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What does HVAC stand for?

HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The primary goal of an HVAC system is provide a comfortable temperature with adequate air quality. Sometimes an R is added to HVAC: HVACR. “R” stands for refrigeration. HVAC is an important part of many residential buildings such as single-family homes, condos, apartments, townhomes and commercial buildings such as businesses, hospitals, and grocery stores. 

heating

A heater is an appliance that provides warmth. There are two categories of heaters, central heat and direct heat. Some examples of central heat includes furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps. Direct heat examples include gas-fired space heaters, electric space heaters, wood burning and pellet stoves, and fireplaces. Each of these heaters generate heat by using different types of fuels such as gas, oil, natural gas, and electricity. Heat is distributed throughout the building by using water, steam, or air. Hot water can be pumped throughout the building to heat up the surrounding air by radiators to other heat exchanging systems. The most common type of heat distribution is by heating up air and sending it through a system of ducts throughout the building. In some systems, these same ducts are used for distribution of cooled air. 

heating system installation in the attic

ventilation

Ventilation is the action of replacing indoor air from the outside of the building. This is one of the most important factors for maintaining adequate air quality in a building. In residential homes that have central HVAC systems, an air handling unit (AHU) is used to move air throughout the home. Air handlers are connected to ductwork to push air throughout the home and also pulls the air back in. Components of an air handler include a blower, heating elements, cooling elements, filters, duct silencers, and dampers. Most residential air handlers do not pull air from the outside, but recirculate air from inside the home. If you live somewhere with extremely hot summers and cold winters meaning you have an AC and a furnace, the furnace blower can act as the air handler. In some large commercial buildings such as hospitals, the air handler pulls in fresh air from the outside of the building. These air handlers are called fresh air handling unit (FAHU). Fresh air handling units filter and treat the air so there is a constant flow of fresh clean air.

Some type of air filtration is usually present to reduce particulates throughout the building. There are many types of filters available to choose from including fiberglass filters, pleated filters, washable air filters, electrostatic air filters, HEPA filters, UV filters, activated carbon filters, etc. Most HVAC systems have intake AC filters which need to be changed regularly to prevent dust build up. Dust built up on these filters blocks air flow and this just increases the workload of the HVAC system. AC filters should be changed regularly to keep optimum airflow and to prevent the air conditioner from working too hard. Some HVAC systems filter air just prior to entering the AHU and do not have to use AC filters near the entrance of the air intake ducts. Air filtration is a vast topic with lots of variety and can’t be covered in a quick summary.

hvac technician installing metal ventilation structure on the ceiling
Need AC repair? Easy.
How about heater repair? We can fix that too.

Call us for all of your heating and cooling needs. A friendly HVAC technician will be ready to help repair, maintain, or replace your AC.
Need AC repair? Easy.
How about heater repair? We can fix that too.

Call us for all of your heating and cooling needs. A friendly HVAC technician will be ready to help repair, maintain, or replace your AC.
ceiling air vent, 4 directions
outdoor unit - air conditioning repair
digital thermostat with hand changing settings

Air conditioning

Air conditioning provides cooling and humidity control for the building. Most residential central air conditioners do not bring in fresh air from the outside, but instead recirculate existing air throughout the home. Air conditioning works by removing heat from the house. One of the most common processes for removing heat is with the refrigeration cycle, which involves refrigerants. The refrigeration cycle needs a compressor, condenser, metering device (thermal expansion valve or throttle valve), and evaporator. Let’s learn a little bit more about each of these.

A compressor is a device that pumps refrigerant from the condenser (outdoor unit) to the evaporator (indoor unit). The cold liquid refrigerant pulls heat from inside of the house and once it absorbs enough heat, it turns into a gas, where it then goes back to the compressor release all the heat. This process is called vapor-compression refrigeration and is one of the most widely used types of refrigeration in buildings. When the refrigerant enters the compressor as a vapor, it is then compressed, increasing pressure and temperature as well. 

The condenser basically condenses gas refrigerant into a liquid. After the refrigerant goes through the compressor, this superheated vapor refrigerant is pumped through coils or tubes so that air or water can cool the vapor down and can be condensed back into a liquid. This is how the air conditioning system expels heat outside of the building. In many residential air conditioning units, the outdoor condenser houses a large fan to pull cooler air inside the condenser so the many coils and heat dissipating fins can release all the heat pulled from the house.

Once the refrigerant is cooled, it gets pumped back indoors to be used again to pull heat away from the building. This liquid refrigerant is metered so that there is an ideal amount pumped into evaporator for optimal efficiency. This metering device is called a thermal/thermostatic expansion valve. This valve opens up when it senses that the temperature has increased and closes up when it senses that the temperature has decreased. The thermal expansion valve, by monitoring the flow of liquid refrigerant, helps keep all of the refrigerant as a vapor inside of the evaporator.

The final step in the process is the evaporator. The evaporator turns the liquid refrigerant into vapor while absorbing heat. In residential air conditioning, the air pulled from inside the home then the blower fan moves the air over the evaporator coils which pulls heat from the surrounding air. The evaporator coil is usually found next to the furnace or inside the air handler. The vaporized refrigerant is then sent back to the outdoor condenser. This completes the refrigeration cycle. Do you need help deciding whether to repair or replace your air conditioner?

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Air Conditioning efficacy

The most efficient new air conditioners might save 20-40% of the energy costs of an AC 10 years ago. AC equipment energy efficiency is usually described with terms such as EER or SEER. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and has been in use much longer than SEER. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. These terms are usually on the Energy Guide Label attached on all new air conditioners. 

The SEER is a ratio of the cooling output of an AC over a normal cooling season divided by the number of energy it uses in Wh (watt hours); this rating is the maximum efficiency the AC can achieve. Typically SEER ranges from 13 to 20+. Higher SEER units usually have a 2-stage or variable speed compressor and/or a variable speed blower. Lower SEER rating air conditioners are usually just have a single stage compressor and the blower at one speed. SEER takes into consideration a wider range of operating conditions than EER. SEER doesn’t take into consideration of where the customer is purchasing from to calculate the ratio, but at a temperature range of an average of 83 degrees F. If you live in a climate where it’s hotter than an average of 83F, then the AC will be less efficient than the stated SEER number. A SEER number of 18 in a city like San Jose, CA may be only a SEER of 14-16 in Bakersfield, CA. 

EER is a ratio under one set of specified operating conditions and doesn’t take into account some of the features of higher end HVAC systems to lower energy usage such as electronically commutated motors, variable speed compressors, and high end expansion valve control. EER is a ratio of how efficiently an AC will operate if the temperatures stays constant when the outdoor temperature is 95, indoor at 80, and humidity level of 50%. In more moderate climates, EER doesn’t take into account the seasonal variations in temperature, so it might be better to check out the SEER. In hotter climates such as Bakersfield, CA, it is a good idea to check the EER as well as the SEER, since temperatures are high enough to simulate conditions calculated by the EER.

One thing to remember is to always compare SEER to SEER numbers and EER to EER numbers. Never compare SEER to EER. SEER may be a better number to look at when living in more moderate temperatures. EER may be a better number to look at if you live in a dry and hot environment, such as Bakersfield, CA.

Need a HVAC technician to evaluate your system?

Give one of the best AC companies in Bakersfield a call.
hvac technician installing metal ventilation structure on the ceiling

Need a HVAC technician to evaluate your system?

Give one of the best AC companies in Bakersfield a call.

HVAC in Bakersfield, CA

Having an HVAC system is especially important in Bakersfield, California to feel comfortable inside the house. Weather in the summer months are hot and dry and temperatures are consistently above 100 degrees F. The winter months are cold and temperatures around 40-50 degrees F, rarely going below freezing.