Austin Air Companie Blog : Archive for January, 2015

How To Calculate Air Conditioning Running Costs

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

[This blog post includes video content embedded below]

When your air conditioner is running it creates what is known as operational costs. Due to technology and reducing the strain on the national power grid, air conditioning equipment is becoming more and more energy efficient than even just as few as 5 years ago.

Air Conditioners are replaced on a national average of around 1 time in every 15 years. Because of this your home could be a home that is burning more energy to get comfortable and more or less paying for a new unit without getting one because the money is going toward paying a higher than necessary light bill rather than paying for a new air conditioning system.

As of January 1, 2015 new laws have gone into effect in regards to air conditioning efficiency ratings. The ratings for the southern part of the country have been raised from 13 SEER to 14 SEER as a mandatory efficiency increase by the EPA.

There is real money to be saved in Katy, Texas by upgrading your air conditioning system to a more energy efficient air conditioning system. The SEER ratings mentioned above are minimums. When you watch my video below on how to calculate your AC efficiency you most likely will be surprised by what I pay to cool my own home. The video will direct you to my main website if you wish to go there later for more information you can do so.

How to Calculate Air Conditioning Operational Costs

Realize this is nothing new, except for the new ruling from the EPA in regards to mandatory efficiency increases. Also realize design, installation practices as well as the rated equipment efficiency all play a role in the over all efficiency and cost of running the air conditioning system.

The ac run cost calculation included in video above is best suited for homes with one air conditioning system and regular utility billing. If you have a home with more than one air conditioning system or you are on balanced billing with your utility provider, then I recommend you schedule a service and let me calculate your efficiency for you. This is the best way to make sure the calculation is done properly.

The efficiency ratings and calculations are designed around the Katy, Texas area weather patterns and information taken from DOE (Department of Energy) as to the number of cooling hours and typical air conditioning design attributes. If you don’t live within the Katy, Texas area these calculations will not work for you. (Different design, different climate, different calculations… don’t try to cram a square peg into a round hole… it will not work.) I know this is more a flaw of the search engine because they often dump you outside of areas you should be in.

I have included additional years videos below here so you can see that this is an annual event of mine since roughly 2010 time frame to show people what they can do for better comfort and pay for it by reducing operational running AC costs. Thank you for visiting with me today. Please choose your comfort provider carefully. Service after the sale should always be considered too.

My 2013 Air Conditioning Costs

My 2012 Air Conditioning Costs

About the author of this blog:
My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 20 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs.
Austin Air Companie
“Your home comfort from A to Z”
Air Conditioning | Controls | Heating | Zoning

For more information you can always visit me on my main website @

Better Stuff. Done Right. On Time. Guaranteed.

What is a cracked heat exchanger?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

(video explanation included below)

You may have been told this recently by your heating service contractor or technician lately and that you need a new gas furnace because the cracks will dump dangerous carbon monoxide into the air stream of your home and poison you or anyone else who breathes the air inside your home.

However, this is only one such way carbon monoxide gets into the home. There are other ways this can happen as well… such as leaving a car running with the garage door open and the house under a negative or “suction” pressure will suck the carbon monoxide fumes into the home, once inside the home your furnace will cycle on and spread it through out. Remember CO or carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. You can only detect it with a carbon monoxide detector.

Another more complex way that carbon monoxide makes it inside the home is that a gas burning furnace is installed in a closet or some other tight sealed off room. Once the door to this closet is closed and the appliance lights the potential for carbon monoxide is real.

To understand this fully you have to understand what carbon monoxide is. Carbon Monoxide is CO, which means 1 molecule of carbon and 1 molecule of Oxygen. Gas burning furnaces do not naturally make carbon monoxide when they are working properly. When a gas furnace is working properly it makes Carbon Dioxide. What is carbon dioxide? Carbon Dioxide is CO2, which means 1 molecule of carbon and 2 molecules of oxygen.

Obviously too much carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide in your home isn’t something you want. Just realize a cracked heat exchanger isn’t something to play with if you indeed have one. But also realize the danger of improperly installing any gas furnace can be far worse, because you think it’s safe when it is not.

To understand this further you have to realize how a gas furnace typically makes carbon monoxide. Most of the time this is due to improper combustion due to the lack of combustion air. The gas isn’t fully burned because of a lack of oxygen getting to the burners of the gas furnace. When this happens CO2 (carbon dioxide) becomes CO or carbon monoxide.

These gases are measured in PPM or Parts Per Million. The higher the PPM the more deadly these gases are.

Now that you have a better understanding of what is really going on you can watch the embedded video below in which we show you what a cracked heat exchanger of a gas furnace looks like as well as how potentially hard it can be to find a crack or cracks… yes, there can be more than one crack in the heat exchanger of the gas furnace but this doesn’t make the challenge any easier to find them as you will see in the video embedded below.

As you know by now, I had to take this gas furnace completely apart to find these gas heat exchanger cracks. Many times out in the field this is a “guessing game”. My best guide is many times the age of the gas furnace as well as typical warranty length of the gas furnace. You only get to this point by experience. You will know how much experience I have after you read this blog post, that is the biggest difference between me and anyone you decide to compare me to in addition to the fact that I don’t sell gimmicks. I think you are smarter than all that nonsense.

Did you know that some specific models of gas furnaces have warranty periods as few as 5 years? This determination based on age alone of the gas furnace can be challenging in some instances. That cheap furnace you bought 6 years ago or was installed in a recently purchased home thinking you got a “deal”… well you know better now. Most gas furnaces come with a 20 year heat exchanger warranty, so now I hope you can see the challenge.

Our heating season in the Katy, Texas and Cypress, Texas areas is rather short at typically 2 months or less. Most people don’t think about their gas furnace unless it’s cold out and there is no heat in the home. If your gas furnace is giving you concern you should schedule a safety furnace check by a licensed HVAC contractor and then make any necessary improvements to keep you nice and toasty as well as safe.

If your gas furnace is an older type and has a pilot light there is good reason to replace this type of gas pilot furnace. This type of furnace hasn’t been made in over 20 years. A pilot light furnace has far fewer safety devices than those made today. You can also reduce your fuel bill by 20% or more depending on the type of furnace you choose. Remember just choosing by brand name alone will not do much for you. Manufacturer’s make many different models with different warranty periods for different models.

For the best experience possible use a professional when making serious decisions. The gas furnace you choose to replace can also have a direct impact on the efficiency of your air conditioner. In Katy, Texas it’s best to have the most efficient air conditioner possible and your gas furnace can and will decide this for you. This is what makes the replacement of your gas furnace so important. Please, even if you don’t choose me… choose your comfort provider wisely.

For the best efficiency and comfort available with the least amount of worry choose a professional like Austin Air Companie. I have dedicated my life to your home comfort.

Thank you for visiting with me today. When was the last time you said “mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm… Toasty!”

About the author of this blog:
My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 20 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs.

Austin Air Companie
“Your home comfort from A to Z”
Air Conditioning | Controls | Heating | Zoning

For more information you can always visit me on my main website @

Better Stuff. Done Right. On Time. Guaranteed.


Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

How do I make my air conditioning and heating system more efficient without sacrificing “ANY” comfort?

If you’ve ever read about the infamous free tips that many offer on this subject you will quickly skip over those suggestions if you live in the Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas and some surrounding areas.

Sure you can do these “free” ac tips and while they will cut costs they come at a price in the comfort department many will refuse to entertain. I’ll give you some of the “free AC cost cutting tips” later on within this Home AC efficiency & extreme comfort blog post.

You see making a home air conditioning and heating system more efficient without any sacrifice to comfort is a complex task that involves serious technical know how. Without this technical know how, attempting this could damage and quite possibly ruin your current HVAC system. I am talking about more than just simply upgrading your AC system to a new higher efficient box or what is commonly referred to as High SEER HVAC Equipment. You can replace your home HVAC equipment and cut operating costs, but this blog post goes much further and takes this HVAC efficiency & home comfort solutions to the “extreme” delivering the best home comfort imaginable.

What I am about to tell you is nothing new… it has been available for some time now. I installed one of these in my own home over 7 years ago, have made countless videos showing what I pay for utilities and do my best to explain the comfort I get. How do you explain true comfort in text and video? It’s a feeling… to know the feeling you have to have experienced it.

Thankfully, I can describe this feeling to you due to “seasonal” changes in the weather. It gives a much clearer description than anything I can think of. You know what it feels like when you wake up on a crisp autumn day? It’s not cold, it’s not hot… the air is just “crisp”. That is the kind of comfort I am talking about.

I get this kind of comfort every day in any room of my house that I choose to occupy and not just during the autumn season when the outdoor weather helps most people’s AC system out. Part of the reason for this type of HVAC system is to boost efficiency, but that isn’t the only reason. The other reason is extreme home comfort in any room within the house. If you have rooms in your home that are not comfortable no matter what you do — this is probably the solution you’ve been looking for.

Anything that is “extreme” you would expect some serious challenges. For anything that is worth something there are obstacles that will stand in your way. The easy way is to admit defeat, keep living in discomfort and instead of paying me once for better comfort and a system that pays for itself while increasing the value of the home, some would rather pay the utility company a higher rate than they should be for comfort they are not getting month in and month out. There’s nothing wrong with either home owner, except one is more comfortable than the other and is paying less to cool and heat their home.

“We choose to do things,
not because they are easy,
but because they are hard.”
~John F. Kennedy

First you have to realize that hard things are not insurmountable, unless you are prone to giving up. The problem is that perceived value tends to chase the “lower cost” solution, even though the “higher cost” solution solves the actual problem fully and completely. The lower cost solution will work to a different shade or “feeling” of comfort. When it comes time to sell the home however, the home has no advantage over a home that has one of these types of systems installed.

Which home would you want, now that you are learning the difference?

There are ways to cut costs even with this solution, but if this system pays for itself while providing the best comfort possible and increases the value of the home isn’t this a moot point?

I am not one to make excuses and give up. I am a problem solver by nature. It’s what I do more or less everyday of the year as a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor serving the Katy, Texas area. (TACLB28416E)

The number one rule to problem solving is to solve a problem right?

WRONG. The number one rule to problem solving is to solve a problem without creating additional problems. Otherwise you’re not solving anything. Right?

In other words… it just works. Well if you’ve bought anything in the past you’ve read the blather about how great something is only to find out later after the purchase things aren’t so well.

Why is that? Something as simple as solving a problem that creates additional different problems. That’s it in a nutshell…. they weren’t really problem solving. Take a pill and get 5 additional problems (side effects) than the one you are trying to solve is a easy way to fully describe this.

I tell you these things in this manner so that anyone reading this will fully understand this HVAC comfort solution requires an “INVESTMENT” this is not a gimmick. There are additional conditions that are required as well. I won’t even offer you the solution if your home doesn’t allow me to solve your problem without creating additional problems. What would the point be if I can’t make you happy with the purchase?

If you can’t afford an investment that will pay for itself over time and increase the value of your home you can always try the following “free AC efficiency tips”.

1. Turn the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter.
That’s right make yourself hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.

2. Turn on fans through out your house.
Living in a wind tunnel is not my idea of home comfort. Maybe you can live with it. I can not.

3. Don’t cook in the kitchen…
So I’m real sorry, there won’t be any aspiring chefs in your family. The people who wrote this one probably own half a dozen restaurants.

4. Plant trees and shrubs to shade your home.
Increase your water bill and maintenance costs. Everyone who lives in this area know what it’s like to have a dead tree in their yard due to drought. If the outdoor temp hits 100 the shade won’t be much cooler.

All these “free AC tip suggestions” attempt to solve the problem of a high AC bill, but neglect the comfort problem. Is this problem solving? I don’t think so… that is the difference between me and “them”.

I think and hope by now you should clearly see my point. Like different shades and resolution of high definition television sets so too are there different shades and “feelings” of home comfort.

Now that utility costs have been coming down somewhat in recent years you may be at a position that what you pay for electricity “isn’t that bad”. I like to call this the “well, it’s not too bad syndrome”. The real question is how bad is bad?

You’ll only really know for sure if you investigate it. Take me as an example. My total electric bill for August 2014 was $73.19. I live in a 30 plus year old home with just over 1700 sq feet. I run my central air conditioner 24/7 at 76 during the day and 74 at night. My utility rate was 10.7 cents per KWH for this time period and includes all charges for that month. With that said I have videos on my YouTube channel that clearly show what I pay for electricity since 2011. I don’t just throw around a bunch of hot air without proof. Whether you believe it or not after that fact well that’s entirely up to you. I know we live in a scam a minute world so I made these videos for your benefit, not mine. To help you ascertain truth from fiction.

The key here is I only cool or heat the portion of my home I am using.
What I am talking about here is a Zoned HVAC System. Watch the 2 HVAC zoning videos that are embedded below here. These videos best describe what this is all about and what is possible in home comfort. After watching the videos continue reading the text below them for further insight. (The videos will direct you to my main website, you can go there later on if you want.)

Now that you have a better understanding of what I am talking about you will have a better idea if this is something you want to explore or not. If a zoned HVAC system is not for you there are other approaches to get better comfort with reduced operational costs. However, those options will not exceed all expectations in all areas of the home as a properly designed and installed HVAC zone system would.

Your house may decide this for you. I won’t install an air conditioning and heating zoned system in just any home. Remember I have a rule with problem solving, if you don’t remember that rule you really should reread this entire blog post.

Most HVAC zoned systems are designed improperly. This is a primary source of traffic for my website and a primary source that tend to claim air conditioning and heating zoned systems don’t work. The design of an HVAC zone system is critical, so critical that I spend 30 to 40 hours and maybe in very difficult cases as much as 50 hours just designing them specifically to the characteristics of the home. This doesn’t include installation time. I do all of this myself. There is to my knowledge, no other air conditioning company like Austin Air Companie. If you live way outside my service area of Katy, Texas my suggestion is that you look for a “working HVAC contractor” in your area. That is really your best option.

Can a HVAC zoned system increase the value of your home?

Yes, it can. Especially in a hot tropical location like Katy, Texas and Cypress, Texas. But you have to inform potential buyers what you have. I tell my customers to save their electric bills… make the comparison from old electric bills to the ones after the HVAC zoned system has been installed. The only down side to selling a home with a HVAC zoned system installed by me?

You will likely have to install another zoned air conditioning system in your new house. Once you live with this kind of comfort there is no comparison to anything else.

Ok, here is another myth. “You have to replace your current HVAC system to install a HVAC zoned system.” Not necessarily so. However, if your AC system is over 10 years old it would be best to start over for a multitude of reasons… many of them pointing to efficiency and reliability reasons alone. A HVAC zone system will not magically solve all current problems you have with your HVAC system, inspection and diagnosis shouldn’t be taken for granted.

A HVAC zone system is hard and complex to operate? Sure, they can be. This comes down to design. The HVAC zoned systems I design and install are simple to operate and nothing different than you currently do now except that you have multiple thermostats that control different zones or “areas” of your home.

Do you offer other solutions other than HVAC zoned systems?

Yes, absolutely. The national average life of an HVAC system is roughly 15 years. Slightly less than this in my service area in and around Katy, Texas. Because people don’t experience air conditioning issues very often they may not be aware of what is available today to give the best comfort possible, the best efficiency possible while also paying for itself and increasing the value of the home.

You have a central air conditioning system for comfort. Can you imagine paying for it via an electric bill every month and not being truly comfortable? Now that you’ve read this entire blog post you know what true comfort feels like… a crisp autumn morning in Katy, Texas. Use that threshold to compare with the comfort your current system is delivering.

Thank you for visiting with me today. I hope your day is extremely comfortable.

    About the author of this blog:

My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 20 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs.

Austin Air Companie
“Your home comfort from A to Z”
Air Conditioning | Controls | Heating | Zoning

For more information you can always visit me on my main website @

Better Stuff. Done Right. On Time. Guaranteed.