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. 

diagnosing ac problems

AC Tips: Diagnosing AC Problems and Finding Solutions

The home’s air conditioning system tends to fail when you need it the most. Yes, that time when there’s too much heat, and you need something to blow some cool air into your skin. Well, this is also the time when you’ll easily notice that your AC system has a problem.

So, what do you do when your AC system doesn’t work? Don’t call a technician yet because sometimes diagnosing AC problems require a DIY project. Of Course, this applies to those problems with easy fixes.

So what are some AC problems, and how do you solve them? Here are a few AC tips to help you repair common problems without spending a fortune.

1. Blow Circuit Breaker or Fuse

Sometimes your AC problems can be as simple as blown circuit breakers or fuse that only need very easy fixes. But you must know for sure if this is the problem with your AC before you start any diagnosis. If you have a tripped breaker, your AC will refuse to turn on.

You’ll need to head to your home’s main electrical panel and check if your circuit breakers aren’t ‘ON.’ If it’s labeled, check the label of ‘AC’ or ‘Air Conditioner.’ If the label shows that it’s tripped, push it firmly into the ON position and try running it again.

After doing this, your AC might go back to its normal working state, or the breaker can trip again once the AC starts running. If it trips again, then this means the problem is not so simple, and you need a professional to work on the system.

2. Wrong Thermostat Setting

When the thermostat is not set to cool, your AC will not blow the cool air that you desire so much. You need to check if the thermostat is in the correct setting, which is, set to cool for summer temperature. 

You should also ensure that the setting is at least three degrees below the ambient room temperature. If that’s not the case, you need to check if it’s set to ‘off’ or ‘heat.’ Set back your thermostat to AC mode and lower the setting of the temperature. 

3. Blocked Condenser

Sometimes your AC will be running as required, but you can’t get the cooling effect. The main reason for this problem might be because something is blocking your air. This could be as a result of a blocked condenser.

Your condenser may be blocked by dirt, debris, grass, or tall weeds. Check to see if it’s dirty or any dirt is blocking it. If that’s the case, start removing the blockage, which you can do using a hose or a gentle setting.

If the condenser is covered with a thick layer of dirt, which will not be easy for you to remove, call a professional to do some deep cleaning.

4. Diagnosing AC Problems in the Capacitor 

The run capacitor is the big compressor units outside the house, sometimes placed on the roof. This is the boost that starts the condenser and fun, and if it’s spoiled, your home’s cooling will be doomed. You need to make sure the problem is your capacitor and not the contactor to start this diagnosis.

One indication of a capacitor problem is a click followed by a buzz or hum. This means your fan motor is attempting to start, but the boost from the capacitor is not enough to do it. There’s no doubt that your capacitor would have failed.

An easier solution is to get the compressor fan to spin by pushing with a thin stick. This will only work for a circle before the capacitor fails again once you switch on the AC. One permanent solution to this is to replace the capacitor.

5. Problem in the Refrigeration System

When your AC is running as it should, but you notice that the air being blown is not cold, you might have a problem with your refrigeration system. The problem could be with low refrigerant levels. The low levels can be a result of leaks causing the problem over time.

You need to check on the lines and recharge your system. Call a professional to do the AC repair because problems with the refrigerant system could be quite complicated for an amateur. 

6. Disconnected Panel

Sometimes your air conditioner problems may be as a result of disconnected wires. If you suspect that this may be the case, you need to inspect the inside of the access panel. Make sure the power is off before starting the inspection. Carefully remove the access-panel retaining screws and then remove the panel.

Check if the parts inside have rodent nests or chewed wires. If you find chewed or broken wires, discharge the capacitor and start repairing the wires and cleaning the nests. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, it’s best to call a professional.

7. Ice Blockage

Sometimes ice in the air handler can stop your AC system from working as intended. Reduced airflow or low refrigerant levels can cause the air conditioning unit to freeze. If it’s the refrigerant level, then call a pro to refill.

If the problem is reduced airflow to the system, check and see what’s blocking the air. Clean your filter and coils and see if the airflow improves. Also, make sure you run the unit with just the fun and melt off the ice.

Restoring Your AC System Is Simple

Diagnosing AC problems is very simple as long as you can figure out the cause of the problem. Some solutions are as simple as doing some cleanups, while some require a professional touch. 

Sometimes your unit might be too old that you should consider doing a replacement rather than constant repairs. Make sure you only check the most reliable models in the market when you finally consider upgrading your unit. This could save you from any future problems, such as consistent fixes.

Whether you need to repair, upgrade, or seek professional services to help with your AC problems, we will be here to help you out. Contact us through phone, text message, or email for all your AC questions and find reliable answers.

AC stops working

What to Do If Your AC Stops Working in the Middle of the Summer Heat

When your air conditioner stops working, doesn't it always seem like it happens on the hottest day of the year?

The average temperature in July throughout Texas is around 87-degrees F. Living in a house during this type of heat is not pleasant.

So, what do you do when your AC stops working when it's really hot outside?

If you're not sure what to do, here are some tips to help you know precisely what you should do when this happens.

Check the Thermostat

When you initially notice that your AC stopped working, you should check your thermostat. Your thermostat is the device that controls your AC's operations.

If someone changed a setting on the thermostat, your AC system might not be turned on. If it's not on, it can't work.

Therefore, your AC system might not have anything wrong with it. It might simply be turned off. If this is the case, you can turn it back on by switching the setting to "on" or "auto."

There is also a chance that your thermostat might be on the correct setting but might not be working correctly. You probably won't be able to tell if your thermostat is faulty on your own, but you could find this out by hiring a contractor.

If you have a bad thermostat, there's a chance that your AC system is fine. In this event, a contractor could replace the thermostat to get your system running once again.

Examine Both Parts of the Unit

If you can't find a problem with your thermostat, you should check both parts of the central AC system. There are many reasons for an AC system to stop working, and one of the issues might involve a component of the system.

A central AC system has many components, but these systems have two main parts: the indoor part and the outdoor part. Examining both parts can help you find the problem.

As you check these parts, look for ice buildup. Ice buildup on an AC system is relatively common when a system stops working. When you see ice on either part of the system, it can indicate several issues.

The first issue it can indicate is low coolant in the system. The second issue is the restriction of airflow. An AC system needs enough coolant in it and proper airflow for it to run efficiently and accurately.

These are two common reasons that cause systems to stop working.

Remove and Check the Filter

One of the easiest fixes for an AC system that is not working is replacing the air filter. If you don't replace your air filter regularly, your system will not work correctly.

The air filter controls the quality and flow of the air the system receives. The system must receive enough airflow to process and cool the air, and it must receive clean air.

When is the last time you changed your filter? If you never changed it, you'll likely find a dirty, clogged filter in your device. After replacing it, you might notice that your system is running just fine.

If you are not sure if you need to replace the filter, remove it, and look at it. A new air filter is white. If your filter is black, it's an excellent indication to change it.

You can buy air filters from a local hardware store. You should check your filter's size before going to make sure you buy the right size.

Contact an AC Repair Company When Your AC Stops Working

By this point, you'll likely know if you can fix the problem or not. If you can't fix it yourself, the best thing you can do is contact a local AC repair contractor.

By calling soon, you'll receive services faster. AC contractors tend to have busy schedules during hot spells, so you might not receive same-day repairs, but you will receive repairs soon.

When calling an HVAC company, make sure you tell them the problems you have with your system.

For example, if the system is running but is blowing hot air instead of cold air, tell them. If your system doesn't even turn on, make sure you tell them that, too. Explain the issues you are experiencing, and tell them when you first noticed the problem.

Keep Up on the Repairs and Maintenance

While you're waiting for the repair technician to arrive, you might want to learn more about the proper maintenance of your system.

If you are not currently providing the right maintenance to your system, you will probably experience more problems.

Your AC system needs maintenance, and here are several things you should consider doing to keep up with this vital maintenance:

Replace the Filter Regularly

The first thing you should do is change your filter regularly. If you're not sure how often you should do this, ask the technician when he or she arrives. They might tell you to do this every other month or three to four times a year.

Schedule a Tune-Up in the Spring

Next, you should consider scheduling an AC tune-up every spring. A tune-up involves several steps, and the purpose is to keep your system running efficiently.

A tune-up includes cleaning your system and checking the coolant level. It also includes replacing any worn-out parts.

If you get a tune-up each year, you might be able to prevent outages in the future. You may also save money on utility expenses, as a well-maintained system operates more efficiently.

Stay Cool in the Meantime Through These Methods

When your AC stops working, it might be challenging to stay cool while waiting for the contractor to come and fix it. If you're having trouble staying cool, turn on your ceiling fans, and turn on additional fans around your house.

You can also stay cool by wearing fewer clothes and by avoiding the use of your oven.

If your AC is not working, give us a call right away. When you contact us at P&M Heating and Air Conditioning, we'll send a technician to your home to evaluate and repair your system. After getting the necessary repairs, you'll be cool in no time!

hvac in houston tx

Do You Need a Permit to Replace Your HVAC in Houston TX?

It's hard to underestimate the importance of good HVAC in Houston, TX. When it gets hot, you need something working to keep your home at a manageable temperature.

That said, HVAC systems work only has hard as the weather is hot. So, living in a hot climate means that your system is working hard most of the year, and you're going to see some wear and tear over the years.

It might be tempting to try and replace your HVAC system yourself and save some money. We're going to talk a little bit about how to move forward with getting a new HVAC installed in this article.

Replacing Your HVAC in Houston, TX

We hate to break it to you but installing an HVAC system without a permit is illegal in Houston. This may seem like kind of a hindrance to your home improvement, but it's the case for a couple of good reasons.

The first reason is that shoddy HVAC installation can lead to a number of health issues for you and your family. The air that you breathe is tantamount to your health. Issues like mold and other pollutants can really harm you.

Additionally, the people that live in your home after you will have the peace of mind that the air they're breathing isn't toxic. Further, this law makes it so that anyone you hire to do HVAC work for you will be certain to have the permit to do so.

That means you aren't paying for bad or dangerous work. It would be easy to miss the quality of a contractor's work when it comes to HVAC systems, too. So long as your home is kept cool, how would you know the difference?

This is why Houston also requires that a city inspector takes a look at your work after it's done.

City Inspection

So, the process is twofold. You or your contractor have to have a permit to do the work, and that work needs to be inspected when it's done.

The nice thing is that these inspections are relatively short, and you can simply schedule them to line up with the completion of your work. In fact, the city inspection takes around 30 minutes.

The part that might be a nuisance to you is applying for and paying for the permit. You have to contact the city of Houston in advance of any work that you do and make sure that you're approved before you start.

The fee of the permit will depend on the nature of the work and the price that you charge the customer. If you're working on your own, those fees might be different depending on your particular project.

In light of the hoops that you have to jump through, it might be simpler to skip the work on your own and hire an HVAC professional.

Need Some HVAC Help?

Working on your HVAC in Houston, TX might require a little more paperwork than you're interested in doing. Instead, hiring a professional to do the work can take your mind off of permits and inspections.

We’re to help you through all of that red tape and get you set up with a system that’s safe for you and your loved ones. Contact us for more insight into what's possible for your new HVAC system.

improving indoor air quality

7 Tips on Improving Indoor Air Quality for New Homeowners

On average, most Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. Now, more people are spending the majority of their time at home, rather than in the office, at the gym, or out on the town. 

We all know that there are a lot of environmental hazards that pose a large health risk. Did you know that the EPA considers poor indoor air quality to be one of the top five environmental hazards?

If you want to ensure a cleaner, healthier future, it is imperative that you focus on improving indoor air quality.

Let's take a look at 7 ways that you can address the air pollution sources in your own home.

Clean to Reduce Air Pollution

The first three tips on our list involve developing a basic cleaning routine. There are three major problem areas in every home that homeowners should never overlook. Let's take a look at what those problem areas are and how you can address them.

1. Carpeting 

A lot of the pollutants you should worry about aren't constantly circulating through your air. Dust mites, pollen, and other irritants settle into your carpeting and get kicked up over and over due to foot traffic and other disturbances.

Vacuum all carpeting in your home at least once or twice a week. If your carpeting appears to have water damage or dry rot, replace it entirely. If you're looking for a more permanent solution, consider removing your carpeting in favor of exposed hardwood or tile flooring.

2. Damp Areas

Mold spores contribute a great deal to indoor air pollution, and damp areas are breeding grounds for mold. Monitor your bathroom, crawl space, and piping for signs of leaking or prolonged dampness. You may want to install dehumidifiers in areas that never seem to dry out.

If mold is currently growing in your home, you can tackle it with bleach-based cleaners. A green alternative is diluted white vinegar, although you may have more success using bleach if the mold has settled in.

3. Dusty Spaces

If you find that your asthma, allergies, or other respiratory ailments are getting worse, you may have a dust problem. Avoid using feather dusters, as they only trap about 50% of dust and send the rest back into the air. Instead, use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove dust from surfaces around your home.

Establish Your Own IAQ Program

At P&M, we believe that the only way to tackle indoor air quality is to establish an indoor air quality program. Our IAQ program involves four proactive measures that directly reduce the number of pollutants in your home, from dust and grime to toxic chemicals. Let's take a look at what we can accomplish together to improve your indoor air quality. 

4. Mechanical Ventilation

One of the best ways to dilute pollutant-riddled air is to constantly introduce fresh air into your home. However, opening your windows isn't always an option, especially when you have the HVAC running. Plus, most energy-saving HVAC systems require a tight seal against outdoor air, eliminating any dilution you may have been getting from cracks around your windows and doors. 

Mechanical ventilation systems exhaust contaminated air while pumping in fresh air. You can ensure that your air is well-circulated without messing up your energy savings.

5. Humidifiers

While some trouble areas in your home may be too damp, the majority of your home is probably too dry. Dry air accumulates irritants at a faster rate which are then spread all over your home through your HVAC system. Pairing your HVAC with a humidifier is the best way to maintain proper levels of moisture in your indoor air to avoid this outcome.

As an added bonus, humidifiers can help to alleviate any skin or hair dryness you may experience, especially in the winter months. 

6. Purifiers

As always, make sure that you are changing the filters on your HVAC every two to three months. This ensures that they can continue to catch irritants such as dust, pollen, and dander before your heated or cooled air is sent into your home.

If you're concerned about your indoor air quality, air purifiers make a great companion to the filters your HVAC system already utilizes. In addition to introducing humidity into your HVAC, we will also install a state of the art air purification system. We offer air purifiers that can capture particles as small as .03 microns. 

7. UV Lighting

Ultraviolet light has the ability to kill off living biological organisms. When DNA is exposed to UV lighting, it becomes damaged. As long as this exposure is prolonged, that damage is irreparable and the organism will die.

While there are ways to keep your bathroom, crawl space, and other damp indoor areas clear of mold, some spots are too tough to reach. In fact, the evaporator coil in your central air conditioner is at risk of developing mold and fungi. Rather than allowing those organisms to thrive and grow, we install UV lighting in your HVAC system that will take care of the problem before it even starts. 

Improving Indoor Air Quality Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Improving your indoor air quality is a necessary way to protect your family and maintain good health. Remember that in addition to the measures we've addressed above, you should also receive regular HVAC maintenance to ensure that your airflow is clean and efficient.

P&M HVAC is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us to set up an IAQ program appointment and your HVAC inspection.