There are few things better than entering a cooled down home on a boiling hot summers day. But what do you do when your air conditioner starts freezing up? How can you fix it? And can you prevent it from happening in the first place?
Check the Refrigerant Charge
When your air conditioners refrigerant charge is lacking fluid or altogether charged improperly, the entire unit may freeze up and stop working. So, when your air conditioner is suddenly freezing up, one of the first things you should do is look for leaks. Leaks can be caused by a number of things, including loose parts scraping against each other and loosening joints and fittings which allow fluid to leak out.
Thus, when you notice that fluid is running low, call a technician who can fix up leaks and refill the charge. Once that is done, they will also be able to provide you with a general maintenance of your unit so future leaks and freeze ups can be prevented.
Check Up on The Airflow
In order to keep the air in your home clean and your unit running, your air conditioner has a built-in filter. This filter will catch particles such as dust and pollen, which would otherwise clog up the AC’s parts and infiltrate your home. However, if you neglect to change the filter when needed, the air can become too dirty for the filter to keep up with, which means dirtied coils that will eventually stop working and cause the unit to drop in temperature until it freezes up completely.
This issue is easily prevented by changing the filter on a frequent basis. A recommended time frame is often given in the manual, but the make and model of the filter itself can also influence how frequently it needs to be changed. Simply check in with the manuals and stick to the given schedule. It is important to call in the HVAC experts in Philadelphia to look over the requirements.
Remain Mindful Of Outdoor Temperatures
While there are things that can happen to raise the indoor temperature even while it is cold outside, there are limits for what your AC can handle. Your workout may have warmed you up, your cooking or baking may have brought sweat to your brow, but when the outside temperature is below sixty degrees, you should never switch on the AC. Your air conditioner unit will likely freeze up under such conditions, simply because they aren’t built to work while the outdoors is so cold. When switched on, the below sixty degrees air from outside will wash across the unit’s coils and cause them to freeze.
If you have been dealing with high energy bills, you may want to consider duct sealing. It’s a simple adjustment to make for the specialist who cleans your air ducts, or really just any AC service provider, and it can save you a lot of money in the long run, among other considerable benefits.
How Duct Sealing Can Increase Your Safety
With so many appliances in our homes that produce combustible gases, there is an ongoing risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and other threats that many of us live with. One single leak is enough to cause back drafting which describes the situation in which gases are pushed into your home instead of outside. When ducts are sealed, they are made to lead gases outside and away from anyone who could be endangered by them, including you, your family, and your pets.
How Duct Sealing Makes Your Home More Efficient
When ducts have leaks, the rest of the unit will require more energy to continue to function as needed. As a result, your bills will increase and your systems will be working overtime. Duct sealing has been documented to increase efficiency by a maximum of twenty percent, while also decreasing the risk of your home contracting mildew or mold.
How Sealing Ducts Will Improve Air Quality
When a duct is leaking, it allows for pollen, pesticides, car exhaust, and other harmful particles to freely enter your home, and as a result, your lungs as you breathe. By sealing air ducts, you will keep these harmful particles out of your home, where they belong. However, it is equally important to keep the ducting clean with regular maintenance. You might want to call in the experts to look at the various aspects of the ducts, if there is any infiltration of odors and smells inside the house.
How Sealing Ducts Increases Your Home’s Comfort
Leaking ducts will cause cool spots and hot spots all over your home, since optimal air circulation is impossible, when the system isn’t working as it should. Sealed ducts will allow for an even distribution of air and keep your home at an even temperature of your choosing.
How Duct Sealing Can Help Protect the Environment
Since sealed ducts are more energy efficient, they will require less fuel to work at optimal capacity. As a result, your home will cause less pollution, and thus decrease your influence on matters such as acid rain and global warming. Sealing your ducts is another step toward minimizing your carbon footprint. Call in a HVAC professional in Philadelphia PA today to check your air ducts for leaks so you can reap the benefits.
If you wish to keep your home warm and protected throughout all of winter, you will need to have an attic in it that is properly ventilated. Lack of attic ventilation can lead to moisture build up which damages the very foundation and structural integrity of your roof and can bring along an urgent need for costly repairs. Additionally, proper ventilation will also allow for quality air flow throughout your home during the cold season. This is important to have fresh air while maintaining comfortable temperatures inside the home.
Benefits Of Attic Ventilation
There is an array of reasons as to why you should ensure proper ventilation of your attic, including the prevention and protection against:
- the appearance of and spread of wood rot
- popping roof shingles
- the buildup of ice dams
- the growth and spread of mold
- moisture build up
- frost build up
Since hot air rises while cold air sinks due to the differences in density, your attic will experience an increase in warmth during winter in contrast to the lower floors of your home. However, with the heat also comes moisture, at least it does when your attic space is lacking proper ventilation. And this moisture is then free to be soaked up by your home; it seeps into the materials which make up your roof, it seeps into the framing of your attic, it seeps into the boxes and furniture stored in your attic. In short: it brings mold and rot.
So how can proper attic ventilation fight this? Well, the installation of a ventilation system will lead to cool and dry air being pumped into your attic from the outside, while also transferring the warm and moist air from indoors to the outside. As a result, temperatures will remain even and moisture doesn’t get to build up. No more hot and cold spots. No more ice dams. Additionally, you will have turned your home into an environment protected against the growth of mold and mildew, as well as an environment unfriendly to rodents and insects. Calling on HVAC service in Philadelphia is important as they understand all aspects of the heating and cooling systems. Most of the companies offering these services have been in business for years and can offer regular maintenance and emergency services as well.
Understanding the Different Forms Of Attic Ventilation
It is recommended to have one square foot of ventilated space in contrast to roughly three-hundred cubic feet of regular, unventilated attic space. Additionally, you will also need an equal amount of intake and exhaust vents, in order to ensure functional airflow in and out of your attic.
All across the country, both businesses and homes depend on heat pumps to stay warm and functional throughout the cold season. Heat pumps function by transferring refrigerant through pipes in order to keep the indoors heated. Refrigerant works by changing its aggregate state between liquid and gas throughout the different stages of the heating system. However, due to these states of matter, refrigerant can also escape if a leak occurs in one of the system’s pipes. And such a leak can be more than just annoying. It can be dangerous. Especially if it occurs during the cold season.
Refrigerant Leaks During The Cold Season
Should a leak occur in a refrigerant line of your heat pump system, especially during the winter, you may be faced with disastrous consequences. Consequences that do not just impact your heating system, but may also pose a significant threat to the inhabitants of the home itself.
A sudden lack of heating, especially during dangerously low temperatures, can cause damage to property, but more importantly, pose a threat to the health and safety of people. Should a situation like this occur, it is vital to have a backup or auxiliary heating system to fall back on. It should be noted that it does not take something as severe as a leak to require the switch to the backup system. Simple inefficiency of your heat pump system is reason enough. The switch from the heat pump system to a backup is easily achieved by selecting the “backup” or “emergency” setting on your thermostat.
However, if a backup heating system is inaccessible or non-existent for you, you will need to get your refrigerant leak patched right away. No procrastinating. No evaluating. Contact a heating repair contractor as soon as possible so your refrigerant can be charged and your heating restored before temperatures become dangerously low in your home. Not only will that lead to uncomfortable temperatures but you can catch a cold and fall sick.
The Dangers Of Refrigerant Leaks Throughout The Cold Season
A sudden lack of refrigerant will cause a steady decline in the efficiency of your heating system, which in turn will cause a drop-in temperature in your home. Additionally, other malfunctions are also at an increased risk of occurring. Among these potential malfunctions are a frozen over heat pump and an overheated compressor which can permanently damage your system. Fixing such damage may require not just repairs, but full replacement. That is when you need to contact a HVAC service in Philadelphia PA so that they can offer you the best deal and subscription to maintenance services.
Over the course of the last few years, hot air systems and underfloor heating have slowly begun to replace radiators and fireplaces. This is largely due to the decrease in utility bills it brings. However, as with everything else, there are benefits and downsides that come with the installation of underfloor heating. Benefits and downsides which we are going to explore in the article below, so read on if you are curious.
The Two Basic Types Of Underfloor Heating
The market currently provides us with two main forms of underfloor heating; one making use of warm water pumped through pipes, the other making use of electric coils. While mainly affiliated with high end establishments like hotels and resorts, these systems can also be installed by a Heater Repair Service in Philadelphia PA in regular homes.
Warm water underfloor heating requires the installation of an interconnected series of pipes which starts at your home’s boiler and webs along below the floorboards of each room you wish to heat this way. While this form of underfloor heating requires lower temperatures than the other, electric, system, it is also costlier to install due to the more elaborate process of the installation itself. Additionally, the floors of the rooms may need to be slightly raised due to the thickness of the pipes.
The other option would be electric underfloor heating, which requires the installation of a web of wire coils below the floorboards of each room you wish to heat this way. You may also be able to opt for heat mats in certain rooms, though uncommonly shaped rooms will require individual wires if you wish to cover the entirety of the room. Additionally, you will also need insulation below the wires. While electric underfloor heating is cheaper to install, it should be noted that it cannot be installed under carpeted floors.
The Benefits Of Underfloor Heating
A lot of people choose underfloor heating to rid themselves of the constraints set by radiators which require to be free of furniture to heat the room. Additionally, radiators will also spread heat unevenly due to their location, and require more electricity to function in lower temperatures. In contrast, underfloor heating is more efficient in both operation and operating costs.
The Downsides Of Underfloor Heating
The lack of underfloor heating in regular homes can be traced back to three main reasons: installation costs, incompatibility with older buildings, and slower heat up time. You can always call on reliable HVAC contractors that have ample experience and expertise in handling such cases. If the underfloor heating system is old, they can remove and install a new one with ease.
Heating and cooling your home accounts for approximately half of your energy costs. This means that the more efficiently you do this, the lower your energy costs will be. Enter the new generation of temperature control devices: the smart thermostat. But besides its gadget-worthiness, is a smart thermostat really worth it?
What They Do
A smart thermostat will allow you to change the thermostat settings in your home from an app on your smartphone, computer, or other voice-controlled device. This is a major convenience, especially if your schedule changes frequently and you would like to adjust temperature settings in your home when no one is there. If you’re feeling super lazy, you can even turn on the heat without leaving the sofa.
Another benefit of having a smart thermostat is that not only can you view your usage, but depending on your system, it may even eventually learn your habits and adjust your temperatures accordingly.
But Will it Save You Money?
Ask a Philadelphia HVAC repair technician and the answer you will get is YES. Smart thermostats can save from $131 to $145 a year, according to the Nest Thermostat. In fact, the Nest is so smart, it will encourage a homeowner to make smart choices with handy leaf badges and monthly reports.
Other Nifty Features
Most smart thermostats have features that help make your life easier. Some useful features include HVAC maintenance reminders and dirty filter detection capabilities. The ability to monitor usage can make you more aware of your family’s energy consumption and make you think twice about your family’s energy usage.
Some Important Considerations
When considering the pros and cons of a smart thermostat, there are a few things you need to weigh. Sometimes, a home with air conditioning and a furnace can require a more sophisticated thermostat and professional setup. If you are only planning on living where you are for a short period of time, the investment of a smart thermostat may not be worth it. As is the case with all thermostats, you will want to consider the placement of the unit since it will register the air temperature in that area and not necessarily in other parts of the home. So, placing it near a warm fire burning device or near the kitchen oven can affect its overall performance.
What is the Biggest Downside?
For most people, a smart thermostat has one important downside and that is the cost. While a regular manual thermostat will cost anywhere between $20 and $60, a smart thermostat can cost anywhere between $200 and $300. Some homeowners think that the cost savings would immediately justify the purchase whereas others may not. It is up to the individual.
Call an Expert
If you have questions about smart thermostat technology or are considering having a smart thermostat installed, call our Philadelphia HVAC experts at Affordable Fixes LLC.
The holidays are drawing near and for many families, that means lots of visiting family — and clogged toilets. Yes, they can be embarrassing, which is why you may not find out about a clog until your toilet runneth over. Not fun.
The causes can be many. From a simple flushing of too much paper to larger clogs down inside the plumbing lines, here are some of the most common causes of a toilet clog and what you may be able to do to troubleshoot them.
Water Saving Toilets
If you have an earlier incarnation of a low-flow toilet, it may not have the power of today’s versions. These earlier toilets did save water but they often didn’t have enough flushing power to push contents through. In these cases, it is a case of upgrading to a more powerful unit alleviating a constant problem with clogs.
Flushing Anything But Toilet Paper
You heard us right. Toilet paper is made to break down in the toilet. But other things as simple as tissues, cotton balls, facial cleansing wipes or even dental floss are simply not made to be flushed. When these items get caught in the drain of a toilet, they will not break down and can create a clog. Most often, plunging will push a simple clog down but there are times when you may need the professional help of a Philadelphia plumber.
Flapper Isn’t Flapping
Inside the tank of your toilet, there is a rubber gasket at the bottom called a flapper. Its function is to open when you flush, letting water in the tank move down into the bowl. If the flapper is malfunctioning or old, it may not be opening completely. For most homeowners, this is a simple DIY fix with a chain adjustment or a new flapper from your local home improvement store.
A Problem in the Trap
Your drain pipes have a trap which is a bend at the pipe that prevents odors from coming up into the home. This bend can also result in clogs. If a plunge doesn’t move the clog through, you will want to consult a plumber in Philadelphia for an expert repair.
You will have a plumbing vent on your roof allowing fresh air into your system. If this vent becomes clogged with outside debris such as leaves or dirt, it can result in stopped up drainage and even malfunctioning toilets. Cleaning the drainage vent is best left to a professional.
The Sewer Line
Unfortunately, there are times when the issue can be a clog, a break, or tree roots infringing on the main sewer line. Because it involves digging at the sewer lines often on private property, this requires the skill of a professional plumber. You will want to request a professional who uses a camera in order to inspect the lines prior to digging.
When you need the skill of a professional plumber in Philadelphia, call the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC. For over 30 years, we have been the professionals more residents have trusted for their plumbing and HVAC needs.
You are glad for the cooler air after a long, hot, humid summer. With the cold temperatures comes dryer air. So why would you consider bringing more humidity into your home in the winter?
Next to the reading on the thermometer, humidity is the next biggest factor in the comfort level of your home. Philadelphia HVAC contractors suggest that central humidifiers are a perfect way of controlling important humidity levels inside your home. These can help increase comfort levels but also have other important benefits.
Although ultra humid days can sap your energy in the summer, what you are going for is a balanced environment. During the winter, the cold freezes moisture out of the air and lowers the humidity of a living space substantially. Your furnace further contributes to lowering the humidity level inside your home. Having a central humidifier installed by a Philadelphia HVAC contractor has many benefits for homeowners during the winter months.
A central humidifier can increase the moisture level inside the home for a more balanced comfort level. Although high humidity in the summer makes the air feel much hotter than it is, the opposite is true for cold, dry air. Dryer air makes the air feel colder and has the effect of soaking moisture from the body. Having the benefit of higher moisture levels inside your home makes your home more comfortable as well as alleviating cold weather conditions such as chapped and dry lips and skin, dry eyes, and chronic nosebleeds.
Reduced Deterioration of Wood Items or Furnishings
Dry air can deteriorate wood interior finishes, furnishings, or any possessions you may own such as musical instruments. Having a central humidifier can help protect these items from splitting and warping.
Having a more humid environment has the effect of making you feel warmer. Consequently, you may not feel compelled to turn the thermostat up as often. Your humidified air will help save you money on your electric bills. According to the EPA, a central humidifier has the ability of saving you up to 4 percent on your energy bills. And controlling humidity may help your home qualify for the National Association of Home Builders’ Green-Built Certification Program.
A Healthier Environment
Dry air can not only cause skin irritations and dry up sinuses, but it also can make it easier to pass viruses and germs between people. Respiratory illnesses, colds, and flus spread more quickly in drier environments.
Central humidifiers are installed directly into your current heating and cooling system and work by bringing water vapor through the duct system with your heated air. There are even systems that are designed for homes that have radiant or baseboard heating. You can adjust your humidity levels the same way you control your thermostat in order to get a balanced amount of humidity in your home.
A central humidifier is a simple addition to most HVAC systems. Call the Philadelphia HVAC contractors at Affordable Fixes LLC to discuss the benefits of having a central humidifier installed in your home.
It’s already November and we are anticipating the upcoming holidays. Cooler air is moving in and you turn your furnace on for the first time. Oops! Your breaker trips. What does that mean and what can you do about it?
Unfortunately, when your HVAC system is tripping breakers, it may be more than just a minor inconvenience. The circuit breakers in your home are built with a safety precaution system. Circuit breakers are designed to trip when they detect a fault in the system. These have the potential to create hazards and cause fires as well as damage equipment. If your furnace is tripping a breaker, there may be a serious safety risk that needs to be addressed.
Reset the breaker. If this works and you have no further issues, the problem may have been something like a temporary power surge or spike in the grid. Keep an eye on it. But if your furnace continues to trip the breaker, the source needs to be located and repaired.
The most common problems with a furnace that continues to trip the breaker are:
- An overloaded furnace
- An overloaded shared circuit
- A short circuit or ground fault inside the furnace
- A problem with the circuit breaker itself
An Overloaded Furnace
An overloaded furnace can be caused by numerous things. These can be
- Dirty air filters
- Blocked air vents
- Restricted ductwork
- Malfunctioning parts inside the furnace
Some of these things can be fixed by the homeowner but some require the skill of a Philadelphia furnace repair professional.
An Overloaded Shared Circuit
Electricity hogs such as your HVAC system should be on their own circuits. But many older homes were not constructed this way and your furnace may share a circuit with other appliances, lights or outlets. This can overload these circuits. Have a Philadelphia HVAC contractor either move the other shared items off that circuit or move the furnace to its own circuit.
A Short Circuit or Ground Fault Inside the Furnace
Short circuits can happen when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral one. A ground fault can occur when a hot wire touches a ground wire or another grounded part in the furnace. Both of these create a surge of electric current that the furnace is pulling. This type of issue should be left to a Philadelphia HVAC repair professional.
Circuit Breaker Issues
Sometimes the problem isn’t with the furnace but with the breaker or panel itself. This requires the expertise of an electrician.
Breakers that continue to trip create a fire risk and potential damage to your electrical system. When you are experiencing tripped breakers when you turn on your furnace, you want an experienced professional.
The repair experts at Affordable Fixes LLC are here to help. For over 30 years, we have been the Philadelphia HVAC professionals more residents have trusted for their plumbing and HVAC needs. Call us today when your furnace needs the skill of a professional.
We are just winding down from summer but now is the perfect time to start considering your furnace. There are some common issues that affect furnaces, so now is a good time to troubleshoot where necessary and get a Philadelphia HVAC repair technician in for repairs as needed.
If you find that your furnace isn’t producing heat at all, you may have issues with the thermostat, your power, or the pilot light. If the furnace isn’t heating adequately, you may have issues with a clogged filter or your furnace may be too small for the size of space you are trying to heat. Now is the time to figure these things out before the coldest winter weather moves in.
Dirty filters are the most common reason your furnace may malfunction. Dirty filters can become clogged and reduce the airflow through the system. This will make your furnace work harder than it needs to. If airflow is diminished substantially, it can do damage to the system itself. You may notice poorer air flow or higher heating bills when this happens. Filters should be changed monthly in order to keep air flowing freely through the system.
Wear and Tear
Normal, everyday wear and tear can also reduce airflow and heat control related issues. These can cause overheating of the unit.
Electric Ignition or Pilot Control Issues
Faulty ignitions or pilots can make it impossible to keep a home or business heated reliably. Drafts, clogs, or thermocouple issues can cause a pilot not to light. It may be necessary to close windows and doors in the room in order to reduce drafts.
A Malfunctioning Thermostat
A faulty thermostat, as well as a poorly calibrated thermostat, can create comfort issues in your home. If your furnace is not producing adequate warm air, check the battery level or replace the batteries in the thermostat. You can also call your Philadelphia furnace repair technician out to calibrate your thermostat for better temperature control.
Frequent cycling, or turning on and off, may indicate any number of things. The easiest thing to troubleshoot would be to make sure your filters are not clogged. It also may be an issue with improper airflow or a faulty thermostat.
Blower Continues to Run
When a blower fan won’t turn off or your furnace cycles, the first place to check is the thermostat. Make sure that the thermostat is set properly and the fan setting is on “Auto”. If the blower continues to run, it may indicate that there is a problem with the limit switch. In this case, you will want the skill of a Philadelphia HVAC repair technician.
The best course of action is to make sure to get annual HVAC maintenance. This will ensure that your system is clean and inspected and will run properly when necessary. The perfect time to get your system maintained is before you need it so issues can be repaired before the busy winter season.
An annual maintenance tune-up will examine all the parts of your heating system and get any issues corrected before they lead to a breakdown. Call the Philadelphia furnace repair professionals at Affordable Fixes LLC for your annual furnace maintenance so you can remain warm and toasty this coming winter season.