4 HVAC Duct Problems to Address

Home HVAC systems can only deliver the performance their owners expect when they have clean, intact, well-designed ductwork. If the ducts that run through your home cannot deliver warmed or cooled air efficiently, you may experience everything from chronic health problems to elevated electric bills.

You might not suspect that your air quality woes relate to a duct issue, if only because you rarely see or deal with these hidden sections of your HVAC system. Take a look at four potential problems that can plague your ducts and the measures you can take to alleviate them.

1. Dust

Even the most carefully maintained home will collect a certain amount of dust. In addition to the dust and debris tracked in from outdoors, humans and pets naturally shed hair and skin cells that settle onto surfaces, get kicked up into the air, and eventually get pulled into the HVAC system.

Fortunately, HVAC system vents accommodate air filters that trap much of this debris, removing it from general circulation and cleaning your air. Not so. Fortunately, these air filters have a finite capacity for collecting dust. When they become clogged, the dust settles in the ducts, where it accumulates over time.

Dust accumulation can also develop all of a sudden if your home undergoes construction or renovation. This work can fill the air with particulate matter, including debris that can trigger allergies or other respiratory issues. This extra burden can overwhelm your air filters’ and ducts’ ability to filter and clean the air.
If your home seems unusually dusty no matter how often you clean it, check your air filters and replace them as needed. If the problem persists, you may need to have the ducts inspected and cleaned by professionals.

2. Mold

Mold represents a special kind of problem. Like dust, it can enter your home on shoes, clothing, pet fur, or other carried objects. However, unlike dust, this living organism grows and thrives in moisture and environmental conditions amply provided by air conditioning components and processes. The presence of dust only nourishes it further.

Mold commonly grows in receptacles for standing water, such as the evaporator drain pan in your HVAC system. Normally, the drain pan collects condensation and then expels it via a drainage line. If this drainage system fails, mold spores from the drain pan may rise into the air and enter your ducts.

Mold spores can cause numerous health problems as they float through the air and into people’s respiratory systems. If you have a mold problem in your HVAC system, your family may experience allergic reactions, asthma attacks, or other ailments. Other signs of mold include discoloration around vents and a musty smell in the air.

While you can often remove mold around vents yourself, mold that has infiltrated your ducts or drain pan requires professional evaluation. Your HVAC technicians will either remove the mold themselves or recommend a mold remediation specialist. They can also repair drainage problems that create standing water in your system.

3. Air Leaks

HVAC ducts can direct air through your home in a precise manner because they function as a closed system. Installers seal individual sections of ductwork to ensure that no air escapes on its journey through your home. However, if a hole, gap, or other air leak develops, the system can lose considerable efficiency.

Duct air leaks can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, rodents can damage ducts as they chew their way into walls, while corrosion can also allow holes to form. Most commonly, however, simple thermal expansion and contraction over several seasons of use can weaken the seals connecting duct sections and vent registers.

Symptoms of a leaky duct system include uneven heating or cooling and hard-to-manage humidity, indications that cooled or heated air has escaped into the walls instead of circulating through your rooms. In addition, an inexplicable rise in your energy bills may mean that your HVAC system must run harder to compensate for the leakage.

HVAC technicians can check every inch of your ductwork for leaks. They can then seal up the leaks with metallic mesh tape, restoring your HVAC system’s functionality and energy efficiency.

4. Design Flaws

Sometimes an HVAC system’s ductwork struggles with efficiency problems from its very first moment of operation. Even experienced contractors can make errors in the planning and construction phases, resulting in HVAC ducts that can’t do their job adequately. If your HVAC system has never worked well, suspect this possibility.

Common mistakes in HVAC duct installation include installing too small a system from the home’s needs, running the ducts over too great a distance for efficient operation, and not installing enough return vents to permit good air circulation. Your HVAC expert can recognize these flaws and make any recommended modifications.

If you believe that a duct problem has limited your ability to enjoy your HVAC system, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning. Our HVAC experts can evaluate your ductwork and recommend the right course of action to improve your home’s air quality and energy efficiency.

How To Program Your Thermostat For Summer

Save Money And Improve Performance While Keeping Cool

We’re all happy to run our AC full blast as soon as the temperature hits 90°F, and for a good reason. Hot temperatures are not only uncomfortable, but they can also threaten the wellbeing of our family! However, that doesn’t mean that we need to push our HVAC systems to the limit 24/7. Instead, we can program our thermostat to respond to the changes in the temperature of our home so that it only works hard when it has to. In doing this, you can save on your utility bill and keep your air conditioner in excellent working condition.

A programmable thermostat can help you keep your cooling costs low even on the hottest of days. All you need to do is follow these few simple steps when programming your thermostat.

Reduce The Number Of Temperature Fluctuations

Your AC works hardest when it has to change the overall temperature of your home. Suppose you constantly have to change the temperature of your home. In that case, your air conditioner will have to work much harder to meet your demands. We recommend that you find your ideal temperature and stick to it to avoid these constant temperature fluctuations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, temperatures near 78°F are both the most pleasant and energy-efficient for your home. You may want to start at 78°F and slowly tweak your thermostat until you find the right temperature for you.

A Routine Helps Keep The Ideal Temperature

There is no reason to keep your AC blasting all day. Instead, it is best to teach your thermostat to adjust itself to work hard when it needs to and rest when you’re not around. It is best to schedule your thermostat around the day’s events such as:

Early Morning

Rather than keep the air conditioning running through the night, have it turn on around ten minutes before you plan on waking up. This early start allows your home to reach a pleasant temperature before you start your day. The temperature change may even help to wake you gently!

While Away

If you are away from home for work, you won’t need to run your air conditioning. However, you shouldn’t turn your thermostat off. Instead, set it to maintain a slightly elevated temperature that would typically be comfortable for you. At 85-90°F, your AC won’t work as hard to maintain the weather but will keep your home cooler than the air outside. By keeping this temperature, your home will be much easier to cool later.

Returning Home

Sometime around half an hour before you expect to be home, set your thermometer to begin cooling your home back down to your desired temperature. By the time you arrive at your house, the temperature should be perfect. Because the place was allowed to cool slowly, it cost you less than a sudden and sharp drop in temperature.

Nighttime

When it comes time for bed, don’t leave your AC running. Set your thermostat to operate normally until the time you expect to be asleep. It should either stop working until morning or only work enough to keep the house from becoming unbearably hot. It shouldn’t be difficult for your home to stay cool during the night.

While this schedule will work for most people, you may have to adjust it to your specific needs.

Leave Your AC Off If No One Will Be Home

A simple but helpful piece of advice is to turn off your thermostat while you are away from home. No matter how efficient your thermostat programming may be, there is no point in cooling an empty house.

Ensure Your Home Is Sealed

While your thermostat can’t control your doors or windows, an air conditioner can only work correctly if your doors and windows are closed. Homeowners who don’t follow this advice will be unable to cool their house no matter how hard they try as their cool air will rush out of their homes.

A Good Routine For Your Programmable Thermostat Saves Money

A proper routine for your programmable thermostat is the best way to save money on your cooling costs. Knowing these tips will allow you to not only rein in your energy costs while still maintaining a cool home. If you find that following these tips still does not lower your utility bill, you may have a more severe problem. Not to worry, the AC repair experts at Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air Conditioning are prepared to tackle your most difficult repair needs.
Don’t let your air conditioning rack up an huge bill! Contact a friendly service representative today at (209) 247-1245 to get started.

What’s Involved In Professional AC Maintenance Services?

When You Receive Maintenance From The Pros, What Are You Really Paying For?

We all know that we should maintain all of our appliances. Still, we rarely find the time or motivation to do it ourselves. Should we pay someone to do the maintenance for us? Well, that feels like cheating. Most of us would rather have our AC break down than pay for someone else to do work we could have done ourselves.

But, can we do the job as well as the pros?

It turns out we can’t.

The average person can, at most, take care of simple maintenance procedures that will keep our AC chugging along. However, it takes a real professional to get our systems back into prime condition. Thankfully the team at Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air Conditioning are the kind of people you need for all your AC maintenance needs.

Preventative Maintenance

Let’s face it, some of us can barely operate the toaster, let alone a precision machine like an air conditioner. The most an inexperienced consumer should ever perform on their air conditioner is basic preventative maintenance. Depending on your level of comfort, this may include:

  • Combing The Vent Fins
  • Replacing the Air Filter
  • Cleaning The Evaporator Coil
  • Cleaning the Condensate Drain

Maintenance of this level should be relatively easy to handle and will only help improve regular performance. If your AC is suffering from any serious problems, only a professional will be able to diagnose your unit.

Professional Service

If you find that your AC seems to be struggling to keep up with your demands despite being well maintained, you should look into calling an expert. A professional technician is perfectly capable of performing any of the regular maintenance you’ve missed as well as the more technical work that it needs. In addition to basic maintenance procedures, your service technician should, at the very least:

  • Calibrate Your Thermostat
  • Inspect The Unit’s Electrical Contacts
  • Lubricate Parts In Good Condition and Replace Worn Ones
  • Cycle The System On And Off
  • Recharge The Refrigerant And Fix Any Leaks

These few inspections are generally enough to keep your AC working and avoid costly breakdowns. However, most service technicians will perform a full 20-point inspection of your AC that should include:

  • Test Capacitors
  • Calibrate the Thermostat
  • Lubricate the Bearing
  • Examine Safety Devices
  • Clean the Indoor Coil
  • Examine the Fan’s Blade
  • Flush the Condensate Drain
  • Clean the Air Purifier
  • Examine the Ducts
  • Check the Condenser Coil
  • Clean the Condenser Coil
  • Examine the Service Valves
  • Test For Burnt Contacts
  • Check For Exposed Wiring
  • Examine Electrical Wiring Connections
  • Examine the Operation Of the Compressor
  • Monitor the Refrigerant’s Operating Pressures
  • Calculate Supply/Return Temperature Differential
  • Calculate the Blower Motor’s Amperage and Voltage
  • Inspect The Electrical Disconnect Box Proper Installation

If you’re not sure what all of that means, don’t worry. You don’t have to know everything about your AC because it is a professional’s job to ensure it is appropriately maintained.

Why Have Your AC Maintained By A Professional?

We would all like to take care of our repairs, but we have to leave some things to professionals. Unless you plan on joining an AC repair school sometime soon, there is no way for you to take proper care of your air conditioner.

Not to mention that maintaining an air conditioner can be a dangerous job! Between all of the refrigerants, electrical wiring, and fans, there is no shortage of ways that you can hurt yourself.

Instead, it is best to leave most AC maintenance to your local HVAC company. If you think hiring someone to maintain your AC is a waste of money well, then think again! Not only will regular maintenance help prevent breakdowns, but an efficient AC will also help you save on your utility bill. Altogether, you can be sure that maintaining your AC, especially with Derek Sawyer, will only save you money in the long run.

Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning Named Rheem Top Pros Of 2020

Rheem named us here at Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning, one of their Top Pros of 2020! But that begs the question: What are the Rheem Top Pros and Pro Partner programs? Well, all the elite professionals who’ve earned the honor are a cut above the competition. They’re more knowledgeable about all aspects of installing, repairing, and maintaining Rheem plumbing and HVAC systems. Rheem holds these pros to the highest standards of customer service, training, and expertise. To maintain eligibility in the program, Pro Partners must achieve a minimum 4-star customer service rating each yea (based on verified Rheem online reviews).

Moreover, all Top Pros and Pro Partners provide the following:

  • Expertise. Every year, Pro Partners complete advanced technical and professional training, so they become experts in providing you with the best service and advice on all Rheem Technologies and solutions.
  • Value. With exclusive Pro Partner financing options and promotional offers, Pro Partners can offer you a better value on Rheem equipment and installations—making it easier to afford the solution that’s best for you.

Additionally, you can expect the following from all Rheem Top Pros:

  • Accountability. Dependable, safe, and satisfactory installation and service of high performing Rheem products is so important to your experience that Rheem holds Pro Partners accountable for everything they do
  • Authentication. Providing trusted, customer recommended service is one of the hallmarks of the Pro Partner program, so Rheem authenticates online ratings & reviews
  • Evaluation. Pro Partners must continually deliver exceptional customer service and meet the highest program standards, so Rheem evaluates our pros each year

Is It Time To Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit?

Is It Time To Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit?

If your AC isn’t working well, especially if it’s functioning worse than it did when you bought it, then there is a good chance that you’re wondering if it’s time for repairs. Well, there’s a good chance you may be asking yourself the wrong question. Depending on your air conditioning unit’s age and history, it may be time to replace it with a completely new system. Let’s talk about the top 5 most important things to consider when deciding whether to replace your air conditioning unit.

Your Home Feels Like A Sauna

If the sweltering heat of the sun is causing you to work up a sweat, then your air conditioning unit is likely on its last leg. A new unit should be able to keep your temperature steady regardless of how strongly the sun is shining. As a bonus, an air conditioning unit that works efficiently also won’t work as hard to cool your home, thus saving you money in the long run.

Electricity Bills Seem To Explode

When utility bills seem to rise whenever you turn on your AC, it is a good sign that it is time to replace it. Units that malfunction not only waste electricity, they often fail to cool your home properly. At this rate new unit should work at a fraction of the cost of your current, old model.

Your AC Is 10 Years Old Or Older

If your AC looks like it would be right at home in a museum, you’re likely better off finding a replacement. An air conditioning unit’s lifespan can be as long as 15 years but is often much shorter than that. It is more likely than not that by your unit’s tenth year of service, it will start needing constant, costly repairs. At that point, you are better off finding yourself a new Energy Star-rated unit that will last another 10+ years.

The Unit Is Facing Extensive Repairs

Whether your unit was damaged or has worn down from use, you may find that it will need complex repairs. Even once the unit has been fixed, it will likely either need constant future repairs or corrections. Either way, it is unlikely that it will run as well as it did before. To save yourself the hassle and cost of future repairs, buying a new air conditioning unit may save you time and money in the long run.

Costly Repairs Are Coming Your Way

When all is said and done, a new air conditioning unit can be the best choice for your finances. Rather than repair a failing unit over and over again as it fails repeatedly, you can purchase a new, efficient system. Doing so will help you enjoy a fresh current of cool air throughout your house.

Still Not Sure About What To Do With Your Air Conditioning Unit?

To receive an expert’s opinion on the state of your air conditioning unit, contact the knowledgeable team at Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air conditioning. We will answer any of the questions you may have and can even help schedule an appointment so that one of our trained technicians can take a look at your unit.

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