Ask Your AC Technician…

With Spring already here, you’re probably preparing to schedule your next AC tune-up. When the technician comes over to perform preventative maintenance, you should take this time to get answers to your most pressing questions. Here are a few concerns you might have.

How frequently should I change the AC filter?

The basic rule of thumb is to check the filter once a month and replace it after no longer than three months. If you have allergies, you may want to change the filter more frequently than this, especially if pets or smokers live in your home.

Which MERV rating is right for my AC unit?

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating, indicates how well the filter does its job. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller particles the filter can remove from the air. Follow these guidelines:

  • MERV 6 filters are sufficient if you have no pets and no allergy problems. The capture large debris and particles.
  • MERV 8 filters provide better air-filtering power, making them the best option for the average home. These filters capture dust mites’ debris and mold spores.
  • MERV 11 filters offer superior air filtration for exceptionally clean indoor air. Best option for pet owners or smokers.
  • MERV 13 filters are some of the highest efficiency versions you can install in a residential HVAC system. More efficient filters that can capture even the bacteria and virus carriers in the air.

How often should I service my air conditioner?

Most technicians recommend scheduling preventative maintenance once a year. Spring is the best time for a service call because it gets your cooling equipment tuned-up and ready for summer.

How do I troubleshoot problems with my AC unit?

Air conditioners are robust and designed to work even in less-than-ideal circumstances. However, if yours starts acting up, follow these troubleshooting tips before calling a cooling technician for help.

  • If the air conditioner won’t turn on, check the thermostat setting. Then, make sure the unit has power by checking that it’s plugged in and no circuit breakers have tripped. Replace the filter in case bad airflow is causing overheating and look for problems with the condensate drain line. If you can’t solve the problem, you may need to call a professional.
  • If the AC starts blowing hot air, this means the air handler is running, but the condenser isn’t. Make sure the outdoor unit has power and clear away any debris that could be blocking airflow to the condenser.
  • If strange noises or smells are coming from the AC, don’t ignore them. Shut off the unit immediately and call a professional for help diagnosing and repairing the problem.

Stock Up on Replacement Air Filters

If you go to change the AC filter at the recommended interval only to discover that you’re all out of replacement filters, take this time to restock your supply. Spring is a good time for that, so you have the replacement air filters you need for the next few months.


When should I replace my HVAC unit?

As you get ready to turn on your furnace, you may assume it’s best to rely on the equipment until it breaks down for good. However, there are plenty of signs you should replace your HVAC unit other than a total breakdown. If you time it right, an HVAC replacement could start paying you back from day one. Here’s how to know when to replace your HVAC unit.

Age & Fuel Utilization Efficiency

A well-maintained furnace can serve you for nearly two decades. However, furnaces manufactured before 2000 are typically rated 80 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) or less, meaning that only 80 percent of the fuel that goes into the system is converted into usable heat for your home.

Today, furnaces can achieve near-total efficiency with ratings of 96 AFUE or higher. If you replace your 80 AFUE furnace with a 96 AFUE model, you can expect about 20 percent lower heating bills effective immediately. These energy savings help the furnace pay for itself over the coming years.

Increasing Utility Costs

In addition to being lower-efficiency to begin with, your aging furnace experiences a significant drop in performance as it nears 15 or 20 years old. If you compare utility bills from the past few years, you’re bound to notice an increase in recent years. The rising cost of natural gas may not be the only thing to blame.

Increasing heating bills are also undoubtedly caused by your aging failing to perform even close to its AFUE rating. This means you’re paying more to heat your home than necessary.

Safety Concerns

Gas furnaces and other fuel-burning appliances produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct of incomplete combustion. When operating normally, your furnace vents a deadly gas outside and disperses into the air. If your house has an outdated HVAC unit with questionable venting safety, an upgrade could improve your peace of mind and ensure your family’s safety.

Home Comfort Problems

Older HVAC systems have a harder time circulating air properly, which could cause some rooms to become too warm while others never get warm enough. Installing a new furnace with more advanced features – and modifying the ductwork if needed – will improve these comfort problems so you can stop adjusting the thermostat constantly.

High Repair Costs

More frequent and expensive repairs indicate that your equipment could be on its last leg. Instead of pouring more money into repairing an aging unit, take recurrent breakdowns as a warning sign and put your money toward a replacement HVAC unit.

Odd Smells or Noises

These problems could mean something is very wrong with your furnace. A repair might get the unit up and running again, but if the cost is too high, these issues could signal the beginning of the end for your furnace.




Can Furnace Filters Ease Asthma and Allergies?

Many people agree that Fall is the best time of the year. Great temperatures to be outdoors, beautiful colors in nature and pumpkin spice flavor. However, as the air gets a little cold, respiratory problems can become a nuisance, specifically for those who suffer from asthma and allergies.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, over 25 million people in the United States suffer from asthma. When asthma attacks occur, the chest tightens and the sufferer has a shortness of breath or wheeze. It can happen unexpectedly, and may be triggered by specific things in your everyday environment, or even allergies.

Pollutants and allergens such as ragweed, mold, pet dander and cigarette smoke are common triggers of both asthma and allergies. Therefore, it is essential to clear the home of as many impurities in the air as possible. While there are many methods of doing this, most people already have a tool to help—their furnace. Discover how your heating and cooling system can relieve your asthma symptoms.

  • Furnace Filters Make the Difference
    The purpose of a filter in the HVAC unit is to maintain your indoor quality by capturing dust and other pollutants. Furnace filters are essential for asthma and allergies, because the filter captures the pollen, mold, pet dander and common airborne allergens—keeping it out of the air. Cleaner indoor air can make a big difference in how easy it is to breathe indoors for those with respiratory conditions. This is why it is important to change your air filters frequently.
  • What Filter Should You Use?
    Choosing an air filter to help prevent asthma symptoms requires research because each filter has a rating called a MERV. First, you want to use a filter that fits your system. Getting a precise measurement and MERV rating is important, so the filter can function efficiently. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing allergens and airborne pollutants. Consider a filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 13 for the best results.

As you can see, it is vital that you choose the right furnace filter and change them regularly. Not only will doing this keep the air that flows through your home cleaner and healthier for you and your family, but it may also reduce heating and cooling costs too.


HELP! It’s Hot and My AC is not Working

AC Troubleshooting

The hot weather sneaking up faster than you expected in some parts of the America, your air conditioning unit might not be ready to go quite yet. In a desperate attempt to escape the heat, you may have powered on your air conditioner anyway only to notice one of many frustrating problems. Air conditioning units in need of service will not cool or filter air properly. Luckily, many AC unit issues are easily repaired by simple maintenance tasks, such as replacing the air filter, cleaning the lines or an annual checkup.

Why does my AC smell?

Does the air coming out of your AC unit smell musty or moldy? If so, the air filter may be filled with dust, pollen and other debris. If the filter is not changed soon enough, these contaminants cause mold to grow on the surface of the air filter. You can easily restore the air quality flowing through your home by replacing your dirty air filter with a brand new one. Since pollen counts vary in each region, check your AC filter monthly to find the best replacement interval.

My AC is not blowing cold air

Are you not feeling cold air from your air conditioning? If you notice that your air conditioning ducts are not producing the normal blast of cold air, you must find a fix fast to prevent damage to your AC unit. Your air conditioner operates best when the blower can constantly push cooled air through the ducts. Otherwise, the chilled air remains in the system, causing the internal components to freeze and stop working. The most common causes of weak airflow are a clogged air filter or faulty fan switch. If a filter change does not instantly fix the problem, you may need additional diagnostic tests performed by a licensed HVAC professional.

I think my AC has a leak

Does your air conditioner unit constantly leak water while it is running? If so, the AC drain lines could be clogged. With regular AC use, dirt and debris fill up these lines, eventually causing a total blockage. When this happens, the water flows back through the lines and overflows the drain pan. Fixing this problem involves a thorough cleaning of the drain lines to remove the debris causing the blockage. You will also need to dry the drain pan to prevent mildew growth inside the AC unit.

Obtaining HVAC Services

As you start preparing your air conditioner for the summer, reflect on your repair abilities to determine if the services would be best handled by a professional. Although changing an AC filter is usually a fairly straightforward task, additional diagnostic tests can help you avoid overlooking problems before the heat of the summer arrives. Otherwise, you could end up waiting in the summer heat for your service professional to repair your AC unit.


Best temperature for your AC during summer!

You want to be comfortable this summer without spending a lot of money on air conditioning? While maintenance tasks such as changing the air conditioner filter and hiring a professional to tune up the AC unit make a difference, something as simple as the temperature setting plays a huge part in how much you pay to air condition your home. Follow these tips to achieve the perfect balance between energy savings and home comfort.

Daytime Air Conditioning Temperature

While you ultimately must decide what temperature you feel comfortable at, the US Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees on summer days. At this temperature, you can feel completely comfortable if you dress for the season and run the ceiling fan to create a wind chill effect. When air moves quickly over your skin, it makes you feel up to 4 degrees cooler, meaning a 78-degree room with a fan running feels as comfortable as a 74-degree room with no airflow.

When you’re gone all day, you have the potential to save even more if you set the temperature 7 to 10 degrees higher. The DOE estimates that keeping your home at 85 degrees for eight hours a day during peak cooling times can save you 5 to 15 percent on your cooling bills.

Nighttime Air Conditioning Temperature

Setting your thermostat at night during the summer is a bit trickier. If you can sleep soundly in a warm room, Energy Star recommends setting the temperature 4 degrees higher than your daytime setting. However, many people prefer sleeping in a cool room, which may result in turning the thermostat down rather than up at night.

Opening the windows while you sleep is a good solution if you live in a cool climate. Then, closing the windows in the morning before it gets hot traps cool air inside and gives your air conditioner a head start.

Programmable Thermostat and Zoning

To prevent arriving at a hot house when you get off work, install a programmable thermostat and set it correctly. An automatic setback when you leave each morning prevents you from forgetting to turn the temperature up, and automatic recovery 30 minutes before you arrive home allows you to enjoy energy savings without sacrificing comfort.

Zoning is also useful for keeping the bedrooms in your home cool at night without cooling the entire house. With zoning, you control the temperature in individual areas of your home with multiple thermostats. When you zone the bedrooms separately from the living area, you ensure you stay cool and comfortable while keeping your energy bills low.

Thermostat settings aren’t the only things that need attention when preparing your air conditioner for summer, now is also the time to replace the AC filter for more efficient air conditioning.