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!

air conditioning costs

How to Reduce Your AC Bill in Pearland, Texas This Summer

An estimated 90% of homes in the United States use air conditioning of some kind, and it's easy to see why. AC help keeps living spaces habitable, especially during the summer when the heat can prove oppressive. But while these units are a godsend against the heat, air conditioning costs can prove a challenge.

At the moment, air conditioning consumes roughly 6% of the total electricity produced in the US. The collective power bill to homeowners comes to a colossal $29 billion each year.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your AC bill under control this summer? In this post, we outline seven proven tips for a lower AC bill. Let’s delve right in.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

With this type of device, you can set temperatures for different times of the day and night. That means your AC doesn't have to work as hard (and use as much power) when you're not home.

You can program these devices to turn on half an hour or so before you arrive home in the evening, so your living space is already cool by the time you walk in the door. The same goes for when you leave for work in the morning — just set the device to a higher temperature so your AC doesn't have to kick in.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save up to $180 every year by using a programmable thermostat appropriately.

Use Ceiling Fans

While ceiling fans don't actually lower the temperature in a room, they do make it feel cooler. That's because they circulate air and help evaporate the sweat on your skin.

In fact, when used together with an AC, ceiling fans can allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F without affecting your comfort. And since every degree you raise the AC saves you about 6 percent on your cooling costs, that's a significant saving.

Just remember to turn off the ceiling fan when you leave the room — otherwise, you'll be wasting energy.

Educate Your Housemates About Energy-Saving Practices

Do you have kids or housemates who like to leave doors and windows open when the AC is on? If so, then it's time for a little education.

Explain to your loved ones that every time they open a door or window when the AC is running, cool air escapes and warm air enters. As a result, the AC has to work harder (and use more power) to maintain the desired temperature.

Encourage them to close doors and windows when the AC is on, and you should see a difference in your energy bills.

Consider Investing in a Whole-House Fan

A whole-house fan is a large fan that's installed in the attic and vented to the outside. These devices are used to expel hot air from your home and can be an excellent complement to your AC, especially if you live in a climate with mild summers.

In most cases, you can use a whole-house fan to keep your living space cool at night. Then, during the day, when the temperature outside rises, you can rely on your AC to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

This approach can help you save money since you won't have to use your AC as much.

Add Weather-Stripping or Caulking Around Doors and Windows

In many homes, a lot of cool air escapes through cracks and gaps around doors and windows. Fortunately, this problem is easy to solve.

Weather-stripping is a material that you can use to seal spaces around doors, and caulking is used for sealing cracks and gaps around windows. You can find both of these materials at your local hardware store.

Sealing up cracks and gaps will help prevent cool air from escaping, so your AC doesn't have to work as hard to keep you warm.

Install Reflective Window Film

If your home has a lot of windows, then heat gain through those windows can be a significant problem. Fortunately, there's an easy solution — reflective window film.

This type of film is applied to the glass surface and reflects sunlight away from your home. As a result, less heat enters your living space, and your AC doesn't have to work as hard to keep things cool.

Invest in Energy-Efficient AC

If your air conditioning unit is old, it might be time to invest in a new, energy-efficient model. Newer air conditioners use less energy and can save you money on your monthly electricity bill.

When shopping for a new air conditioner, look for models with the ENERGY STAR label. These models meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and can help you save money on your air conditioning costs.

Inspect Your Ductwork for Leaks

Ductwork is the system of air ducts that carries air from your air conditioner to the different rooms in your home.

If your ductwork has leaks, this can cause your AC unit to work harder than it needs to and drive up your energy costs. To prevent this, have your ductwork inspected for leaks and repaired by a professional if necessary.

Even better, consider investing in a ductless air conditioning system. These systems don't use ductwork, so they're much more efficient than traditional AC units.

Schedule an Annual Air Conditioning Tune-up

Regular heating and cooling maintenance are one of the best ways to keep your AC unit running efficiently and prevent costly repairs. In particular, you want to invest in an annual AC and heating tune-up.

During a tune-up, a professional will clean your AC unit, lubricate its moving parts, and inspect it for any potential problems. This can help extend the life of your AC unit and prevent small AC problems from becoming big ones.

Make sure to find AC companies that have experience and expertise in servicing your type of AC unit.

Keeping Air Conditioning Costs Low Shouldn’t Be a Challenge

Air conditioning costs can quickly add up during the summer months, but there are a number of things you can do to help reduce your air conditioning bill. By following the tips above, you beat the heat without blowing your budget.

Are you searching for AC repair near me in Pearland, Texas? Get in touch with us today for an AC repair-free estimate.

air conditioning tune-up

The Importance of An Air Conditioning Tune-Up in Houston, TX

Every year, people in America spend almost $120 billion on help from a professional heating and air conditioning contractors. That is one small indicator of just how much value modern heating and air conditioning systems provide. In a place like Texas, heating is less important, but proper air conditioning is an absolute essential!

Of course, people might not have to spend that much on the services of contractors if they appreciated the importance of a quality air conditioning tune-up. You have probably heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The right maintenance can save you a lot of money on repairs and other expenses.

So what exactly is so important about regular air conditioning tune-ups? Read on to learn all about the most important benefits that come with proper air conditioning maintenance!

An Air Conditioning Tune-up Can Prevent Repairs

One of the clearest ways that air conditioning tune-ups can save you money is by preventing costly repairs. Many people call for the help of air conditioning technicians when they notice a problem with their unit. Unfortunately, by the time you notice a problem, it has already been around for a while.

Of course, it is much better to call for help for a small repair than to wait it out. If you wait too long, a small problem can develop into a big one.

That does not just mean fixing your air conditioner later rather than sooner. It often means paying much more to repair it.

In the worst cases, you might actually have to replace your unit because you waited too long to fix it. Fixing small problems is somewhat efficient, but it is even better to avoid them in the first place. Regular air conditioning tune-ups can allow you to catch problems before they develop to a noticeable stage.

Air Conditioning Tune-ups Extend the Lifespan of Your Unit

Avoiding proper air conditioning tune-ups doesn't just mean having to pay for more repairs. It also means having to replace your whole unit sooner rather than later.

The better care you take care of your air conditioning unit, the longer it is likely the last. A typical air conditioner unit will last between 12 and 15 years.

However, if you do not take care of it, it might die sooner than 12 years. On the other hand, excellent care can improve the chance that your unit lasts longer than 15 years.

Take a simple example like the air filter in your air conditioner. Your air conditioner funnels huge quantities of air from the outdoors into your home. However, the air outside often has contaminants in it. Your air conditioner performs double-duty, cooling your home and taking care of its air quality at the same time.

To do this, it has to filter the contaminants out of the air it gets from outside. Your air conditioner has an air filter to catch all of these contaminants so that they do not end up floating around the air of your home. Of course, that means that the air filter will slowly become full of these contaminants.

The more full of contaminants the air filter is, the more force is necessary to push air through it. That means that your air conditioner will have to work harder and harder to accomplish the same purpose.

That increases the stress that your air conditioner has to handle. The end result can be a shortened lifespan.

Air Conditioning Tune-up Costs Pay For Themselves

Of course, you don't have to wait until your unit dies to see that a tune-up can pay for itself. Giving your air conditioner the maintenance it needs will help it to run more efficiently.

In other words, an air conditioner that receives proper maintenance will get the job done while consuming less energy. This provides a number of benefits.

First of all, it benefits the owner. Lower energy consumption means lower energy bills.

Second, this is beneficial to society in general. The less energy that we consume unnecessarily, the longer our non-renewable sources of energy will last.

Lastly, this is of great benefit to the environment. Consuming less energy generally means decreasing your carbon footprint. Contributing less to the prevalence of greenhouse gases in the air can also decrease your contribution to the growing greenhouse effect on the planet.

An Air Conditioning Tune-up Service Can Make Your Home More Comfortable

The right tune-up for your air conditioner can provide energy efficiency, cost savings, a decreased need for repairs, and a longer life span. However, it can also help your air conditioner to do its job better.

When your air conditioner does not receive proper maintenance, it will have to work harder to cool down your home. If situations are difficult enough, the air conditioner may actually fail to cool down your home. No matter how low you set your thermostat, the air conditioner may simply lack the power to cool down your home faster than the ambient temperature outside heats it up.

This is especially likely to happen if there are also activities inside the home contributing to a higher temperature. This might include an oven or a piece of serious electronic equipment.

Even if your air conditioner can eventually manage to lower the temperature of your home, it will take it longer to do so if it does not receive proper maintenance. If you get home and decide to turn on the air conditioner, you might have to wait for hours before your home actually arrives at your desired temperature.

Understand the Importance of an Air Conditioning Tune-up 

We hope learning about what an air conditioning tune-up service can do for you has been helpful. Many people do not think it is worth the cost and time, and money to set up regular air conditioning maintenance. However, if you don't pay for maintenance, you will end up paying more in a variety of other ways.

To learn more about what proper air conditioning maintenance can do for your system or to schedule a tune-up, feel free to reach out to us at P&M and get in touch at any time!

thermostat problems

8 Common Thermostat Problems Houston, TX Homeowners Have and How to Fix Them

The average American family spends around $2,000 on energy costs each year, and more than half this amount is for heating and cooling costs. It costs money to heat and cool a house, but some people spend more than they should. For example, you might use more energy if you have an outdated furnace. You might also pay more if you have thermostat problems.

Many homeowners don't realize the role and importance of their thermostat, and they might not realize how many issues they can have from problems with this device.

If you'd like to learn more about thermostat problems, you'll want to continue reading. Here is a guide that explains eight common issue's people in Houston, TX, have with their thermostats and how to fix them.

1. Bad Calibration

A thermostat operates by telling your HVAC system when to kick on and off. You set the temperature you desire, and it connects to the furnace.

Unfortunately, a thermostat can only operate accurately when it's properly calibrated. Calibrating a thermostat means matching up the correct temperature to the settings.

For example, if a thermostat thinks that 70-degrees is 80-degrees, your heating system won't heat your home enough. Your thermostat's reading is wrong in this case, though, which means it has a wrong calibration.

There are many types of thermostats you can choose from for your home, and each might require a different calibration process. If you don't know how to calibrate yours, you can hire a heating company to do it for you.

Before they calibrate it, they'll test it to see if it's accurate. If the temperature is accurate, the calibration is fine and won't need adjustments.

2. Poor Location

If your house is too hot or too cold, it might be due to your thermostat location. A thermostat's placement is critical for heating and cooling a home properly.

For example, if your thermostat is by a drafty window, it might cause the temperature on the device to drop. As a result, your furnace will run more, causing the rest of your house to feel too hot.

On the other hand, if your thermostat is by your kitchen or fireplace, it will cause the temperature to show up higher on the device. As a result, your furnace will run less, leaving your home too cold.

A heating and air company can move a thermostat if its location is not ideal. When doing this, they will look for an area away from hot and cold things. In addition, they'll ensure that it's also in a draft-free area.

Moving a thermostat can make a big difference in feeling comfortable in your home. It can also lead to energy savings, as your HVAC system will only run when necessary.

3. Low or Bad Battery

One of the most common thermostat problems homeowners face involves a dead battery. Most thermostats operate from battery power. But, unfortunately, a battery won't last forever.

You can usually tell when the battery is going bad by looking at the thermostat. The numbers and letters on it might start fading or dimming. If you see this happening, it's a sign to change the battery.

Additionally, if your thermostat stops working and doesn't show anything on it, it's probably because the battery is completely dead.

Replacing a thermostat battery isn't difficult, but it requires removing it from the wall. You should find a small battery panel on the back when you remove it. You can open this panel and replace the battery to see if it works.

If this fixes the problem, you won't have to contact a heating company for a service call.

4. Display Not Working

A bad battery can cause a thermostat's display to stop working, but that's not the only cause. The other thing that might cause this is a bad thermostat.

Thermostats don't break too quickly, but they also don't last forever. So if replacing the battery doesn't fix the thermostat, you might need to replace the device.

Replacing a thermostat isn't something you should do yourself. Instead, hire a contractor to replace it. You can upgrade to a smart thermostat when replacing it if you don't have one yet.

5. Bad Wiring

Bad wiring is another problem you might have with your thermostat. Bad wiring might cause the display to stop working, but it can also cause the thermostat to miscommunicate with the furnace.

For example, if your furnace is running at times when it shouldn't be, there is a chance it's from bad wiring. Additionally, if your furnace won't run at all, it could also be from bad wiring.

A heating contractor can test and trace the wires to determine if this is the problem. They might have to reconnect wires or replace them to fix the problem.

6. System Not Producing the Right Air Temperature

Another problem you might encounter is your system not producing the right type of air. For example, if your system blows hot air when it should blow cool, you might wonder what is happening.

One thing you should check is the setting on your thermostat. Your thermostat might have several settings, including heat, cool, and fan.

The furnace won't work properly if you have it on the wrong setting. You should adjust your thermostat to fix this problem.

7. Thermostat Not Turning on When It Should

You might also encounter a time when your HVAC system turns on when it shouldn't. For example, if the temperature in your home matches the thermostat's setting, the furnace shouldn't turn on.

If your system runs at times when it shouldn't run, you might have a problem with the calibration. Additionally, the wiring could be bad, or the thermostat might be worn out.

8. Programmable Issues

Finally, if you have a programmable thermostat and encounter problems with the settings, you might need to find the manual. You can read through the manual to update or adjust the settings.

If you're still having problems programming it, you might need to hire an HVAC company for help.

Call Us to Fix Your Thermostat Problems

Do you have one of these thermostat problems? If your thermostat isn't working properly, you can try the tips listed here. If you're still having problems, you'll need a professional to fix them for you.

If you live in the Houston, TX, area, contact us at P & M. We offer quality services in the Greater Houston area and guarantee our work. Call us or visit our website to learn more.

Texas heat

6 Ways to Beat Texas Heat This Spring

If you live anywhere in Texas, you know a thing or two about Texas heat. In areas like Houston, Bellaire, Pearland, West University, and Friendswood, the heat and humidity can become unbearable.

Fortunately, most of us work in air-conditioned offices and have cool homes to return to after a long day. Yet, this doesn't guarantee that we'll have an easy-breezy summer.

If you want to stay cool this summer, we can help. Keep reading for our top six tips on how to avoid over-heating under the southern sun.

1. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is a fundamental component to staying cool, especially when it comes to Texas heat. Remaining hydrated helps our bodies regulate temperature. When we're dehydrated, on the other hand, we don't sweat as easily and are at risk of overheating.

Early signs of dehydration include:

  • Dark and/or odorous urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry and cool skin
  • Headaches
  • Infrequent urination

If you remain dehydrated for too long, these symptoms can escalate to things like fainting, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, and more.

To avoid getting dehydrated, carry around a water bottle and drink before you get thirsty. This is especially important if you're spending time outside under the southern sun.

If you have children who like to play outside, make sure they're coming in frequently to drink water. And remember, water and juice are not the same things. Nor will coffee or soda provide proper hydration.

2. Conduct Regular HVAC Maintenance

Most of us retreat indoors to combat the Texas heat and humidity. Of course, this plan is only effective if your AC unit and HVAC system are working properly.

You can ensure your system is firing on all cylinders by conducting regular HVAC maintenance. This includes:

  • Replacing your HVAC filter
  • Ensuring your AC unit's condenser coils are clean
  • Maximizing airflow to your AC unit by cleaning the outdoor grating
  • Investing in air duct cleaning
  • And more

Failing to properly maintain your HVAC system will lead to major and minor air conditioning issues. There's nothing worse than expecting to come home to a cool house only to find out your air conditioning is pumping out warm air. There could be a number of reasons behind this, some simple, some complex.

If this happens to you, call AC repair services immediately.

3. Enjoy Some Water-Related Activities

Beating the southern sun doesn't necessarily mean running away from it. If you like to be outside, find some water-related activities you can enjoy to keep you cool.

For example, there are plenty of lakes, swimming pools, and water slides in Houston, Bellaire, Pearland, West University, and Friendswood. Take your family out for a fun day of water and sun or meet up with some friends.

Just make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen lotion to prevent getting sunburned. Sunburns make it even more difficult to stay cool in the Texas heat.

4. Run Window and Ceiling Fans

One of the biggest complaints from people living in Texas is the cost of keeping their homes cool in the summer. Between the heat and humidity, their AC units are running on high all day and most of the night.

However, there are ways to reduce your HVAC energy consumption. For example, at night and in the morning while the temperature outside is cool, run window fans to bring in the cool air.

We also recommend running ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction to push air down and create a cooling breeze. Keep them running even after the AC turns on and the windows are closed. Ceiling fans will keep the air moving which will keep your home cooler and place less stress on your air conditioner.

5. Dress Appropriately

Whether you're going out into the southern sun or staying inside for most of the day, learn how to dress appropriately to beat the Texas heat. We recommend light-colored, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen.

It's also a good idea to keep the sun off your face and head. Wear a hat and sunglasses if you're going to be under direct sunlight.

If you're going to be outside for a long time, having more skin exposed may not be a good idea. This will make you more vulnerable to getting sunburned.

We also recommend staying indoors during the hottest part of the day. There is plenty of fun to be had outside before and after these peak hours.

6. Learn How to Respond to Heat-Related Illnesses

Finally, understand that no matter what precautions you take, you may be exposed (directly or indirectly) to heat-related illnesses. It's not uncommon for people to develop heat exhaustion in the Texas heat.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Cool, moist skin

If not treated quickly, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is the most severe heat-related illness. At this point, the body fails to cool itself down. The victim then becomes vulnerable to seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness, or even death.

To treat someone with heat exhaustion and prevent heatstroke, take immediate action. This means:

  • Get the person in the shade or inside
  • Have the victim lay down with feet slightly elevated
  • Remove any tight or binding clothing
  • Hydrate (nothing with caffeine or alcohol)
  • Use water to cool the person slowly (spraying, sponging, fanning)

Keep a close eye on the victim until all symptoms of heat exhaustion subside. If the situation seems to be getting worse, call 911 immediately.

Looking to Beat the Texas Heat This Summer?

Do you want to stay cool this summer? If so, follow the six tips listed above to beat the Texas heat. Most importantly, stay safe out there and avoid those heat-related illnesses.

And if your AC unit needs a checkup or repairs, we're here for you. P & M Air Conditioning and Heating has been in the industry for 75 years. We offer same-day air conditioning services because we know how intense and unbearable the Texas heat can become.

If you're in need of some relief from the southern sun, contact us today to schedule an appointment. We offer our HVAC services in Houston, Bellaire, Pearland, West University, and Friendswood.


HVAC Tips: 7 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Home HVAC Energy Consumption

The average U.S. household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills. Are you looking for ways to save on your utility bills? Do you feel your utility bills are too high compared to your neighbors? If you are worried about your energy bills, there are ways to save money. Keep reading to learn how you can save money and still have a comfortable home with these HVAC tips.

1. Use the Right Temperature Setting

Most HVAC systems have optimal temperature ranges to make sure your system is energy-efficient. Take a look at your owner manual or ask your service technician which temperature range is best.

You don't want to fluctuate your temperatures too much. By turning your system way up on a really hot day and then turning it back down on cooler days, you are making your air conditioner work harder. The same is true with your furnace.

So what is the best temperature range? The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your thermostat set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. When you are not home, you can increase or reduce that setting by about 10-15 degrees, which can save up anywhere from 5-15 percent annually.

2. Use a Ceiling Fan to Circulate Air

Using a ceiling fan doesn't cool a room; it just makes it more comfortable. It can make a room feel a few degrees cooler.

A ceiling fan helps disperse cooler air when you run your air conditioner. Just remember to turn the blade direction counterclockwise in the summer. Using a ceiling fan can help you raise your thermostat by as much as four degrees and still stay cool.

You also have to remember to turn off the ceiling fan if you are not in the room to limit wasting electricity.

3. Upgrade Your Thermostat

The less you make your HVAC system work to maintain levels in an empty home equals more savings on your energy bills. By upgrading your thermostat to either a programmable or smart thermostat, you can help reduce energy use when you are not at home.

Programmable thermostats follow your set schedule, and you can create your own pre-set times. Some thermostats let you program all seven days with different options, so you don't have to worry about the temperature changes when you are home on weekends.

Smart thermostats are more progressive than normal programmable thermostats. You can control the temperature directly from your smartphone. Some of the more advanced smart thermostats will automatically adjust based on your lifestyle to keep your home energy use as efficient as possible.

4. Change Your Filters

One of the easiest HVAC energy-saving tips is to change your air filters regularly. Your air filters collect dust, pollen, dirt, and pet fur. When these filters get dirty or clogged, your system has to run harder.

You should change or check your air filters at least once a month in the summer and about two to three months during the winter. You should also consult your HVAC system owner's manual.

If you have allergies, asthma, or multiple pets, you may want to consider changing your filters more often. If you don't have pets and live in a smaller home, you may be able to change your filters every 90 days.

5. Keep Up Regular Maintenance

It's important to have routine HVAC maintenance inspections. A professional will check your HVAC energy consumption and also look for any small problems before they become a bigger problem. You should schedule both furnace and air conditioning services before peak seasons.

Your professional HVAC company will make sure your HVAC system is running properly and check all the components. Follow this maintenance schedule to help improve your system's performance—and it may extend its life.

6. Limit Cooking Inside and Using Your  Clothes Dryer During the Summer

During the dead heat of summer, outdoor grills are a great way to cook—they keep additional heat out of your home!  It's best to limit using your stove and oven when it's extremely hot. If you must use one of these hot appliances, do so when it's cooler outside like in the late evening or early morning.

The same is true for your dryer. It can turn your laundry room into a sauna, making it harder to cool the rest of your home.

7. Upgrade Your HVAC System

If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old and you are having issues, it may be time to replace your system. An outdated system uses more energy as it deteriorates, which makes it work less efficiently. If you upgrade to an ENERGY STAR-rated unit, you may save up to 20 percent on your cooling and heating bills.

Talk to your HVAC professional about the best systems and recommendations for your home. They can explain the HVAC energy ratings and let you know if and when it is time to replace your current system.

Looking for More HVAC Tips?

Following these HVAC tips can help you reduce your energy consumption—and help you save money. Do you want to learn more about getting an energy-efficient furnace or air conditioner? Need service to make sure your system is running properly?

P&M HVAC is here to help!  We can repair, replace, and perform other maintenance services to help your home be more energy-efficient.

Contact us today to learn more about our services in the Houston, Bellaire, Pearland, West University, and Friendswood TX areas. We look forward to hearing from you. We can help you get your system running smoothly or help you find the right system for your home.

furnace installation

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Furnace Installation Process

Did you know that the installation process is one of the most important steps in getting your new furnace up and running? According to the Department of Energy, a furnace that is not properly installed can waste up to 30% of energy bills.

That's why it's essential to make sure you hire a qualified HVAC technician to install your furnace.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire furnace installation process. So, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a professional, this guide will ensure your installation goes smoothly.


Before starting the furnace installation process, ensure enough venting to circulate carbon monoxide outside the house properly. Check with your fuel provider if there are any laws regulating vent piping. You may also need additional vents to accommodate humidifiers and other appliances installed later on.

Don't forget about insulation, since it helps stop the heat inside the room after warming up. Also, don't place too much weight on the wood-burning unit because it's not designed for that purpose.

Prepare Your Site

Start by ensuring the area surrounding it is clear of any obstacles or other appliances that can block airflow. Also, it will need to have access to both the electrical outlet and gas line. If your house doesn't have an outdoor vent, use supplementary ones instead.

Consider using a wall mount instead of a floor-standing model if space is at a premium. The area around the furnace should be clear of obstructions before setting it aside for assembly later.

Remove any combustible materials in the vicinity. Remember, these might ignite if they come into contact with exhaust gases expelled by the unit. A clearance of at least three feet on all sides should do.

Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Going through the manual is vital before beginning any installation procedures. It includes information on what happens during the furnace installation.

Here are some details included in a heater installation manual:

  • Preparing for installation
  • Making electrical or gas connections
  • Positioning your new furnace and burner pipe assembly
  •  Checking flue pipe clearances for proper venting
  • Testing the furnace electrical and gas systems

Follow these instructions carefully to ensure your new furnace operates properly and safely.

Position the Furnace Properly

Before you do anything else, ensure the furnace is standing on a solid surface. This way, it won't move while in operation. You'll also prevent any accidents from happening later on while trying to attach pipes and wires.

As long as it doesn't move, consider putting down some plywood underneath just in case. Where you put it will depend on your specific unit's design. Some furnaces are installed in the basement, while others have their designated area in an attic instead.

Before installing a new furnace, please consult with the manufacturer to confirm its location requirements. As such, you will not mistakenly place it somewhere where it won't work correctly or damage other appliances because of vibration.

Electrical Connection

Make electrical connections by following the manufacturer's instructions and local building codes. Before starting the installation process, shut off the power supply to the furnace. Use a voltmeter to make sure there are no current leakages.

Take appropriate steps if something goes wrong during testing! The next step is making electrical connections. You can do this by taking one wire out from the terminal located on the right side of the unit or using color-coded cables.

Don't overload your circuit breaker with too many appliances. Remember that dedicated circuits will be needed depending on the size of your furnace. After finishing these steps, you can start installing the furnace.

Gas Line Installation

You should make sure that the furnace has enough space to prevent clogging or corrosion in the future. This means you need to cut holes in the right places and use appropriate pipe fittings.

Everything should be connected tightly but not too tight because this may cause obstructions.

Starting from 100 to 200 feet, install a gas supply line that can supply up to 7 million BTU of energy per hour. Even if your unit is only rated for 4-5 million BTUs, it will still deliver enough power when needed. This is more important during colder days.

You must calculate your needs beforehand. This will avoid installing a fuel line that doesn't fit your furnace performance.

Consider using a flexible gas connection pipe between the meter and gas control valve. It allows you some freedom when running piping. If this type of pipe isn't in the hardware store, use the stainless steel gas line when making your connections.

Drain Down the Unit Properly

Once everything's set up correctly, drain down the furnace. Open up its air intake damper all the way and allow cool air from outside to enter until water starts trickling out of its drain line.

This should only take a little while since furnaces usually operate under relatively high pressure. It causes water molecules to move in and out of the cooling coils rather quickly.

Test Run It

After hooking up everything, switch on the power again. Wait for about 10 minutes and check whether it works by listening closely for any unusual noises.

If everything's okay, wait for the unit to accessorize itself using its inducer fan and start heating up. Once it does, check whether the furnace's power-on light comes on and stays lit at all times without flickering too much. If so, it means you've successfully installed a new furnace.

Maintenance Tips

Make sure you clean furnace filters once per month during cold months. This way, the unit will not run out of power due to clogged vents.

It is recommended that you change these filters every 30 days if necessary. Furnace maintenance is essential when operating a unit 24/7. If left without service, it can cause severe damage to its elements.

If you notice any signs of corrosion on vents or more extended warm-up periods, turn off your system immediately and contact professionals.

Need a New Furnace Installation or Repair?

Have your air conditioner started failing or feel that you need a new furnace installation and don't know where to find the right experts? Worry no more. At P&M Air Conditioning and Heating, we have all your heating installation and servicing needs.

Our technicians are NATE certified, and we provide 24-hour services across Houston, TX Bellaire, TX Pearland, TX Friendswood, and TX West University. For a free estimate or inquiries about our services, please give us a call now for an immediate response.

heating system efficiency

How Can I Improve the Heating System Efficiency in My Home?

In 2015, 55% of the energy used in homes in the United States was used for heating and cooling. When you have a heating system that is inefficient, it can increase your energy costs and make your home less energy efficient. 

However, there are ways that you can combat rising heating costs by improving your heating system efficiency. 

Do you want to learn more about how to create an energy-efficient home and lower energy bills? Keep reading this article for tips on improving your heating efficiency!

Change Air Filters

One of the easiest steps you can take to make your heater more efficient during the winter is to change air filters. Often, the filter in the furnace can get clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris. While this improves your indoor air quality, having a dirty filter will make it harder for your furnace to push air through the filter.

This means your furnace has to work harder and for longer to get your house warm and circulate the air. 

By changing out dirty air filters, it will be easier for your furnace to work and it will consume much less energy. Typically, these filters should be changed every three to six months.

Buy a Programmable Thermostat

Something else that can make it easier to control the efficiency of your heating system is buying a programmable thermostat. Using a smart thermostat or one that runs on Wi-Fi makes it easy to turn the heat on or off, no matter where you are. 

They are typically easy to install and make it easy to lower your energy bills. For example, programmable thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature of your home while you are out of town so you don't have to waste money heating up an empty house. 

Programmable thermostats are also more accurate. This means that you can heat up your home to the exact temperature you want and save money on your monthly energy bills. 

Lastly, you can create a heating schedule with a programmable thermostat. This way, you can lower the heat when no one is home during the day and automatically turn on the heater later at night when people return. 

Distribute the Heat in Your Home

Often, the warm air from our heaters is not distributed throughout our entire home. Hot air can get trapped near your ceiling and is wasted. However, you can easily circulate this air by reversing the direction of ceiling fans in your home. 

By simply flipping a small switch at the base of your fan, it will blow the hot air down to the bottom of your room, rather than pushing the warm air up. 

Seal Air Ducts & Other Air Leaks

Heat loss in your home may be coming from holes or leaks in your air ducts. If there are parts of your ducts that are easily accessible, you can seal all of the joints of these ducts to keep them from wasting the hot air. 

Most people use caulk or silicone to cover these leaks. However, you can also hire a professional company to identify leaks in your air ducts and seal them. 

There are also other areas of your home that may be leaking warm air or letting cold air inside. Common sources of air leaks include areas around windows and doors, near your foundation, and other places where pipes or wires come into your home from outside. 

Sealing these leaks and insulating the rest of your home is an easy way to make your heater work more efficiently. This is because it prevents the warm air from escaping outside and allows the air to heat your home faster. 

Open Each Air Vent

Some homeowners close air vents in their homes or cover them with furniture if they do not need to use them. For example, they may shut the vent registers in parts of their home that they do not use. 

However, closing the air vents can create pressure in your air ducts. While you may be able to redirect the heat to another part of your home, it is not an efficient method of directing heat. This makes your heater less efficient. 

Instead, you should open each of your air vent registers and avoid covering them with furniture. 

Get a Professional Service

Finally, you need to get your heating system serviced by a professional HVAC technician. This should be done every year, as it can prevent problems from developing with your heating system. 

Your HVAC technician will be able to identify potential problems with your heater and can help you make simple changes to make your heating system run more efficiently. If your furnace is getting old, your HVAC technician can even recommend a new, energy-efficient heater to replace your old unit. 

By hiring a professional HVAC technician before the winter months, you can make sure your heater is prepared to run smoothly and more efficiently throughout the heating season. 

Get Help Improving Your Heating System Efficiency Today

To keep your energy bills from skyrocketing during the cold winter months, there are a few tips that you can follow to improve your heating system efficiency. 

Do you want to learn more about installing an energy-efficient heater or getting your heater serviced to improve its efficiency? P&M HVAC can help! We offer heater replacement, repair, and other maintenance services to improve your heating efficiency. 

Contact our team today to learn more about our heating services in the Houston, Bellaire, Pearland, West University, and Friendswood, TX areas!

air duct cleaning houston

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!

What is that smell

What Is That Smell? Is My HVAC Unit Ok?

Did you know that natural gas has no smell? The scent is added to alert people to the dangers when a leak occurs. But do you know what the other characteristic odors are that could spell trouble in your home?

If you switch on the heating or air-con and get suspicious scents, you really can't ignore it. Read on as we answer the question "What is that smell?" so you can keep your household safe this season.

Safe Smells

When you first turn on your HVAC or heating system for the season, you may encounter a smell of burnt dust. This is perfectly normal and is just an accumulation on the vents, registers, and heat exchangers as the furnace fire up and burns them away. Luckily, this should go quickly and only be noticeable the first few times you start it. 

This can be prevented by cleaning the system before you begin. Hire a professional to do this for you and perform maintenance. This will allow them to alert you to any problems that could arise in the coming months, so you are not left with unexpected HVAC outages. 

There are a few smells that will require immediate assistance. They can signal problems with the HVAC components. In some cases, breathing them in may even be harmful or fatal.

Burnt Electrics

Burnt dust and electrical burning have a similar scent. However, burnt electrics often has a slightly more metallic and plastic smell to them. It will give the scent of something that is overheating or has burnt out. 

When you get this, turn off your system right away. The danger is that leaving it on could result in an electrical fire if you have an old system with fewer safety functions. Once it is off, you can check for issues safely. 

Start by looking at the air filters. If they are blocked, the system works overtime, and the electric resistance heaters can start to get too hot. To prevent this, make sure you are replacing your air filters regularly. 

If air filters are not the issue, it is something to do with the wiring. Turn the electricity to the system off immediately. Unless you are a trained electrician, you need to call a trained HVAC repair engineer to assess the situation. 


The smell of sulfur is characterized by the scent of rotten eggs. If you don't have any cause for this to occur naturally in the home, you need to act fast. Open your windows, leave the home and call your local gas company. 

A rotten egg smell is often the sign of a gas leak. Gas is naturally odorless, but many companies add scents to tell people when leaks occur. It is not something you should ever ignore. 

Chemical Odor

There is only one chemical that could cause issues in your HVAC system. That is the refrigerant in the heat exchanger. Its job is to remove heat from the combustion chamber and deposit it into the plenum. 

A faint smell of chemicals such as formaldehyde signals a leak. This can start electrical fires. However, more worrying is that it can send deadly carbon monoxide gas into your home. 


Mustiness is most associated with HVAC systems. They contain a lot of moisture which can pool in their many vents and spots. If left unattended, this can turn into mold. 

Luckily, mustiness is not a smell that is usually harmful to you or the system. It will, however, make your air quality suffer. Run the heater for a few hours and see if the smell vanishes. 

If not, you will need to get professional assistance to remove the smell. An HVAC technician will know the nooks and crannies where mold builds. They will also have to tools to get into these spots and solve any issues, as well as preventing them from returning. 


A burning oil smell can be the result of two problems. Neither of them is dangerous, but it is a very unpleasant odor that needs removing from the home. 

Check around the system. If you can not see any oil, then you may have issues with the oil burner. Soot and smoke indicate more serious issues, along with odd sounds. 

If you do find oil, then something may be wrong with the fittings. Check and tighten any oil lines, filters, and fittings. If leaks still occur, the threads may have gone, and the part may need replacing. 


As well as a rotten egg smell, gas also has its own characteristic tinge. This most commonly occurs when you first put the heating system on at the start of the season. 

A faint gas smell that dissipates should be fine. However, you should still get a technician to look at it. It may be a case of dust getting burnt off. 

A lingering or strong smell is a serious issue. Follow the same instructions your would for a rotten egg smell, opening windows, and leaving the home. The gas could ignite and could make you and your family sick. 



An odor that persists, or smells of gas or smoke, should be dealt with immediately. Anything else will end be more unpleasant than dangerous. However, it may be hard to get someone to deal with this at the start of a season, as many people fire up their systems and find the same problems. 

The best way to deal with this is prevention. Hire a regular maintenance service to clean the system and notify you of possible problems before they occur. 

What Is That Smell?

Now you can answer the question "What is that smell?" you should know if you have a major problem. In any case, the issue will need dealing with unless you can stand to live with the odor in your property.

Your first stop for HVAC maintenance and repair should be P&M HVAC. We provide services, financing, and reviews to the Houston area. Contact us here to discuss your needs and schedule our services starting today.