1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Top 5 Reasons Why Your Gas Heater Doesn’t Stay On

    When your furnace kicks on then shuts off, you naturally ask yourself: what is going on that my gas furnace won’t stay running? Initially before you can figure out what is the matter and troubleshoot it, you must begin to understand the furnace’s ignition system and its workings. In this blog, we will talk about a typical gas furnace’s ignition system, and follow up with five top reasons your gas furnace doesn’t stay on.

    The sequence of ignition system performance is as follows:

    • The thermostat triggers the heater
    • The draft inducer fan starts up and blows virgin air into the furnace
    • The gas valve releases the gas supply to the pilot burner
    • The pilot light goes on
    • The flame sensor cues the furnace the pilot light is on
    • The gas valve supplies gas

    Standard gas heaters use two types of ignition systems:

    1. Direct ignition furnace
    2. Standing pilot light furnace

    A direct ignition gas furnace lacks a pilot light so the gas supply goes directly to the burner. The flame sensor positions itself above the burner flame.

    A standing pilot light gas furnace is manually operated, and you must light the pilot light yourself before the furnace can begin to operate. The problem with a standing pilot light furnace is they are outdated and low-efficiency gas burners.

    Now you understand the basics of how the ignition system works you can begin troubleshooting the five common reasons your gas heater won’t stay on.

     

    • An inoperable flame sensor

     

    The flame sensor’s job is to alert the furnace the gas has been turned on. If the flame sensor cannot discover the flame, the gas supply line cannot be opened and the burner cannot light the gas.

    The flame sensor might be operating but the problem may be its positioning is wrong and therefore it cannot detect the pilot flame. Call in an HVAC contractor to perform some flame sensor troubleshooting. They will know how to tell if the flame sensor is bad and needs replacement.

     

    • A Gas Line Obstruction

     

    In this scenario, the burner lights up briefly but then shuts down. A possibility is the gas valve is being dammed up. If the gas valve is completely plugged up it frequently stops the burner from being lit, altogether.

    If the obstruction is minor the burner can probably still be lit but a deficiency in the fuel supply cannot keep the burner on.

     

    • A Pressure Switch Issue

     

    Up-to-date gas heaters contain a pressure switch as a preventive measure. It works to sense when your system venting pressure has stopped operating and shuts off the burners so they don’t release lethal fumes throughout the home.

    But the burners might not be the problem, although it can seem like the burner can’t stay lit. In this case, other problems of a more serious nature such as an obstructed exhaust flue, or broken heat exchangers are possible causes.

     

    • Faulty thermocouple

     

    The thermocouple (a heat sensor) is positioned beside the pilot light. It manages the gas valve by opening it to supply fuel to the burners. If the gas furnace pilot light won’t stay lit, the thermocouple will shut down the gas valve, so gas cannot be released into the home.

    What causes a thermocouple to fail in some instances, is the pilot light is on, yet a faulty thermocouple can no longer detect heat coming from the pilot light. So, it will close down the gas valve although the pilot light remains lit.

     

    • Burner Failure

     

    Gas furnace burners are the engine which drives the heating of your gas heater and your home. If the burners fail, the furnace can’t produce heat for your home. The most common cause of burner burn-out is carbon build-up. Carbon build-up prevents burners, one or all of them, from running in tip-top shape.

    An indirect cause of burner failure is a gas line obstruction. This can cause the burners to die out from lack of fuel it needs to ignite.

  5. Signs You Need AC Repair

    Here at Aircor, we offer heating and air conditioning repair in Chicago. For the most part, people tend not to think about their air conditioners until they are broken. This is not a cost effective way to use your air conditioner, and it is important to have perform proper maintenance on your unit to keep it functioning optimally. However, sometimes even regular maintenance won’t be enough to prevent damage to your air conditioner. In that case, here are some signs that you air conditioner needs repairs.

    No Cool Air

    One of the most obvious signs of damage, that you’ll likely recognize fast when you need your AC, is if it is not blowing out cool air. This likely means that your system requires major repair. It could be that the compressor has failed, or it could just be that your AC system’s Freon levels have gotten too low.

    Restricted Air Flow

    If the AC’s air is cool, but the flow is restricted, it could also be a problem with the compressor. However, if the restricted air flow is localized to only one room, then it may be a problem with the duct work. It could require major repairs, but most likely you will just need to clean the debris obstructing the ducts. This debris not only blocks air flow, but can be dangerous to your health, so it is best removed either way.

    AC Leaks

    If you notice moisture on or around your AC system, this could be indicative of a major problem. One of the worst cases is that your AC is leaking refrigerant, which poses serious health risks to yourself, your family, and your pets. If that is the case, it is best to call a professional HVAC technician right away. One of the best case scenarios is that it is just water from a drain tube that sprung a leak, which requires much less effort to repair, but should still be done as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.

    Unusual Sounds

    Ever AC unit makes some noise, but if you notice a major difference in the noise your unit makes, it could be a sign of a problem. Squealing, grating, and grinding sounds can all indicate that the unit needs repairs quickly. A squealing noise, for instance, can mean that a belt has popped out of its place. Or it could be that some metal component in the unit just needs to be lubricated. Grinding sounds may indicate that you have broken motor bearings. The best course of action is to have a professional HVAC technician identify the problem.

    Hopefully these tips help you stay on top of AC repairs. If you are looking for air conditioning repair in Chicago, Aircor is the HVAC company to call! For more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call at your earliest convenience. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!

  6. History of Air Conditioning

    Here at Aircore, we offer HVAC services in Chicago. Nowadays, most people don’t much think about their air conditioner until it breaks. That is neither a cost effective, nor comfortable, way to own an air conditioner, so we always recommend performing regular maintenance, and repairing damage as soon as it happens. However, for most of history, air conditioners as we know them were not a thing. So how did people hundreds, and thousands, of years ago beat the heat? We go over the history of air conditioning here.

    Evaporative Cooling and Other Techniques

    Before air conditioning as we know it, there was evaporative cooling, which simply takes advantage of the cooling effect of evaporation to decrease the temperature of a room or building. The earliest known uses of evaporative cooling come from ancient Egypt. Egyptians would hang wet reeds from their windows, which would evaporate in the sun, cooling the air blowing into the building. This method also worked effectively as a humidifier in the dry Egyptian climate.

    Rome used a different method, wherein their aqueducts were circulated through and under the walls of the wealthy’s houses. The cool water would lower the temperature of these buildings through heat radiation.

    In Persia, yet another technique was used were wind towers would be built next to buildings in order to harness the energy for cooling. This worked much like a fan, although the fan wasn’t invented until the 2nd century by a Chinese engineer named Ding Huan. His rotary fan, which had seven wheels 10 feet in length, was powered by prisoners from the time.

    Invention of Modern Air Conditioners

    Modern air conditioning as we know it required some advances in the field of chemistry. Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley were to people who were necessary for this technology, discovering in 1758 that evaporation of volatile liquids (like alcohol), could lower temperatures to freezing levels. By the early 1900s, due to the efforts of one Stuart W. Cramer, the modern air conditioner was invented, however it was much bigger and more expensive than the models of today. At that time, it was almost exclusively used in printing presses and other businesses where humidity needed to be controlled (another function of air conditioners). Mr Cramer created the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, and the rest is history. However, it would not be until the 1920s that air conditioner technology became viable enough that it started seeing use in most residential areas. It was at this time that there was a great migration to the Sun Belt within the US.

    Hopefully this article proved informative. If you are looking for an HVAC company in Chicago, then Aircor is the company to call! We put total effort into all of our HVAC services, so your job is done right, on time, the first time. For more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

  7. Most Common Heating Problems in Winter

    Your furnace is instrumental for your survival in these harsh and windy Chicago winters—it might just be the only thing that will keep your toes from turning into icicles. But the moment you truly need your furnace is usually the moment that it breaks down. So what is most likely to go wrong with your furnace?

    In this blog, the Chicago HVAC team at Aircor will take a look at the most common furnace problems during the winter season. Keep these problems in mind so you know exactly when to call your HVAC service team!

    Loss of Heat

    It’s a problem, alright. A sudden loss of heat in your home is obviously a huge issue in the winter months, and it can be caused by a variety of malfunctions: a loss of power to your furnace, a pilot light or ignition system failure, or a blown fuse, for example. A loss of heat could also be caused by a lack of communication or a miscommunication with the thermostat, which can trick your furnace into thinking the heat is supposed to be off when it’s supposed to be one.

    Whatever the case, a loss of heat defeats the purpose of a heater—call your local furnace repair team to get your things sorted out.

    Overcycling

    Your furnace cycles all the time—that’s how it saves energy and maintains the desired temperature within your home. However, your furnace can cycle too much and too often due to clogged air filters or thermostat problems, which can make make your home way too hot or not hot enough. Plus, too much cycling can put strain on the components of your furnace, leading to component damage.

    Replacing your clogged air filters should be your first course of action if you’re dealing with frequent and repeated cycling—but if that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to call the furnace maintenance professionals.

    Inconsistent Room Temperatures

    You walk into your kitchen, and it’s hotter than a billy goat with a blowtorch—but when you walk into your bedroom, it’s colder than a polar bear’s toenails. What gives? One of the most common heating problems during the winter is inconsistent room temperatures—an issue that is usually caused by air leaks and poor insulation throughout the home. Seams that allow cold air in also let warm air out, which could be the reason you’re feeling varying temperatures from room to room. To fix this problem, using caulking solution to seal up seams and prevent air from entering or leaving your house, and make sure your doors are properly aligned and sealed with weatherstripping so you’re not letting all of that HVAC air out of your home.

    If your home is seaworthy, but you’re still dealing with inconsistent temperatures from room to room, you probably have a vent issue on your hands. Call the heating repair team in your area so they can take a look.

    Banging, Cracking, & Other Noises

    Furnaces will always make a little bit of noise—that’s just what moving parts of machinery do. However, if your furnace is making unusual noises aside from the normal hum, such as rattles, whistles, or loud banging, it could be a sign of a problem with your furnace. There are approximately 7849349672 reasons why your furnace could be making strange noises, including broken or faulty components, clogged air filters, thermostat issues, or ignition and pilot light fails, to name a few—have a heater maintenance crew check things out to find the real reason your heater is being so loud.

    Carbon Monoxide

    Carbon monoxide development is a fairly common problem with furnaces—and it’s also a deadly problem. When cracks develop near the heat exchange of your furnace, carbon monoxide leaks out—and this colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas can only be detected with a carbon monoxide detector once it enters your home.

    Cracks usually develop after 10 to 15 years of furnace use—it’s important to have a heater service technician inspect your furnace every year so you can avoid potentially fatal consequences.

    When do I need a new furnace?

    Homeowners are often unsure about whether it’s time to repair or replace their furnace—and ultimately, it’s up to a furnace maintenance professional to make that call. That’s where Aircor can help. Our furnace technicians can install, repair, and replace furnaces and make sure your air is warm, clean, and safe. Schedule an appointment with us today!

  8. Why Is My House So Cold?

    Brrrrrr! It’s not just cold right now—it’s Chicago cold. The Midwestern breeze can slice through the best parka or wool socks, and it can certainly break into your home. But how, exactly, does all that cold air get inside? Why is it that your house always seems cold, even when you’re cranking up the heat?

    In this blog, the Chicago HVAC professionals at Aircor will take a look at steps you can take to keep your house warm. Spoiler alert: you’re probably overlooking at least two thirds of these steps. Take care of these tasks, and your home will become warmer instantly, which will increase your level of comfort and lower your energy bill to boot!

    Step 1 – Check Your Windows & Doors

    If your home was built before 1990, it probably doesn’t have any sort of energy efficient windows or doors—and that could be a big reason why your home is seemingly cold all the time. Doors and windows with poor seals can let cold air in and warm air out, which makes your crank up your heater, and in turn, your energy bill—you’ll need to seal up these areas in order to keep all that hard-earned warm air you paid for inside of your home.

    While a complete window replacement would be the most effective option, replacing the seals on the bottoms of your windows and using thermal curtains will help slow down the rate at which cold air enters your home, and it’ll make sure you don’t have to turn up your heat quite as high when things cool off in the evenings. Be sure to realign your doors and replace their weatherstirpping as well—a drafty door is the most common culprit for air leakage in the home.

    Step 2 – Close Your Fireplace Damper

    Your fireplace damper opens and shuts to direct the flow of air from the inside to the outside—so when you leave it all the way open when you don’t have a fire in your firebox, all of the warm air in your home is literally being pulled up and out of your chimney. Easy solution here: go ahead and shut that damper all the way—but don’t forget to open it back up whenever you’re about to make a fire. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a smoky surprise.

    Step 3 – Change Up Your Ceiling Fans

    What if we told you that you could change the direction of your ceiling fans? Would you believe us? You should—changing the direction of your fans has a direct effect on how heat is dispersed throughout your home. Turn your fans clockwise, and you’ll push your warm air straight up toward the ceiling—not ideal when you’re trying get warm in your bed. But turn that bad boy to counterclockwise, and the blades will push your hot air down exactly where you want it. Mmmm… warm.

    So how do you achieve the magical feat of switching the direction of your ceiling fans? It’s easier than you think: just take a look at the middle of your fan, find the tiny switch, and flip it between clockwise and counterclockwise. Easy AND breezy.

    Step 4 – Install a Whole House Humidifier

    Your home should rest at around 40-45 percent humidity during the winter—but oftentimes, your heating system can suck the moisture out of your indoor air, which can actually make cold temperatures feel even colder. To solve this problem, place humidifiers throughout your home, or even better, have a whole house humidifier installed to make sure your home is perfectly humid in every room.


    That’s it for Part 1 of our series on why your house is so cold. Stay tuned for Part 2, and check out our other blog posts in the meantime!

  9. Tips for Home Comfort (And Energy Savings) This Winter

    Winter is coming here, and your comfort in your home is as important as ever. But how do you keep your home warm and cozy when that icy Chicago wind rolls through? In this blog, the Chicago HVAC specialists at Aircor will give you a few tips for keeping your home perfectly toasty this winter. With the right tools and strategies, you’ll enjoy your time in your home and save money on your energy bill to boot!

    Keep things insulated.

    The biggest battle you’ll face during the winter isn’t just about keeping the cold air out—it’s about keeping the warm air in. If your home is full of cracks and gaps, you’ll be losing all of that comfy and cozy air, and you’ll force your HVAC unit to work harder in order to produce a suitable amount of heat. This can cause damage to your HVAC system, and it’ll spike your energy bill, too.

    To prevent this problem, you’ll need to seal up the cracks and keep your home properly insulated. First, use caulking solution to seal up draft-prone seams around vents and pipes. Next, adjust your doors and use door stops and seals to ensure tight fits between doors and frames (this is a common area for drafts). Finally, use thermal curtains on your windows to slow the rate at which cold air enters your home. These steps will make your home more airtight than ever before, and will ensure your HVAC system doesn’t have to work too hard to heat up your home.

    Practice proper thermostat habits.

    For every degree you set your thermostat over 78 degrees in the summer, you’ll save around seven percent on your energy bill—per degree. Those are huge savings! The same concept still applies in the winter as well—so instead of jacking your heater up to 85 degrees to keep things warm, try keeping your thermostat at around 68 degrees while you’re at home.

    We get it—68 just doesn’t sound toasty enough. But it’ll keep your home at a consistently livable temperature, and you’ll save plenty of money in the process. The closer you set your thermostat to the outdoor temperature, the less energy you’ll consume—and that could save you 15 to 20 percent per year on your bill!

    Install a programmable thermostat.

    While setting your thermostat at a reasonable temperature is fine and dandy while you’re home, what happens when you’re not home? For some folks, coming home to an icy cold house is fine—but for others, well, they’d rather run that thermostat all day long (and pay the price for it) so they can come home to comfortable temperatures.

    Fortunately, there’s a better way: using a programmable thermostat. Instead of leaving your thermostat running or icing out your entire home, you can use your smartphone or other mobile device to create a schedule for your thermostat so you can have a comfortable home and maximum energy savings. Schedule your thermostat to turn off (or to a lower temperature) right before you leave for work, and then 20 minutes before you get home at the end of the day, schedule it to turn up the heat a bit so you can walk inside and take your shoes off without your toes freezing solid. You’ll save 7-10 percent on your energy bill, and you’ll always have the comfortable home you desire!

    Have your HVAC system serviced.

    It doesn’t matter how perfectly insulated your home is, or how efficient your thermostat usage is—if your HVAC system hasn’t been cleaned and serviced for awhile, you’re not going to get the warm air you want, and you’ll end up paying a premium on energy. You need experienced HVAC professionals to keep your HVAC system in good shape—and that’s where Aircor can help. Our friendly HVAC technicians can prepare your heating system for winter so you can maximize your savings and stay comfortable all winter long. Get started with us today!

  10. Signs You Need a New Hot Water Heater

    Your hot water heater might go overlooked as it hides in the back of your utility closet in your basement—that is, until you start having plumbing problems in your home. All it takes is one cold shower or one leak to make you question the state of your hot water heater—but when is it really time to trade in your old tank for a younger and better model?

    In this blog, the Chicago HVAC professionals at Aircor will show you signs that it’s time to replace your hot water heater. If you notice any of these things happening in your home, it’s time to call your local water heater replacement team!

    Not Enough Hot Water

    We all know this sad story: you’re enjoying a delightfully warm shower, shampooing your hair as you bask in the toasty water from your high-pressure showerhead. Then, right as you’re covered head to toe in shampoo, that toasty water turns icy in an instant. You start to panic and weigh your options—do you rinse off as fast as you can as the cold water turns you into a human icicle? Or do you hop out of the shower covered in soap and hope that the warm water comes back sooner rather than later? Either way, you’re going to be cold and uncomfortable.

    This is a tell-tale sign of a failing hot water heater—something that should be addressed as soon as possible if you hope to have ten consecutive minutes of hot shower water. Call the water heater replacement team so they can switch out your unit with something that has a bit more firepower.

    Rusty Water

    Showers are supposed to make you clean—but that’s not going to happen if you have rust flakes in your water. Before you start to think that there’s something wrong with the local water supply, realize that rusty water is often a sign of a rust buildup inside of your water heater tank—and rust is often a sign of leaks yet to come.

    There are ways to prevent rust in your water heater, like by adding a magnesium, aluminum, or zinc rod to your heater tank. However, if your heater is old and rusting at an extreme rate, it’s time to call your water heater maintenance team to see if you should have your tank fixed or replaced.

    Rumbling & Popping

    Remember when you lived in that tiny studio apartment in the city, and you kept hearing popping or banging sounds coming from downstairs? You probably thought it was your “open minded” neighbors on the third floor banging drumsticks on metal pipes during an improvised jam session, or maybe you thought that really angry guy who lives by himself was hitting a baseball bat against his refrigerator. It was probably neither of the above—in fact, there’s a very good chance that those loud banging noises were coming from the hot water heaters in your building.

    Over time, water heater tanks will collected sediment that settles in the bottom of the tank. That sediment will eventually stick together and harden, which can cause loud malfunctions on your water heater tank and leave you with less hot water than you desire. Plus, you’ll have to listen to those loud noises all night long!

    If you start hearing loud noises coming from your tank, leaks are on the way—call your water heater repair maintenance team to see if your tank needs to be switched out.

    Leaking

    When metal heats up, it expands—and when it cools down again, it contracts. This process happens thousands, if not millions of times during the life of your hot water heater—and after awhile, this constant expanding and contracting can warp the shape of your tank and cause leaks.

    This isn’t a repair you can put off until later—if your hot water heater tank is leaking, you need to have it replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could end up dealing with some expensive water damage to your home, or a complete lack of hot water when you need it the most. Call your water heater installation team to have a new tank put in so you can enjoy hot water without the risk of home damage.

    Old Age

    Sometimes, the only problem with your hot water heater is that it’s old—and yes, that is definitely a problem. The average lifespan of a hot water heater is about eight to 12 years—and if your heater gets older than that, you’re at risk for water damage, poor hot water performance, and heftier energy bills.

    Once your tank hits the eight-year mark, have an inspection performed—this will help determine if your tank can last a few more years, or needs to be replaced. If your tank makes it to 10 years, you definitely need to consider replacing your tank as soon as possible.

    That’s where Aircor can help. Our experienced and friendly technicians can install, replace, and repair your hot water heater, and give you plenty of advice on how to keep your heater in excellent shape throughout its life. You deserve enough hot water for a 15-minute shower—heck, a 40-minute shower if that’s what you want! Make it happen—call Aircor today.