Month: October 2021

Steps to Improve Your Chiller Maintenance

With the cooler season upon us, now is the time for facility managers need to ensure optimal equipment functions for efficient and prolonged use. Several periodic shutdowns in the past year and a half make it even more critical to perform routine maintenance work promptly to ensure operations are running smoothly.

Why Is Chiller Maintenance Important?

Lack of preventative maintenance on your chiller can lead to other unbudgeted costs through increased energy bills or repairs. Most chillers face the prevalent issue of sediment buildup and residue in the chiller tubes. This serves as a blockage and forces the chiller to use more energy to produce the desired level of airflow.

This leads to an increase in energy bills and a lack of efficiency. In addition, most organizations overlook the maintenance of chiller systems due to the costs and time to perform maintenance associated with them.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 35% of a building’s total energy use comes from its HVAC system. Inefficiency can therefore have a significant impact on the bottom line. Chiller tubes are susceptible to the buildup of scale and other sediments and residue. A chiller that has to work harder to achieve the target output will use more power, resulting in higher energy costs.

Steps To Improve Chiller Maintenance

Creating a checklist for your chiller maintenance is ideal for staying on track and ensuring your equipment operates efficiently.

We are here to share the best practices to help you improve your chiller’s performance with proper maintenance.

Step 1: Maintain a Daily Log

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) advises organizations to maintain a log for all their chiller systems and monitor the critical operating parameters that will help indicate any developing problems beforehand.

It is advised to do this four times a day. However, if that is unfeasible for your organization, once a day is also alright.

This data log will help keep track of performance and potential complications, helping you proactively address issues.

Step 2: Keep Tubes Clean

A common and recurring issue in chiller systems is the buildup of scale and residue in the tubes. This buildup can result in inefficiencies because the system will require more energy to compensate for the blocked airflow.

This extra energy can cumulate and result in thousands of dollars in additional energy expenses. Experts recommend that chiller tubes should be cleaned at least once a year.

It should also be regularly monitored and cleaned. Pressure loss can also result from tube corrosion, which can be identified through regular checks.

Goodway offers mechanical tube cleaning solutions, chemical descaling solutions, and expert consultation services to find the proper cleaning approach.

Step 3: Ensure Your Unit is Leak-Free

Another common issue in most chiller systems is refrigerant leaks. This affects the efficiency of the chiller system and can also lead to health hazards from the hazardous refrigerants being released into the air.

Therefore, it is advised to keep refrigerant levels within the manufacturers’ recommendations and keep track by:

  • Using an air-purge time
  • Checking the refrigerant sight-glass for bubbles
  • Assess joints and connections with a gas analyzer

Step 4: Sustain Proper Water Treatment

It is essential to have a proper water treatment system to maintain efficiencies between cleaning the chiller system.

A proper water treatment system helps reduce the buildup of contaminants on heat-transfer surfaces and slows the growth of harmful bacteria.

Since every organization is different, there is a strong possibility that the scale could be other. Therefore, you should reach out to an expert to identify the best approach and solution.

Step 5: Maintain The System

After you have developed a chiller maintenance program and outlined all the action items, the final step is implementing an upkeep plan.

It is essential to keep all the parties updated about the process and ensure that they have received training to work on the system. This information also needs to be shared by all the facility management employees working on the system.

Regularly provide updates on the impact and positive results of the routine maintenance to log and document the benefits.

Once you have developed a chiller maintenance program and outlined all the steps and actions, one last thing is left to implement. It is only possible for the program to work if all the necessary parties have been informed of the process and trained on it. Distribute the information to anyone involved with facility management or who comes into contact with the system. Provide regular updates on the success and effects of routine maintenance to demonstrate the benefits.

Next Steps

View all Goodway Chiller Tube Cleaning Solutions

Learn how to How to Effectively Clean Your Chiller and Cooling Tower

Download your HVAC Facility Cleaning Checklist

This post appeared first on Goodway.com

Furnace Installation Costs and Maintenance Tips

At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.

Furnaces will keep you comfortable and your home warm even on the coldest days. A furnace will have various needs over its service life that both homeowners and HVAC contractors attend to. At HVAC.com, we have compiled everything you need to know about furnaces.

When it’s time for furnace installation, whether in a new home or an older home in need of a heating system upgrade, there are numerous HVAC equipment manufacturers who offer high-quality furnaces for residential use. The leading brands of furnaces include:

Furnace Cost Calculator

Need to find out how much your furnace is going to cost you? Try out our Cost Calculator and get a price estimate you can compare with the quotes you’ll get from HVAC technicians.

Average Cost: $3,250 – $12,586

Like your home and needs, your HVAC project cost will be unique. Use the calculator to better estimate your investment.

*Estimate is based on current data and does not represent a guaranteed price. For accurate pricing contact a local HVAC dealer.

$5,000 – $6,000

Estimated Total

The average cost for a new HVAC system is $3,250 to $12,550, which includes equipment and labor fees for the installation of a central AC unit and gas furnace. The chosen HVAC brand, necessary ductwork repair, and your location will influence the project cost.

Furnace costs

Furnace installation cost

The cost to install furnace systems is a variable price, dependent on a number of different factors. On average, the cost to install furnace systems in a typical American home is around $4,200.

The main factors that affect the cost to install furnace system are:

  • Equipment brand
  • Furnace size
  • Energy efficiency
  • Equipment features
  • Installation requirements

Learn more about furnace installation costs

Occasionally over the service life of your furnace, furnace repair may be necessary. The cost to repair furnace systems varies widely depending on the type of the repair you need and the replacement parts and labor required to complete it.

Furnace installation

Furnace installation is a job for a professional – homeowners should not attempt to install a furnace on their own. The equipment price is the biggest portion of the total cost to install furnace systems in most cases, and this equipment needs to be properly installed and service by someone who knows what they’re doing. Don’t risk damage to your new furnace or costly energy waste due to improper furnace installation.

Before you call an HVAC contractor for furnace installation, do some research into the different furnace brands available. Today’s furnaces are packed with incredible technology that boosts energy efficiency and enhances user experience – look into the options available and see the brands and models that have features which help you meet your operational savings, sustainability, and comfort goals.

Furnace Maintenance Tips

Just like vehicles, machinery, and even other household appliances, furnaces need care over their years of service to keep them in good working order. A good furnace maintenance strategy combines professional and DIY tasks to give your furnace a great start going into heating season and keep it running throughout the coming months.

Make sure your furnace maintenance strategy includes the following:

  • Professional furnace preventative maintenance in the fall. Ideally, schedule your service appointment prior to the first time your furnace is needed this season.
  • Change your air filter. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended interval for filter changes and check your furnace filter monthly throughout heating season to determine if a change is needed sooner, as filters often require more frequent filter replacement during periods of heavy system use.
  • Open all vents and registers throughout the home and make sure there are no carpets, pieces of furniture, or other items atop or in front of their openings so that heated air is able to properly flow through the ducts and into your indoor living areas.
  • Reset your programmable thermostat schedules for heating season. Take into consideration your household’s changing schedule and your heating budget to choose energy efficient setpoints and schedules that deliver adequate indoor comfort levels without sacrificing your family’s comfort.

Cost to Repair Furnace

On top of the actual furnace repair, most HVAC contractors charge a service call fee, which covers system diagnosis. A service call for furnace repair typically costs between $50 to $100. For emergency furnace repair overnight or on weekends or holidays, expect to pay more.

The cost to repair furnace systems varies between $100 to more than $1,000. On average, homeowners pay about $270 per furnace repair. Some approximate average costs to repair furnace systems include:

  • $300 to $400 to repair faulty ignitors
  • $50 to $200+ to replace a thermostat
  • $150 for blower motor repairs
  • $450 for blower motor replacement
  • $500 to $1,200 for heat exchanger replacement
  • $100 for simple heat exchanger repairs
  • $150 to $750 for gas or smart valve replacement

Tips 10 Things You Should Know About Furnaces

The top takeaways from this furnace guide that every homeowner should keep in mind are:

  • Furnace installation is a job for a professional HVAC contractor – don’t attempt it yourself!
  • Get HVAC contractor recommendations from trusted personal sources, or search an HVAC contractor directory.
  • The average cost to install furnace systems is $4,200.
  • Furnace installation costs vary based on these factors: brand, size, energy efficiency, features, and installation specifications.
  • Furnace maintenance is a professional AND do-it-yourself endeavor.
  • Schedule furnace preventative maintenance in the fall – ideally, before you use your furnace for the first time.
  • Change your furnace filter on a regular basis – it may need changed more frequently throughout the winter because you use the system more during this time.
  • Reset your programmable thermostat when you switch over to heating use to ensure your setpoints and schedules and efficient and comfortable for the colder months.
  • When you call an HVAC contractor for furnace repairs, you’ll likely have to pay a service call fee – this cost is more if you need emergency repairs.
  • The cost to repair furnace systems varies greatly depending on the type of repair your equipment needs. It can be as low as $100 or more than $1,000, but averages out at $270 per repair.

HVAC.com is the world’s leading resource for all things furnaces. From furnace installation and furnace repair to steps to take to make the most of your home’s comfort system, we have you covered! Check out our helpful guides, blogs, videos, and other resources to familiarize yourself with the heat source in your home!

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

Central AC Installation Costs

It’s coming. You can feel the heat, the humidity, the sweat from the heat and humidity. Depending on your location, you feel like you’re inside an oven or an uncomfortable sauna. Here it comes…..it’s summer.The joys of summer can quickly turn to exhaustion once you’re standing outside in the heat of the day. You can stay outside and fry like an egg or stay inside with the air conditioning running at full blast.

What would we do without air conditioning? Most of us would struggle without itduring the hot months. Even though we value the benefits of a good A/Cunit, how does it work? Which parts are essential to cool us down? Which kind is right for my situation? How do I reduce my energy bills?

HVAC units outside home
Christian Delbert / Shutterstock

Top AC Manufacturers

AC Cost Calculator

Need to know how much your air conditioner is going to cost you? Try out our Cost Calculator and get a price estimate that you can compare to quotes from technicians.

Average Cost: $3,250 – $12,586

Like your home and needs, your HVAC project cost will be unique. Use the calculator to better estimate your investment.

*Estimate is based on current data and does not represent a guaranteed price. For accurate pricing contact a local HVAC dealer.

$5,000 – $6,000

Estimated Total

The average cost for a new HVAC system is $3,250 to $12,550, which includes equipment and labor fees for the installation of a central AC unit and gas furnace. The chosen HVAC brand, necessary ductwork repair, and your location will influence the project cost.

History Of Air Conditioning

During the Industrial Revolution, inventions were created at an astounding rate. One of those inventions was the mechanical refrigeration system, which was invented by Dr. John Gorrie in 1851. He designed a machine that created ice using a horse-powered compressor. Later, these compressors could be powered by water, wind-driven sails, or steam.

No major discoveries happened for the next 50 years. Life still went on without the comforts of a cooling system until the early 20th century. In 1902, the first modern cooling unit was invented by Willis Haviland Carrier. Shortly thereafter, the term “air conditioning” was patented in 1906 by a textile mill owner named Stuart W. Cramer of North Carolina. Cramer explained his cooling technique in his patent claim; his invention controlled the humidity and changed the air of the textile factories, which made working conditions bearable.

The first AC room cooling systems weren’t introduced in homes until 1929, and window units came two years later in 1931. These first systems were expensive, but after World War II, in 1947, AC units were widely available at an affordable cost.

What Is Air Conditioning, And How Does It Work?

Air conditioning, or AC, is a modern marvel. The unit’s main job is to lower the air temperature and dehumidify the air. Most AC units cool the indoor air through a process called the refrigeration cycle. Some AC units use evaporation or free cooling to reduce the temperature of the room.

Major Components

An air conditioner systemis comprised of many components. Here we introduce the five major components used in all A/Csystems:

  • Thermostat– Monitors and regulates temperature
  • Evaporator– Receives the liquid refrigerant
  • Condenser– Helps with the heat transfer
  • Expansion valve– Regulates refrigerant flow into the evaporator
  • Compressor– A pump that pressurizes refrigerant

To understand where all of these parts are located, think of the entire AC unit as two coils: a cold coil and a hot coil. On the cold side, the evaporator and a fan blows air over the cold coils. On the hot side, there’s the compressor, condenser, and another fan. All three vent the hot air from the compressed refrigerant out of the room. In-between both sets of coils is an expansion valve, which regulates the amount of compressed liquid refrigerant moving in to the evaporator.

Refrigeration Cycle – How Does It Work?

Before we talk about the refrigeration cycle, let’s talk about boiling water. This will help us understand the basics of thermodynamics.

When the liquid water absorbs enough heat, the water turns into a gas. All heat tends to move from an object with a higher temperature to an object with a lower temperature. In the case of the boiling water, when the water vapor loses enough heat through contact with the cooler air or a cool surface, it turns back into a liquid. The energy, or heat, of a system tends to diminish over time.

Contrary to popular belief, air conditioning units don’t “add cooling.” Rather, the refrigeration cycle removes heat from the air inside the building. The cold refrigerant, located in the evaporator coil, absorbs the heat/energy from the warm, inside air that passes over the coil. Once absorbed, this heat and energy is released outside as the cooler atmosphere absorbs this heat coming from the condensing unit. The hot refrigerant cools off as it releases heat to the outside atmosphere and it turns back into a cold liquid, and the process starts all over.

Outdoor air conditioning unit
GSPhotography / Shutterstock

Types Of Air Conditioners

Not all air conditioners are the same. Each system is useful for certain situations. Thankfully, we have different types of air conditioners for different styles of homes and businesses:

Split Systems

A split system keeps everything separated, splitting the hot side from the cold side. The cold side has the expansion valve and the cold “evaporator” coil. The system is placed in a furnace (or other system that handles air). The system blows air through the coil and, using ducts, guides the air throughout the building. The condensing unit is on the hot side. The unit usually sits on the outside of the building.

Ductless Air Conditioner

The popular “ductless” air conditioning system is technically a split system, and it’s sometimes called a mini-split system. You’ve probably seen a ductless air conditioning system…think of the air conditioners that are mounted on the inside wall of a room in a house or office that blow cold air into a particular part of the building. One of the least expensive HVAC system options, a ductless system has two components: an outside unit and an inside unit.

  • Condenser– The outdoor unit or condenser, which contains the compressor, is installed outside your home on a concrete slab. This pumps and cools the system’s refrigerant through the copper lines to the indoor unit.
  • Evaporator– The indoor unit or evaporator contains a fan that’s installed in the area to be cooled. When this fan turns, it allows the indoor coil to absorb heat from the air inside the room and it distributes the cooler air through the room.

A ductless system works the same as a regular AC unit, except there are no ducts distributing the air. Instead, the ductless system works solely through the fan installed inside the home.

Portable Air Conditioner

These units are able to fit inside most windows, and are perfect for dorm rooms, apartments, or other small spaces. The portable system uses the same principles of the refrigeration cycle, but in a tinier box. Blowers and fans move the cooled air into the room, while removing heat from the room. The refrigerant extracts heat from the air and simultaneously cools the air, creating an enjoyable experience for the user.

Packaged Air Conditioning Units

Packaged units contain all the necessary components, but they are all located in one cabinet, like a much larger version of a window unit. Instead of splitting the cold side from the warm side, they’re all together in one unit. The heating process is used through either natural gas or an electric heat lamp located inside the packaged unit. Therefore, most packaged units don’t have an indoor furnace.

Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner (PTAC) units are also known as wall-split air conditioning systems. PTAC systems are a type of packaged air conditioner that is typically installed through the wall of a building, such as a hotel room or senior living facility, so the evaporator section and controls are located inside the space and the condensing coil is on the exterior side of the wall to reject the heat from the space to the outdoor environment.

AC unit mounted on wall
Tomislav Pinter / Shutterstock

Buying A New Air Conditioner

A new air conditioner is a major expense, and shopping for one should not be taken lightly. Here are some things to consider, things to look for in an air conditioner, and reasons why prices vary from system to system.

Choosing an HVAC Contractor to Install a New Air Conditioning System

To ensure your unit will be installed correctly, hire an HVAC contractor to help you install a new AC system. When researching a quality HVAC contractor, take a look at their:

  • Online reputation– A simple Google search can help find the best HVAC contractor for you. Yelp, Craigslist, and other sites are useful to see how many stars a certain contractor has.
  • Service– How long do most of their projects last? Can they install your unit quickly and efficiently?
  • Price– What is their quoting process? How much can you afford?

If you need help with the many choices available to you, you can use our website. HVAC.com acts as an unbiased, trustworthy resource by connecting you with a great contractor from our network throughour directory.

SEER Rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)

A SEER rating is another component you should look for in your shopping experience. Think of SEER rating like you think of miles per gallon (MPG) on your car. Higher MPG means you spend less money on fuel. In the same way, a high SEER rating correlates with a more energy-efficient unit. It’s calculated by measuring the total BTU’s (British Thermal Unit) of heat rejected per hour and dividing it by the watts of electricity used to reject that heat.

The above graph represents the lifetime energy cost of operating an AC unit depending on its SEER rating. The higher the SEER rating, the lower the lifetime energy cost. Even though units with higher SEER ratings cost more initially, they will save you more money over time.

Compressor Type

When looking at a unit, take a look at the type of compressor that fits your needs.

  • Single-Stage– A single-stage compressor cools the home while running at full blast. Because this compressor knows only one speed, it turns on and off more frequently and always runs at peak capacity and energy usage. As a result, this type of compressor is not as energy efficient as the other compressors.
  • Two-Stage– A two-stage compressor has two stages: medium and high. The high stage is for those hot and muggy days, while medium is for those milder days or overnight. The two-stage air conditioning compressor runs on a lower setting until the outdoor temperature gets too hot, when it is taking too long to cool off the inside space. Because the compressor can often run most of the year in the medium setting, it uses less energy and reduces your electric bills. It’s also more comfortable for you; by running longer at the medium compressor speed, the unit does a better job of removing humidity from the indoor air, making the space more comfortable and often allow you to raise the temperature on the thermostat a degree or two and still feel cool. This saves you money also! Depending on the SEER rating, a two-stage compressor costs more than a single-stage compressor.
  • Compressor Warranty– There are two options for a warranty. You can either have a 5-year warranty or a 10-year warranty.

Condenser Fan Motor

Another variable to consider is the condenser fan motor which is a part of the outdoor condensing unit. These fans keep the AC’s compressor from being overheated. These fans also cool the super-heated refrigerant that moved through the condensing coils of the outside air conditioning unit. Through annual maintenance, you can increase the life of these motors. Instead of replacing the entire AC condenser (with costs ranging in the thousands of dollars), you can replace a fan motor for a few hundred dollars.

There are different types of condenser fan motors:

  • Variable speed motor– These motors connect the motor control drive to the compressor, which can help vary the speed of the motor, depending on the air temperature. With this motor, you could save as much as 40% off the yearly energy usage of the condenser motor. It’s energy efficient because the unit can stay on the entire time on mild days, reducing the energy from shutting on and off all the time. Also, the motor starts up gradually and runs only as fast as necessary instead of full speed all the time.
  • Single-stage– A single-stage condenser fan motor is like a single-stage compressor; it knows one speed, and that speed is 100% capacity. While a single stage condenser fan motor is by far the most common type, it costs more to operate and is often louder than a variable speed condenser motor.

Noise Level

Most consumers forget about how loud an AC unit can be until it’s too late. You’ll need to consider your AC unit’s noise level before you sit on your porch or deck and all you hear is the unit humming. A noisy air conditioner can interrupt your enjoyment of the beautiful sounds of nature in your back yard, and can be disruptive if you are hosting guests for a cookout and trying to have a peaceful conversation.

Decibels are the unit used to measure how loud something is. Humans can comfortably listen to sounds in the 110 decibel range or lower, but with repeated use, these sounds can result in ear damage. In other words, don’t go to rock concerts every weekend. To understand how loud an AC unit compares to other loud noises,click herefor a great infographic comparing different sounds with one another.

Noise levels coming from AC units depend on:

  • Fan Speed– A fan running full blast is noisier than a milder fan setting.
  • Type of Unit– As of this moment, the quietest units range form 50-60 dB. The Carrier Infinity 19VS was measured at 56 dB. The Dave Lennox Signature Collection XC25 was measured at 59 dB. The quietest one so far is the American Standard Platinum ZV, coming in at 55 dB.
  • Location– The noise level also depends on how far you are away from the unit and where the unit is located outside your home. If the condensing unit is on the opposite end of the house it might not be a big issue.

If you want todecrease the noise level of your air conditioning, here are some features that can reduce your AC’s noise level:

  • Variable speed fan– The various settings allow the AC to run at quieter speeds.
  • Compressor insulation– This is an enclosure that covers the compressor to reduce its noise.
  • Noise-reducing fan blades– These blades are designed specifically to reduce noise.
  • Insulated base pan– Placed underneath the AC, this reduces noise from the unit and resists corrosion from the droplets of water coming off the unit.

Refrigerant Type

Refrigerants are the key ingredient to the air conditioning soup. Theymake air conditioning possible. In general, there are two major types of refrigerants for residential applications today:

  • R-22– No, this is not R2-D2 from Star Wars, but refrigerant type R-22. You might know this refrigerant as Freon. This type is obsolete today; it’s being phased out because of growing environmental concerns.
  • R-410A– The current standard, R-410A, contains no chlorine, which makes it ozone-friendly. This refrigerant has a higher pressure than Freon, and compressors that use R-410A have thicker metals to withstand the higher pressure needed to operate.

Brands

Here at HVAC.com, we don’t favor any particular brand. There are many high-quality brands of heating and air conditioning equipment to consider, and they will all keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Our advice is to focus more on the people installing the system, rather than the brand. Brand research can be time-consuming and consumer reviews can be confusing and misleading – often the reason that a particular system did not work well for someone is because it was not installed properly by a well-trained HVAC contractor. Some of the popular brands include Lennox, Trane and Carrier, but we recommend that you focus first on finding a trustworthy local contractor who knows his brand so you don’t have to do the research.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Finally, we come to the maintenance section. To ensure cost savings on your energy bill and avoid frequent breakdowns and repair costs, do these routine maintenance checks:

Filters

Your AC unit’s filters are the most important part to maintain. You must routinely replace or clean filters because dirty filters will block the airflow in the system, reducing the system’s efficiency or causing the system to freeze up and stop working. Plus, you’ll want to avoid a situation where the dirt in the ductwork gets directly into the evaporator coil and impairs the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity.

There are many different types of filters, each with their own efficiency rating. For optimal performance, you should clean or replace them on a regular basis according to the filter manufacturer’s recommended schedule. If you’re constantly running your AC unit, if your house is close to dirt roads, or if you have furry pets, replace your filters more often.

Coils

The two coils collect dirt all the time. If a coil is dirty, it will reduce the airflow and insulate the coil, which reduces its ability to absorb or reject heat. The cool evaporator coils and the hot condenser coils need cleaning on a yearly basis. But, the coils can be cleaned less if your filters are cleaned regularly, as a clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. Clean around the coils where debris and foliage can collect to allow for adequate airflow.

Coil Fins

These thin pieces of aluminum are on the evaporator and condenser coils. They’re easy to bend and can block airflow if not straightened. Purchase a “fin comb” to comb the fins back into their original position.

Condensate Drain

You need to clean the condensate drain line, which is connected to the indoor evaporator coil, to make sure water can drain properly. This can be done by passing a stiff wire through the drain pipe or blowing through the pipe.

More than Simple Maintenance

Even after you’ve done these simple steps to maintain your AC unit, there might be more problems you haven’t considered. A good HVAC technician can do any of the following:

  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for leaks
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
Man repairs wall air conditioner unit
Vershinin89 / Shutterstock

Summary

Thank goodness for air conditioners. The amazing combination of technology that makes up the air conditioning system allows us to live through the hot weather in comfort.

There’s a lot to learn about how air conditioners work, the benefits of certain types or brands, and proper maintenance techniques. The good news is that we don’t all have to be experts. HVAC.com offers a nationwide network of trusted local heating & air conditioning contractors who are pre-screened and available to help the next time your HVAC system starts to misbehave.

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

Heat Pump Installation Costs by Type

A heat pump system does much more than the name suggests. While the unit does produce heat for your home when needed, it also creates cooler air as the outdoor temperature heats up. In this heat pump unit guide, we’ll walk you through how a system operates, heat pump costs, and the top brands when choosing a unit for your home.

Understanding how a heat pump works will support you in choosing the best one for your home. These heating and cooling units come with a number of advantages, like requiring less energy for optimal performance and reducing your monthly energy bill compared to a FURNACE or CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM. To help guide your heat pump installation choice, we’ll reveal which homes are best suited for a heat pump system and explain the differences between the different types.

two hvac units outside
RF-18 / SHUTTERSTOCK

What is a heat pump system?

A heat pump unit does not generate heat, It simply transfers it from one space to another to create the desired environment in your home. In the summer months, a heat pump will transfer the warm air from inside your home to the outdoors. When the fall and winter months move in, the system will pull warmth from the outside air into your home.

The systems are powered by electricity and, similar to an HVAC system, use refrigerant to create a consistent, comfortable indoor temperature. The refrigerant flows between the air handler (indoor unit) and the heat pump compressor (outdoor unit) to transfer the heat. Other heating units, like furnaces, burn fuel to warm your indoor air, so a heat pump is typically a great money saver when it comes to your monthly energy statement.

Types of Heat Pumps

Air-Source Heat Pump Systems

An air-source heat pump absorbs warmth from outdoor air and transfers it inside your home. Even if it’s cold outside, abundant warmth still exists in outdoor air. By moving heat indoors, the heat pump system creates a warmer environment in each room of your house.


To cool your home, air-source heat pumps draw the heat out of your home. By removing the heat, your home feels cooler.Under optimal conditions, air-source heat pump systems can drop a home’s energy consumption by as much as 40 percent.

Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

Instead of moving heat energy from the air, geothermal heat pump systems use underground heat as an energy source. Sometimes called ground-source heat pump systems, geothermal systems use a ground loop to tap into ambient below-ground heat. This system of fluid-filled piping absorbs below-ground heat and moves it up to the home’s heat pump, where it is then transferred indoors to heat the home.


Geothermal heat pump systems can also be water-source. This means they pull heat energy from a nearby water source with consistent temperatures, such as a lake or pond. The heat transfers into the home.


To cool the home, geothermal systems draw heat from inside and transfer it into the ground or water source. The ground or the water, depending on the type of system you have, becomes a receptacle for the excess heat in your home. Geothermal heat pump systems can reduce household energy use by UP TO 50 PERCENT. They offer excellent humidity control and long service life.


How to choose a heat pump

Purchasing the BEST HEAT PUMP FOR YOUR HOME is more than choosing a recognized brand name. When researching the best systems for your home, forgo using the many “rules of thumb” for appropriate sizing. Often, the methods of “500 square feet per ton” or “400 cubic feet per minute per ton” can be inappropriate calculations that lead to inadequate sizing of a heat pump.

In order to get the most from your system, a professional heating and cooling expert will need to consider your home’s windows, foundation, insulation values, wall thicknesses, air filtration and more. An Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) MANUAL J CALCULATION is the most comprehensive evaluation available to guide you to the best home heat pump.


Top heat pump carriers

Explore heat pump models and features from top heat pump brands:

We know deciding which heat pumps are good for your needs must include pricing. The cost will differ depending on your location, various elements of your home, and the model you select.


Heat Pump Cost Calculator

To best answer the question “How much should a heat pump cost?”, we want to break down the typical fees that are included in a heat pump installation project. While the process and fees will vary among different heat pump system installers, there are certain fees that should be expected no matter the company you choose.


Heat pump installation fees:

  • Heat pump cost (price of the actual system)
  • Labor for project completion
  • Project supplies/tools
  • Special equipment rental fee
  • Installation debris disposal fee
  • Old heat pump or HVAC removal fee

The exact cost of a new heat pump will depend on your current heating and cooling system setup and what work must be completed before the heat pump can be installed. Use our cost calculator to get a local price estimate for your home.


How Much Does HVAC Replacement Cost?

Average Cost:$3,250 – $12,586

Like your home and needs, your HVAC project cost will be unique. Use the calculator to better estimate your investment.

*Estimate is based on current data and does not represent a guaranteed price. For accurate pricing contact a local HVAC dealer.

$5,000 – $6,000

Estimated Total

The average cost for a new HVAC system is $3,250 to $12,550, which includes equipment and labor fees for the installation of a central AC unit and gas furnace. The chosen HVAC brand, necessary ductwork repair, and your location will influence the project cost.Find a local dealerStart over

Heat pump cost by equipment type

Heat pump pricing depends on many factors. The type of heat pump, its capacity, and other elements affect the cost of the unit. Below, we’ll discuss general heat pump cost and the elements that can play a role in the final investment.

Ducted heat pumps

Ducted heat pump heating and cooling systems act much like traditional central heating and cooling systems. The heat pump unit sits outdoors, and the indoor fan coil works to move conditioned air into living spaces via a duct system. A ducted heat pump system may be most affordable if your home or building has an existing duct system that is in good shape. Using existing ductwork will eliminate the need to install an expensive new duct system, which can cost thousands.


The price to purchase a ducted heat pump and have it installed runs on average $5,600, but this cost can go well over $10,000 depending on the brand, energy efficiency, labor warranty, and other features.


Ductless heat pumps

In homes or buildings where duct systems do not exist, ductless heat pump models are an option. These systems, sometimes called ductless mini-splits, include an outdoor condenser/compressor unit and one or more indoor air handlers.


Ductless mini-split heat pump systems generally cost $1,500 to $2,000 per ton of cooling capacity for just the equipment, not including installation. With installation, ductless mini-split heat pump systems run an average of $4,000 to $5,000. This is approximately 30 percent more than central heating and air conditioning systems, minus the duct system.


Geothermal heat pumps

Geothermal heat pump cost is far more than other heat pump types when installing the entire system. Geothermal systems require underground ground loops to harness the Earth’s natural energy. Installing one involves excavation, running hundreds of yards of piping, burying the loop, and more. This process is quite expensive. Installing a new geothermal heat pump to work with an existing ground loop is far cheaper.


Heat pump pricing for the geothermal heat pump itself ranges from $1,500 to $13,000 depending on the model, not including installation. Depending on the size needed to heat and cool your home or business, installation can cost $10,000 or more.


Using the above information as your heat pump pricing guide, you may confidently shop for a new heat pump system as well as an HVAC installer in your area to do the job. There may be variables not mentioned above that are necessary to complete your project. Work with a heating and cooling professional you trust to ensure you’re getting the best price and quality workmanship.


Factors to consider before buying a heat pump

A number of factors, from your climate to existing ductwork, will influence whether or not a heat pump system is right for your home. A heat pump system’s cost can rise quickly if your home isn’t a good fit for one, and in certain colder states heat pumps cannot provide the expected efficiency. You may discover that another type of heating system is a better choice.

Climate

Air-source heat pumps only run efficiently when outdoor temperatures are above freezing. If you live in a region where temperatures drop below 32 degrees, you shouldn’t choose a heat pump as your sole heating source.

In an area where temperatures reach freezing, air-source heat pumps make good primary heating systems. You’ll want to have a backup system installed, such as a gas furnace, which can take over when temperatures reach freezing. Your heating technician can install controls that automatically shut down the heat pump if temperatures reach or drop below freezing. The controls will call for the furnace to come on, efficiently heating the home in these conditions.

Geothermal heat pump systems are another alternative in areas with freezing winters. Despite freezing air, the temperatures below ground remain constant around 55 degrees. This is more than enough heat to warm your home as desired.

In areas with mild winters, air-source heat pump systems are a perfect option to provide the heating you need. Depending on the specifics of your climate, you may not need a backup heating system.

Ductwork

If you switch to an air-source or geothermal heat pump from a conventional forced-air heating and cooling system, you will likely be able to reuse your home’s existing ductwork, if it is in good shape. If you do not have ductwork installed in your home, the added expense to install ductwork may make traditional heat pump systems cost-prohibitive.

A ductless mini-split heat pump system is an ideal solution for homes without ductwork. Individual indoor units mounted on walls or ceilings connect to an outdoor condenser. Homeowners benefit from the savings heat pumps offer, as well as the system’s inherent zoned comfort control.

Natural Gas Lines

Heat pump installation is a great alternative to a new furnace if your home doesn’t currently connect to existing natural gas lines. Otherwise, crews will need to install the new gas line access, which can be extremely expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a heat pump cost?

The price will depend on your home’s size and the heat pump’s rating. Prices can range from around $700 for ductless mini split systems up to $13,000 for a geothermal heat pump system, not including installation.

How much does it cost to install a heat pump?

The cost for heat pump installation also depends on the size of the unit and whether it is a single-room or whole-home system. A single-room air-to-air system can cost as low as $500, including installation. Whole-house units, on the other hand, range in price from $2,500 to $7,500, including installation. Geothermal heat pumps typically require excavation to install, which adds several thousand dollars to the cost.

How much does it cost to run a heat pump?

The type of heat pump you select, the climate where you live, and the temperature you set on your thermostat will all impact the cost of running a heat pump. A highly-efficient model could save you 30% to 40% on your energy bill.

IS A HEAT PUMP RIGHT FOR ME?

Whether used as an independent heating and cooling system or partnered with an energy efficient HVAC solution, a heat pump offers energy savings no matter where you live. Because of the naturally warm climate in the South and Southwest, heat pumps are especially effective in these regions. Areas where the temperature rarely dips below freezing are often optimal locations for heat pump installation.


The average lifespan of a heat pump is about 15 years. Routine maintenance and seasonal cleaning of the unit will help your system perform at its best for years to come. Explore our TOP HEAT PUMPS OF 2021 to decide which system is best for your home.

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Poor Sleep Quality in Ocala, FL? Your HVAC May Be the Issue

The HVAC system in the home plays a significant role in ensuring your comfort during the day and at night when you’re asleep. An efficient HVAC system has a considerable impact on the quality of your sleep, and uncomfortable humidity and temperature levels can decrease the quality of sleep. Read on to understand other ways your HVAC system can contribute to poor sleep quality in your Ocala, FL, home.

Noise

Any strange noises at night can disrupt the quality of your REM sleep, and any strange noises from the HVAC system indicate that the unit might have an underlying problem. These noises might indicate that your unit is too old or on the verge of breaking down.

A professional HVAC technician can diagnose the issue and prevent a minor problem from escalating. Stay alert for any banging, squealing, hissing or gurgling noises from your HVAC system.

Poor Indoor Quality

Dust, pollen, pet dander and other pollutants can clog your HVAC system, causing poor airflow. These pollutants might also recirculate in your home, causing problems such as sore throat, headaches, runny nose and sneezing. Any of these symptoms can make it hard for you to fall asleep.

You should replace the air filters and remove dust and allergen buildup in the ducts to improve the indoor air quality. Although you can change the air filters yourself, you should contact a professional to clean the duct system. You can also decide to install an air purifier or air cleaner to promote clean and healthy indoor air.

Humidity

Poor humidity control in your home will cause stuffiness, and high humidity can be a problem most of the year in Ocala. The resulting discomfort can affect the quality of your sleep.

High humidity levels lead to biological growth and bug infestations. A professional HVAC technician will advise you on adding a dehumidifying unit to your HVAC system to ensure healthy humidity levels at night.

Temperature

Although people generally sleep better in a lower-temperature environment, you need to find the sleep temperature that’s right for you as an individual. An inefficient HVAC system can cause inconsistent temperatures at night, making it harder for you to fall asleep. If you find that you’re waking up too often in the middle of the night, feeling too hot or too cold, consider scheduling HVAC maintenance.

Different factors such as a faulty or outdated thermostat, leaking ductwork or using a wrongly sized system can cause your HVAC system to produce inconsistent temperatures. A technician can address this problem by inspecting your system.

Installing a zoning system or using a smart thermostat can solve the issues of inconsistent temperatures. Contact our professional technicians at Senica Air Conditioning to schedule HVAC maintenance in Ocala, FL.

Image provided by iStock

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Space Heater Alternatives: Better Ways to Eliminate Cold Spots

Each year, space heaters are the cause behind more than 25,000 home fires and over 300 fatalities, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Some space heaters release carbon monoxide that can be deadly as well. We all know it: using a space heater is a huge risk to your family simply to eliminate … Continued

The post Space Heater Alternatives: Better Ways to Eliminate Cold Spots appeared first on Arista.

Best Ductless Mini-split AC (2021)

Ductless air conditioning systems have been around since the 1970s, but homeowners are starting to catch on to their energy efficiency and affordability. We’re here to review the best mini split AC units and help you pick the right model for your home. 

What is a ductless mini split AC?

As the name suggests, a ductless mini split system cools and heats your home without the need for HVAC ductwork. The system consists of an outdoor unit, an indoor air handler that mounts onto your ceiling or wall, and refrigerant lines that connect the two.

Ductless mini split ACs have been popular in Asia and Europe for decades, but they’re quickly gaining traction in American households. A number of factors play into this growth:

  • With regular maintenance, a ductless system can last 20 years or more.
  • Ductless mini splits are quieter than ducted systems and window ACs. Most of the ductless system’s noise comes from the outdoor heat pump, so the indoor air handlers are near-silent.
  • Many ductless systems double as dehumidifiers, helping remove excess moisture from your space.

There are two types of ductless cooling systems. Choosing the right one will depend on your home’s needs.

Single-zone ductless mini split

A single-zone ductless system consists of one condenser (outdoor unit) and one air handler (indoor unit). These systems are best for homes that want to heat or cool a specific space, like an add-on or converted garage.

Multi-zone ductless mini split

A multi-zone system has one condenser that controls multiple air handlers. Multi-zone ductless ACs can connect with up to eight air handlers. If you have a big space, you’ll need to opt for a multi-zone system.

Installing your ductless mini split system can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $14,000. The rate varies widely depending on the brand, number of air handlers, and labor costs. As we discuss below, some models make for easy DIY installation. 

We cover pros and cons of each model below, but here’s a quick look at our favorites.

Best ductless mini split air conditioner & heat pump overall: Blueridge Five Zone Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump System 

Best mini split (single-zone): Pioneer Diamante Series Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner 

Best mini split (multi-zone): Senville Quad Zone Mini Split  

Best mini split for DIY installation: Mr. Cool DIY Ductless Heat Pump Split System 

Most efficient mini split: Gree Sapphire

Best Mini Split AC

Our mini split reviews cut through the confusion of how these systems work and introduce the best options for your HVAC needs.

We’ve chosen both single-zone and multi-zone picks. We reference both SEER and HSPF below, so let’s break down what they mean:

  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): This number measures how efficiently your device heats your space. Just like with SEER ratings, the higher the number, the better.

You’ll also need an idea of how many square feet you want to treat. Below is a chart showing the ideal square footage ranges for the mini splits we mention in our best-of list.

Capacity (BTU/hour) Square Footage
9K 300-500
12K 400-650
18K 600-1000
24K 800-1300
36K 1200-2000
48K 1600-2650

Best mini split overall

Blueridge Five Zone | $5,644.00

The Blueridge Five Zone system can cool or heat your home without hiking up your energy bill. This mini split comes with five ceiling cassettes, so you don’t have to mount a bulky panel on your wall. 

Capacity (BTU/hour) 48K
Power Input 208/230V
Max SEER 21.5
Max HSPF 10.4

We are drawn to the system’s 21.5 SEER rating and 4 tonnage cooling capacity. Even in an open floorplan, this mini split system can keep your family comfortable.

This ductless system comes with five remotes, one per air handler. You can control the ceiling cassettes individually to get different temperatures in different rooms. If your loved ones bicker over the thermostat, this is the best mini split option for you.

Quiet mode helps this mini split sound as silent as a library. We also love the smart sleep feature, which adjusts the temperature and airflow to your sleep schedule.

Reliability is another reason we gave this ductless system the number one spot. The coil inside the outdoor unit has a gold fin coating, which keeps it from corroding. This feature helps your device last longer and saves you money on repairs and maintenance.

Blueridge has an excellent limited warranty. The compressor is covered for seven years, and the parts are covered for five.

There are a few minor drawbacks to this system. For one, the unit doesn’t include many of the materials needed if you want to install it yourself. The materials cost over $1,000 to buy separately, so you’re probably better off hiring an HVAC contractor for the job.

Also, ceiling cassettes are harder to install than wall mounts. While they’re smaller and more discreet, they are best for drop ceilings.

If you have a standard (drywall) ceiling, you’ll have to remove some of your ceiling and reframe it for the cassettes to fit. That’s why we wouldn’t recommend this unit to anyone renting an apartment or in a temporary living situation.

Still, there’s a lot to love about the Blueridge Five Zone system. It’s got standout features, an excellent SEER rating for its powerful output, and a durable build that will last you decades.

Best single-zone mini split

Pioneer Diamante | 798.00 – 2149.00

Our favorite single-zone unit won’t be an eyesore in your home. The Pioneer Diamante Series boasts a wide variety of sizes and an aesthetically pleasing air handler.

Capacity (BTU/hour) 9K, 12K, 18K, 24K, 36K
Power Input 110/120V, 208/230V
Max SEER 17-20
Max HSPF 9-10.5

This model has a dual swing louver system. It sends out the air in horizontal and vertical directions to cover every corner of your space.

The Pioneer Diamante works even when outdoor temperatures get as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has freeze protection, so it’s a great option for people in cold climates.

Homeowners with construction or HVAC experience may feel comfortable installing this unit. It comes with a complete setup kit, but we recommend hiring an HVAC pro for quality installation. The outdoor unit can accommodate refrigerant lines anywhere from 10 to 25 feet long.

This ductless system has near-silent operation. The air handler works at around 32 dB, making it quieter than your refrigerator.

We also like how the remote has a large, backlit LCD display. It comes with a remote holder that you can mount on the wall, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing the controller.

The main highlight of the Pioneer Diamante is the beautiful air handler. It’s got a sleek, silvery display that outshines even premium competitors.

It also has a dimmable LED display. When you want to go to sleep, your air handler won’t serve as an unwelcome nightlight.

The Pioneer Diamante Series isn’t the easiest to set up, and the manual instructions could be clearer.

We do, however, like the five-year compressor warranty, but you must register your device soon after purchasing it to get the five-year parts warranty.

The Pioneer Diamante may not carry a premium price, but its aesthetically pleasing air handler tells a different story. Its top-notch features and high efficiency surpass many other brands, all at a value price point.

Best multi-zone mini split

Senville Quad Zone Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump | $2,798.00

If you want to treat a big space on a budget, this four-zone split system gets the job done without breaking the bank. It’s a great value for what you get, making it stand out over other multi-zone systems. 

The Senville Quad Zone mini split system has one outdoor compressor and four wall-mounted air handlers. Most brands charge between $3,500 and $5,000 for the same size unit. Plus, with operation up to 22.5 SEER, you can expect a reasonable energy bill each month.

Capacity (BTU/hour) 36K
Power Input 208/230V
Max SEER 22.5
Max HSPF 8.7-10.2

This model comes with a great limited warranty. The compressor is covered for seven years, and all other parts are covered for three years.

If listening to hours of hold music isn’t your idea of fun, go for a Senville unit. The brand’s customer service answers user questions more quickly and directly than bigger companies. Users often find Senville honors its limited warranty without any fuss.

The mini split comes with a copper line set and an easy installation kit, helping save thousands on installment costs. Of course, if this isn’t your idea of a fun DIY project, call on an HVAC professional and expect to pay between $300 to $1,500 for complete installation.

This may be a value pick, but its functional features perform above its price grade. The unit is self-cleaning, has smart app capability, and can even alert you when your refrigerant is leaking.

The Senville Quad Zone packs practical features and high efficiency into a surprisingly low price tag.

Best mini split for DIY installation

Mr. Cool DIY Ductless Heat Pump Split System  | $1,379.49 – 2,374.00

If you like to get your hands dirty, this is the best ductless air conditioner for you. This DIY-friendly option efficiently cools and heats your space with a tech-forward flair. 

The Mr. Cool DIY single-zone ductless system can cool a room up to 750 square feet and comes with the following specs:

Capacity (BTU/hour) 12K, 18K, 24K, 36K
Power Input 115V, 230V
Max SEER 16-22
Max HSPF 8.9-10

This mini split comes with a condenser, one air handler, and almost all the equipment you’ll need. The only parts not included are tools like a hole saw and a stud finder.

Mr. Cool’s products are known for high quality, and this ductless system is no different. This third-generation system continues to make improvements from earlier models.

The third generation’s fan has plastic blades instead of metal, making for quieter operation. The system maxes out at 32 decibels, so you likely won’t even notice when it’s running.

Sleep mode will turn off your device after seven hours of inactivity to save energy. Another handy feature is an alert that notifies you when your device senses low refrigerant.

This model is Wi-Fi compatible, and the SmartHVAC app turns your smartphone into a remote control. You can even control your split system with voice commands using Alexa or Google Assistant.

Mr. Cool DIY can operate in temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a versatile device, but there are a few drawbacks to note.

Some users complain that the DIY manual is vague. Thankfully, Mr. Cool came out with a YouTube tutorial to make setup easier.

This pick costs a pretty penny, starting at a few hundred dollars higher than most split systems on the market. We feel that the convenience of setup and the premium features justify the lofty price tag.

Overall, we find this pick to be a standout for its easy installation. It offers great tech features, smart safety touches, and energy efficiency that’s sure to please the DIYer in your house.

Most efficient mini split

Gree Sapphire | $1,540.54 – 2,454.03

If high-efficiency is your priority, the Gree Sapphire is your mini split system. This pick has the highest SEER mini split on our list (and on the market) by a long shot. It maxes out at an unmatched 38 SEER, far more efficient than most systems that barely breach the 20s. 

With an extra-efficient 9K BTU model, you can expect to see your energy bill decrease during the cooling season. The single-zone Gree Sapphire is available in four different BTU capacities.

Capacity (BTU/hour) 9K, 12K, 18K, 24K
Power Input 208V/230V
Max SEER 30.5-38
Max HSPF 15

If you live somewhere with brutal winters, this is the best mini split for you. It can operate in temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit.

We love the seven-speed fan and four-way airflow on this model. It saves you energy by working below its maximum capacity for most of the day.

The Gree Sapphire comes with Wi-Fi compatibility. You can use the manual remote control or use the Gree+ app to give commands using your smartphone.

If you’re sick of noisy ducted systems keeping you awake, the Gree Sapphire could be your saving grace. This model can get quieter than a whisper from five feet away.

Sadly, the Gree Sapphire isn’t compatible with smart thermostats like Nest. Also, there’s no ceiling mount available, so your air handler will have to mount to your wall.

Gree also doesn’t recommend you try to assemble the Sapphire yourself. In fact, the manufacturer will only offer future support if you have a licensed HVAC contractor install the unit. Still, we can’t ignore the impressive fan and the unmatched SEER rating that make it the most efficient mini split available.

Is a ductless mini split worth it?

No matter where you live, a ductless mini split could be a great investment for your home. They have the potential to be more efficient, more customizable, and quieter than traditional ducted systems.

The American mini split market has spiked in recent years. With a wide variety of high-quality products on the market, there’s never been a better time than now to get your hands on one.

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Best portable air conditioners of 2021

Searching for a way to beat the heat as a humid summer creeps into fall? There are plenty of air conditioning options out there. For some rooms, window air conditioning units and air coolers are a good fit, but a small, portable air conditioner may be the simple and effective solution for your space.

Portable air conditioners come in a variety of sizes offering varying degrees of cooling power. It’s important to choose the one that fits best with your lifestyle. 

small-ac-next-to-plant

Our guide will help you understand more about how portable ACs work and how powerful they need to be to chill your space. We’ll also offer our own recommendations on some of the best portable air conditioner units around.

What is a portable air conditioner?

Portable ACs are cooling units that provide chilled air to a single space and can be moved from room to room as needed. They’re simple to install and typically sit on the floor.

When planning where to place your unit, make sure there is access to an electrical outlet and a window. The AC will need to expel hot air, and the best way to do that is through a window. Don’t worry, most portable ACs come with a window kit for easy setup.

We’ll explore a few recommended models below, but here’s a quick list of our favorite units:

Best overall portable AC: Whynter ARC-14S

Best portable AC for a large room: Whynter Elite ARC-122DS

Best portable AC for a small room: Black+Decker BPACT14WT

Best budget friendly portable AC: Shinco SPF1-08C

Best smart portable AC: LG LP1419IVSM

How does a portable air conditioner work?

A portable AC cools your room by taking in warm room air, cooling it, and then circulating it back out, chilled and refreshed. A portable AC also takes excess warm air and moisture from the room and funnels it outside through a hose connected to a window.

Removing warmth and moisture from the room helps lower humidity levels, preventing the hot, sticky feeling throughout the warm months. You’ll also have the power to adjust fan speed and temperature to get just the right comfort for your home.

Single hose vs. dual hose portable air conditioners

Portable ACs will either have one or two exhaust hoses in the back. Think of a single hose unit as a small room air conditioner. The larger the room, the less effective a single-hose unit will be.

To cool your space, the portable AC takes warm air and moisture from the room and transfers it outdoors. It then pulls in the remaining indoor air, cools it, and releases it back into the room to cool the temperature.

A dual-hose portable AC is best if you need to cool a large space. Overall, a unit with two hoses is more efficient at removing warm air and replacing it with cool air. One hose is used to bring air in from outside to be cooled and then released into your room. The second hose pulls warm air from your space and dispels it outside.

Portable air conditioner sizes

Portable ACs come in a variety of sizes. Finding the right size for your room is a big part in making the right buying decision.

A unit that is too big will be less effective and efficient. Air conditioners remove both heat and humidity from the air. If the unit is too large, it will cool the room before it has a chance to remove the humidity. This can make your room feel damp and clammy.

EnergyStar has its own sizing chart to help you choose the right model for your space. The chart is organized by room size and paired with the recommended energy capacity for your AC unit. Energy capacity is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. As BTU capacity increases, the weight and size of the model typically will, too.

Area to be cooled (square feet) Capacity needed (BTUs per hour)
100 to 150 5,000
150 to 250 6,000
250 to 300 7,000
300 to 350 8,000
350 to 400 9,000
400 to 450 10,000
450 to 550 12,000
550 to 700 14,000
700 to 1,000 18,000
1,000 to 1,200 21,000

Room air conditioner prices

Portable air conditioners, while cheaper than many alternative systems such as central AC and mini split AC systems, can still range from $300 to $600. The price of a room air conditioner will be directly affected by the unit size.

The energy efficiency of your unit should also be considered. You may be searching for a cheap portable air conditioner to fit your needs, but you don’t want to see your energy bill spike each month.

While particular units are more efficient than others, this general information from Electric Choice can help you estimate the cost of running a portable AC.

Portable AC unit (BTU) Estimated cost per hour
5,000 BTU portable AC $0.19 per hour
8,000 BTU portable AC $0.31 per hour
10,000 BTU portable AC $0.38 per hour
12,000 BTU portable AC $0.46 per hour
14,000 BTU portable AC $0.54 per hour
18,000 BTU portable AC $0.70 per hour
21,000 BTU portable AC $0.81 per hour

Portable AC installation

In most cases, installing a portable AC takes 30 minutes or less if the installation kit is provided. It’s important to get the hoses ventilated properly so the hot air in your room has a direct exit.

Each model has the potential for unique challenges, but some overarching installation pointers to keep in mind include:

  • Install the unit on even, sturdy flooring
  • Position the portable air conditioner about 12 inches from furniture in the room
  • Position the portable air conditioner near a window and outlet
  • Avoid bending the exhaust hose

While there’s no lengthy maintenance checklist for your free standing air conditioner, routine cleaning will keep your unit running smoothly.

Maintenance on free standing air conditioner

Portable air conditioner units are relatively simple to maintain. WIth simple monthly upkeep, your unit should last for several years.

  • Ensure exhaust hose does not bend
  • Check regularly for drainage leaks
  • Keep the room sealed and insulated for better cooling
  • Maintain and clean filters regularly (every 30 to 60 days or as recommended by manufacturer)

Clean the filter of a portable AC unit by removing the back cover. Note that your unit may have one or two filters. Gently remove the filter and clean with a vacuum or by soaking in warm water and mild detergent. Allow the filters to dry completely before reinstalling.

Portable air conditioner reviews

Best overall portable AC

Whynter ARC-14S | $510

The Whynter ARC-14S wins our best overall spot. This 14,000 BTU unit is a powerhouse when it comes to cooling a room. Its dual hose system chills up to 500 square feet and does it quicker than most other portable units on the market. 

We’re especially drawn to Whynter’s efforts to go green with the use of R-32 refrigerant and a unique design that uses and recycles moisture collected during the cooling process to produce cool air. (You stay cool and deal with fewer leaks)

The three-speed fan and digital temperature screen give you more control over your room’s atmosphere, and the top-notch dehumidifier can remove up to 71 pints of water over 24 hours. The included remote allows you to adjust the settings from across the room.

Conserve energy while you’re away with the 24-hour timer and still return home to a frosty welcome.

Best portable AC for a large room

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS | $569

The Wynter Elite ARC-122DS is a great choice for a large room air conditioner. Cool up to 400 square feet with three operating modes: cooling, fan-only, and dehumidifier-only. 

This AC uses dual hoses for higher efficiency and an eco-friendly refrigerant for lower environmental impact. Its 24-hour programmable timer works around your schedule, and an automatic drain clears out any accumulated moisture to make cleanup much easier.

One of our favorite features with this unit is the washable pre-filter and activated carbon filter, which not only filters air pollutants but also helps rid your space of odors.

The unit is equipped with a remote control and install kit. Plus, in the event of a power outage, you’ll be back up and cooling in no time with the auto restart after outage feature.

Lastly, if you’re short on space, this unit is ideal. It’s smaller than nearly all competitors at 29.5 inches tall and 17 inches wide. The 12,000 BTU will keep you cool and your energy bill low.

Best portable AC for a small room

Black+Decker BPACT14WT | $349

If you’ve got a smaller space to cool, like a bedroom or office, the Black+Decker BPACT14WT is our top pick for a small room air conditioner. The unit has a stellar cooling performance and can quickly chill up to 350 square feet. 

There are three different modes to choose from: an AC unit, fan, or dehumidifier. It even self-evaporates the condensation that typically collects around your AC for less mess and easier maintenance. The reusable slide-out filter makes monthly cleaning easier than most models.

Run cool air for 24 hours at a time, or set an automatic sleep timer for when you’re away. Of course, we love the full function remote control that allows you to control the air from your couch or bed.

We found that the dehumidifying feature on this model was more powerful than most competitors. If humidity control is important, this is your unit.

Best budget friendly portable AC

Shinco SPF1-08C | $259

Air conditioners can come with a hefty price tag. While searching for relief from the heat, you’re probably weighing prices versus features. We’ve scoured the internet to find a relatively cheap portable air conditioner that doesn’t sacrifice on quality.

The Shinco SPFI-08C is a small air conditioner that can quickly cool a room up to 200 square feet. The LED display and remote make this AC extremely easy to use. 

Just like its competitors, it also lets you choose between three modes: cooling, dehumidifier, and fan. We found this unit to be a little louder than other 8,000 BTU models, but we preferred its easy installation and caster wheels.

If you’re looking for a cheap portable air conditioner and don’t mind a higher noise level, we recommend the Shinco SPFI-08C.

Best smart portable AC

LG LP1419IVSM | $599

If your house is filled with smart devices, the LG LP1419IVSM smart portable AC will be a great addition to your tech family. This model calls on 10,000 BTU to cool a room up to 500 square feet and uses patented LG ThinQ technology to pair with a smartphone app, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. 

It has three modes—cool, dehumidify, and fan-only—and is great for areas with frequent power outages. The system automatically turns itself back on when power is restored. Plus, the hose is already built into the unit for easy setup, so you can start cooling your room in minutes.

Our favorite feature of the LG smart AC unit is its energy efficiency. The Inverter Technology produces energy savings up to 40% compared to units without the Inverter Technology.

Of course, personalizing your comfort to the ideal temperature before you arrive home is also ideal. You can control this unit from your smartphone or tablet to ensure your space is chilled before you arrive. The app also allows you to schedule an on/off time for the unit.

The device has an auto-shutoff feature if the drainage tank reaches its fill line to help prevent leaks. Plus, this portable AC has a very quiet run mode. Overall, the LG portable air conditioner is a smart choice.

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What size air conditioner do I need?

At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.

Choosing the right size HVAC system for your home requires more than knowing the square footage. A thorough evaluation of your house will help you understand how BTUs, climate, and, yes, square footage all factor into your air conditioning tonnage needs.

When it comes to optimal AC performance, size does matter. A unit that’s too small for your home will cause the system to run constantly and leave you with an ever-rising energy bill. If the system is too big, the air will be cooled quicker than the system can dehumidify the space. You’ll be left with a humid, sticky environment.

woman-inspecting-ac

To keep your family comfortable and avoid bank-breaking energy bills, we’re introducing the best way to answer, “What size AC unit do I need?”.

Types of air conditioning systems

Before sizing your air conditioner to your home’s needs, determine what type of system you want to install. There are a variety of cooling systems available, but we’ll cover the three primary styles below. (Looking for how to properly size a window AC?)

Ductless air conditioners

Ductless air conditioners rely on a series of pipes to connect an outdoor unit to one or more indoor units to cool your home. The pipes are filled with refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat to maintain the desired temperature. Ductwork isn’t required with this system. Single-zone and multi-zone systems are available and best serve homes where a different temperature is desired in specific spaces.

Packaged HVAC systems

Packaged AC systems are the all-in-one solutions for homeowners who need to conserve space or need flexible options for where the HVAC equipment can be installed. The primary components, like the evaporator, compressor, and condenser, are stored in one cabinet. The outdoor cabinet is typically placed on a concrete slab outside the home. Packaged systems deliver cool air through the home’s ductwork.

Split-system air conditioners

Split-system air conditioners are likely what you envision when you think of an HVAC unit. These systems include an outdoor unit and an indoor unit that work together to create the desired temperature and indoor humidity level for your home. Refrigerant runs through both units during the cooling or heating cycle and the conditioned air is delivered through your home’s ductwork.

A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a rating that measures the energy your AC uses in one hour to remove heat from your indoor air. The BTU of your HVAC system should be based on the square footage of your home, insulation quality, climate zone, and ductwork.

Generally, you need 20 BTU for every square foot of space in your home. The chart below can guide your BTU choice:

Home Square Footage BTU (British Thermal Unit) Tonnage
600 – 1,000 18,000 1.5
1,000 – 1,300 24,000 2
1,300 – 1,600 30,000 2.5
1,600 – 1,900 36,000 3
1,900 – 2,200 42,000 3.5
2,200 – 2,600 48,000 4
2,600 – 3,200 60,000 5

The larger your home, the higher BTU you’ll need to support your comfort. One of the most accurate ways to measure the right size AC for your home is with a Manual J calculation.

Manual J calculation

A Manual J calculation is like an energy audit of your home. Who performs the Manual J calculation can vary depending on your region. In some instances, the HVAC company will complete the audit. It’s also possible for a general contractor or energy consultant to complete the work.

The cost of a Manual J depends on the size of your home. For most homeowners, you can expect to pay between $200 and $300. If your local HVAC expert performs the audit, ask if the service is included with your system replacement or installation.

We suggest having the inspection complete rather than simply replacing your old HVAC unit with the same size system. A Manual J inspection will consider:

  • Ductwork quality
  • Home insulation quality
  • Amount of direct sun exposure
  • Number of people who live in home
  • Usage of heat-generating appliances
  • Geographical climate and average temperatures
  • Number and quality of windows and exterior doors
  • Home construction materials (i.e., brick, wood, etc.)
  • Home features that modify indoor temperature (i.e., fireplace, sunroom, etc.)

Each of these elements has the power to affect the temperature and comfort of your home. By choosing an HVAC size based on square footage alone, you may purchase a unit that’s too small or large for your needs, and that can come with a hefty cost.

AC climate zones

While the square footage and make up of your home will give you great direction on sizing your HVAC unit, we can’t forget climate.

Take two versions of the exact same home. Place one house in San Antonio, Texas and the other in Gaylord, Michigan. Despite the same dimensions, quality of insulation, ductwork, windows, and doors, the Michigan home needs a smaller tonnage unit than the house in Texas.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers a guide to help homeowners easily determine their climate zone. Your local HVAC expert will also be able to guide you on the proper tonnage needed for your climate zone demands.

Best HVAC size for your home

Choosing the right size air conditioning system for your home doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you determine your climate zone and schedule your Manual J inspection, it’s time to choose the best HVAC brand.Once you know the size unit you need you can start comparing different leading products that are the same size – keeping your price estimate right on the money.

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Waking Up Tired? You’re HVAC System May Be to Blame in Tomball, TX

Do you find yourself feeling groggy after a night of sleep? If this is the case, you may be experiencing problems with your heating and cooling system. Here are a few ways the HVAC system in your Tomball, TX, home affects your sleep.

1. Indoor Air Quality and HVAC System

If you find yourself waking up tired, it may be the air quality in your home. Filters keep the air clean in your home. You need an HVAC service technician to check the airflow or if your filters need to get changed.

You can also invest in an air purification system for your home. It helps improve the quality of air in your home, which will allow you to have a better night’s sleep.

2. Humidity Level

Having the proper humidity level in your home is also crucial to have a good night’s sleep. When the air is too dry, you can have a sore throat, nosebleeds and dry skin. On the other hand, when your home is too humid, it’s easier for germs to grow, which may cause respiratory issues for you and your family.

3. HVAC System Noise Level

Another factor to consider when it comes to the heating and cooling system in your Tomball, TX, home is the noise level. If you have a loud HVAC system, it can interrupt your sleep.

4. Temperature

The temperature in your home is another factor that can affect how you sleep. In most scenarios, people sleep better in a cooler room. However, find what temperature works best for you and your family.

Sometimes, it may be that your heating and cooling system needs a tune-up or repair to fix this problem. Contact a local HVAC technician to get your home’s HVAC system up and running so you can have a better night’s sleep.

A properly functioning HVAC system is essential if you want to have a good night of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can impact your mood, health and energy. If you need any HVAC system services in your Tomball, TX home, contact Davis AC.

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