After calling a Professional, You don’t want to ask Youself: “Could I have fixed that?”
There’s very few things that feel as bad as calling in a professional having them flip and switch and charge you. You’re both out money and can feel embarrassed, or in a professional situation and have a difficult time justifying this cost to whomever you report to. Usually this can be prevented in a few easy steps.
#1 Check Your Breakers: Breakers can trip for a variety of reason some of which may be a one time instance and not a point of concern. Before calling a professional I would recommend locating and resetting any tripped breakers, bearing in mind that there will typically be an inside panel as well as one outside by the meter. If the breaker immediately or consistently trips you still may want to take one more step before contacting a professional. In the effected area unplug everything and turn all switches off then reset breaker. If they hold, try plugging in items one at a time, then flip switches back on one at a time. If the problem persists or the breaker trips with something you cannot just unplug, it’s time to call a pro.
#2 GFCI’s: A GFI’s primary function is to simply check for any voltage imbalance so it is pretty normal for these to trip intermittently. Unless they are tripping more frequently than once a week it is usually not a necessity to repair. GFCI’s will be installed for all bathroom, kitchen, garage, and outdoor outlets will be on a GFI. Keep in mind that one outlet can run up to 10 protected outlets. so if you have an outlet not working in one of these locations, check and reset all GFI’s in the house before calling an electrician.
#1 Frozen AC system: An AC will freeze for three reasons: low temperature, low indoor air flow, or low refrigerant. If you have a frozen AC make sure of two things before calling someone; Make sure there the filter in the unit isn’t dirty, and make sure the thermostat is not set below 72°F. If you suspect either a dirty filter or low set-point were the cause set the system to off and fan to on for 3 hours then restart the system and it may resume normal operation.
#2 Backed up drain. Your AC will condensate up to 2 gallons of water an hour. This will run from the indoor unit and drain outside usually via a 3/4″ PVC pipe. If sediment plugs up this pipe it will either back up into the house causing a mess or newer AC units will have an overflow shut off or “float” switch. If you have a blank thermostat or a system doing nothing you should first check this “float” switch for water. If this is full, empty it. Hook a shop vac to the outlet outside, pull the sediment out, refill the drain trap and reinstall the float switch and test the system.
#3 Tripped breaker, See above for testing a tripped breaker.
#4 Thermostat batteries, if the thermostat is blank make sure the batteries are not dead.
#1: Pilot light is out: On gas water heaters if there has ever been a interruption in gas service to the property, (even briefly) the pilot will need to be relit. Follow the instructions on the heater to do this.
#2: Tripped breaker: While typically a tripped breaker is a sign that one of the electric elements is shorted, it is not a bad idea to try resetting it and see if the problem still occurs.
#3: Tripped high limit: All electric water heaters will have a high temperature cutout safety on the upper thermostat. Should this trip repeatedly than there is a problem (if however you only have to occasionally reset it, it may not be worth repairing). This safety reset is a red circular button behind the upper access panel on the side of the heater.
#1: Make sure the pool pump is running and that it does not have a very dirty filter.
#2: Make sure all water is flowing through the heater and that there aren’t any valves diverting water away from the heater.
#3: Check to make sure all breakers are on.
#4: If there is cold air blowing out of the top of a heat-pump heater, it is operating correctly and may just not be at optimal temperature yet. This doesn’t necessarily mean its running at full capacity but would mean it is at least somewhat heating.
#5: Make sure the gas valve is on.
Can you tell the difference between these two air conditioning installations?
Both systems were recently installed, are the same make/model, and keep the house cool while lowering power consumption. Here’s the catch: One of these systems could cost you over $3,500 more over the next 10 years.
A Few Extra Steps Can Save You Money
The Department of Energy found that over 55% of AC systems with no reported problems are either over or undercharged between 10-30%, causing an average additional cost of $100 PER TON per year. The average house in Florida has a 3 ton A/C system installed. So at the cost of the time and proper instruments to set the refrigerant charge to the ideal levels, the average Floridian would save $300 per year. Also, manufacturers recommend the removal of the optional horizontal drain pan if your unit is installed in the more common vertical application. Because this would add an additional step to the air conditioner installation process, the vast majority of A/C installers just don’t do it. Leaving this pan in the unit can cause a reduction of airflow up to 2% causing the system efficiency to drop by about 1%. Since the average Floridian spends $700 per year heating/cooling their home, removing this pan would not only result in cleaner and more sterile air, but also $7 per year saved.
Importance of Proper Air Conditioning System Refrigerant
When installing a new air conditioning system it is important to make sure there is absolutely nothing in the refrigerant system except the rated refrigerant. The wrong refrigerant can potentially cause premature parts failures and costly repairs, but the primary issue is that is lowers the power efficiency. Noncondensables in the system will not flow normally through the piping and will build up in the outdoor coil. This causes higher pressures, higher compressor electrical usage, and lower heat transfer. Depending on the type and amount of noncondensables this can result in an up to a 7% reduction in power efficiency. Using the correct refrigerant will result in a power bill savings of $49 per year.
In total (with the average yearly heating/cooling costs per year in Florida being $700) incorrect installation of your new HVAC unit could potentially result in an additional $356 in power charges per year.
|Acceptable instead of Ideal refrigerant charge
|Not removing horizontal drain pan per manufacturer instructions
|Using the wrong refrigerant and not evacuating noncondensables
|Total x 10 (for average system life of ten years)
Total yearly savings of $356 (close to $1 per day) over the 10 years of use amounts to $3,560 you could save if you choose the right contractor to install you new air conditioning unit. Make sure you’re using a reputable air conditioning contractor who knows how important these small details can be.
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Wondering how long it will be before your old A/C unit finally breaks down and needs a costly replacement?
We know an A/C unit is a big expenses, but many consumers have been hearing for years their system needs replacing from companies looking to make a big paycheck. But how can you tell if your A/C unit is about to break? In these hot Florida summers, we regularly see a system make its last stand on some of the hottest days, when it’s having to work extremely hard just to keep the house at a consistent temperature, leaving you with unexpected repair bills for an A/C unit. Many times, when you can plan ahead for those big surprises, you’re able to handle the situation with a lot more ease, but how can you tell? Here’s three signs to watch out for…
The general rule in the industry is that once an A/C unit reaches 10-15 years, the idea of replacing the unit is usually a much better investment than putting money into an older system. If your system is at this threshold, it’s usually wise to begin expecting, not wondering, when the system will fail. Proper maintenance is a great way to extend the life of your system, so make sure even if its new to take care of it. Don’t know your systems age, no problem. Take down the model and serial number from the manufacturer and give them a call to ask them. If you’re our customer, our staff can tell you it as well, we keep great records!
One mechanical clue to a systems state is how efficiently the coil is performing. A function of the evaporator coil is humidity extraction, and as a unit ages past the normal life span, the system will not perform to its usual operational standards. These breakdowns in efficiency leave the air more humid, and cause your space to feel more clammy, than cool. Some other signs of an older evaporator coil is if it is prone to freezing or mold growth.
3. Jump in Costs-
As with the coil, the system overall loses efficiency as it ages. The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of an older unit isn’t what it once was. As it loses each SEER increment, up to 9 percent of efficiency is lost. What results is an increase your electric costs . If your utility costs are rising and other causes have been ruled out, it’s more than likely the age of the system that is the greatest contributor. Should you be planning to replace your Air Conditioner soon? Your A/C unit won’t last forever. Give a licensed, local expert a call and have an system evaluation done during your next maintenance. Make sure they are reputable and ready yourself with these three suggested area to make sure they’re not selling you something you don’t need. If you’re in Central Florida, visit our website to have one of our experts service your air conditioner with a annual maintenance.
We see this all of the time in our industry. A customer who chooses to go with a costly repair, on an old system that will statistically be
a bad investment. What’s stopping you from getting an air conditioning replacement? Many homeowners are can’t justify a large initial investment for a new A/C unit, but don’t consider the long-term benefits that they could start taking advantage with a new unit Here are seven great advantages to upgrading to a new A/C unit and where you could see some significant savings!
- Reduced spending- Due to the fact that new A/C units are designed to run far more efficiently than models which are only a few years old, you can expect your monthly cooling costs will go down.
- Increased comfort- Advanced technologies promote comfort throughout the home by providing a constant stream of conditioned air, better moisture control and more even temperatures with less fluctuations.
- Improved air quality- Improved moisture control means that you’ll be able to breathe easier because your home will be at a lower risk for the growth of mold and mildew. Indoor Air Quality add on’s for new A/C units also are extremely helpful.
- Tax credits- If you want to get an even higher return on your investment, the time to upgrade to a new A/C unit could be now. Homeowners can usually receive a tax credit when they purchase eligible, energy-efficient HVAC equipment. Always do your homework beforehand, but it’s a great way to lessen the expenses of a new system.
- Warranty protection- With new systems we are currently seeing manufacturers with some great warranties and almost all qualify for extended warranties, including some that cover not only parts but labor as well.
- Dependability- A total system replacement, on the other hand, can provide you with the peace of mind that your equipment will run dependably and safely for many years into the future.
- Friendlier refrigerant- The R-22 refrigerant, the type probably used in your current air conditioner is being phased out by the federal government in response to environmental concerns. Today’s units make use of a more eco-friendly, EPA-approved refrigerant known as R-410A. As R-22 is being phased out, we are seeing an increased cost per pound and will continue to as the years go on. R-410A is a lot less inexpensive to place a system in the case of a leak.
Should you be planning to replace your Air Conditioner soon? Your air conditioner won’t last forever. Take a look at our Air Conditioner Buying Guide to familiarize yourself with your options and give a licensed, local expert a call and have an system evaluation done during your next seasonal maintenance. Make sure they are reputable and ready yourself with these three suggested areas to make sure they’re not selling you something you don’t need. If you’re in Central Florida, visit our website to have one of our experts service your air conditioner!