Month: November 2021

Smart Thermostat Reviews: Nest, Honeywell & ecobee

Don’t you feel comfortable and secure when you’re in control of your surroundings? That’s one reason smart thermostats have become a sought-after feature for NYC’s luxury homeowners. The ability to remotely adjust the comfort settings of your HVAC system is the ultimate in control. Smart thermostats allow you to control your home’s heating and cooling … Continued

The post Smart Thermostat Reviews: Nest, Honeywell & ecobee appeared first on Arista.

Your Heat Pump Needs Your Attention

Heat pumps are incredibly advanced and reliable systems. Or, at least, they are supposed to be.

There is a chance that your heat pump may be struggling to get by lately. Since these systems run almost nonstop throughout the year, they see a lot more wear and tear. All that stress can add up.

Think of it like this, if you work out every day for a month with no rest days, how would you feel? Probably pretty tired!

While your heat pump can’t feel tired, it can develop problems that require expert attention. But first, they need to get your attention so you can reach out to us for HVAC service and maintenance. Here’s how your heat pump may be sending out red flags to alert you to a problem.

8 Warning Signs Your Heat Pump May Exhibit

  1. Weakened airflow: A properly working heat pump produces strong, steady airflow. If your airflow is weaker than usual, it means your heat pump is struggling.
  2. Increased energy bills: Increased energy bills are often a signal that something is wrong with your heat pump.
  3. Short cycling: Does your heat pump turn on only to shut off after a few brief minutes? That is bad news for your comfort, your energy bills, and your system.
  4. Nonstop cycles: Maybe you notice the opposite behavior from your system–it never seems to stop running. This is another sign of trouble that shouldn’t be ignored.
  5. Odd noises: You know what your heat pump sounds like normally. Sounds like banging, rattling, hissing, and screeching should catch your attention because they are cause for concern.
  6. Odd smells: If running your heat pump produces odd smells such as the smell of dirty socks or burning electrical parts, it is worth it to schedule repairs.
  7. Incorrect temperature: No matter how long or how little you run your heat pump, the temperature in the house is never right. And that’s a sign something is amiss.
  8. Unresponsiveness: You turn on your heat pump and…nothing. No beep, no air, no nothing. Unresponsiveness may mean you need major repairs or a new heat pump altogether.

Your Heat Pump Needs Help! But What Can You Do?

First and foremost don’t try to maintain or repair your heat pump by yourself. DIY or amateur work almost always causes more damage to the system, rather than fixing it. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure to check and change the filter if you haven’t done this already.
  2. Take note of what warning signs your heat pump is showing.
  3. Reach out to a professional technician to discuss whether you need maintenance or repairs and schedule an appointment.
  4. If at all possible, leave your heat pump off until it is serviced by a professional to protect it from further damage.

Whether your heat pump has been struggling for a while or it just started to act up recently, you should absolutely schedule your system maintenance, repairs, or replacement with a professional technician.

Contact Air On Demand for your HVAC services today.

The post Your Heat Pump Needs Your Attention first appeared on Air On Demand.

This post appeared first on AironDemand.com

Furnace tune ups: furnace maintenance tips to avoid replacement

At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.

As with any appliance in your home, your furnace is likely to run stronger and longer with routine maintenance. Furnace tune ups are the easiest way to keep your unit running optimally, especially as the temperature drops.

Rather than wait until your furnace is in need of a repair, a simple search for “furnace tune up near me” will help ensure your family has warmth when it’s needed most. Before the technician arrives, we’ll walk you through what you can expect during the visit and the questions you should ask.

Routine furnace maintenance steps

What is a furnace tune up?

A furnace tune up is a thorough check of your furnace to ensure it is operating efficiently. It is also the chance to address any potential issues that could threaten its operation.

During a furnace tune up, the HVAC technician will check the furnace’s components as well as test, adjust, clean and lubricate the parts as needed. 

The furnace tune up checklist may vary, depending on the HVAC technician. However, most inspections will include:

  • Test the ignitor
  • Inspect and adjust the flue
  • Check and adjust the pilot and burners
  • Check and adjust the gas pressure and the air mix
  • Check and clean or replace the air filter
  • Check electrical components
  • Check and adjust blower speed
  • Inspect and clean the AC coil
  • Inspect the heat exchanger and ducts

Is a furnace tune up necessary?

When appliances are poorly maintained, repairs and breakdowns are inevitable. The average lifespan for a furnace is 15 to 20 years. Without routine inspections, that working time drastically decreases.

In addition to extending the operational years of the unit, other benefits of a furnace tune up include:

  • Improves energy efficiency
  • Lowers risk of an emergency repair
  • Helps prevent fire or gas leak dangers
  • Saves money on rushed repairs
  • Improves air quality with filter change

How often should I get a furnace tune up?

A furnace tune up should be completed at least once a year in the fall season. Having the inspection complete before winter arrives will help prevent the need for emergency repairs. You’re also likely to get an immediate appointment time and may pay less since most furnace technicians aren’t as busy near the end of summer.

The reason a tune up is highly recommended during the beginning of fall is your technician still has time to make repairs or order necessary parts ahead of cold weather. The repairs can be made before you even need to turn up the thermostat.

How much does a furnace tune up cost?

A furnace tune up and inspection will cost between $100 and $300 depending on your location, furnace model, and the company or HVAC technician performing the tune up.

While the yearly fee may seem like a hassle, especially when your furnace appears to be functioning properly, it’s a minimal amount compared to an emergency repair. The average furnace repair fee falls between $300 and $478. Gas furnace repair costs can be triple that amount due to the complexity of the system.

How do I choose an HVAC technician?

Hiring an HVAC professional will take a little more effort than asking your home smart speaker for a company to perform a furnace tune up near me. When deciding on an HVAC company, ask for the:

  • Furnace tune up cost
  • Furnace tune up checklist
  • Timeline if a repair is needed

You’ll also want to inquire about the available services and what furnace brands the company specializes in to ensure it’s a good fit for your unit. If a repair is needed, ask about the company’s labor warranty.

Can I perform a furnace tune up?

While an experienced HVAC technician should complete a thorough inspection of your furnace ahead of each winter season, there are some simple steps you can take to keep your unit working properly.

Check the furnace filter monthly and change or clean it as needed. Most filters require a change at least every 90 days, but you may find your filters should be replaced more regularly. You can also check that the thermostat is working properly and vacuum out any dust or debris from inside the furnace.

Although there are a number of maintenance tasks you can complete with the right set of tools, hiring an HVAC technician is best. These individuals are experienced, so they will be able to perform maintenance without risking your safety or damaging your furnace.

What types of furnace repairs may be needed?

Maintenance is key to keeping your furnace functioning properly and avoiding costly repairs. However, even with routine furnace tune ups the best furnace brands experience failures. As parts age and components wear, the time will come when a common furnace repair will be needed.

Types of common furnace repairs include:

  • Thermostat replacement
  • Ignitor repair
  • Blower motor repair or replacement
  • Heat exchanger repair or replacement
  • Valve replacement

How much does the average furnace repair cost?

A poorly maintained furnace or one that has reached its expected lifespan will need to be replaced. Depending on the type of furnace replacement you choose, you can expect to spend an estimated $4,514

Extend your furnace’s lifespan and years of optimal performance by scheduling yearly tune up appointments. A yearly furnace tune up will keep your unit going strong, prevent you from paying costly repair fees, and provide reliable warmth to your family and home.

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

Best portable heat pumps of 2021: reviews and buying guide

Portable heat pumps cool or warm a room in your home. They offer spot cooling and heating, so you gain a comfortable area while consuming less energy. Many units also provide dehumidifying and fan functions. This guide delves more into how combination heating and air conditioning units work, the best units on the market, installation, and pricing.

How do portable heat pumps work?

Portable heat pumps work in much the same way as air conditioning units, by pulling in ambient air, warming it and releasing the warmth back into the room. Many portable heat pumps also offer a cooling cycle, which allows the device to be used year-round.

How does a heat pump work in colder weather?

When the weather becomes cool, a heat pump absorbs and distributes heat from the cold air using the refrigerant. The refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas to apply pressure to heat the air before moving it through your room. It operates like an air conditioner in reverse.

What are the uses for combination heating and air conditioning units?

Combination heating and air conditioning units can be used for a number of reasons and in different environments. Depending on the model, the portable heat pump may serve as a temperature regulator during your camping adventures or to create comfort in a single room.

Alternative to window air conditioners

Window air conditioners might not work in all instances. There are a variety of different styles of windows, meaning not all will be a suitable fit to a standard window AC unit. However, with a portable air conditioner, they universally mesh with all kinds of windows.

Combination heating and air conditioning units do not restrict your view outdoors, and you can attach the hose to the ceiling vent. It makes them a much easier option to set up when you want to keep your room cooler.

Portable heat pumps can be used in a number of settings. Check out the many benefits of these mobile heating and cooling devices.

Keeping your RV comfy

If your RV has a top vent or small window, a portable air conditioner unit will work. Not only does it provide comfort to small living spaces, but it’s also easy to set up and remove.

Prevent servers from overheating

Server rooms can run hot. Instead of blasting the air throughout the whole building and consuming excess energy in the process, setting up a portable air conditioner keeps your servers cool at a fraction of the cost.

Supports more airflow

Some rooms in your home might not receive the same airflow as others. It leads to them being much warmer or cooler and uncomfortable during different times of the year. Adjusting your thermostat won’t adjust the temperature in only the affected space. Plus, it results in higher energy bills and less operational life of your HVAC. A cost-effective alternative is to use a portable heat pump for spot heating and cooling, as you use less energy and gain more airflow in the space.

Make gatherings more comfortable

When you’re hosting a cookout for the big game or have family over during the holiday season, gathering spaces can quickly become stuffy due to the extra body heat. A portable air conditioner can lower the temperature in the room, creating a comfortable environment for your guests without causing a massive spike in your energy bill.

Comfortable travel

Along with RVs, a portable air conditioner can come in handy in rentals and cabins. Like homes, some rooms might not receive steady airflow due to design and other issues. In some portions of the country, like the Pacific Northwest, some rentals might not have central air conditioning. A portable air conditioner with heater provides relief from extreme temperatures when other traditional measures are unavailable.

Best portable air conditioners with a heater

If you live in an area prone to seasonal temperature variances, it makes sense to have a portable unit capable of handling varied climates. Here are some of the best combination heat pumps available.

Whynter ARC-14SH | $555

The Whynter ARC-14SH is a dual-hose unit that packs plenty of power. Its cooling capacity is 14,000 BTUs. BTU is known as British Thermal Units and measures the energy used to cool or heat a room. The more BTUs a portable heat pump has, the more space it can heat or cool.

This unit can air condition a room up to 600 square feet with a minimum temperature of 61 degrees. It makes it perfect for a home office or large bedroom. Meanwhile, it also has a heating capacity of 13,000 BTUs. It can warm a room up to 500 square feet with a maximum temperature of 89 degrees.

One of its best advantages is its dual-hose system, allowing you to keep your space cool while maximizing energy efficiency. It has an EER rating of 10.8. The EER rating measures a unit’s energy efficiency by its capacity (measured in BTUs) and power output (watts).

An excellent EER rating is 12, indicating this unit by Whynter is among the most energy-efficient models available. The downside? The secret is out about this combination heating and cooling unit, making availability hard to come by in the summer months.

Another factor to consider is it weighs in at about 80 pounds. It makes moving it between rooms more challenging than lighter models.

Black + Decker BPACT14HWT | $475

The Black + Decker BPACT14HWT model is perfect for small spaces. Its cooling output of 14,000 BTU and heating capacity of 11,000 BTU can cool or warm a space up to 350 square feet.

The unit weighs about 35 pounds, making it easier to move between rooms than larger portable heat pumps. It earns an EER rating of 9.7, well above the average rating of 8.5. The remote control and LED display make adjusting the temperature easy.

Honeywell MN14CHCS Portable Air Conditioner with Heater | Price Varies

Topping the list of capability and energy efficiency is the Honeywell MN14CHCS. The 14,000 BTU cooling capacity of this unit can chill a room up to 700 square feet in size. When it’s time for supplemental heat, the 7,500 BTU heating power can warm up to 500 square feet.

Along with its power, the Honeywell is one of the more energy-efficient models available, thanks to its dual-hose system. It earned an EER rating of 10.3, placing it just slightly below the Whynter ARC-14SH.

One of our favorite features of this unit is its dehumidifying capabilities. It can remove up to 86 pints of moisture from the air every 24 hours. The unit weighs around 90 pounds but has rolling casters for easier mobility.

Depending on where you purchase this unit, you’ll pay between $650 and $700. It’s especially difficult to find in stock during the summer months.

Serenelife SLPAC10 | $420

The Serenelife SLPAC 10 comes with many climate control features. It has moving wind vents, providing better air circulation to all parts of a room. It also features a 24-hour timer and multiple fan and comfort settings.

The cooling capacity of 10,000 BTU keeps a smaller room (350 square feet or less) comfortable. It can also warm a space up to 300 square feet with its heating capacity of 9,000 BTU. The lone drawback is its five-foot hose, making for limited placement in your space.

The Serenelife model is not as energy efficient as other models making this list. It has an EER rating of 8.7, but that’s still above average for portable air conditioners. Most importantly, it touts affordability relative to other portable units.

Vremi 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner | $450

The Vremi portable air conditioner packs a lot of value and features to keep you comfortable. Its 12,000 BTU output is perfect for rooms up to 300 to 350 square feet.

It also offers dehumidification, fan-only, and a sleep mode with white noise. The LED display makes it easy to read conditions, while the remote control contains all the commands needed to program every function of the portable air conditioner. We love that it features a washable air filter you can reuse.

You will need a drain hose if you run the dehumidification and AC modes, as the unit does not have a drain reservoir for the condensation. You can attach a garden hose to run outside as a solution. That aside, this unit offers a lot of value.

What to look for when buying portable air conditioners and heater combo?

When shopping for a combination AC and heater that works for your home, there are multiple factors to consider.

Room size

As noted above, a portable heat pump and air conditioner combo have heating and cooling capacities measured in BTUs. When considering a model for your space, you should account for the square footage of the area before buying. Doing so ensures you select the best fit.

To demonstrate, if you have a larger room, then purchasing one with a lower BTU output means it has to work harder to cool or heat the room. It could use more energy to achieve this and lessen its operational life due to working so hard.

Conversely, having one too powerful for a tiny space results in cooling so quickly it does not remove all the humidity from the area. A good rule of thumb is you need 20 BTUs for every one square foot. Therefore, if your office has 300 square feet, you need a portable A/C with a cooling capacity of at least 6,000 BTUs.

Energy efficiency

You can check each unit’s EER rating to see how energy efficient it is. The less energy the unit consumes, the lower your utility costs.

Hose length

The hose length of the portable heat pump determines placement in your room. If you want to place the unit in a position that’s further away from the window or sliding glass door, look for a portable heat pump with a longer hose length.

Single vs. double hose

A single-hose portable air conditioner is perfect for smaller rooms (think 300 square feet). Meanwhile, double hose models are best suited for larger rooms.

One hose serves as the exhaust while the other pulls the air in to cool or heat the space. Double-hose systems are more energy-efficient because they use less energy to warm and chill the air. While they tend to be more expensive than single-hose models, the efficiency gained can offset the price difference.

Portable air conditioner and heater combo reviews

Customer reviews of portable heat pumps are a great way to gain insight into how the unit may function in your home. We love reviews that include photos because you can get an idea of size and potential challenges with setting up the unit in your home.

Warranty offerings

Examine a manufacturer’s warranty on the air conditioner and heater combo. How long does it last? Do they provide support if parts malfunction during the warranty period? Doing these things can demonstrate how much a manufacturer stands behind the product and the durability it offers you.

Price

If you are on a budget, single hose portable air conditioners cost less on average than their double hose counterparts. However, when considering prices, energy efficiency can matter along with room size. While a double-hose unit is more efficient and works well in larger rooms, a single hose can do the trick in cozier areas.

How to install a portable heat pump?

Since installation for a portable heat pump can vary based on the model selected, it’s vital to follow the instructions given with the kit. Often, manufacturers offer installation videos that can guide you through each step of the process. When buying one, here are some things you can expect to receive.

Portable heat pump kit contents

Along with the actual unit, you should receive everything you need to complete the installation. It includes the exhaust hose (for single-hose models) or two for dual ones. You should also receive hose connectors and the install kit for windows or sliding glass doors. Some manufacturers also include foam or weather stripping for better energy efficiency.

Location is vital

It is vital to place the portable unit on a solid floor with close access to the window or sliding glass door and a grounded power outlet. Extend the power cord and exhaust hose to ensure it is close enough to the plug and window respectively before continuing.

Sizing the window kit

Many manufacturers account for differing window sizes. Because of this, you should be able to fit your kit. For example, if you have a traditional window that you slide up to open, place the kit at the bottom and run it across until it fits the window width.

Meanwhile, if you have a window that slides open, you can place it on one side moving vertically. If your window is smaller than the kit, trim the kit materials to match the window’s width or height based on how it opens.

Once you have a fit, check that air does not penetrate any areas around the kit. Some come with screws to secure them in place, while others use weather strips to keep debris from entering your home. Close the window to hold the window kit.

Installing the hose

One end of your hose will go into the portable air conditioner. Some models come with the connector in place, but if yours does not, be sure to do this step first to secure the hose. Next, attach the other end of the hose to the exhaust connector. Lock the hose into place.

Powering it on

When plugging your portable model in, use a grounded outlet as it draws much power. Once you plug it in, you will notice two buttons on the outside of the plug reading TEST and RESET. First, you want to press the test button. The system checks to make sure there are no safety problems. If it detects an issue, it powers down right away. If you encounter this problem, contact the manufacturer for support.

If the indicator light powers on then off, you can press the reset button. It will help you connect back to your portable A/C unit, where you can turn it on, adjust the temperature, and more. Use the remote control to run through some commands to check that everything works well.

How to drain a portable air conditioner?

When you use the air conditioner or dehumidifying feature, it draws warm air and moisture from the room. In some models, it has a self-absorption feature that rids of the water for you. However, many models have reservoirs you’ll need to empty on occasion.

Luckily, many newer models also have indicator lights. If you see one reading FL, it’s telling you the unit’s drain pan is full. You can either manually empty this pan or attach a drainage hose, like a garden hose, and run it outside. If you do not have an indicator light on your model, inspect underneath it occasionally to ensure there is not a buildup of water.

Portable heat pump safety tips

Since this is a powerful appliance, it is imperative to exercise caution when using portable heat pumps. Some safety tips to be mindful of include:

Placing the heat pump on a solid surface

Portable heat pumps can be hefty, with some weighing more than 80 pounds. Because of this, you do not want to place it on a table or other furniture where someone could accidentally knock it over. Ideally, place the model on the floor away from other appliances.

Educate children

Naturally, children will be curious about this new thing in your home. However, you’ll want to avoid having kids or pets playing nearby. Many of these units are quite heavy, and if knocked over could cause harm.

Clean the air filter often

The unit’s air filter prevents allergens and debris from entering your home. Since it is a wall of defense in keeping clean air in, you need to inspect it often. If your portable heat pump has cleanable filters, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for proper cleaning techniques.

Alternatively, if you have one that needs filters replaced, do so every one to two months. Make sure to purchase the right fit by either taking the old air filter with you when you go to the hardware store or by writing the model number down before going.

Consult the pros

If you encounter any issues with your portable heat pump, contact your manufacturer. On some occasions, it requires them to have a maintenance technician visit to repair the problem for you. Unless you have HVAC expertise, allowing the pros to handle the issue is the safest way to approach your challenge.

This post appeared first on HVAC.com

Make Sure Your Heat Pump Is Ready for Heating Season

No one wants to spend the coldest night of the year curled up beneath a blanket because their heating system doesn’t keep them comfortable. The good news is that there are ways you can help your Pasco County, FL, heat pump run better this winter. Here are four ways you can get your heat pump ready for cooler weather.

Install a New Thermostat

A new thermostat may very well save you money on your monthly heating costs. A programmable model will save you the most. This is because this type of thermostat responds to different settings for different times of day, only using as much energy as you actually require for your comfort.

Change the Heat Pump Filter

The filter is a vital part of your heating system that keeps the air in your home clean and free of debris. When dirt and other particles clog the filter, altered and obstructed airflow reduces the effectiveness of your HVAC system. Changing this filter once a month during the winter will keep your heat pump running more smoothly.

Call the Professionals

Having a yearly HVAC tune-up is a smart way to keep your warranty valid and ensure that your heat pump is operating as it should. Your technician will thoroughly inspect the entire HVAC system, make adjustments and recommend any repairs that need to be completed.

Correct Air Leaks

Reduced airflow in your heating system causes your system to work harder, which raises your energy costs. Check for air leaks around doors and windows, and seal them with weather stripping. Also, make sure all air vents are open, with no furniture or other objects blocking them.

Do you need your heat pump to run better this winter? Give us a call at Senica Air Conditioning, and ask us about our HVAC maintenance plans. We look forward to working with you!

Image provided by iStock

This post appeared first on Senicaair.com

Chemical Descalers: All the Stats, Facts, and Data You’ll Ever Need to Know

Each year scale deposits can cost industries millions of dollars. When scale builds up, it prevents equipment from working at optimal levels, meaning the equipment is forced to work harder, which can cause increased operating costs and reduced efficiencies. Using Chemical Descalers regularly also reduces the chances of equipment breaking down, which will prevent downtime in your facility.  

Suppose you are a facility manager or business owner. In that case, it is crucial to learn how to descale effectively and safely to prevent any damage to your equipment and lower your facility’s operating costs. 

If you manage any of these condensers, chillers, boilers, heat exchangers, cooling towers, or compressors, you have scale. Scale buildup may not be apparent right away, but sooner or later, you’ll suffer from it. Descaling systems quickly and easily eliminate scale buildup when used with descaling chemicals by circulating the chemical, flushing out the buildup.  

descaling chemicals

Unlike the harsh chemicals you’ve used in the past, Scalebreak is a safe, quick, and easy solution. There is a special version for stainless steel, and it is safe on steel, iron, copper, plastic, and rubber. With ScaleBreak, iron oxide deposits and calcium carbonate deposits are guaranteed to dissolve. Chemical descalers can handle various industrial descaler applications, such as boilers, hot water tanks, steam generators, plate, and shell heat exchangers, condensers, chillers, cooling coils, oil coolers, and more. 

Water-formed deposits, such as limescale, can rob equipment of much of its efficiency, increase operating costs, and shorten equipment life. A chemical descaler is an easy and effective way to remove deposits like scale, limescale, struvite, and rust. Chemical descalers act on calcium carbonate, sulfate, and silica buildup to break them down and flush them from the system. Chemical scale removal can be accomplished in several ways, but it is most effective when the chemical is pumped through the piping and connections of a system.

Why Use Chemical Descaler

Due to limescale deposits that build up over time, some symptoms will be gradual. However, small changes in equipment efficiency can indicate limescale growth. Listed below are some additional signs you need to address your limescale issue:

1. The cost of operating the chiller is increasing (such as due to pump failures or high head pressure that causes the chiller to shut down).

2. Downtime has increased.

3. The cost of heating and cooling is steadily rising.

4. High head pressures, elevated pump readings, or poor equipment performances on your boilers, chillers, heat exchangers, or towers.

Read this case study to see how Wagner-Meinert reduced head pressure from 423 PSI to 254 PSI, a 40% reduction with a chemical descaler. 

Next Steps:

Watch our webinar: Scale: Why You Have It, What It Does, and How to Descale Safely and Effectively.

Order a free sample of ScaleBreak® Chemical descaler

Let one of our in-house experts assess your specific descaling needs.

Download How to Clean Your Heat Exchangers

Calculator how much Chemical you will need with our Descaling Calculators

This post appeared first on Goodway.com

Why is My AC’s Evaporator Coil Half-Frozen?

Your air conditioner works hard throughout the summer months to keep your home cool and comfortable. Unfortunately, even the most well-fitted, durable air conditioner can have difficulty operating properly throughout the summer months. One common issue for homeowners is to find their AC evaporator coil half-frozen.

If your AC has been performing oddly, an examination may reveal the evaporator coil half-frozen. However, if you are unfamiliar with the internal workings of an AC, you may be wondering what an evaporator coil is or how to discover if half of the evaporator coil is frozen. Here are answers to all your evaporator coil questions, including why only the bottom half of your evaporator coil is cold.

What is an Evaporator Coil?

The evaporator coils are an integral part of the cooling process in your AC unit. They allow your air conditioner to exchange hot air into the cold air, then blow that cool air throughout your home’s vents. Finding your AC evaporator coil half-frozen depends on your ability to locate the evaporator coil in the first place.

If you’re hoping to check to see half of the evaporator coil frozen, look inside your unit near the air handler. The evaporator coils are usually close to the fan blower. 

As warm air collects in your home, it passes over the evaporator coils which hold liquid refrigerant. During this process, the liquid refrigerant turns into gas, cooling the air. Your AC unit’s blower then pushes the cool air throughout your home, making the indoor temperatures comfortable. If you find your evaporator coil half cold, there could be a few reasons why.

Signs the Evaporator Coil is Half-Frozen

If you aren’t sure how to tell if only the bottom half of my evaporator coil is cold, here are a few signs indicating it is half-frozen:

  • Your AC won’t turn on.
  • There’s a refrigerant leak near your AC unit.
  • Warm air is coming through your vents.
  • The AC stops and starts frequently throughout the day without cooling your home effectively.
  • Banging or hissing noises are coming from your AC.
  • Strange smells coming from your AC.
  • There’s ice around your refrigerant line.
  • Half your evaporator has condensation or ice on it.

What Causes Half of the Evaporator Coil to Freeze?

Below are the most common reasons homeowners find themselves with a half-frozen evaporator coil.

Dirty Evaporator Coils

When your AC unit’s evaporator coils are dirty, they are much more likely to freeze over. If you notice your evaporator coil half-frozen, that could mean that only half the coils are dirty.

As dirt and dust collect on the coil, it cannot release or absorb heat which causes it to freeze over. Keeping your AC’s evaporator coils clean and dust-free can help prevent this problem from occurring. 

Leaking Refrigerant

Refrigerants are a potent means of cooling your home’s air. However, if your evaporator coils don’t have enough refrigerant in them, they won’t be able to absorb the heat from the air and will send the AC unit into overdrive.

When that happens, the evaporator coils freeze up. Leaks can quickly cause your refrigerant levels to drop, freezing your coils and causing your AC unit to stop working properly. Not only will the refrigerant levels need refilling, but the leak will need to be located and repaired to prevent this issue from happening again.

Drain Clog

Dirt, dust, and other debris can collect inside your AC unit as it operates throughout the summer. As condensation forms on the evaporator coils, it’s normal for some moisture to drip.

If the drainpipe in your AC unit is clogged from debris or dirt, then too much condensation can develop. The drain can back up, causing the evaporator coils to freeze. The drain will need to remain clean and fully operational to avoid this problem.

Bad Airflow

If there isn’t a steady supply of air, then your evaporator coils could freeze over. Your whole air conditioner unit performs best with proper airflow, so if there isn’t enough then your air conditioner loses efficiency. Not only that, but your evaporator coils freeze over.

This malfunction is best prevented by keeping your air filters clean, replacing broken fans, and not blocking vents or registers. It’s also important not to pile boxes or other items around your AC unit.

Old Air Conditioner

The sad news is that sometimes an evaporator coil half cold indicates your AC unit is reaching the end of its lifespan. Air conditioners only last so long and problems can only be prevented for a certain amount of time. If your AC unit is older than 10-15 years, it may be reaching the end of its life.

Replacing the unit could be more worth your while than repairing whatever complication caused the evaporator coils to freeze.

How to Fix a Half-Frozen Evaporator Coil

Fixing a half-frozen evaporator coil depends on the source of the problem. Some things are easy repairs, such as changing out the air filter or cleaning the evaporator coils. Other things require professional help, such as replacing the refrigerant levels or repairing a leak. 

Here are the steps to fixing a half-frozen evaporator coil on your own (assuming there aren’t any serious failures): 

Step 1: Allow the Coils to Thaw

You shouldn’t run your air conditioner if the evaporator coils are beginning to freeze up. That can end up causing more damage to your unit. Thaw your evaporator coils by shutting your AC unit off. The coils can take up to 24 hours to thaw on their own. 

Step 2: Change the Air Filter

Dirty air filters are the culprits of many HVAC issues. Before you start your air conditioner again, make sure to exchange the air filter. Replace the old, dirty one with a new, fresh filter. Regularly changing your air conditioner can help prevent your evaporator coils from getting dirty and freezing. It can also preserve the life of your AC unit.

Step 3: Clean the Coils

There’s no point in thawing your coils and changing the filter if you don’t also make sure your evaporator coils are clean. Before starting your AC unit again, check the thawed evaporator coils and make sure they are clean. Before you attempt to clean your evaporator coils, make sure your AC unit is fully off—best to turn it off at the breaker panel.

Consult your unit’s manual if you have difficulty locating the coils. Clean them with regular cleaning liquid or warm water. Wipe with a soft cloth. Once the coils are clean, you can turn your AC unit back on.

Step 4: Call in the Pros

There are many things you can do as a homeowner to preserve the life of your AC unit and even keep your evaporator coils from freezing over. That being said, it’s always safe to trust any AC jobs to the professionals. Working with a licensed HVAC technician gives you the peace of mind that the job is done correctly. A skilled professional will also be able to spot any other issues in your unit and correct them before they break down.

Preventative Maintenance is Key

A preventative maintenance plan can help keep your evaporator coils from freezing before they even start icing over. While there is a lot of normal wear and tear on your AC unit as it runs, some malfunctions are lessened when your unit is regularly cleaned and maintained. Schedule your AC service with John C. Flood to repair frozen evaporator coils or to prevent breakdowns. 

The post Why is My AC's Evaporator Coil Half-Frozen? appeared first on John C. Flood.

Types of Pipes Used in Home Plumbing

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From copper to cast iron to everything in between, home plumbing uses a variety of pipe materials. No matter what your situation is, it’s helpful to understand the types of pipes used in home plumbing and how they affect the performance and functionality of your plumbing system.

PEX Piping

One of the newest materials on the market is polyethylene cross-linked piping. Also known as PEX piping, this is a popular choice for pipes that carry water supply. Why? PEX doesn’t rust or leach chemicals, which can’t be said for other commonly used materials, such as copper and plastic.

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Not only is PEX piping tough enough to stand up to high water pressure, it’s also flexible and easy to use across your home –– in your walls, ceiling, and floors.

PEX piping can also be used outdoors. However, it has some limitations. All PEX piping needs to be underground. Just like other plastic based pipe materials, PEX is sensitive to sunlight and can be broken down by UV rays.

Copper Pipes

Copper pipes are popular for water supply lines. In terms of home plumbing, copper has been around for a while. It’s been used for decades and continues to be a popular choice for its durability.

Like PEX, it can also be pricey, but that comes with a long lifespan. Copper pipes also don’t corrode as easily as other pipe materials.

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Copper piping is a material that requires training. It can be hard to deal with you and need special tools. So, unless you have some specialized equipment and knowledge, working with this material should be left to the professionals.

PVC Pipes

You were waiting for this one, weren’t you? PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and is a material beloved for its many DIY applications. Do you have a saw and some glue? Congratulations, you have everything you need to get started working with PVC.

However, as with all good things, PVC pipes have their limitations. Since most joints are sealed with glue, it can be difficult to establish a strong, long-lasting seal. This translates into PVC being a less-than-ideal choice for water supply lines.

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The high pressure can cause the piping to burst. What’s more, glued PVC joints can’t be easily undone, so you have to cut them and start over. PVC also doesn’t react well to sun or heat — both degrade the material. Although PVC is a great choice for DIYs of low-pressure systems, it’s not the ideal solution for just any project.

ABS Piping

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) piping has a lot of similar applications to PVC. One thing ABS has over PVC, however, is better durability in high-pressure systems. You’ll often see ABS used under sinks for this reason.

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ABS used to be a popular choice in plumbing maintenance, but it’s fallen out of favor over the years as superior materials hit the market. Like PVC, ABS joints aren’t durable and are susceptible to bursts.

ABS also degrades and warps worse than PVC, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. Hence why it’s used under the sink, where there’s usually near-total darkness.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel was a popular material in home plumbing for many decades. Keyword: was. Sometimes, galvanized steel is used for gas lines, but it’s rarely used for water supply lines anymore.

This material handles high-pressure systems well, so what gives? Unfortunately, it’s galvanized steel itself. This material corrodes over time, clogging pipes and leaching rust and chemicals into water supplies.

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Because galvanized steel was so popular in home plumbing for so long, it’s very common to find it in older houses. If you find yourself with a plumbing problem and galvanized steel pipes, the best choice is to replace them with modern materials instead of trying to repair them.

Don’t be a DIY hero. Galvanized steel is definitely a material that should be left to the professionals.

Cast Iron

Like galvanized steel, you’ll find cast iron pipes in a lot of older homes. Cast iron is less common than galvanized steel, though, because it’s much heavier and difficult to handle.

To make matters worse, this material rusts very easily, which can degrade the entire system and contaminate the water supply. If you have an older home and a cast iron system, this is another project that should be left to the professionals.

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Like galvanized steel, cast iron should be replaced instead of repaired, and this definitely isn’t the kind of project you can perform as a casual DIYer.

Looking for professional plumbing maintenance with expertise you can count on? With Service Champions, we’ll make recommendations for the right types of pipes for your specific needs.

How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

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It should go without saying that toilet clogs are an annoyance to nearly anyone that has ever used a restroom.

We recommend having at least two plungers on hand, but what if you’re in a home that doesn’t have any plungers at all? Lucky for you, there are some incredibly effective ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger. Here are some of our favorite methods.

Use Dish Soap and Hot Water

Oftentimes, the culprit of a clog is too much toilet paper or another object that got put down the toilet. Other times you may have kids who get excited about throwing anything they can find down the toilet, hence the only reason car keys end up in the toilet.

If you don’t have a plunger in your house, the next best thing is to clear some space down there to pry out the junk with other means. This starts with using some soap, preferably dish soap because of its ability to act as a detergent and break down particles so that they can be flushed out.

Along with your soap, pour a pot of hot water down the toilet. The hot water will help dislodge any existing blockages. Also, make sure you use a bucket to take some of the already existing water out of the toilet before trying this method. Adding more water to your already-clogged toilet can cause overflow.

Try Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is a great method that uses two pantry staples. Baking soda and vinegar will add the extra amount of carbonation and fizz that can push the clogged particles out of your toilet.

Any brand of vinegar and baking soda will do, just make sure you bucket out the excess water in the toilet beforehand so that there is no overflowing once you put the bubble inducing substances down the toilet.

Use a Brush if you Don’t Have a Plunger

No matter what you put down the toilet, you are going to need to think about using some sort of physical device to unjam the clog in some way. If you do not have a plunger, use a brush or using some sort of rod, long stick, or other object to put down the toilet and pound out the mess.

One of the hallmarks of plumbing maintenance is making sure that whatever you choose to fix the problem does not exacerbate it even more. Talk to someone more knowledgeable than you if you need help deciding what to stick down the toilet to unclog the mess.

Don’t Flush what Doesn’t Belong in Your Toilet

Most of us have put something down the toilet before that should have gone in the recycling or in a landfill. Sometimes it can just be really tempting to use the toilet as a catchall for small objects like cotton swabs, bandages, and toothpicks, but all of these things can add up and clog the toilet in the long run.

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To make sure that you put yourself at the least amount of risk for a clog, never put anything down the toilet except for toilet paper and human waste. Not even paper towels will do, because they do not dissolve like toilet paper is designed to.

Call a Plumber if You Can’t Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

It can be a hit to your ego to think that you need to call a plumber just to unclog a toilet, but that’s what we’re here for!

If you’ve tried these methods and your toilet still won’t unclog, give us a call and let us know how we can help.

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