Advice From the Pros

air conditioning service

What to Check Before Scheduling An Air Conditioning Service Call

It’s the middle of Summer, you have guests in town, and your air conditioner decides that today is a air conditioning serviceperfect day to stop cooling. These machines seem to know when it is the worst possible time to give up on us. As a result, you want to get it fixed quick. Here are a few things that anyone can check on their air conditioner and prevent an unnecessary visit from the AC guy.

Is it plugged in?

It sounds simple, but most gas furnaces are powered by a light switch or a plug that goes into a standard outlet. Take a look at the indoor air conditioning unit and see if the switch is on/ the plug is plugged in. If the plug is in, you may want to plug another appliance(ex: hairdryer) in the outlet to make sure the outlet is good. You wouldn’t believe how many service calls are for this reason alone.

Breakers

Open the electrical panel and see if any breakers are tripped. If they are marked “Air Conditioner, Furnace, Heat, or Air Handler” try to reset the breaker. If it trips immediately, don’t reset it. Further inspection is needed by an air conditioning company or an electrician.

Thermostat

Take a look at your thermostat. Is the display blank? If so, replace the batteries.

Air Filter

We all change our filters within 30 days exactly, right? Well, not always. If your filter is clogged with dirt and dust then it could cause the unit to freeze up or overheat.

Outdoor Unit

Check the coils on your condenser or outdoor unit for dirt. As a result, aq`a dirty condenser coil will cause the outdoor unit to be over stressed and not cool properly. If it is dirty, turn the power off to the unit and spray a garden hose on the coil to remove the dirt. Let the water dry and turn the power back on.

Call an Air Conditioning Professional

If you check all of these things and find nothing out of the ordinary, you can feel confident that your money will be well spent on an air conditioning service call.

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air filter

Common Air Filter Questions

Seasonal allergies are picking up again, time to change your air filters!air filter

Why should I change my air filter? 

Longevity, performance, and efficiency all start at the air filter, so it is important to make sure that it is in good condition. The other main purpose of the filter is to keep particles, dust, allergens and other things in the air from circulating into your home, thus improving your indoor air quality. Just remember, everything caught by the filter stays there until you replace it! An air conditioning system with constantly dirty filters inevitably has larger problems down the line (think if you never changed the oil in your car).

How often?

There a lot of opinions on how often to change your air filter. The industry standard is that you should change it every 30 days, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Our advice is to check it every 30 days. If you can see the dust particles on the filter then its time to change it. If it still looks brand new, put it back in and check again in 30 days. Why throw away a clean filter? Generally, homes with kids, pets, and lots of in/out traffic will see their filters get dirty very quickly. We see homes with less activity easily go 60-90 days before needing to change the filter. More runtime on your unit equals more air passing through the filter, so it will get dirty quicker during times of high use.

Filter Types

If you have been to the hardware store or searched for air filters online, you know there are many options with varying prices. We are going to let you in a little secret here, you don’t need the $35 air filter. The best filter for quality and value is a simple pleated filter with reinforced cardboard around the edges. Make sure it is appropriately sized for your filter housing so that it filters the air properly. Most of us are stuck with 1″ thick filters, but many new AC and furnaces can use a 1″ thick or a 4″ thick filter. The 4″ filters cost more, but they filter the air better with increased surface area and tend to last longer.

As for the expensive premium allergen and mold fighting filters, the benefits over the standard filter are minimal. If you have asthma, allergies, or other breathing related issues, you may need to look at an electronic air cleaner or UV filter.

Keeping your air filter clean is both the easiest and most effective way to keep your unit in good shape!

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How Is Your Ductwork?

hvac ductwork

New construction

Does it feel like your AC isn’t cooling or heating? Sometimes your HVAC ductwork is the problem, something you may not have thought about and may not expect to be the reason.

If you feel your air conditioning units are not doing the work they used to do or are otherwise not bringing you the results you expect, then ductwork leakage or damage over time may be the cause. Ductwork damage, such as corrosion, holes, or gaps, can cause a very noticeable change in the efficiency of your cooling system.

Keeping the system sealed and clean, and inspecting it periodically can make a huge difference in the quality of work your unit is doing for your home. If your ducts don’t have mastic sealing, they could be drawing in attic air that is 150+ degrees or they could be leaking out your good cold air into the attic.

Dirty or failing ducts may be costing you a good chunk of money in energy costs, as it causes your air conditioning units to work harder to reach the settings you have set the temperature at.

According to the National Comfort Institute, the average duct system in U.S. is only 57% efficient due to several problems. An inadequate duct system is the single greatest problem. An improperly designed and maintained duct system cannot meet the required airflow to heat and cool your house efficiently even if your equipment is sized correctly and functioning properly.

Making sure your air is not escaping from improperly sealed registers, grills or duct leaks is critical for the system to work as intended. Seals throughout the system makes sure you will lose less air, which allows your rooms to be brought to a comfortable temperature with less work.

Testing ductwork quickly

Run your hands around the ducts while the unit is running and you can feel the air if you have a leak.
Most units are designed to leak specific amount of air, but the ducts should never leak.

Visibly inspect the insulation on the ducts
– Large, visible tears are an early warning sign
– Exposed inner liner is something that needs to be corrected ASAP

10% duct leakage is a 20% loss of cooling capacity. 50% duct leakage means ZERO cooling capacity. R4 duct insulation (1 inch) means about 20% loss of cooling capacity. R8 duct insulation (2 inches) means about 10% loss of cooling capacity.

Most older flex has the old grey skin on it and is inefficient and has been outlawed eventually per code.If you have metal duct and and there is a lot of leaks, you will want to have the work replaced with appropriate flexible duct work, and we would be glad to discuss your options with you.

Winter is a great time to get your HVAC ductwork revamped – Give us a call

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