The Care and Keeping of Your HVAC

You can enjoy the benefits offered by an HVAC system if it is in good working condition. To keep your system in tip-top shape, follow this easy, workable preventative HVAC maintenance plan.

What to do NOW

  • Purchase a high-quality and high-efficiency pleated air filter
  • Remove any blockages, such as leaves, grass, pollen, and stones
  • Make sure that approximately 2 feet of the area surrounding your outside system is clear of clutter

Monthly and Seasonal HVAC Maintenance

  • Examine refrigerant lines every month
  • Change your filters at least every 3 months
  • Turn the water off on the furnace humidifier during summer
  • Change the humidifier filter and turn the water on during fall

Annual Maintenance

  • Change your carbon monoxide detector battery
  • Make sure that your outdoor AC is placed on solid, flat ground
  • Mix bleach and water to clear the air conditioning condensate drain

Tips on Keeping Your HVAC System Healthy

  • Make sure your filter is excellent. If not, replace it with a superior quality filter. Superior quality pleated filters have an electrostatic charge. This functions like a magnet so they can grasp very small particles, including those that transmit germs and bacteria.
  • Check the filter every month and depending on the model of filter follow a 30, 90 or 180 day period when replacing the filter . Replace the filter as soon as it looks dirty and clogged. You will need to change the filter more frequently if you have pets.
  • Leave at least 2-feet clearance around the external AC unit and heat pump. Clear the top and sides of the external AC units and pumps by removing rubble and litter, such as stones, leaves, twigs, and pollen during spring, summer, and fall. Avoid unloading cut grass or clippings near the HVAC.
  • Examine the insulation of on the refrigerant lines that lead into your home. Replace it immediately if it is damaged or missing.
  • Ensure that the system is flat on the floor. Examine your external AC unit and heat pump annually to make sure that they are on level and firm ground.
  • Remove any clogs and blockages. Mold and algae accumulate on your system. Remove this by mixing a cup of bleach with water then pour it into the AC condensate drain. Do this once a year. Set the humidistat between 35-40% relative humidity then switch on the water supply.
  • In summer, turn the water supply to the furnace humidifier off. Alternatively, change the humidifier wick filter in fall.
  • Prevent adding unnecessary strain on your system. Avoid closing more than 20% of your home’s registers.
  • Change the battery in your carbon monoxide detector every year.
  • Have a reliable heating and cooling provider service your system yearly. American Air will send an expert HVAC technician to your home to conduct an inventory on your system and examine its status. If you need information, do not hesitate to ask the technician.

Practicing the above preventative HVAC maintenance tips will help in lengthening the lifespan of your system.

7 Reasons to Have a Ductless Heating & Cooling System

Ductless heating and cooling systems have become extremely popular. Find out why.

1. Cost-Efficient

Ductless heating and cooling systems use much less power to operate, giving you 20-30% energy savings in a month. The improvement is because the heated or cooled air is brought straight into a room. These systems may make you eligible for rebates or tax credits from the government.

2. Improved Air Quality

These systems feature filters that can decrease dust, allergens, pollen, bacteria, and other air pollution. This means you and your family get to breathe cleaner air, leading to better health.

3. Environment-Friendly

Ductless systems follow the Energy Star standards. This indicates that they are very energy efficient. These heating and cooling units use R410A, an HFC refrigerant that does not harm the ozone layer. These systems reduce your carbon footprint. This makes ductless heating and cooling systems eco-friendly all through their life spans.

4. Easy to Install

Compared to the normal, ducted systems, ductless HVACs are easier to install. They are smaller than regular systems. They also require less time and changes to your home. Installation can take as little as one day.

5. Flexibility

Ductless HVACs come in split- or multi-split systems. You can install them in room additions, apartments, townhomes, condos, or just specific rooms.

6. Enhanced Comfort

You decide on the number of units to install and where to install them without having to worry about major changes to your home. Ductless systems allow you to set the temperature based on the preference of the family members, with different temperatures in different rooms. This makes everybody happy and saves the family from any arguments brought by discomfort.

7. Quiet Operation

Ductless systems work quietly because most parts are installed outside your home. This allows you to warm or cool your home without hearing obnoxious sounds. TV or movie viewing, working, sleeping, and even conversations are better with less noise.

Whether you use it to cool or warm your home, ductless heating and cooling systems give you energy savings, efficiency, personal control, and comfort. These systems are a great for meeting your home temperature needs all year round.

Common AC Repairs Every Homeowner Should Know

We’ve all been there: a hot summer day, and suddenly and inexplicably your air conditioning stops working. Your first thought is probably to call American Air, but before you do, here are several reasons why your central air conditioner might not be working and the common AC repairs every homeowner should know, whether to do it yourself or to better understand the technician.

Non-Functioning A/C

  • Check if it is getting power at the circuit panel. Examine your main circuit breaker and any ancillary circuit panels for a blown fuse or tripped breaker. If you see any problem there, turn off the breaker to reset it. Remember that a central A/C must run on a dedicated circuit.
  • A short in the system is likely if the circuit breaker continues to trip, perhaps in the capacitor, compressor, or fan motor. Call an American Air electrician immediately to examine this and solve the problem.
  • Program the thermostat to COOL mode. Make sure that the temperature setting is at least 3 degrees lower than the room’s ambient temperature.
  • Turn the power on. Check the switch in the air handler or furnace, and the external condenser. Make sure the compressor’s 240-volt disconnect, normally housed in a metal box and mounted near the condenser, is not shut off.
  • Turn off the power to the AC and replace the batteries. Each thermostat model is unique but many have either a battery compartment that pulls out or the entire thermostat body pulls straight out from the base then replace the batteries. Make sure all wires are properly attached and placed on their terminals to avoid the cover from squeezing them. Put the cover back and wait for 3 to 4 minutes before trying the AC again.
  • Checking the capacitor is not typically something that a home owner can do so if this has failed you will need to call American Air.  The capacitor initiates both the fan and condenser. The air conditioner will not work if the capacitor has failed.

Checking the Outdoor Compressor

  • Is the housing around the compressor and fan clogged with dirt, leaves and debris? If so then it may not be operating properly. Switch off the power. Switch off all the power to your AC before cleaning the compressor. Double check that the system is shut off completely.
  • Ensure the compressor is functioning well. If ice is built up on the compressor then a professional may need to add coolant.
  • Have the coolant examined. If the above steps did not work, call an AC professional and have your coolant recharged.

Identifying the reason why your air conditioning is not working or performing below par is crucial, as this will let you know when to perform one of the DIY common AC repairs or not. Many of these issues can be spotted by American Air if you have your unit serviced and cleaned in the fall and spring.

Homeowner’s Guide to Extending HVAC Life

An efficient HVAC system allows you to get the best possible function. Aside from getting your money’s worth, you get the assurance of meeting your preferred temperature and energy savings. Check our homeowners guide to extending HVAC life.

Filtration

Clean your filter regularly and replace if needed. A dirty or clogged filter will cause your HVAC to stop functioning.

  • Replace the 1st disposable filter every 2-3 months
  • Replace the 4th high-efficiency media filter every 6-9 months
  • Clean the electronic air cleaner and pre-filters every 3-6 months if necessary (Check your HVAC manual for details)

Make sure to purchase high-quality replacement filters from your local heating and cooling provider.

Thermostat Settings

Save on energy costs by keeping your thermostat within the recommended levels. This will prevent early equipment set-back and extend HVAC life.

The thermostat cooling settings should be kept from 70° to 76°, and heating settings should be kept from 68° to 72° .

Setting your air conditioning too low can lead to HVAC system failure. Turn off your AC if you believe it has stopped working. Then, call your local HVAC contractor to service your unit.

Yearly Maintenance

Schedule a yearly check-up with a licensed HVAC technician. HVAC manufacturers recommend yearly assessment of the system to keep it in good condition. A regular yearly check-up and maintenance will improve how it runs and can lengthen your system’s lifespan.

When to Schedule Maintenance with a Licensed HVAC Technician

Spring – gas furnace with air conditioning
Fall – heat pump with gas or electric furnace

However, you can also request an HVAC technician anytime during the year to check your system.

Before Calling an HVAC Technician

  • Reset the HVAC system.
  • Confirm if your settings are correct and if the thermostat is displaying that the heating or cooling is on as shown in the thermostat manual.
  • Turn the equipment off.
  • Switch the equipment off for 10 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Remove and clean or change the filter.
  • Switch the heating or cooling on.
  • Inspect the airflow from the registers.

What to Do if the System is Not Working?

  • Remove any blockages around the furnace for safe and easy access.
  • Call your local HVAC contractor immediately.

Remember that your HVAC system works hard and knowing how to take care of it will lead to better overall function. Follow the above homeowner’s guide for extending HVAC life and a better functioning HVAC system.

Everything You Need to Know About Heating & Air Conditioning Columbus, Ohio

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and is responsible for controlling the heat and air flow of a space. These can range from the air conditioner at home to the huge systems found in apartments, business establishments, office buildings, and industrial complexes. An efficient HVAC system provides indoor comfort by stabilizing thermal comfort. Its design follows the principles of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Here are the basics you need to know about heating and cooling in Columbus, Ohio.

Components of an HVAC System

The ‘H’ in HVAC

Cool air is distributed via air conditioners and heat pumps. When the air conditioners and heat pumps are in the cooling mode, the heat is eliminated in the room and keeps the warm climate in your home during the cooler months of the year. These systems use refrigerants to cool the air inside a building and to remove excess humidity to provide air in a space.

This process is the same only in reverse for heating. There are several types of heating systems, with the forced air system as the most popular. However, many homeowners also use geothermal or radiant heating systems. All these systems create heat at a central source and distribute it throughout the home via different methods.

The ‘V’ in HVAC

Ventilation replaces the musty and stale air inside the building with fresh air. It eliminates some of the dust, heat, carbon dioxide, and moisture inside the area and replaces it with fresh outdoor air. It improves the air quality by removing the excess humidity inside a building, making it an effective humidifier.

The Thermostat

The control component of an HVAC system, the thermostat controls the heat and air conditioning. It allows you to set the required temperature at a specific time for each room. It maintains the programmed temperature at the set time giving assurance that utmost comfort is inside your home. To regulate the temperature, you only need to press a button to attain your desired heating or cooling levels.

Different Kinds of HVACs

Keeping your home comfortable and livable is the main function of an HVAC system.

The Split HVAC System

This traditional type of HVAC has components that are fitted both in the internal and external area of your home or a building. They are optimized for the best heat and air flow. It includes a furnace, an air conditioner or a fan coil, an evaporator coil, and a heat pump system.

The Packaged HVAC System

These systems combine several components found in a single unit. Having a compact design, it is ideal for homes and building with no provision for the separate parts of a split HVAC system.

The Ductless Split HVAC System

This system is perfect for heating and cooling room additions or other areas, such as home theaters, garages, and exercise rooms, where installing or extending ductwork is not possible. It is a HVAC choice for homes with small spaces.

The Hybrid-Heat Split HVAC System

This system determines the external air temperature and chooses the fuel source that is the most economical for the condition. It includes both an electric heat pump and a gas furnace. It can also work to cool the air inside your home in spite of its name.

The Geothermal Heat HVAC System

These systems are the most cost- and energy-efficient systems available in the market today. They tap into the reliable and moderate temperatures of the earth to cool or heat your home.

Do not hesitate to have your HVAC check to maximize its use and save on energy costs. Call American Air now!

Home Maintenance & Efficient AC Performance for Air Conditioner Columbus, Ohio

Your Home Air Conditioner Maintenance

Home air conditioner maintenance will not only help in lowering your energy bill, but will also extend the life of your AC unit. It will also save you from costly repairs with just more diligent care of your AC. Before doing any preventive maintenance, remember to shut off electrical supply to your unit. This will ensure safety when working around the air conditioner’s moving parts.

Air Conditioner Filters

Filters Home Air Conditioner MaintenanceYou should change filters, or clean reusable filters, at least twice a year.  Ideally, this should be once before the cooling season begins and then before the heating season as well. Having dirty filters make your AC unit work harder since this reduces air flow and thus lower its efficiency.  If your location is in a dusty, populated area, you may need to change or clean your filter more often. A regular, monthly inspection of your AC’s filters will give you an idea whether you need cleaning or replacement twice a year or every two months. See a related article in preventative maintenance.

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

The filters help prevent dust, dirt, and debris from getting into your AC unit.  However, your AC’s condenser and evaporator coils will still gather dust over months and years of service.  The outdoor condenser unit collects dust and debris because a central fan sucks air from around it. This pulls dust all sorts of debris such as dead grass, dead leaves, and those floating “cotton” from dandelions and cottonwood trees.

With all these blocking the air flow into your unit, it lowers your AC’s cooling efficiency.  You can further help your unit by cleaning debris around the condenser and cutting foliage by at least 2 feet to allow enough air circulation around the condenser. Keeping the coils clean will help in the cooling efficiency and years of service of your AC.

Coil Fins

The coil fins are the fine metallic blades on the coils. These are fragile and can bend easily, and thus block air flow.  In such a case, there is a tool easily available in hardware stores called the “fin comb” which will straighten them back to nearly original condition.

Regular Check Up of Your AC Professional

Other than the ones mentioned above, there are some tasks that only your AC professional can do. Checking the refrigerant level is one.  Regular home air conditioner maintenance by your licensed AC technician will help in maintaining the efficiency and prolonging the years of service of your unit.

 

 

The Air Conditioner: A Modern Luxury?

Air conditioners have been around for ages since it was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902.  Since then, the use and improvement of air conditioners have come a long way, and its usage has become increasingly popular. So is the air conditioner a modern luxury or a necessity?air conditioner modern luxury

Come to think of it, our great grandparents have lived without it. So, what makes it so much a seemingly necessary appliance?

The Importance of  the Air Conditioner in Our Life

As the population grew, and modernization continued its momentum, more and more uses of the air conditioner have evolved.

More than the comfort of a cooler air, the air conditioner has made a lot of things possible since its invention.  For one, having air conditioning has made architectural structures with more compact designs possible. This makes for a more efficient use of space particularly of offices in an ever-growing population. It also makes possible the large gathering of people in a compact area. Air conditioning also provides comfort for office workers which of course results to greater productivity and over-all well-being. Laboratories and hospitals (at least in the critical areas such as operating rooms) cannot exist without air conditioning.

Summers are also getting warmer, and from a luxury, an air conditioner has become a necessity if we are to preserve our well-being, overall disposition, and health.

The Downside

The big question is the growing over dependence on air conditioners, which of course, has a downside.

In the US alone, cooling America’s architectural structures and vehicles means an additional half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the air annually.

This is becoming a global concern, and we can all do our part by minimizing our overuse of our AC units. Even turning the thermostat a degree or two up will have a good impact on the environment.  Proper maintenance of our AC units also helps. Air conditioners have also evolved in such a way that AC units have continued to improve.  They have become more energy efficient and thus, beneficial to the environment.

The bottom line is, while an air conditioner has gone from a luxury to a necessity, we need to do our part. Conscientious use and maintenance of our air conditioner will collectively benefit us all, from lower bills to a better environment.

The Most Common HVAC Repairs Columbus, Ohio

HVAC units are built sturdy enough to last for many years, but a diligent maintenance will keep them at optimum performance. Knowing the most common problems and HVAC repairs will help you understand how to keep your HVAC operating more efficiently longer.HVAC Repairs

The Common HVAC Repairs

Blown Fuses

The fuse is what keeps the unit’s compressor or motor from overheating. When the unit stops working, the technician checks this first.

Filters

Filters actually need to be replaced or cleaned about every 2 months if your want your unit to be operating smoothly. A dirty filter reduces air flow which causes the unit to freeze.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant keeps the air cool, and hence, when there are leaks, the unit will not keep a comfortably cool temperature. This also will lead to another problem, the compressor.

Compressor

The compressor is regarded as the heart of the unit, and if the refrigerant levels are low, the compressor will eventually stop working.

Drain Lines

A drain line removes the condensation building up in the condenser coil. If the drain line collects dirt, there will be a water build up in the drain pan and can cause water damage to the unit.

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

Coils remove heat from the air. Check the coils and keep it clean.  Dirty coils reduce the cooling power of your air conditioning system causing your AC unit to work harder. If the unit is off, you can clean it with a water hose.  If you are uncomfortable spraying out the coils then it is best to let an HVAC technician clean it for you.

Capacitors

A capacitor jumpstarts your HVAC’s motor and keeps it running smoothly and at a consistent speed. This, however, can burn up and hence, will not start the motor of the unit. When this happens, only an HVAC professional should tackle this due to the high risk of electrocution.

Knowing these common HVAC repairs will help you in maintaining your unit better to last longer. Read a related post on preventive maintenance of your unit.

 

 

 

 

 

Air Conditioning Problems: Columbus AC Repair

air conditioning problems and common ac repairsAre you experiencing some air conditioning warning signs like your air conditioner not blowing cold air, or your bills running unusually high? Here are the common signs that may require an ac repair:

1) Your room isn’t cooling / your air conditioner is not blowing cold air.
2) Your bills have become unusually high even if you have been using your unit the same duration as before.
3) There are strange noises upon turning AC on and during operation.
4) Air conditioner turns on and off frequently.
5) The fan is not working.
6) Water is leaking.

Common Causes of Air Conditioning Problems

Low refrigerant level – the refrigerant is a chemical responsible for cooling the air in your air conditioning system. Hence when this air is not cold enough, the most common problem is a low refrigerant level. This most common reason is a leak. The possible leak needs to be traced and repaired, then recharged with the refrigerant.

Utility bill has gone unusually high in spite of same duration or level of use – this problem suggests an inefficient operation of your unit. It could be a dirty air conditioning filter or air conditioning coils. This will overwork the compressor and fans and will likely wear them out.

Strange noises during operation of the unit – A possible cause of this can be anything from a loose screw or a problem with the blower motor or the fan blades.

Air conditioner turns on and off frequently – this could be a sign of electronic failure. This could be due to the corrosion of wire or terminals which need to be checked immediately as it can wear out the compressor and fan controls, causing bigger problems. As this may be caused by faulty wiring, this needs an immediate air conditioning repair.

Water is leaking – during normal use, moisture forms as a condensate collects in a pan and flows out from the drain. If this is clogged and not draining properly, water accumulates and this can be solved by cleaning the blockage, replacing the tube, or a replacement of certain parts that help the proper drainage.

These common AC problems can be anything from a minor discomfort to a serious safety hazard. Call an American Air specialist for a Columbus ac repair,  your unit check-up and air conditioning repair needs.

The HVAC Homeowners Guide

HVAC System Columbus OhChoosing / Buying the Right HVAC System

This HVAC homeowners guide should help you with making the right decisions with your home HVAC. Whether you are replacing your old HVAC system or buying a completely new system, the first step is determining the current heating and cooling needs in the household. The primary consideration is, of course, the sizes of the areas/rooms, but there are other things to look into.  Does the house have sufficient insulation? How about the placement of doors and windows and other construction materials used? For example, the more glass area the greater the heat transfer during warm months or heat loss during cold months. Thus, calculating the right HVAC system for your home will spell the difference between energy efficiency and long service of your HVAC unit or inadequate or inefficient heating and cooling or utility bills that run unnecessarily high.

Efficiency Ratings of HVAC Systems

After determining the right capacity of the HVAC System you need, the next thing to look into is the efficiency ratings of HVAC units.

Air Conditioning Systems – When scouting for air conditioning units, check the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER.  The higher the SEER (15 or more) the more efficient it is and the less energy it uses.

Boilers and Furnaces – When shopping for boilers and furnaces, check the energy efficiency rating which is a measure of how efficient these devices are in converting fuel to heat, or the Annual Fuel Efficiency  (AFUE) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system is and the less energy it consumes. Hence a rating of 90% means 90% of the fuel is efficiently converted to heat.

Heat Pumps – When looking for  a good heat pump, check the efficiency rating otherwise known as the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). The higher the HSPF, the more efficient it is. A rating of 8-9 HSPF is already considered very good.

Use and Maintenance of Your Heating and Cooling System

When operating your HVAC system, keep the temperature settings within the recommended level. This way, you avoid using excessive energy and unnecessary wear and tear of your system.

For the heat settings – keep it between 68° – 72°. Each additional degree can add 3% to the amount of energy needed for heating.

For the cooling settings – keep it between 70° – 76°.

Other tips include:

  • Using insulation to help in cooling the room, or using drapes to block off heat from the windows
  • Changing air filter as recommended for the type of filter
  • Having a professional contractor inspect, clean and make adjustments as necessary in order to ensure efficient operation of your system for years to come.