Wednesday, 27 March 2013

When to replace my HVAC

Everyone goes through the dilemma regarding which would be the right time to replace your old air conditioning unit with a new one. Though millions have experienced similar conflicts and confusions, there is definitely a life time for HVAC units too. The new unit will have the most efficiency in terms of cooling and energy consumption. As time passes, and the unit get older, its efficiency reduces. It starts to step in the pedal of power consumption and slowly you find your energy bills increasing. 

How good are regular maintenance promises?
Regular maintenance of your air conditioner is not only essential to reduce wear and tear, but also helps in increasing the life of your air conditioner. Now, the obvious question is: Does not reducing wear and tear increase the life of the system. Yes, it does, but regular and professional maintenance is much more than that. It helps keep your system clean, ensures healthy indoor air circulation and helps monitor the aspects of parts that are most likely to wear in the near future. 

Regular and planned maintenance can help smooth sailing and a lot of unexpected expenses. Trained technicians will be able to warn you before time about the part or parts that are likely to fail in the future and also provide suggestions for their repair and efficiency. 

In no way can regular maintenance help in making your system run efficiently for decades together. Eventually, you will need to make a decision to get a new air conditioner and there are a number of reasons for that replacement decision you will need to take.


If your air conditioner is noisy, this could be the first sign for you to begin thinking about getting a new system. Noisy systems often do not cool the room evenly too. When you find your system groaning when you switch it on, you can be sure that its days are beginning to get numbered.

Increased energy cost

Air conditioners that are losing time begin to consume more and more electricity. This happens when its efficiency begins to decrease, and the reasons could be just too many. When you see your energy bills increasing, you could start getting aware that your air conditioner is probably getting old. This is one of the signs that you need to get a new system for yourself. 

If your air conditioner is more than ten years old, it is definitely time to start looking for a new one. Often people make the mistake of getting a technician to do the repairs and hope to get across for another few years. This is not so. Typically, your air conditioner can consume about two times more electricity that even new, low-end one would.

Frequent repairs

If you need to call the HVAC technician often because your system decides to go awry every now and then, you are definitely on the path of replacing your air conditioner. This means that the parts inside the air conditioner are beginning to wear and repairing them is only a temporary solution. 

Each year there is a leap in technology. New and improved technology replaces the older one. Hence, products that come into the market are based on the latest technology. When you replace your old HVAC system with a new one, you are actually bringing home new technology that is the need for the hour. Systems based on the latest technology are usually pretty energy efficient and translate into savings in the long run. 

The factors described are some of the common signs of air conditioner aging and a brief overview of the common dilemma most people face. When you come across even two of the problems mentioned, you need to take a quick decision for buying a new air conditioner- and before the old one breaks down completely.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Houses of yesteryears-How did people keep warm

Can you ever imagine living without your air conditioner in summer? The first thing that flashes through your mind is, "It's so hot. How can I live without an air conditioner?" How about the winter without a heating system in place?

People did live without air conditioning systems as close as about a hundred years ago. They lived in houses that had no HVAC systems or the technology that we have, and take for granted, today. There was no electricity to help them keep warm or cool and yet they lived comfortably and remained healthy too. Their houses were warm in winter and cool in summer. 


One important thing about the houses of yesteryears is their structure. The way these houses were built speaks a lot about the ways to live comfortably in winter. The first thing is that these houses had been very thick walls that helped to retain indoor warmth from seeping out. Similarly, the walls also helped to keep the cold air from entering into the house. 

Sometimes, homes had double walls to keep the indoors warm. It was not uncommon to see people building a concrete wall on the outside and have a wooden one inside. This double wall served as an excellent insulator. 


The bricks used in house built a century ago, were large and thick. This made the walls thick, and prevented indoor air from moving out. Typically, bricks take a long time to heat and also a long time to cool. Thus, in winter, when the indoors are kept warm, the bricks once warmed, do not lose their warmth quickly. This works both ways. 

Natural resources 

The absence of electricity was not a problem for the people of the yester years. They used natural resources to keep warm in winter. Almost every house had a large fireplace in each room and the lighting a fire would be a daily ritual at dusk. Each fire place would have sufficient logs to last the entire night. Flames from these logs would provide warmth in the room. This warmth would be absorbed with the walls, which would either be made of thick bricks or stone. 

Both stone and bricks have strong energy retention properties that helps keep the indoors warmer and for longer periods of time too.

People who lived in places that were cold, painted their homes with dark colors. Dark colors absorb heat quicker and more efficiently that light colors. As that radiation from the sun warms that outdoors, the dark color paint absorbs that the heat and retains it as these colors do not reflect sunlight as light colors do. 


In the yesteryears, people used a lot of glass in the construction of houses. They would usually place large amounts of glass on or around the south side of the house. This means that the glass will be in the sunlight most time of the day. The rays of the sun would penetrate into the house and warm the indoors. Radiation from the sun gets converted to heat energy that warms the entire room. The heat slowly moves further indoors and warms the entire house. The result is warmth and increased indoor temperature.

These houses usually used thick and dark curtains to prevent heat loss. 

Heat retention methods 

Sometimes, windows can also help in reducing heat transfer from the indoors. Some house would have cement fillings in the gap between the window frames. This would result in decreased air flow and thus heat retention. 

History says that Romans had an advanced way of heating their homes. They used underfloor heating which they called hypercaust. This hypercaust would get its heat from wood fire.