Sacramento Air Conditioner Repair Cost Guide

Sacramento Air Conditioner Repair Cost Guide

It is good for Sacramento homeowners to have an idea about air conditioner repair costs before they make a call to an ac repair company. This information will enable you to make an informed decision about the competitiveness of the industry. You may receive a rate quoted by the heating and air conditioning company and wonder if this is a fair charge. Today on the blog we discuss some of the most common air conditioner problems and the approximate cost of fixing it.

The AC Fails to Turn On

Three common problems normally prevent many air conditioning units from turning on. First, incorrect thermostat settings can be responsible. In many cases we find that homeowners forgot to turn the settings to the cooling mode. Secondly, the thermostat batteries may be worn and the thermostat cannot work if it isn’t being powered. Thirdly, a tripped fuse could be preventing electrical power from getting to the air conditioning unit.

These problems can be fixed at no cost by the Sacramento homeowner. Simply check each of the problem areas above and implement the appropriate remedy. For example, reset a tripped breaker in order to get power to the AC unit. Save yourself the trip charge Fox Family Heating and Air or another contractor may charge to diagnose a very easy fix.

Reduced Comfort Level

Again, three issues can cause you to feel less comfortable than you were feeling in previous AC use seasons. The first is a clogged or wrong air filter. A clogged air filter will impede the flow of conditioned air into your home. The second reason is debris accumulated around the outdoor unit of the AC. That dirt or debris makes it hard for heat exchange to occur. The third possible culprit is dust on the outdoor components. This dust also prevents heat exchange on the evaporator coil fins in the winter.

Air flow issues resulting from the three factors above can be solved by the homeowner. Replace or clean the air filter. Check and ensure that ample clearance exists around and above the outdoor unit. Follow the guidelines in the user manual to clean dust from the outdoor unit components. All this can be completed without incurring any monetary cost except when you have to buy a new filter. Filters vary from $5 to $20 depending on the type/model. We always recommend washable air filters for efficiency. They are a little more expensive but need to be replaced less often, as you can wash and re-use them.

Abnormally High Summer Energy Bills

Spiraling utility bills usually point to dirty filters as mentioned above or clogged coils in the outdoor unit of your AC. You may need to call a technician at Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar to come and disassemble the unit in order to clean it thoroughly. An Air Conditioner tune-up may cost you $75 to $150 in Sacramento.

Abnormal Noises

Air conditioning units may rattle, groan, tick or buzz during different stages of their operation. That problem could be the result of a loose component or a damaged fan blade. A blown blower motor can also cause abnormal sounds to be emitted from the AC. The repair cost will vary depending on the actual cause of the problem.

Simple tightening of nuts or screws may help solve the problem. In which case, we recommend you schedule a tune-up visit. Many of our clients find it beneficial to sign up for our annual maintenance program. If the noises are diagnosed as a  blower motor problem it will cost a minimum of $150 and a maximum of $750 depending on the type of equipment you have.

AC Cycles Off Before Ideal Comfort Level

Normally, the AC runs until the conditioned space reaches the condition/temperature selected on the thermostat. However, some units may turn off before the room occupants experience the desired level of comfort. This may be due to incorrect readings by the thermostat. For example, the thermostat may “think” that the desired temperature has been reached just because that thermostat is located near an air register.

You should relocate the thermostat in case you discover that it is located near a heat source or air register. This will not cost you any money if you do it yourself. An air conditioning repair (Sacramento) technician may charge you the same rate for a standard service call ($75-150).

Water Puddles Close to the Furnace

The condensate formed as the air conditioning system is working is usually collected in the condensate pan and discharged through the condensate tube. Clogs, crimps, disconnections and condensate pump problems can affect this function and cause water to pool close to the furnace.

You may spend about $20 to buy a new condensate tube. A condensate pump will cost you between $40 and $110. Other solutions (clearing clogs, for example) are free if you can perform them yourself. In this case we have seen the cause be problems that are more complicated so we recommend having one of our technicians properly diagnose the issue.

Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar will inspect the air conditioner in your Sacramento home in case you suspect that the system has developed a more serious problem. We will give you an air conditioner repair cost estimate before we begin the work. We welcome you to compare the estimate with other service providers in the area. You won’t find Fast, Honest, Friendly service like we deliver anywhere else!

Life or Death: Flammable Refrigerants Used in Homes Will Be the Norm

flammable refrigerants

The global warming potential of R410 is leading to the use of flammable refrigerants for indoor comfort

With the complete phase-out of R410A already underway, the industry is looking for new alternatives.  These alternatives are required by the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol to start using a refrigerant that not only has no ozone-depleting potential, but significantly lower global warming potential.

Ozone-Depleting Potential

R-22 refrigerant (freon) is a Chlorodifluoromethane that has ozone-depleting potential.  As it escapes a refrigerant system, chlorine is released with R22.  It’s been proven several times over that freon escaping into the air gets carried to the stratosphere with updrafts.  Once high enough, the freon bonds break down when UV rays from the sun hit them, releasing the chlorine from its bond where it lingers in the ozone layer for years.

The California Air Resource Board says, “releasing one 30 lb. jug of R22 is more potent, if released, than the CO2 emitted to the air by driving nearly 7 more fossil-fuel-powered cars each year.”  Not only that but its global warming potential (GWP) is 1810.  That means R22 released into the air has 1800 times the potency as the same amount of carbon dioxide.

Just as a reminder, we all know CO2 is a once naturally-occurring greenhouse gas that has significantly increased since the late 1700s with the start of the Industrial Revolution.  Humans and their machines have elevated once balanced CO2 levels to almost twice what it was.  What once was a normal amount of CO2 in our atmosphere, helpfully trapping heat in our atmosphere, has now risen far beyond normal.  This contributes to an abnormal rate of global warming.

As for R410A refrigerant, while it has no ozone-depleting potential, it does have a significant amount of global warming potential.  Would you be surprised to know that its GWP is even higher than R22’s, at a little over 2000?


This has led to Kigali mandating the HVAC industry to elevate its standards for refrigerant usage in residential and commercial systems.  Further, the state of California has passed legislation requiring the phase-out of what most of us thought to be the “environmentally-friendly” refrigerants (R-410a, R-134, etc.) by the year 2023.

And if HVAC manufacturers have to change the refrigerants to satisfy the state of California, they likely will have to change the refrigerants in all the equipment they sell throughout the entire United States and elsewhere.  It makes no sense for these companies to manufacture two different types of equipment lines.

Future Alternatives

So, what refrigerants would we move to?  Well, they’re already being used in HVAC applications today.  Actually, since 2012, R32 is a refrigerant that Daikin has been using as its non-ozone depleting refrigerant with very low GWP.

Carrier also has one called R454B.  The other name for it, Puron Advanced, is strangely familiar to us all.  It implies ozone-depleting and easy to switch to.  Carrier has already declared by 2023 that all their ducted air conditioning products in North America will be manufactured with this product.

But most of us who have been following the phaseout of R410A are concerned about the composition of these refrigerants.  Put in the category of “Mildly Flammable,” these refrigerants are listed as A2L refrigerants.

Mildly Flammable?  As opposed to what?  R22 and R410A are considered to have low flammability levels and are listed as A1.  A and B are the toxicity levels of the refrigerant; “A” being lower than “B”, while 1,2 and 3 are the flammability ratings, with 1 being the lowest and 3 being the highest.

What is Mildly Flammable?

According to an article written for the Department of Energy Technology, author Pavel Makhnatch described a comparison as to what Mildly Flammable means.  “To be deemed a mildly flammable refrigerant, a substance must burn at a velocity no greater than 10 square meters per second. By comparison, Usain Bolt’s world record 100-meter time equates to 1043 square meters per second, while hydrocarbons burn many times faster,” Makhnatch said.

R32 is described as having a lower flammability rating than ammonia which is already known for being a difficult substance to ignite.  That makes me feel all warm and cozy, but when ACHR News and Indoor Comfort News started releasing stories about the dangers that could arise when switching over to an A2L refrigerant, it made my ears perk up.

One article I read said we technicians will have to switch to recovery machines that vacate any accumulating nearby fumes.  Machines that have a source of ignition like something as little as a spark.  I realize I don’t fully understand the mechanical breakdown of a recovery machine or vacuum pump, but I do realize they need electricity to run.  The article I read reports that most common recovery machines won’t be suitable for A2L refrigerants.

Another concern of mine and many others is “mildly flammable” still means more flammable than non-flammable.

Upcoming Code Changes

The International Code Council recently met and discussed routine changes to the upcoming code.  These changes rarely make as big of an impact on the community as this topic does.  Usually they just change some wording for new emerging technologies.  But Jay Peters for Indoor Comfort News wrote, “seldom does a standard update change the level of safety for a particular product, like the one happening with using flammable refrigerants.”

He’s concerned that the administration of the Code Council doesn’t really debate the technical aspects of the updated standard.  Peters said, “the flammable refrigerants issue has become a very big subject of debate in the codes covering HVAC and fire safety nationwide.”  He found that many proposals to add these refrigerants to direct in-home systems were all rejected.

Citing a deadline to get this new refrigerant mainstream, the companies are trying to get it pushed through to the International Code Council via the Fire Code, Mechanical Code and Residential Code.  Well, no governmental agency is pushing them.  This particular refrigerant is not mandated to be used by a certain time.  It’s the companies themselves that are saying it.

Protection and Training for Flammable Refrigerants

These companies should be looking out for the real people who will be using it every day as well as those protecting us from it.  HVAC mechanics and firefighters should be protected, fully trained, and prepared to handle and battle a potential fire breakout.   This will require the International Fire Code, International Mechanical Code and the Uniform Mechanical Code to all get the facts to adopt the required wording for Mildly Flammable refrigerants.

Peters asks, “what will stop others from timing their standards the same way that has been done here – circumventing all technical and safety debate of the industry and the membership of the ICC?  This sets a very bad precedent, raises safety concerns, and conflicts with the votes of the International Mechanical Code, Uniform Mechanical Code and International Fire Code committees.”

Jay Peters stresses to the ICC Membership that, “the committee must be overturned so that flammable refrigerants will not be allowed in homes without a single technical or safety provision in place to ensure public safety.”

Flammable Refrigerant in the Hands of Amateurs

My main concern when I heard all this wasn’t so much for our own technicians.  I can train them!  My concern is Side-job Bob, out on his first “mildly flammable refrigerant” call.  Bob may seriously injure himself or causes major damage to the home he’s working on.  Side-job Bob sure does take a lot of my business away, but I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

One refrigerant that does meet current non-flammable refrigerant ratings is Honeywell’s Solstice N41.  R466A has no ozone-depleting potential and very low GWP.  Even 65% less than R410A, Honeywell has partnered with Midea, China’s leading home appliance maker.  They’re replacing R410A with Solstice N41 in HVAC applications.  Honeywell has answered the the Kigali amendment mandate to produce a low GWP refrigerant.  It’s also non-flammable which makes everyone safer for it.

It’s currently running in third place as the replacement for R410A.  I feel this is due to its production cost.  R32 is apparently cheaper to make than Honeywell’s R466A, which is a blend and therefore costs more to produce.  Shutting out Solstice N41 just puts more money in the pockets of the big guys.

Are big companies like Daikin and Carrier willing to put people in danger to further pad their own pockets?  It seems to me that they’re pressuring themselves to get this refrigerant out too quickly.  Why?  One, to beat everyone else to the punch, and two, to gain recognition and profits.

A Temporary Solution to Flammable Refrigerants

Daikin, Carrier and Honeywell all admit this refrigerant update is only a medium-term solution to the problem.  Other refrigerants will be next as the drive to bring global warming potential to seemingly never-ending lows moves on.

Believe it or not, Daikin is already looking to replace their own R32 with a newer, lower GWP product.  If that doesn’t chap your hide I don’t know what will.  We just began the R410A phase-out.  If R32 is truly our next refrigerant to be used, it’s already on its way out.

Flammable Refrigerants: Who is Most at Risk?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Who pays the highest price by having to use an HVAC system that uses flammable refrigerant?  Is it the technicians in the field, the HVAC company owners, or the end-user, the homeowner?  There are more important things in life than money.  There are lives at stake here, and I just hope the authorities get this one right.

Thanks so much for stopping by and we’ll see you on the next blog topic!

How Do the PG&E Shutdowns Affect My HVAC System?

power shutdowns

PG&E Shutdowns and Rolling Blackouts in Northern California

Once again, PG&E shutdowns are happening for over 150,000 customers in locations caught in the middle of local wildfires.  Rolling blackouts will also occur this week for customers in other parts of northern California who aren’t necessarily impacted by local fires, but have to succumb to the needs of their electric company who needs to relieve the stress on the delivery of electricity on the hottest days of the year.

So many people are using their AC’s on hot days.  This can create a high demand for the power company to deliver.  The heat can be life-threatening for people who depend on electricity to cool their homes.  Some people are sensitive to temperature swings.  Infants and older adults are groups most impacted by power grid shutdowns.

PG&E Shutdowns and Your Air Conditioner

Beyond shutting down your electricity, these PG&E shutdowns can actually damage your AC.  Your compressor that sits at the bottom of your outdoor unit is one of the hardest motors in your house to start up.  Once that motor is started, it’s imperative to have regulated voltage applied to it to run effectively.

Power shutdowns and sudden re-energizing of your home’s power supply can send jolts through the power delivery system.  When jolts hit your air conditioner’s power supply, it feeds into the parts themselves, especially if they’re running at the time.  The same thing happens when the system calls for cooling when the power is turned back on by the power company in your area.  The inrush of power hitting your house, albeit ever so slight, is enough to take out the most expensive parts of your AC system.  Here is one of my most popular videos on diagnosing a bad compressor.

Rolling Blackouts Can Damage Your Control Board

Another expensive part that can really get fried is control boards.  These are the brains of the system.  Control boards tell which parts of the indoor and outdoor units to run and at what time.  High voltage and low voltage parts of these control boards can receive massive pulses of power, ruining the smallest parts of control boards.  Here is a video where I explain some more about how control boards get damaged.

It’s really unfortunate when PG&E power shutdowns randomly impact your home.  Damage is often done when systems are running at the time of the shutdown and upon re-energizing the grid.  There are times when power companies are forced into some tough situations.  Randomly selecting which area of the state gets shut down is one of them.

Lawsuits for causing wildfires and power grid relief are the main reasons PG&E has to monitor usage during certain times of the year.  And right now is one of those times of year.  Power shutdowns can damage your AC equipment at your home unintentionally.  It’s very similar to situations when someone takes out a power line in your neighborhood, sending a jolt to the heart and brain of the system.

Equipment Protection During PG&E Shutdowns 

Homes can be equipped with surge protectors.  This would be one way of suppressing voltage spikes entering your home’s power supply, related to shutdowns and start-ups.  We hope this never happens to you but if it does, visit our website to schedule an appointment for us to come out and diagnose the damage to your system.

To learn more about how long your HVAC system should last, check out our blog post on this topic.

Thanks so much for reading this week, and we’ll see you on the next blog.

Don’t miss our videos related to this topic:

Five Things You Should Do to Prepare Your AC for Summer

Auburn CA heating

Keep your Air Conditioner in Good Shape for the Summer Ahead

Well, it’s inevitable.  Every year it’s just a matter of time before the first wave of heat hits the central valley of northern California.  I see a few waves of temperatures hit us at different levels of intensity, forcing customers to decide if they are going to stick it out a little while longer without repairing their AC or go ahead and call for a repair.   If you don’t have your AC regularly checked by Fox Family, here are some things you can do to prepare your AC and give it a good chance of performing well for you this summer.

Check the batteries in your thermostat

Double-A batteries are the most common ones you’ll find in your thermostat.  You can usually pull the front plastic cover off its base to see the batteries.  If you haven’t changed them in a year or two, go ahead and do that now.  If you see any green corrosion on the batteries, that would be another indicator that it’s time to change your batteries. 

Change your filters

You may have one or two filters around your house that need to be changed regularly.  Doing this allows your system to take in a big deep breath before breathing out to give you every bit of air it’s capable of giving.  Plus, if your filters aren’t perfectly white, it’s time to change them anyway.  Nobody wants to breathe in that brown stuff that gets caught in the filters.

Clean your AC coil

You may not know this, but your outdoor coil also acts as a filter of sorts.  The fins and coil on the side of the unit pull in air, also catching pollen and dust.  The fan on top discharges the air, removing the heat from your house.  Rinsing off these coils with a hose before summer hits is an excellent way to prepare your AC.  And for all those Tim Allen arr-arr-arr DIY’ers, please don’t use a pressure washer to complete this task.  Those fins are pretty rigid and won’t bend unless you apply a lot of pressure to them.  You can bend them pretty easily by pushing with your finger, so use less force than that.  Remember, we’re just trying to knock off the dust.

Cut back your shrubs

Part of letting your outdoor AC unit breathe means cutting your shrubs back at least 12 inches from the side of the unit.  If you can, do your service technician a big favor and remove them altogether.  Nobody wants to work with thorns from a rose bush poking into their shoulders, back, and face while working on your unit.  If you must have them, though, cutting your shrubs back allows the air to enter through the sides of your AC and discharged through the top, which removes the heat from your house. 

Temperature split

If you have some sort of temperature measuring device, like a meat thermometer, check the temperature difference between the air entering your system and the air coming out of your registers.  If you know where your filter is that you change out every couple of months, that is where you take your first reading.  The second reading you take is at one of the registers.  A bedroom is fine for this.  Subtract the second reading from the first one.  What you’re looking for is a difference between 18 and 24 degrees.  If you don’t see this range of numbers, it may be time to schedule a service call  from Fox Family Heating and Air.  Anything lower than 18 and you risk high electric bills from a system that is running too long.  Anything higher than 24 and you risk a system that could freeze up and stop blowing air altogether.  All the condensation that naturally occurs at the indoor unit can freeze up.  Then when the AC shuts off, the ice rapidly melts, causing water damage to the system or causing damage to your floors or ceiling.


You can do these five things to prepare your AC for the summer. They’re pretty simple checks you can do as a homeowner to give your AC system a good head start going into this summer.  2020 is going to be a hot one. 

If you do need AC repair in Sacramento, book your appointment here, at the top of the page, or give us a call. We’d be happy to have the chance to service your AC system.

Don’t miss our video related to this topic:

5 Reasons My Air Conditioner Needs Locking Safety Caps

Air Conditioning Safety Tips for the Sacramento Region

Today I’m going to give you the top 5 reasons your air conditioner should have locking safety caps on the access ports.  Welcome to Fox Family Heating Air and Solar!

Starting Out

When I started my career in HVAC in 2010, locking safety caps were already required by the International Mechanical Code. The International Mechanical Code is something all 50 states have adopted as their rule for the installation of air conditioning systems.  However, HVAC companies were slow to adopt this rule, most likely because it was just another expense to complete their services for you the homeowner.  So today, I wanted to give you 5 reasons you need locking safety caps on your air conditioner.

In 2009, the International Mechanical Code adopted the code 1011.10 which says “…refrigerant circuit access ports (which carries the refrigerant to and from your outdoor AC, and indoor cold coil) shall be fitted with locking type tamper-resistant caps or shall be otherwise secured to prevent unauthorized access.”

Later in the chapter it says in 1012.3 those same, “…refrigerant circuit access ports shall be protected in accordance with 1011.10 whenever refrigerant is added to or removed from an air conditioning system.”

Taking Care of Those You Love

Here are 5 more reasons why we as homeowners should follow this rule.  No single reason given here is more important than the other, so pay close attention to all of them.  They could affect someone you love.

1.  Prevent someone from deliberately inhaling the refrigerant to get high

It’s called huffing, and it seems to be some sort of game or addiction to obtain a certain feeling in the user’s body and mind.  Pay close attention here.  Did you know the refrigerant in your simple air conditioning system outside your house actually displaces oxygen?  It will literally take your breath away.  According to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) and the Alliance for Consumer Education’s (ACE) Inhalant Abuse Prevention, “huffing can cause someone to suffer cardiac arrest and die whenever they 1. inhale, the 1st or the 100th time.”  There are several videos online about this and it’s been happening for a while.

2.  Prevent drug users from stealing your refrigerant

With the cost of R-22 skyrocketing over the last few years because of supply and demand, the second reason we should be putting these locking caps on your air conditioners is to prevent drug users from stealing your refrigerant. Drug users can make a quick buck by stealing it and selling it to someone locally.  This enables them to continue their habits on your dime because now you’re going to have to pay top dollar to have the AC recharged.  At the current price of $100-$200 dollars a pound, that could get expensive real quick!

3. Refrigerant is Poisonous

Number three is simple. AC refrigerant is poisonous, and poison must be kept away from children.  Nobody thinks something bad can happen until it does.  Just doing your part to protect the lives of children can do a world of good.   These locking caps are tamper-resistant, so instead of being able to unscrew the normal caps off the access ports, these locking caps will just keep spinning and spinning until they lose interest in whatever they were trying to do.

4. Protecting the Environment

R-22 is an ozone-depleting substance which the EPA has deemed a controlled substance. The chlorine in R-22 that gets into the air is burning a hole right through the ozone layer.  We should all be trying to do our part in preventing anyone other than a licensed HVAC technician access to your refrigerant.  HVAC techs must add and recover refrigerant in a manner that minimizes refrigerant loss to the atmosphere.  The EPA even requires we carry a card proving we’re allowed to this.  Next time your “HVAC technician” or handyman comes to service your AC, perhaps you’ll want to ask to see their EPA 608 card.

5. Protecting You

The fifth reason to have these locking caps on your AC is to protect you! Protecting yourself from liability in this day and age is crucial.  Everyday business owners, HVAC company owners, and yes even regular homeowners could face negligence charges by not protecting society from the dangers of air conditioning refrigerant.

Okay, Let’s Do It!

I think this is one of those topics we should be proactive about.  As a homeowner, don’t wait until something happens on your property before you agree, “OK, let’s put those locking caps on the AC.”

HVAC company owners, you should know every time your technicians add or remove refrigerant, it’s your responsibility to replace those old twist-off caps with locking caps.  This doesn’t have to be another great selling opportunity.  They’re just locking caps.  Yes, they cost about $350 dollars for a pack of 50 of these caps, but this is just another opportunity for us to protect ourselves from liability.  Charging a reasonable price to cover your costs is really all we as HVAC owners should be doing here.

Doing Due Diligence

At Fox Family, we use NoVent locking caps.  They’re color-coded green for R-22 and red for R-410 refrigerant.  Each color has its own specific key, so I always carry the red and green keys with me in my tool bag.  There are also silver locking caps that are universal.  Either way, a special key is required to place them on, or remove them from the access ports on an air conditioner.

We usually buy these NoVent locking caps and keys at the HVAC supply stores around town.  And these stores try their best to restrict purchases of HVAC tools like these to not just anyone, but, in a pinch, I’ve found the caps are pretty easy for anyone to buy online.  So, even if someone was to be successful getting past your locking caps on your AC, you’ve done your due diligence by adhering to the International Mechanical Code.  In my judgment, you’d be protected because you were trying to do your part to protect others from gaining access to your AC’s refrigerant.

Cover All the Bases

You might say, “well my AC is a package unit up on the roof.”  These units are still required to have locking caps on them unless you have some sort of locked area enclosing the system to prevent anyone from tampering with the equipment.  People can still get on your roof and steal your AC unit if they really want to.

View my video on this very thing:  Just a few months after we installed a brand-new system on a rooftop in Sacramento, the copper coils were stolen right out of the system.  Reports from neighbors said they saw a guy messing with something up there, and all the sudden they saw something white spraying from the unit.  That’s was the copper refrigerant lines that he simply cut and removed from the system.

If someone really wants your system, they can take it, but adding locking safety caps to your AC system WILL help to prevent access to the system.  And that’s really all you can do.


I hope this has helped explain what locking safety caps are and why you need them on your system.  Once again, let’s be proactive about this and not reactive.  Protect your friends and family and get these locking caps on your system as soon as possible.

Thanks so much for watching and we’ll see you on the next blog!

Don’t miss my video and related videos on this topic:

Courtesy KJRH-TV, Tulsa, Channel 2

Why is My AC Overheating?

my A/C has a refrigerant leak

The compressor is one of the most important (and expensive) components of your air conditioner. This crucial component can sustain irreparable damage in case it overheats, and the cause isn’t identified and fixed quickly. This article discusses some of the reasons given by a leading Sacramento heating and air conditioning company, Fox Family Heating and Air, to explain why your AC compressor is overheating.

Electrical Issues

Any defect in the electrical supply can cause the compressor to overheat. For example, a spike in the power supply to your Sacramento home will trigger overheating in the sensitive electrical components of the compressor. Loose connections and compromised insulation can also cause overheating in the compressor. Air conditioner repair professionals in Sacramento can fix this problem before it causes your AC to stall.

Blocked Suction Lines

The compressor of the AC may overheat in case something has constricted the refrigerant line from the indoor unit. This constriction will prevent the refrigerant from flowing at the right pressure and volume as it gets into the compressor. The compressor is therefore likely to overheat as it tries to compensate for that low pressure by sucking harder on the refrigerant.

Dirty Condenser Fins.

The fins on the condenser help to dissipate the heat carried by the refrigerant when it leaves the compressor. This heat may not be lost fully in case those fins are caked by dirt. Consequently, the refrigerant will go back to the evaporator when it isn’t as cool as it should be. The net result is that the refrigerant will be further heated by the warm air in your home and that excessively hot refrigerant will cause the compressor to overheat. Technicians at Fox Family Heating and Air warn that such a problem can cause the compressor to fail and require replacement.

Poorly Sized Refrigerant Lines

The compressor can also overheat in case the refrigerant lines are either too small or too wide. This improper sizing may cause the compressor to overheat as it works overtime to compensate and keep the refrigerant at the required pressure. Get an experienced air conditioner replacement (Sacramento) technician to inspect the AC in case it recently underwent repairs, and you suspect that the wrong refrigerant line was used.

Incorrect Cycling

Oversized or undersized AC units can also cause the compressor to overheat. For example, an undersized AC will stay on for very long to keep the temperature in your Sacramento home at the desired level. This strains all the components, especially the compressor. Overheating becomes inevitable in such situations.

Conversely, an oversized unit will start and stop more times than is usual for a correctly sized unit. These short cycle times also cause overheating because the compressor strains a lot as it is starting up. Contact a Sacramento air conditioning company for help in replacing that oversized or undersized AC.

Insufficient Refrigerant

A refrigerant leak can leave your AC with less refrigerant than is required. Inadequate recharging after air conditioner repairs can also leave the system low on refrigerant. Low refrigerant levels cause the compressor to overheat because the AC will work harder to cool your home. This situation needs to be corrected urgently before it causes a total breakdown of the compressor.


The compressor of your air conditioner is also likely to overheat in case contaminants, such as particulates and other gases, find their way into the refrigerant. Those contaminants are harmful because they prevent the compressor from compressing the refrigerant as it usually does. Insufficient compression strains the compressor and causes it to overheat.

Old Age

The AC may overheat due to age-related wear and tear. The increasing inefficiency of the aging air conditioner makes the compressor to overheat as it tries to keep up with the demands placed upon it during the cooling season of the year. This is particularly common in ACs which have been in use for more than ten years. Such units should be replaced instead of trying to pay attention to the compressor alone.

Although the causes of overheating in an air conditioner compressor seem unrelated, only one measure can keep most of them at bay. Proper maintenance can prevent many of the reasons why compressors overheat. Negotiate an AC service contract with the experts at Fox Family Heating & Air so that your air conditioner is kept working at its best for its entire service life.

How Your Air Conditioner Works

HVAC system repair

Some Sacramento homeowners may think that their AC works by removing hot air from the home and replacing that hot air with cool air. However, this is far from the truth. Read on and learn how experts from Fox Family Heating & Air, a Sacramento heating and air conditioning company, explain how your air conditioner works in order to cool your home during the hot months of the year.

Two Synchronized Movements

Two kinds of movement work together to deliver comfort to you in your home. The first movement involves the sucking of warm air into the vents in your home. Remember, warm air rises, so the warmest air in your home is the one that gets sucked into the vents for circulation through the AC system. This same air returns through the return air registers when it has cooled down. How it cools down is connected to the second kind of movement in the AC system.

The second movement has to do with the refrigerant in the AC. This refrigerant is cold before it gains heat from the air moving around it. The refrigerant then heats up and goes through a system that cools it before returning it to absorb more heat. The same refrigerant keeps undergoing these transformations without needing to be recharged. You should, therefore, contact air conditioning repair experts in Sacramento in case you see any signs of a refrigerant leak. The process of heating then cooling the refrigerant will become clearer once you understand the workings of the two key parts of the air conditioning system as discussed below.

The Indoor Unit

The indoor unit of an air conditioner is normally installed in the basement or the attic in most homes. The main component of this indoor unit is the evaporator. The evaporator has coils within which a refrigerant circulates. The refrigerant is initially cold.

The hot air which has been sucked by the vents in the different rooms of your home passes over these coils containing the cold refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from this warm air and that heat causes the refrigerant to turn into a gas (that is why the unit is called the evaporator). The air is now cool and is returned to the different rooms in order to make you feel more comfortable.

Meanwhile, the heated refrigerant (which is now a gas) travels towards the outdoor unit in order to be cooled so that it can absorb more heat from the next batch of heated air coming from the rooms in your home.

The Outdoor Unit

The main components of the outdoor unit of your air conditioner are the compressor and the condenser. The heated air from the indoor unit travels out and finds the compressor. This compressor pressurizes the heated air and pushes it towards the condenser.

The condenser has fins similar to those in the radiator of your vehicle. These fins provide a large area into which the compressed refrigerant is released. The large surface area allows the pressurized gas to spread out.

Meanwhile, fans blow air across the surface of the fins into which heated air has been released. That ambient air absorbs the heat from the refrigerant and the refrigerant cools. The refrigerant converts into a liquid as it loses heat to the air around the condenser fins. That is why this section of the outdoor unit is called the condenser (it facilitates the condensation of the hot refrigerant gas into a cold liquid). This cold liquid flows towards the indoor unit where it will absorb heat from the warm air coming from the vents in your home. You may need to consider air conditioner replacement (Sacramento) in case a major component, such as the compressor, fails and the outdoor unit can no longer do its work.

The process described above is repeated until the thermostat detects that the temperature inside the home has dropped to the desired level. A signal is then sent to the control unit of the AC to shut off the system. Another signal will be sent later to restart the system once the thermostat detects that the temperature has risen beyond the set level. Your AC keeps cycling on and off throughout the day in order to keep the home at the desired temperature.

The discussion above only covers the basics of how your air conditioner works. Other activities, such as the removal of contaminants (by the filter) and the removal of excess humidity (by the dehumidifier) take place while the heated air is moving from the rooms to be cooled and then returned once more.

Any defect at any point of this well-coordinated process will affect the degree of comfort that you experience in your home. That is why it is important to call AC maintenance and repair and repair professionals from trusted companies, such as Fox Family Heating and Air so that an inspection can be conducted to locate and fix the defect.

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.