cooling system

Air Conditioning

What Are Swamp Coolers?

Swamp Cooler_iStock-1144156321.jpg

A swamp cooler is a type of cooling system that relies on water evaporation to cool the air. Also known as evaporative coolers, these devices cool incoming air by as much as 30 degrees F. They’re the most energy efficient way to cool, as long as the humidity is low.

The coolers pump water over absorbent pads. A fan inside the cooler pulls air through the pads. The air blows through the home to cool it. Some coolers use thermostats to turn on and off. How much they cool is completely dependent on the weather. They are most effective in arid regions like Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas.

Their Benefits

  • An evaporative cooler uses about four times less electricity than an air conditioner.

  • The coolers cost much less than central air conditioners.

  • Swamp coolers pull in a constant stream of fresh air and run quietly.

Ideal Applications

The easiest kind of home to cool with an evaporative cooler is a ranch-style single-story home. They can cool two-story homes, but the airflow needs to be balanced to assure adequate cooling for the upstairs. Larger homes require larger coolers. They’re also good for spot-cooling a garage or outbuilding.

Their Limitations

  • Evaporative coolers are extremely effective in arid climates when the dew point is below 55 degrees F. Swamp coolers are not nearly as effective as the humidity rises.

  • They also require venting. The air they pull in has to exit your home through windows, doors, or up ducts.

  • They raise the humidity levels indoors. As humidity increases, so does mold growth. Dust mites also thrive in humid conditions. Anyone sensitive to or allergic to either should consult his physician before installing a swamp cooler.

  • They require more maintenance than air conditioners even though they're mechanically much simpler than A/C units and heat pumps.

A swamp cooler can provide comfortable and efficient cooling during the spring and fall in the Broken Arrow region. If you’d like to learn more about these appliances, contact Air Assurance. We provide HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Featured, HVAC system

How Do Your HVAC Components Coordinate?

How Do Your HVAC Components Coordinate?

Each part of your HVAC system has a role to play in heating or cooling your home. By learning about the process, you can develop a greater understanding of why even simple maintenance tasks, such as changing the air filter, are important. Here's how HVAC system components coordinate to create a comfortable indoor climate.

The Ventilation Cycle

Airflow is as important to the function of heating and cooling systems as breathing oxygen is for your health.Return air ducts draw old air from your home and move it to heating or cooling component of the system. Supply ducts, on the other hand, are the delivery network for the newly filtered and conditioned air into the home’s interior. Both return and supply ducts help keep your air fresher and the temperature comfortable.Ventilation problems can affect the other HVAC system components as well as your comfort. Examples include:

  • Dirty ductwork — dust accumulation in ductwork results in poor air quality and dust inside other HVAC components.

  • Clogged air filter — This restricts air from flowing as it should to the heart of the HVAC system. Problems caused by clogged filters can include frozen evaporator coils, an overheated blower fan, furnace shut down, and dirty ductwork.

  • Inadequate ductwork— ductwork that is damaged, too large or too small will perform its role poorly and reduce the HVAC system’s efficiency.

Heating and Cooling

Your furnace performs its function by heating air flowing through its heat exchanger. If all goes well, there is sufficient airflow, and all burners, heating elements and blower fan are working well, this heated air will be pushed into supply ducts. If your ductwork is in good shape, most of the heat will remain in the air during its journey between the furnace and your registers.A similar process occurs when you use your air conditioning. Air is pushed through components in the air conditioner where it is cooled. If all goes as it should, this cooled air then flows into your home through ductwork.

To learn more about HVAC system components, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Ioannis Pantzi/Shutterstock”

Service & Maintenance

Alphabet Soup: Deciphering HVAC Terms

Alphabet Soup: Deciphering HVAC Terms

Unless you're a seasoned professional, you probably need help figuring out all the HVAC terms and acronyms. HVAC itself stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, by the way. Here are the meanings behind some common and important HVAC terms:

  • ACCA: Air Conditioning Contractors of America. A nonprofit industry group promoting professionalism, efficiency and healthy indoor air.

  • AHRI: Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. A nonprofit organization that publishes testing and rating standards for air conditioners and heat pumps.

  • BTU: British thermal unit. The standard unit of measurement for heating and A/C capacity.

  • CFC: Chlorofluorocarbon. An ecologically-harmful refrigerant known to harm the ozone.

  • COP: Coefficient of performance. An efficiency ratio measuring heat delivered versus heat used. Higher numbers are better.

  • ERV: Energy recovery ventilator. Saves heat energy from your exhaust air to pre-heat incoming air, and adds water vapor from the exhaust to the incoming air to help maintain consistent humidity indoors.

  • HCFC: Hydrochlorofluorocarbons. Another refrigerant used in heat pumps and air conditioners. Considered a less harmful alternative to CFCs.

  • HRV: Heat recovery ventilator. Saves energy from your outgoing air; similar to an ERV but without regulating air moisture.

  • HFC: Hydrofluorocarbon. A refrigerant with no or almost no harmful effects on the ozone.

  • HSPF: Heating seasonal performance factor. Measures efficiency relative to the season; higher scores are better.

  • IAQ: Indoor air quality. Refers to condition of indoor air, levels of pollution, etc.

  • NATE: North American Technician Excellence. A testing and certification nonprofit for HVAC technicians.

  • R-22: Refrigerant banned from new machines since 2010 by the EPA for links to global warming and ozone depletion.Will soon be phased out entirely.

  • R-410A: Replacement refrigerant for R-22. Not ecologically hazardous and contains no chlorine.

  • SEER: Seasonal energy efficiency ratio. An efficiency measurement that shows the amount of energy required to cool the air. Higher numbers are better.

It's good to know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to purchasing or repairing HVAC equipment, and learning these HVAC terms will help. For professional assistance with home heating and air conditioning around Broken Arrow, get in touch with Air Assurance. We've been servicing the Tulsa metropolitan area since 1985.Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Air Conditioning, Air filters, Attic Sealing, Electric resistance, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Programmable, Technicians, Thermostats, Ventilation

Broken Arrow Homeowners In Oklahoma Can Avoid Common Air-Conditioner Problems Using These Tips

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to panic when their air conditioner seems to be malfunctioning, especially in the dead heat of a Tulsa, OKlahoma summer. Luckily, many common issues are easily addressed, with most being the direct result of simple, albeit unintentional, neglect.Perhaps the most common issue is a lack of cooling. Often, the cause of this problem is as simple as an improperly programmed thermostat or a thrown circuit breaker.

  • Check the thermostat for desired temperature settings and ensure that the cooling system is actually turned on. If everything is as it should be, the next option is to try resetting the thermostat. If this does not correct the issue, a professional assessment is recommended.

  • If the culprit is a thrown circuit breaker, resetting the breaker should correct the problem. Of course, if this is a common occurrence, there is likely an underlying electrical issue that needs to be addressed by a professional.

If lack of airflow is the issue:

  • Dirty filters can restrict airflow and put a strain on your system in terms of efficiency. If filter replacement doesn’t seem to correct the problem, consult a trained technician.

  • If you suspect a frozen indoor coil, try adjusting the thermostat for a few hours to unfreeze the system. If this doesn’t work, contact your HVAC contractor.

Another common complaint is spiking energy costs. This can be the result of several factors, including:

  • New appliances

  • Extreme summer heat

  • Extreme thermostat settings

  • Local utility rate increases

If your energy increases can’t be explained away logically, you may be the victim of improper system cycling or some other system malfunction. Of course, the best way to ensure that your system is running properly when you need it most is to maintain a routine preventive maintenance schedule. This allows your technician to evaluate and adjust every aspect of your cooling system, including:

  • Proper system cycling

  • Thermostat accuracy

  • Electrical safety

  • Air filter maintenance

  • Cleanliness and efficiency of indoor and outdoor coils

  • Condensate drains

Last but not least, during extreme temperatures, your system may not be able to keep the temperature as low as it does normally.  This can be due  to several factors:1. Your system may not be sized properly for your comfort.  A professional is needed to do a load calculation on the house to determine the correct size. Maybe your system cooled better in previous years?  Did something change like the loss of a large shade tree or did you replace wood shingles with asphault shingles?  Has your ductwork or insulation been disturbed by remodeling or other services?  Is the system clean?2. Your attic may have inadequate attic ventilation.  With extreme temps comes extreme attic temperatures.  And if your attic can't properly remove the extreme heat, this puts excess heat gain on your home's interior.3. With extreme temperatures come extreme heat on your duct system.  If your ducts are not properly insulated, this can cause your air to "lose it's cool", therefore making your unit run longer and less efficient.4.  What is the level of attic insulation in your home?  If this is not at least 12" you are putting extreme pressure on your system to cool at levels it was probably not designed for.If you’ve been experiencing problems with your air conditioner, don’t wait until the entire system shuts down. Call the trained technicians of Air Assurance today for an expert consultation.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here.Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Energy Star, Geothermal, Heat Pumps, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Tax Credits

Realize Big Savings With A Geothermal System

If you live in Broken Arrow, you know that the summer months can get extremely hot and the winters can produce some pretty cold weather. These varying temperatures put your heating and cooling systems to the test, and can often leave you spending too much on your utility bills. Geothermal heat pumps provide a much more effective method of heating and cooling than do standard systems, and can also help you save money.Geothermal heating and cooling units are unlike most heat pumps in that they use the ground to provide your home's heating, air conditioning and hot water. These systems are considered to be 45-75 percent more energy-efficient than standard options. And because of their efficiency, the Federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit to consumers who add new geothermal heat pumps to their homes.The 30 percent tax credit currently being given by the government takes into account the price of the unit, in addition to the price of all of the installation and labor required. This credit is also uncapped, so no matter how large the project, the credit remains 30 percent.  Also, the credit can be rolled over into other years up to 2016.  A geothermal heating and cooling system must meet the Energy Star requirements that are in effect at the time of purchase.While geothermal systems cost more upfront, they will make up for that cost by saving you money in the long run. The experts at Air Assurance are well-trained to provide you with the assistance you need in choosing the correct heat pump for your home. Please contact us today for more information.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Energy Evaluations, Tax Credits

Install Any Of These Energy-Efficient Products, And Get A Credit On Your 2011 Taxes

If you’ve been considering energy-efficient upgrades to your heating and cooling system, don’t hesitate. Act now to take advantage of 2011 tax credits for energy efficiency. In an effort to improve energy efficiency in Oklahoma and throughout the nation, the federal government is offering cash back on eligible upgrades, including:

  • Central air conditioning

  • Electric heat pumps

  • Furnaces and boilers

  • Advanced main air circulating fans

To qualify for these generous tax credits, your chosen installations must meet certain criteria. For instance, central air conditioners may be eligible for $300 back provided they meet these minimum requirements:

  • Split systems – 13 EER and 16 SEER

  • Package systems – 12 EER and 14 SEER

Electric heat pumps are also eligible for $300 in tax credits, provided they meet these minimum requirements:

  • Split systems – 8.5 HSPF, 12.5 EER, and 15 SEER

  • Package systems – 8 HSPF, 12 EER, and 14 SEER

To qualify for $150 back, furnaces and boilers must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Natural gas or propane furnace – 95 AFUE

  • Oil furnace – 90 AFUE

  • Gas, propane or oil hot water boiler – 90 AFUE

You may also be eligible for money back on qualifying advanced main air circulating fans:

  • If furnace qualifies - $50 back if your fan uses less than 2 percent of the energy consumed by the furnace

  • If furnace doesn’t qualify – 30 percent back on the cost of the fan

With such generous tax credits on the table, it just doesn’t make sense to put off energy-efficient HVAC upgrades. If you have a system that is in need of replacement, let our trained technicians help you find an appropriate tax-eligible upgrade. For an expert consultation, contact Air Assurance today!Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, UV Lights

Consider UV Lights Alongside HVAC Equipment

Research has shown that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air found outdoors. Considering that people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, inferior indoor air quality can present a major health threat. Adding ultraviolet (UV) lights to a heating and cooling system can be an excellent way to combat poor air quality and increase the comfort level in homes and other buildings.UV light air-purification systems clean indoor air by eliminating harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, germs, mold and other allergens. As these health-threatening microorganisms travel through the UV light, their molecular bonds are broken down and their harmful effects are destroyed.The Lancet (a world-renowned medical journal) conducted a study that explored the effectiveness of UV light systems. The study placed ultraviolet light purification systems in a number of different office buildings and evaluated the health of people who worked in the buildings over the course of a year.At the end of the year, it was determined that the sickness level of the workers was lowered by 20 percent. They also saw  a 60 percent drop in respiratory problems. Additionally, the UV lights assisted in reducing the amount of muscle-related problems by half. The study also concluded that nonsmokers and the workers who suffered from allergies benefited the most from the UV light purification systems.If your home's air quality is less than optimal, you should consider adding a UV light purification system to your home comfort equipment. As research has shown, UV lights can work exceptionally well with a heating and cooling system to improve indoor air quality.If you determine that a UV light system is right for you, ask for expert assistance in finding the unit that would work the best. The professional technicians at Air Assurance are trained to help you in choosing the proper heating and cooling equipment for your home, and in cleaning up indoor air. Contact us today for further information. We're always happy to help.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Planned Maintenance, Service & Maintenance

Simple Preventive Maintenance Can Keep Your Cooling System From Conking Out When You Need It The Most

The heat is on its way to our area, and you know what that means ... extra stress on both your budget and your cooling system. To save yourself from the heat and hassle of a cooling system meltdown -- which not only saps the body, but also the wallet -- here are a couple of very simple preventive maintenance tips you need to implement before the hot summer months are upon us.Check and Change FiltersPerhaps the easiest possible preventive maintenance you can do to help save wear and tear on your system and cut down on those high summer bills is to make sure your air filters are changed and are the proper size.  Dirty filters restrict airflow into the system and make your cooling system work that much harder to keep your home at the temperature you want.  Keeping dust and dirt out of your cooling system is key to having an efficient system that lasts longer, so when you change the filters, double check that they are the proper size. Also, the most expensive filters, doesn't always mean high efficiency.  Sure, they might filter more dust, but by doing so, they can restrict air flow.Seal Your HomeAnother bit of preventive maintenance you can do is to check and make sure that your home is properly sealed. Stopping cool air from escaping, and warm air from entering, your home is vital to preserving the life of your cooling system and keeping those summertime bills as low as possible.  Check the obvious areas, such as the ones around doors and windows, but don't forget to check the not so obvious areas, such as the attic or basement. Once a leak is detected, it is a simple matter to seal up the leak using caulk or foam sealant that can be found at any local hardware store.If you aren't sure how to use these items to seal your home, or how to check for leaks, contact a professional contractor for assistance. Summer and winter are the busy seasons, so don't hesitate to contact one as soon as possible.Contact Air Assurance for more preventive maintenance tips and other expert advice.  We are always happy to answer any questions you might have.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, Central, Energy Evaluations, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Manual, Planned Maintenance, Programmable, Service & Maintenance, Thermostats

Programmable Thermostat Features

Programmable thermostats are an excellent way to increase the energy efficiency of your home and save money on your monthly utility bills. They work especially well for anyone who is gone from their home for a specific period of time during the week. With a programmable thermostat you can set the temperature of your home and have your heating/cooling system operate only when it's needed.Programmable thermostats possess a temperature-sensitive switch that enables them to maintain the temperature you set. When choosing a programmable thermostat, you should take your weekly schedule into account. There are three different kinds of options that you can choose from:7-Day Model7-day models are the most efficient option if you or your family members have varying schedules throughout the week, therefor allowing the optimum schedule to be set for any day of the week. For example, if you work later than usual on Tuesdays, or have children that arrive home from school earlier than usual on Wednesdays, a 7-day model will allow you to program specific times for your heating/cooling system to kick in.5+2-Day Model5+2-day models are the way to go if you have the same schedule each week and have a separate schedule on the weekends. So, for instance if you arrive home at 5 o'clock each day during the week, you can set your thermostat to start running each day shortly before you return, so the house is comfortable when you arrive. On the weekends, you can set an entirely different schedule that will be the same for both two days.5-1-1 Model5-1-1 models are similar to 5+2-day models, except that they allow you to have a different schedule for each weekend day. So,  you can have the same schedule set during the week, as well as a different schedule for Saturday and a different schedule for Sunday.Some other options that can be found on programmable thermostats, are:

  • Touch-pad screen programming

  • Voice/phone programming

  • Vacation settings

  • Dirty air filter alerts

  • Equipment malfunction alerts

  • I-Phone or smart phone controlled

If a programmable thermostat is used correctly, it can pay for itself within four years. If you are having trouble deciding what thermostat would be best your home, contact the professionals at Air Assurance today. They have been serving Oklahoma's Tulsa and Broken Arrow region for more than 30 years and will be happy to help you with all of your home comfort needs.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

Air Conditioning, CO Detectors, Ductwork, Energy Evaluations, Filtration, Furnaces, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Planned Maintenance, Rebates, Service & Maintenance

Use These Tips To Find An HVAC Contractor

When hiring an HVAC contractor, there are a number of choices in the Tulsa, Broken Arrow region. There are a few things you should know and look for before making your decision.Know Your NeedsBefore you contact an HVAC contractor, have some idea of your needs.  Take note of the model you are currently using for your heating and cooling system and its maintenance history.  If it is not properly cooling certain rooms, be sure to mention these specific problems when you call the contractors.Check CredentialsBe sure any contractor you may hire is licensed and insured in Oklahoma.  Go ahead and investigate how much they are insured as well.  Requirements in Oklahoma for insurance are low, and may not secure you in case of a problem.Home EvaluationsThis is an essential part of an HVAC contractor’s job and they should spend a significant amount of time inspecting your current system and your home to make sure all of your needs are being met.  And they are not there to just check your system.  They should be looking at your insulation and windows to make sure your heating and cooling system is running as efficiently as possible without any air leaks that could cause your energy bill to spike.  Anyone can replace a "box", but if they are looking at the whole home's comfort system, you know they have your best interest in mind.ReferralsMany of your neighbors and friends have used HVAC contractors before, so it would be smart to get some recommendations from them.  They will also be sure to tell you who to stay away from if they have had some negative experiences in the past.  Ask for testimonials.You should also get a written price and description of services signed by both parties before work begins.  This will make sure you are protected by specifying various costs.  Understand the warranties of not only the equipment or repaired parts, but also about the company warranties as well including labor.If you have any other questions, contact Air Assurance, and we will be glad to share our expert advice.Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, click here. Air Assurance services Tulsa, Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.