Tankless Water Heaters, Things To Consider

Tankless water heaters are becoming an increasingly popular with homeowners. Tankless water heaters offer many benefits over their traditional counterparts. While there are many advantages to installing a tankless system, Forest Air, LLC is here to tell you that it won’t be the right solution for every home and situation. Before purchasing a new water heater, consider the points below in determining whether to go tankless or not.

Installation Space

Traditional tank water heaters require a minimum area for installation, taking up valuable space within your home. Tankless water heaters, in contrast, are much smaller, and most often mounted on the wall. If you have a smaller home or limited installation space, tankless water heaters are well suited for these situations.

Your Family’s Hot Water Needs

The primary difference between tankless water heaters and traditional water heaters is how they deliver hot water. Tankless systems heat water on demand as you request it vice storing preheated water like traditional water heaters. The downside is that it will take a little longer for the hot water to get to you since it has to heat up, the upside is that a tankless water heater can provide you with an essentially unlimited supply of hot water, unlike a tank water heater that will eventually exhaust the preheated supply of water. Another downside to be aware of is that you can’t utilize too many hot water-consuming taps or appliances at once, depending on the capacity, as it may not be able to keep up with your home’s demands. So if you have a larger family or a larger home, you might want to steer clear of a tankless system.

Costs

Cost is always a major consideration and so it should be. Tankless water heaters are generally more expensive than traditional water heaters. As with everything in this post, there are considerations. While tankless systems are generally more expensive than traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters are more efficient and have a longer lifespan offering lower long-term operating costs. If you’ve just bought a new home or are in a home that you know you’ll be in for the long-term then it may make sense for you.

Installation Incentives and Rebates

Depending on where you live, there may be incentives from the state and/or local utility companies for installing energy-efficient equipment, such as tankless hot water heaters. These incentives can help offset your installation costs. Contact your utility company or state agency to ask about incentives that you may qualify for when installing a tankless water heater.

So that’s it folks, a few things for you to think about if you are considering going tankless. No matter which route you choose, Forest Air, LLC can help get your new water heater installed. Give us a call today at (985) 651-5968 or drop us a contact form and we’ll get right back to you.

What Is A SEER Rating And Why You As A Homeowner Should Care?

Buying a new air conditioning system can be a daunting task, you are often inundated with multiple options, tons of terms and numbers that it is not always clear what they mean. While all those numbers are important, there is one that sits above the rest in terms of the level of importance and that number is called SEER, or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

Your heating and cooling system uses more energy than any other system in your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, so you can see why your choice of SEER level can really make a difference.

What Does SEER actually mean?

Per Trane, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency, which is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. A higher SEER rating means greater energy efficiency.

SEER ratings have gradually increased in recent years, so a homeowner could absolutely find significant value in replacing a 10- to 15-year-old system with a newer model. To put that into perspective, per the Department Of Energy,  today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid-1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.

Nationwide, EPA standards require all air conditioners manufactured after Jan. 1, 2015, to have a minimum rating of 14 SEER. 14 SEER isn’t bad per se and will get the job done, but going with a higher SEER unit will save you money over the life of the system by allowing you to achieve the same or better output utilizing much less energy thus saving you on your monthly energy bill.

But How Much Do A/C Units With Higher SEER Ratings Cost?

Glad you asked. On most conventional air ducted systems, you’ll find options up to 21 SEER. Ductless and geothermal systems, which operate more efficiently, can reach into the 30s. This is where it comes down to what makes sense for your budget and needs as there is a direct correlation between upfront investment and the SEER rating. Simply put, you are going to pay more money initially for a higher SEER system but you should be able to recoup that investment over the 15-20 year life of the system.

Cost, as it relates to SEER, will vary by service provider and the area of the country you live in. In most areas though, you would be looking at anywhere between a 40 to 50 percent price premium for a 21 SEER unit over the minimum 14 SEER units. This may seem like a lot and it is, but you also have to keep in mind that the average HVAC system will run for 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance, so we think it’s better to look at it as an investment in your home and your personal comfort.

No matter what you decide to go with as it relates to SEER, Forest Air, LLC can help you evaluate your options and make the right decision for your specific situation. Give us a call today at (985) 651-5968 or drop us a contact form and we’ll get right back to you.

Forest Air, LLC Sends Condolences To Those Affected By Recent Tornado, Discount Offer Inside

Forest Air, L.L.C. of Laplace, Louisiana would like to offer its condolences to the residents of New Orleans East who were affected by the recent tornado.

We have been providing HVAC services to the Greater New Orleans area and surrounding parishes for over 25 years.

We are offering DISCOUNTS up to $500 on complete central A/C and Heater installations. So please give us a call at (985) 651-5968 or (985) 703-0300 and we’ll come out and provide you with a free quote.

Forest Air, L.L.C. is a member of the River Region Chamber of Commerce and the Greater New Orleans Better Business Bureau(BBB). We have an A+ rating with the BBB because customer satisfaction is our #1 goal. Forest Air, L.L.C. is licensed and insured.

Warmest Regards,
The Forest Air Team
forestairllc.com
“We put our energy into saving yours”

Forest Air, LLC Donates Supplies After Fire At Local Elementary School

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Forest Air, LLC employee Leslie Forest stops by “A Storage Inn” to donate supplies.

An early morning fire at East St. John Elementary School on Friday August 14, 2015, caused severe damage to the school which may have to be demolished completely due to the extent of the damage.  Besides forcing students out of classes for the next few weeks, it also created a huge need for supplies for both the students and the teachers of both East St. John and Lake Pontchartrain Elementary which was also holding classes on the campus.

As members of the River Region Chamber Of Commerce, Forest Air, LLC answered the call and recently donated a number of supplies to help the students and teachers affected by the fire get back on track. Forest Air, LLC CEO Kenneth Forest felt it was extremely important to help out saying that “the children are our future and we’ve got to do everything we can to make sure they have whatever they need to be successful in life and that starts with getting a good education”. Mr. Forest will also be making a monetary donation to the school through his church Destiny Christian Center.

The Chamber has joined with St. John Parish Economic Development and St. John Business Association to help these teachers get back on track for the new school year.

Forest Air, LLC Joins The River Region Chamber of Commerce

Forest Air, LLC is now officially a member of the River Region Chamber of Commerce. Reaching out to meet and interact with members of the business community in our area is a major goal for us in 2015 and we believe getting involved in our local chamber will help toward that goal.

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We look forward to being an active member of the chamber for years to come.

R-22 (HCFC) Refrigerant Phaseout And What It Means For Your Home HVAC

Has your air conditioning system required a charge of refrigerant to enhance the unit’s ability to keep your home cool?  Did you also notice a dramatic increase in price?  If so, we would like to shed some light on the causes and what you can do to prepare yourself for the future.

R22-Logo-phaseout

Nearly 80% of households have HVAC systems that were built prior to 2010 and use R22 refrigerant.  R22 is a greenhouse gas also known as HCFC-22 and the manufacture of R-22 results in a by-product (HFC-23) that contributes significantly to global warming.  As a result, the Clean Air Act is requiring the gradual phasing out of R22 as an air conditioning refrigerant.  The United States is currently operating under a 90% reduced consumption of R22 with full phase out of R22 production by 2020.  At that point, R22 will no longer be produced for use in servicing existing air conditioning units. After 2020, only reclaimed or recycled R22 refrigerant will be available to service existing systems.

Phase-out Schedule for HCFCs Including R-22
Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. agreed to meet certain obligations by specific dates that will affect the residential heat pump and air-conditioning industry:

January 1, 2015:
The Montreal Protocol requires the U.S. to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 90% below the U.S. baseline.

January 1, 2020:
The Montreal Protocol requires the U.S. to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 99.5% below the U.S. baseline. Refrigerant that has been recovered and recycled/reclaimed will be allowed beyond 2020 to service existing systems, but chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce R-22 to service existing air conditioners and heat pumps.

 

Let's Talk R-22 Alternatives

 

Air conditioning systems built after 2010 use R410A refrigerant, which meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.  Unfortunately, R-22 and R-410A refrigerants are not interchangeable and cannot be mixed in the same HVAC system. Because of the difference in the heat-transfer properties and lubricating oils a system designed to use R-22 will fail quickly if filled with R-410A and vice versa.

When considering the cost of repair or replacement options, it is advisable to consider the age of the system and the type of refrigerant used. The price of R22 is likely to continue to soar as production is banned and the demand for reclaimed R22 increases.  The timeline for replacement will vary based on the age, condition and uses of the system; however, maintenance costs will continue to increase.  Overall, owners will find it more cost-effective and energy-efficient to replace an older, breakdown-prone R-22 system with a new R-410A HVAC system.

R-410a-imagePlease see below for more information on the R22 phase-out of the Clean Air Act.

A Brief History

In 1987 the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement, established requirements that began the worldwide phase-out of ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). These requirements were later modified, leading to the phase-out in 1996 of CFC production in all developed nations. In 1992 the Montreal Protocol was amended to establish a schedule for the phase-out of HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). HCFCs are less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, but still contain ozone-destroying chlorine. The Montreal Protocol as amended is carried out in the U.S. through Title VI of the Clean Air Act, which is implemented by EPA.

Why Does it Matter?

HCFC-22 (also known as R-22) has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air-conditioning systems for more than four decades. Unfortunately for the environment, releases of R-22, such as those from leaks, contribute to ozone depletion. In addition, as the manufacture of R-22 is phased out over the coming years as part of the agreement to end production of HCFCs, manufacturers of residential air conditioning systems are offering equipment that uses ozone-friendly refrigerants. Many homeowners may be misinformed about how much longer R-22 will be available to service their central A/C systems and heat pumps. This information below provides information about the transition away from R-22, the future availability of R-22, and the new refrigerants that are replacing R-22.

What Does the HCFC-22 Phase-out Mean for Consumers?

Availability of R-22
The Clean Air Act does not allow any refrigerant to be vented into the atmosphere during installation, service, or retirement of equipment. Therefore, R-22 must be recovered and recycled (for reuse in the same system), reclaimed (reprocessed to the same purity standard as new R-22), or destroyed. After 2020, the servicing of R-22-based systems will rely solely on recycled or reclaimed refrigerants. It is expected that reclamation and recycling will ensure that existing supplies of R-22 will last longer and be available to service a greater number of systems. As noted above, chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce, and companies will no longer be able to import, R-22 for use in new A/C equipment after 2010, but they can continue production and import of R-22 until 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment. Given this schedule, which was established in 1993, the transition away from R-22 to the use of ozone-friendly refrigerants should be smooth. For the next 10 years or more, R-22 should continue to be available for all systems that require R-22 for servicing.

Alternatives to R-22 in Residential Air Conditioning
As R-22 is gradually phased out, non-ozone-depleting alternative refrigerants are being introduced. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA reviews alternatives to ozone-depleting substances to evaluate their effects on human health and the environment. EPA has reviewed several alternatives to R-22 for household and light commercial air conditioning and has compiled a list of substitutes that EPA has determined are acceptable. One of these substitutes is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, but, like R-22, contributes to global warming. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A, and Puron®.

Servicing existing units
Existing units using R-22 can continue to be serviced with R-22. There is no EPA requirement to change or convert R-22 units for use with a non-ozone-depleting substitute refrigerant.

The Forest Air Fleet Gets A New Look

Forest Air has been serving Southern Louisiana for more than 25 years and recently we decided that we needed to increase our profile. We’ve done a lot of things, but the one that will be most visible is the new look we’ve given to our fleet. We’ve contracted Picture This Advertising to give all our fleet vehicles a massive makeover. To say that we’re pleased with the results would be an understatement and we hope you like it too.

Check out a few pics and if you see us on the road, give us a honk and a call for all your HVAC needs!!

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Why Is It Important To Replace The Filter In Your Air Conditioning System?

If you own a home, then chances are you are familiar your air conditioning units filter, if for no other reason than you’ve had to change it from time to time. In the past, you had to kind of guess based on the rating of the filter when it was time to change it, but newer digital thermostats will actually give you a visual indicator that a filter needs to be replaced.air-filter-collage

The filter in your A/C system performs the extremely important job of removing particles from the air stream to keep the air conditioning system clean while also removing particles from the air. As the filter does its job, it gets loaded with more and more particles. Oddly enough, this actually has the side effect of making it more efficient, but it also increases resistance and reduces airflow. When this happens, it is time to replace your filter. The amount of time before your filter needs to be replaced will depend on how dirty the air is and how big the filter is.

What Happens If I Don’t Change The Filter Or Remove It Altogether?

If you don’t change the filter, the air flow will go down, and the system will not perform well. Not only that, if the filter becomes too dirty, it starts to become a source of air pollution itself. If you take the filter out completely, you would solve the low air flow problem, but it would be shortsighted. The particles that the filter is designed to take out of the air will now build up on your evaporator coil and eventually cause it to fail. Evaporators are expensive, so do yourself a favor and just make sure to replace your air filter when its time. Trust us, your wallet will thank you.

Forest Air provides a range of preventive services and system checkups, set up an appointment today.

Whole House Generators, Why You Need One

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What is an automatic standby generator?

An automatic standby generator is a back up electrical system that operates whether you are home or away. Within seconds of an outage, it automatically supplies power directly to your home’s electrical circuit breaker box. After utility power returns, the generator shuts itself off and waits for the next outage. It operates on natural gas or liquid propane gas and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit.

Why should I buy an automatic standby generator instead of a portable generator?

  • During a utility power outage, an automatic standby generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator:
  • The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed standby generators as a safer way to provide backup power to a home than a portable generator.
  • With an automatic standby generator properly installed outside, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that is a much greater risk with portable generators.
  • Running on the home’s natural gas or LP fuel supply, it is less expensive to run than gasoline and does not need to be refilled.
  • They start automatically within seconds of a power outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home.
  • They provide protection 24/7, whether you’re home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.

 Do they have to be maintained?

Yes, simple maintenance is required. All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance for years of reliable service. Preventative maintenance kits are available and many Generac dealers offer annual maintenance contracts for a worry-free ownership experience. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.

 What happens if the generator gets overloaded?

Generac generators are equipped with overload protection. In the rare event of an overload, the generator’s circuit breaker will trip, disconnecting the unit from the load. Simply correct the overload and reset the breaker in the generator.

Let Forest Air install a whole house generator to help you protect your family and your investments.  During our initial consultation, our trained technicians will work with you to decide what critical elements in your home you want to back up. We will make sure that you have the right strength and endurance to start your air conditioner or heater and keep your family comfortable during any blackout or loss of electrical power.  Contact us for more information.

Maintenance Agreements Fun Facts

XLi_Gen_Sum_InstallWe have all heard the stats,regular maintenance of HVAC systems can:

  • Cut unexpected breakdowns by 70-75%
  • Reduce energy consumption by 25-30% and increase energy savings
  • Reduce downtime by 35-40%
  • Lower equipment repairs and maintenance costs by 5-20%
  • Increase component life cycle
  • Reduced equipment failure
  • Save an estimated 12% to 18% over reactive maintenance.

Source: FEMP O&M Guide – August 2010

More interesting facts:

  • North Carolina Alternative Energy Corporation found that 90% of units tested exhibited some sort of energy wasting problem, 50% of those systems had improper refrigerant charge, 40% failed to meet minimum airflow requirements (only 20% were inside the range set by the manufacturer).
  • Further studies showed that a 20% deficiency in air flow can decrease SEER rating by 17%, and that a 15% return air leak can cut efficiency in half!
  • Texas A & M University found that systems that are undercharged by as little as 23% could result in a 52% efficiency loss.
  • Lakeland Electric and Water researchers found that repairing leaky duct could reduce cooling energy by 17.4%.
  • Honeywell found that most units lose 50% of their efficiency after 20 years
  • Louisiana State University and Gulf States Utility found that customers could save an average of $30.00 per month just by making sure their furnace and air conditioner was serviced and cleaned regularly.

Maintenance is so important to keep your energy bills down and your system running properly.  Having a professional contractor in for bi-annual checkups helps keep air conditioning and heating systems operating at peak performance, reduces the cost of ownership, and extends the life of your system.  Maintaining equipment prevents unnecessary problems and extra costs. With proper maintenance, a new air conditioner should last 12-15 years, and can last much longer than that in some cases.  Another benefit of HVAC maintenance is improved reliability. A clean HVAC unit has fewer repair calls than one that is not maintained.   Also, a clean HVAC unit operates more efficiently and saves you money on your utility bills.  Consider it to be an insurance policy with maintenance costs the premium being paid to reduce the chances of a system failure.

Forest Air Maintenance Agreements help avoid breakdowns plus it protects and prolongs the life of your equipment. As a Forest Air preventive maintenance agreement customer you always receive priority service!  Contact us today to get your agreement.  Click here for more information.