How to Know If You Have a Faulty Air Conditioner

If you’ve ever had an air conditioning system break, you know how horrible and uncomfortable it can be. Taking a shower is useless and sleeping comfortably is almost impossible.

You want to head off this trouble before it happens. Each home varies depending on the actual insulation values, duct work conditions, location of the home with respect to sun exposure, individual user operations, current system design, age, and efficiency of the equipment. Taking all of that into consideration, here are some ways you can determine if your air conditioner may be on its way out.

Symptoms

  • Your digital thermostat’s display is blank or has lost power
  • You hear unusual noises coming from your equipment
  • Water is leaking from your indoor unit (Attic units can leak and cause water stains on the ceiling)

Are you still having trouble? There are some other things you can do to quickly determine if your air conditioning unit isn’t working properly.

Check the Temperature

newcomb-company-residential-air-conditioning1Does it feel hot in your house? Make sure your thermostat is set to Air Conditioning Mode. If it’s two or more degrees warmer in your home than your thermostat setting, the air conditioner should be working. If it’s not, you may have a problem. Sometimes air conditioners can have trouble keeping up if it’s hotter than 93 degrees outside, but most of the time it should be able to maintain your home within a couple of degrees of your setting.

Feel the Air

If you still think something may be wrong with your system, check the air coming out of the supply vents. If the outdoor unit is running and the thermostat is in Air Conditioning Mode, you should feel cold air. If there is considerably less air than normal coming out of the vents, or if the air is warm, there may be an issue. If the outdoor unit is running and there is no air coming out of the vents, this is also a problem.

If this happens, your evaporator coils may be iced over. Be sure to cut off the unit so that it can thaw before a technician arrives.

Change Your Filters

Before you decide to call a technician, check your air filters. Dirty air filters can cause all sorts of problems. Replacing a dirty air filter may fix the issue. Change your filters regularly and keep your system well maintained to extend its life.

HVAC Warning Signs

Most people don’t think about their HVAC unit until its broken, which is too late.  Here are five helpful warning signs that your unit may need servicing by a certified heating and cooling technician.

It’s Not Cooling:

The most obvious sign that your HVAC needs help is that it’s not cooling. Your HVAC technician will check for the three primary causes:

Evaporation coils: They may be clogged, if there clogged with dirt the system will not cool properly and you’ll be hot.

Leaking refrigerant: Your technician will have to run a test to locate the source of the leak and fix it for your system to start operating at its full capacity.

Leaking ducts: If you have a leak in your duct, the cold air that should be keeping you cool is spilling into the attic, between walls, or outside your home.

Making Weird Noises:  

The cause of unwelcome noises could be a loose fan, screws that need to be tightened, clogged coil fins or parts that need lubrication.

Your Bill Goes Suddenly Up:

Your electric costs should be about the same this month as they were in the same month a year ago. If you notice a big change, chances are something is wrong with your HVAC system.

It Smells funny:

If you notice a foul odor coming from your vents, you could be experiencing a problem which results from bacterial growth within the HVAC system vents.

It’s Leaking:

If you notice any discolored circles on your ceiling, dripping or puddling near your unit, you have a problem. The cause for the leak could be an overflowing pan, clogged filter or backed up condensate line.

If you notice any of these problems with your system, it’s time to call a certified technician.

Summer Savings

Simple ways to save money on your summer cooling bill:

You can save money by setting your thermostat a few degrees higher during the warmer months. Basically, if you normally set it at 72 try setting it at 74 in the summer months. This small adjustment could save you up to 10% percent on your cooling bill.

Go out, enjoy the warm weather by visiting a park, the beach or just relaxing in your back yard. When you come back into the house after being outside you won’t notice that the thermostat is set a few degrees higher.

Change that filter! You should change your air filters every 30 days and schedule a yearly AC unit maintenance call.

During extra sunny days, you should close all of your blinds/shades. Especially on days when your not home or away on vacation. This will help reduce the temperature in your home.  If you don’t have blinds, use a sheet to cover the window.

If you have a garage encourage everyone to enter and exit through the garage door as it will reduce the amount of hot air entering the house directly from outdoors.  If you have kids like I do who are constantly coming in and going out, put a limit on how many times they can go out and come back in.

If you have ceiling fans, use them, a lot! Make sure they are turning in the right direction though. Turn the fan on and stand below it, if you can feel the breeze, your in business.

Just remember if you have family pets inside your home that anything over 76 is not suitable for them.

Save Money and Stay Cool

Summer is here and the temperatures across the country have started to rise. For some of us, it is a welcomed change from the cold winter. However,  it also means that expensive cooling bills are on their way and the fights over the thermostat in your home and for some our workplaces.

When it comes to controlling temperature, even small adjustments can have big impacts. For every degree, you adjust your thermostat to, results in about a 3% savings. If your cooling bill is $200 during the hot summer months, that equals about $6 per degree per month. The key to adjusting your thermostat is to still keep the space feeling comfortable. This is where the use of air circulating fans come into play.

Don’t believe the myth that standard air circulating fans do not cool the air and that the only way air can be cooled is with some type of refrigerant added to the mix. What air circulators do is make your body feel like it is being cooled. Think of it this way. Imagine you’re outside on a hot day and there’s no breeze at all, it’s going to feel really hot. But if there’s a slight breeze, it will feel cooler. The air temperature has not changed, but the moving air passing across your skin gives your body the feeling that it’s cooler. There are scientific formulas that could explain this, but for this example, we need to agree that air blowing across our skin makes us feel cooler. By creating an artificial breeze in our homes or workplaces, you can set the temperature higher but still feel comfortable.

An added benefit of using fans is that they distribute the cool air from an air conditioner vent evenly throughout the cooled space. Almost all homes and workplaces have areas that are normally warmer than the other areas. Using fans will distribute the cool air more evenly from room to room within the space. This will take stress off your HVAC unit so that you will not have to run it longer than it needs to just to get that one area cool enough to feel comfortable.

Air circulating fans use electricity, so how much do I really save? Fans do use electricity, however, the amount it takes to operate a fan compared to an air conditioner is a great deal less. An average fan uses about 40 watts. A typical household air conditioner will use between 1000 watts for a single window unit that can cool 1 or 2 rooms to 3500 watts for a central air unit. If using an air circulating fan allows you to raise the thermostat 3 to 4 or more degrees that could mean your air conditioning units operates about an hour less a day, which can add up over the course of a month or over a hot summer.

Hire a Licensed Air Conditioning Company Part III

heating, air conditioning, certified

 

Why You Should Always Hire a Licensed Air Conditioning Company

Part III

Welcome to the Part III of our look at why you should hire a licensed air conditioning company.

Insurance

Insurance and Bonding.  There are risks involved when repairing or replacing an HVAC system. Because of that, you need to be protected. A licensed company will have the right state and local licenses. Additionally they will be bonded and insured.

An important factor in choosing the correct company is insurance coverage. Liability and coverage for your home, property, as well as your family, are provided by hiring a licensed company. Your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover work done by an unlicensed company.

Bonding provides protection on top of a company guarantee. A surety bond is provided to cover job incompletion, poor workmanship, improper permits, or if a technician does not pay workers or vendors.  Most licensing boards require that contractors are bonded before applying for their license.

Permits Rules and Regulations. Local professionals know the latest requirements for your area. There are a number of rules and regulations, such as building codes, inspections, and permits required that HVAC companies must follow when installing or repairing a unit. The average homeowners are unaware of these requirements, however, a licensed company will know and follow them. Hiring the right company will reduce the chance that you’ll run into problems.

Involved Risks!

Here are just a few examples of just a few things that could happen if you do not hire licensed air conditioning technician.

  • Down the road, you decide to sell your home not knowing the proper codes or not having filed the correct permits can be an expensive issue. This will result in extra expense and delay the sale of your home.
  • You could have a fire due to faulty wiring.
  • Drain lines and float switches not installed to code could cause flooding and damage to your system.

Would your insurance cover it if not done by a licensed professional? Do you want to take that risk?

Continued Service

With a licensed company, you’ll have a peace of mind that any HVAC service you need will be done effectively and efficiently and they will offer continued service. Oftentimes, the person that offers the “best deal” quite frankly does not survive in the long run.  Unlicensed technicians cut corners and lack the skills and expertise to get the job done correctly. Some of them even moonlight as magicians.  When something goes wrong they disappear!  Instead, choose a licensed company that provides long-lasting solutions, and are there when you need them.