Benefits of an Upgrade to Your Air Conditioner

If you have an air conditioner that has reached or exceeded its manufacturer’s estimated lifespan, then you should start considering replacing it. If the AC shows signs that it’s wearing down, has started to cost more and more to operate, or runs up high bills for repairs, then you should stop considering replacement and schedule it right away. Aside from avoiding breakdowns, you’ll save money with the new higher efficiency systems now available.

However, if you have a younger AC, you don’t need to replace it entirely to have better comfort, performance and efficiency. You can instead make a number of upgrades: a state-of-the-art thermostat, a new outdoor unit, or a zone control system. There are some excellent benefits from going with a number of cost-effective AC upgrades.

To find out about the available upgrades for your air conditioning system in Redlands, CA, contact the specialists at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. Since 1980, homeowners and business owners in the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities have looked to us for cooling solutions.

How AC upgrades will benefit you

  • A new thermostat… If you have a manual thermostat or an older digital model, there’s a new world open to you for better comfort and energy savings. With a programmable thermostat model, you can have your home always cooled down when you need it, such as setting the air conditioner to turn on a half hour before you come home, eliminating the need to run the system continually and waste energy. New Wi-Fi enabled thermostats go a few steps beyond this, putting the power to control your home’s temperature in your hands wherever you have Internet or Wi-Fi access. These systems also allow you the freedom to move the thermostats to different rooms in the house, helping with zone control. Speaking of which…
  • Zone control systems… This upgrade to your AC fits into the ductwork and divides your home into several “zones” that use separate temperature controls. The benefit of this is energy savings from no longer needing to cool down every room in the house at one time. You’ll have superior comfort as well, tailored for each room.
  • A new outdoor condenser… If you want a major leap in your cooling efficiency without needing to replace the whole AC system, you can choose to replace only the outdoor compressor unit. A new unit will have elevated efficiency, saving you money, and the installation will not interfere substantially with your life because most of the work takes place outside.

Keep in mind there’s a basic “upgrade” you can do each year: a maintenance visit from a professional that will prevent your AC from suffering a downgrade. During a maintenance session, you can ask your technician about recommendations for upgrades. 

Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule maintenance, as well as tips for upgrading your air conditioning in Redlands, CA.

Why Heat Pumps Are a Smart Choice

Heating in Redlands, CA is largely a winter affair, when our desert nights get cold and you want a furnace to help keep warm. In the summer, when temperatures climb into the triple digits, the focus is on air conditioning instead of heating. In light of that, heat pumps make a very smart option for homeowners in the area. The technology uses the basic system of most air conditioners to both heat and cool your home. In the summer, it brings in cold air, while in the winter, the same process creates warm air for your home. The Redlands area is an almost ideal spot to install one in your home. Here’s a brief rundown on why heat pumps are a smart choice:

  • Lower monthly bills. Heat pumps use much less energy than other kinds of heating since they basically transfer energy from the refrigerant to the air outside: they don’t have to create any from scratch. That means that monthly heating and cooling bills tend to me much lower than they would be with other systems.
  • Versatility. Heat pumps don’t require a separate heater or air conditioner. Everything is contained in a single unit, making it versatile and simplifying your options immensely.
  • Region appropriateness. Heat pumps work best when temperatures stay about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Not so good back east, but here in Redlands, the conditions are ideal for their use.
  • Resale value. Because heat pumps are so efficient, they make an active selling point when the time comes to sell your house. In some cases, it may even be enough to offset the cost of installation, depending upon the specifics.

For more on why heat pumps are a smart choice, or to schedule an installation session, contact the Redlands heating system experts at Russell’s Heading and Air Conditioning. We understand the benefits of a good heat pump and can talk with you about your options before performing the installation with professionalism and care.  We also handle all manner of issues with heating in Redlands, from repair and maintenance calls to upgrades and new system specs. Pick up the phone and call us today to make an appointment!

What are the Benefits of Zone Control Systems?

Anything that can make your air conditioner more energy efficient, particularly during the height of summer, is a great thing for you, your home and your air conditioner. One way to maximize both energy efficiency and personal comfort is to add a zone control system to your air conditioning. A zone control system gives you the ultimate control over how, when, and at what temperature you cool your home, including the ability to turn off cooling to rooms that aren’t being utilized. Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning has installed many zone control systems over the years, and our customers have seen first-hand the benefits of using them.

How Does a Zone Control System Work?

The first thing to understand about a zone control system is how it works. A system of motorized dampers is installed into your ductwork. Each damper is connected to, and controlled by, its own thermostat. These thermostats are wired into a control panel that manages your entire system. Zones are defined by you and can be anything from single rooms to entire floors – the choice is yours.

What Are the Benefits of Zone Control?

  • Better energy efficiency – with a zone control system, you choose which areas of your home get cooled, when they are cooled, and to what temperatures. Most people have rooms or spaces in their homes that don’t require the constant cooling of a communal space, such as a kitchen. Having the ability to reduce the amount of cooling you use converts to less energy usage – after all, if you are cooling less, you don’t need your AC to run as much.
  • Better personal comfort – with your home divided into zones, different temperatures can be set for each zone, allowing for better comfort.
  • Less wear on your system – when you cool only what you need, your air conditioner will operate less; this helps lessen the amount of wear.

Are You Ready to Get in the Zone?

A zone control system gives you a level of control over your indoor temperature and air conditioning system you just won’t see with a single thermostat. However, installation can be complex as it involves your ductwork and electrical system, so it is best to call a professional when it comes to installation. If you are ready to gain better control over your HVAC system, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning for professional air conditioning service in Redlands.

Advantages to Installing a Package Unit for Heating

Here in Redlands, heating services often have to handle package units, which combine traditional heaters with air conditioning systems. Heat pumps – which function as heaters in the winter and air conditioners in the summer – and similar systems make a lot of sense in desert communities like ours. If you’re looking at installing a new heating system, you might want to consider some version of a package unit. Here are some advantages to installing a package unit for heating:

  • It’s efficient. Heat pumps are prized for their ability to warm and cool the air while using much less energy (and costing much less money in monthly bills) than gas furnaces. That efficiency drops when the temperature goes below 40 degrees, but that’s not a huge concern in towns like Redlands, and if it is, you can include a smaller electric furnace as part of your package unit to make up the difference. Even then, the monthly cost of running the system is less than you might pay with a more traditional system.
  •  It’s space friendly. Package units don’t need a lot of extra space: combining everything into one box that can be easily placed in an appropriate nook or out-of-the-way spot such as an attic. That frees up space for additional storage, which both private homes and businesses can always use more of.
  • It improves the resale value of your home. Once it’s installed, a package system makes your home more attractive to buyers adding to its resale value. Depending on the circumstances, it make even be enough to offset the cost of installation.

The advantages to installing a package unit for heating are numerous, but it still entails an up-front investment, which means you need to consider your options carefully. The Redlands, CA heating service technicians at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning can provide solid advice on the kind of system that works best for your home. When you’re ready, we’ll perform the installation with professionalism and care. We’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction in all aspects of the operation. Call us today to schedule an appointment, and let us show you what we can do!

Furnace Replacement? Now Is a Good Time For It!

Here’s a problem that we’ve seen in Southern Californian homes before: a furnace starts to fail to do its job, producing inferior heat, struggling to start up, or shutting off too early. And yet the homeowners don’t do anything to replace it because they imagine they can bundle up a bit and wait until the warm weather starts again.

But, if your home has an old furnace that’s no longer able to do its job, you have to have it replaced. Leaving it there not only means discomfort, but also a spike in costs to run it and the possibility of safety hazards (if it’s a gas furnace, which are the most common type). Upgrading to a higher efficiency furnace will give you many years of worry-free comfort, and the energy savings will help it begin paying for itself the moment it turns on for the first time.

Safety, safety, safety!

We can’t emphasize this enough—we talked about it yesterday when discussing heating maintenance. For any gas-powered heating system, there’s a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning and combustion damage when the system becomes decrepit. The effect of combustion gasses on the metal in a furnace over time can lead to corrosion, and this creates a higher chance of hazardous cracks in the heat exchanger. Don’t let an old gas system hang around if it isn’t working right!

Upgrading your furnace is easier than ever right now!

Until the end of the month (January 2017), we are offering a special to make putting in that new, better furnace as easy as possible. You can have a furnace upgrade for as low as $17.25 per week with no interest. (On approved credit. Some restrictions may apply.) Call our heating professionals to find out the details—and to schedule your new furnace installation.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers heating services to Redlands, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

Consider an APCO Air Scrubber for Your Indoor Air Quality

One of the most important services we provide for homeowners in the Inland Empire and Desert Communities is installing air filters and air purifiers that improve air quality. Most homes can benefit from some type of filtration or purification system, and our experts are skilled at finding the right type of filter/purifier to deal with the pollutants circulating through the HVAC system and the rooms of your house.

A type air purifiers that we often install is the APCO Air Scrubber. The APCO (Advanced Photocatalytic Oxidation) system is integrated into the air ducts of a home, where it uses a combination of UV light and activated carbon to clean air of germs, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde.

The benefits of an APCO Air Scrubber

The Air Scrubber isn’t the ideal match for all homes, which is why you should always consult with a professional regarding your different options. However, there are numerous advantages of an APCO Air Scrubber that make them an excellent choice for many households:

  • Ozone-free: Too many air purifiers work through the creation of harmful ozone. But the Air Scrubber not only doesn’t produce ozone, it actually removes ozone from the air.
  • Odor elimination: If you have pets, an Air Scrubber is an excellent way to eliminate common odors associated with them. The Air Scrubber affects numerous other odors by changing the odor-causing VOC molecules into water vapor and carbon dioxide.
  • Protect the air conditioner: The Air Scrubber will help prevent mold from developing along the coils of your air conditioner. This will not only help control odors, it will help maintain air conditioner efficiency.
  • Healthier air: The Air Scrubber will dramatically improve health conditions in your home by destroying mold, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and numerous allergens.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers air purification systems for Redlands, CA. Call our offices for exceptional customer service.

Air Conditioning Jobs Only a Professional Can Handle

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningMany homeowners enjoy taking on small fix-it and improvement jobs on their own. It’s not only a way to save money, it can be an exciting adventure on its own and the feeling of accomplishment that comes after it is its own reward.

But not every job in a home can be done as a DIY project. Most work for a central air conditioner should be left to professionals only. In fact, aside from some basic maintenance work such as replacing the air filter regularly and some adjustments to the thermostat, air conditioning tasks are something only trained technicians can do right. Let’s look at a few.

Diagnosing a short-cycling air conditioner

Short-cycling is a common type of malfunction for a central cooling system (as well as a heat pump). It’s when the compressor begins to turn on and off repeatedly over a short stretch of time, such as every fifteen minutes. Short-cycling is bad news for an AC because it increases the strain put on it and can lead to an early system breakdown. But there are many different possibilities for why it happens, ranging from air leaks in the ductwork to an air conditioner that was improperly installed in the first place. You can’t just guess at what’s wrong—it takes an expert to make the diagnosis and then apply the remedy.

Providing regular maintenance

We mentioned above about taking care of a few maintenance tasks yourself. But the actual annual maintenance an air conditioner requires in spring is something to leave to HVAC professionals. Maintenance involves an extensive inspection and tune-up, and only people with training in refrigeration equipment and the right tools can do the work accurately so the air conditioner receives the benefits of maintenance.

Fixing electrical problems

The majority of issues an AC might face during its service life are electrical in nature. Loose connections, wires that lose their insulation, burnt-out motors, etc. Unfortunately, no other type of AC malfunction is likely to get a homeowner to break out the tool box and attempt to tinker around inside the cabinet on their own. Don’t do it! Electrical work requires precision and the right tools.

Sizing a new air conditioner

What does “sizing” mean? It’s basically finding an air conditioner that provides the right amount of cooling for a home. Sizing an AC is an essential step in getting a new air conditioner installed. It’s not something that you can “guesstimate,” however. If you end up picking the wrong type of AC, one that’s either too large or too small, the system won’t work right and you’ll soon need to replace it. Professionals size an air conditioner by doing a cooling load calculation to determine how many “tons” of cooling the house needs. Then they’ll match the house with the ideal sized air conditioner.

If you’re looking for an air conditioning contractor in Redlands, CA you can trust for all your cooling system services, you’ve come to the right place. Our technicians are ready around the clock, 24 hours a day, to repair your AC. They also do maintenance, replacement, and installation.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

How Do Cooling Towers Work in a Commercial HVAC System?

Commercial HVAC systems are designed for much higher use than residential HVAC systems, and as such must adopt slightly different qualities. In practice, however, the qualities are more a matter of sizing than technique. Commercial cooling towers are bigger, sturdier and built to handle higher loads than cooling towers in residential systems. In Redlands, CA heating installation services can provide more specific guidelines on cooling towers. But in general terms, how do cooling towers work in a commercial HVAC system?

Cooling towers work on the condenser coils, which can get very hot when the system goes through its cycle and cause problems with the air conditioning process. The tower moves cold water through the heated coils, and then into a heat exchanger, which pulls the heat out of the water and sends it back over the coils to continue the process. The results take pressure off the system and allow it to function at higher levels for longer than a unit could without the cooling tower.

It’s not hard to see how important this can be to a commercial HVAC system. Such systems need to work harder for longer, handling conditions in a much larger space for many more people.  Breakdowns are not an option in those situations, and cooling towers can help a great deal. They allow the HVAC system to continue to support a larger load which reducing the risk of repairs in the process. Cooling towers thus become much more desirable in commercial systems than in residential systems, since the need for them is much larger.

If you know how cooling towers work in a commercial HVAC system, and you think they may be a viable option for your place of business, then talk to the experts at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning for help. Installing heating systems in Redlands, CA is one of our specialties, and we know how to install cooling towers with precision and care.  We also put the customer first, and work overtime to make sure that you are completely satisfied with the process. Pick up the phone and call us today to schedule an appointment.

Does My Heater Really Need Maintenance?

The question about whether a home heating system requires maintenance is one you encounter more often in warm climates, like Southern California, than in places used to arduous and lengthy winter seasons. Simply put, people in Southern California don’t think about their household heaters that often. If they switch on the heater during the occasional cold day and it seems to do the job adequately, fine. No need to worry about it any further than that, right?

Well, no need to worry about it… until it doesn’t turn on.

Yes, your heater absolutely requires regular maintenance. Any complex machine that does such important work will start to wear down and eventually need repairs, and you don’t want to realize this on the coldest day of the year. If more than a year has passed since you had your home’s heater inspected and given a tune-up, you should sign up for a maintenance program right away. Get your heater ready for the cold surprises that lay in wait. Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning offers excellent heating maintenance in Redlands, CA. Contact us today to get started.

Reasons your heater needs maintenance

Prevent expensive repairs: A maintenance technician will give your heater a thorough inspection to see that no part is wearing down or in danger of breaking. Small adjustments and minor replacements will keep away a large, more costly repair down the road.

Increase efficiency: If you leave your heater without regular care, its parts will start to wear down and it will need to work harder to supply you with warmth. This will show up as an increase on your energy bills. Proper maintenance will keep your heater working at its most energy efficient.

Longer service life: All the extra stress and numerous repairs will result in a heating system that will break down long before its manufacturer’s estimated lifespan. You can get the most years out of your heater with regular care.

We hope you see now that heating maintenance in Redlands, CA isn’t optional. You may not think about your heater during much of the year, but consider how much you appreciate it on those winter days when you have to turn it on. Avoid freezing surprises and steep bills—schedule heating maintenance today with Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. And if your heater needs help right now before the start of the season, we have 24-hour emergency service to help you.

Why AFUE Is Important

If you’ve taken the time to consider your options for a new heating installation in Redlands, CA to prepare for the winter, you’ve probably come across these letters: AFUE. You should know what they stand for and why it’s important to understand what they mean.

The initials AFUE stand for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” AFUE describes how effectively a specific heating system uses the energy from fuel to provide heat. It’s important to understand this because it translates into how much you can expect to spend warming your home during the time the heater works for you. Although an AFUE rating isn’t the only criteria to use as a basis for purchasing a heating system, it is among the most important.

We’ll explain a bit more about how AFUE is measured. When you need professional help to navigate the options available today for residential heating, contact Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning, where we’ve served Redlands since 1980. We’ll help you select the best heater for your home and install it so it provides you many years of comfort.

An AFUE rating is measured as a percentage, which denotes how much fuel a heating system converts to heat. For example, if a heater has an AFUE rating of 90%, that means for every 100 units of fuel it consumes (for example, burning natural gas) it return 90 units of heat (measure in BTUs, British Thermal Units). As a benchmark, conventional wood has a 45%-55% AFUE rating. The Department of Energy requires that all furnaces sold in the U.S. must have a minimum AFUE rating of 78%. Some high-efficiency gas-powered furnaces can have ratings of 96%. Boilers score in the range of 85% to 95%, and are among the most efficient of all home heating systems.

When you’re trying to select a heater type and model for your house, you will have to weigh various factors against the AFUE ratings of your top choices. A furnace with an AFUE of 96% will offer large energy savings—but it will cost more upfront to install, and you may prefer the cleaner air heating from a boiler. If you don’t plan to use your heater often, perhaps a less expensive model with a lower AFUE rating will work better for you.

Also keep in mind that AFUE measures energy efficiency, not how well the heating system will warm your home. Just because a heater makes the best use of its energy source does not mean it will provide you with the level of warmth you want.

If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, try not to worry. If you have professionals helping with your Redlands, CA heating installation from the start, you will have every step of the process explained to you. The staff at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning has many years of heating installation experience in Redlands, CA; we will help you narrow your choices to the ideal units. Contact us today to get started on the path toward superb home heating.