Troubleshooting Heating and Cooling
Air conditioning has made our lives much more comfortable, and it is difficult to imagine our lives without it in our homes or businesses. It not only cools our homes, but reduces humidity and helps to clean the air in our homes when a proper filter is used. Humidity not only makes it feel hotter, it makes it harder for those with respiratory problems to breathe. Air conditioning is a life saver, literally, for many who suffer from some health problems such as asthma, allergies and many other respiratory problems. When it breaks down air conditioning repair in Katy isn’t an option for most of us, but a necessity. Before reaching for the phone to call a technician out, there are a few things you should try:
First, make sure your thermostat is set to the COOL position and that the temperature is lower than the inside temperature display. For example, if the thermostat says your inside temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit; your air conditioner will not cut on if you have the thermostat set at 76 or above. If the thermostat is on cool check the fan switch to ensure it is on AUTO. If the fan is set to ON turn it back to AUTO. The ON function causes the fan to run whether or not the compressor is pumping cool air at the time. Being set to ON rather than AUTO may explain why the ac is blowing warm air part of the time.
Next, check your air registers and make sure they are all open. Never block registers or the air return. Keep the area around them clear.
Check to ensure that your system is receiving power. Open your electrical panel; all circuit breakers should be in the ON position.On the exterior central air conditioning unit there will be a disconnect switch. It is usually located near the unit in a grey box mounted nearby on the house. This switch is a frequent culprit causing a central unit to shut off. If you are uncertain of the proper switch, don’t hesitate to call for professional assistance when you need ac repair in Katy.
In cold climates heating is an essential for life and in maintaining our homes as well as our comfort. When heating fails it usually means our home becomes uncomfortable quickly. Use the following checklist to check your furnace before calling an HVAC technician out for help:
First, check to make sure your thermostat is set to HEAT and that the room temperature is lower than the temperature it is set on. For example, if your thermostat is set to 65 and your indoor temperature is 70, the heat will not cut on until the indoor temperature reaches 64 unless you adjust the temperature.
Check registers and make sure they are open. Never block registers with clutter, furniture or drapes. Always keep the area around the air return clear.
Turn the furnace fan to the ON position. If it runs there is power is going to the furnace. If it doesn’t run, power may not be reaching the furnace.
Open your electrical panel; ensure that all circuit breakers are in the ON position.If these tips fail to restore heating and air conditioning call Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning’s dedicated technicians for service to your furnace. Keep in mind regular maintenance spring and fall and changing the filter are the most effective action you can take towards preventing breakdowns. We offer service contracts to keep your heating and cooling system at peak performance and operationally sound, and provide emergency service for your convenience 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Cypress’s certified HVAC professionals are always there for you when you require heating or air conditioning repair in Katy.
Improving Energy Efficiency in the Home
With energy costs perpetually increasing, most homeowners are looking for ways to keep costs down. The following are a few tips to help keep those utility bills down.
Close drapes over windows and patio/French doors to prevent heat loss during the winter dark hours and heat gain in the summer. Keep in mind white reflects light and dark absorbs it. Open the curtains on sunny windows in the winter and close them in the summer.
Another idea that assists with winter heating is to place a dark rug on the floor in front of sunny windows to absorb the suns heat. It then is released into the room.
Energy efficient windows help prevent energy loss but the cost of replace may be more than you want to pay. If you want something more than curtains try window film. It is available at home supply stores and from your local window tinting company. Window film blocks harmful UV rays and heat in the summer and works beautifully. Some films claim to allow the heat in that it blocks out in the summer while continuing to filter out damaging UV rays. It acts as an additional layer upon windows and does reduce the transference of cold through the glass. It is also available for glass doors.
If you use window air conditioners aim the vents upward to improve circulation. Cold air settles on its own while hot air rises.The central air unit outside, and the outside portion of window units will cool better if they are not in direct sunlight. Do not block the air flow around them or overheating can occur. With window units, relocation to an area shaded during the heat of the day will improve efficiency.
Maintaining proper humidity will make your home more comfortable. Excessive humidity in the summer makes it feels hotter. Controlling humidity with de-humidifiers and humidifiers will improve comfort.
Keep the draft of the chimney closed until it is in use. Chimneys create a draft that will suck the air of your home right out the chimney increasing energy costs.
Make certain your thermostat isn’t on an un-insulated outside wall or catching air from an air register. If it is, you will need to contact your HVAC technician and have it moved. Check for drafts, if caulking or seals are deteriorated and allowing drafts to enter your home it will cause the system to run more. Seal windows with caulk or shrink fit plastic. Replace door seals, and seal drafts around light switches and plugs with foam insulators made for them. Plumbing, cables and wires coming through a floor or ceiling should be sealed with caulk or expanding foam. Never use unapproved materials around a furnace flue, fires may occur. Consult with a heating and air conditioning professional for proper a proper seal around furnace flues.
Install a thermostat timer or a programmable digital thermostat that will allow you to automatically raise or lower temperatures at peak times and after hours. For example, your heat can be lowered at bedtime, as well as at times when no one is home saving you a bundle of money.
Don’t block the thermostat, vents or the return air register with drapes or furniture as this will cause it to run unnecessarily.Keep the filter clean. Choose a particular day every month to change your filter preventing your unit from having to work harder.
Have your HVAC system serviced bi-annually. While having this service performed ask for a duct check to prevent loss of energy due to a loose duct. If your ducts haven’t been cleaned professionally in 10 years or more then it is a good idea to have them cleaned. If allergies are worsening, or if you see more dust than normal then it’s a good indication that the ducts need cleaning.Turn on ceiling fans to assist your HVAC system. Most ceiling fans have a switch for summer and winter.
In the summer, using good room fans will circulate the cool air and improve a room’s temperature. It will assist the air conditioning and make it feel much cooler.
Properly cared for, your HVAC system should last you for years. Following these tips will help assure that you get the most from your heating and air conditioning system, ultimately saving you money while keeping energy costs down.
Choosing the Best Filter for Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
Dust gets everywhere, including in our homes where it can set off allergies in sensitive persons. Dust also gets into heating and air conditioning systems and over time not only reduces its efficiency, but can damage the system. With the proper choice of filter, the HVAC system can function as an air filtration system making your home a more healthful one.
By providing regular maintenance and changing the filters often we can keep the system clean and trouble free. A clean system operates at optimal efficiency, saving money on energy costs and keeping our homes comfortable. You should never run the heating and air conditioning system without a filter. Let’s take a look at the most commonly used air filters:
Fiberglass filters, often called ‘blues’, keep out the larger dirt and debris that can cause damage to your system. They won’t do anything for air quality and must be replaced every month or more often if your environment is especially dusty. At $1 or so each they are definitely affordable.
Pleated filters provide a larger surface area and last longer between changes (usually every three months). If you tend to forget to change the filter, these are a better choice than ‘blues’. They capture smaller dust particles than ‘blues’ helping to keep your system cleaner. Though they last longer, all filters should be checked every month as increased dust can necessitate an early change of the filter.
If a family member suffers from asthma, allergies or respiratory disease, or if you have a pet or smoker in the house, an electrostatic or High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is recommended. HEPA filters are 99.7% effective in removing airborne particulates 0.03 microns or above in size through the use of diffusion filter. A pre-filter is required to capture large particles which would otherwise block the filters air flow. HEPAS magnetically attract particulates such as dust, mold and pollen. When used in conjunction with an air purifier and an immaculately clean house the best environment possible is provided for those with respiratory problems. There are HEPA filters available that will even capture viruses and bacteria ‘zapping’ them with ultraviolet light. For this reason, when cleaning HEPA filters wear gloves and wash hands afterwards. The cost of HEPA filters is greater but they can last up to a year, some manufacturers claim their HEPA product can last 3-5 years. Health experts advise using HEPA filters in conjunction with an air purifier to prevent overwhelming the HEPA system.
High humidity of 90% and above can have adverse effects upon HEPA filters, many manufacturers recommend turning the filtration system off when humidity is high.
Many filters carry a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV rating), which gives an indication of their effectiveness. In general, those with the higher rating are more effective. Fiberglass filters generally have a MERV rating of 4, while pleated filters generally have a MERV rating of 6. Electrostatic filters have MERV ratings of 8 to 12 with 12 ratings being the top of the line. HEPA filters don’t generally bear a MERV rating as they exceed the standards.
It is easy to forget to change filters which can lead to clogging, and overheating which shuts down the burner in a furnace. Eventually the limit switch fails and the furnace then fails to fire up at all. The service call and a new limit switch are going to cost you considerably more than a new filter would have. Mark the day to change it on your calendar.
You should also keep a check on your filter as dust conditions may vary affecting when it needs to be changed. If you prefer not to take chances there is an air filter gauge available by General for about $15. It measures the airflow between the furnace and the filter through a small hose. With this gauge, various filters though new, may register as ‘dirty’. This may be due a particular filter type reducing air flow to the system which can cause overheating. It is important to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation of filter type with your HVAC system to prevent dangerous overheating. If you are unsure, contact the manufacturer or talk to your HVAC technician.
Some systems use washable and reusable filters. These also require routine cleaning to prevent breakdowns and increased energy usage. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning to prevent damage them.
Properly maintained your HVAC system should last you 10-11 years. It is an investment in your health and comfort. With regular filter changes and bi-annual maintenance from your HVAC technician you’ll get the most from your product for many years to come.
Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning are your dedicated professionals for all of your heating and air conditioning needs in Katy, TX.
Our certified HVAC technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to be there when you need us most for furnace or air conditioning repair or replacement in Katy, TX. Service contracts are available for homeowners and businesses alike. Give us a call, and let us show you the Cypress difference.
Heat Pump Installation and Repair in the Katy/Fort Worth Region
When your energy costs for heating and air conditioning are soaring like the national debt, a heat pump will offer an energy-efficient alternative for homeowners as well as businesses in the Katy/Fort Worth region.
During the winter, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm home and during the summer months, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate it, heat pumps can generate up to four times the amount of energy they consume making them a wise choice for many homeowners.
The heat pump also provides a cleaner choice for persons with respiratory problems such as allergies. Coupled with a HEPA filter or other cutting edge technology air purifying systems, the heat pump becomes an ideal option in HVAC systems for persons with respiratory problems.
Relatively new innovations are improving the performance of heat pumps even more and reducing energy costs as a direct result.Prior standard compressors could only operate at full capacity. Recent upgrades include two-speed compressors that allow heat pumps to operate close to the heating or cooling capacity that is required at any given time. This feature saves tremendously on the electrical energy usage, and works well with zone control systems.
Some heat pump models are equipped with variable speed motors on indoor, or outdoor fans, or both. This maximizes savings on the electric bill and reduces noise when the fan operates at lower speeds.
An additional energy saving feature on some heat pumps is a desuperheater, which allows waste heat from the heat pumps cooling mode to heat water. A heat pump equipped with a desuperheater heats water 2 to 3 times more efficiently than an ordinary electric water heater.
The scroll compressor is another feature that has added benefits. When compared with piston compressors, scroll compressors have a longer service life and operate quieter.
Other advances in heat pump technology include dual fuel heat pumps used in the colder Northern areas of the country increasing versatility and allowing you a choice.
Energy Star requirements create consistent energy saving innovations to products. It pays to ask questions when having a heat pump or any other appliance installed. If your aging system is 10-14 years old, it may pay to consider the installation of a newer significantly more energy efficient HVAC system.
Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning is always happy to provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice of HVAC products.
When you choose Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning you receive our exceptional service by qualified technicians dedicated to customer satisfaction. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the heating or air conditioning serviceservice or repair you need, day or night. Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning will always be there when you need us most.
HVAC-Routine Maintenance in the Katy/Fort Worth Region
Our Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning professionals are frequently asked how often HVAC systems need to be serviced in the Katy/Fort Worth, TX area.
To keep your heating and cooling system operating at peak performance, reduce breakdowns and save money on energy usage, have your system inspected and maintenance performed every 6 months. Ideally have the system inspected and serviced in the spring before you begin using the air conditioning in the summer, and again in the fall before you start using the heat in the winter. The importance of routine service cannot be stressed enough as lack of maintenance can lead to dangerous conditions such as a cracked combustion chamber in an aging gas furnace for example.
If your system gets heavy use replace filters more frequent and discuss with your heating and air conditioning service provider if you require more than twice per year inspection for heavier than normal use such as during an extremely cold winter. Generally, inspection and service twice per year is adequate for the Katy, TX region.
During routine service your system will be inspected, tuned up, maintenance will be performed and any potential problems can be addressed before they become a larger problem that can cost more to repair. A good example of the benefits of routine service is with dirty coils. Not only will they cause your system to work harder and use more energy, but can also potentially damage the system.
Persons with respiratory and other health problems often depend on their air conditioning to breathe easier. This is especially true in areas where high humidity and heat is the standard. Increased humidity makes it feel hotter, and for persons with respiratory or heart problems it can make breathing extremely difficult, or even life threatening. For family members with respiratory problems, allergies and asthma you may want to talk to your heating and air conditioning professional in the Katy, Texas area about using a HEPA filter which will clean the air winter and summer. However, not all systems can use HEPA filters; your heating and cooling professional can best advise you if your system is HEPA compatible.
The frequent changing of filters is the single most important action that a homeowner can provide besides regular maintenance. A dirty and clogged filter makes your system work harder which increases energy use, and can potentially damage your system. The type filter your system uses will determine how often you need to change it. All filters should be inspected every month and changed or cleaned as specified by the manufacturer. The value brand blue fiberglass filters at about $1 each must be changed monthly, but don’t expect them to clean your air as a HEPA filter will. These will suffice to keep the largest particles out that cause damage to the HVAC system if changed once per month.
Keep vent registers open and free of furniture, drapes or other objects that can block them. Keep the area around your air return supply clear of clutter as well for the best air flow to the system.
Give us a call for inspection and service, or sign up for a service contract to have your system automatically inspected, serviced and tuned up bi-annually. Taking care of your system will extend its service life and enable it to better keep your home comfortable year round.Cypress Heating and Air Conditionings certified professionals provide emergency service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you need routine service, HVAC repair or installation give us a call, you can depend upon us to be there when you need us most.