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5 of Our Favorite Bob Jenson Posts for Better Summer Living

It’s summertime and the living is easy — as long as your A/C is functioning and your home’s air quality is good, that is. As you enter into some of San Diego’s warmest months, do you need a refresher on keeping your home healthy and cool?

We’ve assembled some of our favorite Bob Jenson blog posts about caring for your home during the summer. When you go into the sunniest season prepared, you’ll be living your best life all summer long.

Summertime Energy Savings Guide

You don’t want to be a sweaty Betty all summer, but you’re also not made of money. Finding a balance between keeping cool and staying on budget can be challenging when temperatures soar — and they’re doing just that, more than ever.

In our “Summertime Energy Savings Guide,” you’ll learn how to keep energy usage and costs within reason this summer. From sealing your ducts to slightly adjusting your thermostat, it might not be as hard as you think.

6 Things to Do Before Turning On Your A/C This Summer

It’s that day of the year again — the one you turn on your A/C for the first blast of that sweet, cool air. But are you really ready? There are a few items that should be checked off your to-do list prior to kicking on your A/C each year.

Our “6 Things to Do Before Turning on Your A/C This Summer” post walks you through getting your unit ready for use. You’ll learn about cleaning out supply vents and more.

Keeping the Cool Air In and the Hot Air Out

You can have the most efficient air conditioner in the world but if your house is full of leaks, you’ll still waste a lot of money this summer. When cool air escapes through bad windows or poor insulation, you end up paying more than you should to keep your house temperature controlled. It’s important to know how to keep the hot summer air outside, where it belongs.

Our blog, “Keeping the Cool Air In and the Hot Air Out,” outlines ways to update your home (such as adding weather stripping) that will prevent cold air from bleeding outside.

When Is It Time to Break Up With Your Air Conditioner?

Your air conditioner has been there for you all these years, through mild summers and scorching seasons alike. But has your relationship come to an end? Even the trustiest of HVAC systems will reach a point where it needs to be replaced.

If you’re on the fence about getting rid of your A/C, our post “When is It Time to Break Up with Your Air Conditioner?” tells you which questions to ask yourself about ditching your air.

5 End-of-Summer Maintenance Tips

Your A/C can benefit from some TLC (read: maintenance) after a season of heavy usage. You may not be in the mood to worry about your HVAC as summer comes to a close — after all, you won’t turn it on for several months now — but you’ll be thankful next spring if you do some A/C tune ups now.

Read “5 End-of-Summer Maintenance Tips” to learn about cleaning your condenser unit and other steps that will ensure your air conditioning unit has another successful season next year.

Do you have questions about maintaining your HVAC system during summer? Reach out to Bob Jenson for any service, repair, or maintenance questions and requests. We’ll make sure you stay cool and comfortable all season long.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

Meet Marty, a skilled and trusted HVAC technician who lives in San Diego. Working for Bob Jenson Air Conditioning & Heating, an established family business in the San Diego area, means that he calls the whole county his service area. No two days are alike at Marty’s job, and he’d be the first to tell you that every call requires good communication skills, resourceful thinking, and quality training. Above all, he prioritizes his customers above all else.

Come along with Marty to learn what a day in the life of an HVAC technician looks like!

7:30-8:30 a.m.

Marty starts his morning by driving to the office and meets with his Service Manager. He learns which clients require service that day and after a quick appraisal of the day’s jobs, Marty grabs the required gear and safety equipment. Restocking the work van, cleaning and gathering the needed parts and filters takes a few minutes, and then Marty drives to the first location.

8:30-9:30 a.m.

The first stop of the day is a common task for Marty: performing a regular maintenance check on a customer’s HVAC system. Rhonda, who lives in La Jolla, is a decades-long client, partially because of the excellent customer service and the consistency of high-quality work she’s received from Bob Jenson.

Marty asks if Rhonda has noticed any heating or cooling issues over the past year and after confirming she hasn’t, Marty continues his inspection. He discovers a part that appears to be malfunctioning slightly and takes note to show Rhonda right away.

Marty get Rhonda’s approval to order the new part and documents the expected arrival date on Rhonda’s paperwork and reviews his maintenance check with her before wishing her well and moving on to his second client of the day.

9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The installation of an HVAC unit at a new microbrewery opening up in North County will take the better part of his day, so Marty joins several other colleagues who are already on-site to help with the install.

Because this is building is still under construction, Marty will have to work in cramped quarters and in very cold crawlspaces and ceilings. Marty’s years of experience interpreting blueprints and working to exact specification means he is able to work quickly and efficiently. He’s reminded of a similar installation that took place this past July, in which he helped install rooftop chillers and air conditioning units in a new build across town—incredibly sweaty work!

In the mid-afternoon, Marty gets a call from his supervisor letting him know a nearby customer is having issues maintaining temperature in his home. After he finishes some wiring, he cleans himself up and hops back into the van to visit that client.

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Marty Grabs a quick bite to eat on the way to his next call, he knows all the good spots around San Diego!

1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

After arriving on the call and having a brief discussion with Ernesto, the Imperial Beach resident who is having issues keeping his house warm, Marty investigates several possible causes of the problem. He checks that the thermostat is in working order. He performs visual inspections for leaks in the pipes and defective joints in the ductwork. He methodically checks the safety components that would stop the unit from working. Finally, he disassembles part of the HVAC equipment and finds the problem. It’s a simple fix for Marty and his tool bag, but not one that the average person could repair on his own. (While it’s tempting to DIY, many times, it’s best to let HVAC professionals handle repairs and maintenance.)

Marty then provides an efficiency check to ensure that Ernesto’s system is operating as it should. Ernesto is happy when warm air once again flows into his home! Marty cleans up and receives payment, he checks if there is anything else he can do and also recommends particular thermostat settings to keep his home warm and comfortable all winter long. Finally he leaves a review card for Ernesto to be able to leave a review online, he knows how valuable a review from a happy customer can be for himself and the company!

3:30-4:30 p.m.

Marty returns to the office to submit his daily paperwork and returns the borrowed tools and equipment to the office. His service manager lets him know, Ernesto has already left a great review! After getting some kudos, he grabs his personal tools that he wishes to take home with him and signs out, satisfied with another rewarding day of keeping his skills sharp and helping his customers stay comfortable.

Of course, temperature control systems can break down at any point on any day, and in such emergencies, they need to be fixed right away in order to protect people’s health and safety, as well as keep clients comfortable. Like his co-workers, Marty sometimes has to squeeze in unexpected calls, work late and can be on call some weekends in order to assist customers with breakdowns and time-sensitive issues with HVAC systems.

If you have further questions about HVAC services or want to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled techs, call Bob Jenson today. Don’t ask for Marty though, he’s just an example technician! Bob Jenson A/C has been serving the San Diego area since the late 1970s and has continued to be a trusted provider today.

4 Filters That Homeowners Should Check on a Regular Basis

Increase Efficiency and Protect Health

Filters are an important component of a healthy home life and yet, many of us overlook these tools, leaving them to gather dirt and dust for months at a time. While you may know that replacing your HVAC filters can improve energy efficiency, what about the rest of the filters in your home?

There are plenty of appliances throughout the average property equipped with their own filters. Some can be cleaned and re-used, while you’ll need to replace others on a regular basis. To help you clear up any confusion (and clear out the contaminants), we’ve put together a list of the top filters to check on a regular basis. Remember that neglecting your filters not only has an impact on your energy bill, but it could also harm your health, too.

1. Air Conditioner Filters

Air conditioners are a critical part of your HVAC system. They help to filter out bits of dust and pollen that would otherwise move through the home and reduce your indoor air quality. However, when filters become overworked or clogged, the efficiency of your HVAC system suffers. In fact, clogged filters are often a significant cause of HVAC failure.

Ideally, it’s best to change your filters at least every month or two — particularly if you live in a high-pollen area or have pets that could be shedding dander. Air filters are very inexpensive, and changing your filter is a simple task that you should be able to complete yourself.

2. Air Purifier Filters

An air purifier works to clear the air in your home. These systems collect various airborne particles, including dust, pet dander, and pollen. When your purifier traps these particles, they’re stored in the filter until you replace or clean it. Depending on the type of air purifier you have, you can simply clean and replace the filter; however, HEPA filters must be removed and replaced with brand-new filters.

While cleaning some filters is fine, your homeowner manual will advise how often to fully replace your specific filter. Sticking to these guidelines will help to keep your purifier functioning efficiently.

3. Clothes Dryer Filters

The lint filter and dryer vent on your clothes dryer are more crucial to your maintenance plan than you know. Dirty filters extend your drying time and skyrocket your energy bills. However, the dangers of a clogged clothes dryer filter go beyond higher bills. According to the NFPA, almost 15,000 structural fires take place each year because of an issue with a clothes dryer. What’s more, the majority of those problems come from dirty vents.

If your clothes are taking longer to dry than usual or they have an unusual burning smell about them, this could be a sign that your dryer vent isn’t properly getting rid of air. It’s worth checking and cleaning these filters at least once a month.

4. Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Finally, a clean and well-performing bathroom exhaust fan can help to prevent mold and other types of bacteria from growing. This can make cleaning your bathroom less tedious, and it also helps to protect your family’s health. To attend to your exhaust fan, simply open it up and check its appearance. If it’s been months since you scheduled a cleaning, then it’s definitely time to act.

You can easily dust an exhaust fan with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner brush. It’s also worth removing the fan covers (if possible) and wiping down the blades with a cloth dipped in an all-purpose cleaner.

Keeping your Filters Clean

Ultimately, your home relies on a selection of filters to keep you comfortable and healthy. Unfortunately, since many of us live fast-paced and chaotic lives, it’s easy to forget about changing those filters. To avoid the unhealthy and often costly consequences of a clogged filter, make sure you check your home regularly for signs that a replacement is needed.

Remember you can always reach out to the team at Bob Jenson for help keeping your home air systems clean and efficient.

4 Common Thermostat Errors and What They Mean.

Troubleshoot Your Thermostat

Your thermostat is the brain behind your HVAC system, and it plays an important role in maintaining comfortable temperatures throughout your home. However, when your HVAC system stops working, it’s common to overlook your thermostat as the culprit and not realize that faulty thermostats can lead to more than just temperature inconsistencies — they could even be the reason your system won’t turn on.

The good news is that most thermostat errors are easy to diagnose and repair with the help of the right HVAC specialist. Read below for a few of the most common thermostat errors and how to identify them before calling a service technician.

Before you contact an HVAC professional, check to see whether your breaker has been tripped, a fuse has been blown, or if someone set the temperature incorrectly. You should also verify that your thermostat isn’t out of batteries. These are all problems to troubleshoot yourself before seeking help from a professional.

However, if the thermostat is in fact receiving power, problems may be a sign of a more serious, complicated issue that will require the expertise of a trained HVAC specialist.

Common Thermostat Errors:

1) The Air Conditioner Isn’t Working

If you’re desperately trying to change the temperature and nothing seems to be working, it might be a sign of a thermostat malfunction.

If the thermostat is receiving power, turn off the thermostat breaker and safely remove the cover of the thermostat to look for a buildup of dirt or debris. These may be impairing the device from functioning properly. If you notice soot or grime in your thermostat, carefully remove and clean it with a can of compressed air or soft cloth. Ask a professional for help to prevent any damage to the thermostat or yourself.

2) The Setting and the Room Temperature Don’t Match

If the room temperature and your thermostat reading appear to be inconsistent, get a second opinion by taping a thermometer to your wall. If you notice a serious discrepancy between the readings of the thermostat and thermometer, this might indicate something is wrong with your thermostat.

A buildup of dirt causes inconsistencies in your thermostat reading, so follow the cleaning instructions above before considering any other causes. If dirt or debris aren’t hindering the device, the problem could be with your heat anticipator. The heat anticipator is the part of your thermostat that is responsible for turning off the furnace burners when a room or space is properly heated. Ask a professional for help with checking whether the heat anticipator is functional, stuck, or needs recalibration.

There also might be a difference between the thermostat setting and the room temperature if your thermostat is installed in a bad location. Direct sunlight, cold drafts, fireplaces, open windows, or other heating and cooling sources could impair your thermostat, and relocating it may help with more consistent readings.

3) The Device Doesn’t Turn Off

A thermostat that doesn’t turn on is troublesome, but a thermostat that won’t turn off could be just as bad. If your thermostat is continuously running, it can make your whole house feel uncomfortable — and seriously impact your energy bill.

Again, first check for grime or dirt in your thermostat before continuing to troubleshoot. If your thermostat is clean, the issue could be a poorly calibrated heat anticipator. If this is the case, get a professional HVAC technician to help you lengthen the cooling cycle of your thermostat.

4) The Temperature is Constantly Fluctuating

If your thermostat is constantly switching on and off but never reaches the temperature you want, you might need to reset the system.

In addition, you should check that the thermostat is installed correctly, as this can affect heat regulation. Use a level to see if the thermostat is mounted properly on the wall and check that it is not installed near any doors, windows, or other heating or cooling sources.

Improper heat regulation could also be related to the heat anticipator. If the dial is set to shorter cycles, it could cause the furnace to turn off and on more rapidly. Ask an HVAC technician to troubleshoot and calibrate the anticipator for you if you believe the device is the cause of your issue.

Address Thermostat Problems Immediately

Some issues with thermostats are easy to fix with a simple cleaning, reset, or change of batteries, but more serious issues require the help of a professional. Contact our HVAC specialists at Bob Jenson for help troubleshooting and repairing your thermostat to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.

6 Things To Do Before Turning On Your A/C This Summer

Prepping Your Air Conditioning System

In most cases (and beyond the occasional heat wave in San Diego), your air conditioning sits idle during the winter months. So before you start the system running again in the spring and summer months, it’s important to check for any signs of wear and tear. The last thing you want is to find out that your HVAC is malfunctioning and is stopping you from staying cool.

The following tips will offer you insight on items you should investigate, check, or clean before you turn your air conditioning on for the first time this summer season.

Change your Filters

It’s crucial that you change your HVAC filters every few months depending on their use, quality, and manufacturer requirements. But if it has been a while since you last changed your filters, then the spring season is the perfect time to do so. The winter months generally cause debris and dust to build up in your filters. Changing your filters can help ensure your system is clean and ready for summer.

Be sure to purchase the right type and size of air filter for your system. If you’re not sure what kind of filtration you need, speak to our experts.

Clear Outdoor Overgrowth

There is also some work you can do outside the home to help prep for the summer months. Examine the exterior of the air conditioner unit and remove any overgrown plants, branches, or debris that may be blocking the unit. Keeping this area clean can make sure your air conditioning is performing at its best.

You should get in the habit of cleaning the space around your exterior unit all year round. It’s a good rule of thumb to maintain an open space of around 2 feet around your HVAC unit.

Clean Registers and Supply Vents

Your vents and registers can gather dust and other particles during the off months, too. When you’re cleaning for the spring season ahead, also make sure that you are paying close attention to the supply vents for any dirt or debris. You can easily vacuum them to remove any pet hair, dust, or other particulates that may have accumulated.

If you’re not sure how to conduct a thorough cleaning of your system, then it might be a good idea to schedule some annual maintenance. A professional duct cleaning can improve the overall airflow of your HVAC and may even enhance the indoor air quality in your home, too.

Test the Thermostat

In the home, thermostats are used year-round, and often are one of the most used devices in an HVAC system. But if you haven’t used yours in a while, then you should test it ensure that it’s working properly. To test your thermostat, run and monitor your thermostat control system.

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, now might be the perfect time to make the upgrade and potentially reduce your energy bills in the months ahead.

Turn Your System On

Once your HVAC system is properly cleaned and prepped, you’re ready to turn your air conditioning on. Don’t be alarmed if you can’t feel cold air immediately coming through the vents after turning it on. However, if you don’t notice any change after a few minutes, then you should call an HVAC technician to come and evaluate your system.

If you do notice that your air conditioning isn’t working properly, don’t keep it running because this could potentially overheat the system and cause damage.

Watch out for Signs of Damage

Even if your HVAC works fine after initially turning it on, it’s important to keep an eye on the system over the course of the next few weeks. The more the temperature rises, the more stress your machine will be under to keep a cool environment in your home. Take notice of the following:

  • Unusually high utility bills, which could indicate that your system is working too hard
  • Problems with achieving the correct temperature from your thermostat
  • Water gathering on top or beneath your furnace

The best thing you can do to set yourself up for summer is to arrange for a professional to visit your home and perform routine maintenance. This will ensure that your unit is ready to run at its best for the months ahead. Call our team at Bob Jenson to schedule an appointment today.

7 Simple and Effective Green HVAC Tips

Going Green with Your HVAC

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling throughout the country accounts for almost 50% of all home energy costs. The good news is that slashing your energy bill doesn’t mean having to give up on your HVAC. Instead, there are plenty of great ways that you can boost the efficiency of your system and lower your utility bills at the same time.

1. Purchase a Smart Thermostat

New technology is emerging in the heating and cooling market all the time. One of the easiest ways to save money on your utility bills is to take advantage of what that technology can do for you. For instance, a smart thermostat can adapt heating and cooling efforts so that you’re only using energy when you’re in a specific room, or present in the house. You can even get systems that begin to cool or heat your home before you enter the property.

On the other hand, if you want thermostat efficiency on a budget, simply buying a programmable thermostat and using it correctly can be a great way to save on heating and cooling costs. These programmable solutions can allow your heating to adapt according to your schedule.

2. Banish Leaking Ducts

If you have a ducted HVAC system, then you need to make sure that it’s working at its best. Gaps or holes in the ducting might not seem like a big deal from an outsider perspective, but even the smallest amount of damage can significantly reduce the efficiency of your system by making it work much harder. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, taking the time to seal up leaking ducts and inspect them regularly can save you 20% to 30% of your heating costs. The great news is that dealing with leaking ducts is often simple and cost effective, too! You might want to consider a ductless system.

3. Change Air Filters Regularly

HVAC systems are more than just a solution for changing the temperature throughout your home. A good filter can remove outdoor toxins, dust, and dander from your indoor environment, improving the quality of your air. Depending on where you live, and how frequently you use your HVAC system, you may find that you need to change your HVAC filters regularly to keep them working properly. Clogged filters can force the system to work much harder just to perform at a normal standard. Typically, you should change each filter at least every 30 days, and inspect them once a month.

4. Invest in Additional Insulation

You could waste a significant amount of energy attempting to keep your home at a more comfortable temperature if you haven’t taken the time to properly insulate. All of the insulation in your attic and crawlspaces should be regularly inspected to make sure that it’s doing its job properly. You should also check for gaps in the caulking around your windows and doors.

5. Clean the Coils

It’s not just the filters in a HVAC system that can contribute to its energy efficiency, but a range of other components, too. For instance, keeping the AC coils on your units clean can be a great way to prevent excess energy usage. Keep the coils clean by ensuring that you remove any debris around the outside of your unit. In some cases, your system may need more intensive cleaning, and that will require an expert.

6. Keep the Vents Free and Clear

A lot of families accidently block their HVAC vents with furniture, which can be very bad for a HVAC system. Similarly to a clogged filter, a blocked vent can lead to greater pressure within the ducts, which means that the system must work a lot harder. Even if rooms aren’t occupied, it’s important to make sure the space around your vent is clear from any furniture or debris.

7. Buy a New Green HVAC System

Finally, if your HVAC system is getting older, then it’s worth noting that there are countless new, more energy-efficient models on the market today. Consider replacing your unit with a high-efficiency ENERGY STAR-rated unit to boost its performance and minimize your costs.

Today’s HVAC systems are becoming greener all the time, with brand-new technology to help these machines in excellent condition, year after year. However, it’s worth noting that even with a green system, there are still things that you can do to help your HVAC unit perform at its best.

The HVAC professionals at Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Cooling maintain equipment in San Diego made by all brands. Get in touch with us today to get your system serviced and make sure it is functioning at its maximum efficiency.

Why Does My HVAC Sound Like That?

What Sounds Are Warning Signs?

Just like any machine (from computers to kitchen appliances), an HVAC system can sometimes plague your home with strange and mysterious sounds. These noises are not only disruptive, but often provide a clear sign that something has gone wrong with your temperature control system.

While some noises from an HVAC are normal (like whirring and humming), if you hear more loud and aggressive tones coming from your machine, there may be a problematic cause. Separating the typical buzz of your air conditioning from a worrisome clank or rattling is an all-important first step in protecting your HVAC from an early demise.

We’re here to help you diagnose some of the most common sounds that HVAC systems make when they begin to malfunction — so you can catch an issue, and fix it early on.

Screeching or Squealing

When your HVAC system starts running, the only sound you hear is the soft hum of the fan whirring to life. If, instead of a gentle hum, your machine emits a screeching or squealing whine, something is wrong. Luckily for you, although these sounds can be quite shocking, they’re often the sign of a simple problem; such as a frayed fan belt.

Like any machine with an engine, HVAC systems sometimes need their parts replaced, or may require maintenance in the form of proper lubrication. Professionals can easily repair or replace belts for a minimal cost. If your sound is a result of lack of lubrication, don’t grab the WD-40! Your HVAC contractor will tell you which oil is right for your home’s system.

Thwapping or Scraping

If you hear a slapping or thwapping sound, turn off the system and call your HVAC specialist. Chances are, some debris is caught in the blower assembly, or fan blades in your HVAC unit. This can happen to indoor machines, but it’s more common with outdoor AC units — which are frequently exposed to falling debris, like leaves and acorns. You’ll need an HVAC expert to diagnose the issue, and remove foreign matter from the unit.

If the thwapping quickly turns into a scraping noise, shut down your unit immediately — this can indicate a very dangerous malfunction. Scraping sounds may suggest that a component of the HVAC has broken loose, and is moving around the interior mechanisms. An HVAC professional should examine the unit to determine the cause of the noise.

Banging and Thumping

Thumping or banging sounds often originate from sections of the blower motor or fan that have grown loose. The mounts surrounding these motors can sometimes come free; or, the blower can accidentally fall out of alignment. If you hear particularly loud banging, this could be a sign of something more serious.

The first thing you should do is turn the system off, to avoid further damage. If the fan has a missing or damaged blade, this could lead to significant problems within the unit. Similarly, if the compressor is loose, leaving the HVAC running could cause serious damage.

Clicking or Rattling

Similarly to any other aging machine, HVAC units can sometimes develop small sounds, like clicking and rattling over time. Even if these noises aren’t particularly aggressive, don’t ignore them. The louder a sound is, the more imperative it is to address it, but that doesn’t mean you should let the softer noises go without checking on them. Dealing with an issue quickly is the best way to limit damage, before that soft sound turns into a loud, serious sound.

Rattling often indicates that something in the unit is loose; while clicking can be the result of a malfunctioning relay switch, or the fan knocking against something else as it turns. The best thing you can do is call an HVAC service technician, and keep the system turned off until professionals have identified the problem.

Buzzing

Any buzzing noise coming from your unit is usually a sign the machine is facing an electrical issue. These issues may range from damaged wiring, to problems with elements within the electrical connectors. In some cases, loud buzzing can also be a sign your unit is coming to
the end of its useful life.

It’s crucial not to leave noises like these unattended, as electrical issues can quickly become fire hazards which threaten your home, and your family. From a malfunctioning compressor, to loose parts, or missing isolation feet, it’s crucial to have an expert diagnose your HVAC unit’s condition as early as possible.

Avoiding Air Conditioning Noise

So, now that you know how to identify and troubleshoot these noises, what can you do to avoid them in the first place?

The best defense against any HVAC problem is regular preventative maintenance, performed by an experienced professional. Investing in a regular service often means catching issues ahead of time (before they become large and expensive to fix), and ensuring your system continues to work optimally for as long as possible.

Why Does My HVAC Smell Bad?

When HVAC Stinks…

There’s no denying our society’s love for air conditioning — it’s what allows us to live comfortably in beautifully sunny climates. The cool air moving through our homes is a welcomed bliss during hot summer months. But, what happens when that cool, refreshing air is also spreading a bad odor throughout your home? Unfortunately, air conditioners are prone to mildew, malfunctioning, and more.

Different odors point to different problems, which is why today we’re going to walk through the 5 most common reasons your air conditioner may smell bad:

Dirty Sock Smell

While we rely on air conditioners to cool our homes, it’s easy to forget these systems are also used to remove moisture (or, dehumidify). In some cases, a system may be too large for the home, causing it to move through its cooling cycles too fast. This opens up the possibility for moisture to remain in your home. On days where humidity is particularly strong, mold and mildew growth on air conditioner parts can push this stink, “dirty sock” smell throughout your home. Call an HVAC professional to assess whether your system is too large for your space; if so, an expert can help you adjust your system needs based on the size of your home.

Mildew or Dirty Feet Smell

As we mentioned above, air conditioners are prone to mold and fungus growth, which tend to cause the smell of mildew, or dirty feet. Clogged or dirty filters can cause this fungus growth, due to trapped organic particles being exposed to this moisture. Clogged condensate drain lines can also lead to moisture build-ups around the coils of the air conditioner. If your moist ducts aren’t sealed correctly, you may find mildew growing as a result. Drip pans that aren’t positioned properly — or are overflowing too fast — can accelerate this growth even more. Sometimes cleaning the clog around the drip pan is all it takes; though, professionals should be brought in for more serious issues.

Rotten Egg Smell

Of course, the smell of mildew is nothing compared to the rank smell of rotten eggs wafting through your home. If you’re experiencing this smell, it’s most likely due to a dead animal in your air duct. You probably haven’t done anything wrong — unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an animal to climb inside a duct during the winter, and then pass away without anyone knowing. At the end of the winter season, when you restart your unit in the spring, the resulting odor can be a wakeup call for your home — and will require professionals for carcass removal. Talk about spring cleaning!

Skunk or Raw Sewage Smell

Surprisingly, although the “rotten egg” smell often correlates with animals, the recognizable scent of skunk could actually signal something more serious than a dead animal. Methyl mercaptan is a gas that smells a lot like a skunk’s icky spray, and could indicate a gas leak in your home.

Similarly, the smell of gas or sewage could indicate a sewage leak, or ruptured vent pipe near your system’s air duct. Both methyl mercaptan and methane are very dangerous to inhale — so if you whiff these smells, leave your home immediately and call an HVAC professional to deal with the issue.

Carbon, Gunpowder, or Exhaust Fume Smell

You may have frayed wires, a burned-out circuit board, or a burned out fan motor in your system — all three of these issues can produce the smell of carbon or gunpowder, rather than a traditional burning or smoke scent. If you notice the scent of exhaust, this signals that something other than water is leaking from your HVAC system (nothing except water should leak from your system). In either case, professionals should be contacted immediately.

Turn to the Experts

While homeowners can change air filters or drain drip pans on their own, sometimes this isn’t enough to remove smells from your home. Fortunately, all the issues listed above can be taken care of by HVAC experts, who know what to look for and how to safely deal with these problems within your system. You should already be scheduling professional maintenance on a regular basis, in which case many of these issues can be caught and prevented by your HVAC expert before they cause a real problem. While some smells indicate more serious danger than others, either way, there’s no reason to live inside a smelly home — so call a professional to get an expert solution, and you can go back to living amid cool, fresh, and clean air.

How To Winterize Your A/C Unit

Get Your System Ready For Winter!

Turning on your Air Conditioner during a humid summer afternoon only to be greeted by hot air can be quite frustrating. This is why it is important to winterize your unit when the cold begins to settle in. By performing a few quick and easy steps at home, you can ensure that your unit is properly protected against the extreme harsh winter weathers.

Winterizing your AC protects your unit against snow and ice and, subsequently, against rust and damage. It also discourages animals from taking up residence and leaving their waste inside your unit. With the following instructions, you can ensure that your AC is safe for the following summer. Taking these preventative measures to winterize your AC during the colder period could save you a lot of money in the future. You should also consider having an expert service and winterize your air conditioning unit.

Whether you operate an HVAC unit or a window AC, this guide is an easy way to sustain your appliance. A good time to prepare your unit for the winter is at the beginning of fall, right before you finally close your windows from the cold and turn on the heat. Pick a warm sunny fall day and set a few hours to completing this vital yet simple project.

Step 1: Find the electrical circuit of your HVAC and turn off your unit. This is an important step as it prevents the AC from turning on while your working on it.

Step 2: With a garden hose, thoroughly clean the coils of your AC, avoiding the motor and the wires. Hose down its body and its surrounding area. Remove the twigs, bird waste, insects, dirt, and dust that have accumulated during the summer. Feel free to wipe down the painted metal of your AC if you feel that it is necessary (Some people even wax the paint like a car to keep it from oxidizing in the sun!). Keeping your unit clean discourages rodents and other animals from taking shelter inside of it. A clean unit is also not a conducive environment for mold growth.

Step 3: Leave your unit uncovered to dry under the sun. Do not advance to the next step until you have accomplished this. The more moisture and condensation trapped in your unit, the more likely it is to develop bacterial growth and subsequently rust.

Step 4: If it’s needed, replace any missing or damaged insulation on the pipes with UV rated pipe insulation to prevent condensation from forming and to protect the copper from the elements. Cut the rubber or foam to ensure that the length and diameter fits into the pipe. Use UV rated duct tape around the pipes to hold them in place.

Step 5: Cover your unit with a waterproof material, ensuring that the material provides your unit with adequate coverage. Some manufacturers build AC covers that are designed to protect your unit against extreme weathers, but any waterproof material will suffice. Plastic or vinyl are sample waterproof materials that will work well for this.

Step 6: Use either a bungee cord, a vinyl tie down, or even plywood and a brick to secure the AC cover in place. The cover might otherwise fly away when the wind picks up. Secure your covering to ensure that your unit receives maximum protection against snow and ice.

Step 7: Inspect your unit occasionally during winter to sweep around the surrounding area and to ensure that it is still safely secure. Remove the dirt and leaves that buildup, and keep a watchful eye for any little critter that may hibernate underneath your AC.

Uncovering in Spring

If you do choose to “cover” your a/c during winter, it’s very important that you uncover it before you turn it on in spring! If you forget you can damage the compressor in the unit by over heating it. Most units today have safety pressure switches that will shut the unit off when it gets hot. If you find your a/c is not working, you may have left your cover on!

Heat Pumps

A heat pump outdoor unit can look exactly like an a/c unit, the big difference is this unit “reverses” itself during the winter for heat. You would never want to cover a Heat Pump unit! The best thing is to maintain these units free of debris over the winter months.

While it may sound challenging, preparing your unit for the winter season is a quick and easy task that can save you some money and time in the long run. Avoiding these preventative measures places your unit at risk of freezing and rusting which could be damaging to it in the long run.

Why We Shouldn’t Ignore Routine HVAC Maintenance

The Consequences of Ignoring Routine HVAC Maintenance

One of the hardest working systems in a home is HVAC. Think about it: what other pieces of equipment run almost constantly in an effort to keep your home comfortable? HVAC units are resilient but often taken for granted when it comes to regular maintenance and care. Part of this is that HVAC systems are typically out of sight and out of mind.

But it’s important not to ignore the heating and cooling systems in your home. Ignoring your HVAC unit and assuming that it will continue to provide you with quality service is a mistake and can be costly in more ways than one. Regular maintenance is an important part of protecting your heating and cooling investment and also in conserving energy.

Take a look at a few of the negative consequences of not properly maintaining your HVAC unit:

Costly Repairs

Having regular tune-ups and performing simple tasks like changing your HVAC filter can ward off major problems down the road. When you wait until something breaks it will cost you much more, particularly if you have to call someone out immediately to fix it. Do yourself a favor and stay informed on the health of your HVAC unit and take care of problems before they turn into nightmares.

Early Replacement

Eventually, all HVAC units will need to be replaced. Why not get as many efficient miles out of yours as possible? Think of your HVAC system like a car. No car will be on the road forever, but with scheduled oil changes, tire rotation, and parts replacement, you can keep a car on the road much longer than if you ignored these necessary maintenance steps. Treat your HVAC unit with the same mentality and its lifespan will increase.

Wasted Energy

The key to cost savings on your utility bills lies in the health of your HVAC system. Simple problems like build up of debris or dirt can put a big damper on the efficiency of your HVAC unit, making it work harder than it needs to. You can avoid this and keep more money in your pocket by having a tune-up both at the beginning and at the end of the peak heating and cooling seasons. At the very least, schedule a HVAC technician to take a look once every six months. Not only will you be getting an idea of the health of your system, but you will also be preventing wasted energy in the process.

Compromised Safety (and Comfort)

For people with gas-powered furnaces, regular maintenance checks are a matter of safety. Deadly carbon monoxide could be leaking into your home without you realizing it. But safety is a priority for everyone, even those without gas units. An inefficient heating and cooling system is not just a danger; it can prove uncomfortable by not maintaining the right temperatures or cycling poor air quality throughout your home. You pay a lot to heat and cool your home, so make sure your HVAC unit is working at its highest potential.

When it comes to HVAC maintenance, it is best to take a proactive approach instead of a reactive one. Waiting until something is obviously wrong will cost you time and money, and there’s really no reason for that when simple maintenance is easy to implement. Put in the time and effort upfront and your HVAC unit will last longer, work better, and save you money over time.

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