Tag Archives: air conditioner

When Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

Air conditioner
Fans are great, but they shouldn’t be a requirement for a comfortable home.

The sweltering summer heat has apparently settled in for a while. That means air conditioners throughout Massachusetts are really getting a workout. And for people whose systems aren’t exactly up to snuff, it can mean miserable temperatures indoors as well as out. Maybe it’s time for a new system to make you, your home and your energy bills happier.

It’s a big decision and an important one. And if you’re like most people, it’s not something to enter into lightly. If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to replace your air conditioner, here are a few clues that can help:

You’re Approaching Retirement or Already There

If you are approaching retirement or you’re already there, replacing your air conditioner now could help you avoid the hassle and expense of installing a new system later on. And that can equal peace of mind while living on a fixed income.

The usual lifespan is related to regular maintenance and routine filter changes. There are a number of situations that might affect the life of your air conditioner.

If the one that you have now is nearing the 10-year mark, a good history of maintenance means that you can probably wait a little while longer to make the investment. But if you’ve skipped maintenance or let filters get too dirty before replacing, yours might soon enter the never-ending cycle of repairs.

Forbes agrees that the last thing retirees want to do is become saddled with a new, unexpected expense. So if your system is older, the sooner you replace the more soundly you’ll sleep.

You’ve Purchased a Home With an Older HVAC System

A new air conditioner can make a new home purchase feel a lot more comfortable. Homes come with air conditioning in most cases, but sometimes it’s difficult to know just how old the existing system is. In a brand new house, the age of the system probably isn’t a concern. But if the house is older, you might have just purchased HVAC issues.

Your home inspector probably switched on the system and reported on whether it operated the way that it was designed to. Problem is, a home inspection is not a prediction. It’s just an indicator of the condition of a home while the inspector is on site. It’s like a snapshot.

If the home is older and either has no ductwork or not enough, there’s a different type of air conditioner that’s with looking into. Ductless systems are small but powerful heat pumps that give you cool air in summer and warm air in winter. They can be installed anywhere because they don’t use ducts at all.

If the system is a heat pump, the home repair and improvement experts at This Old House say you can expect about a 16-year lifespan. If it’s a standalone air conditioner, the high end of its lifespan is probably about 15 years.

Air conditioner
If you feel like this glass looks, you have a humidity problem.

Humidity is a Problem No Matter What You Try

If the air inside your home feels clammy and damp, your air conditioner isn’t performing the way that it should. It might need a refrigerant recharge, but low refrigerant usually indicates that there’s a leak. And if there’s a leak, there’s a real problem.

One of the key functions of air conditioning is removing humidity. That helps your home feel cooler and more comfortable, even at a slightly higher temperature. When the AC doesn’t remove enough, the rooms can feel sticky and clammy, even when the thermostat says that the temperature is ideal.

A new air conditioner will remove more humidity, and that translates to increased energy savings. That’s because a 72-degree room with 45 percent humidity feels much cooler than a 72-degree room with 60 percent humidity. Drier air feels cooler in summer, so your AC won’t have to work as hard.

If the system uses Freon as a refrigerant, the best course of action is a replacement. Freon leaks are very expensive to repair and recharge. And they indicate a system that’s on its last legs. It would be a shame to spend a couple of thousand on a repair only to replace the system next year.

Your Energy Bills are Creeping Higher and Higher

Have you noticed that your energy bills are creeping up and up? That might due in part to the recent heat wave. But it might also mean that your air conditioner isn’t performing as efficiently as it once did.

When air conditioning systems get older, they work harder to cool your home. When they work harder, it takes more energy and more money to operate them. And even a perfectly maintained older system is rarely as efficient as any of the newer ones on the market.

Newer air conditioners must meet a higher standard of energy efficiency than those manufactured just a few years ago. Investing in a new system now means that you’ll pay less in energy bills to have a more comfortable home. Bonus: the U.S. Department of Energy has renewed its 2016 federal tax credits for efficient appliances. Get a new AC system, and you could qualify for a generous credit.

Your HVAC technician will examine your system to find the problem before making a recommendation. You never know. The source of higher bills might be as simple as leaks in the ductwork. Those can be repaired.

Air Conditioning Repairs Happen More Often

If your HVAC technician’s name and telephone number are in your phone’s contacts, you probably see him more often than you’d like to. Frequent repairs mean that the system is beginning to break down. Nothing lasts forever.

Sometimes frequent repairs happen because of long-term neglect. It eventually catches up. But that’s not always the case. Over time, moving parts simply wear out no matter how often they’re inspected and cleaned.

If you need air conditioning repairs more than once a season, consider that your early warning alarm. It will probably worsen because all good things really must come to an end. You’ll probably be amazed by how effective a new system is at cooling your home.

At Angie’s List, some of the pros recommend the “5,000 rule” for deciding when you’ve had enough with repairs. Multiply the age of the system by the repair cost. If it meets or exceeds 5,000, it might be time to seriously consider a new system before the old one slowly makes your bank account become anemic.

The System Cycles Frequently

One potentially fatal indicator that a system is about to fail is short cycling. If your air conditioner is running through its paces more often than it used to, a new system is probably in your near future. You might get by temporarily with repairs, but repairs can’t help every possible cause.

Just like it sounds, short cycling means that the system switches on, then off, then on, then off again in short order. This usually happens several times an hour, but sometimes it’s as often as every few minutes. It can wear out the system components quickly, and it usually impairs the system’s ability to extract humidity and cool your home.

Short cycling might be caused by low refrigerant, ice on the coil, damage to the compressor, or sometimes the problem is just a bad thermostat. And Inspectapedia says sometimes the real culprit is a system that’s too large for the home.

HVAC professionals evaluate numerous factors about your home to help find the right size AC system. Factors such as insulation, drafts and even the type of windows installed make a difference. You don’t want a too-small or too-large system. Like Goldilocks, you want one that’s just right.

A new air conditioner transforms your summertime life for many years to come. Lower humidity means you can save energy and feel more comfortable at the same time. And because your new system will have a great warranty, you can feel confident that unexpected problems won’t ruin your budget.

If your air conditioner has seen better days, there’s no better time than now to contact the professionals at Rodenhiser. For 85 years and counting, we have provided expert residential and commercial service to communities throughout the Route 495 / 128 area. Don’t suffer through the heat. Call Rodenhiser today and enjoy cooler, more comfortable air tomorrow.

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How to Find the Right Carrier Air Conditioner for Your Home

Air conditioner
Is your AC system starting to fail? A Carrier air conditioner is a great choice, and there are plenty of different models from which you can choose. Carrier has three different price-point categories, and each one works efficiently. Some units are Energy-Star rated and others aren’t. If that’s important to you, be sure to check the label.

Go Ductless or Traditional

Carrier air conditioning systems offer traditional units and ductless mini-splits. If your home has ductwork and you only want to replace an older system, a traditional Carrier air conditioner might be the right choice. But if you don’t have ducts or want to avoid connecting to them, a ductless system might be a better fit.

With a traditional system, you’ll have an outdoor unit, an indoor unit, and the cooled air will carry throughout your home via the ductwork. With a ductless system, you’ll have a small outdoor unit, small indoor unit, and no ducts. That means air conditioning is possible in any room of your house, even where no ducts exist.

Air conditioner Your technician will evaluate your home to help you choose the right unit for its needs.

Think about the SEER Rating

Air conditioning efficiency is determined by EER or SEER ratings. EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio shows how efficiently the unit performs at transforming electricity into cooled air. The calculation divides the electrical watts used by the cooling BTUs produced at a set temperature.

SEER is a step up from EER, and it’s a calculation that Carrier air conditioners use. Where EER gives you the unit’s efficiency under specific conditions, SEER gives you its efficiency under differing conditions. The “S” is SEER stands for “Seasonal.” And the higher the SEER number the better.

Consider the Noise Level

You’re familiar with the sound of an AC unit cycling on. There’s the mechanical sound of parts moving and a fan turning, and there’s also the hum, hopefully low, that persists through each cycle. Some air conditioners are annoyingly loud, but a Carrier system is designed to be quieter.

Different rankings of Carrier air conditioner systems have different sound levels in decibels. Some systems have a sound ranking of about 72 decibels. And some go as low as the mid-60s. Pair a great SEER rating and sound rating, and you’ll have a quiet, efficient cooling dynamo.

Consider Special Features

Not every air conditioner is the same. Some are straightforward, no bells and no whistles. And some are infinitely smarter, like the Infinity® system. Carrier’s Infinity® makes your air conditioner smart. It can automatically adjust and correct more features than you’d ever imagine, such as automatically adjusting the temperature based on outside conditions and operating different zones in your home independently.

Carrier air conditioner Greenspeed® is a heating and cooling system that uses Infinity® smart technology. The Ideal Humidity System® takes days when you could wring out the air because it’s so humid and makes it drier, which is inherently cooler at a higher temperature setting. And with the Côr™ smart thermostat, you may never have to adjust the temperature again.

The right Carrier air conditioner for your home might be a combination of a number of features. Maybe you’re especially budget conscious. All Carrier systems are efficient and meet at least the minimum SEER requirements for Massachusetts. Or maybe you want top-of-the-line efficiency with all of the latest smart technology. We’ve got that, too.

At Rodenheiser, our highly skilled technicians can evaluate the efficiency of your home and help narrow down your choices to the ones that are best suited. See our current specials to find out how we can make this summer the most comfortable one yet.

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3 Pro Tips for Running Your Air Conditioner

Air conditioner
You’ll be blown away by how comfortable your home can be with a few adjustments.

It’s officially air conditioning season, and your system might not shut down completely for a few months. During that time, it will cycle through again and again in an effort to keep you and your home cool and comfortable. While you can switch on the unit and leave it to handle itself, a little proactive care helps it work better and save energy at the same time.

Here are three tips that can keep your system running in top condition all summer long.

#1: Invest in a Whole-House Fan

If you’ve never seen a whole-house fan that’s recessed into the ceiling, you might be surprised by how effective one can be. It leaves ordinary ceiling fans and box fans in the dust. Switched on, it draws air from inside the house up through the fan and into the attic, where the heat can be released through attic vents.

What’s amazing about a whole-house fan is its ability to cool down a house in a hurry, which lets you switch off the AC and give it a break. But there’s a technique to it. Raise window sashes only about an inch or two, no more than that, then turn on the fan.

Because the appliance is so powerful, it draws in air through the window openings to create a breezy current while eliminating stuffy heat. Most homeowners use a whole-house fan when outdoor temperatures are lower, from twilight until dawn, then switch on the air conditioning once the sun is up.

Air conditioner While you’re on a tropical beach, a programmable thermostat keeps an eye on things at home.

#2: Use a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats are the way of the future, but any programmable thermostat can help save money and improve your comfort. Consumer Reports recommends a general setting of 78 degrees, which sounds high. But with a healthy AC system that removes enough humidity, your 78-degree home will feel much cooler than a humid, 78-degree day outdoors. Then using the programmable thermostat, you can add in periods of adjustment when you don’t need as much cooling.

During an ordinary week, the thermostat raises the indoor temperature at times when you don’t need as much air conditioning, such as while you’re at work, and lowers it when you do. And because it’s automatic, you don’t have to remember to adjust it. Remember that shutting down the system at night isn’t recommended because a hot house isn’t conducive to restful sleep.

A programmable thermostat is also perfect for when you’re away on vacation. It automates the temperature control, which is better for some families than shutting down the system altogether. House plants, fish, and other living things can suffer or die if the indoor temperature gets too high. But a setting that’s about 10 degrees higher will save money without letting the house turn into an oven.

#3: Follow a Good Maintenance Schedule

Regular maintenance is vital to the health of your air conditioning system. Check your air filter every month and replace it when it’s dirty. In some homes, especially those with a few pets, the filter should be replaced every 30 days. But in others, the filter will be fine for as many as 90 days. Checking it monthly ensures you won’t operate the system with a dirty filter, which impairs its ability to breathe and operate efficiently.

Check the outdoor unit frequently to prevent a buildup of grass clippings, leaves, and other debris that block the vents and delicate aluminum fins. Brush them gently with a soft-bristle brush to remove debris, and you’ll encourage better circulation and efficiency.

Keep weeds and vines away from the unit, too. And if it’s located on a side of your home that bears the brunt of the summertime sun, think about giving it some shade. You can install a screen to help block the sun or plant tall shrubs. Just be sure they’re far enough away to give shade without blocking the unit.

Air conditioning has an enormous job to do. It cycles on and off repeatedly for months on end, so it needs all of the help that it can get. It’s tempting to lower the thermostat more and more until you almost need a sweater indoors. But that leads to high electricity bills, and it also causes unnecessary wear and tear on the system. By eliminating more condensation, you can live more comfortably at a higher temperature. If your home gets cool but feels clammy, that’s a sign that the system is working too hard and isn’t removing enough moisture. It needs a checkup.

If you’re already disappointed with the performance of your air conditioning this season, it might be time to schedule an appointment. Call Rodenhiser today for maintenance, service or a whole new system.

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4 Signs Your Air Conditioner Might Fail This Summer

Air conditioner
There’s a point when even the best maintenance schedule and timely repairs can’t save an old air conditioner.

Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that there’s nothing wrong with your trusty old air conditioner. Sure it has its quirks, but it still operates, at least most of the time. Problem is, air conditioners shouldn’t have quirks. They either perform like they should, or there’s something wrong.

If you’re wondering about whether it’s time to consider a new system, chances are pretty good that it’s past time. Here are some key indicators that this summer will be the last one that you spend with your current AC system.

#1: Your Air Conditioner is More Than 10 Years Old

By no means is 10 years the magic lifespan of all air conditioners. Some of them survive much longer, and some break much sooner. However, a system that’s 10 years old has seen a tremendous amount of use. Parts begin to break, and sometimes repair parts are increasingly difficult to find.

If your AC system has served you for 10 years, give or take, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement. You might get another season or two from it, or even more. But if it does give up the ghost at the decade mark, that’s about average for more residential air conditioning systems.


You can keep turning it down, but that might not be enough.

#2: Your Home Doesn’t Get Cool Enough

Do you adjust the thermostat lower and lower in a losing battle to cool your home? It’s never a good sign. But it’s worse if your AC system used to perform well and has only recently started struggling to keep up with demand. If humidity is also a problem, the system is probably in worse shape than you suspect.

Some air conditioners are just not powerful enough to cool certain homes. But you’d have known that long before now unless your system is brand new. If it seems to grow weaker all the time, it’s beginning to fail. And if you can’t bring the humidity level down indoors, that’s a possible indicator of a much bigger problem.

#3: You Need More Repairs Every Year

Every air conditioner needs seasonal maintenance, and the occasional repair is to be expected. Parts break and nothing lasts forever, especially with an appliance that gets so much use. But there comes a point where repairs happen more and more frequently. And that’s a point where the system is probably approaching its expiration.

Increasingly frequent repairs mean everything is giving out. One issue can trigger another, and if the parts are older they might begin to break down in rapid succession. It’s not unlike an old vehicle. It’s possible to keep it on the road. But it won’t perform well, and you’ll pay a lot more in repairs and energy for weaker performance every year.

#4: It Works Until it Doesn’t

At some point near the end of its lifespan, your air conditioner might only work intermittently. Maybe you wake in the morning to a stuffy house and a system that’s silent. But if you turn it off and then try again later, it might revive and work again, at least for a while.

A healthy air conditioner doesn’t need a nap in order to perform well. If yours only cycles on intermittently, that’s one of the most classic indicators that a new air conditioner is in your future.

Everything fails eventually, even the best air conditioners. Sooner or later, they all break beyond repair. Yours might offer a few more months or even years of service. But if the problems are snowballing and you call your HVAC technician more than twice a season, it’s the outlook isn’t positive.

But there is good news. At Rodenhiser, we’re experts in residential cooling. We have a wide range of air conditioning systems that can make your home comfortable again. Contact us for an HVAC new system install and find out how many new, highly efficient options that you have.

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Turn Me on Early: 3 Reasons Why You Should Start Your AC Now

Start your AC now
It’s not too early, it’s just the right time.

The first day of summer isn’t far away. After a long and cold winter, that’s a real relief. But if summer’s first surge of heat finds your air conditioning in need of attention, you might be in trouble.

Whether or not it’s warm enough to need air conditioning right now, it will be warm enough soon. Here are 3 reasons why it’s better to turn on your system and get ahead of the game instead of waiting until the last minute.

Detect AC Problems Before the Heat Sets In

When temperatures soar, the most delightful thing in the world is switching on the AC and getting that nice, cool breeze from the registers throughout your home. But what if you move from heat to air conditioning and all that you get is slightly warm air or worse, none at all?

Turning on your system now to put it through its paces helps you detect problems sooner rather than later. Your system might be low on refrigerant, which means it can’t remove heat from your home as effectively as it should. Or you might have a mechanical problem that’s lurking. There are many things that can go wrong with an air conditioning unit, even through the winter when it’s not in use. Test it early, and you won’t be caught off guard.

Start your AC now
Soon, your HVAC technician won’t have any free time at all.

Get on Your Technician’s Schedule Sooner

Once warm weather is in full swing, everyone in town will have their air conditioning running. And where more systems are running, more problems are emerging and more systems are breaking down. It’s a busy time of year for HVAC technicians, and their schedules show it.

Do yourself and your technician a favor and test your air conditioning system as soon as you can. That way, you’ll beat the summer rush and stand a better chance of getting a service appointment in a quicker timeframe. The longer you wait to call, the longer you might have to wait for an appointment.

Perhaps Get Better Repair Rates

If you turn on your air conditioning during the first hot day of summer, you might get cool air in return. Then again, you might hear a rattle or a clank, and then a whole lot of silence. That’s when most homeowners make an emergency service call. And emergencies tend to cost extra.

If you test out your air conditioning unit early, any problems that you might find won’t need immediate repair to keep you from living in a miserably hot home. You’ll have time to wait for parts to arrive, and your technician can fit you into his regular schedule instead of coming out after hours.

It’s probably been months since you thought about your air conditioning system at all. Once it’s shut off for the cooler season, homeowners tend to think about heat instead of AC, and with good reason. But with spring here and summer just weeks way, now is the time to let Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning get your air conditioning in good working order.

You might not need cool air today, but you will need it soon. A quick call for AC maintenance or repair can ensure that your home is ready for summer long before the thermometer starts to soar. Set up an appointment online today.

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Are There Benefits to Installing a Ductless Air Conditioning System?

Ready to install a new air conditioning system? A ductless air conditioning system is an option to consider. It is a flexible, affordable alternative to ducted central A/C or window units. The benefits of ductless air conditioning show why it is a serious contender for keeping your space cool.

Some Essential Benefits of Ductless A/C

ductless air conditioning
Source: iStock.com/Digiphoto

Let’s look at some benefits you get from going ductless:

  • Easy installation – This happens because there are no ducts to run. Using a two-man crew, a typical central A/C system can take up to a week to install. All the ductwork needs to be run, the air handler installed in the attic or closet, and the outside compressor set. A ductless mini-split usually takes a day or less for complete installation.
  • Small footprint – The external compressor for a ductless mini-split is only a fraction of the size of the compressor for central A/C. The interior unit is even more petite. A regular central air system requires a large air handler installed into the attic or a closet. A ductless system uses air handlers that hang on the wall.
  • Very efficient – A ductless mini-split typically uses far less energy than a typical central air system. Plus, because there are air handlers in individual rooms, it is possible to control temperatures in each room, making the system even more efficient.
  • Remote control operation – Every air handler has its own remote control. This makes it possible to control the exact temperature within a room without running out to the central thermostat all the time. The room’s occupants can control the temperature from the bed, the couch, or even the water closet.
  • Very quiet – Many A/C systems make a ton of noise while keeping your home cool. A ductless system is built for residential quiet. At most, the occupants hear a low hum.

If you need an efficient, affordable way to cool your space, consider the benefits of ductless air conditioning. For more information on a ductless system, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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The Smart Programmable Thermostat – Your Key To Energy Savings

programmable thermostat, Boston, Massachusetts

Heating and cooling technology has come a long way in the past few decades, and with it, the act of controlling that technology has gotten better. Perhaps the best example of this is the smart programmable thermostat. Let’s take a look at how this new system can help you save energy. Read More The Smart Programmable Thermostat – Your Key To Energy Savings >>

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Maximizing Energy Efficiency and Comfort Needs by Upgrading to a Zoning System

zoning systemIf it’s difficult to achieve comfortable temperatures from one room to another in your household, or to satisfy everyone’s preferences at the same time, consider upgrading to a zoning system. You’ll get a leg up on your energy bills, indoor climate control and perhaps find some peace of mind by eliminating squabbles over thermostat settings.

Read More Maximizing Energy Efficiency and Comfort Needs by Upgrading to a Zoning System >>

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Attic Ventilation Takes the Edge Off of Excess Heat and Moisture

attic ventilation-indoor air quality, Holliston, MassachusettsAttic ventilation is an essential component of keeping the atmosphere in your home healthy year-round. It can help cut down on air conditioning costs in summer and help prevent ice dams in winter. Read More Attic Ventilation Takes the Edge Off of Excess Heat and Moisture >>

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A Clean Air Filter and A/C Efficiency Go Hand in Hand

clean air filter, Holliston, MassachusettsA clean air filter will not only extend the life of your air conditioner, but also will help lower your energy bill, keep your air quality high and keep your HVAC system cleaner. Read More A Clean Air Filter and A/C Efficiency Go Hand in Hand >>

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