It’s always nice to have a friend who works in HVAC

At twenty-seven, my brother, Sam, has still not found a career path. At that age, most young men have finished college or trade-school, and are anxious to start earning money, if they aren’t doing so already. I don’t know whether he is lazy or merely indecisive. One thing is certain, those of us he has been sponging off are going broke, so he has to find a way of earning a living, and quick.

          Sam is good at fixing things so I have been advising him to get trained as a repair man. Whenever the HVAC system technician comes by to check our unit, my brother is constantly at his elbow. Whether he is changing filters or checking vents, Sam is always there. Sometimes I wonder if the technician isn’t tired of him, but they appear to get on well together. 

          Then, a few days ago, Sam surprised us all by electing to fix our HVAC system. It was still working but the air from the A/C had begun to get musty. I was so scared that he would mess up the entire unit, but we had to acknowledge his skill when fresh, clean air began flowing from air conditioner again, after Sam was done with it. My mother and sister joined me in encouraging him to get serious about becoming an A/C repair man.  With HVAC systems being installed in homes all over the country, my brother’s skills as an A/C technician would always be in demand. 

          The best thing about that is that since Sam will be earning his own money, the rest of us will be able to keep ours in our pockets! 

Reasons why you should call an HVAC technician for service

Most people don’t really think about their HVAC system. They just know that it blows cold air when it’s hot outside and warm air when it’s cold outside. They don’t think about the inner workings or installation procedures or even preventative measures and easy upkeep. But when something breaks, they definitely think about the cost! I personally have had some expensive repairs but also some not so expensive quick-fixes that have increased the life of my A/C unit. It’s nice to have an A/C serviceman you can trust because no one wants to go without heat and air conditioning or have to pay for a whole new unit before they were financially ready. Some of the preventative maintenance I have been told about requires a professional, but some of it I can do on my own. For example, I can easily replace the air filters. But most of the work requires the special knowledge and expertise of a certified HVAC repairman. The can check the air flow and heat exchanger. The know how to replace any worn out parts on the unit. And all HVAC techs should be able to clean evaporator and condenser coils and clean pans and drain lines. To my knowledge, you can basically purchase preventative maintenance typically through a contract. You would have scheduled visits where the HVAC service providers would come to your house to provide the cleaning and any basic repairs. Obviously older HVAC units would require more visits and may cost more, but it’s better than having to replace the entire heating and cooling unit before its time!

This is why you shouldn’t fix an air conditioner with no training

When my air conditioner malfunctioned, I was reluctant to call for professional repair.  I am currently living on a very tight budget, and hated to spend the money. Since my cooling system is fairly new, I doubted the problem was all that involved.  I figured it was most likely a maintenance issue. Hoping to save money, I had neglected to have the air conditioner professionally serviced for the past three years.  I suspected that a buildup of dust within the inner workings had caused the equipment to quit. I decided to attempt the repair on my own. I first did some research into air conditioner repair online.  I read up on how to take the cooling unit apart, and studied all the various parts. I learned about the motor, belts, cooling coil, fan blades, condenser, evaporator, condensate drain, and refrigerant. I was a little surprised by the amount of parts involved but hoped the cleaning process would be fairly simple.  Once I opened up the air conditioner, I was able to see the accumulation of dust, mold, and some green slime that I assumed was algae. I tried to be extremely careful and not damage anything, but I ended up bending several fan blades and breaking a belt. This required the purchase of replacement parts, and I had some trouble installing them.  When I put the whole thing back together, the air conditioner wouldn’t start up. I went without air conditioning for several weeks, until I couldn’t tolerate my overheated house any longer. When I finally hired a licensed contractor for air conditioner repair, he got the cooling system running within twenty minutes. I was relieved, but also a bit aggravated. 

An electric heat pump can be a great choice

I am an exceptionally light sleeper.  Every little noise wakes me up out of a deep sleep.  I get disturbed by traffic, birds, neighbors, and barking dogs.  In the winter, whenever the furnace starts up, I am woken up. Although I’ve had the furnace professionally serviced, I still hear the rattle of the ductwork and the whoosh of air coming from the supply vents.  I’ve invested quite a bit of money into insulating the ductwork, and adding soundproofing insulation to the walls and ceilings. I still need to sleep with earplugs to avoid hearing the heating system. In the summer, I tried getting by with box fans and open windows.  I hoped that the operation of the fans would drown out the exterior noise pollution, but it didn’t work. When a road crew started construction directly in front of my house, I knew it was time to invest in air conditioning. I was worried, however, that the air conditioner would be as noisy as the furnace. 

I started researching to figure out which make and model achieved the lowest sound levels. I came across electric heat pumps, which are supposed to be exceptionally quiet. Although a heat pump is quite expensive to purchase and install, they are wonderfully energy efficient. Plus, the heat pump provides both heating and cooling capacity. 

In the summer, it works exactly like a central cooling system. When the weather turns colder, it reverses operation, finding ambient heat in the outside air and pumping it indoors. The ductless heat pump is far more energy efficient than my furnace, and much quieter. Unfortunately, it is only able to handle demand until the outside temperature drops below freezing.  At that point, the furnace takes over and I need to rely on my ear plugs again.

Updating our new house with a new HVAC system

My husband, Joe, and I recently purchased a very large, extremely old house.  It is in need of some major renovations. We’re planning to replace the roof, install new windows, gut the kitchen, and update the wiring and plumbing.  We hope to make the home far more energy efficient. Because of the many rooms, high ceilings, and big windows, the heating and cooling bills are going to be a major drain on our budget.  Improving insulation, weatherstripping and caulking are necessary projects. Joe and I are also looking into making some upgrades to the heating and cooling equipment. We’ve been consulting with a local HVAC contractor, who’s provided some helpful and knowledgeable recommendations.  He suggested we invest in a zoned controlled system, which would enhance comfort while saving us money.

With the installation of a thermostat in each room and a series of valves within the existing duct system, we would be able to set independent temperature. There’d be no need to heat or cool empty rooms, and we could cater to personal preferences.  We could target those rooms that tend to feel a bit overheated or chilly. Joe and I are still debating over whether or not to replace the furnace and air conditioner. While the heating and cooling units are still operational, they are old and not exceptionally energy efficient. Combining modern, efficient components with zoning capability would significantly trim our monthly energy bills.  Despite the expense of the project, I think we would recover our investment within five years. Plus, the heating and cooling system would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, eliminating any repair costs.

A service appointment can solve so many issues with your air conditioner

The central cooling system installed in my home is a little over six years old.  It has always operated reliably and managed to maintain a comfortable temperature.  Last summer, we experienced extreme heat and humidity, with temperatures up into the high nineties.  The air conditioner seemed to be running non stop, and yet the house felt slightly overheated and sticky.  Several times, I lowered the thermostat setting, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. I realized that the air coming from the supply vents was not as cool as usual, and there was definitely not as much air.  Although I dreaded the cost of air conditioner repair, my monthly electric bills were steadily adding up. I certainly couldn’t afford to keep wasting energy and operating a malfunctioning air conditioner.

I scheduled an appointment, and a local HVAC contractor inspected the cooling system.  He identified a significant buildup of dust and other contaminants within the inner workings, as well as a refrigerant leak. The technician completed a thorough cleaning of all components, fixed the leak, and recharged the refrigerant. He completed the entire job in a little over an hour, and it wasn’t terribly expensive.  The noticeable savings on my monthly energy bills has easily recovered the cost. Plus, my house is so much cooler and more comfortable.

The air conditioner no longer runs for such lengthy cycles, and I don’t need to clean as often. Instead of introducing pollutants into the home, the air conditioner is filtering them out, and providing healthier indoor air quality.  I plan to schedule professional maintenance for the cooling system every every year from now on.

How to get through an HVAC emergency

If you want to learn a valuable lesson, try the risk of going into the winter months without getting your HVAC system tune-up. You really should get an HVAC system tune-up twice per year to keep everything running smoothly. You don’t want to face a serious HVAC system breakdown in the midst of the winter season. This happened to me and I really wasn’t a happy camper. I ended up having to get emergency HVAC system repair and that cost me a large amount of money. That pretty much made me broke for the rest of the winter season. Now I know to always get those HVAC system tune-ups before the harsh weather seasons. I’m talking about the winter and the summer seasons. While it’s worse to experience a serious malfunction with your HVAC in the winter, it’s not very comfortable when it happens in the summer season either. It’s more likely you will need emergency repairs in the winter however, because you can’t survive the freezing temperatures without a working heating system! Sometimes you will need emergency HVAC services in the summer too if you are experiencing a heatwave. You would be surprised at how many people have HVAC system breakdowns in the midst of a crucial heatwave. This is why HVAC companies get really backed up during times like this. They also make a large amount of money because of all the people who opt for emergency services. They are able to charge up to 3 times the regular cost of HVAC repairs when it’s considered emergency repair. Do yourself a favor, get your HVAC system tune-ups so you don’t face this emergency situation!

The benefits of HVAC maintenance

If you’ve never heard of HVAC system maintenance plans, you might not believe what I’m going to tell you. You can get an HVAC system maintenance plan with pretty much any legit HVAC company. Not all of them will be up front and tell you about the maintenance plans, but this is why you need to bring it up and ask them about what they have. HVAC maintenance plans allow you to pay a much lower amount than what you normally would with just calling up for HVAC system maintenance. They will contact you about your system maintenance and repair dates. There are even plans where you can have them cover everything including your air filter changes. Of course, plans like that cost a little more money, but most plans are really great and save you a ton of money. Just think, you can have all your HVAC system maintenance covered and you won’t have to worry about a thing.

You will pay much less money than what you normally would and you even get priority scheduling. You get up to a certain amount of repairs on your HVAC system for no additional cost, and if anything goes wrong with your HVAC system, you are covered! Having this type of plan with your HVAC company is so good, I can’t imagine why anybody wouldn’t want to get enrolled with a good HVAC maintenance plan. I have been on a plan like this for a few years now and my savings are through the roof! Because of getting on a good plan, I have been able to afford a new smart thermostat and a few other nice things around the house. I couldn’t be happier!