Introducing the New Smart Thermostat!

So we have “smart” cars, “smart” televisions and “smart” phones. This “smart” title is getting stuck on just about everything these days. But we recently received some information on a new Ecobee Smart Thermostat, and let me tell you, I was impressed.

Let me start by saying, this thermostat has more options than my (less than smart) cell phone. It connects to the internet, connects to your iPhone or iPad, has a nifty, brightly lit touch screen. I’m still trying to find out what this thing does NOT do. But, enough about my opinions. Let’s get down to the specs.

One of the greatest things about this is its convenience. While most “smart” products are just handed to you with a mental note of “Read this 836 page instruction manual, or figure it out”, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat has easy to read/see touchscreen icons and a Wizard to guide you through every step of setting it up for use. It has simple walk through steps, and, best of all, a fully trained technician to install it that can answer any question you may have. Also, since it uses simple programming and intelligent algorithms, it can help you save up to 20% of your home energy expenses.

Another nifty, convenient asset is its internet connectability. Say you’re at work and a strong cold front came in when you realize you’re air conditioner is still set for 70 degrees cooling. Simply sign on to your (free by the way. Who doesn’t love free?) secure web portal and switch it over to heat, from your office. Or car, or hotel room, or wherever you may be. But then again, why would you not know about this cold front? The internet connection also provides you with a five-day weather forecast, right on your thermostat. You can even send custom messages from this web portal to the people currently at your home. Ecobee also features an app that is available on the iTunes store, for free, that allows you to control any one of your thermostats from any place cell phones are allowed.

Or let’s say you’re going on vacation and don’t want your A/C or heat to be running the whole time you’re gone, but you don’t want to turn off the thermostat for fear of loosing your programming or coming back to a hot/cold house. This thermostat features an easy Quick Save icon. This allows your system to still maintain an acceptable temperature, without running on the normal schedule it would need to with doors opening, food cooking, or children running around. Just one more way the Ecobee Smart Thermostat helps you save on those bills!

This thermostat will also automatically download new features and functionality immediately as they become available at no extra cost to you.

Sure, sure, it has all the perks. But what else, besides saving on my energy bills, can come of the Ecobee Smart Thermostat? It’s been noted that my managing the heating and cooling in your home, you not only conserve energy, but also reduce carbon emissions. By doing so, you could have the same impact of planting 70 trees in one year! Talk about going green!


Geothermal or Air-to-Air?

When deciding on a new air conditioner/heater for your home or business, there are several things that may come to find. Is it reliable? Is it safe? Is it efficient? How much will it cost me?

I’m going to cover a few ideas to help you make the best possible decision for your home/business, family and budget. I will start this by covering the different systems and what they offer.

Geothermal systems are known for being the “green” route. It uses renewable technology with no flame, flue or odors. This greatly reduces the carbon output for a safer future. To cool the home, the system simply removes excess heat and displaces it into the earth which is colder than the air surrounding it. In the cooler months, heating is accomplished by transferring heat through circulating water under ground from a lake, pond or well instead of burning a fuel. Geothermal systems are, however, much more expensive then regular air-to-air systems, but genuinely make up for it’s cost in substantial energy savings. Geothermal systems have been known to reduce heating costs by up to 70%, cooling costs by up to 50% and between 30-50% in hot water costs. Another thing to consider is the life span of the unit. Since Geothermal units contain very few moving parts, they require less maintenance and can last much longer than regular air-to-air systems. Another financial asset is that all customers who purchase a Geothermal unit will receive a one time 30% tax credit on that years income tax return!

Since we are a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer, I am going to cover the Carrier Infinity Series in this section, though we do offer other equipment to fit your budget. Air-to-air systems are initially less expensive, and more common than Geothermal systems, but are not as efficient when it comes to utility bills. To measure the efficiency of a unit, you must check on the SEER number for the cooling side, and the HSPF number for the heating side. These numbers can easily be compared to the “miles per gallon” when referring to a vehicle. The higher the number, the more efficient the system. Carrier offers the Infinity system with a SEER number up to 19 (out of 20), and a HSPF number of 9.5 (out of 13). Older air-to-air systems are usually “single stage” which simply blows hot or cold air at a single speed until the desired temperature is reached before shutting off. The Infinity system offers a two stage scroll compressor. With this, your unit will run on “low stage” around 80% of the time to maintain a constant temperature and maximum, consistent comfort. This two stage function has been known to greatly reduce energy usage. Another wonderful thing about the Infinity system is that it combines the Infinity control with an Infinity control board that is directly placed in the heat pump. This allows you to control and schedule temperatures, heating, cooling, humidification and dehumidification, fan speeds and more to allow optimal comfort and convenience at your fingertips.

Options Offered:
Now let’s cover more options you may consider when thinking about “how clean is my air?”
When measuring the efficiency of air cleaning products, always check the MERV number. This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Basically, these products are tested to see how small the particles can be, to not get caught by the filter. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient it is in catching smaller particles.
Carrier offers several ways to provide the cleanest air possible. I’m going to go over these options with you and what they mean.

Air Purifiers and Cleaners:
The best air purifier that Carrier offers is the Infinity Air Purifier. This has a disposable filter with a MERV rating of 15.This piece of equipment uses the same technology used to provide safety and protection in secure government facilities as well as hospitals. It is also quiet and effective. It has been known to clean over 100% more air than portable air cleaners.
How it works:
First the Infinity Air Purifier uses precision point ionization to charge damaging particles as they enter the purifier. Next, a continuously charged media filter captures these damaging particles. Finally, exclusive, state-of-the-art technology kills all of the viruses, bacteria, mold spores and allergens trapped in the filter.

The second choice in Air Filtration is the Carrier Performance EX Flex Filter and Cabinet. This is simply a new cabinet that attaches to wherever the filter is on your indoor unit that holds a much more efficient filter. The standard EZ Flex Filter is a MERV 10, but has the option to easily install a MERV 13.

Fresh Air Ventilators:
Fresh air ventilators come in two different types and are used to remove pollutants from the air while refreshing your indoor environment.
As I stated, these Fresh Air Ventilators come in two different types. We have the HRV, which is most efficient in colder climates such as Canada or the northern United States. Then we also have the ERV which is most efficient in areas where humidity needs to be removed from the incoming are, such as the Midwest and southern states.

Ultraviolet (UV) Germicidal Lamps:
A lot of the time, mold spores, bacteria and fungi thrive in the cool, damp surfaces of your cooling coil. By installing an Ultraviolet Germicidal Lamp, you can assure yourself and your family/customers of safety in the air from these dangerous invaders. These lamps also can increase efficiency of your unit, require no cleaning, and are available for nearly all units. Simply replace the bulbs once a year to maintain efficiency.

Dry air causing congestion and stuffy noses in the heating months? Carrier Humidifiers circulate just the right amount of humidity in the air to alleviate dry, itchy skin, dry nasal passages, annoying static electricity shocks and cracked, dry woodwork. The added humidity also allows less opportunity for dust, pollen and other irritants to circulate in the air that you breath, and can even lower energy costs since humidified air feels warmer than dry air allowing you to set your system at a lower temperature. We even offer a bypass humidifier which is 100% efficient in water usage.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm:
Carbon Monoxide is a dangerous gas produced by incomplete combustion of fuels from natural and LP gas, kerosene, coal, wood and charcoal, any fuel burning device, including appliances, automobiles and fire places. CO is colorless and odorless meaning it can go completely unnoticed in your home. However, exposure can cause fatigue, chest pain, impaired vision and coordination, headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and can even be fatal. These alarms are suggested to be installed on every level of the house in every bedroom. They include a rechargeable lithium ION battery to ensure complete protection even during a power outage. It also has a function to allow health professionals too quickly and easily asses the amounts of CO in the air if an alarm were to sound.

So as you can see, here at Quality Air Conditioning, we have many options to assure you peace of mind with the equipment in your home. If you are looking for a new unit, or any of the safety assuring equipment listed below, please call our office to schedule a free survey!