Staying cool in the spring and summer is a challenge for many Central Valley residents, since running the air conditioner constantly can quickly become expensive. What many people don’t know is that supplementing your AC with a heat pump can actually bring your cooling costs down significantly, making it much more cost-effective to stay comfortable […]
Air conditioner problems can make your home uncomfortable during the warmer months of the year, and chances are you’ll want to fix them right away. You might even be tempted to take them into your own hands—but wait! Before you grab a toolkit from the garage and start tinkering with your AC, you should understand […]
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Staying cool in the spring and summer is a challenge for many Central Valley residents, since running the air conditioner constantly can quickly become expensive. What many people don’t know is that supplementing your AC with a heat pump can actually bring your cooling costs down significantly, making it much more cost-effective to stay comfortable throughout the hottest months of the year.
Modern heat pumps use less energy than central air conditioners, but can still reduce your indoor temperature significantly—letting you save the AC for those hot days when you really need it (and save money in the long run). Learn more below from our experienced HVAC technicians about how you can use a heat pump to make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient at the same time.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Like central air conditioners, heat pumps use refrigerant to move heat from one area to another. Unlike air conditioners, however, heat pumps can also reverse this process to move heat from the outside into your home and raise the temperature, which means they provide both heating and cooling capabilities.
When your heat pump is in cooling mode, it goes through the following steps:
Refrigerant enters the compressor as a low-pressure gas
The compressor squeezes the refrigerant to raise its pressure and increase its temperature
The refrigerant enters the condenser, where it releases its heat to the outdoors and becomes a high-pressure liquid
The liquid refrigerant moves to the expansion valve where its pressure is released—causing its temperature to drop even further
The refrigerant reaches the evaporator where it absorbs heat from inside the home and vaporizes into a low-pressure gas
As a low-pressure gas, the refrigerant enters the compressor and begins the cycle again
Why Heat Pumps Use Less Energy than Air Conditioners
The steps described above are the same basic tasks that your central air conditioner performs—but heat pumps use less energy. Here’s why:
Using a heat pump to provide heating and cooling with the same system uses much less energy than switching back and forth between separate heating and cooling equipment. This is because most of the energy furnaces and air conditioners use is spent while they’re starting up.
Heat pumps are often designed with variable-speed compressors, allowing them to operate at lower speeds than air conditioners. This means they can more accurately match their output to your home’s cooling needs and reduce energy waste.
Our heat pumps also come with WiFi-enabled smart thermostats, which can further enhance energy efficiency by automatically adjusting your equipment to maintain optimal comfort levels in your home.
The Benefits of Heat Pumps for Homeowners
The convenience and energy efficiency heat pumps offer results in numerous benefits for homeowners. Here are a few of the clearest:
Using less energy also means paying less each month to cool your home. Based on the numbers above, an average California homeowner could save $1000 on cooling annually with a heat pump—or ~$83 per month. Bear in mind that savings for individual households will vary depending on specific usage habits.
High-efficiency heat pumps provide comparable cooling power to most central air conditioning systems while offering better energy efficiency, so replacing your AC with a new heat pump can be a smart move. Adding a heat pump and keeping your air conditioner is also an option—using the heat pump to supplement your AC on the hottest days of the year is a much more efficient way to cool off than simply pushing your air conditioner to its limits.
Here are some other tips for making the best possible use of your heat pump:
Usage & Maintenance Tips
Combine your heat pump with a WiFi-enabled smart thermostat to ensure its output is always consistent with your cooling needs (our heat pumps come with these by default).
Clean or replace your heat pump’s air filter on a monthly basis.
Keep your doors and windows closed when running your heat pump to prevent hot air from entering.
Use curtains to stop direct sunlight from entering your home through windows and warming the interior.
Have your heat pump professionally serviced twice a year (we recommend once in the spring and once in the fall). Our team can diagnose any problems with your heat pump and present you with solutions to ensure its energy efficiency throughout the year’s warmest months.
Using a Heat Pump for Cost-Effective Cooling
While heat pumps aren’t normally effective replacements for central air conditioners in California, they make an excellent way to reduce the amount of energy it takes to cool your home on all but the hottest days of the year. The savings a heat pump provides can easily pay off their installation costs in just a few years, providing you and your family with more income each month.
Contact Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air to learn more about the benefits of installing a heat pump in your home. We’ll be happy to recommend equipment based on your home’s specific cooling needs and provide you with a quote to help you make an informed decision about your comfort.
Air conditioner problems can make your home uncomfortable during the warmer months of the year, and chances are you’ll want to fix them right away. You might even be tempted to take them into your own hands—but wait! Before you grab a toolkit from the garage and start tinkering with your AC, you should understand the risks that come with DIY jobs. Air conditioners are sensitive electrical systems, and hiring a professional to service yours is always a better idea—not to mention a safer one.
Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air has successfully performed air conditioner repairs across Modesto and the Central Valley, so we know all about the risks that come with this kind of work and we’re happy to explain them to you. Learn all about the pitfalls of DIY air conditioner repair below so you can avoid damaging your air conditioner and get help that will solve your problem instead of making it worse.
When you handle electrical components, you are potentially exposed to live wires and electrical current, which can be dangerous and even fatal if not handled properly. Without the proper training and knowledge, you may not be able to identify the electrical hazards involved in repairing your air conditioner and may end up putting yourself in harm’s way. To ensure your safety, it’s best to leave air conditioning repairs to the professionals who have the training and equipment to handle the job safely.
Risk #2: Refrigerant Leaks
Refrigerant is a crucial component of your air conditioner, and handling it improperly can cause it to leak, which can be both harmful to the environment and also reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning system. Furthermore, exposure to refrigerants can pose a risk to your health, as some types can cause respiratory problems if inhaled.
If you’re not trained in how to properly handle refrigerants, it’s best to leave the repair to a professional. Our team has the knowledge and equipment to safely handle refrigerants and make repairs without causing any leaks or health risks.
Risk #3: Fire Hazards
The electrical components in your air conditioner can do more than shock you—they can also start fires. For example, accidentally damaging electrical wiring while attempting a repair can create a short circuit, which in turn can create an electrical arc. An electrical arc produces sparks, which can ignite materials nearby.
Additionally, electrical energy stored in your air conditioner’s capacitors can be released accidentally if you handle them improperly. This can also start an electrical arc that leads to a fire in your home.
Risk #4: Damage to Components
Without proper training and experience, you may end up making repairs that do more harm than good. For example, if you attempt to repair a refrigerant leak by yourself, it can be quite easy to damage the evaporator coil—a crucial component for transfering heat from inside your home to the outside. If you do, your air conditioner won’t be able to cool your home at all.
Trying to repair your air conditioner’s fan is another example of a DIY fix that can cause extensive damage, since you may end up damaging the fan blades or breaking the sensitive motor that allows it to spin. If you do, you’ll probably need to replace the blower motor entirely—which is much more expensive.
Risk #5: Voiding the Warranty
It’s also vital to understand that your air conditioner’s warranty only applies to repairs undertaken by qualified professionals. This means that any damage you cause to your AC unit while attempting DIY repairs will not be covered by the manufacturer—and they won’t cover future damage, either!
If you’re experiencing a problem with your air conditioner, it’s always better to have our home comfort specialists diagnose and address the problem. This will keep your warranty valid in case you need to use it in the future.
Risk #6: Incorrect Repairs
On top of all that, there’s no guarantee that DIY repairs will actually fix what’s wrong with your AC unit. This is because air conditioners are complex systems that require specialized training and tools to diagnose and repair. If you don’t have the right knowledge or equipment, you may only be treating the symptoms of the problem and not the root cause.
For example, if your air conditioner is not blowing cold air, you might think the problem is with the fan. But, in reality, it could be due to a refrigerant leak or a faulty compressor. Trying to fix the fan on your own won’t resolve the underlying issue and you’ll end up wasting your time and potentially causing further damage to your AC unit. To ensure that the problem is properly fixed, give us a call and let our professionals handle it.
Why Investing in HVAC Experts Is Worth It
As you can see, the risks associated with DIY air conditioner repair far outweigh any potential benefits. Tampering with your air conditioner can end up costing you much more than simply hiring a qualified expert, and can be dangerous besides.
When you contact Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air for air conditioner repairs, you can trust us to get the job done right. We take pride in doing high-quality work our customers can count on, so if any of our HVAC repairs fail in the first year, we’ll do them over again—absolutely free of charge. Call now to speak with an expert, or book your AC repair online.