HVAC in Houston

6 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy an HVAC in Houston

HVAC systems are some of the most popular home appliances across the country. In fact, around 12% of all the energy used in homes comes from heating and air conditioning.  These units make our homes comfortable to be in and keep us from getting too hot or too cold. And that's why they're seen as a necessity for most homeowners and are well worth the investment it is to get them installed and to keep them running. Even though they're so valuable, it can be difficult to feel confident in your decision when picking a system. We've created a guide of the top six things you need to consider when buying HVAC in Houston.

1. Unit Types

Not all HVAC systems are created equally, there are many different types and it's important that you check out each kind to find the one that best fits your home and needs.

The main difference between systems is whether the air conditioner is permanent or removable. Removable units are usually either placed in the window or the wall and are the only source the air will flow from. Permanent HVAC systems usually have some kind of duct system that moves the air throughout the home.

Both of the types have pros and cons, it's just a matter of figuring out which system will get you the right amount of airflow and in the right places.

Your HVAC expert will be able to give you advice based on the layout of your home and the climate of your area to keep you as comfortable as possible!

2. Typical Maintenance

Even though most systems are very durable and built to last for several years, there is still maintenance that must be performed after HVAC installation.

This extra work is important to consider as you make your decision because it can really affect the longevity of your system. The last thing anyone would want is to spend the money to get an HVAC system in place only to ruin it a short time later because you weren't prepared to take care of it.

A lot of homeowners choose to have regular, professional maintenance check-ups just to make sure everything is running correctly and avoid major breakdowns. Those are all things to be considered before you buy HVAC in Houston.

3. Needed BTUs

Another key consideration to make when choosing an HVAC system is how many BTUs the machine can produce and how many you need to make the space feel more comfortable.

BTUs are essentially the way to measure how many degrees the unit can change the air temperature in an hour.

This measurement can be a little confusing because you don't necessarily just want the machine with the highest BTU rating, it all depends on the room you'll be using it in. You'll want to work with your HVAC professional to find the right balance to get and keep the temperature you want, while not overwhelming your machine causing it to break down.

4. SEER Ratings

HVAC systems are also rated based on the SEER scale as well, which should be something you pay attention to as well. This rating refers to how efficient a machine is or not.

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio will help you determine how much money it will cost you to run the machine enough to get the temperature you're looking for. A unit with a higher number is more efficient and will save you money compared to a unit with a lower number.

Seer rating numbers are one of the best ways to directly see the difference between units. If energy efficiency is important to you, this number will help you find one that will meet your standards.

While the number isn't the only thing that should be considered, it can play a very important role!

5. Budget Accommodations

Getting an HVAC system installed in your home or replacing an existing unit is a major investment. Most homeowners don't have that kind of money just lying around, which is why taking the time to research options is so important.

Even though most homeowners would like to be able to spend whatever they want on a new system, taking the budget into consideration is crucial. This way you're not overextending your finances and putting yourself in a bad position for the future. Luckily, there are a lot of good options at a wide variety of price points to choose from.

Don't forget to add in the cost for the professional installation as well. You'll want this investment set up right so you can enjoy it for years and years to come. Money well spent indeed!

6. Smart Thermostat Connections

Many homeowners have begun to implement smart technology into their home systems. These technologies make it easy to automate your home and make it all the more functional.

One of the most popular pieces of smart home technology is the smart thermostats. These allow you to program settings where the system will have a schedule that it follows, with specific times for turning on or turning off. It also allows you to control the system from anywhere you have a cell signal.

Most HVAC systems will work with a smart thermostat but it's helpful to have your HVAC professional make sure everything is linked correctly to avoid any problems.

Buy an HVAC in Houston

Making sure your home is at a comfortable temperature is especially important when you live in such a hot climate, like Texas. Buying a good HVAC in Houston can make all the difference in your daily life.

The best way to make sure you get an effective unit that will last you for years to come is to go through a reputable, professional company like P&M. We have the expert advice you'll need to pick the right units and systems, get them installed correctly, and perform any maintenance that comes up.

If you're interested in learning more about your options and getting the process started, contact us today to set up an appointment!

thermostat not working

Thermostat Not Working? Here's What To Do

At some point in our lives, we have all felt what it is like to experience thermostat problems. Depending on where you live, that could entail no cool air in the middle of summer or no heat during the winter. Texas is one of the hottest states in the country, so when your cooling system doesn't do its job, it can leave you in an uncomfortable situation. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to check before hiring professionals. Thermostat not working?

It's likely due to needing a battery replacement, but there are other possible causes. Learn what they are and what to do here.

Check the Power to the Thermostat

When your thermostat goes out, the first thing you want to do is check the power. Depending on what kind of thermostat you own, it may run on either AA or AAA batteries. Others work off of the power supply given off by your home's HVAC system.

To start, you'll need to identify which thermostat you own. If you suspect the batteries are dead, change them out and turn your thermostat back on. If it doesn't boot up, there may be another issue.

If you have a thermostat wired to your house, head to your breaker panel to check you haven't tripped a breaker. If you have, resetting the breaker is a simple fix.

However, if you blew a fuse, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises that unqualified personnel should not try to reenergize the circuit or fuse. That is because this poses a risk. So, if you suspect a fuse, be sure to call in a professional.

You also want to keep in mind that some thermostats work on a time delay. That means that even if it is your batteries or circuit breaker, the AC system may not boot up right away. Give it a few minutes to get going before you decide that it is faulty.

Check the Age of the Thermostat

The average lifespan for a thermostat is about 10-15 years. Age is one of the most common thermostat errors. So, check to see when you installed it.

If you live in an older house, look to see when the previous owners installed the thermostat. One way to tell age is whether the unit is digital or not. Most modern thermostats are digital, some with a touch screen.

Older systems are manual and may have dials or buttons on them. There is a chance that your thermostat is failing due to old age. If you suspect this to be an issue, then you might have to look into buying a whole new system.

If you have an old thermostat, then it contains mercury. Be sure not to throw it in the trash, as this is harmful to people and the environment.

Mercury poisoning can cause serious health effects to anyone exposed. Instead, be sure to recycle. That way, the mercury is handled by professionals.

Check the Mode of the Thermostat

It seems like a no-brainer, but go ahead and double-check the settings on your thermostat. Many people tend to jump to the worst possible conclusion when all that needs fixing is the mode.

If your AC is blowing warm air, make sure your thermostat isn't set to heat. That is an easy mistake to make, especially with digital thermostats. You can accidentally hit other buttons without realizing it.

Check the Temperature Setting

Along with the mode, you want to check the actual temperature setting. Look to see what the degree says on the unit. Some people like their homes to be a cool 74 degrees.

But your AC won't work if you accidentally set it higher or if you don't hit the necessary buttons. For instance, some thermostats require you to hit 'enter' before it starts cooling your house down.

Check the Calibration

Did you know that the placement of your thermostat system affects the unit's performance? Many people do not realize this, but the location is everything to keeping your system calibrated.

For instance, if your thermostat is near a window, then the sunlight may hit it and throw the temperature off. The same is true if you set it too close to a hot lamp or if there is a particularly drafty area in your home. To avoid misplacing your thermostat, speak to a professional who can assess your home and tell you the best location.

Call a Professional

If all of that troubleshooting doesn't work out, it is time to call in a professional service like us here at P&M. A company that specializes in HVAC systems will come out to check what is wrong with the thermostat.

They know all of the ins and outs, so their troubleshooting is much more thorough. That enables them to get to the root of the problem and fix your system so that you and your family remain comfortable in the hot Texas months.

Thermostat Not Working Services

As you can tell, there are several things you can do and check to see why your thermostat is giving out. Remember to check the battery and settings of the device. And if none of these tips help fix your thermostat, you may need to call some professionals.

At P&M, we offer high-quality services to ensure you stay comfortable during the hot Texas months. Feel free to contact us today and ask, "why is my thermostat not working?". We will gladly give you the answers you need and schedule an appointment to come out and fix the problem soon as possible.

HVAC maintenance mistakes

7 Common HVAC Maintenance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

HVAC systems can hold up fairly well on their own. But if you really want to get the most out of your HVAC system, you need to provide it with regular maintenance. That said, not all maintenance is good maintenance. You can get it wrong and, in some cases, actually do damage to your HVAC system. Curious as to the kind of HVAC maintenance mistakes that you need to look out for? Then read on. We're going to cover them in detail below.

1. Failing to Replace Your Air Filter

Over time, substantial amounts of dust and debris can make their way into your HVAC system. This not only causes a problem with your indoor air quality but also puts unnecessary strain on your system, sucking up excess energy and costing you more money on your electric bills.

But, fortunately, every HVAC system is equipped with something that can help keep dust and debris to a minimum. This "something" is an air filter and it gets dirty fast.

It gets dirty so fast, in fact, that it needs to be replaced frequently, usually every 3 months. If it's not replaced within this time period, it will fail to do its job, and your HVAC system will take on more and more dust and debris.

So, in short, make sure to replace your air filter. Again, every 3 months is customary. However, if you have furry pets in your home (like cats or dogs, for instance), you might want to make a change every 1 or 2 months instead.

2. Cleaning Your Coils With an Acidic Cleaner

Another mistake that's common when performing HVAC maintenance is using an acidic cleaner on the outdoor HVAC unit's coils. These coils need to be cleaned, yes, but they're not designed to withstand the effects of acid and other chemicals, no matter the potency.

When cleaning your coils, you can make do with just a low-pressure stream of water. Grab your hose and pour it down onto the coils, all the while scrubbing them with a coil brush.

After some time, debris will start to flake off and your coils will be good to go for the foreseeable future.

3. Only Vacuuming Your Vents

As we've noted, over time, an HVAC system becomes inundated with dust and debris. Even if you replace your air filter faithfully, this will happen.

Yes, you can remove some of this debris by vacuuming out the vents within your home. However, that's only the tip of the iceberg. If you're not also vacuuming out your air ducts every 3 to 5 years or so, you're exposing your home to a bevy of allergens, not to mention putting undue strain on your HVAC unit.

How do you clean your air ducts? Well, you'll have to disassemble them and then use a vacuum to suck up debris. After you're finished, you'll then have to reassemble them.

This can be a daunting task for some. So, if you need help, don't be afraid to call up your local HVAC company.

4. Failing to Keep the Condenser Area Cleared

Your air conditioner condenser exists on the outside of your home. Because of this, it's exposed to all sorts of things that are found outdoors, from falling branches to rocks to dirt and much, much more.

Now, condensers do a fairly good job of protecting themselves from these entities. But, in some cases, objects will actually fall into the condenser, posing a danger to its internal propeller. This can lead to serious structural and mechanical issues, which can cost substantial amounts of money to repair.

Unfortunately, many homeowners do little to prevent this from happening. You shouldn't be one of these homeowners.

You need to take action to keep your AC condenser area cleared. Trim up tree branches, hedges, and other vegetation, leaving at least 5 feet of clearance around the condenser. Try to also keep the area free of potentially harmful objects, like stones, thick pieces of wood, and the like.

5. Trying to Repair Problems With Only a Little Knowledge or Experience

Regardless of the quality of your HVAC system, little problems are still bound to pop up from time to time. For instance, a belt might come loose. Or, your condenser propeller might become bent.

You might think that you're capable of making these repairs and, in some cases, you might very well be. However, you don't want to push it.

Unless you have experience and knowledge of the repair that needs to be made, you need to instead hand the repair off to a professional. Trying to make a repair that you're not familiar with could cause even further damage to your HVAC system, costing you tons of extra money in expenses.

6. Not Having Your HVAC System Inspected By a Professional

Perhaps the biggest mistake that homeowners make when it comes to HVAC maintenance is not having their HVAC systems inspected by a professional. Sure, you might be able to handle a decent amount of the maintenance that goes along with owning an HVAC system but if you're never exposing your HVAC system to professional eyes, it could be suffering from a bevy of discreet problems.

Having your unit checked by a professional is important because professionals know exactly what to look for. They can tell when a specific component isn't operating correctly. They can tell when a part is in need of a replacement.

Make sure to schedule a professional inspection annually. Allowing problems to go on for longer than this could be disastrous for an old HVAC unit.

Don't Let These HVAC Maintenance Mistakes Hurt Your HVAC System

These HVAC maintenance mistakes can have quite a negative influence on your HVAC system. As such, they must be avoided as much as possible.

Need help with regular HVAC maintenance? Need HVAC maintenance or HVAC repair service in Houston, Texas? We here at P&M are the people to see.

Contact us now to get the process started!

hvac maintenance

7 Important Spring HVAC Maintenance Tips

Spring has sprung. In Texas, that means the heat is coming on. This is the time of year when you most desperately need your HVAC system to be working. But a functioning HVAC system requires routine HVAC maintenance. Without it, you may accidentally overwork or break your unit. Can you imagine being without AC in the hottest months of a Texas summer?

Fortunately, you don't have to. Keep reading for 7 important spring HVAC maintenance tips. This guide will help you maintain your HVAC system and keep it running smoothly.

1. Test Your AC Before You Need It

Too often, homeowners wait until the hot weather is upon them before they turn on the AC for the first time that season. This is a mistake.

If you haven't been routinely using your AC, it may have developed an issue over the winter that you are not aware of. You may go to turn on your AC for the first time in a few months and realize that it doesn't work.

This is why you should always test your AC about a month before you think you will need it. Listen for weird sounds and look for leaks. If you notice either of these things, call a professional for HVAC service.

2. Change Your Air Filter

The air filter on your HVAC system needs to be changed fairly regularly. Experts recommend changing it at least every 90 days. Perhaps more frequently during times of high use, like spring and summer.

A professional can help you determine the appropriate size for replacement filters. They can also tell you what kind of filter will be the most efficient for your system. But changing the air filter is an easy process that you can do on your own.

Turn off your HVAC system. Then remove the access panel on the unit. Remove the dirty air filter and replace it with the clean one.

Then replace the access panel. You are ready to go for the next 90 days!

3. Install a Digital Thermostat

One way to make HVAC maintenance easier is to make your system more efficient. Installing a digital thermostat makes your heating and cooling system instantly more effective.

Digital thermostats allow you to set your HVAC to a precise temperature. Programmable thermostats will let you control the temperature in different rooms and set time limits on your heating and cooling. This kind of precision creates maximum efficiency and helps keep your system running smoothly.

4. Clean the Air Ducts

Air ducts have a tendency to collect dust and grime. The more accumulation there is, the harder your HVAC system has to work in order to get its job done. Dirty air ducts can lead to higher energy bills, dirty homes, and even health problems.

You should have your air ducts cleaned by a professional every 3-5 years. Telltale signs that it's time to clean the air ducts include dusty vents and mold or mildew in the home. Pay special attention to your air duct vents in the spring, since that's when many people activate their AC for the first time in a few months.

5. Unclog Your Drain Line

AC problems sometimes stem from a clogged drain line. If you suspect that you have this issue, turn off your HVAC unit at the breaker and at the thermostat. Then locate the AC condensate pan.

This pan is likely located under the unit. Pull it out. If you have any standing water in the pan, it is probably due to a clogged drain.

Call a professional to help you with this issue. Leaving it unresolved can result in a broken or hazardous system.

6. Trim Back Your Garden

Keeping obstructions away from your HVAC system is a good rule of thumb all year round. Try to keep at least two feet clear in any direction. But it is especially true for outdoor units during the spring.

Everything begins to bloom, and things may grow in front of your system that were not there in the winter. For outdoor units, mow any grass that may be in the way. Also, take care to trim any branches, stalks, or leaves that could become an obstruction.

The same goes for indoor units. Did you get a portable AC unit to beat the heat during the warm spring months? Then be sure to keep the area clear on all sides to avoid inefficiency and hazards.

7. Clean Vents

The vents, also known as "grills," are the connectors between your air ducts and the rooms of your house. Your HVAC system blows air through the air ducts and vents to heat or cool your home. If there's anything clogging the vents, your system won't be able to function effectively.

To clean the vent, remove it from the wall or floor and wipe it down on both sides with a damp rag.

Remember that your vents also serve as a litmus test for your air ducts and HVAC system. If there is a large accumulation of dust, grime, or mold, it is likely indicative of a larger problem. Call a professional immediately.

HVAC Maintenance Keeps Your Home Running Smoothly

Spring maintenance is important for a functioning HVAC system. And if you have questions about the process, we are here to help.

Our team at P&M Air Conditioning and Heating has been servicing the Houston area since 1947. We're a family-owned and operated business that is committed to providing you with one-on-one customer service every time.

If you have HVAC maintenance questions or concerns, we can help. Visit our Contact page to get in touch with us today!

maintenance schedule

HVAC Maintenance Schedule: Season by Season

Air conditioners generate 6% of all the electricity used in the United States. 

You can reduce your energy use from air conditioning by 20% to 50% through energy-saving actions such as switching to a high-efficiency AC. 

Another action you can take is regular HVAC maintenance. With spring in full bloom and summer right around the corner, it's important to make sure your HVAC system is running efficiently. 

Your maintenance plan should not just be limited to summer. Keep reading to learn how to have an HVAC maintenance schedule for all the seasons.

Spring and Summer

You know that the heat in the greater Houston area is brutal during the summer. Before the summer hits, you should inspect your cooling system. 

Change Filters

This is something that should be done year-round. At a minimum, you should change the air filters on your HVAC system at least once every 90 days. You can change it before the beginning of each season.

However, you may need to change the filter more often than if anyone in your household has allergies or if you have pets. You might also need to change it more often if you constantly use the air conditioner, which definitely is a possibility during hot Texas summers. 

You should change the filter regularly because it can impede the function of your HVAC system.

When the filter is full of dirt and dust, it can block the airflow of the unit. It can also bring dirt into the evaporator coil of the air conditioner which can affect the performance of the unit. 

Check Outdoor Unit

Another thing you can do before the summer arrives is to inspect your outdoor air conditioner unit. 

If you cover your unit during the winter, you can uncover it and inspect it. Clear away any twigs, dirt, grass, or other debris that could be blocking the unit. Trim any nearby shrubs or grass so that they don't block the unit.

Check the Thermostat

Check the thermostat and make sure it is set to the right setting for the warmer months. You can also turn on your air conditioner to make sure it is working properly. 

You also might want to upgrade to a programmable thermostat if you don't have one. You can save up to 10% annually by programming your thermostat back 7-10 degrees from how you normally set it. 

Yearly Air Conditioner Maintenance

In addition to the above, you should have a professional technician come out and do a tune-up of your air conditioner system. You should have a professional check-up of your heating and cooling system at least once a year.

A regular maintenance plan can improve your unit's efficiency and catch any problems that may affect performance.   

The following are some of the things a technician may check during a routine service appointment:

  • Check refrigerant 
  • Check condensate drain
  • Check evaporator coil and condenser
  • Check electrical components
  • Check blower parts
  • Check belts and motor

Although there are some things you can do yourself when it comes to HVAC maintenance, many parts should be left to a professional technician who has the right training, tools, and expertise in HVAC systems. 

A professional will be able to correctly diagnose any issues you're having with your heating or cooling system. 

Fall and Winter

You want to set an HVAC maintenance schedule for the cooler months too. The focus for the fall and winter should be the heating system. Here is a checklist to go through before the winter arrives this year. 

Turn on System 

A simple thing you can do is turn on your heater to make sure it's working properly. This is also something that you can do before each season as a part of your HVAC maintenance. 


Clean Vents

Check and clean your vents regularly to make sure there are no obstructions, debris, or dust. If the vents are dirty or blocked, your HVAC system will have to work harder to warm up the house. 

Yearly Heating System Check-Up

Just like with your cooling system, you should schedule an annual check-up of your heating system.

The fall is the best time to do a maintenance check-up because it's usually less busy than the winter. Also, it's better to be prepared and make sure your system is running smoothly before the winter begins. 

You don't want to have to call an emergency service appointment when it's nearly freezing outside. 

Some of the things a technician may inspect during a service appointment:

  • Inspect heating operation and heating controls
  • Inspect crankcase heater
  • For heat pumps, inspect reversing valves
  • Change air filters if needed

Warning Signs You Need HVAC Repair

You can check for common issues with your heating system such as a strange noise or a banging or clanging sound. Another common issue is a strange odor when your heater is in use. 

You can also make sure there is warm air blowing from the vents and that airflow is not blocked or weak. 

You should also check for leaks or moisture buildup. If you do see a leak, you should call a technician right away to get it checked out. 

Set up a Regular HVAC Maintenance Schedule

The above are some things you can do to make sure your HVAC system remains in good shape. By maintaining your heating and cooling system, you are extending its life, and you can save on your energy bills if your system is running efficiently. 

Ready to set up a maintenance schedule with P & M Air Conditioning and Heating? Contact us today to schedule your first service appointment.

hvac system

Should I Cover My A/C Unit in the Winter? Your Question Explained

The summer may seem far away, but it'll be here sooner than you think. And once that heat starts ramping up, you're going to want to make sure your home is cool and comfortable.

In the meantime, though, your A/C unit likely is a bit colder than that. We'll go over some winterizing tips that can keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape come summertime.

Covering Your A/C Unit

The first question you need to ask yourself is, "how old is the A/C unit?"

Modern outdoor A/C units are manufactured to endure weathers of all different extremes. Your A/C box (the condenser) is built specifically to stand up against all but the most extreme highs and lows of weather.

The same goes for the internals. Each coil is weather-tested and should manage well.

However, as mentioned at the beginning, how old is your machine? Technology in this field has advanced handily in the past 10-20 years and means that older units may be prone to leaks, cracks, or breakdowns as a result of a variety of factors.

More Than Rain Falls into Your A/C Unit

Consider the location of your external A/C unit. Likely if you're in the Houston area, you don't see much snowfall annually, meaning you don't have to worry about an abundance of snowmelt flooding your system.

That doesn't mean you're out of the woods yet. In fact, if you live in a densely forested area, or your A/C unit sits beneath trees, you'll need to take extra care of it.

Leaves, pine needles, bird nests, seeds, and other debris that falls into an A/C unit can impede its functionality. Leaves and seeds particularly sap up moisture and create a dangerous environment for the inner parts.

And with over 33 million trees in the Houston area, there's a good chance your A/C unit is at risk. Thus when the leaves start turning, it's a good bet that you should cover the unit to ensure these unwanted guests stay out.

Similarly, if over the winter you notice a lot of debris falling into your unit, invest in a cover for your system.

Air conditioner repairs are par for the course in Houston, but a cover can help prevent unnecessary expenses. All in all, having a cover for your A/C unit can't hurt your machine.

... In most cases.

Each Cover is Not Equal

Covers for an A/C unit need to promote airflow. Restrictive covers, especially plastic coverings can restrict this. If your A/C unit doesn't have enough airflow, moisture can build up and actually promote rust and internal damage.

They also can encourage critters to stay for a night or more.

If you decide to purchase a cover, ensure it's breathable and primarily functions to keep water and debris from falling into the unit.

If it does that, without making for a cozy nest or moisture-machine, you'll be in the clear.

Ways to Preserve Your HVAC System

There are two ways you can help cover and protect the unit. The first is to purchase an A/C unit cover. There are many factory-made options that will offer just about any color and style you'd like.

Ensure they have breathability and won't increase the risk of rodents or pests making your system their home.

The other option is you could DIY a cover. You don't want to cover the entire unit. In fact, because covers only need to come down about six inches on the sides, it's fairly easy to find old materials to protect your unit.

Flexible sheets or cloths are good for providing breathability and keeping out seeds, leaves, and the like. Just make sure to take them off if there's a storm brewing, as they will retain moisture and do more harm than good.

Another option for the fall season is using a piece of plywood and holding it down with a brick. This reduces airflow some, but as long as the sides are uncovered the coils and interior should be able to breathe.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

At the start and end of seasons, check your A/C unit to ensure there are no nests, debris, or critters living inside. A quick check can help you take the appropriate next steps.

Clean Up the A/C Unit

Prior to performing any maintenance or going inside the unit, make sure to turn of the system.

If you see dirt, dust, bird droppings, bugs, or anything that could gunk up the machine it's wise to clean it out. Choose a warm day, one where the unit will be able to dry completely in the sun.

Using only warm water, get rid of any of the debris or residue that may have built up inside the machine. Do your best to dry wherever you cleaned to ensure moisture and mold can't build up inside.

Check for Damages

Once you've cleaned your A/C unit, check the wires. If you found animals living in your unit, it's possible they chewed on the wires. Occasionally there will be no trace of an animal except for these damaged wires.

Naturally, that's a problem and may require further repair.

Once you've checked wires, check any exterior piping leading to the unit. These pipes should have foam covers or some protective coating to ensure they don't freeze.

If they don't, or they're damaged, you can purchase pipe covers and wrap them in duct tape to ensure they stay freeze-free.

Check After Storms

If there's a hail or ice storm, check on your A/C unit. Brush away any ice or snow that may be lingering to look for damages.

So long as you do this during the extreme seasons, your unit should last you a long time.

Services and Repairs

HVAC systems are complicated. Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping them in tip-top shape, and a cover can help with that.

And if you find damages or need a tune-up, we service the Houston area. Contact us via call, text, or email with any questions you may have so that your home keeps cool when it's hot, and hot when it's cool.

air conditioner tips

Should You Run Your Air Conditioner in the Winter?

AC units are crucial to keeping our homes cool during the summer. However, if your home gets stuffy or hot during the winter, you may still be tempted to run the AC and cool yourself off.

What exactly happens if you run your AC during the winter?

While it is possible to run your AC when the weather is cold, you should use it with caution. Here are some air conditioner tips to keep your AC unit from getting damaged during the winter months.

Can My AC Unit Get Damaged if I Run it During Winter?

In short, yes, your AC unit can suffer from damage if you run it during the winter. While AC units can work fine in warm weather, cold temperatures can do a number in the inner and outer workings of your air conditioner. 

While you can still run your air conditioner during the winter, there are some signs of damage that you should watch out for. For efficient use of air conditioners, you should pay attention to these signs before your AC unit takes on serious damage.

Overheating Compressor

During the summer, the compressor within your AC unit runs as it should. When the weather gets cold, your compressor will have to work twice as hard, which can lead to overheating. 

Using your air conditioner too often during the winter can cause irreversible damage to the compressor. If you do choose to run your AC in the winter, make sure to give it regular breaks to avoid overheating the compressor.

Loss of Lubrication

Lubricants are responsible for keeping the compressor running smoothly. During the winter, these lubricants can freeze up and become too thick to function well. This makes your AC unit's compressor more likely to break down.

These lubricants freeze up extremely quickly in cold weather. Once they become too thick, they are no longer effective at cooling down your compressor. 

Cooling Coils Becoming Frozen

Your air conditioner will naturally drip water from within the machine. This is the condensation that naturally builds up in the outside unit. This water can quickly freeze during cooler months, leading to severe damage to your outside AC unit. 

This water can gather around the cooling coils inside of the unit, which can easily become frozen. This can easily damage the coils over a short period of time. If the coils become frozen, the machine can overheat, as there is nothing inside of the machine working to cool it off.

If you happen to notice ice building up on your outdoor unit, you should shut off the AC right away. This will give the machine some time to thaw out. If the ice doesn't thaw, then you should avoid using the machine for a while to avoid further damage.

Temperature Sensor

Your AC unit has a built-in temperature sensor that tells it when it should stop running. In order to run your AC unit during the winter, this sensor has to be overridden. By overriding that sensor and running your AC unit during the winter, you can cause it to become ineffective in the future. 

The Dangers of a Damaged AC Unit

Naturally, any damage that is done to either the inner mechanisms or outside of the AC unit can lead to costly repairs. Pieces of your AC unit may need to be replaced, or in a worst-case scenario, you may have to replace the entire unit.

What to Do Instead of Running the AC

It's fine to have your AC unit cooling your home on occasion during the winter. However, there are better ways that you can cool down your home without risking damage to your air conditioner.

If you want some air conditioning tips to save energy and money, here are a few things you can do to cool down your home during the winter.

The easiest way to cool down certain rooms in your home is to crack open a window. This will allow the cool air outside to bring the room down to a normal temperature. 

If the stuffy room doesn't happen to have a window, fans can work to bring down a room's temperature. Leave the room's door open so that the warm air can escape the room while you run the fan to help get rid of the stuffy atmosphere.

For overly humid rooms, dehumidifiers can help. Simply place the unit in whatever room has gotten too humid and set it to run for a while.

When to Seek Out a Professional

Have you run your AC unit this winter and are worried it may be damaged? There are a few key signs that you should get a professional to inspect your unit.

Firstly, has a significant amount of ice built up around the outside of the machine? Look out for long icicles hanging from the machine, as these are a clear sign that your machine may start to overheat soon.

Has your AC unit been making strange noises or producing smoke? This may point to an overheating problem with the machine. In order to avoid significant damage, you should have it inspected right away.

Finally, has your AC unit stopped working altogether? If so, call a professional immediately to address the issue at hand. 

Air Conditioner Tips to Protect Your AC Unit

With these air conditioning tips for homeowners, you can feel safer while using your AC during the winter. Keep these air conditioner tips in mind the next time you play on cooling down your home. 

Is your air conditioner not running as it should be? Do you live in or near Houston, Texas?

We're here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you have about your AC unit and continue reading our blog for more helpful tips.

heating replacement

Before It's Too Late! The Top Warning Signs You Need Heating Replacement

Do you actually know how old your heating system is? If you are finding your property takes longer to warm, or have noticed an increase in utility costs then it is a sign that you may need a replacement. If you fail to act, a faulty heating system can cost you financially and even worse, can cost your health. 

If you are unsure if your home needs a heating replacement, or you suspect it may, then have no fear. Read on to find our warning signs that indicate you need a heating replacement immediately. 

1. Your Bill Has Increased

The cost of utilities does rise over time, and it is natural to see your bills go up a little year on year. However, sudden and dramatic increases could be down to an inefficient system or parts. If you already know your air ducts are properly sealed and you have been conducting regular maintenance, then you definitely should not have sudden increases. 

If your heating bill increases over a period of a few years, but that increase is not inline with rising energy prices, your furnace is probably to blame. Furnaces become less efficient over time. This means they need more power, using up more energy which translates to cost.

If the furnace is also leaking out heat in areas that are not required, then you will also be incurring extra costs due to increased fuel use. The internal parts may also wear out, causing gas and electricity bills to go up. In this instance, it is best to seek a quote from a professional

2. The Furnace Is Old

Unless you have lived in a property for a long time, you probably do not know the age of your furnace. Like anything in your home, furnaces do not last forever and will need replacing after a while. The average life expectancy of a furnace is 18 years.

If you know or suspect your furnace is over 15 years old, then it probably needs replacing. You can check this by looking at the label under the unit (if it has one). 

Replacements should be conducted not just because your furnace will fail or break, but because modern furnaces are much more energy-efficient. In fact, your furnace may keep running for a while longer, but the cost to you in utilities will become more than if you had replaced the unit. Try to locate a new furnace that has energy star ratings for maximum efficiency. 

3. Odd Noises

One way you can tell that your furnace is reaching the end of its life is by the strange noises it will begin to make. Squealing, rattling, banging, and popping may all start to emanate from your unit. Another sign is that the blower may turn on and off frequently, or starts to blow cold air. 

The noise you will hear will denote the problem, though they are too vast to list. The most common problems tend to be faulty motors or loose parts. Avoid them by scheduling regular maintenance or calling a repair specialist immediately. 

4. Heating Replacement and Illness

A more serious sign of the need for heating replacement is an illness in the occupants of the property. You do not want your family or colleagues to get sick, and problems caused by aged heating can often be quite serious. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very serious problem that can result in death. It is characterized by flu and cold-like symptoms in the early stages.

Usually, it is caused by a leak in the gas heater or poor ventilation from the exhaust section. If the exhaust is not venting out of the living space properly or is not controlled, then the gas can build up. Gas can also leak from the heater exchange or other parts of the system. 

You can keep yourself safe with a carbon monoxide detector. It is the only way to notice the gas before it is too late, as it is color and odorless. 

5. Pilot Light Flame

A gas heater should always have a bright blue flame. A flame that is yellow or flickering is not a good sign and can be an indication that carbon monoxide is being created by your furnace and not venting away safely. The dirty and blocked system needs to be replaced or cleaned to prevent this. 

If you find that the flame is weak or flickering without color changes, then gas is not being completely burned. Consult a specialist as it is a health risk. 

6. Dry Atmosphere

Stuffiness and staleness in the house is an indicator that you may need your heating replacing. Aged furnaces do not have the ability to add moisture and clean the air in your property. You can see this if you have increased dust accumulation, static electricity build-ups, and furniture that dries and cracks. 

Signs can also physically appear in occupants of the property. Dry noses, throats, or skin can be irritable signs. If anyone in the home suffers from any allergies they may also find that they increase in dry conditions. 

7. The Thermostat Is Not Responding

If you find you are adjusting the thermostat often, or rooms are far too hot or cold, it could be a furnace problem. The furnace is no longer able to distribute the heat throughout your house. It could also be that the thermostat itself needs replacing or is due to have an upgrade. 


Do Not Delay a Replacement

While your heating may still work under these circumstances, you can not delay a heating replacement or service. Financial costs aside, it could cost you and others your health. 

P&M can provide services and maintenance for all your heating and AC needs. We have experienced, professional staff on hand willing to provide dedicated customer service. Call us today for a quote if you have any worries or queries about your heating replacement. 

air duct cleaning in houston tx

7 Signs Your HVAC System Needs Air Duct Cleaning in Houston TX

In the U.S., we spend about 90% of our lives indoors. That means the average person spends about 21.6 hours inside every day.

If you don't have easy access to the outdoors, you could spend all your time indoors. 

The trouble is, indoor air can carry up to 5 times as much pollution as the fresh air from outside. Indoor pollutants can include things like pet dander, cigarette smoke, mold, lead, and asbestos. 

Luckily, cleaning your air ducts can make a big difference. Read on to learn the signs you need air duct cleaning in Houston, TX so you can breathe a sigh of relief. 

1. You See Dust Coming From Your Air Vents

If you turn on your heat or air conditioning and you see a puff of dust or smoke come out of the vent, that's a sure sign your air ducts are dirty. When things are working properly, you shouldn't see or smell anything coming from the vent.

If you'd like to check your system, switch your heat or AC off. Wait a few minutes and turn it back on. Do you see any dust particles or smell something smokey coming from your vents? 

If you see dust, you should schedule a professional cleaning soon. If you see or smell smoke, try not to use your system before a technician can come look at it. You could have a clogged air duct or a mechanical issue with your HVAC unit. 

2. Your Energy Bills Are Going Up

It's normal for your energy costs to fluctuate from month to month. But, if there haven't been any major weather changes and your bill has gotten much more expensive, it could be an issue with your HVAC system. 

First, check your utility bill for any new fees or service charges. Then, ask yourself if you've used a lot more energy in the past month. For example, a new hot tub could boost your monthly energy bill by as much as $50.

Once you've ruled those things out, you could have an issue with your air ducts. If your ducts are clogged with dust, your system will have to work harder to heat or cool your home. If you've noticed a change in airflow in a particular room, you could even have a blockage in your ductwork.

3. Your House Is Always Dusty 

Dust is inevitable in an indoor environment. Every few weeks or once a month, you might need to pull out your microfiber cloth or feather duster to keep your home looking fresh. 

But, if it seems like you're constantly battling dust bunnies when your cleaning schedule hasn't changed, your duct work could be the culprit.

Hot and cold air travels from your furnace or air conditioner, through the ductwork, and out of the vents in your home. The more dust that builds up inside the ducts, the more dust that will come out of your vents. It will settle on hard surfaces and make your house dustier. 

4. You've Just Renovated Your House

Renovation projects are exciting, but they're also bad for indoor air quality. Whether you're renovating the kitchen, taking down a wall, or getting a new tile floor, expect some dust. 

The trouble really starts when that dust from construction makes its way into your air ducts. You'll keep breathing in those cement or paint particles until you get your ducts cleaned. 

Luckily, you and your construction crew can prevent some of this dust in the first place. Depending on the renovation, you can put covers over your vents. You can also rent an air scrubber and ask the crew to install plastic sheeting around the renovation area of your home. 

5. Your Vent Grilles Look Dusty

Your vent grilles control the direction of airflow in your home. They also cover up the large vent holes in your floor or ceiling. You can also use your vent grilles to spot problems with your air ducts.

If you notice a lot of dust on your vent grilles, there's a good chance it's coming from inside the duct. Walk around your house to check your other vents. Do they look just as dusty?

If you're noticing dusty vent grilles throughout your home, you could have a widespread issue with your ducts. Contact an HVAC service company for maintenance as soon as you can.  

6. Your Family Is Having More Health Problems 

Indoor air quality issues can lead to allergy systems, asthma flare ups, itchy skin, and respiratory infections. If it seems like you or your family members have new or worsening allergy symptoms this year, think about your air ducts. 

Between allergies, cold, and flu season, you might notice more coughing and runny noses than usual. But, if you're noticing ongoing symptoms, you might want to look at your air ducts.

If dirty air ducts were to blame, your symptoms might improve in just a few weeks. 

7. You Notice a Musty Smell Throughout Your Home

If you're noticing a widespread musty odor throughout your home, it could be coming from your air ducts. If your AC system can't keep humidity in check, it can lead to mold growth.

Mold and mildew growth can also cause respiratory issues, just like dust can. Plus, if you don't address it soon, it can keep growing and spread throughout your ductwork. 

To check for mold yourself, remove the grille cover and get a flashlight. If you see signs of mold, reach out to a technician who specializes in indoor air quality and mold removal. 

Hire a Pro to Handle Your Air Duct Cleaning in Houston, TX

Dirty air ducts can make your house harder to clean, raise your energy bills, and even cause health problems. Since we spend so much time indoors, it's critical to think about the air we're breathing. If you've noticed any of the above warning signs, it might be time for air duct cleaning. 

But, air duct cleaning is more than dusting the inside of your air vents. It requires special air duct cleaning tools and expert knowledge of HVAC systems. That's why it's best to leave it to the pros.  

If you're looking for air duct cleaning in Houston, TX we can help. At P&M Air Conditioning and Heating, we offer indoor air quality solutions to make your home safer and cleaner. Contact us today to schedule a repair or get a quote.