We’re smack in the middle of (what passes for) winter in Florida so AC repair in New Port Richey is out of sight and out of mind.
Winters here are considered mild by most of the country, but they’re definitely cold enough to make Floridians shiver. They’re also cold enough to be dangerous, so when the humid summer draws to a close, we all start thinking about the furnace, and whether it’s ready for colder weather.
Of course, the rest of the year is hot, and so, to most residents of the Sunshine State, the air conditioner is far more important.
That overemphasis makes sense, but it’s important to remember that, as HBO tells us, “Winter is coming.”
It helps to be ready. You may not need to cool as often as you heat, but even in New Port Richey, you will need that furnace when the time comes.
Why do I need furnace or AC maintenance?
Even if your natural gas or propane furnace only needs to be run a few months a year, it needs attention. In fact, it sitting the rest of the year is exactly why!
Think of a car.
If you left a car garaged for nine months, would you take it on a road trip without refilling the tires, checking the battery, having the engine tuned up, and making sure it’s safe to drive?
(If you said “yes,” that’s the wrong answer.)
Here’s a few compelling arguments.
Do I really need an annual furnace and ac tuneup inspection?
All furnace manufacturers say yes. Literally, all of them. There is no holdout. This isn’t a “4 out of 5 dentists recommend” situation. 5 out of 5 manufacturers recommend annual maintenance by a certified furnace repair technician.
In fact, failure to do so often invalidates the warranty on your furnace, if it can be proved that the damage was due to lack of maintenance.
That does not mean that skipping a tune-up voids your warranty, but it does put you at risk. To that, we say:
Why even go there?
Tune-ups are inexpensive and arguably the greatest bang for the buck in our entire industry. Think of it as getting a physical – you’re just that much more likely to find problems before they get worse.
What actually happens during a furnace tune-up?
Every contractor and furnace repair company has their own version of a tune-up, with lots of overlap. AC Repair New Port Richey doesn’t boast a “32 point Check-Up” or anything in marketing-speak like that.
There is no industry standard because there are so many different furnaces. We take each one case by case. There are, however, what we call best practices, or things that happen on just about every tune-up visit.
That’s a lot of stuff, and usually there’s more! All of that for a measly few bucks. When you consider that the average person spends $2,000 a year on coffee, this is definitely a sound investment.
By the way, we aren’t knocking coffee drinkers. We are coffee drinkers.
Can you do this furnace maintenance yourself?
Some of it, sure, if you’re handy. All of it, if you’re very handy – but you’ll need special tools and equipment, and getting those will cost as much as a few years of inspections, anyway.
Plus – do you really want to risk something as dangerous as a furnace – a huge machine that literally burns combustible fuel and can create deadly fumes – to someone who isn’t trained?
A Professional furnace and AC tune-up is worth every penny.
How much does a furnace or AC tune-up cost?
This varies person to person, but beware of offers that seem too low. We see ads for $30 tune-ups, and frankly, that’s ludicrous. An HVAC technician is typically earning more than that for an hour’s labor. Between their time and the drive, $30 doesn’t cover their visit.
Typically, if the tune-up is way too cheap, you can bet they’ll “find” a fairly expensive problem that needs their attention.
You can also bet that if you refuse them, that problem will miraculously go away on its own.
A professional AC or furnace tune up should be somewhere between $60 and $100.
Ours includes everything above, and:
What are the risks if I don’t have regular furnace or AC maintenance?
We don’t like to be alarmist.
So, in this article, we won’t be. We’re just going to tell you the truth, without sugarcoating it. Unfortunately, the truth about furnace neglect is pretty alarming.
Have we made our case well? Are you giving serious thought to getting on a preventive maintenance schedule?
If you’ve got any additional questions or concerns that we didn’t answer in this article, don’t forget that our phones are always on.
AC Repair New Port Richey has been serving Florida homeowners and businesses for years. We know the value of maintaining your equipment, and the value of maintaining a strong relationship with our community. You can trust our HVAC and furnace repair technicians to provide the absolute best service for your equipment.
Give us a call today, and schedule a no-fee, risk-free assessment of your heating and cooling needs. Or, drop us a line and schedule a tune-up! No matter what you need, we’re here to take care of you.
New Port Richey - Here are 11 Scientifically Backed Ways To Extend the Life of Your Central A/C System
Did you know:
Central air conditioning systems are the single largest investment you are likely to make in your home?
Of course they are. It’s an investment that comes with a 5-digit price tag, and New Port Richey AC repair bills can be a serious burden. Of course you you want to make it last as long as you possibly can.
However, a poorly maintained air conditioner isn’t likely to last the 10-15 years (or more) that you’re hoping for – and it may run inefficiently, before it finally fails.
But don’t worry – you can do better.
With proper maintenance and a few relatively simple strategies, you can extend the life of your air conditioning system far beyond the warranty period.
Let’s dive in.
1. Change your filters regularly. The most common air conditioner issues can often be traced back to the air filters. When those are changed infrequently – or not at all – or when an inappropriate filter is utilized, your system suffers.
Worst of all – this all leads to HIGHER BILLS. And we can all agree that those are unacceptable.
2. Use an effective low-resistance filter. Air filters come with differing levels of resistance. The manufacturer of your system will have an opinion on proper filters, but you can choose an alternative with the help of your local air conditioning service.
Low resistance filters allow the air to circulate more freely, which lightens the load. Your system will last longer if it is putting in the minimum work for the maximum result.
3. Ask your HVAC repair service about TUNE-UPS.
This is something we should straighten out right now:
MAINTENANCE is absolutely critical to your air conditioner’s health.
Skimping on your regular maintenance is the fastest way we know to ensure that your AC repair bills will be astronomical. A tune-up is an important part of your system’s upkeep, and any HVAC repair company is going to be able to help you.
If you don’t have a maintenance agreement, it isn’t hard to find. No matter where you are, your trusty friends at Google will respond with highly rated local professionals if you search “AC repair near me” from your phone or any device with location services enabled.
For anyone in the New Port Richey area, feel free to reach out to us directly.
During a standard tune up, your air conditioning service professional will:
We are often asked how frequently you should have your system tuned up. The answer is at LEAST annually or biannually or if you have furry pets in the home. You should schedule these a few months in advance before you turn it on for the cooling season.
For more questions, contact us directly and we’ll answer any questions you have.
4. Clean the parts of your system you can – including SUPPLY VENTS and RETURN GRILLS.
You should not depend on an AC repair company, even a fantastic one, to do everything for you.
Owning a central air conditioner comes with a few simple responsibilities for you, and attending to them in a timely fashion will help you immeasurably over the years. Not only will it keep your system alive longer, it will keep your bills lower in the meantime.
Don’t want to do any complex cleaning? Don’t worry. It’s easy.
Cleaning your vent grills is far less complex and labor intensive than cleaning your oven, washing your car, or mowing your lawn. The grills will trap dust in the same way that your air filter does, except that they aren’t designed for it.
Also - just like air filters, those grills can cause reduced airflow. It’s important that you take care of this little chore.
Which is why we’re putting a step-by-step guide right here for you. Here’s what you do.
For a more elaborate clean:
5. Consider installing ceiling fans.
A great way to extend the life of your system that isn’t brought up often is ceiling fan installations. Think of them like assistants – they make your system’s job much easier. They move very large volumes of air, slowly and inexpensively.
Air blowing directly down across your skin makes the room feel several degrees cooler. Fans in the ceiling help to circulate the air, which can allow you to set your thermostat 3 or 4 degrees higher.
That allows your central air conditioner to reduce the duration of the active cycle, which reduces energy consumption. As an added bonus, they’re great for the environment, too.
What does that spell in terms of savings?
We thought you might ask. Ceiling fans pay for themselves very quickly. Here’s a mathematical breakdown you may find intriguing:
6. Consider adding a UV light to your system.
Now this sounds like science fiction, but:
You can have ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS installed in your air conditioning system.
This isn’t the cheapest solution on our list – not by a longshot – but it has been scientifically PROVEN to help improve your system’s efficiency and performance. If performance is improved, so is system longevity.
How do these space-age accessories help my air conditioner?
Well, that’s a fair question. Let’s start with a question for you:
If any of those questions had you nodding your head, then your HVAC repair tech might suggest installing a UV light. They are very effective, depending on installation. They’re actually particularly effective in warm and humid climates – hello there, Florida!
UV lights target mold growth and bacteria. They don’t have any real impact on dust, pollen, or pet dander. However, installed near the coils, they prevent air passing through from carrying mold.
Prices have been dropping dramatically over the last decade with prices that now hover around the $300-$600 mark. Also, the bulbs must be replaced annually, at a cost of $80-$110.
How does this impact my systems lifespan?
The key thing to takeaway here is that you want your air conditioning service and accessories to support the main system. The less work that your system has to do, the more money you will save, and the longer it will last.
7. Get a proper ductwork evaluation.
An HVAC repair company should have technicians who are trained to evaluate whether your current ductwork is efficient and well designed for your home.
During the evaluation, a tech will look for airflow leaks and verify that the setup and layout of your ducts is appropriate and properly supports your air conditioning system.
Did you know?
The average home wastes 20-30% of their air through leaky or uninsulated ducts?
That’s a staggering amount of waste, and it’s costing you a fortune. Ask your New Port Richey air conditioning service professional to fix that, and you’ll find the efficiency and lifespan of your system gets a big boost.
8. Consider upgrading your thermostat.
Is your thermostat doing everything it can to improve your system’s efficiency? If not, it’s probably going to shorten your AC’s life. Older thermostats are lacking features that modern ones use to increase the performance of your air conditioner.
Also, if your thermostat is placed near a vent, or in a particularly sunny space, or near lamps or other heat-producing devices, it may be getting improper temperature information, which will negatively affect performance.
Part of upgrading is making sure that thermostat is placed in the optimal location within your home.
What makes a modern thermostat so special?
In short, everything. In detail:
Ask your service company today whether a thermostat upgrade is in your future.
9. Keep your condenser unit cleared of obstructions and dirt.
The outside portion of your system is called the condenser, and it has to deal with a lot more wear and tear than the air handler inside your home. A good cleaning is part of the tune-up process but there is a lot you can do to keep it clean in between those big annual cleanings.
If the pros are doing it, why should you?
Bottom line: Because the cleaner you keep it, the longer your AC lives, and the lower your bills are.
Once a year really isn’t enough if you want the MAXIMUM performance out of your system. Your condenser has a really big job – it dissipates the heat from inside your home. If the condenser coils and fins are clogged, that heat has trouble escaping.
Think of it like covering yourself up in a snowsuit during a heat wave. Heat couldn’t escape your body and you’d overheat, right?
This makes your air conditioner run poorly.
What does cleaning your condenser entail?
This isn’t too complicated, either. All you need to do is clear debris away and make sure there is plenty of clearance – a few feet, at least – around the unit housing. By debris, we mean dirt, bird feathers, grass clippings, trash, and anything else that gets trapped in there.
Then you, or your landscaper, should trim bushes, grasses, and anything else growing nearby away from the housing to keep it clear.
10. Shade your outdoor unit.
Going back to the “work smart, not hard” mentality that is a common them throughout this article, it has been proven that shading your outdoor unit can increase efficiency by up to 10%.
Shade can come in the form of trees, so long as you keep a vigilant eye to make sure leaves aren’t clogging the unit, or you can purchase and install a purpose-built shade.
11. Spot check often. Repairs are best caught early, before they cause a domino effect. Keeping an eye on simple things will help you catch repairs while they are simple and cheap. Here’s what to keep your senses out for:
If you still aren’t certain that you’ve done everything you can, contact us, and we’ll send a New Port Richey AC repair specialist to audit your home for efficiency. We can help you maximize your system’s lifespan.
If you have questions or to learn more, call us today at 727-270-9819.
As summer draws near, New Port Richey air conditioning systems are getting tuned up and turned on. Quite often, we get a call about a system that seems to run too frequently. If it feels like your cooling system never really turns off, that can be a serious cause for concern.
If there’s something wrong, it’s going to show up in ways that you could live without – higher energy bills or breakdowns right when you are least capable of dealing with them.
New Port Richey AC Repair contractors are more experienced than most with systems running constantly. The high temperatures we experience every summer make many homeowners assume that a non-stop air conditioner is normal.
In fact, that’s not always wrong – there are situations in which it is perfectly normal. In the summer, particularly somewhere this hot, it isn’t uncommon for a system to run pretty often. In fact, that can be good – long cycles help a central air conditioner run efficiently and help humidity issues.
Also, starting and stopping are more stressful to the system than running, and so long cycles may be a good thing.
However, if your air conditioning system literally never stops running, and you’re not comfortable in your home or it doesn’t reach the temperature on the thermostat, you have a problem. For your sake, we’re going to cover some problems that could be at the heart of your system’s behavior.
Why Your System May Keep Going, and Going, and Going, and Going, and …
1. Size matters. We’ll start with the worst case scenario – that your system is the wrong size for your home. HVAC technicians are always seeking a Goldilocks Effect regarding their installations – it needs to be just right, or your home will be too hot or too cold.
In order to operate at the efficiency level on the Energy Star label when you bought it, your system needs to be matched to your home. That means that it must be the appropriate size and power for the home in which it is installed.
If too large or too small, you’ll immediately notice problems. Unfortunately, the only reliable solution for an improperly sized system is a new replacement system, or at the very least the additional of supplement cooling.
The cost of these things might be hard to swallow, but air conditioning repair prices only get higher the longer you wait to have problems fixed.
Too Small: If the system is too small, you’ll notice precisely the behavior that this article is focusing on. It will run all the time, because it has to work harder to cool a space that is too large. This will keep it from achieving maximum efficiency, and you’ll have higher bills.
Even worse, your home will never quite achieve the desired comfort level, and the system will have a shortened lifespan because parts will wear out faster than they should. The part most at risk from an undersized system, by the way, is the compressor – which is expensive, and definitely not something you want to replace.
Too Large: Rather than running too often, an oversized system will short-cycle, which will result in uncomfortably humid air and lots of starting and stopping. That’s inefficient, and will raise your energy bills as much as an undersized system, if not more.
Undersized ducts: If your system is the right size but your ducts are not, you may experience running issues because the ducts can’t adequately manage airflow. That could lead to hot or cool rooms, and if one of those rooms contains the thermostat, you’ll likely see a system that runs constantly.
Also, speaking of thermostats:
2. Thermostats aren’t infallible. If your thermostat isn’t working properly, neither is your air conditioner. It may be that your home and your air conditioner are both fine, but the thermostat doesn’t know this, and so it won’t send the signals to the air conditioner to stop its cooling cycle.
If a thermostat is faulty, your AC system may run constantly, in fits and starts, or not at all. The thermostat is the brains of the operation. You can check your thermostat in a few different ways:
3. Airflow issues can lead to many problems. If you are noticing weak airflow in addition to the system running constantly, then you may have issues related to air circulation. The outdoor unit may not be the issue, however – your indoor air handler may have a faulty motor.
Your ductwork could be damaged or incorrectly installed. Your air filters could be dirty, or your vents could be blocked or closed. Any of those would cause restricted airflow. In New Port Richey, air conditioning systems with poor airflow are likely to run constantly to try to overcome that and cool your home.
Having that checked out by a professional as soon as possible can help stop more serious problems. And while we’re on the topic of maintenance:
4. Maintenance is preventive medicine for air conditioners. Think of air conditioners the way you think of cars. Would you drive your car 10,000 miles without having the oil changed? Of course not, and if you did, you wouldn’t be surprised when the “Check Engine” light flicked on.
Yet many homeowners forget to have preventive maintenance on their car. Dirty filters, ducts or coils can all have a damaging effect on your system’s ability to run, resulting in longer or shorter run cycles.
Having a professional give your system the all-important tune-up will help diagnose and repair small problems before they have a chance to become big ones. This will lengthen the overall life of your system, and help it to run as efficiently – and cheaply – as possible.
New Port Richey AC Repair technicians are experts, and qualified to perform an annual or bi-annual tune-up on your central air conditioner.