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When It Comes to Air Conditioning, Size Matters Don’t Fall into the Trap of Buying an Oversized Unit: Beware of Cut-Rate Contractors Pushing One Particular Model!

Homeowners tend to keep their air conditioning units for a long time. Yet, if saving money is your goal, it could pay to weight the operating costs of your aging, less-efficient unit against the savings of upgrading to a new, efficient unit.

When you upgrade, avoid the common mistake of oversizing. Many people who have been struggling with an unreliable, older model, thing getting a larger capacity unit will make everything cooler. They believe since the unit will not be stressed, they will save operating costs. Not so.

A system that is too large not only costs more, and costs more to install, it operates inefficiently. A unit that is too large will breakdown more often and cost more to operate. Oversized heating equipment often creates uncomfortable temperature swings in the home. And oversized air conditioners do not run long enough to dehumidify the air. This gives rooms a clammy feel and even permits unhealthy mold growth in humid areas.

Often, when replacing their system, homeowners simply buy the same size they had before. Many older units were sized before the era of tightly constructed homes. It was not uncommon to install systems that were two to four times beyond the necessary capacity. If you have added new windows, caulking, weather stripping, or insulation over the years, you might be better served by a smaller system than the one you are replacing.

A popular formula to use for correct sizing is found in Manual J: Residential Load Calculation, published by Air Conditioning Contractors of America. It requires measuring walls, ceilings, floor space, and windows to determine room volumes. It considers your insulation’s resistance to heat flow (R-value) and estimates air leakage with a blower door test.

A good estimate also includes inspection of ducting and placement of the supply and return registers. Even the orientation of the house affects heat gains and loss. For example, overhangs can reduce solar gain through windows. Shortcut methods of sizing are only useful to get a ballpark estimate. Sizing based on gross square footage is not a good way to size for a final choice. The rule of thumb is one ton (12,000 BTU per hour) per 500 square feet of living space. This does not take into account design, construction, insulation, and other factors.

Replacing your air-conditioning unit with a new, more efficient model can lead to a windfall of energy savings. However, if you choose the wrong company to size your home and install your system, it can lead to a long list of headaches. Too many contractors will give you an estimate on a new system simply because it’s the system they have taking up space in their warehouse or it’s the cheapest system for them to sell!

We take your comfort, energy savings, and satisfaction to heart. We also do our best to provide air conditioning units for maximum value at the lowest price. If you know you need a new A/C, but have been putting it off, give us a call at 800-370-4328. We’re happy to give you a free estimate.

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6 Signs That Your Cooling Equipment Has Become too Costly, Inefficient & Should Be Replaced

Your air conditioner or heat pump keeps you cool, safe, and secure during the blazing hot summer. It’s no longer a luxury-it’s something you must have in your home! But when is the right time to have your cooling equipment replaced? We hear that question all the time. Here are six signs that you should look for that may indicate it’s time to replace your air conditioner or heat pump

  1. Your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old. You may want to consider replacing your cooling equipment with a unit that’s earned the Energy Star label. When installed properly, these high-efficiency units can help you save up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs. 
  2. Your cooling equipment need frequent repairs. If every summer your unit needs constant tweaks to keep running, not only are the repairs costing you-it’s highly likely the unit is very inefficient and wasting tons of energy. It may be more beneficial to replace the unit than continue to throw money away on it.
  3. Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold. If you always notice that some rooms are incredibly uncomfortable, it may mean that your unit isn’t operating properly. It also could be an issue with ductwork.
  4. Your home seems to have humidity problems. Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork are often the causes for air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.
  5. Your home has excessive dust. Leaky ductwork can pull in dust particles from the attic, crawl spaces, and basements and spread them throughout your home. If that’s happening, it also means you’re losing valuable conditioned air, which is wasting your money and putting excessive stress on your system!
  6. Your cooling system is noisy. Your air conditioner shouldn’t sound like a plan getting ready to take off! It could be a sign that a fan is out of alignment, you could have a problem with your coil, or may be your duct system is undersized.


If you haven’t had your cooling system evaluated this year, you should absolutely do so soon! The high summer temperatures put excessive e stress on your unit. If it’s in poor condition, if could breakdown at any moment – and cooling systems always seem to breakdown on especially hot days.

Call 800-370-4328 for a complementary evaluation of your home’s cooling system! We’re also running specials on tune-ups, which should be done to your system every year to help ensure it operates at peak efficiency, saving you money and elongating its life! 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Have Your Air Conditioner Tuned This Spring!

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming! The weather is perfect! But before you know it, spring will soon turn to summer, and with summer comes intense heat! Your air conditioner will be working overtime to keep your family comfortable…and healthy.

To help ensure your air conditioner is prepared for the soon-to-come escalating summer temperatures, it’s important that you have it inspected and tuned now…before it begins working overtime. I promise you, having your air conditioner serviced before summer begins will be one of the smartest decisions you make for your home this year. Why? What are the benefits? Please, read on…

 1. Avoid potential air-conditioner breakdowns. The worst feeling in the world is waking up in the middle of a sweltering night because your A/C stopped working. Tune-ups leave your A/C clean and working in the best condition possible, which drastically reduces the likelihood of breakdowns and expensive repairs.


 2. Stop small problems before they become BIG. You may think that your A/C is working fine because it’s pouring out cold air—however, that may not be the case. It may be struggling with some minor issues—issues that will only get worse over time. With a tune-up, these problems are identified and eliminated BEFORE they spiral into big, expensive, necessary repairs.


 3. Improve air-conditioner performance. Have you ever noticed that certain rooms may feel warmer than others? Often, that’s a direct result of your A/C not working properly. A properly tuned A/C should keep every room nice and comfortable—without hot and cold spots.


4. Reduce utility bills. If your A/C isn’t regularly cleaned and tuned, it means vital components are dirty. When those components are dirty, they’re not able to work as efficiently. When your A/C isn’t working efficiently, it is wasting your hard-earned money! Tune-ups can help keep your utility bills lower all summer long.


5. Add life to your air conditioner. If you have your A/C cleaned and tuned every year, it will work much more efficiently, which leads to lower utility bills— and helps your A/C last longer, reducing the need for you to replace it sooner than you need to!



If you haven’t had your air conditioner tuned this year, now is the perfect time! Give us a call at 800-370-4328. Right now, we’re offering our tune-ups for only $109! When you call, ask us about our club-membership program! 

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6 Signs Your Air-Conditioning System Is in Need of Service

Reduce the Likelihood of a Breakdown with Your Annual A/C Tune-Up

Spring is here and it won’t be long before you’ll be firing up your air conditioner to keep you cool. In fact, springtime is the best time to evaluate if your air conditioner is acting a bit “off.” On a warm spring day, instead of opening your windows, turn your air conditioner on. Think of it as a test run for summer. See how well it performs. Here are some common problems you may encounter if your air conditioner is acting peculiar.

  • No Cool Air: At some point, you may find that your air-conditioning system simply isn’t doing its job. Even at full blast, the air coming from your vents just isn’t as cold as it used to be—or isn’t cold at all. A lack of cool air could mean that your system’s compressor has failed. It could also mean that your system’s Freon levels are too low.

  • Poor Airflow: If you are noticing weak or little airflow through your AC vents, the unit’s compressor may be failing. If some rooms are getting cool and others are not, the trouble might be with your duct work. Also, overtime, debris can get stuck in your air-conditioning vents. Not only does this obstruct airflow, it also presents a health risk to you and your family. Having your air-conditioner ducts cleaned is a great way to restore airflow and help ensure that your AC system is working well when you need it most.

  • Thermostat Problems: At times the trouble is not with the air-conditioning unit, but with the thermostat itself. One way to tell if your thermostat is a problem is if one part of your house is very cold while another part remains at the same temperature.

  • Moisture Where It Shouldn’t Be: Moisture or leakage around or near your system can be an indication of problems. When you see leaks from your air-conditioning system, it can mainly be due to two reasons. In the most serious case, the leak could be refrigerant. Water pools adjacent to your air conditioner might show that the drain tube, which disposes of air conditioner condensation, is either blocked or broken.

  • Strange Sounds: Squealing, grating, grinding sounds from your air conditioner should never be heard. These noises imply that something is wrong inside the unit. A squealing noise means that the belt has slipped out of place. It may also indicate that a metal component in your air conditioner requires more lubrication. A grinding sound may mean that your motor’s bearings are broken.

  • Strange Odors: Pungent or foul smells from your air-conditioning vents normally means that your conditioner’s wire insulation has burned out. Musty smells generally indicates that there is mold inside your unit or ductwork.

In order to keep away these issues, it is important to habitually maintain your air-conditioning system. It is a costly appliance and must be cared for to add to its lifespan and lessen the need for pricey repairs. By having regular maintenance performed, you also keep your manufacturer’s warranty valid. If you don’t, most manufacturers won’t honor a breakdown—even if created by their design flaw.

Call us today at 800-370-4328 to schedule a tune-up at your earliest convenience. Mention this article and you’ll get your tune-up for only $109! That’s a savings of $80!



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Residential furnaces come in various sizes, furnaces needs to be correctly sized to provide efficient heating and cooling. A furnace sized too small will not deliver, or it can strain to deliver enough heating to your home, while an oversized furnace will waster energy and money. Both can lead to excessive breakdowns and premature failure.

Our field is filled with people who should know better, but who persist in using “rules of thumb” when it comes to selecting a furnace size. Sometimes they will base it only the square footage of a home, or when replacing a unit will simply select the same size as the old one.

Common sense tells us that bigger homes probably will require larger furnaces, but a lot more goes into selecting the proper size for any given amount of space. Proper size should be based on energy-loss calculations that take into account window area, the amount of insulation and other factors. This evaluation needs to be done room by room.

Energy-loss calculations need to be done when replacing a furnace. One simple reason is that the old equipment might have been improperly sized, which might well be the reason it broke down. Even if the old furnace was right for the job, replacing older unites with high-efficiency models often enables you to downsize to a unit that can do more with less and save you energy and money in the process.

Also, with any furnace installation or replacement, it’s important for the technician to check the ductwork to make sure it is appropriately sized and not plagued by leakage. Your furnace is the heart of your home’s HVAC system, while the ductwork is its arteries. You know what happen to your heart if your arteries get clogged or get diseased.

No doubt you’ve heard the old adage “you get what you pay for.” People who shop for the cheapest price when selecting an HVAC company will most likely end up with someone who cuts corners. One way to cut corners is to sue a “rule of thumb” instead of energy-loss calculation when selecting or replacing a furnace.
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"Service tech arrived on time, explained the process thoroughly, and answered all questions respectfully. Highly rate the experience."

– Mark G.

"My wife and I can't overstate how good it feels to have a contractor guarantee and deliver above and beyond what they guarantee! The folks are the most professional and caring contractors I've ever worked with! from the apprentice to the Master electricians, plumbers, and HVAC personnel! Thank you and yes I would do it all over again. Thanks Again!!!!"

– Russell C.

"If I need work on my heat pump, etc. I would certainly continue to deal with Black Hills, right down to how they answer their phone!"

– Vicki T.

"My husband, Terry, and I would like to personally thank you for the excellent service we received from our first phone call to Black Hills, reminder calls, services, and follow-up! Your staff was very professional and informative. Following with a hand-written thank you for joining the Black Hills family was brilliant and so appreciated. Sadly, so many companies have lost this personal touch. From a marketing background, treating customers as if they are your first customers is time consuming, and often tiring, but it is what develops loyalty. Thank you and your team"

– Trish and Terry Lavery

"Excellent service provided. Staff is verry professional and friendly."

– Afzal S.

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