Common Air Conditioning Problems

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AC Repair in Bucks County and Cheltenham PA

The most common air conditioning Repair that HVAC Philly technicians work to repair in their Bucks County and Cheltenham,PA service areas are due to improper operation.

Although this may seem obvious, if  your air conditioner is on, be sure to close your home’s windows and outside doors. It’s easy to get lost in the summer weather coming inside and out from the warm weather, shutting the door or closing the window somehow get lost in the shuffle. When you forget to close the door or shut the windows it can not only hurt your pocket but also your air conditioning unit when it has to work twice as hard, to no avail.

For a single room air conditioner, make sure to isolate the room or a group of connected rooms as much as possible from the rest of your home.

Some other common problems with existing air conditioners result, unfortunately, from faulty installation, poor service procedures, and meager maintenance. Incorrect installation of a central air conditioner can result in leaky ducts and low airflow. Many times, the refrigerant charge (the amount of refrigerant in the system) does not match the manufacturer’s specifications. If proper refrigerant charging is not performed during installation, the performance and efficiency of the unit is flawed. Inadequate service technicians usually fail to find refrigerant charging problems or,indeed, aggravate existing problems by adding refrigerant to a system that is already full. Learn what to ask for when hiring a technician to maintain your air conditioner.

Air conditioner manufacturers generally make rugged, high quality products. If your air conditioner fails, begin by checking any fuses or circuit breakers. Let the unit cool down for about five minutes before resetting any breakers. If a central air conditioner’s compressor stops on a hot day, the high-pressure limit switch may have tripped; reset it by pushing the button, located in the compressor’s access panel.

REFRIGERANT LEAKS

If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, either it was undercharged at installation or it leaks. If it leaks, directly adding refrigerant is not a solution. A qualified technician should fix any leak, check the adjustment, and then charge the system with the appropriate amount of refrigerant. Recognize that the action and competence of your air conditioner is highest when the refrigerant charge exactly matches the manufacturer’s specification, and is not undercharged nor overcharged. Refrigerant leaks can also be damaging to the environment.

INADEQUATE MAINTENANCE

If you allow filters and air conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioner will not work properly, and the compressor or fans are likely to fail prematurely.

ELECTRIC CONTROL FAILURE

The compressor and fan controls can wear out, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently, as is common when a system is oversized. Because corrosion of wire and terminals is also a problem in many systems, electrical connections and contacts should be checked during a professional service call.

SENSOR PROBLEMS

Home air conditioners feature a thermostat sensor, located behind the control panel, which measures the temperature of air coming into the evaporative coil. If the sensor is knocked out of position, the air conditioner could cycle constantly or behave erratically. The sensor should be near the coil but not touching it; adjust its position by carefully bending the wire that holds it in place.

DRAINAGE PROBLEMS

When it’s humid outside, check the condensate drain to make sure it isn’t clogged and is draining properly. Room air conditioners may not drain properly if not mounted level.

For any further questions or concerns contact HVAC Philly today online at http://www.hvacphilly.com or by phone 215-725-6111

 

 

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Warning Signs Your A/C May Need Repairing

If you’ve ever heard an ominous sound coming from your air conditioning unit in the middle of the summer, you know the fear and dread that it can produce in your gut.

 

6198484617_6e7fac6e35_zIf you’ve ever heard an ominous sound coming from your air conditioning unit in the middle of the summer, you know the fear and dread that it can produce in your gut.

HVAC Philly, the local Bensalem, and Abington, PA air conditioning repair specialist have a list of warning signs to keep your eye out for to know just when to reach for your phone and contact the professionals, without breaking a sweat.

The important thing to remember is that not every system malfunction means total doom. Many malfunctions are so cheap and easy to fix, you’d be disappointed in yourself for not doing it sooner.

AC Unit Does Not Kick On At All

Possible reason: Burnt-out compressor

The fix: If the compressor fails, the unit won’t run. The only fix for this is a costly replacement of the equipment, which includes various small parts, new Freon, and labor.

Cost:
 $600 to $1,900. It might be wise to replace your air conditioner if it’s more than eight years old, or if the estimated cost of repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new unit.

Air Conditioning Will Not Turn On

Possible cause: Often, the most likely culprit is the easiest to remedy: The thermostat isn’t set correctly, or power isn’t reaching the AC unit.

The fix: Make sure that the thermostat is set to AC or “cool,” that the temperature setting is correct, and that the battery is fresh. Second, check the circuit breaker: It could simply be a tripped fuse.

Cost: Free

The Air Coming Out of The Registers Is Not as Cold as It Normally Is

Possible cause: The refrigerant lines aren’t insulated.

The fix: The outdoor unit is connected to the indoor system by two copper refrigerant lines, which should be covered with insulating sleeves. Make sure that they are. Also, the system may need its refrigerant re-charged.

Cost:
 $5 for insulating sleeves; up to $150 for a system re-charge.

Utility Bills Are Higher Than Usual

Possible cause: A spike in operating costs typically signals inefficient operation. After a dirty filter , the next most likely culprit is a choked condensing coil. Located within the outdoor unit, the coil has countless cooling fins — much like a car radiator — that can accumulate dust and debris.

The fix: Call out a pro for a spring tune-up.

Cost: $75 to $150

Furnace Has a Puddle of Water Beside It

Possible cause: During normal operation, the system generates moisture in the form of condensate. That water collects in a pan and flows out a line either into a floor drain or condensate sump basin. An accumulation of water signals a blockage or disconnection of the tube.

The fix: Inspect the tube for crimps, clogs, and disconnections. Also, if the water flows into a sump basin, ensure that the sump pump is in good working order.

Cost: Free to clean out blockage; $20 to replace the tube; $40 to $110 for a new condensate sump pump.

The Temperature In The Home Does Not Feel as Comfortable As Previous Years

Possible cause: Airflow is important for comfort. If you aren’t comfortable, the problem usually can be caused by issues with airflow.

The fix: Change the filter. (You should do this as part of regular HVAC maintenance ) Depending on the quality of the filter, the amount of people living in the house, and if there are pets, the filter should be changed every 30-60 days.

Outdoors, make sure there’s at least 24 inches of clearance on the sides and 5 feet on top of the unit. Also, check to make sure there are no obstructions to the home’s cold air returns and registers.

Cost:
 $5 to $20, depending on the filter.

The Timing Is Off On The AC, It Shuts Off Too Soon or Too Long After Temperature Change

Possible cause: Improper placement of the thermostat can wreak havoc on one’s comfort. The unit might be in direct sun, too close to a register, or near a hot oven. Also, a remodel might have you spending more time where the thermostat is not.

The fix:
 Relocate the thermostat.

Cost: Free if you’re handy (and plan on reusing the same unit); up to $250 for a new programmable unit, plus another $90 for an electrician to install it.

Odd Noises When Operating or Starting Up

Possible cause: Rattling, buzzing, or ticking? The good news is that the cause might be little more than a loose screw. The bad news is that it could be caused by a bum blower motor (indoors) or bent fan blade (outdoors).

The fix: If you’re lucky, a simple tightening here and lubricating there will fix the problem. If not, you might require a new fan motor or fan blade.

Cost:
 $75 to $150 for an inspection and tune-up; $150 to $750 for a new blower motor.

Important things to remember when it comes to your AC unit:

Let comfort be your guide. If you are feeling uncomfortable check your air conditioning for any one of the warning signs mentioned above.

12 years is the average lifespan of an ac system.  If you are nearing or have past the 12 year mark and are experiencing any discomfort it is time to reach out to your local HVAC professional to discuss your options.

HVAC Philly AC Repair

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Air Conditioning Repair

Having an air conditioning system that you can depend on is crucial when living in the Philadelphia area.  You would not want to arrive home on a humid summer day to a blazing home, rather, you would ideally walk in and feel refreshed.  Unfortunately AC systems do amass problems and can break. Fortunately when that does happen HVAC Philly is just a phone call away for all your air conditioning repair needs!

An air conditioning repair can fluctuate once diagnosed, some are easier to repair and others depend upon more attention or new parts.  It is challenging to know what the cost of a repair will be until a professional AC repair technician is able to check out the system and diagnose the problem.  Before a HVAC Philly technician can perform an air conditioning repair, they will explain in detail to the customer what needs to be done and the estimated cost of the repair. Sometimes the cost of repair can be costly, HVAC Philly has financing available in that case. The more proactive you are, and call for a repair, the better it is for your air conditioning system.  Waiting out the problem could cause more severe and costly issues.

Before Calling for an Air Conditioning Repair

There are a few things you can check for before calling HVAC Philly for an air conditioning repair. Just make sure you or someone you know feel comfortable doing so. We’ve listed below common problems and possible solutions. HVAC Philly would like to reiterate, if you don’t feel confident trying these tips just contact us and our professional service technicians will be happy to help.

If your air conditioner is not cooling, there are many aspects that can be adding to this problem.  Here are a few examples and their suggested solutions:

  • Your circuit breaker may have tripped- try to reset your breaker and see if that resolves the problem.
  • Your thermostat/control might set incorrectly or turned off- check to make sure your thermostat/control is on and set to cool, then reset it to your desired temperature.

Another problem is the air flow might be light, or not blowing at all.  Here are some issues that could cause this, and some favored actions.

  • Your filters might be dirty- You’ll need to check all the filters in each of your system’s components. It is very important to make sure that you are cleaning or replacing your filters as recommended. If the problem persists contact HVAC Philly.
  • Your system may be frozen – again, this could be from dirty filters.  Check your filters, and if they are not clogged contact HVAC Philly because there might be a leak somewhere.

Other problems that may cause you to need an air conditioning repair is if your system is constantly running, or your drain pan is clogged or overflowing.  If you do not feel comfortable doing any of these recommended solutions, give HVAC Philly a call right away and we’ll be happy to execute them for you.  Be sure to leave major air conditioning repairs to a licensed HVAC professional.  Doing a major repair yourself  may cause more damage to your system.

Call when you first notice something is wrong with your system, the sooner that you have your air conditioning repair done, the better for the system and your pocket.  The best way to avoid an air conditioning repair is to make sure that your system is checked annually!

HVAC Philly’s Commitment to You

We take great pride in providing only the highest level of service to our customers across the Philadelphia area. We want you to be completely satisfied with all of the work we do for you, and ensure that you always have a pleasant experience with our company.  Our technicians are trained to work on all types of equipment, so even if we did not install your system for you, we can fix it quickly and easily.

Call our office at (215) 725-6111 to schedule a technician to diagnose the problem, or schedule online.

Most Common Commercial HVAC Repairs

If you operate a commercial business, you know how important it is to maintain a comfortable climate in your building.  Not only does the climate of your business affect the well-being and productivity of your employees, but it’s a key part of the impression you make on your customers.  When the need for commercial HVAC repairs arises, you’ll want to find an experienced HVAC company that performs same day repair.

At HVAC Philly, we’ve been servicing the Greater Philadelphia area for over 20 years.  Our technicians work quickly and efficiently to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the climate of your business. When it comes to commercial HVAC repairs, we’ve seen it all. We’re going to share the most common commercial HVAC repairs with you, so you can be informed if you ever need commercial HVAC service.  The majority of commercial service calls we get are due to the following problems and can be avoided with preventative maintenance.

Dirty Air Filters

This is your HVAC system’s worst enemy and is one of the most common problems we encounter.  If an air filter gets clogged enough, it can end the life of a young, healthy HVAC system.  Regular service to your HVAC system is crucial in avoiding preventable headaches like a clogged air filter.  Replacing the filter is extremely simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do it.

Loose Blower Motor Belts

Another common issue and simple commercial HVAC repair we encounter is loose blower motor belts.  These belts, powered by an external motor, run the forced air blower that distributes air through the ducts and vents in your building.  Often, a loose blower motor belt can be identified by a squeaking sound.  These repairs aren’t usually expensive, but a loose belt will reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system and cause more serious issues if left un-repaired.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are an integral part of any air-conditioning system.  They remove heat from air by absorbing it in refrigerant.  Dirty coils come from a lack of maintenance and can cause an unnecessary increase in your cooling budget.  If you don’t properly clean a coil and it accumulates dirt, it will reduce the efficiency of your air-conditioning system.  An air-conditioner with a dirty coil has to work harder to cool your building and will have a shorter life span.

Burned Capacitors and Clogged Drain Lines

Start and run capacitors are responsible for kicking your HVAC system’s fan motor into life and keeping it running smoothly.  For various reasons, these capacitors can burn up and affect the operation of the fan motor.  If the start capacitor burns up, your HVAC system’s fan motor simply won’t start, and if the run capacitor burns up, your fan motor is at risk of overheating.  Capacitors should only be handled by trained professionals since there’s a serious risk of electrocution involved when dealing with them.

A drain line removes condensation produced by your system’s condenser coil.  These drain lines can become easily clogged if they aren’t cleaned regularly.  When a condensate drain line becomes clogged, mold can grow inside it leading to uncomfortable humidity and foul smells.

Freon Leaks

Freon is responsible for cooling the air in your building on a hot summer day.  It’s in a gaseous state at room temperature but turns into a liquid when it’s cooled.  Freon leaks can happen in multiple areas, but the leaks are most commonly found in holes in the evaporator coil.  If your air-conditioner loses enough freon, it won’t be able to cool the air in your building.  An experienced HVAC technician should be able to identify and fix a Freon leak with ease.

Note that you can avoid most of the above commercial HVAC repairs with regularly scheduled maintenance.  The investment in regular maintenance is minimal, yet many businesses neglect it until there’s a major problem.  At HVAC Philly, preventative maintenance of your commercial HVAC system is our specialty.  We’ll work to ensure that your operating costs are as low as possible and that you never have to deal with a major avoidable headache.

For expert commercial HVAC service and unparalleled professionalism, give HVAC Philly a call at 215-725-6111

Stay comfortable my friends.

Frozen Heat Pump? Commonly Reported HVAC Problem

The outdoor unit of a heat pump (that metal noisemaker that disturbs the peace on so many otherwise nice summer afternoons) will occasionally grow frost around the outside of the unit when it’s in heating mode.

Yes, a little bit of frost on the heat pump’s outdoor unit is normal.

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Heat pumps will naturally ice-up in the winter but will periodically go into a defrost cycle to de-ice the coils. This keeps the unit running efficiently. If the coils are blocked by ice, proper heat transfer between the refrigerant and the outside air cannot occur.

Heat pumps can ice-up during the winter time. And it is normal for the entire coil to be covered in a white frost, even light ice, during certain weather conditions. But it is not normal for the entire unit to be encased in ice; including the top of the unit and the insides of the coil for an extended period of time. This indicates a problem and should be addressed quickly to save energy and avoid serious damage to the equipment.

On a call for defrost, the reversing valve is energized, switching the system into the air conditioning mode. That is rightair conditioning. The outdoor evaporator becomes the condenser but at the same time the outdoor fan shuts off. This allows the high pressure refrigerant circulating through the outdoor coil to get very warm, melting the ice.

At the same, the second stage heat (the back-up heat) is energized to offset or temper the cold air now blowing out the vents. When a sensor or thermostat in the outdoor unit reaches a certain temperature and/or a certain amount of time goes by, the system goes back to normal heating mode. At this time a cloud of water vapor can usually be seen rising out of the outdoor unit and a “whoosh” sound can be heard as the refrigerant reverses direction. The entire process usually takes between 2 to 10 minutes depending on conditions.

Different heat pumps have different ways of determining when to go into defrost. Some (older models) use mechanical timers in conjunction with a defrost thermostat. If the thermostat is cold enough and enough time goes by, the unit will go into the defrost mode, whether it’s iced-up or not. When the thermostat heats up to a certain temperature, defrost is terminated. Hopefully at this time, much of the frost has melted off.

Most of the newer equipment today uses solid-state control modules with temperature sensors. Even more sophisticated is the Demand Defrost system which makes calculations based on the outside air, the refrigerant temperature in the coil, and run time. This is the most efficient way to defrost.

If a heat pump is severely iced-up during winter use, it’s possible that it’s not defrosting, but there are many other causes.

Below is a list of possible causes. Items in red usually require a service call. The bottom four causes in blue are commonly found problems and can be addressed, even fixed by the homeowner.

  • Bad defrost control or timer
  • Bad defrost thermostat or sensor
  • Bad defrost relay
  • Sticking reversing valve
  • Bad reversing valve solenoid coil
  • Bad outdoor fan motor
  • Low refrigerant charge
  • Restriction
  • Outdoor coil blocked – possibly with leaves or snow drift
  • Unit sunk in ground – nowhere for ice to melt and drain off
  • Leaking gutter dripping water onto top of unit
  • Freezing rain – causes top of unit to freeze over – once this happens the rest of the unit will also freeze over

 

A few more things to consider…

 

  • If the top of the heat pump is covered in ice, turn it off and remove the ice.
  • If a gutter is dripping on the heat pump, repair the gutter.
  • Keep snow and leaves away from the heat pump including underneath it.
  • If the heat pump has settled into the ground, it must be elevated – usually on blocks or special feet. (Should be done by an HVAC Philly technician.)
  • With the outdoor unit off, (you can set your thermostat to emergency heat), ice can be removed with a garden hose. If the heat pump ices-up again, it is time to schedule a service call.

*We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.*

Contact HVAC Philly who service the greater Philadelphia, Bucks County, PA, and Montgomery County PA area.