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.

 

 

 

HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

HVAC Maintenance: What Pet Owners Need to Know

One of the unique features of homes in the U.S. is the presence of indoor pets in a large majority of homes. In more than 80% of homes—86.9 million houses and apartments—you will find families petting and cuddling with a wide variety of (mostly) domestic animals.

The most common pets are dogs (44 million) and cats (29 million); some homes have both cats and dogs or multiples of each. Fifty-eight percent of single-family homeowners and 36% of apartment dwellers invite pets inside.

Homeowners who welcome pets into their homes receive emotional companionship and satisfaction, they also accept some airborne hazards that come with the pets. Most dogs and cats shed hair and all shed skin cells, just like their human companions.

An interesting fact—skin cells from humans are a major part of indoor dust, while pet skin cells are called dander. These airborne particles contribute to allergy and asthma attacks and can lead to other breathing difficulties. Dust, dander, and hair also negatively affect the function of a central AC system making HVAC Maintenance a necessity to maintain indoor air quality.

Individual dust and dander particles are barely perceptible and seem to pose no problem. However, a high concentration or accumulation of these particles does have a very negative effect on the system and family members.

  • The particles irritate the eyes and sinuses of family members, triggering allergies and asthma.
  • Gravity causes the particles to fall and coat many household surfaces. Pet hair and dander contribute heavily to dust.
  • These particles coat ductwork surfaces and can be difficult to reach for cleaning.
  • Particles eventually clog the air filter, and it must be changed regularly; multiple pets will require more frequent changes.

If your home includes one or more indoor pets, here are several steps to balance companionship and quality indoor air.

  • Clean often, making sure to dust, mop, and vacuum every surface possible. How often you need to clean will depend on the breed and number of your pets.
  • Your choice of pet might also affect your choice of vacuum cleaner and mop.
  • If you use area rugs, purchase indoor/outdoor whenever possible. They are easier to clean.
  • Make sure to paint and install surfaces that are easy to clean; washable paints and stains are a good start.
  • Consider using common shaving cream to remove stains without damaging fabrics.
  • Mix a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar, then add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to clean hard surfaces.
  • Use a baby wipe and a wooden skewer to clean cracks/seams on hard surfaces.
  • Buy cheap throws to cover furniture, protecting them from hair, stains, and scratches.
  • Be sure to groom your pet regularly as recommended by the breeders and your veterinarian.

Pay attention to your HVAC air filter. The filter collects the majority of airborne particles and keeps the indoor air quality significantly cleaner and healthy. However, the collected dust, dander, and pet hair can completely clog the filter, restricting airflow.

This puts tremendous stress on the HVAC system and reduces its efficiency. If the filter is clogged at three months, check it at two months and change it as needed.

Pets in a home increase the necessity of regularly scheduled preventative maintenance visits. These visits include cleaning interior components and inspecting vital controls and switches. The common guideline is to clean ducts every three to five years, but the type and number of pets in your home might require additional cleaning.

Don’t forget to keep your pet comfortable in your absence. If you change the thermostat setting while the family is away as a cost-saving measure, make sure that the setting does not make your pet(s) uncomfortable.

If you are a pet owner looking for HVAC maintenance, give us a call!

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 and HVAC repair technicians put their experience to work for you.

 

HVAC System Hurricane Preparedness

HVAC System Hurricane Preparedness

HVAC System Hurricane Preparedness

The NOAA Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook predicted between 14 and 21 named storms for this season, 6 to 11 storms developing into hurricanes, and 2 to 5 storms developing into major hurricanes. The 2023 season is living up to the prediction, with 15 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and three major hurricanes so far. Fortunately, the only major storm hurricane to make landfall was Lee. However, there are still two months left in this year’s season.

If you have lived in a hurricane-prone area for many years, you are aware of preparedness plans for various aspects of life. This is a hurricane preparedness plan for HVAC systems in the area.

Pre-season HVAC System Hurricane Preparedness

There are some general and specific preparation steps that you can take any time before the storm arrives, but they should not be attempted during the storm.

  • Trees and tree limbs may endanger a home and the immediate surroundings when hurricane-strength winds arrive. Remove trees and limbs that can damage the structure of the house and remember to protect the outdoor air conditioner condenser unit.
  • Find hurricane straps for the condenser unit, to secure it to the pad beneath it. Strong winds can pick the unit up and make it a dangerous airborne projectile. Consider buying a canvas condenser cover or making one from plywood.
  • Determine in advance whether to invest in a whole-house or portable emergency generator. Such plans take time to install a transfer switch, permanently install the generator, and plan for fuel storage.

Pay Attention

Hurricanes do not sneak up on people on the coast—storms are tracked across the Atlantic and a rather specific landfall is predicted several days ahead in advance. This gives residents several days to make minute plans before the storm arrives.

  • A part of that plan includes determining if and when your family will evacuate for severe hurricanes since evacuation is ill-advised during the storm.
  • Storing food, water, medicine, and emergency supplies is an essential part of preparedness.

Two Days Prior

  • Begin to cool the house down about 2 days before the storm arrives. The air conditioner should be shut off during the storm to avoid damage from power surges, so lower the thermostat by 5 to 10 degrees for comfort during the storm. This will cool the interior and furnishings in addition to the air.
  • If your preparedness plans include covering windows, now is the time to complete this task.

Hours Before

  • A severe storm will include a storm surge to the coastline, sustained winds of more than 100 mph, and torrential rainfall. The danger from lightning-induced power surges is very high, so flip the breaker at the service panel to shut the HVAC system off. If your home is supplied with natural gas, close the gas valve as well in case of structural damage.
  • If you prepared a condenser unit cover, now is the time to install and secure it. Do not run the air conditioner with the condenser covered, as this will lead to catastrophic system failure.
  • Go inside and stay inside until the winds subside. Stay tuned to local news/weather stations as long as possible.

When Calm Returns

After the storm itself, it will make some careful observations of the immediate surroundings. The power may be out for a while, which is why your plan included cooling the house before the storm.

  • Look for downed power lines and structural damage to the home. Remember, the ground will be saturated, so give downed wires a wide berth.
  • Remove the cover and inspect the condenser unit for damage. The materials that compose the condenser walls are thin and fragile. Look for an oily substance and listen for the hiss of escaping gas.

When the power grid is restored and you believe the HVAC system is intact, flip the circuit breaker to restore power to the HVAC system. Lower the temperature of the thermostat settings by a few degrees and determine whether the system is functioning properly.

Have questions about HVAC System Hurricane Preparedness, We Can Help!

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

HVAC Efficiency: Vaulted Ceilings Pros and Cons

HVAC Efficiency: Vaulted Ceilings Pros and Cons

HVAC Efficiency: How Vaulted Ceilings Affect Your AC System

As a design feature, vaulted and high ceilings remain very appealing for home buyers. These relaxing features often add natural light and add space without adding square footage. If your dream home features vaulted or high ceilings, there are some HVAC Efficiency details you should be aware of that affect heating and air conditioning functions.

Stating the Obvious—Heat Rises

Air molecules that absorb heat energy move more and are lighter, while molecules that have lost their heat energy are heavier and sink. This is true on a global scale and inside every home. Healthy indoor air quality requires air circulation and hot air stubbornly tries to stay high, resisting movement. Vaulted ceilings often have a thinner insulation layer, which serves to keep the air heated.

Problems develop when hot air resists movement in high ceilings.

  • That air becomes rather stale, and it doesn’t get cleaned often via the air filter.
  • Painted or stained surfaces suffer when constantly exposed to hot, moist air.
  • Stubborn hot air is helpful during the cooling season, keeping cool air down and hot air up. However, it is hard to overcome during the heating season because the furnace must work hard to heat higher spaces before the living area is heated.
  • The HVAC system works harder in both the heating and cooling seasons, trying to move that hot air. This places undue strain on the blower motor.

Potential Solutions

Sizing. The HVAC system in each home is customized for each home with a formula called a load calculation. A technician collects information, including square footage, insulation level, number of windows, and doors. High ceilings are a factor in determining the proper size of your system and the technician will add load for each foot of added space in each room. Little can be done with an existing HVAC system but make sure that the load calculation for your next replacement takes high ceilings into the calculation.

Circulation. Moving stubborn hot air is essential and can be accomplished by several means.

  • Using ceiling fans properly can move efficiently during both the cooling and heating seasons, but it requires a little information. Ceiling fans can turn in both a clockwise and counterclockwise rotation and the direction affects air movement. The counterclockwise rotation pushes air down and should be used during the cooling season. This mixes the air and allows the air conditioner to remove humidity while cooling the air. The clockwise rotation pulls air up during the heating season, pushing warm air out and down for comfort and mixing. Ceiling fans installed in vaulted ceilings usually have remote controls with rotation control.
  • When a heating or cooling cycle begins, supply air is pushed into space via vents, usually located on the floor. At the same time, air returns to the central cabinet via plenums found high on the wall on each story. Adding a plenum in or near a vaulted ceiling can adequately move the stubborn air resisting normal airflow.
  • It is generally best to leave the air conditioner fan in the hot, humid summer. Moving air is easy to keep moving, compared to trying to move stationary air.

Mini-split ductless solutions. Mini-split systems do not use ducts to move air but circulate air with small, room-sized air handlers. With this approach, the vaulted area can be zoned separately, and an air handler unit installed. This ensures that the air is being cooled and cleaned regularly.

We Specialize in HVAC Efficiency to Reduce Your Utility Bills

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

AC Maintenance: Best Air Filter for Your HVAC System

AC Maintenance

AC Maintenance: Best Air Filter for Your HVAC System

AC Maintenance: HEPA Filters vs Merv Filters

We all acknowledge the importance of air filters since they successfully remove dust, pollen, dander, and mold spores. They clean indoor air but also keep dust from interfering with the function of HVAC systems. Filters are not composed of solid sheets, but are fibrous, with gaps to allow airflow. The size of the gaps determines the size of particles that are captured and thus, their efficiency.

Since filters collect airborne particles with each cycle, the filter eventually clogs and needs to be replaced. The Environmental Protection Agency and all manufacturers of HVAC equipment recommend changing air filters AT LEAST every three months. Fortunately, air filters are commonly available in a variety of home improvement and hardware stores. However, due to the size of the openings in the fiber, not all filters are manufactured equally—neither do they claim to be equal. Packaging for filters from various sources often touts various ratings with different acronyms and numbers; some explanations may be in order.

FPR Rating

Home Depot developed the Filter Performance Rating for their own brand of air filters; ratings are identified as Good, Better, Best, and Premium. The FPR rating for Good range between 4-5, Better have a range of 6-7, Best has a range of 8-9, and Premium filters have a rating of 10. With each upgrade, more particles are removed. While not exact, the ratings describe the size of the particles each rating collects and helps consumers understand their products.

MPR Rating

3M has also developed a rating for its Filtrete brand of filters. Filtrete filters are manufactured and marketed to remove specific airborne particulates. Some filters target dust and allergens, others target odors, and others seek to trap bacteria and viruses. MPR ratings use four digits—the higher the number, the smaller the opening. Consumer packaging denotes the percentage of the targeted particulate that will be removed.

MERV Rating

In 1987, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating. Since they do not manufacture filters, the rating can be applied to all filters, including Filtrete and Hope Depot brand filters. The MERV rating is based on the gaps in the fibrous filter material. Since some particles are too large to enter the small gaps 100% of those particles are removed. With small gaps, some particles larger than the gap will be collected. MERV rating seeks to measure the amount of small particles trapped.

  • MERV ratings range between 1 and 20; the higher the number the smaller the gap and the higher the efficiency of the filter.
  • MERV-rated filters below 8 filter particles 10 and 3 microns.
  • MERV-rated filters between 8 and 14 are used in commercial and residential HVAC systems. They remove particles between 3 and 1 micron.
  • MERV-rated filters between 15 and 20 are designed for hospital and laboratory use. They remove particles as small as 0.3 microns—smaller than most bacteria and some viruses.

For comparison, human hairs are between 60 and 70 microns in diameter, common pollen is between 7 and 10 microns in diameter, spider silk is about 5 microns in diameter, and mold spores and bacteria are approximately 1 micron in diameter.

HEPA Filters

High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter is a designation by the Environmental Protection Agency for filters with gaps 0.3 microns or smaller. These filters collect and trap 99.97% of all airborne particles, including bacteria and viruses. HEPA filter applications include hospitals and laboratories but also are used in products that avoid allergic reactions.

It might seem appropriate to use the most efficient filter for health and safety. However, air filters with a MERV rating above MERV 14 are not appropriate for residential and commercial HVAC systems. Normal blower motors do not have adequate strength to push air through the extremely small gaps in highly efficient air filters. Consult with your HVAC professional before installing filters rated above MERV 14.

AC Maintenance Tips to Help with AC Filter Replacement are Just a Phone Call Away

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

3 New Rules for AC Systems

3 New Rules for AC Systems

AC Systems Rules for Homeowners

Two federal regulatory agencies regulate the manufacturing of heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and both have regulatory upgrades that took effect on January 1, 2023. Regulatory changes are made with long-range environmental health in mind. These upgrades affect the choices available to consumers who need to replace their HVAC systems in homes and businesses. Without getting super technical, here are some simple explanations of the regulatory changes.

SEER Improvements

In 1992, the Department of Energy introduced Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings for new central air conditioning products (EER ratings for room air conditioning). It was based on testing completed in laboratory settings that measures the cooling output of a system compared to the energy used. SEER is a long-range measurement, over an entire cooling season and not a snapshot reading. Larger SEER numbers indicate greater energy efficiency.

The same federal agency oversees energy efficiency requirements in automobile manufacturing; the mpg rating for new cars is much higher than new cars a decade ago. Overseeing energy efficiency is done to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the total carbon footprint of the nation.

SEER requirements have been stepping up incrementally and 2023 is the year for the next efficiency upgrade. For the region that includes Texas, the minimum SEER rating for available air conditioner systems moves from 14 to 15. Manufacturers and contractors have been aware of this change for years, so the old stock of SEER 14 has been moved to other regions and only SEER 15 products are available locally.

SEER 2 Implementation

Researchers, always looking to improve their processes, noticed a slight difference between the measurement methods in laboratory settings and the actual energy efficiency capability that can be produced in the field. A new designation was developed to reflect the current means of measurement, so the new HVAC systems will have a SEER2 designation. This is an internal DOE implementation and has nothing to do with air conditioning operations in your home.

AC System Refrigerant Gas Changes

While the Department of Energy is overseeing air conditioner manufacturing, the Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the production and distribution of the refrigerant gas used in the cooling process.

  • Air conditioning uses a mechanical-chemical process, called heat pump technology. By compressing and suddenly releasing pressure on certain gases, the system moves heat from inside to outside. In some cases, the process can be reversed, moving available heat outside to inside, to heat a home.
  • Scientists have used a variety of refrigerant gases over the years to cool indoor spaces. Some of these gases were discovered to be harmful to the environment, even depleting the ozone layer at the edges of the atmosphere. Ozone deflects significant amounts of ultraviolet radiation. These gases have been phased out and replaced with newer, more environmentally friendly choices.
  • In 2023, a few more gases are being phased out for more environmentally friendly gases. New systems will use new refrigerants; expect to see R-32 designations for new systems.
  • Some new products will also use an A2L type of gas. While the efficiency rating is very high, they are mildly flammable. A new HVAC system might have consumer warnings, denoting this fact.

All Cool has been tracking the regulatory climate and offers only compliant products. We are trained on the new equipment and gases. Existing systems that use older-style refrigerants can still be serviced, including adding gases as needed; we are also equipped to service and repair older systems.

Is Your AC System Effected by New Regulations? Let us help you decide!

Schedule your free AC System consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

 

5 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Fight Seasonal Allergies

5 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Fight Seasonal Allergies

5 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Fight Seasonal Allergies

The pollination season for different plants triggers allergic reactions in various people and approximately 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. In the springtime, that yellow-green coating of oak pollen is a real problem; other contributors include cottonwood, elm, ash, and pecan. During the summertime, it is hay fever season; grass pollen is prolific and travels freely through the air. Ragweed and other wildflowers trouble Texas during the fall; we welcome any rain we get to wash the pollen from the air. Even in winter, cedar pollen causes allergies that mimic cold symptoms; it is called cedar fever.

Allergic reactions to organic particles in the environment, irritate the

  • Eyes, causing watery, itchy sensations
  • Noses, causing runny noses and mucus that irritates the skin
  • Upper respiratory system, with sneezing, coughing, and swollen sinuses (congestion)
  • Skin, with hives or rashes

Your HVAC system is designed to remove allergens from the air in your home, but there are some steps you can take to enhance the removal of the airborne particles responsible for seasonal allergies. Here are five HVAC Maintenance steps to address airborne allergens with your heating/cooling system.

  1. Use Quality Air Filters. Your HVAC system has an air filter located as the return air enters your HVAC cabinet. Make sure to use the right size and look for a filter with an appropriate minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. For most systems, a MERV rating between 11 and 13 is sufficient. They remove between 90 and 95% of particles, including pollen, mold, and mildew spores.

The key to keeping airborne allergens at bay is changing the filter regularly. In most cases, that means changing the filters every three months. However, if family members in your home have extreme allergies, you may need to change the filter more often.

  1. Clean the Pollen from Your Ductwork. Air circulates throughout your home in a series of sheet metal ducts. Any pollen that gets beyond the air filter can wind up in your ducts and if it has been a few years since they were cleaned, the accumulation of dust and pollen particles has built up inside. This pollen can be picked up to recirculate with any heating or cooling cycle. If seasonal allergies are a problem, make sure to clean your ductwork every three to five years.
  2. Keep the Fan On. Your thermostat has two fan settings—Auto and On. The Auto setting turns the fan on in conjunction with the heating or cooling cycle. The On setting turns the fan on continuously. The comparison of energy use between Auto and On is negligible and there are several benefits to using the On function.

When the pollen count is high indoors, continuously moving the air through the air filter reduces the amount of pollen still in the air. This option also works to keep the air temperature even during extreme temperature periods.

  1. Remove Humidity. Your air conditioner is designed to remove moisture from the air—as much as a few gallons of water per day. This is key to avoiding other sources of allergens—mold and mildew growth. Other sources of moisture in your home include bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchen. Care must be taken to reduce the amount of water allowed to stand about. These spaces usually have exhaust fans to remove excess moisture from the air; push the moisture outdoors for a few minutes after every summer shower or bath.
  2. Know When to Call HVAC Maintenance Professions. Ensuring that your HVAC system keeps functioning efficiently takes professional attention. Make sure to schedule an annual inspection and maintenance visit. While the technician is there, inquire about ultraviolet lights that can be installed inside the ductwork. UV light will destroy cell walls’ organic allergens, including pollen, mold, viruses, and dust mites. The inert remains can be collected by the air filter and removed from your home.

Let us help with your HVAC Maintenance!

Schedule your free HVAC Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Spring HVAC Maintenance

Spring HVAC Maintenance

HVAC Maintenance For this Spring

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? They herald the welcomed warmth of summertime. Don’t you just love the summer? So much to do and enjoy outside! Summer heat, the beach, grilling outdoors, and summer vacations are right around the corner. It’s all good if we have a respite from the intense heat, and air conditioning provides just the relief we need.

During extreme heat, the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors maybe 300 and that is quite a difference. Springtime is a great time to schedule an inspection and HVAC Maintenance for your air conditioner to keep it running strong all summer long. A tune-up cleans dust and grime from crucial components and ensures both the electrical and mechanical parts are functioning properly. This results in:

  • All the parts function as designed to keep your family comfortable, even during heat waves.
  • Identifies parts that might be under stress, allowing repair or replacement before the part fails.
  • A system that functions properly costs less to operate, so it saves on the utility bill
  • When a system is well-maintained, it tends to last longer, pushing an air conditioner replacement into the future.

If your air conditioner does struggle, no worries. But call as soon as possible since repair calls may triple or more during intense heat. Some sudden changes that indicate that your air conditioning system requires HVAC Maintenance include:

  • Warm Air When You Expect Cold Air. This is one of the most common problems. If the air is moving out of the vents but it is warm or not very cold, it indicates a problem with the refrigerant gas. The most common causes are gas leaking from the closed system or a compressor failure since the compressor is key to creating the cooling effect.
  • No or Low Air Movement. A powerful fan both pushes and pulls air, creating constant circulation during the cooling cycle. If no air is moving, it might indicate a problem with the blower motor that turns the fan. A switch or sensor may have failed, or it can indicate a compressor failure. If air is coming through the vents, but the volume of air is low, it might be a simple fix—a clogged air filter.
  • Inconsistent Cooling. If suddenly not all spaces are receiving adequate cooling, or if cooling is different between cooling cycles, it may indicate a problem with the thermostat. A simple fix is fresh batteries in the thermostat; a more profound fix may require replacement.
  • Water Leaking from the AC Cabinet. The air conditioner in the average home removes 3 to 4 gallons of water each day. The water usually falls to a floor drain or drains outdoors. If the drain line gets clogged, the water leaks into your home and can cause costly repairs. If a liquid other than water is leaking from the cabinet, this is a serious health risk and requires immediate attention.
  • Sudden Unusual Sounds. It is not unusual to hear some minor sounds during a cooling cycle that results from the contraction and expansion of the sheet metal vents. However, if you hear something new, different, or loud, such as screeching or grinding, moving mechanical parts are coming together in abnormal ways. This usually happens right before the failure of those critical mechanical components; make a call as soon as possible.
  • Sudden Unusual Smells. If an electrical part has failed, leading to a short circuit, the intense heat often melts wire insulation; it often occurs during a component failure. If the sudden smell is musty and unpleasant, it may indicate a problem with the ductwork. Moisture inside of the ducts or a leak in the duct may have led to the growth of mold or mildew. These cause multiple health problems, so they must be addressed immediately.

Let us help with your Spring HVAC Maintenance questions!

Schedule your free Spring HVAC Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

4 Furnace Maintenance for Homeowners

Furnace Maintenance

Furnace Maintenance Tips You Need to Know

When your HVAC system was installed, it was customed-fit to meet the heating and cooling needs of the space in your home with well-designed components. However, like every well-designed mechanical system, it needs periodic maintenance; some maintenance tasks can be completed by homeowners, and some will need to be completed by HVAC professionals. Here are a few helpful Furnace Maintenance tasks any homeowner can complete to keep their system functioning efficiently.

Furnace Maintenance: Replace Your Filter Regularly

You are very familiar with the heating and cooling function of your system, but it also provides a vital purpose in cleaning the indoor air. An air filter removes a significant amount of dust and dander, made more important during the winter when windows and doors remain closed. When too much dust accumulates on the filter, this creates problems for the system.

A clogged filter reduces the amount of air that can pass through the filter and, as you know, your heating system depends upon great air movement. So, to keep your air clean and your home warm, change your air filter regularly. You can find the air filter in the furnace cabinet, located where enters the cabinet from the rest of the house. The filter size is printed on all four sides of the filter. Purchase the correct-sized filter, slide the old filter out and slide the new filter into the slot. For most homes, the filter should be changed once every three months; if your filters are very dirty each time, consider changing the filter every two months.

Furnace Maintenance: Use Your Thermostat Intentionally

Old-style thermostats were merely switched on the wall to call for heat or AC as needed. Newer thermostats are programmable, and some come with Smart capabilities, so there is a little bit of a learning curve for using them properly. New thermostats use batteries and batteries will need to be changed—a good rule is to remove them annually. Occasionally, the thermostat setting does not match your indoor experience. If this happens, a professional may need to recalibrate the thermostat; this can be completed during an annual preventative maintenance visit.

Both programmable and Smart thermostats can be used to customize a schedule of temperature changes to improve comfort and save money. Research has shown that reducing your thermostat setting by 70 or more for at least 8 hours can save approximately 10% on your heating bill. Finding an 8-hour window is not as hard as it sounds: lower the temp at night while the family is sleeping or away during the day. Since it is programmable, you can schedule a warm-up 30    minutes before the alarm clock sounds to ensure a comfortable morning.

Furnace Maintenance: Keep The Ductwork Clear

Ducts supply warm air throughout the house and return cool air back to the furnace to be warmed again. Openings in the ductwork are scattered around the house strategically, including supply vents and cold air returns. It is not usual for furniture, accessory, or drapes to completely cover these openings and restrict the free flow of air. Do a regular inspection of the vents and returns to ensure they are all open. For best results, have your ductwork cleaned regularly—schedule duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years or as needed.

Furnace Maintenance: Schedule Professional Maintenance Annually

Even when you complete these simple maintenance tasks, your HVAC system should be inspected, cleaned, and fine-tuned annually. A technician will check the electrical and mechanical components to keep your system running efficiently, making needed repairs as they arise. Catching small problems early can avoid large problems, giving longer service life for the entire system.

Have questions about Furnace Maintenance? We can help!

Schedule your free Furnace Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

 

 

5 Signs You Need to Make an AC Repair Appointment Today

Warning Signs You Need AC Repair 

Warning Signs You Need AC Repair

Well . . . your older air conditioner made it through another summer. It ran well, but you are a little concerned; it has been around for a while and last summer it required a minor AC Repair. The fall is a good time to replace it but is considering taking a chance for one more year. What should you know before making that decision? Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Old Age. It really is a key consideration. Keeping it clean and well-maintained will prolong its usefulness, but eventually, large components will fail. Efficiency will drop. Economically, it will make sense to replace your air conditioner. The age range for AC components is between 15 to 20, more if maintained. Research the installation year and it can help you determine the urgency of replacement.
  2. Duplicate Repairs. Another key consideration is needing to replace the same part or similar part multiple times. When electrical control switches, sensors, and capacitors weaken and fail, this puts stress on larger motors. The stress will accumulate and lead to failure in these larger parts.
  3. Efficiency Loss. You might notice this when the AC takes longer to cool your home than normal or struggles to cool during heat waves. Or the system might blow hot air. You might also notice a loss of efficiency when you open your utility bill each month—more than the rise attributed to inflation.

Before you assume the worse, have your AC unit checked; this might indicate the loss of coolant gas. Sealing the coolant line and recharging the system is an easy fix.

  1. Efficiency Loss. Another indication of efficiency loss is higher humidity in your home. Surfaces might feel sticky, or the air may feel heavy and wet. High humidity might promote the growth of mold or mildew, so the air may smell musty. The coolant gas is also responsible for removing humidity, so let a technician check your system. Again, this is an easy fix.

If the coolant pressure is fine with a marked loss of efficiency, it may indicate deeper problems for AC Repair.

  1. Unusual Noise. The noise your AC makes should be minimal; you may hear the blower motor and the whoosh of air near the vents. Screeching, squealing, or rattling noises are not normal. When the normally slight noise becomes loud or unusual, this needs to be addressed. Noise can come from moving parts, such as the blower motor, or it can come from the stress on stationary parts.

If your aging air conditioner is experiencing a combination of these indicators, it is sending early warning signs of failure or AC Repair. By listening to your system, you will be able to plan accordingly. The early warning gives you time to shop around to find a brand and contractor. It gives you time to schedule the installation.

Most of all, you avoid replacing your air conditioner under the duress of an emergency; that emergency will most likely happen during the hottest part of the summer or the coolest part of the winter when your aging system is under significant stress.

Have questions about AC Repairs? We can help!

Schedule your free AC Repair consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.