Helpful cooling tipsRead More
The end of R22: What it means for your old air conditionerThe end of R22: What it means for your old air conditionerRead More
So, your air conditioner is freezing up. Here's what to do to fix it!Read More
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Is your AC blowing hot air?Read More
So, your air conditioner is freezing up. Here's what to do to fix it!Read More
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Homeowners with older air conditioners may soon be facing a difficult choice: replace their cooling systems or continue to pursue increasingly costly and hard-to-find R22 refrigerant when their A/C unit needs a tune-up. Standards for types of refrigerants used in air conditioning system maintenance are changing, and this means that this most common and least expensive refrigerant will soon be phased out. When the phase-out is complete in 2020, R22 refrigerant will no longer be available.
R22 refrigerant, sometimes known as R22 Freon or HCFC-22 Freon, is an environmental danger because it contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. The U.S. government has placed restrictions on R22 and has issued the requirement that R22 refrigerant must be eliminated from use in cooling systems by the year 2020. At this point, R22 will no longer be manufactured and cannot be used as a refrigerant in new air conditioning systems. R22 is being replaced by R-410A, a safer material which is the current, compliant standard refrigerant in air conditioning equipment.
The refrigerant change means several things for homeowners with older A/C units:
- R22 refrigerant may still be used, but it will ONLY be available through after-market sales when it is recovered from old systems that have been salvaged.
- Prices for R22 refrigerant have been rising and are expected to continue to rise.
- The availability of R22 will be limited because it cannot be purchased new. If you need a recharge of R22 in the future, there is no guarantee that it will be available.
- A complete A/C system replacement may be the most cost-effective solution.
Help! My Refrigerant is Leaking!Read More
As temperatures rise – so can the electric bill! There are some simple energy saving techniques that can help you lower electricity bills in the summertime. For best results, implement more than one method.
1. Cut down on energy leaks. This includes turning off lights and other electronics. When you leave a room, shut off the light behind you. Unplug electronics that aren’t being used, such as cell phone chargers, small appliances like toasters, or power strips that provide power for many appliances.
· Big-screen TVs, DVD players, digital photo frames, and other appliances use more energy than you realize.
· Unplugging an appliance is best because certain appliances use energy even if they are turned off.
· Consult with roommates or coworkers before unplugging a shared appliance.
2. Spend time outdoors. Spending a lot of time indoors will naturally lead to higher energy costs because you will be using lights, electronics, and air conditioning. Spending more time outdoors means you can turn off indoor electronics, and in the process, you will have fun going to the lake, the park, the movies, and so on. Turn off all electronics before leaving the house.
3. Close blinds, storm windows, or shades during the day. The sun can heat up a room very quickly. Keeping the sun from shining into windows will cut down on cooling costs, and many stores sell curtains specifically designed for this purpose.
4. Use fans instead of air conditioning. Circulation is important to using less air conditioning during the summer. Cool down the house early in the morning by placing a box fan in the window and opening up another window at the opposite end of the house, in addition to turning on ceiling fans. Box fans sit perfectly in most windows and help cool air come inside.
· Most central air conditioners will also have internal fans to help circulate the air in your house while reducing your need to use the air conditioner. Turn the fan on “auto.”
· Using fans at night will help a natural breeze cool down your house; this will only work if you live in an area that drops in temperature at night.
· Turn a fan directly towards yourself or guests if the temperature is very hot.
5. Use air conditioning efficiently. Set the thermostat to 78, and don't lower it. You can also turn the air conditioning off at night and in the early morning. If you want to invest in an energy efficient air conditioner, these are 10-15% more efficient.
· The smaller the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the smaller your bill.
· Do not place appliances that give off heat, such as lamps or TVs, near an air conditioner’s thermostat.
6. Use electricity during off-peak hours. If you plan to use electronics like a washer and dryer, air conditioning, and computers or televisions, try to do so during off-peak hours like early in the morning or late at night. Electrical companies charge less for energy consumed during off-peak hours.
· It is recommended you wait until after 6 pm to cook, do laundry, or wash dishes on days the temperature is over 90 degrees.
· Contact your local electrical company for more information on local peak hours.
7. Use energy efficient appliances. Microwaves, pressure cookers, or outdoor grills use less electricity than stoves and ovens. You can also use a clothesline instead of a dryer. When purchasing new products, look for energy efficient options.
8. Plant shady trees on the west and south sides of your house. This is a more permanent solution to cutting down summer energy costs, and it is only possible if you are a homeowner or if you get permission from your landlord. The shady trees will cut down on cooling costs for your home.
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R-22 phaseoutRead More
Although there may be hundreds of factors as to why your home’s central air conditioner may need to be looked at by a certified technician, there are a few reasons that are fairly common. Recognizing what they are may clarify what a technician is referring to when they discuss the routes for resolving the problem. Here are the top five problems that may cause your air conditioning system to break down.
1. Faulty wiring
Poor or uncertified A/C wiring is risky and a possible fire hazard. Bad wiring can prevent the system from getting power or can trip the circuit breaker.
2. Low refrigerant
Refrigerant is the chemical that cools the air within your air conditioning system. Reduced levels of refrigerant could imply a leak or problem with the refrigerant system. If your air conditioning system needs to be recharged with refrigerant, 90% of the time that suggests there is a leak. All refrigerant leaks should be located and repaired. To read about the phase out of R-22 refrigerant in the United States visit the U.S. EPA website.
3. Outside fan is not working
The outside fan is responsible for moving the heat from inside your home to the outside. If the fan on the outside unit doesn’t perform correctly, proper heat transfer cannot take place and the air conditioning compressor may overheat and trip the safety overload. Worse yet, it may cause internal damage to the compressor.
4. Outside unit not functional
This usually indicates a lack of power, contactor problems or even a faulty thermostat.
5. The coil is frozen
A frozen coil often indicates an issue with the airflow, such as restrictions caused by dirty air filters or obstructed return air ductwork. Frozen indoor coils could also be the result of low refrigerant.
Participating in a preventative maintenance program can help prevent some of these issues. Contact us today for more information on our maintenance program!
If your air conditioner seems to be losing its cooling ability, the problem may be as simple as frozen or clogged air conditioning coils. Other causes of reduced cooling include restricted air flow and low refrigerant. Even though you may not be experienced in AC service, you can fix all three of these probable causes in several easy steps.
Step 1 - Thaw Frozen Condenser Coils
Find your electrical breaker box and turn off the switch that controls power to your air conditioner, and allow the coils to thaw. Depending on the ambient air temperature around your condenser unit, it could take up to 24 hours for the coils to melt any ice that is plugging them.
Step 2 - Dry the Air Conditioner Coils
Once your condenser has had time to thaw completely, remove any pooled or standing water and use a towel to dry any remaining moisture that may remain on the machinery.
Step 3 - Turn the Air Conditioner's Fan On
After turning the breaker switch on again to restore electricity to your AC, find the thermostat that controls your unit. Set the thermostat control so that only the air conditioner's blower, or fan, is operating. The fan will help melt any ice or frost clogging the coils by circulating air through them.
Step 4 - Check Vent Filters
Vent filters, when clogged with dirt and dust, are likely to reduce air flow and conditioner's ability to cool your house. To maximize cooling efficiency, you will need to check your vent filters. If they are dirty or clogged, replace them with new ones. If you don't have extra filters on hand, you'll find them at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Step 5 - Add Coolant
Another condition that often reduces cooling efficiency is low coolant in your AC unit. The best way to check for low coolant, and add it when necessary, is to buy a coolant installation kit which you can usually find at a nearby home improvement store. Most of these kits will include directions for adding the coolant.
Step 6 - Test the Cooling Capacity
Once you have completed the rest of these steps, test your air conditioner's ability to cool. Turn the thermostat setting to "cool," wait a few minutes, and then test the air coming from the vents. If the air blowing through the vent is as cool as you would like it to be, you can rest assured your repairs were successful.
Your filter is dirty. A clogged filter restricts airflow through the unit decreasing its efficiency and reducing the ability to effectively cool the air. If you haven’t cleaned the filter in your room air conditioner recently, do it now. Filters on central AC units should be changed at least once a month, especially if your system is running constantly or you have pets.
Warm air is leaking in. Check the window seals around your unit to make sure hot air isn’t getting in or cold air seeping out. If so, reseal around your unit with pieces of weather stripping.
TV is too close to the AC. Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near the thermostat that controls your central air or near your window unit. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Registers are dirty or blocked. If you have a forced air heating and cooling system, regularly vacuum the registers to remove any dust buildup. Make sure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
Thermostat is on the wrong setting. If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure you programmed it so your home is at a comfortable temperature when you’re there and a bit higher when you’re not. And keep in mind that for every degree you raise the temperature, you’ll save 3 percent on your air-conditioning costs.
Window units, of course, don’t offer the whole-house control of a central system. If you’re depending on one window unit to cool a large space you’ll have to experiment with the thermostat setting as the temperature will vary depending on where you are in the room.
It’s too sunny inside. If your room AC unit is in a sunny window, it’ll have to work harder to cool your space. Likewise, if the thermostat for your central system is in a sunny spot, it will register the wrong temperature. Your best bet is to keep your shades and curtains drawn all day during the heat of the summer.
Plants are crowding the compressor. The outdoor compressor for central air needs adequate airflow to work correctly, so make sure there’s at least 2 to 3 feet of space between the unit and any plants or structures. There should also be 5 feet of clearance between the top of the unit and any trees above.
You forgot an annual checkup. An inspection by an HVAC technician can catch any serious problems before they get worse and leave you hot and bothered at the peak of summer. A technician will check all the moving parts as well as the refrigerant and recharge the system if necessary.
Contact us today to sign up for our annual maintenance agreement to help keep your system performing at maximum efficiency!
If you are planning on renovating an older home, you may wonder where to begin.
Many homeowners are drawn to cosmetic updates first. But maintaining a comfortable, efficient home should also be top of your list. Again, depending on your budget, there are many heating and cooling options for older homes. A home built some time ago may not have a whole-house air conditioning system installed. There are several ways to approach this, and we can walk you through your options. You may also find that the heating systems for older homes are inefficient and need updating. For best results, consider new windows and insulation to prevent drafts and keep cold air out in the winter and warm air out in the summer in addition to a new HVAC unit.
If you've decided that you and your family want a little bit more space in your home, an addition might be just what you need.
The most efficient and convenient way to heat and cool your new addition is usually to include an HVAC expansion in the construction plan. By connecting the addition to your existing ductwork, it will be easier to control the temperature of the whole house. Remember to contact us to make sure that your HVAC system is rated to service the added square footage. If running ductwork to the addition isn't an option, you might also consider installing a ductless heating and cooling system for the new area of the house. These systems are relatively low profile and won't take up window space the way a window-unit air conditioner will.