(770) 455-6722

Serving Metro Atlanta & Surrounding Areas

Cunningham Associates
Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Important Features of a New HVAC System

Buying a new HVAC system? Have you spent so much money in repairs that it’s finally time to just replace your unit? We understand there can be a lot of different reasons why some systems are better than others. We’ve come up with a list of newer features that we here at Cunningham Associates believe are the first features you should look for in your new unit.

Efficiency: Take into consideration the BTUs, SEER and HSPF of the HVAC unit. The higher the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), the lower your bills will be. SEER is a measurement of the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. It is the BTU of cooling output during a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input watts-hours during the same period. The higher the SEER rating of a unit, the more energy efficient it is. The current minimum standard set by the federal government is 13 SEER.

Thermostat: Did you know that newer HVAC systems come with a programmable thermostat to ensure you are saving as much money as possibly you can? Be sure to check out the new Nest Learning Thermostat that we offer here at Cunningham Associates. This new thermostat comes with features that will help you save on your next bill, and you can even adjust it when you’re not home!

Cost: Cost is usually the deciding factor for most products. But when you’re shopping for an HVAC unit, don’t let the cheapest price sell you. Look at the prices, compare and do some research. The higher the price usually means more features.

Fan Only: Newer HVAC systems come with a “fan only” feature. This allows you to save money when the temperature drops and you don’t need to use your air conditioner. When you’re looking for a feature like this, check out the noise controls as well. You don’t want a unit that will keep you up all night!

Reliability: Your HVAC unit will be very expensive no matter which one you choose. You’ll want to ask around and look into a well-known manufacturer, like Lennox.

It can be confusing the wade through and digest all of the available information about different HVAC units. If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to explain the options and help you make the best choice for your home!

5 Ways to Winterize Your Home

In an ideal world, prepping your home for the upcoming winter months would have already been done, before the coldest of the weather starts to creep in. However, if you have let winterizing your home fall to the wayside while the days get shorter and the chill gets colder, here are some tips and tricks to get you back on track!

Set Your Thermostat: This may seem like a complete no-brainer, but make sure that you turn the heat on in your home! A lot of homeowners forget this step and until you find the balance in heat in your home, you could be racking up your energy bill. Try to match your thermostat to the temperature you’ve set for the different rooms of your home.

Change Your Filters: Dirty filters can stifle your unit’s efficiency, and it may make it increasingly difficult for your heating system to heat your entire home in a timely manner. Check to see if your filter is washable! You may be able to use soap and water to clean your filters. Changing the filter also ensures that you keep pollution or debris out of your heating system and, ultimately, if your system works as efficiently as it should, your result will be lower energy bills.

Insulate Vulnerable Or Exposed Pipes: Do you have exposed piping? Pipes that run along the outside of your home, or even in the garage, are exposed to the elements! These temperatures can cause your pipes to freeze so make sure that you insulate those pipes. If you’re unsure which pipes need insulation, do a walk through with an HVAC professional and they can help you avoid frozen pipes by pointing out the weak spots that may need some extra TLC this winter.

Check The Doors and Windows: Check to make sure that your home’s doors and windows are properly sealed! Making sure that there are no cracks in the caulk or weather stripping could help your heating system immensely! Your heating system won’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature if there’s no way for the warm air to escape or the cold air to enter your home.

Clean Your Vents: Make sure that before you go into the winter months and turn on your heat that your vents are clean. If you don’t know how to clean them properly, don’t be afraid to ask an HVAC professional! Even getting your system checked or a tune-up would allow for the professionals to clean the vents before you start using your heat each day.

Our trained HVAC professionals at Cunningham Associates Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. will help you and your family transition seamlessly into the Atlanta winters. Schedule your maintenance check-up today!

6 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

We may wish that fall was farther away than it is, but September 23rd is rapidly approaching. You may not see the leaves start to turn, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for autumn. Have you gotten your home ready, yet? Check out our tips for making sure that your home is as ready for sweater weather as you are.

  1. Clean, Repair or Replace your Furnace Filters: If you have an electrostatic filter, make sure to clean it thoroughly with soap and water. If your home uses disposable filters, be sure to change them at least once a month. Remembering to clean, repair or replace your filters could reduce fire hazard as well as help heat your home faster and more efficiently!
  2. Check the Seals on Your Pipes, Ducts, Doors and Windows: Checking the areas where the cooler air can sneak into your home is paramount when it comes to getting ready for fall. If any of these spaces need to be sealed, you still have the time you need before winter.
  3. Turn Your Fan On: This may seem counterproductive, but warm air rises. Because of this, the cold air can sit stagnant in the room, only being able to be filtered by the ceiling fan! Most ceiling fans have reversible motors which allows for the fan to disperse the heated air evenly and warm the room again.
  4. Open Your Vents: An HVAC system can function much more efficiently when all of the air vents are open in your home. Blocking or closing the vents can disrupt the airflow to your home.
  5. Make Sure Your Fireplace Has A Tight Fitting Damper: Fireplaces can let out heat or bring cold air in if their dampers are not closed when the fireplace is not in use.
  6. Arrange for a Check-Up: Just like children, your HVAC system needs a back-to-school checkup! With a professional coming in to check on your unit, you are able to go into the fall months without any fear or hiccups along the way! 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 winters. 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

Your Home Office: Save Energy & Money

Nearly 28 million people work from home at least part of the time, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While this can save time and fuel by reducing your commute, it may increase your home energy use. Improving the energy efficiency of your home office equipment will help you save on utility costs without hampering your productivity.

Save Energy & Money

  • Make sure computers and other office equipment are turned off when they are not in use for an extended period.
  • Many electronic devices continue to use standby power even after they are turned off. Connect your office equipment to a power strip as a central shut-off to eliminate standby power losses.
  • Set office equipment, such as printers and scanners, to automatically switch to sleep mode when not in use. In addition to saving energy, the equipment will stay cooler, which will help to extend its useful life.
  • Use a laptop computer instead of a desktop. Laptops use less than one-third the energy of a typical desktop computer.
  • Adjust the thermostat to the unoccupied setting. This avoids wasting energy by conditioning the entire house while you are occupying only a small portion of it. Consider using a space heater in winter or ceiling fan in summer to maintain comfort.
  • Use task lighting with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). A desk lamp uses less energy than whole-room lighting.

When purchasing new office equipment, make sure that it is ENERGY STAR qualified. ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy than standard models. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every home office product purchased in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR qualified, Americans would save an estimated $75 million a year in energy costs.