Air Conditioning Maintenance Myths Explained

Katy Air Conditioning Maintenance

Katy Air Conditioning Maintenance Truths for All Homeowners

In the absence of knowledge, sometimes we just assume. When the assumption gets passed on, it becomes a myth and is easily transmitted. Here are a few Katy Air Conditioning Maintenance myths that are still being bandied about and the reality that dispels them.

Shutting the Air Conditioner Off during Vacations Saves Energy/Money

It sounds correct. Should the system run while the home is unoccupied? The myth is built on the assumption that air conditioning is primarily about comfort. Turning the system off for an extended period leads to:

  • A crucial function of air conditioning is removing humidity from the indoor air. When the relative humidity exceeds 65%, surfaces feel sticky. The added humidity will ruin painted and finished surfaces, causing peeling and discoloration. In addition, the added humidity will encourage mold and mildew to bloom. The infestation is dangerous and can be very difficult to remove.
  • Another function is ventilation—moving and cleaning the air. Returning from vacation to a smelly, hot house will not be the welcome greeting.
  • An air conditioner does not just cool the air, it also cools the walls, the flooring, the furniture, etc. Returning the house to the desired temperature requires significant energy. Keeping the whole house cool is much more efficient than restoring it to the desired temperature.

Instead of turning the air conditioner off, turn the thermostat up; setting the temp at 78 to 80 degrees will call for enough cooling cycle to remove humidity and keep the air moving. Returning the house to the desired temperature is much easier this way.

*A related myth is that closing the vents in an unused room will save energy. The air conditioner will still attempt to cool that space by forcing air around the door. It will also make that room unhealthy.

Bigger is Better/Smaller is Superior

Being extravagant or frugal when replacing an air conditioner might seem to make sense, but these approaches will not produce the desired results.

  • A larger-than-necessary air conditioner will cool a space too quickly, creating short, but frequent cooling cycles. Not only does it cause excessive wear on the electronics, but the short cooling cycle does not adequately remove humidity.
  • A smaller-than-necessary air conditioner will run longer than it should and struggle to cool the space during periods of extreme heat. It puts unnecessary stress on the components and uses more energy than necessary.
  • Air conditioning technicians will complete a load calculation study to determine the proper “size” air conditioner. This ensures the system will function properly and efficiently for the maximum length of time. The technician will gather information concerning square footage, ceiling heights, size and number of doors/windows, and insulation materials. This helps determine the cooling that is needed by each unique home.

Air Conditioners Function Well Without Maintenance

There is never a doubt that vehicles of any size or type need periodic maintenance. The same is true of cooking and laundry appliances. Why do homeowners believe that a complex heat and air conditioning system can perform efficiently without regular maintenance?

  • Air conditioners employ electronic controls, gas chemistry, and mechanical components to perform precise activities within well-designed controls. These processes need adjustments and testing.
  • The environment is filled with contaminants that stick to surfaces and block the energy transfer necessary for indoor air conditioning.
  • The system components are so interdependent that stress or failure in one necessary part spreads the stress to other parts.

Katy Air Conditioning Maintenance is tricky!

Let us help keep you cool this summer. Schedule your Katy Air Conditioning Maintenance consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified Katy Air Conditioning Maintenance technicians put their experience to work for you.

How Your AC Affects Indoor Air Quality

How Your AC Affects Indoor Air Quality

Is Your HVAC System Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

Sir Edward Coke, a 17th-century English jurist, wrote, “The house of everyone is to him as his Castle and Fortress.” It is used in the legal field, but it reflects how most people feel about their home. “Home” is a retreat from daily threats and dangers. Homeowners do everything possible to correct the problem and reestablish security whenever there is danger. However, what if danger is lurking on the inside of the home? Indoor air quality is just such a danger.

Poor indoor air quality affects the most necessary human function—breathing. Airborne particles can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, resulting in runny noses, watery, itchy eyes, a sore throat, and intense headaches. When family members are vulnerable with compromised health conditions, poor indoor air often triggers allergies or asthma attacks. This danger needs to be changed, so let’s get to it.

Sources of Pollution to Your Indoor Air Quality

Each home is unique, but pollution sources are quite common.

  • Organic particles abound, both plant and animal. Seasonal allergens include pollen from trees and wildflowers (or weeds, if you prefer), mold, and mildew. Year-round allergens include dander (skin cells) and hair from pets or livestock. Of course, we must not forget the danger posed by viruses and airborne bacteria.
  • Inorganic particles are also serious threats. These include exhaust from family vehicles, lawn equipment fuel, paints, and solvents. The local environment also contributes to the problem. If your home is near a highway or a dirt road, expect dust to find a way inside your home.
  • When furniture, carpets, flooring, and finishes are manufactured, the materials contain volatile organic compounds that will be released into the surroundings for years. We recognize them as a “new” smell, and it does not pose a danger unless in high concentrations.

Mitigating Problematic Indoor Air Quality Particles

Particles from different sources will need to be removed differently. The object of mitigation is to remove pollutants and dilute the number of particles in the air.

  • The first line of defense is the air filter in the HVAC system. With each heating or cooling cycle, the filter permanently removes the vast majority of both organic and inorganic particles. Filters are rated by the percentage of particles of a certain size, called Minimum Efficiency Rating Value or MERV. If indoor air quality is a serious concern, check the operation manual to determine the proper range of filter rating for the system.
  • The air conditioner removes humidity from the indoor space. Removing humidity prevents the growth of mold and mildew spores. These spores can be extremely dangerous allergens.
  • Remember to use natural ventilation and open windows and doors at the right time. Early mornings are ideal. Opening the home to the outdoors dilutes the concentration of particles indoors, but only when the concentration of pollen and mold outdoors is low.
  • For further protection, consider adding ultraviolet lights to the ductwork. Ultraviolet rays are the damaging, burning rays that cause sunburns. It disrupts cell walls and neutralizes organic allergens, including pollen, viruses, and dust mites. Your HVAC professional can give details concerning these lights.
  • If a family member is extremely vulnerable, consider a room or whole-house air purifier. Purifiers use a series of filters, including activated charcoal. Activated charcoal removes gaseous pollutants, including VOCs and exhaust. Room versions are portable and can be moved to a space most advantageous.

Are You Concerned if Your HVAC is Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

Schedule your indoor air quality consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified indoor air quality technicians put their experience to work for you.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation

HVAC Hurricane Preparation

HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tips for Katy Homeowners

The predictions for hurricane season 2024 are about normal; the number and severity of named storms is about the same as the last few years and 4 to 5 major storms are expected to make landfall along the US coast. Since South Texas has a coastline prone to hurricane landfalls, this pre-storm season is a time to do serious HVAC Hurricane Preparation.

These plans include storing pre-prepared food and plenty of water, determining when to board windows, mapping evacuation routes, and preparing various building systems for high winds, heavy rainfall, and frequent lightning.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation plans for residential HVAC systems are often ignored or receive little attention than necessary. Here are six HVAC Hurricane Preparation tips that deserve more consideration.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tip 1: Review Insurance Coverage

All insurance policies are not created equally, so make sure that you are adequately covered for hurricane damage. The wrong time to discover you are underinsured is after the storm. The damage from such storms might be minor and it might be severe. Does your coverage include making repairs to expensive building systems like your heating and air conditioning system? You have a few weeks to investigate this issue.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tip 2: Generator Installation

Major hurricanes are only one reason to consider a whole-house generator; anything that threatens the power grid gives reason to contemplate the purchase and installation of a generator. Planning an installation takes time for design, site prep, and wiring installation—the installation process might take a month or more. If you need a generator installed, begin now without delay.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tip 3: Consider a Whole-house Surge Protector

The threat from lightning is greater during a major thunderstorm than from a hurricane, but the wind will produce multiple power surges as the power fluctuates rapidly. Does the danger warrant installing protection that prevents major power surges?

If a surge protector is not installed before the next storm, make sure to trip the breaker, shutting off the main power supply during the worst part of the storm to avoid damage from strong surges. If you plan to evacuate before the storm arrives, shut off the main power to the house and the water supply to avoid damage in your absence.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tip 4: Remove Identified Flying Objects

Take a walk around the property, noticing objects that can be picked up by winds that often exceed 100 mph. Large items, like lawn furniture, should be stored away. But other items that seem small and innocent enough need to be stored as well; your garden gnome might end up in the neighbor’s front room or the next subdivision.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tip 5: Condenser Protection

The outdoor portion of a central air conditioning system is the condenser unit, and the condenser is especially vulnerable to hurricane damage. Explore methods to both secure the unit to the pad and protect it from flying debris. If the condenser’s pad is vulnerable to flash flooding, consider raising it out of harm’s way.

HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tip 6: Careful Post-storm Inspection

When the worst of the storm has passed, do not make assumptions. Turn the power back on before making a thorough assessment of the house and yard.

  • Before stepping outside, look for downed powerlines. The current from such lines, lying in a puddle or on saturated ground, can be deadly.
  • Look around for damage from downed limbs or trees.
  • Inspect the condenser unit for damage from wind, flying debris, and flood waters.

Do not restore power to the home if the home or condenser unit has been damaged. A minor problem can become a catastrophic failure if repairs are not done.

Get HVAC Hurricane Preparation Tips from All Cool AC & Heating

Contact All Cool AC & Heating today at  281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified technicians with your HVAC Hurricane Preparation.

Katy AC Repair

Katy AC Repair

Katy AC Repair or AC Replacement, Which is Right for You?

Air conditioning became common in the 1950s and by 1960, most new homes were built with central AC. With nearly 70 years of available data concerning air conditioner use, the information concerning longevity is pretty accurate. That is, the average lifespan of air conditioners ranges between 15 and 20 years, while regular preventative maintenance and timely AC repair can add years of service—five to ten extra years.

This information might impact your present situation if your AC system is approaching its teenage years. During this time, you can expect repair bills to mount. It can bring up a dilemma—keep repairing it or replace it. Here are some vital pieces of information to help you make this determination.

The Intricacies of Katy AC Repair

It will also seem that repairs are cheaper than replacement; after all, the replacement cost can be quite expensive. However, there are further cost considerations that should put the replacement cost into a balanced perspective.

  • Research repair invoices for your system and pay attention to the accumulation of bills. One repair bill might not be significant, but a high total or an increase in repair costs might give a different story.
  • This research might also reveal the necessity of repairing the same part repeatedly. When this happens, it often indicates a weakness in the system that is not being addressed. That means further repairs should be expected.
  • When both factors are combined, it signals a rising cost that you should be aware of.
  • As the system ages, larger components are threatened by wear and tear. Large components = large cost. It is at this time that repair costs and replacement costs must be closely compared and considered. Replacing expensive parts on a failing system might not be a wise decision.

“Staying the course” might make sense . . . until it doesn’t.

The Reality of Age

As your system ages, other realities affect the bottom line and impact financial decisions.

  • Older systems, with weakened components, will still try very hard to meet the temperature setting called upon with the thermostat. Cooling with weaker parts requires more energy, and more energy costs more money, and this might become apparent. If you are unsure, request the energy bill from the same month for the last two years, and compare the amount of energy for each month. The energy amount is measured in kWh.
  • Older systems may also suffer in performance. It might be evident during a period of extreme heat; a heat wave might leave occupants uncomfortably warm. An older system might also fail to remove adequate humidity, leaving everyone and everything feeling sticky and moist.
  • An older system gives you a glimpse of the future and allows you to plan for a future replacement. Saving money or adjusting the budget will help you prepare for the large purchase that is sure to come. It is a better plan than wishful thinking.

Preparation should include scheduling the eventual replacement and avoiding times of serious schedule pressure by Katy AC Repair technicians.

Contact Your Katy AC Repair Experts Today

Schedule your Katy AC Repair consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified Katy AC Repair technicians put their experience to work for you.

How Ceiling Fans Affect Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

Do Ceiling Fans Affect Indoor Air Quality?

Before air conditioning, there were ceiling fans. In 1887, a brilliant inventor attached fan blades to a sewing machine motor and installed the fan to the ceiling. But ceiling fans continue to be prevalent in U.S. homes 75 years after the introduction of central air conditioning systems. More than 70% of homes in the U.S. feature ceiling fans, with an average of 2.8 fans in each home. Are ceiling fans necessary or beneficial? Are they just a nostalgic holdover of outdated building methods?

The answer is “No.” to both questions. Ceiling fans and air conditioners work together to increase efficiency and comfort. Here are a few advantages to having and USING ceiling fans during the hot summer.

Ceiling Fans Do Not Cool the Air

The temperature of air remains the same whether it is moving or still: a breeze that blows 950 air certainly does not change the air temperature. However, moving air makes us feel more comfy than motionless air, and here is the reason. Our bodies sweat as a natural defense against a rise in body heat. The moisture on our skin meets hot air and evaporates. The air does not become cooler, but our skin temperature is cooler. This evaporation of moisture, happening directly on the skin, creates a naturally occurring comfort without affecting temperature change.

Ceiling Fans Use Less Energy

Ceiling fans cost less to run than air conditioning systems: a ceiling fan uses 50 watts, and the air conditioner uses at least 3500 watts. While ceiling fans cannot replace the comfort of air conditioning, they might save some cash on only mildly warm days without discomfort. Be assured that running ceiling fans with AC systems does not make a significant difference in utility use.

Ceiling Fans Can Be Used Strategically

If fans do not change the air temp, do not run ceiling fans when a home is unoccupied. However, if you prefer to sleep in a cool room, try turning the ceiling fan on or up rather than turning the AC down. Certainly, use ceiling fans during extremely hot days to mix the air well for better cooling. The air conditioner will be struggling to keep up, and turning the AC thermostat down generally does not produce the desired results. A ceiling fan will contribute to the comfort level.

Ceiling Fans Contribute to Improved Indoor Air Quality

Most airborne particles are heavier than air and fall to surfaces—floor and furnishing—when the air is still. Ceiling fans help keep these particles moving so they can be collected by the air filter during the cooling cycle. (If you suffer from a seasonal allergy, consider turning ceiling fans off during days with high pollen count.)

Direction Matters

Most ceiling fans have a direction switch that should change when changing from heating to cooling seasons. The clockwise rotation pulls air up to mix with warmer air near the ceiling, while the counterclockwise rotation pushes air down for a cooling effect. Consider changing ceiling fan directions at the same time as Daylight Savings Time changes.

Are You Concerned if Your Ceiling Fan is Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

Schedule your indoor air quality consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified indoor air quality technicians put their experience to work for you.

How Routine AC Maintenance Affects Indoor Air Quality

AC Maintenance

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With AC Maintenance

We have waited all winter long for the return of warm weather, and finally, springtime sunshine is bringing warmer temperatures. Soon, we will be switching from the HEAT to the COOL setting on the thermostat. We really appreciate these two settings since we are aware of the comfort they bring. A lesser-known function of the HVAC system is the role it plays in improving indoor air quality.

An enclosed space with no air movement quickly develops a stale, musty smell and is not safe for human habitation. Opening the space to outside air immediately freshens the air, but outside air is subject to seasonal temperature fluctuations. The furnace and air conditioning can adjust the air temperature, but they must also keep the air fresh and clean; hence the V in HVAC stands for ventilation.

As the cooling season begins, there are three important roles needed for keeping indoor air quality high:

You Play a Role in Indoor Air Quality

How is indoor air quality measured? By determining the number and content of airborne particles (usually parts per million). You might see these particles when sunlight shines into a room at certain angles. These particles consist primarily of dust, pollen, and other very small items small enough to be carried in moving air.

The important thing to know about these particles is that they are heavier than air. Therefore, whenever the air stops moving, these particles fall on whatever surface is below them. You contribute to indoor air quality when you:

  • Dust horizontally surfaces in a way that removes the particles.
  • Vacuum and mop floor surfaces.
  • Change and clean bedding, etc.

These normal cleaning activities play a vital role in removing pollutants. Unfortunately, this is a never-ending process; while you forever remove the existing pollutants, more particles will take their place.

Your HVAC System Plays a Role in Indoor Air Quality

The technology that heats and cools your indoor space requires the movement of a massive amount of air: the blower motor moves the entire volume of your home every two minutes or so. This movement of air does two things vital to improving indoor air quality:

  • The moving air mixes the air well. These both mix the thermal layers of air to even temperature throughout the space and mix concentrations of particles—say odors from cooking. Moving air also adds comfort.
  • All this moving air passes through an air filter, which collects most airborne particles.
  • (Filters are available in a variety of ratings, with increasingly smaller openings to capture smaller particles. Check with an AC maintenance professional to determine the best filter rating for your HVAC system.)

While you remove particles that have settled onto surfaces, the air filter collects the particles that remain airborne. That is quite a combination!

Professional HVAC Services Play a Role in Indoor Air Quality

The engineers who designed your HVAC system recognize these measures are not enough; all manufacturers give homeowners guidelines that include annual inspection and cleaning of the system. A technician will clean:

  • The outdoor condenser unit. Polen, dirt, and grass clippings get sucked into the network of tubes and fins, preventing the heat transfer vital to air conditioning.
  • The blower motor fan. It is strange to see particles that can collect on moving fan fins, but it is visible on ceiling fans as well.
  • The evaporator coils and drain pan. This area of the air conditioner stays wet during the cooling season. Dust is attracted to the wet surface and can clog the drain line. When this happens, the humidity that is removed from the air ends up on the floor, making a mess and damaging nearby surfaces.

If indoor air quality is extremely important to your family because of health concerns—allergies, asthma, or compromised immunity, consult with an AC Maintenance professional concerning further measures to reduce certain pollutants in the home.

Call the AC Maintenance Experts at All Cool AC!

Schedule your AC Maintenance consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified AC Maintenance technicians put their experience to work for you.

Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

HVAC Maintenance Spring Checklist

While it is still a little chilly outside, every indication is that we will have an early Spring. That is mostly good news for Texans. After all, we had several harsh winters in a row, and an early spring is welcome news. We will comfortably enjoy being outdoors earlier and more often. It also means that the cooling season will begin earlier for indoor spaces. Is your air conditioner system ready? Is it time for a preventative HVAC maintenance visit?

All Cool recommends an annual HVAC maintenance visit to ensure your cooling system is ready for the long cooling season. This visit will include:

A Thorough Cleaning

  • Start with a new air filter. The air filter collects airborne particles with every heating and cooling cycle, but when the collected particles become too thick, the clog restricts airflow. Your air conditioner depends on huge amounts of air passing through the evaporator chamber to remove humidity and cool the air. A new filter ensures clean air and unrestricted airflow.
  • Rinsing the evaporator coil. This coil stays wet all summer long since moisture from the air hits the cold evaporator metal. Any dust that makes it past the filter tends to collect on the coil. The buildup of dust particles inhibits the transfer of heat, making your system work harder.
  • Flush away any debris from the drain pan. The moisture from the evaporator coil drains into a pan below and empties into a drain line. Any dust or debris can result in a clogged drain line and water leaking onto the floor in the surrounding area.
  • Clean the outdoor condenser unit. All winter long, the wind has been blowing leaves and debris around and even inside the condenser unit. These will need to be cleaned away. The condenser also needs substantial airflow for heat transfer, so lawn clippings and dirt will need to be washed off the condenser coil and fins. Often, any bent condenser fins can be carefully straightened to enhance the efficiency of the unit.

Electrical Testing

  • All things thermostats. The thermostat is the ON/OFF switch for the air conditioner, responding to sensors that call for cooling when the place warms up. They run on battery power, so the batteries will be changed, and the settings adjusted as needed.
  • The whole system functions on a series of sensors and control components. Electrical testing equipment can uncover failures and weaknesses; replacing or repairing these parts can prevent stress and failure over a long cooling season.
  • The technician will be looking for common problems or a repetition of electrical failures.

Gas Pressure Testing

  • Freon pressure tests. Residential air conditioners use one of several refrigerant gases, commonly called freon. The cooling process requires a range of gas pressures; a loss of pressure often causes catastrophic system failure. Gas will be added to bring the pressure within the appropriate range.
  • Leak detection. If the closed system is losing gas, the system is leaking. Any leaks will come with a recommendation—for obvious reasons—for a leak repair.

Function Testing

After all the components are cleaned and tested, the cooling function of the system will be tested to ensure it works properly. The goal is for the air conditioner to cool efficiently all summer long and for many seasons to come.

Call the HVAC Maintenance Experts at All Cool AC!

Schedule your HVAC Maintenance consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC Maintenance technicians put their experience to work for you.

 

 

 

Indoor Air Quality: HVAC Solutions for Cleaner Air

Indoor Air Quality

Protecting Your Home with Improved Indoor Air Quality

Ventilation—the V in HVAC—is an often-forgotten function of this important, advanced building system. We are very familiar with the heating and cooling functions, but the ventilation function ensures indoor air is also clean and fresh. Good indoor air quality ensures indoor spaces are healthy and comfortable.

Ventilation is rather complex.

  • Indoor air will begin as polluted as outdoor air. But unless it is cleaned and freshened, the pollutants concentrate inside and make the air unhealthy.
  • Indoor air will begin at the same temperature and relative humidity as outdoor air. Unless this air is warmed, cooled, humidified, or dehumidified, it has an unhealthy effect on the surfaces of walls, floors, and furnishings. When it is conditioned, indoor air feels comfortable and is relatively healthy.
  • Ventilation and comfort are very subjective, dependent upon the comfort preferences of more than one occupant.
  • Health issues of occupants will also impact decisions concerning ventilation; breathing issues, such as allergies and asthma, may require special considerations.

Handling Pollutants

A home will encounter several categories of pollutants. An HVAC system will remove some of these pollutants and avoid others. The good news is that we have very good air quality in our region, and the pollutants we encounter are relatively easy to mitigate.

  • Organic solid particles. Most air particles originate from living organisms: pollen, mold, mildew, (most) dust, and dander are produced by living organisms. These particles are known to trigger allergies and asthma attacks. In addition, organic material is often the meal and vehicle for microscopic pests. Dust mites pose their own dangers since they trigger their own brand of allergic reactions.
  • Inorganic solid particles. These are typically windborne minerals and pose less of an allergy danger.
  • Mold and mildew spores are not only organic allergens but also can multiply and produce more spores in indoor spaces. High humidity is a necessary condition for mold/mildew growth—keep this in mind.
  • Various gases. Materials, finishes, and adhesives will off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs), especially when the products are new. Various exhaust gases, such as carbon monoxide, enter the home from the outdoors (and potentially a leaking gas-powered furnace).
  • Radon is a radioactive gas that enters the home from surrounding soil in basements or crawl spaces. It is relatively uncommon in our immediate vicinity. Testing for radon is readily available and inexpensive.

Indoor Air Quality Mitigation Tactics

  • Removing organic solids. These particles are all heavier than air, and gravity causes them to fall onto every surface in the home. We refer to them corporately as dust. Normal dusting and vacuuming collect most of these particles and remove them from the house forever. In addition, the HVAC system has an air filter that collects particles that remain airborne. Eventually, the filter collects enough particles that the filter is clogged, so the filter needs to be replaced about every three months.
  • Diluting indoor contaminants. Introducing outdoor air to indoor spaces releases some of the VOCs to outdoor spaces. This happens when shower or kitchen exhaust fans are used and by leaving a door or window open when the temperature is nice.
  • The ideal range for indoor relative humidity is between 30 and 50% humidity. When indoor air is more humid, it can promote mold and mildew growth. Maintaining the HVAC system year-round will help keep the humidity level within the prescribed range.
  • Additional equipment. When health issues demand extra measures, technicians can install auxiliary equipment to mitigate specific problems. Ultraviolet lights added to the ductwork will neutralize organic particles, making them inert and reducing the allergen threat. Portable dehumidifiers or room air purifiers can provide added benefits to specific rooms or spaces.

Call the Indoor Air Quality Experts at All Cool AC!

Schedule your indoor air quality consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified indoor air quality technicians put their experience to work for you.

Furnace Repair: What Happens When Your Furnace Stops

Furnace Repair: What Happens When Your Furnace Stops

Furnace Repair Pointers When Your Heater Stops Working

Winters in Texas are relatively short, but you must watch for those severe cold snaps. They can be longer than expected and wreak considerable havoc across a wide area, especially for folks not accustomed to harsh arctic blasts. Walking in from the cold causes a greater appreciation for a great furnace system in your home. Until it is not warm!

If your home is not at your desired comfort level and the power is still on, what can you do? First, search for simple things; second, stay warm; and third, call for furnace repair reinforcements.

Simple Furnace Repair Troubleshooting

Check the thermostat. Thermostats work as a sensor and switch, so check all the settings—ON/OFF and temperature settings—to make sure it is calling for heat. If you have a heat pump furnace, make sure to set the thermostat on EM Heat or Aux Heat when the outside temperature drops below 32 degrees. If the thermostat face plate is blank or giving a low battery notice, change the batteries and see if that helps.

Check the circuit breakers. Often, the electric service panel has more than one breaker assigned to the furnace. Make sure that both circuits are open. If not, turn the breaker off and then on to reset the circuit. Often, the furnace may have one or two breakers on the exterior of the cabinet to allow repairs; make sure these breakers are also in the ON position.

Check the air filter. A clogged filter can restrict airflow, hampering the hardworking furnace from achieving its goal—your comfort.

Check the gas supply and ignition. If the furnace is natural gas-powered, do a simple observation. A gas supply valve should be wide open. Find the valve near the furnace or somewhere between the furnace and an outdoor supply. Some gas furnaces will have a pilot light, a small flame that remains lit to ignite gas at the burner.

Some gas furnaces use electronic ignition, which creates an electric spark to ignite gas at the burner. The sensors around these ignition sources can accumulate a carbon buildup called soot. Soap and water with a gentle touch can clean the soot away, but the sensor is extremely sensitive.

Stay Warm

  • Fireplaces are often used for ambiance or mood, but of course, they are also used for keeping warm. They are great for heating a space but may be ineffective at warming an entire house. If bedrooms are cold and the den is kept warm by a fireplace, it might mean a fun campout in the den.
  • Electric blankets might also be helpful.
  • When using electric space heaters, be very wise. They can help heat a room but not the entire house. Keep them about three feet away from surfaces and outside of high-traffic areas. Do not leave them unattended since the heat can start a fire.
  • Layer clothes. If you must wear gloves, hats, and scarves inside to stay warm, stay warm.
  • Blankets, quilts, and throws will help conserve body heat.
  • Don’t forget to keep pets warm as well.

Don’t Delay Furnace Repair

If simple observations do not restore heat, do not delay in calling for assistance. You are likely not alone with a furnace problem, so request a furnace repair service visit ASAP while you are keeping your family warm.

Call the Furnace Repair Experts at All Cool AC!

Schedule your Furnace Repair consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC Repair technicians put their experience to work for you.

4 Questions to Ask During Furnace Maintenance

4 Questions to Ask During Furnace Maintenance

Questions to Ask During Furnace Maintenance

Wouldn’t it be nice to ask questions of professionals, knowing you would get an honest response without it costing anything? That is why websites have Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages. Here are some furnace maintenance questions that you might want to ask HVAC professionals, with honest replies.

What is the appropriate temperature for a home?

Family members often have sharp disagreements about comfortable temperatures in both winter and summer months. Online sources disagree just as sharply since comfort is personal and unique to each person.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a range between 68 degrees and 78 degrees. However, they recommend 68 degrees for the wintertime and 78 degrees for summertime temperatures. Neither of these temperatures is likely agreeable to most of your family members.
  • Temperatures higher than 80 degrees are hot enough to damage drywall finishes during heating or cooling season.
  • Temperatures below 55 degrees are likely to result in frozen water lines during the winter.
  • Comfort seems to lie between 72- and 76 degrees year-round; a narrower temperature lies in personal preferences.
  • Programmable thermostats can help. Temperatures can be scheduled to enhance comfort.

We just endured a pandemic; what can be done to improve indoor air quality, especially concerning bacteria and viruses?

This is a good question, and the answer is—there are several good options for indoor air quality.

  • Change your air filter regularly, at least every three months.
  • HVAC air filters capture most airborne particles; the percentage of particles captured is determined by particle size and filter openings. Filters rated MERV 8 capture about 90% of particles. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the openings in the filter and the higher the percentage captured.
  • Check with HVAC specifications to determine proper ratings since filters with extremely small openings may restrict airflow and interfere with heating and cooling functions.
  • In addition, system modifications can neutralize and eliminate biological particles from the air. Ultraviolet lights can be installed inside the ductwork. UV lights disrupt cell walls, destroying pollen, mold, bacteria, and virus cells.
  • Your HVAC professional may have further recommendations for your unique setting.

Be honest: is annual furnace maintenance really necessary?

This is a just question, and the correct answer might seem a little self-serving, but the answer is—yes, indeed, it is necessary.

  • Everyone involved in this industry agrees that annual maintenance is needed. Individual components and the function of the whole are thoroughly tested and cleaned.
  • While you might question the wisdom of HVAC maintenance, you probably insist on regular maintenance on vehicles: regular oil and filter changes and the replacement of brakes or tires. Maintenance functions in the same way for an HVAC system.

Why are HVAC ratings so complicated?

Let’s look at what the ratings mean.

  • Furnaces are rated by the Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. An AFUE rating measures how much energy is converted to heat by a furnace. Natural gas furnaces capture energy in a range of 90 and 98.5% of the available energy. Electric furnaces capture 100% of the energy in electricity. Hopefully, this is understandable.
  • Air conditioners are rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating or SEER. It is a complicated rating since it measures efficiency during normal temperatures and extreme hot snaps, daytime heat, and the cool of summer evenings. Efficiency is measured and averaged. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. All new systems will have a SEER rating higher than 15 in Texas.
  • Heat pumps used for heating are rated by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF), which, like the SEER rating, captures efficiency over an entire season. All heat pump systems will have an HSPF between 8 and 9.

Call the Furnace Maintenance Experts at All Cool AC!

Schedule your Furnace Maintenance consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC Repair technicians put their experience to work for you.