Congratulations. You’ve just marked your first decade as a homeowner. You know what kind of care your lawn needs to get through the summer and the best way to keep water out of your basement.
Years of performing HVAC maintenance has taught us most people want the same thing from their home: a space that’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what rodents and snakes are looking for as well when they creep into your ductwork. Same thing goes for roaches, forever on the hunt for cool, dark places.
Imagine you’re running in a 10-mile foot race. (We realize you might be wondering what air conditioning companies know about running. Please bear with us.)
You’re at the starting line, the whistle blows and you begin sprinting as fast as you can. You’re leading the pack…for a little while, anyway. Then your energy saps and you have to rest until you can run again.
During the all-too-brief lull between the chill of late winter and the heat of summer, spring offers a little bit of a rest.
You might find that you can spend a few weeks with the heat off, the windows open and your home full of fresh air.
That doesn’t mean your heating and cooling system is off the hook. You might still encounter these springtime HVAC problems, which will need to be addressed if you want your air conditioning to function this summer.
1. Dirty air conditioner coils
It’s easy for these coils – both internal and external – to become dirty. The evaporator coils inside the air conditioner can collect dirt and dust as the air from your home moves past.
And the outdoor condenser coils can collect dust and dirt during the winter. It’s possible to rinse these coils off, although they’ll often need a more serious scrubbing with a coil cleaner and a brush. You may want to leave this task to a professional AC company when you have maintenance performed.
2. Wear and tear on your refrigerant lines
The outdoor lines that transmit refrigerant through your AC system can develop leaks over time. And the insulation covering the cool line can become worn. You should have these lines inspected each year to make sure they’re in decent shape, which will ensure proper cooling.
3. A clog in the condensate drain
As your AC system pulls in air, this air passes the evaporator coils. Moisture from the air condenses on the coils, then drains through the condensate pan and drain. But like all drains, this one can become clogged and sludgy.
You can tell if you have a clogged condensate drain when you see pools of water under the unit or hear water dripping inside. Rinse the pan with bleach and remove the clog to restore order. Again, a professional AC company can advise you on the best way to do this.
4. A surprisingly high electric bill
This last point is something that you might not notice until summer, so why not address the problem now? The spike you’re seeing in your energy bill might be the result of something as simple as a clogged, dirty cooling filter, which is causing your system to work harder than it needs to.
As we’ve said before, these lulls in between the months when your heater or AC will be in high demand are the perfect time to schedule maintenance on your system.
With routine maintenance, you’ll:
- Keep your system from breaking down when you need it most – Your AC company can look for the issues we’ve mentioned above, lubricate moving parts and fix any loose or worn electrical connections.
- Cut down on your energy bill – Regular maintenance can reduce your monthly energy bill. When all the parts of your HVAC system are working properly, your heater and air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to do their jobs.
- Extend the life of your system – Just as regular oil changes and inspections keep your car running longer, routine HVAC maintenance will help your system last for several years.
Don’t wait until June’s first heat wave to find out whether your air conditioner is up to the task of keeping you cool. Contact All Seasons Comfort Control to schedule maintenance on your system.
We offer four different levels of maintenance plans designed to fit any budget.
Spring is officially under way.
Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, your favorite baseball team still has a shot at the pennant and you’ve finally shut your heat off until fall.
We’ve written multiple blog posts on the importance of energy efficient HVAC systems, but with Earth Day around the corner, we decided to take a broader approach.
In this week’s blog post, we’ll look at several ways you can reduce energy use at home. It’s not only good for the planet, it’s good for your budget.
We spend all winter wishing things would warm up.
But there’s warm, and then there’s too warm.
A hot day is one thing. Throw in some humidity and venturing outside can feel like you’re walking around with a wet towel over your face.
Let’s face it: no one is buying an air conditioning system at the height of summer unless they’re really in dire straits.
Either your old air conditioner is on its last legs, or you’ve decided you can’t deal with another August without central air.
And if you’re forced into this position, you should expect to pay more for your system, as air conditioning companies and their products will be in high demand.
So when is the best time to buy a new air conditioner?
You might think winter, but that’s not a great time either. Most air conditioning companies are also heating companies, and as such, they’re hard at work dealing with furnace installations and repairs, while consumers are hoping to get a good deal on a new system.
No, the best time to buy a new air conditioning system is now, in the spring. Or in the fall, if you’re OK with waiting and thinking your current AC can survive another summer.
In other words, it’s best to wait for the off-season. Consumers have more bargaining power and installers won’t be as busy.
If you’re getting ready to purchase a new air conditioning system, it’s a good idea – pardon the pun – not to go in cold when dealing with air conditioning companies.
Here are a few questions you should ask the installer:
1. What size system should I get?
Size is important in the HVAC world. Your heating or air conditioning system needs to fit the size of your home. Something that’s too big won’t run as often as it needs too, leaving your home feeling humid. And a too-small AC system will cycle on and off over and over until it hits the right temperature, which would lead to higher energy costs.
2. How long will it take to install?
Most air conditioning companies suggest setting aside at least a few days for installation. In addition to just making sure your new system is functioning properly, there are often electrical, plumbing or ductwork issues at play.
3. Should I get a new thermostat as well as a new air conditioner?
Even if you’ve installed a modern thermostat, you might want to get a new one that you’re sure works in tandem with your new air conditioning unit.
With a programmable thermostat, you’ll have the ability to set the temperature you want for specific times of day. (No reason to blast the AC if you and your loved ones will be out of the house all day). And new smart thermostats let you control the temperature of your home even when you’re not there.
4. Do I need maintenance even if it’s a brand new system?
You wouldn’t ask that question about a car. Even if you drove it off the lot brand new, you’d still get your first oil change after a few months to keep the car running smoothly.
Your AC system is no different. Regular air conditioning maintenance can mean the difference between a system that keeps you cool for more than a decade and one that you have to replace after a few years.
Are you looking to purchase a new air conditioning system while the off-season is still underway? Turn to All Seasons Comfort Control.
We’ve spent close to two decades helping Bucks County area homeowners keep their homes cool each summer. Get in touch today so we can find the right HVAC solution for you before summer comes.
Getting ready to do some spring cleaning? Fewer things can make you feel revitalized after a long, cold winter like clearing out your garage or sprucing up your siding.
And as you clean your home this spring, make sure your ductwork is on your to-do list. It’s a sure way to improve the air quality and make things safer for family members who suffer from allergies.
Your ducts are “the lungs of the home,” as Mark Zarzeczny of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association put it in a WebMD article last year. And when your ducts can “breathe” properly, so can you.
But when will you know it’s time to clean your ducts? In some cases, there will be obvious visual clues, such as dust or mold built up around your air vents.
If you can’t spot any immediate signs, look for these indicators:
- Your allergy symptoms – or those of a loved one – seem to flare up whenever your HVAC system turns on
- You clean your house on a regular basis, but things still seem dusty
- You’ve taken asthma medication, but your asthma isn’t under control
- You’ve lived in your home for more than 10 years but haven’t cleaned your ducts
What are the benefits of cleaning your ducts?
Cleaning your air ducts brings some immediate benefits:
- You’ll improve the quality of your home’s air by ridding the ducts of contaminants
- You’ll remove unpleasant odors from your home by clearing away things like mold, mildew and mice or rat droppings.
- You’ll clear away dust from the air and from the surfaces around your home.
- You’ll have a more efficient heating and cooling system in the end. Dust and other materials can clog your ducts and restrict air flow, which causes your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to. This increases your energy costs and reduces the life of your system.
What’s inside your ductwork?
Left uncleaned, your ductwork can become a breeding ground for allergens and pollutants. These materials can include:
- Pollen – Pollen gets into our homes through doors and windows, or on our clothes and shoes, then spreads through the house via the heating and cooling system.
- Pet dander – Another common allergen – affecting about 30 percent of us – pet dander can travel through your home using your ductwork.
- Mold and mildew – These common allergy triggers can form when you have too much moisture inside your heating and cooling system.
- Dust mites – Dust is a major issue when you suffer from allergies, and dust particles are easily spread throughout the home by dirty air ducts.
- Smog – Smog isn’t just an outdoor pollutant. It can easily creep into your home.
- VOCs – This abbreviation stands for “volatile organic compounds,” which are gases given off by common household items such as cleaning supplies.
Do you want to make sure your HVAC is performing at its best this spring? All Seasons Comfort Control can help.
Our experts can examine your heating and cooling system and make sure it’s ready to keep your family cool this summer (or warm this spring, in case we end up with a chilly April and May).
Is there a room in your house that never feels comfortable?
Are you summer and winter energy bills unusually high?
Does it feel like there isn’t enough air coming out of your vents?
These are all signs that your home has leaky ductwork. And this isn’t something to take lightly. Your air ducts are a crucial part of your home, and if they’re badly sealed, you’re probably losing money and receiving insufficient heating and cooling.