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.


troubleshooting HVAC problems

Great Tricks From The Experts For Troubleshooting HVAC Problems

You may be surprised to know that about three-quarters of homes in the United States have air conditioning. This figure makes sense because very few people are willing to sweat the summer away.

Calling HVACs lifesavers is an understatement. Thanks to these beauties, folks can enjoy cool summers and keep the draught away during winter. Also, we can use air conditioners to improve air quality because ACs filter excess dust and bacteria from the air to only circulate clean air.

In as much as air conditioners are lifesavers, troubleshooting HVAC problems can become a real headache. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a technological expert to troubleshoot the most common problems with HVACs.

This piece will highlight some incredible tips from leading HVAC experts on how to troubleshoot the most common issues with HVACs. That way, you’ll at least have an idea on how to go about it the next time your HVAC makes those weird noises.

The Working Principle of an HVAC

Before getting to the troubleshooting part, it might be helpful to know the underlying working mechanism of a typical air conditioning system. Don’t get your Physics course books yet; we’ll try to keep this explanation as concise and simple as possible.

Your HVAC system applies the same principle as your refrigerator in its operation. Now your HVAC probably has two units, one inside and the other outside the house. Although we typically have many types of HVAC systems.

The outside parts are as follows:

Vents- You’ll mostly find the vents near the ceiling. They distribute cooled or heated air to various rooms across the home. This air comes from the duct system, and these vents generally face downward and should never block.

Refrigerant lines- These are small duct lines that carry the refrigerant in gaseous form. This gas transforms into liquid then moves back to the evaporator coil to become gas again. Heat is lost and gained in this process.

The parts inside your home consist of the following:-

Thermostat- The thermostat is responsible for temperature regulation. It is the part you’ll interact with most as an HVAC owner.

Condensing unit- It is the unit that houses the refrigerant gas. This refrigerant is cooled to liquid then moved to the evaporating coil, where it transforms to gas again.

Evaporator coil- This unit cools down air when you set the thermostat to a lower temperature.

Furnace- The furnace is what brings the whole HVAC system together. The furnace heats the air, which the ducts then distribute to various rooms in your home.

The basic operation of an HVAC involves these processes.

First, air comes from the outside through the vents and ducts. Depending on the thermostat settings, the device will either cool or heat the air to a particular temperature.

This air is then distributed through the duct system to the various rooms. When air pushes into the coils for heating, air displaces from the room to the outside, then back to the system, and the cycle continues.

Troubleshooting HVAC Problems Like the Experts Do

It can be very frustrating when your HVAC doesn’t work as it should. No one likes a stuffy and uncomfortable room. It can be an especially embarrassing situation when you have guests over.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an HVAC expert to troubleshoot some of the most common problems with your HVAC. All you need is the right tips form the seasoned experts, and you’re good to go.

Here are a couple of resourceful tips for troubleshooting HVAC problems you could try out next time your HVAC is giving you problems.

1. Uneven Cooling

Uneven cooling is a problem most homes face with their HVAC units. You may find that your HVAC cools parts of your home very well but doesn’t do a good job in some parts.

Sometimes it’s not an issue with the unit itself but your home’s sealing. Some regions may not have proper sealing, which allows for cold air to escape. 

Turn your AC ON and find a room that remains stuffy even with the AC working. Try sealing the room off to create even more efficient airflow.

2. Filters are Dirty

Dirty filters could affect how your HVAC system works quite significantly. Clean filters allow for better air circulation, which makes for quicker cooling.

To prevent dirty filters, you need to exercise proper HVAC maintenance practices consistently. That way, you’ll never have to worry about your filters getting dirty.

3. Coil Issues

Issues with the coils are pretty common among many HVAC units. Now depending on the severity of these coil issues, you may need to call in the experts.

Hissing noises from the outdoor unit could indicate a leak with the coil. You may also realize an unpleasant smell whenever you turn on the system. If your system also takes a while to kick in, it could also indicate an issue with the evaporating coil.

4. Ignition Problems

There are many causes of ignition problems. The most common is a dirty pilot flame or burners that can cause a pilot outage.

There could also be an issue with the gas supply. Whatever the problem is, it is typically challenging to repair ignition problems by yourself. You’re better off calling an expert to help you fix the issue.

5. Tripped Breakers

Tripped breakers go hand in hand with blown fuses. Your HVAC is an electrical machine with electronic components. Your fuse will most likely trip if the blower overworks.

It is up to you to figure out why the blower is overworking. The most common reason could be dirty air filters. Also remember, the more your blower overworks the more you pay for your power.

It’s best to get to the root of the problem soonest so you can save on your power bills.

Call the Experts When Needed

Undoubtedly you’re now a pro at troubleshooting HVAC problems. Remember to carry out the best maintenance practices and you won’t need to troubleshoot any of these problems.

Not everyone is an HVAC expert, so though you can troubleshoot the problem, you can’t always fix them. Don’t be afraid to call the experts whenever needed. That way, you can get everything fixed up the professional way.

If you need professional HVAC installation, maintenance and repair, contact us today for quick and expedient service.


Houston air conditioning maintenance

Houston Air Conditioning Maintenance: 6 Tips You Need to Know

As the average Houston homeowner spends more than a quarter of its energy budget on air conditioning alone, it's vital to find ways to save. One of the best ways to save money is to keep your unit working properly with regular maintenance. For homeowners in Houston, air conditioning maintenance is a way to keep a unit running smoothly and at maximum efficiency.

Here are six tips that you need to know.

1. Clean Your Air Filters

One of the easiest things to do as a homeowner is to clean the air filters on your air conditioner. The filters are responsible for blocking out all the harmful dust and dirt that's sucked into the machine as it runs. It also keeps bacteria and microorganisms out.

One of the best impacts it has on your home is to keep out insects and pests. However, if you don't clean out your filters, you make it harder for your machine to run. The holes on the air filter will get clogged and when your machine tries to run, it's going to have to work harder to do less.

Air filters are usually easy for you to access. Lift up the front panel of your unit or if you have vents for airflow, there's probably a filter there. Larger HVAC units need to have their filters replaced a few times a year.

2. Remove Exterior Dirt

The dirt on the outside of your air conditioning unit could be making things harder for you. When the outdoor compressor is cluttered and clogged with debris, it's not going to run efficiently.

Your compressor needs to be outside so that it can bring in lots of fresh air. However, animal waste, dust, dirt, and leaves can easily get into the machine. These impurities not only end up in your air but also get in the way of the function of the machine.

When a machine is working harder, it's going to break down sooner. Outdoor compressors aren't designed to handle extra weight or obstructions. Cleaning up your impurities on a monthly basis ensures that you're not hindered by foliage.

If you can put it above-ground foliage, you can save yourself a lot of hassle with just a two-foot lift beneath the unit.

3. Consider Covering it When Not in Use

If you're not using your AC unit for the next few months, leaving it dormant could lead it to degrade. During the winter, it's a hassle to remove an AC unit. However, you should still consider ways to keep it carefully wrapped.

If you're going on a month-long vacation, that's another reason to wrap it up. Wrapping your air conditioner with packaging, a box, or cloth can ensure that you keep dust particles out of the components. This extra layer of protection ensures it maintains its efficiency.

If you have a larger HVAC system, you can turn it off and disconnect it before you cover it to ensure you don't run into issues. Make sure to leave a note over the switch or panel to remind you months later to clear the covering before you get it started again.

4. Deal With Refrigerant Leaks

Leaks of your refrigerant are not only dangerous but also can be costly. Leaks can be caused just by the vibration of the mechanism over time. It can also be a problem because of a joint in the coil that's not properly fitted.

If you need to refill your unit with refrigerant, it's going to be costly. The cost of the material has become increasingly expensive over time. Regular checks for leaks in your air conditioner is vital to ensure that you don't run into problems.

Many of the best units out there have detection and diagnosis built into the machine. They'll let you know if there's a refrigerant leakage problem as soon as it begins. However, if your unit is a little bit older, it might not have this mechanism.

Having a unit that can decrease compressor friction and vibration helps to prevent leakage. If you maintain your refrigerant gas, your unit will last much longer.

5. Watch For Corrosion

It's very common for condenser coils to become corroded. As they're exposed to dust and salt along with moisture, they're susceptible to deterioration.

Even just a small layer of dust can reduce the heat exchange capacity of the unit. Watch out for this issue on older units.

Indoor units have evaporator coils that can also collect dust. This unintended insulation keeps your unit from cooling as fast as it should.

6. Clean Out Your Drain Pipe

Just like the dust and debris that build up in your filter, you can also build up sludge in your drain pipe. While the pipe removes the extensive moisture from the room that allows you to get a nice breeze, it also takes some impurities with it. This can even cause clogs.

Take a wire and move it through the drainpipe to ensure that you keep it clear. Any blockage could keep your unit from working properly as the water can't move quickly enough. When you lose moisture control, mildew can grow and bad smells can fill the air.

Houston Air Conditioning Maintenance Professionals Can Help

If you're in Houston, air conditioning maintenance professionals are the best way to ensure your system works to maximum efficiency. Rather than replacing your whole system, doing a little bit of maintenance can prevent major issues down the road.

Summer's not quite over yet! If you need your AC serviced before it really starts to cool down, contact us to make an appointment!