Troubleshooting Common AC Problems

It seems like when you need your AC the most, that is when problems arise. This is not a coincidence; the hotter it is outside, the harder your unit must work to keep your home cool. If your AC seems to be struggling, it is often due to a few common problems. Before your unit stops working altogether, troubleshoot the problem and see if it is a quick fix.

Check the Thermostat

This may seem obvious, but if you have your thermostat programmed, you may not look at it that often. If your AC is not cooling effectively, it may because it is not set at the right temperature. This is the first place to look.

Is Your Filter Dirty?

During the hottest months you may need to change your AC filter every 30 days to keep it working efficiently. If your unit doesn’t seem to be performing up to par, check the filter and change it if needed.

Is There Hot Air Coming in to Your Home?

Make sure there are no windows open that are letting in hot air. Close the curtains or shades on sunny, hot days to make it easier on your unit to cool the air.

Is There Something Blocking Air on the Outside Unit?

Make sure no plants or other items are blocking the air flow on the outside compressor – there should be at least two feet of clearance around the outside unit.

If you troubleshoot these common issues and your AC unit still is not cooling effectively, call your local HVAC service. You made need a tune-up or a repair to get your unit working efficiently again.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
264 Buchanan Highway
Dallas, GA 30157
(770) 505-7426

4 Ways to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

Have you noticed your nose gets stuffy when you are at home, but not at other places? Or maybe you have mold that seems to grow quicker than you can clean on walls, windows or in the bathroom? If so, you may have an issue with your air quality in your home, stemming from your HVAC system. Here are four ways to improve your air quality to keep you and your home healthy.

  1. Change your air filter. Check the filter on your HVAC and change it if needed. Most HVAC filters need to be changed monthly to be effective.
  2. Check the humidity in your home. If mold is a problem, have your local HVAC service test the humidity in your home. If it is too high, adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system can help improve the moisture level and decrease mold problems.
  3. Upgrade to a better air filter. The MERV rating on your air filter is important for reducing contaminants. Consider upgrading if you are using an air filter with a MERV rating of 8 or less – the higher, the better.
  4. Have your air ducts cleaned. If there is dirt, mold and other debris in your air ducts, it could be spread throughout your home. Consider having your air ducts cleaned if it has been 2-3 years or more since your last duct cleaning.

Doing a few service items on your HVAC system can make a big difference in your air quality. Make sure to keep up with air filter changes and routine service on your HVAC system to maintain the best quality of air in your home.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
3870 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 340-129
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 475-9555

Is Your Central Air Conditioning Out-Of-Date?

When was the last time you replaced your central air conditioning system? If you answered ten years or more, or never, it might be time to consider investing in a new system. Air conditioning systems have drastically improved in the last decade, making them more energy efficient and healthier for the environment. While the initial cost to replace your old system may seem high, your energy savings over the next few years can make it worth the  investment. 

Changes In Air Conditioning Efficiency

The differences in newer air conditioning units versus models made only 10-15 years ago are substantial. SEER, or seasonal efficiency energy ratio, is the most effective way to determine the efficiency of an air conditioning unit. While many air conditioners manufactured a decade ago had a SEER rating of 10 or less, units sold today can have a SEER rating of 20 or more, with the standard for residential systems having a minimum of 13. This means the efficiency of a new air conditioning system can be over double that of older models, with energy savings of 20-40% off monthly utility bills. This translates to significant savings, costing homeowners less each year to cool their homes while helping to conserve natural resources in the environment. In warmer climates, these savings can be even greater if temperatures remain high for more months out of the year. 

If you are unsure what your current air conditioning system’s rating is, or want more information on the newer models available, call your local HVAC service company. They can help you determine the efficiency of your current system and compare its rating to the newer units that can be installed today. It’s worth taking the time to research your options, as it could save you plenty off your energy bills in the years to come. 

Posted on behalf of James Smith, ClimateSmith LLC


Mini Split Ductless Systems

Older homes, built more than 75 years ago, are a very popular option for homeowners looking for a great value combining price, house size and lot size.  Often these homes are in need of modernization to the mechanical systems, in order to incorporate the modern day comforts that homeowners demand.  One such comfort is air conditioning!  

In general these older homes will have a heating system based upon a boiler with radiators in each room, but they were built before air conditioning was used widespread.  Due to limitations in the house layout, ceiling heights and the structure, it is in many cases not feasible to incorporate a modern forced air heating and air conditioning system utilizing ductwork.  In the past, air conditioning in these types of homes was provided by a series of window mounted air conditioning units.  Today, homeowners have the option of utilizing a ductless mini-split air conditioning system, which can be easily and economically installed by a qualified HVAC contractor. 

Basically these systems incorporate an outdoor compressor and a small indoor air handler unit.  The indoor air handler is typically wall, ceiling or floor mounted, while the compressor unit is either placed on the ground or wall mounted.  The system can be zoned, utilizing multiple air handlers and thermostats operating off of a single compressor.  The manufacturers of these systems, which are very popular in Asia on new construction, include both LG and Mitsubishi.  In addition to being economical, these systems are easily installed by a qualified HVAC contractor and often only require a single 3” hole in the exterior wall of the home.  Speak with your HVAC contractor today and see if a mini split ductless system is a good choice for your home.

Uneven Cooling Solutions

Many homes with central air conditioning systems have problems with some rooms not being cooled as much as other rooms.  This is especially true for two story homes or additions.  Some homeowners use window air conditioning units to provide extra cooling in warmer rooms.  A window air conditioner has the advantage of low initial cost and easy installation, but they are noisy and take up space in the window.

A quieter, less obtrusive, and more efficient alternative is to install a ductless mini-split system.  The initial cost of a mini-split system is higher and they must be installed by a professional HVAC contractor, but they are much more efficient than a window air conditioner.  In addition, since the outdoor condenser/compressor unit is mounted away from the window, the noise level is much lower and they are not as obtrusive.  Also, most mini-split systems are heat pumps so they can be used for heating as well as cooling.

A mini-split system works much like a central air conditioner.  It has an outside condenser/compressor unit which is connected to the indoor evaporator cooling coils by refrigerant lines.  In a standard central air conditioning system, the cooling coils are located inside a duct system.  A fan cools the air by blowing it across the coils and through a system of ductwork that distributes the cool air around the home.

In a mini-split system, the cooling coils are located in a small enclosure inside the room and fan blows air across the coils and directly into the room to be cooled.  Some mini-split systems use a single outdoor unit to indoor wall units in several rooms.

If your home has uneven cooling issues, talk to your HVAC contractor to see if a mini-split system would be a good solution for you.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Central air conditioning systems or heat pumps are the most common types of systems used for cooling most homes.  These systems are very similar.  They each have an outside compressor unit connected to the indoor cooling coils by refrigerant lines.  The indoor coils are located inside of the ductwork and a fan or blower blows air across the cooling coils.  The ductwork distributes the cooled air throughout the home. The primary difference between a heat pump and a central air conditioner is that a heat pump can operate in reverse to heat a home in cooler months.

In some homes, a ductless mini-split system may be a better alternative than a traditional central air conditioner or heat pump.  A mini-split system is similar to a central air conditioner or heat pump.  It has an outdoor compressor unit connected to an indoor cooling coil.  However, in a mini-split system the cooling coil is mounted in a small wall mounted unit inside the room.  A fan blows cool air across the coils directly into the room. In larger mini-split systems, a separate wall mounted unit is installed in each room of the home.

Since mini-split systems do not rely on a system of ducts to distribute the cool air, they are more efficient than traditional central air conditioning systems or heat pumps.  Also, the temperature in each room can be controlled independently.  This makes mini-split systems an excellent alternative for homes that may cool unevenly such as two story homes or homes that more direct sunlight in certain rooms.

Mini-split systems can also be an excellent choice for a home that does not have a duct system such as home that use baseboard heating or some other type of radiant heating system.  They are also a great alternative for room additions or for finishing unheated and cooled space such as an attic or basement.

Lower Costs By Reducing Your Need for Air Conditioning

Of course, it should go without saying that if we use less air conditioning then that should reduce our costs. However, most of us just want to run out and buy a new, bigger, better, more energy efficient air conditioning system. That, too, can be a solution to high summer energy costs. But, before you do that, try some of these cheaper ways to reduce your cooling costs by reducing your need for mechanical air conditioning in the first place. 

Improve your insulation and air sealing to prevent heat from entering your home, much the same as you take precautions to prevent cold air from entering your home in the winter. Rid yourself of old appliances that give off a lot of heat. Consider replacing that energy wasting, inefficient refrigerator and remember to unplug anything electronic if you are not using it. Even light bulbs can give off heat, so replace those incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Shade those east and west windows during peak sun exposure times. If you are considering repairs or replacement of your exterior finishes, look for energy products that will help to cut down on heat gain through your roof, paint or siding. Fans can create a lot of comfortable cool air when there isn’t much humidity; they are quite effective, especially ceiling fans, while using much less energy than an air conditioner. 

If you are still looking to upgrade or purchase a new air conditioning system for your home, remember that every home has specific requirements. Your local HVAC professional contractor can ensure that you get the most effective and energy efficient air conditioning system for the your individual needs.

Advantages of Central Air Conditioning Over Room Units

A room air conditioner, which most commonly fits into a window, is called a “room” unit because it really isn’t capable of cooling much more than that. It typically plugs into a standard electrical outlet and doesn’t require special wiring or professional services. A room air conditioner cools hot air pulled in from the outside and blows it into the room with a fan. If you purchase a unit that is too small for the room you want to cool, it will run continuously while increasing your utility bill without making you feel much cooler. However, if the space is too small for the size of the room air conditioning unit, it will cool but inefficiently, with a build-up of humidity. As you can see, getting the right size of unit for your room is critical to your comfort and cost.

Conversely, a central air conditioner actually cools the air outside, bringing it into each room of your house at once, through a ductwork system that returns the air for cooling again. This usually works with a forced-air furnace and its related ducting. Central air units are practically maintenance-free once they are installed. They are quiet, effective and energy efficient, so, ultimately, they can save you money. Programmable thermostats can also help to save costs on utility cooling bills. 

A few hundred dollars will get you a room air conditioner but installing a central air system will cost you thousands. Of course, the type of air conditioning you should choose would depend on your individual situation. If you already own your own home with an existing forced-air furnace and ductwork, now may just be the best time for you to call your local HVAC professional to have a new central air unit installed.

Earth-Conscious and Cost-Effective Air Conditioning

When it comes to cooling your home, there are ways to stay comfortable while saving on energy costs and doing your part to help save the planet. 

If you have an older air conditioning system, replacing it with a more up-to-date and efficient model can actually pay for itself over time in money saved on energy bills. A new air conditioner can make a very real difference in your energy usage on a monthly and annual basis. 

Another great way to save money by using less energy is to install a programmable thermostat that will raise and lower temperature settings automatically when your family is out of the home or sleeping. Looking into having the duct-work within your home sealed can also prevent energy loss through leakage. Keep in mind, while you’re looking for ways to boost your cooling system’s efficiency, that many tasks related an air conditioning will require the attention of a professional. 

A licensed and experienced HVAC contractor in your area can help you find a variety of ways to save money, reduce your impact on the planet and lower your carbon footprint without sacrificing comfort. In some cases, measures as small as the installation of a few ceiling fans for even weather stripping can make a noticeable difference. Making sure that you change your air filters as scheduled and that your HVAC system is serviced on a regular basis is essential to energy efficiency. By reducing breakdowns and keeping your system at peak performance, you can get the most out of it without forcing it to waste energy or work too hard.

Low Cooling And Heating Costs Help Sell Homes

When looking to buy a new home, one the points a potential buyer is going to consider is how efficient the home is to cool and heat. Monthly utilities are an ongoing cost to living in any home and if all other factors are equal, a buyer will most likely choose a home with an efficient heating and air conditioning system to control interior climate. Updating the heating or cooling system can help your home sell faster and it could also increase the value.

Although replacing an old heating or cooling system is not cheap, it can be worth every penny. Whether you plan on living in the home for some time or are going to sell it in the near future, having a home that is expensive to heat or cool is not to your benefit. There are many energy efficient alternatives available that will reduce the amount you spend in cooling and heating each year, often by hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. This will save you money while you still live in the home as well as make it more desirable when it comes time to sell.

If you are in the market to sell your home soon, talk with a realtor on the difference in value your home will have if you add an updated, energy efficient system. The value difference may pay for the system and more, as well as increase the speed of the sale. It may be the difference between waiting a year or more to sell your home versus a few months. Make your home the better value and “greener” choice by having an energy system in place.