Learn How To Fix Frozen Up Air Conditioning

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.

How Can HVAC Duct Sealing Save You Money?

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.

Threat Of Refrigerant Leaks Throughout The Cold Season

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.

Benefits and Downsides Of Underfloor Heating

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.

What to Do When Your Furnace Trips a Breaker

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.

Make Sure Your Furnace is Ready for Winter

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

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.

Cycling

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.

How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing While You Are Away

With holidays upcoming, many of us travel to visit friends and family. But how do you keep your home safe while you are away?

Today, water damage is one of the most common insurance claims and frozen pipes can lead to an incredible amount of water damage in your home. When you are on vacation during the cold winter months, you can come back to some severe damage. Today, an average claim for water damage can exceed $6,000. That is a headache you don’t need. Before you go away for the holidays, here are some ways you can ensure that your pipes won’t freeze while you are gone.

Check for Leaks

Do a preliminary leak check before you go away. Small leaks can lead to large ones when you least expect it. Look for any small leaks and corroded areas that may need attention. Look for any areas that may appear wet or rusted and call a Philadelphia plumber to check out the area.

Check Appliance Hoses

Your household appliance hoses may not be areas that you consider on a daily basis but this is exactly why you need to make this an area of inspection. Any of these hoses are subject to freezing and could burst. Check for any leaky fittings or loose connections.

Shut Off Your Water Main

The best way to ensure that your home doesn’t experience a flood when you are gone is by completely shutting off the main valve to your home’s water. This may be outside near your water meter or in your basement. You should test this once a year just to make sure the valve is easily operable.

Drain Your Lines

If you have shut off your main valve, you will want to drain each interior line so water is not sitting inside the line. Open the taps inside the home as well as any outdoors and let any remaining water drain out.

Shut Off Individual Lines

If shutting off the main valve is inconvenient or impossible, you can shut off each individual line to each plumbing fixture. Sinks, faucets, and toilets have dedicated shutoff valves. Remember to shut off any water supplies to your washer and refrigerator.

Add Insulation to Your Plumbing Pipes

Insulation sleeves are easy to find at any hardware store or home improvement center. Insulating your plumbing pipes is further precaution against pipes freezing in your home while you are away. For those hard-to-reach areas, you may want to call a Philadelphia plumber for assistance.

Check Your Sump Pump

If there is a leak in your home, the water will flow to the lowest place which will be your basement or crawlspace. May sure that your sump pump is working properly in order to keep water damage to a minimum.

Keep the Heat On

It doesn’t have to be kept as high as you would normally set it, but keeping it set above 50 degrees Fahrenheit is a good way to ensure against pipes freezing while you are gone.

Keep Interior Doors Open

Keep all interior doors open including cabinet doors. This allows the warmer air to freely circulate throughout the home.

Install a Smart Thermostat

With a smart thermostat, if you see that the weather will be particularly frigid, you can set the thermostat accordingly with a touch of your app on your smartphone.

Need a professional plumber in Philadelphia? Call the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC for any of your plumbing needs.

Time to Check That Furnace Before You Are Left Out in the Cold

Sad but true, summer is over. The kids are back in school (a good thing) but that warm weather is on its way out (a not so good thing). Summer seems to get shorter each year. Before you know it, we will be bundling up and heading out for football games, roasting a turkey, getting ready for the holidays…and running that furnace.

Now may be a great time to brush up on furnace trivia courtesy of your local Philadelphia HVAC professional. No, furnace trivia is not the newest board game but things to be watchful for to suggest that your furnace is about to break down. We tend to forget about our dear furnaces throughout the summer but it’s best to brush up early.

Your heating system will often offer warning signs before a complete and total breakdown, fortunately for us. There are some common symptoms that we can watch for in order to head off inconvenient breakdowns in the middle of cold weather season.

Banging Noise

Your first indication of a furnace issue can show itself when you first turn the system on. If you hear a loud banging when your furnace starts, it could indicate a few things. One may be that the burner may be malfunctioning. Because gas builds up until the burner, ignites it, which can result in a loud bang. Think of it as a small explosion. Do you want a small explosion happening in your home? We didn’t think so.

Metal air ducts can also expand and contract as cold or warm air passes through them. This can also result in booming noises. The extenuating culprit may be obstructions at the vents, air filter, or simply ducts that aren’t adequate for your system.

More Noises

Are you hearing a high-pitched whining noise? This could be indicative of a blower belt problem or shaft bearing needed lubrication. A metallic scraping noise? A malfunctioning blower wheel or broken motor mount. Either sound should mean a quick call to your Philadelphia furnace repair technician.

Cold Air When There Should be Warm Air

There may be several reasons that your furnace is generating cold air. The easiest thing to consider is your thermostat. Your thermostat should be set to “auto”, not “on”. This will ensure that only heated air is being generated when necessary instead of continuous, and possibly cold air being generated instead. Another issue may be with a clogged air filter. Your air filter may be restricting airflow and can potentially overheat your system. The system will stop heating air as a precaution.

Get a Head Start

If you are smart, you will get a head start on checking on your heating system, so you will be warm this winter while others are calling their Philadelphia HVAC repair companies for repairs. Call Affordable Fixes LLC to get a head start on your heating system before cold weather moves in.

How to Keep Your Indoor Air Clean and Pollutant-Free

If you’re like most homeowners, unless you have a family member who suffers from respiratory issues, you probably give little thought to your indoor air quality. Many of us feel strongly about the environment but give very little thought to the indoor environment we live in daily.

Indoor Pollution

According to the people at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is a growing body of evidence that air inside our home and buildings are more polluted than the outdoor air. This is quite concerning for most of us, especially since we spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors.

Bring Nature Inside

One way you can clean your indoor air is by bringing houseplants in. As they rely on carbon dioxide to live and expel oxygen, it is a perfect indoor filtering option.

Open Windows

During good weather, keep windows open as much as possible. Newer homes, in particular, get very little outdoor air circulation and tend to re-circulate air over and over. Keeping floors clean will also lessen particles that may end up being circulated in your indoor space.

Change Your Air Filter

By changing your air filters regularly, you reduce the particles that get caught and often clog your system. A clogged filter can actually do more harm than good by re-circulating allergens and particles back into your home.

The typical HVAC system will circulate over 1,000 cubic feet of air each minute through its filter. Philadelphia HVAC repair professionals suggest you change your filter every 2 to 6 months depending on the number of occupants and whether you have pets.

Cut Down on Mold and Mildew

Humidity trapped inside your home can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. The EPA suggests that indoor humidity levels should be between 30 and 60 percent. By utilizing dehumidifiers and exhaust fans, you can manage the humidity levels inside your home to a healthy level and cut down on the possibility of mold taking up residence there.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

We hear each year about families who have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, often because of badly maintained or fitted heaters or clogged fireplaces. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, your best line of defense is an installed carbon monoxide detector inside your home.

Keep Your Air Well Ventilated

Because we tend to re-circulate stale air during certain times of the year, it’s important to balance this with clean, fresh air. Many homeowners are choosing to install heat recovery ventilators in their homes.

These use a dedicated duct in order to remove stale air while circulating the same volume of fresh air indoors. There is a heat exchange core inside the controller that keeps incoming fresh air consistent with the temperature of the indoor air.

Ask your local Philadelphia HVAC contractor how a heat recovery ventilator can help your indoor air quality. The HVAC professionals at Affordable Fixes LLC would be happy to answer any indoor air quality questions you may have. Call us today.

Should I Replace My Air Conditioner or Fix It?

You’ve been putting it off, but with summer just a couple months away it has come back to haunt you. If your air conditioning was struggling at the end of last summer, you now need to make a decision. Is it worth the cost of a repair or should you just bite the bullet and replace it?

Pat Yourself on the Back

First, you should be commended. You are getting ahead of the game simply by being proactive. Whether you decide to repair or replace, once summer rolls around you will be waiting for an HVAC repair company in Philadelphia to schedule you right along with everyone else. Scheduling an air conditioning repair once summer hits can become an uncomfortable waiting game.

How to Decide

When you are trying to figure out if a repair makes sense, you want to consider some things about your system.

Age

First, how old is it? There is a simple calculation that most Philadelphia AC repair technicians use when deciding if a repair is worth it. They will take the age of the system and multiply it by the anticipated cost of the repair. If this exceeds $5,000, you may want to consider a replacement.

Sometimes it makes no sense to put money into an older system. Your AC system has a functional lifespan of about 15 years. If you are repairing a system that is nearing the end of its life, you may be wasting your money. You may also want to consider your refrigerant here. Manufacturers stopped using Freon back in 2010 and Freon production will end in 2020. This may be your perfect excuse to get rid of an old system that will soon be obsolete and get a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Efficiency

An inefficient system can be a huge drain on your energy expenses once summer hits. Systems on the market today have far superior energy saving technology than old systems. According to energy.gov, even if your current system is only ten years old, you could save between 20 to 40 percent on your cooling costs by replacing your current system with a new, more efficient one. That is no small savings.

Consider the amount of the repair against the potential cost savings of a new system and you may see that putting money into an old system that is draining your wallet in other areas doesn’t make sense.

Size

If you have had a continuous issue with your old system not getting your home sufficiently cool even when it is operating properly, your AC may just be too small for your home. This is one of the most common problems we see. This is another energy drain because a small system will work nonstop trying to keep your home at a cooler temperature. This may be another waste of a repair cost. A new system that is appropriately sized for your home will make a remarkable difference in your comfort and your energy bills.

Call a Professional

If you need AC repair in Philadelphia and need an expert’s advice, call the professionals at Affordable Fixes. We can take the mystery out of air conditioning repairs before you get hot under the collar.