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Should I Cover My Air Conditioner After Summer?

There are key times during the year that you need to do maintenance on your heating and cooling system. They are in the spring for your air conditioner, and in the fall for your heating unit. Outside of that maintenance schedule, people wonder if their outside air conditioning unit may need to be covered once the weather turns cold 
 There is a reason to cover your air conditioner after the summer, and it's not just for the winter. As we said before, your unit is built to withstand the rain and snow, but it is not built to keep out leaves, seeds, or nuts.

Therefore, you will want to cover your system during the fall only. When leaves or seeds get into your air conditioner, they can create a place where moisture collects, which then causes corrosion. It can even block up any moisture drainage your system has built in.

If you do cover your air conditioner, only cover the top of it. If you make your own cover, be aware that it should only come down the side about 6 inches. You don’t want to cover it completely, if you do, you are asking for trouble. A cover that completely covers your unit will trap moisture inside which then causes rust and corrosion.

Conclusion

Remember, your air conditioner is already built to protect against typical winter conditions. Therefore, you do not need a cover for it for the reasons you might think. 

3 Reasons to Consider Buying a New Air Conditioner in the Fall

With temperatures dropping, your air conditioner is likely the last thing on your mind. What many homeowners don’t know is that fall is an ideal time to purchase a new air conditioning system. Below are a few advantages to buying a new air conditioner now instead of waiting until next cooling season, along with tips for protecting your unit at winter approaches. 

1. Avoid installation delays

The average lifespan for an air conditioning system is approximately 15 years, although it can vary based on usage, maintenance, and environmental factors. If your current air conditioner is nearing or past this mark, you should probably expect to replace your unit in the next few years, if not sooner. Purchasing a new system now instead of waiting will prepare you for next cooling season, and set you up for lower cooling bills. 

When you buy an air conditioner in the summer months, you may experience installation delays, leaving you to suffer through the heat longer. Air conditioning installation is in high demand in the summer, and your HVAC contractor may not be able to install a new unit for you right away. If a new air conditioner is in your future, you can avoid delays and minimize your discomfort by purchasing and installing one in the fall instead of waiting until next summer.

2. Experience more frequent repair needs

If your air conditioner is breaking down on you often, this can be a telling sign that its time may be up soon. If the repair costs for your current system equal 25% or more of the price of a new system, now is the time to upgrade. Buying a new air conditioner now can save you the time and hassle of having to do so quickly and suddenly in the future, when your system gives out for good. 

3. Time to research your options

When air conditioners break down unexpectedly in the heat of summer, homeowners feel rushed to decide on a unit because they need cooling quick. Save yourself from making a hasty purchase decision by buying an air conditioner before your current one breaks down.  
 
 

Understanding Your HVAC System: Heating, Air Conditioning & Ventilation

Heating

The heating component of your HVAC system provides a warm climate for your home in the cooler months of the year. Today, the most popular type of heating system is the forced air system. In all of the systems, heat is created at a central source and distributed through the home via different means.


Ventilating

Your HVAC system plays an important role in maintaining the your home’s indoor air quality. Ventilation helps circulate and purify air, control moisture levels, remove unwanted smells, and prevent air stagnation.


Air Conditioning

Your AC system circulates refrigerant that changes from gas to liquid as it collects and expels heat from your home. It passes warm vapor refrigerant through the compressor where it becomes hot refrigerant vapor and moves to the condenser. Here, the hot vapor is cooled as air from the condenser fan passes over finned coils and turns into hot liquid. The hot liquid passes through the expansion valve that creates a low pressure, cool liquid mist that runs through the evaporator coil. 

As the cooler liquid mist evaporates, it absorbs heat from your house’s inside air and returns it to the compressor (restarting the process). This absorbed heat is pushed outside by the system, resulting in a cooler home.


Thermostat Programming & Recycling Tips for Winter

There’s no denying it — colder temperatures are arriving throughout the country. It’s time to change your programmable thermostat settings to account for the changing seasons. Make the most of your thermostat this season by incorporating settings that will optimize your heating system efficiency. 

Setting your programmable thermostat for winter will keep your family comfortable without adjusting temperatures manually. Take the time to program your thermostat to reduce the temptation to touch it, cranking temperatures up and forgetting about it, which raises your heating bills. Overriding your settings regularly will keep your programmable thermostat from helping your family reduce energy use, defeating one of its main purposes.

Set your thermostat for 68° for the hours your home will be occupied. 68° has been found to be the most energy efficient set point for heating use in most cases. At this temperature, your indoor spaces will still feel warm and you’ll save money compared to raising your thermostat’s settings into the 70s. 

The U.S. Department of Energy advises that setting back your thermostat 10° to 15° for 8 or more hours will help you save as much as 15 percent on your heating bills this season. It’s easy to apply these settings during the work or school day, when the home will be unoccupied. If you arrive home around the same time each day, schedule your thermostat to return to occupied heating temperatures about 15 minutes before you arrive home, and your house will be comfortable when you return. 

While you sleep is another ideal time to set back your thermostat to achieve these savings. When you are asleep, you aren’t likely to notice the change in temperature. If you find that you are sensitive to colder indoor temperatures at night, use an extra blanket on the bed to keep comfortable without using more energy. Adjust your thermostat settings to raise your indoor temperature about 15 minutes before you wake so the house will be comfortable as you get ready for the day.

 

3 Common HVAC Noises: What They Mean & What You Should Do About Them

Can’t hear the TV because your vents are so loud?

While some noises are normal, such as a quiet hum or the sounds of air whooshing through the vents, sometimes HVAC systems make strange noises and can become loud, disruptive annoyances in the home. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Check out these common causes of noises in an HVAC system and what you can do about them:


Rattling

Hearing a rattling noise coming from your HVAC system could mean a few things. If it originates from the outdoor unit, chances are you have some kind of debris in the system, such as a twig. (While the grate will protect your system from most large debris, it’s still possible for small things to get through.)

Turn your system off and cut the power to the unit, then remove the debris. If you see visible damage to the condenser coils, compressor, or fan, call your HVAC technician.

 

If the rattling seems to be internal, from a furnace or other internal component, turn the system off and call your HVAC technician since removing the obstacle isn’t as simple.

 

Hissing

Hearing a hissing noise most likely means air is escaping from your system. If the noise is coming from the walls, there’s a good chance your ducts are leaking. Not only can this cause noise, it also wastes money because the air that should be circulating throughout your home is leaking into the walls.

 

Duct repair isn’t really a repair homeowners can do on their own, so if your system is making a loud hissing noise,  call a technician. However, if the hissing is light, it could originate from your air vents. Typically when you hear this noise it is because your filter is not “set” right or you have the wrong size filter which is creating the gap in the seal. If this is the case, the air is squeezing past the filter or around it, instead of being pulled through it. This is a simple fix that starts with ensuring the filter is the right size and is placed correctly, leaving no room for gaps.

 

Clanking 

An HVAC system that is running normally will make a humming noise. But if it’s clanking, that’s a sign that something is wrong. It could be loose parts, such as the blower motor fan, loose blades, or loose pipes that are rubbing together.

 

Clanking noises are a bit more serious because  loose parts, if not addressed, can cause costly damage to your system. Your best bet is to turn the system off and call your technician.

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PROFESSIONALLY SERVING SAN DIEGO COUNTY and RIVERSIDE COUNTY
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