Helping Houston & Clear Lake Customers Save Money - 2018 Top Questions & Answers

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Is My Air Conditioner Broken Or Is My Zoning System Broken?

 
"Customers That Live In Multi Story Homes Or Townhouses"
The majority of customers that live in townhouses have a zoning system. A zoning system has air flow dampers in your ducts. When the desired temperature of that area is satisfied, your dampers in your ducts will close. When your cooling system is not working properly, it does not mean that you need ac repair. It may mean that you have a problem with your zoning system. Most companies that arrive at your home, wont know that you have a zoning problem until they arrive at your home. We are going to give you a few tips, to help you figure out what kind of problem you have at your home, before placing a service call. When you call your local air conditioning repair company for service. The ac company will usually send a service technician to your home. Most service technicians don't have the full experience on how to fully troubleshoot a zoning system problem. Service technicians that don't have the full knowledge can cause the homeowner to spend lots of unnecessary money to correct this problem. The person that you really need in a zoning problem, are the installers that install them for a living. The installer knows how the whole zoning system works from A-Z.
The most common type of zoning damper control system is in a three story townhome. There is usually one condenser, furnace, and coil in the attic. Most people panic when one of the floors aren't cooling. Just because one of the floors in your home isn't cooling, does't mean your ac isn't working. The ac equipment is cooling perfectly as long as one of the other floors are cooling. Knowing that you have a zoning problem in your home, you need to be patient, and have the right air flow specialist come to your home. Patience is the key with zoning issues, the wrong technician can cost you thousands of dollars. You need to specifically tell the company that I have a zoning problem. The company will then send an air flow technician specialist or installer to your home. You can sometimes get lucky and reset the system, by turning your breakers on and off. Rebooting your system will sometimes work, and all your floors might start working again.

The Bad News About Zoning Systems, The Public Should Know

When installing a zoning system in your new home. The architect & general contractor who designed the home plays a big part in the longevity of your cooling equipment. Zoning systems are definitely a big benefit to homes that were installed properly. Unfortunately many general contractors use zoning systems to cut construction cost as well. Another way the general contractor cuts cost, is by installing a builders grade HVAC equipment in your home. Let say the developer is building 50 new homes in a new community. By now using a zoned system they have found a way to save over $250,000 with only one A/C system. Instead, you should really have two units in your home. Many builders get away with it, because these newer homes are insulated very well, and have airtight windows. Many homes that are insulated well can run on a smaller A/C unit, so that builder is now saying you have an energy efficient home. The concept works until a big heat wave comes. That undersized unit works well until it reaches 5 years old. The unit is now five years old, and doesn't have the same kick it once had. Builders grade air conditioning equipment start to lose its performance after 5 years. That is why most equipment manufactures compressor warranties expire at 5 years. So now you have an undersized, builders grade A/C system, cooling a three story townhouse. Your townhouse is now 5 years old and you are wondering why your A/C unit is breaking down. It is a common problem where real estate developers are building, new homes at a cheap price. If you are in the market for a new home, It is important to pick a reputable builder. Buying a new home from a quality builder will save you lots of problems down the road. Another problem with zoning systems is that the repairs can be expensive. Depending on the type of problem that you have, some parts might have to be special ordered. If your zoning system breaks down over the weekend, you could be without a/c for a few days.

09.11.2018
Is My Air Conditioner Broken Or Is My Zoning System Broken

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Why Home Warranty A/C Coverage Is A Risky Investment?

Unfortunately, A/C breakdowns happen most in summer. Home warranty insurance policies don't perform well in summer. Home warranty companies don't have A/C technicians on an hourly payroll. They have to subcontract the work to A/C companies. Some A/C companies do very well just specializing on home warranty a/c claims, but most A/C companies stay away from them. Home warranty A/C calls do not work for every A/C company. Home warranty calls don't pay much money. It works well for companies that have lots of entry level technicians, that are looking for experience that don't make much money. A technicians experience place a big part in the outcome of the repair. Since entry level techs have seen fewer situations they are going to give customers fewer options to correct the problem. The more options you give a customer, the happier the customer will be.
A/C companies don't make much on home warranty repair calls. So many A/C companies will try to replace your system. Some companies will try to sabotage your unit for a quick sale. Once your equipment gets sabotaged, there is no guarantee that the home warranty will replace your unit. If your A/C breaks down in the middle of summer, sometimes it can take a few days for service. Another problem with home warranty is that they usually don't provide 24 hour emergency & weekend service. Many customers don't worry about that bad situation until that they really happens, but it happens more often than you think. The bad situation starts when its close to 100 degrees and they don't show up. That is a common problem. Then when they make it finally make it, they might have order parts. As long as you don't set your expectations to high you should be good.

09.11.2018
Why Home Warranty A/C Coverage Is A Risky Investment?

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What Happens If I Don't Clean My Filter?

There are many reasons why you should replace your air filter. Many people leave the same filter in for months before they replace it. If your filter gets real dirty, the dirt and dust will start to get inside your system. The performance of your cooling system will begin struggle. Your evaporator coil will start to get clogged up with debris. It will usually take a few months of filter neglect before your coil start to get dirty. Once you have a dirty coil, you are going to have cooling problems. If the ambient warm air can't get through the coil, it will freeze. Once the coil freezes you will notice that there is no air coming out of your vents. In order for your system to start cooling again you will have to defrost your unit. You will have to fully defrost your system in order for it to work again. Your unit will start cooling again, until it freezes again. Besides the performance of your HVAC unit being affected. Your will start to have problems with your indoor air quality. The root of good indoor air quality starts at your filter.
A clean filter helps protect your home from allergens and pollutants. Keeping the dirt in your filter and not in your unit will help keep your unit clean. When your home starts to smell bad its usually, because bacteria is growing in your evaporator coil. The only way to take that smell out, is to have your coil professionally cleaned. Operating your unit with a dirty filter for long periods of time can actually damage your unit. Key components like your compressor and capacitor have to work way harder to get to temperature. Usually customers that have capacitors replaced often is because they run there unit on dirty filters. Dirty filters can cause a domino effect of repairs in your unit. Some customers want to use a high quality filter after the unit is a little blocked up. Your unit might not be able to handle a high performance filter now, without a professional cleaning. There are a few low RPM air handlers that work very poor with high quality filters. If your coil gets real dirty, you are going to need a coil cleaning. There are two types of cleaning.
Cleaning in place and removing the coil from the unit. You should only clean in place if removing the coil is not an option. You can then acid wash the coil by removing it out of the system. After removing the coil you can then use this as an opportunity to clean the primary drain pan in the evaporator box. You can save yourself lots of trouble if you just change your filter.

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Thermostat Wiring Explained

Thermostats can be broken down into three main categories. Battery powered, 24 volt common wire powered, and mercury powered. Most thermostat purchases are upgrades to their existing one. When upgrading a thermostat you should already know which category you are presently in, before you purchase one. Its a good idea to check how many wires are coming to your thermostat, before you buy one. If you only have four wires coming out to your thermostat, you should stick with a battery powered thermostat. If you have five or more wires coming out to your thermostat, the installation of a smart thermostat will be much easier. The easiest thermostat to install is a battery powered thermostat. If you are a homeowner and trying to install a thermostat yourself it should be a battery powered one. Honeywell & White-Rodgers are the name brands we highly recommend if you are buying a thermostat yourself. When you have a battery powered thermostat there are only four wires that you will need. The red wire is your main power wire. The yellow wire is your cooling wire. The green wire is your blower fan wire, & the last wire is the white wire, for your heat. If you purchased a smart thermostat you can use blue wire as your common wire.
Mercury thermostats are the classic old fashioned thermostat. Many people still buy them, because they are cheap and easy to install. They swap out very easily, and you don't have to have any technical experience to replace them. However, they are beyond obsolete. The biggest problem with mercury thermostats is that they are not 100%, when reading temperature. Digital thermostats have a pre-built time delay for compressor protection. Mercury thermostats don't have a built in time delay. Built in time delay have many benefits. It protects your unit from short cycling. Short cycling is when your unit is comes on and off, to frequently. A short cycling unit will have a much higher utility bill, and your air conditioner will break down more often.

How To Bypass The Thermostat For Cooling & Heating

If your thermostat is starting to give your problems, you can bypass it. If the bypass works you should replace it, at your earliest convenience. The main wire you will be using for the bypass is the red wire. The red wire is what will be powering all the other wires. The yellow wire energizes the outside unit. Which is called the condensing unit. The green wire energizes the blower motor in the attic. You will need a wire nut to connect three wires together for cooling. The following colors will be red, yellow, & green for cooling to work. If you want heating to work you will need red, green, & white.

A/C Compressor Explosion, Caught On Video.


Compressor explosions don't usually happen on new compressors. If it happens, it will be on much older compressor equipment . The compressor is the engine of your air conditioning equipment. It is responsible for pumping refrigerant gas throughout your whole A/C system. You have three main controls responsible for keeping your compressor operating at all times. The contactor switch is a high voltage device used to supply power to your compressor. The average contactor switch can usually last you for five years before it starts giving you problems. The contactor also powers your condenser fan motor. The condenser fan motor is what removes the heat from the condensing unit. The condenser fan motor is the second most important component in the outside unit. Some manufactures install a high pressure switch just in case your condenser fan motor fails. The high pressure switch will shut off your unit just incase your fan motor fails. If your compressor runs for an extended period of time without the fan motor, you could damage the compressor. Condenser fan motors will usually give you a good six years before they start going bad.
When the condenser fan motor starts to go bad it will usually screach, while spinning. If you hear a screaching fan motor, you should replace it immediately. As the condenser fan motor gets older and older it will begin to pull a higher amperage while in operation. The exterior surface of the fan motor will operate at a higher operating temperature than normal. At theses higher temperatures the oil inside the motor will start to cook, causing the oil to leak out the motor. The condenser fan motor is the backbone of the compressors life. You always need a reliable condenser fan motor, while the compressor is in operation, or you will damage your compressor. The capacitor is also an important component in your central air system. The capacitor supplies the necessary high voltage to your compressor and motor. If your capacitor starts to fail, you will have trouble with your cooling system. Most people don't realize even a dirty filter will make your compressor to work harder. Everything that makes your system work harder will take a toll on your compressor
A dirty condenser coil will cause your system to overheat, and compressor to work harder. Low on refrigerant will cause your compressor to overheat as well. An overcharged system will do more damage to your compressor than an undercharged one. Evaporators with a bad expansion valve can also cause a compressor to struggle. Compressor problems usually start with a tripped breaker. Some units will start right back up, with the reset of your breakers. Some units will keep blowing your breakers. If your unit is over 5 years old, and the unit keeps on blowing breakers, there is a good chance your compressor is shot.

How To Tune Up Your Furnace & Heating System

You want to insure that the power and gas is off before you begin to tune up the furnace. Safety is always important during a heating check. Properly closing gas valves during an inspection will prevent the furnace from firing up by accident. You will need a small paint brush to clean the interior of the furnace. You are carefully going to brush the wires, components, and space around the combustion area. Make sure you are not moving or breaking any wires or connections in the area you brushing. You want to get all the dust out the furnace so you have a proper and clean combustion. You need to make sure that your air filter is the correct size. Incorrect filter size will cause dust to go inside your furnace. It is recommended to have a professional remove a clean your burners & blower wheel during heating system tune up. Removal of your blower motor or burners should only be done if your unit is over 3 years old. You can then perform a final performance test of your burners. You want to make sure the flames are steady, and that the flames are blue not yellow or orange.You also should have carbon monoxide testing. Making sure that you have no carbon monoxide leaking in your return or supply ducts in your home.

Why Does My AC Takes A Long Time To Cycle On & Off?

There are many reasons why your air conditioner unit can take a long time to cycle on and off. The most common reason why your system can take to cycle, is because there is something wrong with your equipment. A system that is low on freon can take a long time to cycle on and off. A unit that is operating low on refrigerant can increase your utility bill by 30%. Most systems that are low on freon work well at night time, and underperform in the day time. Running a unit with low freon levels adds extra wear and tear to your equipment and compressor. Some units can perform well with low levels of freon, as long as the outdoor temperature doesn't reach over 87 degrees.
A unit with a dirty condenser coil can also cause a system not to cycle on and off. A dirty condenser coil will cause the unit to overheat, making the unit inefficient. Eventually running a unit with dirty condenser coils, can cause damage to your compressor. A dirty condenser coil, will also raise the temperature of air coming out of the vents. It will also increase your utility bill. A unit with a dirty evaporator coil will also cause your unit to stay running. Symptoms of a dirty evaporator coil, can sometimes be confused with a unit that is low on freon. A unit with a dirty evaporator coil will eventually cause the unit to freeze. Evaporator coils that are dirty will move less air in your home.
There are many other places in your home problems can affect the performance of your air condition unit. Many people aren't concerned about the attic. The attic plays a critical role on how well your air conditioner unit will perform. If the unit in the attic isn't sealed properly. Hot attic air can get inside your unit, mixing with the cold air. it is important to check for air leaks in your ducts. Air ducts that are damaged can also cause problems for cooling in your home. Antique obsolete metal ductwork can also cause your unit not to cycle properly. Ductwork that is laying on the floor, not properly hung can cause serious cooling problems as well. Homes with not enough insulation can also play a large factor on how often your unit cycles on and off. Homes that have a flat roof will run more continuous as well. An undersized unit will also cause a unit not to cycle properly. Units that are over 20 years of age, also have trouble lowering temperatures.

09.11.2018
Why Does My AC Takes A Long Time To Cycle On & Off?

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