The leading full service air conditioning and heating company on the Emerald Coast since 1986, providing residential and light commercial services from Pensacola Beach, Florida to Destin, Florida and the communities of Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Mary Esther, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island.
Not all air conditioning repair needs are catastrophic. In fact, not all air conditioning repair needs are actually air conditioning repair needs. For instance, you might have a miscalibrated thermostat, or a thermostat that was accidentally set to heating mode. Or you could have damaged ductwork.
But, you should never assume that a small issue is small. It could be a sign of something much bigger. Waiting on repair needs can only cause them to grow, until you’re stuck making an emergency AC repair call, or even scheduling a premature system repair. That said, what are some signs that your air conditioner may be in need of repairs? Read on to find out!
Low Cooling Output
This one is a pretty obvious sign that something is amiss with your cooling system—an air conditioner that won’t actually cool. After all, your air conditioner is supposed to keep your home at an even, comfortable temperature.
Low cooling output could be caused by a number of factors, ranging from minor to pretty serious. One of the more serious issues is the refrigerant leak. There’s a fairly common misconception among homeowners that refrigerant is something that needs to be refilled—recharged—on a routine basis, when the reality is that if you’re losing refrigerant, it means something is wrong.
Refrigerant is responsible for the actual process that cools your home. So if you have a leak, it must be located and repaired, and then the refrigerant recharged.
Another, less major, cause of low cooling output is a clogged up air filter. The air filter is in place to protect the AC system from dirt and debris that can pummel its inside components. Airflow can be impacted when the air filter is left in for too long—which can manifest itself as low cooling output.
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about low airflow. There could be a couple things at play here—your air conditioner’s blower could be failing, or there could be an issue with the ductwork in your home, such as tears or holes in the ducts. If some rooms in your home are getting better airflow from the registers than others, this indicates a problem with your ducts.
The good news is, thermostat troubles are typically fairly simple to resolve, and don’t result in catastrophic repair needs. But the thermostat is important! It serves as the brain of your air conditioner.
Signs of a malfunctioning or failing thermostat include an air conditioner or even heating system that won’t turn on or won’t shut off, a temperature reading that doesn’t correspond to the temperature you’re feeling in your home, or one or more rooms that are cooler or warmer than the rest (uneven temperatures). Fortunately, a thermostat upgrade is a relatively easy “repair” and usually beneficial in a number of ways!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had air conditioners that could self-diagnose malfunctions and report them back to he homeowner, in detail? We’re sure that will exist someday, but in the meantime, we have to rely on other methods for an air conditioner to send warnings that something is wrong. Perhaps it’s a drop in cooling power, an unexplained spike in energy bills, or frequently tripping circuit breakers.
Or it could be something else entirely–strange and unfamiliar noises coming from the air conditioning system. Anything that’s different from the normal hum of the fans and compressors, and the occasional clicking as the system comes on and shuts down, might be telling you of a malfunction. Do not try to investigate these problems on your own, since there are various possible causes for them, and we don’t want you to injure yourself or damage the air conditioner even more by inspecting.
Be sure to call our HVAC pros and we’ll track down the exact source of the problem so it can be quickly repaired.
What Do These Strange AC Noises Mean?
There are a few common noises that indicate issues with an air conditioner:
Shrieking: Do you hear a loud, mechanical shrieking noise? This can be the sign of a motor problem or at least a problem with a motor bearing that is wearing down. A worn-down motor bearing could eventually create too much stress for the motor and permanently damage it. Technicians can replace the bearings in order to rescue the motor.
Grinding: This is another potential warning sign of motor problems–usually because of a motor with too much dust or too little lubrication. Additionally, if you smell an acrid scent from the vents, the motor is overheating. Shut off your AC and get a professional on the job ASAP.
Rattling: This might be a minor problem, such as a loose cabinet door. Alternatively, it could be loose components being knocked around in the blower fan, bent fan blades, or a cabinet coming loose from the slab. If this noise seems to be coming from the ducts, there might be ductwork sections that have become loose.
Hissing: One of the biggest hazards for an air conditioner is leaking refrigerant. This can occur for a number of reasons, but one common reason is corrosion on the refrigerant line. An early indication that this is happening is a hissing sound as the high-pressure gas escapes from the refrigerant lines. You’ll want to take care of this as soon as possible–technicians must seal the leaks and recharge the refrigerant back to factory levels.
Clicking: You’ll hear clicks at times when the system starts up and cycles down. However, if you hear it too often when the AC is starting up, then you might have a “hard starting” air conditioner that’s struggling at powering the compressor. You’ll want to get this fixed right away.
Clanging: A loud, and probably alarming, clanging sound could be a loose fan belt or a bent air handler that the fan blades are knocking into. These are most likely to occur in an older air conditioner. But if you hear it in a newer system, it’s definitely a good idea to call a pro!
If you’ve lived in the area for even a year, chances are that you—hopefully—have had maintenance done on your air conditioner at least at one point. Perhaps a professional performed it, and your air conditioner showed signs of improvement in operation afterward.
But when if your air conditioner is old? That is, about 10–15 years old? Even a well-maintained air conditioner is designed to last just about that long. Is it time for yours to be replaced? You can go with the company you hired for maintenance, but that doesn’t always mean they’re going to be the best folks for the job, or the best services for your specific home and needs. The right AC installer will help you make an educated decision on what type of system you should invest in (you don’t need to stick with the one you’ve always had!), how to properly size the system, and more.
So, other than this, what should you know about your AC installer?
What Experience Do They Have?
Some homeowners are comfortable with calling in any handyman with a little bit of experience in electric and mechanical device installation. But, you know the phrase, “you get what you pay for?” This absolutely holds true with air conditioning services. Complex HVAC equipment is difficult for even the most skilled of handymen, and you may end up needing to call a professional to fix a problem the handyman created, after all that.
Additionally, your safety matters! Only trained, licensed, and experienced professionals can ensure that your HVAC systems are installed safely, with no hazards. Refrigerant is one AC component you don’t want to come into contact with, and when you trust a pro you won’t have to.
Do They Offer Sales and Service?
There are companies out there who only offer one thing: sales, or service. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this—except don’t you want a company who can give you comprehensive services? Purchasing an air conditioner to be installed is great, but if that salesperson quotes you a price for installation only for you to discover later that they don’t provide said installation, you’ll be disappointed!
Do They Offer 24-7 Emergency Services?
While you aren’t going to get an AC system installed in the middle of the night, it’s vital that you find a company that can handle all your HVAC service needs. But it’s also important to find someone who can come out for repairs any time you need them. After all, emergencies rarely happen at “convenient” times. You may eventually need a company you can trust to call in the late hours or during the weekend, when you need your air conditioner to function.
Do They Have Your Best Interests at Heart?
Technicians should care about your long-term comfort and savings. It’s not a “one and done” deal with our team. A great AC installer will provide exceptional services but also let you know how to save money further down the road as you use your air conditioner on a daily basis.
Additionally, take a look at their reviews! What are other customers saying about their team? This is a good indicator as to if you will be happy with their services as well.
When you see water puddling anywhere in or around your home where it shouldn’t be, with no explanation, it’s probably your natural instinct to call a plumber. This isn’t exactly the wrong move to make, but the fact is, you may be dealing with a leak coming from your air conditioner—in which case you’d want to give our HVAC pros a call.
Most homeowners don’t even realize their air conditioner uses water to operate. We’ll let you in on a little secret—it doesn’t.
Keep reading to learn more about how your cooling system operates, and to better understand why you’d see water leaking from the unit. And remember, it’s essential that you schedule routine maintenance to detect these problems early on, and schedule repairs as soon as you are alerted to their needs. A leaky water heater can be quite destructive, and end up costing you thousands to repair subsequent property damage.
Where the Water Comes From
This is an excellent question, as we just stated your air conditioner doesn’t use water in its operation. The water is actually coming from the air within your home. There’s always some level of humidity (which we’re all very familiar with in our area of the country)—water vapor that takes up space in the air.
You may often see this water vapor condense into liquid form. Think about when you’re drinking a cool glass of water on a hot day—you’re likely to see condensation form on the outside of the glass.
This same scientific principle applies to the warm air that moves over the cool condenser coil in your air conditioning system. Refrigerant moves through the evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the air in your home. The coil cools down, allowing it to dehumidify. As it does this, water vapor collects on the coil, and a condensate drain system helps it exit your system and your home.
A Condensate System Gone Wrong
Under normal circumstances, water drips off the indoor evaporator coil of your AC system into a tray underneath the coil unit. This tray—the condensate tray—is positioned at an angle, enabling water to drip into a hole at the bottom edge of the tray that leads to a condensate drain—a pipe that leads outside. A condensate system can’t do its job properly if:
The drainpipe gets clogged with dirt and debris, allowing water to back up and overflow from the tray.
The tray moves out of place or wasn’t positioned correctly to begin with.
The indoor coil freezes due to a lack of airflow, later thawing all at once and overwhelming the condensate drain.
There is too much humidity in your home. This is the case for many Valparaiso homes, and we’d recommend considering a condensate pump to help out.
“How Can I Prevent This Leakage?”
The best thing you can do to prevent not only condensate drain leaks but also the more hazardous refrigerant leaks is schedule routine professional maintenance. It’s during maintenance that our technicians will thoroughly inspect, clean, and adjust any components that need it within your cooling system.
We check the system very thoroughly, and we’ll alert you to any repair needs right away, including condensate system issues or refrigerant line breaches. If you’re between maintenance appointments and think you may have a problem with your system otherwise, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call for expert assistance.
Spring doesn’t mean much, temperature-wise, for those of us in Northwest Florida. We pretty much deal with soaring temperatures the entire year. This means our air conditioners get a lot of work. As such, without proper maintenance, they can be prone to breakdowns. Even with maintenance, an aging air conditioner can experience problems.
One such problem is an air conditioning system that blows out warm air. Sometimes this can be due to a simple mistake that’s easy for the homeowner to fix, while other times it will necessitate a call to professionals for repair. Read on to learn more!
Check Your Thermostat Settings
If you’re lucky, your air conditioner problem might not actually be an air conditioner problem at all. Rather, it could be that you’re dealing with a thermostat that’s either been set incorrectly, is in heating mode, or has malfunctioned.
First, check to make sure that your thermostat is actually in cooling mode and not in heating mode or simply “ON.” If it’s in the “ON” position, then the blower fan may be spinning, but your compressor won’t be running and the refrigerant process won’t be happening—meaning you’re simply moving air.
What you want instead if for your air conditioner to be in “AUTO” mode. This ensures that your fan only comes on when the cooling function is on.
Blocked Air Filter
It may be that your air conditioner simply needs a new air filter. The air filter that comes with your AC prevents dust and dirt from getting into the sensitive components of your air conditioner. So naturally, it can eventually become clogged up. When this happens, it restricts airflow and you will likely feel less air, which you might interpret as less cooling.
If a clogged air filter is left in your system for too long, it can lead to frozen coils, short-cycling, and, subsequently, increased energy bills.
The good news is, changing the air filter is something you can, and should, be doing on your own! It will depend on the type of air filter and the level of contaminants in your home, but air filters should typically be changed every 1-3 months.
Your air conditioner, whether it’s a central system or a ductless one, relies on refrigerant. Without this refrigerant, the heat transfer process that makes cooling possible just won’t happen. Refrigerant leaks are the biggest culprit for lost refrigerant—you shouldn’t be losing any refrigerant otherwise.
Leaks may start small and get gradually worse, which can cause a host of problems such as:
Frozen coils preventing the absorption of heat.
Compressor failure causing a complete system breakdown.
In addition to the loss of cooling or airflow you might feel, a refrigerant leak is also signaled by a hissing noise. Or it could sound something like bubbling. If you detect any unfamiliar noises, actually, you should call an AC pro just to be on the safe side.
Ductless heating and cooling systems have been growing in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. They’re very versatile and energy efficient, and offer a number of benefits to homeowners.
Instead of functioning through a network of air ducts connected to an indoor air handler and evaporator unit, a ductless HVAC system breaks up the indoor unit and air handlers to distribute conditioned air throughout your home in the form of individual, mini air handlers—each of which is mounted up high on the wall in the rooms that need conditioning.
Of course, if you already have a ductless system in place, you’re already aware of this—but do you know what repair needs to look for?
Water Leaks behind the Air Handlers
Each wall-mounted air handler is equipped with a series of connections, routed through a hole in the wall behind it. This includes a power line, a refrigerant line, and a condensate line. The condensate line is tasked with removing water moisture from the cooling process so that moisture doesn’t enter your home instead.
While this won’t often happen so long as your ductless system is properly installed and maintained by a professional, those condensate lines can spring a leak. If this occurs, water started developing between the back of the air handler and the wall, until eventually the wall material weakens. This causes the air handler to rip away from the wall and fall off—damaging the wall and potentially even the air handler itself.
Broken Air Handler
So, what if one of your air handlers break? This is certainly a repair need that is unique to ductless systems, but it’s not necessarily a disadvantage. Why do we say that? Well, if a single air handler breaks—whether it be from a failed motor or some other isolated problem—the remaining air handlers throughout the home will still continue to run.
The only section of your home that will lose cooling or heating is the one with the broken air handler. While you’ll still want to call for professional repairs right away when this happens, the good news is you’ll still have the cooling or heating you need, just in another room of the house.
This one isn’t “unique” to ductless systems, as all central air conditioners require refrigerant to run, and can experience a problem with their refrigerant lines. But a refrigerant leak can be even more detrimental than normal when it happens with a ductless system. This is because there are more refrigerant lines running throughout the home and the leak can happen anywhere along the line—especially if your system wasn’t appropriately installed or maintained.
Signs of a refrigerant leak can include things such as a loss of cooling, or a hissing noise. Be sure to call for professional ductless system repairs right away if you suspect this might be your problem.
Being aware of the unique and specific repair needs of a ductless system should help you understand why it’s vital it be installed and serviced by a professional, such as any of the technicians on our team.
Summer is not very far off (really, did it ever leave?), which means that right now is as good a time as any to check if your air conditioner is up to the continued task of getting you through another season of hot weather. If the air conditioner you’re using now isn’t really up to this job, then it’d do you well to consider a replacement now, rather than wait for it to break down later.
The last thing you need is to be without an AC system any longer than you have to be in the middle of the hottest months of the year. Keep reading for some signs that it is, in fact, time to replace your air conditioner.
Your System Costs More to Operate Monthly Than It Used To
The older your air conditioner gets, the more efficiency it will lose as parts give way to wear and tear. At first, this efficiency loss won’t be all that noticeable. Eventually, however, it will end up becoming so severe that the air conditioner will be forced to operate for longer periods of time in order to compensate.
This longer operating time will drive up the monthly cost of using your AC, since it’s using more energy. So if your cooling system is costing more to use per month than you think it should be, it could very well be time to make an upgrade.
You Are Constantly Calling for Repairs
Needing repairs every now and then is not a big deal. Every couple of years you might need something small in the cooling system fixed, even with diligent preventive maintenance. However, if your air conditioner needs to be repaired multiple times a year, then it’s time to talk to a pro about whether it would make more economic sense to upgrade.
This high level of frequency in repair needs is usually due to a system that’s struggling to overcome years of wear and tear. The various components inside it will begin to fail in groups, causing the frequency and cost of repairs to increase dramatically. Continuing to repair a failing system is just going to waste money, and you’ll probably need to replace it soon anyway.
Your Air Conditioner Is Over 15 Years Old
Even if you schedule preventive maintenance once a year as recommended, and call for repairs as soon as you notice a problem, you can’t expect your air conditioner to last forever. Eventually, the system will reach a point that it just isn’t worth keeping up care on it anymore.
The average lifespan for a well-cared for air conditioner is around 10-15 years. After this point, it will begin to accumulate chronic issues that will make it increasingly harder to keep the system running and performing well. If your air conditioner is older than 15 years, it’s definitely a good time to think about upgrading. Today’s systems have made significant strides in efficiency and you’ll find that your energy bills will be much lower anyway!
At the March 2019 Navarre Chamber Commerce & Coffee event, Kool Breeze recognized teachers and their dedication towards educationing our children.
Kool Breeze expressed their appreciation of our local “Teachers of the Year” from south Santa Rosa county by presenting certificates and giving a small monetary gift to those teachers honoured.
Here are the teachers that were recognized for Teacher of Year for each local school.
Sharon Mavity,Holley-Navarre Primary, Teacher of the Year
Ruth Witter, West Navarre Primary School, Teacher of the Year
Jasmine Brockhum, West Navarre Intermediate, Teacher of the Year
Deb Wood, Holley-Navarre Middle School, Teacher of the Year
Dave Chaves, Holley Navarre Intermediate School, Teacher of the Year
Caroline Buechner Navarre High School Teacher of the Year
Kristin Ardis, Woodlawn Beach Middle School, Teacher of the Year
We also wanted to congratulate Caroline Buechner of Navarre High School for being nominated the Santa Rosa County Teacher of the Year.
The first thing you should know about humidity and air conditioners is that humidity can, in fact, negatively impact your cooling system. And since we live in one of the most humid states in the country, that can be a problem!
Think about how uncomfortable excess moisture makes us. We try to compensate for it by turning our thermostats down lower and lower. Unfortunately, this means you’re making your air conditioner work harder than it should have to in order to perform, and it will accumulate wear and tear faster as a result. Additionally, even though an air conditioner does remove some humidity from your indoor air, it is not a wholly effective means of dehumidification.
Understanding High Humidity
Humidity is considered “too high” when the relative humidity level in your living space is above 50%. Comparatively, relative humidity levels below 30% are considered too low. We don’t experience this too often, if ever, in our corner of the country, but dry air is often just as detrimental an issue as humid air.
When humidity is too high, we can’t sweat, and since this is the human body’s natural way of cooling off, we become very uncomfortable. When humidity is too high, there’s too much ambient moisture in the air, sweat stays on our skin, and we turn our air conditioners up to try to compensate for the hot, muggy feeling inside. In addition, this excessive moisture encourages the growth and development of mold and bacteria, which can make you sick.
More About What This Means for Your Air Conditioner
As we alluded to above, the best way to lower humidity is by lowering the temperature inside. This causes moisture to coalesce into droplets (much like you notice outdoors on early mornings). This means your cooling system does essentially serve as a dehumidifier by default, but not at the level you need it to.
Simply put, air conditioners are not designed to control humidity levels. Sure, they remove some of the moisture from the air naturally just by operating, but it’s not a significant amount, and you really have no control over how much moisture is actually being removed.
Excessive moisture in the air causes your cooling system to work harder than it needs to, just to do its job. This is a waste of energy and will end up costing you more money on your utility bills.
The Answer: A Whole-House Dehumidifier
Whole-house dehumidifiers are the answer to excessive moisture in the home. Over time, high humidity levels shorten the lifespan of your air conditioning system. However, a whole-house dehumidifier is designed to remove excess moisture from your home, without negatively impacting your air conditioner. In fact, the dehumidifier actually helps your air conditioner, since you won’t need to turn the thermostat down as low—and then your cooling system won’t have to work as hard to do its job.
Ultimately, when you use a whole-house dehumidifier in combination with your air conditioner, you’ll have more precise control over the relative humidity and the overall comfort of your home, while helping your cooling system operate more effectively and efficiently.
“What?” you may be wondering, “you’re an HVAC company, why are you talking to me about tree pollen?”
Here’s a little fact you may not be aware of—the indoor air quality within your home can actually be worse than that of outdoors. This is because homes and buildings today are built very tightly, sealing off any areas that can allow conditioned air to escape. This is great news for air conditioning efficiency! Unfortunately though, since air can’t escape your home, neither can allergens.
This is the time of year known as “tree pollen season” here in the Navarre area, and every time you open your door, you’re inviting this allergen inside. So, what can you do to combat it?
Arm Yourself with Whole-House Air Filtration
There’s a common misconception among homeowners that the air filter within their HVAC system is there to protect their indoor air quality. A clean air filter certainly won’t hurt your indoor air quality, but its intended purpose is actually to protect the inside components of your air conditioner from dust, dirt, and other debris that can decrease the system’s effectiveness.
A whole-house air filtration system, however, is a more complex indoor air quality product that traps contaminants—like tree pollen—effectively removing them from your indoor air.
Are There Other Air Quality System Options?
Yes! You may find that you need more than an air filtration system to truly combat the allergens in your home this season. Most homeowners need some combination of indoor air quality products to truly make their home comfortable and healthy. Fortunately, there are many options out there:
Electronic Air Cleaners: These systems remove microscopic impurities from your air that an air filtration system may let escape. This includes things like dust, smoke, smog, pet dander, and even mold spores. These particulates may seem harmless, but they can make even the healthiest person ill. An electronic air cleaner “charges” these particles and draws them onto a metal plate where they can be cleaned off later.
UV Air Purifiers: In a place as humid as Florida, there’s one unhealthy contaminant, in particular, you should be aware of—mold and mildew. Excessive moisture causes this contaminant to develop, and the prime location for it? Your ductwork. A UV air purifier, also called a UV germicidal light, can be installed directly into your air ducts, where it kills the microorganisms before they even have a chance to enter your indoor air.
More Indoor Air Quality Tips for the Allergy Season
Getting the right indoor air quality products and services in place is certainly an important part of keeping your family healthy this allergy season. But there is more you can do to take control over what allergens are allowed to enter your home in the first place. For instance, you can request that your household members and guests:
Leave shoes near your entryway before walking on the carpet.
Remove outerwear before stepping inside the home.
Change clothes when you come inside (particularly after outdoor activities).
Follow a chore chart for dusting and sweeping in the home.