Getting the Most Bang for Your Energy Buck

Saving money on your HVAC needs is about more than just receiving a good deal on equipment and installation. It is about purchasing quality products that are energy efficient, last for decades and decrease your monthly bills. As a factory-authorized Carrier dealer, Thermacon offers top products for your home or commercial business to help you get the most out of your money with long-term solutions. Our products and services are designed with energy efficiency in mind to lower your bills while protecting the environment.

Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems and Solutions

Homes and buildings that run efficiently use less energy, resulting in lower costs for you. The decrease in expended energy also benefits the environment by requiring fewer fossil fuels and releasing fewer carbon emissions. Thermacon offers several solutions to help you save money in the long run and create a “green” home that is earth friendly. Our products and services range from simple adjustments to comprehensive approaches that result in greater energy efficiency. Take a look at the following solutions to see how you could save.

  • Home Evaluation Programs – We offer our exclusive G.R.E.E.N. program, which involves trained technicians who evaluate your home’s efficiency and offer improvements to save energy, money and the environment. We also participate in ENERGY STAR’s national home performance evaluation program to find more ways for you to save.
  • New Technology – Our HVAC systems and products feature advanced technology, such as geothermal energy, to help you create an energy-efficient home.
  • Routine Maintenance and System Checks – With regular service and preventative maintenance, we help you keep your systems running at optimal efficiency while catching minor problems before they cause trouble.

Energy Usage Evaluations

Nearly 45 percent of your monthly utility expenditures comes from heating and cooling costs. When you take advantage of our G.R.E.E.N. evaluation, trained technicians help you lower those monthly bills by recommending and explaining numerous improvements for your home. Even if you do your best to conserve energy throughout the month, you may be losing efficiency in one or more of the following ways.

  • Poor insulation
  • Broken seals
  • Leaky ducts
  • Inefficient heating and cooling systems

With this exclusive program, we check your entire home for any areas that need improvement and compile a written report for you. Friendly and professional technicians explain the recommended improvements, and you choose which solutions you would like to apply. In addition to the improvements, we inform you of all rebate and tax incentives available to you. After you choose how you would like to improve your home’s efficiency, we provide you with up-front estimates and available financing options. G.R.E.E.N. improvements help you in the following ways.

  • Save money with rebate programs up to $1,000
  • Save money monthly with lower utility bills
  • Save the environment with less energy expenditure

We also offer home performance evaluations by ENERGY STAR to give you more suggestions for improving your efficiency. You can take advantage of these programs with new home construction or improving an existing building. To help you save, we may offer:

  • Duct sealing
  • General repairs
  • Thermostat upgrades
  • System replacements
  • Retrofitting entire building

Geothermal Systems and Services

A long-term solution to improving your efficiency and saving money is installing a new HVAC system. Geothermal energy is a relatively new technology that harnesses the natural heat from the earth to control the climate in your home. These “green” heat pumps provide you with affordable and sustainable energy. A/C and heating systems using geothermal technology are the most energy-efficient options available today. We offer long-lasting heat pumps from Carrier to help you regulate your indoor temperatures while saving money and protecting the environment. Geothermal heat pumps offer the following benefits.

  • Lifespan of 25 to 50 years
  • Ideal for multiple applications, such as single-family homes, schools and office buildings
  • Provides heating, cooling and humidity control with quiet operation
  • 300 to 600 percent efficient
  • Equipment payback with three to five years
  • Energy tax credits available
  • Up to 70 percent reduction on monthly bills

Approximately 50,000 geothermal heat pumps have already been installed in the United States alone. The energy savings come from the fact that it is easier to pull existing heat from the earth than it is to alter the temperature of the air. If you are interested in geothermal systems, we will gladly provide you with an estimate for your desired application. These units are ideal for new construction, replacing inefficient systems and retrofitting older homes or buildings.

Ongoing Maintenance for Efficient Operation

Even with the most advanced technology in energy efficiency, regular maintenance is required for optimal performance. We offer regular servicing along with preventative maintenance to help you keep your bills low. With regular checks, our technicians help maintain the condition of your system, achieve optimal efficiency, extend the life of your equipment and repair minor problems to prevent larger ones.

Our technicians are expertly trained to service any make and model to help you achieve maximum efficiency. We want to help you get the most in energy savings for your money, so our products and services are designed with that goal in mind. Contact Thermacon to find out how you can improve your home’s efficiency for big savings that benefit you and the environment.

Keep Your HVAC System Healthy with Our Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance Checklist

At Thermacon Service Company, we work with you to keep your HVAC system working at optimum efficiency. A system that is well-maintained should last for years. One of the best ways to reduce breakdowns and minimize the need for air conditioning repair is to make sure that you tune up your system before using it the first time as the seasons change.

We serve the southeast Texas and western Louisiana area, the Golden Triangle that extends from Beaumont, Texas, east to Port Arthur and north to Orange, Louisiana. Our more than 30 years in the business attest to our commitment to our customers and to the expertise and dependability of our staff.

What Is a Maintenance Check-Up?

Heating and cooling account for almost half of residential energy use in the United States. A well-maintained system uses less energy and lasts longer. Most major manufacturers recommend that air conditioners and furnaces have annual tune-ups for both safety and operating efficiency. Our technicians are certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE) in core competencies and specialties and are able to provide air conditioning service on all makes and models of air conditioners and furnaces.

Seasonal air conditioning check-ups include:

  • Inspect all electrical connections and wiring. Loose connections or frayed wiring can cause shorts; bad wiring is also a fire hazard. The voltage should be checked to make sure adequate current is available to motors and the system.
  • Check, clean or replace air filters as needed. Dirty air filters are the number one cause of breakdowns and air conditioning repair. Filters clogged with dirt, dust and other airborne particulates reduce air circulation, keep a unit from working efficiently, use more electricity and cost more to run. Particulates are re-circulated through the system, affecting the air that you breathe. A clean filter can reduce energy use by between 5 and 15 percent.
  • Check all belts and bearings. Loose or frayed belts may not only make noise, but put extra load on the system.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Lubrication reduces friction and increases efficiency. It also reduces wear on motors and other moving parts.
  • Clean evaporator and condenser coils. Dirty coils make a unit run more and reduce energy efficiency.
  • Inspect and clean compressor housing. Leaves, dirt and other debris can reduce air flow, making the system run longer.
  • Inspect and clean fans and blowers. Dirty blower elements affect air flow, which can reduce efficiency by 15 percent.
  • Clean grilles and tighten connections to ducts on central systems. Loose joins in duct work cause loss of conditioned air, which increases load.
  • Ensure that the system cycles on and off properly. The technician will put the unit through a full cycle to make sure that the unit turns on, runs and shuts down properly.
  • Clean, level and calibrate the thermostat. A dirty thermostat affects calibration, giving false temperature readings. Each degree that a thermostat is lowered increases energy usage by 8 percent. Inaccurate readings of even a few degrees can increase fuel bills.
  • Check and adjust refrigerants. Improper levels of refrigerant make a system run inefficiently, add extra wear and reduce the life of the equipment.

Other Tips to Increase HVAC Efficiency and Reduce Load

As simple as it may seem, planting vegetation around a building helps to lower ground temperatures as much as 9 degrees during daytime highs in summer months. Trees that shade roofs and windows reduce the demand for air conditioning and improve air quality. Studies by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggest that shade trees planted on western exposures can reduce energy use for cooling by between 7 and 47 percent. Lower energy requirements reduce the load on HVAC equipment and save both fuel and money.

If there is no space for trees, consider a vine trellis on a western wall to reduce surface temperature and interior heat gain. Planting shrubs around air conditioner compressors creates shade and reduces load.

Roofing with reflective materials reduces solar gain, which also reduces demand for air conditioning. Cool roofs stay between 50 to 60 degrees F cooler than conventional roofs, reducing heat gain. The federal government offers tax credits for qualifying cool roofs.

New Installation and Energy Star Products

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old or experiences frequent breakdowns, it may be time to replace it. New heating and cooling products must meet federal energy standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star program evaluates products for energy efficiency. Those that meet or exceed federal standards and provide high energy savings over the life of the equipment bear the Energy Star label. Energy Star products range from small electronics to building materials.

Proper sizing of central air conditioning units is important. Units that are too small run longer, causing excessive wear and often requiring more frequent air conditioning repair. Units that are too large cool too quickly and shut down before adequate moisture is removed from the interior. Areas with high humidity like Beaumont and the Golden Triangle need adequate moisture removal to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

Air Conditioning Services Offered by Thermacon Service Company

Our services include:

  • 24-hour emergency service
  • Residential, commercial, industrial and marine air conditioning service
  • Attractive financing
  • Carrier factory authorized dealer
  • 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee
  • Scheduled routine repairs on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • NATE certified technicians
  • Licensed, bonded and insured
  • Annual service agreements

Have You Switched from R-22 to R-410A AC Unit?

R-22, also called Freon, is the most common chemical refrigerant used in air conditioners today. However, that's all set to change as a government-created shortage has caused the price to triple. Many consumers, caught off guard by unexpectedly high repair costs, have sought to switch over to air conditioners using the new R-410A, also known as Puron. Discover why it's better to switch now before the rising price hits you with repair costs you can't afford.

Freon Triples in Price

Freon harms the ozone layer when released. That's why the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) ordered it to be phased out by the year 2020. Already, the supply of Freon has dwindled so low that some parts of the country now charge $100 per pound. That means a small Freon leak and repair job can reach a few hundred dollars very easily. With the supply continuing to grow smaller, these prices are only expected to become higher as the EPA deadline draws near.

R-410A: The New Solution

With Freon phasing out and Puron taking over, the cost of Puron air conditioning installation is becoming more economical than continuing to repair Freon-based systems. Not only is Puron cheaper, but also it performs better than Freon. That means you'll notice a decline in your electric bill for using the new refrigerant. Plus, repairing your system will be a fraction of the cost of Freon units.

Benefits of Air Conditioning Installation with R-410A

While Puron-based systems cost slightly more than Freon systems, there's a reason for it. The value of equipment using Freon is cheaper because of the looming shortage. One Freon leak is all it takes to lose the money you saved. Other advantages of installing a Puron system include:

  • Government Tax Credits - The EPA, through the Energy Star program, gives tax credits of up to $300 for installing energy efficient air conditioners. The incentive can cover the difference for choosing a unit running Puron.
  • Lower Electric Bills - Because Puron outperforms Freon, your utility bill will be lower.
  • Reduced Repair Costs - The price to replace Puron is already less expensive than Freon. It will continue to become cheaper in the future.
  • Better for the Environment - Puron won't deplete the ozone layer as Freon does. You can feel better knowing your HVAC system won't contribute to your carbon footprint.

If You're Recently Installed an R-22 System

You may be hesitant to make the switch to an R-410A system if you've installed a Freon system in the past few years. In that case, the best thing you can do is prevent Freon from leaking. By properly maintaining your unit, you can expect to avoid expensive replacement of Freon by servicing your unit twice a year. The fall and spring are the best times for tune-ups. If you want to save even more money, then sign up for a regular service agreement. It will further cut the cost of parts and labor.

Thermacon Service Company, Inc.

Thermacon handles air conditioning installation and repair in the Golden Triangle and Southwest Louisiana. To inquire about installing a new system using R-410A, then give us a call today.

Choosing the Best AC Filter For Your Home

Changing your filter is integral to proper AC maintenance. To find the best AC filter, you should compare your needs with the abilities and price of the filter. Here are a few things to consider.

How to Compare Filters with MERV Ratings

Developed in 1987, minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, is a system for evaluating the quality of filters. It's a score, on a scale of 1 to 16, that rates the absolute minimum number of particles filtered. Scores with 16 remove 95 percent of irritants or more. Those with a score of one remove almost none. By using MERV ratings, you can effectively compare all brands of filters to know which one is the highest quality. However, choosing the best AC filter isn't just about MERV ratings; you also need to factor in the price.

Cost vs. Use of Air Filters

There's no use paying money for a filter that removes next to nothing. Likewise, you probably won't see much more benefit by purchasing a filter made of space-age material. Somewhere in between, you'll find the delicate balance between price and effectiveness. Also, the densest filters may strain out all particulates, but they will heavily strain your air conditioner, increase AC maintenance costs and raise your electric bill.

MERV Rating and Type of Particles Removed

The highest rated filters are used in hospitals and electronics manufacturing. They're also the most expensive. For practical purposes, most homes won't need to remove particles that small. The MERV rating on filters can be grouped to make it easier. Here are the typical aspects of each group:

  • 0-3 - Residential filters aren't allowed to have ratings this low.
  • 4 - This is the bare minimum residential filter. It's typical of window-unit ACs with wire-mesh filters.
  • 5-8 - This group filters out the common household irritants like mold spores, pet dander, dust mites and even hair spray.
  • 9-12 - This represents the superior level of home air filters. It can filter particles as small as lead, flour and automobile emissions. This is one of the best categories for balancing price and performance.
  • 13-16 - This level is what hospitals use. It can filter out bacteria, sneezed droplets, smoke and even airborne makeup. For home applications, this level is most likely excessive.
  • 17-20 - While not covered earlier, there is a higher rating for filters commonly used by the electronics manufacturing industry. In zero-contaminant wafer fabrication, these filters keep out almost everything. The cost is usually well beyond the means of most residential needs.

MERV vs. HEPA Ratings

HEPA filters are all the rage because of the ability to remove viruses and bacteria. However, HEPA filters are far too dense for most heating and cooling systems. In essence, they would simply plug the vent and not allow air to flow. That doesn't mean you can't have HEPA quality though. If you need the most superior air quality, then you can install a filter with a MERV rating of 12 or 13. It will remove bacteria. Then, you can add a separate air purifier with HEPA filtration to remove viruses and more.

Thermacon Service Company

Thermacon provides a full range of heating and cooling solutions to the Golden Triangle and SW Louisiana. If you'd like to learn more about our special Thermacon AC maintenance service that includes a 12-month supply of free filters, then call us today.