Air Conditioners: What You Need to Know For This Cooling Season

Air Conditioners: What You Need to Know For This Cooling Season

  • Cooling
air conditioners

Air conditioners just blow cold air into your home, right? Actually, no. Cooling the air in your home is accomplished through a relatively complicated process that involves refrigerant fluid that shuttles heat back and forth between an outside compressor as it transforms from a liquid to a gas and back again. It takes quite a bit of electricity to perform this modern magic show of moving heat from a cooler place and back to a warmer place.

Types of Air Conditioning Systems

There are several different technology options involved with the process of cooling your home: central air conditioners and heat pumps, evaporative coolers, room air conditioners and ductless mini-split air conditioners. 

  • Central air conditioners and heat pumps are the most common form of systems, and unlike some of the other options they are often used to heat entire homes. They generally consist of a large compressor that is external to the home and drives the process and indoor refrigerant coils that distribute cool air throughout the home via ducts. Heat pumps work similarly, except they are also able to distribute warm air in the cooler winter months. Ducts throughout the home are utilized for distribution of both warm and cool air in concert with a fan system. 
  • Room air conditioners are mounted either on the walls, ceiling or through a window. These systems work in a similar fashion to central air conditioners, but compressors are located outside the home and the systems are generally built to control the temperature in a single room. These units are less expensive to purchase, but are potentially less efficient and have a higher daily running cost overall. 
  • Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, can be a practical alternative in certain parts of the country but are much less common than central air or room air conditioners. These unique systems operate by pulling fresh air through an evaporative system that involves moist pads and a whole-house circulation mechanism. While swamp coolers are only efficient in the drier areas of the country, they are very efficient and cost-effective to run and can reduce the temperature of your home by up to 30 degrees. The cost of purchase and installation is also lower as these systems are relatively simplistic. Evaporative coolers work most effectively in dry climates because the system works by putting moisture back into the air — something that isn’t as efficient in a wet climate. 
  • Ductless mini-split air conditioners are more popular outside the U.S., but are gaining prominence with homeowners who are updating a portion of their home or reworking an older addition that doesn’t have ductwork in place. They are similar to room air conditioners in that they are a zoned system, but the functionality is more similar to a conventional central air conditioning unit. When you’re using a ductless system, you also avoid the energy loss that is associated with a traditional system with ducts. You can also maintain overall cleaner air due to the lack of cracks and crevices in the ducts for dust, mold and other contaminants to hide.
  • New technology options include the Night Breeze, which integrates a whole-house fan, indirect water heater and air conditioner in one unit as well as Thermal Energy Storage where energy is stored overnight in ice — ideal for climates where energy costs are high during peak usage times. 

Warning Signs

Other than the obvious (it’s getting hot in here!) signs, there are multiple ways to determine that your system either needs maintenance or replacement. However, if you’re not as experienced with home maintenance and air conditioners, you may wonder if the problem is in your head or if it truly exists. Since air conditioners are used most heavily during the summer months, it’s important to get a tune-up before the heat of summer really kicks in. Qualified and licensed professionals perform a full system inspection to catch some standard problems that can occur. A check up generally includes:

  • Performance test of the full system
  • Visual review of all air conditioner components
  • Tests to determine the state of the refrigerant charge and overall system control testing
  • The use of an approved leak detector to perform a leak test
  • If slow leaks are suspected, your professional may perform a dye detection test

How can you tell that your system is not functioning as it should? Here’s a few things to look out for:

  • Air is not flowing as easily as it should be. If you’re seeing poor air flow through your vents, it’s probably time to call a professional. 
  • Zone issues — where part of your home is comfortable and another part is too hot or cool — are a good sign that there may be something wrong with your thermostat.
  • Excess moisture where it doesn’t belong can also be an indicator that it’s time to call a professional. 
  • Foul odors coming from your air conditioning unit are never a good sign. Mold can grow in wet, dark spaces and an air conditioning unit certainly fits those parameters.
  • Squeaking or squealing sounds coming from your air conditioning unit may indicate that a belt has slipped. This generally requires professional assistance to resolve.
  • Of course, if you find that your home is heating up unexpectedly, or the air conditioner is cycling (turning on and off quickly), you should have your unit checked out. 

With careful use and a solid maintenance schedule, nearly all types of air conditioning units will last upwards of 15 to 20 years. Your system should receive maintenance at least once a year in the spring, before it’s heavily used in the summer heat. This ensures that you’re catching any small problems such as leaks quickly and before they have a large impact on the functioning of your system. The cost of not performing regular maintenance could be decreased system efficiency or even having a system that freezes up or sustains serious damage from broken items such as motor bearings.

For More Information on Air Conditioners of All Shapes and Sizes, Call NSHEC Today!

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By nshec

7 Common Causes of Home Heating Loss

7 Common Causes of Home Heating Loss

  • Heating
home heating service by North Shore Home Energy

With the cooler months quickly arriving, maintaining heat in your home is essential to cut down on costs and energy waste. It’s also vital to avoid becoming a human popsicle.  Feel as though you are turning up the heat too often? There are quite a few common causes of home heating loss that quickly lead to significantly higher bills and energy waste. Even small drafts of cold air from an open window can have a major effect on upcoming bills. It’s also likely to cause long-term poor furnace efficiency, increased chance of illness exposure, and discomfort in cooler weather. 

Open Doors and Windows

Leaving doors and windows open is a quick way to deplete heat from the home, accounting for a surprising 10-11% of all heating loss each year. Be sure you caulk and repair spaces in the home prior to the winter and check for weather-stripping to patch up windows and doors before kicking on the heat. Check door window glass and screens, replacing them if they are not fully intact or secure. Additionally, check for dents or other possible openings of exterior doors in your house.

Electrical Outlets

In some homes, cold air is able to seep through electrical sockets, causing a 2% heating loss. Not all electrical outlets are easy to spot, so be sure to check more than once when entering each room in your house. Ensure you check all outlets in your home for unwanted cool air coming in and install foam gaskets as a solution for those that are causing a draft. 


Checking your entire basement for potential leaks within vents and fans can save you up to 4% of household heat loss during the wintertime. Because basements are sometimes neglected (and may even going unused for periods of time), it’s highly advisable to conduct a thorough inspection before you begin running your heat. If you are unable to check vents and fans yourself in your basement, professional companies are available to review and repair any leaks prior to winter.

Recessed Lighting

One of the lesser-known causes of heat loss includes recessed lighting, which can take a massive 13% of your total heat. Having recessed lighting installed in your ceiling can be detrimental to budgeting if you have a plan in place, and can be resolved with effective weather stripping to properly prepare. 

Air Conditioners

At times it seems the winter arrives just as summer is ending. Even so, it is important to remove current window air conditioning units swiftly to keep cold air from freely flowing into the home, especially when running your heat. Some homeowners prefer keeping window air conditioning units in place throughout an entire year, which, over time, is likely to cause cool air drafts from surrounding areas of the unit. Properly store your air conditioner away in its original box or in a safe, dry space to keep your windows closed at all times. This will help you to save as much energy as possible while cutting back on overspending on heat.

Ceiling Openings

If you have any ceiling openings, leaks, or cracks in your walls and floors, you run the risk of losing up to a whopping 31% of heat when you are running your heat regularly to keep warm. Sealing leaks and cracks, replacing ceiling tiles, and properly insulating all rooms in your home will cut down on energy waste and heat usage. Checking your roof prior to cooler months is another way to spot any potential openings that you may have been previously unaware of in past years. It is also recommended to check on attic insulation if you have not done so in a few years.


Although fireplaces can be wonderful to cozy up to on bitter and freezing nights, it’s important to inspect them in order to avoid potentially costly mistakes. If you have a fireplace in the home, be sure to check the unit out itself before running your heat this year. When you have missing or improperly installed fireplace dampers you allow cold air to move up and out of the chimney freely, costing you more in heating bills while not sufficiently heating your home enough, especially on extremely cold nights.

Doing a thorough sweep of your home and checking all potential areas of energy loss is a great way to gain greater peace of mind during cold months. Taking the time to properly prepare your home for the colder months of the year is beneficial not only to help cut back on heating bills but also to better avoid potential illness by allowing more cold air in when unnecessary. By taking care of potential risks of home heating loss in your home this winter, you can relax by saving money on your heating bills, extending the life of your furnace, and enjoying a healthier atmosphere indoors.

By nshec

Signs That Your AC May Be Harming Your Air Quality

Signs That Your AC May Be Harming Your Air Quality

  • Cooling
air quality service by North Shore Home Energy

Did you know that a cooling system that is damaged, outdated, or running inefficiently can negatively affect your air quality? This can lead to several, potentially harmful situations in your home. Because bad air quality can be so hazardous, it’s important that you know the potential causes and symptoms. Here are some AC problems that may affect air quality and how they can affect you:

AC Problems That May Affect Your Air Quality

  • You have a dirty filter. Your filter is responsible for literally filtering out impurities in your airflow before its delivered and dispersed throughout your home via a central air system. Your air filter should be changed often, every few months is best. This is especially important during periods of extended use, as the summer months. When the filter becomes dirty and clogged with dust, hair, dander, pollen, or any other debris that may make their way in, your air quality can be compromised.
  • Excess water. If your air conditioner is leaking any excess fluid or it has more condensation than usual, it may be harming your indoor air quality. Leftover liquids can leave you with mold or mildew growth. These spores can grow and spread at a rapid rate. If in or around your air system, they can easily be blown into your home.
  • Duct problems. If your duct system is compromised in any way, it’s possible for debris to build up inside. Because your ducts deliver air directly through your vents, whatever may be built up inside will be delivered as well.
  • Loud noises and strange odors. These are signs that your system may be broken or running inefficiently. In an effort to prevent the problem from worsening, you should have a professional fix the problem.
  • Old or inefficient equipment. Any system that is old, outdated, or running inefficiently has the potential to damage the air quality in your home. If your air conditioning system is out of date, you should consider a replacement. Newer technologies are more efficient and will help to keep the air in your home safe and breathable for years to come.

Warning Signs

You may not know immediately that your AC is harming your air quality. If you suspect that your cooling system may be affecting you, it’s important that you call a North Shore Home Energy professional immediately. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Increase in respiratory illnesses
  • Worsened asthma symptoms
  • Increase in allergy symptoms
  • Reduced lung function
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Importance of Routine Maintenance

In order to keep your HVAC systems running safely and efficiently, routine maintenance is absolutely necessary. Not only will it save you from expensive repairs down the line, but it will also help to protect against dangerously low air quality. Symptoms may vary depending on the level of air pollutants present in your home, but you should never ignore the signs – no matter how small they may be.

At the first sign of an issue, call North Shore Home Energy!

By nshec

8 Causes of HVACR Problems in Kingston

8 Causes of HVACR Problems in Kingston

  • Cooling
  • Heating
HVACR problems in Kingston by North Shore Home Energy

When it comes to your home or business, there are few systems more important than your HVACR. This system consists of your home or business’s heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration systems. However, it’s easy for problems to creep up and render some of these systems inefficient or unusable. Some of these problems include hot and cold spots, air pressure problems, poor airflow from your vents, or warm air from your AC. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can prevent any major HVACR problems in your Kingston home or business.

Here are eight common HVACR problems in a Kingston home or business:


Clogged filters

Various filters work to keep dust and other contaminants out of your sensitive HVACR equipment and ducts. If they get clogged, the HVACR can have trouble blowing air, making the air stuffy, hurting the equipment, and creating hot and cold spots. You can prevent these problems by regularly replacing the filters. When you should change the filters depends on how much you use the system and the manufacturer’s instructions.


Duct damage

Another problem with clogged filters is that more contaminants can get into your ducts. If the ducts are already too small, they can wind up clogged. The duct walls are also capable of developing cracks and holes that let the air out, lowering their efficiency. Also, rodents and other small animals can sometimes make their homes inside your vents. Always have someone inspect your ducts every once in a while to see if anything needs fixing or cleaning.


Slower fan

HVACR systems use blower fans to move air throughout your home or business’s vents. If these slow down, this can weaken your system’s heating and cooling. Oftentimes, the problem is that grime has built upon the fan blades. It’s fairly simple to fix this problem by turning off the system and cleaning the fan.


Low refrigerant levels

Low refrigerant levels are common in older, poorly-maintained HVACR units. In more worrying cases, the HVACR may be leaking refrigerant, which can be poisonous to people. One of our HVACR technicians can test the unit’s refrigerant levels and possibly fix the leaks if there are any. If the problem is a leak, then there’s a decent chance you’ll have to replace the system.


Blocked vents and registers

This is a relatively simple problem that you can fix even if you don’t have any handyman skills. If anything is blocking the vents in your rooms, you won’t be able to experience the full heating or cooling from the HVACR. Simply make sure nothing is blocking the vents. Common obstructions include furniture, rugs, and carpets.


Dirty coils

The condenser coil in your HVACR’s system is designed to release the heat it removes from your home. If it gets too dirty, it’ll be unable to release heat and can break. Because of this, you should clean it once or twice a year.


Obstructed condenser

An obstructed condenser unit is another common HVAC problem you can fix yourself. The AC part of HVACR systems has a condenser unit that is often located outside or in a mechanical room. Any sort of outdoor debris or storage equipment can crowd the unit, causing it to overheat. All you need to do is clean out anything crowding your condenser.


Thermostat problems

If your thermostat is causing problems, there are usually two things it can be. It can either be a low battery, which is easy to fix, or the thermostat could be faulty. In that case, we’d suggest calling for a professional.


What makes North Shore Home Energy your best choice for HVACR work?

North Shore Home Energy is a company with over 25 years of history and experience in the HVACR industry. Our family-owned business has been working hard to keep food cold and people comfortable. If you call us today, we can offer a free quote on your purchase. We’re also proud to be participating in the Mass Save program. As a participant of the Mass Save program, you may be able to score a rebate up to $3,500 with 0% financing for 7 years! North Shore Home Energy can help you find refrigeration that meets your needs, the needs of your customers, and the needs of your employees. Contact us today to get started!

By nshec

Signs You Need AC Repair or Replacement

Signs You Need AC Repair or Replacement

  • Cooling
AC repair in Kingston by North Shore Home Energy

AC Repair and Replacement

North Shore Home Energy

Do you need AC repair or replacement? As the weather gets warmer, you’ll be relying on your cooling system more and more. As your dependency on the machine increases, you need to make sure that its working properly. If you’ve been experiencing issues lately, or your AC doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, you may be in need of repairs before temperatures get too high. If your AC is beyond repair, old, or outdated, your whole system may need to be replaced. This can be stressful, but North Shore Home Energy will help you every step of the way. If you’re experiencing any of the following problems, call us today:

Power Problems Signal AC Repair

This is an obvious sign that something is up with your air conditioning system. If you adjust the thermostat, your AC should reach the designated temperature with ease. It should power on to keep you and your family cool and safe during the warmer months. Your cooling system needs to be able to keep up with the rising temperatures outside, so it if doesn’t turn on at all or if it switches often, you should look into a replacement.

Your Unit Blows Warm Air

An AC should always be blowing cool air. If it’s blowing out warm air, then it’s clear that you have a problem. You may be low on refrigerant, in which case it can simply be refilled to have your system back up and running ASAP. If you have a leak, repairs can get a little trickier. A refrigerant leak may be harder to fix but should still be addressed immediately. Repair may be possible, but if you’ve already spent money on repairs in the past, replacement may be in your best interest.

Insufficient Cooling Ability

Your air conditioning system should be able to cool your entire home or a designated area. If some rooms are much cooler than others, it’s a sign that your AC can’t handle cooling your entire house. A professional inspection will help to determine the cause of the problem.

Weird Noises

There’s no reason why your AC should be making weird or loud sounds. If you start to hear any, call North Shore Home Energy. It could mean that a piece has become detached in your system, or that foreign debris has found its way inside. It could also be a sign of a bigger problem such as  motor failure. Depending on the extent of the repairs, you may want to invest in a new AC.

How North Shore Can Help

Our highly trained and certified technicians will be able to asses your cooling system and locate any problems or areas of concern. Once we make repairs, or you decide to upgrade your home with a replacement, you’ll have:

  • Smaller carbon footprint
  • Quieter operation
  • Increased home value
  • Reduced energy bills
  • Better temperature control
  • Increased home comfort

For all of your air conditioning needs, call North Shore Home Energy today!

By nshec

6 Reasons to Get HVAC Duct Repair

6 Reasons to Get HVAC Duct Repair

  • Cooling
  • Heating
HVAC duct repair in Kingston by North Shore Home Energy

Getting an HVAC system for your home requires you to also get ductwork installed in your home. It can look out of place in your home, but those ducts are very important for your HVAC system. When these ducts get damaged, they’ll become useless as the air they’re supposed to transport leaks out of the ducts. Calling for HVAC duct repair requires you to be able to know that your system has a problem. At North Shore Home Energy, we can tell you about some of the problems you should look for.

Here are six issues that require HVAC duct repair to solve:


Dirt and dust

HVAC ducts use your home’s air, which means airborne contaminants can travel the ducts. Fortunately, most of them can be stopped by the replaceable filter the HVAC system has. However, the filter can get clogged, allowing dust to get in and damage the inner workings of the HVAC system. If your ducts are getting too dirty, you might need to switch the filter.


Decreased airflow

HVAC systems work by circulating your home’s air through ducts and expelling heated or cooled air through vents. However, several issues can weaken the airflow, making it hard to heat or cool your home. You might have an animal’s nest in the ducts, or the ductwork might be damaged or disconnected. Best-case scenario, there’s just some furniture or a rug blocking a vent. If you follow the ducts to where the air isn’t flowing as strongly, you might find the source of the problem.


Damaged ducts

Damage to your ducts, such as holes and tears, can leak the air you’re trying to heat or cool. The holes make it harder to regulate your home’s temperature and your HVAC system will become more inefficient. If your ducts are getting too holey, call us today to get them patched up.


Higher energy bills

Energy bills usually rise during the summers and winters. However, rising energy bills can also be caused by damaged appliances and systems. Take a close look at your HVAC system’s filters, refrigerant levels, and fans. Also, the problem can be caused by worn-down electrical connections. In those cases, you should call a professional electrician to fix those.


Hot and cold spots

Do you find parts of your house are still cold even when the heat is on? Damage to your ducts might cause cold air to leak, preventing your ducts from cooling your home. The reverse is also true. Having hot spots when the AC is on can also be caused by duct damage.


Strange noises

When you turn on your HVAC, you might hear a popping noise. That’s just the ducts expanding or contracting due to the temperature and is nothing to worry about. However, continuous loud or rattling noises are caused by damaged ducts. It’s also possible that your ducts are too small for your home. Give us a call and we can tell if you need bigger ducts or simply a repair.


What makes North Shore Home Energy my best bet for fixing my ducts?

North Shore Home Energy LLC is a small local dedicated HVAC & Refrigeration service company in the North Shore providing excellent service to homes, businesses, and restaurants. With over 25 years in the industry, North Shore Home Energy is here to educate our customers on maintenance and strive for 100% customer satisfaction. Our attention to detail, on-demand service, and fair pricing will keep you running smoothly year after year. We are a proud participating contractor with the Mass Save program. Ask us about rebates up to $3,500 and 0% financing for 7 years. Call North Shore Home Energy today to schedule your duct repair work!

By nshec