Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc Blog : Archive for July, 2011

Freon and Load Capacity – How Are They Linked?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think too much about how your air conditioning system works. All you really need to know is that when you switch on the system, your house gets cooler. But if you’re looking to purchase a new air conditioner for your home, it’s a good idea to know how to select the right one to fit the space you’re trying to cool.

Air Conditioning Basics

Air conditioners use Freon as a coolant to remove heat from indoor air and transfer that heat outside. To do this, they cycle the Freon through a closed loop of coils. When the cold Freon enters the cooling coil of the air conditioner, it absorbs heat from the air passing by, thereby lowering the temperature of the air. That cooled air can then be transferred into your home and more warm air can be cycled past the cooling coils.

Air Conditioner Sizing

The more air your air conditioner can cool at once, the larger its load capacity. In order to keep a particular space cool, an AC unit has to have a large enough load capacity to accommodate that type of air volume. A unit that’s too small will obviously never be able to keep your room cool enough, but one that’s too big will have a similar problem.

The truth is that when it comes to air conditioner sizing, bigger is not better. It’s best to simply get as good an estimate as you can of what type of load capacity is ideal for the space you’re trying to cool and stick as close to that as you can.

Load Capacity and Freon

Of course, if you want your air conditioner to cool more air at a time, you’ll need more coolant. But simply increasing the amount of Freon in your air conditioner won’t make it cool any better. Freon is simply one of many elements that contribute to effective cooling. And the larger the entire system is, the more Freon is needed.

So more Freon technically contributes to greater cooling capacity, but it’s not enough to accomplish that all on its own. There is really nothing you can do to increase the load capacity of your air conditioner once it’s in place. So for best results, make sure you pick out an appropriately sized unit the first time around.

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Window AC Units – When Are They Appropriate?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

In the blazing summer months – or all year round in hot climates – nothing can match the feeling of relief you get from air conditioning. As the mercury rises, the cool, dry air churned out by that humming compressor can feel just like heaven.

While there are a few different options for cooling your home, the most convenient method for most people is a window air conditioner (A/C) unit. They are affordable, effective, and relatively easy to install. However, they are not necessarily appropriate for every situation, and it is important to consider certain factors before settling on a window A/C unit as the best choice.

Space and Capacity

First, consider the area you want to cool. If you are only looking to cool a room or two, then a window unit is a good choice. Aside from just having a window in it, the room must be of appropriate size so that a window A/C unit can keep it cool. You also want to measure the room, or at least make a good estimate, in order to choose the right size unit.

Most manufacturers stamp the packaging with an estimate of the area that the unit is able to cool. A general rule of thumb is that a 5000 BTU A/C unit can cool about 150 square feet. For large areas, consider using multiple units or getting one that is more powerful. Rooms that are usually occupied by several people at a time require a more powerful air conditioner to keep cool, as do kitchens, in order to offset oven heat.


Second, you want to make sure the window can accommodate the A/C unit safely. Adjustable installation hardware is usually included with the unit, but for windows that are unusually shaped, damaged, or otherwise cannot support the body of the unit, a window air conditioner may not be a safe choice. Proper installation is important not only for safety, but to ensure cooled air is not lost.

If the room is of an appropriate size and has a window that can accommodate one, than this type of A/C unit is a good option for keeping cool. However, if you need to cool a large area, such as a whole house or a windowless room, you should explore other options like as a portable A/C unit or central air conditioning. When deciding on a cooling solution for your home, it’s important to take all these things into account in order to choose the most appropriate option.

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My HVAC System Has a 10 Year Warranty – Why Do I Need a Maintenance Agreement?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

While every new system sold comes with a limited warranty for the unit and parts, it is a good idea to supplement your warranty with a more complete maintenance agreement with your HVAC provider. Why pay for a secondary maintenance plan when you already have a warranty?

For the most part, the limited warranty provided by the manufacturer is meant to cover things like faulty parts, abnormal breakdowns or recalls. However, systems need regular maintenance, such as cleaning and replacing filters, cleaning condensate drains and traps, and if that is neglected, it won’t be covered by your manufacturer’s warranty. Neglected equipment wastes energy, and in extreme cases, can become unsafe to operate.

Help Your System Last Longer

Another benefit of a maintenance agreement for your HVAC system is that the system lasts longer when it is regularly maintained.  Neglected equipment breaks down more often and requires replacement sooner than properly maintained equipment.  Check out our maintenance programs page to read the inspections and services performed in regular checkups.  This service will help your HVAC system last significantly longer than if you were forced to wait until you could afford an extra visit from your repair man.

Imagine how much money you’ll save if your furnace or air conditioner lasts for 20+ years instead of just 10. Any breakdowns after the 10 year mark would require hefty repairs or replacement since your warranty is expired. So, it’s in your best interest to keep your system running smoothly throughout its lifespan.

Ultimately, an HVAC system is only as good as what you put into it. If you’re careful about your investments and are willing to spend a little extra now, you’ll stand to benefit far more in the future from a smoothly operating, efficient heating system.

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Control Your Home’s Moisture – Humidity Is Key

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Most people don’t give a second thought to humidity until it is either much too high or uncomfortably low. And if you have a state of the art home comfort system, you’re probably comfortable inside all year long anyway. But there are several reasons to pay attention to the humidity level in your home and take action if you realize that it isn’t providing the comfort level you’ve come to expect.

Many problems arise from excess or inadequate indoor humidity levels. For instance, a lack of humidity causes your skin and nasal passages to dry and crack, which is obviously pretty unpleasant. But air that’s too dry can also make the symptoms of allergies, asthma and colds worse. Anyone in your home suffering from these conditions will be much more comfortable when the right level of humidity is restored. Another great benefit is that the indoor air quality will no longer contribute to longer and more severe colds and flu in the winter.

Too much humidity is a problem too, though. It promotes the growth of mold, which is a big contributor to indoor air pollution. Mold spores are a big time allergen. The more moisture there is in your home, the more mold there’s likely to be. High indoor humidity levels also promote the growth of dust mites, another major indoor air contaminant and allergen.

Of course, you probably have a great indoor air cleaner in place to get all of those contaminants out of your home’s air supply. But if the air inside your home is too moist or too dry, it can actually make it harder for the air cleaner to remove all types of contaminants. Not only are you putting a greater strain on your body and immune system, you’re asking your air cleaners to work much harder, which can cost you money in repairs and filter replacements.

For all of these reasons, it’s important to put in a humidification system to maintain the overall quality of your indoor air. Plus, a properly humidified environment is simply more comfortable to live in. A humidifier can easily be integrated into your current home heating and cooling system, so you don’t have to worry about high installation costs or equipment compatibility. All you have to do is sit back, relax and breathe in the fresh air that your humidification system makes possible.

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