heating and cooling maintenance

Heating and Cooling Maintenance During a Texas Heat Wave

The average high temperatures in Houston's summer months are often well above 90° Fahrenheit. During this time of year, it's critical to stay on top of heating and cooling maintenance.

Regularly maintaining your air conditioning system can help you avoid costly repairs. Without proper maintenance, your system could even break down entirely, leaving you without any AC in the heat of summer.

If you're wondering how to keep your heating and cooling systems running well this summer, we've got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about HVAC maintenance during a heat wave in Houston, Texas!

How Do Air Conditioners Work?

Before you can understand the basic maintenance that will keep your AC running smoothly, you should know the basics of how it works.

The most common type of air conditioning in the United States is the central system. Central systems use a network of ducts and vents to circulate cool air through the home.

This type of system uses an outdoor compressor and an indoor AC unit. The indoor unit removes heat from the air in the home and transfers it to the outdoor compressor.

Most air conditioning systems are controlled with a thermostat, which tells the unit when to cycle on and off.

Other types of air conditioners include standing units, ductless split systems, and window units. All types of air conditioners work by removing heat from inside the home and expelling it outside.

Signs of Issues With Your System

While an HVAC professional can definitively diagnose problems with your AC, there are a few telltale signs you can look out for.

The most obvious problem with an AC system is your home not getting cool enough. This can be caused by mechanical problems or something as simple as a clogged duct.

You might also notice strange sounds or smells coming from your AC unit.

Grinding or banging noises usually indicate a mechanical problem or worn part. Odd smells usually point to dust or mildew, which can have a huge impact on your home's indoor air quality.

Heating and Cooling Maintenance Tips

Now you know the main components of your air conditioning system and how they work. Let's take a look at how to keep them running properly.

Keep Your System Clean

Probably the easiest and most effective maintenance you can do yourself is making sure all the parts of your system stay clean. This includes indoor and outdoor components.

While ductwork cleaning should be left to professionals, keep vents free of dust and debris. Clean vents will make it easier for your system to clear out ductwork.

Your AC unit may also accumulate dust, so look it over every once in a while and give it a good dusting. Additionally, be on the lookout for your air conditioner leaking, as this can be a sign of an improper seal or damage.

The outdoor compressor is especially susceptible to debris like dirt and even branches. Keeping the compressor clean will allow your system to more easily transfer heat from your home, which will save energy.

Change Air Filters Regularly

Another easy form of maintenance is changing your air filter. It's easy to overlook the filter and go months without changing it, but filters are inexpensive and you usually don't need tools to change them.

It's important to change your filter because a dusty one will restrict airflow from the AC unit and can even damage it. Depending on how much you use your air conditioner, you should change your air filter every one or two months.

Keep Your System On

This may seem counterintuitive, but turning your AC off and back on can actually strain it more than just keeping it running.

When you leave home in the morning, set the thermostat to a higher temperature rather than shutting the system off. When you get home, your system won't be starting from scratch to cool the house down.

You may even consider a programmable thermostat that you can set to turn on at a particular time. Set it to start cooling your home 30 minutes before you get there and you'll come home to a comfortable temperature without wasting power.

Check Your Thermostat

The thermostat is the air conditioner's "brain," so if it isn't working properly, the whole system may not function. Most modern thermostats have a digital screen, but some have a dial or slider.

For digital thermostats, check if the screen comes on and make sure the batteries are fresh. If the screen doesn't come on even with new batteries, check for any disconnected wires.

If you have an analog thermostat, set your system to a certain temperature and check it with a thermometer. Your system should cycle on until it reaches the temperature you set.

Have a Professional Inspect Your System

While you can perform basic maintenance yourself, you should have a service technician perform routine checks a few times a year. Certified HVAC technicians are trained to find problems with HVAC systems that you may not notice.

AC companies often offer free quotes for repairs, so if you suspect something is wrong with your system, have a technician inspect it. An AC and heating tune-up will save you money in the long run if it prevents wear on your system.

The Bottom Line on HVAC Maintenance

With the heat of summer in full swing, heating and cooling maintenance are more important than ever.

If you're wondering, "Where can I find AC repair near me?" P & M HVAC is the solution you need! We've been serving the Houston community for over 75 years.

Contact us today for a walkthrough of AC repair, free estimate, or complete system inspection!

central air conditioner maintenance

Getting Ready for Summer: 7 Central Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

The dog days of summer will be upon us before we know it. It feels good to have sunshine and warmth in the air. It also feels good to go inside and cool off in your nice air-conditioned house.

So, there's nothing quite so frustrating as turning on the air on the first hot day only to find it won't turn on. Or it won't blow cold air.

Of course, then you're in line with others who want service right away to get their air working. Avoid the hassles by getting your central air conditioner maintenance taken care of before it's a problem.

Read on to learn about some things you can do or have done by a professional to make sure your air conditioner is ready for summer.

1. Air Conditioner Filters

One of the simplest tasks you can do, and you can do this yourself, is to clean or replace the air conditioner filters.

These filters are found inside the house. They can be found in the furnace or air handler cabinet of your furnace. Sometimes you will find them near the air inlet part of the furnace.

The purpose of these filters, like any filter, is to trap dirt and air particles. Yet, when these get too full of dust and dirt particles, the air can't move through them.

As a result, you don't get good airflow and your house doesn't cool down the way you want it to.

2. Check the Condenser Coils

Just the name condenser coils sound remarkably complicated. This isn't though.

First, you need to make sure, and this is important, that you have turned off the power to your air conditioner unit.

Then go to the outdoor metal box that is part of your air conditioning system. You will see the fan blades at the top of the unit.

These fan blades move air around the interior condenser coils when your unit is running. During the winter, debris can get inside the unit and clog up the condenser coils.

Remove the lid of your unit and the sides. This often can be done by loosening a few screws.

Then you can use a soft hand brush or vacuum brush to clean the coils. These coils look like fins and are surprisingly fragile. You want to be careful not to bend them while cleaning.

Removing the dirt and debris allows better airflow and a more efficient air conditioner hunt.

3. Debris Around the Condenser

Once you are finished cleaning the coils, you want to remove any debris found inside the condenser. Often leaves and dirt from winter gather inside there.

Use your hand or a vacuum to scoop out the debris. If there is a drain (many units have one) you want to clear out the drain at the bottom of the condenser.

Then you can use a rag to wipe down the fan blades. Check the bolts that hold the fan blades. You want to be sure nothing is loose that would throw off how the fan operates.

4. Remove Outdoor Obstructions

While many people want to do outdoor plantings around the outdoor part of their air conditioner, really this is not a good idea. You want there to be open space and good airflow around the outdoor part of your air conditioning unit.

You want to remove any leaves or weeds that might prevent good airflow around the exterior of the unit.

It's smart to keep anything growing several feet from your air conditioning unit.

5. Check the Coolant Lines

The coolant lines run from your outdoor part of the unit into your house. They run from the air handler inside to the condenser outside.

These coolant lines are typically wrapped in foam insulation. This prevents the coolant lines from losing unnecessary energy.

Sometimes outdoor critters will chew on the foam insulation and it gets frayed away. You want those lines protected for maximum efficiency.

You can replace this with new foam insulation by wrapping the coolant lines and taping them with the insulation tape. These are supplies you can pick up at your local home improvement store.

6. Check for Air Flow Leaks

If it appears your air conditioner is running fine and yet your house isn't cooling the right way, you might have a leak. Leaks in ductwork mean the cool air escapes before it arrives at the rooms in your house.

Check your visible ductwork for loose spots. You can even turn on your system and feel your ducts to see if you feel airflow.

A professional HVAC specialist can also do an inspection of your ductwork to check this.

7. Thermostat

This is a great time to upgrade your thermostat to a programmable thermostat. If your thermostat isn't working, it won't tell your air conditioner to turn on or turn off.

This can be a real drain on your energy bills.

Imagine how nice it will be to come home from work and have your smart thermostat working to have your house cooled off and ready for you.  Some programmable thermostats even allow users to control them from an app on their phone.

Get Your Central Air Conditioner Maintenance Done Today

There's nothing worse than that first hot day, to click on your air conditioner only to find it not working well. Avoid the hassles by taking care of your central air conditioner maintenance today.

Want help making sure your unit is ready for those hot Texas summer days? Give us a call and we can come out and make sure your unit is ready to go for those first hot days of summer.

ac maintenance

Is Spring a Good Time of the Year to Perform AC Maintenance?

Did you know that the HVAC systems market was priced at $130.5 billion in 2019? Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are vital when we are in our house for all hours of the day.

We are all stuck inside together, and the temperature of our homes is essential, this spring add ac maintenance to your list of cleaning and reorganizing. Keep reading, and we will guide you through why spring is the season to check in on your air conditioning.

Spring Routine

This spring, we may not be able to leave our homes often, which is why it's more important to make sure your home is clean, comfy, and at the right temperature for you and your family. Spring cleaning is an activity you can involve the whole family during this time indoors.

You want to make sure that you're preparing for warmer months with your air conditioner. We are here to help with our air conditioning check-in services.

Not only is this important for the quality of air and temperature, but having an air conditioner service come in the spring can prevent any summer meltdowns and unexpected expenses.

Why You Should Get AC Maintenance

Every spring, you should get your air conditioner looked at to make sure everything is working. The spring is a time for routine cleaning and getting everything on track before the summer. Your AC maintenance should be on your to-do list along with other spring cleaning chores.

However, this spring, it's even more essential because we are all spending a lot of time in the house, in some cases crammed with our families, roommates, pets, or significant others.

We are going to walk through the benefits of getting your air conditioner checked out this spring:

1. Decrease Monthly Cost

If there are parts of your air conditioner that are dirty or broken, it won't run as efficiently. If your air conditioner is working harder to cool your house, this will result in higher energy bills and monthly costs.

For example, if your AC has dirty coils, it will not be able to get rid of heat easily or quickly, making it work harder to get to the set temperature.

Right now, energy bills are up from having your lights on all day, to using your computer when you work at home or cooking more because everyone is in their house most of the hours of the day. If you can reduce your bill in any way moving forward, it's essential to take preventative action now.

If you invest in getting ac maintenance now, you will save money in the long run, and your monthly costs won't be affected. Spring is so essential because it's before the warmer months of summer, so you're taking preventative action against any issues.

2. Schedule Around You

We are at our busiest during the summer and winter months, with last-minute appointments that come up if a heater breaks in the dead of winter or an air conditioner goes out on a 90 degree summer day. Everyone is using their HVAC systems every day during these seasons.

We have more availability in the spring and can work around your schedule to find a day and time that fits into your day.

Right now, with everyone home, we want to make sure we don't disrupt anyone's workday or come during important meetings.

The future is unknown, and we want to make sure you secure a spot that works in your schedule your appointment today for this spring because we will e able to provide more flexible options.

3. Reduce Risks

If you schedule AC maintenance for the spring, you reduce the risk that your air conditioner will shut down or have issues in the summer. The summer is primetime for AC breakdowns.

The common AC maintenance checklist includes checking for clogs, lubricating all moving parts to make sure nothing is stuck, looking for loose electrical and tightening those, double-check the blower, and other routine checks.

We look to make sure every piece of the puzzle fits so that you're able to be in your home comfortably during the summer months.

4. Air Quality

When your AC has been running for an entire summer, dust and debris builds up and is released the next time you use your system. The allergens can create poor air quality with the excess dust and debris circulating through your house. The dust can cause allergies and a general uncomfortable feeling in your home.

We will check to make sure that nothing is clogged and that there isn't dust and debris in the blower. Removing these allergens will help increase your indoor air quality and reduce the allergy issues making your family comfortable.

5. Lifespan of Air Conditioner

The regular maintenance on your air conditioner can help upkeep the AC and will make it last longer. We can also typically estimate how much more life your older air conditioner has, so it's less of an unexpected expense when the time comes for you to get a new one, and you can prepare for it.

General maintenance and upkeep on your air conditioner is something you should make routine every spring. This spring is almost more important because we all want to be comfortable in our homes and not have to worry about an AC breakdown when summer starts.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

We are here for your AC maintenance needs. You can contact us online or call to set up an appointment for a routine check-up this spring, and we will work around your schedule.

You can also text us through the website for any general questions you may have before scheduling an appointment. If there's a specific issue you want us to look at when we come for a checkup or you have a question about our maintenance checkup procedure, we are here to answer your questions.

Our team is here to resolve any issues before the summer starts and make sure everything is up and running correctly.

Schedule your AC maintenance appointment today or keep reading about the many services we offer here!