AC Warning Signs

Residential Central Air Conditioning Units On Cement Slab

Here’s a list of common air conditioning warning signs

Warning Sign #1: My Air Conditioning Won’t Turn On

Warning Sign #2: I’m Not as Comfortable as I was Last Year

Warning Sign #3: My Utility Bills Are Abnormally High

Warning Sign #4: Weird Noises During Startup and Operation

Warning Sign #5: The AC Shuts Off Before or Long After I’m Comfortable

Warning Sign #6: There’s a Puddle of Water Next to my Furnace

Warning Sign #7: The Air Coming Out of the Registers Doesn’t Feel as Cold as it

Warning Sign #8: My AC Unit Refuses to Kick On at All


5 HVAC Danger Signs You Should Not Ignore


Your HVAC system is designed to make your home comfortable and livable, but sometimes things go wrong…horribly wrong. Aging, lack of maintenance, poor installations, and pure bad luck contribute to potentially dangerous malfunctions that should be fixed immediately. If you see any of these signs, please take the appropriate action!

Here are 5 danger signs you should not ignore:

The Sign: Rotten Egg Smell
Statistic: Natural gas explosions do happen in homes and are the cause of over a dozen deaths each year. These leaks are not a sign to ignore.

The Sign: Electrical Smell
Statistic: There were about 16 deaths due to air conditioning electrical fires in homes in 2011. Be sure to keep yours properly maintained!

The Sign: Moldy/Musty Smell
Statistic: Living with untreated mold in your home increases your odds of developing a respiratory infection by 30-40%

The Sign: Burning Smell
Statistic: 100% of furnaces emit the burning smell within the first 24 hours, as oil was applied to make sure the initial startup is smooth. However, if the smell continues for more than 24 hours, or comes back again at a later point, then contact a professional.

The Sign: Puddles
Statistic: lists refrigerant leaks as one of the most common problems among AC units. It’s commonly found in the top 5 for lists of the most common AC repairs.

Keep your eyes, ears, and nose about you and don’t ignore any of these signs. If you do notice any of them, then be sure to have them repaired as soon as possible.


Furnace Safety Tips For Winter

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As the cold winter months approach us, most of us turn to our furnace to keep our homes cozy and warm. Although furnaces are a great way to heat our homes, there are some precautions that we should take to safely operate our furnaces and avoid problems in the long run.
Start the year off right with the following furnace safety tips:

It is important to change your furnace filter regularly. A clean air filter will help your furnace burn more efficiently and will help keep dust from being circulated through your home. A dirty filter can cause a number of efficiency, performance and safety issues, as well as result in furnace failure. Change or clean your air filter every 1-3 months during the winter when the furnace is being used the most.

Have your furnace cleaned and checked every year by a professional. An annual furnace check-up is essential to make sure that the system is working well and operating efficiently. During the inspection, your furnace will be checked for problems such as carbon monoxide leaks or frayed electrical wires that could lead to safety hazards in your home.

If your furnace isn’t functioning properly, one of the biggest threats that it can impose to your home is a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is a type of gas that is colorless and odorless, so there is no way to detect high levels of it on your own. A carbon monoxide leak can cause us to have flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion and even death. It is imperative to check that all of your home’s carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

In order to minimize the chance of a fire, it would be smart to keep the area around your furnace clear. Flammable products such as papers, sawdust, old rags and wood scraps should be kept a safe distance away from the furnace. Liquids such as gasoline and kerosene should be stored in tightly sealed containers, since vapors from flammable liquids easily ignite.


Tips for Prepping Your HVAC System for Winter

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Is your HVAC system ready for cold weather? Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the inevitable and add a few good years to your HVAC.

1. Air Filters: If you aren’t already, get in the habit of changing your air filters monthly. Just because you can’t see the dust trapped in the air filter doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

2. Thermostat: Test your thermostat to make sure your HVAC system is working properly. On a cool morning, turn the heat on and set the thermostat to your preferred winter-time temperature. If the HVAC never reaches that temperature or takes too long, you may have a problem.

3. Programmable Thermostat: Consider having a programmable thermostat installed. It allows you to program preset temperatures for various times of the day so that your HVAC works less when you’re away.

4. Vacuum: Vacuum any debris from your furnace blower compartment. If you prefer, one of our certified technicians can perform this task while servicing your HVAC unit.

5. Air Vents: To ensure air circulates properly, make sure nothing is blocking your fresh-air-supply and return-air vents. Furniture, bedding, toys and the like can obstruct air intake and make the HVAC unit work harder.

6. Unusual Behavior/Noises: Unusual noises or excess heat or water coming from your HVAC is a sign that something could be wrong. Don’t wait around until it breaks as experience teaches that could cost more.


What You Must Know About Vent Covers


Vent covers are small but mighty items when it comes to both your HVAC system and your home’s décor. While most of your HVAC is hidden, the vents allow comfortable air to pass through your home. They are an important part of the system that heat and cools your home.

Often, we don’t put too much thought into these areas unless they stand in the way of a room’s décor, which sometimes they do. Coming in all shapes and sizes, it can either be a neutral look or an eyesore. They also can impact the overall health of your home. Here’s what you need to know about vent covers and how they function in the HVAC system.

Understanding Your Vent System
In your home, you have two types of vents, return and supply vents. As your HVAC system works to keep air in your home at a comfortable temperature, the return vents help get the air back to your system to continue regulating the temperature.

Cold Air Return Vents
Return vents can either be larger and more centrally located or they can be in every room. Most pros recommend that each room has a return vent. You can usually find these higher off the ground on an interior wall.

Supply Register Vents
Similarly to the return vents, all rooms in the home should have a supply register vent. These pathways allow the air from your HVAC to enter the room and change the temperature to your desired setting. These can be found on outer walls, under windows or on the floor. Keep in mind, the supply vents should be spaced separately from your return vent, so the air coming from the supply is not recirculated.

Vent Covers Or Grills
While both types of vents have an important role, they simply cannot be an empty hole in your wall or flooring. Air vent covers have an important function, to maintain airflow to a room and in some cases, remove impurities from the air. They also come in a variety of styles to help blend in with your room’s décor.

Cleaning Your Vent Covers
Regardless of style, a clean vent is important for the air quality and efficiency in your home. It’s recommended that you professionally clean your air ducts and vents once a year. This will give your vents a thorough cleaning and ensure all bacteria, fungi and dust that can build up over time, is removed.

Your vent covers are an important part of your HVAC system. They require proper care and regular maintenance like other areas of your home. Use a few of these tips to keep them looking and working their best.


Common Myths About Your Air Conditioner

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Here are some of the most common air conditioning myths paired with the facts you need to know.

Myth: Using an air conditioner will give you a cold.
Reality: Completely untrue, according to the AARP. While becoming chilled may make you more vulnerable to illness, the common cold is caused by a virus, not the temperature.

Myth: It’s a waste of time and money to have your air conditioner serviced.
Reality: False. AC units need to breathe. Regular cleaning can keep your unit running smoothly and efficiently. It also provides an opportunity to catch problems that might have developed over the winter.

Myth: You can save money by turning the AC off or setting the thermostat extra high when you leave the house, then turning the thermostat down when you come home.
Reality: Untrue on both counts. When you come home to a hot house, the air conditioner has to work much harder to cool the place down.

Myth: It’s cheaper to leave the thermostat at the same temperature all day, even when you go to work.
Reality: Not true. Using a programmable thermostat can let the house warm up while you’re gone, then start cooling things down before you get home.

Myth: The air conditioner won’t run as much if you keep ceiling fans turned on.
Reality: Totally false. Fans don’t cool air; they just move it around.


The Basics of Air Conditioning

Residential Central Air Conditioning Units On Cement Slab

Air conditioning is one of the most common ways to cool homes and buildings. Here are facts you should know about the basics of air conditioning from the U.S. Department of Energy.

How air conditioners work
Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as refrigerators. Refrigerators use energy, usually electricity, to transfer heat from the cool interior of the refrigerator to the relatively warm surroundings. Likewise, an air conditioner uses energy to transfer heat from the interior space to the relatively warm outside environment.

An air conditioner uses a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper.

A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils.

The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and thereby cooling your home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid, giving up its heat to the outside air flowing over the condenser’s metal tubing and fins.

Types of air conditioners
The two most common types of air conditioners are room air conditioners and central air conditioners. A compromise between the two types of systems is provided by ductless, mini-split air conditioners.

Room air conditioners cool just one room or small space, rather than an entire building.

Central air conditioners circulate cool air through a system of supply and return ducts that carry cool air from the air conditioner to the building. This cooled air becomes warmer as it circulates through the building; then it flows back to the central air conditioner through return ducts and registers.

Ductless, mini-split systems are similar to central air conditioners in that they have an outdoor compressor or condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. However, because they are ductless, they are often used in buildings with non-ducted systems. Instead, a conduit with the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and condensate drain links the outdoor and indoor units.


Fun Facts that Will Surprise You About Air Conditioning

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Here are some surprisingly cool facts about the innovation that keeps us comfortable during hot summer days and nights.

1. When AC systems were first introduced, the output settings were measured in “Ice Power” – in other words, how many blocks of ice it would take to produce the same amount of cooling power. Now we call them AC units (1).

2. The motivation for the first air conditioner wasn’t comfort. Willis Carrier invented a modern air conditioner in 1902 for a publishing company in New York that was experiencing problems with the ink control and paper expansion and contraction due to varying humidity levels (2).

3. Approximately 88 percent of new single-family homes constructed in America in 2011 included air conditioning. Compare that figure to how only 55 percent of Canadian households had air conditioning in 2013. Sounds like it really is naturally colder in Canada (3).

4. The first fully air-conditioned home was built in a mansion in Minneapolis in 1913 by Charles Gates. Sadly, he died before he could ever experience it (4).

5. Air conditioning systems helped coin the term “Summer Blockbuster.” One of the first businesses to utilize air conditioning technology back in the early part of the twentieth century were movie theaters. In the 1930’s, patrons flocked to theaters to enjoy the films – but also to enjoy the cool air during summer months. Marketers took advantage of this trend and saved their big hits for summertime releases. Thus, the term “Summer Blockbuster” became a part of our vocabulary (1).

6. Herbert Hoover was the first President to enjoy air conditioning. He spent $30,000 to install the system in the oval office, just after the start of the Great Depression (4).


HVAC Maintenance Tips for the New Year

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With the New Year, we each take pause to consider the year that has ended and the year that has just arrived. For homeowners, this is a chance to take better care of your heating and cooling systems, which are some of your home’s biggest energy drains. By maintaining your HVAC system, you will gain increased home comfort, better indoor air quality, and energy and cost savings.

Tidy Up
Get rid of any dirt, leaves, or grass clippings that have accumulated around your outdoor heating and cooling units since you last cleaned around them. Remove any obstructions that could prevent the flow of air around them and in your systems.

Clean & Maintain
First, make a schedule for checking and replacing your filters, usually every 2 to 3 months. This will vary among different filter types, but regularly changing your filters will maintain the system and ensure optimal performance.

Inspect & Replace
Once the cleaning has been done, take a close look at your control box and any writing, connections, or controls. Repair as needed.

Seal Leaks
Look for any leaky, damaged, or un-insulated ductwork. Repair accordingly, specifically using duct tape or spray foam insulation for those leaky ducts.

Purchase a programmable thermostat for your home, which will save energy and money by giving you greater control over your home’s temperature. Installation is relatively easy and simple, as the wiring is the same as for regular thermostats.


Tips for Air Conditioning on a Budget

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Use a ceiling fan
It’s one thing to run an air conditioner in your room. But combine its power with a simple ceiling fan, and you can have the best of both worlds. Often costing less than a penny an hour to run, ceiling fans have an immediate impact on your domestic comfort once you buy and install them.

Get an Energy Star model
If your unit is more than nine years old, seriously consider replacing it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, room air conditioners that are Energy Star certified are typically 13 percent more energy-efficient than standard models. Depending on how long you hold onto that new unit, you could save $99 or more over its lifetime in energy costs alone — a de facto rebate just for upgrading to an Energy Star model.

Consider central air
If you’re thinking about upgrading to central air, it’s easy to beat yourself up for being an energy hog or to get intimidated by the sticker price. Yes, it’s true that central units will use a lot more power than, say, a single window unit on each floor of a 2-story dwelling. But if you have more than two rooms to cool, then your best bet is to go with a central unit, which also provides long-term resale value for a home.

Get a programmable thermostat
It’s easy to think that buying a new air conditioner or two will solve all of your summer cooling problems. But your AC could use a little help. With central units, for example, a programmable timer or thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs by regulating the temperature when you’re out of the house, and by turning on only when you return home.

Clean your air filters regularly
With window units, air filters get dirty, and fast. Clean your AC filter at least every month because a dirty filter makes your AC work harder and use more electricity. Regardless of the type or age of the unit, you should change your filters after every 90 days of use.

Block sunlight with drapes
What’s more, you’ll use less energy to cool down a room by keeping direct sunlight out during the day. Sunlight can raise the room temperature by 10 to 20 degrees. The less heat that gets into your home, the less you have to pay to remove it. It just so happens that drapes block sunlight and heat better than blinds.