Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why did my AC just stop working after a thunderstorm?

Have you had your AC just stop working suddenly and usually after a thunderstorm? You say it was working fine yesterday and now the outdoor unit doesn’t operate/come on. The indoor unit works fine though, but no cold air. Hmmm, call a service guy! We need our AC!

Your wires should not be burnt as above.
Sound familiar? This happens quite a bit and usually after storms and occasionally for no explained reason.

What may have happened is the motor/compressor start assist device (sometimes called a capacitor) has failed. When the device that looks like a small silver can has had a power surge delivered to it; it has an internal short and fails to operate  The top of the “can” looks like a “Jiffy Pop container that has popped up”. It has a noticeable bulge on top where the terminals are located. This device stores energy and helps the compressor and the fan motor start. When it fails, the motor and compressor may not have enough immediate power to start and will just hum. Over a short period of time; this can be harmful to the compressor and outdoor fan motor and cause them to overheat and fail permanently. Sometimes there is no visible damage and must be tested electrically by a professional HVAC technician or electrician. The capacitors can also weaken after time and become ineffective and need replacement.
This capacitor is showing the signs of being pitted and burnt.

These devices should last at least five years or more if they are a high quality part. Unfortunately, most of these devices (capacitors) that come from the manufacturers are of a low cost and quality variety and fail frequently.

What to do? If your HVAC professional tells you that the failed part is a motor starting device/capacitor, ask (if your technician does not suggest it) for an Amrad Turbo-200 device and or a surge protector. The Amard capacitors are more expensive, but are of a very high quality, are made in the USA, and have a 5-year replacement warranty. The surge protector adds another layer of protection against the unwanted electrical surge that may do damage to any of your electrical components within the outdoor unit.

A word of note: If you have an AC system that is less than 10 years old, check to see if you have a limited part warranty that will cover the part or a manufacturer’s part and labor warranty to cover the cost of the repair. If you just have the limited part warranty only, you will still be responsible for the dispatch, labor, acquisition, and processing fees associated with “free” part.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DID YOU KNOW….You Can Control Your Thermostat Remotely?

Aren’t you glad you live in a time when modern technology gives us the option of climate control? It makes you wonder how people a hundred years ago survived the intense summer heat without an air conditioner to cool them down, doesn’t it?

People are crafty creatures, though and since time immemorial, we’ve thought up new and clever ways to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. In the future, who knows what kind of climate control gadgets we’ll have.

But for now we’ve got Internet thermostats, and boy, are they incredible! 

Did you know that you can control your thermostat from your iPhone? This is a great option if you’re away from your home and need to control the temperature. Internet and smartphone-friendly thermostats are gaining recognition as a convenient way to control your home’s comfort level remotely. They provide an incredible way to be worry free during your time away from home!

Some thermostats even have programs to allow you to track usage and control your heating/cooling schedule in your Internet browser. The best part about this? Most of these thermostats are fully compatible with your home’s existing HVAC units! Internet thermostats are great for vacation, or those who travel constantly.

Forgot to adjust the temperature before leaving your home for several weeks? Not a problem with an Internet thermostat! Increase your comfort level remotely, right before you arrive at a new destination, and save money on your electric bill.

Some of the most technologically advanced devices can save you up to 30% on your heating and cooling bill every month. These top-of-the-line devices learn your behavior over time, and adjust their settings according to your habits. Imagine, it’s almost like living in a science fiction story!

These thermostats are simple to use, but should be installed by a pro. All Seasons Heating and Cooling is happy to deal with all of those wires so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy comfort in your home without worrying about your energy bill. Bring a little bit of the future into your home, and enjoy the savings and comfort an Internet thermostat can give you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Energize Your Wallet With SUMMER SAVINGS

Check out these easy and effective tips for reducing your energy costs!

Spring has sprung, and that means lots of time outdoors: long walks with the dog, picnics in the park, and countless hours in the yard and garden. Spending time to spruce up the outside of your home is a great way to take advantage of the fair weather, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the inside!

While you’re outside soaking up rays of sunshine, your utility bills may be getting more expensive due to inefficiency in your home. Warm weather can be tough on your wallet, but you can fight back. Check out these easy and effective tips for reducing your energy costs!

Your Home, Unplugged
You’ve been huddled up inside all winter in front of the television and computer. Now that spring is finally here, it’s time to unplug those electronics and get your family outside. Even when off, televisions, DVD players, computers, printers, stereos, and other electronics can draw surprisingly large amounts of power, which translates to higher energy costs. This is called “vampire power” because it sucks energy. Do your budget a favor by unplugging these machines or using a “smart” power strip, which shuts off power to electronics that go on standby.  Why should you continue to pay for the power to run these machines when you’re not using them?  Unplug your energy-suckers and spend the extra cash at the ice cream truck.
Your Home, Re-plugged
Nothing feels better than stepping into a cool, air-conditioned house after a hard day’s work in the garden. But while you were pulling weeds and planting bulbs, that precious cool air may have been escaping out of various leaks and holes in your home. Sealing air ducts, upgrading insulation, and plugging up leaks in your attic and basement will regulate the cool, refreshing climate that you strive for while plugging up financial leaks in your energy bills. Air conditioning is expensive — don’t let it slip through the cracks!

Stay Cool as Temperatures Rise
As outdoor temperatures go up, you may be tempted to cool down by turning your thermostat down. However, there are other ways to stay cool indoors while leaving that thermostat setting where it is. Reward yourself with a refreshing cool shower after playing baseball in the park and you’ll be less inclined to kick up the air conditioning when you’re done. 

You can also use the spring and summer as perfect opportunities to ignore your oven and fire up your outdoor grill and cook delicious meals for your family. Heating up the oven can drastically increase the temperature in your kitchen and your home, which means you’ll be forced to blast the air conditioning just to stay comfortable!  Besides, there’s nothing better than chicken or a burger pulled right off the grill — nothing, that is, except saving money on your utility bills.

Regular Tune-Ups
And don’t forget to schedule regular tune-ups! Keeping your system maintained and running efficiently will also help reduce those pesky energy bills. Your Air conditioner is like a car in that it runs best when properly maintained. Regular tune-ups can also prevent your system from failing at an inconvenient time. And don’t worry, the savings from regular tune-ups will offset the cost of the service.

Employing even one of these cost-cutting tips can dramatically reduce your energy costs and the impact of your home on the environment, which gives you the peace-of-mind you need to truly enjoy the season.

You can rest assured that your home is running as efficiently as possible.  So, conserve your energy — you’re going to need it! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

When Is It Time?

We get asked this question a lot, “When is it time to replace my heating and cooling system?

The best time to replace your heating and cooling system is when it is a planned replacement and you have time to do your research. The worst time to replace your system is when it breaks down during the worst of weather conditions that may leave you very uncomfortable for days and you have to make a rushed decision which may not be in your best interests.

In our industry; we have a general rule of thumb about replacing equipment. We call it The 4K Rule. If you have a repair that is needed; take the cost of the repair/s and multiply the cost of the repair times the age of your system. If the number is greater than 4000 (4K), then you may want to consider replacing the system versus paying for the expensive repair. If the system is in good overall condition, under 15 years old, and the number is less than 4000, consider repairing instead of replacing the system.

Anytime a system has multiple repairs in a year and is over 12 years old, seriously consider replacing it. The average life of a heating and air-conditioning system in our area is 12-15 years. You should get this life (use) out of a system or more, if it has been installed correctly and has been maintained with routine professional maintenance each year.

Something else thing to consider is what is the system costing you each month to operate? Is your operating cost excessively high during the heating and cooling seasons?  This could be a reason to replace a system. Lower your operating costs.

You will save money and gain much more comfort by replacing an older system before it stops operating or starts costing you time, money, and inconvenience. Newer technology has many comfort and air quality benefits over decades old equipment. Newer systems can achieve efficiency ratings over 20 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The SEER rating starts at 13 SEER and goes up from there. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system is. You will have to pay more for the higher efficient systems; but they will pay you back in lower utility bills and increased comfort in most cases.

Bottom Line:  Nobody wants to pay to replace their systems anymore than they want pay for a new roof, but everything has a shelf life and needs to be replaced. When the time is approaching (over 10 years old), start planning and saving for a new system so it won’t be a shock and an unpleasant surprise when you least expect it during the hottest or coldest of weather. Always consult a professional HVAC expert and have them evaluate your system. This includes your equipment, duct work and the tightness, insulation and construction of your house.  Your Professional will perform a heat/cool load calculation to correctly determine the air condition and heating sizing capacity of your home for the new equipment.