Home Expansion? Might Be Time for a New A/C Unit!

Have you determined that your house needs an overhaul? Is a new member of the family coming? Need a bigger kitchen? Or maybe it’s time to finally add that office you’ve always wanted?

If you have the property on which to build, creating an addition and expanding your home can be the perfect way to update the structure, add value to your investment, and make room for children or parents who need a little more space.

When you expand on a home, it will change the air distribution and may put too much pressure on your existing air-conditioning unit to perform.

And that could mean it’s time for you to add a new A/C unit to ensure a cool, comfortable home.

How Air Conditioners Work

We’ll spare you the entire history of air conditioners in the modern world. What you need to know is that A/C units are sized to meet a certain load on the house.

They are designed to have a specified amount of charge, or refrigerant, and a certain amount of airflow passes the coils, cooling as it goes.

If any of those components of the air conditioner change, the unit won’t work as well as it should. The A/C’s performance is also affected by the number of people in the home, how many appliances you’re using, the temperature outside, and the amount of humidity in the air.

When you add more square footage through an addition, the air conditioner will have to work harder to keep that area cool. And affects not only the unit but your comfort level in other parts of the home.

Should You Add an A/C Unit or Replace the Current One?

Since air conditioners come in a variety of sizes, you likely have the perfect unit for the square footage of your home.

Now that you’re planning an addition, however, your unit will be strained.

The next question is, do you replace your current A/C unit with a new, bigger size or do you add another unit dedicated to cooling your expansion?

Either or both of these could be the right answer for your specific expansion needs.

There are some important questions you should be asking.

Can proper airflow be established to the existing unit?

To use a larger A/C unit to cool your expanded space, you have to ensure that you can run air ducts between that space and the location of the air conditioner. In some cases, that’s easy enough to do, but in others, it’s just not feasible.

How far is the existing unit location from the expansion?

The farther the air has to flow, the less likely it is to be cold when it reaches the new location. If you’re adding a large addition or even a second level, your best bet may be to add another A/C unit.

Get a Professional Opinion

Before you break ground on your expansion, consult with an HVAC professional at Forrest Anderson.

One of our experienced techs will visit the site and consult with your construction foreman and architect, if needed, to determine the best way to ensure your continued comfort in your home.

Whether you need a new air-conditioning unit that can handle more square footage or an addition unit to cover your expansion, we’ll not only let you know but we’ll also manage the installation and duct work.

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5 Hacks for Keeping Your Holiday Guests Comfortable

Summer is a great time to host parties and get people together at your house, especially for the Fourth of July. But more people means more heat circulating in your home, which could lead to uncomfortable guests. Here are five tips you can implement to keep your holiday guests cool this summer:

  1. Cool Down Proactively

If you know that a gang of friends and family is headed to your house, then you can avoid that “Whew, it’s hot in here” complaint by dropping the temperature 30 minutes before the first guest is scheduled to arrive.

If you normally keep your home at 75ºF, for instance, then pop it down to 72ºF. It might feel a little cold at first, but once you have a lot of bodies in there, it’ll be perfect!

  1. Service Your Sliding Doors

If you have French doors leading out to your pool, you can skip over this section, but if you have sliding glass doors, keep reading! Those puppies can become hard to open and close or even come off the track. Oil them up, replace the rubber, and add some stickers on them so people don’t walk into them.

Easy-to-close sliding doors mean they’re less likely to be left open when guests are going in and out, and that means the house will stay cool.

  1. Bring on the Mist

A little water can go a long way during hot summer days. Patio misters are inexpensive additions that make a huge difference in the temperature and comfort level of your guests.

If you’re a DIY person, then you can buy a mister system at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Otherwise, find someone to install them for you. Your guests will most definitely thank you.

As an added bonus, add some ceiling fans to the patio while you’re out there!

  1. Change A/C Filters and Clean the Unit

A clean air conditioner is a more efficient air conditioner. Schedule a service appointment with the professionals at Forrest Anderson. Our helpful technicians can change filters, clean the unit, and inspect it for any issues. It would be pretty awful to have your A/C stop working when you have 50 people in your house for the pool party of the summer.

  1. Reduce the Cooling Load on Your Air Conditioner

Although the A/C unit carries the lion’s share of weight when it comes to cooling your home, there are other factors that play into its effectiveness as well. Granted, these are longer-term solutions. If you do them now, then you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

First, check your insulation, and add more if you need it. Make sure it’s high quality, of course. Next, check ductwork, both at the unit itself and throughout the home. Improvements can save you16% on cooling costs.

Review potential air leakage, particularly around windows and doors. And then you can add shade screens to windows to further reduce passive heat from entering the home.

Naturally, for some of these suggestions, you’ll need a reliable HVAC company to come and manage them for you. Forrest Anderson is committed to saving you energy costs through our comprehensive, proactive service schedules.

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How to Manage Power Rate Hikes

Living in Arizona can be amazing. We have beautiful mountains, hundreds of miles of trails, and we’re close to all kinds of exciting getaways. And although our weather is spectacular most of the year, for about 3–4 months, it can be a little overwhelming.

Now we have to contend with APS’s plans to raise their rates about 8%, meaning that it’s going to get more expensive to live in the Valley of the Sun.

Granted, the changes are just in the talking stage now and shouldn’t increase until next summer, but it’s not something any Phoenix-area resident will look forward to.

Summertime highs in the 110s and even 120s keep our air conditioners working overtime from June through September, and the monsoon season doesn’t help matters.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do now to help reduce your A/C usage and cut your bill.

Plant Something

Living in the desert, our first choice might not be to add landscaping, but some well-placed plants can have a significant impact on your cooling bill.

Since a house’s heat increases in relation to the amount of sunlight beating down on it, when you can minimize its exposure, you’ll see your energy usage decrease.

A tree that shades your home may be an expensive investment, but it will likely pay back dividends over time. And if your air-conditioning unit is on the ground, shield that with some shrubs. According to the US Department of Energy, putting trees and shrubs around the unit could increase its efficiency up to 10%.

Cover Up

Windows might be great for letting in natural light, but they’re horrible for heating up your home.

Installing solar screens can cut back on up to 70% of solar energy before it enters your house. It’s best to add these to your east- and west-facing windows, says the US Department of Energy, although in Arizona, south-facing windows might be good to cover as well.

You can also try window films, such as the kind used on car windows, to cut back on some of the heat. A word to the wise: Have these professionally installed to reduce bubbles and bumps.

Program Your A/C

Installing a programmable timer on your air-conditioning controls is perhaps one of the easiest, cheapest, and smartest ways to cut back on your energy usage. Most people are at work during the hottest part of the day, so increase your home’s temperature when you’re away.

If you’re on an energy-saving plan through APS or SRP, consider keeping your home closer to 80ºF during the day and much cooler at night. You’ll cool the house considerably overnight, which will help make the mornings much more enjoyable. Remember that if you have pets, they need to be comfortable too, so set your thermometer accordingly.

Use Fans

Whether you have ceiling fans or stationary fans set up around your home, circulating the air will make it feel a lot cooler.

Yes, these fans use electricity, but their costs are a fraction of what you’ll pay from running your A/C unit 20 hours a day.

Maintain or Replace Your A/C

A clean, well-functioning A/C unit is one of the best ways to reduce your cooling costs as the temperatures get higher. Contact Forrest Anderson to provide a comprehensive inspection and clean or replace filters, ducts, and hoses.

There are many working parts in today’s A/C units, and having Forrest Anderson ensure that those parts are working correctly and efficiently can save you a lot on your electricity bills—even if the utility companies choose to increase them.

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Give Your A/C a Break This Summer

Ah, summer in Phoenix… It’s definitely a good time to get out of town and enjoy how close we are to San Diego and Los Angeles! But before you hit the road for cooler temperatures, you need to prepare your home for your departure. And one of the things you might forget is taking care of your air conditioner in your absence.

Off or On, That Is the Question

Your first thought upon leaving your home for vacation might be to turn off the air-conditioning unit completely. However, that may or may not be your best option.

For most vacations, you’ll put less stress on your A/C unit by keeping it on and turning up the temperature 7–10 degrees (or higher for longer trips). Consider how hot it is in the summers here, and you’ll understand why this is the best option. When it’s 110ºF outside and you want it to be 75ºF in your home, your unit needs to reduce the temperature more than 30 degrees—and that’s a lot!

If you were to turn off your A/C unit completely, the home’s temperature would increase, sometimes as high as 100ºF, depending on your home’s insulation. So let’s say that you do choose to turn off your unit when you leave. Upon your return, the air will need to be cooled continuously to reach your desired temperature.

However, if you leave your A/C on at a higher temperature while you’re away, the house will only need to maintain, rather than cool so considerably. And that means much less wear and tear on the unit.

Program Your Vacation

One of the best things you can do for your home—whether you’re staying in town or going on vacation—is to install a programmable thermostat. With this small, cost-effective device, you can prepare your home for your return by turning down the temperature a little bit at a time, thereby reducing the strain on the unit.

Even better is if you have a smart home, or a thermostat you can control from your mobile device. Then you can not only change the temperature as needed, but you can monitor the home’s energy use as well.

Close It Up

Passive heat is pretty powerful, especially when you live in the desert. Before you leave town, close the blinds on all of your windows. You might consider adding sunscreens or window films to cut back on more of the sunlight that enters the home.

Insulation also helps keep the interior cooler. If you’re going away for a while, then you may want to check or add insulation in the attic. This will absorb some of that desert heat before it’s able to enter your home.

Schedule an A/C Check

There’s nothing worse than going away on a nice leisurely vacation and then returning to a scorching house. You realize that you followed all of the suggestions and didn’t turn your A/C unit completely off, yet it’s still 100ºF inside.

Your air-conditioning unit died while you were away.

Avoid that rude welcome by having your unit inspected and serviced before you leave town. The trained and personable technicians at Forrest Anderson will clean and inspect your unit. Ensuring everything is in working order and ready to handle the excessive Phoenix heat.

Schedule your appointment and then get ready for vacation!

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Commercial Backflow Maintenance and Repair

You have a lot to do for your business. The last worry should be whether or not the backflow prevention device is functional but it matters for the safety of your employees and customers.

We don’t want your business to stop because the water is contaminated (and the rancid smell is overwhelming) but that’s what happens when your backflow prevention device isn’t functioning properly.

What is backflow?

We often take for granted that we have clean water but we shouldn’t.

Clean water goes to us through the municipal water system where it is tested and verified as safe to enter our homes and businesses. When dirty water flows back into municipal, that’s called backflow and it’s a threat to our health.

Once clean water enters your building, it should stay that way but that’s not always the case. Contamination occurs when the backflow prevention device is in need of maintenance.

What is a backflow prevention device?

Backflow prevention devices keep the water in your business clean and free of contaminants like fertilizer or sewage.

The type of backflow prevention device your business needs depends on the requirements from the municipality and the type of business. Restaurants, apartment complexes, and office buildings each have codes requiring backflow mechanisms at points where municipal water enters the business.

You wouldn’t want food from a restaurant garbage disposal to enter the city water or fertilizer from landscaping to enter the drinking water. That’s why you need commercial backflow maintenance.

We’re committed to keeping your business clean and clear.

Forrest Anderson is certified to perform backflow prevention device installation, maintenance, and repairs. Poor installation results in contamination when there are shifts in water pressure. We don’t want that to happen at your business.

With the Forrest Anderson Commercial Services team at your disposal, you have the services of a crew of highly skilled plumbing professionals that can handle your backflow issues.

Each year we test and inspect every device at your business to be sure the water supply is safe and that your business doesn’t have an interruption of water service due to backflow.

Let us keep your water clean and your mind at ease with regular service!

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Water Usage Efficiency Upgrades Pay for Themselves

If you own or lease your commercial building, utility bills are a concern when it comes to your budget.

Luckily, you can control some of your expense through efficiency upgrades to your plumbing.

Reduce Your Water Usage

It’s surprisingly easy to reduce your commercial water usage with some very simple tactics. One is to install pressure gauges. They allow you to monitor water flow and make changes to what you’re doing, if needed, plus you’ll know how much water you’re using and where.

Another energy-saving option is installing dual-flush valves on toilets, which enable a half flush for liquid and a full flush for solids.

This one simple step can save thousands of gallons of water each year, and the fix is quite easy for your Forrest Anderson Commercial Services team to complete.

Regulate Your Hot Water Heater

Every commercial establishment needs hot water, but do you know how much it’s costing you to heat that water in your boiler?

The thermostat turns the heater off when the water reaches a certain temperature and then pops it back on when the water gets too cold. But every time that happens, it wears out the boiler and is inefficient, not too mention expensive.

A regulator automatically adjusts the temperature of the circulating water. And that results in a 10–20% reduction in heating fuel usage. That amount can be significant when averaged out in dollars for the year.

Conduct a Full Inspection

Whether you’re a new tenant / owner or you’ve been in the building for years, it’s always a good idea to make a review of your plumbing system. With a thorough inspection, your commercial plumber can be on the lookout for leaky faucets or running toilets.

These are inexpensive upgrades that you might not have even considered because you didn’t notice there was a problem.

We will find the issues, though.

If you’re considering buying or leasing a new commercial building, contact your Forrest Anderson Commercial Services team to discuss your options for increasing efficiency and reducing overall cost. And if you’ve been in your building and would like to look at ways to cut your overall expenses, we can help with that too.

It’s never too soon or too early to save money.

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