Fall Furnace Preperations

As we begin to enjoy the early days of fall with our windows open and HVAC systems off, each of us would do well to remember to schedule our yearly furnace tune up as soon as possible. All of the major HVAC contractors are flooding our mailboxes with coupons advertizing special pricing to those few proactive homeowners that take advantage of the down season. Although some will listen, every year, without fail, there are thousands of homeowners that wait until there is snow on the ground to get the unit checked for the season. By waiting to the last minute, these homeowners create two big problems for themselves, and once you know what they are, you won’t be one to procrastinate on your furnace cleaning. Continue reading

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Repetitive Part Replacement: Condenser Fan

Some air conditioning systems are plagued by the same problem year after year. No matter how many times the homeowner replaces a part, they only get one or two years of function out of it. The air conditioner could be a lemon, but there may be another issue causing the same damage to the part every season. Get to the source of the problem and you could put the problem to bed for good. Although we may be entering the winter season, problems you are having during the summer may be caused by damage that is done during the winter. The condenser motor and condenser fan are costly parts to replace, but many homeowners are replacing them every other season without ever finding and correcting the source of damage.

Air Conditioner Fan Function

As the refrigerant or Freon inside your air conditioner pulls heat from the air, the condenser fan and motor work to cool the refrigerant down so that it can continue to absorb more heat. If the refrigerant is not cooled down, the air conditioner will overheat and cease to work properly. Continue reading

Burning Smells and Professional Maintenance

As you turn on your furnace for the first time, you may notice a smell as the heat starts coming out. Most times that smell is the dust and lint that has built up over the summer months burning off in the unit. It sounds nasty and can be if this is a regular occurrence in your home every winter season. The best way to get rid of the dust in your unit is to have it cleaned at the beginning of the heating season.

Eliminate Odors and Prevent Problems

However, the smell could be caused by something else. Electrical malfunctions and debris from inside the duct could also cause a burning smell in the furnace. The only way to be sure is to have your yearly maintenance cleaning performed by a professional. Regular maintenance will not only help to eliminate potential odors from your unit but will also help to keep your unit running efficiently and safely.

Fall is Here! Time to Prepare for Winter

We have officially entered the fall season. The weather is changing as well as the color on the trees and it’s my favorite time of year. However it is also a time of year were many people while enjoying the fall colors forget about preparing for the winter just ahead.

Pre-Winter Maintenance

Have you done the pre-winter maintenance? Checked your humidifier for proper operation? Replaced the bulbs in your UV light? Changed your filter and had the furnace and hot water tank combustion compartments cleaned? What about covering your air conditioner with a proper fitting cover has that been taken care of too? Continue reading

Suspicious Coupons may be a Scam!

It seems like every time you check the mail there is a new coupon from some heating and cooling company offering their services at a discount rate. Right now the big service that is being pushed is air conditioner maintenance, and if you care about the condition of your air conditioner, odds are you have this service performed every year. The economy has everyone looking for ways to save, so those coupons are going to catch your attention. Illegitimate HVAC companies realize your need to save, and use it to their advantage. Don’t fall for their cheap tricks, and you will put your hard earned money to good use instead of wasting it on an air conditioner maintenance scam.

Low Pricing Red Flags

As you collect your air conditioner maintenance coupons, take a moment to notice the difference between the prices from one company to the next. You will find that some companies offer prices in the 70-90 dollar range, and other will offer the same service for 20-30 dollars. How is this possible? Are the high end companies just looking to make a bigger profit? No, they aren’t, and they are not the scam artists in this situation. Performing a cleaning for 70-90 dollars is the lowest a company would be able to go and still pull a small profit from the service. The companies that offer the extremely low pricing are the ones that should raise red flags in your mind. Continue reading

Get Ready for the Cooling Season

Summer is only weeks away and yet many homeowners have not made any preparations for the upcoming season. Before you know it the heat will have arrived, and you don’t want to be one of those homeowners that are scrambling at the last minute to get the air conditioner serviced or in some cases repaired. Now is the time to make a few adjustments to your HVAC system in order to get ready for the season, and here is a simple checklist you can follow to make sure you have everything in order for summer:

  • Replace the Filter: The air filter for your air conditioner should be replaced regularly throughout the season. Start the season off right and replace this filter now to maintain indoor air quality and provide adequate airflow for the cooling system.
  • Turn Off the Humidifier: The humidifier is designed to add moisture to the air in the home during the winter. The summer air is already humid, so any extra moisture added would be excessive. The air conditioner must remove this moisture from the air in order to achieve home comfort, so the humidifier must be shut down in order to make it easier for the air conditioner to cool the home. Continue reading

Weeds Obstructing Air Conditioner Air Flow

We are quickly moving in to the air conditioning season, and as we do the plants and weeds begin grow around our air conditioning unit outside. Failing to trim back these plants regularly could cost you more than just the beauty of your home. One of the easiest ways we have to keep our energy bills low is to keep the plants away from the air conditioner. Trim bushes, cut the grass and pull any weeds because the ones we leave behind restrict air flow to your unit causing higher energy bills and a shorter equipment life.

Remove Obstructions for Proper Airflow

The recommended distance between landscaping and your air conditioner is 24 inches. This clearance allows enough air flow to not only to keep the unit cool and prevent overheating but also to reduce overall electrical consumption. Proper air flow is vital to proper system performance, and you would be surprised to see the damage that a few poorly placed weeds can do. Unless you want to overpay on your electric bills this summer, keep on top of your yard’s maintenance needs and keep the air conditioner clean of obstructions.

 

Window Air Conditioner Leaks and Condensation

If you rely upon a window or through the wall air conditioner to cool the rooms in your home, you have probably noticed how water leaking out the back of the system, especially on particularly humid days, is a normal part of the systems function. However, you may have also found water in places other than the back of the system and may have wondered if this was normal as well. No, it is not normal, and odds are you have a problem that needs to be addressed before real damage is done to the system or your home.

Coming Leaks and Condensation Problems:

  • Water Coming Out the Front of the Unit: If the unit is cooling normally but water is coming out the front of the system, odds are the unit was not installed properly. For those of us that install and uninstall the unit with the change of seasons, making sure that the system is on a slight backwards slant is a must. Water will drain into the home instead of out if the slant is tipped forwards instead of back. Continue reading

Consequences of a Dirty Coil

If you have been looking into getting the air conditioner cleaned and maintained for the season, you have probably gotten many mixed messages during your searches on the internet. Of course the HVAC contractors are going to tell you that their service is valuable, but is there truth to their claims? Some may try to convince you that this service is a waste of your hard earned money, but don’t take them at their word! If you were to take a peek at their cooling bills or at their air conditioner, you would probably find a system that is falling apart and a utility bill that is sky high!

The Condition of the Cooling Coil

Odds are their cooling coil is a wreck! This valuable component of your air conditioning system is responsible for removing the heat and excess humidity from the air in your home. When the coil is covered in years worth of dirt and debris, these are some of the consequences you may see:

  • Increased Cooling Cost: The longer it takes for the air conditioner to remove heat from the air in your home, the more it will cost to run the air conditioner. A dirty coil cannot remove heat and humidity from the air efficiently, and as the coil gets dirty the efficiency of the air conditioner is decreased. You could be paying much more than necessary to cool the air in your home and your dirty coil could be the source of your problem. Continue reading

Wait for Winter to Truly be Over

With the weather turning warmer and people moving back outside it sure feels like spring is in the air. So when should you remove your air conditioner cover and get ready for the first hot day? I know no one wants to hear this but we still have a few weeks of winter left. Although this past winter has been pretty mild, in the past we have had snow as late as May, and it is not uncommon for a heavy snow storm to hit the Chicagoland area in March. With this possibility looming in the forecast, maybe it is too early to uncover the air conditioner and get it set up for the summer.

Wait to Uncover but Don’t Wait to Schedule

Instead of rushing outside to take the cover off, give the air conditioner a few more weeks of protection from the potential threats of winter. By the end of March or early April, the weather should have improved enough to take the cover off. During this time, however, you should call up your local heating and cooling contractor to schedule your yearly maintenance check. Sure they may not be able to come out until the end of March or early April but the earlier you call the better scheduling options you will have. The yearly cleaning is the best way to get the unit set up and ready for the summer season, but waiting to schedule could leave you with an air conditioner that is not ready when you need it most. These few simple steps will get you ready for another hot humid Chicago summer that is sure to be right around the corner.