Carney All Seasons Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Conshohocken’

Ducted vs. Ductless Air Conditioning: Which Is Right for Me?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

When it comes to modern forced-air air conditioning systems, you have two distinct choices in front of you. First, there’s the standard central air AC that uses a network of ducts hooked up to a single indoor unit to distribute cooled air. Second, there is the ductless mini split heat pump, which has a similar outdoor cabinet to the central AC, but connects to multiple indoor units, called blowers, that are mounted in different rooms of a house. These blowers send conditioned air directly into the rooms, bypassing the need for ductwork or any sort of ventilation system entirely.

You have the choice. Which one will you pick?

If it seems like a hard choice, don’t worry.

Our technicians at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling are ready to assist you with deciding on the right system, whether it’s ducted or ductless air conditioning in Conshohocken, PA.

But to get you started, here are a few of the basic pros of the two.

Ducted (standard central air conditioning) advantages

  • Ideal if you already have ductwork in your home. A new system will easily hook up the the ventilation system with minimal installation work.
  • The cost less to install than ductless systems and take significantly less time.
  • They are easy to centrally control as well as service.

Ductless mini split heat pump advantages

  • A fine choice if you are planning new construction, such as remodeling, adding on a room to your current house, or building a new house entirely. You won’t have worry about duct placement or planning construction around ductwork.
  • Excellent for older homes that lack ductwork. You can retire those inefficient window units and have centrally-controlled powerful air conditioning.
  • Lack of ducts means no air contamination from dust or dirt gathering inside them, plus no loss of cooling through the duct walls.
  • The separate blowers allow for zone control, so you can adjust the temperature in different rooms without changing the temperature in all of the rooms at the same time.
  • All ductless mini splits are heat pumps, so you’ll have heating as well as cooling.

It may look like the “pros” of the ductless system easily outnumber those of the ducted system. But some of those “pros” for central AC are persuasive—especially if your home simply isn’t set up for a ductless system to work well with it.

If your still debating about whether to go ductless or not, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. One of our experts in ductless air conditioning in Conshohocken, PA will set up an appointment with you to look over your options when it comes to an AC for this summer. You can trust to our experience and integrity when it comes to home comfort.

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How Are Geothermal Systems Installed?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Geothermal  systems are becoming more and more popular. Not only are they versatile—capable of both heating and cooling your home—but they also use far less energy than conventional systems. The installation process of geothermal systems is often misunderstood. We want to clear up any confusion our customers have so we put together a short description of how they’re installed. For fast and reliable geothermal installation in Ambler, PA, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.

There are a variety of different types of geothermal heat pumps, including closed loop, open loop, ground source, water source and others. All of these systems are different, but they all share the major geothermal components: the loop, geothermal heat pump unit, and ductwork. The most important consideration of every homeowner thinking of a geothermal unit in their home is professional installation. Only a qualified geothermal expert will be able to ensure that your system is installed correctly. 

So, how are geothermal systems installed? Knowing the installation process can be a valuable asset during the installation process. Here are a few steps:

  • Planning. This stage involves a comprehensive evaluation of your home and the surrounding area in order to ensure your geothermal heat pump matches your heating and cooling needs. We can’t stress enough the importance of planning the installation. There are many factors to consider: from the windows, insulation, and ceiling height to the home’s layout and its orientation on the land.
  • Excavation and Loop Installation. Depending on the size and layout of your property, there are two basic options for the excavation and loop installation process: deep, vertical holes that go more than 100 feet into the ground, or a relatively shallow horizontal bed of piping. The loop itself is made out of high-density polyethylene (HDPE)that is thermal-fused for strong connections.
  • Unit. The heat pump itself typically resides in the basement, just like a furnace or air conditioner unit. The refrigerant or water mixture that circulates through the pipes are branched together and run from the heat pump out into the loop.

Geothermal installations in Ambler, PA require quality workmanship, which is why many homeowners rely on Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We perform exceptional work and deliver superior customer service. Call us today! 

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How and Why to Recaulk Plumbing Fixtures

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

You probably don’t pay much attention to the caulking around your New Hope plumbing. It is one of those things that is always there, working kind of behind the scenes, that you never seem to notice until something goes wrong.

The think about caulking, though, is that something can go wrong with it rather quickly. Because of the high frequency of use of tubs and sinks, the caulk that seals the space between the fixture and the wall can deteriorate and crack over time. This can cause gaps in the caulk or cause the fixture to come loose from the wall.

When this cracking and erosion happens, water from your bath, shower head or faucet can seep in between the fixture and the wall, potentially causing water damage and fostering colonies of mildew and mold.

Cracked caulk is inevitable with daily use, so you don’t need to worry about preventing it. Instead, learn how to properly fix the situation with a fresh caulk job:

  1. Scrape away all the old caulk from around the fixture using a utility knife or putty knife. Take care to remove all the old caulk while also avoiding scratching porcelain fixtures.
  1. With all the caulk gone, clean out the joint thoroughly. This will remove any last traces of caulk, as well as any other dirt or buildup. If you notice mildew or mold, use a chlorine bleach solution to clean the joint before recaulking.
  1. Once the joint is dry, recaulk it using a bead of caulk that is just slightly wider than the joint. This ensures an adequate seal. Wipe any excess away with a rag.
  1. Allow the caulk to dry thoroughly before using the sink or tub. Read the instructions on the caulk for an estimated drying time.

Take note that it is very important to thoroughly remove all the old caulk and clean everywhere along the fixture joint before applying the new caulk. Otherwise, the new caulk will not adhere properly and potentially damaging dirt may get sealed into the joint.

If you followed all the steps carefully, you should have a fresh seal of caulk that will last you another several years! If you need any help with your plumbing fixtures, give Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling a call today!

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How to Calculate Duct Size for an AC System

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Duct sizing for air conditioning is a complex process using one of three methodologies. The goal of duct sizing is to provide the perfect space through which heated and cooled air can travel around your Conshohocken home. Ducts should provide ample air flow to keep you comfortable without overworking your HVAC system or costing you an arm and a leg on your energy bill.

Methods Used for Sizing

There are three methods used for most modern duct sizing. The first is the Velocity Method. The velocity method takes into account the speed at which air flows through the ducts based on their general size. A series of equations is used to determine this, including duct cross sectional area, air flow rate and air speed. A much more detailed breakdown is available on the for those interested in the math behind the process.

In general though, the velocity method allows contractors to determine the appropriate size and layout of ducts based on their application (residential, commercial, industrial or high speed) and their position (main or branch ducts).

Contractors may also use the Constant Pressure Loss and Static Pressure Recovery methods to design ductwork for your HVAC system. The constant pressure loss method tends to result in more components but provides a more accurate reading of the actual pressure loss in the system based on the materials used and the layout of your ductwork.

Static pressure recovery focuses on ensuring the same pressure level is achieved at all vents and inlets for the system. It is probably the most complicated sizing method, however, so it is rarely used for residential installations.

Simplifying the Process

Were we to break down the process into its core components, this is what a contractor would do when sizing your duct work:

  • Determine CFM for Each Room – using the Manual J for load calculations, they would determine the CFM. This is based on the (Room Load/House Load) x Equipment CFM. The entire house must be measured and load calculations completed before this can be done.
  • Friction Loss Rate – Friction loss rate is the (Available Static Pressure x100 / Effective Length).
  • Duct Sizing – Finally, the contractor will use a chart or software to select ductwork based on the friction loss and CFM calculated in the first two steps.

The goal of all of this math is to ensure that the system installed is exactly as large as is necessary to distribute heated or cooled air to the entire house. Incorrect measurements result in improper delivery of that air and a system that doesn’t quite get the job done.

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Will Switching to Geothermal Save Me Money?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

There are simply a ton of different types of heating systems and they are each more appropriate in different situations. However, some are certainly always going to be cheaper to operate than others, although that alone may not make one or the other right for you.

In the case of geothermal heating systems, the operating costs are definitely quite low. But those are not the only costs you will have to think about when you are considering what type of heating system to put in your home to keep your heating bills down.

Geothermal heating systems do not actually generate heat – they absorb it from the ground. Because of this, they actually use very little energy when they are running. All you are really paying to power is the fan that blows the heated air around your house. Also, because geothermal heating systems are more efficient at extracting heat in below freezing conditions than traditional heat pumps, they can continue to keep you warm on their own in more extreme conditions.

Traditional heat pumps, while they also cost very little to operate, do sometimes need to be supplemented by more conventional forms of indoor heating like a furnace when temperatures outdoors get too low. This is not the case with geothermal heat pumps, so if you live somewhere that has colder winters, a geothermal heat pump may be just what you are looking for. Of course, you can always opt for a furnace instead, but these will definitely cost more to run than either type of heat pump.

When you are trying to assess whether or not switching to a geothermal heating system will save you money, you first have to start with the heating bills you currently have. Then, factor in the cost of the geothermal heat pump installation as opposed to the installation of a more conventional system.

You are then in a position to see whether or not the amount the geothermal system will save you each month is enough to offset the higher cost of installation within a reasonable amount of time. Of course, the savings will always eventually add up over time, but if the length of time it will take you to break even is the same or longer than the expected life of the system, it is probably not worth it to invest in this type of heating.

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How a Circulating Fan Can Save You Money and Help Your AC Keep You Cool

Monday, January 31st, 2011

If you already have a central air conditioning unit, you probably have not though much about having some ceiling fans put in as well. After all, why would you need a fan when your air conditioner can keep you as cool as you want all year long?

Well, the truth is that a ceiling fan can actually contribute a lot to your household even when you do already have the central air in place. It can also save you quite a bit of money when it comes to your monthly cooling costs, so there is really no reason not to look into getting a ceiling fan of your own.

Certainly the air that air conditioners distribute throughout your house is quite cool. But a ceiling fan will help to circulate it much more effectively. In fact, a good ceiling fan can make a room feel up to eight degrees cooler than it actually is just because of the cooling affect that moving air has on your body.

This means that you could set the thermostat on your air conditioner higher and still enjoy the same level of comfort that you are used to. You may already know that for every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer you will be saving up to 3% off of your regular energy bill. So if you can turn the air conditioning down by more than five degrees, you will surely be seeing some substantial savings.

Of course, you are still running the ceiling fan in place of the air conditioner, but the fan will use only a very small fraction of the energy that the air conditioner does. This all means that having a ceiling fan and using it wisely can help you cut your annual cooling costs dramatically.

And a ceiling fan will be useful in the winter as well. Since heat rises, you can turn your fan on backwards and it will push the heat that has risen to the top of your room back out along the walls and down. This means that you will be getting more for the heat you are paying for as well, making the ceiling fan a great money saver all year long.

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