Tag Archives: hvac installation

Compare Lifetime Versus Upfront Costs of a New AC

lifetime costs of an A/C replacementIf you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, you probably have two questions on your mind: “How much will it cost me upfront?” and “How much will it cost in the long run?” To answer those two questions, it’s important to look at both the lifetime costs of an air conditioner replacement, as well as how much it will initially cost.

What Are Initial Costs?

The first time you set eyes on a new AC the first cost you’ll notice is the price tag. This is what buyers typically focus on most when it comes to buying a new cooling system. Installation costs might also be thrown into the initial cost equation.

As a given, air conditioners that offer greater energy efficiency often sport higher price tags than those that offer a lower price and lower overall efficiency. For instance, a system with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 18 might cost more than one rated at SEER 13.

Looking at just the initial cost of an air conditioner isn’t enough when it comes to purchasing one. To get a bigger picture of how much an air conditioner might cost you throughout its life, it’s important to consider the lifetime costs of an A/C replacement as well as its initial costs.

What About Lifetime Costs?

Picking the cheapest ACsystem available might seem like a money-saving move on the outset, but it could easily cost you money over time. For this reason, you should always consider the lifetime costs of an A/C replacement as you pick out your next cooling system.

These costs often include:

  • Overall system maintenance and upkeep, including regularly scheduled service visits and emergency calls
  • Energy consumption and cost throughout the system’s projected life span

System quality and energy efficiency play vital roles in determining an air conditioner’s lifetime costs. For instance, a cooling system that cuts corners when it comes to its internal components might be cheaper than a higher quality system. However, those low-quality components won’t operate with the same energy efficiency that a high-quality unit is capable of. As a result, the cheaper A/C system will actually cost you more money long-term than an initially expensive, yet more energy-efficient system.

Systems with high SEER ratings and the latest in energy-saving technology may cost more, but they’re also capable of saving you money over the long run. Energy-efficient compressors, variable-speed blowers and refined evaporator and condenser coil designs can help reduce energy consumption, thus reducing the overall energy cost associated with running air conditioners over the course of its life.

Maintenance also plays a key role in lifetime costs. The more maintenance an air conditioner needs, the higher its lifetime costs will eventually be. Systems built with high-quality components don’t need as much maintenance as cheaper, lower-quality options. High-quality components aren’t as likely to break down suddenly, either. Emergency repairs are perhaps one of the biggest cost sinks when it comes to air conditioner ownership.

Which Is More Important?

If you have a tight budget and need an air conditioner replacement right away, initial costs may be far more important to you than the lifetime costs of an A/C replacement. Nevertheless, you should try to purchase as energy-efficient a system as your budget can stand.

If immediate cost isn’t much of an object, then purchasing a new air conditioner with a higher initial cost but greater energy efficiency is a better long-term investment. In most cases, a highly efficient A/C system will pay for itself in energy savings over its life span.

You might also want to factor in your home’s overall energy consumption when figuring out an air conditioner’s lifetime costs. There are plenty of ways you can lower energy consumption throughout your home.

Learn more about the lifetime costs of an air conditioner replacement from the experts at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc., or give us a call at 251-476-3610 to schedule an appointment!


Professional AC Installation: How 4 Factors Impact Long-Term Efficiency

professional A/C installationIn this region, it’s imperative that you have a professional AC installation when replacing an existing cooling system. Given the heat and humidity, cooling systems experience a heavy workload for months at a time. When you’re selecting a contractor initially, look for an NATE-certified contractor whose knowledge and competence about installations is the highest in the HVAC field.


Before you select any system, make sure your contractor goes through the sizing process using Manual J software. This software requires detailed information about your home’s energy efficiency, layout, cubic footage and aspects about your lifestyle that impact the cooling load indoors.

Without this analysis, you could install a system that’s too large or small. Of the two, it’s better to install one that’s slightly smaller. An AC that’s too large will run for shorter periods, leaving behind humidity, driving up energy consumption and wearing the parts faster.


The HVAC contractor needs to use Manual D software along with the results of Manual J to determine if your existing ductwork will be compatible with the new system. If the ducts are too small, they’ll be noisy, and if they’re too large, the velocity of the conditioned air blowing through them will be too low, making it harder for your home to cool.

The overall integrity of the ducts needs to be considered as part of a professional AC installation. Uninsulated or leaking ducts need to be fixed in order to get the highest efficiency from your system.


Once the air handler is in place, the team will measure the airflow blowing through it. It needs to closely match what the manufacturer requires to avoid problems with the evaporator coil inside the air handler.


Double-checking the refrigerant level before finalizing the installation is the last step in a top-quality installation for maximum performance and efficiency from your new system.

Learn more about the professional AC installation provided by the pros at Keith Air Conditioning, or contact us today at 251-476-3610 to discuss air conditioner replacement for your home.

5 Energy Saving Rules of Ductwork Design

Keith Air ConditioningThe New Buzz in Energy Efficient Homes

Are you considering a home renovation or even building an addition? One of the keys to your whole home energy use is your HVAC ductwork design. It is essential to make sure your ducts are installed in the walls, ceilings and floors correctly. Here are 5 basic principles of home ductwork design to keep in mind when installing new ducts.

Identifying a Quality Design

  1. Sizing – What kind of heating or cooling load is required to make your house comfortable, and what size ducts will you need to accommodate it? This varies from house to house, depending on square footage, how much sunlight it gets, and a variety of other factors. The wrong size ducts will put extra strain on the HVAC system, wasting energy. Your contractor will use Manual J, the HVAC load calculation manual, to find the ideal size ductwork for your home.
  2. Building – Ducts should be made of strong, lasting materials, such as metal or fiberglass. Additionally, all ductwork should be properly insulated to maintain the temperature of the air as it passes through the ducts.
  3. Adjusting – Each room’s duct branch should have a damper to adjust the flow of air for that particular room and make sure it gets the amount it needs. Once that level has been found, the damper should be permanently secured in that position to prevent gradual air loss or gain over time.
  4. Balancing – To keep airflow balanced, home ductwork design should have a return duct in every room, in addition to a supply duct, but this isn’t always practical. A single, central return duct may be installed instead, with additional ducts and vents added to ensure air is able to reach the duct effectively.
  5. Testing – Once the ductwork is installed, it needs to be tested to make sure it’s functioning properly. Your HVAC technician should conduct a blower door test, to make sure your ducts were installed securely and that there are no leaks.

Learn more about home ductwork design from the home comfort pros at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. or contact us today at 251-476-3610.

Greener, Smarter HVAC Systems Are Hotter Than Ever

Keith Air ConditioningThe world of home comfort is changing and greener, smarter HVAC systems are taking over the market. Check out these big changes.

Greenspeed Intelligence for HVAC Systems

Greenspeed Intelligence is achieved by pairing a compatible Infinity gas furnace or heat pump with the Infinity control system. Together, these features provide adaptable-speed control. This allows your furnace or heat pump to operate anywhere between 40 and 100 percent capacity to suit your home’s needs. The system automatically selects the capacity that’s most energy efficient while still meeting your comfort needs.

These systems operate longer but use lower and steadier capacities to maximize energy efficiency. Using this technology, the Infinity 20 heat pump is as much as 69 percent more efficient than other 3-ton ducted air source heat pumps.

Infinity Thermostat Controls Provide In-Depth Control

Infinity thermostats take smart home climate control to a new level. These sleek thermostats control up to eight different zones in your home, so you don’t waste energy heating and cooling unused spaces. Maintain the ideal comfort levels in every area, and change those temperatures as needed throughout the day. These thermostats offer 7-day programming so you can set your home to automatically adjust with your schedule.

This smart system offers a wealth of information, including:

  • 5-day weather forecast
  • Energy use in real time
  • Indoor air quality monitors
  • Airflow percentages for each zone
  • Four adjustable programming periods throughout the day
  • Filter replacement reminders
  • Maintenance reminders

WiFi capability allows you to control the system from the Internet. Control your HVAC settings from the comfort of your bed or the convenience of your office. These greener, smarter HVAC systems give you supreme control.

Geothermal Systems Are Harnessing New Energy Sources

Geothermal energy is a clean and renewable energy source that comes from heat stored beneath the earth’s surface. Geothermal energy can be sourced from water and ground. Geothermal heat pumps channel the earth’s consistent warmth as an energy source. Even when temperatures are cold above ground, geothermal energy remains fairly consistent.

Geothermal heat pumps use a ground heat exchanger to supply homes with warm air and even hot water in winter. In summer, the system works in reverse, removing heat from indoor air and sending it through the heat exchanger. This heat can even be used to provide hot water to the home in warm weather months.

Environmentally Friendly Refrigerants Rule

The industry standard in refrigerants was once R-22. Unfortunately, R-22 is hazardous to the environment. The Clean Air Act prohibited the manufacture of new systems that use R-22 in 2010, so today’s new installations are all greener, smarter HVAC systems. By 2020, the production of R-22 will cease so dated systems that still rely this particular refrigerant will have to be upgraded.

Products receive two important ratings that will help you understand their environmental impact. The Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) explains a product’s impact on the ozone layer. The lower this number, the better. Look for refrigerants with an ODP of less than 1.

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) measures the impact the refrigerant has on global warming. This is usually calculated over a 100-year period. The lower the GWP, the better.

Maintenance for Energy Efficiency

Maintenance is essential to maximize energy efficiency with any system. Smart systems can assist by reminding you when it’s time for routine maintenance, but every product needs a little help from an HVAC professional.

Changing the air filter in your HVAC system is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to improve efficiency. No matter what type of filter you have, clean or change it at least every three months and usually once a month for best results.

A smart thermostat will help you minimize energy usage, but this system only works when you take the time to program it correctly. Set your thermostat to coincide with your schedule so your home uses less heating and cooling while you’re away. Remember to update your setting seasonally, keeping the home slightly warmer in summer and cooler in winter.

Learn more about greener, smart HVAC systems available at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. or contact us today at 251-476-3610 to schedule an appointment for your Mobile home!

Choose a Quality HVAC Contractor with NATE Certification

Keith Air ConditioningWhat is NATE Certification?

If you’ve been browsing through our website, you’ve probably noticed the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) badge that is located on the bottom right of each page. This small logo means a lot to our family and to our customers. The NATE program was created in 1997 and is the only national certification that’s supported by the entire HVAC industry, including manufacturers, contractors, utility companies and educators.

Finding a Qualified HVAC Contractor

Our family takes pride in offering quality products and services to customers in Mobile, Alabama, and the surrounding area. Maintaining our NATE certification is just one way that we provide extra comfort and assurance to our customers. This rigorous testing process assesses our knowledge of HVAC installation, air conditioning maintenance, specialty equipment and all aspects of the trade.

The certification is also essential for maintaining our status as a Carrier factory-authorized dealer, which allows us to supply genuine replacement parts and the brand’s top-rated heating and cooling systems. Here are a few reasons why customers and industry leaders prefer NATE-certified technicians.

  • They have 13 percent fewer callbacks.
  • They have fewer warranty-related repairs.
  • They are up-to-date on the latest standards and codes.
  • They are knowledgeable in installation and service practices.
  • They receive ongoing training to retain the certification.


Industry Certifications

The NATE certification that every HVAC contractor at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. has earned is important for showing customers that we take the extra time to provide the highest level of service. This voluntary accreditation complements our mandatory state license, liability insurance and EPA certifications for handling refrigerant in an environmentally sound manner.

Whether you’re hiring us for HVAC installation or to perform air conditioning maintenance, you know that the job will be done right the first time. It means that we follow the latest guidelines and recommendations for achieving optimal performance. To learn more about our HVAC contractors and professional qualifications, visit our about us page, or call our Mobile office at 251-476-3610.

New Thermostats Can Improve HVAC Energy Efficiency

Keith Air ConditioningDid you know that the new indoor comfort control systems can save you money on residential energy costs? Adding a state-of-the-art thermostat to your Mobile, AL, heating and cooling system is almost like getting a total HVAC upgrade.

Programmable thermostats can help your HVAC to operate more effectively, thereby increasing indoor comfort. These thermostats can also ensure a consistent indoor temperature throughout your home. Last but not least, high-tech thermostats can reduce the load on your HVAC equipment, giving it a longer life.

Programmable Thermostats

High-tech thermostats can be set to deliver warm and cool air to precisely match your schedule. When temperatures are matched to schedules, the result is decreased energy usage. Proper thermostat selection and correct use will save even more on energy costs. There are three basic types of thermostat control systems:

    • Seven-day thermostats for schedules that change daily
    • Five-plus-two-day thermostats for those with different weekday and weekend schedules
    • Five-one-one thermostats for those with set weekday schedules and two different weekend schedules


Smart Functions

One of the many benefits of modern thermostats is set-it-and-forget-it convenience. After adjusting the thermostat to match your schedule, you are basically good to go. When your schedule changes, say for a vacation, you can use a hold/vacation setting to override your usual settings.

Some thermostats will remind you when it’s time to change the air filters and alert you to system dysfunctions. Other models can multitask by controlling not only temperature but also ventilation, air flow, humidity and indoor air quality. If you opt for a control system with mobile connectivity, you can control your Mobile, AL, indoor comfort system on your mobile or laptop from anywhere.

Maximize Energy Savings

According to Energy Star, for every degree you raise your indoor air temperature in summer and lower it in winter, you’ll save two percent on energy costs. Other money-saving practices include:

      • Set it and forget it; overriding your settings costs you money
      • Use the hold feature to deliver a constant indoor air temperature while on vacation
      • When you program the thermostat, maintain constant temperatures as long as possible
      • Install a thermostat in each zone of a zoned heating and cooling system

To learn more about HVAC upgrades with a programmable thermostat, check out Keith Air Conditioning’s lineup of state-of-the-art control systems and thermostats or call 251-476-3610.

HVAC System Maintenance Check List for Spring

Keith Air ConditioningSpring is on the way, and the long, hot Alabama summer won’t be far behind. That means it’s time for Mobile area homeowners to think about getting their HVAC systems ready to handle the warmer weather. If you’re not sure just what needs to be done to ensure your system runs smoothly throughout the cooling season, here’s an HVAC system spring maintenance checklist that can help.

Schedule a Tune-Up

Having preventive maintenance performed by a qualified HVAC technician is an item that should be at the top of the pring maintenance checklist. This simple step is the best insurance against HVAC system problems throughout the cooling season, and it will help keep your utility bills low by making sure your system is running efficiently.

Have Ductwork Inspected

Leaky ductwork can cost you in terms of home comfort and energy bills. If yours hasn’t been looked over lately, having it done as part of spring maintenance is a good idea, ensuring that ducts are properly sealed and insulated before the cooling season begins.

Upgrade the Thermostat

Programmable thermostats offer increased comfort and energy savings, so if you haven’t installed one, you should. With a programmable model, you can take advantage of the eight or more hours you’re gone to set the thermostat for increased energy savings. Simply program the thermostat to return to your desired temperature right before your return; you’ll never feel the difference, but you’ll notice the impact on your monthly bills.

Clean the Outdoor Unit

While you’re waiting for that service call, you can get a head start on spring maintenance by cleaning up any debris that’s collected around your system’s outdoor unit. Cleaning the outdoor coils is a simple task you can do as well, just shut off the power and hose it down.

Change the Air Filter

This simple DIY task should be tackled monthly. Check the air filter each month, and as soon as dust and dirt has begun accumulating, replace the filter with a clean one. A dirty air filter blocks necessary airflow, causing the cooling system to work harder to maintain the same temperature.

Learn more about spring HVAC system maintenance available from Keith Air Conditioning, Inc., or contact us today at 251-476-3610 to schedule an appointment for your home!

Savings are Hidden In Your Utility Bill

Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. Energy SavingKeeping an energy efficient home is no easy feat, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. Have a look at your utility bill and follow these five common sense tips to make your home more efficient and cost effective.

Update Your Heating and Cooling System

How long has it been since you installed your last HVAC system? If the answer is 10 years or more, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Today’s HVAC systems are more energy efficient than ever before, offering a tremendous savings over older systems. For example, you can save money (as much as 20 percent) on cooling costs by replacing an old air conditioning with a brand-new model.

Change Those Light Bulbs

If you haven’t swapped out incandescent bulbs in your home for newer and more energy-efficient bulbs, you’re missing out on the savings. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can help trim lighting costs by half. Switching to newer LED bulbs offer even more savings, plus you’ll get greater longevity from them.

Say Goodbye to Old Appliances

If you think old light bulbs can suck down energy, just wait until you see what old appliances can do. Switching your old standard appliance with an Energy Star-labeled appliance can help you save money each year on energy costs. Some Energy Star appliances are even eligible for tax credits from your state or federal government.

Beef Up Insulation

Poor insulation leads to drafty houses, which leads to bigger heating and cooling bills. Unfortunately, many homes are short on insulation. Inspecting and fortifying your insulation can help lower energy costs over the long run.

Keep Up With Regular Maintenance

Maintenance is the key to affordable operation in an energy efficient home. Seasonal maintenance can help keep your home in excellent shape while catching potential problems before they spiral into expensive ones.

For more advice on saving money and creating a more energy efficient home, call us at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. We’ve proudly served the Mobile and Baldwin counties since 1964.

Ductless Heating and Cooling System Benefits

Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. and HeatingIf you’re planning to renovate an attic or porch, or create a new addition to your home, consider using a ductless heating and cooling system for maximum comfort and energy efficiency. These systems, also called mini-splits, are heat pumps that don’t require any ductwork to distribute the conditioned air. Heat pumps are ideal HVAC appliances in this mild winter climate.

Like HVAC systems, a ductless heating and cooling system uses an outdoor condenser and an indoor air handler. A narrow conduit connects the two and delivers the power, refrigerant and the drain line. The condenser can either rest on a pad outside or hang from the exterior wall. The conduit comes in a variety of lengths. The air handlers can hang on the wall, from the ceiling, or sit on the floor.

Energy Efficiency

Ductless air handlers deliver the air directly into the room, so there are no air or thermal losses that normally occur in a central HVAC system. Ductless systems also must meet the same minimum standards for central air conditioning systems and heat pumps. Ductless Mini-splits often have their own thermostat, so when you’re not using the area, you can turn it off, which offers greater energy savings, just like a central zoning system does.


Ductless systems require a professional HVAC contractor for installation. Once you decide where to place the air handler and the condenser, the technician will drills a three inch hole to run the conduit to connect the two. The refrigerant product for a ductless unit is installed at the factory. Once installation is complete, the technician will check the level and verify all the electrical components perform according to specification.

To learn more about the advantages of ductless heating and cooling systems, contact Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for Baldwin County homeowners since 1964.