Important HVAC Tips for Seniors

HVAC systems help seniors stay safe and comfortable while they’re at home. If you’re a senior or someone who helps an elderly relative take care of themselves at home, look at the following HVAC tips. You’ll find there are many things you can do to maintain a practical and functional HVAC system.

Use a HEPA Filter

Wildfire smoke is becoming a regular occurrence in states like California, where significant wildfires often happen during the wildfire season. Seniors are significantly affected by smoke from wildfires, which can complicate chronic heart and lung diseases.

You can improve indoor air quality in your home by using a HEPA filter in the HVAC system. HEPA filters can filter particles from wildfire smoke out of the air, which can help improve your home’s indoor air quality.

HEPA filters, like other HVAC air filters, must be replaced regularly. The EPA recommends replacing your home’s HVAC air filter every three months or sooner if it becomes dirty. If you have a HEPA filter, it may look dirty quickly because it can filter out smaller particles than standard air filters.

Check your HEPA filter once per month whenever the HVAC system is in use, and replace the filter as needed. Look for the air filter slot between the return air duct and the blower. Pull out the filter, buy an identical one from your local hardware store, then slide the new one into place.

Maintain Safe Indoor Air Temperatures

Seniors are especially vulnerable to cold and hot temperatures. Some studies show seniors are more likely to experience falls and accidents in chilly rooms.

For this reason, seniors need to maintain a comfortable temperature at home. Using the air conditioner and furnace at the correct times of the year can help. This is especially important in Modesto, where the average temperature in July is over 90 degrees, and the average temperature in January is less than 40 degrees.

Seniors who live on a fixed income will sometimes maintain less-than-comfortable temperatures at home to save money. Some may also neglect HVAC maintenance to save money on HVAC contractors. Avoid these temptations and always do what you must to maintain safe indoor air temperatures.

Check the Thermostat

Check your thermostat often to ensure that you use your furnace and air conditioner consistently. If money is tight in your household, work out a plan to ensure you can afford to keep your HVAC system running. Make a budget and identify other ways to save money, to ensure that HVAC costs are affordable.

Get Regular Tune-Ups

Preventative care is often less costly than repairs and can prevent HVAC breakdowns from occurring. Many HVAC contractors offer tune-up services to keep your HVAC system in good condition throughout its service life. Shop around to find the best deals. Some contractors may charge lower prices at slower times of the year. Ask about this when you schedule the appointment.

Clean the Air Conditioner Condenser

Debris inside the air conditioner condenser can cling to the coils and may prevent the condenser from releasing heat, which puts unnecessary wear and tears on the air conditioner. To keep your condenser in good condition, vacuum the coils inside the condenser and then spray down the inside with a hose. This is a low-cost way to prevent air conditioner breakdowns.

Remember to turn off the power to the air conditioner condenser before you start this job. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the condenser yourself, ask the HVAC contractor to do this for you during the tune-up.

Reduce the Burden on Your HVAC System

You can also perform a few tasks around the house to keep your HVAC costs down and ensure that the system runs efficiently.

Weather Strip the House

You can maintain a comfortable temperature inside your house with weather stripping. Weather stripping often takes the form of strips of foam that can seal the cracks around doors and windows.

Installing weather stripping puts less burden on the HVAC system and tightens up the building envelope to prevent energy loss. Weather stripping can be done at any time of year, especially before summer or winter.

Once weather stripping is installed, it can be used all year round. However, some kinds of weather stripping will wear down over time. Check weather stripping every fall and spring, and replace it once it becomes too old to be effective.

Reduce Direct Sunlight

You can also reduce the burden on your HVAC system by closing blinds and windows in rooms exposed to direct sunlight. This helps prevent the summer sun from warming your home at the height of summer, which can increase air conditioning costs.

Contact Your HVAC Professional

To find out more about how you can take care of your HVAC system, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and perform any required services.

Holiday HVAC Tips

The holidays are fast approaching, which means one thing: family gatherings. Aside from all the food, drinks, and other fun you’ll have this year, there’s one more thing to consider. That’s right; you need to start thinking about your HVAC system! There’s nothing more critical to your guests’ comfort than your home’s heating system. After all, enjoying your holiday dinner in -30° weather is hard without your heater running full blast. For this reason, you must ensure that your HVAC system is in good and working order long before your relatives knock on your door.

Not sure where to start? Follow these few simple tips from the HVAC experts at Derek Sawyers and get your system into shape today!

Replace Your Air Filter

If you regularly replace your air filter, congratulations ahead of the game. However, if you’re like most people, chances are you haven’t replaced any air filters all year. Well, now is a great time to take care of this piece of maintenance. A new air filter will help improve your home’s airflow and reduce the dust and allergens in your air. The last thing you want this year is anyone to start sneezing up a storm.

Some filters can even capture viruses and help protect your guests from otherwise nasty colds or other illnesses. That means a new air filter isn’t just an investment in the health of your guests; it can help you stay healthy all year round. Plus, now is an excellent time to replace your filter and start the New Year with fresh air.

Clean House

It may not be spring, but the holiday season is a great time to start tidying your home. A cleaner home reduces indoor air pollutants and makes breathing easier without filtering your air. That’s right, cleaning up all of the dust, pet dander, and other allergens can have a profound impact on your home’s air quality!

More importantly, cleaning your HVAC system can have an even higher impact on the air inside your home! Removing all of those same allergens from your ducts ensures that they’ll never make it into your perspective, to begin with, and cleaning the vents help air flow freely throughout your home!

Fix Air Gaps

Gaps in your air ducts are inevitable, but you don’t have to live with them. Any company offering professional HVAC services can help you seal up existing gaps and identify issues that may lead to new ones forming. Your newly sealed vents will thank you with more effective temperature control and lower energy costs too! Just make sure to call your local HVAC professional early in the year, as this process can take a fair amount of time for technicians to complete.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Chances are, you’ll have more than one heating appliance running this holiday season. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure the integrity of your fire protection equipment, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You might even want to ensure your fire extinguishers aren’t past their expiration date. This way, you’ll be ready for whatever accident comes your way this holiday season.

Keep Your Thermostat Close…

The holidays are a time of temperature extremes. Snow may fall outdoors, but you could quickly roast inside your home without watching your thermostat closely. That’s why you must be sure you’re always closely watching the climate around you. For example, if your kitchen is operating at total capacity, chances are you won’t need to run your furnace or other heating appliances quite as hard. Likewise, you might need to run your system extra hard in the morning if your guests stay the night. The game’s name here is to be aware of your surroundings and react accordingly to keep your guests comfortable.

…And Your HVAC Repair Service is Closer!

Chances are, you’ll run into an HVAC problem you can’t solve sooner rather than later. It’ll pay to know a repair company that will help you set things right when this time comes. An excellent company can help you plan for and take care of the other items on this list! So, if you take nothing else from this list, at least take this; a good HVAC service provider can help you prepare for the holidays better than you ever could on your own.

So, what are you waiting for? Not sure where to go? Why not start will a call to the service professionals from Derek Sawyers? Well, we give you the best service for your HVAC system and help you ensure the comfort and safety of your guests this winter! So, contact your local HVAC team today and get started on getting your system ready for the coming holidays.

6 Benefits of an Annual Furnace Cleaning

As each year passes, you may find it more accessible and easier to take your home heating for granted. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not worry about their furnaces until a significant problem has occurred. One way to prevent furnace issues is with an annual cleaning.

HVAC technicians can provide a detailed cleaning of your furnace once a year. Each cleaning comes with many benefits and will ultimately save money in the long run. Learn about the benefits and why you should make an annual furnace cleaning part of your home maintenance routine.

1. Better Efficiency

One of the most significant benefits of annual cleaning is better efficiency for your furnace. When the furnace boiler and ducts are cleaned, the furnace will run at better rates and not need to run as long to provide heat for a home.

A furnace with better efficiency can save you money in the long run. You do not have to pay extra oil and can heat your home for a lot less each year. Of course, the efficiency of every furnace is different. Still, in some cases, the savings from the stove could completely offset the cleaning costs. A unique calculator can help figure out differences as well.

After your first cleaning, you can compare the money spent on oil for the year and the amounts to previous years to see the difference. When oil prices fluctuate, an even better comparison would be to see the number of gallons you burn through each year.

2. Cleaner Burns

When an HVAC tech cleans out your furnace, they will eliminate the dust, debris, and build-up inside the burners. The result will save money with better efficiency, and your furnace will burn cleaner. The cleaner burns will improve the air quality in your home and help the environment.

An HVAC technician will inspect the furnace to check for air leaks or carbon monoxide issues. Special tools can examine the areas and ensure all the furnace elements are locked down and in place, so air leaks do not occur.

3. Quiet Operations

One of the loudest pieces of equipment in your home is typically the furnace. You will often hear the rumble and loud sounds of the furnace starting up. However, if you feel like your furnace has become louder over the years, you do not just hear things. As a stove runs, screws become loose, panels dislodge, and vibrations increase.

Without proper maintenance, a furnace will vibrate more and become much louder than you intended. During a cleaning, a technician will help secure all furnace elements and replace screws where needed. The duct and pipe brackets are also attached to the furnace to reduce noise.

Not only will the reduction of noise help your ears, but you can also help prevent significant problems when a furnace vibrates or shakes too much.

4. Duct Obstructions

While we want heating ducts to provide clean elements, there may be times with obstructions cause problems and impact the way heat flows through a home. Eliminate any major duct obstructions with a furnace cleaning. Dirt is one of the more common elements filling up ducts, but your home may also have rodents stuck in the vents.

Cleaning out the ducts will improve a furnace’s air quality and efficiency. If you’ve noticed that some home rooms do not heat up as well as others, then duct obstruction could be one of the leading causes.

5. Oil Filter Replacements

One task done during every cleaning is a complete oil filter replacement. Modern oil tanks are often filled with sludge and grime. If your tank gets low on oil, the sludge can seep into the lines and clog the filter. Once a filter is changed, oil can reach the furnace easier and provide a hotter and more powerful burn.

If excess sludge does appear, an HVAC tech may try to remove extra sludge in the oil tank if the build-up has grown too big. The filter will often act as the first sign and help prevent any problems.

6. Diagnosing Small Problems

A visual and physical inspection of your furnace is one of the key ways to eliminate any signs of minor problems most people will miss. For example, an HVAC tech may notice a fan is jammed or an element of the furnace leaks. When these little problems are taken care of, you can prevent more significant ones.

Prevention is critical; you can keep a furnace lasting for many years with proper maintenance and care.

Contact us at Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Conditioning for more information on furnace cleaning. We will help you schedule a cleaning and future appointments to ensure you do not forget the annual care for your furnace. Shortly after a cleaning, you will notice significant differences and help keep your furnace running for years into the future.

Zoned Heating Systems

Like most homeowners, you want your heating system to keep your family comfortable. At the same time, you want to consume as little energy as possible to keep your home energy bills low. However, you may not achieve these goals with your current traditional forced-air heating system.

While traditional forced-air systems work well in many homes, some homeowners find that these heating systems heat their homes unevenly. For example, conventional forced-air methods often make the second floor of many two-story homes much warmer than the first floors. This uneven temperature often forces occupants to open windows in warmer areas of the house. This kind of compromise always leads to energy waste.

These systems can also make it difficult for families to find a temperature that makes everyone happy!

Thankfully, zoned heating systems can help solve both of these problems. They can help keep your family more comfortable while lowering home energy bills. The average homeowner saves up to 30% on energy bills after making the switch.

Read on to learn more about two zoned heating system options and which option may be best for your home.

Zoned Forced-Air Heating System

A zoned forced-air heating system provides you with all the comforts of a traditional design. The significant difference is that these systems allow you to regulate the temperature of your home’s spaces separately.

A zoned forced-air heating system allows you to separate your home into climate zones, each with a thermostat. Many homeowners divide their homes into just two climate zones, each consisting of one house floor. Still, others prefer to turn every room of their home into its unique zone.

The thermostat added to each climate zone connects to special dampers installed in your home ductwork. When the temperature in the climate zone drops below the thermostat temperature setting, the thermostat sends a signal to the dampers that trigger them to open and allow heat to flow through the vents into the climate zone. After reaching the desired thermostat setting, the dampers receive a closing signal.

When switching from a traditional forced-air heating system to a zoned one, you should replace your existing conventional furnace with a variable-speed one. Zoned systems produce excessive wear and tear in standard furnaces. This operation often results in an overall lifespan reduction and no boost in energy efficiency.

Multi-Zone Mini-Split HVAC System

Another zoned heating option is a multi-zone mini-split or ductless system.

Unlike a zoned forced-air HVAC system, a mini-split system does not heat your home with a furnace that sends warm air through heating ducts. Instead, this system comprises an air condenser typically placed outdoors and several indoor heating units called air handlers. This air condenser collects heat energy already found in the air and then transfers it to the indoor air handlers through memorable refrigerant lines.

Since the air condenser collects heat energy from the air instead of creating heat, as a furnace does, this heating system type is highly energy-efficient.

One mini-split condenser can send heat to up to nine Indoor air handlers to create up to nine climate zones in your home. Professionals can mount these air handlers on walls, floors, heating ducts, room ceilings, or climate zone.

To ensure your multi-zone mini-split system can heat your home correctly without wasting energy, you must choose a system that has a suitable BTU capacity for your home. A higher BTU mini-split system can provide more heat than a lower BTU capacity. While a mini-split system with a BTU capacity too low for your home may not be able to provide the heat you need, one with a too-high BTU capacity may short cycle, which can reduce energy efficiency.

Trust Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air With Your HVAC Needs

An HVAC expert can determine your home’s mini-split heating system capacity to ensure your new multi-zone heating system heats your home correctly without wasting energy.

This heating system is an excellent option if your home does not have air ducts or you desire a system that operates more quietly than a forced-air system.

If your current control over your home’s temperature is insufficient, you may want to consider a zoned system. A zoned heating system can help keep your family more comfortable while increasing home energy efficiency. Contact the HVAC experts at Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning for your home heating needs today.

Should You Get an Air Conditioner or a Heat Pump?

Summer is finally over. If your air conditioner needs repair more than once throughout the summer, it may be time to replace the unit. When the time does come to replace your air conditioner, one choice is whether you want another air conditioner or a heat pump. These units are very different, so understanding the differences and advantages of each product will help you make your decision.

What an Air Conditioner Does

An air conditioner removes heat from home and expels it into the yard. It does this by depressurizing the coolant in a coil until it is freezing. The coolant then absorbs heat from the air in the home.

Once the heat inside the home has been absorbed, it is moved along the coil until it reaches its exterior. The coolant is then pressurized until it becomes boiling. Next, the air conditioner unit blows warm air out into the yard, and the cycle begins again. Air conditioners reduce both temperature and humidity in the home.

What a Heat Pump Does

A heat pump works like an air conditioner, pressurizing and depressurizing coolant to remove warm air inside the house and blast it outside. The difference between these two units is that the heat pump can be reversed to work like a furnace. To do this, the heat pump absorbs heat from the outside and blasts it inside.

Heat pumps are efficient in warm places like Modesto, where the season’s lowest temperatures are generally in the 40s. In colder climates, heat pumps work less efficiently than furnaces because they rely on warmth outside the home to heat the house’s interior. Therefore, the less heat air outside contains, the less efficiently the heat pump will operate.

Why You Should Choose a Heat Pump

Deciding between a heat pump and an air conditioner can be a challenge. Air conditioners are the traditional appliance for keeping a home cool in the summer. An appropriately sized air conditioner will do its job well. However, heat pumps have many advantages over air conditioners.

Heat Pumps Are Easy to Maintain

With a heat pump doing the job of the air conditioner and the heater, the homeowner has only one appliance to maintain instead of two. This can lead to lower repair bills and less yearly maintenance.

Heat Pumps Are Energy-Efficient

Heat pumps are known for their energy efficiency, especially in mild or warm-weather climates like Modesto. Heat pumps can heat a home using about 50% less electricity than an electric furnace.

Homeowners Are Likely to Have a Backup

People who have an air conditioner and furnace combo will often keep their furnace, even when they replace their air conditioner with a heat pump. The stove can be a backup if the heat pump breaks down.

Heat Pumps Improve Home Value

Home buyers like to buy homes that have energy-efficient appliances and home systems. With a heat pump installed in your house, your home may enjoy a boost in value.

Heat Pumps Are Cost Efficient

Because heat pumps are so efficient, they often cost less to operate than a furnace and air conditioner combination. As a result, using a heat pump year-round can help a homeowner save hundreds or thousands of dollars on their utility bill over time.

Heat Pumps Are Space Efficient

Heat pumps take up about half the space of an air conditioner and furnace combination. As a result, they’re an excellent product for tiny homes with little room to dedicate to the HVAC system.

When to Get an Air Conditioner

Of course, heat pumps aren’t for everyone. In addition, heat pumps can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than an air conditioner. This makes air conditioners an attractive option for homeowners on a budget.

How to Get Started

The first step is to contact a reputable HVAC contractor, whether you’re replacing your air conditioner with another air conditioner or with a heat pump. Your HVAC contractor will assess your current system, tell you for sure whether or not it’s a good idea to replace your air conditioner, and give you an estimate for what you will pay to make that replacement.

Get at least three bids from three different professionals before making your final selection. Requests should be itemized and detailed, so you know what to expect when the work is finished. Check contractors’ references and licensure to ensure that they’re certified and qualified to do the job. Then, when picking a professional comes, make sure you sign a contract.

For more information about heat pumps and air conditioners, contact an HVAC professional in your area. At Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about which unit is suitable for you. Contact us today for more information.

HVAC Upgrades That Help You Save

No matter where you are in the Central Valley, you know your HVAC system can take a big bite out of your wallet. This is especially actual since HVAC usage makes up nearly half of your home’s annual energy consumption. It takes a month of sweltering or freezing temperatures to make your monthly heating and cooling costs skyrocket. This temperature change may make you struggle to keep your home comfortable on budget.

Fortunately, you can take advantage of the latest trends in HVAC technology to make your system more energy-efficient. Here’s a look at a few upgrades that can boost your system’s performance while curbing its energy usage.

Upgrade #1: The Smart Thermostat

One of the easiest ways to upgrade your HVAC system is by ditching your current thermostat for a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats work just like your old programmable thermostat, except they have additional benefits.

What makes these thermostats smart is their long list of unique features. Nearly all smart thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled. This wireless connection allows you to control your thermostat remotely from your smartphone or any other portable device. Smart thermostats also feature self-learning capability, allowing them to study and predict your daily HVAC usage habits. With this information, they can automatically make adjustments according to your routine.

Add-ons like room sensors can help smart thermostats better detect temperature changes and adjust your HVAC usage accordingly. This activity can lower energy consumption in the process. Some smart thermostats can also detect and diagnose issues with your system.

Upgrade #2: Zoned HVAC Systems

Another upgrade worth considering is a switch from whole-home cooling to a zoned HVAC system. A zoned system separates your home’s heating and cooling into several distinct zones through dampers. Technicians can set up zoned HVAC systems to control separate floors for more efficient climate control. On the other hand, these systems can control temperatures in different rooms for increased individual comfort.

Zoned HVAC systems offer a few distinctive advantages:
Occupants in separate areas of your home can adjust HVAC settings to their comfort without making others uncomfortable.
You can individually control each zone in your home using a separate or smart thermostat.
Two-stage or variable-capacity HVAC systems can operate at a reduced capacity. This feature gives you a significant reduction in energy consumption and energy costs.
Zoned systems come with their drawbacks, however. Adding the required dampers to your existing HVAC system can increase static pressures and negatively impact duct airflow. Installing a bypass duct can help redirect excess air but also negate your energy savings.

Upgrade #3: A Variable-Speed Blower Motor

Traditional HVAC blower motors literally have a one-track mind — they’re only capable of operating at a single set speed no matter how much heating or cooling your home needs. Because your HVAC blower motor runs at full-tilt all of the time, you’ll end up with excessive energy usage as well as less control over your home’s heating and cooling.

A variable-speed blower motor, known in the HVAC business as an electronically commutated motor, offers a significant leap in HVAC efficiency and comfort. Whereas a traditional blower motor runs at 100 percent whenever it’s in motion, a variable-speed blower motor can adjust its speed to match your desired HVAC demand.

A variable-speed blower motor delivers more consistent heating and cooling and eliminates the temperature spikes common with old-school blower motors by operating at reduced speeds. Reduced speeds also mean less noise — a boon to anyone concerned with HVAC noises impacting their overall comfort.

Variable-speed blower motors use significantly less energy than their traditional counterparts as well. The motor itself also uses higher-grade internal components, giving it a longer lifespan than conventional blower motors.

Upgrade #4: Solar-Powered HVAC Systems

A growing number of homes and businesses are taking advantage of solar power. A typical solar-powered HVAC setup uses a set of solar panels to capture and convert solar energy into usable electricity and a bank of batteries to store and manage that electric energy. Upgrading your system to use the sun’s abundant resources offers an eco-friendly way to reduce your home’s energy usage.

Going solar helps reduce your home’s dependency on fossil fuel-derived electricity while saving you money on your monthly heating and cooling costs. With a battery bank installed to offset power loads and store energy, your HVAC system will also continue working during power outages. Your solar-powered upgrade may also be eligible for various local and federal tax credits that help offset installation costs.

You should not wait to invest in energy-efficient upgrades for your HVAC system. If you want to start saving money today, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning and get started on making your existing system more energy efficient today.

Otherwise, you can contact our friends in Colorado, Done Plumbing & Heating. Done has everything their clients need to keep their Denver heating systems in excellent condition. Give them a call, and we’re sure you’ll find the help you need.

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, primarily if it’s functioning worse than it did when you bought it, then there is a good chance 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. So let’s discuss the top 5 most essential things when deciding whether to replace your air conditioning unit.

Your Home Feels Like A Sauna

If the sun’s sweltering heat 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 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 correctly. 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. 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.

5 Smart Reasons to Schedule an Air Conditioning Tune-Up

Anyone can easily neglect appliances until they need help. However, proactive homeowners have learned to maintain their appliances, including central air conditioning (AC) units, to receive top performance from their investments. Here are five benefits you receive when you wisely schedule an AC tune-up this spring and summer.

1. AC Tune-Ups Lower Summer Cooling Costs

Multiple issues with older central AC systems can cause the units to become highly inefficient. For example, something as simple as excess dust can cause corrosion or other performance issues in your system. In addition, if you don’t change the filters on your HVAC unit often enough, the dust and debris bypass the filter and clutter up the works inside the appliance.

Dirty evaporator and condenser coils cause AC systems to use more power. If your outside AC unit is covered in bugs, leaves, and climbing weeds, the unit doesn’t get proper airflow to cool your home efficiently.

Clogged drains or drainpipes from HVAC units can cause some AC units to shut down when the collected condensate overflows eventually. Blocked drains also hinder an AC unit’s ability to remove moisture from the indoor air, which can cause higher cooling bills and unsightly water stains on flooring and walls.

During a tune-up, the HVAC professional checks all AC parts for the buildup of dirt and debris before cleaning the unit. Any parts corroded, displaced, plugged, or damaged by debris have been repaired or replaced. Then, your unit functions at top efficiency, keeping your cooling costs lower than running the same air conditioner with grimy, dust-choked parts.

An improperly installed or un-calibrated thermostat can cause your unit to kick on more often than is necessary to cool your home adequately. When the thermostat is calibrated, replaced, or moved, your AC unit will work more efficiently and cost less to run. If your AC unit has a thermostat problem or incompatibility, an AC tune-up will discover the issue.

2. AC Inspections Keep HVAC Molehills From Becoming Mountains

Life’s not easy for certain parts of your AC system. For example, fans must spin for years at the optimum speed. In addition, if caked-on dust covers its blades or rotor base, your AC fan must overcome the debris’s extra weight and friction. As a result, fans can wobble or corrode, making them less efficient and prone to failure.

The vibration of an AC unit over time can loosen bolts and nuts that hold the appliance together and hold components in place. Additional issues that can happen inside the HVAC enclosure include:

  • Loose or rodent-damaged wiring
  • Corrosion of interior metals
  • Failure of heat-pump components
  • Tripped circuit breakers

Outside the AC unit, you may have issues with airflow, ductwork, and blocked vents.

Over time, small issues like loose bolts can become significant issues. A vital component like a fan can break away, a flexible wire can create a short, and a corroded duct part can allow hot air to mix with the cooled AC air as the metal duct continues to disintegrate. Your AC unit can shut down entirely in the middle of a party or intense heat wave from what started as a minor issue.

When you schedule an AC tune-up, the technician can resolve and repair little issues before they become big issues. The HVAC professional goes behind the scenes to access the hidden AC parts that could spell a hot future for you if you don’t correctly service the AC unit.

3. AC Inspections Catch Refrigerant Issues

Refrigerant problems are some of the most common issues with AC units. If you have never had a professional look at your refrigerant and have owned your home for a while, check the AC refrigerant levels and delivery system.

Problems with AC refrigerant systems can include the following:

  • The wrong type of refrigerant
  • Inaccurate prior refrigerant charge
  • Refrigerant-system leaks

Some refrigerants are being phased out, but you have replacement refrigerants that will work. Don’t wait until your unit has no refrigerant left to find out you need a special-order product. Your HVAC pro will catch any problems with refrigerant when you schedule an AC tune-up, but schedule that tune-up before the issue becomes a pain.

4. AC Tune-Ups Can Reduce AC Rattle

Numerous problems can cause loud noises in your AC system. Some noise is normal when running your AC since a compressor and fan can’t be made entirely silent. Additionally, suppose your return air vent is the wrong size. In that case, the movement of air through the panel can be louder than you prefer. AC units can sound loud or rattling when the following problems are present in the system:

  • Loose screws
  • Wobbling or broken fan
  • Lack of lubrication on moving parts
  • Dirty or misshaped coil fins
  • Debris on top of the HVAC enclosure
  • Loose wiring
  • Broken internal component

Your HVAC professional will tighten all fasteners, lubricate moving parts, and repair or replace broken components to reduce the related rattle, hum, or buzz that drives you crazy.

Contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule a thorough tune-up of your AC system in Modesto, Fresno, and Stockton, California. Enjoy a cool summer without worrying about AC breakdowns.

Summertime AC Issues? The Do’s and Don’ts of What to Do Next

Did your central AC system suddenly stop cooling your home? If your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a summertime heatwave, look at the dos and don’ts of AC repair.

Do Call an HVAC Professional

Suppose you don’t have extensive expertise in air conditioner repair. In that case, you need to call an HVAC professional when your system stops working. Whether your AC unit blows warm air through the vents, won’t turn on, takes too long to cool your home, or has another issue, hire a licensed HVAC contractor to:

  • Inspect your system. What is the culprit behind your AC’s issues? If you can’t answer this question, you need to contact a qualified contractor to inspect your air conditioner. The technician will assess the coil, condenser, refrigerant line, and other system parts.
  • Diagnose the problem. After the inspection, the technician will diagnose the issue. While you may not understand the technical jargon, the AC contractor can break down the basics as they explain what’s wrong with your home’s cooling system.
  • Provide you with an estimate. How much will the repairs or replacement cost? A qualified contractor should provide you with a written estimate. The estimate should include the per hour rate or job cost, materials cost, and applicable fees.
  • Complete the repair or installation. After you agree to the estimate, the technician will complete the necessary repairs or install a replacement (if a repair isn’t possible).

The sooner you call the HVAC contractor, the better. A long wait between when you notice the initial problem and when you finally contact the contractor could result in additional issues.

Don’t Wait to Call the HVAC Professional.

What types of issues can a delayed service cause? For example, even though the summer swelter may suddenly end, you swap out AC use for fans, or you put off a service call for another reason, failure to schedule a prompt appointment could result in:

  • Discomfort. Your AC system provides a valuable service — it keeps your home cool. However, if you wait days or weeks after your AC system fails, you’ll need to sweat your way through the hottest days of the summer.
  • Damage. A system that blows warm air makes loud noises, has odd odors, doesn’t work correctly, and requires a repair. Failure to promptly repair the system could result in significant damage or excessive wear and tear.
  • Excess energy usage. A damaged or worn AC system may use more energy to cool your home. The result is an increase in electricity bills or related operating costs.
  • Invalidation of a warranty. Does your warranty have time frame restrictions? For example, suppose the warranty requires you to schedule professionally done repairs within a specific period or only extends to a particular month and year. In that case, you may need to pay out of pocket for repairs.

Along with these issues, the HVAC contractor might not have high availability for mid-summer appointments — especially during the peak heat of the season.

Do Keep Cool While You Wait

Even though you may have called the contractor the moment your AC system turned itself off or started blowing hot air, the HVAC service provider possibly won’t have an immediate appointment. Again, peak heat season is often a tricky time to schedule AC services. You may have to wait hours or days between overworked systems, excessive wear and tear, and new installations.

While you wait, avoid heat-related discomfort or illnesses and:

  • Use fans. Provided your home has electricity and plug-in fans. Only use fans in rooms you will use. This reduces overall energy usage and may lower your temporary fan-related cooling costs.
  • Close window treatments. Reduce the effects of the sun on your home—close blinds or curtains during the day to reduce sun-related home heat gain.
  • Open windows. Let the breeze in. Open windows that aren’t in direct sun. Always use screens to keep insects or other pests out.
  • Don’t cook indoors. The oven-baked meal you plan to make can heat your home. If possible, make cold meals or cook outdoors on a grill.
  • Hydrate well. After you take steps to cool your home, cool yourself with a cold glass of water. Hydration is crucial on a hot summer day.

If your home won’t cool effectively or feel uncomfortable, leave and go to a friend’s or family member’s house.

Don’t Attempt a DIY Repair.

Should you fix your home’s AC issue yourself? If the service technician can’t schedule an immediate appointment or you think you’ll save money with a do-it-yourself repair, consider:

  • Your experience level. An online DIY tutorial doesn’t provide the same degree of training a qualified professional has. If you’re an HVAC novice, leave this job to a professional.
  • Your warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty may only cover repairs made by authorized service professionals.
  • Your safety. Failure to properly repair an HVAC unit puts your or your family’s safety at risk.

Not only does the HVAC contractor have experience in air conditioning repairs, but the technician can also help you to decide if your system requires replacement.

Do you need an HVAC service call? Contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.

6 Ways to Maintain Your HVAC System With a Pet

Pet dander, pet hair, and even pet urine can greatly impact your home’s HVAC system. Without proper maintenance, your HVAC system could burn out faster than expected because of your pet. If you’re a pet owner and a homeowner, here’s what you need to do to take care of your HVAC system.

1. Replace the Air Filter Regularly

The air filter is one of the most useful tools for cleaning the air that flows through your ducts. Your HVAC air filter can remove hair, dander, allergens, and other particles that impact your home’s indoor air quality. Failure to replace your HVAC air filter when the air filter is dirty can force your HVAC system to work harder than necessary to do its job.

Since you own pets, you might need to replace your HVAC filter more often than if you didn’t. So check on the air filter regularly, and replace it when it starts to look dirty.

2. Keep Your Dog Away From the Condenser

Dogs like to pick their favorite spots to urinate in the yard. Unfortunately, suppose your dog’s favorite spot happens to be the air conditioner condenser. This could cause the condenser to become corroded and rusty because dog urine is slightly acidic.

The best way to ensure that your dog does not urinate on the condenser is to keep your dog away from the unit. To do this, you can install a fence around your condenser. Keep the fence at least two feet away from the condenser to ensure that the condenser has proper airflow.

If the fence is closer to the condenser, install a chain-link fence that allows airflow around the condenser. Failure to allow airflow around the condenser could cause it to work too hard. It could ultimately lead to a prematurely broken air conditioner.

3. Clean Ducts Regularly

You’ve probably noticed that pet dander has a way of settling in your carpet, on your upholstery, and under the bed. But did you also know that pet dander can blanket the inside of your air ducts? This can have a serious impact on your indoor air quality. When your ducts are dirty, running your HVAC system will make your home dirty too.

In addition, dirty ducts can cause your air filter to become dirty faster than normal. Cleaning your ducts regularly can help you maintain an efficient HVAC system and prevent your HVAC’s air filter from getting prematurely dirty.

Not sure if your air ducts need to be cleaned? You can tell by removing the vent cover from a duct and peering inside. You’ll also know that your ducts are extra dirty if your home gets dusty when the HVAC system is running.

4. Bathe Your Pet and Clean Your House Often

Keeping a clean house will help keep the pet dander out of your home’s air ducts and thus out of the HVAC system. Dust regularly, vacuum regularly and sweep your floors often. Wash your pet’s bed covering when you notice that it’s covered in hair.

Bathe your pet regularly to prevent dander and pet hair from floating around the air in your home. Comb or brush your pet’s hair and remove hair from your pet’s grooming brush regularly.

Too much bathing can dry out your pet’s skin. Talk to your pet’s veterinarian to find out how often you can bathe your pet without worry. If your pet has sensitive skin, cut back on baths and brush your pet’s fur more often.

5. Seal Your Ducts

Holes in your home’s ducts can lead to an unintentional exchange of air, which could lead your ducts to become dirty on the inside. Sealing the ducts can prevent this from happening. You can seal minor duct leaks yourself using duct mastic. To do this task, inspect the ducts in the attic and basement or crawl space of your house. Install mastic in all places where the ducts are cracked, and the inside is exposed.

Do not use duct tape despite the name, as it tends to fall apart quickly. If you don’t feel comfortable sealing your ducts, contact an HVAC professional to have it done for you.

6. Get Regular Tune-Ups

Getting your HVAC system tuned up regularly can help ensure that pet hair and dander are periodically cleaned out from the system. Your HVAC professional will check the system’s efficiency, remove any allergens and pet debris, and let you know if your HVAC system needs any repairs.

If you have questions about how you can maintain your HVAC system, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to answer your questions or help you with any HVAC problems you have.

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