Is an AC tune-up worth it? Yes!

AC tune-up

People who have just bought their first home or have recently installed a new AC may be asking themselves “is an AC tune-up worth it?”  Is it really necessary to have the air conditioning system tuned-up annually?  This article discusses some of the key benefits that Sacramento homeowners will enjoy when they hire a Sacramento heating and air conditioning company like Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning to tune-up the AC.

Improved Energy Efficiency

Dirt, dust, and other debris gradually accumulates on the different components of the AC, such as the evaporator coils. Those accumulations affect the efficiency of the system in different ways. For example, the dust can prevent the exchange of heat from the evaporator coils. This impediment causes the system to use more energy as it struggles to maintain the desired temperature in your home. Regular tune-ups will prevent this inefficiency.

Warranty Protection

Manufacturers of air conditioning systems offer buyers warranties that have conditions. One of the common requires that the air conditioner be maintained regularly (at least annually) by certified professionals. Any warranty claim made without proof that an AC tune-up was performed at the required intervals can result in a rejection of that claim.  Air conditioning repair technicians in Sacramento can perform the required maintenance so the AC manufacturer honors any warranty claim.

System Longevity

It is also worthwhile to have your AC tune-up completed because that maintenance helps to enable the system to last for as long as the manufacturer intended it to. For example, Fox Family Heating and Air technicians check the lubrication of the moving parts of the HVAC equipment. Proper lubrication protects the components from premature wear due to excessive friction. Tune-ups are therefore a good investment since they save you from having to buy a new AC sooner than expected.


Air conditioning tune-ups have the added benefit of making your HVAC systems environmentally friendly. How does this happen? An AC tune-up can detect problems, such as refrigerant leaks before they worsen and discharge greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Secondly, barriers to efficiency are removed so that the system uses the least amount of energy needed to keep the home within the desired temperature range. You will be contributing towards protecting the environment when you take care of your AC tune-up.

Reduced Repair Costs

Sacramento air conditioning repair professionals perform tune-ups as a way of averting frequent system failures. The tune-ups forestall bigger problems by catching them early. For instance, the technician may check how much energy the motor is consuming as it works. This tune-up activity helps to fix any defects before those defects cause a malfunction that may be costly to repair.

Improved Air Quality

The air that you and your family members breathe while inside your home depends on how well the air conditioner is doing its work. For example, a defective filter can allow contaminants to keep recirculating within the home. Similarly, a clogged condensate line can result in higher humidity levels in the home. This can allow mold and other biological matter to thrive and compromise the health of the home’s occupants. Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning can provide AC system tune-ups to improve the quality of the air in your home.

Peace of Mind

Having an air conditioning system tune-up performed will ease any fears or concerns about your AC.  Get a clean bill of health with a professional tune-up, with any anomalies found and fixed. Rest assured that the AC will not suddenly fail, unless an unforeseen calamity, such as a flood, damages the equipment.

The cost of having the annual ac tune-up done pales in comparison to the higher costs and inconveniences that you may expose yourself to when you neglect to have the tune-ups done. Hire an experienced heating and air conditioning repair or maintenance company in Sacramento. Contact Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning to keep your home’s AC at its best throughout the year. Our maintenance club is an affordable solution many clients find to be a great value while enjoying comfort and peace of mind. 

Why is My Outdoor AC Unit Not Starting?


Some homeowners in Sacramento may panic and call an HVAC technician for help as soon as they realize that the external unit hasn’t come on after they turn the AC on. Some homeowners are great at DIY when it comes to repairing appliances. You can save some money by trying some basic solutions before asking a professional heating and air company for help. Today we share some insider trade secrets with you.

Check the Thermostat Settings

The outdoor unit of your air conditioner may fail to turn on when adjusting your thermostat. Adjust the temperature setting to a level which is lower than the current ambient temperature. If it is working correctly the outdoor unit will start humming a few minutes after you input those new thermostat settings. One of the most common culprits, when the thermostat is not connecting to the outdoor unit is the batteries. Believe it or not, we get calls often and the problem is a corroded battery in the thermostat.

Check the Circuit Breakers

It is also important for you to open the electric panel in order to check whether the breaker of the external AC unit has tripped. That breaker is usually labelled as “AC”. Flip it to the “off” position and wait a few minutes before moving it to the “on” position.

Call a Sacramento heating and air company to inspect the AC in case the outdoor unit starts and stalls shortly after you have reset the circuit breaker. This precaution is necessary because the system may have a serious underlying problem that is causing the breaker to keep tripping.

Check the Power Switch

The power switch of the air conditioning unit usually looks like any other switch within the home. This power switch may be located in the attic, crawl space or closet close to the furnace of the unit. Locate this switch and turn it back on in case it had been turned off inadvertently.

Clean the Outdoor Unit

You should also consider cleaning the outdoor unit in case your AC fails to start. Cleaning the unit can remove the debris which may be causing it to overheat each time it runs for a while. Getting rid of all the debris around it will therefore allow air circulation to be restored around that unit so that it stays cool and doesn’t trigger the shutdown switch.

Reset the Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit may also be failing to start simply because its safety switch was triggered and it turned off the unit. Electrical overloads and overheating are some of the reasons why the safety switch may be engaged to protect the unit from damage.

Start by turning the power switch off from the thermostat inside the home. Wait for a few minutes (five minutes, for example) and turn that switch back on. This will reset the safety switch and the unit will power up once more.

Check the Condensate Pump

The external unit of the air conditioner in your Sacramento home may fail to start in case someone accidentally disconnected the condensate pump. That pump helps to force out any water that is collected as the AC system does its work.

Water can therefore accumulate within the AC unit in case this pump is disconnected. The outdoor unit fails to start as a way to avert any serious damage which can result once the condensate pump isn’t working to get rid of the water which collects as warm air cools and allows water droplets to form. Reconnect this pump and the exterior unit will start working.
You should make sure that the power is turned off before you attempt to perform any repairs or maintenance work on your AC unit. This will safeguard you from any electrical hazards that you may be exposed to while you work. We recently published a blog about causes of wet AC filters which gives you a more in-depth look at the condensate pump.

Enlist the help of a Sacramento HVAC professional in case you are unsure about what you should do to get the external unit to start working again.

Wet HVAC Filters in Sacramento Homes

The summer comes with several potential air conditioner problems, such as soggy AC filters. The wetness can compromise the performance of the HVAC system by blocking the flow of air and giving a chance to mold and other biological matter to grow within the system. Today we share some of the common causes of this problem and also explores the ways Sacramento homeowners can deal with it should this happen to you.

Improper AC Installation

You should suspect that the filter is wet due to improper HVAC system installation if you recently replaced your AC unit with a new one. The filter can become wet if the condensate line wasn’t installed appropriately. Improper condensate line installation prevents the accumulated moisture from flowing away from the HVAC unit under the force of gravity. Consequently, the water will stay stagnant within the system and eventually find its way into the filter.

This problem can be addressed by altering the position of the condensate line so that it slopes away from the AC unit. Often times this problem goes unnoticed until lots of water has built up leaving you with a big mess to clean up. Moral of the story, check your filters monthly.

Clogged Drain Lines

HVAC systems that have been in place for long may develop clogs within the drain line (condensate line). Such clogs may be a result of the intrusion of various forms of debris or insects. Water will be unable to flow out and away from the AC unit when such a clog exists. This defect can be prevented by asking an AC maintenance technician to visit your Sacramento home regularly in order to perform routine maintenance on the entire AC system.

The clog can be removed using appropriate equipment, such as a small plumbing snake. This task should be left to professionals in order to avoid damaging the system. We have seen all too many DIY cleaning jobs go wrong.

Excessive Air Conditioner Pressure

Excessive system pressure can also cause the filters in the HVAC system to become wet. How does the pressure reach this undesirable level? Some Sacramento homeowners block the vents in some sections of their homes in order to reduce the cost of conditioning the air in the living spaces in those homes. Such deliberate or accidental closures of vents can cause the remaining ductwork to be exposed to intense pressure as the AC strives to maintain the desired temperature within the home.

Condensation will form at a high rate during such high-pressure conditions. That condensation can easily find its way into the filters and cause them to become wet. Make sure that all the AC vents are open in case you notice that the filter is becoming wet. Ask an HVAC system maintenance professional to inspect the ductwork of your Sacramento home so that any debris clogging the ducts can be removed.

Defective AC Seals

The difference in temperature between the air around the exterior AC unit and the temperature inside that unit can cause the filters to become wet in case the seals of the AC unit deteriorate and allow condensation to form within that unit.
The water vapor inside the evaporator coil may freeze. Some of that moisture can easily end up being carried throughout the HVAC system until it reaches the air filters and makes them wet.

Regular maintenance can prevent such a problem since the technician will identify and replace any damaged seals on the indoor or outdoor AC units.

Clogged Air Filters

The air filters themselves may also be responsible for the wetness that you notice. A clogged filter will not allow air to flow easily through its filter media. Consequently, any water vapor contained in the air struggling to pass through may cool and form water droplets which gradually make the filter media to become soggy. It is, therefore, necessary for you to check the air filter in your Sacramento home regularly so that you replace or clean that filter as soon as you notice that it has become clogged.

Avoid simply replacing the air filter as soon as you notice that it is wet. Investigate and find out the root cause of that wetness. Ask an experienced HVAC repair company in Sacramento for help in case you are unable to establish the underlying cause of the sogginess. This will save you from wasting money on replacement filters that quickly become wet since the cause of the wetness hasn’t been addressed. At Fox Family Heating & Air, we are honest, affordable, and respectful of your time and property.

When It Is Better to Replace Instead of Repair Your HVAC System

what to expect from us

Some homeowners in Sacramento may not know when they should pull the plug on an HVAC unit and replace it. This article discusses some of the considerations you should have a mind as you decide between repairing the unit and replacing it. So when is it better to replace instead of repair your HVAC system?

Level of the Defect

The level of malfunction from your HVAC unit is a good starting point when thinking about repairing or replacing that unit. Some defects, such as shorted electrical wires, are a no-brainer since they cost very little to fix. However, it may be wiser for you to replace the unit in case a Sacramento heating and air expert tells you that a major component, such as the compressor, has failed.

The decision to replace the air conditioning unit becomes more obvious in case the system is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Install a new unit so that you reduce your anxiety about more costly repairs.

The Type of Refrigerant

The type of refrigerant in your HVAC system can also help you to decide whether you should replace the unit. Many AC defects, such as refrigerant leaks, require the system to be charged with additional refrigerant after repairs have been completed.

Older refrigerants, such as R-22, are more costly to use because their supply is limited. Such refrigerants are being phased out due to environmental concerns. Switching to a new system can save the cost of recharging the system each time a defect develops.

Changes to Your Home

Has an HVAC defect come at a time when you recently made major changes to your home? It may make more sense to replace an HVAC unit instead of repairing it at such a time.

Why is that recommended? Major home modifications can affect the sizing of the HVAC unit. For example, extensions increase the load which the AC unit must deal with on a daily basis. The AC may now be overworked because it was selected to address a different set of conditions.

Replacing that AC is, therefore, a good move because you will be able to pick a unit which is ideal for the new conditions in your modified home.

Older Units

The different components of your AC are designed to last approximately the same number of years. Does it make sense to keep repairing one component after another as they start breaking down due to age?

It may be more cost-effective to replace an older unit instead of spending money on various repairs.

Reliability Issues

How often do you find yourself having to call a Sacramento HVAC professional each year? Frequent repairs mean the HVAC unit may be approaching the end of its life.

Think of the cost of repairing that unit when compared to replacing it. For example, multiply the repair estimate by the age of that AC unit. Any result which exceeds $5000 (the average cost of a new unit) should bias you towards buying a new unit. Talk to an air conditioner replacement expert in Sacramento in case you are unsure about the correct calculations while determining whether repairing or replacing the AC unit will address the reliability issues which you have been experiencing.

So is it bettert to replace instead of repair your HVAC system? It may not always be easy to decide whether it is worthwhile to keep repairing an existing system or replace it with a new HVAC system. Consult with heating and air conditioning professionals in Sacramento to avoid replacing an HVAC system that has many years left. Whether you decide to replace or repair your HVAC system, Fox Family Heating and Air is here to help.

5 Preventive Measures to Keep the AC Cooling Your Sacramento Home

It is can be very inconvenient to return home to an air conditioning system which is blowing heated air instead of cooling the home during the hotter months of the year. Sacramento homeowners can take several measures to avoid the costs and inconveniences associated with such a malfunction. This article discusses some of those preventive measures.

Your HVAC System & Landscaping

One of the most common reasons why an AC may fail to cool a home is the lack of the recommended clearance around the outdoor unit. Flowers and shrubs can overgrow and block the flow of air around that external unit of the AC. Debris, such as litter from trees, can also constrict the flow of air around the unit.

This reduced airflow affects how easily the heated air from your home can be cooled before being recirculated through the ductwork. Avoid this problem by trimming any shrubs or flowers which reduce the clearance around the unit. Clean the yard frequently so that debris isn’t allowed to accumulate close to the external unit of your air conditioner. The prolonged accumulation of debris around the outdoor unit can result in high HVAC repair Sacramento bills.

Check the Filter Frequently

The air filter of your AC system can also have an adverse effect on how well the system can cool the home when the weather is hot. Clogged filters prevent air from flowing freely through the system. Consequently, the rate at which the AC cools your home will be compromised.

Different models of filters come with different recommendations about the interval of cleaning or replacing them. However, those recommended filter change or cleaning intervals can be affected by the specific conditions in your home. For example, the filter in a home with several pets may clog faster than a home without pets that shed dander.
It is therefore a good habit to set a reminder so that you can check the filter on a monthly basis. Remove that filter in accordance with the procedure stipulated in the user manual of the AC unit. Hold it against the light and clean or replace it in case you cannot see light filtering through it. This method will ensure that you can always intervene before a dirty filter causes the AC to blow heated air through your home.

Enclose the Units

The system can blow heated/warm air in case something affects a section of the electrical wiring within the indoor or outdoor unit of the air conditioner. This is particularly possible in case you have young children or pets which damage any exposed wiring.

You can protect your kids and pets from being shocked by electricity and also protect the AC from damage by enclosing the indoor and outdoor units in a protective cage or wall. This will keep curious kids and pets from the electrical wires of those components.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Warm air coming from your AC can also circulate in your home in case some components of your HVAC system, such as the condenser, wear out due to working excessively when you set the thermostat low during the hot months of the year. The AC will keep cycling on and off frequently in a bid to maintain the desired temperature. Over time, some components will wear out and unfortunately fail.

You can avert such premature failure by installing a programmable thermostat. Set that device to change the temperature setting depending on the hours when you are away or within the home. For example, the thermostat can automatically raise its temperature setting during the hours when you are at work. The settings can then change shortly before you get back home in the evening. Our technicians always have the latest technology available to install.

Using a programmable thermostat will reduce how much work the different AC components have to do. Consequently, they will last longer and you will reduce the chance that your home will be warm yet the AC is running. Heating and air conditioning professionals in Sacramento can help during the installation of the new thermostat.

Clean Inside Your Home

The dust and other contaminants inside your home can clog the filter and ducts of your air conditioning system. Those clogs affect how freely conditioned air can flow into the different rooms of the home. Regular vacuuming and dusting can remove that dust before it takes a toll on the AC system and affects how well the home is cooled during the summer.

Keeping your home dust and dander free will go a long way towards averting many of the reasons why an air conditioning system blows warm air when it is expected to cool the home. However, the steps above are no guarantee that the system will not have any defects over time. Call an air conditioning repair technician in Sacramento and let that experts at Fox Family Heating and Air inspect and fix any issue which could have compromised the effectiveness of the AC.

Air Conditioner Repair Call Ride Along

Complicated AC repair Sacramento

What seemed like a simple AC repair call turned complicated…

It’s no secret Sacramento has been delivering some unbearable summer heat these past few weeks! With the heat comes a lot of broken air conditioners. We try and gauge the type of call we are going on as we schedule appointments. With this air conditioner repair call we had a pretty good idea of the problem and were ready to tackle it.

Check out the details in our latest VLOG. See if Greg fixed it and if so how and what it took to get the cool air blowing again. Contact us for all of your Sacramento area AC repair needs.

Cleaning a Dirty Evaporator Coil


Cleaning a Dirty Air Conditioner Evaporator Coil

Today I take you along on a call where the homeowner was turning their air conditioner on but it was just not properly cooling the house. Almost immediately I thought there might be a problem with the coil that was impacting the air flow. Sure enough the problem we found was that the evaporator coil which can be difficult to get to (to the untrained eye) was caked with layers of dirt, hair and grime. If you have a weak stomach, fast forward to the end where we show our client what we pulled off of the coil.

Why does this happen?

A dirty evaporator coil is pretty common and it happens when you do not have your HVAC system properly maintained. That combined with not changing your air filters. You can easily prevent this type of repair by contacting us scheduling regular HVAC maintenance.

Repair or replace my AC?

Repair or replace my AC?

Does your Air Conditioner really need to be replaced?

We never want to create more industry skepticism but it is important to note that just like going to a surgeon, mechanic, dentist, second opinions can give you a different outcome.  Today’s VLOG you will ride along with me, Greg Fox for an air conditioner repair call in Sacramento. This particular call was a second opinion for a lady who was told she needed to replace her older air conditioner by another HVAC contractor. She didn’t have the money to replace it and felt a second opinion was needed. Check out the full video to find out how I got her AC running again potentially giving her two or more years of life on her system.

Homeowners: There are times when replacing your HVAC system is a better investment, but we encourage you to get a second opinion if you feel your technician has not done his best to fix your air conditioner.

HVAC Technicians: If you don’t know how to fix something, ask for help. Be sure to exhaust all of your resources before you conclude that replacing the air conditioner is the only choice.

Be sure to check out our Blog for more “how to” HVAC videos and tips.

Repair or replace my AC?

Repair or replace my AC?

Does your Air Conditioner really need to be replaced?

We never want to create more industry skepticism but it is important to note that just like going to a surgeon, mechanic, dentist, second opinions can give you a different outcome.  Today’s VLOG you will ride along with me, Greg Fox for an air conditioner repair call in Sacramento. This particular call was a second opinion for a lady who was told she needed to replace her older air conditioner by another HVAC contractor. She didn’t have the money to replace it and felt a second opinion was needed. Check out the full video to find out how I got her AC running again potentially giving her two or more years of life on her system.

Homeowners: There are times when replacing your HVAC system is a better investment, but we encourage you to get a second opinion if you feel your technician has not done his best to fix your air conditioner.

HVAC Technicians: If you don’t know how to fix something, ask for help. Be sure to exhaust all of your resources before you conclude that replacing the air conditioner is the only choice.

Be sure to check out our Blog for more “how to” HVAC videos and tips.