Dehumidifiers are used all over the country rather they be a smaller portable system or a centrally installed system that moves through your duct work. While their function is rather basic, removing excess humidity from your home, their benefits are numerous.

Excess humidity in your home can cause a whole host of problems. It could be causing a damp or musty smell to come from your basement. It could be causing water to condensate on your interior windows. It could be causing mold to begin growing on your walls or curtains. Whatever symptoms you are seeing a dehumidifier can help with all of them. To see all of the various benefits that dehumidifiers can offer please click here.

In this article though we are going to focus on one specific problem caused by excess humidity, mold. If black mold has begun to grow in your home then you or your family could begin experiencing a whole host of health problems. These could be both short term and long term. In extreme cases of mold growth you can begin to see the mold growing on your curtains, your bed sheets, and even on your clothes.

By purchasing and running a dehumidifier in your home you are removing that excess humidity or water from the air. Removing this humidity makes your home far less hospitable for black mold to grow. I won’t get into all of the various sizes of dehumidifiers in this article, but if your whole home is having an issue then it may make sense to go with a centrally installed dehumidifier that connects to your ductwork. If it’s just a few rooms though then a portable dehumidifier should work for you, just be sure to buy one with a decent pint size. (The higher the pint sizes the more water it can remove from your home.) I would recommend a fifty pint or seventy pint system to ensure you get your home back to normal humidity levels. (The most comfortable and safe humidity levels for a home are between thirty to fifty percent.)

One point of caution here folks that I wanted to make you all aware of. Running a dehumidifier will make your home less hospitable to mold but it will not remove mold. In some cases the fans of the dehumidifier can actually spread mold spores. It is best practice to have the mold removed entirely before you start with the dehumidifier. It is also not recommended that you try and do this yourself as you could end up inadvertently spreading the mold further. You should hire a trained professional contractor.

Once you have the mold removed you can then start the dehumidifier up in the affected room or house. With the humidity now at a controlled level the chances of mold resurfacing are minimal. The only other concern is if there is water coming into your home from an outside source. Your dehumidifier will dry the area out but you will still need to fix the water source.

Conclusion

If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you check out our complete buying guide that I completed earlier this week. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this article we helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefirgerantHQ

Dehumidifiers are quite a handy invention. They are used all over the world during the summer months to help us all escape the miserable heat and humidity. Over the past ten years or so the usage of dehumidifiers has increased tenfold thanks in part due to Climate Change.

For those of you that do not know, there is a huge difference when it comes to a dry heat and a wet heat. A dry heat of one-hundred degrees, let’s say in California, can feel actually cooler than a humid heat of ninety degrees in Georgia.

If you live in one of these high humidity areas then some that humidity is seeping into your home. A dehumidifier will help to remove that excess humidity and get you back to a more comfortable level. The commonly agreed most comfortable humidity level is between thirty and fifty percent. A dehumidifier will get you to those target levels.

Winter Running

Dehumidifiers are meant to be run during the hottest months of the year. This is where the humidity levels and heat have peaked. I know here in Kansas we can see July or August days start out at eighty-five degrees and ninety percent humidity. Winter is a different story though. Running a dehumidifier in winter may not be necessary and if you do run it then you could risk lowering humidity levels too low.

If humidity is too low then this could cause severe dry skin, rashes, sinus trouble, and other issues. I’m sure you have experienced some of these before during the winter season. I get severely dry skin during the cold months. It can get so bad that it cracks open. It can be quite painful. Having a dehumidifier running constantly could result in this exact scenario or it could worsen the symptoms you are already experiencing.

That’s not the worst of it though; a low humidity environment can dry out your respiratory tract which can result in you being more susceptible to colds and the flu. Houses with low humidity will result in inhabitants getting sick more often. All of this could be a recipe for disaster. (Also note that you may end up seeing some of these same problems if you leave your humidifier operating in the same room for an extended period of time. Especially if the room is smaller or closed off.)

This is why in winter, especially, if you are dealing with the symptoms mentioned above that you should consider purchasing a humidifier. One of the top sellers that I know can be found by clicking here. This product will do the opposite and actually ad humidity to the air.

Conclusion

If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you check out our complete buying guide that I completed earlier this week. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this article we helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefirgerantHQ

There is nothing more uncomfortable then living in an area with high humidity. I’m based out of the Kansas City area and today it’s over ninety degrees. When I woke up this morning the humidity was at ninety percent. It’s since settled down a bit to just over sixty… but that is still pretty damn high if you ask me. It can make it miserable when you step outside. As my dad says, it feels like you’re swimming through the air.

It can be worse though if you are feeling some that excess humidity inside of your home. This is where our friend, the dehumidifier, can come in handy. A dehumidifier will do its best to remove all of that excess humidity from your home. This will not only improve the air quality in your home but will also reduce risk of allergens such as dust mites, mildew, fungi, and even mold.

The question though is a dehumidifier safe to use? Are there dangers to be considered before operating one? Let’s take a look and find out!

Basic Safety

Overall, a dehumidifier is a pretty safe machine. Yes, there are instances where things can go wrong, but for the most part you’ll be safe.

The first risk is tilting. If your pet, or your toddler, accidentally runs into your dehumidifier will it keep running, or will it shut off? The risk here is that if it keeps running the appliance could get hot and that heat could translate into a fire. (Think of a hot appliance up against soft carpet.) The good news here though is that most dehumidifiers have a tilt safety feature. If the machine starts to tilt then it will automatically shut off.

When your dehumidifier runs it extracts the humidity from the environment and converts it to water. This water is then stored in a removable tank. As the tank gets full your dehumidifier should have a sensor that shuts the machine off and prevents any more water from accumulating. Nearly all dehumidifiers have this feature, but it is best to check if the one you are buying does. It would not be a good experience to have overflowing water from the tank all over your floor. The other option here is to buy a hose attachment and drain the water into a basement drain, sink, or other area. This will prevent you from having to monitor the water tank levels.

It is also best practice to check this water tank regularly. If the tank is not emptied in a timely manner then you have sitting stagnant water. This could result in mold growth if not properly removed and dumped. Also, always dump out the water tank before putting the dehumidifier in storage. These steps will ensure that the tank stays clean and free of mold.

Another risk is having the appliance began to overheat after operating for a long period of time. In most cases this has the same safety feature as the tilt. If the dehumidifier doe s began to overheat then an automatic shutdown will occur to prevent a fire from occurring.

While most dehumidifiers have an overheating safety mechanism there was a recall issued back in 2017 over a faulty mechanism. This caused the dehumidifiers to overheat and eventually catch fire. You can read about this by clicking here. While this is a rare occurrence, in order to be absolutely safe it is best to turn the dehumidifier off if you will be leaving your home for an extended period of time.

Be sure to clean your dehumidifier regularly including the filter. Most of these filters come with an antibacterial coating. It is recommended that you not wash these filters with water as there is risk of the coating coming off. Instead, you should lightly brush it with a cloth or use a vacuum to clean out any dust or debris. Along with the filter it is best to wipe down or clean the entire unit to prevent any dust or moisture from remaining.

Winter Running

Dehumidifiers are meant to be run during the hottest months of the year. This is where the humidity levels and heat have peaked. I know here in Kansas we can see July or August days start out at eighty-five degrees and ninety percent humidity. Winter is a different story though. Running a dehumidifier in winter may not be necessary and if you do run it then you could risk lowering humidity levels too low.

If humidity is too low then this could cause severe dry skin, rashes, sinus trouble, and other issues. I’m sure you have experienced some of these before during the winter season. I get severely dry skin during the cold months. It can get so bad that it cracks open. It can be quite painful. Having a dehumidifier running constantly could result in this exact scenario or it could worsen the symptoms you are already experiencing.

That’s not the worst of it though; a low humidity environment can dry out your respiratory tract which can result in you being more susceptible to colds and the flu. Houses with low humidity will result in inhabitants getting sick more often. All of this could be a recipe for disaster. (Also note that you may end up seeing some of these same problems if you leave your humidifier operating in the same room for an extended period of time. Especially if the room is smaller or closed off.)

This is why in winter, especially, if you are dealing with the symptoms mentioned above that you should consider purchasing a humidifier. One of the top sellers that I know can be found by clicking here. This product will do the opposite and actually ad humidity to the air.

Conclusion

Dehumidifiers are quite safe. Safety mechanisms have been installed to prevent water leakage or fire hazards. The main concern that you have to worry about is the humidity getting to high or too low in your home. It is a constant balancing act. More often than not you can follow the simple guidelines that dehumidifiers should be operated in summer mostly. Yes, they can be used in spring and fall… but I would not recommend use in winter. Remember folks the most comfortable humidity level for us between thirty percent to fifty percent.

If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you check out our complete buying guide that I completed earlier this week. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this article we helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefirgerantHQ

 

Question

Dehumidifiers are used all over the country rather they be a smaller portable system or a centrally installed system that moves through your duct work. While their function is rather basic, removing excess humidity from your home, their benefits are numerous.

Excess humidity in your home can cause a whole host of problems. It could be causing a damp or musty smell to come from your basement. It could be causing water to condensate on your interior windows. It could be causing mold to begin growing on your walls or curtains. Whatever symptoms you are seeing a dehumidifier can help eliminate all of them. To see all of the various benefits that dehumidifiers can offer please click here.

The question now though how exactly do dehumidifiers work? How is the water extracted? What kind should you get? Let’s take a look.

How They Work

Depending on what dehumidifier that you are looking at they can remove humidity in one of two ways.

The first is that they act like an air conditioner complete with compressor and refrigerant. The air is brought in, the air is cooled by passing over freezing pipes, the cooled air’s moisture/humidity then turns back into liquid, the cooled air is passed through a heating element to warm the air back to room levels, and then the warmed dry air is expelled back into your home. All of this is done with the use of refrigerants just like what you see in air conditioner. The only real difference is that an air conditioner does not have an additional heating element to warm the air back to baseline levels. I won’t get into the full science of the refrigeration cycle here, but if you are interested in reading more about it click here to be taken to our ‘How do Refrigerants Work,’ article.

The second way a dehumidifier can work is through the absorption or adsorption method.  This is also known as the desiccant method. These are the most common methods especially in smaller portable dehumidifiers. There is no refrigerant used in this method. Instead, the moist air is pulled into the machine through a duct. That air then moves past a large rotating wheel of water absorbing material. While the air is on this wheel it rotates through a section that has heated hot air blown on it. After some time the rotating wheel is dried out from the hot blowing air and then the dry air is expelled back into your home.

In both cases the dehumidifier should have a sensor that will alert the machine its collection tray is full. This alert will stop the machine from operating until the collection tray is emptied of water. Most of the time they will have an indicator alerting you that the tray needs emptied. Other dehumidifier models come with a drainage hose attachment. If the hose is connected you can then drain all of the removed water into a nearby drainage area. This will work just like your central air conditioner does.

Something else to consider is what type of dehumidifier that you want for your home. It can be important when choosing what type of dehumidifier that you want: Refrigerant based and desiccant based. The desiccant models are more efficient then refrigerant models, especially in colder temperature areas. The down side is that these systems also have a smaller capacity rating.  The desiccant models are also quieter than their refrigerant counterpart. If you were looking to cool just a bedroom or two then you may look at the desiccant.

However, if you are having constant trouble with a part of your home that is hot and humid then you should be looking at the refrigerant models. A refrigerant based system will be more efficient in hotter temperatures. It all depends on temperature. If the area you are dehumidifying is below sixty-five degrees then you should go with the desiccant model and if your room is above sixty-five degrees then go with the refrigerant type model.

Conclusion

If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you check out our complete buying guide that I completed earlier this week. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this article we helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefirgerantHQ

It’s June here in Kansas and the heat is on. Today is going to be ninety-five degrees and when I woke up this morning the humidity read ninety percent. This weather can be quite miserable for those of us who do not have air conditioning. Even if you do have an AC your home can still be uncomfortable during these hot days due to all of the humidity in the air.

This is where dehumidifiers come into play. Humidity is a measurement of how much water vapor is in the air, the higher the number the more moisture. Typically most homeowners are comfortable with humidity levels between thirty to fifty percent. If your home is above these levels then you may feel like the air is thick, or even damp. You may notice water forming condensation on the inside of your windows, or in some cases you may even begin to see mold beginning to grow on your walls or curtains. All of these are signs that the humidity in your home is too high.

Running a dehumidifier in your home will work to shrink that humidity down to a more reasonable level. But, how effective are these dehumidifiers? Should you bother purchasing one? Will you notice a difference? In this article we are going to take a look at just how effective dehumidifiers will be. If you are interested in the benefits of dehumidifiers please click here to be taken to an earlier published article.

Dehumidifier Effectiveness

There isn’t a simple answer here folks. Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables that can affect your dehumidifiers. First, let’s take a look at the appliance itself.

What pint capacity does it have? For those of you that do not know, the pint capacity on a dehumidifier is a measurement of how much water the appliance can remove in a twenty-four hour period. The higher the pint capacity the more effective it will be. You can purchase dehumidifiers with pint sizes ranging from twenty all the way to seventy-five. It is typically recommended to purchase the dehumidifier with the highest pint capacity. This helps you cover your bases and gets you the higher performing appliance for your home.

The other factor when choosing a dehumidifier is the overall quality of the product. There are numerous makes and models out there today and it can be difficult to tell which ones are good and which ones just don’t hold up. My recommendation here is to stick with the brand names that you recognize. For example, the brand name Frigidaire we all know about. Chances are you have a Frigidaire appliance in your home today. They make quality products. They also make dehumidifiers. (Here are a few of their products.)

Ok, so now that we’ve discussed the physical product let’s look at the environmental impacts to dehumidifier effectiveness. This may be a given, but the hotter it is outside the harder your dehumidifier will have to work. You have to remember that a dehumidifier is essentially a little air conditioner. While it doesn’t provide cold air into your home it does extract the humidity just like an air conditioner does. Have you ever noticed that your air conditioners have a drainage pipe in your basement? That water that is draining is the removed humidity. Just like with your air conditioner, the hotter it is outside the harder your dehumidifier will have to work.

Along with a hotter day putting more strain on your dehumidifier you will also see increased load on your appliance based off of how humid it is outside. I’ve mentioned this before, but I live in Kansas where the humidity can be quite high. In the mornings it is around ninety percent and in the afternoon it’s around sixty. These high numbers are going to affect the dehumidifier’s performance.

It’s not just outside temperatures though that can affect the dehumidifier. If you keep the climate in your home too cold then your dehumidifier will struggle to perform. The most common practice is to keep temperatures inside your home at or above sixty-five degrees. This will give you optimal performance on your dehumidifier.

The room that you place your dehumidifier in can also make a substantial difference. You will see more results with your appliance if you place it in the basement rather than your upstairs bedrooms. This is for a few reasons. The first is that the more wide open a space is the harder your dehumidifier will have to work. Secondly, the more air flow that passes through a room the harder it will have to work. Thirdly, we all know that heat rises. If you put your dehumidifier in your top floor bedroom then you are not going to be as effective due to the extra heat it experiences as well as the increased air flow.

Conclusion

As you can tell folks, there are a ton of variables that have to be taken into consideration here. I’d love to give you a simple yes and no answer, but nothing is ever that easy… is it?

Before I close this article I did want to mention that you may end up needing to purchase more than one dehumidifier or even a centrally installed dehumidifier if you have a large home and are experiencing problems throughout the home.

This decision will be a matter of expense. Yes, the expense can be quite higher if you opt for a centrally installed system, but you get peace of mind that your home has humidity control. On the inverse, with the portable systems you can purchase just one and see how it performs. If it suits your needs then you can be done and move on, otherwise you can purchase another one to place strategically in your home.

If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you check out our complete buying guide that I completed earlier this week. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this article we helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefirgerantHQ

Dehumidifiers are quickly becoming commonplace in many homes across the United States. Chances are if you purchased a new central air conditioner system that the company you purchased from also tried to sell you on a central dehumidifier. But, what exactly is a dehumidifier? What benefits can you expect to achieve from using one? Let’s take a look.

First, to understand what a dehumidifier is we need to understand the concept of humidity. Humidity in short, is water vapor in the air. This water is in vapor form and is not in the form of fog, clouds, or rain. A desert will typically have low humidity whereas a jungle will have very high humidity.

Having excess humidity in your home can cause a host of problems. Humidity is not visible to the naked eye, but there are signs of it. For example, if you take a hot shower and then step out of the bathtub and notice the mirror is fogged over. That is an example of the humidity displaying itself to you. You normally see humidity problems in enclosed rooms with poor ventilation such as bathrooms or kitchens. You may also begin to see water droplets forming on the inside of your windows, and in some cases even along your interior walls. These are all examples of excess humidity within your home.

So, what’s the big deal if your home has excess humidity? Too much humidity can cause problems, especially to those in your home that suffer from allergies or asthma. A high humidity environment is perfect for dust mites, mildew, fungi, and mold to thrive in. These allergens can result in a stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and even skin rashes. In extreme cases the mold or fungi can cause severe asthma symptoms. Reducing the humidity in your home can prevent these allergens from taking root.

My father is a rather severe asthmatic. It is now to the point where my mother has to warn him that she will be vacuuming. He can’t be in the house for hours afterwards or else he’ll have a flare up. To help mitigate his symptoms they have a central humidifier installed as well as multiple air purifiers throughout the home. Even with all of this he still has trouble on certain days. I cannot even imagine how bad it would be without these extra protections of air quality.

Dehumidifier Benefits

Having a dehumidifier installed in your home, rather it be a portable or a central system, will work to reduce the humidity within your home. Most models come with a humidity target number that you can program just like you would do with a thermostat. In the summer the recommended setting is fifty percent humidity and in the winter they recommend thirty percent.

Once your dehumidifier is installed and operating you will begin to notice the benefits. Firstly, that damp or musty smell that you can find in basements a lot will eventually go away. So, let’s say for example you have a finished basement and use it as a hosting area for when you have friends over. Everything looks great down there… except the fact that you have that musty smell throughout the basement. By setting up a portable dehumidifier in your basement you will be able to combat that smell and eventually get it to go away entirely.

Along with removing that musty smell dehumidifiers can make the room, or home, that it is installed in much more comfortable. As I’m writing this article it is a few days from July and I am based in Kansas City. I just checked the humidity levels outside. It is at ninety percent humidity and will be around ninety-five degrees. Those are some crazy number. As you all know, a dry heat and a wet heat can feel much different. That is why if you go to California when it’s one-hundred degrees and Kansas City when it’s one-hundred degrees it will feel quite different. Your central air conditioner does it’s best to remove excess humidity but when you are faced with a ninety percent humidity level it can be hard to keep up.

This is where your dehumidifier comes in handy. It can give your air conditioner that extra boost and aid to remove that excess humidity in your home. By removing that humidity you get close to that ‘dry heat’ feeling and your home feels overall more comfortable. On top of that, by adding a dehumidifier to your home you take some of the load off of your air conditioner. This will result in monthly energy savings and the extension of life for your central air conditioner.

The next benefit I want to mention is the overall quality of air. Earlier in this article we mentioned that with excess humidity you can have allergens began to grow within your home such as dust mites, mildew, fungi, and even mold. You may even begin to see the mold begin to grow on the walls, floors, and curtains. In extreme cases the mold can take hold and begin to grow on your bed sheets and even your clothes.

A dehumidifier will actively work to reduce the humidity in your home and the less humidity the less desirable of an area for these allergens to take root. A lot of times you may not even begin to see some of these problems forming in your home though. So, as a rule of thumb, if you have someone in your family or even if you are suffering from allergies while in your home then it may be time for a dehumidifier. It could be itchy/watery eyes, it could be sneezing constantly, or it could even be a rash. A dehumidifier may solve your problem, or at least lessen the symptoms. Another thing that you can do along with your dehumidifier is to purchase a higher quality air conditioner filter. For more on that, you can click here to be taken to our air conditioner filter buying guide.

Having the combination of a dehumidifier with a higher rated MERV filter will greatly aid in improving the quality of air in your home. While allergies may not motivate you enough to improve the air quality in your home then an asthma sufferer will. Earlier in the article I mentioned my father who suffers from asthma. We have to do everything we can to improve air quality. If we do not then he constantly has trouble getting a breath and will have more frequent flare ups. It’s never fun to watch a family member suffer with allergies and asthma and you can even lessen their burden by adding a dehumidifier.

The last benefit that I want to mention is extending the life and quality of your home. Excess humidity in your home over a long period of time can actually result in the wood soaking up some of that excess water. When I say wood I don’t just mean pieces of furniture. No this excess moisture can actually soak into your walls and even your support beams. This can cause warping and overall deterioration. Having a dehumidifier installed will prevent this from occurring.

Conclusion

Now that we understand the overall benefits of dehumidifiers I want to make another point before we close this article. Running a dehumidifier in your home is treating the symptoms of a problem. It does not attack the disease. This is like the doctor giving you a painkiller instead of popping your shoulder back in the socket. Obviously, you need both pain killers and the shoulder relocated.

Let’s say for example you are running a dehumidifier in your basement due to some water pooling in one corner of the basement. While the dehumidifier will get rid of the water and the excess humidity it will not solve the problem. How did the water get into your basement? Where did it come from? That is a whole other story that you will have to troubleshoot and resolve. If you are purchasing a dehumidifier to get rid of a mold problem then the dehumidifier will stop the mold from spreading and prevent it from taking root again… but you will still need to remove the existing mold.

If you are in the market to purchase a dehumidifier then I recommend that you check out our dehumidifier buying guide by clicking here. In this article we go into everything you would ever need to know when it comes to purchasing a dehumidifier.

I hope this article was helpful and thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

There are many reasons to purchase a dehumidifier. It could be that you are looking to air out and remove that damp smell from your basement or laundry room. It could be that you are having trouble with condensation building up on your windows. Or, it could be that you, or someone in your family, are suffering from allergies or even asthma.

If parts of your home, or your entire home, have excess humidity a variety of things can happen. Firstly, you will notice it by the feeling of the room. The higher the humidity the more uncomfortable the room will be during the hot days of summer. It’s not just that though, a home with excess humidity can be a prime candidate for dust mites, mildew, fungi, and even mold. In some cases the mold can begin growing on the walls or your curtains. In extreme cases the mold could begin to grow on your bed sheets and even on your clothes. This mold, mildew, and dust can wreak havoc on allergies. They could result in itchy or water eyes, sneezing, coughing, or even a skin rash. If you are an asthma sufferer then things could get much worse.

Adding a dehumidifier to your home will not only increase the comfort level for your family but it will also make your home less hospitable for these allergens to grow. The question though is what to look for when purchasing a dehumidifier? There are a variety of sizes, considerations, and product features that should all be taken into consideration. In this article we’re going to look at everything you ever need to know before purchasing your dehumidifier. Let’s dive in and take a look:

Sizing

First you will need to determine what you intend to use the dehumidifier for. Are you going to be using it in a damp basement? Your master bedroom? Or, perhaps, in your kitchen/living room combination area? Knowing what room you will be using the appliance is key as you will have to purchase the right sized dehumidifier to ensure that the correct amount of moisture is removed from the air.

Once you have room chosen you now need to measure the square footage of said room. The square footage number will help you in determining just what size dehumidifier that you need. To find the square footage you need to measure the width and the length of the room. Let’s say for example you are measuring for a bedroom that measures ten feet long and twelve feet wide. Ten times twelve equals one-hundred and twenty square feet.

These square footage measurements will aid you in picking a portable dehumidifier. However, if you are looking to dehumidify your entire home then you may look at a whole home dehumidifier. These units can actually be attached to your central air conditioner and be routed through your central duct work. While the cost may be expensive at first you will end up seeing monthly savings on your energy bill and a longer life from your central air conditioner due to the dehumidifier taking some of the work off of the AC. These whole system dehumidifiers can work on homes up to three-thousand square feet.

Determining Dampness

Before you purchase you should keep in mind that once you determine the minimum capacity you need for your room that you should always go up slightly. By going up in capacity, say from a twelve pint to a twenty pint, you are able to increase the overall efficiency of your dehumidifier. This is because the larger unit will not have to work as hard as a unit that was right at the minimum level. Also, while there are all different varying pint sizes required the most common dehumidifier sizes are twenty, thirty, and fifty pints.

When you have your square footage determined you next need to figure out how damp the room is that you are trying to dehumidify. There are a few different dampness ratings that we can assign to your room. Knowing these will allow us to guide you on what kind of dehumidifier to purchase.


Moderately Damp – When you enter the room you may notice that the air feels clammy or even damp. There may also be a musty odor when the weather is humid outside. This may be a lot of your basements. The recommend capacity for a moderately damp room is between ten to twenty-six pints, or between five to twelve liters.

    • A five-hundred square feet area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of ten pints or four point seven liters. Our recommended product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A one-thousand square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of fourteen pints or six point six liters. Our recommend product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A fifteen-hundred square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of eighteen pints or eight point five liters. Our recommend product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A two-thousand square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of twenty-two pints or ten liters. Our recommend product is the hOmeLabs 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A twenty-five-hundred square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of twenty-six pints or twelve liters. Our recommend product is the hOmeLabs 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.

Very Damp – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You may even notice damp spots on the floor, walls, or windows.  The recommend capacity for a very damp area is between twelve to thirty-two pints, or between five point seven to fifteen point one liters.


Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The recommend capacity for a wet area is between fourteen to thirty-eight pints, or between six point six to eighteen liters.


Very Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The difference here though between wet and very wet is that with the very wet section you will notice actual standing water on the floor. The recommend capacity for a very wet area is between sixteen to forty-four pints, or between seven point six to twenty point eight liters.


Now, you may have noticed that all of the products we mentioned above are NOT a central dehumidifier. These products we recommended above are strictly portable. If you are interested in a central system then it is best to schedule a consultation with your local HVAC contractor. It is always best to compare prices and quotes from various contractors to ensure you get the best price for your money. Also, you may also end up getting a deal if you purchase both an air conditioner and a central dehumidifier.

Considerations

Along with the choosing the right size there are other, more minor, factors that should be taken into consideration. The first is the overall portability of the appliance. If you are buying a dehumidifier for one of your rooms, or even your basement, how easy is it to move? Does it come with rollers, or does it have to be carried? Does it have handles to be carried? This may not mean much if you intend to set it and forget it in one room, but if you want the ability to move the dehumidifier around then portability definitely worth reviewing.

hOmeLabs 70 Pint Portable Dehumidifier
hOmeLabs 70 Pint Portable Dehumidifier

Another small factor is the overall size of the tank that will be holding the water that is removed from the air. Obviously, the larger the tank the less often you will have to empty it. This is just more of a convenience factor then anything though. The size of tanks can vary wildly from model to model. It’s not just the sizing though. How easy is it to empty the tank? Is it easily pulled out and dumped, or do you have to mess around with it for a bit?

You may also even find some units that come with a drainage hose that can be fed to your basement drain or even your sink. All of this is a matter of preference. Obviously the easiest solution is going with the hose option. There are also some models out there that come with a tank and an attachment for a drainage hose. This leaves the decision up to you on how you want to dispose of the water.

Something else to consider is what type of dehumidifier that you want for your home. There are two types of dehumidifiers: Refrigerant based and desiccant based. The desiccant models are more efficient then refrigerant models, especially in colder temperature areas. The down side is that these systems also have a smaller capacity rating.  The desiccant models are also quieter than their refrigerant counterpart. If you were looking to cool just a bedroom or two then you may look at the desiccant.

 However, if you are having constant trouble with a part of your home that is hot and humid then you should be looking at the refrigerant models. A refrigerant based system will be more efficient in hotter temperatures. It all depends on temperature. If the area you are dehumidifying is below sixty-five degrees then you should go with the desiccant model and if your room is above sixty-five degrees then go with the refrigerant type model.

The ideal humidity setting in a room is between thirty to fifty percent. Most folks say fifty percent in summer and thirty percent in winter. In most cases the dehumidifier you chose will have a setting to allow you to customize the humidity within the room. You may have to play around with this setting until you find the exact number that works for you and your home.

Another point for consideration is the overall efficiency of the unit. The efficiency of a dehumidifier is measured by the amount of water the appliance can remove every hour compared to the amount of energy required to do so. What you want to look for here is the ‘Energy Star’ approval.  The Energy Star program was created and is run by the Environmental Protection Agency. Its goal is to set efficiency standards for appliances and to reward an ‘Energy Star’ if the appliance meets those goals.

Dehumidifiers that are Energy Star certified have been evaluated and tested to the rigorous efficiency standards of the Energy Star Program. In most cases you can see up to fifteen percent energy savings when using an Energy Star model.

The last consideration is how much noise the dehumidifier will produce. Most dehumidifiers are rated between forty to fifty decibels. This is about the equivalent of a running refrigerator. You will find some models go higher or lower then this number, so just keep that in mind when purchasing. I don’t hear very well in the first place so a higher decibel machine has never mattered much to me.

Product Features

Alright folks, so we have now looked at what size of machine to purchase and also what considerations should be taken in before purchasing. The next step in our buying guide is to look at the various product features that your dehumidifier could have.  These product features aren’t mandatory by any means. No, these are more quality of life enhancements.

The first to look for are user friendly controls. My favorite is the digital display options that allow you to easily set a humidity level and to change the speed of the fan. Some units also come with a built in timer setting. This allows you to run the dehumidifier at night or to have it turn off when you aren’t home. Along with a timer setting you may look for an auto shut-off feature that shuts the appliance down when the desired humidity level has been reached.

Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 70 Pint Portable Dehumidifer
Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 70 Pint Portable Dehumidifer

Whenever the power goes out I have to remember what appliances need to be reset. In my old house my air conditioner would reset to ‘Off.’ So, during a bad storm where we lost power I’d forget to turn the air conditioner back on and the house would be sweltering by morning. While it’s not the same situation with a dehumidifier it is good to have an auto-restart function on your appliances.

As far as maintenance and upkeep of your machine there are two functions that can help you out. The first is known as the auto-defrost. This feature stops your dehumidifier from freezing over during colder operation environments. (Remember, that dehumidifiers are very similar to air conditioners and can experience a lot of the same problems.) The other feature is a simple signal that alerts you that your filter needs to be cleaned.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention this next section, but chances are you will be fine. There are some dehumidifiers out there that require a two-hundred and twenty or two-hundred and forty volt outlet. These are the types of outlets that you find when you plug in your oven or your clothes dryer. Occasionally your garage may be outfitted with these as well. (I have one for my air compressor.) More often than not though your dehumidifier will use the standard one-hundred and ten to one-hundred and twenty volt outlet. Keeping on the same topic of power, it is also best to look at how long the power cord of the appliance will be. If it’s six foot, will that be enough?

The last feature that I am going to mention is the fan setting. Yes, this may seem like such a minuscule thing but it is a legitimate option and I want to be as comprehensive as I can when making this guide.  There are two types of fan settings for dehumidifiers. There are the ones that run constantly even when the appliance is not removing humidity.  Then there is the fan that ONLY runs when the dehumidifier is running. The jury is still out on which model is more efficient. If the fan is running constantly though then there will always be noise even if the dehumidifier isn’t dehumidifying. The argument is that with the fan always on the dehumidifier is constantly checking the humidity levels in your room. If the level exceeds what you have set then the machine kicks on and begins dehumidifying.

Conclusion

There you have it folks. That is nearly everything I can think of to talk about when it comes to purchasing a dehumidifier. We have covered the sizing requirements, all of the considerations, and even a number of product features. After reading this article you should be well armed to purchase your dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

China

It was announced today that the 2022 Olympics that will be held in Beijing will be using a combination of R-744 Carbon Dioxide refrigerant and an HFO refrigerant known as R-449A. In both instances this will be the first time that China has used these alternative more environmentally friendly refrigerants. R-744 will be used for the speed skating, figure skating, short track venues, and ice hockey training areas. The HFO refrigerant R-449A from Chemours will be used in the ice hockey and curling arenas.

This decision was made due to careful collaboration between the city of Beijing, the International Sports Federations, and the International Olympic Committee. Along with this decision Beijing has also announced that they will be joining the United Nation Sports for Climate Action Framework. This organization was launched by the United Nations in December of 2018 and aims to set a clear set of goals for sports communities around the world to follow.

While other sports organizations have signed up like the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, it is a great achievement to have China on board with using these climate friendly refrigerants. In the past China has been reluctant to change. This may be the first step towards progress.

As you all know, R-744 has a Global Warming Potential of one and zero Ozone Depletion Potential. It is in essence a climate neutral refrigerant. The HFO refrigerant, also known as Opteon XP40, is a blended HFO refrigerant comprised of HF R-32, HFC R-125, HFC R-134a, and HFO R-1234yf. It is far from a climate neutral refrigerant as it has a Global Warming Potential of fourteen-hundred. While yes, this number seems high, it is substantially lower GWP then some of the HFC alternatives out there like R-404A and R-507.For example, the HFC R-404A has a GWP of nearly four-thousand. Just by making this switch there is a significant savings to the climate.

Conclusion

Many folks are excited about this news as it shows some of the first steps towards the Chinese market moving away from climate damaging HFC refrigerants. China, just like the United States, has NOT ratified the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This amendment aimed at phasing down HFC refrigerants over a staggered year period. It is very similar to the original Montreal Protocol steps that were used to phase out CFC and HCFC refrigerants. So far there have been seventy-three countries that have ratified the Kigali agreement.

An optimist may claim that this could be a sign that China will be ratifying the Kigali Amendment soon. If you were to ask me though I would say that it is not likely to happen for quite some time. Even if China does ratify the Kigali would they even honor the agreement?

Late last year and this year it was found that China was in defiance of the original Montreal Protocol. China had been found to be producing R-11, a CFC, in large quantities. Their government denied knowledge of the events and stated that it was rogue companies creating and distributing these refrigerants.

If the Kigali Amendment gets ratified would we see these behind the scenes tactics arise again?  It could be that this gesture towards the Olympic Committee is being made for temporary appeasement just so that China can host the games. Or, it could be genuine. There is just no good way to tell.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Question

Adding a dehumidifier to your home rather it be a portable or a centrally based system can not only clean your air but also help those who are suffering from allergies and asthma. If you are a sufferer from asthma then you know how touchy things can be. The air in your home has to be as clean as possible or else you may have a flare up.

As an example, a former co-worker of mine had twins, a boy and a girl. Both of them suffered with extreme asthma symptoms from an early age. There were multiple hospitalizations over the year. They’re teenagers now and they still struggle.

In order to ensure that their home had the cleanest air possible their father installed a centralized dehumidifier. Along with this he bought a highly rated MERV air conditioner filter to ensure that all possible allergens were removed. The combination of these two improved the air quality in their home substantially.

You see a dehumidifier does just that, it removes humidity from the home. A home with excess humidity can have a host of problems including dust mites, mildew, fungi, and even mold. The mold can get really bad if it is untreated. It can grow on the floor, walls, and curtains. In some cases it can get so bad that mold begins to grow on your bedspread and even on your clothes. As you can imagine, this wreaks havoc for people who have allergies or who have trouble breathing.

Installing and running a dehumidifier will remove the humidity from the room and prevent these types of allergens from taking hold in your home. Along with removing these agitants a dehumidifier will also reduce the dust accumulation throughout your home and will actually extend the life of perishable foods such as cereals or bread.

In most cases the dehumidifier is very quiet when it is running. The majority of the time you won’t even notice the appliance running in the background. Along with all of that improved air while running a dehumidifier you also get increased comfort. I’m sure you have all heard that a dry heat is much better than a wet heat. The same applies within your home. Seventy-four degrees will feel a lot nicer if the humidity is low.

Lastly, running a dehumidifier in your home will take some of the strain and workload away from your central air conditioner. Your air conditioner does it’s best to remove humidity from your home as well and by adding your own dehumidifier you are saving work for your air conditioner. This will result in a longer last central air system and cheaper monthly energy bills.

Do I Need One?

All of the above being said, you may not need a dehumidifier especially if you are not suffering from any allergies. Yes, dehumidifiers have a lot of benefits but many homeowners never end up not getting one. It is really a choice up to you.

There are however instances where you should purchase a dehumidifier. If you do not purchase when you see these kinds of symptoms then you are actively hurting the quality and the longevity of your home. You should keep an eye out for areas of your house that show water stains on the ceilings or wall. Look for areas that have small black spots growing on walls or in other places such as bathtubs or showers. Also look for signs of frequent condensation on windows in specific areas of your home. All of these can be signs of excess humidity in your home. By running a dehumidifier in a room or in your whole home you can resolve these symptoms and prevent them from getting any worse.

If they are left unchecked then the mold, mildew, and even just the dampness from the water in the air can collect into the wood of your home. Overtime the wetness from the excess humidity will began to degrade the wood… yes even the support beams. This is obviously a cumulative effect over many years, but the possibility is still there.

If you are living in an apartment or condominium you may also consider getting a dehumidifier. This is because in most cases your air conditioner and ductwork are interconnected to your neighbors. You may have a perfectly clean apartment, but they may not. Adding a dehumidifier will help prevent mold or other allergens from taking root in your apartment.

Conclusion

Well, what do you think? Are dehumidifiers for you, or will you continue without one? If you have decided to move forward with a dehumidifier purchase you will need to know how to purchase the right system for you.

Dehumidifiers come in all different kinds of sizes and it can be confusing to navigate between all of these options. Earlier today I wrote an article that covers just this topic that was titled, ‘What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need? This article breaks down the exact sizing requirements that you will need based on the room size and the overall dampness of the room.

Once you have read that article you can then make an educated pick at which dehumidifier is the right option for you and your family.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Question

Dehumidifiers can improve the comfort within your home substantially. This is especially so if you or someone in your family is suffering from allergies. By using a dehumidifier you remove the water from your home. By removing the water you make your house less hospitable for allergens such as mold, fungi, mildew, and dust mites.

The question is what size of dehumidifier should you get? If you look online you will see dozens of different brands, sizes, and choices. But, which one is best for you and your home?

Sizing Your Dehumidifier

Firstly, you need to determine what you intend to use the dehumidifier for. Are you going to be using it in a damp basement? Your master bedroom? Or, perhaps, in your kitchen/living room combination area? Knowing what room you will be using the appliance is key as you will have to purchase the right sized dehumidifier to ensure that the correct amount of moisture is removed from the air.

Once you have room chosen you now need to measure the square footage of said room. The square footage number will help you in determining just what size dehumidifier that you need. To find the square footage you need to measure the width and the length of the room. Let’s say for example you are measuring for a bedroom that measures ten feet long and twelve feet wide. Ten times twelve equals one-hundred and twenty square feet.

These square footage measurements will aid you in picking a portable dehumidifier. However, if you are looking to dehumidify your entire home then you may look at a whole home dehumidifier. These units can actually be attached to your central air conditioner and be routed through your central duct work. While the cost may be expensive at first you will end up seeing monthly savings on your energy bill and a longer life from your central air conditioner due to the dehumidifier taking some of the work off of the AC. These whole system dehumidifiers can work on homes up to three-thousand square feet.

Determining Dampness

Before you purchase you should keep in mind that once you determine the minimum capacity you need  for your room that you should always go up slightly. By going up in capacity, say from a twelve pint to a sixteen pint, you are able to increase the overall efficiency of your dehumidifier. This is because the larger unit will not have to work as hard as a unit that was right at the minimum level.

When you have your square footage determined you next need to figure out how damp the room is that you are trying to dehumidify. There are a few different dampness ratings that we can assign to your room. Knowing these will allow us to guide you on what kind of dehumidifier to purchase.

Moderately Damp – When you enter the room you may notice that the air feels clammy or even damp. There may also be a musty odor when the weather is humid outside. This may be a lot of your basements. The recommend capacity for a moderately damp room is between ten to twenty-six pints, or between five to twelve liters.

    • A five-hundred square feet area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of ten pints or four point seven liters. Our recommended product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A one-thousand square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of fourteen pints or six point six liters. Our recommend product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A fifteen-hundred square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of eighteen pints or eight point five liters. Our recommend product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A two-thousand square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of twenty-two pints or ten liters. Our recommend product is the hOmeLabs 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A twenty-five-hundred square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of twenty-six pints or twelve liters. Our recommend product is the hOmeLabs 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.

Very Damp – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You may even notice damp spots on the floor, walls, or windows.  The recommend capacity for a very damp area is between twelve to thirty-two pints, or between five point seven to fifteen point one liters.

Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The recommend capacity for a wet area is between fourteen to thirty-eight pints, or between six point six to eighteen liters.

Very Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The difference here though between wet and very wet is that with the very wet section you will notice actual standing water on the floor. The recommend capacity for a very wet area is between sixteen to forty-four pints, or between seven point six to twenty point eight liters.

Now, you may have noticed that all of the products we mentioned above are NOT a central dehumidifier. These products we recommended above are strictly portable. If you are interested in a central system then it is best to schedule a consultation with your local HVAC contractor. It is always best to compare prices and quotes from various contractors to ensure you get the best price for your money. Also, you may also end up getting a deal if you purchase both an air conditioner and a central dehumidifier.

Conclusion

As you can see from the above sections there are numerous sizes of dehumidifiers to be considered. Rather you’re looking to just dehumidify your bedroom or your entire home the options are all there. If you are suffering from allergies, or even asthma, then adding a dehumidifier to your home is a very important step to help clean the air.

Along with dehumidifier another easy step to ensure your air is as clean as can be is regularly changing your furnace/air conditioner filters. You can also buy a higher quality filter based on it’s MERV rating. The higher the MERV rating the more containments your filter will catch. Check out our best filter guide by clicking here.

Thanks,

Alec Johnson
RefrigerantHQ

What Is It?

Most folks often do not think about the environment or the air within their home. This is why it is so common to see air conditioner filters go months on end without ever being changed. It’s just not something a lot of people give much thought about. I’m guilty of it as well. It is when you, or someone in your family, begin having trouble breathing due to allergens in your home’s atmosphere that we all take notice and begin to take steps to improve the air circulating in our home. 

One of the first steps to reducing allergens in your home is to regularly change your air filter. I won’t get into all of the details on air conditioner filters here, but if you are interested on what the best are please click here to view our filter buying guide. 

Besides changing your filters regularly another big step to cleanse the air in your home is to purchase and began running a dehumidifier. In this article we are going to take a look at what dehumidifiers are, how they work, and what size you should look at when purchasing for your home. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Humidity

Before we get into what exactly a dehumidifier is we first need to explore what humidity is within your home. First, let’s start with the basic concept of humidity. Humidity in short, is water vapor in the air. This water is in vapor form and is not in the form of fog, clouds, or rain. A desert will typically have low humidity whereas a jungle will have very high humidity. 

Having excess humidity in your home can cause a host of problems. Humidity is not visible to the naked eye, but there are signs of it. For example, if you take a hot shower and then step out of the bathtub and notice the mirror is fogged over. That is an example of the humidity displaying itself to you. You normally see humidity problems in enclosed rooms with poor ventilation such as bathrooms or kitchens. You may also begin to see water droplets forming on the inside of your windows, and in some cases even along your interior walls. These are all examples of excess humidity within your home.

So, what’s the big deal if your home has excess humidity? Too much humidity can cause problems, especially to those in your home that suffer from allergies or asthma. A high humidity environment is perfect for dust mites, mildew, fungi, and mold to thrive in. These allergens can result in a stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and even skin rashes. In extreme cases the mold or fungi can cause severe asthma symptoms. Reducing the humidity in your home can prevent these allergens from taking root.

My father is a rather severe asthmatic. To the point where my mother has to warn him that she will be vacuuming. He can’t be in the house for hours afterwards or else he’ll have a flare up. To help mitigate his symptoms they have a central humidifier installed as well as multiple air purifiers throughout the home. Even with all of this he still has trouble on certain days. I cannot even imagine how bad it would be without these extra protections of air quality.

Dehumidifiers

Well, as you may have guessed a dehumidifier does just that. It removes excess humidity from your room or home. It does this by intaking air from your home, removing the humidity from it, and then expelling that air back into your home. The removed humidity turns to moisture that is collected in a tray that you will need to empty from time to time.

Depending on what dehumidifier that you are looking at they can remove humidity in one of two ways. The first is that they act like a air conditioner complete with compressor and refrigerant. The air is brought in, the air is cooled by passing over freezing pipes, the cooled air’s moisture/humidity then turns back into liquid, the cooled air is passed through a heating element to warm the air back to room levels, and then the warmed dry air is expelled back into your home. All of this is done with the use of refrigerants just like what you see in air conditioner. The only real difference is that an air conditioner does not have an additional heating element to warm the air back to baseline levels. 

The second way a dehumidifier can work is through the absorption or adsorption method.  This is also known as the desiccant method. These are the most common methods especially in smaller portable dehumidifiers. There is no refrigerant used in this method. Instead, the moist air is pulled into the machine through a duct. That air then moves past a large rotating wheel of water absorbing material. While the air is on this wheel it rotates through a section that has heated hot air blown on it. After some time the rotating wheel is dried out from the hot blowing air and then the dry air is expelled back into your home.

In both cases the dehumidifier should have a sensor that will alert the machine it’s collection tray is full. This alert will stop the machine from operating until the collection tray is emptied of water. Most of the time they will have an indicator alerting you that the tray needs emptied.

Why Do I Need a Dehumidifier?

 Removing humidity makes your home less desirable for mold, mildew, fungi, and dust mites. Along with stopping the growth of mold or mildew a dehumidifier will help to remove the smell of these allergens. If you ever noticed that your basement has a musty or damp smell then a dehumidifier will work to solve that problem.

In extreme cases of excess humidity mold can began to form on your walls, curtains, and even on your clothes or bed sheets. I’ve never been in this situation, but I get a little sick just thinking about it. Can you even imagine mold on our clothes?

Dehumidifiers will reduce the allergens we mentioned above which will result in easier breathing in your home and will also reduce skin irritation. Without the water in the air you don’t have to worry about mold growing on your favorite pair of jeans! The amount of dust in your home will be reduced and the amount of time to dry your clothes. Even your perishable foods like cereal and bread will last longer in homes that run a dehumidifier. There are so many benefits to running a dehumidifier in your home.

Overall, dehumidifiers are rather quiet when operating and most people won’t even notice them once it has been plugged in and turned on. Adding a dehumidifier to your home may actually shrink your monthly energy costs during the summer. Without a dehumidifier your air conditioner will do its best to remove the excess humidity from the air. If you have excess humidity then your air conditioner will be working overtime to remove the heat and humidity. Having a dehumidifier running in your home will reduce the load on your air conditioner and may actually prolong its service life.

What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need?

Ok, so now we know what dehumidifiers are and why you may need to purchase one. The next question is what kind and what size of dehumidifier should you get? If you look online you will see dozens of different brands, sizes, and choices. But, which one is best for you and your home? 

Firstly, you need to determine what you intend to use the dehumidifier for. Are you going to be using it in a damp basement? Your master bedroom? Or, perhaps, in your kitchen/living room combination area? Knowing what room you will be using the appliance is key as you will have to purchase the right sized dehumidifier to ensure that the correct amount of moisture is removed from the air.

Once you have room chosen you now need to measure the square footage of said room. The square footage number will help you in determining just what size dehumidifier that you need. To find the square footage you need to measure the width and the length of the room. Let’s say for example you are measuring for a bedroom that measures ten feet long and twelve feet wide. Ten times twelve equals one-hundred and twenty square feet. 

These square footage measurements will aid you in picking a portable dehumidifier. However, if you are looking to dehumidify your entire home then you may look at a whole home dehumidifier. These units can actually be attached to your central air conditioner and be routed through your central duct work. While the cost may be expensive at first you will end up seeing monthly savings on your energy bill and a longer life from your central air conditioner due to the dehumidifier taking some of the work off of the AC. These whole system dehumidifiers can work on homes up to three-thousand square feet.

Determining Dampness

Before you purchase you should keep in mind that once you determine the minimum capacity you need  for your room that you should always go up slightly. By going up in capacity, say from a twelve pint to a sixteen pint, you are able to increase the overall efficiency of your dehumidifier. This is because the larger unit will not have to work as hard as a unit that was right at the minimum level.

When you have your square footage determined you next need to figure out how damp the room is that you are trying to dehumidify. There are a few different dampness ratings that we can assign to your room. Knowing these will allow us to guide you on what kind of dehumidifier to purchase.

Moderately Damp – When you enter the room you may notice that the air feels clammy or even damp. There may also be a musty odor when the weather is humid outside. This may be a lot of your basements. The recommend capacity for a moderately damp room is between ten to twenty-six pints, or between five to twelve liters.

    • A five-hundred square feet area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of ten pints or four point seven liters. Our recommended product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A one-thousand square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of fourteen pints or six point six liters. Our recommend product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A fifteen-hundred square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of eighteen pints or eight point five liters. Our recommend product is the Eurgeen Compact 20 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A two-thousand square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of twenty-two pints or ten liters. Our recommend product is the hOmeLabs 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.
    • A twenty-five-hundred square foot area that is moderately damp will require a dehumidifier with a capacity of twenty-six pints or twelve liters. Our recommend product is the hOmeLabs 30 Pint Portable Dehumidifier.

Very Damp – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You may even notice damp spots on the floor, walls, or windows.  The recommend capacity for a very damp area is between twelve to thirty-two pints, or between five point seven to fifteen point one liters.

Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The recommend capacity for a wet area is between fourteen to thirty-eight pints, or between six point six to eighteen liters.

Very Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The difference here though between wet and very wet is that with the very wet section you will notice actual standing water on the floor. The recommend capacity for a very wet area is between sixteen to forty-four pints, or between seven point six to twenty point eight liters.

Other Buying Considerations

Along with the choosing the right size there are other, more minor, factors that should be taken into consideration. The first is the overall portability of the appliance. If you are buying a dehumidifier for one of your rooms, or even your basement, how easy is it to move? Does it come with rollers, or does it have to be carried? This may not mean much if you intend to set it and forget it in one room, but if you want the ability to move the dehumidifier around then portability definitely worth reviewing.

Another small factor is the overall size of the tank that will be holding the water that is removed from the air. Obviously, the larger the tank the less often you will have to empty it. This is just more of a convenience factor then anything though. The size of tanks can vary wildly from model to model. You may also even find some units that come with a drainage hose that can be fed to your basement drain or even your sink. All of this is a matter of preference, obviously the easiest solution is going with the hose option.

Something else to consider is what type of dehumidifier that you want for your home. In an earlier section we discussed the two types of dehumidifiers: Refrigerant based and desiccant based. The desiccant models are more efficient then refrigerant models, especially in colder temperature areas. The down side is that these systems also have a smaller capacity rating.  The desiccant models are also quieter than their refrigerant counterpart. If you were looking to cool just a bedroom or two then you may look at the desiccant.

 However, if you are having constant trouble with a part of your home that is hot and humid then you should be looking at the refrigerant models. A refrigerant based system will be more efficient in hotter temperatures. It all depends on temperature. If the area you are dehumidifying is below sixty-five degrees then you should go with the desiccant model and if your room is above sixty-five degrees then go with the refrigerant type model.

The ideal humidity setting in a room is between thirty to fifty percent. In most cases the dehumidifier  you chose will have a setting to allow you to customize the humidity within the room. You may have to play around with this setting until you find the exact number that works for you and your home.

Conclusion

Dehumidifiers can be a great help in aiding in the overall comfort of your home. If you or someone in your family is suffering from allergies or even asthma installing a dehumidifier is one of the first things you should do. Now, It’s not a cure all… nothing is, but it very well may help aid in their day to day comfort.

 Even if you don’t have someone in your home who is suffering from allergies a dehumidifier is a great solution for a damp or wet area. A lot of folks set these up in their basements to get rid of that mildew and damp smell.  

Whatever your reason is for showing interest in dehumidifiers I hope that this article was able to help you and answer your questions.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

As we all know, when January hits in 2020 R-22 production and importing will no longer be allowed within the United States. The only way to receive R-22 will be through purchasing virgin product from those distributors who have stockpiled or by purchasing reclaimed refrigerant. This simple fact is causing a lot of concern for ice rink owners, managers, and local governments. In most cases their ice rinks are decades old and need repairs every other year or so. In the United States R-22 was the primary refrigerant used for ice rink applications.

The problem occurs with the R-22 ice rinks that are aging. These business owners and government leaders are left with two choices. They can continue with their R-22 systems and hope that the cost of the refrigerant doesn’t climb when the phase out hits. Or, they can bite the bullet and invest in a completely new refrigeration system for their arena. Yes, there is a third option of retrofitting but in many cases retrofitting to a new refrigerant simply isn’t possible. A retrofit is very dependent on what refrigerant you are using and what refrigerant you will be moving towards.

A new refrigeration system for ice rinks can cost multiple millions of dollars. It this reason alone why many managers have decided to kick the can down the road and go with the first option we listed. The prospect of stockpiling R-22 is much cheaper than replacing their old R-22 system with Ammonia or an HFO refrigerant.

One arena out of East Grand Forks, Minnesota is doing exactly that. In an article I read this morning they stated that they are purchasing nearly three-thousand pounds of R-22 in anticipation of the January 2020 phase out. While this may sound like a lot of refrigerant a standard ice rink can use several thousands of pounds of R-22. So, this stockpile may only be able to handle one or two full recharges. When their stockpile runs out, they will be in the same boat again only this time facing a higher priced R-22.

The prospect of spending millions on replacing an outdated system is simply just not possible for many of these ice rink owners.  In most cases they have to get grants from their local city or county government in order to pay for the replacement. Often times these grants are difficult to get pushed through.

This is why we see many arenas stock piling R-22. There is no better time to buy R-22 then right now as the prices are at rock bottom. I haven’t seen prices this low in years.  Depending on where you look a thirty pound cylinder can cost less than three-hundred dollars. That’s less than ten dollars per pound.  No one knows for sure what’s going to happen to the price as we get closer to January, so if you are looking to stockpile then now is the time.

Conclusion

This problem is rather unique to the United States. Outside of the US most ice rinks use R-717 ammonia.  Ammonia is cheap and is one of the most efficient refrigerants in the world. The downside though is the toxicity risk if a leak occurs. There are specific safety regulations and procedures taken when working with Ammonia systems though that helps to mitigate the risk of exposure.

The US though has always been apprehensive to refrigerants that come with safety concerns such as hydrocarbons or ammonia. However, in recent years though this has begun to change. When these arena owners do finally decide to bite the bullet and pay for a new system ammonia is a viable option.

Along with ammonia there are other options out there as well. Last year, I wrote an article on the future of ice rinks. The article went into all of the possible refrigerants that could be used in ice rinks today. Click here if you’d like to review it.

All of the above being said, this is assuming that these ice rinks can actually get the money to replace their existing system. In many cases the money is just not obtainable and when their existing R-22 system finally breaks down beyond repair these arenas may have to shut their doors for good.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

alert

On April 4th, 2019 a suit was filed by the HFC Coalition to the International Trade Commission (ITC). This suit aimed at stopping the dumping of HFC blended refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, and R-407C. The ITC’s decision on rather or not to review the suit was set for a deadline in May, but it was then pushed back to July. We were all expecting a decision to come next month but it was announced at the tail end of this week that the ITC has decided to accept the case and began the inquiry.

There have already been anti-dumping tariffs on HFC blends for a few years now, but the ITC’s ruling back then stated that only the blended refrigerant could be subject to the tariff. The components of these blends were not subject to the tax. So, businesses could import R-32 and R-125 refrigerants from China and face no penalties. These same businesses would then blend the refrigerant here in the States and then circumvent the tariff.

This oversight by the International Trade Commission has led to what we have today. Dirt cheap prices on some of the most common HFC refrigerants used. In essence, the initial levying of tariffs on blended refrigerants had very little impact. Everyone was getting around the tariff by importing components. It was like nothing had changed.

This is where the new suit filed in April comes into play. This case targeted the components of these blended refrigerants. On the original announcement of the suit prices on HFC blends went up nearly forty to fifty percent. As the dust began to settle prices slowly sank back down to pre-suit levels. Now though, the ITC has announced that they will hear this new case.

The Inquiry

As I said previously, the Department of Commerce has decided to began an inquiry on HFC refrigerant components. Originally, everyone had thought that the inquiry would be solely focused the blending process of the components. So, if you imported the components and then blended them into an HFC blend that is tariffed then you would be subject to the tax.

To my surprise though there were four inquiries announced this week. Let’s take a look:

  1. The first inquiry is what we just mentioned above. This is the blending of the components within the United States and circumventing the tariff. If the ITC agrees then a tariff would be installed on the blending process if the components are sourced from China.
  2. The next is what’s known as unfinished blends. I’ll be upfront with you here, I don’t know one-hundred percent what this is but my educated guess is that this is Chinese refrigerant companies blending the refrigerants but NOT to the exact levels to meet the anti-dumping blended requirements. In other words, they get it close to R-410A… but not all the way. This process would also be taxed if the ITC approves.
  3. The next inquiry is similar to our first point. This has to deal with importing components and blending them in a different country. The difference here though is that this is referencing India in particular. In this scenario, China exports the refrigerant components to India and then India blends them to create the blended HFC. This was yet another work around that companies found as the country of origin is India… even though the goods came from China. If approved anti-dumping would be installed in this scenario as well. While the initial inquiry only states India that does not mean that other countries are exempt. Say for example, China imports components into Vietnam and they blend there. If a decision is made here let’s hope it applies to all countries.
  4. The last change is on the blended refrigerant R-421A. This refrigerant blend actually doesn’t have a tariff on it because the product is patented. Patented refrigerants were excluded from the previous anti-dumping order. R-421A is quite similar to the more popular blended refrigerant known as R-407C. So, folks were importing the non-tariff R-421A and then finishing the blend to create R-407C. To give an example here, R-421A is comprised of R-125 (58%) and R-134a (42%). R-407C is comprised of R-32 (23%), R-125 (25%), and R-134a (52%). The only thing missing between these two refrigerants is R-32 and that is easily enough imported in without a tariff. If the ITC rules in favor then these patented blends will see tariffs installed on them as well.

Call these work around what you want. Maybe they are clever loopholes found by hard working businessmen. Or, maybe, they are skirting the edge of the law and they should all be stopped. However you feel, it is all coming to a head now. Now that this inquiry has begun there is a great amount of uncertainty in the market. What will happen? Will they rule in favor of all four? Just some, or none at all?

Pricing Impact

The official inquiry by the Department of Commerce will be hitting the public register on Monday. From that date onwards, June 17th, there will be a three-hundred day period for the ITC to make their decision. Here’s the scary thing though folks. If the ITC decides to impose tariffs in any of the ways we described above then those tariffs could be retroactive. This is huge and this is the main reason we are seeing prices go haywire.

Look at this way. Let’s say I am a business owner and I am going to import a trailerload of R-32 and R-125 into the United States next week. The product comes in, I blend it to R-410A, and then sell all of the product a few months later. I could face a tariff on ALL of that imported product nearly a year after I had imported and sold it. The ITC has the power to make this ruling retroactive and because of that the importing of HFCs has become a lot less attractive. Business owners could be looking at an over one-hundred percent tax on product they already sold.

Everyone who saw this coming bought up on as much product as they could and now that the inquiry has begun prices have begun to rise. A few major manufacturers have already announced their price increases. The question now though is will these manufacturers put limits on what quantities businesses can buy as well? Or, will the high prices be enough?

If you were smart enough to buy ahead you can now make a killing since the import market has all but dried up. Let’s take a look at some of the pricing trends we’re seeing now since this inquiry began just a few days ago:

R-410A – Twenty-Five Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $140
  • Fall 2018 – $65
  • Jan 2019 – $68
  • Feb 2019 – $56
  • Mar 2019 – $49
  • Apr 2019 – $100 – News of possible tariffs
  • May 2019 – $78
  • June 2019 – $65 – Before Inquiry
  • June 2019 – $100 – After Inquiry
    • I will state that the $100 is with some vendors. I have seen some say one-hundred and fifty and even some at one-hundred and eighty dollars a cylinder.

R-404A – Twenty-Four Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $175
  • Fall 2018 – $80
  • Jan 2019 – $70
  • Feb 2019 – $58
  • Mar 2019 – $50
  • Apr 2019 – $105 – News of possible tariffs
  • May 2019 – $89
  • June 2019 – $60 – Before Inquiry
  • June 2019 – $105 – After Inquiry

R-407C – Twenty-Five Pound Cylinder Pricing:

I don’t have as much pricing information on this product but I can still show you the pricing swing that took place this month:

  • June 2019 – $85 – Before Inquiry
  • June 2019 – $105 – After Inquiry

Conclusion

With the announcement of these inquiries this week there is now a lot of uncertainty introduced within the market place. It is difficult to say what will happen with pricing now. In the earlier announcements there was still hope that the ITC wouldn’t take up the case, but now that it is official we may see prices stay at these levels, or even go higher. It could go as crazy as two-hundred dollars plus a cylinder late this summer for some of the more popular HFC blends. But, we just don’t know for sure.

After all, it’s been an unseasonably colder summer for most of the country. I just took a bike ride earlier today in seventy-four degree weather. That is unheard of in Kansas in the middle of June. It should be close to one-hundred degrees. I know New England and other areas are experiencing the same thing. This colder weather may act as a buffer to this pending inquiry and help insulate the pricing situation until a decision is made next year.

If you are looking to purchase refrigerant please check out our bulk purchasing page by clicking here. In many cases we can get you the best and most aggressive priced product on the market.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Also, check out our other earlier articles on this same topic:

Question

One of the most confusing parts of buying a new air conditioner is understanding the SEER. The SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a measurement of your air conditioner’s energy efficiency. This measurement is calculated by the total cooling output of your system divided by the total electric energy input, or Watt-Hours, required. So, in other words cooling power divided by electric power. The SEER rating/ratio is calculated over the entire cooling season as an average. It factors in a constant indoor temperature and then weighs that temperature against outside temperatures ranging from sixty degrees up to one-hundred degrees. By doing this range of temperatures they are able to calculate a typical season.

When you see a SEER rating on an air conditioner that SEER rating is that system’s maximum efficiency. If you went outside and checked the SEER on your current air conditioner it may say SEER fourteen. But, that fourteen rating is the maximum efficiency ratio and if your system is not tuned up every year and taken care of properly then you are most likely not at that SEER level. You will also not reach your maximum SEER rating if you are constantly changing the temperature throughout the day or even week. It is best to have one set temperature and stick with it. This ensures your air conditioner has a set target to reach and stay there.

In 2006 the United States Department of Energy, or DOE, required that air conditioners have a minimum of thirteen SEER. Then in 2015 another change was made by the DOE. This time they changed the minimum SEER from thirteen to fourteen, but only for specific states. This change focused on those states in the south east and south west of the country. This would include your hottest states in the Union including Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas. If you live in the northern part of the country though then your minimum SEER rating is still at thirteen.

Is It Worth the Money?

That is the question folks. Is it really worth the money to purchase a higher SEER system? Normally, when you are receiving quotes from an HVAC contractor there is pressure from them to buy the higher SEER models. But, before your buy you need to understand if it’s really worth the money or not. Of course, they will tell you it is, but let’s really look at it and determine how much you’ll save and if the higher SEER is for you.

First let’s consider the extra expense when purchasing a higher SEER model. It really depends on how much more efficient you want to get. If you move from a fourteen SEER up to a sixteen SEER then you are going to see an increased cost of about six-hundred to eight-hundred dollars. However, if you go up to the top tier models like a twenty-one SEER then you could see prices go as high as two-thousand or even three-thousand dollars higher than a standard fourteen SEER system.

Remember like we mentioned earlier, the SEER rating is the maximum efficiency of your air conditioner. That means it will NOT always be running at that SEER value. Over the years your system will become less and less efficient. That is just how things work. This could be due to wear and tear of your system, dust and grime on your evaporator coils, micro refrigerant leaks in the lines, and so many other variables.  You can minimize this degradation by taking excellent care of your air conditioner and ensuring all yearly maintenance is completed.

High SEER systems cost a lot more to repair then a standard system. If you have your compressor go out on your fourteen SEER system you could be looking at a three to four-hundred dollar repair. However, if your compressor goes out on a twenty-one SEER system then that could be a one-thousand dollar repair. There’s another downside here folks… A higher end SEER air conditioner uses what’s called a two stage compressor. This compressor allows the air conditioner to act like a larger or smaller air conditioner as needed. So, the compressor will switch stages depending on the demand of the temperature outside. While this sounds great, the downside is that these two speed compressors actually have a higher failure rate than a standard compressor. So, you could be looking at an expensive compressor repair sooner than you’d like.

All of the above being said, you will save money per month using a higher SEER system. Typically, these savings can range between fifty to eighty dollars a month. The question you have to ask yourself though is how often will you be running your air conditioner throughout the year? Will it be all year? Six months? Or, just a few months out of the year?

Let’s say for example you are running it for six months out of the year. Six months times eighty dollars a month equals out to four-hundred and eighty dollars in savings a year. So, now the question is how much more is the SEER system then your standard? Is it another two-thousand dollars? If so, then you it’s going to take you about four or five years to make up for that… and that is assuming you do not have a large part failure during that time.

Conclusion

As you can see from above it all relates to how often you are going to be running your air conditioner. If you are running it year round then that eighty dollars a month in savings sounds pretty good. But, if you’re only running the air conditioner for three months in the summer then it is definitely not worth your money to purchase a higher end system. The other factor to be taken in to consideration is the possible repairs. Yes, it’s a wildcard and you never know when it’s going to come up but a repair on a high SEER system can be quite pricey.

You will find that most people end up going with the standard fourteen SEER system. It is tried and true method and will cool your home. If you are in an extremely hot climate though, say like Phoenix, then you may consider purchasing a higher SEER system. When I say higher SEER system it doesn’t have to be a twenty-five SEER. No, it could even ben an eighteen. Just something a bit higher to give you that extra efficiency.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was able to answer your questions,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How does it work?

I hate to say it, but it’s never a fun time purchasing a new central air conditioner. Chances are your old unit broke down during the hottest part of the summer. Heck, maybe it broke while you were at work and you came home to a house that was ninety plus degrees inside. You call a service company out only to find out that your air conditioner is on its last legs and the time has finally come to replace it with a new system.

The question now though is what do you replace it with? There are all different brands, makes, and models out there. It can be a little bit overwhelming, especially for those of you who aren’t as familiar with the ins and outs of air conditioning.

SEER Ratings

One of the most confusing parts of buying a new air conditioner is understanding the SEER. The SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a measurement of your air conditioner’s energy efficiency. This measurement is calculated by the total cooling output of your system divided by the total electric energy input, or Watt-Hours, required. So, in other words cooling power divided by electric power. The SEER rating/ratio is calculated over the entire cooling season as an average. It factors in a constant indoor temperature and then weighs that temperature against outside temperatures ranging from sixty degrees up to one-hundred degrees. By doing this range of temperatures they are able to calculate a typical season.

When you see a SEER rating on an air conditioner that SEER rating is that system’s maximum efficiency. If you went outside and checked the SEER on your current air conditioner it may say SEER fourteen. But, that fourteen rating is the maximum efficiency ratio and if your system is not tuned up every year and taken care of properly then you are most likely not at that SEER level. You will also not reach your maximum SEER rating if you are constantly changing the temperature throughout the day or even week. It is best to have one set temperature and stick with it. This ensures your air conditioner has a set target to reach and stay there.

In 2006 the United States Department of Energy, or DOE, required that air conditioners have a minimum of thirteen SEER. Then in 2015 another change was made by the DOE. This time they changed the minimum SEER from thirteen to fourteen, but only for specific states. This change focused on those states in the south east and south west of the country. This would include your hottest states in the Union including Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas. If you live in the northern part of the country though then your minimum SEER rating is still at thirteen.

What is a Good SEER?

Alright folks, so now we understand what the SEER rating is, but now we need to know what SEER rating should you get for your next air conditioner?  Air conditioners today can be purchased with a thirteen SEER all the way up to a twenty-five SEER. However, if you were to purchase an average air conditioner today you would most likely receive a unit between fourteen and eighteen SEER. This is the range that most folks are used to today.

The reason that most air conditioners found today are at that fourteen level is due to the cost of a higher SEER system. If you go up just slightly to a SEER sixteen system you could be paying as much as six-hundred to eight-hundred dollars more just on the system and install. If you went up to a twenty-one or even higher SEER system then you could be looking at multiple thousands more, sometimes as high as four-thousand dollars more. It is these high prices tags that scare a lot of folks away from the higher SEER models.

There are benefits though to a higher end system such as a SEER twenty-one. With this high end system you can save an estimated fifty to eighty dollars per month on your energy bill. This could be about five-hundred dollars a year if you’re running your air conditioner for about half the year. So, even if your higher end SEER model costs you two-thousand dollars more you could potentially earn that money back after four years of use. Along with that you also get a more stable and consistent temperature throughout your home.

I say potentially in the above paragraph as there are a lot of variables that you need to consider. It is not as simple as an even savings of eighty dollars a month. No, there is more to it than that. First, you need to remember that SEER is the maximum efficiency. Just like we mentioned in our previous section, your SEER rating will go down over the years. So, a SEER twenty-one system will lose efficiency as the years pass. The second point is that repairs on high end SEER systems can be quite expensive. Most contractors state that parts are two or three times as expensive when compared to a standard fourteen SEER system. A three-hundred dollar repair could turn into a nine-hundred dollar repair.

Conclusion

So, to answer your question here it depends on what you are looking for. There is no ‘Good SEER’ but it’s a matter of preference. Do you want to save some money in the beginning and get a fourteen SEER system? Or, do you want to spend more upfront and have that savings pass to you each month?

If it was me buying for my home I would opt for the fourteen SEER system. If you are really concerned about efficiency then maybe you go up to the sixteen. But, I wouldn’t worry about the very high SEER systems unless you are in an area where you are constantly running your air conditioner throughout the year. So, if you live in Phoenix or El Paso then you may consider a high end model. Otherwise folks, I’d stick with the standard fourteen SEER.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

What Is It?

SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a measurement of efficiency for your air conditioner and heat pump. This number is calculated by the total cooling output of your system divided by the total electric energy input, or Watt-Hours, required. So, in other words cooling power divided by electric power. The SEER rating/ratio is calculated over the entire cooling season as an average. It factors in a constant indoor temperature and then weighs that temperature against outside temperatures ranging from sixty degrees up to one-hundred degrees. By doing this range of temperatures they are able to calculate a typical season.

When you see a SEER rating on an air conditioner that SEER rating is that system’s maximum efficiency. If you went outside and checked the SEER on your current air conditioner it may say SEER fourteen. But, that fourteen rating is the maximum efficiency ratio and if your system is not tuned up every year and taken care of properly then you are most likely not at that SEER level. You will also not reach your maximum SEER rating if you are constantly changing the temperature throughout the day or even week. It is best to have one set temperature and stick with it. This ensures your air conditioner has a set target to reach and stay there.

In 2006 the United States Department of Energy, or DOE, required that air conditioners have a minimum of thirteen SEER. Then in 2015 another change was made by the DOE. This time they changed the minimum SEER from thirteen to fourteen, but only for specific states. This change focused on those states in the south east and south west of the country. This would include your hottest states in the Union including Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas. If you live in the northern part of the country though then your minimum SEER rating is still at thirteen.

Air conditioners today can be purchased with a thirteen SEER all the way up to a twenty-five SEER. However, if you were to purchase an average air conditioner today you would most likely receive a unit between fourteen and eighteen SEER. This is the range that most folks are used to today.

Pros & Cons of Higher SEER Systems

The higher the SEER rating the more efficient your air conditioner is and the less you have to pay in monthly cooling bills. That being said, it is difficult to determine just how much you will save with a higher SEER system then a lower end one. There are still many factors to consider when looking at your energy bills. How insulated is your home and attic? Is warm air getting in through your windows and other areas? How much do you pay per kilowatts for your power? All of these factors can add or subtract the amount of savings that you’ll see with a higher SEER system.

Along with a more energy efficient system you also get a more stable and comfortable temperature with higher SEER systems. A lower end air conditioner are typically single stage systems and can only run at a single speed. With a single stage system your compressor will turn off and on during moderate temperatures. This results in extra energy costs and also in hot and cold spots throughout your home.

Whereas, a higher end SEER system will have a two stage or variable speed compressor that is automatically adjusted as needed. This allows the system to function like a five ton air conditioner on demanding days and a two ton system during light days. You also get a variable speed blower motor. This ensures that you are getting the maximum efficiency but also that your home will be comfortable during those hot summer months. If you live in a very hot climate such as Arizona then you might consider getting a higher SEER system just for the extra comfort.

The other thing to consider here is that while a higher SEER rating means a more efficient system it also means a much higher upfront expense. Yes, a higher rated SEER system such as one in the twenties is going to cost you a lot more upfront then a standard rated system of fifteen or sixteen. This is where you will need to decide on what you want. Do you want that large upfront expense and cheaper monthly energy bills? Or, do you want a cheaper system but higher month to month bills?

For some folks who can’t decide this there is always the compromise of a middle of the road system. Say for example that I’m looking for a new air conditioner and I don’t want the bare minimum fourteen SEER, but I don’t want to go crazy either and get a twenty-five SEER. In this case, I would look at the sixteen to twenty ranged SEERS. This gives me a fairly efficient system for not near as much cost as a twenty-five SEER. Just keep in mind that a higher SEER system can cost thousands more.

Is It Worth the Money?

That is the question folks. Is it really worth the money to purchase a higher SEER system? Well, to be honest with you, in most cases it’s not. Let’s take a look at why:

A higher SEER model can sometimes cost TWICE as much as a standard thirteen or fourteen SEER model. Some contractors will try to say that a higher SEER model will pay for itself after only a few years, but will it really?

Remember like we mentioned earlier, the SEER rating is the maximum efficiency of your air conditioner. That means it will NOT always be running at that SEER value. Over the years your system will become less and less efficient. That is just how things work. This could be due to wear and tear of your system, dust and grime on your evaporator coils, micro refrigerant leaks in the lines, and so many other variables.

High SEER systems cost a lot more to repair then a standard system. If you have your compressor go out on your fourteen SEER system you could be looking at a three to four-hundred dollar repair. However, if your compressor goes out on a twenty-one SEER system then that could be a one-thousand dollar repair. There’s another downside here folks… remember that two speed compressor we talked about earlier on higher SEER systems? Well, the two speed compressors actually have a higher failure rate than a standard compressor. So, you could be looking at an expensive compressor repair sooner than you’d like.

All of the above being said, you will save money per month using a twenty-one or higher SEER system. Typically, these savings can range between fifty to eighty dollars a month. The question you have to ask yourself though is how often will you be running your air conditioner throughout the year? Will it be all year? Six months? Or, just a few months out of the year?

Let’s say for example you are running it for six months out of the year. Six months times eighty dollars a month equals out to four-hundred and eighty dollars in savings a year. So, now the question is how much more is the SEER system then your standard? Is it another two-thousand dollars? If so, then you it’s going to take you about four or five years to make up for that… and that is assuming you do not have a large part failure during that time.

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier folks you are going to find that most people throughout the country are using between a fourteen to sixteen SEER system. This is just your normal range. The sixteen SEER gives folks a bit of an efficiency upgrade without costing an arm and a leg. In most cases a sixteen SEER system will only be another eight-hundred dollars or so when compared to a fourteen.

All that being said though, if you are in a hotter climate and you are running your air conditioners almost year round then a higher SEER system may make sense for you. You get that extra savings per month and the constant comfortable temperature.

Ultimately, the final decision is going to be up to you. Do you want that higher upfront cost and potential savings down the road, or do you want to go with the traditional fourteen SEER systems?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Question

Summers in Kansas can be quite rough. In just about a month from now it’ll be mid-July and we’ll have temperatures consistently above ninety-five degrees. In many cases we may see a week stretch of one-hundred plus degree highs. Besides the local swimming pool the only way we can escape these high temperatures is by retreating to our homes and relying on our central air conditioners to keep us cool.

But, what do we do on these crazy hot days when we realize our air conditioner just isn’t keeping up? We have it set to seventy-four but the thermostat reads eighty-two and the air conditioner hasn’t shut off for hours. In this article we are going to take a look at this exact scenario and figure out the cause behind it as well as taking a look at solutions to help your air conditioner do its job.

There are a variety of reasons that could cause your air conditioner not to be keeping up with your demand. I’m going to break this article up into three sections and take a look at each possible reason. Let’s dive in.

Record Heat

Every once and a while we get one of those insane heat waves where it seems it will just never end. It is day after day of one-hundred plus degree days. It’s miserable. It may be hard to keep these days in perspective as you are living through them, but you have to realize that these extra hot days are the exception. In most cases your air conditioner isn’t designed to withstand such hot temperatures. If you find that it’s one-hundred and six degrees outside and your air conditioner isn’t keeping up… don’t get mad at it! It is most likely working fine; it just wasn’t designed for the punishment of one-hundred degree temperatures.

The air conditioner for your home was made with a specific designed temperature in mind. As an example, let’s say you live in an area where it very rarely gets over ninety-five degrees. Maybe this only occurs a few days a year. It would make sense then to have an air conditioner that is designed to handle ninety-five degree temperatures.

So, if you have a heat wave of constant one-hundred degree days in the middle of August then your air conditioner is not going to keep up. Remember, it is not designed to handle those kinds of temperatures. You will find that most every other air conditioner in your area is having the same problem.

You see HVAC Contractors install air conditioners based off of the climate they are in. So, you would get a different air conditioner if you live in Phoenix compared to Boston. These are two distinct climates and require two distinct air conditioners.

Sure, you could get a ‘Phoenix’ air conditioner for your New England home but it’s going to cost you a lot and it may not even be worth it. I mean, why pay extra for that little bit of extra comfort for a few days out of the year? Soon enough the heat wave will dissipate and your air conditioner will return to normal functionality.

Air Conditioner Problems

If you are experiencing a record heatwave then I wouldn’t say that your air conditioner has a problem but more so that it’s just overloaded. This is the scenario that we discussed in our first section, ‘Record Heat.’ However, if you find that your air conditioner isn’t keeping up and it’s not that hot outside. (Under ninety degrees) Then you may in fact have a problem with your air conditioner.

There is a whole host of reasons of what could be causing your air conditioner to lag behind your demands on a moderate day. I won’t get into every possible reason here but instead direct to you an article that I wrote a few days ago titled, Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Cooling My Home?

Along with the reasons mentioned in our linked article above there is another possible reason why your air conditioner isn’t keeping up with your thermostat. It could be as simple as your air conditioner is too small for your home. You may have a three ton system installed and in actually need a five ton. If this was the case then it would result in your air conditioner running constantly and never fully catching up to your home’s cooling needs.

If you suspect this is the case for your air conditioner I would recommend calling a service technician to inspect your air conditioner and see if it is in fact too small for your home. The downside here is that if this is the case then you’ll either have to stick with the air conditioner you have, supplement your cooling with portable/window air conditioners, or purchase a whole new larger central air system.

Heat Proofing Your Home

During these heatwaves your air conditioner is going to need your help. There are some things that you can do to keep your home cool and take some stress off of your air conditioner.

We’ll start with the basic ones and then work our ways up towards the more complex. First, you should ensure that you have all of your celling fans on and running. Along with the ceiling fans it would help to have standalone fans as well. We have one room in our house that just doesn’t seem to get cool no matter what we do. The other day we added a fan and kept it on at medium all day. The temperature difference has drastically improved. Sometimes it can be as simple as just adding a fan.

There are all kinds of ways for heat to get into your home. The most impactful though can be your windows, especially your south and west facing windows. In the days of extreme heat these windows can act almost like a greenhouse and actually amplify the heat it’s sending into your home. In order to prevent this most folks close their shades and curtains throughout the day. I have blackout curtains installed in my master just to ensure none of that heat gets in there.

However, if you find that you don’t like living in a cave with no natural light coming in you can invest in what’s called a Solar Shade Screen. These screens actually block a large portion of the sun’s rays. (Up to seventy-five percent.) You order them in a spool and they can then be cut as needed to fit across your screen. You can find an example product on Amazon.com by clicking here. Many users see a reduced temperature in their rooms after installing and they don’t have to have the curtains or blinds drawn all day.

The next big step in reducing heat into your home is going through and identifying all of the air leaks. Air leaks can be everywhere throughout your home. Starting off, it would make sense to check every one of your windows and caulk them if necessary. Along with the windows you should also check your dryer vent. In a lot of cases warm air can sneak in through this.

Besides windows and the dryer vent you should be checking two other prime areas: Your basement/crawl space and your attic. Typically the basement/crawl space isn’t as big of a deal during the summer as heat rises, but it is still good to check and it’s one less thing you have to do when winter comes.

The attic though is the big one. That is where most of heat is getting into your home from. The first thing I would do is check the door to your attic. How warm does it feel? Does it feel like heat is coming through? If so, then you have already identified some of the problem. Check the seams around the door and caulk what you can. Then, go up into the attic and check the insulation levels.

When you close the attic door take a good look around the attic. Are you able to see light from your main floor peeking through? If so, then this isn’t a good thing! That means you’ve got air flowing through. If possible caulk these holes up the best you can. This may mean working around obstructions like vents or ductwork found in the attic. Please be sure to exercise caution while in the attic as you don’t want to make a wrong step. You could sending yourself through the celling by mistake.

Once you have sealed all of the holes that you have found it is time to take a look at the insulation. How much is there? Are you able to see any bare spots? If so, then you will need to add additional layers.

When the insulation has been laid, the holes sealed, and the other steps we mentioned above you should see an improvement in the temperature inside your home. Obviously, this depends from home to home. I’ve seen some reports of a couple degrees difference and others of only a slight improvement. It all depends how your house is to start. If you’ve got leaking air everywhere then yes, of course, you’re going to see an improvement.

Conclusion

A lot of folks get concerned when they see that their air conditioner isn’t keeping up with what temperature they have set on their thermostat. Right away they get nervous and then call their air conditioner technician to come take a look. I am hoping though, that after reading this article you feel a bit more confident on why your air conditioner isn’t keeping up and that in many cases it isn’t the end of the world.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How To

The summers in Kansas can be brutal. In the July and August months we can see one-hundred plus degree temperatures for weeks at a time. If you couple that with the high humidity it can be an outright miserable experience. Most folks get away from this heat by retreating to the confines of their home where their central air conditioner keeps them nice and cool.

What do you do though when you come home only to find that your central air conditioner isn’t working anymore? Perhaps you come home and notice the home is much hotter than it should be. You go and check the vents and feel air being pushed through… but its lukewarm air. Or, perhaps you go and check the outside unit and see that it’s covered in frost and ice. Whatever you encounter the end result is the same: Your home is not being cooled.

So, how do you fix this? How can you get your air conditioner working again? Well, in most cases folks you will have to call a service company to come out and troubleshoot your air conditioner to determine what the problem is. That being said, before you make that call there are a few things that you can check yourself to ensure that you aren’t looking at a simple fix. After all, it’s much better to fix it yourself then have to pay for a service call.

Do-It-Yourself Checks

Before you end up calling a local service company to take a look at your system there are a few things that you can do to troubleshoot your system. First things first though, if your system is covered in ice or frost then turn off your air conditioner and wait for the ice/frost to melt. Once the ice has dissipated we can began troubleshooting. (If there is no ice then turn your system off and start troubleshooting right away.)

Ok, now that we’ve got our system turned off there are a variety of things that you can check and do before we call that tech out. The very first thing I check every time when something goes wrong with my system is the filter. Ideally, your filter should be changed every few months to ensure that clean air is circulating through your home and that dust does not get trapped within your air conditioner/furnace.

If you have not changed your air filter for quite a while then this could be the problem that you are having. Not changing this filter regularly will result in poor airflow due to all of the dirt and grime that gets stuck to the filter. This poor air flow will restrict the amount of hot air that your evaporator coils receive. Without the needed hot air your evaporator can freeze.

By either cleaning or replacing your filter with a new one you may be able to prevent this from happening again and only be out twenty or thirty dollars. If you are unsure on what kind of air filter to purchase check out our ‘Best Air Conditioner Filter’ guide by clicking here. Also, when you are changing your air filter take your vacuum with you with a hose attachment. Then, when you take the old filter out insert that hose attachment in there and suck up any remaining dust that remains. This will ensure you get a nice clean air before you insert the new filter. (Some people use brooms for this as well to sweep out any remaining dust.)

The next logical place that I am going to check is the thermostat. This may sound like a stupid question, but is it set to cool? If it’s not, don’t feel ashamed. I’ve had it happen to me as well. My toddler thought it’d be a fun idea to play with the thermostat before we left for the day. When I came home I was greeted with a surprise. If the thermostat is set to cool then what is the fan setting at? Not all thermostats have this setting but if you do have a fan setting make sure that it is set to ‘Auto’ and not set to ‘On.’ If you do have it set to ‘On’ then you will have the blower motor blowing air constantly… even if the air conditioner isn’t on. So, you’ll get warm air blowing through your home. Lastly, it could be that the thermostat itself is bad and isn’t reading temperatures correctly. If this is the case then this would fall more in line with a service call.

Another area to check is your drainage line. The drainage line comes off your inside unit and should be a smaller plastic tube. The end of the tube should be routed to a drain in your floor. This drainage tube attaches to your condenser. Remember, that your condenser removes heat AND humidity from your home. When removing humidity condensation can occur and water can form. This is what your drainage line is for. Occasionally, your drainage line can get clogged with dirt and debris. If enough is in there it will prevent water from flowing outwards. The water will get stuck and will either find a way out to spill on your floor or it will back up towards the condenser and freeze. The freezing water will crawl back up the tube and may even freeze your condenser. All you need to do to correct this is wait for the ice to thaw and then clean out your tube so that water can flow freely to the drain.

There is one more check we can do before we move outside. A lot of homeowners like to close vents in rooms they are not using. This is seen as a way to save money. This is all true, but if you close too many vents in your home then that cold air has nowhere to go and could end up freezing some of your lines or your air conditioner itself. Try opening up all of your vents when you turn on your air conditioner again. Watch to see if the problem occurs again. If it doesn’t, then try closing one or two vents, then watch your system again. Rinse and repeat until you determine what the ‘perfect’ number of closed vents is for your home.

The last check that you can do before you need to call a service technician is inspecting your condenser on your outside unit. The condenser is located on the side of your outside air conditioner. When looking at it you will notice hundreds of fins all around it. How dirty do they look? Are there leaves, dirt, and other debris wedged in there? If so, get a garden hose with a controllable nozzle. Set the nozzle to a low setting and gently spray the side of your AC unit (The condenser) with the water. Be sure not to use high pressure water as you could risk damaging the fins of the condenser. This can be an expensive repair, so be careful. Also take care not to spray water directly on top of your air conditioner.

Service Call Worthy

Ok folks, so we now have gone through every possible thing we can do before calling an HVAC company. There are some things though that we just aren’t able to fix. If none of the solutions we offered above have helped then you are most likely looking at one of these scenarios that will require a trained professional.

Low Refrigerant

The first and most common issue in HVAC troubleshooting is that you are low on refrigerant. If your system isn’t cooling your home or is blowing warm air then it is likely that it is low on refrigerant. Refrigerant is the ‘blood’ of your air conditioner. Without refrigerant your system cannot absorb the heat from your home. If you do have low refrigerant do NOT just add more refrigerant to your system. Refrigerant flows through your air conditioner in an endless cycle. In other words, you should never run out of refrigerant… unless you have a leak. If you, or your service tech, adds refrigerant to your system without fixing the leak then you are just throwing money out the door. You are going to have the same problem again when that new refrigerant leaks out.

Instead, your service tech needs to identify where the leak is coming from. Is it on the refrigerant lines going back and forth between the evaporator and the condenser? Is it in the outside unit? Or, in the inside? Once the leak has been determined the technician will patch it and then recharge your system. While the patch may not be too expensive the recharge of refrigerant can get quite pricey, especially if most of your refrigerant has already leaked out.

Also note that you may have more than one leak in your system. This can happen in the piping of older systems. Sometimes the old piping can get corroded and cause multiple micro fractures throughout the lines. In this case your service tech may need to replace the entire pipe.

Faulty Compressor

The other most common problem with a central air conditioner is a bad compressor. If refrigerant is the ‘blood’ of your air conditioner then the compressor is the ‘heart.’ The compressor is what circulates the refrigerant throughout your system. If there is a problem with the compressor then it will most likely need to be replaced.

Unfortunately, a compressor replacement can be an expensive repair. It could be a couple hundred or it could be six or seven-hundred. It is hard to gauge this as there are other factors to consider. Such as what size is your air conditioner? Did the broken compressor cause other problems? Does the system need a recharge of refrigerant?

Yes, that’s right. In some cases you could have a faulty compressor and need a refrigerant recharge. If that is the case then I’m sorry to say that you’re going to have a hefty repair bill.

Duct Work

Depending on how comfortable you are, this could be something you could do yourself. I would still recommend contacting a professional though. You could be lacking air flow due to faulty ducts. This problem doesn’t usually just ‘happen’ randomly though. This is something you would encounter when moving into a new home. For example, my old house had a big old gash in the duct work in the basement. When I walked by I could feel the cold air coming through the hole. I did my redneck fix and duct taped the hell out of it. It fixed the problem.

Depending on your house your duct work is going to run through your basement and your ceiling. Inspect all of these ducts and look for any visible signs of damage or even open areas. Please take extra caution when working in your attic as a wrong step can not only send you through the ceiling but can also lead to injury. The same caution should be exercised if you are working in a crawl space. (Many folks like to put poison in their crawl spaces to deter animals and pests… sometimes this can affect humans as well.)

If the duct work only needs a few patches here and there then you could take the duct tape approach. But, if you are finding some glaring issues then it would be best to call an HVAC tech for repairs.

Faulty Blower Motor or Fan Motor

These are two different distinct parts but they accomplish similar goals. The blower motor is located inside your home and has the goal of blowing the air across the cold evaporator coils. The then chilled air flows throughout your home. If you have a low quality blower motor then you will struggle to have that cold air pushed through your room. This can be solved by replacing your old blower motor with a new model. Also, in some cases the blower motor that comes with your home can be improperly sized. The motor itself could be working perfectly but it’s just not large enough to push the air through your home. A larger blower motor would solve this issue.

The fan motor is located on the outside part of your air conditioner. This is the motor that gives the power to the fan that is located at the top of your outside air conditioner. The goal here is to expel the heat. If the fan, or motor, is not working correctly then you will have trouble removing the heat from your home.

Other Misc Parts Within Air Conditioner

While we have covered all of the most common air conditioner failures there are always one off occurrences that can happen. As an example, in my old house our air conditioner stopped working entirely. We called a tech out to service the machine and found that a capacitor had blown. So, while it wasn’t the blower motor or the fan motor that went out… it was the capacitor that kept those motors running that broke.

Air conditioners are complex machines and you will always have a risk of those smaller ancillary parts and components giving out as well. If you’re not sure it is always best to call a technician out to service the equipment.

Conclusion

Well folks, after reading this you should have a pretty good idea of what you can and can’t do when it comes to servicing your air conditioner. While some of you may want to go above the do-it-yourself section we should inform you that the handling of refrigerant is strictly regulated.

You are not legally allowed to handle HFC or HCFC refrigerants unless you are Section 608 Clean Air Act certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. If you do not have this certification then you cannot legally handle or charge air conditioning equipment.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to answer your questions,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Question

As I write this article it is in the middle of June and it is hot outside. Yesterday the temperatures reached over ninety-five degrees. It is only going to get hotter. As we get into this hot weather there is nothing I like more than coming into a nice cool home after working out in the yard for a few hours.

That cool house though is something that I, and a lot of others, take advantage of. It’s not something that you think about it just happens. Typically, you don’t think about it until something goes wrong with your air conditioner. And, of course, it always go wrong on the hottest day of the year.

In this article we are going to discuss when and if you should replace your older central air conditioner.

When to Replace

First, let’s understand just how long a normal central air conditioner should last. If you look around online or even talk with a few seasoned pros they will all say the same thing. A typical air conditioner will last between ten to fifteen years. Yes, there are always exceptions, but it is over and past that ten year mark when you begin seeing component failures occur.

Now that you know the approximate failure age of air conditioners we can now begin to see when to replace your central system. Before doing anything with their air conditioner most people wait for a failure. Let’s say it’s a hot summer’s day and it’s one-hundred degrees outside. The air conditioner is working overtime trying to reach that seventy-two degrees temperature that you set. Then, at some time during the day, something on the air conditioner fails. It could be a compressor. It could be a capacitor. It could be a number of things. Whatever it is, it needs a repair.

This is where a decision needs to be made. If your system is five years old then the best option is to pay for the repair and move on. (In most cases.) However, if your air conditioner is over ten years old then it is worth seeing how much the repair is going to be.

Is the repair going to cost a few hundred, or close to a thousand? What are the chances that you are going to need another repair in the future? A lot of times once a failure occurs it is only a matter of time before another one happens. When you get that first repair bill you will need to determine if you want to patch the leaky boat or purchase a whole new boat.

If you do decide to purchase a new system there are a few benefits that you will receive. The first is that new systems come with warranties. While most companies may offer a few years warranty I have seen some offer all the way up to ten years. This warranty protects you from unexpected repairs cost down the road.

Another benefit that you’ll see is that older air conditioners lose efficiency with each passing year. So, the energy cost involved in running the same air conditioner new versus when it’s fifteen years old will be quite different. When installing a new system you will see a savings in your energy bill. (This holds especially true if you are replacing an older R-22 refrigerant system to a newer R-410A refrigerant system.)

Conclusion

Alright folks, so now you have a good gauge on when you should replace your central system. Just know that there is no perfect time to do it. In a lot of cases it is a guessing game. If you make this repair now will your air conditioner make it through the rest of the season without any issues? Or, will you experience another failure just a few weeks later?

No one knows for sure what will happen. It is up to you to make that determination.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Question

Your central air conditioner is by far one of the most expensive appliances in your home. In some cases a new central air system can cost you a few thousand dollars all the way up to five-thousand dollars. I don’t care who you are, that is a lot of money to face all at once. The worst thing you can do is end up purchasing a new central air conditioner too early. What if your current system still has some years in it?

That is exactly what we’re going to take a look at in this article. Just how long can a central air conditioner last? What is the average life span? When should we repair and when should we replace? Let’s take a look:

Air Conditioner Life Span

In most cases the average central air conditioner will last between ten to fifteen years. When your system reaches this age you should begin thinking about purchasing a new one, especially if you have an expensive repair come up.

Typically, if you have one repair come up on an older unit it is only a matter of time before the next one arrives. After that there are only stop-gap measures until the next repair. The cycle repeats so on and so on until you finally break down and purchase a new system.

While ten to fifteen years is a guideline you may see your air conditioner die before this if the conditioner was too small for your home. If you have a three ton system but needed a five ton for your home then your air conditioner will be working overtime to try and reach your desired temperature. This extra strain could cause premature failure of the system. The same can be said for oversized air conditioners. Instead of always running though the system will ‘short cycle.’ In other words it will turn on and off rapidly which causes excessive wear and tear and you will see premature failure like we just mentioned above.

On the other hand though, if you are studious with the maintenance and of taking the proper care of your air conditioner then you could see the system last all the way to twenty years. In some cases I have heard of systems last all the way to twenty-five years. In fact, I was looking at a house the other day that had a central system that was twenty-two years old. It was a beast and the condenser was rusted to hell, but it was still running and providing cool air. If you ensure proper maintenance is taken care of then you can extend the life of your air conditioner.

When to Replace

Now that you know the approximate failure age of air conditioners we can now begin to see when to replace your central system. Before doing anything with their air conditioner most people wait for a failure. Let’s say it’s a hot summer’s day and it’s one-hundred degrees outside. The air conditioner is working overtime trying to reach that seventy-two degrees temperature that you set. Then, at some time during the day, something on the air conditioner fails. It could be a compressor. It could be a capacitor. It could be a number of things. Whatever it is, it needs a repair.

This is where a decision needs to be made. If your system is five years old then the best option is to pay for the repair and move on. (In most cases.) However, if your air conditioner is over ten years old then it is worth seeing how much the repair is going to be.

Is the repair going to cost a few hundred, or close to a thousand? What are the chances that you are going to need another repair in the future? A lot of times once a failure occurs it is only a matter of time before another one happens. When you get that first repair bill you will need to determine if you want to patch the leaky boat or purchase a whole new boat.

If you do decide to purchase a new system there are a few benefits that you will receive. The first is that new systems come with warranties. While most companies may offer a few years warranty I have seen some offer all the way up to ten years. This warranty protects you from unexpected repairs cost down the road.

Another benefit that you’ll see is that older air conditioners lose efficiency with each passing year. So, the energy cost involved in running the same air conditioner new versus when it’s fifteen years old will be quite different. When installing a new system you will see a savings in your energy bill. (This holds especially true if you are replacing an older R-22 refrigerant system to a newer R-410A refrigerant system.)

Conclusion

In the end folks it is a guessing game. There is no perfect time to replace your air conditioner. The only thing that you can do is use the information that is given to you and make an educated guess. Just try not to get caught in the trap of making constant repairs to a dying unit. If you find that you are having multiple repairs a year then it may be time to scrap and replace.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ