From the Blog

Closing Vents

There’s some old, bad advice out there that says you should close off your air conditioning vents in unused rooms. This, they say, will help you lower your energy bills by only cooling the rooms in your home that you actually use.

While this sounds good in theory, it can actually have the opposite effect—and worse.

Closing vents, at best, increases energy consumption and, at worst, leads to premature breakdown of your AC.

Let’s look at 3 reasons why this happens.

Reason #1: Closing vents restricts airflow

When your air conditioner was installed (assuming it was installed correctly) its airflow was “balanced”. That means the installers made sure your air conditioner has enough air flowing in and out of it to properly cool your home.

Closing vents disrupts this balance and creates pressure in your system, which causes your air conditioner to work harder. This can increase your energy bills and even lead to premature breakdown of your AC if you close too many vents.

Reason #2: Your air ducts make it worse

In addition, this increased pressure places strain on your air ducts. And since many homes’ air ducts are already leaking (according to Energystar.gov), the increased pressure causes the ducts to leak even more.

So the air you thought you were saving is actually going into your attic or crawlspace.

Reason #3: Your interior walls aren’t insulated

Another reason to consider not closing your vents is that your interior walls aren’t insulated.

Here’s why that’s a big deal.

Let’s say you close off the vents in 2 rooms. They’ll get warmer since there’s now no AC running to them. That heat will transfer into the nearby rooms through the un-insulated walls and under the door. So now your air conditioner has to run longer and harder to keep the other parts of your home cool.

3D Air Services serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and everywhere in between.

 

Air Conditioner placement

One of the reasons why it’s so important to work with a high-quality contractor for all of your air conditioner installations is because there are many decisions that need to be made that can affect the overall performance of your new system. One such decision is where to place your air conditioner’s condenser unit. Today we’re going to talk about why the placement of your condenser unit is so important and the things we consider when choosing where to put your unit!

Why is condenser unit placement important?

While the indoor portion of your air conditioner is responsible for removing heat from your home’s air, its job would be useless without the outdoor condenser unit. That’s because the condenser unit takes the heat that was removed from your home and actually expels it to the air outside. Without the condenser unit, the heat from your home would have nowhere to go!

If your condenser unit is not placed properly, it will not be able to do its job effectively. That means that your air conditioner will not be able to adequately cool down your home’s air, which will make your home uncomfortable, raise your energy bills and increase the likelihood of your system breaking down.

What should be considered when deciding where to place your condenser unit

Should the unit be placed outside or in an attic or garage? This should not even be a consideration unless you are working with a low-quality contractor. Such a contractor might suggest putting your condenser unit in an attic or garage in order to shield it from the elements outside, hide it from view or “save energy.” A condenser unit should always be placed outside where it has unlimited access to outdoor air. Placing a condenser unit indoors in an attic or garage will reduce your system’s air supply, which will limit the amount of heat that it’s able to remove from your home. In addition, placing a condenser unit indoors will cause the space around it to heat up, and that heat can radiate into your home’s living spaces.
Will the unit have adequate airflow? Your condenser unit should be placed in a space that allows it to breathe freely. This means there should not be any large obstructions within at least 3-4 feet of your unit. If your home has multiple condenser units, they should be placed far enough away from each other that they do not hinder one another’s airflow. If your condenser unit is placed near plants or bushes, the vegetation should be trimmed back to allow for enough airflow. In addition, you should avoid building a fence or deck around your condenser unit. If you do choose to do that, there should be enough openings in the surrounding structure to allow air to flow in and out.
Will the unit be shielded from the sun? This isn’t as important as the previous two considerations, but it is still something to consider. The more shade you can provide for your condenser unit, the less of a chance it will have of overheating. Placing the condenser unit on the east or north side of your house will help limit its exposure to the sun. If your unit has to be put somewhere where it will not receive a lot of shade, you can consider building an awning over it or planting a shade tree nearby.

For any questions call 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

3D Air Services serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between.

 

Common sources of heat gain

Air conditioners don’t technically “produce” cool air. Instead, they remove heat from your home’s air in order to cool it down. So the more heat that your home contains, the harimageder your air conditioner will have to work to keep your home comfortable. “Heat gain” is a term that’s used to describe heat that is added to your home from an indoor or outdoor source. Today we’re going to talk about  of the most common sources of heat gain in your home so that you can help minimize their effects and improve the comfort and efficiency levels in your home!

Common sources of heat gain in Birmingham area homes

Sunlight shining through windows. When the sun is shining on a hot summer day, its rays can beam right through your windows and add a significant amount of heat to your home. There are a few different ways you can help limit this source of heat gain. First, you can close the drapes and blinds on your windows to block out the sun during the day. Second, you can provide shade to your windows by either installing awnings or planting trees near them. Third, you can install more efficient windows that are designed to reduce air leakage and minimize heat gain.
Sunlight beaming down on your roof. In most homes, the attic on the top level is not a conditioned space. As a result, an attic can get extremely hot during the day when the sun beats down on your roof. This heat can infiltrate downwards into your home’s living spaces, resulting in heat gain. You can minimize this source of heat gain by improving insulation levels in your attic so that heat doesn’t make it through the attic floor.
Cooking activities. Most cooking activities involve some sort of heat-producing appliance, whether that be the oven, the stove or a crockpot. While you are cooking with those appliances, heat is constantly being added to your kitchen and warming up the other surrounding rooms. You can limit this source of heat gain by using your microwave as an alternative whenever possible or taking your cooking completely outside onto your grill.
Indoor appliances. Lamps, computers, washing machines, dishwashers and driers are just a few examples of the types of heat-producing appliances that can be found in almost every home. You should use these appliances wisely in order to minimize the amount of heat gain that they can produce. Make sure to turn off lamps, computers and other electronics when they are not in use, and try as best you can to only do laundry or the dishes at night when it’s cooler outside.
Showers. The hot water that we use in the shower produces water vapor that can quickly heat up a bathroom and also seep outside to the surrounding rooms. The easiest ways to limit this source of heat gain are to take shorter showers and make sure to run your bathroom’s ventilation fan while you are bathing.
People. Human bodies naturally give off heat, which is why the amount off people in your family is something we take into account when sizing an air conditioner for your home. This is a source of heat gain that’s usually out of your control, but you can help minimize it by spending more time outside, especially when you are hosting a lot of guests.

For any other questions call us at 205-664-3501 or email us at , service@3dairserve.com

3D Air Services serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and everywhere in between.

 

The Effects of Air Leaks

In an ideal situation, your home would be completely sealed so that cool air from your air conditioner could stay inside and warm outdoor air would have no way of getting indoors. In reality, however, many homes have small cracks and openings (especially around windows and doors) that allow air to flow in and out of your home. Today we’re going to talk about the effects of these home air leaks and what you can do to avoid them!

Effects of home air leaks

Uncomfortable rooms. Rooms with significant air leaks can be extremely hard to keep comfortable. That’s because outdoor air can travel through the leaks and warm up a room, while conditioned air can escape out through the leaks. This is the most problematic in rooms with a lot of windows and/or exterior doors.
High energy bills. Because air leaks warm up the rooms in your home, your air conditioner has to work harder and consume more energy to compensate for them. This can lead to expensive energy bills, especially in the dog days of summer.
Poor air quality. The air that’s delivered to your rooms is filtered by your air conditioner’s filtration system. If your home has air leaks, unfiltered air from outside can seep through the cracks and cause contaminants to build up in your air. This is especially problematic during allergy season when there are a large amount of allergens in the air outside.
How to prevent home air leaks

The best way to prevent home air leaks is to inspect your home for leaks and seal up any ones that you find. A good place to start is with your doors and windows. Examine the frames around your doors and windows and see if any light shines through from the other side. If it does then you have found a leak. In addition, feel around your doors, windows and exterior walls for any signs of drafts. If you can feel air blowing through, then you have definitely found a leak.

Air leaks can be sealed in a couple of different ways. You can use caulk to plug up any holes that you find, while you can use weatherstripping around the moving parts of your doors and windows to ensure that they remain tightly sealed. For any other questions call 3D Air Services at 205-664-3501 or email us @ service@3dairserve.com

We serve Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera, and everywhere in between.

How to use air conditioning at night.

Summer days here in the Birmingham area can be hot and muggy, but nighttime offers us a bit of relief with milder temperatures and lower humidity levels. So when it comes to using your air conditioner, what kinds of adjustments can you make at night to take advantage of the milder weather outside? Today we’re going to answer that question by talking about four tips for using air conditioning at night!

4 tips for using air conditioning at night in your Birmingham area home

Raise your thermostat temperature before bed. One of the easiest times of the day to conserve energy is during the hours that you spend sleeping. For one, the temperature outside is typically the coolest during these hours, so our air conditioners do not need to work as hard. In addition, our sleeping bodies are not as affected by slightly warmer temperatures like we are when we’re awake. Try raising your thermostat setting 2-3 degrees before you go to bed and see whether or not it affects your sleep. Most people will find that it doesn’t. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it so that it automatically raises your thermostat when you go to bed and then changes it back to a cooler setting that’s ready for you by the time you wake up.
Turn off electronics before going to bed. Our homes are filled with electronics these days, and they can add a surprising amount of heat to our homes even when they are not in use. Since you’re not going to be using any electronics while you’re sleeping, turn off and/or unplug things like computers, TV’s and lamps before you go to bed. This will help ease the load on your air conditioner while you sleep.
Use bedroom fans. If you find that raising your thermostat temperature before bed leads to an uncomfortable night’s sleep, try turning on a bedroom fan. Many bedroom fans are located right above the bed, which means they blow air directly onto us while we sleep. This wind-chill effect can keep you cool while using a higher thermostat setting to save energy during the sleeping hours.
Open windows on cooler nights. On the cooler summer nights of the year, consider opening up your windows to let some cool air in and give your air conditioner a break. This will also allow you to ventilate moist and humid air that might have built up in your home during the day and stuck around at night.

For any other questions email service@3dairserve.com or call 664-3501.

3D Air Services is open 8-6 with emergency service available. We serve Birmingham, Alabaster, Pelham, Hoover, Helena, Vestavia, Calera, Mountain Brook, Jemison, Gardendale  and areas in between.