Five Steps to Follow to Prepare your Air Conditioner for Summer

Air conditioning and HVAC units do not last forever. In fact, 12 years is the average lifespan. Usually, A/C units fall apart when you need them most. The good news is that not all 9087485_blogsystem malfunctions indicate replacement. Many nuisances are inexpensive and easy to fix. You can perform some repairs yourself while others require the assistance of an expert. A trusted professional will ensure that your unit is functioning properly, which can prevent many unforeseen problems.

Follow these five fundamental steps to prepare your air conditioning system for summer. Take some time to understand the most important parts so you can manage routine maintenance, address issues with the specialists and ensure that your unit runs correctly.

1. Clean or change the filter every month

A filter reduces the amount of dust released into the air. Make sure you replace or clean the filters in your HVAC system to prepare for the upcoming summer months. They are rectangular or square in shape, and you can easily remove them from the indoor unit. Some air conditioning units are equipped with disposable filters while others require cleaning with water. Regardless of the filter type, cleaning this part of your unit on a regular basis is your number one priority. With dirty and dusty filters, your HVAC system will have to work harder to deliver comfortable air to the home. They can also cause the unit to freeze up or break down completely. A clean filter allows the air to flow freely into the unit and reduces the amount of contaminants in your house.

2. Keep the outdoor unit clean

The condenser is outside and should always be free of anything close to it because it houses the compressor. Make sure to clear any obstacles away from it such as plants, debris or grass clippings that can clog and damage your unit and cause it to run less efficiently. Blow away any leaves and branches, vacuum the dirt out and remove anything else that might be blocking the airflow. Using a clean brush or rag, lightly clean the fins around the coil. Make sure not to use a lot of force, or you can damage the fins. By keeping the area surrounding the outdoor portion of the unit clear of debris, you can reduce resistance and boost the efficiency of the system. Make sure to turn off the thermostat before attempting to clean the unit.

3. Clean indoor ductwork.

The ductwork makes up the ventilation system, which is a critical component of the heating and cooling system. You can locate the ductwork in the ceiling. These round tubes are responsible for the distribution of cold or warm air to the rooms in your house. If there are leaks and holes in your ducts, you will lose a lot of air. In fact, fractures in the ductwork can increase your energy bill by 20 percent or more. Seal any gaps and ensure all of the connectors are tight. Because ductwork is hidden within ceilings and walls, a licensed specialist should perform a full cleaning of your ductwork. Condensation results in an accumulation of moisture in the air ducts. Moisture can corrupt your system and can lead to the development of fungus and mold. If you notice water damage to the unit, contact a professional immediately. Do not try to repair the system on your own because there could be many different issues causing in the problem. However, you can maintain parts of your ductwork by keeping it clean and dry, removing registers and examining and drying the noticeable parts of the ducts. You can further inspect the visible areas of the ducts for water damage or wear.

4. Check and maintain fan belts on outdoor unit.

Check the condition of the fan belts frequently and replace or make adjustments to them if needed. You can purchase most parts at your local home improvement or hardware store. It is critical that you buy the correct replacement part for your precise model. The right components ensure that your A/C system is running at maximum performance, and they play a pivotal role in reducing your energy bills.

5. Schedule a professional pre-season tune-up.

You should hire a professional to inspect and tune your air conditioning unit annually. It will ensure that your unit is running at full capacity while using a minimal amount of energy. A licensed contractor possesses the right tools, knowledge and skills to unclog, fix or upgrade your system. This will keep it running efficiently and address any problems before they become larger dilemmas. The cost of a seasonal tune-up is a minimal investment that can prolong the life of your system when regularly performed.

Call Assured Climate at 804-739-0500 to schedule a pre-season tune up.

 


What to Watch Out for With Home Warranty Companies

assured-climate-concerns-on-home-warranty-companiesHome warranties can provide significant peace of mind for homeowners who do not want to be stuck with the full cost of expensive home repairs. It is especially wise to purchase a home warranty for any home that is at least 5 years old. Additionally, home owners who are purchasing or building a brand new home should seriously consider purchasing a quality home warranty policy in case they discover a major repair need soon after moving into their home.

However, it is also important to note that some home warranty companies may try to pull a fast one on you in order to convince you to purchase coverage that you may not need. Or, they may try to deny claims unfairly. Because most homeowners are not familiar with the ins and outs of home warranties, here are a few things you should watch out for when purchasing a home warranty policy or submitting a claim:

Wrongful Denial of Claims

Once you decide on a policy and purchase it, you should familiarize yourself with what your policy covers and what it does not cover. Always keep a copy of your policy details somewhere convenient where you can access it easily in case your warranty company denies a claim. Some of the most common types of home warranty coverage options include:

  • Major Appliances: things like water heaters, refrigerators, washers, dryers and stoves are typically included in major appliance coverage.
  • Plumbing: every homeowner should add plumbing to their home warranty policy, simply because plumbing issues are notorious for causing very expensive damage to homes.
  • HVAC System: your heating and air conditioning will eventually have issues, and a home warranty can help you cover HVAC failure costs but be aware of hidden fees.
  • Electrical System: electrical panels, doorbells, and wiring can malfunction at any time, and electrical system coverage can help you manage the cost of repairs.

If you know exactly what your warranty covers, you will be better prepared to defend your claim if it is wrongfully denied by your home warranty company.

Rust and Corrosion Exclusions

Another thing to watch out for with home warranty companies is their policy on rust and corrosion. Many home warranty policies actually exclude coverage for rust and corrosion completely, or for the first 30 days of policy issuance. So if your water heater develops rust problems, your policy may not cover it. If rust and corrosion are big problems in your area, you should find out if the warranty company offers this important type of coverage before purchasing a policy or submitting a claim.

Refusal to Pay Claim Due to Lack of Approval

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a homeowner is to have something repaired before getting approval from the warranty company. If you read the fine print on your policy, you will most likely notice a statement that says the warranty company will not pay unless you have filed a claim and received approval from them first. This is a difficult one to watch out for, because most homeowners want to fix problems as quickly as possible. However, if you want your claim to be paid, it is imperative to wait for approval.

Renewal Rates

Before selecting a home warranty policy, make sure you ask the warranty company about their renewal rates. Sometimes they will charge a very competitive rate initially in order to attract buyers, but once the policy is up for renewal, they may raise the price significantly. In order to keep yourself from being unpleasantly surprised when this happens, always ask about renewal rates before purchasing a warranty.

No Coverage for Garage Refrigerators

Some warranty policies only cover refrigerator problems if that refrigerator is located in the kitchen. This means that if you submit a claim for your refrigerator that is located in your garage, it may be denied. If you are concerned about this, carefully check our warranty policy or give the warranty company a call to find out if there is coverage available for a garage refrigerator.

Be Informed

When it comes to avoiding problems with your home warranty company, the best thing you can do is to inform yourself regarding your specific coverage details. If you are familiar with your policy and what it covers, you will know what to do if you run into one of the above problems with your warranty company.

While there are a lot of benefits to choosing a home warranty company, often it is best to handle home issues yourself as they are needed. Assured Climate will make your heating and cooling problem ours, we will work to fix the issues (if there are any), and will not charge a trip fee.

Call Assured Climate Heating and Cooling today at 804-739-0500 and let us help you with your HVAC issue.

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Common Heat Pump Problems in the Winter

The one thing that no homeowner wants to encounter during the winter months is a malfunctioning heat pump. In the wintertime, the heat pump transfers heat from the outside of your home into the inside. The lower the temperatures drop frozen-heat-pumpoutside during the winter, the harder it becomes for your heat pump to continue normal operations. Here are seven common heat pump problems that you may experience during the winter.

Covered in Ice

It is normal for a light layer of ice or frost to appear on the coils of your heat pump during periods of normal operation. When this happens, the heat pump will de-ice itself with the defrost cycle. However, when the ice or frost extends beyond the outside of the coils and covers practically the entire unit and inside of the coils, it is time for you to be concerned. Leaving your heat pump covered in ice and frost for an extended period of time can result in damage to the unit.

Nonfunctioning

Sometimes a heat pump may not be functioning due to a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. Reset the fuses and circuits to the unit and then proceed to turn the unit on. If after checking and resetting the fuses and circuit breaker, the heat pump does not power on, you need to contact an HVAC professional to get to the root of the problem.

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What Does it Mean When a Heat Pump Freezes?

18268272_blogOne common problem that many homeowners encounter during the colder months is a frozen heat pump. In order to understand why a heat pump freezes, one doesn’t need to be an HVAC expert. Here are some common reasons why a heat pump freezes and what you can do about it.

During the summer time and periods of warm weather, a heat pump functions just like any other air conditioning system. Once the cold weather arrives, the heat pump starts to transfer energy from the outside of your home to the inside by altering the flow of coolant in the system. The energy is used to heat your home when it is cold outside.

Extremely Cold Temperatures

A heat pump is best suited for temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperatures drop below that mark, ice starts to form on the coils, refrigerant lines, and condenser of the unit. Many heat pumps have a defrost option that one can use to help keep freezing from occurring when the temperatures occasionally dip too low. Frequent and prolonged exposure to low temperatures will damage the heat pump and bring about the need for costly repairs or replacement.

Little to No Refrigerant

Freezing is more likely to occur when refrigerant or coolant levels are low. During the fall and winter seasons, it is extremely important for homeowners to be diligent about checking their heat pump’s refrigerant or coolant levels. These levels need to be close to perfect in order to ensure proper operation of the unit when there is extremely cold weather. Homeowners should hire an HVAC professional to check the refrigerant levels in their heat pump and have them filled when necessary.

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What Is the Ideal Temperature to Set Heat to in Winter to Save Money?

For many homeowners, wintertime is the time of year when they are tempted the most to turn their thermostats up to the highest setting possible in order to keep all of those cold drafts at bay. While this may seem like a good idea, it is not. 6480706_blogConstantly setting the thermostat to a high temperature during the wintertime will cause a big spike in energy bills. In order to save money and keep your HVAC system from working too hard, here are some ways you can program your thermostat in order to save energy and money during those cold winter months in Richmond, VA.

Day Time Temperature Setting

Setting the thermostat too high when it is cold outside is the equivalent of tossing money out of the window. The warmer your home is the faster thermal energy will be lost to the outside. The lower the temperature is inside of the home, the slower the rate of thermal energy loss. To achieve optimal comfort, it is recommended for homeowners to set their thermostats between 68 to 72 degrees while there are people inside of the home. 68 to 72 degrees is a temperature range that is not too warm or cool, and is sufficient enough to warm up the home just enough so that everyone is comfortable regardless of the type of clothing they have on.

Night Time and Away Temperature

When the house is empty for an extended amount of time and at night, it is a good idea to lower the temperature to 58 to 62 degrees. When everyone is sleep and less active, there is no need for the heating and cooling system to waste energy when it is not needed as much. That temperature setting is also enough to keep the pipes in the home from freezing when the temperatures outside drop and no one is home. Read more ›


Filtering Out the Truth About Air & Heat Filters

Having an HVAC system is high on the list of necessities for a majority of individuals while house or apartment hunting. You want to be comfortable while inside of your residence, and air conditioning and heating plays a big part in that. If you have an HVAC system, you’ll need to know how to keep it up and running so that you can fully enjoy its benefits. Learn the importance of knowing when to change out your heating and air filters not only for comfort’s sake, but also for your health and for your finances.air-filters

The Complex Truth About Air Filters

In the past it was recommended that you inspect your air and furnace filters at least once a month in order to make sure that they were in working order. This was back when filters were little more than fiberglass pads that were an inch-thick and did little to actually keep harmful particles from finding their way into your home and into your lungs.

I’m glad to see that times and technology have changed and that we now have filters that are much more efficient. You can buy air filters that utilize a special electrostatic charge to trap particles like mold spores, pet dander and bacteria, making it possible for you to keep the air in your home as clear and clean as possible. With these new filters, you only have to worry about changing them out every three months. That being said, I still recommend that you at least take a look at the filters once a month in order to make sure that they’re in working order.

Something else to think about with changing your filters is that not everyone lives the same. If you have pets or if someone in your home smokes, you will want to change your filters out more often. I would also recommend purchasing filters of the highest quality so that your air doesn’t suffer as a result of your pets or smoking.

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7 Tips for HVAC Maintenance in Cooler Weather

As the mercury starts dropping, odds are you will start pulling out sweaters and enjoy watching the leaves change. Cool weather is also a sign that you should perform some basic maintenance on your HVAC system. Odds are you will be reaching for the thermostat to keep your home warm as the temperature drops, and taking these basic steps will help ensure you won’t be without heat this fall and winter.

1. Change Your Filters

No matter what time of year it is, you should make sure that you are changing the filters to your system according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Typically, swapping out the old ones for new ones should occur at the start of every season. This not only keeps air flowing freely, but it can also play a key role in boosting your indoor air quality.

2. Check the Outdoor Unit

As leaves begin to fall, they can quickly gather around the outdoor unit. Take the time to clear away debris such as long grasses, leaves and other matter that can clog the unit. Check to be sure that any exhaust vents are not cluttered as well. It is a good rule of thumb to cover the outdoor air conditioning unit while it is not in use to prevent any potential damage. Read more ›


7 Ways to Save Money Running Your Cooling System

hvacAh, the pleasures of summer: warm weather, barbecues, swimming, and easy living. The downside of seasonally toasty weather is that running the AC system can add up to some very expensive utility bills. America spends up to 11 billion dollars to cool off their homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. There are ways to save money on energy costs and still stay cool inside your home. Here are seven tips for saving cash on your cooling bills.

Add Landscaping Shade

The more shady plants and trees you have around your home, the less you will need to crank up the AC. A significant way that sunshine heats up your home is by bearing down from the outside. If you plant bushes and trees around your house, they can create a canopy of shade. Leafy canopies can naturally keep your house cooler. It’s also smart to plant a shade tree that will shield your air conditioning unit itself, so it doesn’t have to work so hard. These tactics can save up to 10% of cooling costs by making your systems more efficient. Read more ›


Ways to Keep Your Heating and Cooling System Working Properly

heating-coolingThe HVAC or heating and cooling system is what is responsible for keeping the temperature inside of any building or home climatically correct. Since this system is used all throughout the year, it is important for homeowners to perform their own maintenance to keep their furnace and air conditioning units operating at peak efficiency at all times. Here are a few ways homeowners can save money on repairs, energy costs, and frustrations.

Dirt and Debris Can Cause Problems

Dirt and debris are a heating and cooling system’s worst nightmare. Their presence can slowly destroy an HVAC unit, and cause it to malfunction by drastically reducing its efficiency. Cleaning is required on a regular basis to keep the presence of dirt away. Unplug the unit or use the power disconnect switch prior to cleaning. When cleaning the system, use a damp cotton cloth to remove any dirt or residue that is on the unit. For hard to remove stains or blemishes, use a mild detergent and warm water. Wipe clean any parts and surfaces that are easily accessible by hand. Key things to remember while cleaning a heating and cooling system are:

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Assured Climate Heating & Cooling

Assured Climate Heating & Cooling

Assured Climate Heating & Cooling