Sunday, December 4, 2016

What Does "Ton" Mean for Air Conditioning?

You've called out an HVAC company for an AC or heating repair, but at some point realize that the best thing to do is buy new equipment. As you look at the different types of systems you can buy, you may come across 2-ton systems, 5-ton systems, and so forth. How do you know what is right for you?

Most homeowners are familiar with the phrase "ton" when it comes to AC's but don't know much about it and this causes some confusion when it comes to getting quotes on new systems etc. When dealing with residential HVAC (HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) systems, they come in sizes from 1-Ton to 5-Ton with the average being 3.5 tons.

So what is a ton? Does this mean the system weighs 3 tons? That would be 6,000 lbs. No, what Ton basically means is the cooling capacity of the system. Its equal to the amount of heat required to melt one ton of ice in a 24 hr period. So, a one-ton AC is rated at 12,000 BTU per hour. Still a bit confusing isn't it?

So lets do it this way, 1-ton can cool a house of about 600-900 sqft out here in Texas. A 2-ton can do 900-1200, a 3-ton can do 1500-1800, a 4-ton can do 2100-2400 and a 5-ton can do 2400-3000. What about the sizes in between you may ask? They would be 2.5 ton, 3.5 ton. There is no 4.5 ton however.

If your house has a current 3.5 ton system and you are changing your system, you most likely are not going to move up to a 4 and for sure aren't going down to a 3.

95% of homes that replace their systems just exchange it with the same size. Why? Because not much has really changed. Your insulation had certain R-factors back when it was built and all that. And so you might have more heat loss now but not really enough to justify going up to a 4. Also, the house had to be designed by engineers and they did a good job when they made your house and had to get it passed by the city inspector too. That's most cases.

In the case where you feel your system has never kept up, then you might go up a half ton, etc. But biggest is not better. You can't go from a 2-ton to a 5-ton thinking this is better. If you did, your system would run too short, humidity would be brutal in your house, and the system would have many many hard starts which would hurt it. 

So what should you do when you are buying and sizing for replacement? Rule of thumb? Just get the new system the same size or .5 ton bigger. Call your local HVAC company for quotes.

Nest Thermostats

Thinking about buying a Nest Thermostat? Good idea. Here is what to expect!

The best of the best, the Nest. It used to be that if you wanted a wifi thermostat there was Nest and then nothing. Though there really were other items on the market, they were clunky and didn't perform as well or as easy as the first generation Nest. Now that wifi thermostats have been out for awhile, there are many players.

I have used every single one, but still the Nest has remained on the top of the list. Why? It is super easy to use and super easy to install. There are "better" thermostats. By that I mean that there are thermostats that have really cool functions and real techie things and sub menus. This may appeal to a small percentage of people but not to the general populace.

The Nest can best be described as being the "iphone" of Thermostats. Its just very easy to use and set up and gives people what they want, a way to control a thermostat from their phone from anywhere in the world. It also looks cool, its like a snow globe mounted on the wall. It has no buttons, no levers, nothing. You push the glass for making selections and you turn the outer rim of the snow globe to select.

A lot of people know about Nest because it was really first to market with such a cool looking design. It is now in its 4th generation and has improved the font and features. Installing is very easy as well. Just turn off the Heater, disconnect your old thermostat and match the wires up. So if your old thermostat had the red wire on the R port then put it on the R port for the Nest. If though your old one had lets say a white wire on the G port you would not then put it on the W port on the Nest. It must go where it was regardless of color. This trips people up. Just match it like for like. Then turn the heater back on and the Nest will boot up. Follow the onscreen prompts. Couldn't be easier.

However, if you are looking for an air conditioning company to install it, because it is after all a very expensive piece of equipment, then call your local HVAC company for install. Also watch this video

Quick list of cool features:

*Can be turned on or off or up or down from anywhere you are at via a smart phone
*Has a learning function that learns your thermostat habits and after awhile will program itself
*Has an auto away feature that will default to an energy efficient setting if it doesnt see you in the room for awhile
*Large and easy to read display that glows blue for cooling and orange for heating. It even tells you the time it will take to reach the temp you are asking for.

*I want to make a quick statement about installation. Most people think that when they install a thermostat they need to turn off the breaker to the AC (air conditioning). This is false and will cause you to blow a fuse or transformer. Your thermostat does NOT get its power from the AC. It gets its power from the Heater (Furnace or Air Handler). The AC gets its commands from there as well. So simply turn off the breaker to the Heat, Furnace, Air Handler etc and then you can mess with the thermostat wires. They are low voltage anyway and are usually safe.

*Also people think that buying a thermostat will fix their HVAC problem they are experiencing. I can tell you this is rarely, rarely, rarely the case. Your thermostat is usually tied to 1% of your systems problems.

If you want to have your Nest Thermostat installed by a fully licensed and insured air conditioning company in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas, you can call Texas Discount Air for a great price on this service.