What is an Upflow Furnace?

October 10th, 2014

There are a number of characteristics that homeowners use when selecting a home heating system. Size, fuel type, and AFUE rating are all common factors in making the right decision. When selecting a furnace, however, something is commonly left out. Do you want an upflow furnace or a downflow furnace? Despite not being as well known as the other differentiating factors, this question has a definite impact on the performance of your furnace. Read on to discover the qualities of an upflow furnace, and whether it’s right for you.

Up and Out

Essentially, what makes a furnace upflow or downflow is where it takes in cold air to be heated. An upflow furnace takes in cold air at the bottom of the unit, heating it and circulating it from the top. There are a couple of implications with this kind of furnace, the first being efficiency. Hot air naturally rises, and sinks when it cools. This makes an upflow furnace more efficient, because it is taking advantage of heat’s natural behavior. This will result in heat being more easily distributed throughout your house, requiring less work from the furnace and lowering your heating bills.

The other implication is the location where the furnace needs to be installed. Because of the way upflow furnaces operate, they tend to be installed in basements. This allows them to waste very little heat, as it all rises into the house through the floor. This is also viewed as a more comfortable method of heating. A downflow furnace heats from the top down, which results in much of the warm air becoming trapped in the ceiling where it isn’t much use.

The disadvantage of an upflow furnace is that it isn’t necessarily viable in all homes. Not all homes have basements, especially those on the west coast. This can make proper installation of an upflow furnace more troublesome, perhaps even impossible.

If you are thinking about installing an upflow furnace, call Command A/C. Our heating experts operate throughout the Cypress, CA area. We will find the right furnace for your living space.

How Does a Ductless System Provide Heat?

October 3rd, 2014

Ductless heating systems are a fairly new technology that is quickly gaining traction in homes across America. Rather than utilizing ducts, a ductless unit is comprised solely of an outdoor compressor unit and an indoor blower. This allows the ductless system to avoid the 30% of heating efficiency lost to duct leaks that forced air systems experience. Let’s take a look at how ductless heat systems compensate for not having a furnace to rely on.

Ductless Heating

In forced air systems, a furnace is used to heat the air which is then circulated to the rest of the house. A ductless system does not have a heat pump to rely on, so it acts as a heat pump does. Thermal energy is drawn from the surrounding air into the outside unit. From there, it is sent back to the indoor unit, where it is warmed to the desired temperature and released into the house. The use of this thermal energy allows the ductless system to be just as efficient as a forced air system, without needing a furnace to provide heat.

A ductless system has no way of transporting warm air between rooms. If you want to warm every room of your house, you will need multiple units. Fortunately, all units can be linked to one thermostat for convenience. A ductless system is easier to install than more traditional systems, since it does not require that ductwork be installed all over the house.

Of course, there are a couple of considerations before you install a ductless heating system. Because the ductless system relies on outdoor thermal energy, it does not work as efficiently in very cold environments. The lack of thermal energy in the surrounding air forces the heat system to work much harder to reach the target temperature. As long as the condenser unit is kept free of frost, a ductless heater can heat your home just fine. Just don’t expect it to do so as easily as at lower temperatures.

If you are considering installing a ductless heater in your home, call Command A/C. We offer heating services throughout the entire Cypress, CA region.

Is It Time to Replace My AC?

September 26th, 2014

Air conditioners have an average lifespan of about 12 years, so if your AC is getting close to that age, or is older, it may be time to consider replacing it. Replacing your air conditioning doesn’t have to be an inconvenience; in fact, a new air conditioner can offer you the opportunity to install a system that may be better suited to your needs. But deciding whether or not to replace is the first step in the process, and to help you, the certified technicians at Command A/C have put together a list of factors to consider:

How Old Is Your Air Conditioner?

As we mentioned above, the average lifespan of an air conditioning system is 12 years; this can stretch to 15 years if the system has been well-maintained. However, once an air conditioner reaches a certain age, it may not be able to cool as you need, and making costly repairs may not be worth it.

Does Your Air Conditioner Use R-22 (Freon)?

Age is part of the equation when considering your replacement and the type of refrigerant your system uses is, too. This is because R-22, also known as Freon, has been in phase-out since the 1990s, and by 2020, won’t be available at all. Right now, R-22 is available for recharge only; you can no longer purchase a system that is made with R-22. Unfortunately, you can’t put another type of refrigerant in your system, so there is no ability to switch to another type of refrigerant. The bottom line: if you have an air conditioner that uses R-22, you are paying a lot for any recharges, plus you are going to have to replace your system anyway.

Does Your AC Need A Lot Of Repair?

If your air conditioner requires frequent repairs, it may be time to consider where your money is better spent. This is particularly important if your air conditioner has reached a certain age.

The question of whether to repair or replace an existing AC is one that many homeowners face. If you think it’s time to replace your air conditioning in Cypress, CA, call the people who can help you from start to finish: Command A/C.

How Does a Zone Control System Help with Energy Efficiency?

September 19th, 2014

During a heat wave, many homeowners look for new ways to save money on their energy bills. You run your air conditioner throughout the day to cool your entire home even though you may not use many of these rooms for long periods of time. You can increase the efficiency of your air conditioner by taking advantage of a programmable thermostat, changing the air filter once a month, and scheduling maintenance every year. But one of the best ways to save money while staying comfortable in any room of the house is with a zone control system.

What Is Zone Control?

A zone control system, installed as an extension of your HVAC system, allows for more even cooling in homes with multiple stories or unique architectural designs, or you can vary the temperature in different rooms, or zones, of the home. When you call for zone control installation, a technician will install a set of dampers throughout the ductwork in various zones. Every damper is connected to its own thermostat, or you can control each zone with a master thermostat. When you raise or lower the temperature, the damper closes or opens to adjust the temperature in that area only. Not only does this help family members to be more comfortable, but it can also save you a lot of money every month.

How Zone Control Helps with Energy Efficiency

  • Unoccupied Rooms: Throughout the day, some of the rooms in your home are likely unoccupied. With a zone control system, you can shut off the air to these rooms only in the day time, which will have a significant impact on your bills.
  • Two-Story Home: Similarly, you can turn up the air on one floor of a multi-story home when only a single part is occupied. Besides, two-story homes are difficult to cool evenly, but with thermostats in multiple zones on both floors you can keep the first and second story comfortable and use less energy in the process.
  • Unique Architectural Features: It also takes more energy to cool some rooms with architectural features like vaulted ceilings or large windows. Zone control can help you target these areas so you won’t use energy cooling your entire home.

If you want to make your family more comfortable and save a lot of money in the process, call the experts at Command A/C. We install zone control and can give you tips for more efficient air conditioning in Cypress, CA. Give us a call!

What Are Capacitors?

September 12th, 2014

There are some small components in your air conditioner that can have a big impact on how it operates. One such component is the capacitor. Capacitors are used in many appliances because they help store and regulate electrical voltage. Capacitors are used in your air conditioning to start the AC cycle and keep it running evenly. Due to their smaller nature, many people think it’s easy to switch out a capacitor should it start to malfunction, and it is – if you have expert knowledge of electrical systems. If you don’t, it’s best to call professionals, like the ones at Command A/C.

Why Does an Air Conditioner Need Capacitors?

Whole-home air conditioning systems run on an electrical circuit known as single phase. This means that your air conditioner operates from a power source (your electrical box) with singular distribution of alternating current electric power (AC power). With this type of power supply, the voltages vary in unison, meaning they come all at once and have various voltages. The varying nature of the power requires the use of components that can a) help your air conditioner motor start and; b) keep it running evenly even though the electrical current is uneven. This is where capacitors come in.

Two Types of Capacitors

There are two types of capacitors in your air conditioner:

  • Start capacitor
  • Run capacitor

Start Capacitor

There are three motors in your air conditioning system: the blower (fan) motor, the condenser fan motor and the compressor motor. Each needs a large load of electricity to start up. The start capacitor helps provide this burst of energy to the motor so that it has the power to start. The torque measures about double the amount of the system’s voltage.

Run Capacitor

The main job of the run capacitor is to keep the motor to which it’s attached running at full power. To do this, the capacitor helps smooth the “bumps” of the uneven voltage, and then conducts the power to the motor in an even way, as the motor needs it. Feeding your motor the right amount of power keeps it operating optimally and efficiently.

Capacitors are important components of your air conditioning system, but any repairs involving them should be handled by a trained professional. If you suspect you may have a capacitor issue, call Command A/C today and schedule your AC service in Cypress, CA with one of our experts.

3 Problems That Can Affect Energy Efficiency

September 9th, 2014

Even though summer is coming to a close, you can still maintain and improve energy efficiency. One of the best ways to do this is to make repairs as quickly as possible. There are a number of problems that can affect the energy efficiency of your air conditioning, and we’ll outline three of them here today. But whatever your repair needs, always call the people you can trust: Command A/C.

3 Common Problems That Can Affect Energy Efficiency

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can occur in multiple places in your air conditioning system. The refrigerant in your system has to be at an exact amount for your AC to work properly; leaks lower the amount of the refrigerant, putting stress on the system. Anytime your AC has to work harder to achieve your set temperature, it uses more power to do so, increasing its energy usage.

Clogged Air Filters

The air filter in your air conditioning system should be changed every 3 months as it can become clogged. Clogged air filters restrict air flow in your system, which can cause a decrease in cooling. Restricted air flow also forces your system to work harder to cool your home, which can increase its energy usage.

Dirty Coils

Your air conditioner has two sets of coils: the evaporator coils and the condenser coils. During normal usage, dirt and dust can build up on the coils. If they are not cleaned annually, this buildup can become a layer that acts as insulation on the coils. This layer can interfere with the heat release/cooling process of the refrigerant cycle, which stresses your AC.

Even though the end of the cooling season is near, it’s still important to maintain your energy efficiency. Making repairs as soon as possible helps you maintain your energy efficiency and keep your air conditioning running optimally. Also, scheduling bi-annual maintenance in fall and spring can help with all of these problems. If you are experiencing issues with your air conditioner, call Command A/C and schedule AC service in Cypress, CA with one of our experts today.

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at Command A/C wishes your family a happy end of summer.

What Is a Packaged Unit?

August 22nd, 2014

Many homeowners are familiar with split-system air conditioners, systems in which both an indoor and an outdoor unit are needed to cool the air. The indoor air handler contains the components which remove heat from the air. The outside components help heat to release into the air. A different kind of system is the packaged unit, a type of air conditioner used in both residential applications and on many larger commercial properties. A packaged unit contains all of the same components of a standard system. In fact, the only difference between a packaged unit and a standard AC system is that a packaged unit combines all of the parts into one cabinet so that an indoor unit is not necessary.

In traditional air conditioning systems, refrigerant cycles through the indoor and outdoor portions, undergoing several phase changes which allow for the heat exchange process to occur. First, refrigerant enters the outdoor compressor unit, compressing into a high-pressure gas. This allows it to move to the condenser coil, where it changes into a liquid, giving off heat in the process. Indoors, the expansion valve helps to lower the pressure of the liquid before it moves into the evaporator coil. This coil allows refrigerant to evaporate into a gas, absorbing heat from the home. An indoor blower fan helps with the evaporation process and sends cool air through the ducts before the process begins again.

In a packaged unit, all of these parts are in one large cabinet. This cabinet is usually installed outside of the building or on the roof and connects directly to the ducts. This is useful for many reasons. When you need repairs or maintenance, the job may be completed more quickly as a technician can find all of the parts in one area. Additionally, this type of system is beneficial for homes and buildings in which indoor installation is not a possibility, and many homeowners appreciate the aesthetic value of an out-of-the-way rooftop cabinet.

While packaged units may have many advantages, they may not be right for every home. To speak to an expert about air conditioning installation in Orange County, call Command A/C today!

What Is a Packaged AC?

August 15th, 2014

There may be more options for your new air conditioning system than you realize. Many people are familiar with conventional central air conditioning units. These are split-system units in which one portion of the air conditioner is installed outside while an indoor unit, such as a furnace or air handler, is installed inside. The indoor portion usually connects to the ducts which supply cool air to the home. In this short guide, we focus on a different type of air conditioner, the packaged AC unit, in which all of the parts of a standard air conditioner are combined into one cabinet.

In a conventional central air conditioning system, the indoor unit absorbs heat from the home while the outdoor unit releases it outside. The outdoor unit contains several parts including the compressor and condenser. The compressor adds pressure to the refrigerant so it can make its way to the condenser, where it turns into a liquid and gives off heat. Inside, the expansion valve lowers the pressure, and then the condenser turns it back into a gas as it absorbs heat.

Packaged systems combine all of these parts into one unit. A large cabinet holds the fans, compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator, and connects directly to the ductwork. This unit may be positioned right outside the home, but it is often placed on the roof. This is ideal for many homes in which installing an indoor unit would be inconvenient. A packaged unit may be an efficient, space-saving system for many people.

While many homeowners use packaged AC units, these systems are ideal for businesses as well. Because the cabinet is located on the roof, technicians can repair or maintain a system and keep out of the way of customers and clients. Large packaged systems are also available for commercial installation. Also, many of these units are modular, meaning a technician can adjust the cooling capacity should the needs of the business change.

If you have questions about air conditioning options in Orange County, or if you need maintenance, repairs, or installation, call Command A/C today!

Common Heat Pump Repairs

August 8th, 2014

The heat pump is one of the most energy-efficient heating and cooling systems available for homeowners in Orange County. If your heat pump has kept you comfortable for multiple cooling and heating seasons, you may be surprised when your system runs into sudden problems. While heat pumps are generally quite effective, they are made up of many components, so they are likely to develop a few issues over time. The HVAC technicians at Command A/C have seen it all, so we’ve put together a list of some common AC repairs for heat pumps in Orange County.

Low Refrigerant

Your system is designed to hold a certain level of refrigerant at all times. Refrigerant cycles through your system, changing from a gas to a liquid to release heat and from a liquid to a gas to absorb heat from the air in your home. If refrigerant is low, your heat pump cannot transfer heat to the outdoors, which means you can’t receive any cool air inside.

Although refrigerant helps heat to release from your home, the refrigerant itself will never dissipate. Low levels indicate either an improper charge during installation or a leak. Leaks may lead to further problems with your heat pump, such as compressor damage, so you should call a professional at the first sign of low refrigerant, such as a hissing sound or limited cooling.

Faulty Reversing Valve

The reversing valve reverses the direction of refrigerant. So, in a heat pump, refrigerant can move heat from the indoors to the outdoors to cool your home, or it can move heat inside to provide heating in the winter. Like any mechanical part, the reversing valve may encounter problems over time and require repairs.

Thermostat Issues

If you notice that your heat pump is stuck in one mode, it may be a problem with the reversing valve. However, you may simply need a new thermostat. A new thermostat may be more accurate than an older model, allowing for more efficiency and better performance.

You should have a professional look at your heat pump at the first sign of a problem to prevent other damages. Call Command A/C for AC repair in Orange County today.