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The Impact of the Phase Out of R-22 on Your Aging HVAC System in Lake Norman

R22 refrigerant is a commonly used refrigerant in domestic air conditioners. It is a compound that includes chlorine and fluorine, which can potentially deplete the ozone layer.  This can lead to enhancing the greenhouse effect, which has studies showing negative effects on our environment.

In 1987, an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol was universally ratified and was designed to phase out substances that contributed to ozone depletion. The United States was a party to this treaty, so the EPA decided to implement a plan to phase out R22. The date was set for January 2020, where all R22 was banned (meaning it was illegal to import or manufacture R22). 

Prior to this date, there were exceptions for R22.  The EPA began scaling back and limiting the production. It could be used to service existing air conditioners that had leaks in their refrigerant system.  Now; that it is no longer in production, the cost of R22 continues to rise. Some refrigerant manufacturers have introduced products to act as a replacement for R22, such as M099 (R438a).  Please be very careful with these products, because they can lead to refrigerant contamination. Not all equipment manufacturers approve this product as a direct replacement, so your best bet is to consult your local servicing HVAC contractor for the facts.  Beaver Brothers is here to help and answer any questions!

Increased Cost to Repair R22 Systems in Davidson or Mooresville

Homeowners and business owners alike that have older air conditioners, may be faced with a difficult decision when a repair is required for your system. Depending upon the repair, it may make sense to repair your system versus replacing it.  Your local heating and air company; Beaver Brothers, Inc., can provide you with the best solution. While it may be tempting to keep your unit as long as possible; you most certainly will pay more for repairs going forward. This is due to the increased cost of R22 and the availability of R22 refrigerant.

Be Proactive or Wait in Salisbury?

Now that it is illegal to manufacture or import new R22, you really need to weigh the options for your aging air conditioner.  Have a discussion with your servicing HVAC company and consider your options. They are the experts and can help you make the best decision.  It is better to be proactive now. If you wait to the dead of summer; you may be faced with large repair bills and an uncomfortable home or office. Here are the things to discuss and consider with your service provider:

  • Age of your system
  • Recent Repairs
  • Energy Costs
  • Potential utility or manufacturer rebates on a new system
  • Energy Savings
  • Better Warranty

Being proactive about repairs or replacement for your home’s most valuable appliance is never a bad thing.  While your business or home still has air conditioning, you can take your time choosing a new system that fits your needs and budget. Research your cooling needs and speak to your professional at Beaver Brothers about which unit will be right for you. 

If you wait to replace it, then you may find yourself in the middle of summer without air conditioning. You should consider these factors if you choose to wait for your current air conditioner fails:

  • Contractors are very busy in the summer, you may have to wait
  • Availability of the equipment
  • Installation time (which means days without air conditioning)
  • You may have to make a quicker decision than you would like

Either way, get your research done and talk to your local professional at Beaver Brothers, Inc. about your next steps.

How to Cut Your Utility Bill in Half This Summer Concord & Salisbury, NC

Summer is the favorite time of year for many of us. Those warm summer nights and long days which include vacations, swimming, kids playing outdoors, and picnics at the park. But along with the fun of summer comes the dreaded high utility bills. Summer is hot, especially here in Carolinas. It’s too hot to keep your windows open, so your air conditioner runs all day and night just to keep you comfortable. With utility rate increases, your power bill probably keeps getting higher and higher. What can you do to cut costs and potentially cut your bill in half this summer? 

Replace Air Filters in Salisbury

Clean air filters help your air conditioner operate efficiently. Dirty and clogged air filters are a major contributor to higher utility bills because your air conditioner has to work harder to circulate the air throughout your home. It will also help with allergies and asthma. Check them once a month and replace them when necessary.

Avoid Operating Appliances that Generate Heat in Concord, NC

Your oven, dryer, and dishwasher create a lot of heat that heats up your house every time you use them. Try to find alternatives whenever possible, and you will see savings over time. 

Instead of using the oven, you can cook on the stovetop, use a crockpot, or even fire up the grill. 

Don’t use the dryer, hang your clothes outside to dry. If you suffer from summer allergies; look for places around your home where you can layout the laundry to dry or look into purchasing drying racks.

Water heaters require energy to maintain hot water in the tank. Wash your laundry and dishes in cold water to save energy. 

Instead of using the dishwasher, wash dishes by hand and let them air dry. 

If you need to use the dryer or dishwasher, run them in the early mornings or overnight. Also, make sure you’ve cleaned your dryer traps and vents.

Keep Your Blinds and Curtains Closed from Direct Light

If you’re away from home, keep all your blinds and curtains closed. It’s best to keep the blinds or curtains closed during hot sunny hours.  It will significantly lower the temperature in your home. When you are home and want to use natural light to save energy, only open the blinds or curtains that will let in indirect light.  

Use Fans

Ceiling fans are a great cost-effective way to cool you off. Just remember to turn your ceiling fan to run counterclockwise during the summer.

If you don’t have ceiling fans, look into investing in portable fans. You can find inexpensive fans that have several different speeds, settings, and even come with remotes. 

Use your bathroom fan when you take a shower. A bathroom fan will remove heat and humidity from the bathroom and home. 

Try Using Low Flow Shower Heads

Install low flow showerheads that reduce the amount of water consumption when you shower.

Turn Down Your Water Heater or Go Tankless

Most thermostats are set at 140 degrees. Turning it down to 120 degrees will lower your utility bills and still maintain a comfortable water temperature. Your water heater uses energy to maintain a constant water temperature. By lowering the temperature your water heater uses less energy. 

Because tankless water heaters only work when you turn on hot water, they use less energy than standard water heaters. Switching to a tankless water heater may lower your utility bills. 

Use LED Light Bulbs 

Once your incandescent light bulbs stop working, replace them with LED bulbs. LED bulbs are more expensive but last much longer and use 80 to 90% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, providing you savings.

Turn It Off and Use Power Strips

Turn off lights, computers, and televisions. Unplug phones and tablets when not charging. Simple steps like these can make a big difference in the amount of electricity you and your home consume. You can even plug your electronics and appliances into power strips. Turn the power strip off when you can. Many of our electronics and appliances use energy even when they’re not in use.

Raise Your Thermostat in Concord

Keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature but not too cool. Try turning it up a couple of degrees and see if your home is still comfortable. Keep it as high as possible while still maintaining your comfort level. A few degrees higher on the thermostat will save you money.

Invest in a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

You can lower your cooling bill as much as 10% by turning your temperatures down seven to ten degrees. A programmable thermostat allows you to set a schedule which would increase the temperatures during the times you’re not there. 

You could also purchase a smart thermostat which allows you to control the temperature in your home remotely through a smartphone, tablet, remote control, or by voice. More advanced smart thermostats actually “learn” from your behaviors. Over time, they recognize and remember your regular heating and cooling habits. They will determine the most appropriate temperature based on the time of year, the time of day, the number of occupants, and previous patterns of use. 

Properly Insulate Your Home

Before summer is in full swing, make sure your home is properly insulated. Once you turn your air conditioner on, you want to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. Check windows and doors for places where air may be getting in or out. If needed, caulk windows and replace weather stripping on the doors. 

Check the ductwork in your attic or crawlspaces for leaks. A properly insulated home will help keep down costs and preserve energy. 

Regular Service or Maintenance from Beaver Brothers, Inc.

Keeping to a regular maintenance schedule will ensure that your unit is working efficiently, thus, reducing the amount of energy used.

Signs Your Air Conditioner is Oversized or Undersized in Concord, NC

Did you know that air conditioning systems are designed to work properly within certain sized homes?  The size of your home should influence what size unit you should purchase. Many homeowners are unaware that the size of their home is a key consideration when purchasing a new air conditioner. Some people think the bigger the better.  They may think that a bigger air conditioner will function better and cool their home faster. This simply is not true. Many homeowners look to save costs and may purchase a smaller unit. They believe that air conditioner manufacturers offer bigger models and more expensive models just to make more money. This isn’t true either.

How does a homeowner know whether their unit is sized right for their home, and what are the signs that the unit they have may be oversized or undersized?

It’s Too Small to cool your home in Concord or Kannapolis

It’s not uncommon for an air conditioning unit to be too small for the size of the home. You may suspect the unit is too small when the unit in running and blowing cold air, but your house doesn’t reach the desired temperature on your thermostat.  It is working too hard to keep up with your cooling needs. A unit that is too small will have unnecessary wear and tear and potentially freeze the evaporator coils. You may also notice higher utility bills. Keep this in mind though when the system is being sized for your home.  There is a fine line between the correct size air conditioning system for your home and outdoor design temperature. The outdoor design temperature in North Carolina is between 91– 93 degrees.  So, when the temperature is above these conditions; even a properly sized A/C unit may not cool your home to your desired temperature.

The A/C unit may be TOO BIG…..The unit constantly stops and starts?

Bigger isn’t better! When you have an oversized heating and air system, the air conditioner will cycle on and off again in short bursts. This can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on your system, as well as cause your system to run inefficiently. When it cycles on and off; it isn’t running long enough to let the air flow through the system and filter properly. It also can’t properly dehumidify the air. By properly dehumidifying the air; it reduces the moisture content in the air, which will make it feel more comfortable at a higher temperature. Another sign your unit is too big is higher utility bills.  This is caused by the constant starting and stopping. It actually saves you money to have the system run longer! An inefficient system will always cost you more on your bills.

It’s Just Right for your Concord home

An air conditioner that is sized properly is an air conditioner that is efficient. It will run through enough cycles to keep your home at your desired temperature and reduce humidity without running in bursts, shutting on and off again, or working too hard.

Speak to the Experts at Beaver Brothers, Inc.

The best way to know if your air conditioner is the right size for your home is to speak with a professional. Your highly trained HVAC technician at Beaver Brothers will determine the right load capacity for your home. They will measure your home, look at window placement and direction, whether your home is properly insulated, and do a room by room calculation. At that point, your HVAC technician will discuss what the best options are for your home comfort.

tech-workingNo matter how reliable your HVAC system is, at some point it will need to be replaced. When that time comes, you’ll want to upgrade to a system that meets or exceeds your expectations for home comfort. An up-to-date HVAC system will ensure that your home receives the most efficient air-conditioning and heating for years to come. This can be a big investment, and proper installation is the most crucial way to protect it. The experts at Beaver Brothers adhere to the highest installation standards, and they guarantee all their work for 1 full year.

Properly installed HVAC systems are essential to long-lasting and dependable A/C and heating. If your HVAC isn’t installed properly, the quality of equipment will make little difference in the long run. These are just a few of the many reasons why you should choose professional HVAC installation. Read more

Geothermal systems are the most efficient method for heating and cooling available today. Often times, people shy away from geothermal systems because of their high upfront cost. But when you compare the long term costs of traditional HVAC systems (maintenance, repairs, replacements) alongside its environmental repercussions, the geothermal system will always come out on top. Read below to see the top 3 reasons why Beaver Brothers, Inc. thinks you should consider this system for your home or business!

 

geothermal

Lower Utility Bills

Geothermal systems don’t have to generate their own heat. Instead, they simply grab it from the earth and move it into your home using an underground loop system. This requires up to 5 times less the amount of energy as a traditional HVAC system. Of course, this results in a significantly lower power bill.

 

Environmentally Friendly

Recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Geothermal is the most environmentally-safe and cost effective HVAC system available. Since there is no combustion happening in a geothermal system, the amount of harmful gasses released into the air is minimized. At Beaver Brothers, we pride ourselves on being environmentally-safe with our services, and we are proud to offer the greenest solution on the market!

 

Long Life Span

Unlike a traditional HVAC system, geothermal systems can last for over 25 years. If they are installed correctly, the system should require little to no maintenance except for periodic checkups and air filter replacements. If you add up the cost of replacing a traditional HVAC system every 10 years, the geothermal solution proves to be the most cost effective.

 

As you can see, geothermal systems are a very robust solution for all areas of heating and cooling. If you are interested in learning more, take a look at our Geothermal page or give us a call at  704-766-8889 to see if this is the right system for you!

Ductless heating and air. What a concept! Eliminating the quagmire of sprawling ductwork underneath a home or building? It sounds too good to be true, but it is. HVAC industry figures confirm that ductless heating and cooling is soaring.

“It’s without question one of the fastest-growing segments in North American HVAC,” said Tom Lahutsky, senior product manager, Lennox Intl. Inc., in an online article in Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration News. “This growth, which means more units are being shipped, pulls all the manufacturers in.”

That’s great for HVAC business everywhere, but what exactly does ‘going ductless’ mean? Ductless heating and cooling systems utilize heat pump technology to distribute warm or cool air more quietly and efficiently than electric furnaces, baseboards, and wall heaters. An indoor unit, mounted on a centrally located wall in the home, works with your existing heating system. Just one ductless system is enough to heat and cool an average-sized home. An outdoor unit connects to the indoor unit with a small bundle of cables, including a refrigerant line, requiring only a three-inch wide hole for installation.

“The total available market for ductless products in North America is second only to light commercial in all HVAC categories,” said Jeff Peters, a ductless portfolio leader at Trane, in the same article. “Significant attention and energy is being expended to educate and create awareness in the marketplace.”
As more and more people become aware of the advantages of ductless products, the market will continue its upward climb.

“You’re going to see ductless continue to expand in the home and in multifamily environments as well,” noted Meredith Emmerich, general manager of ductless and VRF (variable refrigerant flow) systems for Carrier Corp. “It’s traditionally done very well in commercial applications, but homeowners are starting to understand there’s a solution for their needs….It’s a solution that can go in fairly easily that makes their homes much more comfortable.”

At Beaver Brothers, we’ve supplied our customers with trusted heating and air conditioning service for more than 95 years. We like to think that we wouldn’t be in business that long without paying attention to new innovations—like going ductless. Give us a call at (704) 637-9595 today and let our experts check out the condition of your heating system.

Looking for ways to help save money on heating costs during the winter is a concern for everyone! The most important tip is to make sure that your heating system is working properly. Set up an appointment with us and we’ll come out and inspect your system. While you’re at it, ask us about our Planned Maintenance Agreement, and we’ll call you when it’s time to inspect your heating and air systems all year round!

Here are some great tips to prepare your home for the fall and winter months from the US Department of Energy’s website:

Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun

Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Cover Drafty Windows

Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
Adjust the Temperature

When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 -15 degrees for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
Digital thermostats provide a more accurate reading and some can be programmed to adjust the temperature in your home at certain times of the day or night. Ask us about the many digital thermostat options that are available.
Find and Seal Leaks

Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
Maintain Your Heating Systems

Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Call us to schedule your appointment!
Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace

Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly — approximately 1 inch — and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
Lower Your Water Heating Costs

Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home.
Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.
Lower Your Holiday Lighting Costs

Use light-emitting diode — or “LED” — holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.

(Source: https://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips)

We believe that the best reasons to use sustainable features in a home are to save money or for the pleasure of the occupants. (Saving energy is an important side effect.)

But for one feature that checks all three boxes, consider radiant heating. On a cold, rainy day, there’s nothing that feels better upon waking than putting bare feet onto a warm floor heated by a radiant in-floor system.

Rather than rely on inefficient forced-air systems — which start with cold outside air, and then must expend energy to heat it before moving it inside — radiant heating uses a warm surface to transfer heat into a space. It’s much like shining a light on a wall. And as we learned in physics class, warm air rises, so a heated floor soon means a heated room.

In general, there are two types of radiant heating systems, according the National Association of Home Builders: dry-system radiant tubing, with electric-powered tubes positioned above the floor and in between two layers of plywood, or under the subfloor; and hydronic radiant-floor systems, with looped tubes pumping heater water beneath the finished floor. The water is heated by gas, wood or oil boilers; solar water heaters; or a combination of sources. Hydronic systems tend to be the most efficient, says the U.S. Department of Energy.

Can you imagine anything cozier in the morning than putting your feet onto a shag rug, warmed by radiant heat under the wood floors?

A benefit of radiant heating for allergy sufferers: The absence of outside air moved in and around a home can reduce allergies.

As for the financial savings, radiant flooring is reported to save 20 percent to 40 percent  in heating bills, according to the National Association for Home Builders.

Ceramic tile is the most common and effective floor covering for radiant floor heating, because it conducts heat well and adds thermal storage. Common floor coverings like vinyl and linoleum sheet goods, carpeting, or wood can also be used, but any covering that insulates the floor from the room will decrease the efficiency of the system.

If you want carpeting, use a thin carpet with dense padding and install as little carpeting as possible. If some rooms, but not all, will have a floor covering, then those rooms should have a separate tubing loop to make the system heat these spaces more efficiently. This is because the water flowing under the covered floor will need to be hotter to compensate for the floor covering. Wood flooring should be laminated wood flooring instead of solid wood to reduce the possibility of the wood shrinking and cracking from the drying effects of the heat.

Most of us flip on our central heat and air units regardless of the season, expecting the usual flow of either warm or cool air. When the cycle is interrupted, we know it—and feel it—instantly. Knowing a little about how your heat & air system works is important—if nothing else to calm you down while waiting for a qualified repair service, like Beaver Brothers, Inc., to arrive! All climate-control devices or systems have three basic components: 1) a source for warmed or cooled air, 2) a means to distribute that air, and 3) a control to regulate the system, meaning a thermostat.

When the furnace is turned on, it consumes the fuel that powers it, whether it be gas, oil, or electricity. As fuel is burned, heat is produced and channeled to the living areas of your home through ducts, pipes, or wires and then is blown out of registers, radiators, or heating panels. When an air conditioner is turned on, electrical power is used to cool a gas in a coil to its liquid state. Warm air in your home is cooled by contact with the cooling coil, and this cooled air is channeled to rooms directly from the unit itself.

While radiant and gravity systems are also in use in many homes, particularly older houses, for our purposes we’ll restrict our content to the forced-air system, which distributes heat produced by the furnace?or the coolness produced by a central air conditioner?through an electrically powered fan, which forces air through a system of metal ducts to the rooms in your home.

The thermostat, which regulates the temperature of your home, responds to changes in the temperature of the air where it is located and turns the furnace or air conditioner on or off as needed. The thermostat’s key component is a bimetallic element that expands or contracts as the temperature increases or decreases in a house. The latest heat and air-conditioning controls use solid-state electronics. Typically, they’re more accurate and more responsive than older systems. But repair to solid-state controls usually means replacement.

At Beaver Brothers, we’ve supplied our customers with trusted heating and air conditioning service for more than 94 years. Our friendly experienced staff stands ready to help you with all your indoor climate needs. But don’t wait for your heat or AC to give out! Give us a call at (704) 637-9595 today and let our experts check out the condition of your heat and cooling system, or visit us on line at www.beaverbrosinc.com.

Beaver Brothers Inc. 807 Corporate Circle Salisbury, NC 28147