5 Tips to Help You Hire the Best Licensed AC Technician Around

licensed ac technicianEven though summer is at its end, the heat will likely continue into October, at least for a little while. And while the summer heat is still here, chances are you might need to do a few repairs before you close up shop for the next season.

Although two-thirds of all homes in the U.S. have AC units, not every repair is one that you can or should do yourself. For most end-of-season maintenance, you should find a licensed AC technician. Here’s how to find a great technician near you.

Do Your Research
Any important decision regarding your home requires a fair bit of research beforehand. Especially in technical areas, expertise is essential to ensure success. Familiarize yourself not only with information about your particular air conditioning system, but also with air conditioning companies in your area. Once you know what kind of system you’re working with, you can better determine what company to hire for their services.

Ask Around
Odds are that you know someone who has the same air conditioning unit as you do. If they have a company they trust with all of their maintenance needs, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to use that company’s services comfortably, as well.

Seek Out Experience
The more experienced a company is, the better. Experienced, licensed AC technicians should know their way around multiple systems and be familiar with the multiple issues that could occur during the course of a long, hot summer.

Look Up References
The best way to determine whether or not an HVAC company is reputable is by asking current customers. If a company or a website can provide you with references and reviews, take advantage of them and gain an outsider perspective of the services they could potentially offer you.

Go Green
If being environmentally conscious is important to you, don’t be afraid to ask. Most companies will provide some form of eco-friendly service to you. However, you’ll never know just how green a company is unless you take the time to ask them about their eco-friendly policies.

The most important method of searching for a reputable HVAC company is to ask questions. If you never ask, you’ll never know!

How to Clean Your Outdoor HVAC Unit in Ten Steps

heating contractorsOf the roughly two-thirds of homes in the U.S. equipped with air conditioners, few people take the time to perform regular maintenance on their equipment. Whether it’s an issue of not having time, or not knowing how, this is an issue that ends up costing time and money in AC repair.

So for anyone who doesn’t have the time or is unsure of how to keep up with AC maintenance without their cooling and heating contractors around, here are 10 easy steps to help you clean up and keep your air conditioning system running smoothly.

Safety First
It’s absolutely essential to completely turn off power to the unit before you start any cleaning. On the exterior condenser/compressor, look for an exterior shut-off box near the unit. Also, turn the power off indoors at the breaker box.

Remove Debris
Approximately 25% of your home’s heat is lost through small cracks, but even more could be lost if your air conditioning unit is clogged up with debris. Using a screwdriver or wrench, remove the fasteners and lift the cage or fan grill away from the top of the unit. By hand, or with a vacuum, clean leaves and other debris from the interior.

Clean the Fins
With a strong stream from a garden hose — not a pressure washer — spray through the fins from the inside out to blast any built up dirt or debris from between them. If the fins are particularly dirty, you should call your cooling and heating contractors before trying another method.

Straighten the Fins
Since any reduction in air flow through the fins in your HVAC system can reduce efficiency, carefully straighten bent fins using a butter knife or a fin-straightening tool. Most importantly, don’t forget to be gentle.

Clean Around the Unit
Anything that has a possibility of catching fire should be at least three feet from your equipment. Rake back leaves and debris outside the condenser and cut back branches and vegetation at least three feet in all directions to ensure proper airflow around the unit.

Level the Unit
Over time, the pad upon which the condenser unit sits can begin to tip as the soil settles beneath it. Check the condenser using a level and use rot-resistant shims to bring it back to level.

Clean the Evaporator Coil
Moving inside, find the evaporator coil door and use a soft brush to dust off the coil, then spray the coil with commercially available no-rinse coil cleaner.

Clean any Plugged Drains
Over time, algae and mold can build up and potentially plug the drain, so if the drain is either not flowing or flowing very slowly, it will need to be unplugged. Once located, use a vacuum to clear the drain, and remove the paper filter from the vacuum so as not to ruin it.

Change the Filter
Any cooling and heating contractors will tell you that the filter needs to be changed at least twice every year. If you live in a particularly dusty area, you may want to change it more often.

Turn it On
Last, but not least, turn the power back on. Once everything is cleaned, you should notice some improvement in air flow and efficiency.

If you have any questions or are unsure of how to complete one of these tasks, don’t hesitate to call your HVAC service for assistance.

4 Tips to Help You Transition Your HVAC System From Summer to Fall

hvac companyAlthough the summer heat is persistent, autumn is just around the corner. With the advent of autumn upon us, it’s time to start thinking about transitioning your HVAC system from summer functions to fall and winter.

However, it’s not as simple as just turning the AC off. You should ease both your home and your air conditioning system into the next season. Here are four tips to help you make the switch as smooth as possible.

Use Fans and Open Windows
Now that the weather is starting to mellow out, you can at least turn the air conditioning unit to a lower setting. Once you do that, start using your ceiling fans a little bit more and opening windows. Not only does it take some of the burden off of your air conditioner, it allows your house to air out and stay fresh.

Close the Blinds
Although this is a great summer tactic to take strain off of your air conditioner, it works for just about any season. Approximately 25% of your home’s hot and cold air is lost through small cracks and holes, which means curtains and blinds are great energy savers. They not only keep the sun and heat out in the summer, they keep the cool in when you need them to.

Turn the AC Off at Night
Not only is the weather during the day getting more mild, the nights are becoming even cooler. This is a great time of year to save energy by turning your AC off at night. Open a window and leave a few fans on in the house to circulate the cool night air and you’ll wake up in a home that feels fresh and cool without breaking the bank before autumn fully sets in.

Schedule Maintenance
Though you may not think it, your HVAC services need preventative maintenance at least twice every year. This is the perfect transitional time to call your HVAC company and have your system inspected. Not only should you have your AC inspected, but your furnace needs a checkup as well. It’s just as important to repair any damage done over the summer months as it is to prepare your heating system for the cold of winter.

If you’re not sure where to begin with transitioning your HVAC system to the autumn months, give your HVAC company a call and they’ll be able to answer your questions.

How to Properly Clean Your Air Conditioning Unit

air conditioning unitNow that summer is in full swing, it’s important to take good care of your air conditioning unit to make sure it does not break when you need it most! Chances are you’re one of the two-thirds of homeowners in the U.S. that uses an air conditioner, so here are some quick tips and tricks on how to clean your unit to maintain a perfect chill all summer long!

The outside unit
The outside unit should be routinely cleaned as it comes into contact with the elements. Here are some steps you can take to clean your unit.

1. Turn off the power. Even though this can seem simple, it is an important step that should not be missed!

2. Use a vacuum around the outside of the condenser to remove debris like leaves, dirt, and grass.

3. Straighten the metal fins with a butter knife, but make sure to be gentle. Don’t insert the knife more than a half an inch. This is an important piece of maintenance. Straight fins will ensure a continuous, reliable air flow.

4. Unscrew the fan at the stop, and remove any and all debris that may have accumulated within the unit.

5. Position a hose inside the air conditioning system and spray water to clean out the fins. This is also a great way to ensure the fins are properly aligned.

6. Once dry, put the fan back in and re-attach the top.

7. Make sure to clean the area around the unit. The air conditioning unit should have two feet of clear space all around its sides, so remove items and clean up if necessary.

The inside unit
HVAC systems have two units, which are both equally important. If one does not work correctly, it compromises the effectiveness of the other. So it is always a good idea to clean them both at the same time to ensure proper heating and cooling! Follow these steps.

1. Check your air ducts! A quarter of a home’s heat is lost through small cracks and holes. In order to prevent this loss, your air ducts should be thoroughly cleaned and inspected at least every three years.

2. Check and change your furnace filter. To prevent dirt and debris from entering your home, make sure to change the filter every 60 days.

3. Vacuum the dust and debris off the system.

4. Clean the drain tube with a solution of bleach and water.

5. Clean the drain port with a wet cloth.

Your air conditioning unit is a lifesaver on hot, sticky days. You do not want to risk an AC repair, so follow these tips to stay cool all summer long!

Five Simple Ways to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Smoothly

air conditioning unitTwo-thirds of all homes in the U.S. are equipped with air conditioners, but that doesn’t mean all of those homeowners know how to properly care for their air conditioners properly.

Keeping your air conditioning unit in tip-top shape can feel like a big responsibility, but the reality is there are simple ways you can keep AC repair out of your future.

Change Air Filters Monthly
This simple piece of air conditioner maintenance is one of the most important because old, dirty air filters aren’t able to adequately filter your air. As a result, the air you breathe in your home won’t be quite as clean as it should, which can lead to everything from excess dust to serious respiratory problems. Continuing to use soiled air filters can also cause dirt and grime to build up in your ducts, which can lower the overall efficiency of your system and harbor microbes and mites that can multiply and get into the air in your home. It’s best to perform this task once every month.

Keep Your Drain Line Clean
As your air conditioning system pumps cold air through the house, condensation builds up in the system and drains through a series of tubes, usually to an outlet outside. If left stagnant, these pipes are the perfect breeding ground for mold, fungus, and algae, which can spread and clog an entire drainage system. Any companies who specialize in AC repair can clean the pipes for you, but it’s easier still to check your pipes regularly.

Keep Your Condenser Clear!
Failure to complete this task is the single most common reason for emergency calls to your local HVAC service. During the off season, your condenser can get clogged with leaves, dirt, and other debris, which hinders circulation and can actually keep your air conditioning unit from cooling. So every month or so, visually inspect your air conditioner’s outdoor unit and try to clear any debris around it. In addition, you should have your home’s air ducts cleaned once every three to five years to ensure maximum efficiency.

Replace Your Thermostat Batteries
Thermostats can reduce your heating bills by at least 10%, but only if they’re working properly. Services that specialize in AC repair will typically calibrate your thermostat as part of your annual air conditioner maintenance, but if it goes out in between routine check-ups, you can replace the batteries with relative ease.

Check Freon Levels
Unlike the other tips, this isn’t a job you can do by yourself. Services that specialize in AC repair should perform this kind of check annually to ensure that all levels are normal. If the professionals who specialize in AC repair find your freon levels reading low on a regular check up, it means you have a leak, and replacing the freon isn’t sufficient to fix the problem. You’ll need a professional to find and stop the leak, but catching it early can save you a lot of money down the line, so ensure that these annual checks are happening.

Before calling your HVAC service, it’s important to do your part in air conditioning maintenance. The work you do on your own could very well save you time and money in the future.