Split System Air Conditioners: What Are They and What Are Their Benefits?

Split System Air Conditioners: What Are They and What Are Their Benefits?

  • Air Conditioning
Split System Air Conditioners

Keeping up with home maintenance, especially during the winter season can be overwhelming, but the holidays are the perfect time of year to take stock of your appliances. Your HVAC system works especially hard when the snow falls, and it may be time for a replacement. The average lifespan of an air conditioner is 15-20 years, and the older your HVAC unit gets, the less effective it is. Outdated air conditioners are more than just a nuisance; they can cause a variety of safety hazards such as mold, gas leaks, and electrical fires. If it’s time to replace your air conditioner, you might want to consider a split system air conditioner.

When it’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

Eventually, it will get to the point that your air conditioner just can’t function as well as it used to. An air conditioner on its last leg not only affects your comfort, but your wallet, and the older it gets, the harder it works. Replacing your air conditioner can be expensive, but a damaged air conditioner can wind up costing you more in repairs and damages, damages which can be dangerous for your home and your health. Luckily there are plenty of warning signs when your air conditioner is nearing the end of its life. Here’s what to watch for.


  • An air conditioner that’s over 10 years old. Most air conditioners have an average lifespan of 15-20 years. If your AC unit is in the double digits, it might be time for a replacement.
  • Your home feels warm and stuffy. It might sound obvious, but if you start noticing that your home feels uncomfortable, the problem might have something to do with your air conditioner. Feel around your AC unit, if you feel little to no cool air, it might be time for a replacement.
  • Your home is dusty. An air conditioner on its deathbed will have a hard time filtering the air in your home, which can result in excessive dust everywhere. If your home seems dustier than usual, it might have something to do with your AC unit.

Why Split System Air Conditioners Should Be Your Next Air Conditioner

The difference between centralized air conditioning and a split system air conditioner comes down to ventilation. A split system air conditioner doesn’t use air ducts to heat or cool your home which can be ideal for small homes or homeowners planning on adding to their home. As the name implies, a split system air conditioner has two units, one indoors and one outdoors, and are built to efficiently cool your home. Don’t wait if your air conditioner needs a replacement, here is how a split system air conditioner can benefit you.

  • It’s easy to install. One great perk for a split system air conditioner is the lack of an air duct system. Packaged or centralized air conditioners are limited by the air ducts in your home, which means you have to install around your air duct system. Instead of connecting the unit to the air ducts, a split system air conditioner only needs two holes drilled in the wall for the copper tubes and wiring. As long as both units are within 100 feet of each other, you can install a split system air conditioner just about anywhere.
  • They’re energy efficient. One of the best perks of a split system air conditioner is its energy efficiency. Since there are no air ducts, there is no energy wasted, because the chilled air or heat is delivered directly into each room. A split system air conditioner gives you more control over which rooms you want to be cooled or heated, meaning you don’t have to run units in rooms that are unused.  
  • It’s quiet. If you want some peace and quiet, rest assured you can with a split system air conditioner. The noisiest parts of an air conditioner, such as the fan and the condenser, are located in the outdoor unit, meaning there is minimal noise when your split system air conditioner is in use.
  • It’s easy maintenance. There’s enough inside your home that requires routine maintenance, and luckily your split system air conditioner is easy to maintain. There’s less to maintain because there are no ducts, and split system air conditioners have washable air filters, and easily accessible outdoor units.
  • You save money on your utility bills. Since a split system air conditioner is built to be energy efficient, it means you can save money on your utility bills. Unlike a centralized air conditioner, a split system air conditioner is built to speed up or slow down the compressor instead of shutting it down entirely, which can save up to 30% on your utility bills. Some split system air conditioners may also qualify for a tax rebate.

Don’t Wait Until the Air Conditioner Busts

Investing in an energy efficient appliance may be a lot cheaper than the upkeep of an older air conditioner. If it’s time to replace your AC unit, a split system air conditioner is the right alternative, as it’s easy to install, cheaper in cost, and easy to maintain. No homeowner wants to deal with a busted air conditioner. Call an HVAC technician today to get started.

Call MillTown today and schedule your checkup in your house!

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electrical safety

By Milltown Plumbing

9 Electrical Safety Warning Signs in Your Home

9 Electrical Safety Warning Signs in Your Home

  • Electrical
electrical safety

If you haven’t had an electrician to your home lately, you may want to consider doing so as a prevention strategy. This way, you can find issues before they develop into serious problems. As homes age, wiring frays and connections loosen. New appliances can strain the system. It’s important to have electricians to your home for routine maintenance.

If you do not recognize the warning signs of an electrical safety hazard, resulting issues can be annoying, expensive, and dangerous. At the least, electricity that isn’t working causes inconveniences. Repairs are time consuming and costly. If your appliances aren’t working efficiently, your energy bills will be higher. Appliances or lights  damaged beyond repair require replacements. A wonky electrical system lowers property resale value. At the worst, ignoring signs of impending electrical safety hazards means your home is at a higher risk of an electrical fire, or shocking someone.

However, knowing the warning signs of electrical system failures, and using preventative maintenance, brings many benefits. You will pay less for your monthly bill, your property resale value will be higher, the lifespan of your lights and appliances will be longer! Your family will be safer. Read on to discover which warning signs to be aware of.

1) When outlets have burn marks on the cover, the hot, or energized, wire has touched the neutral or ground wire. Corrosion over time or dirt and dust can make this problem occur.

2) If your lights are flickering or dimming more than just once in a while, your system’s connections are loose somewhere, or you have voltage fluctuation – a serious problem. Other symptoms of voltage fluctuation are light bulbs glowing too bright or too dim, or burning out faster than they should.

3) Smoke that smells off may signal a fire. The beginning stages of electrical fires,  as well as  brief burns caused by a short circuit, give off a tell-tale, acrid-scented smoke. A short might cause an electrical fire if it occurs within the walls, and catches surrounding materials on fire. If you have any sign of shorts occurring, remove the fuse or turn off your circuit breaker until an electrician can come by to check the circuit.

4) Other symptoms of trouble behind your walls are any kind of noises, like buzzing or clicks, when you flip a light switch. This is caused by faulty wiring within or close to the switch or outlet, or a loose connection on the switch, causing a short.

5) If you have mice in your house, then you might need to worry that they are chewing your wiring. Rodents gnawing on electrical wires will obviously cause problems with your system – not least, a potential electrical fire. Luckily, this problem isn’t as common as some of the other ones in this list. However, rodents have been known to chew wires to clear room to squeeze into holes passing through studs … and if you find one stud where they’ve done so, chances are they did it at more than one stud.

6) Another sign that you’ve got a problem is a circuit breaker that keeps tripping. Circuit breakers are built to “trip,” or shut off their electric flow, when they become overheated – to prevent damage or an electrical fire. If it’s doing this continually, chances are you’ve got an overloaded circuit, ground fault, or a short circuit.

7) Frequent power outages are an extremely frustrating sign of electrical issues. They can mean many various problems. Electrochemical treeing is one such issue, which happens when poorly manufactured insulation has allowed moisture penetration to occur, reducing dielectric strength. Or, power outages can be due to transformer failures, lightning, tree branches or fallen trees pushing lines together, birds nesting and causing faults on transmission towers, pecking at utility poles, or contaminating insulators with excrement, or contact from other animals – snakes, squirrels, insect colonies, large mammals, or rodents (view number six.)

8) Outlets or switch plates that become hot – especially when they don’t even have anything plugged in – likely mean improper wiring. You may need to flip the breaker, or or remove the outlet’s fuse, until you can schedule professional help.

9) Serious sparks from an outlet means you’ve got a short circuit, which can cause a fire. Sparking breaker panels or fuse boxes are just as serious. If an appliance is sparking, however, that’s more likely a sign that the appliance itself is damaged – get the appliance repaired. If the appliance is new, its warranty may take care of repair costs.

If you notice any of these signs, time to call the electrician! Wait too long, and the problem will only get more expensive to fix … and the possibility of danger increases. 

Call MillTown today and schedule your checkup to see if you need fixes for cold spots in your house!

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electrical safety

By Milltown Plumbing

8 Most Common Electrical Code Violations

8 Most Common Electrical Code Violations

  • Electrical
electrical code violations

Many confident homeowners take the DIY electrical plunge thinking it can’t be that difficult to install wiring into outlets and breaker boxes. Although they may accomplish their goal of powering their home, that great feeling of “I did it all by myself!” is often short-lived and wrought with consequences, such as unsafe wiring, reduce property resale value and failure to pass regional and local electrical safety inspections.

What is the National Electrical Code?

A subgroup of national fire codes, the NEC is a book of electrical installation and renovation safety standards established by the National Fire Protection Agency. While not mandated by regional laws in the U.S., the NEC has been adopted by over 98 percent of all U.S. areas. Every three years the NFPA publishes a large volume of electrical safety codes covering both indoor and outdoor electrical practices and standards that serves as a reference guide for professional electricians. Topics discussed in the NEC include conductors, wiring, cables and voltages.

8 Common Electrical Code Violations Every Homeowner Should Know

1. Installing the wrong circuit breaker or failing to install circuit breakers

Circuit breaker boxes contain switches that “trip”, or turn themselves off to stop the flow of electricity in specific parts of a home if the electrical current in that particular area exceeds preset limits. When a switch is tripped, the circuit breaker needs to be manually reset to return the current to its preset level. Some circuit breakers will automatically reset without human intervention.  Neglecting to install the right circuit breaker (or none at all) is not only an electrical code violation but will also put your and your family at high risk for a fire raging in the wall on which the circuit breaker box is attached.

2. Switch locations do not have neutral wires

Most automated light switches require a neutral wire. Switches that don’t need a neutral wire will give you incandescent lighting only. If your home uses fluorescent, LED and other light devices under 20w, you must use a neutral wire or be in violation of electrical codes. The purpose of a neutral wire involves completion of the 120-volt AC circuit, which it accomplishes by providing a safe avenue back to an electrical panel. Here, the insulated neutral wire connects and bonds to the ground to prevent accidental electrocution.

3. Neglecting to install tamper resistant receptacles

The 2014 edition of the NEC requires all new or renovated homes/dwellings install tamper resistant receptacles with spring-loaded coverings (shutters) that protect contact slots in the receptacles. When you insert a plug into one of these TR receptacles, you compress both springs so that shutters open to allow insertion of a plug’s metal prongs. Since two springs need to be compressed simultaneously, a child inserting something into just one opening won’t cause electricity to flow into the receptacle.  Even if you do not have children, your new or renovated dwelling must have tamper resistant receptacles.

4. Not installing enough receptacles

The National Fire Protection Association estimates nearly 50,000 dwelling fire in the U.S. happen every year due to overloading an electrical system not equipped with enough receptacles. To compensate for lack of outlets, homeowners are quick to rely on extension cords not designed to handle large amounts of electricity. Signs of overloaded circuits that could cause fires include dimming/flickering lights, frequently tripped breakers and getting a slight shock when you plug in an appliance.

5. Leaving outdoor receptacles uncovered

Although this seems like a no-brainer, many building owners don’t think of the dangers involved with leaving an electrical receptacle exposed to the elements. If your dwelling has outdoor receptacles that aren’t shuttered, you are in violation of an electrical code that could delay the sale of your home or even reduce the value of your home.

6.  Failing to install ground fault circuit interrupters

Ground faults occur when electricity escapes wiring and takes a direct shortcut to the floor. When ground faults pass through a person, the result could be a deadly electrocution. This is why the National Electric Code requires GFCIs in outdoor receptacles and in new or renovated bathrooms, kitchens, unfinished basements and crawl spaces.

7. Outdated wiring in homes over 50 years old

Electrical wiring in dwellings constructed before 1970 may be in violation of local or regional electrical codes. Aluminum wiring widely used in the 70s may be safe but could present safety issues if connected to copper wiring. Older homes with aluminum wiring will probably need an inspector to confirm it has been properly installed, a complicated procedure best left to professionals.

8. Improperly configuring panels

DIYers aggravated by a constantly tripping fuse or breaker often may hastily replace the offending breaker with a larger capacity breaker. In addition to being extremely dangerous, it is also illegal to have wrongly configured panels and is in direct violation of electrical codes. A breaker is matched to load capacity and wire size. Larger breakers allow more and more current to flow through before they trip, catch on fire or blow out your home’s electricity system.

Adhering to electrical codes means living safely in your home, having appliances and fixtures that operate smoothly, saving on troubleshooting electrical problems, reducing your energy costs and maintaining a higher property resale value on your home.

Call MillTown today and schedule your checkup to see if you need fixes for electrical code violations in your house!

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By Milltown Plumbing