(770) 455-6722

Serving Metro Atlanta & Surrounding Areas

Cunningham Associates
Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Introducing the NEST Learning Thermostat

Thermostats usually aren’t the first things a person would like to upgrade in their home. They think about their bigger appliances like a fridge or a stove. But upgrading your thermostat can save you the most money throughout the year, and we want to tell you why the Nest Thermostat can save you the most.

Here at Cunningham Associates, we offer one of the best thermostats around: The Nest Thermostat. This thermostat allows you to preset your thermostat so that it drops or increases the temperature when you’re not using it. With the digital screen in front of you, there’s no more guessing as to which degree you’ve set your thermostat to. It also gives you a green leaf icon, to assure you that you are saving energy.

If you’re worried about your filters, and never know when to call us to get it cleaned – Nest can help with that too. The Nest thermostat tracks how long you run your system and will alarm you when your filter needs to be changed. According to Nest, a dirty filter can cost you 5% more on your heating and cooling bills, but also decreases the quality of the air your breathing.

The Nest thermostat learns from your previous settings, and will set it so that when you leave the house in the summer it will increase the temperature while no one is home, and vice versa in the wintertime. If something unexpected comes up and you need to change your thermostat, not to worry – it can be controlled by your smartphone.

Nest wants to save you money and make your home as safe as possible. The Nest thermostat and carbon monoxide detector work together. If the carbon monoxide detector goes off, your gas furnace will automatically shut off too.

We understand with this new, high-tech thermostat you might have some questions – and we’re here to answer them! Feel free to give us a call or email with any questions you might have.

How to Save on Your Air Conditioning Bill

During the summer months, air conditioning is a necessity for most parts of the country. High temperatures combined with high humidity make it especially difficult for the body to cool itself. While air conditioning is a welcome piece of technology, it does consume a lot of power. However, there are many things you can do that reduce its power consumption.

Take Advantage of New Technology

If you have a very old air conditioner, consider buying a newer unit. Specifically, you want to look for a unit with a very high energy-efficiency ratio (EER). The higher the EER, the less power required for the same cooling you get now with your old unit. Investing in a newer air conditioner will quickly pay for itself in energy savings. Have questions on this? Give us a call!

Keep the Filter Clean

A dirty filter reduces airflow through the air conditioner, which reduces its efficiency and overworks the fan.

Keep the Condenser Shaded

When the condenser is exposed to direct sunlight, it consumes more power.

Keep Your Home Well Insulated

Everyone understands how insulation keeps out the cold in the winter. However, it also keeps out the heat in the summer. Insulate your home, including the attic, so excess heat can’t get inside.

Keep Your House Shaded

A lot of the heat that your air conditioner battles against comes from the exposure of your house to direct sunlight. If you are thinking about cutting down trees that are shading your house, weigh in increased cooling costs as one of the cons to this decision. If you are considering transplanting trees from a nursery, place them on the sun-exposed side of your house so that your windows and AC window units are in the shade. Also, install solar screens on windows with sun exposure.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Set the programmable thermostat to raise temperatures while you’re away from home and lower them when you’re back. Maintaining a constant low temperature when you are away is a mistake because the AC unit consumes more power maintaining a low temperature than a higher one.

Use a Ceiling Fan

When the fan is pushing air downward on you, it has a natural cooling effect on your body, which makes it easier to tolerate a higher temperature setting. The additional power it uses is more than offset by the lower AC setting.

5 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Spring is finally upon us! We might still have a bit of a winter chill lingering on, but spring and even summer’s weather is on its way. Have you gotten your home ready yet? Check out our tips for making sure that your home is prepared to spring into spring:

Clean, Repair or Replace Your Furnace Filters: Make sure that you clean, replace or repair the filters in your home before the spring and summer months. Doing this can improve the air quality in your home, as well as ensure that your cooling unit is operating at its most efficient.

Clean Your Outdoor Equipment: One step that might be the most important, but often goes overlooked: cleaning out your outdoor coils! Dirt, leaves, twigs or other debris can really reduce the efficiency of your system and need to be removed. You can use a brush and water from a hose to clean out the debris that you can’t reach with your hands.

Flip the Switch: Flipping the switch on the humidifier may be one of the most overlooked things that you can do to get ready for the spring and summer months. A humidifier is important in the winter months to add moisture and improve indoor air quality but in the spring and summer months you can flip that switch and allow a cool breeze to flow throughout your home.

Duct Sealing and Insulation: If there’s a crack or leak in your ductwork or insulation, your air conditioning unit will not perform at its full efficiency. Because of that, check your insulation and ductwork before springing into the spring months and the inevitable summer heat wave. That way, you can ensure your AC unit will function as best it can!

Arrange for Routine Maintenance: You wouldn’t want to turn your AC on to find it isn’t working! Get a check-up for your cooling system and fix any issues before the cooling season begins. That way, you won’t run into any heat waves inside your home this summer. Our seasoned professionals at Cunningham Associates Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. will make sure that you’re ready for the months ahead leading into our Atlanta summers. Schedule your maintenance check-up today!

The Freon Phase-Out

Freon is the old, expensive air conditioning coolant that is now being phased out by the EPA, due to its harmful affect on the ozone. Freon equipment is very widespread, so with the phase-out, air conditioning system replacement should be on peoples’ list soon.

But don’t worry: Freon is non-toxic and non-flammable, so if you’re using it in your air conditioning unit there’s no need to panic.

Interestingly enough, even with Freon being phased out, all the Freon that has already been emitted into the atmosphere will affect the ozone layer for decades. This means the sooner we stop using Freon the faster we can begin to protect our atmosphere.

Now you’re probably wondering what the Freon should be replaced with. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has reviewed alternatives to ozone depleting substances and has determined several acceptable substitutes, which you can review here: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/refrigerants/qa.html

If you currently have an air conditioning system that uses R-22 (the type of Freon that is most dangerous to the atmosphere), you can continue to use and service that system. But, replacing your system should definitely be considered, as newer air conditioning units are being designed with substitute refrigerants that are better for the atmosphere and repairs on R-22 systems will continue to get more expensive as Freon becomes less and less available.

The Freon phase-out mandated by the EPA can be confusing, so please call Cunningham Associates at (770) 455-6722 if you have questions. We can help you determine if replacing your air conditioning system should be at the top of your list, or let you know if your system already uses one of the newer, safer refrigerants.

PS, if you’re looking for HVAC services in the Northern VA area, call M&M Mechanical, Inc.

Resources: 1, 2, 3

Pre-Season Maintenance & Spring Prep

Spring is quickly approaching and that means it will soon be time to crank up the air conditioning! There are many different things you can do to prepare your A/C system for spring and summer. Here are a few things that Cunningham Associates will be able to assist you with to be sure your A/C is ready for the hot weather ahead!

  1. Check, clean and, if needed, replace the filters.
  2. Detect any issues with your air conditioner that, if neglected may cause problems with the heavy use ahead.
  3. Check and clean the oil/gas valve.
  4. Check and clean the coils.
  5. Make sure all panels are secured properly.
  6. Clear out any debris that has gathered around the system, i.e., leaves, trash, etc.
  7. Calibrate the thermostat.
  8. Thoroughly clean the system.

We know that maintaining HVAC systems can be stressful and daunting, but that is why we are here! Keep this in mind: if you take care of your HVAC system, it will benefit you on those long, hot summer days!

Please remember that we are here for you! Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, concerns or just want to double check to make sure you are properly maintaining your cooling system.

PS: Contact us today at (770) 455-6722 to ask about our Maintenance Agreement options, which take care of all these issues (and more!) twice a year!

Resources: 1, 2