Dec 07 , 2017

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The weather is starting to get cool (finally).  Nothing is worse than turning the furnace on and realize nothing is happening.  Here are some troubleshooters for you:

Your furnace is running but isn’t providing enough heat:

  • Be sure nothing is blocking the flow of warm air
  • Set the thermostat to “heat” and the fan to “on or auto”. Raise the temperature by 5 degrees and see what happens
  • Check your filter. Most people to forget to replace it when it is dirty and reduces efficiency
  • If you have a gas furnace, be sure the valve on the gas pipe is turned on – the handle should be in line with the gas pipe and check the fuel supply.
  • Make sure the furnace’s circuit breaker is on or that its fuse has not blown
  • The motor may need to be reset because of an overload. Press it and wait 30 seconds.
  • If the furnace still doesn’t work, be sure the thermostat isn’t faulty.

General Maintenance:

  • Vacuum out the area around the furnace’s blower at least once a year
  • Slide out the fan unit and clean each fan blade with a toothbrush and vacuum with an attachment
  • Look for oil ports on the motor, located near the motor shaft and apply 2-3 drops of non-detergent motor oil to each port.

If none of these measures work, call us to help you out!

Oct 10 , 2017

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Comments Off on When should you tune up your furnace for winter?

We know that when it is still hot inside, the last thing you are thinking about is heating your home but now is actually the right time to check your furnace and schedule an annual checkup.  The last thing you want is to have cold air blowing out when the temperature does eventually drop (and it will).

Here are 6 reasons why there is no better time than now to get ready:

  • Prevention – your annual inspection will help catch small problems before they become big repairs.
  • Keep your family safe – early detection of cracks in the heat exchange can prevent carbon monoxide gas into your home.
  • Dust collectors – your furnace has been collecting dust all summer long so it is imperative that you clean it before you turn the heat on otherwise you are going to have the horrible odor of burning dust throughout your home which may last for hours.
  • Pressure check – low air pressure results in poor heating of your home. A tune up check will determine the air pressure and be able to track where the issues are coming from.
  • Energy saving – a tune up contributes to the overall efficiency of your system which in turn saves you money throughout the winter season.
  • Prolong the life of the furnace – no surprise that annual tune ups can help your furnace last longer. If you are good at following upkeep, there is no reason why your furnace can last up to twenty years which also save you money!

We hope these six reasons make you proactive and solve problems before they start!   Contact us today to receive your furnace checkup.

Sep 14 , 2017

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Comments Off on The Dangers of using an Unlicensed HVAC Contractor

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

Here are some other reasons why you need to use a licensed contractor:

Warranties
Keep in mind that manufacturer warranties are only reimbursed if work is performed by a licensed contractor.

Personal safety
Make sure the contractor has a proper id badge and uniform.  Unlicensed contractors have been linked to crimes.

System safety
It is important to find out how long the contractor or the business they work for has been licensed and certified to perform warranty contractor.  We guarantee our work and the warranty on the equipment we install.

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, are not actively pursued by the law, don’t pay worker’s compensation or insurance to their workers which may result in their bid being cheaper but far from better.   For your peace of mind and a better investment, always use a licensed contractor.

Aug 22 , 2017

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Comments Off on Is it time to replace your air conditioner unit?

It’s been a hot summer here in Tucson and chances are next summer is going to be the same.  The fall is actually a good time to purchase a new unit since costs are usually lower.  Yes, a new unit is a big investment, but so is the cost of continuing to repair an old and inefficient unit.

Here are 5 ways to help determine if you need to invest in a new AC Unit:

  1. What is the age of your current unit? Age is one of the most importance factors. In general, you can expect a well-maintained air conditioner to last about 10-15 years. If your unit is older, time to consider a new unit.
  2. The Energy Efficiency Factor.New units are more efficient than ones built a decade ago. In fact, newly manufactured air conditioners have to have a SEER rating of at least 13. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is below 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit. Keep in mind that if your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it will cost you more money to operate. New units can save you up to 20% in savings.
  3. Is your AC unit having frequent breakdowns?Is your air conditioner is constantly breaking down causing you to break down? Repair costs can really add up quickly, and it doesn’t make sense to keep making them on older units that are at the end of their life cycle. Take the age of your AC unit and multiple that by the repair cost. If the number is more than $5,000 ~ time to replace the unit.
  4. Does your air conditioner use R 22 Freon?Freon is being phased outby the federal government in order to conserve energy nationwide.  This factor is making the costs of Freon to soar.  If you’re having major problems with your air conditioner, especially if they involve the need for more Freon due to a leak, it’s probably a good time to replace your unit in order to switch over to the new refrigerant (R410A).
  5. Is your home always hot?Does your air conditioner seem to run constantly and you don’t feel comfortable? This could be due to an aging air conditioner or a system that is not sized correctly. If your AC unit is going to keep your home cool and you have high energy bills, you’ll want to replace it with a unit that will.

Jul 10 , 2017

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Comments Off on Summer heat tips for outside workers

Working outdoors during the harsh Southern Arizona summer heat increases the risk of dehydration and heat stress. People affected include construction workers, HVAC workers, landscapers, police, firefighters, and many others. Also those who drive in vehicles for work are at risk, due to the repetitive entering and exiting of their vehicle.  If you work in the heat, follow these 10 tips to minimize your risk and stay safe during the hot summer days.

  1. Avoid dehydration. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Instead drink small amounts frequently at regular intervals until you are feeling hydrated.
  1. Carry a water bottle. You are more inclined to drink water when it is readily available, so keep a water bottle handy.
  1. Wear a hydration backpack. If a water bottle is not feasible or refill facilities are not close, a hydration backpack is great for hands free hydration.
  1. Monitor your number one. Urine color is the easiest way to monitor your hydration levels, the darker the color the more water you need. Check out: http://www.urinecolors.com/themes/uctheme/assets/dehydration-chart.pdf
  1. Avoid ice cold drinks. Cold water causes the blood vessels in the stomach to constrict, reducing the rate of fluid absorption. Cool water is absorbed faster, which is important to keep you hydrated when working in the heat.
  1. Limit caffeine intake. Avoid consuming caffeine before and during work (this includes coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks). Caffeine has a diuretic effect which contributes to dehydration.
  1. Check your meals. Eat food that contains extra water like watermelon. And ensure your diet includes lots of leafy greens, fresh fruit and nuts to help replenish the electrolytes lost through sweat.
  1. Apply UV protection. Apply SPF 50+ sunscreen before you finish putting on your clothes and reapply to sun exposed areas at least once during the day.
  1. Dress appropriately. Choose lightweight, breathable clothing made from organic materials such as cotton or hemp.
  1. Wear a hat. Find a hat that will shade your nose and neck.

And for those that have hired outdoor workers, offer them water and an opportunity to refill their bottles.

May 01 , 2017

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Comments Off on Getting your AC Summer Ready

Temperatures are heating up and the last thing you want is to flip the switch on your air conditioning and get hot air. Here are some tips for prepping your unit for summer.

Clean or replace your air filers – Over the winter your air filters get clogged with dust and restrict air flow which in turn will reduce efficiency and cause dust particles to be recirculated into your home.

Clean the condenser coils – the coils look like a large fan that is protected by a condenser cover to prevent debris. If you don’t have a cover, leaves and dirt get in the coils and clogs the coils. You will need to remove the side or protective grill and with a refrigerator coil brush or soft vacuum brush, gently clean the coils being careful not to bend or damage the coils.

Check coolant lines – these lines are typically covered with a foam coolant line of insulation to prevent them from losing energy. If you see areas where the insulation is thin or missing, replace it.

Test your unit – turn the thermostat in your home of the off position, then turn on the unit.

If you need help with any of the above, contact Family Air to help troubleshoot and make repairs if needed.

Content from Home Tips.com

Mar 27 , 2017

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Comments Off on Air Quality Control to Help Lesson your Spring Allergies

Spring has sprung along with all the sneezing, runny eyes and coughing of air pollen.  Your home should be providing you a safe haven. Here are some devices to help:

HEPA Filters: HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air-filter and were developed during the Apollo era of space exploration. They can filter most substances from the air, down to 0.3 microns in size. They are helpful in filtering pollen, mold spores, animal dander, and fumes basically all the things that make your allergies flair up!

HEPA filters have become increasingly available in many discount home improvement stores. Other factors to consider before buying include the required interval between changing filters, the ease of obtaining replacement filters, and warranties.

Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifying the air is easily accomplished with an air conditioner, but this is practical only in hot weather. The correct placement and use of fans and vents can help reduce humidity as can a dehumidifier machine. The most important point about a dehumidifier is that it must be cleaned daily ~ otherwise molds will flourish in the collection chamber making your problem worse than it was in the first place.

Humidity gauges are readily available at any hardware store. A range of 40-50% humidity is good and anything lower than 35% can make breathing uncomfortable especially for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions. Generally speaking, low humidity is not the health problem that high humidity can be.

Air Conditioning & Heating Systems: Air conditioners are critical in filtering summertime air for people that are allergic to molds and pollens. Air Conditioners function as excellent dehumidifiers, thus limiting the growth of dust mites and molds. Another unexpected benefit is that the airflow discourages cockroaches since they prefer non-ventilated spaces (what’s not to like!).

Central air-conditioning and heating systems may also come with electrostatic filters that catch smaller particles than regular filters. The filters charge the particles in the air as they pass through the filter. The charged particles are then trapped by an oppositely charged plate in the unit. These devices must be cleaned frequently as well.

Information taken from medicinenet.com

Feb 27 , 2017

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Comments Off on When should you replace your heater?

Here are some signs that will help tell you that it may be time to consider replacing your furnace.

Your heat pump is over 10 years old.
Consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20% on heating costs. Not a bad deal.

Your furnace is over 15 years old.
Consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, which is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace.

You are constantly servicing the equipment and notice that your energy bills are on the rise.
Your heating equipment may have become less efficient and as a result, costing you dollars.

Some rooms in your home are either too hot or too cold.
Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.

You do not have a programmable thermostat.
An easy way to save money on your energy bills would to Install a programmable thermostat that varies the temperature during the day while you are away and at night while you are sleeping.

Your home has humidity problems.
Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.

Your home has excessive dust.
Yes, we do live in the desert, but leaky ducts can pull particles of air from crawl spaces and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution and help with your allergies to boot!

Your heating system is getting noisy.
You could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.

Family Air is a preferred contractor of TEP and able to assist you with making your HVAC system run efficiently.  Call us today.

Above tips taken from Energy Savings Tips

Dec 01 , 2016

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Comments Off on TEP Efficient Home Program

Improve the safety, comfort and energy efficiency of your house by taking advantage of the TEP Efficient Home Program incentives.  It’s easy!  Just call Family Air ~ a participating contractor and request a heat pump/air conditioner efficiency screening.

Family Air will perform an efficiency screening on your existing equipment and confirm in writing the TEP rebates you are eligible for.  We will inspect your duct system and perform certain specified repairs to ensure the air you heat and cool stays inside your home. In homes where significant duct leakage is detected, additional incentives may be available for repairs not included under the installation of new equipment.

When you elect to replace your existing equipment with qualifying new equipment and have your ducts sealed, Family Air will use a CheckMe!® computer diagnostics to confirm a proper installation with the correct refrigerant charge and air flow.

Your TEP Efficient Home Program rebate will be provided by your participating contractor as a line-item credit at the time of invoicing.

What are you waiting for?

Nov 01 , 2016

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Comments Off on Preparing your home for winter

Well, we are finally starting to see fall-like weather here in Tucson which means winter is just around the corner (maybe!).   It is still a good practice to make sure your home will be ready when the cold temperature hits.  Here are some tips for you to prepare:

  1. Schedule a routine maintenance and inspection of your heating system in November to make sure it is in good working order. You don’t want to flip the switch on in December and discover no heat is coming out.
  2. Be sure to replace your heater’s air filter as recommended by the manufacturer. Your heating system will work less hard, use less energy and last longer as a result. It is also not a bad idea clean the dust from vents for better efficiency.
  3. If your heating system is over 15 years old, you might consider updating it with one of the more efficient newer models. You can cut your energy use and your monthly bill!
  4. Re-set your thermostat. A set-back thermostat allows you to automatically turn down the heat when you’re away at work or when you’re sleeping at night, and then boost the temperature to a comfortable level when you need it. Remember – it takes less energy to warm a cool home than to maintain a warm temperature all day long. Properly using your set-back thermostat could cut your heating costs from 20 to 75 percent.
  5. Reverse the switch on your ceiling fans so they blow upward, toward the ceiling. By reversing the fan’s direction, the blades move air upward in winter. This is especially valuable in high ceiling rooms, where heat that naturally rises is forced back down into the room.
  6. Make sure all heating vents are opened and unblocked by furniture or other items. This will ensure that the air is evenly distributed through the home.

Contact Family Air to schedule an annual check on your heating system and make sure you are prepared for the winter months ahead.