Apr 01 , 2018


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Comments Off on Get Your AC Ready for Summer

Spring is here and summer is coming quickly so you want to be prepared when you do turn your AC on for the first time of the season.   Here are some things you can do beforehand:

  • Change your air-filter – This is the easiest thing to do, but more often than not people do not change them out often enough. Ideally, they should be replaced once a month for maximum efficiency.
  • Check the condensation lines – the pipe that carries condensation away from your air conditioner can get clogged and back up into your unit. Locate where the pipe drains and check to see if it is draining properly.  If they aren’t, use an algaecide found at pool supply stores or call us to clean.
  • Install a programmable thermostat – these are pretty easy to install and help cut down on your electric bill since you are only using energy when your family is at home.
  • Clean your AC fins – Use a soft brush and gently run the brush across each fin carefully so you don’t bend the metal. This will help your AC run better.
  • Check your ductwork for leaks – look for disconnected joints, separated pieces and small holes in your ductwork. Leaky ducts make your AC unit work harder.

If you do the above steps and your AC still isn’t working properly, call us for a checkup!

Mar 01 , 2018


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Comments Off on How Long Will My HVAC Equipment Last?

The life expectancy of your HVAC is really dependent on how good you are at performing regularly preventive maintenance and service for your system.   It is important to have a qualified technician perform an annual inspection on your HVAC to ensure optimum performance through the seasons.

If you have been diligent about keeping up with routine maintenance, it is possible that your HVAC will last anywhere from 15 to 20 years.

On average, the following equipment has the average life span:

Furnaces 15-25 years
Air Conditioning units 12-15 years
Heat Pumps 16 years
Tank-less Water Heaters 20 years
Electric or gas water heaters 10 years
Thermostats 35 years, but should be replaced sooner to keep up with advancements

Does your HVAC need a spring check?  Give us a call!

Feb 06 , 2018


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Comments Off on Why is my furnace blowing cold air?

The nights are getting cooler which means you’ll be using your heater more. Nothing is worse than receiving a blast of cold air when you are expecting warm comfort. If you are getting cold air, it is probably due to the following reasons:

  1. Thermostat setting – make sure your thermostat is set to the “heat” position and not cool. After a long summer, a lot of people forget to make the switch. Also check to make sure your fan is not set to the “on” position and you are using the “automatic” setting instead. If the fan is set to “on” 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.
  2. Need to adjust the fan limit switch – if the air coming from you vents starts cool, then warms up only to get cool again before the fan cuts off between cycles, the fan limit switch needs adjustment. It is located just under the hood of your furnace and indicates when your furnace blower should come on. When the fan limit switch is set correctly, you should never feel cold air coming from your vents when the heat is on.
  3. You have leaky air ducts – this happens when your heating system struggles to reach the desired thermostat temperature, you notice a rise in your electric bill and your home is getting really dusty. This problem needs a professional to inspect for leaks and provide you with the best solution.
  4. Your furnace is over-heating when the furnace blows hot but quickly turns to cold and then shuts off altogether 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 open.

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

Jan 03 , 2018


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Comments Off on Why is my furnace making a banging noise? 

Since your furnace is made up of metal parts, don’t be alarmed if you hear a bang or a pop now and then as the heat travels up the registers throughout your home.  However, here are some reasons for alarm that you should pay attention to:

  • Knocking noises are normal when the furnace first starts up or after it stops blowing hot air caused by expansion and contraction of the air. If the knocking noise continues while the furnace is running, you probably have a damaged belt or a bad bearing.
  • Bang noises may be result of a delayed gas ignition or a result of the metal ductwork that is expanding and contracting after the heat system’s blower starts up. Changing your air filter and making sure your home’s supply vents are in the open position may solve this problem.
  • Rattling sounds may be from a loose panel or from the furnace expanding and contracting the metal parts as it heats up and then cools down. Check the panels to make sure everything is tight.
  • Screeching noises could be a result of a belt, bearing or motor that if left unattended could result in a large repair bill.
  • Chirping noises happen if you have not used your furnace in a while. The noise should stop after the system is warmed up after a few minutes.  If it doesn’t, you may need a belt replacement.

If the strange noises from your furnaces still aren’t resolved, feel free to contact Family Air to help you figure out the best solution.  Your comfort and peace of mind is our priority.

Dec 07 , 2017


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Comments Off on Why isn’t my furnace working?

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:

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