The Importance of Shopping Local and Supporting Small Businesses
Often the reason business owners decide to branch out on their own is because they feel as though they can offer a better service or product than what is currently available, because of this there are so many benefits to shopping local and supporting small businesses.
We’ll delve deeper into a couple of those benefits and also talk about the different ways you can show your support.
A Better Shopping Experience
In today’s fast-paced world, online shopping is the preferred method of shopping. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s cheaper however it completely eliminates human interaction. When you shop in store, you’re getting the desired product and/or service as well as an experience. The character of the business will often reflect the owner’s personality and by choosing to visit the store, you’re not only giving yourself the opportunity to get to know the person behind the service and/or product but you’re also giving them the opportunity to get to know you. Often, you’ll find employees will happily take the time to listen to your needs and find you the best solution because they care (and not just about your money) which is difficult to say about larger corporations with monthly sales targets determined by an interstate head office.
Strengthen the Local Economy
When you shop local, it comes back to full circle. Let’s break that down, shall we? By spending money, you’re creating demand. By creating a demand, there is an increased need for jobs. With an increased need for jobs, there are lower unemployment rates and lower unemployment rates lead to more people having a disposable income. That disposable income will (hopefully) be spent locally which then creates more demand and starts the cycle all over again.
It’s simple, when you shop local – you’re investing in your community.
So, how can you support local and small businesses?
Spend money, of course – particularly important during the holiday season! However, if you are unable to do so here are a couple of other ways to show your support for free.
Talk to your friends and family, share a Facebook or Instagram page or leave a positive review for others to see.
Educate Yourself Research the local businesses in your area and make some time to go see what they have to offer.
Unfortunately, owning a business is tough these days. Online shopping and large franchises pose bigger and bigger issues to business owner’s every day. So remember that when you support a local or small business – you’re supporting local people, local jobs and someone’s dream.
What To Choose? Ducted Air Conditioners vs Split Air Conditioner
So, you’re after an air conditioner but are stuck on which type to purchase – a ducted reverse cycle system or a high wall split system?
Both are effective at cooling a space, but the way that they do this differs dramatically. Your choice will often depend on a number of factors such as the space that you are wanting to cool, your budget, whether your home can accommodate the system, and much more.
Ducted Air Conditioning
Ducted reverse cycle air conditioners work just as the name suggests – through a series of ducts. These are hidden within the roof space and out of sight, making it the more attractive choice. They contain a central unit, known as the fan-coil unit. Ducts then branch off of this fan-coil unit and run to different rooms/zones within your home. The air is expelled from the vents in your ceiling, which are the only visible parts of the system.
There are many pros for ducted air conditioning in comparison to split systems, with one of the biggest being that you can easily and efficiently heat or cool your whole home at the touch of a button. Controlled by a thermostat, ducted systems are much better at keeping a consistent temperature throughout your whole home, but the option to have your system zoned means that you can individually control the amount of conditioned air to each room. There are two ways that you can do this; with a simple on/off switch, or a variable air volume controller which you can increase or decrease the amount of airflow to suit your requirements. The last option also allows for better air balancing throughout your system. The entire system is completely hidden within the roof cavity of your home (besides the vents in your ceilings), making it the more attractive option over split systems. Ducted systems are often a lot quieter than their counterparts, with the only noise being a quiet fan noise from the outdoor unit, and gentle passing of air through the central filtration grille.
Despite the extensive list of pros, ducted air conditioning systems also have their limitations. Ducted systems are the more expensive option to purchase and have installed. As the system is installed within your roof, technicians will need to spend a large amount of time and effort, cutting into your ceiling and this can often add to the cost. Having a ducted system installed is best done during the building or renovation of your home (but not limited to), and they can often be restricted to which homes they can be installed in. Apartments and dwellings with limited roof space often may not be able to have ducted systems installed due to this reason, and already built two-storey homes need a large amount of extra consideration and planning. They are also not the best option if you only spend an extensive amount of time in only a small area of your home.
Split System Air Conditioning
Split system air conditioners are the most ideal solution for single room heating and cooling. They are made up of two components – an indoor unit (head unit) and an outdoor unit (compressor). The indoor unit moves the cool air around the room, while the outdoor unit dissipates the heat from the cooled area (heat exchange).
Split system air conditioners are the more cost-effective choice to purchase and have installed. Due to the fact that you are not purchasing an entire system of ductwork and vents, the costs can be minimal in comparison to ducted systems. A considerably less amount of time is needed for technicians to install them, and there is minimal modification required to your home. If budget is a restraining factor, more split systems can be added to your home if you require later on, or as your budget allows. Due to the fact that split systems only heat or cool one room or space of your home, they have lower energy demands and therefore are quite cost-effective to run.
However, there are also cons involved with having a split system installed within your home. The heating or cooling capacity is limited with splits, and therefore may not be a possible option for your space. While they are the cheaper option singularly, if you need multiple units within your home, the costs can add up. The bulkiness of both the indoor unit and the outdoor unit, and the inability to hide them can often become an eyesore and stand out on your wall. So if you are looking for a neat and tidy option that is easily concealed, then a split system is not your choice.
So which option is best for me?
Each of these systems essentially performs the same job, but personal preferences and limitations can restrict which one is best for you. It is important to take into account each of the pros and cons provided so that your system benefits you for years to come.
Factors to think of when deciding include:
What maintenance/upkeep is included – A ducted system will require yearly services by a professional, while a split system will require more regular cleaning that can be completed by the homeowner, and professional servicing less frequently.
How much you want to spend – A ducted system will cost more to purchase and have installed upfront but the options to zone your system means that their running costs can be reduced. While a singular split system will cost less upfront, should you need to add more in the future, the costs can add up.
What area you are looking to cool – Do you want to cool your entire home or just one room? Should you only need one room cooled, is important to think about whether you will be wanting to cool more in the future.
Aesthetics – The way the system will look is also something to think about. While split systems stand-out on both an indoor and outdoor wall, they are becoming much more visually appealing.
If you are unsure about which system is best for you, call us today on (08) 8297 3422 to speak to one of our professionals. We can provide fuss-free quotes for more than one type of system so that you can weigh up your options.
Our hot South Australian climate means that we rely a lot on our air conditioners in our homes and businesses to keep us cool and comfortable. But air conditioners are a lot like cars – they need regular servicing and maintenance to run at their most efficient.
Regular servicing should be carried out yearly, but every now and then small issues may arise which can indicate a need for a technician to thoroughly inspect it.
Here are some signs that you may need to book a service:
1. Your System Isn’t Cooling
If your system isn’t doing what it is designed to do, then it needs an inspection. A unit that isn’t blowing out cold air may indicate an issue with its compressor, mechanical failure within the system or that the system has lost its refrigerant charge. Neither cause is impossible to fix, but you will need to have it seen to if you plan on using your system to stay cool throughout summer.
2. Reduced Airflow
If air is not circulating through your rooms as strongly, then your unit’s fitler may be clogged, it’s ductwork may be squashed or damaged or its zone motors may have malfunctioned. It’s important to clean your filters regularly as mentioned here, to avoid overworking your system. But damaged ductwork or zone motor failure needs to be left for a technician to inspect and attend to during a service.
Regularly using your system when it is struggling to maintain airflow can severely overwork your system’s compressor and can easily cause extra damage.
3. Strange Smells or Noises
During operation, an air conditioner should be relatively silent. It should also not be emitting any strange smells after being turned on. If your unit is doing one, or both of these things, then a service is needed immediately to get to the bottom of it.
One role of an air conditioner is to filter dust and small debris from the air, as well as dehumidifying it. A musty smell may indicate that there is dust entering your ductwork or a build-up of foreign material on your indoor coil, which can be harmful to your health if you breathe it in, and potentially dangerous to asthmatics.
A burning smell though may indicate something far more serious such as overheating of internal components, loose wire connections, mechanical issues, etc. If your system is giving off a burning smell it is best to turn it off and discontinue use until you can schedule a time for a technician to inspect it.
Depending on what noise you are hearing coming from your unit, there may be a number of issues it could be:
Humming or Rattling
An air conditioner naturally hums due to the mechanics involved with it. But if a light hum or whir turns into a much more sinister noise, often followed by a rattling, then it may indicate that a fan is loose, there is debris caught in your unit, there are issues with your ductwork or more.
Any grinding noise coming from your unit during operation is cause for concern and needs immediate attention from a professional. This noise may indicate serious mechanical issues within your system and operation should cease immediately.
A hissing sound can either indicate a minor issue such as a water leak, or a major issue such as a refrigerant leak. If you are untrained, distinguishing between the two can be difficult, so it is best to have a professional take a look at it.
Any other noises coming from your system during operation should also be investigated by a professional. It is better to be on the safe side and have a clean, healthy running unit, than one that may fall apart at the wrong time of the year, or worse yet, create an unsafe situation.
As mentioned, if your unit is leaking it can either be a minor issue that results in a quick fix or a major issue that can have an unsuspected effect on your home. If you do notice a leak, it is important to cease the systems operation and contact your installer/service mechanic. They will ask a number of questions that can help them distinguish what the leak might be and just how serious it is. Water leaking from your unit isn’t a large issue and is generally a quick fix, however a refrigerant leak is potentially dangerous. Don’t try to distinguish between the two yourself. Call a professional and have them assess the situation.
5. High Energy Bills
If your energy bills seem higher than normal but you are not using your system any differently, then there may be an underlying reason why. When you don’t maintain your air conditioner regularly, it will become less energy efficient and your energy bills will start to rise. This may be due to issues with your ductwork, you may not be using your system correctly, or maybe your unit is reaching the end of its life.
If you are finding that one, or a number of these issues are occuring during operation of your system, the best thing to do is schedule a technician to do a thorough inspection and service on it to find the leading causes.
As summer is fast approaching, the smartest thing to do is to have a professional from Green Efficient Living come and do a pre-summer service on your unit to ensure that it is in prime working condition before constant use during the upcoming hot weather.
Note: Green Efficient Living is currently holding their annual Pre-Summer Service Sale! Take advantage of our discounted prices and have your unit serviced before the hot weather hits! Click here to find out more.
Why Should You Have Your Air Conditioner Serviced?
Having your air conditioner serviced before the hot weather hits is smart for two reasons. Not only does it mean that you will be prepared for when the temperature starts to rise, but it also means that you will beat the rush of people trying to get theirs serviced during summer.
What Is Done During A Service?
During a scheduled routine service, a Green Efficient Living technician will complete a number of checks on the outdoor unit and indoor unit to ensure its compliance and that it is operating as it should.
The first thing that our technicians do will ask you whether or not your system is functioning properly. Have you heard any noises lately? Has it been playing up or not running as it normally would? Etc.
The return air will be then taken out and checked over, during which time our technicians run your system to inspect the outdoor unit. They will get the pressure readings, check electrical voltages and currents and ensure that there is no debris on the rear coilers of the unit.
After the service of the outdoor unit, they will then get into your roof to inspect that all electrical terminals are still tight, that the ductwork does not have any imperfections such as rips and that the main condensate drain isn’t blocked. During this time they will also inspect all zones by turning them on and off to ensure that they are all opening and closing as they should.
Can You Service Your Own Air Conditioner?
There are basic maintenance jobs that you can do yourself as the homeowner, such as cleaning the filters and ensuring that the outdoor unit stays unrestricted (see our post on that here). But when it comes to a complete annual service of your unit before using it again, this MUST be left entirely to the professionals. The smallest of attempts at servicing your own air conditioner can lead to serious unit damage or even electrocution!
Why Should You Have Your Air Conditioner Serviced?
The easiest way to understand exactly why you need to regularly service your air conditioner is for the same reason that you regularly service your car. You do not drive your car unserviced until it breaks down beyond repair and you are forced to buy a new one. Instead, you service it regularly to AVOID any serious breakdowns – an air conditioner is much the same.
There are many reasons why having your air conditioner professionally serviced is important:
1. It improves energy efficiency and saves you money on your electricity bills
Without periodic maintenance, your air conditioner will find it hard to run in prime condition. When this happens, it has to work a lot harder and consume more energy which in turn costs you more on your electricity bills! Avoid paying more by having a professional complete a service on your air conditioner to ensure that it is running as efficiently as possible.
2. It improves air quality
When your air conditioner isn’t working efficiently, it cannot properly filter the air is distributed into your home. An air conditioner that is running in perfect conditioner successfully filters out pollutants, pollen, dust and allergens, meaning the air that you and your family are breathing is cleaner and safer.
3. It extends your unit’s lifespan
Regular servicing and maintenance will extend the lifespan of your unit for all of the reasons mentioned above. It faults are left undetected, they can cause serious issues for your system in the future. These issues may result in costly repairs or even a unit replacement! However, by servicing it regularly you are increasing your system’s lifespan and keeping it running in perfect working order for many more years to come.
The professionals at Green Efficient Living recommend having your unit serviced annually, even if it is not showing any signs of faults or issues. To book your annual service, call us today on (08) 8297 3422.
Note: Green Efficient Living is currently holding their annual Pre-Summer Service Sale! Take advantage of our discounted prices and have your unit serviced before the hot weather is here!
If you live in Adelaide, you would surely understand just how drastically the temperature can change between summer and winter. One moment you are sitting in a puddle of your own sweat and within a matter of weeks, you are sitting in that same spot, with four layers of clothing on, clutching your coffee close to you.
Well, in case you haven’t noticed, winter is here and we think that it is time that you understand how to best care for and use your reverse cycle air conditioner during the colder weather to maximise your energy efficiency and save on your bills (you will thank us later).
What Is Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning?
The name suggests it all. A reverse cycle air conditioner is one that can both cool your home in summer and keep you warm during winter.
A refrigerant is passed through an external coil, absorbing heat from the outside air. This refrigerant is then pumped through a compressor, into a fan coil unit inside the home, which then releases warm air into your room. When in heating mode, the unit works in the opposite or reverse way to when it is cooling.
Note: It absolutely does not have to be warm outside for this process to be successful. Reverse cycle air conditioners can perform this function in even the lowest of temperatures.
Benefits Of Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners
The first and in our opinion, the greatest benefit of reverse cycle air conditioners is that they are extremely efficient when it comes to their energy use and their cost over time. Most portable heaters or gas heaters may be cheaper to buy outright, but their energy usage is much higher than that of a reverse cycle system and therefore will cost you much more over time to run.
Another benefit is when purchasing a reverse cycle air conditioner, you are purchasing two systems in one and avoiding having to purchase both a cooling system and a heating system, thereby saving you money.
Reverse cycle air conditioners also help to purify the air during operation by trapping airborne particles. Some systems may also rid the air of odours and remove bacteria and viruses, which is especially handy in the homes of allergy sufferers and people with asthma.
How To Prepare Your System For Winter
If you do already have a reverse cycle system installed in your home, there are a few things that you can do before the cold weather really sets in.
Clean Your Filters
We have already written a blog on the importance of making sure that your filters are clean (read here), but we can’t stress enough just how damaging blocked filters can be. Blocked or dirty filters are often the first issue that we look for when on a service call, due to the fact that…
Adjust Your Thermostat
Most people think that turning their heater up to 26 degrees in winter will warm the room up faster and keep them warmer for longer. All this will do is result in your system working harder and your energy bills increasing. During winter, have your system set to 18-22 degrees. Your room will still warm up just as fast and you will still feel just as warm, you just won’t be paying the extra on your energy bills or shortening the life of your system. It has been estimated that increasing the temperature on your air conditioner by just one degree can increase your costs by a large ten per cent!
Have It Serviced
One very important point to remember is to have your system professionally serviced before a long summer or winter of using it. When a technician services your system, they make sure that everything is working as it should be and that your system is still providing the most energy efficient service that it can for your needs.
Using your reverse cycle air conditioner is no different in winter than it is in summer. Just remember to keep the temperature down, you will still stay warm, and to make sure your filters are clean. If you haven’t had your system serviced yet, Green Efficient Living have a special offer for you! You can have your Ducted Reverse Cycle system serviced from a low $200 ex GST, or a High Wall Split from $170 ex GST. Our offer ends VERY soon, so give us a call today to make sure that your system isn’t costing you more than it should this winter!
Is Your Air Conditioner Faulty or Are Your Filters Blocked?
Here at Green Efficient Living, we receive many phone calls a week from worried customers believing that their air conditioners are faulty. However, after visiting the site to service the system and inspect the issue, we can see that the underlying cause is often dirty filters.
Air conditioner filters are not only important at maintaining your air quality and comfort, but being another crucial part of the system, they also assist in ensuring that your entire system is running as smoothly as possible. It is therefore important to make sure that you remember to inspect your filters before summer and to monitor them throughout the time your system is being used.
Why Is It So Important To Keep Your Filters Clean?
When air conditioner filters become blocked, they cannot only cause health issues, but they can also result in symptoms that can imitate a faulty or broken air conditioner. From experience, customers whos filters are blocked, often jump to conclusions and believe that their air conditioner is faulty. There are three main symptoms of blocked air filters that may resemble a faulty system.
1. Air Quality
The purpose of your air conditioner’s filters is basic. They filter out the dust, debris and bacteria from the air and circulate clean, high-quality air back into your home. When your filters become blocked, they cannot filter out the nasty particles as easily and they end up getting fed back into your home’s air supply. This means that the air that you are breathing is not as clean as it should be which can lead to health issues and make it difficult for allergy sufferers
When your filters are blocked it causes your system to overwork as it tries harder to filter out the mess of contaminants caught within it. This overworking of your system can quickly deteriorate your system’s level of performance and health.
3. Energy Efficiency
As mentioned, when your filters are blocked your system has to work harder just to achieve the same level of performance. This means that it is consuming more energy and becoming a lot more costly to run.
At Green Efficient Living, we believe that cleaning or replacing your air conditioner’s filters is one of the most important tasks is maintaining the longevity of your system’s health. Blocked filters can reduce a system’s efficiency significantly and replacing or cleaning them can lower your system’s energy consumption anywhere from 5% to 15%.
Homes that rely on their air conditioner’s regularly should clean or replace their filters every 3-5 months. If you only use it throughout the warmer months, then cleaning or replacing them at the same time that you have your pre-summer service done is a good idea.
How To Tell If Your Filters Need Replacing
Aside from calling out a technician, there are ways to tell if your system’s filters are blocked.
The first is that you may notice that there is a dusty smell, or dust particles coming from the vents in your unit. If this is the case, it could mean that there is a big build up of debris in your filters and it is time for a clean!
2. Higher-than-normal Energy Bills
If you’ve noticed that you haven’t been using your system any differently than normal, but your energy bills are slightly higher, this may also be a sign that your system is consuming more energy because its filters are clogged.
3. Unusual System Activity
If you are noticing that your unit is starting to play up, or it is not running as it should, don’t jump to conclusions. Follow the instructions and check your filters first. You may be surprised to find just how blocked they could be!
A general rule of thumb is if you cannot remember the last time that you cleaned or replaced your filters, then now is the time to do it!
How To Care For Your Filters
Some air conditioners come with reusable, cleanable filters, whereas others may have replaceable ones. You should have received a user manual when your system was installed that outlines in detail exactly how to care for your filters.
If your unit is one with replaceable filters, this job is generally fairly easy. Filters can be bought through your installer, or through a company such as Ductair.
If your unit has reusable filters, then following the user manual will ensure that your filters get cleaned and replaced in the correct way. Generally vacuuming the dust off of them or hosing them down with warm water is the safest way to clean them. Be aware that they are fragile so take caution. Always let them dry before reinstalling them, and never use the system without reinstalling them first. Reusable filters don’t last forever though, so be sure to replace it every 2-3 years or so. When having a service performed by a technician on your system, they should be able to inform you of whether or not your filters need replacing.
If you are experiencing issues with your air conditioner, try taking a look at your filters before calling out a technicians. If you aren’t confident with this task, Green Efficient Living service technicians are always more than happy to help! We have a dedicated service team on the road each day, so no mater what issue you are experiencing, we can help. Call today on (08) 8297 3422.
What Questions To Ask When Buying An Air Conditioner
These days, air conditioners come in many sizes and with many different upgrades and new developments. There are also different companies and installers out there who can sometimes offer vastly different quotes for the same system. So how can you be sure that you are being quoted the best system for you? It’s important to always ask questions of your installer before approving any work. Here are just a small list of questions to ask your installer when buying an air conditioner, to ensure that you are getting the best system for your home and lifestyle.
1. What type of air conditioner do I need?
There are a number of reasons why one type of air conditioner may be better suited to your home than another. What type of climate do you live in? For example, evaporative air conditioners work brilliantly in drier climates, but not as effectively in tropical, humid climates. Are you looking for a system that will cool one room only? If so, maybe a high wall split is best, or possibly an air conditioner with zoning capabilities. It is important to discuss all of your needs and desires with your installer to ensure that you are getting the most accurate system for your situation and location. Make sure that you are prepared with all of the information before you meet with them.
2. What size air conditioner do I need?
As explained in our previous blog (here), the right size air conditioner is dependent on a lot of factors. For example, are you looking to cool your whole home or just a few rooms? is your home open plan living? How many windows does your home have? It is important that your installer asks all of these questions before they offer you an exact system. Ensuring that your installer has made a trip to your home, or has a copy of your housing plan so that they can do a load calculation and offer you the correct size for your space. This will ensure that you are being quoted the best unit based on power, efficiency and cooling capacity.
3. What new features or technological additions do I require?
These days, air conditioners can be tailored to meet your exact requirements and desires thanks to modern technology. So make sure that you consider which extras you may want or need to personalise your system. Do you require a remote control for ease of use, or are you okay walking to the touchpad on the wall each time? Are you after zoning so you can only cool specific rooms at certain times? Maybe you are looking to have a system that can be controlled from an app on your phone? If you aren’t sure of all of the additions that can come with a system these days, be sure to ask your installer. Let them know which features you may need and work from there. Be aware that most of the time, technological additions can add to the price of the system.
4. What is my budget?
The best thing to do is have an idea of how much you are able to spend. This will let your installer know what type of system they can offer you and what optional extras may be available. Always get more than one quote to get an average idea of how much you should be spending.
5. What is the energy rating of the system?
These days, air conditioning systems should chew through your energy bills. In fact, your installer SHOULD be designing you a system that will be the most cost effective and energy efficient for you to run. This will ensure that your unit lasts longer and save your money in the long run.
6. Who will be doing the installation? Does the company use contractors to install their work?
This is an important question to ask because it lets you know how many companies you will be dealing with and the integrity of those companies. The company that you purchase the system through may use contractors to install it, rather than employing their own technicians to carry out the installation themselves. This addition of an extra party can result in many issues such as unnecessary added costs, communication breakdown, hassle, warranty issues and unexpected poor quality of work and service.
7. If they do use contractors, are the installers qualified to handle warranty repairs and/or servicing?
Green Efficient Living employ all of their own technicians that are all certified installers (Cert. III). This means that they are all fully qualified to handle all installations, warranty repairs and servicing systems of all sizes. Many companies use Cert. II qualified installers that are not qualified to handle all warranty repairs and servicing and can only work on systems under 18kW. For the reliability and quality of your home or business’s system and to ensure that all warranties remain valid, it pays to ask how qualified your installers are.
8. Does the company also provide maintenance services?
It is important to know whether the company who installs your air conditioner also provides servicing and maintenance services. This will ensure that should any warranty issues occur further down the line, that the company servicing your system is familiar with it and has records of it. Green Efficient Living provides comprehensive service and maintenance services to all of our clients and we make that we keep them updated when their next service is due.
9. What is the total cost?
This may seem like an obvious one, but be aware that sometimes the quote that you are being provided may not include all charges. Does the quote include labour and installation charges, delivery fees, etc? Make sure that they provide every cost openly and honestly and in writing so that you aren’t surprised when you receive the invoice.
10. What documentation will I be receiving?
Before the installation date, you should receive a detailed quote and contract. After the system has been installed, you should receive all manufacturers and installers warranty information, detailed maintenance information and compliance certificates. Before purchasing a system, always do research on each company and obtain multiple quotes. It may take a little longer, but the system that you end up with will be far more reliable.
If you are after a new installation, or the service or upgrade of your current one, call Green Efficient Living today on (08) 8297 3422.
We all want to be cool in summer and warm in winter and we don’t want to have to compromise on that. So when the temperature outside starts rising, we expect more from our air conditioners and turn them up just that little bit more until we are comfortable. However, energy prices are rising and we need to understand how to be more energy efficient when it comes to using our air conditioners.