1. How to Know if It’s Time to Replace Your Old Gas Heater

    Homeowners always want to know when it’s time to replace a furnace. With an appliance such as a furnace they don’t want to be caught flatfooted in the dead of winter when their furnace breathes its last breath, and their home ices over. So, when is the time for a furnace replacement? Find out more from your Chicago HVAC professionals.

    How Old is Old?

    In general, the average life of a gas furnace is 15 years. If your furnace has passed 15 years of service, and maintenance needs to be done more frequently, the writing is on the wall. That is, residential furnace replacement needs to happen soon. A general sign it needs replacement is it is not running as efficiently, and consequently your power bills are making a significant dent in your budget. Another way to know if your old gas furnace needs replacing is if you’re paying more than 15% it would cost to purchase a new furnace.

    How long do gas furnaces last? The cited 15- to 20-year average service of a furnace is not set in cement. Dependable furnaces can endure 20 to 30 years. To eliminate the guesswork of when you can expect your old gas heater needs replacement is to find the suggested average life of a furnace in your owner’s manual. Or an alternative method is to contact the manufacturer, and give them the model number of the unit.

    Different Temperatures for Different Rooms

    If a higher-than-normal power bill hasn’t caught your attention, then perhaps noticing temperature changes between rooms will. When an old gas heater is nearing the end of its lifespan, its increasing inefficiency can cause rooms to feel either warmer or colder, instead of the heat being evenly distributed across all rooms. Uneven temperatures registering from room to room can come about when a furnace has entered old age, and its antiquated ductwork no longer possesses the ability to register even heating from one room to another. Then furnace replacement needs to be considered.

    A Sooty Environment

    An old gas furnace entering the final years of its life can start to belch dust, dirt, even rust particulate matter. This not only is an insult to a well-kept home, but also poses an environmental hazard to family members, pets, and plants.

    If you see soot or rust accumulating near the furnace or its registers, this indicates the furnace is producing an excess of CO2. An increase in CO2 can create extreme dryness, affecting the interior of your home as well as its inhabitants, with symptoms such as dry eyes and irritated throats. It’s time to contact an HVAC contractor to find out if you need to replace your furnace.

    Noise Pollution

    Furnaces will typically make some sounds when they start up and shut down. However, if you find your furnace making more noise than usual, this may be an indicator furnace replacement is in the near future. The kinds of sounds to look for are: any noise that doesn’t sound right or is unfamiliar to you.

    Odor Problems

    Odd odors emanating from your furnace can be an indicator your unit is not operating correctly. Those peculiar odors can spell trouble for your household. If you experience a burning odor it could be traced to faulty wiring, or the wire insulation is burning. Don’t ignore strange odors; call an HVAC contractor to check your unit. Only they can tell you if you’ll need furnace replacement service from them.

    Running in Short Cycles

    If your furnace is struggling to stay on and shutting off too quickly, you may need to replace your furnace. But other issues that can be resolved without replacing your furnace include a grimy air filter, a dead battery, incorrect thermostat setting, or the fan control is not functioning correctly. As far as thermostat settings go, if you need to constantly adjust your thermostat, your furnace is signaling it is not functioning normally, and you may need furnace replacement in the home.

    Yellow Pilot Light

    It is wise as your old gas furnace ages into its golden years to check the pilot light regularly. You should see a blue flame, which means all is well. If you see the flame is yellow a problem exists. A yellow flame is an indicator the furnace is not burning hot enough, due to the thermocouple’s inability to heat to the required temperature. The result is the gas supply will shut down. At this point you might want to start researching the cost to replace your furnace.

    More seriously, a yellow pilot light could mean a deficiency in oxygen. A yellow pilot light can also mean carbon monoxide is present, a danger to family members’ health. Leaking carbon monoxide in the home is no joke. It is important to call in an HVAC professional immediately for possible residential furnace replacement service.

  2. Why is My Central Air Conditioner Blowing Warm Air?

    You may believe running your air conditioner faithfully during summer’s hottest days is enough to keep your home cool. This is not the whole truth: there are many factors that can compromise the air conditioning’s ability to keep your home at the most optimal comfort level. What you Chicago HVAC team is trying to say here is: your air conditioning system cannot alone do the job of keeping your home cool as a cumber.

    Your air conditioner unit needs assistance to help it run as efficiently as possible. You’ll be surprised to know how many things can cause your home to retain more heat than it should. In this blog, we will explain first how heat in your home happens; what problems with the air conditioning may be impeding its ability to do a sufficient job of cooling your living spaces; and some guidelines on how to support your air conditioner in doing its work.

    Why is My Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air Instead of Cold?

    The laws of physics dictate hot air (conduction) moves towards cool air (convection). Concerning your home, heat from outside is absorbed by your ceiling, windows, walls, and doors. The foundation of your house also absorbs heat. So, you could say the entire infrastructure of your home is under assault by heat waves. No wonder the A / C is not cooling enough. To continue, if your home absorbs heat at a higher rate than the air conditioning can eliminate it, the temperature goes up. This explanation answers the concern: my A / C is blowing but not cold.

    In the face of all these factors adding to the heat gain of your home, there are plenty of steps you can take to resolve the issue of your home A / C not blowing cold air, lessening the burden on your air conditioner unit to do all the grunt work of cooling. Assuming your air conditioning system has been completely inspected, and all components are in working order; the remedies for the home A / C blowing hot air, even in the midst of oven-like heat, follow.

    Why is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling the House?

    Sealing Cracks

    A common source of high heat gain, which interferes with the air conditioner’s ability to cool your home, are minute cracks found around the perimeters of doors and windows, which let in heat from the outside. An ingenious method to discovering where these cracks are is to light a stick of incense. When you are near doors and windows, observe if the incense smoke is streaming vertically or horizontally. If the incense has a horizontal tail, that tells you a crack is present which needs sealing.

    Besides sealing cracks around the window, you can also buy heavy-weight drapery and blinds, which will further lessen heat gain. In this way, you help your air conditioning unit to optimally perform its cooling operations.

    My A / C Isn’t Cold

    Roof Replacement

    When the time comes to have a new roof installed, it’s an opportunity to reduce heat gain in your house. Roofing shingles both absorb and radiate heat. Heat from the roof works its way into your home via the attic and is absorbed into the ceiling.

    One solution for your attic, where temperatures have been known to rise as high as 150 degrees and beyond, is to purchase an attic fan. Having a dedicated thermostat for just the fan will help to determine at what temperature the fan will turn on to keep the attic cool, holding heat gain at bay.

    Another facet of shingles, which also adds to the heat gain and affects the air conditioning’s cooling properties, is their color. If they are dark they absorb more heat. This helps in the cold weather months when your home is crying out for heat, but in hot weather it only creates more heat gain. The next time you’re ready to replace the shingles talk to your roofing contractor about what colors are best for both summer and winter months.

    My Central Air Conditioner is Blowing Warm Air: Other Reasons

    Preparing Meals

    When you turn on the stove or oven in summertime, you force your air conditioner to toil harder to address the high heat gain these appliances create. A good rule-of-thumb to follow is once the outdoor temperature soars over 90 degrees, cook outdoors on your patio or sundeck. And to put a fine point on it, your dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer also add to the heat-load demand. Wait until later in the evening when the temperature drops, ideally just before you retire, to turn on the dishwasher, or do a load of wash.

    Appliances

    Desktops and laptops as well as TVs produce heat, so shut them off when you’re not using them.

    Showering

    Shower steam equals heat gain, so ensure everyone in your home uses the ventilation fan in the bathroom.

    Water Heater

    The water heater is yet another source of heat gain in your home during the summer. Use an insulating blanket to wrap the water heater in.As you can see now there are many reasons your air conditioner is blowing warm air in the house. Take the steps we’ve suggested to bring cooling comfort to your home.

  3. Air Conditioning Circuit Breakers and Why They Trip

    Air conditioner breaker trips can be either be readily resolved, or require professional attention from an Chicago air conditioning technician. In this blog, we will explore the possible causes of breaker trips. But before we launch into why your air conditioner trips the circuit breaker, we want to explain how an air conditioning split system differs from a single system, concerning breaker trips.

    Split systems feature two separate voltage circuits, each with a separate breaker. One breaker is connected to the air handler, the other to the condenser. Different issues will cause one or the other breaker to trip; however, it is seldom the case both breakers will trip simultaneously. Power outages, lightening, a faulty transformer, or brown-outs could possibly cause both breakers to trip at once.

    What Does It Mean When a Breaker Keeps Tripping?

    Maintenance of your central air conditioning system is a common reason for breaker trips. Condenser coils that have been allowed to build up grime force the air conditioning to use more power. Instead of cooling, the power-rise causes heat to increase. The outcome is the A / C circuit keeps tripping, due to an overloaded circuit. Air filters covered in dirt also cause breaker trips.

    Make a determined effort to check, clean (if necessary), and in the case of filters, replace them. Keeping your condenser coils and air filters well-maintained will help lower your power bills and decrease the likelihood your air conditioning circuit keeps tripping.

    Capacitators

    Faulty or non-functioning capacitators are another source of air conditioning circuit breaker trips. Two types of capacitators are manufactured: run and start.

    A run capacitator is used in all air conditioner motors as well as the compressor. The start capacitator only operates the compressor. Capacitators can blow, causing breaker trips.

    Mechanical Issues

    Faulty bearings or a jammed part can interfere with the air conditioner motor’s operation. The motor will end up working overtime to counter the resistance, caused by malfunctioning bearings or stuck components. This will cause a surge in the electrical current, producing more heat. In time, the air conditioner breaker will trip.

    Electric Connections

    Loosened wires occurring in any component in the central air conditioner will lead to breaker trips. An example of how this can happen is with the air compressor. Wire corrosion of the compressor results in loosened wires, and the connection is weakened. This problem can be avoided with regular inspection and maintenance visits by an air conditioning professional.

    Short Cycling

    During short cycling, the air conditioning motor turns on and off frequently. What happens here is the motor starts from a complete standstill to operating at full capacity instantly. During this very quick startup the motor will set off a surge of electricity, going into overdrive. The increase in heat to counter the inertia the motor’s full stop has created will possibly cause a breaker trip.

    Wire Size

    If the wire size is not correct that also will lead to breaker trips of your air conditioner.

    Installation

    If your central air conditioning system is not correctly installed, breaker trips may be in its future. All installations must be performed by a certified HVAC contractor. They understand the installation must conform to the safety codes embedded in the National Electrical Code and the Mechanical Code.

    After the air conditioner installation is completed, the air conditioning contractor must contact a municipal inspector, specified by law, to make sure all safety codes have been adhered to. Having this required inspection done will go a long way towards averting breaker trips of your air conditioner.

    Why Does the Air Conditioner Reset Button Keep Tripping?

    The A / C breaker tripped and won’t reset? The reason is when breaker trips don’t respond to being reset it indicates an underlying problem of a serious nature. Call an air conditioner professional to come out and find out why your A / C circuit breakers keep tripping.

    Caution: a final note here to not reset the air conditioning breaker after a few tries.

  4. Why is Your Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

    All gas, oil, and electric furnaces are sensitive and calibrated pieces of equipment. It only takes one or more components to be out-of-whack, or not tended to that creates problems. One of the more vexing and mysterious problems the Chicago HVAC specialists at Aircor see is when your furnace is blowing cold air when the heat is on. Or it could be the opposite: you feel cold air coming from vents when the heat is off.

    Whether you own a gas, electric, or oil furnace blowing cold air, troubleshooting why your furnace is blowing cold air instead of heat is where you should begin before resorting to calling in an HVAC contractor. Below we give some basic troubleshooting steps to help you figure out why your heater is blowing cold air in the house.

    Thermostat Setting

    At the top of the troubleshooting list is to first check your thermostat. If you notice the thermostat is set to ON, it is most certainly the problem. What’s occurring is your heater blower continues to operate, although your home has reached its maximum comfort level. The solution? Reset the thermostat to AUTO. Now the furnace will automatically shut off the blower once your home has been thoroughly warmed, and come back on when it needs to raise the temperature again.

    Overheated Furnace

    If your furnace is blowing cold air sometimes, it could be your central heater is overheating. What causes this to occur is the limit switch shut off the furnace blowers. It does this to stop the overheating, reducing the temperature to a non-dangerous level.

    What’s behind an overheated central heater? Most likely, it is a grimy filter. An obstructed filter will limit airflow, motivating your gas, electric, or oil furnace to take more time to heat the living spaces, causing overheating as a result. You can replace the filter and find out if it resolves the issue. If you own an oil furnace, changing the filter is more difficult and a dirty job, so contacting an HVAC pro to do it for you is the better option.

    Since we’ve mentioned oil furnaces, another reason for your oil furnace blowing cold air is the oil tank may be empty. Without fuel to light the burners the oil furnace will be blowing cold air instead of heat.

    Pilot Light Issue

    If your central heater is not blowing hot air in the house an unlit pilot light may be the cause. There are three approaches to dealing with an unlit pilot light:

    1. Try relighting the pilot light. If the flame catches and remains burning, then problem solved!
    2. Pilot light won’t fire up? Check the gas valve switch to see if it is on. If it’s on, inspect the pilot light to see if debris has accumulated and clean it. Cleaning the pilot will permit gas to flow to it.
    3. If the pilot light ignites but goes out again, the thermocouple is at the heart of the matter. Adjustment or replacement needs to happen. You’re mechanically inclined? Go for it. Otherwise get in touch with a heating contractor.

    Condensate Drain Lines

    If you’ve purchased a high-efficiency furnace the condensate drain lines may be plugged up, keeping the burners from initiating.

    Burner Problems

    If your oil or gas furnace burners have built-up dirt it could also prohibit the burners from igniting and the furnace blowing cold air.

    Ductwork Problems

    The ducts of your central heater could be causing the problem of the blower not blowing hot air in the house. Causation might be holes and leaks in the ductwork has allowed warm air to escape and the furnace blowing cold air instead of heat.

  5. Why is Your Air Conditioner Leaking Water Inside Your House?

    The moment you discover water dripping from your air conditioning unit—which can result in water damage to your house—take the immediate step of shutting off your air conditioner. Because the water might be affecting the electrical components in a harmful way. The next step is to call in an air conditioning repair professional to take care of the problem.

    If you’re curious-minded about how the problem of the central air conditioner leaking water inside your home occurs, read on for a basic explanation about how water is created during the operation of your air conditioner, and why water from the air conditioning ends up on your floor.

    What Causes Condensation on Your Air Conditioning

    Among the many functions your air conditioner performs, one of them is the evaporation of humidity from the air inside your home. First the air conditioning blower draws hot and moist air through the return grille and sends it to the air conditioning evaporator coil for cooling. The evaporator coil forms condensation in the appearance of droplets much like you find on a cold beverage during hot weather.

    The water from the evaporator coil then spills into a slanted drain pan, and further into a condensate drain line, exiting either into your plumbing or outside your home. If the condensate drain line, drain pan, or evaporator coil is malfunctioning standing water is the result.

    There are 7 common reasons which often cause the A / C unit leaking water on the floor:

    • Condensate Drain Line

    A blocked drain line which is filled with debris such as dirt, mold, insects or other matter forces the water to back up into the house.

    • Evaporator Coil

    A grimy evaporator coil causes the mixture of dirt and water, which seeps into the drain pan, causing it to become plugged up. If the drain pan has become corroded with rust, enough to allow water leakage to occur, that also causes the A / C unit leaking water on the floor.

    A secondary problem with the evaporator coil is when it freezes over. As the frozen water melts, and there is a lot of it, it streams heavily above the drain pan, and water dripping from the air conditioning unit results. How does an evaporator coil become frozen? Most often either it’s a grimy air filter, or low refrigerant.

    • Air Filter

    An air filter, which has accumulated debris of one kind or another, becomes blocked and prevents airflow from traveling above the evaporator coil. This results in a temperature drop to below freezing, causing the evaporator coil to ice over.

    • Refrigerant

    If there is not enough refrigerant the evaporator coil will also freeze over.

    • Condensate Line

    A blocked condensate line is the number one reason for A / C leaking water inside the house.

    The condensate line receives condensation from the drain pan and sends it into a drainpipe or outside the home. A blocked line causes water backup, flooding the overflow pan.

    How to Unclog an A / C Drain Line

    If you own a current-model air conditioner it may feature a water-overflow shutoff lever. When your air conditioning unit senses a blocked condensate line, it will move to automatically shut off the air conditioner, to aid in preventing water damage. Check the condensate line and clean it if it is dirty.  An

    a / c drain line cleaning tool such as a wet / dry vacuum can be used to clear the blockage.

    But it’s better to be proactive, and avoid a blocked condensate line altogether. You’ll avert water damage and save on costly service calls. Make it a habit to unclog the air conditioner drain line with bleach. After clearing the blockage, use chlorine bleach by pouring it into the line. Do this two to three times a year.

    • Installation

    If you own a modern air conditioner, the installation of it may be at fault. This could mean a poorly-designed condensate trap has stopped the condensate from draining. The drain pan fills with water and floods your home, causing the air conditioner to drip water inside the house.

    Another installation issue is a disconnected drain line. This occurs when an air conditioning technician hasn’t had enough experience installing air conditioners and doesn’t attach the drain line correctly. A loosened drain line can result in a water leak.

    • Insulation

    Insulated coils perform the function of allowing built-up condensation to flow down the coil. If the insulation develops fissures or holes, water will drip rather than flow, causing the A / C unit leaking water on the floor, with the potential of water damage if you don’t discover the problem soon enough.

  6. What’s the Difference Between High-Efficiency Furnaces and Low-Efficiency Heaters?

    High-efficiency gas furnaces versus regular gas heaters: just what is the difference? Trust the Chicago HVAC team at Aircor—it all comes down to a furnace’s AFUE rating (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). A standard or low-efficiency gas furnace has an AFUE rating of between 80%–85%. In a high-efficiency furnace, the AFUE rating, according to the model ranges between 90%–95%.

    But AFUE ratings don’t paint the whole picture. Because if you buy an 80%-efficiency furnace that doesn’t mean you won’t get a well-engineered and reliable furnace. You will. And it can give good service for 10 to 20 years. Modern technology has made it possible for low-efficiency furnaces to conserve energy better than the outdated gravity furnaces of the past.

    To talk about today’s high-efficiency gas furnaces you need to know they have changed greatly over the past 10 years. High-efficiency gas heaters can support AFUE ratings as high as 95%. And these programmable models come with many extra features to help conserve energy output.

    To explain further the differences between a low-efficiency gas furnace versus a high-efficiency gas furnace let’s consider four components of both.

    1. Condensing Process. Furnace vent condensation concerns come with regular gas furnaces. These gas furnaces (with an AFUE rating of 80%) exhaust 20% of its heating energy up the furnace’s vent.

    High-efficiency furnaces rated at 90% AFUE or better are known as condensing furnaces. A condensing furnace possesses an integrated extra heat exchanger, whose job is to replenish the 20% lost in a low-efficiency heater. This is accomplished when combustion gases are redirected, condensed, and converted to water, releasing heat, and the heat removed by the extra heat exchanger. The result is the AFUE percentage bumps up, reducing the cost of operation.

    1. Adaptable-Speed ECM Blower. 80%-efficiency furnaces possess common one-speed, on-and-off blowers. When turned on the blowers run at 100% of capacity and eat approximately 500 watts of electrical power. Because of the frequent on-and-off cycles, temperatures fluctuate conspicuously from room to room. The drawback of a one-speed blower is once a home is completely heated, a blower operating at full capacity is not necessary to maintain the comfort level of a home. In other words, electricity is being wasted.

    In contrast, the adaptable ECM (electrical commutated motors) blowers on 90%-efficiency heaters operate almost all of the time, stopping the on-and-off cycling, which produces temperature fluctuations. Because they run at a lower heat volume, they only use approximately 80 watts, a considerable savings in energy.

    1. Multi-Stage Burners. With an 80%-efficiency furnace the burners operate at 100% of capacity. In temperate weather conditions, this high-capacity burner is only useful for the cold season, otherwise it uses up energy needlessly.

    A 90%-efficiency furnace contains multi-stage burners that intuit what temperatures are necessary to maintain the comfort level of a home. As heating requirements lessen, the multi-stage burner automatically switches to a lower, energy-savings level. The benefits include reduced power bills, energy conservation, and cleaner emissions.

    1. Sealed Combustion. A low-efficiency furnace uses the air from inside the home to initiate the burner flame. As a consequence, this lowers the humidity in living spaces and increases winter-air symptoms of itchy skin, irritated throat, and static electricity.

    A more serious issue is the possibility of carbon monoxide being released into the home due to backdrafts. This means combustion gases don’t go up the exhaust vent like they should, but are diverted into living spaces.

    A high-efficiency furnace contains a sealed-off combustion unit that protects the home from fumes. Two pipes work in conjunction to one, route the combusted air outside the home, and two, exhaust the gases. As a result, the home’s humidity level is protected.

  7. Tips for HVAC Spring Cleaning

     

    The Chicago winter has been brutal so far, with nose-hair freezing temperatures and a heaping helping of that powdery white stuff. No wonder you’ve been sitting around your house in front of the furnace and the TV, keeping your toes warm while you watch the Chicago Bears dominate opponents on their way to the Super Bowl. (Sorry, is it too soon to joke about that? It’s too soon. There’s always next year, right?)

    Fortunately, the spring season (and a new football season) are right around the proverbial “corner”—and with the warmer weather comes some excellent opportunities to give your home and your HVAC system a tune-up.

    In this blog, the Chicago HVAC team at Aircor will give you a step by step checklist for improving your HVAC system, your indoor air quality, and the health and wellness of your family. The earlier to get moving on the these tips, the better air quality you’ll have and the more money you’ll save on your energy bill!

    Dust and mop all over your home.

    Dust is essentially a Heinz ‘57 of all of the pet dander, chemical residue, fireplace ash, dead skin flakes (that’s right, your dead skin flakes), clothing lint, dirt, and a bunch of other substances found within your home and the outside world. When all that stuff comes together and becomes a part of your home, it can cause allergies and respiratory problems—but it can make your HVAC unit sick, too.

    Dust buildup in your filters, ducts, and HVAC unit can clog things up and make your HVAC system work harder than ever before to produce clean and perfectly warm or cool air—and that can raise your energy bill by up to 15 percent per year, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE). Plus, all that dust gets recirculated throughout your system and your home, which can lead to frequent sneezing at best and serious allergic reactions at worst.

    You’ll obviously need to get your HVAC unit inspected and cleaned (more on that later) but it’s also important for you to scrub, dust, and mop throughout your home to keep dust at a minimum. The more time you spend in your home during the winter, the more dust that will build up—so give things a thorough cleaning at least once per season, and call your HVAC professionals once per season as well.

    Change your filters.

    Your filters are meant to trap dust throughout your home, but they can only last so long and do so much to keep dust at bay, especially if you haven’t replaced them in months or *gasp* years. At the least, you need to change your filters in your system every three months, but that’s pushing it for most folks, especially those with allergies. Filters are fairly inexpensive, so we’d recommend changing them once a month or every two months to ensure your air is as clean as possible.

    Not sure how to change your filters or what kind of filters to buy? That’s alright—you can always call the HVAC maintenance professionals to change out your filters and perform an air duct cleaning you so can breathe easy.

    Clear out the clutter in your home.

    Dust, dust, dust—we can’t stop talking about dust today, can we? Ultimately, it’s because dust is the supervillian when it comes to poor indoor air quality and poor health. Dust can be hiding anywhere—but more often than not, it’s hiding behind your knick knacks, Star Wars collectibles, fratty top-of-the-kitchen-cabinet booze bottles, and other items that take up physical space. Dust loves to cling to clutter—so if you’re going to get rid of dust, you’ll need to get rid of some of the clutter as well.

    Once you’ve paired things down, give your remaining clutter a wipe-down to stop dust in its tracks, and be sure to wipe things down again and again every few months so keep your home virtually dust-free.

    Trust the professionals.

    Every season is HVAC season—that’s why you need an experienced HVAC maintenance and repair team to ensure that your system is working well regardless of the temperature or the weather. Fortunately, that’s where Aircor can help. As Chicago’s premier HVAC team, we can make sure your HVAC system is ready for the warm months ahead. Don’t wait—schedule an appointment with us today!

  8. What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Air Filter in Your Home

    What happens if I run my A / C without a filter is a common question posed by many homeowners. It seems like it would be no big deal if there were no air filter in the air conditioner unit. After all it’s just a flimsy, little paper item. And what difference could it make if there were no air filter in the house anyway? Well, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong.

    Consider this: you already know if you don’t clean your house on a regular basis: your counters, floors in the bathroom and other living spaces, they would—in the space of a month—gather a noticeable amount of dirt and dust. This equals the amount of debris your air filter builds up in the same period. And we’re talking about a little filter, in which all that particulate matter would be concentrated, not spread out over the larger areas of your home. Are you starting to get the picture?

    People ask: well, how important is a clean air filter? They misunderstand what the function of an air filter is, believing the purpose of it is to clear the air of dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens you breathe into your system. The air filter mesh can capture some dust coming from the vents. But the standard air filter is not designed to snare very fine particulate matter in the form of pollen, pet dander, and additional types of allergens. HEPA filters are designed for removing these types of things, but that is a topic for another blog.

    The core task of an air conditioner filter is the protection of the air conditioning alone. It is engineered to keep damaging debris away from the components of the central air conditioner. Not changing the air filter of your air conditioning unit will interfere with the air conditioner’s ability to keep you and your home cool.

    Clogged A / C Filter Symptoms

    Duct and Blower Fans

    Air conditioner air filters have a time limit on how well they can continue to remove fine particulate matter from the air. Being a small part, they will soon accumulate enough dust and dirt, thwarting their ability to protect the central air conditioning unit from harmful material.

    When to replace the air filter in the home is important to know; otherwise your air conditioner will run less efficiently; your power bills will start to surge; and the air filter will be choked with debris, unable to accept the debris traveling from your ducts and blower fans. What happens instead is the ducts and fans experience the buildup of debris the air filter can no longer handle.

    Debris such as dust will congest the moveable components: the ducts, blower fans and valves. As a result of jammed-up parts the air conditioning will use more power to overwhelm the blockage. Too much dust on the air conditioner parts forces it to consume more energy and drive up your power bills.

    Wear-and-Tear Problems with Running the A / C Without a Filter

    It isn’t only the dirty air filter, whose performance is affected; the ducts will suffer as well. Built-up dust on the ducts will cause deterioration of the moveable components, forcing them to operate at a slower rate, using up more power. The increased wear-and-tear on the unit will shorten its service life from five to ten years. That means the average life of a central air conditioner of 15 to 20 years will be shortened to—at the most—5 to 10 years instead. This is what can possibly happen if you don’t change your air filter on a consistent basis.

    Moreover, not changing a dirty air filter regularly will cost you in replacement parts as they are wearing out faster than they were intended to. Buying replacement filters is a drop-in-the-bucket compared to how much more money you’ll end up spending to cover major repairs brought on by a clogged air filter of your air conditioner.

    Can I Run My A / C Without a Filter for One Night?

    You say, okay, I get it. But in the next breath some homeowners ask: can I run my A / C without a filter for one night? Or, can I run my A / C without a filter for one day? The answer is the air conditioner will still not run as well whether it’s one day or one night. It’s a slippery slope. One night becomes one day becomes one week because you’re too busy right now.

    So now you know what happens if you don’t have an air filter in your house.

  9. Why is My A / C Running All the Time?

    Air conditioners run in cycles, turning off when the desired temperature for cooling is reached, and turning on when the temperature rises again, affecting the comfort level of your home. But when the air conditioner runs continuously, something is amiss with one or more components of your air conditioning unit.

    Below we give 6 steps to troubleshoot why your air conditioning is running constantly instead of in cycles.

    Step 1: Sizing Issues

    When the air conditioner unit is under-sized it has to work 24 / 7 to provide cooling relief to your home. The constant operation causes more wear-and-tear as your air conditioner ages, and in the bargain shortens its service life. Operating endlessly to try and achieve the optimal comfort level for your home it will fail to do so, even though it never stops running. Also, you may find your air conditioning unit breaks down when it shouldn’t, unless it is nearing the end of its lifespan.

    An over-sized air conditioning unit cannot capably evaporate too-humid air in your house. The result is too much moisture and mugginess occurs from the ineffective operation of your air conditioning system. It will also consume too much electrical power and jack up your power bills.

    The sizing of your ducts can also be a problem. They should be comparable with the size of your air conditioner system. When ducts are the incorrect size, they could have a problem managing the airflow, or delivering cooling air to every part of the house.

    If sizing of your air conditioning unit and ductwork is complementary, then the next step is to check your filter.

    Step 2: Air Filter

    The air filter quickly collects dirt and debris reducing the air conditioner’s ability to output cool air. The outcome is your unit’s air handler will have to labor more to make up for the difference in your air conditioner’s reduced ability to provide cool air. Also, a grimy air filter causes your system to overheat as a result of running harder and incessantly.

    To keep airflow free and unrestricted, either clean or install a new air filter. This should happen on a monthly basis, or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

    Step 3: Coils

    The coils must be free from such impediments as grass leavings, pet hair, and mud because they will obstruct airflow. Reduced airflow will weaken the air conditioner’s operation and efficiency, which can cause it to run without stopping.

    The cleaning of condenser coils is easy to do to maintain air conditioning efficiency. Just hose them down. But don’t do this until you shut off the electric power beforehand.

    Evaporator coils are a different matter since they can’t be easily reached. To explain further, an evaporator coil constantly receives blower airflow, injected with dust and dirt. As a consequence, when air particulate matter lands on coil surfaces and accumulates, necessary heat transfer coming from the air enroute to the refrigerant is compromised. This affects the cooling operation and increases the cost of running the air conditioner. The increased cost happens because the unit has to operate on extended “on” cycles just to agree with thermostat settings.

    Why is My A / C Running Constantly, But Does Not Shut Off When Set Temperature is Reached?

    Step 4: Thermostat

    If your air conditioning keeps running after the temperature is reached, the thermostat may be the reason. It’s possible your home is at the proper temperature; however, the thermostat does not agree with the “felt” temperature. This disconnect between “felt” temperature and thermostat setting could cause your air conditioner to keep chugging along.

    A method to find out if the thermostat is faulty is to put a thermometer close by the thermostat. Give it one to two hours, and then take a reading. If the thermometer registers a temperature approximate to the “felt” temperature in the home, the thermostat may be at issue.

    Step 5: Air Leaks and Inadequate Insulation

    Air leaks and inadequate insulation can also interfere with the air conditioning’s normal on-and-off cycles. Air leaks cause loss of cool air through gaps, and places where insulation has not been installed, such as behind walls or beneath the roof.

    Loss of cool air hampers the ability of the air conditioner to achieve the optimal temperature for the comfort level of your home. This in turn forces the air conditioning to run excessively.

    Step 6: Maintenance

    You’ve heard this before: air conditioning units must have maintenance done to keep them operating optimally. The reasons we have enumerated so far tells you why.

    Maintenance on your air conditioner should be done both in the spring and at the beginning of fall. Your unit needs its ductwork, coils, and air filter inspected, and if warranted, cleaned. If your system is not inspected by a professional at these regular intervals, chances are airflow and cycling issues will happen, causing the unit to operate inefficiently. And in some cases, to have the air conditioner running all day.

  10. Why Heater Fan Keeps Running and Blows Cold Air

    How frustrating is it when your gas furnace fan is blowing cold air. Especially if you recently purchased it. Did you get a lemon? Not necessarily. There are many reasons a furnace fan is blowing cold air and won’t shut off. We will discuss the top 12 reasons why in this posting.

     

    • Thermostat

     

    The very first step you should take is to check the thermostat. If you discover the thermostat is set to ON—bingo! It’s an easy fix. Simply reset the thermostat to AUTO. What causes the heater fan to emit cold air is the ON switch allows the fan to operate even when heat isn’t required to maintain temperature control.

     

    • Pilot Light

     

    Checking the pilot light and seeing if it is out could be a quick fix also. If the pilot is out you can try relighting it. If the flame catches and continues to burn, you’re in the clear. However, if you can’t get the pilot light to ignite, first inspect the gas valve switch to see if it’s turned on. If it’s on, the next step is to inspect the pilot light for signs of dirt build-up. You can quickly clean a dirty pilot light, which will permit gas to travel to it.

    If you find the pilot light ignites but then goes out you have a thermocouple issue. It needs re-adjustment or replacement. Not confident about working with the thermocouple? Then it’s time to call in an HVAC heating contractor.

     

    • Electric Control Panel

     

    Newer gas furnaces come with a computerized control panel. As with a computer, which is experiencing software problems of one nature or another, restarting it oftentimes resolves the issue. So too with an electric control panel. Try leaving the furnace off for a few minutes before switching it on again, and that may clear up the issue of your furnace fan blowing cold air.

     

    • Overheating Furnace

     

    If you’re asking: why is my furnace blowing cold air when the heat is on? It’s possible your furnace could be overheating due to a dirty air filter. Because air flow is interfered with, your furnace overheats and turns off the burner, causing the heater fan to emit cold air. Replacing the dirty air filter and restarting the furnace may do the trick.

     

    • Burners

     

    Whether you own a gas or oil furnace, dirt build-up on the burners may be the reason the burners can’t ignite. Consequently, the furnace fan is blowing cold air instead of heat. In this case, an HVAC contractor needs to be contacted to perform a professional cleaning on the burners, and any other components that have accumulated too much dirt and debris.

     

    • Flame Sensor

     

    The flame sensor is another component that can’t function correctly when it’s blanketed in dirt. The result is the burners will shut down, and you now have the furnace blowing cold air with no heat.

     

    • Oil Filter

     

    When an oil furnace is blowing cold air, it may be the oil filters have become plugged up with grime and other material matter. An obstructed filter can affect the ignition system adversely, causing the furnace fan to blow cold air.

     

    • Electric Ignition

     

    Newer model gas furnaces contain an electric ignition system, which if not adjusted correctly could cause your furnace to blow cold air. You may notice cold air blowing out of vents when the heat is on. The ignition system could also be worn out and need replacement.

     

    • Ductwork

     

    Old ductwork can develop apertures, which causes heated air to leak through the openings. Heated air becomes cold air as a result. Your furnace’s fan can do nothing but deliver cold air to your home.

     

    • Oil Tank

     

    If you maintain an oil furnace, which is blowing cold air, it’s possible the fuel in the oil tank has run dry. This causes the burners to fail and the heater fan to emit cold air.

     

    • Gas Supply

     

    Three possible reasons the gas furnace is blowing cold air and won’t shut off is the gas supply is not feeding the furnace, or it could simply be shut off. A third reason could be due to a blockage in the gas line your furnace is not receiving an adequate supply of gas. Without fuel to burn and heat the furnace, the furnace fan can only put out cold air.

     

    • Condensate System

     

    Modern high-efficiency gas furnaces contain a condensate drain line. Its function is to eliminate the water that occurs during the conversion process from combustion gases. An impeded drain line can trigger a switch to keep the burners from turning on. What happens is the heater fan blows cold air instead of warm air.