Ingram's Resource Center

Helping you choose and install the right equipment.

Research Articles

Research Articles

Air conditioning, geothermal, water filtration & more!

Explore Articles
Buying Guides

Buying Guides

Learn how to select the perfect product to meet your needs.

Read Buying Guides
Video Library

Video Library

Product reviews and how-to videos, all in one place.

View All Videos
Resource Center HVAC Expert

Recent Articles

View More
  • Holiday Sale on Scratch & Dent Heating & Air Conditioner Systems - 2023

    Holiday Sale on Scratch & Dent Heating & Air Conditioner Systems - 2023

    Save big on Scratch & Dent Heating & Air Conditioner Systems this Christmas season with our special 2023 Holiday Sale. Shop & save now...
  • Black Friday & Cyber Monday HVAC Deals 2023!

    Black Friday & Cyber Monday HVAC Deals 2023!

    Are you looking for the absolute best Black Friday and Cyber Monday HVAC deals on the Internet? Well, good job, because you found them.
  • Decoding the HEATR Act for Energy-Conscious Consumers

    Decoding the HEATR Act for Energy-Conscious Consumers

    Learn more about the HEATR Act and its impacts on HVAC manufacturers and consumers. Browse energy efficient products from Ingram's Water and Air today!
  • The ICEE HOT Act and HVAC Electrification: Ensuring Compliance and Efficiency

    The ICEE HOT Act and HVAC Electrification: Ensuring Compliance and Efficiency

    Learn more about HVAC electrification compliance, benefits and efficiency with our article! Legislation is encouraging HVAC electrification with rebates.
  • HVAC Electrification and You

    HVAC Electrification and You

    Want to save the planet? Of course you do! Switching to electric HVAC equipment is one of the best ways to make your home more sustainable. Learn more here.
  • How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work

    How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work

    Tankless water heaters work to help households conserve energy and water while providing hot water on demand. Upgrade your water heater with IWAE today!
  • Guide to Tankless Water Heater Installation

    Guide to Tankless Water Heater Installation

    Tankless water heaters are excellent investments that increase comfort and energy savings. With a tankless water heater, you can enjoy an endless hot water supply and consume energy only when you need hot water.

    A tankless water heater installation costs slightly more than installing a conventional water heater, but the savings and convenience are worth the price. Learn more about tankless water heaters and their installation process.

    What Are the Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters?

    Tankless water heaters are different from other types of water heaters because they lack the tank that conventional heaters use to store hot water. Rather than storing hot water in a holding tank, tankless water heaters heat water as needed.

    As water flows through a tankless system, it passes through heated coils that warm it on its way to a faucet. Because they are so different from conventional systems, tankless water heaters offer the following benefits:

    Energy Savings

    Tankless water heaters save energy because they only heat water when a household needs it. Conventional water heaters use energy continuously to keep their stored hot water warm until homes use it. Maintaining a consistent hot temperature within the tank uses a significant amount of energy.

    A tankless water heater's lack of water storage eliminates its need for a constant energy source. Rather than using energy all day and night, tankless water heaters only use energy while they are heating and delivering water to a faucet. This can result in incredible energy savings.

    Households that consume 41 or fewer hot water gallons per day can save approximately 24%-34% more energy with a tankless water heater.

    Space Savings

    You can also save a significant amount of space in your home with a tankless water heater. Tankless heaters are much smaller than conventional water heaters because they lack a storage tank. Storage tanks are typically 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide, taking up valuable space in your home. An average tankless water heater is about 18 inches tall, 18 inches wide and 4 inches deep, allowing more space for other things that matter to you.

    Water Capacity

    Tankless water heaters provide the amount of hot water your home needs as you need it. Whether you and your loved ones enjoy long, comfortable showers or need a lot of hot water for multiple laundry loads each day, a tankless heater consistently delivers water at the right temperature whenever you need it.

    Tankless water heaters also deliver fresh water. A conventional heater's tank holds water until you need it, allowing it to become stale in the meantime. A tankless water heater heats water on demand, sending new water through the pipes.


    Tankless water heaters last much longer than conventional water heaters. While a conventional water heater typically lasts eight to 12 years, tankless water heaters can last up to 25 years. Though a tankless water heater costs more upfront, its longevity saves you money in the long run.

    Eliminated Risk of Water Leaks

    Water heater tanks can hold 50 gallons or more, which can create some serious damage if a leak occurs. Tankless water heaters eliminate the risk of leaks because they lack a tank. The most damage a tankless water heater could do is equivalent to the damage a leaky faucet could cause, so it's a much safer option for your home.

    What Is the Typical Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost?

    Tankless water heater installation typically costs more than conventional water heater installation, but it pays off over time. The initial cost to purchase and install a tankless water heater system is between $1,200 and $3,500.

    You can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for a tankless water heater system, though the cost depends on the model you choose and the size your household needs. Installation costs typically add another $500 to $1,500 to the total cost, but the installation cost varies based on the system's fuel type. You can choose between the following tankless heater fuel types:

    • Gas: Gas-powered tankless water heaters can heat more gallons of water per minute than electric tankless heaters, which makes them ideal if you live in a cold weather climate or have a large household. The installation cost for a gas-powered tankless system is typically between $500 and $2,000.
    • Electric: Electric tankless water heaters are popular because of their easy installation and maintenance. An electric tankless water heater installation is best for small homes, and the installation cost is typically between $500 and $1,500.
    • Solar: Solar-powered tankless systems are the most eco-friendly type of water heater, and they offer the most energy savings. To install a solar-powered tankless water heater, you can expect to pay approximately $1,500 to $4,000.

    Installation costs vary because some homes require additional changes depending on the type of water heater a household chooses and how it needs to be installed. For example, you may need to hire a professional electrician to run new wiring if you're installing an electric tankless water heater.

    How Long Is the Installation Process?

    Installing a tankless water heater typically takes four to five hours, depending on the type of system and a household's needs. The installation process duration also depends on your location and which professionals are available when you need an installation.

    How long installation takes also varies based on where you choose to install the system. An outdoor tankless water heater requires fewer alterations, while an indoor system requires more wall alterations. During a tankless water heater installation, a professional will complete the following tasks:

    • First, the technician will turn your home's incoming water off.
    • If you are converting an existing system to a tankless system, the installer will disconnect the existing system from your home's power and water lines, remove it and dispose of it properly.
    • After removing the existing system, the tech will mount the tankless water heater on the wall where they determine it will fit best.
    • If you have a gas-powered tankless water heater, the installer will also install ventilation ducts and a large flue.
    • Next, the technician will connect the tankless system to your home's water line.
    • If you have an electric tankless heater, the tech will plug the system into its power source.
    • If you have a gas tankless water heater, the installer will connect the gas supply line and ignite the pilot light.
    • Finally, the professional will test your home's hot water to ensure the system operates properly.

    Can I Install My Own Tankless Water Heater?

    If you're wondering how to install a tankless water heater, you need to understand that hiring a professional is the best way to complete installation unless you have professional experience yourself. Installing a tankless water heater requires plumbing, electrical work and sometimes soldering.

    Hiring a professional is the safest and most efficient way to install a tankless system. A professional installation ensures your system operates smoothly and saves you money on potential damages that could occur if you attempt installation on your own.

    How Can I Find a Professional Plumber for Installation?

    It's essential to hire a professional plumber who can provide quality service and install your tankless water heater properly. An experienced plumbing technician's services may cost more than others, but you receive what you pay for in this situation.

    Hiring an inexperienced technician to save money on installation could result in future damage or a faulty system, so take your time and research your best options.

    You can find a professional plumber for installation by searching online, talking to friends and family, and comparing reviews. Search for technicians in your area, and browse their website for client reviews. You can also check other websites that provide honest and accurate reviews so you know what you can expect from different technicians. If someone you know recently got a tankless water heater, talk to them about their experiences with any technicians they hired.

    Can You Convert an Existing System to a Tankless Water Heater?

    You can convert an existing water heater system to a tankless water heater. You can choose from many different types of tankless water heaters to find a system that best meets your home's needs. Whether your home has electric, gas or solar power, you can purchase a system that matches your needs and convert your conventional water heater to a tankless unit.

    How Much Does It Cost to Convert to a Tankless Water Heater?

    To convert an existing water heater to a tankless water heater, you will need to hire a plumber and pay for installation and conversion services. During a conversion, a plumber will remove your existing system, bring your plumbing system up to code and install the new system. The cost to convert an existing system to a tankless water heater is based on the following factors:

    • New tankless water heater system purchase: As mentioned previously, the first cost you will most likely factor into your total installation cost is the new tankless water heater system purchase, which can range between $500 and $2,000.
    • Existing tank removal: Technicians typically charge between $100 and $500 to remove and dispose of your existing water tank.
    • Gas line upgrade: A gas line upgrade costs between $350 and $750.
    • New electrical outlet: A new electrical outlet installation costs approximately $150 to $300.
    • Permit: Most towns and cities require homeowners to have a permit before installing or replacing a water heater. You can expect to pay between $25 and $250 for this type of permit.
    • Plumbing update: It costs approximately $100 to $500 to have a technician update your plumbing system for your new tankless water heater.

    Do Tankless Water Heaters Run out of Hot Water?

    Since tankless water heaters heat water on demand instead of storing hot water, they provide endless hot water. Conventional water heaters can only provide the amount of water in the tank before needing to heat more water, but tankless heaters can heat water whenever you need it and for as long as you need it.

    It may take a tankless water heater slightly longer to deliver hot water at first. However, since the water heats as it flows through heated elements, it can never run out of hot water.

    When Should I Purchase a Tankless Water Heater?

    Many people wait until their existing water heater fails or reaches the end of its life span to upgrade to a new system. If your existing water heater is nearing its end, this is the perfect opportunity to install a tankless system. However, you don't have to wait for your current system to fail to install a new one. Upgrading to a tankless water heater is an excellent way to start saving money on your energy bills and enjoying the convenience of an endless hot water supply.

    How Can I Maximize My Savings With a Tankless Water Heater?

    Tankless water heaters help households save money due to their operational efficiency. However, you can further increase your savings with some helpful tips. Maximize your tankless water heater's energy efficiency with the following strategies:

    • Reduce water usage: The less hot water your household uses, the more energy you will save. Consider installing water-saving and low-flow fixtures, and try to shorten shower times as much as you are comfortable doing so. You can also wash laundry in cold water to conserve energy.
    • Avoid using multiple appliances: Using several appliances at the same time demands more performance and energy from your tankless water heater. Try to use only one appliance at a time when you can. Wait until after your shower to run the washing machine or dishwasher, and ask household members to shower one at a time if possible.
    • Schedule regular maintenance: Regular maintenance extends your tankless water heater system's life span and helps the system continue operating at peak efficiency.
    • Check for available rebates: The government offers rebates for energy-efficient systems such as tankless water heaters, so researching available rebates can help you save money on your initial purchase.
    • Purchase a home warranty: Most home warranties cover home systems including tankless water heaters. Purchasing a home warranty that covers your tankless system can save you money if you ever need repairs or a system replacement.

    Upgrade Your Water Heater System With Ingram's Water & Air

    Upgrading to a tankless water heater is a fantastic investment. With a tankless water heater, you can enjoy the convenience of having hot water whenever you need it and save money on your energy bills. Hiring a professional to install a high-quality tankless water heater ensures your system operates smoothly and delivers the hot water you need.

    Ingram's Water & Air offers a wide selection of indoor and outdoor water heaters. Our high-quality systems are reliable and energy efficient to provide homes with the hot water they need. Consider a tankless water heater if you're ready to increase your comfort and reduce your energy bills. Browse the selection of water heaters at Ingram's Water & Air to find the right system for your home.

  • Air Conditioner Efficiency: Everything You Should Know

    Air Conditioner Efficiency: Everything You Should Know

    Are you looking for a way to cut your energy bill without sacrificing comfortable summers? This nifty guide will teach you how to increase the efficiency of your air conditioner so you can start saving energy through air conditioner efficiency ASAP. Read on to learn how.

    Can You Use Portable Air Conditioners Full-Time?

    You might be wondering what the big deal is. Aren't portable and permanent air conditioners technically the same thing?

    No. No, they are not. Let us explain.

    Portable units have significantly less air conditioner efficiency and are less effective than any permanent HVAC system, including central air conditioning, ductless mini-splits and even window units. While they're great for fast, cheap cooling, they should never be used as a replacement for a conventional system.

    For one thing, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is only now implementing basic energy efficiency standards for portable ACs. These standards, which go into effect in November of 2023, will specifically impact newly manufactured portable ACs.

    When Should You Use Portable Air Conditioners?

    Knowing when to use portable air conditioners can help you get started with improving your home's energy efficiency. Here are some examples of situations where a portable unit comes in handy:

    • Breakdowns: Portable air conditioners are great substitutes when your permanent AC is out of commission.
    • Home additions: When you're waiting on HVAC installation in new rooms, you can use a portable air conditioner to keep things cool.
    • House parties: The more people you have in your home, the hotter it will be. A portable AC unit can help keep your guests comfortable while they're living it up.
    • Restrictive HOAs: Some housing communities and apartment buildings restrict the types of AC units you can use. If this is the case, occasional portable air conditioner usage can help you keep your space cool.

    Otherwise, it's best to stick with a central AC unit.

    How Can You Improve Air Conditioner Efficiency?

    While portable units are great for certain circumstances, it's far more efficient to maintain a permanent air conditioner. Here's how to improve air conditioner efficiency in your home.

    Regularly Clean Your Vents and Filters

    Dust restricts your ducts and decreases airflow throughout your home. Dusting or vacuuming your AC vents at least once per month will help remove most of the blockage. Still, you'll want to have your air ducts professionally cleaned every two to three years to keep your system at maximum efficiency.

    Additionally, be sure to change the air filters once every three months or so to improve the air quality in your home. You can usually find replacement air filters online for a reasonable price, or you can check your local home improvement store.

    Unclog Your Drain Line

    The drain line by your air conditioner's indoor cooling coil can be prone to clogging, which can lead to water damage as well as reduced efficiency.

    You can do this yourself using one of the following methods:

    • Flushing: This simple method works for most drain line clogs. Simply pour one cup of white vinegar or bleach down the drain line to dissolve the blockage, then flush it out with a gallon of clean water.
    • Vacuum: A wet/dry vacuum is often strong enough to suck out the jam from your drain line.
    • Electric snake: An electric snake can pull debris out of your drain quickly and easily. You should be able to rent or buy one of these from your local hardware store.

    Keep Windows and Doors Closed

    Remember when you were a kid, and your mom scolded you for leaving your windows open in the middle of summer? She was right to tell you off — leaving windows or doors open allows the cool, conditioned air to escape. And then your AC has to work twice as hard to keep the house comfortable.

    Don't be the reason your mom sighs in exasperation. Close all windows and doors and do your best to get rid of any drafts when the AC is on.

    Cover Your Windows

    Allowing unnecessary sunlight into your home might brighten up the space, but it also makes your AC unit work even harder to keep the place cool.

    If you don't have any curtains or blinds on your windows, it's time to get some. The DOE recommends energy-efficient interior cellular shades, which trap cool air in their honeycomb-shaped cells. These shades can reduce unwanted heat by up to 60% by keeping the conditioned air in and hot air out.

    For best results, you can combine energy-efficient interior window coverings with exterior treatments like insulating films or shutters.

    Get Rid of Drafts and Air Leaks

    Gaps in windows, under doors and in the attic can let cool air escape even when everything is closed, which can significantly bump up your energy costs by making your AC work harder.

    Once you know where a leak is, you have several options for closing it up:

    • Apply weatherstripping or caulk to seal small gaps.
    • Install storm doors or storm windows.
    • Use foam board or expanding foam to block larger holes.
    • Close up the chimney when not in use.
    • Seal holes in the wall, such as electrical outlets and light switches.

    Schedule Preventive Maintenance

    As a general rule, you should schedule routine maintenance checks at least once per year with a qualified HVAC professional. They can help you improve your unit's performance and perform simple tune-ups to keep it in tip-top condition. Plus, regular maintenance can help you resolve minor issues before they become major problems, extending your unit's life, maintaining your air conditioner efficiency, and saving you money over time.

    Install Your Thermostat in the Right Place

    You might think it doesn't matter where you install your thermostat, but you'd be wrong. One of the most common air conditioning mistakes we see people make is placing their thermostats either in direct sunlight or near heat-producing appliances.

    Here's why. The extra heat from the sun, your oven or a hot lamp will affect your thermostat's ability to correctly gauge the temperature of the room, and it will use more energy to compensate. Instead, make sure your thermostat is on an interior wall where it won't be exposed to direct sunlight. This plus all the previous tips will help increase your air conditioner efficiency.

    Improve Your HVAC System With Ingram's Water & Air

    If you need a newer, more efficient HVAC system, you can trust Ingram's Water & Air to deliver. When you purchase equipment from us, we automatically match you with any local energy efficiency rebates or incentives that you might be eligible for, so you'll get the most out of your purchase. We also carry a wide range of replacement parts and accessories to keep your unit running for years to come.

  • Staying Cool on the Homestead: Know Your AC Options

    Staying Cool on the Homestead: Know Your AC Options

    Homesteading's popularity has exploded in America in recent years. Some make the switch to take more control and ownership of their lives. Others feel a powerful yearning to reconnect with the land and return to simpler times. No matter the reason, more people are seeing the appeal of living off the land and embarking on the journey of their lives.

    For all the benefits of homesteading, creature comforts like heating and AC can be a challenge. Let's review your options for keeping cool without conventional air conditioning.

    What AC Options Are Available for My Homestead?

    First, we'll ask how much you want to rely on the power grid. Your access to electricity will be the most significant factor in determining which alternative AC option is right for your homestead. Here are some of your best choices for staying cool on and off-grid.


    The term “heat pump” might sound misleading because it sounds like it would only provide heat. But you can use your geothermal heat pump for heating and cooling!

    Geothermal air conditioning works by pumping conductive fluid through a series of underground pipes, usually located directly beneath or near your home. Here's a brief explanation of the cycle:

    1. The heat pump compressor raises the pressure and temperature of the conductive fluid.
    2. The hot fluid travels through the condenser to the cool ground.
    3. The ground absorbs the heat from the fluid.
    4. The fluid circulates back up to your house.
    5. The hot air inside your home comes into contact with the cold fluid and cools down.
    6. The cycle begins again.

    Though geothermal systems can be pricey upfront, they can save you a lot of money over time. Here's why.

    • Longevity: A properly maintained geothermal system can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years before it needs replacement.
    • Minimal maintenance: With few moving parts to worry about, geothermal heat pumps require significantly less upkeep than other AC systems. Annual servicing and occasional filter changes are all you need to keep them in good working order.
    • Energy efficiency: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal heat pumps use 25% to 50% less energy than most conventional air conditioning systems.


    Depending on what kind of system you choose, solar cooling systems can help cut your dependence on the power grid and reduce your overall energy costs. Plus, the sun is a renewable energy source, so you can also shrink your carbon footprint.

    Some solar AC systems require access to the grid to keep running at night or on overcast days. You have three options.

    1. Alternating current: An alternating current system works with the power grid. It converts the direct current collected from the solar panels.
    2. Direct current: These systems wire the direct current directly from the solar panels — because they don't convert the energy into alternating current before using it, you can go off-grid. However, you will need a backup battery to keep your air conditioner running overnight.
    3. Hybrid: A hybrid system combines the direct current from the solar panels and the alternating current from the grid to reduce your overall heating costs. While these systems tend to be the most expensive, they provide the best of both worlds for solar cooling.

    Solar cooling systems work well for most homesteads, including those with limited space.


    As the name implies, water-cooled air conditioners use water rather than refrigerant to cool a building. These highly efficient systems are only beginning to become common in residential buildings.

    Choose between two types of water-cooled air conditioners.

    • Chilled water: The water in the system absorbs heat from the air in your home, then travels to the chiller, where the heat evaporates. Then, the cool water circulates back into your home and the cycle starts over.
    • Cooling tower: The water in this system absorbs heat, then runs cold water over the hot condenser coils to cool them down. Then, it recirculates the cool water back into your home.

    Water-cooled AC is most efficient for large buildings with complex floor plans, like schools and office buildings. They also tend to be pretty high-maintenance because they use a lot of water, especially in hot climates — you'll need to refill the tank frequently to keep it up and running.

    Evaporative Coolers

    If you live in a dry, hot climate, you might want to consider installing an evaporative cooling system. Also known as swamp coolers, these units work by passing hot outdoor air over water-saturated pads. The heat causes the water in the pads to evaporate, and cold air gets dispersed throughout your home.

    The primary drawback to swamp coolers is that they increase the humidity in your home because they release evaporated water directly into the air. Consider other options if you live in a humid climate.

    What Are the Most Affordable Homestead AC Options?

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioning costs American homeowners $29 billion annually — not to mention the 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide it releases into the atmosphere.

    Fortunately, the federal government offers various tax credits and rebates to homeowners who install energy-efficient upgrades like solar panel systems and geothermal heat pumps. And though they're pricey upfront, many Energy Star-certified products also offer rebates that make installing new HVAC systems more affordable.

    Based on that fact alone, solar and geothermal will be the most affordable choices over time. However, if you don't want to install a full system right away, a ductless mini-split setup might be a better option.

    Can I Run AC Off Solar?

    Yes, you can use solar power for your air conditioner. The number of panels you'll need depends on the size of your homestead and the specific AC unit you plan to use.

    If you choose to use an alternating current or hybrid solar system, you don't need to maintain batteries because these systems remain connected to the grid. When you run out of solar power, you'll pull power from the grid. On the other hand, using a direct current solar air conditioning system lets you get off the grid completely — but you'll need an inverter and backup battery for use at night and on overcast days.

    What About an Off-Grid Mini-Split Air Conditioner?

    For many homesteaders, a solar-powered mini-split AC is the best AC off-grid solution. A mini-split is a ductless air conditioning unit with an exterior condenser and an interior air handler. It's much smaller than most conventional central air units, making it affordable and easy to maintain.

    This type of system is incredibly cost-efficient, though you will need an inverter to connect your mini-split to the panels. You can often install it yourself, too, which helps cut some of the additional costs.

    The other significant benefit of a mini-split AC is that you can save money by adding to it over time — and you can do it without overloading your solar panels. Start with enough equipment to cover the rooms where you most need cooling, and install more as needed.

    How Do I Keep My Livestock Cool Without AC?

    Keeping your animals hale and healthy is vital to life on the homestead, especially during the blistering summer months.

    Here are some ways you can help your livestock beat the heat.

    • Keep them hydrated: Place your watering troughs in a shady spot and refill them frequently. You can also install automatic watering machines that replenish themselves to cut down on time.
    • Provide plenty of shade: Any animals that spend time outside should have ample access to shade, whether that means planting trees or setting up a movable shade structure.
    • Make frozen treats: Freeze your extra produce to make cold treats that will help lower the animals' internal temperatures. You could also freeze big tubs of water to make giant ice cubes for your watering troughs.
    • Turn on the sprinkler: Set up a timed sprinkler system to give your animals a reprieve from the hot sun.
    • Set up some fans: Keep air moving in indoor enclosures to eliminate airborne contaminants and prevent the temperature from rising too high.
    • Apply sunscreen: Fair-skinned animals like pigs and sheep are susceptible to sunburn just like humans are. If you don't have adequate shade available, you might want to give them some sunblock to protect their skin.

    5 Tips for Staying Cool Off-Grid

    If you need to get by without a full AC system, you'll need a lot of the same things your livestock do — after all, humans are animals, too! Knowing how to stay cool without air conditioning can help you cut down on your overall energy needs, which can also save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some of our best tips.

    1. Keep Your Home Ventilated

    Proper ventilation keeps fresh air moving through your home, which is a simple way to lower the temperature. It also helps naturally remove airborne pollutants from your home so you can stay safe and healthy.

    Cross-ventilation is a passive technique that relies on the principle of convection to create airflow in a room. By placing windows on both sides of the room and leaving the top half of the windows open, the temperature difference will push the hot air up and out of the room.

    2. Use Passive Design Elements

    Passive solar design lets you harness the sun's energy to naturally reduce excess heat in your home. Some examples of passive design elements include the following.

    • Window placement: If you're building a new home or adding to your existing one, try to place windows out of direct sunlight to prevent the house from heating up too much.
    • Shading: Planting shade trees or installing window treatments outside your home can help block sunlight from hitting the windows, which helps keep the internal temperature low.
    • Thermal mass: Use heat-trapping materials like concrete, bricks or stone in well-ventilated rooms to help eliminate unwanted heat.
    • Insulation: Thick walls and proper insulation keep cool air in and hot air out, reducing the need to turn the AC on.

    3. Change Your Habits

    So much of our modern lifestyle relies on conveniences like central AC and heating. When you're homesteading, you'll need to be proactive about staying comfortable.

    Here are some easy changes you can make to become less reliant on air conditioning.

    • Stay hydrated: The hotter it gets, the more water you lose through sweating, breathing and other bodily functions. And the less water is in your system, the harder it becomes to regulate your internal temperature. Drink water with each meal and throughout the day to keep yourself cool and healthy.
    • Eat right: Heavy, hearty meals are harder to digest, which raises your body temperature. Instead, opt for lighter dishes like seafood, smoothies and salads, and eat a small snack before doing any strenuous work outside. Eating lots of water-rich foods like fruits and veggies also helps keep you hydrated.
    • Switch your schedule: Try to get your outside work done in the early morning or evening while the temperature is more bearable. This change might be a little difficult at first, but it can save you a sunburn.
    • Take a siesta: Yes, we mean it! Taking a midday nap in the shade helps you avoid the afternoon heat and leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.

    4. Wear Light, Breathable Clothing

    The clothes you wear can help keep you cool, even during the hottest months of the year. Look for garments made from breathable, natural materials like:

    • Cotton
    • Linen
    • Merino wool
    • Viscose
    • Bamboo

    Your clothes' fit and colors can also affect your body temperature. Light colors reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it, which makes maintaining your internal temperature easier. And loose-fitting clothing lets air circulate, which evaporates sweat and keeps you more comfortable.

    5. Acclimate Yourself to the Heat

    Have you ever wondered how people live in hot, arid regions without burning up? Their bodies are used to extreme temperatures, so they can work and live safely. By spending more time in the heat and letting yourself sweat, you can acclimate yourself to the point where you're comfortable without air conditioning.

    Since homesteading requires a lot of physical work, you might want to try the same strategies runners follow to prepare themselves for the summer. Start slowly with short periods of lighter, easier work. Gradually increase the time and intensity over the next few weeks — acclimatization takes about two weeks for most athletes.

    Of course, you'll still feel the heat, but you will handle it better, which can make all the difference in your need for cooling.

    Prep Your Homestead With Ingram's Water & Air

    Ultimately, the best AC for your homestead will depend on your family's specific needs. We have plenty of options to suit every budget and property, including geothermal heat pumps, mini-split units and more. You can save a little time and money by browsing our product catalog to learn more about our offerings.

  • Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

    Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

    A water heater leaking damages property and poses health challenges. Ingram’s Water and Air has quality and reliable heaters for your home!
  • MrCool 3rd and 4th Gen DIY: What's the Difference?

    MrCool 3rd and 4th Gen DIY: What's the Difference?

    MrCool recently released their 4th Gen DIY Ductless Mini-Split, and it's great! But what's the difference from the previous generation? Read to find out!
  • How 2023 SEER2 Certification Changes Will Impact HVAC

    How 2023 SEER2 Certification Changes Will Impact HVAC

    The Department of Energy (DOE) started the new year by implementing changes to its energy efficiency requirements and standards for HVAC equipment. These updates will impact homeowners and contractors working on home improvement projects involving buying and installing new HVAC systems and components.

    What Are SEER Ratings?

    The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a way manufacturers, contractors and homeowners can understand how well HVAC units and equipment perform. After undergoing testing procedures, HVAC equipment will receive a numerical value to determine how efficiently it maintains comfortable temperatures. Higher SEER ratings identify a unit as a highly functional and energy-efficient model, helping contractors and homeowners find the right one for their needs.

    The DOE determines SEER standards, establishing the minimum ratio that HVAC equipment must meet for sale, installation and use. On January 1, 2023, they increased the SEER rates and introduced a new measurement system to ensure additional energy efficiency and sustainability in the U.S.

    SEER vs. SEER2

    With the new SEER standards, the DOE introduced SEER2, an additional energy-efficiency measurement for manufacturers, homeowners and contractors. As of the start of 2023, all new equipment produced and installed in homes must meet these standards.

    SEER2 introduces a new HVAC testing method that better reflects how residential HVAC units function. Piping systems in homes often cause an increased buildup of static pressure. The M1 testing process under SEER2 simulates these conditions to provide more accurate information about energy efficiency and sustainability. As they did with SEER, manufacturers, homeowners and contractors will aim for higher SEER2 ratings for better performance and efficiency.

    What Products Are Affected by SEER2 Regulations?

    The SEER and SEER2 regulations impact several types of products and HVAC components. Knowing what the changes affect can help you make better plans to invest in new home HVAC systems that meet compliance standards.

    Equipment with SEER and SEER2 ratings include the following:

    • Air conditioning units
    • Heat pumps and furnaces
    • Evaporator coils
    • Single-packaged products
    • HVAC parts and components

    SEER2 and SEER are comprehensive regulations aiming to apply to most industry models, so equipment can continually perform its best for homes and the environment.

    Why Are SEER Ratings Changing?

    The DOE is adding the new SEER2 ratings to help manufacturers produce higher-quality equipment that matches how your home functions. However, SEER is an older measurement undergoing recent changes. The DOE updates standards based on new evidence and sustainability initiatives.

    The raised SEER minimums can also benefit homeowners in several ways by:

    • Reducing energy bills: SEER and SEER2 measure how well HVAC equipment uses its energy input to maintain temperatures. A higher-rated SEER model will use less energy and help homeowners cut energy costs. Energy-efficient HVAC systems will better utilize the input energy, so you only spend what you need.
    • Improving comfort: Homeowners prioritize comfort when investing in HVAC equipment. They want units that will counter the elements and maintain their preferred conditions, regardless of their location. The SEER and SEER2 changes raise the standard minimums for energy efficiency, meaning these models can work less to stabilize and keep temperatures where you want them.
    • Optimizing equipment life span: Energy efficiency can also impact equipment performance. Units that use energy efficiently can better avoid overworking or premature wearing. The new SEER ratings can help your equipment last its entire intended life span for a more worthy investment.

    Learning the residential benefits of these energy efficiency regulations can help homeowners understand why they are important. Implementing this HVAC unit type enables homeowners to impact the environment with more sustainable solutions positively impact the environment.

    What Are the 2023 SEER HVAC USA Regions?

    SEER and SEER2 measure the seasonal performance of HVAC systems, so the DOE splits performance standards by geographic region to match each area's climate patterns and HVAC needs. Since it's warmer in southern regions, homeowners will want more efficient SEER and SEER2 scores to ensure their investment can maintain their comfort.

    North Region

    The North region has the most states, spanning both coastlines to cover all northern territories in the U.S. While each state and area has unique weather patterns and needs, milder summers typically mean these states require less powerful air conditioning units. The states in the North region are:

    • Alaska
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Idaho
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • New Hampshire
    • Nebraska
    • New Jersey
    • North Dakota
    • New York
    • Ohio
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • South Dakota
    • Utah
    • Vermont
    • Washington
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin
    • Wyoming

    SEER and SEER2 rates for this region determine the minimum energy efficiency standards for air conditioning units, heat pumps and single-packaged units. The 2023 SEER ratings have raised the minimums in the North region to the following:

    • Air conditioning: 14.0
    • Heat pumps: 15.0
    • Single-packaged products: 14.0

    The SEER2 ratings for the North region are as follows:

    • Air conditioning: 13.4
    • Heat pumps: 14.3
    • Single-packaged products: 13.4

    The DOE set SEER and SEER2 standards to meet the needs of these states, helping units preserve their performance and save energy. New equipment you purchase or install in these states must meet or exceed these standards.

    Southeast Region

    While the DOE groups all northern states together, it separates the southern ones into two distinct regions. The South typically gets hotter in the summer, requiring more energy-efficient equipment to maintain household comfort. Summers in the Southeast are also often more humid than those in the Southwest, distinguishing their needs.

    The Southeast region includes the following states:

    • Alabama
    • Arkansas
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Hawaii
    • Kentucky
    • Lousiana
    • Maryland
    • Mississippi
    • North Carolina
    • Oklahoma
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • South Carolina
    • Virginia

    The updated SEER ratings for new HVAC equipment for your Southeast home include the following:

    • Air conditioning: 15.0
    • Heat pumps: 15.0
    • Single-packaged products: 14.0

    You can meet the DOE's additional efficiency standards with SEER2 ratings, including:

    • Air conditioning: 14.3
    • Heat pumps: 14.3
    • Single-packaged products: 13.4

    Southwest Region

    The Southwest region is the smallest of the three, with drier summers than those in the Southeast. The states in the Southwest region include the following:

    • Arizona
    • California
    • Nevada
    • New Mexico

    New HVAC equipment for your Southwest home must comply with the DOE with the new SEER ratings, including:

    • Air conditioning: 15.0
    • Heat pumps: 15.0
    • Single-packaged products: 14.0

    Like the other two regions, you will also need to consider SEER2 ratings when investing and installing new HVAC equipment in your home. The minimum requirements for SEER2 HVAC equipment in the Southwest are the following:

    • Air conditioning: 14.3
    • Heat pumps: 14.3
    • Single-packaged products: 13.4

    While these standards have just rolled out, staying up to date on energy efficiency standards can ensure you continually invest in the best equipment in the industry.

    Will Old Equipment Qualify?

    Many homeowners might be concerned about their existing HVAC units and equipment in the face of the DOE's new regulations rollout. The SEER and SEER2 changes do not mean you have to upgrade your equipment immediately, instead applying to manufacturing and installation processes. You can keep your current HVAC systems until the end of their life span and then invest in compliant equipment.

    However, existing equipment can still experience impacts from the changes. Manufacturers can no longer make parts for non-compliant equipment. If you need repairs or replacements to maintain your current system, finding components can be more challenging now that the supply is cut off.

    When investing in new equipment, it must meet new SEER and SEER2 requirements if buying and installing it after January 1. Further, your equipment must have been manufactured after January 1.

    How Will SEER2 Impact Contractors?

    Contractors should know the new requirements and restrictions on purchasing and installing HVAC systems. Many homeowners hire contractors to renovate and upgrade their homes, including subcontractors specializing in HVAC equipment. Like homeowners, these teams and companies will have a unique adjustment period to ensure compliance with the DOE's new standards and regulations.

    Changes can impact project timelines. If homeowners met with contractors about installing a new HVAC system in 2022, they might have to return to the planning stages with the new year. Contractors installing equipment after January 1, 2023, must use models that meet the SEER and SEER2 regulations. Failure to comply with these standards can result in heavy fines and harsh penalties. Homeowners and contractors must work together to find a new model under new SEER standards.

    Contractors might have longer wait times for parts and installation as producers and distributors adjust to changes. It might be harder to find components for older equipment, and new parts will be in low supply as they work through the design, testing and distribution stages.

    When Should I Upgrade My HVAC System?

    The new regulations and restrictions have many wondering if now is the time to replace and upgrade their HVAC systems. Homeowners can keep their existing systems after January 1, 2023. Your air conditioner and heater might have some functional and efficient years left, making it unwise to invest in new equipment just yet. However, knowing the common signs that your system is ready for replacement can help maintain your home's comfort.

    1. When It Reaches the Industry Life Span

    The DOE estimates homeowners should replace their HVAC system every 15 to 20 years. Equipment naturally ages over time, especially things like HVAC units that people use daily. Manufacturers will also provide projected life spans depending on their product's functionality and specifications. If your equipment is approaching the end of its expected life span, you might start looking into new models.

    2. When Repairs Cost More Than Replacing the Unit

    HVAC systems are comprehensive, with lots of different parts and components. Maintenance and malfunctions might reveal broken parts or wear that require repairs and replacements. Wear on one component can strain others in the system, causing them to overwork and wear before their time.

    Upkeep will become more expensive as your equipment ages. Your older equipment might need comprehensive care more frequently, raising the costs of maintenance for the system. When maintenance and repairs add up to more than your unit's worth, it is time for a full replacement.

    3. When Parts and Components Are Obsolete

    In addition to the cost, manufacturers will stop producing parts at some point, making equipment obsolete. While necessary repairs may be simple, the lack of appropriate parts and equipment can make them impossible. When you can no longer find the essential components for your model, you can begin researching newer ones.

    4. When Energy Bills Rise

    As your equipment ages, you should pay closer attention to your energy bills. Equipment might start performing less efficiently, with wear and damage that untrained homeowners may overlook. Because it can be tricky to identify when HVAC systems are failing or aging past their prime, your utility bills can highlight when equipment is starting to fail.

    HVAC energy efficiency can vary depending on the season and weather patterns, so subtle differences between monthly bills are natural. Instead, look for drastic and unusual increases.

    5. When Your Home Is Uncomfortable or Temperature Is Inconsistent

    Your HVAC system's performance determines its ability to maintain the set temperatures in your home. If your system fails to keep temperatures constant and consistent throughout the day, there might be problems with the system's components or equipment. Piping and tubing might also be wearing, causing stark differences between the temperatures in rooms in your home.

    6. More Dust Is Present in Your Home

    While HVAC systems heat and cool your home, they are also responsible for filtering the air quality. Your system should catch and filter particles like dust and dirt, preventing them from traveling through the vents. If you notice more dust buildup around your home, your HVAC system might be failing at its ventilation and filtration functions. It may be time for serious maintenance or replacements.

    Replace Your HVAC System With Ingram's Water & Air

    You can maintain HVAC compliance with changing regulations by upgrading your systems. Increased energy efficiency and long life spans can optimize your investment, while the rebates provided by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 can offset costs. When you know your home is ready for a new HVAC system, you just need to find the right model for your needs and comfort.

    Ingram's Water & Air offers complete collections of HVAC systems, components and accessories, so you can get everything your home needs in one place. We offer our customers free tech support for life, with trained experts ready to walk you through installations and repairs over the phone.

    Explore our offerings today and discover how to maintain your home's comfort with a quality HVAC system.

Recent Buying Guides

View More

Recent Videos

View More