Seven Ordinary Reasons Your Air Conditioner is Blowing Hot Air
Is your AC less powerful than it was last year? If it’s blowing hot air, then there’s a problem. Some situations you can take care of yourself, while others require an HVAC specialist, such as the team who comes out to perform the yearly maintenance and checkup service. Following are seven reason your air conditioner may be blowing hot air.
1.Thermostat not working
If the AC is blowing warm or hot air, check the thermostat. The controls may get bumped or adjusted by someone else. Set the fan to AUTO and the thermostat to COOL. Then compare the temperature you want with the current inside temperature to be sure the air conditioning should be running. It may already be cool enough in the room.
2.Power loss to the condensing unit
Does your AC system have a condensing unit outside and an evaporator/air handler unit inside? If the air handler works, the fan will blow air. A condenser unit that isn’t working as it should can’t provide the cooling needed, so the result is warm air blowing out of the events.
That scenario can happen when your condenser unit loses power, often due to a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. If you discover that your outdoor AC unit keeps tripping the circuit breaker, talk with your HVAC service business. It may be time to upgrade your circuit breaker of fuse box. Updating the box is something an HVAC professional or certified electrician is qualified to do. It’s safe for you to check the emergency shutoff switch to confirm it didn’t get shut off by accident. That cuts the power for the condenser unit and results in warm air being blown from the AC.
Broken and leaky ducts
There are several ways to discover if your ducts have problems. You may be able to see some of the duct work or you may know when it was installed. If you:
- see a piece hanging down because it has become disconnected
- notice holes or cracks
- know the ductwork is more than ten years old
it is likely time to replace the ducts. The above three items may result in an insufficient exchange of air to keep the ac working and cooled air escaping into the crawl space, attic, and between the walls of your home.
Dirty condenser coils
The ACs condenser unit releases heat outside of your home or building. The condenser coil is exposed to dirt, leaves, and grime. Bit by bit, the residue builds up until it affects the cooling ability of your unit, causing it to blow hot air.
Clogged air filter
Air conditioners require a flow of warm air over t he coils to work correctly. Reduced air flow affects your AC’s cooling ability. A dirty, dusty air filter blocks air from the system. The coils can’t remove heat and the fan ends up blowing heat back into the home. If it’s been awhile since the a/c’s last service, check the air filter and replace it, if needed. That often solves the problem!
A/C systems use refrigerant such as Freon to flow through a closed loop and bring about cooling power. A leak in the coils or refrigerant line causes cooling loss over time or suddenly. It’s usually detected when hot air starts blowing from the vent. Refrigerant should never be added until after the leak is fixed.
Blocked or closed return vents
Blocked air flow is another common reason an air conditioner blows hot air. Perhaps the vents were closed for the winter and the grilles have yet to be reopened for hot weather use. Sometimes pictures are hung over upper vents, while furniture is placed in front of the lower ones. Walk through the house to be certain returns and registers are clear from obstructions and open. When the air flows freely, it reduces hot air problems.
Call your air conditioning technicians for an appointment to evaluate the situation. They’ll let you know what’s needed to get your ac working as soon as possible.
A/C Repair vs. AC Replacement Winchester, VA
If you’re a homeowner in Winchester, VA who must decide between A/C repair vs. replacement, it’s a good idea to consult with a certified technician at Shenandoah Air Conditioning and Heating. He will diagnose whether your unit is past its prime or A/C repair is advisable.
In most cases, air conditioners are fixable, but times are when repairs are no longer cost effective. Let’s explore the determining indicators on when to go with A/C repair and when to buy a new system.
Replace it: A/C Units Over 15-Years Old
Anytime an air conditioner lasts for 10-15-years, it’s had a good run. If your A/C frequently breaks down and it has surpassed the 15-year mark, replacement is your best option.
For example, when the compressor goes on an older unit, malfunctions may result from a different component. Sometimes the root problem isn’t evident until after the compressor is replaced.
The older the unit, the more often A/C repairs are needed. Major components of the unit should not fail frequently. If you continue paying big repair costs, you’re “throwing good money after bad”.
Replace it: Energy Bills Skyrocket
Do your energy bills increase every month? If your air conditioner is old and your energy bills are out-of-sight, give serious thought to buying a new unit.
In time, air conditioners become less efficient. Modernizing your system could result in a 20 percent annual savings of energy costs. Also, due to advancing technology, new HVAC systems are eco-friendlier and more energy efficient.
Replace it: Air Conditioner Works too Hard
If your air conditioner is running all the time on hot days, or if there are hot spots in some areas, you’re A/C is overworked and may need replacement. It’s normal for an air conditioner to suffer loss of efficiency due to ordinary wear and tear.
Because global temperatures keep rising, your old unit may be too small to keep up with these higher temperatures. You may need to upgrade the size of your unit when replacing it.
Replace it: About to Retire
You’re reaching retirement age. Maybe your HVAC is ready to retire too. If you’re experiencing some of the problems we’ve addressed, it might be best to replace your old air conditioner while you’re still employed.
A/C Repair – If your existing HVAC system is fairly new and you’ve had it serviced each year, A/C repairs make sense. Some issues that sound major to a layperson, often turn out to be an easy fix for a Shenandoah Air Conditioning and Heating certified technician.
Repair it: Frozen Coil
If you’re air conditioner isn’t blowing cold air, it’s likely a frozen coil. First, check your air filter. If you don’t change it regularly, you may have a dirty filter, which restricts flow of conditioned air.
Next, try shutting off the A/C and setting your thermostat fan on “run”. The fan will run continuously and should melt the ice on the coil.
Do a visual on your ductwork. Any obstacles, crimps, etc.? Check air registers and move anything that is blocking them.
If these DIY measures don’t fix the problem, call your Winchester, VA HVAC services company. Your refrigerant line may be impaired, resulting in leakage.
Repair it: Moving
If you’re putting your house on the market and your HVAC system has been relatively trouble-free, repair it.
Repair it: Get More Mileage
Suppose your A/C has reached the “iffy” stage. The new has worn off, but it’s not that old. Maybe your finances won’t support replacing the unit immediately. Ask your Shenandoah Air Conditioning and Heating technician about professional tweaks and techniques to get more mileage from your system.
Are you still uncertain whether your Winchester, VA home needs AC repair or replacement? Your best option is to get professional advice.
I need of AC repair services? Call us at 304.930.5417
6 HVAC Tips to Save on Your Summer Electric Bill
When spring leads into the dog days of summer in West Virginia, you’ll want to stay cool without breaking the bank on your energy bills. Here’s six helpful steps you can take to save money on your electric bill without sacrificing comfort.
1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to control your HVAC units even when you’re not there. Match your thermostat to your schedule, use a timer for when you leave for work and when you come home, set it for particular rooms, and even set specific temperatures.
2.Change Your Air Filters
Air filters should be replaced monthly to promote a more efficient HVAC system performance. Clogged or dirty air filters can cause a disrupt in the airflow and even lead to health issues.
3. Keep Your Vents Clean & Open
Vents can be accidentally shut for cleaning purposes and never reopened. If you notice an unusually warm room or area in your home, check the vent.
A clean vent also keeps debris from flowing through your home. Dirt and dust can easily collect and can be overlooked. Check the inside of your home as well as the outside, and ensure your vent and air filters are in good condition.
4. Replace Your Old AC unit with an Energy Efficient Model
If you have an older air conditioning unit that has not been properly maintained, invest in a new HVAC unit. The replacement costs may seem daunting, but in the long run, they are well worth it. Manufacturers like Trane are Energy Star rated and use up to 50 percent less energy than other manufacturers.
5. Shield Your HVAC Unit from Sun & Debris
An awning or tree can provide shade to your unit and cut energy consumption while helping your unit operate more smoothly. However, note that shrubbery or branches that can get into the system and can hinder the systems performance and may lead to permanent damage.
6. Encourage Air Circulation
Heat rises. During those hot summer months in Kearneysville, WV, the heat in your home will rise to the ceiling or the second floor of your home. To help that hot air on its way out of your home, fans can be a great tool.
Either ceiling fans or standing fans help move the air around the room, creating a cooler environment for your family. Good air circulation helps your home maintain an even temperature, giving your HVAC a chance to work less.
For more information, read about our HVAC Services in the Kearneysville, West Virginia area.
5 HVAC Mistakes Every Homeowner Should Avoid
If you treat your HVAC system right, heating and cooling in your Martinsburg, West Virginia home should work efficiently and effectively for a long time. But if you neglect maintenance and regular inspections, you could find yourself with a system that doesn’t work properly—or even at all.
Here are five of the worst mistakes homeowners make when it comes to their HVAC systems. By paying attention and properly maintaining your unit, you can save yourself a lot frustration and unnecessary repairs.
HVAC Mistake #1: Blocking Air Return Vents
Air return vents are in place for a reason. Even if you might not like the look of them, you shouldn’t hide them or cover them up. Doing so makes it harder for your HVAC system to heat and cool your home, ultimately leading to inefficiency.
HVAC Mistake #2: Failing to Schedule Routine Maintenance
Like any other appliance, your HVAC system works better if it is taken care of. Here are some AC maintenance tasks you can do on your own without the help of a professional technician:
- Ensure the AC unit outside is unobstructed; clear any sticks, leaves, and dirt to protect the fan. You can hose it down when dirt begins to accumulate and trim back foliage at least 18 inches from the unit.
- Clean on and around the indoor and outdoor units.
- Keep supply and return registers unblocked by drapes, curtains, rugs or furniture.
- Visually inspect various components of your HVAC system—electrical connections, leaks in the condenser, blockage or algae buildup in drain line/tube.
- Test the thermostat by either raising or lowering the temperature. This will get the system to turn on and off in response to your temperature demands and will give you an idea of any potential trouble or malfunction.
HVAC Mistake #3: Not Changing Your AC’s Air Filters
Your HVAC system has an air filter that needs to be cleaned or replaced every so often. Depending on the type of unit and its amount of usage, you might need to change the filter as often as every three months or as little as once a year. Failing to change the filter will not only allow dirt and debris to build up, but will also reduce the efficiency of your overall system.
HVAC Mistake #4: Closing off Rooms or Air Vents
You’ve probably heard people say that you can save money on heating and cooling costs by closing off rooms you don’t use. That may have worked in the days of wall-mounted air conditioners and fireplace heating, but with modern central air and heat systems, it actually has the opposite effect. Closing off rooms makes your system work harder, which makes your heating and cooling costs rise.
HVAC Mistake #5: Not Having Your AC Unit Inspected
Even if you take good care of your HVAC system, it still needs professional attention. It’s a good idea to have your system inspected and serviced at least once a year, although professionals recommend having everything checked at least twice a year—once before cooling season and again before cooler winter months set in. And Shenandoah Air Conditioning & Heating makes it easy to schedule a service appointment for inspection in the Martinsburg area. We’re happy to provide our professional opinion for your piece of mind.
For more information, read about our HVAC Services in the Martinsburg, West Virginia area.
6 Money-Saving Tips for Commercial HVAC Sustainability
Any business in West Virginia will tell you that HVAC systems are one of the biggest energy drains on their electric bill. According to ENERGY STAR, air conditioning accounts for roughly 15% of electricity used in commercial buildings. And much of this HVAC-powering energy is lost to waste; roughly 30% is wasted in the average commercial building.
Peter Biermayer, the Senior Product Manager at PG&E for commercial HVAC and refrigeration out in California, shares some advice to help business owners and managers in the West Virginia region reduce wasted HVAC energy and reduce their overhead.
And all of these tips can be made even more effective by working with a qualified HVAC technician in the Kearneysville, WV area.
1. Reduce Wasted Energy by Regularly Changing HVAC Filters
Biermayer explains that dirty filters overwork HVAC systems by restricting air flow, cost far more to use, lead to poor indoor air quality, and result in far more commercial HVAC maintenance issues. Business managers should check HVAC filters and change them monthly. At the longest, HVAC filters should be switched out every quarter. Changing out dirty filters can reduce wasted energy costs by 5-10%.
2. Use Programmable Thermostats
In any office, the temperature setting can be a bone of contention among the staff. Biermayer recommends cutting that out of the equation entirely:
Installing programmable thermostats removes much of the burden of tailoring temperature settings to meet the desires of a diverse workforce and customer base by focusing on sustainability and reduced costs.
And the cost savings from programmable thermostats are substantial too. Building temperatures can be set to run at higher or lower temperatures (depending on the season) when indoor spaces are not in use, which can save hundreds of dollars a year.
Finding an HVAC technician in Kearneysville, WV with commercial experience can help business managers find the most effective programmable thermostats for their businesses.
3. Keep on Top of Commercial HVAC Maintenance
Biermayer believes that “commercial HVAC maintenance is like getting a tune-up for a car – both are necessary for top performance. Regular quality maintenance on all HVAC systems and equipment ensures that those systems and equipment are not wasting energy due to substandard, aging or faulty performance.”
Your friendly Shenandoah Air Conditioning & Heating technician can help you reduce your electricity costs by 40% by providing regular quality maintenance.
4. Properly Seal Heating and Cooling Ducts
Properly sealing heating and cooling ducts can boost HVAC efficiency by 20% or more. Ducts can be sealed using mastic, foil tape, or blown-in duct sealant. The sealing effect is further improved by wrapping the ducts in insulation. Focus first on areas that are unprotected, such as underneath the building or in storage spaces.
5. New HVAC Installation May Save You More Long-Term
Sometimes the best way to improve HVAC efficiency is by replacing old existing HVAC systems. Running HVAC equipment past is suggested lifespans can lead to exorbitant energy and maintenance costs. Biermayer explains further:
If a building’s air conditioner or heat pump is more than 10 years old, replace it with ENERGY STAR-certified products. ENERGY STAR-certified air conditioners and heat pumps can improve sustainability and reduce energy costs by up to 20%. Furnaces or boilers that are more than 15 years old will also likely be due for upgrades or replacement, and ENERGY STAR-certified furnaces and boilers also offer significant cost and energy savings.
6. Work with a qualified local HVAC contractor in West Virginia
To get most out of any HVAC system, work with a qualified expert. Our own experienced HVAC contractors work with many local businesses in the Kearneysville, Martinsburg, and Hagerstown areas of West Virginia; and they dealt with all manner of commercial equipment.
Shenandoah Air Conditioning & Heating contractors can perform regular checkups and advise business owners on when and how to perform necessary maintenance.
Geothermal Heat Pumps Vs. Air Conditioners
Deciding between a geothermal heat pump and an air conditioning system for your Martinsburg home can be a bit of a challenge. Careful consideration of their relative pros and cons is in order to ensure you make the decision that is best for your needs and your budget.
No Difference In Cooling
In terms of cooling, heat pumps and air conditioners are virtually the same. When cooling a home, both technologies work by absorbing heat through coolant and routing that coolant outside where the heat can be released. It’s not until temperatures plummet that the differences between the competing technologies become apparent.
Pros And Cons Of Air Conditioners
Air conditioners don’t do anything to help heat homes, obviously. A home using an air conditioner must pair it with a discrete heating option such as radiant heat, baseboard heating or a furnace. However, air conditioners tend to be cheaper to purchase and install than corresponding heat pumps. They also generally need less maintenance.
Pros And Cons Of Heat Pumps
The primary benefit of heat pumps is that they are unified systems that can operate year round. Their exterior components usually take no more space than an air conditioner, and their interior parts usually require much less space than other heating options. On the down side, heat pumps don’t work well in very cold temperatures, limiting their use to regions with milder winters.
Improving On Heat Pumps With Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy from deep within the Earth’s hot core is now being combined with the traditional heat pump concept to provide heating in conditions standard heat pumps wouldn’t be able to withstand. The benefit is clear, uniting the convenience of single-unit operation with the ability to keep working in severe cold. To explore your options, contact your local expert for reliable HVAC repair in Martinsburg, WV.
Furnace Error Codes – An S.O.S. From Your Furnace
How to Manage Furnace Error Codes in Your West Virginia Home
Modern gas furnaces are regulated by circuitry known as an integrated furnace control (IFC). It monitors your furnace’s systems and shuts the unit off if it senses a malfunction. Error codes then display to assist with diagnostics and repairs. It’s important to remember that error codes only indicate what sensor tripped. They do not indicate why a sensor has shut the unit down or whether the sensor is functioning correctly. It may be prudent to call someone who provides affordable HVAC repair in Hagerstown, WV to troubleshoot the code and correct the malfunction.
Some Common Faults That Could Trigger The IFC
- Overheating – This is usually the result of restricted air flow over the heat exchanger, typically due to backpressure from a clogged filter.
- Flame Rollout – This is a condition that occurs when corrosion has diminished the flow of air through the burner section of your furnace, preventing proper exhaust. Flames are allowed to “roll out” of the area they’re meant to be in, where they can damage components not designed to withstand high heat.
- No Flame Sensed – This error indicates there’s no fire to ignite the gas feeding your furnace. The furnace shuts down to prevent combustible gases from building up and causing an explosion hazard.
- IFC internal failure – The IFC could also fail. If that happens, your furnace will shut down to prevent unsafe operation from going undetected.
Furnaces are labeled with information tables that indicate what each error code means. Error codes are not standardized across different furnace manufacturers, which can be confusing. It’s best to bring in an expert for affordable HVAC repair in Hagerstown, WV to inspect your furnace and interpret any codes. They are equipped with the tools and know-how to quickly address the problem so you can be comfortable again.
Know Your Options When Your Furnace Is On The Fritz
If you’ve ever reached up to turn on the thermostat and were met with the resounding sound of dead silence, you’ve been faced with the question of whether to repair or replace your furnace. If it’s the middle of a Hagerstown winter, you’ll probably choose the fastest option. When you call for expert advice and assistance, you’ll want to choose a professional who is highly recommended to replace and repair all heating systems.
While repairing your furnace may seem like the easiest option, it isn’t necessarily the most cost effective solution. Here are a few things to consider:
- How old is your furnace? If it is more than 12 years old, replacing it now will cost less in the long run than incurring repair expenses on an annual basis. If your furnace is still in its first decade, repairing it is probably the way to go.
- Is energy efficiency important to you? If you’re tired of paying a high monthly bill to keep the old clunker running, consider replacing your furnace with a new energy-efficient model.
- Do you still want central heating? If you love nothing better than the feeling of warm air hurtling through the vents in your floor, then the answer is yes. But if anyone in your family suffers from asthma, now is your chance to switch to a ductless system for cleaner air.
- Does your home get hot in the summer? Count your dead furnace as a blessing and take this opportunity to switch to a heat pump, which also serves as an air conditioner.
Whichever choice you make, be sure to hire a contractor who is qualified to repair and replace all heating systems. Choose someone who will present more than one option to you and will listen to your concerns. Your heating professional should be courteous and quick to respond to your needs. For more help choosing a professional, consider checking an online list of Hagerstown heating experts, read the customer reviews and call for quotes.
Heat Pumps And Furnaces: What’s The Difference?
Heat Pumps and Furnaces – What’s best for your West Virginia Home?
If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head about the difference between heat pumps and furnaces, you’re not alone. Most people in West Virginia know what a furnace is; scary movies often depict the hulking black beast of an appliance lurking in the basement, belching flames and threatening to incinerate the hero. Your furnace may not be that terrifying, but, hopefully, it does emit heat that keeps your home toasty in the winter. A heat pump may be less familiar to you, especially if you live in a northern climate. Here’s a look at the similarities and differences:
- Both products function to heat your home, but only the heat pump can also cool your home. If you live in a warm climate, a heat pump might meet your needs best.
- Both products can run on electricity, but furnaces can also use natural gas, oil or propane, depending on the model. Some heat pumps are hybrid; they use gas to heat and electricity to cool.
- Both products are available with smart technology. They will keep your West Virginia home at the temperature you desire while being very efficient.
- There is one distinct difference between a heat pump’s heating method and a furnace. A furnace generates heat by using fuel or electricity, but the heat pump pulls heat directly from air outside (in moderate climates) or from the ground’s natural heat. This makes the heat pump an efficient choice.
- Heat pumps and furnaces are located in different areas of your West Virginia home. A furnace will be installed in your house or garage, but a heat pump can only be installed outside. Heat pumps can be noisy, so it will need to be located away from a window or door.
Heat Pump or Furnace: Which Should You Install?
Choosing between a heat pump or furnace largely depends on your West Virginia home and what makes more sense for you and your family. One isn’t necessarily better than the other as it depends on a number of different variables. For example, heat pumps tend to be the best option in parts of West Virginia where electricity rates are lower. But climate can also have an effect on efficiency of the heat pump, in which case a furnace may make the most sense.
Ultimately, you should talk to an HVAC expert who understands the technical differences between a furnace and a heat pump, as well as what makes the most sense for your West Virginia home.
If you are ready to replace your existing furnace, deciding to purchase a new furnace or a heat pump comes down to your climate and the price of electricity in your area. Whichever your choice, be sure to use a qualified and well-recommended HVAC contractor in Hagerstown.
Save Money On Your Winter Heating Bill
From the initial cost of a furnace to repairs to your monthly energy bill, you know how expensive winter can get when running your Martinsburg, WV heating system. Consider these few helpful tips that can save you big bucks all winter long.
Air is full of dust, hair, and a lot of other things you’d rather not think about. It is always important to change your air filter regularly, but it also helps heating efficiency when you use the right size of filter. It is also a good idea to check the inside and outside unit for debris and clear it away. Make sure your vents are clean of dust buildup and are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
Windows, Vents, Doors, And More
Make sure all doors and windows are shut tightly, and keep shades closed at night to conserve heat and open during the day to let the sunshine in. Seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs and replace old weather stripping of caulk where needed. Close off any attic vents or fans during the winter and check on how well the attic is insulated.
Adjust your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower while you are at work; this can save you up to 10 percent on you winter heating bill. Get a humidifier to add moisture to the air and switch to LED lights in your holiday display. And, most importantly, don’t neglect furnace maintenance.
Heating units do age and can become faulty due to harsh weather or heavy use. It can generally save you money to call a trusted HVAC professional to do a service check-up, especially if you are experiencing specific problems. Don’t wait until you end up with a much more expensive problem.
Smile At Your Savings Or Upgrade
By taking these easy actions, you are most likely to see an improvement in your monthly and repair bills. What you do with your extra cash is totally up to you, but you might consider upgrading to a more energy efficient unit. The investment could save you even more over its life, putting a great deal more padding in your wallet. Either way, call your Martinsburg, WV HVAC repair technicians today.