air conditioner maintenance

How to Avoid Common Summer HVAC Problems

As the outdoor temperatures steadily rise, so do the number of service calls for air conditioner repairs. One reason for the increase in service calls is due to the fact that homeowners are less likely to put off repairs when the heat is unbearable. However, the sultry summer heat could be indirectly responsible for most common summer HVAC problems.

The hot and humid summer weather can cause your HVAC unit to work extra hard to keep you comfortable. Also, because the temperatures outside can be extreme, you may be more aware of unit cooling inefficiency.

Commonly Reported Summer HVAC Problems

Here are a few of the most common summer HVAC problems, how you can avoid them, and the steps you need to take to fix them.

Poor Air Flow

When your system is running, you should feel cool air coming from your AC registers. If you place your hand over the register and notice little to no air flow, there is obviously something wrong. This is an indication that there is poor air flow to your HVAC unit.

There are several things that can cause poor air flow.

Summer Vegetation

A common summer culprit is summer vegetation. WIth warm temperatures and sunny days, the plants around your outdoor unit grow faster. If left unchecked, these plants could grow up around the unit and create a leafy barrier, trapping the heat inside. This causes a decrease in efficiency and potential overheating.

Air conditioners need intake and exhaust air to operate efficiently. Be sure to keep shrubs, grass, and other outdoor plants trimmed well away from your outdoor HVAC unit to ensure proper air flow. At least a two-foot clearance is recommended around the equipment and at least five feet above it.

Dirty HVAC Filters

Dirty HVAC filters can also cause air flow issues. Because the air conditioner is running more frequently during hot temperatures, it is circulating more air. This can cause the filters to become dirty faster. It is a good idea to change your HVAC filters more frequently during the months your system is working hardest to keep you cool.

Dirty Coils

Again, because your unit is running more frequently, and circulating more air, the coils on your air conditioner can become dirty and clogged. This is particularly true if you haven’t been changing your filters as often as necessary.

Having the system’s coils checked and cleaned by a local HVAC professional before summer begins can help keep air moving freely over them. However, it is better late than never. If you are having poor air flow issues, it may be as simple as a routine maintenance visit.

Low Refrigerant

Contrary to popular belief, your HVAC system does not consume refrigerant as it cools your home. A properly working unit shouldn’t need a regular refill of refrigerant.

Over time, however, your HVAC system may develop tiny leaks that can allow refrigerant to slowly seep out, leading to a low refrigerant charge. An undercharged air conditioner will struggle to cool your home effectively. The result is longer run times, a decrease in energy efficiency, higher utility bills, and possible overheating.

During a routine maintenance visit, your HVAC technician will check refrigerant levels and inspect your coils and refrigerant lines for any leaks. If your unit has a refrigerant leak, the technician will seal the leaks before adding more refrigerant.

If you suspect your system may be suffering from low refrigerant charge, contact your local HVAC professional for help.

Problems with Electrical Lines

The exposed electrical components on your unit may be more susceptible to damage during the summer. Take extra care when trimming grass or other vegetation around your unit. A string trimmer or electric shears can damage the fins on the outside or accidentally clip the electrical wiring.

Since pets often spend more time outdoors during the summer, they can also pose a hazard to your unit’s electrical lines. To keep pets from chewing on electrical wires or urinating on electrical components, you may need to secure the area around your outdoor component to keep it safe from your furry friends.

Compressor Failure

All the common HVAC problems listed above are relatively easy to repair. However, if left unfixed, they could lead to more serious and expensive problems.

Insufficient air flow, poor refrigerant charge, and electrical issues will eventually cause the unit’s  the compressor to overwork, overheat, and ultimately break down. Replacing an HVAC compressor is not only expensive, it is very inconvenient, leaving you and your family to suffer the uncomfortable summer heat.

That is why it is important to call a licensed HVAC technician at the first sign your air conditioner isn’t working properly. Waiting too long could lead to more serious repairs.

It is also important to schedule regular annual maintenance to ensure your system is running smoothly and easily. Like the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

 

If you have any questions or need to schedule maintenance or repairs, be sure to contact your local HVAC professionals.

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Is your ac giving you a headache?

Is Your AC Giving You a Headache?

If you suffer from frequent summer headaches, your air conditioning could be to blame. AC is a modern comfort welcome in most areas and a downright necessity in others. However, your head could end up suffering during the long, hot months of summer.

How Your AC Can Give You a Headache

There are several reasons your air conditioner could be causing your head to throb. Here are some common contributing factors and some solutions to help you feel better.

Dehydration Headaches

While your air conditioner is bringing the indoor temperature down to an enjoyable temperature, it is also drawing out the humidity in the air. One great benefit is the reduced risk of indoor mold and mildew. However, one drawback to reduced humidity levels is an increased risk of dehydration.

There is an elevated risk of dehydration during the summer months due to the climbing temperatures outdoors. However, if the indoor air becomes overly dry and you don’t consume enough water, it could lead to dehydration.

Along with dehydration comes the risk of a painful headache. Caused by the brain temporarily contracting due to fluid loss, dehydration headaches can be mild or severe.

Dehydration headaches are simple to prevent, however. Make sure that you stay well hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends 91 ounces of water from food and beverages each day for women, and 125 ounces for men.

You can also combat dehydration by running a simple humidifier in your home or office space. This will help prevent the indoor air from becoming excessively dry.

Cold Temperatures Cause Blood Vessel Contraction

If you are the type of person who likes to keep the indoor temperature chilly enough for penguins and polar bears, it may be causing your headaches. When you get cold, the blood vessels in your body contract to help preserve body heat. As the blood vessels in your brain contract, it can cause you to develop an uncomfortable headache.

To prevent this, simply turn up the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees.

Excessive Noise from Your AC Unit

It isn’t a secret that loud environments produce headaches. If your air conditioner is loud when it runs, or even if it just hums at a frequency that irritates you, it could contribute to your summertime headaches.

If you think your air conditioner’s compressor is annoyingly loud, call your local AC technician for a unit tune-up. The problem may be remedied with some basic adjustments to the unit. However, excessive noise could be an indication that you may need a whole new model.

Headaches and Airborne Allergens and Chemicals

If you suffer from frequent headaches, it is possible that your AC unit is circulating more than just air. If your vents and duct work aren’t clean, a forced-air system will send dust, pollen, mold, and other allergens into your living or work space.

Also, chemicals from cleaning supplies, construction materials, paint, or other sources can cause problems if your indoor space does not have adequate ventilation. Your AC system will just keep recirculating irritating or toxic substances through your indoor spaces repeatedly.

One potential solution to the problem of airborne allergens and chemicals is to schedule regular cleaning and maintenance for your AC system. A qualified professional AC technician can make sure all parts of your system are clean and running efficiently.

Consult Your Doctor and Your HVAC Technician

Persistent headaches could be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Therefore, if you have recurring migraines or serious headaches, you should consult your physician for proper diagnosis.

However, if your headaches are mild, and you are convinced that your air conditioning is contributing to your suffering, consult your AC technician to diagnose and remedy any potential problems with your AC. The solution may be as simple as basic maintenance and cleaning, no doctor visit required.

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air conditioner maintenance

Benefits of Regular AC Maintenance

One of your home’s most important appliances is your air conditioner, especially during the hot months of summer. Your air conditioner requires regular maintenance to ensure it is able to cool your home efficiently and safely all summer long.

Your air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins all need regular cleaning and maintenance for your unit to function. If you disregard the necessary upkeep of your air conditioner, you will eventually start to see a decline in your unit’s performance and an increase in your energy bill.

7 Reasons for Regular AC Maintenance

Here are just a few reasons to make sure your air conditioner receives the regular care and maintenance it needs.

 

Preventing Costly Emergency Repairs

 

The last thing you want is for your air conditioner to break down during a summer heat wave. Getting fixed can be costly and inconvenient. Scheduling regular maintenance for air conditioning unit by a qualified technician can help prevent expensive emergency repairs. Suffering through uncomfortable heat while waiting for an over-booked repairman to fix your air conditioner isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.

 

Lowering Indoor Humidity

 

Modern air conditioners reduce air humidity as they cool your home. By using an evaporator coil to condense water vapor from the air, and then send it through a drain to the outdoors, your AC unit removes much of the humidity as it cools. A lower indoor humidity level will make your home’s interior feel cooler and more comfortable.

Overly humid conditions lead to mold and mildew developing inside of your home. Even if you can’t see it, mold often grows in the walls and fabrics of your home when the indoor humidity is high. A well-maintained air conditioner will safeguard your home from dangerous mold and mildew.

 

Better Sleep

 

Sleeping in a room that is cool is scientifically proven to help you fall asleep faster, feel more rested, and offers a number of health benefits. Having an air conditioner that efficiently and effectively cools your home at night will do more than just make you feel more comfortable. It will actually make you healthier.

 

Nicer to the Planet

 

Regular maintenance will allow your home’s air conditioner to run more efficiently. This can lower your energy usage by as much as 20 to 30 percent. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, a well-maintained AC unit will help you achieve it while still keeping you comfortable.

 

Nicer to Your Wallet.

 

When you reduce your energy usage, you also reduce your energy bill. By cutting your energy usage by 20 to 30 percent, you will also similarly reduce your utility bills. If you want to save money, invest in maintenance service from your local HVAC experts. The cost of regular AC maintenance will save you more money in the long run.

Regular AC maintenance also saves you money by preventing costly repairs and extending the life of your unit. Replacing an HVAC unit is expensive, but if you take care of the one you have, it will help keep you cool for years to come.

 

Improved Air Quality

 

A well-maintained air conditioner filters and circulates the air inside your home. It creates ventilation and air circulation as it runs, making your indoor air cooler, cleaner, and easier to breathe.

Some specialized air filters for your AC system will remove dust mites, pet dander, and other airborne allergens from the air in your home. These filters usually need to be replaced monthly.

 

Your Family’s Safety

 

While air conditioners are generally safe, a faulty system can release harmful carbon monoxide into your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to dizziness, confusion, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. High-level exposures can lead to toxicity of the heart and brain, and can even cause death. Regular maintenance by a qualified technician will ensure that your air conditioner is running safely and efficiently.

 

 

Schedule a Tune Up for Your Air Conditioner

 

While it is possible to do some of the necessary maintenance and upkeep of your AC unit yourself, a professional HVAC technician will conduct a thorough inspection and maintenance services to ensure your unit runs smoothly all summer long. If you want to take care of your family and keep them safe and comfortable, it all begins with taking care of your air conditioner.

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