Central vs. mini split air conditioners: the showdown!

When you’re looking into a new air conditioning system for your Phoenix home, you’ll find plenty of brands and equipment options. Many of these are advertised as the best solution for keeping your home cool, but which one is the best option for you? Keep the following information in mind when you need to choose between a mini split air conditioner or a central air conditioning system this summer.

How They Work

Central air conditioning systems work by moving cool air through your ducts so that it can reach different areas of your home. The cool air from the ducts flows out of vents and into rooms in your home.

Have you recently constructed a room addition? Do you have a room that isn’t heating or cooling properly? A mini split air conditioner might be the right option for your home. This system moves cool air from a box on your wall to cool an individual room. It does not require vents or ducts.

Installation Process

Our team of trained technicians will work with you to understand your needs and find a solution that’s right for your home. Replacing an existing AC unit is a relatively quick process and typically only takes one or two days. However, installing a central air conditioning system, including new ducts and vents, may take a week or longer.

If you only need one mini split air conditioner, installation usually only takes a couple of days. Our team will install a box in a single room and connect it to the outside condenser. If you don’t have ducts in a room, a mini split air conditioner may be the better option.

Short-Term and Long-Term Costs

The total price for a central air conditioning system will depend on the unit you choose, whether or not you need ductwork or other additional work, and the price of installation. The cost of your A/C unit will depend on what size you need. It’s a classic “three little bears” scenario: you want a unit with enough power to cool your home, not too little and not too much.

Another factor that affects the price of the A/C unit is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The higher the number, the better, but also the more costly. Some A/C units even offer a quieter option, for a price. Think about what’s important to you – noise level, SEER rating, or just having a comfortable, cool home. Our professionals will work with you to determine the right air conditioner unit size and model for your home.

The total price for a mini split air conditioner will depend on the unit you choose and the price of installation. While there won’t be the added expense of ductwork, the system may have a higher upfront cost. The system can run more efficiently than a central air conditioning system, which may reduce your energy bill over time.

Home Comfort and Air Quality

Central air conditioning systems can affect the air quality inside your home. Dust and debris often build up inside ducts and are then carried into your home through the vents. Family members with respiratory problems or allergies can experience health issues when this happens. Central air conditioning systems require routine duct cleaning to remove dust and other indoor pollutants from your home.

A mini split air conditioner system’s filter traps dust and other indoor pollutants. This can help prevent them from getting into your home. These systems tend to have a longer cooling cycle, which helps keep your home from becoming too humid. Even though a mini split air conditioner has no ductwork, keep in mind that regular maintenance is still needed. This helps keep your system running at optimal efficiency all summer long.

Making Your Decision

Whether you decide on a central air conditioning system or a mini split air conditioner, regular maintenance is important to keep it in good condition. Contact Forrest Anderson for help choosing the right system and to set up a routine maintenance schedule at your Phoenix home.

The right way to do air conditioning maintenance

Few household chores pay off as much as air conditioning maintenance. Not only is this a great way to keep your AC unit working at an optimal level, but it can also help reduce emergency breakdowns and help you save money on your energy bills.

Proper maintenance and routinely scheduled inspections will help your AC unit run more efficiently. A person who schedules regular air conditioning maintenance will likely have a unit that lasts longer than someone who does not. In the end, that could save you money.

The Importance Of Air Conditioning Maintenance

While some of the tasks can be done by you, the homeowner, there are many that should be left to a professional with proper training and certification. If there is ever a time where the job is too big, or you’re left scratching your head trying to figure out how to complete a certain task, call a professional.

Pro Tip #1 – Cleaning & Replacing the Air Filter

If you have a reusable filter, cleaning it is an important step to air conditioning maintenance. If your AC unit has a disposable filter, it’s important that you regularly replace it. Replace your filter at least once a month during the seasons when you use your AC the most. Replace it again, at least once in the fall and again in the spring.

The filter should be located in these places:

  • A slot in the top, side, or bottom of the furnace
  • Inside the blow compartment
  • Behind the air grille
  • In the return air duct or blower compartment

If you’re having trouble finding it, ask your service technician during your next scheduled maintenance appointment.

Pro Tip #2 – Clean the Unit

Imagine all of the extreme conditions your outside unit faces each year: from dust storms and rain during the monsoon season, to nearly freezing temperatures overnight in the winter, plus any leaves or debris that fall into the unit. Just like you prepare your grill after it sits for a season, you also need to maintain and prepare your AC unit before you use it.

  • Removing things like grass, dirt, and leaves will increase air flow and system capacity, so it runs properly.
  • After shutting off the power for the unit, a garden hose can be used to spray out any debris. Do NOT use a power washer. These can bend the coils and will cause major issues.
  • Cut back any plants, trees, or shrubs that are close to the AC unit.

Pro Tip #3 – Check Wiring and Modules

Without experience, inspecting an AC unit can feel overwhelming or even dangerous. If you aren’t sure what to look for or think something looks wrong, call to schedule an appointment to have a professional check it out. If your current service technician isn’t doing these things, then it’s time to call the professionals at Forrest Anderson:

  • Check unit for signs of overheating.
  • Inspect the contactor switch.
  • Secure all electrical connections.

Pro Tip #4 – Check the Unit’s Condenser

If you have an older AC unit, sometimes the fan bearings will need to be re-oiled to keep it working properly. Making adjustments to the unit’s condenser can cause damage if done incorrectly. Make sure your current service technician can:

  • Check that the fan is securely mounted to the top of the unit.
  • Replace any broken blades.
  • Replace any fan blades with cracks or chips.

Pro Tip #5 – Call a Professional

You may be able to give a quick inspection yourself. However, in many cases, you’re going to need help. A trusted air conditioning maintenance company can help keep your AC unit working. They can also perform maintenance tasks on a regular basis to help the unit last as long as possible.

Only an experienced technician can perform maintenance quickly and in accordance with all standards. Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact Forrest Anderson today.

5 rules to save money on air conditioning

Saving money on air conditioning during Phoenix’s long, hot summers might be within your reach. Like everything else mechanical, cooling systems need periodic maintenance and they don’t last forever. Each of these tips can help you achieve greater savings and summertime comfort.

1. Maintenance

Check the air filter. A dirty air filter increases wear and tear on the air conditioner. It also creates higher energy costs than any other factor. Inspect the filter monthly during the summer. Change it when it’s dirty to save money on air conditioning.

The condenser plays an important role in cooling. The cleaner it is, the more efficiently it operates. Instruct your family members to keep things away from the condenser. It needs strong airflow going through it to cool your home faster, which will save money on air conditioning.

Have the unit professionally maintained. As hard as air conditioners work during the summer, they need professional attention at least once a year, preferably twice. When the HVAC professionals from Forrest Anderson inspect your equipment, they’ll clean it, make adjustments, and test the performance of all the parts. They can also check the refrigerant levels and make sure your thermostat is accurate.

2. Temperature Settings to Save Money on Air Conditioning

Save money on air conditioning by turning it up higher during peak hours. Turn the temperature down a few degrees while you sleep. You can use ceiling or portable fans in the rooms you occupy to help get the air circulating. Fans work well in Phoenix because the air is quite dry. Although they won’t lower the temperature, they will make you feel cooler as the moving air evaporates your skin’s moisture.

3. Programmable Thermostat

Energy experts agree that programmable thermostats are an easy way to save money on air conditioning. Instead of relying on your memory to change the temperature when you leave for the day, a programmable thermostat will do it for you. There are a variety of options, including weekend, workday, and sleeping temperatures, or even hour by hour specifications.

You can program the device to turn the temperature down just before you arrive so that your home will be cool. A Wi-Fi thermostat gives you complete control over your HVAC system from remote locations. You’ll also be able to track its performance and electrical consumption.

4. Replace the System

If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, it’s approaching the end of its useful lifetime. It’s difficult, at best, to save money on an aging air conditioning system. It won’t work as efficiently, as quietly, or as reliably.

Over time, the efficiency of air conditioning systems has increased substantially. The energy savings can offset the cost of the new equipment. From time to time, APS and SRP offer incentives to their customers who upgrade to high-efficiency HVAC systems. This helps reduce the upfront cost.

5. Add a Zoning System

One of the newer ways to save money on air conditioning will also increase your comfort. A zoning system lets you vary the temperatures throughout your home by using individual thermostats for each area.

Instead of cooling everything at once, a zoning system addresses each area separately. Motorized dampers in the ducts make it possible to cool each room as necessary. Forrest Anderson’s HVAC professionals can install a zoning system as an upgrade to existing equipment, or make it part of an entirely new HVAC system installation.

Contact Forrest Anderson for more information on how to save money on air conditioning with maintenance and system upgrades. We will recommend the most energy-efficient equipment to keep you cool this summer.

The most common commercial real estate plumbing problems

Although there are a lot of people who don’t understand how commercial real estate plumbing works, almost everyone out there has run into some sort of problem with it. While every situation is different, you can be sure of one thing: it’s a frustrating experience!

While some commercial real estate plumbing problems can be fixed easily, others will require a professional. Below, are a few of the most common plumbing problems and reasons they should be addressed right away.

Faucet Leaks

When it comes to commercial real estate plumbing and leaky faucets, it might not seem like a big deal. Did you know that a leaky faucet can cost you hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars a year? The more water you use, the higher your water bill will be.

You can easily notice a leaking faucet. However, there might be other problems, such as a leaky pipe under the sink or behind the drywall. Something like this will cost more money in terms of a water bill, but consider the money you may have to put into fixing the drywall, the floor, and so on.

Drain Clogs

Both residential and commercial buildings have issues with drain clogs. When it comes to commercial real estate plumbing, the problem can become worse. One of the reasons behind this is the people that use the restrooms. Chances are at home, you carefully choose what to throw down the sink or toilet.

Unfortunately, when you have a commercial kitchen or bathroom, and hundreds of people use it each day, they aren’t as careful about what they throw down the drain. This can result in clogged drains because the debris gets stuck in the pipes. The debris then clogs up the entire system and will slow down the release of water.

Running Toilets

In some cases, you can jiggle the handle to stop a toilet from running. However, this will only temporarily fix a much bigger problem. If you keep ignoring it, things can get worse. If you have a running toilet, have someone inspect it as soon as possible. It could be a sign that something is wrong inside the toilet or the plumbing itself.

Internal Working Parts Failure

Toilets are not the most stable item in a building. After lots of use every day, things can break; whether it’s something simple like a toilet handle or something more complex inside the toilet. If you notice any odd sounds coming from the toilet, sink, or plumbing in general, there may be an internal issue that needs the attention of a commercial real estate plumbing professional.

Silent Leaks

A leak is not always obvious. Sometimes it can be silent and before you know it the leak can turn into something much more serious. One way to make sure you don’t have a silent leak is to keep an eye on your water bill. If you notice a sudden spike in water usage, it could be because you have a silent leak behind a wall or under the flooring.

Call a commercial real estate plumbing company to inspect the pipes and look for damage, if you suspect a leak.

Low Water Pressure

Whether you’ve just purchased a commercial building or you’ve had it for a while, you might notice that the water pressure is low. Leaky or burst pipes can cause this issue, but there are other reasons for low water pressure, too.

Preventing problems is always cheaper than repairing water damage. Call Forrest Anderson to schedule a time to review your plumbing system.