Air conditioning systems are costly investments that one has to safeguard by careful maintenance. Besides annual maintenance, which is undertaken by all, there should be a plan for preventive maintenance so that the unit is under close watch. This would enable identification of potential problems that can be set right before it can become big. Wear and tear is bound to happen but staying vigilant can help to avoid instances of downtime. If you have regular maintenance done for the system then you can avoid component failure, which can take much longer time for repair. Regular maintenance will also help to avoid many repairs that can adversely affect the efficiency of the system.
Prepare for the season
The season that is approaching would dictate what kind of maintenance you need for your system. With summer on the wane and the fall just peeping round the corner, it is time that you would love warmer interiors and the heating system would be working hard to keep you smiling and comfortable. Looking at the signs of the approaching fall, make sure that you find a suitable service provider to look after the HVAC system. After all, you not only want the system to run smoothly but it should run efficiently too so that the home gets heated quicker but your pockets are not strained by inflated energy bills. Proper maintenance of HVAC system would reduce wear and tear that results in longer life. Besides checking the operations of the compressor and other components, the maintenance program would include cleaning of the blower components and coils, checking of all screws and fittings and electrical connections tightening. The furnace, in case you have one, has to undergo safety check.
Mandatory checks and cleaning
There are some fixed repairing agenda that has to be undertaken at the end of each season so that the system is geared up to take the load of the entire season without giving in.
Coils to be cleaned – Cleaner coils are required to ensure that the air conditioning system can operate efficiently. Throughout the season the coils gather a lot of debris and dust that forms an insulating layer on its surface thereby reducing its ability to transfer heat. As a result there are possibilities of the inside portion of the system freezing which reduces the efficiency of the system. The system is overworked that causes more damage to the parts and you pay more for energy bills. Coil cleaning is the most fundamental maintenance work that is done.
Sealing leaks – Refrigerant escaping through leaks is common for any air conditioning system. This affects cooling and can make the system inefficient. During maintenance, all possible leakage points have to be identified and sealed besides topping up the system by pumping fresh refrigerant.
Cleaning condensate drain – During the cooling process condensation happens on the evaporator coils and the condensate is drained through an opening. This opening gets clogged that has to be cleaned during maintenance.
Proper maintenance gives long life to air conditioning systems and makes it perform efficiently.
The thermostat can be considered to be the heart of any air conditioning system. How much cooling or heating is required for comfort is conveyed to the system by the thermostat that can be set at the temperature desired by the user. The human need of comfort in terms of the desired temperature is communicated to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System by the thermostat that can be set at the required temperature manually. When the system receives the input from the thermostat, it makes necessary adjustments of the heating or cooling devices so that the temperature of the air that flows through the ducts is altered accordingly, thereby giving necessary comfort. The performance of an air conditioning system can get severely affected if the thermostat starts malfunctioning as it affects the efficiency of the system.
How the thermostat works
Thermostats are usually manually controlled from the control panel of the air conditioning system. The desired temperature is set on the display unit of the control panel and the signal is transmitted by the thermostat to the system. Instantly the settings of the heater or the cooling system are changed to match with the new settings. Once the desired temperature is achieved, the thermostat automatically stops the system from further cooling or heating so that the same level of temperature is maintained. When the temperature overshoots the set limit, the thermostat switches on the system again so that it again maintains the set temperature.
Traditional thermostats have manual controls that use sliders and dials. These do not allow the amount of control that is necessary to reap the benefits of an efficient heating and air conditioning system. There are chances that the heating or cooling system might be left switched on unknowingly on certain occasions and you have to bear the cost of idle running. This problem can be avoided by using programmable thermostats but the best option is to upgrade to a Wi-Fi thermostat the promises energy saving, cost saving and improved system efficiency. The main advantage is that the Wi-Fi thermostat can be operated remotely even from a tablet or smartphone. There are many more advantages that have been discussed below.
Advantages of Wi-Fi thermostat
The latest technological development in climate control technology used for HVAC systems has presented us with the Wi-Fi thermostat that promises multiple benefits.
Remote operation – The option of using a mobile app to operate the thermostat has given a lot of flexibility to users who can now access the system from a distance beyond home. This allows switching the system on before reaching home so that you get a comfortable environment as soon s you step in.
Gets acquainted with your preferences – The settings that you prefer and use are easily recognised and retained in the memory of the thermostat and are easily replicated.
Better control – The phone application offers better control of energy usage as the data is readily available to assist you in deciding the running time of the system and temperature settings.
Smartphones, tablets, laptops and similar communication devices are now being used to control the functioning of climate control equipments, home appliances and electronics as well as security systems like CCTV. Using the internet, equipment and machinery controls are now possible from any place regardless of the distance. The Wi-Fi thermostat is the latest accessory that belongs to this category that has enhanced the functioning and control of HVAC systems. The thermostat that used to control the temperature only has now been upgraded to a more sophisticated device that can control the operations of the HVAC system thereby enhancing its efficiency. Users are able to access more data regarding energy consumption and exercise better control that leads to cost savings.
Climate control system based on Wi-Fi
The Wi-Fi thermostat is more than a thermostat whose basic function was to set the temperature at a desired level and control it within the limit. The latest version is considered to be the part of a complete climate control system that comprises of the following.
Sensor unit – The function of the sensor unit is to gather information and pass it on to the receiver. This unit is located at places where the traditional thermostat would have been placed. The information collected by the sensor is passed on to the receiver.
Receiver or receiving unit – Located near the cooling or heating unit, the receiver performs the controls of the system. The information collected by the sensor is converted to signals that are relayed to the receiver. On receiving the signals, it is analysed to understand what action needs to be taken and the signals are converted to mechanical energy that is used to switch on or off the HVAC system.
Wireless Unit – The wireless unit is the communication device that hooks up the system to the internet through a modem. The unit receives power from the electrical system and this small palm-sized handheld device resembles a remote control unit of standalone air conditioners.
Besides improving comfort level by controlling the temperature, these systems are capable of improving the efficiency of the system and facilitate handling of routine maintenance tasks.
Programming the control features – The kind of temperature settings that you intend to have during the entire week including what you want during different times of the day can all be set in the form of a program in advance and fed to the device that starts operating at the stipulated time according to the instructions. Even it is possible to have different temperatures in each room.
Control within your reach – The Wi-Fi technology allows you to access the control of your HVAC system from any part of the world. You are always in touch with the system and can exercise precise control that can save cost.
Added features – Problems with the HVAC system are notified by e-mails sent to your communication device so that you can take prompt action to save cost.
Considering the cost saving benefits and enhanced comfort and efficiency, it is an investment worth considering.
The feeling of comfort when moving around an air conditioned space can vary widely between people. One person might feel that the temperature of the place could have been more comfortable had it been slightly cooler while the person sitting next to him might be squeaking at the chilling feeling. The lady in the kitchen wants to find more relief from the relative heat by lowering the temperature while her better half sitting in another room could be reaching out for warm covering to feel more comfortable at the same temperature. The variation in the comfort level can lead to disputes that tarnish the home environment. The problems have occurred only because the thermostat of the air conditioning system can be set at one fixed temperature that prevails throughout the entire home. Since the need for comfort varies between people, having multiple temperature zones inside the building can solve the problem and make everybody feel comfortable and happy.
Options for temperature control
Traditionally, the temperature settings of the heating and cooling system inside a building used to be done by using thermostats that can be set at a defined temperature to be maintained throughout the building. It is like a one size fits all solution that contradicts the variable comfort levels that people desire. This did not allow variations of temperature at different places inside the building thereby affecting the comfort levels.
Moving forward, the dual AC and heating systems allowed maintaining comfortable temperature at a specific place inside the building where the family gathers at a specific time of the day while the other areas are kept out of the purview of temperature control. This is especially useful for larger homes where there are separate floors. By cooling or heating specific floors when the other areas are cut-off, it helps in saving costs.
More improved method of spreading better comfort across homes that can satisfy varying needs is now achieved by adopting the zoning system for HVAC that allows maintaining different temperature zones within the same level across different rooms or areas. Besides providing differential comfort levels, this method also saves cost.
The temperature zoning system works by using multiple thermostats placed at different zones, each of which can be adjusted to different temperatures. The control of flow of hot or cold air through the ducts by adjusting the dampers is achieved by using a control panel to which the thermostats are connected. By varying the temperature and air flow to different zones at the same time, varied levels of comfort can be generated.
If you want to raise the temperature of one zone without affecting the temperature of the other zones, you simply have to adjust the thermostat of that zone so that the control panel receives the signal and make adjustments in the ducting to effect the change. As soon as the desired temperature is reached the heating is stopped automatically.
It is now easy to address your comfort needs by upgrading your existing system or buying a new one that incorporates the new technology.
How good are HVAC systems for humid environments? This is a question that is often asked by many who want to know the impact of HVAC systems that operate in humid climates. It is needless to say that the indoor air quality that is circulated inside a confined space by HVAC system is dependent on the quality of outside air. This happens because the system sucks the outside air for circulating it indoor after adjusting its temperature to the desired level so that it is comfortable for the inhabitants. However, the system does not alter the quality of air. So, if the outside air is humid, the same level of humidity will be transmitted indoor. This is a concern for those who suffer from breathing problems like asthma as they would prefer less humid air to ease their respiratory problems.
Indoor air quality control
Those who are concerned about the indoor air quality and prefer to have proper control on the humidity of indoor air that comes from the HVAC system, there are ways of achieving it. The first thing is to change the HVAC filters regularly so that these are not choked. To keep humidity within control, it is recommended to use dehumidifiers with the HVAC system so that the moisture level in the air can be regulated and kept within the limits that are favourable for those suffering from asthma. How dehumidifiers can improve the health conditions has been stated below.
Inhibiting the growth of moulds
Moulds can be deadly in spreading respiratory problems and are particularly dreaded by those suffering from asthma. Moulds thrive in moist environment and can even thrive in areas with low humidity. If you are living in an area of high humidity and want to have healthy indoor air quality then you have to install a dehumidifier with your air conditioning system. This would enable you to regulate the moisture content of the indoor air at such levels that inhibit the growth of moulds thereby bringing relief to those suffering from respiratory problems.
Driving away mites
Fabrics are favourite places or mites that make beds, pillows and sofas their home. These insects are fond of humid environments and pose serious problems for those suffering from respiratory difficulties by aggravating their problems. When the humidity level of indoor air is kept low by using dehumidifiers, the menace of mites is completely eliminated. Regular vacuuming of beds and furnishing along with periodic washing will ensure that mites do not get any opportunity of survival.
By installing dehumidifiers, there is absolutely no chance of high humidity levels because the equipment is designed specifically to lower humidity by absorbing the moisture from the air that is released into the air conditioning system. As the equipment does not interfere with the functioning of the air conditioning system but works alongside it, you can expect the air conditioning system to operate at peak efficiencies despite installing a dehumidifier.
For those living in high humidity areas, installing dehumidifiers would ensure healthy and comfortable living.