We want to preface this blog post by saying that all air conditioning problems are serious. All air conditioning problems require prompt attention. Not all air conditioning problems are necessarily equal, however. Case in point: the refrigerant leak. No AC issue is a welcome development, but few strike fear into the heart of the AC user quite as much as the refrigerant leak. The reason for this is quite simple. Refrigerant is what makes cooling your home possible.
If you have any reason at all to believe that you’ve got a refrigerant leak in your air conditioning system, then you need to schedule air conditioning repair in Middletown, DE, immediately. The longer that you wait to do so, the greater the risk of serious damage to your home cooling system. Of course, before you can schedule your refrigerant leak repair services, you first need to recognize that you’ve got a refrigerant leak! Read on to learn more about potential warning signs.
What Does Refrigerant Do?
Before we go any further, we really need to help you understand what it is that refrigerant does in your air conditioning system. Above, we mentioned that it is the refrigerant in your system that actually allows your AC to cool your home. That is not an exaggeration. More specifically, it is the evaporating and condensing of refrigerant that allows your air conditioner to cool your home.
Your AC has two coils. The evaporator coil is indoors, and the condenser coil is outdoors. As refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, it removes heat from the air in the house. Then, it is sent out to the condenser coil. There, it is condensed, which allows it to release heat into the air outside. This process continues until desired temperatures are met and maintained in your home.
Signs of a Refrigerant Leak
If your system is leaking refrigerant, then it is going to struggle to function effectively. You may have a refrigerant leak if you notice any of the following symptoms. If you do, reach out to us right away so that we can identify and resolve any leaks that you’ve got in your system.
Your air doesn’t feel as cool as it should.
Your system is short cycling (shutting down soon after starting up, over and over).
Your energy bills are spiking.
You hear a hissing sound near the AC.
You notice ice developing on the coil or the refrigerant lines themselves.
A refrigerant leak is definitely not something that you want to let go unresolved any longer than is absolutely necessary. Not only are you wasting energy and money, and not only are you paying more for less from your air conditioner, but running an AC that is low on refrigerant can also result in irreversible compressor damage. When that happens, the need for a full system replacement is very likely. Take stock of any warning signs in your home, and dial our number for quality AC repairs.
The modern residential air conditioning system is a complex piece of refrigeration equipment. Any type of complex machinery is in danger of breaking down at some point, no matter how well it was built or how well it is cared for.
Does hearing this make you worried about your AC’s performance this summer? If you’ve kept up with annual maintenance for the system, you probably won’t run into any problems—but there’s never a 100% guarantee the air conditioner won’t shut down on you during an extremely hot day.
When you have an AC that won’t start, you may need an HVAC company in Middletown, DE to repair it. In some cases, the problem is simple and you can get the AC running yourself. We’re going to look at some of the reasons your air conditioning system may shut down, and which of them will require calling pros to fix the AC.
Tripped circuit breaker
The motors in an air conditioner create a large draw on electrical power. This may lead to overloading a circuit and causing a breaker to trip. When your AC refuses to come on, we recommend you check the circuit breaker panel to see if any breakers have tripped. Reset them and turn the AC on again. If it still trips a circuit breaker, you’ll need to call professionals to look into a possible electrical problem.
Motors power the fans and the compressor of an air conditioner. If any of these motors overheats and burns out, the AC won’t function. You may notice an acrid odor from the vents or the outside cabinet when a motor burns out; this is a sign to call for professionals since you can’t replace the motor on your own.
Overflowing condensate drain
The water moisture that collects along the indoor evaporator coil drips down into a shallow condensate pan, where it is pumped out through a drain. If the drain becomes clogged up or the pump breaks, the water will rapidly overflow from the pan. The AC has a limit switch that will trip in this case and shut the system off. In most cases, you’ll need a repair technician to unclog the drain or repair the pump motor.
Sometimes, the trouble with an AC that won’t work is mistaken settings on the thermostat, such as putting the system in “fan only” mode rather than “cooling.” There could also be other thermostat troubles, such as a miscalibration (the unit reads temperatures incorrectly) or a loss of connection to the AC. In these latter cases, you’ll need HVAC technicians to fix the problem.
When the compressor of an air conditioner dies, it can’t provide any cooling. The compressor must be replaced. If the compressor is no longer under warranty, it’s usually better to replace the whole condenser and indoor evaporator coil, or even the entire HVAC system if you have an old heater as well.
No matter the service you need to have your cooling restored, count on our team. We’re always here for you, 24/7.
As the summer starts, you may have concerns about the performance of your air conditioning system and whether it’s better to have a new one installed this year. You may have noticed the AC didn’t work as well as you wanted last summer, or perhaps you think that the unit is old enough that continuing with repairs will be a bigger money drain.
We’re glad you’re turning over these ideas in your head, because it shows you’re paying attention to your home’s air conditioning in Dover, DE. It’s smart to keep a watch on an air conditioner so you can have problems dealt with before they become even bigger problems—such as an emergency breakdown during one of the hottest days of the summer.
The best way to answer the question in the title is to call our professionals to consult with them about your AC’s future. Below we’ve given you some of the major warning signs of an AC ready to retire so you’ll have a better idea of what job you’ll need our technicians to do.
What is “too old” for a central air conditioning system? The usual system age range for most ACs is between 10 to 15 years. A well-maintained air conditioner will usually reach 15 years. A system that’s older is at increased chance of a decline in efficiency, extensive repair needs, and major malfunctions like compressor burn-out that will make a replacement a necessity. We recommend giving serious consideration to replacing a central AC that’s more than 15 years old.
Repair Costs Are Too High
When your air conditioner was new, it probably needed next to no repairs. You can expect a few repairs to pop up in later years, but you still shouldn’t need to call for a technician to fix the AC more than once a year. More important than repair frequency, however, is cost: paying more than $500 a year to keep the air conditioner running is excessive. Any single repair that costs more than half the price of a replacement is also a cost too far.
Utility Bills Are Too High
As age catches up with an air conditioner and time leaves its mark, the system will draw on more power to run. You’ll begin to notice an increase in your utility bills that doesn’t change, even with repairs and regular maintenance. This irreversible climb in the cost to run the air conditioner usually means it’s time to put in a new one—which will probably have superior energy efficiency compared to your current system when it was new!
Hot Spots Around the House
One of the biggest warnings that you have an air conditioner that’s dying is when it no longer can provide sufficient cool air to condition all the rooms. When you notice that rooms that are the farthest away from the AC are warmer than usual, it’s time to call for a technician to see if you should repair or replace the system.
If there was an air conditioner that never developed problems, we’d be the first ones to tell you about it. Until that time comes, of course, you’ll just have to rely on some good old fashioned air conditioning repair and maintenance services.
It’s also important that you don’t ignore repair problems when they do arise. Down below, we’ll list three in particular that you should never ignore.
Is there a new noise that’s suddenly overtaking the gentle whoosh of air from the AC? That, alone, is enough to warrant a call for professional advice from an AC repair expert in Delaware.
Among the most troubling AC-related noises are those like hissing, grinding, clanging, and screeching. These noises are typically rooted in problems with leaks, obstructions, motor bearings, or electrical issues.
Regardless of which particular noise you’re hearing, all of them can have a substantial effect on your air conditioner. This is not a problem that we can diagnose for you over a blog post, so we highly suggest calling a professional before continuing to run the system. If not, it may end up costing much more in the future to fix or replace damaged parts.
If your air conditioner can’t make up its mind about staying on or off, this could be a short cycling issue. Short cycling will put your AC on an operational roller coaster as it struggles to maintain the temperature set on the thermostat.
Ultimately, short cycling can increase your energy bills, damage components, and prevent your AC from doing the main thing you want it to: keeping your home cool.
In many cases, short cycling is caused by an air conditioner that’s too large for the home—it will have to be replaced. However, you might get lucky and find out that you simply have a dirty filter that desperately needs replacing.
Either way, it’s best not to make guesses about what the problem could be. A professional can easily determine the cause of the issue and tell you how to proceed from there.
Does your AC just not cool like it’s supposed to? You’re not just being impatient or imagining it—it could very well be a cooling issue, such as a duct leak.
If your air ducts have a leak, cooled air will get sucked up in these leaks before they can reach the rooms of your home. When the air doesn’t circulate properly, it will put an added demand on your system as it tries to match the settings on your thermostat. The more your system works over-time to compensate for the leak, the more your system will be subject to wear-and-tear.
You’ll need to seal those leaks if you want to bring cool air and order back to your home. Although sealing the ducts sounds like an easy DIY project, you can’t do it with duct tape. You’ll need the tools of a professional HVAC contractor to test the ducts thoroughly.
Smart thermostats are all the rage… Yet, it’s not as if “dumb” thermostats are going obsolete. In fact, we’ll be the first ones to tell you that a programmable thermostat is all you need to run your air conditioner efficiently.
But that’s not to say programmable thermostats are infallible. There’s a lot you’re missing out on by not using a smart thermostat (in particular, we’re talking about money).
Thermostats with a basic digital display, a dial, and a slide will certainly allow you to adjust the temperature—but that’s about it. No programmable features mean you’ll need to keep 24/7 watch over your thermostat.
A programmable thermostat is a step up. You can set a schedule that cools and heats your home according to your energy saving strategy and your lifestyle.
However, where these thermostats fail is in the fact that they need your permission to make changes. They won’t adjust themselves without you doing it manually for them!
A smart thermostat, on the other hand, can adjust itself when it sees opportunities for saving money. That’s an invaluable feature that can really make a difference over time.
What’s So Special About a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat is essentially a thermostat that has a computer-brain and is connected to the internet. These are pretty significant qualities for a device that can directly affect how much money you spend on energy. This aspect, alone, is what makes a smart thermostat much more worthwhile than, say, the smart tea kettle (yes, that is a real thing).
The “smart” part of the smart thermostat will pick up the slack in all the areas where other thermostats fail. For example:
Programming for efficiency
You can run your smart thermostat to maintain comfort 100% of the time, but you can also program it for efficiency. They can do this by warning you when your desired temperature is inefficient, as well as adjusting itself to make smarter, more cost-effective usage.
The biggest contributor to inefficiencies in the HVAC system? Unfortunately, it’s you. We are only human, and we are prone to making decisions based on how we feel, and that includes adjusting the temperature when we shouldn’t. A smart thermostat is able to learn how to keep you comfortable while saving money at the same time (you just have to be good and not touch the dial!)
Avoids wasting energy
Have you ever made it home later than expected, only to find the AC blasting air into an empty house? Or maybe you stepped out of the home for, say, a week-long vacation, just to realize that the AC has been cooling the home according to your normal schedule?
Smart thermostats can detect when you’re not home, and even if they don’t, you can monitor their use through a smartphone. You can then manually adjust the schedule from your phone to save yourself from wasting all that energy.
After last year’s summer began to cool off, there was finally a day that was the very last. Without your realizing, there was one day of the season that became the last day that you used your air conditioner.
Since then, your air conditioner has had plenty of time to collect dust—and we don’t just mean that figuratively.
If your AC has developed any issues over the winter, the best thing you can do is refrain from using it until you’ve had it tuned-up. Instead of waiting just before the summer returns, however, you can get that maintenance check out of the way anytime before summer.
Here are some reasons why that’s a good idea:
A Clean System is an Efficient System
Have you ever noticed dust forming on your air vents? If there’s dust forming there, just imagine how much could have formed inside the ducts and in the sensitive components of your air conditioner. If you fire up your AC for the first time in several months, some of that dust might even come out and leave a bit of an odor.
But it’s not just a matter of smelling the dust. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that nearly 25 to 40 percent of the energy used by your AC is wasted due to excessive dust in the system. The dust that can build up on the air conditioning coils and other parts of the system can reduce the AC’s cooling potential.
While air filters are put in place to help prevent this problem in the first place, dust manages to find its way inside the system through other entry points. Plus, if the filter gets too dirty for a prolonged period of time, it will be less effective in filtering out dust.
Prevent Debilitating AC Issues Now Before the AC Becomes a Necessity
There will come a time when you start running your air conditioner consistently. Soon after that, there will come days so hot that you’ll be very thankful to have a fully-operational air conditioner. The worst possible thing that could happen at that time? The AC breaks down. Then, you’re forced to wait in the heat until an air conditioning repair expert in Maryland arrives.
Of course, this occurrence is more likely during the hottest part of the season, especially if the unit hasn’t received any maintenance since the year prior.
Some of the issues that can lead to an inconvenient breakdown include:
Frozen evaporator coil
Dirty condenser coil
Broken blower motor or fan
Fortunately, all of these issues can be prevented with a quick tune-up.
And finally, a great reason to get maintenance early is simply to get the one-up on any tendency to procrastinate. We find it’s not so uncommon that many homeowners planned to get maintenance, but simply never got around to it until a problem appeared. By then, the damage is done, so it’s too late to have prevented it with maintenance.
Have you heard about the countless benefits of air conditioning maintenance? Did you know that getting air conditioning maintenance makes your AC more efficient? Makes it less likely to develop repair issues? Makes it last longer, in general?
We’ve found that the average homeowner has no problem understanding these benefits of AC maintenance. Rather, the problem is that they just never get around to scheduling it! We don’t blame you, of course—it’s just part of human nature. It’s the same reason why so many people only go to the doctor after they start having problems.
That being said, here’s our take on why AC maintenance should be done now instead of later:
Start Saving Early
When you boil it all down, maintenance is all about maximizing your savings against the inevitable costs.
Buying and installing the AC is one cost, but that’s just the beginning. You’ll also have to pay for any repair costs that might arise (we’ve yet to find an AC that doesn’t have at least one issue in its lifetime). And then, it will eventually need to be replaced. And throughout all that time, it will cost a certain amount to supply power to it.
In other words, you won’t be able to avoid spending money on your AC. What maintenance helps you do is lower that cost as much as possible. The cost of maintenance will easily be paid off by the cost-benefits it provides, such as reducing the chances of debilitating repair issues and keeping efficiency as high as possible.
The sooner you start up the good habit of regular maintenance, the more you’ll be able to put toward a brand-new unit down the line.
Take Advantage of Maintenance Program Benefits
Here’s a secret: HVAC technicians know that you know that maintenance doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. That’s why they’re happy to bundle up maintenance services into a service agreement. Rather than opting for normal maintenance visits, you should ask about a maintenance program. You might be able to benefit from perks like:
Priority service: Regardless of when you need service, priority service means that you’re always bumped to the top of the list. No need to wait for hours—or even days—in the heat.
Discounted parts: The cost of replacing a part can make all the difference in your final repair bill. Instead of being hit with a costly surprise, you can significantly soften the blow by signing up for a plan that discounts parts.
Discounted labor and service: The service fees are often what add up the quickest during a repair job. A good maintenance program will shave off some of these fees with a nice discount.
It’s Good All-Year Round
The best time to get maintenance for your air conditioning in Maryland is right before you plan to start using it—usually, that’s just before summer. However, you can also be more clever and schedule maintenance in the off-season. This will ensure that your AC is primed and ready to go long before it’s needed, nor will you have to sit in the heat waiting for maintenance.
With the end of winter, we’re seeing temperatures start to improve around here. However, it’s far too soon to be saying that we don’t need our heaters! We’ll be running them for just a bit longer, especially during the night.
But as you do, please keep your boiler in mind. It has been running since the beginning of the season. If there are any dormant repair issues in your boiler, they’ll most likely start showing up after all of this continued use.
Four signs that your boiler needs some early maintenance include:
1. Pilot Light or Electronic Ignition Issues
Boilers can last for about two decades. If that’s the case with yours, then it may be natural that your system has a pilot light. The issue with these old things is that they must be burning all night and day—it’s not uncommon for them to need relighting or to need replacement entirely.
Alternatively, newer boilers use an electronic ignition system. These save energy and are much more reliable, but even they can need replacement at times.
If you’re fond of drinking tea, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the faint rumbling and rattling noises that you can hear as the hot water gets closer to being ready.
When your boiler is filled with too many mineral deposits from hard water, it can change the pressure levels in the tank. Not only does this make for some troublesome noises, but it can eventually cause the tank to spring a leak.
Consider kettling to be a convenient warning sign that your boiler needs maintenance!
Cross your fingers, because a boiler leak can either be the worst possible thing or it might be nothing at all.
If your boiler’s tank has sprung a leak, there’s nothing you can do but to have it replaced. It’s much easier to avoid a leak if the boiler is maintained and regularly has mineral deposits flushed from it.
On the other hand, it could be an issue with your pumps or pressure relief valves. Luckily, these can be repaired without much trouble.
The best-case scenario is that your “leak” is actually just a buildup of condensation.
4. Rising Heating Costs
A boiler is a machine, just like any heating system. And as machines age, they tend to decline in performance. That lack of performance will manifest as an increase in your heating bill.
If your boiler is under 15 years old, then the best solution for this problem is regular maintenance. By having your boiler maintained every year before the winter, we can get its efficiency back up and drive those costs down.
However, if your boiler is too old, it might be too late for maintenance. It might be better to replace the system. Of course, we don’t expect you to make that decision on your own, so please don’t hesitate to contact a professional of heating in Delaware.
Spring is here, and temperatures will soon be on the rise. If your furnace is starting to give out, you have plenty of time to research your options and think about the features and efficiency ratings of your new furnace or heating system…
Wait, hold on a second, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. How do you know that you even need to have your furnace replaced? Even if your furnace is older than its predicted life expectancy, it doesn’t necessarily mean it needs replacement.
With winter coming to a close, here are some questions you should have in mind to determine if it’s time to replace your aging furnace:
Was I Comfortable All Season Long?
Sometimes, the right answer is the simplest one. If your furnace is no longer heating the home as quickly or thoroughly as it used to, that could be reason enough to have it replaced.
Now, don’t get us wrong—we’re not saying you should make this decision based purely on how you think you feel. However, if your suspicions are correct and it’s true that your furnace isn’t working like it used to, then that also means that it’s wasting more money and energy to keep you warm. You wouldn’t want to spend more money for a furnace that isn’t doing the same job it used to, after all.
How Much Did I Pay for Heating?
Take a look at all of your heating bills from the season. You should also look to see if you still have records of what you paid for the year before, as well as the year before that! What we’re trying to find here is if there is a gradual increase in what you’ve been paying for your heating every year.
Colder winters can easily be to blame, as can fiddling with the thermostat too much. Either way, looking at your expenses might be able to illuminate for you whether or not your furnace has been struggling to keep up with basic demands.
Did I Have to Schedule Repairs?
Having to schedule heating repairs in Delaware isn’t something you should be looking forward to every year, or even every two years. While heaters will have some repair issues every now and then, they shouldn’t be the norm. So if you found yourself calling for repairs again this year, or perhaps multiple times in the same year, then it might be time to take a close look at your furnace.
Did I Ever Wish My Furnace Had Other Features?
Did you ever wish that you could run a certain temperature in one room, and another temperature in another room? Or maybe you’ve been thinking that your allergies would fare better if there wasn’t hot air blowing around the home.
If you have these thoughts, don’t just ignore them. These could be signs that what you actually need is a different kind of heater entirely. If you’re not sure that furnaces are actually the best system for you, we recommend speaking with one of our experts to see what your alternatives are.
Have you ever wondered just how many particles there are in your home’s air space, right now, that are actively lowering the quality? Well, you don’t have to wonder if you choose to get an air quality test from a trusted indoor air quality expert in Delaware and Maryland. The results of the test can show you definitively which pollutants and contaminants are floating around in your indoor air. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to confidently research your options for improving air quality.
There are various types of contaminants that can lower your air quality, and they’re mostly found in these categories:
This category makes up particles that are suspended in the air, and they can be either solid or liquid, and come in various shapes and sizes. The most troublesome particulates are those about 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller, since they’re capable of being inhaled. That can lead to various health effects, depending on the contaminant.
A common source of particulate matter is smoke from cigarettes and wood combustion, but this may not be a leading source of particulates in most homes. For homeowners, the particulates they commonly house include most types of allergens, such as skin flakes, dust, pet dander, mold spores, and dust mites.
Your best bet at reducing particulate matter is with air filters and air purifiers. These devices are installed at various points in your HVAC system to trap these contaminants for later disposal. Each filter and purifier has different ratings and methods for collecting contaminants, so it can be beneficial to have a combination of them throughout the home.
Also, it’s worth noting that lowering excessive humidity with a dehumidifier may also help. By reducing moisture in the air, it’s harder for contaminants to circulate.
The most common indoor chemical pollutant you may have heard of is volatile organic compounds. Unfortunately, VOCs are found in many products that we tend to use in our homes: air fresheners, furniture, nail polish remover, wallpaper… the list goes on, and it’s surprisingly large.
Aside from ensuring that your home is properly ventilated, this is where higher grades of air filters and purifiers can make a difference. In some cases, it may be better simply to remove the source of the contaminants, but that isn’t always feasible. An expert can help you decide the best course of action.
The right combination of air filters and purifiers can work wonders for your air quality, but they can’t do anything about living contaminants. For that, you’ll need a special type of air purifier equipped with an ultraviolet light.
UV air purifiers work much like normal air purifiers, but their UV light will bathe contaminants in a lethal dose of radiation. Of course, this radiation is harmless to humans, and you can find UV lights in plenty of applications.
The types of contaminants that require a UV air purifier typically include: