In episode 108 of the Real Trade Secrets with Jacob Mcbee, you’ll hear expert answers to a few HVAC-related questions that you may also have.
Question #1: Can utility companies control your Nest thermostat?
If you don’t know it yet, a Nest thermostat is a kind of smart thermostat that you can control remotely from your mobile phone. It’s proven effective in keeping your air conditioner efficient, which means it won’t consume more energy than necessary.
Since this type of thermostat can be controlled remotely, some homeowners are probably wondering whether their utilities can also control it or not.
“Just because you install a nest does not mean that the utility company is going to be controlling it. If you buy your own, install it yourself, put it on your own Wi-Fi, and control it on your own phone, then that thermostat is controlled by you. If the utility company is providing it, then again, in most cases, I’d say they’re going to have the ability to control that with you. So you’d still have control over it, but they’re going to be the number one controller.”
Question #2: Can I measure how much amperage my refrigerators, my air conditioner, my water heater, and other equipment consumes?
Air conditioners, refrigerators, and similar equipment often consume the most electricity in a typical Texas home. Those who want to cut their utility bills may wish to monitor these equipment’s energy usage.
“To answer that question, yes, you can with the help of available devices. Some devices could monitor the different consumption of different products at different times, all the way from your water heater, water itself, the refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, etc. A good example of that is we’ve installed some monitors in the past that allows homeowners to know what is consuming utilities.”
“Generally, you can make that home as smart as possible and do pretty much anything you want. And if you’ll have any questions, I’m happy to get you some references and share some things that I’ve used in the past that have worked well.”
Question #3: I’m building an extra room. How does that change our lives when it comes to air conditioning?
Adding an extra room, maybe a man cave or a she-shed, never hurts. But you also have to consider the indoor comfort, which involves an air conditioner.
“Let’s say the extra room is detached from the house. Depending on the size, let’s say 1000 square feet or less, a standard window unit may do. Mount it on the wall, and you’re good to go. Sometimes they’re an eyesore, and you may even lose half a window. Plus, they’re loud. So that’s not always the best option, especially if you’ve got a she-shed and the design artist here says, “I don’t want that.” Then you can also go with what we have now, which is mini-split units.”
Now let’s say the room is attached to the house. Well, the first thing we’re going to want to look at is, is your current air conditioner capable of keeping up with what you’re adding to your house? So you’re going to close in, let’s say, the entire two-car garage. I’d say more than likely your existing air conditioner won’t be enough.
Question #4: Do you service window units in homes built 100 years ago?
With its low cost, easy installation, high efficiency, and other perks, window air conditioning units are often a go-to A/C for many homeowners. But window units these days are pretty different from those built years ago.
“Window units, in many cases, are a commodity item. Once they break, you typically just have to replace them. Some of those window units – the huge ones that you special order, can be worked on. There are PTACs that look like window units. So some of those can be serviced as well. But in many cases, if it fits inside the window, chances are it’s probably a commodity item. You need to replace it and go from there.
Question #5: How long do air conditioning units in mobile homes last?
Mobile homes have unique characteristics and needs. So the lifespan of the A/C installed in this kind of home will also differ from those typical homes.
“So mobile homes are excellent. But certain things differentiate them from a standard, custom-built home. There’s no attic in many cases. The ductwork is going to go underneath or overhead, but still, there’s no attic space there.”
“These mobile homes are usually designed from the factory for heating, and then we add air conditioning on. And so heating is a lower fan speed operating system. When you add air conditioning to that, you increase the fan speed. So if the duct system is not designed for it, you’re going to make that motor run under higher static pressure. Essentially, what you’re going to do is force the motor to work harder to force the air through the duct system that exists there. And in doing so, you can sometimes decrease the life of that motor because you’re forcing it to work a little bit harder.”
“Furthermore, these mobile homes were put together with lots of glues and products and materials. So there’s a lot of VOCs or volatile organic compounds that exist inside of those chemicals. And those volatile organic compounds are what erodes your aluminum and copper coils prematurely. It causes pitting of the coils.”
If you have any more questions, feel free to call 830-212-4222.
“We learned these answers over time. And so, just keep calling us out. We’ll keep taking care of it for you, and we’ll keep building our knowledge base, and you keep bringing it to us, and we’ll keep serving you all the very best we can and giving you the best that we have available.” – Jacob Mcbee