Heating and Air Conditioning Tips and Tricks
Welcome to the Air Care Heating and Air Conditioning Tips & Tricks Blog! Read our latest posts, or explore our archives for tips and ideas on how you can maximize your energy efficiency, extend the life of your HVAC system and make the air in your home as clean and comfortable as possible. You can also learn about current trends in climate control and emerging technologies in the heating and air conditioning industry.
In the average American household, the heating and cooling system accounts for nearly half of all energy consumption. But with the right know-how, homeowners can cut the cost of heating and cooling their home by as much as 50%. And since new HVAC systems and efficiency standards are emerging at an ever-increasing pace, it’s more important than ever before to stay on top of the latest opportunities to make cost-effective upgrades.
On the Tips & Tricks Blog, you’ll even find solutions for problems like reducing indoor allergens, odors, and dust. Small changes can indeed make a big difference when it comes to your HVAC system, thumb through our posts and you'll be surprised by how easy it is!
Make sure to Bookmark our blog and check back regularly, or better yet, join our monthly newsletter, and we'll deliver our tips and tricks right to your inbox!
Your Pilot Light Is Out
If you notice your pilot light is off, relight it. What is a pilot light? A pilot light is a small gas flame, usually natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, which serves as an ignition source for a gas burner. Often you can find instructions on how to do this right on the furnace. If they are not, you can always look at the manual that came with your furnace, or on the manufacturers website online.
Gas Valve Setting
If the pilot refuses to stay on, make sure gas is flowing into the furnace. Make sure the gas valve is set to the “ON” position. If the pilot switch is in the “ON” position but there isn’t gas coming out of the pilot tube, the tube may be clogged. Inspect the gas tube to ensure it is not obstructed.
If the pilot lights but will not stay lit, then you may have a problem with your thermocouple. This may mean your thermocouple needs to be adjusted or replaced. If you have never done this before, we recommend contacting a professional.
Inadequate Gas Supply
The gas supply running through your furnace might have been cut off. This will not allow your furnace to receive the gas needed to supply the warm air you need.
Much like you, your HVAC system needs to breathe in order to function properly. And just like you, if it can’t breathe in sufficiently, it suffers and eventually suffocates.
The key to maintaining air flow in your HVAC system is a clean filter. Unfortunately, HVAC filters are usually out of sight and out of mind, and it can be easy for homeowners to forget to replace their filter regularly. But they do so at their peril — the effects of neglected filters can range from annoying to disastrous.
Airflow to No-Go
The role of the HVAC air filter is to prevent particles from flowing through the system where they can accumulate and cause damage. We’re not just talking tiny specks of dust — pet hair, dirt, leaves and just about anything that’s tracked into your home can get trapped in the filter, and once it’s there, it stays there until the filter is replaced or cleaned.
Operating your unit without a filter is clearly not an option, but running it with a clogged filter isn’t much better.
Here are a few of the major consequences of operating your system when it can’t catch its breath:
Compromised Efficiency: You’re not saving any money by purchasing fewer replacement filters. When you run your system with a clogged filter, it has to work harder to reach its target temperature. And that extra work comes at an energy cost. A clean filter is vital to maximizing HVAC energy efficiency.
Short Cycling: When an air conditioning or furnace cycle stops before hitting its temperature goal, it’s an HVAC effect known as “short cycling”. A clogged air filter can trigger this by trapping stagnant air inside the system, which can trick the system into stopping the cycle early or force it to shut down to avoid overheating. This can put excessive wear on your system components, and often leads to unpredictable temperature and humidity swings inside your home.
Frozen Coils: During A/C season, dirty air filters can also trap cooled air inside your HVAC system, which can eventually lead to frost buildup on the condenser and evaporator coils. If the frost continues to build, it could cause the unit to seize up.
Poor Indoor Air Quality: While the air filters primarily protect your HVAC system, they also filter irritating particles out of the air you breathe. When a filter is clogged, this ability is severely hampered. This can result in dirty, unpleasant indoor air, which can be a particular concern for anyone with asthma, allergies or another respiratory condition.
HVAC filters vary in their designated lifespans, but most household filters are built to last one month or three months. Know which type you’re using, and make a serious effort to remember to replace them on time. Mark your calendar, set a reminder on your phone — whatever it takes. Excessive reminders are less of a hassle than prematurely replacing your HVAC system due to accelerated wear.
Not sure how to change your filter? HVAC system already in need of repairs? Whatever the problem may be, your local home comfort experts are ready to spring into action.
Have you started to notice that your house smells dirty or dingy, almost like a gymnasium when your air conditioner kicks on? You may be embarrassed to admit that you are experiencing this problem, but you are not alone. The HVAC industry refers to this as dirty sock syndrome. This occurs when your air conditioner puts off a foul, moldy or mildew-like smell when you turn it on. So what exactly causes dirty sock syndrome and should you be worried?
Dirty sock syndrome is caused by the buildup of mold or bacteria on your evaporator coil. This can happen when moisture builds up on your coil with continued use and as dust collects in your air conditioner over time through insufficient filtration. It can also occur when your unit switches from a period of heating to a period of cooling. Combine these situations and you have the recipe for dirty sock syndrome.
Dirty sock syndrome may sound a little scary; however, it is generally not harmful. The bacteria or mildew present with dirty sock syndrome is most often not dangerous to your health, but you do want to take precautions if someone in your household has allergies, asthma, or a weakened immune system. Before jumping to conclusions that you are experiencing dirty sock syndrome, you should check a few things before calling your local HVAC company.
- Check your drainage pans to make sure they are empty. If you notice they are full, be sure to empty them and clear any blockages that are present.
- Make sure your air conditioning filter is providing proper filtration and that it is not extremely moist.
- Clear any blocked drainage lines.
If you have fixed these things and are still smelling foul scents, you might want to call your local HVAC company. If you are having issues with your heating and air system, Air Care Heating and Air Conditioning can help.
Give us a call at (949) HVAC-911/ (949) 482-2911 or visit our IAQ page for more information by clicking the link below.
Last week we reviewed some quick and effortless ways for homeowners to diagnose, and possibly even repair, their air conditioning system on their own. Below we have outlined a couple more ways to troubleshoot your HVAC system:
Check the Ducts
Duct leaks allow cool air to exit the duct system before entering your home. You may feel air coming through your registers, but since up to 30 percent of energy can be lost through duct leaks, that air may not be cool.
If your ducts are accessible, inspect for disconnected sections, holes, and gaps. While some homeowners prefer to work with an HVAC contractor for duct issues, you may feel comfortable sealing minor leaks on your own.
Duct tape is not the answer! Duct tape delaminates, losing its sealing ability quickly. The proper sealant for duct leaks in duct joints is mastic. Duct joints should be secured with sheet metal screws, then mastic is applied across the duct seams, sealing the holes that allow air to leak out.
Air Conditioner Fix: Call the contractor
When an easy air conditioner fix doesn’t do the trick, you need the experience and know-how of a true HVAC pro. HVAC.com connects homeowners to local cooling contractors who’ll perform the expert air conditioner fix your system needs to run smoothly throughout the summer.
When your air conditioner starts making a strange noise, or stops working altogether, it’s easy to panic. Many homeowners don’t possess a detailed knowledge of cooling systems, which can make tackling a broken air conditioner intimidating.
The truth is, not every HVAC issue requires professional help. In some cases, the air conditioner fix can be performed by the homeowner – as long as you know what to do. Below are some common cooling system issues that may arise this summer, as well as the air conditioner fixes that can get your equipment running smoothly again, without the expensive repair bill.
Air Conditioner Fix: AC won’t turn on
An air conditioner that won’t start on a hot day can certainly make you sweat. Before you call an HVAC contractor, take the following steps:
Check the Thermostat Settings
If your thermostat is adjusted without your knowledge, the settings may not be correct to call for cooling.
Make sure the thermostat has power. Replace the batteries with fresh ones. If your thermostat is hardwired to the home’s electrical system, check the breaker to ensure it has not been tripped, cutting off power to the thermostat.
Check the settings. Your thermostat should be set to cooling mode. The temperature should be set below the home’s current temperature to trigger the air conditioner to start up. On programmable models, make sure the hold or vacation mode has not been activated, pausing your active settings.
Check the Power
Lack of power is likely the most common reason for an air conditioner not turning on. Before you call an HVAC professional, make sure to your A/C has power running to it.
Check the exterior unit to ensure it is plugged in, and the exterior switch near the condenser should be set to ‘on’.
Go to your home’s electrical panel. Ensure the breakers powering the air conditioner’s condenser and air handler are not tripped and are functioning correctly.
Check the Air Filter
When is the last time you replaced your air filter? A clogged air filter could prevent the cooling system from starting. Impacted air filters limit airflow through the system causing the system to work harder and longer than it needs to. This often causes the system to overheat and it may trigger the system to shut down in order to protect itself from damage.
Replace your dirty air filter with a new one, or give your reusable filter a good cleaning. Insert the filter properly, and give your system some time to cool down if it just recently stopped coming on.