What You Should Know About Counterfeit R-22 Coolants

The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is phasing out R-22 coolants for use with residential and commercial air conditioning systems. R-22, has been the coolant of choice since it replaced R-40 as a more ozone-friendly refrigerant. Over the next few years, A/C companies will slowly stop using R-22 for the same reason in exchange for newer, more environmentally friendly coolants.

This phase-out is making R-22 more difficult to find today and more expensive for contractors to use. Unfortunately for home and business owners, this provides an opportunity for scammers to sell cheaper R-22 alternatives”(e.g., counterfeit R-22) to contractors. These coolant alternatives are actually unsafe chemical cocktails that can prove life threatening under the wrong circumstances.

Counterfeit R-22 Floods The HVAC Market

HVAC contractors looking to save money at their customers’ expense might buy illegally imported R-22 knockoffs from China or elsewhere. While there are plenty of genuine, viable alternatives to R-22, counterfeit products can be flammable, explosive, and even deadly. Counterfeit R-22 can be made up of fatal chemical blends such as R-40, R-134a, and other refrigerants containing methyl chloride or chloromethane. When exposed to air, heat, and/or moisture, these volatile chemicals can cause violent reactions.

There have been several cases of marine refrigerated containers exploding and causing major material damage as well as operator deaths. These explosions were the result of counterfeit R-22 substitutes containing dangerous combinations of coolants. While reports of fires and explosions are rare, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported cases in the United States and abroad of people suffering injury after using unapproved air conditioner coolants.

Preventing An R-22 Refrigerant Scam

Pumping your A/C system with counterfeit coolants can expose your home, family, or business to several dangers. Not only does counterfeit R-22 put you at risk of severe HVAC system damage, including charred or melted components, but you also risk a fire, explosion, and injury. Keep your system safe and up to code by being coolant-savvy with your technician.

Check the labels on the refrigerants your heating and air conditioning company uses before allowing workers to replace your coolant. Verify that the label is a trustworthy brand, such as DuPont or any other legitimate company, and clearly states R-22” not “R-22a,” “HC-12a,” or another non-EPA approved coolant name. Ask to see your technician’s certification, and choose a different company if they don’t let you.

Certified Technicians Are The Only Option

When you need a trustworthy, responsible heating and air conditioning company in the Greater Los Angeles area for coolant replacement, trust Brody Pennell. Our HVAC technicians are expertly trained to provide top-notch service, helping local homes and businesses with their A/C needs for over 50 years. We also use name-brand R-22 coolant for repairs and won’t hesitate to show you our EPA certification. Contact us online or call today to set up an appointment.

How Cogeneration Impacts HVAC Systems

Saving energy is a major topic in the HVAC industry. Although the American economy is recovering, the process is slow, and for consumers and businesses, saving energy means saving time and money. However, HVAC systems often use massive amounts of energy, which naturally translates into larger energy bills for home and business owners. HVAC experts are finding cogeneration may be the answer to this issue.

What Is Cogeneration?

Cogeneration, otherwise known as combined heat and power (CHP), uses a power station or heat engine to create useable electricity and heat simultaneously. When an HVAC system generates electricity, it also generates heat. This keeps the home or business warm in fall and winter, but that energy is often wasted during spring and summer. Even during colder seasons, extra heat is siphoned into the environment, causing wasted energy. Cogeneration captures leftover heat and “recycles” it.

How The Heat Is Used

In cogeneration, the “waste heat” from an HVAC system is used to heat water, and offsets greenhouse gas emissions and fuel that would otherwise be burned away. This keeps the HVAC system from overheating or breaking down. Over time, such use saves significant time and money in terms of repairs and replacements. The longer an HVAC system lasts, the more energy it can create and the cleaner and safer its surrounding environment will be.

Cogeneration Cuts Costs

Additionally, cogeneration decreases the overall need for electricity. An HVAC system that uses CHP will use about 50% less electricity than systems that do not. As a result, home and business owners can run their HVAC systems for shorter periods, saving energy and keeping the surrounding environment free of pollutants. In addition, home and business owners who use a CHP HVAC system will learn to respond better to natural temperature fluctuations in their buildings. Over time, they may turn to more energy-saving methods of keeping themselves warm or cool, such as using environmentally friendly building materials.

The EPA and other agencies estimate that using a cogeneration HVAC system cuts energy costs and harmful emissions by at least 30-40%. Growing popularity and technological improvements guarantee that increasing numbers of people will use cogeneration systems in the future.

The Growing Popularity Of Cogeneration

Although cogeneration has existed since 1882, our over-reliance on fossil fuels has created a resurgence among home and business owners, especially those who work with HVAC systems. With cogeneration, HVAC systems are now relying more on thermal energy, a cleaner energy source than oil, gas, and other fossil fuels. This decreases air pollution and its many negative consequences, such as the impact of poor air quality on human health.

As the technology behind cogeneration improves, the EPA and other agencies estimate its popularity will only continue to grow. Right now, technological improvements include cost reduction for HVAC systems that use cogeneration, as well as improved environmental control technology. These particular improvements will allow HVAC experts and their customers to adjust individual cogeneration systems to fit their needs and surrounding environments.

Finding An HVAC Dealer in Los Angeles

There are several cogeneration HVAC systems available, so finding the right dealer is crucial. If you are searching for a Los Angeles HVAC dealer, please call Brody Pennell or visit us online. We can further explain the benefits of a cogeneration HVAC system and determine the best system for your particular needs.

Residential HVAC Stats and Facts

Here are som residential HVAC stats and facts that can save you on your energy bill. If you feel like saving more money, give us a call and we will send out one of our highly qualified techs. We’ll go over your options with you to see how you can cut your energy bill down.

BrodyPennell Residential HVAC Stats and Facts

Is it Time to Replace My AC?

Getting a new air conditioning unit is a major home expense. It may be necessary though, because no unit will last forever, and eventually repairs will start to cost more than a new unit. So how do you know when the time has come to replace your AC? Here are some pointers from our experts to help you decide.

Sometimes an AC Unit is Just Too Old

Age should be an important factor in your decision to replace an AC unit. No matter how well you have maintained your AC, it won’t last forever. The older it is, the more likely you are to need to replace it over trying to repair it. You can use the $5,000 rule to decide if your AC is just too old to fix. Multiply the age of your unit by the amount of money it would cost to get it working again. If it comes out to more than $5,000, replace your AC, don’t repair it.

When Efficiency Fails, It’s Time to Go

Your AC is supposed to keep you cool, take humidity out of the air, and generally make your home more comfortable. Is it doing its job well? If your unit runs a lot, but your home doesn’t seem to be cool enough, or if it always feels too humid in the house, your machine is probably not working efficiently, and this is a sign you may need to replace it.

Leaky AC Units Need to Be Replaced

If one of the issues you are having with your AC is a coolant leak, this may be a big sign you need to replace it. This is especially true if your unit uses R-22 refrigerant. It is being phased out, so replacing it is pricey. A leaky R-22 AC should be replaced without question.

Replace Your AC if Your Energy Bills Are Too High

Check out your energy bills from one year to the next. Are they getting higher? If so, it could mean that you have an out-of-date, inefficient AC unit. You could repair it, but getting a new one will mean better efficiency and lower energy bills. It may seem like a big cost up front to get a new unit compared to repairing your existing AC, but in the end the upgrade could save you more.

Sometimes repairing your AC unit is the right choice. To get it working again may just be a simple fix at a reasonable price. On the other hand, there are several reasons why replacing your AC is the better option. Consider all factors before making the choice, and contact us to get an HVAC expert’s opinion.

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What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need in My Home?

Choosing an air conditioner for your home is a little more complicated than just going with the cheapest unit or picking one that you think will look nice in the backyard. To select the right unit, the one that will cool your home effectively and efficiently, you need to consider the type of cooling system you need, the kind of AC unit that will work in your home, and more importantly than you may have realized, the right size for your home.

Room Units vs. Central Air Conditioning

Your first choice may be whether you want to install a room unit, an air conditioner that cools just one room, or central air, the large unit that sits outside and cools the entire home. If it is only important to you to have one or two rooms cooled, window or other small room units may be all you need. They are easier to install and cheaper. On the other hand, although there is a greater cost up front, if you want to cool your whole home efficiently, a central unit is your best bet in the long run.

Finding the Right Size Air Conditioner for the Whole Home

When choosing an AC for central cooling, size matters. A unit that is too small will struggle to cool the entire house, will run constantly as it tries to keep up, and ultimately will cost you more money in energy bills. With a unit that is too large, the air in your home will cool down quickly and the system will shut off early. This means that the structure of your home won’t have time to cool sufficiently and heat and humidity will quickly creep back in.

BTUs and Other Factors

The size of your home alone should not determine the size of air conditioner you need. To get the best and most efficient system, you need to look at the BTU rating on units, which tells you about its cooling capacity. You also need to consider factors in your home like insulation, sun exposure and shade, the quality of your windows, and how many people live in the home. All of these determine how many BTUs you need and the size of unit that will best suit your home.

Choosing a new air conditioner unit is not as straightforward as you may have assumed. It takes a lot of knowledge about size, cooling capacity, and all the individual factors in your home to make a good choice. Let a professional from Brody Pennel help you pick the perfect AC unit for your home and for more expert information on everything HVAC, keep following the Brody Pennel blog.

Do I Really Have To Change My Air Filter Often?

ThinkstockPhotos-178384618If you want to save money and extend the life of your home’s heating and cooling system, the answer to the question is yes. It takes just a few minutes every few weeks to replace the filter in your system.  Neglecting to take care of this simple HVAC maintenance task has many negative consequences and most of them will end up costing you a lot more than a new air filter.

The air filter removes pollen, dust, and other airborne impurities to improve indoor air quality. A clogged filter decreases air quality by allowing these impurities to circulate freely throughout the house. Poor indoor air quality makes your home unhealthy because it triggers allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

Polyester and pleated filters are usually the best for residential applications. Traditional fiberglass filters only remove large particles and are less efficient than other options. Some filters are made of cellulose, plastic or metal.

You should change your standard disposable air filters approximately every one to three months, depending on the filter type. Check the specifications provided by the filter manufacturer to determine how often you should replace yours. You may need to change it more frequently if you smoke in the house or if you have pets. You may also need to change the filter more often if it is located in a high traffic area.

Most homeowners can handle an air filter change without help from a professional. Check your HVAC system’s owner’s manual to determine the right filter type and size to purchase. Before changing the filter, turn off the HVAC unit. Look for the filter on the side of the unit and slide it out. Slide the new filter into the slot paying attention to the arrows to ensure the filter is facing the right way.

Changing your air filter on a regular basis is the most effective and affordable way to protect your investment in your home’s heating and cooling system. Regular maintenance allows your system to operate at peak capacity when you need it most.

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Can I Add Air Conditioning If I Have A Boiler?

So many people get confused whether to have both an AC and a boiler in the same home or office. Given that they both have different functions, it means they will consume power differently, and because of this, people worry about utility bills. But adding air conditioning to a boiler isn’t a bad idea if you understand the secret to doing it.

Three Ways to Fix Boilers and ACs Together

There are actually three available options on how you can install an AC and a boiler in the same house. One is through an AC system with a mini-split set up; this means the condenser will be on the outside while the cooler is on the inside. This is an affordable option plus you don’t have to worry about ductwork.

The second option is through an Attic AC system which uses ductwork. The ducts will transport the cold air generated in the attic to the rooms you want to cool. This kind of system is also able to heat an entire room if required. This way you get both hot and cold air in one unit instead of investing in two separate units.

On the other hand, you may feel that the ductwork is too much and want something smaller and manageable; hence the high velocity attic air system. Instead of ducts, it uses round tubes which are smaller and easier to work with. They are more efficient in transporting cool air to any room and operate in silence; thus no noise to worry about. Compared to the duct AC systems, the round-tubing attic AC systems look more appealing in construction. Though you will spend a little more to have the unit installed, you get more efficiency in the long run, which translates to saving on utility bills.

So it is possible to have the AC and boiler in one house without either compromising the function of the other. You only need to install them far from each other and ensure they don’t share any components like ductwork. Follow our blog today for more tips on how to use the AC-Boiler set up and still save on energy and monthly bills.

Do I Need Maintenance For My Heating And Cooling System

Part of owning an HVAC unit is performing regular maintenance. If you don’t have your HVAC unit regularly maintained, you can’t count on it to work. Below are just a few of the reasons why HVAC maintenance is so important.

Energy Efficiency

Your heating and cooling bill makes up the bulk of your home energy usage. If your HVAC unit isn’t in top condition, it is going to cause your energy bills to go up. In fact, some studies have shown that proper HVAC maintenance can drop your energy bills by as much as thirty-five percent!

Enjoying Your Home

If you have your HVAC system working, it’s because you want a little bit of comfort in a hot or cold environment. If you turn the machine on, you should expect it to work correctly every time. If you don’t have HVAC maintenance performed regularly, you can’t depend on the unit to work.

Extending Equipment Life

You wouldn’t skip the regular maintenance on your car, and you shouldn’t skip it for your HVAC unit. Over time, wear and tear will impact even the best system. Maintenance will help your HVAC unit to last longer and function better.

Saving Money

Yes, having maintenance performed can actually save you money. Your machine is made up of many moving parts, and failure in one can cause damage to others. If you can catch small problems before they become larger, you can save yourself both time and money. The best way to make sure that your HVAC system will not experience catastrophic – and expensive – failure is to have it checked out before problems ever occur.

Safety

You aren’t just looking out for the health of your HVAC unit when you have maintenance performed. Your HVAC system can become dangerous when not properly maintained. From loose electrical connections to carbon monoxide build-up, it’s best to look at the major problems that can occur before someone in your home gets hurt.

Most manufacturers will tell you that regular maintenance is the best way to keep your system functioning well and to keep everyone in your home safe. If you keep to a realistic maintenance cycle, you can prevent many major repairs and enjoy your HVAC unit for years to come. For more on HVAC maintenance and other articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs, make sure to follow us.

How Important Is It To Get The Right Size Of Heating And Cooling Equipment?

If you’re in the market for a new central heating and air conditioning system to help reduce energy costs, you need to understand how important it is to properly size your system. Correct HVAC sizing will improve indoor comfort and reduce costs and usage in addition to maintenance.

Because older homes were not constructed with the same air tightness as they are today, it was common to install HVAC equipment with capacity of two to four times beyond what was necessary. Yet even older houses are more air tight as homeowners have added energy-efficient windows, weather-stripping and insulation to their homes. Improvements like these help reduce heat loss in winter while and minimized heat gain in the summer.

Thus, the most common mistake today is buying a system that is too big. HVAC equipment that is too large creates large, uncomfortable temperature swings. Air conditioners don’t run long enough and cannot dehumidify the air, raising the potential for unhealthy mold growth. An oversized HVAC system will also short cycle, or start and stop frequently, resulting in more wear and tear of the equipment, leading to premature failure.

Don’t purchase HVAC equipment simply on the label that lists the BTUs of the unit,or based on a “rule of thumb” used by an HVAC contractor. These are both incorrect ways to select HVAC units. The proper way to perform HVAC sizing is through Manual J and Manual D load calculations developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Manual J calculations look at factors such as the climate where your home is located, size, shape and orientation, number of windows and their location, number of occupants, types of home appliances and much more. Manual D calculations determine the number of ducts used in an installation.

Your home’s load, or heating and cooling requirements, are affected by all of the above factors. Make sure your contractor also assess you building’s air leakage rate and inspects seals, joints and insulation on your duct system.

When buying a new system, make sure you receive a written calculation on the sizing of the system and a contract that lists the main points of installation that includes Manual J and Manual D results, along with a written warranty detailing equipment and workmanship.

Home Cooling Myths You Need To Know

 

Americans are always looking for new and better ways to save up some energy with the viewpoint of minimizing their carbon footprints and saving money at the same time. What’s funny however is that this has led to some air conditioning myths developing around the way people ‘assume’ it is wisest to treat their ACs. Some of these actually contradict with how an AC actually works. Here we expose 3 commonly held misleading beliefs about AC use for you so you can know better about doing what’s best for your home, energy saving, and your AC!

1.Humidity in the room can be decreased by setting lower AC temperatures. This is not true.Although relative humidity and outdoor temperatures are factors in determining how much energy your AC will consume, temperature settings alone cannot alter humidity in the room. In some cases, you may find that it helps if you try out different AC modes on the remote such as ‘Dry mode’ with a higher temperature setting in order to reduce humidity within the room. In this way, your guests will be able to sweat less.

2.Your AC system only needs to be checked when there is a problem. This is not the most ideal attitude with regards to maintaining your air conditioner in a good state at all. The longer the internal problems are left on their own to regress while use of the machine continues, the heftier the bill of a repair visit from the mechanic will be at the end of this period. Routine maintenance is non-dispensable even if the AC seems to be working fine. A good cleaning of the AC filter alone, can increase efficiency by 5%.

3.Keep the AC turned on all day long, it’s OK; but don’t switch it on and off constantly. The truth could not be further from this. In fact, turning off the AC at regular intervals for a break means that when it actually is turned on, it will be more energy-efficient and waste less energy to provide you with the same cool temperatures!

Check out the rest of our blog for more exciting information on home and office cooling, heating, and energy-efficient energy plans!