Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating Blog:
Archive for May, 2014

How Does Solar Air Conditioning Work?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Making air conditioners more “green” is a continuing goal of both the cooling industry and the global environmental community. With stronger federal mandates designed to help reduce greenhouse gases, a lot of new technologies have been applied to how air conditioners operate, including the advent of solar air conditioning. At Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating, we think that solar power is an excellent way to run your cooling system on a renewable, limitless resource.

If you are interested in how solar air conditioning in San Antonio may work for you, schedule an appointment with Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating today.

Two Types of Solar Air Conditioners

There are two types of solar air conditioners on the market:

  • A hybrid system
  • Solar-powered absorption chillers

The Hybrid System

The hybrid system combines a photovoltaic system with a battery (DC) to deliver a direct current of electricity to your air conditioner. These two systems automatically alternate feeding your air conditioner the energy it needs to run. In hybrid mode, both systems’ batteries charge when the sun is shining so that when the sun isn’t shining, the system can run on the energy stored in the batteries. Lastly, this system can be tied into your home’s electrical system so there is a back-up to power the system should it be needed.

Absorption Chillers

Absorption chillers, also known as evaporative coolers or “swamp coolers,” have been around for a long time. What’s different with a solar-powered absorption cooler is that solar energy is used to power the fan and motor instead of electricity. Some models have the option of being plugged into an outlet, and all have a back-up battery that stores energy from the photovoltaic cells in the solar panel.

One thing to keep in mind with an absorption chiller is that it needs a water source in order to run, so this could increase your property’s water bill.

Is a Solar Air Conditioner for You?

Going green is great for you and the environment, but knowing if it’s a good option for your home is best decided with a professional. Thinking about installing solar air conditioning in your San Antonio property? Call Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts!

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How Ductless Air Conditioners Can Save You Money

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Ductless air conditioners have been around for quite some time, particularly in commercial properties, but their benefits have carried them into the residential market, making a ductless air conditioning system a great option for many people. Have you been thinking about installing ductless air conditioning in your New Braunfels property? Let us tell you some of the ways a ductless system can potentially save you some money. Our technicians have been offering AC services in New Braunfels for many years, and we’d be happy to stop by for an in-home consultation. This will help us evaluate how much money you could save by updating to a ductless AC system.

Saving Money with Ductless Air Conditioners

Ductless air conditioners have some benefits you won’t find with a traditional split-system AC, which may make a ductless air conditioning system in your New Braunfels property a good choice for your summer cooling:

  1. No need for ductwork – as you can tell from the name, there is no need to install ductwork for a ductless air conditioner. This is because the system uses individual air blowers to distribute the air room by room. Even if you have a ducted air conditioning system, a ductless air conditioner is an option to consider if you expand your property and don’t want the added cost of installing new ductwork.
  2. Zone control – the distribution of cool air through a ductless system automatically gives you zone control. Why? Each indoor blower operates independently and is also programmable. This allows you to cool only the spaces you want cooled at the temperature you want.
  3. Better efficiency – there are 2 ways a ductless air conditioner can be more energy efficient than a ducted one: first, as mentioned above, the system is automatically zoned. By controlling how much air conditioning you use, and when, you can cut down on your overall energy use. Second, there are no ducts through which to lose cool air. Ductwork that has holes, cracks or broken seals can lose up to 30% of its air; having no ducts eliminates ever experiencing this problem.
  4. Flexibility – the indoor air blowers are quite small in size – about a ½ foot – and about 2 inches deep. They fit easily into small spaces, most commonly above doorways; they can also hang from ceilings or be free-standing. This type of flexibility allows for cooling in rooms that may be difficult to cool with ducted or window air conditioners. It also is a great option for houses that have challenging architecture, such as vaulted ceilings.
  5. They are quiet – the indoor unit of a ductless air conditioner is very quiet, much quieter than a window unit; the most noise a ductless system makes is a low hum.

Talk to a Professional About Ductless Air Conditioning

The best way to determine if ductless air conditioning for your New Braunfels property is a good fit is to speak with your Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating specialist.


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Why Should I Install a Heat Pump Instead of a Traditional AC?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Any time a homeowner is faced with replacing an old central air conditioning system, he or she should also consider the possibility of installing a heat pump as a replacement instead of a standard AC. Heat pumps offer a number of great advantages as home comfort systems that make them attractive as substitutes for air conditioners. Although they usually cost more for initial installation than ACs (they are more complicated machines), they will quickly pay back the extra costs.

At Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating, we often recommend that our customers choose heat pump installation in Boerne, TX rather than continue with traditional air conditioning.

Call us today and talk to our cooling specialists to find out if a heat pump is you best option for this summer… as well as the rest of the year.

What makes a heat pump such a good option as an AC replacement?

A heat pump is a two-in-one device. It works as both a heater and an air conditioner. When you choose to install a heat pump to replace an AC, you are also choosing to replace your heater. In one unit, you can have all your comfort needs for the year covered.

You won’t have to worry about a heat pump failing to live up to the standards of your current air conditioning. Heat pumps essentially are air conditioners; they have the same capability to cool a house as a standalone AC of comparable size. The difference is that a heat pump can shift the direction it carries out heat exchange, and instead of removing heat from indoors, it removes heat from outdoors and transports it inside a home. With only one adjustment on the thermostat, you’ll move from effective cooling to effective heating.

You’ll also have energy-saving heating: the switch from a furnace to a heat pump can save you as much as 30% off your winter heating bills. The reason for this energy efficiency is that heat pumps do not create heat by burning fuel; they move heat by using a small amount of electrical power.

The only drawback that heat pumps have is one that makes almost no difference in San Antonio. Because they must absorb heat from the outside air during heating mode, they will struggle in below-freezing temperatures. San Antonio winters rarely drop below the low ‘40s, making heat pumps ideal for our climate.

Heat pump installation in Boerne, TX

If all this has made you excited about installing a heat pump for this summer, give us a call at Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating. Set up an appointment with one of our heat pump specialists to start the process toward year-round comfort.

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3 Signs That Air Conditioning Replacement is Necessary

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Before summer starts, make sure that your air conditioner is prepared for the intense San Antonio heat. If you think it isn’t… then perhaps now is the time to considering replacing it.

We realize this is a big step to take. If repairs are still a viable option to keep your air conditioner running efficiently for a few more years, you should schedule them. However, there are times when an AC will start sending you signals that it is no longer worth repairs and maintenance and should instead retire to the HVAC afterlife. We’ll look at three common warnings you may encounter during these waning days of spring that you need air conditioning replacement in San Antonio, TX.

If you’re unsure about your AC’s life expectancy, call Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating.

Our skilled technicians will help you find out if a new installation is your best option for keeping your home cool and your electrical bills under control.

3 signs you need to install a new AC

  1. Elevated utility bills: Whenever you notice a sudden rise in your power bills because of the air conditioner, it’s usually something that a targeted repair can remedy. But when electrical bills begin to gradual rise and no maintenance or repairs reverses the trend, the air conditioner has probably aged past the point of no return and it’s more cost-effective to replace it than continue paying higher bills until the system breaks down.
  2. Noisy operation: You are familiar with the hum and whir of the fans and compressor of an air conditioner; it’s part of the soundtrack of summer. But when loud mechanical sounds continually interrupt the white noise of an AC, they indicate a level of wear and tear that repairs will rarely be able to fix. Call for a repair technician to see if anything can be done, or if you should scrap the system and install a new one.
  3. Numerous repairs: Air conditioners require the majority of repairs during their last two years of service, so when you start making regular calls to AC professionals to fix your cooling system, it means that it is rapidly running out of time. If you must spend more than $500 a year to keep your air conditioner working, then it is unnecessarily wasting money. Replacing it is a less expensive long-term solution.

Keep the age of your air conditioner in mind: if it has exceeded the manufacturer’s estimated lifespan, any of the above signs should make it clear that it needs replacement. (Even if the AC shows no indication of failure, you should probably have it replaced if it is a year older than its estimated lifespan.)

For over 25 years, Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating has aided homeowners in San Antonio, TX with air conditioning replacement. We will assist you with every step of the process, from the choice to replace all the way through the annual maintenance that will keep the AC working for many summers to come.

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Why Sizing Your New Air Conditioner Is So Important

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Among the preparatory steps for installing a new air conditioning system, one of the most crucial is sizing the system, i.e. finding out how powerful a system is necessary to provide the ideal balance of cooling. Sizing a system requires the work of technicians familiar with performing heat load calculations. This isn’t a task to leave to guesswork, because the consequences of putting in an air conditioner that’s too small or too large are extreme and usually require replacing the system entirely.

When you want to start your air conditioning installation in Fair Oaks, TX right, call the contractor with more than a quarter of a century of experience matching people’s home with the ideal AC: Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating. We are 100% committed to your satisfaction.

The problems of an air conditioner that’s too small

If you end up with an AC too underpowered to provide enough BTUs of cooling for your home, you will end up with inferior comfort. In order for the system to reach its expected level of cooling, it will need to run almost constantly, wasting energy and aging its components rapidly. Even then, it’s unlikely that the air conditioning system will have the power to cool down your entire house, leaving you with warm spots and a general weaker level of cooling.

The problems of an air conditioner that’s too large

Homeowners often make the assumption that an air conditioner cannot be too large. It makes sense that an AC can be too small, but how can a system that’s too powerful create a problem? Can’t you just put it on a lower setting?

However, when an AC is too large for the house it’s supposed to cool, it can cause as much trouble as one that’s undersized. An oversized air conditioner will so rapidly cool down a space that the thermostat will turn off the compressor before it can finish its full cycle. A short time later, it will turn it back on again, then turn it off again, and so on…. This is called “short-cycling,” and it creates an immense waste of energy (activating the compressor requires more electricity than any other operation) and puts inordinate stress on the compressor and the other components, shortening the system’s life.

Professional sizing will find the right air conditioner for you

When you bring in an installation team of licensed and seasoned professionals, they will perform an extensive heat load calculation for your home to determine how it traps and keeps out heat. This will give them an idea of the amount of cooling in BTUs an air conditioner must provide to reach your desired level of comfort.

Our team at Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating will handle your air conditioning installation in Fair Oaks, TX so that you end up with the perfect system to keep you cool for many Texas summers.

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How Higher Indoor Air Quality Affects You

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Low indoor air quality has risen into a serious dilemma in the United States. Because the majority of U.S. citizens spend 85% of their time indoors, the quality of the air inside homes and commercial buildings has a larger impact on them than the air outdoors—and the air indoors is rarely good. Because homes have heavy seals against heat either entering or escaping, the indoor air becomes stale and contaminated—the main reason that the EPA now identifies poor indoor air quality as a significant health threat.

There are many ways people can increase the quality of the air in their homes. Aside from opening doors and windows (when the weather permits), homeowners can install air filters, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers, and schedule regular duct cleaning to eliminate the accumulation of dust and debris inside the ventilation system that circulates through the air.

You can contact Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating for any of these services.

How long has it been since you’ve had your ductwork cleaned, by the way? You should probably give us a call today and schedule duct cleaning in San Antonio, TX.

Why higher air quality is good for you

We can rely on the Environmental Protection Agency and its studies to learn how improved air quality in homes also improves health:

One of the primary problems from poor indoor air quality is that it triggers asthma. Most of the major asthma triggers exist in the materials that become trapped inside the ductwork of a house and constantly circulate through the air. Asthma can be an annoyance—and it can be life-threatening. If you or anyone in your home has asthma issues, you can reduce the triggers to almost nothing with better quality air.

Let’s move down to a smaller problem, one you might not even know affects you: fatigue. Poor indoor air quality is connected with headaches, migraines, skin and eye irritation, difficulty sleeping, and a general sense of being tired all the time. With your air cleaned up, you’ll find yourself more energetic and rested.

Indoor air quality is also linked to some long-term illnesses, and with improvement in your air, you can reduce your chances of developing respiratory diseases (such as asthma), heart disease, and even cancer (quite a few pollutants that can enter homes are carcinogenic). According to the EPA, “It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.” In both the short and the long-run, better air quality will make your health significantly better.

The first steps

Call Cowboys Air Conditioning & Heating today to ask about how we can improve your indoor air quality. It’s best to start with a visit from our San Antonio, TX duct cleaning team: you may have a few years of pollutants trapped inside your ventilation system. We can clear them out and start you on the road to better health and happiness in your home.

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