Top Air Conditioner Brands

furnace

This time of the year everyone starts thinking about summer, and that means air conditioning for many people. A commonly asked question is “Which brand of air conditioner is the best?”  This really depends on what you’re looking for.  Is your number one priority price? Or is it reliability?  What about customer service? Or are there specific features you want?  The answers to these questions will determine which brand of air conditioner would be the ideal fit.

In many different polls Amana ranked highest overall in terms of efficiency, warranty, and customer service. However, the high end Amana units are some of the most expensive options on the market.  This higher upfront cost can be completely negated though if an expensive component, such as the compressor or heat exchanger, fails.  On these units Amana offers a lifetime warranty while you own your home, so even the most expensive component would be replaced free of charge.

If you’re looking for the best value, consider Goodman.  They actually own Amana and many of the internal components between the two brands are identical.  Goodman is their more affordable every day brand that many consumers prefer.  Generally, experience has shown that the Goodman brand is just as reliable and lasts just as long as the Amana brand, but comes with a shorter 10-year warranty.  So if the Amana is more than you’re looking to spend up front, the Goodman brand is a solid second choice.

The next best option for air conditioning is another, one company with multiple brands, situation.  It turns out that one parent company, United Technologies, owns four different brands – Day and Night, Carrier, Bryant, and Payne.  For efficiency in manufacturing, all of these brands share many of the same internal components and often have models from each brand coming off the same assembly line.  Day and Night is the best value in terms of balancing price and reliability, but they have more limited availability and can be unavailable in certain areas at different times of the year.  Carrier has a great reputation in the industry and it’s well deserved, unfortunately that has earned them the right to a higher price tag.  Other than the higher price though they are an excellent choice.  Bryant and Payne, while lesser known then Carrier, are both solid brands as well.  They tend to be priced in between Day and Night and Carrier, and their efficiency rankings fall in the middle as well.

At the end of the day it’s important to remember that while choosing a quality brand is important, choosing a qualified technician for installation is even more important. Manufacturer research has shown that premature failure of air conditioner components is almost always a result of an improper installation.  Diamond Heating and Cooling will provide a high quality installation, in addition to a trustworthy recommendation on which brand is best for your situation.

This time of the year everyone starts thinking about summer, and that means air conditioning for many people. A commonly asked question is “Which brand of air conditioner is the best?”  This really depends on what you’re looking for.  Is your number one priority price? Or is it reliability?  What about customer service? Or are there specific features you want?  The answers to these questions will determine which brand of air conditioner would be the ideal fit.

In many different polls Amana ranked highest overall in terms of efficiency, warranty, and customer service. However, the high end Amana units are some of the most expensive options on the market.  This higher upfront cost can be completely negated though if an expensive component, such as the compressor or heat exchanger, fails.  On these units Amana offers a lifetime warranty while you own your home, so even the most expensive component would be replaced free of charge.

If you’re looking for the best value, consider Goodman.  They actually own Amana and many of the internal components between the two brands are identical.  Goodman is their more affordable every day brand that many consumers prefer.  Generally, experience has shown that the Goodman brand is just as reliable and lasts just as long as the Amana brand, but comes with a shorter 10-year warranty.  So if the Amana is more than you’re looking to spend up front, the Goodman brand is a solid second choice.

The next best option for air conditioning is another, one company with multiple brands, situation.  It turns out that one parent company, United Technologies, owns four different brands – Day and Night, Carrier, Bryant, and Payne.  For efficiency in manufacturing, all of these brands share many of the same internal components and often have models from each brand coming off the same assembly line.  Day and Night is the best value in terms of balancing price and reliability, but they have more limited availability and can be unavailable in certain areas at different times of the year.  Carrier has a great reputation in the industry and it’s well deserved, unfortunately that has earned them the right to a higher price tag.  Other than the higher price though they are an excellent choice.  Bryant and Payne, while lesser known then Carrier, are both solid brands as well.  They tend to be priced in between Day and Night and Carrier, and their efficiency rankings fall in the middle as well.

At the end of the day it’s important to remember that while choosing a quality brand is important, choosing a qualified technician for installation is even more important. Manufacturer research has shown that premature failure of air conditioner components is almost always a result of an improper installation.  Diamond Heating and Cooling will provide a high quality installation, in addition to a trustworthy recommendation on which brand is best for your situation.

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8 Steps to Complete Prior to Turning On the Air Conditioning

37539909 - modern air conditioner on backyard with working sprinkler system

Many years the weather can change quickly from winter to summer and all of a sudden it’s time to turn on the air conditioner.  Before you flip that switch though there are some steps you should complete first.

  1. Inspect the outdoor condenser – if you covered the unit in the fall, remove the cover and clear away any debris that has accumulated on or around the condenser during the winter. The primary purpose of this inspection is to ensure there are no blockages of interior components, generally caused by leaves or vines, as well as to ensure all of the panels are securely in place.  The panels are intended to enclose and protect the electrical connections.
  2. Clean the condenser components – the bottom of the condenser box is an area that debris tends to accumulate. Use a vacuum to remove anything in this area.  The condenser coils, located inside the condenser box, should also be cleaned.  First remove the side and top panels to gain access, then use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean.  Be gentle as you’ll want to be sure not to bend the coil fins during cleaning.  A condenser coil spray can be used to remove any stuck-on grease.
  3. Visually inspect the coolant lines – ensure lines are properly insulated and that there is no damage to the lines that could cause leakage. Any damaged coolant lines should be replaced by a professional.
  4. Replace the filter – a new pleated filter should always be installed at the start of the season. Throughout the summer months its recommended that the filter be changed once a month.
  5. Electrical – make sure the breaker and/or disconnect switch for the condenser is turned on. Also check the outdoor wiring for any signs of wear or damage, if damage is found contact Diamond Heating and Cooling prior to starting the AC unit.
  6. Inspect the drain line – there is a drain generally mounted above the furnace in the basement, it’s recommended that one cup of chlorine bleach be flushed down the drain followed by one gallon of water to keep the drain clear for the season. This drain can become clogged due to a buildup of dirt, which could result in a backup leading to water damage inside the home.
  7. Inspect ductwork and air vents – ductwork seams should be sealed and any damaged ductwork replaced prior to running the AC to ensure maximum efficiency. Close air vents in the basement to focus the cooled air into the main living area of the home and remove anything that could be blocking the remaining vents.
  8. Look at the thermostat – if the thermostat is not programmable consider replacing it to save money and energy, it’s a good idea to replace the battery in a computer-controlled thermostat at the start of the season as well.

It’s a good idea to run through this checklist now before the weather heats up.  Should there be an issue with the air conditioner you’ll have time to complete any simple repairs or schedule a Diamond Heating and Cooling technician to come take a look before you really need the unit. If all this sounds overwhelming, Diamond Heating and Cooling has an AC maintenance program where we will take care of all this and more. Contact Diamond Heating and Cooling to sign up for our Silver Club.

Covering the Air Conditioner

AC-Covers

With fall on its way in a few weeks, it’s time to start preparing to turn off the air conditioner for the year. After turning it off, many homeowners wonder if they should cover it when the weather turns cold. The air conditioner is built to withstand many elements of the weather, but there are some instances when covering it is a good idea.

During fall, the air conditioner should be covered to protect it from leaves, seeds, and nuts. These are things that can get inside the AC unit, allowing moisture to collect and sit. This can cause corrosion and rust.

Other than this, a cover isn’t needed for much else. Here is what the air conditioner doesn’t need to be protected from:

  • Dirt

While operating during the summer, the air conditioner can suck in quite a bit of dirt. This is expected and is removed with the filters. However, once the unit is turned off, dirt is no longer and issue.

  • Snow and Ice

Outside units are built to withstand just about anything winter can throw at it. The snow and ice shouldn’t cause any issues.

  • Rodents

Animals might burrow into the outside unit to escape the cold weather especially when there is a cover on the unit. It’s best to keep the cover off when worried about rodents.

When choosing a cover for the outside air conditioning unit, avoid getting one that covers it completely. The cover should allow some breathing room on the sides. If the unit is completely covered, moisture can get trapped inside, creating a humid environment perfect for rust, corrosion, and mold.

Not sure whether to cover the AC unit or not, or what type of cover to get? The folks at Diamond Heating and Cooling can assist homeowners in finding the right type of cover for their system and discussing when it is best to use it.

A World Without Air Conditioning

AirConditioning

Air conditioning has had a huge influence on many activities in the United States since its invention. There are many events and event cities that wouldn’t exist without the introduction of air conditioning. Here are some examples:

  1. Summer Blockbusters

Willis Carrier convinced Paramount Pictures Corporation to install air conditioning in New York City’s Rivoli Theater. As a result, people soon began heading to the movies to escape the heat during summer. Film makers quickly caught on, and began scheduling their biggest movies to come out during summer.

  1. Medical Advances

Air-conditioned hospitals helped defeat malaria, decrease infant mortality, inhibit bacteria, and advance developments in surgery. The introduction of air conditioning has therefore helped the American population to live longer and more comfortably.

  1. Industrial and Technological Progress

Having the ability to maintain a cool and safe temperature has helped with the development of computers, data centers, and more. These temperature-sensitive systems needed a way to stay cool to function properly, which air conditioning has provided.

  1. Country Growth

Many areas in the United States were unbearable to live year-round before air conditioning was introduced. The South has made huge economic jumps since AC became available. Populations exploded in cities like Las Vegas and the states of Arizona, Florida, and Texas have shown tremendous growth since the air conditioner was invented.

  1. The Demise of Summer Vacation

Before air conditioning made offices comfortable, many American workers took month-long August vacations. Even the government shut down sometimes due to the heat. Now, everyone can work in a comfortable environment throughout the year and vacations can be planned on different schedules.

Without air conditioning, the United States would be a much different place. Thankfully, most homes have central air or single-room air conditioning to keep residents cool during the warm summer months.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about updating the air conditioner, or any problems it may be having this summer. The phones lines are open 24/7 for emergencies, and we will come out to fix the issue as soon as possible with no after hour fees.

Landscaping for the Outdoor AC Unit

For the inside part of the air conditioner to work properly, the outside unit needs to be in good shape. The area around the outside unit can have a huge impact on how well it works. Here are some landscaping tips to help it run better:

  • Make Room

The outside unit needs at least two feet of space on each side. When planting bushes or other foliage, keep that in mind. If they grow too close, keep them trimmed back. This allows for optimal breathing room and enough space for technicians to easily work on the AC unit.

  • Cover the Ground

A layer of gravel in landscaped areas near the unit can help prevent debris from getting into the unit when there’s wind and rain. It keeps the dirt and sand from flying around.

  • Shade

Make life a little easier for the outside AC unit by proving some shade for it. This keeps the condenser cooler, which means it doesn’t have to work as hard. Add some surrounding plants that are tall enough to provide some shade coverage.

  • Shedding

Many plants shed their leaves, needles, berries, or nuts, which can pose a problem for the outside unit. Choose the plants in that area carefully, and clean up after them on a regular basis.

  • Storm Protection

When deciding where to place the outside air conditioning unit, look at where most of the wind comes from and if it can be shielded. If the house is no help being a windbreak, a short fence might be ideal to protect it from debris. That way there’s less of a chance of harmful dirt and debris getting lodged inside.

If the outside AC unit is experiencing an issue, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. 24/7 service with no afterhours fees means fast and friendly service for Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley.

Don’t Close Air Vents

In an effort to save more money by using less energy, many people close their air vents in rooms that get little or no use. However, instead of saving money, it could cause some serious issues. Read on to learn why closing vents does not have the desired effect on air distribution.

The blower in the HVAC system pulls air from the house through the return ducts, cools it, and pushes it back out through the supply ducts. The blower in high-efficiency HVAC systems is powered by an electronically commutated motor, also referred to as an ECM. This type of motor can adjust its speed. Those that are not high-efficiency are permanent split capacitor or PSC powered, which cannot adjust speeds.

Both systems are designed so that the blower pushes against some maximum pressure difference. If the filter is dirty or the supply ducts are restricted, the blower has to push against a higher pressure.

In the ECM system, this will make the motor increase in intensity to maintain proper air flow. As it works against the higher pressure, all efficiency is lost. A PSC motor will keep spinning, but its speed will decrease as the pressure increases.

When air ducts are closed in some rooms, the system becomes more restrictive. A higher pressure in the system will either ramp up the ECM blower, or move less air with a PSC blower, while also creating duct leakage.

This can also have an impact on the coil or heat exchanger. Lower airflow means a lower rate of heat exchange will occur. This will cause less heat to flow over the coil, making it colder, and possibly freezing. The refrigerant may not properly evaporate either, meaning it would come back into the compressor,  possibly ruining it.

In summary, here are 5 problems that can come from closing air vents:

  • Duct Leakage
  • Lower Air Flow/Increased Energy Use
  • Comfort Issues
  • Frozen Coil
  • Dead Compressor

Don’t close vents to save money. Instead, use an adjustable thermostat and be mindful of the energy being used.

How Cottonwood Damages AC Units

treeThe cottonwood trees are starting to release their fluffy cotton-like seeds, which can wreak havoc on not only allergy sufferers, but air conditioning units as well. As they begin to float and drift everywhere, they can become lodged in the outdoor AC unit, often creating a problem.

When too many of these fluffy seeds get sucked into the air conditioner, it can become clogged and begin to malfunction. The airflow needed to sufficiently cool the house is drastically reduced, making the system work harder. This uses more energy and wears down the air conditioner, damaging the equipment inside.

Eventually the system can even shut down from overheating, leaving homeowners with no AC, and the air conditioning unit likely damaged and in need of repairs. The condenser is usually the piece of equipment that gets damaged in this case, and might need to be replaced.

To prevent this, the outdoor AC unit will need to be professionally cleaned if there are cottonwood trees nearby. Even if there is minimal cottonwood fuzz that can be seen on the outside, it could have been sucked inside, already beginning to clog and damage the system.

If homeowners notice cottonwood flying around the yard and getting stuck on the AC unit, call Diamond Heating and Cooling as soon as possible. They can assess the situation and get the seeds cleaned out so no more damage is done. Also remember to clear away grass clippings and other debris from the outdoor air conditioning unit. Bushes and other foliage need to be at least three feet away to give the air conditioner sufficient room to work properly.

If the AC unit has already sustained damage from cottonwood seeds or other debris, Diamond Heating and Cooling will get the parts repaired or replaced to get everything back in working order so everyone stays cool in the summer heat.