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Author: Kevin

San Diego’s Trusted Heating Solutions: Preventative Steps for Reliable Warmth

How To Prevent Heating Breakdowns & Costly Repairs

As the San Diego sun dips below the horizon and the evenings usher in a chill, the thoughts of many homeowners turn to the cozy confines of their homes. Whether you’re returning from a day of surfing at La Jolla Cove or a hike through the Torrey Pines State Reserve, a reliably warm home is a welcome retreat. Yet, amid the holiday preparations and the dropping temperatures, the last thing anyone needs is a heating breakdown. Staying ahead with savvy heating maintenance is not just a convenience—it’s a necessity. 

Securing Serenity With Seasonal Heating Strategies

Heating maintenance is not merely a task to be checked off but a cornerstone of tranquil living and robust system performance. At Bob Jenson Heating and Air Conditioning, we consider every nuance of San Diego’s unique climate, customizing our approach to safeguard your home against unexpected chills and efficiency dips. 

Our service is a tapestry of technical expertise and preventative strategy, extending the lifespan of your heating equipment and preserving the cozy ambiance of your home. By embracing the latest in heating technology and proactive care, we not only maintain your system’s reliability but also enhance the air quality within your home, ensuring that every breath you take is a testament to the purity and precision of our work. 

With us, your peace of mind is guaranteed; we’re dedicated to providing a warmth that’s not just felt but also trusted, making Bob Jenson synonymous with unwavering comfort in San Diego, CA, and beyond.

Safeguard Your Sanctuary: Proactive Steps to Heating Maintenance

Taking the initiative for heating maintenance can be as rejuvenating as a walk on the sunny shores of Coronado Beach. But it’s not just about feeling good—it’s about being smart with your home heating solutions. Let’s walk through the proactive measures you can take to avert the inconvenience of repairs, with a call to action for San Diego residents: Engage with Bob Jenson for impeccable heating maintenance services.

  • Regular Inspections 
  • Change Air Filters
  • Thermostat Management
  • Ductwork Diligence 
  • Professional Tune-ups 

 

Regular Inspections: Your Shield Against the Unexpected

Commitment to regular inspections is a cornerstone of heating maintenance in San Diego, CA. At Bob Jenson, we liken our routine check-ups to a seasoned captain inspecting their vessel before setting sail; it’s our way of ensuring your heating system is seaworthy for the cooler months ahead. When we scrutinize your heating unit, we’re not only ticking boxes but analyzing performance, anticipating needs, and strategizing the best course to avoid heating hiccups. With our experienced eyes on your system, you can rest easy knowing that potential issues are identified and addressed long before they become costly ordeals, keeping your home’s comfort as constant as the Pacific tides.

Air Filters: The Unsung Heroes in Your HVAC System

Air filters may seem like a small part of your home heating system, but they play a pivotal role in maintaining the air quality and efficiency of your heat oasis in San Diego. At Bob Jenson, we ensure your filters are in prime condition, capturing dust and allergens, optimizing airflow, and safeguarding your indoor air. 

Think of them as the gatekeepers to your comfort castle, quietly working round the clock. By having us regularly replace these silent protectors, you’re not only preserving the purity of your home’s air but also enhancing your system’s longevity and reducing the strain on your wallet from energy overuse. Let us maintain a vigilant watch over your air filters so the only thing you’re breathing in is peace of mind.

Thermostat Management: The Conductor of Your Comfort Symphony

Navigating the nuances of thermostat management can be the difference between a harmonious home climate and a series of temperature tantrums. Here at Bob Jenson, we take the baton to fine-tune your home’s heating melody. Our experts in heating maintenance in San Diego can help you program your thermostat for optimal performance—adapting to your lifestyle and seasonal changes with precision. 

We’re not just setting temperatures but orchestrating an energy-efficient performance that harmonizes with your daily rhythm. By leveraging advanced thermostat settings, we can help you save on energy bills and extend the life of your heating system, allowing you to step back and enjoy the symphony of a perfectly heated home.

Ductwork Diligence: Pathways to Peak Performance

Your home’s ductwork is the hidden highway for warmth, and diligent care of these pathways is essential for an efficient heating system in San Diego, CA. At Bob Jenson, we inspect your ducts and ensure they are free of debris and obstructions that can restrict airflow and strain your heating system. 

Our thorough ductwork diligence means we meticulously seal any leaks and insulate where necessary, which translates to consistent temperatures, reduced energy costs, and a quieter operation. You can expect nothing less than the smooth and efficient delivery of heat to every corner of your sanctuary, ensuring comfort is evenly distributed throughout your living space.

Professional Tune-Ups: The Heartbeat of Home Comfort

A professional tune-up by Bob Jenson is like a wellness check for your heating system, keeping the heartbeat of your home comfort strong and steady. Our team, well-versed in the specific needs of heating maintenance for San Diego homes, goes beyond the basics. We meticulously calibrate, lubricate, and test all components to ensure they’re in top-notch condition. These tune-ups are not just preventative measures—they’re performance enhancers that reduce the risk of breakdowns during those cool Pacific evenings and save you money by improving energy efficiency. Regular professional tune-ups by our seasoned experts ensure that when you need warmth the most, your heating system performs like a champion, year after year.

Take the Leap to Long-Lasting Warmth

As the city’s twinkling lights mirror the starry skies, ensure that your San Diego home remains a bastion of warmth and reliability throughout the cooler months. Steer clear of the disruptions of heating breakdowns with Bob Jenson’s professional heating maintenance services. Ready to fortify your home against the chill? Reach out to us today, and let’s keep your living space as inviting as San Diego’s endless summer.

2023 Best of Houzz Service Award!

We are very thankful to our customers who take the time to share their great experiences which lead to awards like the 2023 Best of Houzz Service Award!

At Bob Jenson Air Conditioning, people will always be at the center of our business. It baffles us that in the comfort industry, San Diegans have so many “uncomfortable” experiences in buying, repairing, and maintaining their home HVAC systems. If you focus on what’s right for the customer and make that the most important thing while maintaining a high standard of work, it’s easy to make people happy. Thanks again for your continued loyalty and praise of our team, we are proud to receive the 2023 Best of Houzz Service Award!

Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite!

You have made Bob Jenson Air Conditioning & Heating a Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite and we want to Thank You!! We live for helping others and we are happy that we have been able to provide some sense of comfort, health, and peace of mind during this Pandemic. You in turn have continued to support our business and our employees, and we are grateful. Let’s keep moving forward and we will keep supporting you and your family in the months and years ahead!

Team Jenson

Thermostats and Controls


Quicklinks to other articles in this series:

What Are Thermostats and HVAC Controls?

Your thermostat is the part of your HVAC system that measures the temperature of your home. It also controls the system to turn on and off heating and cooling cycles.

Where Are Thermostats & Controls Located?

The ideal location for thermostats is in a hallway near the center of your home or business. Make sure to keep them away from air conditioning vents and direct sunlight. Because this can throw off the accuracy by extreme differences in temperature.

Since stoves and ovens in the kitchen can create large amounts of heat, avoid placing thermostats there . The same logic applies to a thermostat in a bathroom since the steam heat from a shower will produce a wrong reading.

How Do Thermostats Work?

Mechanical thermostats use a magnetic strip or a mercury bulb that energizes the heating or cooling system. Also they have a part known as a heating anticipator that must be set according to very specific instructions. Further they can contain mercury, a highly toxic and hazardous material. And so these thermostats are illegal to install. They have been upgraded to digital versions.

Digital thermostats use a device called a thermistor to measure the indoor temperature. A thermistor reacts to changes in temperature. Then a brain inside the thermostat converts the thermistor reading to a temperature reading.

What Makes Them Important?

The energy bill of your home or business is directly related to how efficiently a thermostat performs. The thermostat is the point of control over the entire HVAC system. Some homes and businesses use system zoning. This is a control panel that opens and closes duct dampers thru series of multiple thermostats. So it better regulates the temperature inside the home.

Different Types of Controls and Thermostats

Thermostats

Thermostats are either mechanical or digital. However, mechanical thermostats are older models, and most homes and businesses now use digital thermostats. Frequently, digital controls have digital displays that feature heating and cooling modes, fan speeds, and temperature adjustments. Many modern thermostats work well with whole-house air cleaners and/or variable-speed air conditioning systems.

Newer devices, like the popular Nest brand, have program features that can record energy use and adjust themselves to save money. In addition, others offer wireless access to control your thermostat from any mobile device. This results in more efficient energy use and savings on utility bills. Also, some work with automation bridges to combine with lighting controls, security systems, and even watering systems!

Maintenance and Repairs

Most thermostats do not need a lot of maintenance or repair. So before calling a technician, check your breaker panel for any tripped breakers. Make sure your thermostat has fresh batteries. Remove the thermostat’s front cover panel and clean any grime or dirt. A dirty thermostat that results in a difference of three degrees between its set temperature and the actual temperature can result in an increased fuel bill of 7 percent!

If those troubleshooting tips do not help, you should contact an experienced technician to replace the thermostat. The team at Bob Jenson is ready and waiting to assist if you need help or have questions with anything about your HVAC system.

Indoor Air Quality, Filtration and Add-ons


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What Are Filtration and Indoor Air Quality?

The filtration in your comfort system refers to the air filter. Filters have porous membranes to trap pollutants and particulate matter, such as pet dander, mold, smoke, dust, and bacteria.

Indoor air quality refers to the air quality within a building or structure; poor IAQ is closely related to health effects. Low indoor air quality has been strongly connected with headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation, and effecting asthma.

Where Is the Air Filter Located?

Air Filtration

Usually, the air filter will be located in the return duct. Many return ducts are placed in attics, basements, crawlspaces, or garages. In some commercial spaces, they might be on a wall, on the ceiling, or in a utility closet. Some HVAC systems have return ducts in every room, which means you might find multiple air filters.

How Does the Filter Work?

When an HVAC system works properly, it filters out any harmful pollutants from the outdoor air. Proper filtration requires consistent maintenance and check-ups. On the contrary, lack of maintenance leads to pollutants like mold, mildew and bacteria becoming trapped in ducting and other components.

What Makes Filtration and Indoor Air Quality Important?

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that indoor air can be, at a minimum, anywhere from 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. And indoor air quality is a top-5 environmental threat to public health. Furthermore, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that half of all illnesses are caused or aggravated by low IAQ. Illnesses related to poor IAQ cost the U.S. economy $168 billion every year.

Beyond your use of proper filtration, a professional can help you improve indoor air quality by moving returns or ductwork. Humidity control is also essential; annual maintenance should include inspecting drain lines for sediment and other clogs that promote the growth of mold and mildew.

Different Types of Filters and Add-Ons

Fiberglass filters are disposable and inexpensive. They protect your HVAC system, but they don’t offer the best filtration available. Some low-end filters are washable and reusable, but the installation of a still-damp filter can lead to mold and mildew. Pleated filters are an affordable option that increase filtration efficiency, and they have the added bonus of quieting fan noise.

The best filters are High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which force air through a very fine mesh. While HEPA filters trap most airborne particulate matter, due to size and airflow restrictions, they can require modifications from an HVAC professional.

Add-ons to consider include smart thermostats, which allow you to control your entire system with the push of a button via your mobile device. There are also zoning systems, which use dampers to cool or heat individual rooms only when they are needed.

UV Light Add-on
UV LIGHT ADD-ON

Ventilators remove bad air and pull fresh air into a home at the same time. They also use heat-exchange technology to keep your home from losing its cooling or heating during this process. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are classic methods to boost the fresh feeling of a home or office. Your personal comfort isn’t the only benefit of a humidifier or dehumidifier—your wooden products and electronics will benefit as well.

Maintenance and Repairs

Cleaning or replacing an HVAC filter is one of the most important tasks any homeowner or business owner can perform to keep an HVAC system running efficiently; luckily, it’s also quite easy and one that most people can perform themselves.

Be sure you purchase an air filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating appropriate for your system; otherwise, you risk air leakage, increased energy use, or even a frozen coil. Filters with MERV ratings between 1 and 4 capture large debris, like pet hair, but they do not greatly improve indoor air quality. Those with MERV ratings between 5 and 12 capture mold spores, pollen, auto emission, and other smaller particles. Filters with MERV ratings 13 or greater, such as HEPA filters, trap cigarette smoke and most bacteria.

Consistent, proactive maintenance plans from HVAC professionals include inspection and cleaning of ducting, evaporator coils, lines, condenser coils, and vents, all of which promote high indoor air quality. You can further improve IAQ by installing ultraviolet lights that destroy mold, bacteria, and viruses. New products are released to the market every year designed to monitor and improve your indoor air quality.

Air Ducts and Registers; Why They are Important


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What Are Air Ducts and Registers?

Air Ducts and Registers

Air ducts are the intricate system of tubes and related parts that distributes the airflow of your air conditioner (and HVAC system at large) throughout your home or commercial building.

Registers at the end of each air duct direct the airflow within a room or space. Supply air registers are not returns; they do not bring air back into an HVAC system. A return will have a permanent, unmovable grille. In addition, supply air registers and returns are also called “vents”.

Where Are Air Ducts & Registers Located?

Air ducts are located behind walls and floors and are visible in crawlspaces, attics, and basements or cellars. Some split-system air conditioners do not use conventional ducting, though ductless air conditioning may not be right for all homes or businesses.

Registers are installed on metal cans in the opening of a wall. For example, either up high toward the ceiling or near the base of a wall. Also registers are found in floors in older homes .

How Do They Each Work?

Apart from the air ducts themselves, ducting includes other crucial components:

  • Vibration isolators, which minimize an operating HVAC system’s vibration
  • Metal cans allow the flow of air to move from the ducts to the registers
  • Dampers, which adjust the volume of air
  • Vanes, which smooth out air flow around turns

in order to have a balanced, comfortable home, careful sizing and placement of return and supply air ducts and registers is important.

Registers have bars that you can control with an adjustable damper (a lever, knob, or another movable part on one side of the register) to reduce or direct airflow.

What Makes Them Important?

Ducting acts as the arteries and veins of your air conditioning system. They deliver the right amount of cool air to each room in your home or commercial space.

Registers help control the comfort level of a space by providing a way to direct airflow at the point it enters a room.

Different Types of Air Ducts and Registers

Flexible Ducting

Ducts come in many, many styles and shapes, including oval, round, and rectangular, and they are formed from materials as varied as fiberglass, galvanized steel, aluminum, polyurethane panels, and plastic. Don’t be confused by pipes that transfer refrigerant or other vapors and liquids; air only moves thru ducts.

Registers come in various materials, including aluminum, steel, and even wood. Many people buy registers and returns with custom-designed slats or decorative covers.

(Note: for a list of outdated ductwork in the Southern California, check out this blog post.)

Maintenance and Repairs

Do you smell a faint, musty scent of dirty laundry? That could indicate mold is growing in your ducting. You may want to call a professional technician to inspect your ductwork. They can detect the presence of mold and accumulated dust, which can make you sick.

Despite the name, duct tape is not suitable for sealing up ducts. Instead, to ensure ducts don’t leak, heat and uv resistant tape is used .

Though vents are not the typical cause of an HVAC malfunction, they can contribute to one. Check registers for any debris that builds up. Or for loose, cracked, or broken vent covers. When switching out vent covers, be sure to take accurate measurements to purchase the correct replacements. Occasionally wipe your registers with a damp cloth to remove any accumulated dust and debris.

How the Indoor Coil and TXV Work


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What Are the Indoor Coil and TXV?

Indoor Coil and TXV
THERMAL EXPANSION VALVE OR TXV

The indoor coil is the portion of the air conditioner that absorbs the hot air from inside your home and transfers it to the refrigerant. It pairs with the condenser coil to create a continuous loop of heat transfer.

The TXV, which stands for thermostatic expansion valve, acts as a metering device for air conditioning systems. It regulates the rate at which liquid refrigerant flows into the indoor coil.

Where Are They Located?

An indoor coil will be located inside your home or business. The installation of the indoor coil is in line with the furnace, in a closet or in the attic.

You will likely find the TXV mounted near the indoor coil on the liquid line. Also the sensing bulb is mounted to the outside of the larger suction line.

How Do The Indoor Coil and TXV Work?

The radiator-like device mounted in the airstream is the indoor coil. As warm indoor air passes over the evaporator coil, heat from the home is absorbed into the refrigerant. Likewise moisture is naturally removed from the air . The combination of cooling and dehumidification provides the total cooling effect for the home. In contrast, a heat pump reverses this process. In the winter, heat transfers from the refrigerant into the home or business thru the indoor coil.

Through the liquid line, refrigerant enters the TXV valve at a high pressure. The TXV limits the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator thus reducing it’s pressure. Along with this pressure drop, the saturation temperature, or “boiling point” of the refrigerant drops as well. This allows a change of state from liquid to gas which is the most efficient time to transfer large amounts of heat from the surrounding air into the refrigerant.

What Makes Them Important?

A well-maintained indoor coil is, along with the outdoor coil, essential to an efficient air conditioning system. Indoor coils that have fallen into disrepair will not be able to transfer heat effectively, causing your home or business to feel less cool. Restricted airflow to the coil can cause the coil to start icing up and even freeze over.

After regulation changes in 2006, most air conditioning systems now require a TXV. It controls the refrigerant flow to create maximum efficiency for the indoor coil. It also prevents excess refrigerant from returning to the compressor and flooding it.

Different Types of Indoor Coils and TXVs

The most common indoor coils in air conditioning systems are divided into three types:

“A” coils, which get their name from the shape they take, are common for vertically aligned air conditioners.

Indoor Coil Uncased
INDOOR COIL UNCASED

“N” or “W” coils, also named for their shape, work for vertical or horizontally aligned systems. They are smaller than other options.

Slab coils are less common and used for horizontally aligned air conditioning systems.

Similarly, uncased coils are uncommon as well. They easier to build as custom coils for unusual air conditioner designs. A third indoor coil design is the vertical coil, which is suitable for upward and downward air flow.

TXVs come in two major types, internally equalized and externally equalized, which refer to how the TXV senses pressure. Indoor coils with multiple refrigerant circuits typically use an externally equalized TXV.

Maintenance and Repairs

Dirty indoor coils are less efficient, sapping your air conditioner of its efficiency and leading to energy usage up to 30% above average. You can save money and keep cool by checking your air conditioner’s air filter monthly and replacing it as necessary. If you notice that the air filter looks “domed,” this is a sign that the air conditioner is not receiving enough airflow. Replace the filter immediately.

Do not attempt to clean the fins on the indoor coil as they are quite delicate and can bend easily. Instead, call a professional technician who has the right tools and expertise.

A faulty TXV forces an air conditioning system to work harder than necessary, putting stress on other components. Also improper installation of the TXV bulb, such as mounting it to the underside of the indoor coil’s output line, might provide false readings and cause malfunctions.

Refrigerant, Copper Lines and Filter Driers


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What Are Refrigerants, Copper Pipes, and Filter Driers?

Refrigerants, copper pipes and filter driers

Refrigerant is the liquid chemical blend that soaks up heat and releases it as part of the air conditioning process; it is the lifeblood of the air conditioner. Copper pipes act as refrigerant lines to transport this vital fluid throughout the air conditioning system. The filter drier provides physical filtration and absorbs water and other contaminants that can be found in the refrigerant.

Where Is the Refrigerant & Filter Dryer?

Refrigerant runs throughout the air conditioner, from the evaporator coil to the condenser and back again, creating the basic flow necessary for cooling to occur. A technician can maintain refrigerant levels by access ports found on the outdoor unit.

The two main lines of copper piping run from the condenser to the evaporator coil and back. The larger is called the suction (or return, or vapor) line and the smaller one is the liquid line.

You will find the filter drier on the liquid line outside near the condenser or inside near the evaporator coil. It looks like a blue or grey soda can.

The Science Behind Refrigerant

Refrigerant Gauge Up Close

Refrigerant is contained within copper coils inside an air conditioner. As the hot liquid refrigerant is pumped into your home to the indoor coil it is metered by the TXV which only allows a small amount to enter the coil. This creates a drop in temperature of the refrigerant allowing the heat from your home to soak up like a sponge and transfers into the refrigerant to be taken outside as a gas back to the compressor. Finally, once your thermostat senses that enough heat has been removed, it shuts off the system at just the right temperature.

Larger refrigerant lines that carry cold gas need to be insulated. For example; on a warm summer day condensation would form, like the outside of a glass of ice water. In contrast, the liquid line needs no insulation because it contains warm refrigerant.

Filter driers remove moisture from refrigerants. To acheive this, dryers use desiccants, such as activated alumina or silica. Some use molecular sieves, which trap moisture on a molecular level. Also, to keep out common contaminants, filter driers use screens and depth filters, such as bonded desiccant cores or fiberglass pad filters.

What Makes Them Important?

Refrigerants need to have low freezing and boiling points, a low condensing pressure, a high vaporization heat, high vapor density, and a high critical temperature. Moreover, they should be non-corrosive, non-flammable, and non-toxic. For those reasons, refrigerants are carefully synthesized chemicals.

The filter drier’s essential role is to remove water from the system. Water can cause freeze-ups and corrosion from organic acid compounds, so moisture must be eliminated.

As far as materials go, copper tubing is economical and eco-friendly since it is strong, light-weight, and relatively inexpensive. In addition, refrigerants are contained in copper tubing because the copper is efficient at transferring heat.

Different Types of Refrigerants, Copper Pipes, and Filter Driers

R410A Refrigerant Jug

Refrigerants come in two types: the older version, R-22, commonly known as Freon; and R410A, known by its brand name, Puron. For many years the main refrigerant in air conditioning systems was R-22, but due to its effect on the ozone, it was severely restricted from production and will be banned entirely by 2020. R410A is the industry standard now. This is because it is efficient and less harmful for the environment, while providing the same cooling as R-22.

The two main types of copper pipes are hard-drawn copper and soft copper. Hard-drawn copper is very rigid and straight. Soft copper is flexible and comes in 25- or 50-foot rolls. There are markings that indicate that the pipes have been cleaned and dehydrated for use in air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Filter driers come in various forms, including spun copper, steel liquid-line, steel suction-line, and steel bi-flow. Steel driers provide added filtration and water capacity over copper driers.

Maintenance and Repairs

Be aware that R-22 and R410A are not interchangeable. Your air conditioning system will use only one of these refrigerants. Newer air conditioners will use R410A as its refrigerant. A trained technician should handle refrigerant replacement because these coolants can be dangerous to handle and must be disposed in specific ways.

If you notice oil stains around your air conditioner, you might have a leak, potentially caused by damaged copper pipes. Harsh weather, internal contaminants, or installation in high traffic areas can damage copper pipes. Therefore never reuse old copper refrigerant lines when repairing or upgrading your air conditioner.

And finally, filter cores and drier shells may need to be replaced over time, but thankfully, the market provides a wide range of replacements. Often, these replacement cores and shells are a simple installation for a professional technician.

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