Running the Air Conditioner During the Winter

Now that the summer heat is a distant memory we need to make sure we are ready for what winter has in store for our homes. Part of getting ready for winter includes winterizing your air conditioner. Every year in the spring we repair and replace many units because they were turned on during the winter months by accident. Sometimes kids playing with the thermostat are to blame and sometimes we push the wrong button. Other times the cause is excessive heat trapped indoors that causes us to use the air conditioner for some relief.  No matter how it happens if your unit starts in the winter serious damage can occur.

Reduce Heat Gain

Running the air conditioner when it is less than 60 degrees outside can cause serious, irreversible damage to the system’s compressor. It must be 60 degrees for at least a few days before you can safely use the air conditioner without worry of blowing the compressor. If the home is gaining too much heat, turn down the temperature at the thermostat and consider closing drapes or blinds. The sun may be heating up the inside of your home and closing the blinds will help bring the temperature down. If the house is still too warm, shut down the furnace and crack of few windows on opposite sides of the home. Take advantage of the free cold air outside, but don’t waste energy by running the furnace at the same time. 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

Severe Storms Can Severely Damage Air Conditioners

With the severe storms that recently came through the Chicagoland area, it is once again worth mentioning that you need to check on your air conditioner occasionally to ensure debris-free operation. Heavy winds blow down tree branches among other things and sometimes they end up stuck in our air conditioners. Turning a unit “On” in this condition could cause damage to your unit.

Clear the Way for Proper Operation

To avoid any possible damage you to your unit you simply need to take a moment and check the unit before turning it on! If you do find debris lodged in the unit simply turn the unit off and remove anything that may obstruct proper operation. After the debris is removed, take a moment to pull the weeds or plants surrounding the system that may impede proper air flow. Once everything is cleared out of the way, test your air conditioner. Everything should be working properly, and these few moments of your time could have saved you hundreds in air conditioner repairs.

Duct-Less Air Conditioning and Heating

Recently, a friend asked me to help him find a way to air condition his new TV room in the attic of his home. He has an old Chicago house with a walk up attic, and he and his wife thought that the attic was the best place for the kids to watch TV and be out of their hair all in one shot. Unfortunately, their attic was never a conditioned space, and therefore did not have any duct work attaching it to the existing heating and cooling systems. We checked out all of the possibilities, and even considered snaking flexible duct work up to the attic. Despite our best efforts, we could not come up with any way that wouldn’t involve ripping out a wall or two. 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.