Maintaining Your HVAC Unit

Do Not Let A Clogged AC Drain Line Make You Hot

Posted by on 10:31 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do Not Let A Clogged AC Drain Line Make You Hot

In the middle of the summer, one of the last things you want to happen is for your air conditioning to stop working. Not only will your home quickly reach uncomfortable temperatures, but because it may qualify as an emergency call, you may have to pay more for your repairs. One of the things that you want to check prior to calling for service is your drain line. If it is clogged, it can easily shut your system down, and if your drain pan overflows, a clogged line can also cause substantial water damage to your home. Knowing what to look for when your drain is clogged, as well as how to unclog it, is a great way to help to eliminate an air conditioning emergency call.  What Is A Condensate Drain Line? While one of the most important jobs that your air conditioning unit performs is to cool your home, it is also responsible for pulling the humidity or moisture out of your home’s air. When this warm, moisture-laden air passes over your cool condensing coils, condensation builds up on the coils, which then drips into the drain pan. This water is then carried from your drain pan to the outside of your home through the use of a small tube or drain line. This is known as your condensate drain line.  How Does Your Drain Line Get Clogged? Along with the water that drips off of your condensing coils, there is also dust, dirt, and other airborne debris. Over a period of time, you may even get a buildup of mold and mildew in your pan, as well as in your line. Any of these, or a combination of all of these can cause your drain lines to become clogged over time.  One of the easiest ways to check to see if your line is clogged is to check your drain pan to see if you have water standing in your pan. If you are unable to get to your pan, or unable to see your pan due to its location in your home, check the outside of your home to see if you see water dripping from the drain line. The amount of water you should see will depend on the level of humidity in the air, as well as the difference in temperatures between the inside and outside. You may see anywhere from less than 5 gallons per day to more than 20 gallons per day.  Keeping your AC filter clean can help your filter capture more of the airborne particles that could otherwise end up in the water that is draining from your system. Not only will changing your filter help reduce the chances of your drain lines getting clogged, but it will also help to reduce the amount of energy your system uses and extend the life of your system.  How Can You Unclog Your Drain Line? Where the clog is located will determine on how hard it is to reach and remove. If your drain is still partially open, but draining slowly, you may want to clear the drain by pouring a cup of white vinegar or a cup of diluted bleach through your line. Both will help to remove any mold, mildew, and dirt that is located in your line. Make sure...

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Crazy Ants: Protecting Your Air Condtioner From The Tiny Menace

Posted by on 11:27 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Crazy Ants: Protecting Your Air Condtioner From The Tiny Menace

There are dozens of insects that can infiltrate your air conditioner and cause issues, but none of them are quite as annoying as the crazy ant. Named after its zig-zagging walking pattern, this type of ant is known for starting a cycle of death inside the air conditioner and ruining the electrical contacts that start the entire unit. Understand where the ants come from and learn some techniques to keep them away to avoid having to make multiple repair calls this summer. What are Crazy Ants? The tawny crazy ant is a species native to South America, but it arrived in the US during the early 2000s and has established populations in many of the warmer states like Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana. This relative of the stinging fire ant is less known for biting and more widely recognized as the small brown ant that wanders into air conditioners to die in mass numbers. Many homeowners open a non-responsive air conditioning unit only to find a foul-smelling pile of dead ants. Sometimes the ants are also nesting inside the cavities of the unit, but this pile up can also occur without any long-term nests. Why Do They Love Air Conditioners? The ants only enter the air conditioning unit as part of their natural exploration for food and shelter, although some HVAC repair technicians wonder if they’re attracted by the vibrations or odors of the unit. It only takes one ant to start a cycle of death by: Touching two metal contact points, creating a short circuit that kills the single ant Releasing pheromones upon death Attracting others ants with the odor, which also get electrocuted and die. Each new ant that wanders in to respond to the distress call dies and adds their pheromones to the mix. Within a few hours, you can end up with hundreds of tawny crazy ants streaming into the A/C, especially if they’re nesting in another part of the unit and ready to respond. What Kind of Damage is Caused? Most of the time, it’s simply the short circuiting effect of the ant bodies causing the air conditioner to stay off or switch off after just a few minutes of use. In some cases, the sheer number of ants blocks the blades of blower fans or prevents air from flowing through the filters. A repair technician can check for other types of damage to the wiring and delicate electrical components while they’re cleaning out the dead ants to make sure the unit will run smoothly again without multiple visits. If the ants have attracted any predators to dine on them, you’ll also need to discourage the insects or small animals from visiting after the ants are removed. How Are Crazy Ants Controlled? Instead of waiting until your A/C doesn’t switch on to call for repairs, take a proactive approach to keep the crazy ants away in the first place by making your air conditioner less attractive to them. If there are nests, have the unit open and thoroughly cleaned to remove nests and eggs that would continue the infestation. Place bait a few feet away from the A/C unit for a few weeks after the nests are eliminated so that any stragglers or new colony scouts are eliminated before they can start a new nest....

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Wondering If A Ductless Mini-Split HVAC System Is Right For You? Get Answers To The Questions You May Have

Posted by on 10:53 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wondering If A Ductless Mini-Split HVAC System Is Right For You? Get Answers To The Questions You May Have

If you need to upgrade your HVAC system, there are many different types available to you. You may be considering a traditional HVAC unit, a heat pump or a ductless mini-split HVAC system. Learning about the different types and getting answers to the questions you have about each type will help you decide which is the best option for your home. Here are a few questions you may have if you are wondering if a ductless mini-split HVAC system is right for you. What Differentiates a Ductless Mini-Split HVAC System From Other Systems? There are two features that differentiate a ductless mini-split HVAC system from other heating and cooling units on the market. The first unique feature about this product is that it is ductless. The majority of HVAC units, air conditioners, heaters and heat pumps use ducts and vents to carry the heated or cooled air from the unit into your home. This type of device does not require your home to have a duct system. The other unique feature about this type of heating and cooling system is that it is split, so you can heat and cool certain parts of your home. You have different heating and cooling modules located in various units in your home, allowing you to cool only certain rooms, based on where you place the units. This is similar to the control you can get with portable heaters and swamp coolers. Who Would Benefit from a Ductless Mini-Split HVAC System? Ductless mini-split HVAC systems are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners. This is because this type of system is beneficial to many different groups of homeowners. The first group of homeowners that this system can benefit is those who have older homes that may not have a duct system. If you live in an older home, you may have a radiant heating and cooling system or you may have no system at all. In either case, installing ductwork in your home can be costly. You have to open up walls and ceilings to place ducts and vents. If you don’t have the budget for this, or don’t want to have this done, a ductless mini-split HVAC system may be a great option for you. Another group of homeowners that are considering ductless mini-split HVAC systems are those who are doing extensive renovation projects on their home. Ductwork takes up space behind walls and in ceilings. If you are looking to expand a room, build a closet or raise the height of your ceilings, your ductwork may get in the way. Some homeowners are installing ductless mini-split HVAC systems so they can remove the ductwork in their home and gain more living space or ceiling height. If this is a home renovation you are considering, you may benefit from this type of heating and cooling system. The last group of homeowners that can benefit from mini-split HVAC systems are those who only live in a small portion of their home. If you are an empty nester, you may have a large home that is only occupied when your children are out of college for the summer or home for the holidays. If you have a traditional HVAC unit, you have to heat and cool your entire home, wasting energy and money. Installing a mini-split...

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How Can You Air Condition A Home With No Ducts?

Posted by on 5:18 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Can You Air Condition A Home With No Ducts?

Adding air conditioning to a home with forced air heating is simple. Your HVAC technician simply installs a central air conditioner and connects it to your existing ductwork. But when you have some other sort of heating system that does not require ductwork, like boiler heating or baseboard electric heating, things get more complicated. If you were to get central air conditioning, this would require running ducts through your walls and adding air vents to each room. This is an enormous undertaking — and it’s not even possible with the way some homes are built. Thankfully, there’s another air conditioning option for homes without ducts: ductless mini-split air conditioning. What is ductless mini-split air conditioning? This type of system is sometimes simply called “ductless air conditioning.” Basically, these systems consist of two pieces of equipment. A compressor unit is located outdoors next to your building, and an air handling unit is mounted on the wall inside your home. The compressor cools the air, and the air handling unit pulls it through a pipe and blows it into your home. Depending on the size of your home, there may be several air handling units, but they will all be connected to the one compressor. As the name suggests, there are no ducts required for a ductless mini-split air conditioning system. The tubes through which air travels between the compressor and air handling units are all located outside. Therefore, your HVAC technician won’t have to do excessive renovations to accommodate this style of air conditioning system. The most complicated part is making a small hole in the wall so that the air can feed through to the air handling unit. What are the other advantages of a ductless air conditioning system? In addition to minimizing the need for renovations, this style of system offers a number of benefits for homeowners: You can control your air temperature zone by zone. If you have several air handling units, they’ll have separate thermostats. So you can set one area of the house to 72 degrees F and another area to 76 degrees F if you wish. This isn’t possible with standard central air. Your home will be well ventilated. Air is continuously being brought in from the outdoors, so your home won’t feel as stuffy. Your utility bills will be lower. Generally, ductless mini-split air conditioning units operate on less power than traditional forced air systems, so your energy bills will be lower. Setting your temperature by zone will also let you conserve energy by keeping rooms you’re not spending time in warmer. How much does a ductless mini-split system cost? If your home is 1,000 square feet or less, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000 to have one of these systems installed. For larger homes, the cost can range between $5,000 and $7,000. While this is more than the cost of installing central air in a home that already has ducts, it is likely much less than you would pay to have your home retrofitted with ductwork as well as having a central air system installed. Are there any downfalls to ductless mini-split systems? The presence of the air handling unit on the wall is annoying to some homeowners. It may interfere with your decorating scheme or the placement of...

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How To Beat The Heat At Home Without Wearing Your Air Conditioner Out

Posted by on 6:46 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Beat The Heat At Home Without Wearing Your Air Conditioner Out

You can expect to face hefty energy bills each month, especially during the summer, if you are relying solely on your air conditioner to stay cool while spending time indoors at home. You’ll find that without implementing other measures to keep your home cool throughout the year, your air conditioner will face extensive wear and tear that can result in costly maintenance and repair requirements as time goes on. Luckily, there are a variety of effective things you can do at home to minimize the wear and tear and ensure optimal air conditioning performance on a daily basis – you’ll also likely see a nice savings on your monthly energy bills. Consider implementing one or more of these ideas: Plant a Few Trees in the Yard Planting a few trees around your home can reduce your cooling needs by up to a whopping 30 percent and decrease the daily workload of your HVAC system. Plant your trees in front of windows and porches that get direct sunlight for the best results. Your trees should grow tall enough at maturity to shade your roof from the sun, so be sure to plant them far enough away from the house that their branches won’t fall on the roof if they break off for any reason. Deciduous trees are your best bet, as they are full of large leaves during the summer for effective sun protection, and they lose their leaves in the winter so the sun can naturally heat your home up. Try one or more of these beautiful options: Sweet Gum Birch Red Maple Sourwood Weeping Willow You can also plant fruit trees in the yard to benefit from free food in addition to extra heat protection for your home. Try apple, pear, lychee, or oranges. Update Your Windows An effective way to keep the interior of your home cool when it’s hot outside is to update your windows with insulation film. Window insulation film will not only provide extra insulation and help keep your energy bills low, but it will also keep your flooring, furniture, and interior walls from being damaged by the sun’s UV rays. You’ll find insulation film in a variety of shades, colors, and designs – you can even make your windows look like they’re made of stained glass. It can be applied without help from a professional, and it can be easily peeled off if you need to replace it or if you decide to move sometime in the future. Make Use of a Dehumidifier Moisture in your home’s air can make the temperature feel hotter than it actually is, so it’s a good idea to use a dehumidifier to dry out the air and keep temperatures a couple degrees cooler indoors. Invest in a portable dehumidifier that is easy to move from room to room depending on where you are spending your time at on any given day. If you live in an area that tends to be humid, you may find it most effective to have a whole-house dehumidifier installed for use throughout the year. Install Some Ceiling Fans By installing ceiling fans in the rooms your family uses most often, you should notice a big decrease in how often your air conditioner is needed during the day. Ceiling fans won’t eliminate your...

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Ductless Heat Pumps: A Convenient Heating Choice for Your Multi-Family Home

Posted by on 5:13 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ductless Heat Pumps: A Convenient Heating Choice for Your Multi-Family Home

When you rent out various spaces within a multi-family home, it can be hard to coordinate the heating system. If you have the whole home on one heating system, then figuring out how the bills should be split between tenants becomes complicated. If you run a separate forced air or boiler-style heating system for each unit, then you have to make room for multiple sets of ducts or pipes within the walls and multiple furnaces or boilers in the basement. Luckily, there’s another option that tends to work quite well for heating multi-family homes: ductless heat pumps. Here’s a closer look at this style of heating system and its advantages. What is a ductless heat pump system? A ductless heat pump system is a type of air-source heat pump. What this means is that it gathers heat from the outdoor air and transfers it to the interior of the home. (Yes, even chilly outdoor air contains some heat for the pump to capture). This type of system has two main components. There’s a heat pump, which is located outside of the home, and an air handling unit, which is mounted on the interior wall. The heat pump gathers the heat and uses it to warm air, and the air handling unit blows that warm air into the home. For larger living spaces, there are sometimes multiple air handling units attached to a single heat pump. For instance, in a 3-bedroom apartment, you might have one air handling unit in the hall by the bedrooms and another in the living room. Why are ductless heat pump systems such a good choice for multi-family homes? The primary reason is that you can easily have a separate system for each unit. For example, if you rent out an upstairs and a downstairs separately, the upstairs can have one heat pump and an air handling unit, and the downstairs can have a separate heat pump and an air handling unit. The two tenants will have separate control over their heat, and each system can be hooked up to a separate utility account in the respective tenants’ names. Installing several ductless heat pump systems in a single building is a lot less cumbersome than installing multiple boiler or duct-style forced air systems since there are no interior pipes or ducts to accommodate. The pipes leading from the heat pumps to the air handling unit are all located outside the building where there is virtually unlimited space. Residents will also appreciate that the wall-mounted air handling units give them greater flexibility when it comes to arranging furniture. It’s easier to work around one unit on the wall than an entire system of radiators or vents. Are there other advantages of ductless heat pump systems? In a home of any kind, ductless air handling units save energy. Ducts are said to account for about 30% of energy loss in forced air systems, and ductless air handling systems cut out these ducts, so they cut down on energy loss, too. Your tenants will appreciate this if they’re responsible for their own energy bills. Reducing energy use is also good for the planet. Offering ductless heat pump systems may help you attract more tenants who value green living. Since ductless heat pumps run on electricity, choosing this style...

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Two Things You Should Know About Solar HVAC Systems

Posted by on 6:17 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two Things You Should Know About Solar HVAC Systems

Homeowners who want to save money on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprints may look at solar HVAC systems as something that can help them do both at the same time. While it’s true that solar-powered air conditioning and heating systems can reduce energy costs—one homeowner cut his energy bill in half—and are powered by clean energy, there are things homeowners should know about these systems before purchasing and installing them. Here are two you need to consider. They Require a Large Upfront Investment Solar HVAC systems cost significantly more than regular ones because you have to purchase solar panels in addition to buying the air conditioner and/or furnace. For instance, one solar-powered unit cost between $9,000 and $15,000. However, the panels needed to run these machines can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $30,000 depending on brand, size, and quality. For comparison, a regular central air conditioning unit costs an average of $5,237 to install, while the price of putting in a standard furnace comes in at around $3,883. However, it should be noted that there are ways to reduce the cost of investing in this type of solar tech. The government has a variety of programs incentivizing people to purchase solar-powered appliances. For instance, you can claim a 30% tax credit on qualifying purchases of solar systems. Individual states also have programs, and you can look up the relevant one in your area by visiting the Department of Energy website. Some manufacturers and installation companies may also provide discounts and rebates on the installation of a solar HVAC system. You can typically find out about them by visiting the manufacturer’s website or contacting an HVAC contractor in your area. A third way you can make some of your investment money back is by selling any excess energy you generate to the local energy company. Some utility companies will pay wholesale prices for energy you contribute to the grid. However, this is not available in every state, so check with your local company. Lastly, a solar HVAC system may increase the market value of your home. So even if you’re planning to sell the house within a few years, you may get more money for it if you install this appliance. They’re Not for Every Home A second issue you must consider is that these systems are not for every home. The primary concern is ensuring the solar panels are receiving adequate sunlight. This means having a south-facing roof in an area free of trees and other obstructions that would block the sun’s rays. If your roof doesn’t fit the bill, an alternative is to mount the panels on poles. However, you run into the same issue. You’ll need to put the poles in the south-facing area in your yard. This may not be a big deal if this area is your backyard. If the south-facing area is your front-yard, however, then you might have a problem with the neighbors and/or homeowner’s association who may not want to deal with such an eyesore. Another concern is your roof must be able to bear the weight of the solar panels. The panels can weigh anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds apiece depending on the manufacturer and material used. While solar panels can help reduce the amount of degradation...

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Why Air Conditioning Is So Important If You Suffer From COPD

Posted by on 10:50 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Air Conditioning Is So Important If You Suffer From COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition that makes breathing a difficult task, and the symptoms of this condition tend to worsen when the weather is hot and humid. This is why having air conditioning in your home is so important in the summer months. If your AC stops working, it could make it even harder for you to breathe, and this is why you should call a company that offers 24-hour AC repairs in your area. Why Heat Makes It Hard To Breathe There are a number of triggers that can cause the symptoms of COPD to worsen, but being in hot, humid environments is one of these. This is typically a trigger you can control, because you can go in your home and turn your AC on. Staying in an air-conditioned environment can help keep your breathing passages open, and this can help you find some relief. Humid environments tend to cause body parts to swell, and this is one of the reasons heat triggers the effects of COPD. While researchers are not exactly sure of all the other reasons heat makes respiratory conditions worsen, research does show that people with respiratory conditions are more likely to seek emergency help during times when it is extremely hot outside. Living in a house that is hot and sticky is not healthy for anyone, but it is especially dangerous if you suffer from COPD or any other type of respiratory illness. What You Can Do To Stay Cool Living with COPD may require some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and staying in cool places, but this can be hard to do if your AC stops working. If this occurs, your best option is to call a company that offers emergency AC repairs. There are companies that provide these services 24 hours a day, and they will come to your home as quickly as possible to get your system running again. In addition to getting emergency repair services, you may also want to plan on having an AC company perform routine maintenance on your AC system each year. The best time to do this is just before summer begins, because this could help you avoid outages. During AC maintenance, a technician will examine all the key components of your central AC system. They will recharge the system with coolant if needed, and they will replace any parts that are not working, or that look like they will need to be replaced very soon. For more information, contact a company like Elite Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. Other Tasks That Can Help You Breathe Easier Keeping your AC system up and running well could help you breathe easier, but you should also take the appropriate steps needed to keep the air in your home clean. Indoor air pollution is another trigger of COPD, and indoor air can be polluted by mold, dust, pet dander, and smoke. To improve the condition of your indoor air quality, you may want to: Keep your house clean Keep pets outside Prohibit smoking in your home These tips can help your air stay cleaner, but an AC repair company can also help with this. You can hire them to replace your air filters on your AC system regularly, and you can also hire them to clean...

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Expecting Guests This Weekend? Tips To Clean Out And Secure Your Ailing Drainage System Fast

Posted by on 9:41 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Expecting Guests This Weekend? Tips To Clean Out And Secure Your Ailing Drainage System Fast

If you expect a lot of guests this weekend but have an ailing drainage system in your home, take steps to clean and secure it right away. Older drainage systems, such as those found in your vanity sink and bathtub, can back up unexpectedly. If the bad drains block the flow of water in your main sewer line, raw sewage can back up into your home. Here’s how you clean out and secure your ailing drainage system before your guests arrive. Get Your Supplies Ready The first step in cleaning and securing your drainage system is to get all of your supplies ready. Here’s what you do: Mix Your Safe Drain Cleaner Mix white vinegar, baking soda and hot water in at least five gallon-sized containers. The natural acids found in white vinegar and baking soda break through clogged drains without damaging the rest of your plumbing. White vinegar and baking soda also contain special neutralizers that clear away bad odors from mildew, old toothpaste, hair, and mold, which can be hazardous to your health if you have allergies or sinus problems.  Important Tip You don’t want to use caustic chemicals, such as drain openings made with lye, when you unclog the drains. If your home contains old, damaged plumbing pipes, you can actually make the problem worse if the chemicals eat through the lines or corrode them. Purchase Your Supplies Purchase a snake or auger from your local hardware store. The auger should be at least 25 feet in length, but you can purchase a larger drain snake just in case you need a bigger tool later. You control how much of the auger to insert inside your bathroom and kitchen drains, so you shouldn’t worry about damaging the pipes in your home. Buy a plunger with a firm rubber cup. Softer cups may not stick securely over your clogged drains. In addition, you want to form a strong suction over the clogged drain openings, which helps pull up, push down or release any debris that sticks to the lining of your plumbing pipes. Buy Your Safety Wear Obtain eye goggles to protect your eyes from accidental splashes. You also need a pair of thin but strong vinyl gloves for your hands. The gloves should feature grips on the palm and fingers, which helps you hold onto the auger and plunger safely when you use them. Now, you’re ready to unclog the drains. Unclog the Drains There are two quick ways you can locate clogged drains in your home. The most common sign of a clogged drain is slow water drainage. Water will sit inside sinks and drain out slowly when there’s a clog in the pipelines. You may even smell a foul sulfur odor when there are clogs. The other sign of a clogged drain is sound. Clogged drains gurgle, bubble and burp when you pour water down them or in the case of a toilet, flush it. Now, do follow these steps:  Put on your safety gear. Pour one gallon of vinegar, baking soda and water mix into each bad drain you find, then let it sit for 30 minutes.  Turn on the taps and use the snake to work the drains. Once the water runs down fast and clear, you’ve removed the clogs. Be sure to...

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