Home Air Conditioning Zoning: Advantages & Alternatives

ariel view of living room

Do you feel like you’re paying too much in energy costs when temperatures start to soar? It’s possible that you’re not using an HVAC system that’s optimal for your home. If you’ve never considered home air conditioning zoning — or if you’re just starting to explore the potential use of such a system — there are some key advantages you should look into. Of course, there are also some alternatives to zoning that might be more suitable for your unique situation.

Here’s a look at home air conditioning zoning and what it could mean for your family’s comfort (and budget):

What is Home Air Conditioning Zoning?

HVAC zoning utilizes dampers in the ductwork to regulate air in specific areas of your home. That means you don’t have to use window units in different rooms, nor do you need to set your entire central air system to one temperature for the entire house. In other words, it’s a happy medium between too much and too little in the world of creature comforts.

Zoning enables you to set your thermostat to various settings for different areas of your home, allowing you to cool off upper levels that may get hotter than others or keep certain rooms warmer than the rest of the house if some family members tend to get chilly easily.

Benefits of Home Air Conditioning Zoning

Being able to create customized temperature zones throughout your home comes with many benefits, including:

  • Increased Efficiency. Zoning keeps your HVAC system from being overworked because it’s not being forced to constantly try to keep one even temperature throughout your house. The less your air conditioner has to work, the lower your energy bills will be. In fact, zoning can save you up to 25% on your monthly energy bills.
  • Enhanced Comfort. You an easily accommodate family members who have different comfort levels or cool down areas of your home that tend to get inordinately warm without disrupting the temperature in the rest of the house.
  • Reduction of Normal Wear & Tear. When you’re not overworking your HVAC system, its components will last longer. You’ll enjoy the benefits of replacing parts less frequently and spending fewer dollars as time goes by. 

Alternatives to Home Air Conditioning Zoning

If you have areas of your home that insist on being hotter than the rest of the house, but you’re not interested in zoning your HVAC system, there are some alternatives you might consider.

  • Portable Air Conditioners. Portable air conditioners are an okay option if you only have one or two rooms that stay exceptionally hot. It’s best to turn them on only when you’re in that room (for example, just before you go to sleep if your bedrooms are the culprit) because they can zap energy and increase your monthly electric bill.
  • Mini-Split Air Conditioners. These appliances are hybrids of window units and central AC. They’re quiet, compact and great for situations where only a room or two need special cooling attention.

If you’re interested in learning how home air conditioning zoning could benefit your household, our team at Efficient Climate Control Air Conditioning & Heating would love to show you the way. With more than 30 years serving The Woodlands area and surrounding communities, we’re proud to say we know how to keep Texans cool! Reach out to us to schedule a consultation today!

How to Reduce Your Heating Bill

With the fall here, it’s only a matter of time before the temperatures outside begin to drop. As the air gets colder outside, heaters get turned on inside, and the heating bill goes up significantly. If you want to avoid those costly heating bills, here are a few things you can do:

  • Go basic with solar energy: Here in Texas, we still get a lot of sunshine during the winter months. On sunny days, open the curtains on windows that face south to let in as much solar heat as possible. This will warm up your room for free. Close the curtains when the sun goes down because windowpanes let out a lot of heat at night. 
  • Get cozy: Bring out those bulky sweaters, fuzzy slippers, warm socks and knitted hats. Drink hot tea. Keep warm throw blankets on couches and chairs. Add more rugs to floors. All of these small things will keep you and your house feeling warmer before you have to turn up the thermostat. 
  • Purchase a humidifier: Heaters tend to dry out the air in your house. Moist air feels warmer and actually traps heat better than dry air. Houseplants can help add moisture to your home as well.
  • Only heat areas that you actually use: Close off basement areas, guest rooms, attics, garages and other rooms that you don’t use regularly. Seal off their vents and direct the heating to the more commonly used rooms. Consider setting the thermostat to 62 degrees and using a space heater in commonly used areas.
  • Use ceiling fans to distribute heat: Heat rises to the ceiling. If you set your ceiling fan to low and clockwise, it will push the hot air back down so you can enjoy it longer instead of letting the heat stay accumulated in the ceiling area.
  • Lower the temperature at night: When you are sleeping, there is very little need for heat. Purchase a nice, soft, down blanket for the winter, which is great for keeping you warm at night. Keep the thermostat low and enjoy the added benefit of saving on your heating bill, which might also contribute to a better night’s rest.
  • Maintain your furnace: It’s easy for a furnace and/or its vents to become blocked. Have your furnaces checked at the beginning of the cold season and replace your furnace filter when it gets dirty. A clean, well-maintained furnace will run more efficiently and in turn lower your energy bills.
  • Be sparing in your use of exhaust fans: Exhaust fans don’t just remove excess moisture from your kitchen and bath areas. They also remove the hot air that tends to rise to the top and blow it out of your house. Be sure to turn off the fans right after use, so they don’t suck out all the hot air from your heating system.

Heating bills don’t have to be so high. Make sure to maintain your HVAC system before the start of the cold weather, and enjoy efficient, low-cost heating all winter.

Are you looking for experienced heating and cooling experts in The Woodlands and the surrounding areas? Contact Efficient Climate Control  today to schedule a service call, or visit our website for more information.

How to Prep Your Furnace for the Winter Months

The ideal time for preparing your furnace for the cold months is before the winter sets in. You don’t want to turn on your furnace on a cold day only to discover that it isn’t working properly. Therefore, take the right steps as early as possible to ensure your furnace is operational, safe, and energy-efficient. Keep in mind that a lot of things can happen during the warm months that can affect your furnace. Here are some of the basic things you can do to prepare your furnace for winter.

Clean the Furnace Room

This is an essential thing to do, but most homeowners tend to overlook it. Typically, the room where your furnace is kept also serves as the storage room during the warm months when the furnace isn’t in use. In most homes in Texas, the furnace is covered with other stored objects, and the entire room is cluttered. Take some time to relocate all the things that have been placed against or near your furnace and clean the whole room. You should also vacuum the outside surface of your furnace and all the surrounding areas to remove the dust, dirt and cobwebs that have formed over time. The furnace should be fully visible, especially its pilot lights.

Change/Clean the Air Filters

The air filters act as the first line of defense for your furnace, hence the need to keep them clean. It doesn’t matter whether you have several air filters behind your vent grill in your ceiling or if you have a single air filter in the HVAC itself. Make sure that you change or clean your air filters before winter sets in and continue doing so monthly. Cleaning or replacing your air filters regularly will help to keep dirt and other destructive particles out of your furnace, thus prolonging its lifespan.

Schedule Your Furnace Maintenance Early Enough

Furnace maintenance is key to the efficient operation of your equipment. A well-maintained, energy-efficient furnace will ensure that your home stays warm throughout winter. Experts recommend that you should schedule furnace maintenance several months before the winter period to avoid the last-minute rush. You should keep in mind that the furnace professionals are usually very busy during the winter period and may not be at your home on time when something goes wrong. Scheduling furnace maintenance is the best way to save money in the long run.

Turn on Your Thermostat

This is the right time to switch from summer cooling to heating since the temperatures have begun to drop. To achieve the best results, make sure that you set the temperature a few degrees higher than your current house temperature. If you don’t feel the heat kick in within a minute, be sure to pull off the cover of your thermostat and check to see whether the wire connections are all secure. If everything is okay, be sure to check the furnace fan or your heat pump.

Contact Efficient Climate Control today for top-quality air conditioning and heating services. We are locally owned and offer services of the highest standards to satisfy our customers’ needs.

Why You Regularly Need to Change Your Air Filters

Cleaning and regularly changing the air filters in your home has numerous benefits. Checking the air filter’s status on a regular basis — especially during spring and winter — will help your air conditioner work more effectively. Below are some other benefits of changing the air filter regularly. 

Changing Air Filters

To establish how often you ought to change your filter, verify the recommendations by the manufacturer. High-efficacy filters serve for a considerably more extended period before being replaced. On the contrary, a standard low-efficacy filter will need to be replaced more often within a short period of use. Other factors that can aggravate the need to change your air filter include;

  • The overall indoor air quality
  • The number of pets you keep in your home
  • The type of air filter you have
  • The level of air pollution and degree of construction around your vicinity
  • The number of people staying in the home

Why It Is Imperative to Regularly Change Your Air Filter?

  • Protect the environment — A clogged air filter is merely a strained HVAC system, which results in the liberation of large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is notable that a simple activity as regularly changing an air filter can go a long way in creating a remarkable difference in environmental protection.
  • Save money — A dirty air filter is more expensive to operate than a clean, new air filter, for the simple reason that a dirty air filter consumes more energy. This culminates in a higher electricity bill. With a clean air filter in proper working condition through consistent maintenance, you could save approximately 15% on utility costs.
  • Prevent damage to your HVAC system — An air filter with clogs can cause substantial, undesirable damage to your HVAC system. You can extend the longevity of your device through averting early damage by keeping an up-to-date check on your filter`s condition. The chief cause of heating and cooling system malfunctions is neglect. Regular maintenance can successfully avert failures.
  • Create clean, healthy air — More beneficial, fresher and cleaner air is a result of regular changing of your home’s filter. This brings a conducive environment for everyone in the family, particularly to those who might suffer from asthma or allergies.

Consequences of Not Changing Air Filters

  • Spending money on energy costs without seeing the benefits — It does not matter the flow rate of the air; your HVAC system is either operating or not operating. A dirty filter will change air temperature in negligible amounts while consuming larger amounts of energy.
  • Your air conditioning runs longer, gets clogged and fails — The longer the molecules take in air, the more likely they will accumulate inside the unit, block air and bring damage.
  • The air in the rooms becomes stagnant — The air stagnates, resulting in moisture, odors and dust resting on surfaces and other places you can’t see. Wiping surfaces is a daunting task, especially with the use of a chemical spray.

Other consequences include:

  • Worsening of indoor air quality
  • General wear and tear
  • Uneven cooling

You’re just a click or a call away from obtaining excellent service and personalized attention that satisfies and exceeds your expectations. For all your HVAC needs, there is no task too small or too big for Efficient Climate Control. Contact us today!

Is it an Air Conditioner Emergency?

Is It an Air Conditioning Emergency?

The Texan summer takes a toll on most AC units, and it’s normal that your unit may break down during this period. Scheduling regular maintenance can limit the probability of a breakdown. However, in some instances, some spontaneous faults may limit your unit’s efficiency. Although some issues are simple DIY fixes, others require emergency assistance. Here are some situations where you need to call in for emergency help.

A Frozen Unit
A frozen HVAC system could imply that there is insufficient or no airflow. This can be solved by changing or cleaning the air filters. This condition is best prevented by keeping the area around your unit free of dirt and debris and replacing the air filters as recommended. Replacement of major system components — such as a faulty fan motor — are best tackled by a professional. Contact one immediately to prevent the situation from escalating and damaging your system. 

Clogged Condensate Lines
Most emergency HVAC service calls are about leaks. If not taken care of at the onset, leaks can cause extensive water damage. Most leaks are the result of clogged condensate lines. These lines are responsible for collecting the excess moisture and expelling it so that it won’t damage the system. Dirt, rust and algae could accumulate within the lines, obstructing the excess water from leaving the system and thus causing leaks. Should you identify leaks, it’s time to call a professional. 

Gas Leaks
Of all the HVAC system problems, gas leaks are the most dangerous. Your system is predisposed to gas leaks if it is running on natural gas. Leaks are caused by a disengaged or a cracked gas line. Unattended gas could result in fires or carbon monoxide poisoning. If there is an unexplained odor, it could be a sign of a gas leak. 

Electrical Problems
Should your system continuously run despite shutting it off, or if it fails to start when you switch it on, you could be dealing with an electrical fault. This is often the result of a failed system breaker, or it could mean that the thermostat is incorrectly set. Should there be no problems in either of these places, you could damaged wires or faulty cables. 

Trying to self-diagnose such a unit predisposes you to electrical shocks and other electricity-related hazards. Tinkering with your system could also void your warranty or worsen the problem. Having your HVAC system inspected at least once every year is recommended. In this way, small issues can be identified and remediated before they develop into bigger problems. Besides, fixing ventilation problems when the system is not being used enables you to carry out the necessary upgrades without interfering with your climate-control needs. 

Contact us today for emergency HVAC repair services in The Woodlands, Texas and surrounding areas.

Mold and Your Heating and Air Conditioning Units

The unique climate of The Woodlands, Texas, and surrounding areas makes upkeep on your home or business heating and air conditioning (HVAC) units necessary. The Woodlands gets 49 inches of rain on average per year — that’s 10 inches more than the rest of the U.S. We also have precipitation about 63 days per year. Above-average humidity throughout the year can create problems such as mold in your HVAC units, a serious problem that can be fixed by contacting Efficient Climate Control to service your units and increase your peace of mind. Let’s take a look at both units and find out how we can prevent mold from forming inside them and affecting your family’s health and wellness.

Mold in Heating Units
Mold only needs moisture and food to grow, so preventing it from getting moisture and food will prevent the mold from forming. Although you can handle mold in your heating unit on your own, we recommend using a reliable and knowledgeable company like Efficient Climate Control to make the process easier and more effective while saving you time.

Mold in heating units is a common home and business complaint, and in more humid areas like The Woodlands, Texas, there is a higher chance of mold forming in your heating unit. Unfortunately, forced-air HVAC systems are the easiest way to spread mold throughout your home or business because mold is always present to some extent in the building environment. In other words, you cannot completely prevent mold from existing in a building, but you can control it well and prevent sickness for your family or employees. Efficient Climate Control can help with furnace repair and indoor-air-quality services. We are focused on your problem whether it’s big or small.

Mold in Air Conditioning Units
Air conditioning units have high moisture levels, and in a humid climate like The Woodlands, that can spell disaster for home and business owners. The combination of humidity and moisture in the units can cause mold to grow and proliferate very quickly, leading to respiratory illnesses and eye and skin irritation. Prolonged exposure to mold can also lead to asthma. Since most people run their air conditioners only occasionally, or more or less depending on the time of year, moisture and debris may collect in the air handler or ductwork.

Signs that your air conditioning unit has mold growing in it include a nasty smell; black, patchy mold presence; and recurring respiratory symptoms. If you notice these signs, immediately turn off the system, put on a mask to prevent mold spores from entering your respiratory system, vacuum out or mop up any moisture, and thoroughly clean out your system. The best way to do this is to call a professional service like Efficient Climate Control that can clean your unit for you, properly treat and eradicate the mold problem, and install mold-reducing filters to prevent mold growth. Ultraviolet lights and frequent high-risk area sanitation may also help.

Gambling with your health or that of loved ones or employees is never a good idea. Since mold is such a frequent problem in The Woodlands heating and air conditioning units, the best advice is prevention through professional maintenance. If you discover mold in your home or business, contact Efficient Climate Control immediately to prevent the mold from spreading and keep everyone healthy.

Electrical for AC units

Your air conditioner is one of the most important appliances in your home. It keeps you cool during the long Texas summers, so when your AC unit malfunctions, you can be left with needing to get it repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. Whether you’re being proactive and making sure your HVAC system is working well before the heat hits or you need a new AC quickly, here’s what you need to know about installing new AC units and if your home’s electric system should be upgraded first.

Determine the Type of Cooling You Want

If you have an existing central HVAC system, you may want to simply upgrade your outdoor central air unit. If your AC stops working or you need to replace an older unit to cool your whole home, this may be the best option for you. However, if you’re looking to add cooling to only one or two rooms in your house — such as an attic bedroom that gets too hot during the summer despite a working central HVAC system — you may want to opt for ductless HVAC. Decide what type of system will best fit your needs and then find out if any changes need to be made to your electrical system to accommodate the new equipment.

When Do You Need to Upgrade Your Electric?

In some cases, the job is more complex than simply adding a new air-conditioning unit. Your home’s electrical system may not be able to support the heavy load a new central-air unit or an additional ductless mini split without an upgrade. If you’re adding a new room and installing new ductwork to connect to your existing ductwork or are installing a ductless air conditioner, an electrical upgrade is a must. Or, perhaps your AC isn’t working properly because it’s taxing your electrical system. Signs your electrical system is struggling to keep up with your air conditioner include AC failure after power outages, an AC that doesn’t turn off or flips your circuit breaker, or if your electric bill is unexpectedly high.

When to Consult an HVAC Professional

Unless you are highly skilled with electrical work, it’s important to discuss your electrical upgrade with a licensed HVAC technician. While many units will use the same breaker size and wire, such as the commonly used 30-60 amp with 10-4 AWG wire, it’s impossible to know exactly what you need without knowing what type of unit will be installed. Additionally, wiring electrical for multiple AC units, especially for zoned HVAC, can be challenging, and a different electrical setup may be necessary. Consult with an experienced HVAC professional and let him know your cooling goals and if you’re experiencing any issues with your current HVAC system potentially overloading your electrical system. Your HVAC specialist will evaluate the situation and let you know what you need.

At Efficient Climate Control Air Conditioning and Heating, we understand how frustrating it can be dealing with an air conditioner that doesn’t work properly or causes your electric bills to be too high, especially during the heat of brutal Texas summers. Contact us today for an HVAC consultation at (281) 367-5267.

Freon: Why Your AC Needs It

Freon is the name of a class of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It is a colorless gas commonly used as a refrigerant for air conditioners. Every air conditioning system uses a refrigerant to generate cool air, so proper maintenance is crucial.

How Does Freon Work?

Every air conditioner has a system of coils and compressors. The AC unit first compresses the Freon gas, heating it up. The hot gas travels through the coils, cools down and condenses into a liquid. The cool liquid Freon then absorbs warm air from the outside, which displaces the cold air that is delivered into the home or vehicle.

A common issue occurs when an AC unit stops blowing cold air. This can be due to a Freon leak, which can be toxic and cause harm to the earth’s ozone layer. In fact, the Montreal Protocol of 1987 set standards to reduce the U.S. consumption of CFCs including Freon to reduce its impact on the environment. Most modern air conditioners use a safer and more energy-efficient refrigerant, although units manufactured in 2003 and earlier may still use Freon. Today, the term Freon is often used to refer to any type of refrigerant.

Troubleshooting a Freon Leak

If the level of Freon in your AC unit depletes, you most likely have a leak. However, other issues can cause an AC unit to blow hot air. A clogged or damaged filter can limit airflow. A malfunctioning thermostat can trick your AC unit into pumping hot air or no air at all. Worn insulation can also inhibit your AC unit’s performance. Before you add or replace Freon, you should always diagnose the true cause of the problem.

While it is best to have a professional fix most AC issues, you can replace the insulation around the refrigerant lines by yourself. Start by inspecting the refrigerant lines, which typically run from the outdoor condenser to the indoor evaporator. If the insulation looks worn, it is likely compromising the performance of your unit and should be replaced. You should buy the same type of insulation that originally covered the refrigerant lines. Refer to the user handbook that came with your AC unit to learn how to properly remove the worn insulation and install the new insulation. Always shut off the condenser and evaporator before performing any maintenance or repairs on your AC unit.

Contact a Professional Air Conditioning Technician

Due to the necessity of Freon in the function of your AC unit, you should always contact a professional to fix a potential issue. Improper handling of AC components can compromise their performance and create a fire hazard. Having a professional inspect and maintain your AC system regularly can help prevent issues before they arise. It is especially vital to ensure your AC unit is in working order prior to the demanding summer months, during which old or faulty components are most likely to give out. Planning ahead will help ensure that you stay cool and comfortable.

For more helpful information on your HVAC system, or to schedule a service call, visit our website today. 

Why Ductwork Cleaning is So Important

It’s very important to maintain and protect the efficiency of the ductwork in your home. Your home’s ductwork plays a large role in the overall health and safety of your home’s interior environment. Whether it’s warm or cool, clean or contaminated air, all depends on the cleanliness and efficiency of your home’s duct system.

How Dirty Ductwork Can Contaminate Your Home

Generally speaking, regular duct cleaning helps to prevent many health problems. During the regular operation of your HVAC system, dust, pollen, pet dander and other pollutants blow through the duct system. Many of those particles accumulate along the walls of the duct system. When this accumulation is allowed to sit, all the remaining air in the home blows past it. Small particles may loosen from the sides of the walls and get blasted straight into the living areas of your home through the AC vents. So, while your family is enjoying the cool breeze of your air conditioning system, they are also being exposed to contaminants such as mold, mildew, ragweed, pollen, pet dander and more.

Health Benefits of Duct Cleaning

Those who suffer with allergy symptoms may have fewer symptoms — and less often — with regular duct cleaning. When ducts are cleaned, the buildup of dirt, dust and allergens that has accumulated along the walls of the duct system are removed. The result is clean, smooth walls that allow for fresh, clean air to flow safely through your home’s ductwork. When your family uses the AC, all they will get is cool, clean air, instead of the contaminated air from ductwork that hasn’t been cleaned.

Duct Cleaning Improves Efficiency

All that accumulated dirt and dust also severely hinders the efficiency of your home’s HVAC system. The proper and efficient running of your HVAC depends on a wide, open duct system, where air can flow through unhindered by the accumulation of dirt and debris. Maintaining proper airflow through your home’s HVAC system is critical to keeping energy bills in check and maximizing the life of your furnace and AC system. In addition, duct cleaning includes cleaning and/or replacement of all the filters in your HVAC system. These filters also play a crucial role in the smooth and efficient operation of your HVAC unit. When your HVAC professionals conduct a ductwork cleaning, you’ll notice the difference right away, both in the quality of air you breathe and the smooth running of your HVAC system.

Why Regular Duct Cleaning is So Important

It may be surprising to you to realize how quickly dirt, dust and other contaminants can build up in your home’s duct system. But if you think about how much dirt is brought into your home through shoes and regular day-to-day living, you can imagine that the same thing is happening inside your AC ductwork. That’s why it’s important to get routine cleaning of your ductwork.

Don’t wait until your HVAC system stops working efficiently. Contact the professionals to schedule your ductwork cleaning today! Our service technicians can clean your ducts and get you on a regular maintenance schedule right away.

Tips for Your AC Unit During Remodeling

picture of hand holding hammer in front of a houseThe air conditioning system plays a crucial role in keeping your home comfortable throughout the year. Although home renovations can be exciting, they can also create a significant mess in your AC unit. The dust buildup and dirt that come out of the renovation activities can be very harmful to your system.

Home renovation can cause a lot of problems due to significant amounts of waste and dust that are released into the air. You may end up dealing with costly repairs if you don’t take precautionary measures. Here are some tips to help you protect your AC unit during home renovation and remodeling.

Consult Your AC Contractor Before the Start of Your Project

It’s always a good idea for your regular AC contractor to check your intended plans before starting your home remodeling project. Sometimes, the contractor may advise you to adjust some things to protect your unit. It can be exasperating to discover that the project could have been done differently after the home renovation project is complete and the harm has already been done to your unit.

Turn Off the AC Unit

Working your air conditioner during an ongoing remodeling project can result in a scenario in which more dust is swept into the system and through its vents leading to severe damage. So, it’s advisable that you turn off your air conditioning system while carrying out dusty projects. Turn off your equipment completely until the project is completed and the dust settles.

Close Off Registers and Vents

Make sure that you also close off the registers in the specific areas where renovation work is being done and also consider covering them to prevent the dust from being pulled back into your system. However, if your cooling unit is switched on, be careful to avoid closing off too many registers at the same time. If you’re unsure if you’re cutting down the airflow in your AC system, call an expert to come and inspect it.

Clean the Work Area Regularly During the Project

Always clean up the work area regularly while conducting the renovation or remodeling. This will help deter excessive dust buildup from occurring and spreading to your system. It’s also a good idea to seal off your AC unit before proceeding with your project. Consider placing tarpaulins in your working area to make the process of dust removal easier and quicker so that it doesn’t affect your AC unit. 

Change and/or Clean the Air Filters during and After the Renovation

You should also clean air filters during and after the project has been completed. Don’t be deceived even if your air filters look clean. There will always be tiny dust particles on the surface of the filters that will disrupt the airflow. Be sure to consult an expert if you’re unsure of what to do with the air filters after the completion of the project.

Inspect Your Equipment After the Remodeling/Renovation

Lastly, you need to conduct a proper and comprehensive inspection of your air conditioner after the completion of your home renovation process. Make sure that you inspect the indoor coil, blower and ductwork to ensure that no dust is collected inside it. You should also consider cleaning the air ducts.

Are you looking for experienced heating and cooling experts in The Woodlands and the surrounding areas? Contact Efficient Climate Control  today to schedule a service call, or visit our website for more information.