Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning in Houston, TX

Is it really a big deal if your AC system is a little dusty? The short answer — yes!

Although you might not think about your air ducts too much, they matter a lot to the health of your home and its residents. They might even make a difference to your finances!

When you learn about how important air duct cleaning in Houston, TX is, and its surrounding areas, you'll want to call an air duct cleaning professional today.

So keep reading to learn more. Below, we'll explain the benefits of air duct cleaning.

Lower Electricity Bill

An AC in tip-top shape will produce a lower electricity bill. That's because grime and dust can otherwise overwork your AC system. Overworked AC systems make electricity bills higher than they should be by using up more energy to perform basic functions.

Even if you regularly change your filters, that's no substitute for professional air duct cleaning. Your system itself can still become very dirty. Although a little dust may not hurt, your system will easily accumulate a lot of pollutants.

But by hiring air duct cleaning services, you'll remove all pollutants that obstruct your AC's airflow. This way, you won't overwork your AC system. After you hire a professional for air duct cleaning, you'll probably see a lower number on your electricity bill!

Better Comfort

The main reason people use their AC system is to regulate their home's temperature. But when your AC system doesn't work the way you want it to, you might suffer a ton of discomfort before finding the relief you need.

You might have pollutants obstructing the airflow of various parts of your AC system or all of the system. It might also take a lot longer for your AC to work the way you want it to, which is also not ideal. Taking too long to work is also symptomatic of an overworked AC system.

If you need a reason to hire someone for air duct cleaning in Houston, TX, and surrounding areas, think about the extreme weather conditions locals face. Locals are not strangers to high heat and chilly lows, and waiting almost an hour for your home's temperature to be just right isn't ideal for any Texan.

Cleaner Home

Dust in your AC system is a problem, but that doesn't mean it will stay only there. It will also circulate throughout your home without emptying itself out enough throughout the process.

Too much dust might be why everything's covered in a dusty/dirty film after you've turned on the AC. Not a pretty sight for anyone responsible for vacuuming and dusting the house.

A good air duct cleaning will ensure that there's nothing that can circulate through your home — well, except air. This way, you'll maintain a hygienic home and won't add an hour to your weekly chore list.

Improved Air Quality

Improper air quality can leave residents and guests more than a little worse for wear. Even without respiratory conditions, residents might feel unless with so much dust and grime floating around.

It'll be hard for them to breathe if indoor air pollution is high. The musty stench that results from unclean air flow might also dissuade them from revisiting your home.

Not only that, but dust can also make otherwise healthy people sick. It's not uncommon for healthy people to develop bronchial and sinus congestion from being around bad air quality for too long.

But if you need the ultimate green light to improve your air quality, think about how welcoming your home would be to those with allergies and/or respiratory symptoms. For these people, bad air quality can be dangerous, if not lethal. This is especially true if there's any mold/mildew in your AC system that you don't know about.

Hire a professional for the health of everyone that enters your home. This way, you can make guests and residents feel welcome — all while knowing that your home's air quality poses no health risks.

Better-Smelling Home

As we've mentioned before, unclean ducts can make your home develop a musty stench. That's because dirty ducts will accumulate all sorts of odorous substances that make your home smell more putrid than you'd want it to.

It's not just dust itself that contributes to this smell. Pet dander, mold/mildew, tobacco ash, and even household cleaning agents can add to your AC's unusual cocktail of stenches. This can cause your home to always smell a bit off, even if you've wiped down every surface as well as you could.

At a certain point, it takes a professional's touch to finally rid your home of that stubborn stench. They'll get to the bottom of your home's indoor air quality problem. So don't hesitate to hire a local air duct cleaning company and get that stink out of your home!

Get the Best Air Duct Cleaning in Houston, TX!

It's easy for homeowners to overlook the importance of air duct cleaning. But by hiring AC duct cleaning services, you can improve your home life, your finances, and your health. Doing everything you can for a healthy home includes taking care of your AC system.

At P&M Air Conditioning and Heating, we know what a healthy AC system looks like. That's why we offer some of the best air duct cleaning in Houston, TX, and surrounding areas. So if you need to clean out your AC system, contact us today!

hvac emergency repair

10 Warning Signs That You Need an HVAC Emergency Repair

Whether you’re coming home to a chilled house during a Texas summer heatwave or to a toasty home during a frigid winter, a working air conditioning and heating unit is something homeowners should never take for granted.

These sophisticated electrical systems give some hints before it goes haywire. And any savvy homeowner should know the telltale signs an HVAC emergency repair is imminent.

Read on to learn the 10 warning signs your air conditioning and heating unit is trying to tell you it needs some maintenance or repair.

1. The Thermostat Isn’t Working

One of the first signs your air conditioning and heating system might need to be evaluated by a professional is when the thermostat stops working.

When a gentle nudge in temperature does nothing to prod the air conditioning unit to kick in, there might be something wrong with the thermostat. It may be as simple as replacing a battery.

HVAC problems can start small at first, but if not addressed with an evaluation by a professional, who might suggest routine maintenance, it could be a costly repair.

2. The Opposite Air Temperature is Coming From the Vents

If the air conditioner should be blasting chilled air and you notice warm air blowing through the vents, you should definitely call an HVAC repair service.

The same goes for the winter months. If the heater is supposed to be on, but the air coming out of the vents is cold, it’s a definite warning sign.

The problem could be a clog in the ductwork or a low level of refrigerant. Calling a professional for a review of your air conditioning unit will help you identify the culprit.

3. The Outside Unit’s Fan is Not Moving

It’s normal to see the fans rotating in the outside air conditioning and heating unit.  If you notice the fans not moving, and the ac compressor is clicking on, that is cause for concern.

The problem could be a bad fan motor. The motors are working hard at blowing the hot air out of the house and can be burned out from overuse.

There also could be a problem with the electrical power source. Or some outside debris is preventing the fan blades from spinning.

For an emergency HVAC repair, many local companies in Houston, Texas will come to homes and businesses for a service call. Calling a pro to do a once-over will help get the cold air running into the house sooner rather than later.

4. There is High Humidity in Your House

Central air conditioning units also regulate the humidity in your home. If you notice the air is a bit humid than normal, it might be time to call an ac repair service.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic concluded the ideal humidity in your house is between 30 and 50 percent. A lower humidity could lead to dry skin. High humidity could cause bacteria and mold to grow.

5. Odd Smells Coming Through the Vents

If you take a whiff and the air streaming through the vents smells funny, take it as an ac unit warning sign.

Any odd odor — a musty smell or a burning plastic smell — could indicate a problem in the ductwork or be a signal that you need to call a professional to sanitize and clean your air ducts.

6. The Carpet Near the Inside Unit is Wet

If you’re walking by the indoor air conditioning and heating unit, and feel a damp or wet spot, it could be a sign the system is not draining.

If your air conditioner is leaking water, the culprit could be a clogged drain line. Another possibility is that the unit was not leveled when it was installed. The slightest tilt could cause the overflow of water in the collection tray to spill over.

7. Ice on the Evaporator Coils

When you see ice forming on the indoor evaporator coils, that is a red flag that your air conditioning and heating system is due for major HVAC repair.

While the ice itself is not harmful, the reason for the frozen coils could mean trouble. The ice appears on the coils because the coils are staying colder than they should.

Homeowners should not try to chip off the ice to fix the problem. Doing so could cause more damage. It’s best to call a Houston-area professional to identify the deeper issue.

8. Low Air Flow

Another air conditioning unit warning sign is when the air flowing from the vents has slowed. Low airflow could be a signal there is a blockage in the air ducts. Or your home has an inadequate amount of vents to

Experts recommend a routine air duct maintenance schedule to keep the dust and dirt buildup to a minimum.

9. Loud Sounds Coming From the Air Conditioning Unit

The intermittent humming of your air conditioning unit as it kicks in is a beautiful sound. Should you hear a loud knocking sound or a banging noise from your system, it might be a sign your unit is at the end of its lifespan.

If the sound is unusual, don’t be afraid to seek the help of a repair service to diagnose the problem.

10. Numerous Breaker Trips

Another telltale sign to call for an HVAC emergency repair service is when your system is continually tripping the circuit breaker in your home.

There could be a serious underlying electrical issue. These are serious hazards that lead to electrical fires. Calling in a trained professional will prevent any serious damage.

HVAC Emergency Repair Takeaway

A home’s air conditioning and heating unit system is what homeowners rely on with little fanfare — until it stops working.

But before a system quits working, there are typical signals and smells that forewarn needed repairs. Now that you know the 10 signs for when to call for an HVAC emergency repair, don’t ignore the warnings.

If you notice any of these issues, contact our specialists for same-day repairs. We are experts in air conditioning and heating unit systems, and service Houston residential homes and businesses.

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!

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 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. 

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.

R-22 refrigerant

No More HCFC-22: What to Know About the R-22 Refrigerant Phase Out

Did you know that since the 1970s, a huge ozone hole above Antarctica has been opening every spring? What's more, some areas of this hole showed a depletion of the ozone levels by as much as 65%!

Researchers also found that the hole grew to a size as big as North America. That’s about 25 million square kilometers!

The main culprits, according to scientists, are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), particularly hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These include the R-22 refrigerant used by most air conditioners back then.

Because of this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the R-22 phase-out. As of January 01, 2020, it's illegal to produce or import most HCFCs, including the R-22 Freon.

The question is, what does this ban have to do with you as a regular HVAC user? What is Freon anyway?

We'll answer all these questions (and more), so go ahead and read until the end!

What Is R-22 Refrigerant?

R-22 is the most common form of the HCFC-22 chemical, a type of Class II ozone-depleting substance. You likely know R-22 through the brand name "Freon".

As a refrigerant, HCFC-22 is the chemical that heats or cools the air that HVAC systems produce. When this fluid passes through the parts of the HVAC unit, it changes into either liquid or gas.

These transformations then make the refrigerant hot or cold. These changes make the chemical quick to absorb or radiate heat from the passing air. This is how your HVAC system cools or heats your home.

R-22 was the most common type of refrigerant used in HVAC equipment up until January 01, 2010. At this point, the EPA banned its production, import, and use except for existing equipment.

Meaning, if you have an HVAC system manufactured before January 01, 2010, then it likely uses R-22.

Determining What Type of Refrigerant Your HVAC System Uses

If you're unsure of your HVAC unit's manufacturing date, check the label on the compressor. This is the part usually installed outside of the home. The label will clearly tell you if it uses R-22 (HCFC-22) or R-410A (the refrigerant used in newer units).

What’s in Store for Homeowners With R-22 Air Conditioners

The January 2010 ban still allowed the production and use of HCFC-22 for existing units. This exception lasted up until December 31, 2019. This is how owners of HVAC systems that made use of R-22 were still able to get their units recharged.

However, as of January 01, 2020, the EPA has completely banned the production and use of HCFC-22. HVAC systems that still use R-22 would have to rely on "recycled" or "stockpiled" R-22 supply.

If you still have an R-22 AC unit, then you can expect higher refrigerant “recharge” costs. After all, the EPA ban means that the R-22 will become even scarcer than it already is. This scarcity will then drive up the cost of HVAC refrigerant "recharges".

In most cases, air conditioners need a refrigerant charge due to leaks. One solid sign that you have a leaking refrigerant is if your AC unit freezes up. An HVAC technician needs to seal this leak and then top up the refrigerant to make your AC work again.

However, now that the R-22 ban is in place, expect this HVAC repair job to be more expensive.

What You Can Do Now

Having an R-22 HVAC unit doesn’t automatically mean you need a new system right away. Again, the law still allows the use of such equipment. If you can't replace your current HVAC system at the moment, then make sure you at least do the following.

Regular HVAC Maintenance

You can prevent refrigerant leaks in the first place through proper HVAC maintenance. Many leaks occur due to corrosion, which can result from dirt and debris accumulation. Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils regularly can help keep corrosion at bay.

Prompt Repairs for Potential Refrigerant Leaks

Not enough cool air, frozen coils, and weird sounds are symptoms of refrigerant leaks. If you notice these signs of HVAC trouble, have a licensed HVAC technician inspect your unit ASAP. It's possible that there's only a tiny leak that the technician can still seal and repair.

Prompt repairs can prevent more of the pricey R-22 refrigerant from leaking out. This can then help extend the life of your R-22 air conditioning unit.

The Best Way to Address the R-22 Phase-Out

Granted, air conditioners can last between 15 to 20 years. This is also one of the reasons that the HCFC-22 ban still allows for the use of "recycled" R-22.

While you can still use your R-22 AC despite the ban, it doesn't mean that you should. Especially not if your current air conditioner is more than a decade old. Aside from likely being an R-22 user, such old units are more prone to breakdowns.

Over time, the repairs for these HVAC problems will add up to a considerable amount. The repair costs could be so high that it makes more sense to just get a new HVAC unit.

Besides, older HVAC models aren't as energy-efficient as the more modern units. By replacing your R-22 HVAC unit with an energy-efficient model, you can save 20% to 40% on cooling costs. These huge savings should be enough to make you consider getting a new HVAC system.

Time for a Change

As you can see, the R-22 refrigerant ban brings with it a host of changes that could affect your life as an HVAC owner. Despite its financial implications, however, this ban is actually great for the environment. That's why as early as now, you should consider swapping your old R-22-powered HVAC unit.

Ready to invest in an eco-friendlier, more energy-efficient HVAC system? Then let our team here at P & M Air Conditioning and Heating help! Connect with us now so we can discuss your new heating and cooling options.