Scheduling a Maintenance Inspection

3 Ways A Digital Multi-Meter Can Help You Diagnose A Non-Functioning AC Condensing Unit

Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Ways A Digital Multi-Meter Can Help You Diagnose A Non-Functioning AC Condensing Unit

The condensing unit in a central air conditioning system is where the cooling process begins once the thermostat is dialed down. A compressor is kicked into action and produces a gas refrigerant required to fuel the entire cooling process. Problems in the initial stages of condensing unit function can thwart your entire system and leave you with warm, uncomfortable air inside your home. There are a number of parts inside the condensing unit that can go bad. But using a digital multi-meter can help you troubleshoot and determine whether one of three important parts are what is causing the failure. Start and Run Capacitors Start and run capacitors are both parts meant to hold an electrical current and give the compressor some help where needed. The start compressor gives a boost when the system first triggers into action and the run capacitor is on standby in case there’s an electrical interruption that could shut down the compressor. A problem in one or both of the capacitors can keep the compressor from turning on or can make the compressor turn on then off quickly. You can test the start and run capacitors using your digital multi-meter and its Ohms settings. But first you need to do a bit of prep work since the capacitors store electricity. Turn off the main power to the condensing unit at the fuses or breakers. Now you need to discharge the capacitors. You can discharge the run capacitor by laying the end of an insulated screwdriver over the capacitor’s terminals for a few moments. Discharge the start capacitor by unhooking its wires, hooking up the multi-meter probes, and then turning the multi-meter to AC setting. Wait until the AC reading hits zero and the start capacitor is discharged. Testing works the same on both capacitors. Hook up the multi-meter probes to the terminals on the capacitors and set the machine to the Ohms reading. Locate the Ohms listing printed on each capacitor to see what the target range is for the reading. If the reading doesn’t match the range, you need to replace the part. Compressor Testing You can also test the compressor itself though the testing is a bit trickier. If you have any doubts about the process, call in an air conditioning repair company like JV Systems Air Conditioning And Heating of Tampa Bay Inc for help. Set the multi-meter to continuity testing mode. On many digital multi-meters, this mode means that the meter will beep if there is continuity and won’t beep if there isn’t. Note that a beep alone doesn’t mean that your compressor is fully functioning but it can be an indication that the problem is elsewhere in your condensing unit. Conduct the test by locating the terminals on the compressor, which should have letter labels of C, R, and S. You want to hook your multi-meter probes to each pair of these terminals and wait for the beep. Continue on to the next pair if you do hear the beep. Start with C and R, then R and S, then C and S to ensure all pairs are...

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How To Clean Your Evaporator Coils

Posted by on February 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Clean Your Evaporator Coils

Functionality of your heat pump is very dependent on several components. One of the most central components of the entire HVAC system is the evaporator unit. Every system will have an evaporator coil which is an essential transfer device that drives the heating and air conditioning systems.  This is why it is so important to make sure your evaporator coil’s are in top, working order at all times. This article explains how to check and clean your evaporator coils. Finding the Evaporator Unit The first thing you need to do is identify where the evaporator coils are. The coils are usually in a unit that is attached to or next to the heat pump. Most commonly, it is in a separate sheet metal cabinet attached to the top of the furnace. You will probably need to remove the access door to even see the evaporator. Some units will have a vented access door, so you can see without removing the door. When you identify which access door leads to the evaporator, you can remove it with a screwdriver. Cleaning the Evaporator Unit Before you start to actually work on the evaporator, you need to make sure the power is cut. There is not plug, so you will need to turn it off at the breaker box. Once you open the access door you should see the coils, which are stacked in the shape of a triangle. There is usually very limited space within the dark space and you will need a flashlight. Look for dust, dirt, mold or animal droppings. A simple hose vacuum will allow you to clean out much of the compartment. A wet rag will also be helpful for rubbing off stubborn grime. In the worst case scenario can use a wire brush to clean and polish the coils. Of course, the coils don’t need to be sparkly clean, but any dirt on the surface can ultimately hamper the heat transfer and make your entire heating and air conditioning unit less energy efficient. When you are done cleaning your evaporator unit, you can reattach the access doors and then turn the power back on. You might not immediately notice the huge amount of increased airflow when you are running your air conditioner or heater, but you should start to enjoy the benefits when you see your monthly bill. A clean evaporator unit will also use electricity and results in a more efficient HVAC...

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Heating Your Home Without Breaking The Bank

Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Heating Your Home Without Breaking The Bank

Saving money on your heating bill can be as simple as taking on some basic home maintenance tasks. Not only are many of them affordable, but their impact will be more than sufficient to offset the cost of implementing the fix. From reducing drafts in your home to improving the efficiency of your central heating unit, you’ll cut costs with a minimal cash outlay. Locating the Drafts There are a few key locations that you need to focus on to eliminate heat loss in your home, and while everyone knows about doors and windows there are a few that are less likely to be addressed. Your home’s power outlets are just a clear passage for cold air to penetrate into your home from the attic, crawlspace, basement or exterior wall. Further, while windows are on your mind, remember that it’s not just the window itself that can cause heat loss. Resolving drafty power outlets only takes a small fix using a foam cut out available at most hardware stores. The foam is cut to the shape and dimension of a standard household outlet, creating a barrier and blocking air flow. Meanwhile, the same concept should be applied to your window frames, back filling the gap between the frame and the stud with expanding foam to create a thermal break. You may need to remove some molding to get at that gap, but the time and expense will be well worth it in the long run. Addressing Your HVAC Woes Any discussion of your heating costs needs to involve your HVAC system, as this will be the primary source of the expense. As a result, basic maintenance should include regular inspections of your furnace and your duct lines. The harder your furnace works to maintain your desired temperature the more you’ll spend on the luxury. Worn or aging parts should be replaced, but without a professional it’s hard to know what actually needs it and what is normal wear. Further, inspecting your air ducts will often locate holes, gaps or other points where warm air is being lost. Sealing these gaps and replacing old parts will ensure that you’re not paying more for heat you’re not benefiting from. You shouldn’t be experiencing a feeling of dread each time you open a winter electric bill. Dealing with maintenance issues and locating the source of your heat loss will ensure that you’re not paying to heat your house twice. Better still, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing just what state your HVAC system is actually in. Contact professionals, such as Ricks Repair Service, for further...

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Three Simple Steps That Can Extend Your A/C Unit’s Life

Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Simple Steps That Can Extend Your A/C Unit’s Life

Having your air conditioner serviced annually — typically at the start of the season that you’ll use it regularly — can help to keep the unit running in optimal shape and avoid any unexpected breakdowns that will cause you and your family to suffer in the heat. During your day-to-day usage of the air conditioner, you can take a variety of steps to limit unnecessary wear and tear on the unit and reduce the likelihood of it needing to be repaired. Extending the life of your A/C is something with which every homeowner should be acquainted; here are three ways to accomplish this goal. Allow The Temperature To Rise When The House Is Empty Arguably the simplest way to extend the life of your air conditioner is to avoid having it run around the clock. While the idea of a cool, refreshing home is certainly appealing, there’s little value in having your home ice cold while it’s empty during the day. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your thermostat and set it so the interior temperature of your home rises during the day. Then, you can have the unit come back on in the late afternoon so your house is cool when you arrive home from work. This simple step will keep the unit from running unnecessarily, which can prevent it from wearing out prematurely. Don’t Allow Heat Into Your Home Where possible, it’s best to avoid introducing heat into your home. Added heat will force the A/C to have to run longer to drop the temperature, which puts undue wear on the unit. Avoid using your dryer and your stove as much as possible; a clothes line and cooking on the BBQ are effective ways to dry your clothing and cook. Additionally, keep your window curtains drawn to avoid heat entering your home via the windows and, if you find that the sunlight is still entering through your curtains, consider installing insulated curtains. Be Diligent About Changing Your Filter Changing the air filter on your air conditioning is an important maintenance task that allows your home to cool more quickly, which can give the A/C some much-needed rest. The schedule for changing the filter depends on a couple variables. Generally, it’s acceptable to change it every three months, but if you live in a home with pets that shed their fur, every two months is ideal. The process of changing the filter takes only a minute and is easy to accomplish through following the instructions on the package or in your air conditioner manual. For more information, talk to a company like Enright and...

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Air Conditioning Mistakes That Are Easier To Make Than You Think

Posted by on September 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Air Conditioning Mistakes That Are Easier To Make Than You Think

Air conditioning is one of the most widely used comfort appliances. It makes sense, therefore, that you may assume you know everything there is to know about how to use them efficiently. Unfortunately, there are some air conditioning mistakes that you can easily make without thinking. Here are four examples of such mistakes: Hiding the Air Conditioner Most air conditioners may not win first prize on looks, but this doesn’t mean that you should hide them. The air conditioner needs to be installed in an airy and open place where it can enjoy maximum air circulation. The practice of using house plants to hide air conditioners isn’t good, because it makes the unit work harder to circulate the air. Installing an Oversized Unit An air conditioner should be sized to suit your house’s size. Installing an oversized system will not cool or heat your house any faster. In fact, there are several disadvantages of oversizing your air conditioning system. Here is a couple of examples of these disadvantages: Increased rate of wear and tear – an oversized unit doesn’t run for long, because it takes a short time to hit the thermostat setting. Unfortunately, frequent start-ups and shut-downs wear down the units faster than they should. Inadequate dehumidification – this happens because the oversized air conditioner isn’t likely to run for a long enough time to take the moisture out of the air. Heating the Thermostat Nobody in his or her right mind would hold up a flame to an air conditioner and heat up the thermostat, but that isn’t the only way of heating up the thermostat. Many electrical items in your house are possible heat sources, and placing them near the thermostat heats them up. Innocuous appliances such as television and stereo sets can drive up the temperature and overwork the air conditioner so ensure they aren’t set near the thermostat. Using the Wrong Fans Using ceiling fans to supplement your air conditioner’s work is a great idea, but only if you are using the right fans. This is especially true if the fans are pushing air downwards to create a cooling (wind-chill) effect. However, if you are using exhaust fans, such as those used in the bathroom, then you are making your air conditioner work harder than it should. This is because such fans push out the air-conditioned air, which means fresh air has to be heated up again. Limit the use of such exhaust fans. For more information on how to correctly cool your home, contact a professional business, like Stellar Heating...

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2 Frequently Asked Questions about Evaporative Coolers

Posted by on August 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Frequently Asked Questions about Evaporative Coolers

Portable evaporative coolers are one of the oldest forms of air conditioning available today, providing an efficient and effective cooling alternative to conventional AC units. These appliances can be very effective at cooling indoor areas in dry climates, and can be purchased in various sizes depending on your cooling needs. If you are unfamiliar with these units, here are answers to some common questions about evaporative coolers to help you understand how they work and how you can get the best performance out of them. Why are these appliances only effective in hot, dry climates? Evaporative coolers utilize a simple, yet effective cooling mechanism where hot, dry air is pulled into the unit and passed thought a moist cooling pad that draws water from an on board water reservoir. The heat in this air is absorbed into the cooling pad, turning water into a fine, cool mist that is then released into the space to be cooled. Due to this mechanism of injecting moisture into the air to achieve cooling, the conditions in the surrounding air need to be dry and hot for the appliance to function properly. If used in typically wet and humid areas, the unit will not be able to inject sufficient moisture amounts into the already saturated air, so the cooling effect will be minimal. Additionally, injecting more moisture into already humid air can make your space feel hotter despite the cooling effect of the mist being added from the evaporative unit. These appliances are also most effective in dry, hot climates during the afternoon when humidity is at its lowest and room temperatures at their highest. You could thus opt to use your conventional AC unit for cooling in the mornings and evenings and switch to your evaporative cooler in the afternoons to save on utility bills. How can I improve the performance of an evaporative cooler? Even when used in ideal climate areas for their optimal operation, evaporative coolers still require that several steps are taken to achieve optimal cooling. It is very crucial that you ensure a fresh supply of air in your home for the appliance to work optimally. This is because a lack of air would cause humidity levels in the room to build up, eventually causing indoor temperatures to rise. Be sure to leave your windows or door open to ensure your indoor air does not become stale and humidity levels remain relatively low. The next step is to keep up with maintenance. Periodically replace the cooling pad in the unit to maintain optimal cooling, and refill the water reservoir whenever it gets low to keep the cooler in top cooling shape. For more information, talk to a professional like Shivani Refrigeration & Air...

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What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Starts Making Strange Noises

Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Starts Making Strange Noises

It’s not uncommon for an air conditioning system to start making unusual noises. You may hear rattles, screeches, thuds, and whistles. These sounds indicate a part is worn or something is loose in the system. While you’ll need to call an HVAC contractor, like United Heating Cooling and Plumbing Inc, for a specific diagnosis, there are some simple things you can check yourself. Here’s what to do when your air conditioner starts making funny noises. Check The Outer Panels Although you probably can’t tell it, your air conditioner vibrates when it’s working. This vibration can cause screws to work loose on the panels. When a screw is loose, the panel will rattle slightly. Also, a screw can fall out completely and get inside your air conditioner and cause a rattling noise. First, shut off the power to your air conditioner and then check the panel screws. Give them a couple of turns to make sure they are tight. If a screw is missing, you can take off the outer panel and see if you can retrieve the screw and replace it. Clean The Fins And Filter There might be twigs or other debris caught in the fins of the outdoor cabinet. This can create a whistling or rattling sound. Clean out the fins with a vacuum or brush. Be very careful not to bend them because a bent fin will cause a rattling sound too. You can buy a fin brush at the hardware store to use for this purpose. It will also help straighten the fins if you need to fix one that is bent. It’s also possible for debris to get sucked inside your outdoor unit and hit against the fan and make noise. If that’s the case, you can remove the outer panel and clean out the cabinet. Check your filter while you’re cleaning your AC too. If your filter is clogged, your AC might make a whistling sound as it struggles to pull air through it. Check The Fan While you have the outer panels off the cabinet, check your fan. Make sure there is no debris stuck on it or dirt accumulation that causes it to stick. Look for a bent blade too. If the fan is out of alignment or has a bent blade, it may hit against the side of the cabinet with each turn and make a clicking noise. Brush off the fan and manually straighten blades that are bent, and if that doesn’t help, you’ll need to have a contractor figure out why the fan is malfunctioning. You don’t have to handle any dangerous internal parts to make the above checks. It’s not a good idea to remove the inner panel that covers the working parts of your air conditioner. Only take off the outer panel so you’ll be safe. If cleaning and making minor adjustments don’t work, then it’s time to call in an air conditioning repair service. You could have a worn belt or parts that need to be lubricated. Just don’t ignore unusual sounds. They are a sign something is wrong, and your AC might be damaged if it is allowed to run when it’s not working...

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3 Daily Tips To Reduce Your Family’s Heating Costs This Winter

Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Daily Tips To Reduce Your Family’s Heating Costs This Winter

As the weather begins to turn colder, your family might look forward to a lot of things, such as building snowmen or celebrating the holidays together. One thing that you might not be looking forward to, however, is paying higher heating costs. Although it’s true that you can expect to spend a little bit of extra money in the winter to keep your family nice and cozy, there are ways that you can reduce costs. These are a few day-to-day tips that can help you save more than you think. 1. Let the Light Shine In Even though you might not be able to open your windows now that the fall months are over, you still shouldn’t keep your windows covered all winter long. Instead, allow the natural light to shine in through your windows to provide some heat. Plus, doing so can also help provide some cheer on dreary, cold winter days. Just make sure that there are no air leaks around your windows; if there are, you can generally fix them with caulk. 2. Use Your Oven The winter months are the perfect time to enjoy your favorite comfort foods, like casseroles and pot roasts. Make them in the oven to provide some added heat to your kitchen. Just make sure that you don’t attempt to heat your kitchen by leaving your oven door open when the oven is on, which can be dangerous. The oven should still provide ample heat just from being turned on, with the door shut, while baking your favorite recipes. 3. Snuggle Up Now that it’s cold outside and your family members probably aren’t spending as much time outdoors, consider arranging family nights when everyone can hang out in the living room and snuggle up under blankets. It’s a great way to bond, and using body heat and blankets can allow you to turn your thermostat down a little bit to conserve energy. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can program it to automatically reduce your home’s temperature during the evening hours when everyone is bundled up and staying warm. Heating your home can be expensive during the winter months, but it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. If you make a few changes to your day-to-day routine, and you and your family can stay nice and toasty, and you’re sure to notice that your heating bills aren’t quite as high. You can find other ways to reduce your heating costs by talking to a company like A Avis Plumbing Heating & Air...

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How To Survive The Summer While Pregnant

Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Survive The Summer While Pregnant

The summer months can be difficult for anyone to endure.  Add to that the discomforts of pregnancy and you could be feeling a whole lot worse!  Plan ahead for the heat and humidity to make sure that pregnancy “glow” isn’t just because you’re breaking a sweat! Air Conditioning is Your Best Friend Keeping your AC in good repair is a must to escaping the elements in the summer.  It will also save you time and money on repairs, so you can focus on getting ready for your new little one.  Before the heat sets in, as well as throughout the summer, follow these few guidelines. Get a yearly cleaning for your AC system before the hot season starts.  Just as your heating system should be checked in the fall, your AC should have an annual checkup as well. Replace the air filter monthly.  If you have an air filter that can simply be cleaned, make sure to do so monthly.  This will keep your air conditioning system from being overworked. Repair any air leaks.  You can check for leaks by lighting incense near duct connections, or where the AC frame meets the window for window-mounted units.  If the smoke from the incense is blown around the room, there is a leak.  Repair this by taping over the leak with duct mastic tape for central AC.  Window-mounted units need foam taped in between the unit and the wall to best repair this issue. Use a timer or programmable thermostat to set your air conditioning to higher temperatures when you are not at home.  This will save you money on the cost of cooling. Keeping blinds closed during the day, especially on south-facing windows, will help keep the temperatures low in the house to avoid overworking your AC. If your cooling system doesn’t seem to be working properly, make sure to contact a business like Christian Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. to get it checked out before a small problem becomes a larger issue that could knock out your AC for good. Keep Cool Away From Home Keeping a low-cost “keep cool kit” with you when you’re out and about can be a lifesaver for pregnant women!  Consider some of these items to help. A thermos filled with pebbled ice.  Easy to eat, convenient to use on your forehead if needed, pebbled ice is the best option to keep you nice and cool.  And the thermos will keep it from melting right away.  A hand-held fan.  There are many options for these.  Some even spritz water on your face at the same time. Your favorite sports drink.  Dehydration is a common problem in pregnancy, so make sure you always have a drink on hand. Flip-flops.  You may not be able to tie your own shoes at this point anyway, so a pair of flip-flops is perfect to slide on your feet for a day out.  They’ll also keep your feet cool and comfortable if they’ve been...

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Four Pitfalls To Avoid When You’re Spraying Deodorizer Into Your Air Ducts

Posted by on June 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Pitfalls To Avoid When You’re Spraying Deodorizer Into Your Air Ducts

Even if there’s no major dust or mold buildup in your air ducts, small and out of reach clusters of bacteria in them can still create a putrid smell. Fortunately, if you want to overpower a bad smell and have your air ducts only propagate a good smell, there are many specialized air duct deodorizers out there that come in spray cans. To make sure your air duct deodorizing job is effective and doesn’t lead to more problems, learn to avoid these four pitfalls: Not Keeping Your Spray Can’s Bottom Parallel To The Duct’s Floor When you point your spray can into your open air duct in preparation for spraying, pay special attention to two things. First, make sure you’re holding the spray can as close to the center of the duct as you can manage. Second, make sure that the bottom of the spray can is completely parallel with the air duct’s floor. If you don’t pay attention to either of these things, a lot of the cleaning chemicals you spray will languish on the air duct sides immediately in front of you. Since an air duct deodorizer only really works if it can spread throughout the entire system, this isn’t ideal. Removing Any Ducts Before You Start Working Both an unsteady spray can and a partially dismantled air duct system will ruin your deodorizer’s effectiveness. In the case of a partially dismantled air duct system, this is because the deodorizer will have no way to circulate through an intact duct on the other side of a removed component. Spraying Too Much At Once Into The System Only so much of your deodorizer can fit through a limited space before it starts sticking to the walls, ceiling, and floor out of necessity. To maximize the amount of deodorizer that will circulate throughout your whole air duct system after you spray it, only use your spray can in short bursts. While you don’t need to pause for an extraordinarily long amount of time, pausing for a few seconds at least is key. Not Completely Ridding The Duct Of Moisture Even a very small amount of moisture in one part of your air duct system can completely ruin your deodorizer’s final smell. So before you start working, it’s wise to walk under the parts of the air duct system that are readily visible to you and look for cracks that water could’ve infiltrated through. If you see one, remove that part of the duct and start looking for moisture. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference your air duct system makes when it has a good odor emanating from it. So while paving the way for an air duct deodorizing session isn’t the easiest work in the world, there’s a very good chance that it’ll all be worth it in the end. To learn more, contact a company like Crystal Coast Heating & Air...

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