Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Air Conditioning Maintenance’

Should I Call for Maintenance if My AC Is Having Problems?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

When you’re having problems with your AC, you might have a hard time figuring out what service to ask for from an HVAC contractor. Many air conditioning service providers also offer air conditioning maintenance, but you may not be sure which service you need.

Problems with your air conditioning system require immediate repair. For any issues, an AC repair service is needed to assess the specific problem. Air conditioning maintenance, on the other hand, provides inspection, cleaning, and adjustment services that may prevent such problems in the future. The following guide details the differences between AC repair and maintenance, so you know what to ask for from an HVAC specialist.

AC Maintenance

Air conditioning maintenance is a service offered by many HVAC specialists to check whether your system is running smoothly and to recommend any additional services you may need. We recommend maintenance once a year to check your system for any deficiencies that may drive up your bills or cause issues in the future.

During AC maintenance, your system will be thoroughly inspected. You may not know if you have a loose or damaged part in your system, and it could be reducing your system’s energy efficiency. With a thorough inspection, these issues can be located, and the technician will recommend any additional parts or services you may need. The technician will also check refrigerant levels and perform any necessary adjustments. Furthermore, your AC system will receive cleaning wherever necessary. A technician will clear out any dust or debris that may be affecting the efficiency of your system.

AC Repair

If you’re having problems with your AC, contact a technician immediately for AC repair. If you are experiencing little or no cooling, uneven cooling, short cycling, loud noises, or a broken thermostat, you want a technician to repair the problem as soon as possible to get your system back to normal. It’s important to contact a technician for repairs at the first sign of a problem, because these issues could mean an eventual system breakdown.

Whether you need repairs for problems with your AC or would like to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Warminster, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling.

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Why Cover Your Air Conditioner During the Winter?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Many air conditioner owners in Maple Glen wonder how best to care for their outdoor condenser units during the winter months that they are not in use. It can be a bit confusing, as everyone seems to have different opinions. Some people claim that wrapping your air conditioner is of utmost importance, while others claim that it can actually harm your air conditioning system. Ultimately the importance comes down to location of your home and the conditions of the environment, but at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling we believe offering some sort of protection over your condenser unit is a good idea. The important thing is how you do it.

If you’re  concerned about debris falling into your unit, such as pine needles, ice or leaves, simply cover your condenser unit with a piece of plywood. Put a brick on top to hold it in place, and you’re all set. This will also keep rain and snow out, as well as corrosive salt water for those that live near the ocean. If you want to further protect your unit you may opt for a full cover, but it is important that you give this some further consideration.

If your concerned about the fins or casing of your condenser unit and must use a full cover, be sure that it is made of a breathable material. Sure, you may have some large trash bags in the garage that would cover it, but this can actually do more harm than good. Using plastic or other non-breathable materials to cover your air conditioner can trap moisture inside the unit. When the sun is shining during the winter the cover will heat up, making it much warmer inside the plastic and creating the perfect environment for rust and mildew to develop. Plus, this warm area makes a tempting place for rodents to spend the winter. Many electricians spend some time in the spring rewiring systems that have had their wiring chewed through.

Before you take any steps in protecting your air conditioner – consult your owner’s manual or as your Maple Glen heating and air conditioning contractor.  Most importantly, protect your air conditioner following the passing of winter in the most reliable way possible. Call a professional air conditioning service provider for regular maintenance service before putting your air conditioner into regular use. This is the best way to make sure that your AC has made it through the winter unscathed by debris, moisture, rodents and anything else. Call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling  today with any further questions you may have about keeping your air conditioner safe during the off season.

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Why is it Important to Keep Your AC Condenser Coils Clean?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Condenser coils perform an essential function of conditioning hot, moist air and replacing it with cool, dry air.  During this process the continual circulation of air causes airborne pollutants such as dirt, dust, grass, lint, moisture and other debris to land on the coils, building up until it gets clogged.  A clogged or dirty AC condenser coil is most definitely a problem.

The main problem with dirty coils is that it decreases how well the AC actually cools.  A clogged coil can mean deceased air flow through the coils, which in turn means your Doylestown air conditioning system will be less efficient.

Clean condenser coils can yield higher performance levels, cleaner indoor air, and a longer life expectancy of the unit, while also saving money in electricity costs. Performance levels of air conditioners with dirty coils drop by as much as 30%!

When air passes over a dirty condenser coil and is then pushed into indoor air after being cooled it only stands to reason that some of that dirt and debris gets taken indoors as well.  It can also cause moisture problems on the coils which could result in bacteria or mold spores growing, and might reduce indoor air quality in your home.

Dirty coils can also cause the AC to work at higher temperatures and higher pressure which means the lubricant cannot easily be broken down. This can make the unit freeze over, eventually causing compressor failure.

Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can help clean your condenser coil during a regular AC maintenance checkup – give us a call today if you need AC service!

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Air Conditioning Tip: Indoor Air Conditioning Components

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Air conditioning in Lansdale is a modern convenience that we can easily take for granted as long as all the parts are working well.  In every unit, no matter the size, the basic process is one of extracting heat from the conditioned space and moving it to the outside, leaving cool air in its place.

This process easily divides into indoor and outdoor components.

Air Conditioning 101

Based on the principal of thermal energy which states that heat gravitates toward cooler temperatures, compounds known as refrigerants are moved through a closed loop system, repeatedly contracting and expanding between liquid and gas forms, alternately releasing and absorbing heat along the way.  The particular chemicals are selected for their abilities to transform from one state to the other at low temperatures.

While the refrigerant evaporates into a gaseous state within the looped system, it absorbs heat, removing the stale air from the space being conditioned and evacuating it to the outdoors. The warm air is pulled through ducts to meet with the cooling loop.

Ductwork

The cooled air is distributed through ducts or tubing and released into individual spaces.  Additional ductwork is required to remove the stale air and pull it back to be reconditioned as it passes over the loop containing the refrigerant.  The air is moved in both directions by a blower, usually electric and sized to handle the amount of air no matter the building.

Ductwork is also sized to handle appropriate volumes of air. To maintain efficiency, large trunks distribute along central lines to smaller ones reaching farther out. The return air is usually taken from common areas.

The grates are found in the walls, floors and often as part of the dropped ceiling. When combined with a forced air heating system, the total energy use is much more efficient.

Looped Coils

The refrigerant is enclosed in a loop where it can expand and contract to make its transformation from gas to liquid and back again.  To change into a heat-absorbing gas, it travels through the evaporating coils, an intricate series of delicate fins that meets with the ductwork to regenerate the conditioned air.

An exchange valve allows just the right amount of liquid refrigerant into the evaporator coils.  If there is too much, the tube is flooded too tightly to allow expansion of the molecules and room to attract the heat.  If too little, the process is inefficient.

Cool Maintenance

When set up and maintained on a regular basis, the system functions with little attention and over sight. To schedule a maintenance appointment today, give Carney Plumbing, Heating and Cooling a call!

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Air Conditioning Q/A: Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Your Lansdale air conditioner can run virtually trouble free with just a little maintenance annually.  If these little things like changing the air filter and cleaning the drain are not done regularly, the neglected units can really lose their cool.

The Basic Course

Through a process which involves the rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants, air conditioners use compounds that have properties that allow them to change rapidly from gas to liquid and back again at low temperatures.

Heat is absorbed when the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas, making the space around it cooler.  Compressing it tightly together again, the heated gas condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moisture that must be released and is vented usually to the outdoors.

The newly cooled air is distributed through the house by means of ductwork, pushed by fans driven by electric motors.  As the air moves along, it passes through a filter and can be further de-humidified.

Problems in the System

If the filter is clogged, movement of the cooled air is slowed to the point we might think the unit is broken.  If the condensate drain is plugged, the motor can get damaged and stop producing.  Regular maintenance performed by the home owner or as a service of Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can avoid or eliminate these simple aggravations.

When the heat builds, however, and cool relief seems nowhere near the air ducts, it may be time to call a professional to dig deeper to find the reason and suggest solutions.

Back to Cool

If not serviced regularly, the amount of refrigerant in the coils may decrease over time or the coils themselves could get clogged and impede the evaporation/condensation process.  A leak in the coils could drain the system, rendering the unit useless and wholly unproductive.

There are belts on each of the two separate fan motors which may be worn or loose, causing the fans to blow less efficiently.  The motor may need to be oiled or have a broken part that doesn’t allow it to push the air at all.

Most of the time, these fixes are relatively minor and do not threaten the life of the air conditioning unit.  Schedule an annual inspection and service from a certified Lansdale HVAC company like Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today!

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What Professional AC Maintenance Includes

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Besides the cool air, what we like most about having air conditioning in Abington is that we don’t have to do anything to still live in a cool climate when it’s boiling outside.  With programmed thermostats adjusting the temperatures automatically, we don’t even have to turn it on.

Therefore, it is very inconvenient (not to mention uncomfortable) when our unit misbehaves and forces us to pay attention.  Our first inclination, suddenly over-heated,  may be to call for help, but often the expensive repair can be accomplished easily or avoided completely by checking the drain line that may be clogged.

When it gets more complicated, it is important to consult an Abington air conditioning professional.

Air Conditioning 101

Air conditioning is a process which involves the rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants, compounds that have properties allowing them to change from liquid to gas and back again at low temperatures.

Simply stated: when the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas it absorbs heat.  Compressed tightly together again, the matter condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moist heat that must be released to the outdoors.  Over the course of handling the air to cool it, air conditioners are able to filter dust and dehumidify the air as well.

Annual Service

Air conditioning units are designed to last for a decade or two of virtually trouble-free comfort, so long as they are maintained regularly.  A service contract with a reputable company ensures reliable maintenance and establishes a relationship so that if anything should go wrong, your call for help will be at the top of the list with a mechanic who likely knows the details of your particular unit.

You annual maintenance visit will include all of the following minimal tasks:

  • a check for the correct amount of refrigerant in the system;
  • a pressurized system test for any leaks using an actual leak detector tool;
  • a controlled evacuation and disposal of any excess refrigerant instead of an illegal toss in the dumpster;
  • a check for and seal of any duct leakage within the in central systems;
  • a measure of air flow through the evaporator coil;
  • a verification of the correct electric control sequence, making sure the heating and cooling systems cannot operate simultaneously;
  • an inspection, cleaning and maintenance of the electric terminals and applying a non-conductive coating if necessary;
  • a check of all belts for tightness and wear;
  • a check for oil in the motors;
  • a check for the accuracy of the thermostat.

To schedule your appointment today, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call!

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Save Money in the Long Haul with AC Maintenance

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Every year, it’s recommended that you have an HVAC contractor visit your Blue Bell home and tune up your air conditioner. This visit will ensure the system is ready for the intense, regular use it will receive during the hottest months of the year. How much money can this visit save you, though? Let’s take a closer look.

Cost of Operating Your Air Conditioning

An air conditioning system on average costs a homeowner between $500 and $1500 per year to operate depending on the length of the cooling season and the efficiency of that air conditioner. That number represents top efficiency for the unit, however. When a system has dirty filters, hasn’t been cleaned properly or the thermostat is no longer calibrated accurately, the cost increases – sometimes dramatically.

Just how much more could you be spending on cooling each month when this happens? The EPA’s Energy Star website estimates an increase in cost of between 10-30% resulting from poorly maintained systems, and it can be even higher if your system is old and is severely affected by a drop in energy efficiency.

Annual Tune Up Necessities

So, what should be at the top of your tune up list? If you call a contractor, they will perform a variety of tasks including:

  • Inspect Coolant and Pressure Systems
  • Calibrate the Thermostat
  • Tighten Wiring, Capacitors, Relays and Contacts
  • Clean the Evaporator Coil
  • Clear and Clean the Condenser and Condensate Drain
  • Inspect the Condenser Fan and Motor
  • Check Compressor Efficiency

This is just a starter list for standard tune up of a central air conditioning unit. You can supplement this tune up by checking your filters once every 30 days and clearing away debris from around any outdoor units. You should also check your thermostat monthly to ensure it is working properly. If not, call for an inspection to avoid heavy increases in operating costs.

Major repairs to your air conditioning system generally take less than a day and when you’re on an annual maintenance plan, they cost significantly less than if you needed someone to fix the device in an emergency situation.

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When Should You Check Your AC Filters: A Tip From Chalfont

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The filters on your air conditioning unit in your Chalfont home are vital for keeping out the dust and debris that make things like illness, allergies and air quality worse. And it’s important that you take personal responsibility for checking those filters. Sure, you have a professional visit your home once a year to check the air conditioning, but you should also check the system yourself on a semi-regular basis for possible filter degradation.

Monthly Checks

So, how often should you check? Think of it this way. There is no such thing as checking too much, but you can easily not check often enough. So, we recommend checking your filter at least once every 4 weeks. It may not always need to be changed during that four week checkup (sometimes it can last 6 weeks or longer), but it’s good to take a peek.

Why is this so important? Because filters that haven’t been checked and changed as needed have a habit of building up excess sediment and debris. Not a problem when it comes to actually working, but a huge problem when it comes to your energy bill. The harder a system has to work to keep you house cool, the more energy it draws and the more you pay to have cool air in your home. And it will break down much faster as a result of overwork and dirty filters.

Changing an AC Filter

If your filter is ready for a swap, here are some quick tips to get the job done:

  • Find Your Filters – If you don’t know where your filters are, ask your contractor on the next visit or look near the return grills by the thermostat.
  • Remove the Filters – Open the latches and pull the old filter out to check it. You should be able to see clearly through a permanent filter and a disposable one should still be white. If this isn’t the case, it’s time for a cleaning/replacement.
  • Clean the Area – Clear the grill and area of any debris and sediment that might make the filter worse after replacement.

Proper filter maintenance only takes five minutes and it will save you money every month you run your AC – not a bad deal for a few minutes’ work.

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Why You Cannot Neglect AC Maintenance: A Tip From Hatboro

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Especially if you have just purchased a new air conditioning system (as I did in my home in Hatboro) maintenance is probably the last thing you are thinking about. In fact, if you are like most people, you do not think about your air conditioning system at all until it does not work when you need it. But if you simply continue to use your air conditioning system without maintaining it, you will be setting yourself up for a lot of problems later on.

Just like your car or any other machine that you run on a regular basis, your air conditioning system requires a regular tune up to keep it running like it is supposed to. The type of air conditioning system you have will dictate exactly how often this maintenance service needs to take place, but most systems benefit greatly from having a tune up once a year.

When you have just purchased an air conditioning system, the last thing you probably want to do is shell out a bunch of extra cash when the system is still running fine. But it really is much cheaper to pay now rather than waiting until you have a problem with your air conditioner to call for service.

During a regular maintenance visit, your technician will examine all of the component parts of your air conditioning system to make sure that they are working the way they should and not showing any signs of excess wear and tear. This is a great way to detect problems early, even when they have not yet begun to show in the air conditioner’s performance.

Your air conditioning technician will also thoroughly clean out your system to ensure that no excess debris is allowed to build up around the coil or other vital parts of the air conditioner. This is important because it helps the air conditioner to continue to function at peak energy efficiency levels. Without regular maintenance, your air conditioner will gradually lose efficiency over time. It will only lose a little bit every year, but if you do not do something to stop it, those little bits will quickly add up.

Regular maintenance also helps to prevent more costly and inconvenient repair visits later on. And it will certainly help to increase the lifespan of your air conditioner as well. Whether you have just purchased an air conditioning system or have had yours for several years, it is never too late to start your annual maintenance visits.

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