculations when they follower the alternative preferred route. Therefore, there is a reason why sizing air conditioning equipment properly is essential.

Comfort

The first reason is the comfort they provide. When the air conditioners are operational, they perform two primary functions. First, they lower the air’s temperature and remove the moisture contained in the air. To perform the second function, the AC system has to run for some time.

As air is passing through the evaporator coil, it comes into contact with an extremely cold surface. Thus the air temperature drops to about 20 degree Celsius. However, in cases where higher relative humidity exists the air evaporator coil in the air condition cools deliberately and dehumidifies the air in the home. Again, when the air hits the coil, another critical process takes place. The coil’s temperature falls below the air’s dew point resulting in condensation of the water vapor on the coil.

This is the point; however, water vapor condenses on the coils of oversized air conditioners, enough condensation must take place to allow water to fall to the pan located below the coil. Again, enough water must get into the pan before draining to the outside starts.

When water has fallen to the outside, still the air has not been dehumidified. This is because there are chances that water on the coil can evaporate and become air in the home. This is the mistake that most homeowners do out of ignorance. They usually leave the thermostat in the fan in position instead of leaving it auto. And as such water on the coil is converted back to air quickly. Therefore, this must be avoided at all costs to ensure that homeowners enjoy the warm air without incurring much energy bills.

Oversized air conditioners usually run a shorter time since they fulfill the cooling load quicker and therefore shut off. On the other hand, sized air conditioners run for a long time thus making it evident that when quicker dehumidification of the home is required, sizing air conditioners is unalienable fact and requirement HVAC contractors must meet.

Wearing Down

Living in a desert, for instance, does not guarantee water to condense and if some water is available, realizing drew points is impossible. Wear and tear as the second reason matters largely. Nonetheless, what that wears and tears equipment is starting and shutting down. Starting and shutting down frequently ideally shortens the life of the equipment.

Oversizing the air conditioners means that the rates of starting and shutting off are high because the thermostat set point is realized within the shortest time possible. Apparently, oversized air conditioners in a day require more startup and shutting downs compared to right sized conditioners. Thus to its more substantial interpretation, it means more energy bills and reparations costs.

Properly fitted air conditioners do not save much energy bill as presumed by most people in the industry. This is thinking of the past; however, that thinking has changed over time. Air conditioners properly fitted save utility bills and upfront costs because they require putting up a smaller AC. Therefore, oversizing is not a significant problem.

How to determine the proper size for the air conditioner

For the newly set homes, it is recommendable to use full HVAC design process that starts with the Manual J. The manual J is a heating and cooling calculator protocol issued by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the American trade organization for AC contractors. On the other hand, existing homes the best alternative is to determine the period the air conditioner run when it is at proper design conditions. Well, the whole process must be attempted when the air conditioner is in an excellent working condition and not when the air conditioner is at its periphery of life. When the air conditioner runs for about 5 to 10 minutes and shuts down, entirely it is oversized. On the other hand, if the air conditioner runs for more than one and half-hours when it is at design conditions, absolutely it is properly fitted to the actual cooling load.

Therefore, building new homes, renovating the existing homes and installing new air conditioners to homes, it is wise to inquire from the designer, builder, HVAC contractors on the sizing mechanisms they will employ. Designers and builders planning to size the air conditioner according to the size of the home, absolutely reject their offers. Sizing the air conditioner properly requires more than the square footage of the house.

Sizing air conditioners within the home is essential as it brings the necessary comfort and reduces the wear tear of air conditioning apparatus. Correct sizing ensures that many reparation costs and energy bills are significantly reduced. Therefore, homemakers should contract contractors with the right skills and expertise to install and repair air conditioners. Homeowners, on the other hand, should read articles on proper sizing to ensure they have the right knowledge before contracting.

Signs Your HVAC Needs Attention

Your HVAC setup could be working throughout the season, keeping things comfortable inside the house and not showing any signs of breaking down. At times, the lone way to determine your HVAC system needs attention is via regular professional maintenance work carried out by an HVAC technician. If you fancy regular maintenance, getting it done via a service contract is wise and recommended. Service maintenance is a cost-effective way to detect and resolve issues before the smaller problems blow themselves up and turn into a major HVAC repair.

Under a service agreement with an experienced HVAC contractor, your heating system would be inspected by an HVAC technician during the fall and the AC being thoroughly checked in the spring, just before the systems getting back to regular duty to meet the seasonal demands. The technician would completely check and clean system components and replace parts if required. If additional service is needed, the technician will follow up.

Common Alert Signs

Although regular maintenance would mitigate most issues that crop up during the season, all the problems cannot be possibly avoided. Unforeseen mechanical failures and breakdowns are bound to happen. Generally, your HVAC would give you signs that it requires professional treatment. The signs are usually obvious. The following are some common warning signs that you should not overlook and get a professional contractor on-board.

• No cool air from the AC, or the heater not warming the room enough

Suddenly, the air conditioner would blow warm air during the summer. Or, during winter, the heater would give out cool air, not keeping your space warm. If you notice these signs, then something’s not right. Before getting the HVAC contractor in, check if the system has power – inspect the circuit breakers, pilot light, and power switch. If the heater comes with a pilot light and it is 25 years old or more, it must be replaced. If the system is getting power but isn’t turning on, or it’s turning on but not working as expected, contact your HVAC technician. The issue can be a bad thermostat or a sign of a much bigger underlying problem.

• Zero professional system inspection in a year or more

Regular maintenance and an annual inspection by a professional would help keep the repair bills down and make sure your system continues to work at the right temperature. In case an HVAC expert hasn’t checked your HVAC in more than a year, it’s high time you get maintenance work done. These systems require attention at regular intervals and not doing so may result in premature breakdowns and strain on your HVAC system.

• Utility bills are higher than normal.

If you see a spike in your utility bills without a proportionate change in the temperature outside, don’t ignore the increased expense. Inflated bills usually indicate your HVAC setup is struggling to get its act together. It could require a relatively small HVAC repair. If ignored, you may have no option but to purchase a new setup.

• Short-cycling

Short-cycling is your heating systems going on and off temporarily. It could be a sign your heat exchanger is experiencing overheating problems, resulting in the system shutting down. Short-cycling could be a sign of some serious issue with your setup. Get it serviced immediately by an HVAC contractor.

• Weak airflow

If the air flow through the vents is bad, it could be a sign the compressor has gone bad. If the problem exists in all rooms of your house, your compressor could be going down. If only a few rooms have been affected, a ductwork blockage could be the cause. Both these problems require proper diagnosis and care by a professional technician.

• Signs of leakage or moisture anywhere

Your HVAC setup mustn’t be creating moisture or leaking if you notice that, the issue could be as basic as a clogged condensate drain, or it could be a leaking refrigerant or some other serious issue. Regardless, the problem must be looked into at the earliest. The clogged drain could cause mold growth and other serious issues. Leaking refrigerant could mean one or multiple holes in your HVAC system that need immediate correction. The leak also indicates the age of the system and that it would not last too long. Your HVAC technician could diagnose the issue for you.

• Unusual noises

If your HVAC system is creating strange sounds, you must switch it off and get in touch with an HVAC contractor and have it serviced. Generally, a squealing noise means the belt is slipping and must be replaced, or some components require lubrication. A metallic or grinding noise could mean the bearings would soon give up the ghost, or you must replace the entire system.

• Unusual smells

Pungent, sharp odors coming from your system could mean an electrical issue. Organic, musty smells indicate mold growth within the system – the growing mold is in itself a sign of moisture pooling or excessive humidity in a place where it shouldn’t be. Your HVAC system must be serviced professionally to pinpoint the issue and make proper HVAC repairs.

• Age

If your HVAC setup is more than 15 years old and is experiencing some or most of the issues aforementioned, it must be replaced. Contact your HVAC replacement service provider to get the HVAC replaced before the season starts. The last thing you want is your system breaking down on you in the middle of the season. A new setup would increase your house’s value; and the energy-efficient, new heating setup could save you some cash in the long run as your energy bills would be lesser. Not to mention, it would also offer a healthier and safer home environment at all times.