Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Air Conditioning Repair - What You Can and Shouldn’t Do

When you prefer to deal with the repairs of your air conditioning unit, without having to spend on professional service, additional damage may be inflicted that can result in more costly repairs. You might end up losing the warranty of your air conditioning system, put your health at risk, and trigger household accidents.
Do know about basic repairs and general maintenance?
You should have a user’s manual that includes information on basic air conditioning repair and maintenance. After all, not every AC problem must be consulted with professionals. Know about the possible causes of every issue that you may potentially encounter and whether you can fix them by yourself.
Don’t mess with anything that you know nothing about.
It can be tempting to be your own handyman, but a faulty motor, compressor, and refrigerant should all be entrusted to a certified AC professional. Otherwise, you may have to replace parts or buy a new system. Avoid fooling with the wiring and other crucial parts when you aren’t familiar with them.
Do consult with professionals.
You will be saved from a lot of worries, particularly in terms of your finances, when you let the professionals work on your AC. It may call for some of your time and effort to find a credible company that can provide you with timely and high quality service. However, when you have someone that you can entrust with your air conditioning repair needs, all the time you invested will be worthwhile.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

AC Repair – When to DIY and When to Hire a Pro

Many homeowners get tempted to embark on a DIY (do it yourself) project when it comes to AC repair and maintenance. While some people succeed, others had to deal with more costly repairs. There may be quick AC fixes and general maintenance that you can manage, but when it comes to full repair or replacement of filters and compressors, calling for the services of a professional is essential.
Take into account the element of time when planning to take on a DIY AC repair project. When you’re not in a hurry to get your air-conditioning unit repaired and have lots of time to spare for this task, then you may proceed with the planning and preparations. Figure out how long it will take to finish the repair before starting off and whether you have enough time to gather the resources.
Your knowledge and skills, finances, and the difficulty level of the repair needed must all be assessed rationally. You may be able to save more, and be relieved from stress, when you let the professionals work on the repairs and maintenance of your HVAC units. Remember, certified technicians are equipped with the right tools and materials (spare parts), which may not be available in your own household, necessary to bring back the efficacy of your appliances.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What You Probably Did Not Know About Your AC

The air conditioning unit is one of the most important components of your HVAC system and here are some facts that you probably did not know.

Turning off your AC for a long period will cause it to work harder the moment you turn it on. Therefore, when you're going on a vacation for a week or two, you can leave your AC on. However, make sure that it is networked with a programmable thermostat set to a low temperature that shuts if off and turns it on when necessary.

The ducts play a huge role in maintaining the cool in your home. These are the conduits that run throughout the house within the ceiling, which convey the cold air produced by your AC. If they are made of metal, chances are the cool will be absorbed and transferred through the ducts rather than into the house. Thus, you need them wrapped with insulation.

An old filter that has accumulated dust and grime does not only block cool air from being blown into your house, but also can cause respiratory illnesses. One clue that you need to replace your AC filter is when the members of your family start coughing. Dust and other harmful particles are now mixed with the air.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why Hire Experts to Install Your Water Heater

For those who live in the tropics, water heaters are not needed and are usually only seen in hotels, condominiums and such. However, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, who regularly deal with colder temperatures during much of the year, life without hot water is unimaginable.

If the unit you have at home needs replacement, it is not a good idea to attempt a new water heater installation yourself, unless you really know what you are doing. Here are some reasons you should entrust water heater installation to professionals.

Incorrect connections of the electrical supply for an electric model can cause a fire or problems with the thermostat. For gas water heaters, hooking up the supply lines correctly is very important because gas leaks also put your home at risk of fire and explosion of the gas fumes.

In addition, the water pipes have to be connected to the right outlet of inlet for the system to work properly. Of course, leaking pipes are something that you don’t want. A professional plumber knows how to connect the pipes correctly so that they don’t leak.

Like any other basic utilities you have at home, your water heater is designed according to codes that constantly change. The changes in the installation codes are normally based on environmental and safety concerns. Experts update themselves on these changes to make sure that their work is safe for their clients.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Look Closely! How to Assess Water Heater Leaks

Much like everything else in your home, your water heater won’t last forever and will develop problems, especially leaks, from time to time. However, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet after seeing that first puddle. Some water heaters “sweat” depending on how they’re installed, and that “leak” you’re seeing may just be an accumulation of condensed water. The only way to be sure is to conduct a thorough inspection of your unit.

If you spotted a leak, see if it originated from the pipes rather than the heating unit. You can easily repair a cracked water pipe by yourself. If the leak is traced back to your unit, see to it that it is unplugged or disabled before getting a closer look. Again, you can repair small, external cracks on your own, although the same can’t be said if the damage is from within the unit itself.

At this point, it would be wise to call a professional since only they know how to properly diagnose the problem. For example, a leaky conventional storage water heater may be caused by a busted dip tube, the component that transfers cold water to the bottom of the tank to be heated. The only way to be certain would be to take the whole unit apart, which is likely beyond your expertise.

Friday, December 13, 2013

These Signs Mean You Need an Amana Dehumidifier

Aside from air conditioning and heating units, dehumidifiers, like those made by Amana, are an essential component of any household’s HVAC system. True to their name, dehumidifiers reduce the amount of humidity that can be found indoors, but only to a certain extent since too little humidity can cause wood chips and dry skin. Although a hygrometer can determine if a dehumidifier is needed at home or not, homeowners can look for signs of excess humidity instead.

Condensation found in the glass is usually the most obvious indicator, especially if it appears during a relatively warm season. However, condensation in windows and doors may also be caused by the inherent humidity from certain construction materials like cement. Mold spots, on the other hand, are definitely caused by excess humidity (if not by water leaks) and should be removed with the help of a dehumidifier. If there are no black or brown spots, then a musky or rusty smell should be a giveaway.

Homeowners should also visit their basement (if they have one) every now and then. White and grayish marks on the floor are likely caused by spring water from the ground, which in turn can be a source of humidity. This telltale sign is more apparent in homes that were built on a low plain or an old riverbed.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Put Heat In Its Place with Attic Insulation

Heaters are a must-have appliance for homes that experience frigid temperatures. While the devices are reliable in providing warmth, they can quickly burn through energy if they’re not optimized. Essentially, heaters will expend more power if a house manages to lose more heat than the appliance can produce, and it’s a major problem for households that have difficulty paying large energy bills.

Homeowners should therefore optimize their homes such that they can contain as much of the heat as possible. There are various ways to go about this optimization, from sealing doors and windows, to replacing regular windows for low emissivity versions, yet the changes can be very costly if all done at the same time. For those who want to start small, installing attic insulation is the affordable way to go.

According to the laws of physics, heat rises, so it makes perfect sense why attic insulation should be the primary focus in optimizing a home’s heating capacity. Insulating the attic should keep heat from trying to escape through the roof and into the atmosphere. Not only does it considerably slow down heat loss, attic insulation also prevents the formation of dangerous ice dams on the roof of a home.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Importance of Sizing up Your HVAC System

HVACs systems are designed to provide heating and cooling throughout the year in a cost efficient manner. However, they can be notoriously ravenous when it comes to power consumption, and households that overly rely on the systems can end up paying a fortune to keep them running. It’s important to optimize an HVAC system to properly work for a property in order to make the most out of the energy used.

The energy efficiency of an HVAC system begins with choosing the right equipment for the job. Selecting an HVAC system that’s too small or too large can severely affect its efficiency and the amount of energy it expends. Thus, homeowners should be very careful and precise when selecting an HVAC system for their residences.

A simple method of determining the right HVAC system would be to measure the square footage of a property, then divide the result by 400. This should produce a figure equal to the rough amount of cooling and heating tons the property requires. Homeowners have the option of choosing an HVAC system that outputs roughly the same amount of cooling tons, or they can simply call upon an expert contractor and leave the selection process to the experts.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Detecting Problems in Gas Furnaces

Winter has set in Houston, and this means locals have to rely on their gas furnaces for warmth and comfort for the rest of the season. However, fully functioning furnaces are of course essential to produce the desired heat levels at home, but sometimes problems get in the way. A common problem that gas furnace owners experience is that the heating systems don't produce enough heat.

The usual culprit for furnaces that don't generate enough heat is an improperly set thermostat. However, if the thermostat is correctly set at the right mode and temperature and homeowners still can't feel the heat, a component that can be blamed is the propane or gas valve. 
In this case, homeowners will have to check if the valve is indeed open and doesn't have any blockage to obstruct propane or gas flow. If both components are found to be defective, it is recommended that homeowners call reliable HVAC contractors in Houston right away to fix it.
Another common problem with gas furnaces is noisy operations. While a noisy gas furnace doesn't automatically indicate a defect, it is incredibly bothersome, especially when someone has had a busy day at work and wants a good night's sleep. Homeowners can get their gas furnaces to quiet down by having the gas burner cleaned as needed.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why Use an Efficient Trane Heater This Winter

Houston typically experiences a mild winter season, something that is hardly a bother to long-time residents. However, the first few days of December 2013 were a contrast to this usual winter scenario, taking locals by surprise. The Houston Chronicle reports that on December 7, Houston was colder than Deadhorse, Alaska (which is located in the Arctic Circle).

Some locals will naturally take refuge from the cold temperatures and seek warmth and comfort right in their own homes, making efficient heating systems in great demand. However, heating systems are not all the same, and homeowners have to determine which heating equipment is more ideal for their homes. For instance, homeowners who favor low-maintenance heating systems can opt for Trane gas furnaces instead of Trane oil furnaces.

Oil furnaces, while efficient in producing the desired heat in homes, tend to have more dirt and soot build-up, requiring frequent cleaning and maintenance or frequent filter changes. If homeowners prefer a heating system that comes with a more economical price tag, Trane oil furnaces can be a better fit for them than Trane gas furnaces. Whatever the homeowners prefer, they should turn to reliable HVAC contractors for advice when it comes to the installation of the system that is best for their home.

Friday, November 29, 2013

AC Problem Areas That Must Be Noted

Houston as a warm city is an understatement. The average high temperature in the city rarely fall down below 60 degrees Fahrenheit with its humid subtropical climate. These facts assure Houstonians that they will constantly experience temperatures relatively higher compared to the rest of the country.
No wonder air conditioning units are highly used in the city to keep homes and buildings cool. As it is known that Houston temperatures can hit beyond 80 degrees Fahrenheit even in winter.
Overworking these machines without proper maintenance, however, can result in inefficient AC units that can increase electric bills. Here are some of the problem areas AC owners must take note of:
An inadequate level of refrigerant in the unit will not help the unit work properly. In most cases, the problem is caused by certain parts springing a leak. Fixing a refrigerant leak should be left to a professional since the chemical can be hazardous to your health.
It is important to keep the outside fan clean and to make sure it works properly. A fan that is not working can cause the conditioning compressor to overload and give in due to poor heat transfer.
Houston is a humid city, so it is important to constantly check the condensate drains to ensure that the unit is not stocking up on water. Drains expel any contaminants in the unit, resulting in cleaner, cooler air.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Common Problems Your AC Might be Facing

When you take your air conditioning for granted and just stash it away after fervent use in the summer, not once bothering to check it for damage, you might have a feeble source of cold air when the summer rolls around again next year. You need to check the condition of your AC often, especially before storage. Here are some common AC problems you might need to look into:

Leaking Refrigerant

The AC’s refrigerant is the liquid that is used to cool the air that comes into contact with it (through the coil where the coolant is stored). Check to see if there seems to be a low refrigerant level inside the coils; this is either a sign of undercharging at installation, or there’s a leak somewhere.

Sensor Issues

Behind the control panel of your room AC is a thermostat sensor, and it detects air temperature that comes into contact with the cooling coils. Should this sensor fail to do its job, your thermostat will endlessly think that the air isn’t cold enough, hence it will cycle constantly, bloating up your power bill and possibly wearing down your system.

Electronic Problems

At times, the electrical system within your trusty air conditioner can even get corroded from overuse or in some cases, inefficient copper wiring installation (a risk in buying low-quality AC units). The electrical currents that power the compressor and fan could also wear these components down and cause them to break.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Selecting an Air Conditioning System in Houston

With an annual average of 67.9°F, Houston is one of the hottest cities in the country. In fact, the city occasionally hits above 100°F at least several days a year. The blistering heat makes investing in a great air conditioning system important for residents.

Choosing an air conditioning system can be a tough task, considering all the brands and models available on the market. With this in mind, here are a few tips to remember before purchasing an air conditioning system.

The Right Size
Everything may be bigger in Texas, but size isn’t everything when it comes to air conditioning systems. Many homeowners in hot areas tend to overdo the size of the unit, resulting in higher energy bills and an inefficient air conditioning system.

SEER Rating
The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating describes an air conditioning unit’s energy efficiency. The SEER rating ranges from 13 to 21, with a higher number denoting higher efficiency. Choosing an efficient unit can keep your home cool in an energy bill-friendly manner.

Reputable HVAC Contractor
Do not be afraid to consult an HVAC contractor. These professionals often offer free consultations and can help you understand what makes an air conditioning unit great. In addition, many of these contractors offer or know places that sell air conditioning units for great prices, making the search for an air conditioning system much easier.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Going Tankless with Hot Water

Everyone wants to hit the bathroom for their daily rituals like some time in the shower and come out feeling refreshed. Slight problem, though; you’re treated to a blast of cold water when you shouldn’t have been. When this happens, which is nearly all the time, it may be hinting you to replace your house’s existing water heater, even more so if the heater’s had too many years under its belt. One good choice for a replacement would be a tankless water heater on stream.
Also known as on-demand heaters, tankless water heaters, by definition, do not have an integrated water tank. Instead, a small heat exchange chamber processes the water when activated. The power source may be either electric heating coils or gas-fired systems. However, in choosing the tankless heater, your plumber will lay out the variables.
First, you will have to evaluate the normal flow rate for the unit in terms of gallons per minute. You also have to identify the temperature of the inbound cold water and the desired temperature of the hot water. You must figure out which plumbing functions in the house will be priority for the heater. Consider getting at least one if the bathroom and the dishwasher may use it at the same time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fixing Water That's Too Hot

In a parody video celebrating the close-to-real-life gameplay of Grand Theft Auto V, a character is shown needing to get the shower temperature just right, lest he instantly die from the water being too hot. Of course, the entire thing is exaggerated—but there is still an all-too-real harm in taking a bath with water that is too hot.

Hot water injuries are serious enough that some lawyers offer litigation services for them. Studies show that 37 degrees Celsius is a safe temperature for hot bathing water. However, if the temperature gets any higher, people can anticipate third-degree burns in a matter of minutes or seconds. The American Burn Association says kids, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities will be at risk of scalding.

This should be a cause for concern in homes with operating gas water heaters, as these devices can get hot faster than electric ones. Their thermostats always have to be checked and adjusted so the water will be aptly warm. Defective thermostats can keep the too-hot setting permanently and must be repaired or replaced.

If, for some reason, you can't adjust the temperature because the knobs won't work, shut off your heater to prevent scalding. Never attempt to diagnose problems yourself especially if you have a gas water heater, due to the risk of an explosion. Allow a professional to handle it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Prevent Nasal Congestion With Amana Dehumidifiers

Houston locals may be lucky they don't experience a harsh winter like people from other U.S. states do, but they still do have to adjust to temperatures that are cooler than what they are normally used to. In addition, since the cooler weather may prompt them to stay indoors, they should check for indoor air quality and humidity levels. Poor indoor air quality and humidity levels make them more prone to the adverse health effects of pollutants such as dust mites and pet dander.

Fortunately, the use of dehumidifiers like the ones Houston homeowners can get from Amana, can help them alleviate the symptoms of nasal congestion and allow them to breathe better. If they have trouble sleeping due to blocked nasal passages, they can place the dehumidifier in the bedroom. They just have to make sure it is placed about 4 to 5 feet away from their bed, and run it while sleeping. 
Dehumidifiers come in three main types: dehumidifying ventilators, heat pump dehumidifiers, and chemical absorbent dehumidifiers. While all of these types have the same function, which is to minimize the moisture level in a particular room, each type has its own method of reducing moisture levels in an area. Homeowners who wish to purchase dehumidifiers can turn to professionals to guide them which type is suitable for them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Want to Save Money? Insulate Your Attic.

Everyone wants a comfortable home, and one way to ensure this is through proper heating and cooling. However, keeping a comfortable temperature inside your house can cost you more than 50% in your total electrical bill, according to the US Energy Department. Of course, making your home more energy efficient can cut down this expense, while helping the environment at the same time.

One of the best ways to do this is through attic insulation. Since the attic is directly below the roof, it collects a lot of heat which can radiate through your ceiling and into your home. A properly insulated attic will have sufficient R-value or thermal resistance—the ability to resist heat transfer. According to, the ideal R-value for Houston attics must be between R30 to R60 to allow maximum insulation.

Insulation will save you money regardless of the season. In the winter, an insulated attic will prevent the heat inside your home from escaping, meaning less work for your heater. In the summer, it will prevent heat from entering your home, which in turn lowers your cooling costs.

The attic may not be a popular option for home renovation projects. However, attic insulation is a worthwhile improvement that will help your home save energy and keep your family comfortable year-round.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Choosing an Appropriate HVAC System

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems combine the cooling functions of air conditioners with the heating utilities of furnaces, making them the ultimate indoor temperature control devices. These dual-purpose devices help maintain ideal indoor temperatures all year round. As such, households that rely heavily on such devices consequently need to choose their HVAC systems wisely to avoid unnecessary utility expenses.

Among other things, homeowners need to take note of the size of each room in their homes to determine how much energy is needed to keep it comfortably warm or cool. Factors that influence ventilation and heat loss and/or gain such as doors, windows, and insulation must also be considered before choosing an HVAC. It’s much easier to ask an experienced HVAC contractor to compute these details.

Once the dimensions of your home are accounted for, you can then enlist a contractor for help in choosing an HVAC unit that produces the right amount of power for your entire residence. Such a contractor can be relied upon to install the HVAC unit itself. Likewise, you can leave the task of constructing the ductwork in the capable hands of HVAC installation experts, so you certainly don’t have to worry about doing all the dirty work yourself.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why HVAC Maintenance Is Important

The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is responsible for regulating the temperature and flow of air in your home. During winter, the furnace generates heat to help you combat the cold, while during summer, your air conditioning wards off heat. This makes your home a comfortable sanctuary all year round. No wonder it deserves your utmost care.

HVAC maintenance is one of the major tasks you should be faithful doing as a homeowner. You've probably invested in maintenance projects involving various elements in your property, including a car, roof, and walls, yet you might forget about you HVAC. With lack of maintenance, your HVAC might suddenly act up during winter.

In maintaining your HVAC, one of the most important thing to do is to replace the filter. Unlike other parts of the system, the filter wears off easily, which can be explained by its task. A dirty filter will prevent sufficient heat or cold from flowing into and throughout the house, eventually reducing energy efficiency.

If you think you can't handle the job, hire a professional. A professional technician can accurately identify problems that have to be fixed and do the necessary repair work. They can also provide the right recommendations so that your HVAC will perform well through the coming winter.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Telltale Signs of Furnace Thermostat Failure

Houston locals may not experience harsh winter conditions unlike those who live in the East Coast and Midwest states, but residents of Space City still need to get their coats and scarves ready for when the cold season finally arrives. In addition, they need to make sure that their home heating systems are in good condition to provide adequate warmth on those nights when temperatures can drop to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or even lower.

Like every other household equipment, furnaces are not impervious to system failure. A faulty furnace thermostat, for instance, can cause your heater to cycle on or off too frequently or else provide insufficient heat when you need it most. If your home feels too hot or too cold, the likely culprit is a faulty thermostat. You might want to call in a heating repair expert to have the heat anticipator adjusted.

If such a solution doesn’t work, it may be time to have the thermostat replaced with a new one. You might want to look for products by trusted brands like Trane. Likewise, be sure to find a reliable heating and air conditioning installation expert with a proven track record of technical expertise and service quality.