Apr 01 , 2019

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Comments Off on 3 Reasons to Change your Furnace Filter

Are your air filters ready for summer?  Energy Star recommends changing you your air filter monthly especially during summer months when your HVAC units get the most use.  At minimum change at least every 3 months.   Why is it important?

  • Extends the life of your HVAC unit – One of the most common reasons for HVAC malfunction is a dirty filter. When dirt accumulates, air is unable to pass and the system overheats.   This causes the motor to work harder.
  • Helps with energy costs – When you consistently change your air filter, you can save anywhere from 5% to 15% on your utility costs. .   Changing the filter is a cost effective way to save.
  • Improves air quality – if anyone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma, a dirty filter will exacerbate their systems. Pets dander can accumulate in the system and spread allergens through your home

In addition to changing your filter, it is important to get an HVAC tune up and regular maintenance at the start of the summer season.  Family Air has licensed HVAC employees that will make sure your system is ready for the summer!  Call to schedule an appointment with us today!

Mar 05 , 2019

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Comments Off on When is it time to replace your air-conditioning unit?

How do you know when you need to replace your current HVAC unit? Here are some signs you should look out for to help you decide:

  • How old is your system? – The average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is approximately 10-15 years. If your system is over 10 years old, it may be more cost effective to replace than repair the unit. A new system will work more efficiently and help lower your electric bill which accounts for roughly 45% of your total utility costs. Your unit may also use R22, a refrigerant that is being phased out to meet environmental protection regulations and expensive to replace.
  • Is your system noisy? – If your system is noisy, there is a good possibility that your duct system does not accommodate the square footage of your home or there is an issue with the unit’s outdoor coil.
  • Do you have excessive dust? – If you see a constant presence of dust in your home, you may have leaks in your ductwork. The leaks will compromise your unit running efficiently and result in higher operating costs.
  • Are you having constant repairs? – The amount of money you are putting into repairs and the frequency of repairs is a good indicator that the unit is beyond its shelf life.
  • Inconsistencies in temperature – When a unit is not maintaining consistent temperatures throughout your house your equipment is malfunctioning or there are issues with your ductwork.

The above signs may be an indication that you should think about replacing your unit. A new unit will eliminate the constant repair cost, lower your utility bills, raise your home value and keep you and your family in year-round comfort. Call us at Family Air at 520-399-5850 for an analysis of your current system and a free quote today.

Feb 01 , 2019

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Comments Off on Is your furnace blowing cold air?

Our desert nights are cooler and you find your heater is coming on more often. You don’t want to feel a blast of cold air when you are expecting warm comfort.  If you are feeling cold air, it is may be due to the following reasons:

  • You may have a leaky air duct – this will happen when your heating system is unable to reach the desired thermostat temperature, your electric bill is higher than usual and your home is getting really dusty. This problem needs a professional inspection to find the leaks and provide you with the best solution.
  • The fan limit switch – if the air coming from you vents starts with a cool temperature, then warms up only to return to cool again before the fan cuts off between cycles, the fan limit switch needs adjustment. The fan is located just under the hood of your furnace and indicates when your furnace blower should come on.  When the fan limit switch is correctly set, you should never feel cold air coming from your vents when the heat is on.
  • Overheating furnace – this occurs when the furnace blows starts with hot air, then turns to cold air and finally shuts off altogether . This is probably as a result of the exchanger getting too hot causing the fan limit switch to shut off.    Check to see your air filter needs replacing and make sure all supply vents are in the open position.
  • Thermostat setting –your thermostat should be set to the “heat” position and not cool. Also check to make sure your fan is not set to the “on” position and you are using the “automatic” setting instead.   When the fan is set to “on” position, your fan will run continuously regardless if your furnace is producing heat and the air being pushed into your home will be cold.   You’ll also save money by not having the fan continuously on.

If you are still getting cold air from your unit, contact Family Air to troubleshoot your problem.  We’ll get your furnace working probably again and put you back in warm comfort!

Jan 08 , 2019

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Comments Off on How to reduce your energy bills

Heating your home makes up for approximately 70% of your household energy consumption.  Here are some easy ways that you can reduce your consumption and lower your bills:

  • Close your curtains when it gets dark. Your curtains provide another layer of insulation and keep rooms warmer.   The opposite is true as well so make sure curtains are open during the day to capture the sun.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. You don’t want to pay for heat when you don’t need it.  The following temps are recommended from “This Old House”
    • 6am-9am 68 degrees
    • 9am-6pm 60 degrees
    • 6pm-11pm 68 degrees
    • 11pm-6am 60 degrees
  • Make sure your hot water tank is properly insulated. This will keep the water warmer for longer and reduce heating costs.
  • Block out draughts in your windows and doors by using a self-adhesive rubber seal.  Caulking can become your best friend!
  • Wood burning fireplaces is extremely inefficient for heating your home. The heated air goes up the chimney and the cold air is pushed into the house elsewhere.  Remember to keep the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use, it is basically like having an open window.
  • Set your ceiling fans clockwise to push heat back down into your rooms.
  • Make sure furniture is not blocking vents which could cause air pressure issues.
  • Add layers to your wood and tile floors with rugs or roll of carpet.

Dec 01 , 2018

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Comments Off on Should I run my HVAC fan continuously?

To run or not to run the HVAC fan has been a debate among the industry.  Here are the pros and cons:

The pros to keeping the fan on:

  1. Creates a more even distribution of heating and cooling by circulating the air especially if you hot or cold spots in rooms of your house
  2. When the fan has less starts and stop it will help reduce the amount of stress on your unit and help extend the fan’s lifespan
  3. If you have allergies, leaving the fan on will result in cleaner air since the air is pulled through the filtration system

The cons to keeping the fan on:

  1. You will be spending more money on energy costs since the average unit has a 500 watt fan about the same energy level as a refrigerator.
  2. You may be running your AC more in the summer more since the ducts close to your walls can fill with warm air which results in the fan blowing hot air into your house.
  3. In the winter time, you may feel cold air coming out of your events.
  4. Keeping the fan on will clog your furnace filter quicker which means you will need to change your filter more often.

Contact Family Air to discuss your individual needs to make sure you are making the decision that is right for your home and family.

Nov 01 , 2018

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Comments Off on Why Your Furnace is Being Noisy

With Halloween behind us, you don’t want to have scary sounds coming from your furnace.  Here are some of the reasons you are hearing these noises:

Screech – never a pleasant sound to say the least, your furnace makes this sound when the motor or blower wheel of the fan is turned on.  You most likely have a faulty motor, belt or motor bearing which you definitely need to get your furnace looked at and fixed.

Boom or thump – these noises usually happen when the ducts in your furnace expand and contract in cold weather.  The sound may mean that your furnace has dirty burners or is getting a build-up of gas from delayed ignition.

Rumbling or rattling – the rumbling noise may be caused by a buildup of grime on the heating elements which causes the unit to strain.  The worst case scenario for this sound, you have a leak in the heat exchanger which can allow carbon monoxide gasses to work their way into your home.

It’s best to get your furnace checked if it is making any of the above noises to make sure your family is safe and your home is comfortable.  Contact Family Air today for a heat inspection.

Oct 01 , 2018

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Comments Off on Getting your HVAC ready for Fall and Winter

It still may be warm out, but now is the time to start preparing your heater for winter so you don’t get a cold blast of air when you turn it on or worse yet, nothing at all!  By checking your heating unit before cold weather sets in you will have peace of mind that everything is working properly and help lower  your energy bills since heating your home and producing hot water are generally the largest energy expenses for a homeowner.

We recommend you complete these tips in the fall to ensure your HVAC system is operating efficiently throughout winter.

Change the Air Filter and Clean the Vents
One of the easiest and most important things you can do is change the air filter every month or at least every 3 months. The same day the filter is replaced is also a good time to vacuum off the air vents. This keeps them clean and allows warm air to flow freely, easing temperature regulation throughout the home.

Have Your HVAC Inspected
Having your HVAC system serviced annually ensures it runs properly. Homeowners should have the system inspected in the fall to best prepare it for the demands of winter.

If Your System is more than 10 Years Old, Replace It
Replacing the home’s HVAC system is an expensive proposition, but if your system is old and inefficient, the added comfort and financial benefits of a new system can be very beneficial. If your system is more than 10 years old, ask a service technician’s opinion on the longevity of your system. Replacing it with a new high-efficiency model could reduce your home’s annual energy bill by as much as 20% to 40%!

Install a Programmable Thermostat
The right temperature inside a home depends largely on who is there at the time, and when no one is in the home, the right temperature can be significantly lower than a conventional “living area” temperature.  A programmable thermostat can solve this problem so you don’t have to think about it and ensure you are coming home to a comfortable house.

Sep 01 , 2018

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Comments Off on Why You Should Always Use a Licensed HVAC Contractor

Family Air Heating and Cooling is a licensed and insured HVAC contractor.  Sometimes our technicians are called to homes were the previous service work was done by an unlicensed worker and their equipment failed.   Now the homeowner is unable to locate the unlicensed worker whom they have already paid and ends up calling us to repair their poor work.   Our technicians address customer questions and concerns to ensure they feel comfortable with our work before starting any service.

Here are the reasons why it is important to you, the consumer to hire a licensed contractor:

Warranties and System Safety
Manufacturer warranties are only reimbursed if work is performed by a licensed contractor. Find out how long the contractor or the business they work for has been licensed and certified to perform warranty work.  We guarantee our work and the warranty on the equipment we install.

Personal safety
Make sure the contractor has a proper id badge and uniform.  Unlicensed contractors have been linked to crimes.  You can pre-check if a worker is licensed by going to https://roc.az.gov/before-hire

Worker safety
Ask if the worker is covered under an insurance policy or worker’s compensation.  If not, you could be responsible if the worker injures themselves on your property.

Unlicensed contractors do not have to abide by any laws, they are not actively pursued by the law because they are hard to find and they don’t pay worker’s compensation or insurance to their workers.  They may provide you with a bid that is cheaper but it is far from better.   For your personal peace of mind and a better investment, always use a licensed contractor.

 

Aug 01 , 2018

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Comments Off on How you can lower the humidity in your home

It’s no longer a dry heat in the desert! The monsoons bring much needed rain but they also the dreaded humidity. While you can’t control the humidity outside there are some ways to control the humidity in your home to keep you comfortable.

    1. Houseplants – plants release moisture in the air so if you have a lot of plants around your house, the moisture can accumulate. Also, don’t overwater them and consider switching them to be outside during humid months.
    2. Gutters – make sure your gutters are clean and carrying water away from your home’s foundation. Even though your gutters are outside, excess water that builds up at the foundations can seep into your home.
    3. Windows – if you have old windows, moisture from outside can build up in your home. Adding weather stripping and caulking on the outside and inside of the window can help. If you see moisture coming between the panes, its best to replace them.
    4. Ventilation- areas like the kitchen and bathroom experience the most moisture. Cracking a window when showering or cooking as well as running the exhaust fans can help lower the humidity. Taking a shorter and colder shower helps as well and cools you off quicker too!

We hope these suggestions help. You only have a couple of more months to go before the humidity goes away on its own!

Jul 02 , 2018

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Comments Off on Why you should know if your air conditioner uses R-22 refrigerant

Refrigerant (also known as Freon) is the chemical that cools the air within your air conditioning system. Reduced levels of refrigerant could imply a leak or problem with the refrigerant system. If your air conditioning system needs to be recharged with refrigerant, 90% of the time there is a leak. All refrigerant leaks should be located and repaired.

If your unit takes R-22 refrigerant, the US plans to phase it out by 2020. Studies have shown that the use of this refrigerant has a damaging effect on the ozone layer. Up until 2015, air conditioners could still be manufactured to use R-22 refrigerant.  The phase out has driven up the price to be cost prohibitive for consumers and manufactures are rationing the amount of R-22 refrigerant being sold to HVAC contractors.

To tell which refrigerant your air conditioner takes, look at the label on your compressor unit.  The label will either have type R-410A which is the newer type or the older type identified as HCFC-22 or R-22.

If you have an air conditioner that uses R-22, contact Family Air to do a tune-up on your system and get small leads fixed to help reduce future costs and extend the life of your system.