Cooling Systems

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Replace furnace when I install air conditioning?

April 2008

I am considering putting in air conditioning into the house I bought in Hercules. Can anyone recommend any company in particular. I have a quote from Sears and they offer 12months no payment, no interest options as well. The house is approx. 26years old. Should I replace the furnace as well or wait until that gives out? Any help appreciated.

I would seriously consider replacing the furnace at the same time that you install a central air conditioning system. The new furnaces are highly efficient, and not only decrease greenhouse gases, but also save a considerable amount of fuel. The new air conditioners are also much more efficient than the ones available only a few years ago.

When we replaced our furnace and installed central air conditioning in our El Sobrante home about 4 years ago, we employed a company called Rounds-Sosine in Richmond, and they did an excellent job. The cost was about $5000 (including the electrical work, as one needs a 220-volt circuit to run A/C), and the work was completed in just two days. We have had no trouble since; BUT, sadly, it appears that this company is no longer in business.

Get several estimates and make sure that your ductwork is in good condition (ours was). Robert

Whole House fan wanted

August 2006

After suffering through the recent heat wave, my husband and I have decided to get a whole house fan installed in our attic. These large fans draw up hot air from the house and blow it out the attic, replacing it with cooler air from outside. We are looking for a recommendation for an experienced installer and the type of fan installed. We would also like to get feedback on the fan's effectiveness. Thanks! Susan

The fan you want is the solafan. Its a solar powered unit placed in the roof to suck all the hot air out of your attic. Cooler air is replaced from below. You can purchase the fan at any builder supply, and can recommend Economy Lumber Company in Oakland as my supplier. lj
In reply to the person looking for info on whole house fans - visit BuildItGreen.Org and send an email or call the ask the expert hotline.. They'll have lots of info on whole house fans- - check out the list of Certified Green Building Professionals on their website to help install one. My friend has a whole house fan and was really impressed how it cooled down the house once the air outside was cooler than inside. Instant relief - especially for a two story home. Good choice! meri

Solar Star Attic Fan

August 2004

I wonder if anyone has installed a solar-powered Solar Star attic fan in their home and would be willing to share their experience. I looked on the archives and didn't find anything. My concern is that the fan might actually cool our Berkeley house too much during ''normal'' spring, summer, and fall days when we rely on the heat of the afternoon to warm our house after it has cooled down at night. Yet the Solar Star seems like the perfect solution to those horrible 5-10 days a year when it doesn't cool down at night and our house is unbearably hot. It's also supposed to help improve the efficiency of your heating system in the winter by keeping the attic cool and dry. Anyone who'd like more information on the Solar Star, check out Ashby Lumber carries these fans but they are not at all knowledgeable about their operation. Maria

Solar Fans - I have one installed in my house - have one fatal flaw. They only cool during daylight hours. You need to circulate cool air into the attic space once the sun goes down, or the attic remains warm through the night and the cycle starts again in the morning. Also, our fan does not move enough air to cool the attic space - I ended up using the fan motor and adding a low-voltage power supply to it to keep it running through the night. tjay