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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Cool your space

5/11/2016 (Permalink)

It’s June and New Mexico’s summertime heat will soon be a fact of life. If you’re deciding to do something to cool down your home with an active system this year, there are two basic options: air conditioning or an evaporative (“swamp”) cooler. Both types have their adherents, and their critics.

Some say that refrigerated air conditioning just recirculates the house’s stale dry air, while evaporative coolers continually bring in fresh air. On the other hand, evaps also might bring in dust, pollen, and automobile exhaust, and, if you don’t open your windows, the house can get swampy-humid; whereas air conditioners create a controlled, clean-air environment. 

An Office of the State Engineer brochure on evaporative coolers estimates that in Santa Fe a modern unit with a bleed-off valve to prevent mineral buildup uses about 4,500 gallons of water a year. A bleed-off valve on a high-efficiency evaporative cooler allows it to regularly refresh its circulating water supply in order to prevent the buildup of scale and calcium from our hard water.

Now, what about heat pumps? According to manufacturer Daikin, one of the biggest advantages of a heat pump over a standard heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit is that there’s no need to install separate systems to heat and cool your home.

Ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps are a specific type that add air conditioned by stable ground temperatures to the system. “It’s the same principal as air-to-air. At zero degrees, there’s a ton of heat in the air or in the ground,” Onstad said.

There are big ground-source heat pump installations at Santa Fe Community College’s new Higher Education Center and the Academy for the Love of Learning. While residential systems are much smaller, they are still quite expensive. But tax credits are available. The New Mexico Geothermal Ground-Coupled Heat Pump Tax Credit will pay up to 30 percent — with a $9,000 maximum — of the purchase and installation cost of a geothermal ground-coupled heat pump system. In addition, the federal government will pay 30 percent of your system cost in a federal tax credit.

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