Checklist: HVAC Winter Weather Prep

Winter is very much upon us!  Ideally, before you turned your system over to heat, you performed a quick HVAC winter weather prep.  If not, it isn’t too late to assess the performance of your HVAC system, as we still have plenty of cold days ahead.

There are some basic maintenance tasks you can perform on your own to check the readiness of your
system. Most newer heating systems require little maintenance, so a quick winter weather prep can greatly extend the life of your HVAC equipment.

1.  Power down & do a sound check

Turn off all power to the unit before performing any maintenance and wait for the blower to stop. Next, run a sound check by turning your unit back on and checking for unusual sounds, like banging or rattling.

2.  Look for signs of moisture

Check for moisture on windows, or rust or dirt accumulations on the vent pipe. This can indicate improper operation.

3.  Replace filtersChange filters at least four times per year

Replace air filters at least four times a year, or once each season.  If you haven’t changed them this winter, do it now. Dirty filters can cause your system to work harder, resulting in lower efficiency.

4.  Assess the room temperature

Check your thermostat’s temperature while the unit is on to ensure rooms are reaching their full comfort potential.

If, during your basic checklist rundown you discover any unusual noises, excess moisture or other signs
your unit is not functioning properly, contact your HVAC technician.

In addition to your DIY maintenance, regular inspections by a qualified HVAC technician are vital.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010 for full details. We provide 24/7 service so that your family doesn’t have to endure the cold if  your HVAC system stops working suddenly. We can also clean your heat exchanger, check the wire connections on your thermostat to make sure they’re connected properly, and ensure that your igniter switch is functioning. Let us provide peace of mind that your HVAC system is running properly so you can enjoy a comfortable and warm home with family and friends!

HVAC Maintenance Delivers Efficiency, Savings, and Safety

We’ve been on a weather roller-coaster with extreme temperature lows and highs this year. Swings in the seasons took us from a long, cold winter to record setting heat in the summer. This can take a toll on your home, especially your HVAC!

If you keep your HVAC in top-working condition, you will maintain a comfortable environment throughout the seasons. But, letting maintenance fall to the back burner could mean low-performing systems that result in costly repairs.

Let’s look further at what components make up an HVAC, steps you can take to avoid costly repairs, improve performance and ensure safety, and optimal maintenance schedules to extend the life of your system.

What is HVAC?

HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. The systems are comprised of products like furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners and ventilators. The ductwork connected to these pieces of equipment is another component of HVAC, as well as thermostats and other controls. Maintaining these individual parts will keep the whole system working optimally. Regular professional and DIY maintenance will ensure these hardworking parts are at their best.

What is HVAC maintenance?

There are several aspects of a proper professional maintenance visit. HVAC maintenance is when you have a trusted HVAC technician come to your home to look at your system. The HVAC technician will inspect, clean, test, and make adjustments to your heating or cooling system to ensure it is working at optimal functionality, safety, and efficiency.

HVAC maintenance involves so much and varies based on the different heating and cooling systems, but some basic components include:Technician maintains HVAC unit

  • Checking thermostat settings
  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Calibrating comfort controls
  • Lubricating any moving parts
  • Clearing the drain line
  • Assessing unit efficiency and functionality

HVAC maintenance is more than the DIY maintenance you should be tending to regularly, like changing air filters. Professional maintenance includes the more electrical and mechanical aspects of your system. Of course, if you encounter problems while changing your filters or with your regular maintenance, you should call a specialist.

Why is maintenance essential?

Preventive maintenance helps ensure that your HVAC system runs close to peak performance. This can mean saving up to 30% on your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent coils and ducts from gathering allergens, bacteria, and mold that flow through the duct work and contaminate indoor spaces. Allowing buildup to occur can trigger health problems like asthma attacks and headaches and can even bring on flu-like symptom

Proper maintenance can give your HVAC system a good 15 to 20 years of use. Without regular care, an HVAC system may only last half that time.

When should you schedule HVAC maintenance?

Your HVAC system needs professional maintenance the most right before it’s about to work the hardest. Ideally, you want to have the heating inspected in the fall and your cooling system inspected during the spring. This general schedule will prevent more serious issues like deadly carbon monoxide leaks or last-minute issues that leave you without a cooling option on hot summer days.

Routine HVAC maintenance schedule – what to expect and when

HVAC systems have many moving parts and components that rely on each other to make the whole system work. When something goes wrong, it can be very costly to repair. Good routine maintenance will help avoid big repairs and keep your system working properly, especially when you need it most.

Here’s what you can do at home to help keep your HVAC system running perfectly:

  • To prolong the life of your HVAC unit, make sure it stays clean. Eliminating environmental factors will ensure better system performance. Examining the machine and clearing it of debris such as grass, leaves, pollen, and dust will allow it to maintain optimal functionality.
  • Be sure to take a look at your refrigerant lines and inspect for damage, leaking, or other factors that may be damaging the functionality of the lines.
  • Keeping your filters changed is one of the easiest ways to ensure a solid running HVAC. Even the high quality filters need to be changed on a regular basis to keep your air conditioning system running smoothly. Regularly changed filters cut down on the system’s strain and can avoid the need for repairs.
  • Check the ground your unit sits on. Foundations and ground can shift, so it is good to perform an annual inspection on the ground that holds your AC unit. If the ground has shifted, it is best to call a professional to reinforce the foundation.
  • Some maintenance is as even more about safety than a well-running machine. Replace the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector. While they may not have completely died, the batteries should be replaced each and every year. Carbon monoxide can be highly dangerous, so it is better to be safe.

For more information or to schedule professional maintenance, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800.461.3010.  We look forward to helping you keep your home comfortable in every season!

 

Are expensive air filters better?

Everyone has seen the endless aisles of heating and air system air filters, but the variety of materials and broad cost range can be confusing. Are the more expensive, pleated filters better than the basic woven fiberglass? Do they have to be replaced less often? Are filters really designed to improve the air in your house, or to keep your HVAC system running properly?

Here is a simple comparison:

Less-expensive filtersChanging air filter in home

The purpose of filters both in your HVAC system and in your air return vents is to keep debris, pet hair and dust out of your unit. Thinner, loosely woven fiberglass filters do the job and allow for better air flow. They are also cheaper so it’s more cost effective to replace them regularly. These filters come in a wide variety of sizes and can be put in air return vents as well as your HVAC unit. It’s important to replace these every 30 days.

More-expensive filters

Pleated, thicker air filters can be a good option if you have severe allergies, a smaller home, or multiple units that don’t have to move air around the entire house. These filters really still need to be changed every 30 days to get the full benefit of the additional allergen and dust filtering.  It’s important to know that if you have pets, pleated air filters can get caked with hair and dander quickly, making your system work harder to force air through.

Regardless of the type of filters you use, investing in professional duct work cleaning every 3-5 years is a good idea to extend the life of your HVAC unit.  If you’re changing your filters regularly but are still concerned about the air quality in your home contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800.461.3010!

Inconsistent Temperature in your Home

Have you ever noticed that there are certain areas of your house that always feel colder in the winter and warmer in the summer?  Rooms like this will sometimes be at the end of a hallway, or on a second or third floor. If the issue isn’t something like blocked air vents or returns,  it might be that you need to consider adding an additional HVAC unit or re-configuring ductwork to improve airflow.

Older homes can have ductwork that is torn or sagging from natural wear and tear, which can allow air to escape in the crawl space or attic. Older homes might also have HVAC units that can’t really handle the load of heating and cooling your space. Particularly, if you’ve added on to your home or increased the livable square footage, adding a second unit might be necessary.

Even if you live in a new home, your HVAC unit might not truly be adequate enough for your square footage. This can take years off of the life of your system.

Having to use secondary sources of heating and air, like a window unit or space heater, can significantly increase your electric bill, so here are some things to check:

  1. Make sure all vents are clear and not being blocked by furniture
  2. Make sure all return vents have clean filters
  3. Keep doors open – even rooms that you’re not using
  4. Close vents in rooms that seem too cold when using the air conditioning and too warm when running the heat

If you’re still having issues with air temperature consistency in your home, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric at 800.461.3010 to have your HVAC system and ductwork inspected.

Freon To Be Banned in 2020

Did You Know Freon Will Be Banned in 2020?

Because of new information that has been released by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), there are upcoming changes that are important to be aware of in relation to your AC unit. You may be wondering what this even means and how it affects you. We’ll go over exactly what the EPA  discovered, and what action steps you need to take. 

Over the past couple decades, air conditioning units have been created with a refrigerant called Freon, which represents primarily two different chemicals – R-22 and HCFC-22. These chemicals, however, have been extensively researched by the EPA. HCFC-22 has been shown to cause damage to the ozone layer. As a result, air conditioning units are not allowed to be built and/or installed that use this chemical. The ban took effect in 2010.

Although  air conditioning units that use HCFC-22 will no longer be created, existing units with this chemical can still be maintained for a limited time only. Another ban will pass in January 2020 that will ban these chemicals can no longer be produced for existing units.   At this point, it’s a fair assumption to say that as existing supply dries up,  the chemical will become expensive to purchase for any unit that uses this form of Freon and eventually won’t be available. 

So, what does this mean for you if your unit is running off this chemical? Well the first step is to check and see what kind of system you have. You can find a sticker on your unit that will say which kind of refrigerant it uses. If it says “HCFC-22 or R-22”, then you know that the ban applies to your unit. It means that you still have some time to get your unit maintained with this chemical, but it will become pricier to service. At some point, the refrigerant will probably run out once they stop importing it which will force you to get a new unit all together. If you have an air conditioning unit that is running with these chemicals that are banned, it’s recommended that you replace your unit sooner rather than later.

The most significant money savings comes from your air conditioning unit. If it is running inefficiently or breaks altogether, it costs significantly more than it would to just keep it maintained. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical if your unit is running off the banned chemical, and we can go over replacement options for a new unit. We can also provide routine maintenance so that you can reap the money saving benefits of having an efficient air conditioning unit! Preventative maintenance will also provide a more comfortable living conditioning because your AC unit will be running optimally.

Want more information?  Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010. 

 

 

Is your AC Unit Running Constantly?

Is your AC Unit Running Constantly?

As we approach the warmest months of the year, some people may be experiencing an air conditioning unit that runs on overdrive. Now is the time to troubleshoot and figure out why your air conditioning unit is running constantly. Depending on the problem, you may be able to fix it relatively quickly. If it’s a more difficult problem, then at least this troubleshooting can pin point where the problem is stemming from so a professional can fix it.

We’ll walk you through the possible reasons why your air conditioner may be running constantly:

 

  • The first reason why your AC unit is running overtime is because the unit is improperly sized.  If the unit installed in your home is too small, then it’s really going to work overtime to cool down your whole home. This causes it to work harder and longer than it should, which will wear down the unit over time. Also,  your home will never be cooled to the desired level, even when the unit runs constantly. If your air conditioning unit is too large, then it won’t properly remove the moisture from all the air in your house. As a result, there will be an additional output of moist air in your home. Even though the unit will run less, it will use more electricity than required which will spike your energy bill.
  • Another common reason why your unit runs all the time is because it could be installed wrong. There is a direct correlation between the duct work and the size of the unit being installed. If the ducts are the wrong size, then they won’t be able to equally distribute air flow to your home.
  • It’s possible that the air conditioning coils could also be covered in dirt. If there are grass clippings or an excessive amount of mud or pet hair covering the coils, it will affect the air flow. When the air flow is affected, it will diminish the overall performance of your air conditioning unit. This can also cause your unit to run constantly.
  • Your air filter could have something to do with the unit running on overdrive. When was the last time that you changed the air filters in your home? If it’s been a long time, then the accumulated dirt on your filters could be preventing proper air flow. This is a common cause for AC units breaking down. It’s important to clean your air filters every month so that your unit doesn’t work harder and overheat as a result.
  • If there is poor insulation in your home, this could be causing your unit to run all the time. Poor sealing or insulation will cause all that cool air to leak from your home, which will require your unit to constantly run and make up for that lost cool air.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to come out and perform a tune-up on your AC unit! We can also inspect your condenser and evaporator coils. Both require maintenance to ensure that your system is running efficiently. It will also help reduce the cost of your energy bills since your system will be running properly after our inspection and tune-up! We will also come out and check your insulation for any small holes or non-insulated walls.

 Call to schedule your appointment now with Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at  800-461-3010

 

Are You Changing Your Air Filters?

Are you Changing your Air Filters

Life often gets hectic, and it’s hard enough to keep up with all the regular household chores like dusting and mopping. Have you given much thought to your air filters? They should be changed out routinely every month. This reminder shouldn’t be taken lightly, because there are many benefits to cleaning out your filters! We will highlight the benefits of routinely changing your air filters, and also provide a list of the different air filter options available!

Benefits of Changing Air Filters

  •  Your health is the most important reason why you should change your air filters. The accumulation of dust and pollen circulate the air and get filtered back into your home and the air you breathe if these filters are not routinely changed.
  • If anyone in your home has asthma or allergies, this is even more of a reason to change your filters to get rid of the contaminants that fill the air so that you and your family can breathe fresh air in your home!
  • Less stress on your air conditioner should also be a motivating factor to remember to pay attention to your air filters every month. Over time, as your filters build up with contaminates, it puts more stress on your AC unit and requires it to work harder to circulate air and it expends more energy to adjust the temperature of your home. Over time, this added stress on your AC unit will put wear and tear on it and limit the lifespan of your unit.
  • The final motivating factor that should prompt you to change your filters is the idea of a lower utility bill. By keeping consistently fresh filters in your home, you will lower your utility bills by saving energy!

So what about the filter types that are offered in stores today?

Types of Air Filters:

  • Pleated Media Filters – these filters gather more particles and are efficient at capturing more of the particles because of the increased surface area of the filter.
  • HEPA Filters – they offer the overall highest air quality control. Many HVAC Systems don’t allow the option to accommodate these types of filters. If you are interested in achieving this high level of air quality in your home, you may want to call a professional to retrofit your furnace to accommodate these filters.
  • Flat-paneled Fiberglass Air Filters – these types of filters have a fiberglass disposable filter. They are an inexpensive option, however they come with a tradeoff by providing a lower quality of air in your home since they don’t clean the air as well as the other filter options.
  • Washable Air Filters – these are a more costly option, and will require some additional maintenance if you’re up for it! You have to allow adequate time for them to dry when cleaning them.

There are a few essential parts to your AC unit that require regular tune-ups. Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can provide routine maintenance on your Air Conditioning unit and we can also change out air filters during our air conditioning tune ups! We will help you save money in the long run and ensure your unit is running more efficiently!

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

How to stay Warm and Safe During Winter Months

Although the merriment and festivities make winter one of the most sentimental and exciting times of year, it also is the season for higher energy bills and higher safety risks.

We’ve highlighted the ways for you to keep your warmth and safety a priority while also enjoying the holidays:

  • Space heaters are great for heating smaller rooms so you can turn down your thermostat and save on energy. Be sure to keep doors shut to the rooms you don’t need to heat all the time.  Make sure that you don’t accidentally leave them on overnight or when you leave the home. It can easily become the cause of a house fire.
  • In addition to turning off heating devices, make sure that all your smoke detectors are installed and tested. Home fires are reported at the highest rates during winter months, so now is the time to test your smoke detector to ensure that it’s running properly.
  • Since we often spend more time indoors, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is also increased during these colder months. While installing your fire detector, now is a good time to also install and test a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Consider using a humidifier which can often help alleviate wintertime sickness. The dry air is an aggravating factor for the common cold or runny nose during the winter months. When using a humidifier, the air in your home will contain more moisture and help with these symptoms all throughout the day.

If you’re concerned about installing smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in your home, don’t worry, Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can help! We can also install a humidifier in your home to ensure optimal comfort during the winter months. You’ll be able to turn down your thermostat and save money this winter, and avoid some of the negative health effects that the dry air brings!

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Tips on Heating Your Home During the Winter

The energy bill during the winter months is often something that homeowners dread paying, as they spike the thermostat settings to keep their homes warm and cozy. This does not have to be a high expense even in the winter months, and there are some tips that we’ll share that can save you money and keep your energy bill lower!

Take the Following Steps to Stay Warmer at Home:

  • Open the curtains during the day.  

During summer months, you probably keep your curtains closed to block unnecessary heat. Use the sun to your advantage during the winter               months, and allow it to bring warmth into your home! Once the sun has gone down, close the curtains to keep the heat inside.

  • Heat the rooms that you actually use.

Seal off the vents in any bedrooms

  • Make sure your furnace filter is cleaned and that your vents are properly maintained.

 

  • As we talked about in a previous post, getting a humidifier for your home will help the air feel comfortable at a lower temperature. This means that you won’t have to crank up the heat and spike your energy bill in order to feel warm and comfortable in your home.

 

  • Use your exhaust fans sparingly. While it may come as a surprise to you, frequently using exhaust fans during the winter can lead you to increase the thermostat in your home. Exhaust fans pull the hot air that

 

  • Properly insulate your home, so that there is no heat escaping! You can start by weather stripping your doors and windows, then the attic to ensure that your whole home is insulated and keeping all the heat in.

Without an efficient furnace or heating system, these tips won’t do much to save you money, because your system will have to twice as hard to produce a normal amount of heat. So whether it’s preventative maintenance, full replacement, or products and services to enhance your heating, Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can provide 24/7 service to make sure your heating system is running smoothly and efficiently! While we’re out there, we can also check and repair insulation so there is no unnecessary heat loss.

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Benefits of Using a Humidifier in Your Home

Now that summer months are in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start considering how your home environment could negatively affect your health. There have been significant advancements with heating and cooling options over the past several years, so it’s time to reap the full benefits of those advancements! Long gone are the days where thermostats where limited to a dial that you had to change to set the temperature. We’ll go over the benefits of a humidifier, and some important things to note when using a humidifier.

Some of the Benefits:

  • They increase comfort levels in your home. Humidifiers also produce moisture in the air, which will enable you rest well with a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Wintertime sickness is lessened and not aggravated through the use of a humidifier. The dry air is an aggravating factor for the common cold or runny nose during the winter months. With a humidifier, the air in your home will contain more moisture and help with these symptoms all throughout the day.
  • The air will feel more comfortable and also warmer, which means that you can turn down your thermostat in the winter and save some extra money!

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of a humidifier, here are some important considerations as to how to use one:

  • Many humidifiers will measure the humidity level in a room, which comes in handy to know how much humidity is in each room. The optimal level should be 30 percent when it’s cold and 50 percent when it’s hot outside.
  • There are different humidifier options that are beneficial for each type of room in your home. It’s common for homeowners to have a humidifier in multiple rooms of their home.
  • Smaller humidifiers are beneficial for smaller rooms, especially children’s rooms. It’s best to stick with a cool mist humidifier, since it eliminates the chance of children getting burned by a warm mist humidifier.
  • There are console and whole home humidifiers that may be beneficial for larger rooms in the home.
  • If noise is an important consideration for you, there are ultrasonic humidifiers which create the quietest atmosphere.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can attach a humidifier right to your furnace to ensure optimal comfort during the winter months. With the installation of a humidifier, you’ll be able to turn down your thermostat and save money this winter, and avoid the negative health effects that the dry air brings!

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.