The Ductwork

It is not necessary to become a certified HVAC technician, but a homeowner ought to have an understanding of the air-conditioning system that cools his or her home during warm months. The ductwork is not something out in the open to be seen, yet it plays a very important role in keeping the house at a comfortable temperature.

The Basic Operation

Air is drawn into the air conditioning system by fans and within the Air Handling Unit (AHU) the air is cooled. The air is then circulated back into the living space through the ducts, and returned to the air-conditioning unit by means of the ducts. It is the circulation that can cause some of the difficulties commonly experienced with this part of the HVAC system.

Problems in the Ductwork

It is possible that dirt and dust can accumulate in the ductwork and these create obstacles to the airflow. They can require the system to generate more energy to get the air circulating, and that becomes a cost to the homeowner. Perhaps more serious would be leaks in the ductwork that allows cool air to escape. It can also cause warm air from the outside to enter into the circulation system. Either can generate additional cost for the homeowner.

The problems are not dangerous in and of themselves but they do create a situation where the air-conditioning is not performing as well as it can. This can be a problem in the summer when the air-conditioning is in continual use. Problems with the ductwork will generate greater utility bills and less efficiency. A certified HVAC technician is best qualified to take care of cleaning the ductwork. This person has the proper tools and skill set necessary to do a good job. An annual inspection of the ductwork can also identify problems that can be fixed before they are serious, saving a homeowner a significant amount of money in the long run.

Take Advantage of a Tune up Opportunity

 

 Holiday shopping takes a lot of attention away from other projects, but a homeowner should take the opportunity during the winter to schedule a tune-up for the air-conditioning unit in the house. It a practical idea because the air conditioner isn’t used that often in the winter and the AC check up probably will not be that expensive. This is a way of doing some maintenance on equipment that will be extremely important when the temperature start to climb.

 

Getting Ready For Summer

 

Air conditioners get a lot of use in the summer and the tune-up repairs done in the winter helps keep the air-conditioning running efficiently when the weather becomes unbearably hot. The HVAC technician will do simple things like calibrate the thermostat, check on the condenser, be sure that the condenser fan motors and blades are in good working order, and see to it the evaporator coil is clean. Actual cleaning is one of the biggest benefits of an AC check up in the winter. The grime and dust that can harm efficiency are swept away and equipment is fine tuned for the high demand season. The HVAC professional can also spot situations where the equipment is starting to wear down and need replacement. It is far better to replace worn out belts and wires now than have to do it in the summer.

 

Curbing Expenses

 

An air-conditioning unit that has had a tune-up is one that does not require as much energy to generate the cooling air. The obstacles to efficiency have been removed, and the systems don’t have to put as much effort into maintaining the desired temperature. That translates into lower energy costs and smaller utility bills. It is another reason why taking a break from the holiday shopping to schedule an AC check up is really a great idea.

HVAC Improvements for House Selling

There comes a time when a person has to consider selling the house. It may be due to a job transfer or simply moving to a bigger home that causes the decision to be made. Getting the house ready for sale may take some time and a few home improvements will add to the value of property. Work on the HVAC systems, including the air-conditioning and heat pumps, can raise the selling price.

Repair/Renovation

Too many homeowners will make unnecessary renovations to try to improve the value of their house. Some of these are very cosmetic and a prospective homebuyer could care less about them. Working on the HVAC system is different. Seeing to it that the ducts have been properly sealed and that the heat pump is in good working order can be beneficial. Prospective buyers want to be assured that the systems in good working order, so scheduling an inspection and maintenance a few weeks before the viewing will help. A homeowner may even want to keep a copy of the inspection to show to people interested in the house.

Installing New HVAC

Energy-efficient air-conditioning units and heat pumps are definite value adders to the selling price. A homeowner may want to consider installation of either and if that is the strategy, it would be a smart idea to check with a tax accountant on what possible breaks are available. Depending on the terms and conditions, a homeowner could get tax rebates and incentives for installing ENERGY STAR approved HVAC machinery. The HVAC system may also qualify as a capital improvement to the home and that is tax-deductible. It is important, however, to speak with a knowledgeable tax person before making the investment in a new HVAC system.

 A well running HVAC system adds value for no other reason than it keeps utility bills low. That can add a few thousand dollars on to the final selling price of the house. A homeowner should do some planning and get a few cost estimates before doing anything major, but even fine-tuning the HVAC system is going to mean extra cash when the house is finally sold.

Going Over the Checkpoints

This is the best time to take a look at the air-conditioning unit of the house. There won’t be any need for air-conditioning until the weather gets hot, and a little tune-up work can guarantee the best results from the air conditioner. Rather than just looking into the machinery see if anything looks unusual, a decent check checklist can guide the homeowner in doing this winter maintenance on the unit.

Things to Do

ENERGY STAR is a program administered by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and they have developed what can be considered a bucket list for air-conditioning maintenance. Among the things that should be included in a routine inspection include:

  • Checking the condensate drain so there is no water backup occurring;
  • Take a look at the blower components to be sure that they are cleaned. This is important because if the regular flow of air is blocked it can result in a serious reduction in air-conditioning; efficiency;
  • Inspect the thermostat settings to be sure that what is registered is reflected in the actual temperature of the room;
  • Inspect the refrigerant and check for leaks.

Drawing the Line

There should be a dividing point in the checklist. A homeowner must appreciate that he or she does not have all of the expertise needed to do a complete job. There are some assignments like patching a refrigerant leak that ought to be left to professionals. Those people have the proper equipment and stores knowledge to best deal with major tune up work. There’s no reason to risk a mistake.

Maintenance that is governed by a list makes certain that the essential components are inspected and necessary adjustments or repair completed. Air conditioning that is at peak performance will not only provide the cooling air that makes house comfortable, but will also do it using as little energy as possible and keeping utility bills under reasonable control.

Getting Assistance with HVAC Improvements

Consumers don’t always make improvements to the home HVAC system because they are environmentalists. It does happen in older homes of the HVAC system has seen the best years and can no longer supply sufficient AC service or heater service. The decision to make changes in the house is done with cost in mind. HVAC systems and their components are durable products and they do not come cheap. Fortunately for homeowners, there is financial assistance available in various places.

Utility Rebates

A telephone call to the local public utility can determine whether or not rebates are available. It is certainly in the best interests of that company to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient. Financial assistance in the form of rebates can be in the hundreds of dollars but the homeowner must be willing to purchase those HVAC products that have certain standards as determined by the utility. That shouldn’t be a problem because whatever requirements are set by the public utility are directly related to reducing energy use and lowering utility bills at the same time.

Government Help

This is going to require a little homework on the part of the consumer. Some of the federal tax credit incentives have expired, but there are still some possibilities left. The state and local level may have tax incentives and rebates available for specified HVAC products. It does require investigation on the part of the homeowner but keep in mind the end result is going to be extremely worthwhile. Shaving a couple hundred dollars off of the final bill for any HVAC improvement that upgrades AC service or heating service is sensible. All it really takes is to find out whether or not one person has in mind qualifies.

Cost is always a factor but it can be reduced through rebates and tax incentives. Rather than risk having the old HVAC system break down the wrong time, a homeowner may want to take a look at what HVAC improvements can be done and what type of financial help is available.

Have You Scheduled Your Routine Tune-Up?

tuneup

 

Schedule the Appointment during Other Activities

 

A/C tune-ups usually do not take a long time. Most technicians can have routine maintenance completed in just a couple of hours. If there is a problem the service might take a bit longer, but rarely are there problems with air conditioners that take more than a day to fix. If homeowners are able to plan a day away from their home, they can spend the time in a comfortably air conditioned public space while service is performed. Service could also be performed while a homeowner is away at work, enjoying the cool comfort of the office air conditioning. As long as the air conditioning service company is trustworthy and there is a way to arrange entrance and exit from the home, this is often the best solution for everyone.

 

Homeowners that must be at home during the repairs can also benefit from a schedule. Determine how many times per year the air conditioning needs a tune up. For most homes, a once a year AC check up is enough, but for those running their air conditioning year-round, tuning it up at least twice a year is a good idea.

 

Determining When to Schedule during the Year

 

Most people find the best time to schedule AC maintenance is at the change of a season. This allows a break of about six months between appointments and locks in a convenient time when homeowners can remember to put the service appointment on their schedule. Many homeowners schedule their AC tune up as part of their spring and fall cleanup, but those living in a temperate climate year-round might not have that much cleaning up to do with the change of the seasons. Still, this is a good system that creates a set habit of scheduling air conditioning maintenance.

Summer….It’s just around the corner

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The holiday season is over and all the Christmas boxes and wrapping paper have been thrown in the trash. In case people aren’t noticing, the days are gradually getting longer minute by minute. It also should come as no surprise as the weeks go by how the outdoor starts to get a little bit warmer. It’s all gradual but summer is going to happen sooner than anyone thinks. The air conditioner has not been called on to do much in the past few weeks but that will change. Now is the time to get ready for June with an air conditioning checkup.

 

The Main Components

A homeowner might not have the skills to do the inspection, but this person should at least have an understanding of what the HVAC technician is talking about at the time of an air conditioning checkup. Modern air conditioning units are situated outside of the house and pump liquid refrigerant into what is known as the air – handling unit (AHU) inside the building. The AHU generates the cooling air and will force it through the ducts into the living spaces of the house. The ducts themselves are made ordinarily of sheet metal and moved the cooling air into the living spaces. Ducts by the way also return the air to the AHU. Thanks are the openings through which the cool air enters into the room.

 

Possible Problems That Need To Be Investigated

Refrigerant leaks are the most important concern because the liquid chemicals can be an environmental danger. Ducts have to be sealed properly to avoid air leaks that either emit cool air into the atmosphere, or permit warmer outside air to come uncooled into the ventilation system. Both vents and ducts have to be free of dust accumulations or mold so as to provide air freely and without having mold spores get into the atmosphere. The air conditioning inspection does not have to be expensive, but the system ought to be looked at to make sure that there is nothing that prevents top efficiency of a service so often used. An air conditioning checkup done now is a good idea because it is not as expensive as it will be in May, when everyone is trying to get their air conditioner ready.

How A Freon Leak Damages Your A/C System

 

How A Freon Leak Damages Your A/C System

      We all know a Freon leak is a problem, however do we fully understand how big of a problem it is and why?  Being informed is what will keep you, your family and business cool through the extreme heat of the summer and your budget balanced.

A Little Bit about Freon

     Freon or the refrigerant is a colorless, odorless, nonflammable, noncorrosive gas or liquid that runs through your Air Conditioning System pipes and compressor; it is the stuff that keeps you cool.  Without this gas or liquid you do not have an air conditioner, just a blower unit circulating air.

What clues do I have to know my Freon needs to be checked?

      There are many ways to know you may have a Freon leak, although you will not smell it, probably will not see it and it is not causing any danger by being in the air. The first clue is when your air is not blowing as cold as you are accustomed to or worse yet, if it is not even cold air anymore and it is warm.  Another big clue is if your air conditioning unit, compressor or coils freeze.  If you notice even the slightest change in the temperature of your air or any amount of freezing contact a technician immediately.

Damage Caused by A Freon Leak

      Beyond the obvious that you and your space is not being cooled off when there is a Freon leak and the Freon level is low, the leak can be so subtle that it is not obvious at first but the long term damage has already started.  Any loss of pressure from Freon and the compressor is instantly under additional strain, reducing its life expectancy and causing unnecessary wear and tear on the entire air conditioning system.  Starting at the very first pound of pressure lost; even though the air still feels cool it is a sufficient reduction of temperature to cause your Air Conditioning System to need to run longer to maintain the same temperature.  As Freon loss increases, the run time of your system also increases just to maintain the same room temperature.  This in turn raises the cost of cooling your space incrementally in direct correlation to the loss of pressure.  As your Air Conditioning System runs longer periods of time without a break, everything is being worked twice as hard and the entire system is wearing out at more than twice the rate it normally would if it had sufficient Freon and refrigerant.

Get Your Freon Level Checked routinely

      The best cure is prevention, have a routine service of your Air Conditioning System to include Pressure testing and leak testing for Freon.  Get it fixed if there is a leak and always call immediately if you suspect a leak.  The cost of an inspection is far less than the cost of a compressor, a whole unit and even one month’s bill of inefficient cooling of your home or office.

 

         

What Is A Surge Protector?

We hear people talk about Surge Protectors, but do we know what they are?  More importantly what does a Surge Protector have to do with our Air Conditioning Systems and is it something you need to know about to stay cool this summer?

What Is Surge?

Surge is high amplitude, short duration electrical fluctuation which can cause harm to electric, electromechanical and electronic equipment, basically anything connected to the electrical box in your home.  Surge can be caused by lightning and storms, power outages, large appliances kicking on and other natural phenomena.

A Surge Protector Is

A box or unit designed to provide consistent power flow to anything electrical including your Air Conditioning System  even in the event of incoming surges, bounce surges from in rush current, outdoor moisture conduction from local lightening, or transient surges which are most common caused by other major appliances and electrical devices in our homes.

Different Types Of Surge Protection for A/C Systems

There are whole house surge protectors, which cover everything electrical in general.  However, this does not protect everything sufficiently and especially in regards to the one primary electrical unit placed outside in the elements, separate from the home itself, your Air Conditioning System.  There are specific Surge Protectors that can be installed at the Air Conditioner to protect the largest electrical unit at your home, well worth considering if staying cool in the hot summers in the valley of the sun is on your list of things that are important.

Why A Surge Protector just for Your Air Conditioning System?

The Air Conditioning Unit is outside in the elements it is more prone to and has an increased probability of being affected by storms.  In addition the A/C Unit pulls such a large pull as it starts up it is more likely to not only cause surges but more likely to be adversely affected by surges.   Surge Protectors installed specifically for the Air Conditioning System protects it from electrical surges caused by lightening, outages, hurricanes and any other natural events.

Insurance/Assurance, Are You Protected? 

Do you have a whole home surge protection?  If not, you are leaving every electrical, electromagnetic and electronic device in your home at risk of being destroyed by surge.  Do you have an Air conditioner specific Surge Protector?  If not, your greatest asset during the summer months at risk of being put out of commission and leaving you and your family and business sweating and running elsewhere to be safe from the sweltering heat of the Arizona Desert.

Enjoying the Assurance Plan

Insurance only protects you in the event something went wrong and you need to have it fixed.  Assurance is the protection that prevents anything going wrong in the first place.  Invest in surge protection and invest in peace of mind, the best plan you can have in regards to your Air Conditioning Units in Phoenix in the valley of the sun.

The Importance of the Run Capacitor

testing on capacitor Bad Capacitor

Run Capacitors for your A/C System

      Keeping you informed and educated about the little things that make all of the difference for your Phoenix Air Conditioning Unit is the best way we know to keep you cool and comfortable through the extreme heat of our long summer months.  Knowledge can equal peace of mind.

What is a Run Capacitor?

      A capacitor or condenser as it is sometimes referred to, is commonly used in electronic devices.  It is a combination of three objects, a pair of conductors for sending electricity and a dielectric which is some form of non conductive materials.  An electrical field is created between the two conductors which then stores energy.  This stored energy is used to boost current needed to maintain a charge during constant use of a motor as in your Air Conditioning Unit. 

In the case of the typical Air Conditioning Unit there are dual capacitors, one for the fan motor and the other for the compressor motor. The run capacitor is for the fan motor and the one for the compressor is called the start capacitor.  The Run Capacitor maintains a relatively constant voltage supply for the purpose of increasing the torque of the fan motor on start up.

When Should I check my Run Capacitor?

      If a run capacitor is not working or is not the right size for your unit it does not always shut your system down.  Rather, it throws off the magnetic field, causing the fan motor to run unevenly increasing energy noise and decreasing efficiency with a possibility of causing overheating problems and other performance issues.   The best clues will be the sluggish running of the fan motor or slow start up of the fan motor, with noises you may not have heard previously.  In extreme cases the fan motor will just not start up, so always consider the run capacitor when a fan motor is not working.

 

Do It Yourself or Call A Professional

 

      A multi-meter is required for capacitor testing.  If you are comfortable with the use of a multi-meter you may consider testing it yourself, there are always good instructional articles and videos on the internet.  However if you are not comfortable with using a multi-meter devise it is best to call a A/C Professional in Phoenix. 

Replacement of The Run Capacitor

 

        The Run Capacitor can be quickly diagnosed by a professional and replacement is equally fast, your Air Conditioning Technician can ensure the proper size Run Capacitor is installed providing a smooth running fan that starts up the first time every time.  A run capacitor is not something that is usually diagnosed during routine maintenance.  It does not gradually go out; it is either working or not working.  So if you feel your fan is not working to full capacity or hear it struggle on start up, call your Air Care Cooling & Heating LLC Professional right away.  This quick fix will keep your system running well and keeping you and your space cool.