Orlando AC Repair: 3 Easy Tips To Get Improved Performance From Your Air Conditioning or Heat Pump System
Who doesn’t love Pro Tips, right? I don’t know about you, but anytime I get a chance to learn a professional’s secrets, I get excited. That’s why I’m excited to share these little tips and tricks with you.
Years of Orlando AC repair have taught me how to maximize the performance and extend the useful life of heat pumps and air conditioning systems. If your cooling system is underperforming your expectations, read on.
A note on AC repair near me: humidity and high heat present different challenges than other climates. These tips and tricks, however, aren’t unique to the Orlando area climate, and will work just as well if you’re in Philadelphia, Des Moines, or Seattle.
So how do you help your heat pump or AC reach its full potential?
Insulation, insulation, insulation. A home’s thermal envelope is a critical performance factor. In case you’re wondering what a thermal envelope is, it means the structural elements of your home that hold warm or cool air inside, where you want it to be.
Your doors, windows, walls, and ceilings are all part of your thermal envelope. That’s why Energy Star recommends high-efficiency windows, as a for instance. But in this case, we’re talking:
Attics. Inadequate insulation at the top of your home means heat loss in the winter and heat penetration in the summer. A well-insulated attic will immediately help your AC perform better.
Doors and windows – An intrepid homeowner who has read Orlando AC Repairs collection of tips and tricks could easily find and repair leak points that are causing your system to work harder. Many Orlando homes are losing as much as 40% of their thermal energy to leaks. Check windows and doors and seal any leaks with caulk and weather stripping.
Ductwork. Many homeowners forget that ducts should also be insulated, particularly when they run through uninsulated spaces such as garages or attics. You also want to seal leaks between your attic and living space, and seal all of your HVAC vents.
Spray-in foam can be a big help here. It’s all about making sure the energy goes where you want it to go. If you aren’t sure how to handle this, duct repair is one of the many heating air conditioning services we offer.
Keep it clean. We often stress the importance of preventive maintenance, and we’re about to do it again. Like Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you put that in HVAC terms, it means that doing simple maintenance tasks can help stave off nightmarishly expensive repairs. When we’re talking about preventive maintenance, we mean:
Air filters. Keep these clean, and they’ll return the favor by keeping your air free of allergens, pollen, mold, dust, and mildew. However, if you forget to clean them or replace them at least once a month, you’re risking the integrity of your system.
The first thing that will happen is a loss of efficiency, as your system has to work hard to compensate for the restrictions in airflow. Left unchecked, that can lead to far worse than performance problems, however – like a slugged compressor and an AC repair bill that will definitely make you sweat.
Intake registers and air vents. Even if you’re one of those people who always remember to change the filter, you might be forgetting to clean the registers and vents. It also helps to keep them open and clear.
It’s a misconception that closing vents off to rooms you aren’t using will save you money – your heat pump or air conditioner will deliver the same output regardless, all you’re doing is changing the balance of airflow and increasing air pressure.
This could actually impact the performance negatively. In short, keep your intake registers and air vents as clean as your filters, and don’t close them. It is also advisable to keep curtains, furnishings, and such from covering your vents and registers, for the same reason.
Anything that makes your system work harder lowers its efficiency – the exact opposite of our goal.
Clean the outdoor unit. Out of sight, out of mind. Since most of us put some effort into hiding the condenser unit (we’ve seen privacy fences, strategically placed bushes, and more) it’s easy to forget to keep it clean.
However, over time, lawn clippings, pollen, dust, dirt, and anything else the wind and weather can kick up can build up on the fins, fans, and chassis of your exposed outdoor unit. One quick way to improve performance is to clean the outdoor unit – we recommend twice a year.
Do it gently, with a garden hose, and make sure that no weeds or grass are growing within two or three feet of the unit.
Upgrade your thermostat. The EPA makes a very big deal about programmable thermostats, because they can save you up to $150 a year, on average.
If you’ve got a decent grip on your schedule and a programmable thermostat, you can improve the performance of your system by making sure it turns on precisely when it is most needed, and runs for appropriately timed super-efficient cycles.
Many modern thermostats are also Wi-Fi capable and come with apps that allow you to track efficiency and performance from your phone. I’ve found that it can become kind of a game, to see what little tricks there are to pull the absolute maximum efficiency and performance from your air conditioner or heat pump.
Remember – Orlando AC Repair is always here to advise you. Next time you get the urge to hop on your phone and search “ac repair near me,” just give us a call, instead. We’ll steer you in the right direction.
Call 407-499-8942 today with questions or to schedule a service call and save $25!
We’ve all been here: your central air conditioner is on the fritz, and you’re not sure what to do. You’ve Googled “AC repair near me” and been stumped at whom to call, or worried about what that repair call was going to cost.
We’re here to help – our Orlando AC repair technicians are always available, and it doesn’t cost you a thing to ask us questions, or read our troubleshooting guides. Even when you do need us to come out, our first priority is customer satisfaction, not bill collection.
Is your home AC not doing the job? Is it blowing warm air, or even hot air? If so, you’re completely justified in being concerned. An Orlando summer is no time to be without an air conditioner – the humidity alone is dangerous sometimes!
Below, we’ll go over some things that can cause an air conditioner to blow lukewarm or hot air. Some of these problems you’ll be able to fix up right away and others will require professional repair services. For your convenience, we’ll let you know which is which.
Things You Can Check On Your Own
1. Incorrect thermostat settings – your thermostat probably has settings for ON, AUTO, and OFF. If it is set to ON, rather than AUTO, then your system will continue running the blower fan 24/7, even when the compressor and evaporator aren’t doing their cooling work.
If your system sometimes blows cold air and sometimes blows “room temperature” air, this could be your problem. The solution is simplicity itself: set your thermostat to AUTO and your desired temperature. Now the fan will only run when the rest of the system is also running.
2. Dirty air filters – This is the biggest pet peeve of your average HVAC contractor. A dirty air filter is the simplest possible problem to avoid, but also the cause of a huge percentage of AC repair malfunctions.
We make a point of reminding our customers to change or clean their air filters as directed by the manufacturer of their system. Typically, that’s about once a month. A dirty air filter is a problem because it restricts airflow, making your system work harder to push air through the debris-clogged filter.
Cool air can’t escape the system itself – so your home feels warm, and your evaporator coil literally ices over. At that point, no more cooling will take place, as the evaporator is the part of your system that does that.
The solution? Check your air filters. If they’re dirty, clean or change them. If your evaporator has already iced over, thaw it by running just your fan for a few hours before trying to cool your home.
3. Dirty outdoor unit – Your central air conditioner works mostly thanks to three factors – the evaporator, the condenser, and refrigerant. We’ve discussed above what happens when the evaporator freezes over – and later we’ll talk about what to do if refrigerant levels are low.
Your condenser is in the outside unit, unless you have a package system. For most people, that means the condenser unit is somewhat exposed. The outdoor unit is what dissipates the heat your evaporator is absorbing to cool your home, if it’s crowded with dirt, debris, mold, weeds, or other plant growth, heat won’t be able to escape.
The solution is simple, though: clear larger debris away from your unit (you want a few feet around the unit to be totally clean) and then use a garden hose to very gently spray the unit down. It’s important not to use forceful spray, as that can bend the condenser’s fins.
Things You Should Call Us For
Even the most enterprising homeowner can’t fix everything. For the issues below, Orlando AC Repair contractors are required.
1. Low Refrigerant – Refrigerant is the liquid flowing through your coils that allow it to absorb heat. Without enough of it, your system blows warm air and ice builds up inside the chassis. If you see ice on the refrigerant line or outside unit, hear a hissing sound that you hadn’t heard before, or notice your AC blowing warm air more often on hotter days, turn it off.
Low refrigerant is a direct threat to the most expensive part in your central air conditioner: the compressor. Refrigerant is a hazardous chemical, requiring trained and certified professionals to find and repair leaks, charge the system, and dispose of the excess.
2. Compressor fault – The compressor circulates refrigerant between the inside and outside units, essentially ferrying the heat in and out like your circulatory system. If it gets damaged – which can be caused by most of the other issues on this list – the entire system ceases to function.
If your compressor is the issue, be warned that it’s a very expensive part to replace. This is another reason we recommend regular maintenance to our customers – if we catch these problems early, you’ll likely still be under warranty.
3. Faulty Fan motor – The condenser uses a fan to dissipate heat from the outdoor unit. When that fan has problems, the heat doesn’t dissipate, meaning your central air conditioner can’t do the job of cooling your home. Once that’s replaced, it will be business as usual.
So what’s the most important message to take away from this? Be proactive, keep regular maintenance schedules, have your system tuned up once or twice a year, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Next time, instead of typing “best ac repair near me” into a search engine, give us a ring at 407-499-8942. We’ll give you a no-nonsense breakdown of your situation, and put you on the path to a quick resolution.
Michael Haines is a veteran A/C contractor and founder of the largest and oldest e-commerce site in the heating and air conditioning industry. His HVAC websites have served 10's of thousands of customers.