Oct 01 , 2018
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
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.
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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
Jun 08 , 2018
AC units built today incorporate sound-dampening technology and variable speed compressors to keep noise levels to a minimum so if you are hearing sounds from your AC when it is running, this could be a sign that your unit needs repair. Here are some noises to be aware of:
Banging – usually means there is a loose or broken part inside the AC’s compressor or your compressor needs replacing
- Clanking – the indoor blower or outdoor fan and their blades may be out of balance and hitting other parts
- Clicking – it is normal for a clicking sound when your AC starts up and shuts down, but it the noise is constant it could be a sign of a defective control or failing thermostat.
- Squealing – your fan motor or indoor blower motors squeal loudly when they are going bad
- Rattling – a sign that your AC system is starting to deteriorate and parts are loosening or debris is clogging your system
- Screaming – most likely cause is a refrigerant leak. Turn off your AC and call a professional immediately.
Contact Family Air to come out and determine where the noise is coming from and give you quiet comfort!
May 08 , 2018
With temperatures hitting 100 degrees, the last thing you want is a blast of hot air when you return home. When your air conditioning is working, but not running cold air, there is a good chance that your condenser is dirty. Here is how to clean your condenser:
- Shut down all power to the unit – your condenser should have a metal box attached that has a disconnect switch. Also turn off the circuit at your main electrical panel.
- Unscrew and remove the top and side grilles. Make sure you don’t disturb any wires connected to the fan.
- Brush the fins and coils – with a soft brush, clean the fins and coils of any debris or dust
- Wash the fins and coils – cover the wiring and the motor with a garbage bag and duct tape then use a garden hose with a nozzle to clean out (don’t use high pressure or you will bend the coils)
- Replace the panels and grilles – use a level to make sure the unit is properly balanced so you don’t have drainage problems.
- Reconnect the unit- turn the thermostat off before reconnecting the power to the unit, and then re-engage the power to the unit at the main service panel.
The easiest way to fix the problem is to contact us to come by and service your AC unit to get you comfortable in your home again! Call us at 520-399-5850 to schedule an appointment.
Apr 01 , 2018
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
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:
|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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.