When You Should Consider Upgrading Your Sacramento Home HVAC System

how long should my AC last?

Many Sacramento homeowners often find it hard to decide whether they should keep repairing their existing HVAC system or replace it with a new one. This article discusses some of the things which can alert such homeowners that it may be time for some HVAC upgrades.

Frequent Sneezing or Coughing

The HVAC system plays an important role in ensuring that the members of your household breathe high-quality air. Frequent coughing or sneezing is an indicator that the system is failing in this role.

Upgrading to a better HVAC system may improve the indoor air quality in many ways. For example, a properly sized system is able to extract most of the particulates from indoor air.

Spiraling Energy Bills

Have you noticed that your energy bills are higher than they used to be? The HVAC system may be responsible for that increased energy consumption. This is particularly possible in case the system is aging and its components can no longer work as well as they once could.

Upgrading such an HVAC system will result in a reduction of your energy bills since the energy consumption of the new system will be lower. Energy Star or SEER rated systems are particularly energy-efficient.

Noisy HVAC Operation

You should also think about upgrading your HVAC system in case it has become unusually loud as it is working. Some systems may remain noisy even repairs have been conducted to fix any components which were defective.

The only way to restore calm and quiet conditions is by replacing the noisy HVAC system with a newer one which operates more quietly.

Extended Run Times

Be observant and find out whether your heating and air conditioning system in Sacramento cycles on and runs for a longer duration than it used to. Those extended run times should concern you because they indicate that your system is finding it harder to keep your home within the desired temperature range.

That extended operation increases the amount of energy that the HVAC system uses. The rate of wear also increases since the components will be working harder to condition the air in your home. Upgrade the system before it fails completely.

High Repair Costs

It may be time to upgrade your HVAC system if the frequency of having repairs done is increasing. High repair costs point to a system which is breaking down, one component at a time.

It is never a good idea to hang onto a system that needs HVAC upgrades because it will become there’s no guarantee that nothing else will fail and require more money. Upgrade to a better/newer system so that you avoid those high repair costs.

Uneven Temperatures

It can be inconveniencing to have some rooms of your Sacramento home warmer or colder than others are. A functional Sacramento ventilation, heating and air conditioning system should maintain uniform conditions across all the rooms of a home. Any difference detected could be a sign that the system can no longer meet your requirements. Upgrade to a better system so that you can enjoy uniform conditions in all parts of the house.

Age

Age is an important factor to consider when contemplating whether or not your HVAC system should be upgraded. Each system comes with a manual which stipulates its expected service life, such as 15-years.

HVAC Upgrades

However, the way in which that system was maintained over its life can shorten or increase this useful life. It is generally advisable to upgrade the HVAC system if it is nearing the end of its expected useful life. This is because that end-of-life period tends to be characterized by the failure of the major system components, such as the compressor. Upgrading saves you from incurring those high repair costs for a system approaching the end of its life.

Each of the signs above may not on its own justify the decision to replace your HVAC system. However, a combination of those signs is a sure sign that you may be better off upgrading the system instead of sinking money into a system which is showing multiple signs of failure. Contact a Sacramento air conditioner replacement expert so that you can get help in selecting the best replacement system.

Can I Finance a New HVAC System? Yes!

Can I Finance a New HVAC System

Investing in a new heating and air conditioning system is for many people, an unplanned expense. Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning has several choices if you need to finance a new HVAC system.

When you choose to finance your HVAC system replacement using one of Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning lenders, you will get a superior product, quality installation, and unmatched warranties, at a reasonable monthly payment that fits your budget.

Synchrony Bank

Our most popular choice to finance a new HVAC system is traditional financing through Synchrony Bank. Synchrony allows you to choose the interest rate and payment term you prefer from four different options, including an option for interest-free financing for 18 months. The application process is quick and easy, with instant credit decisions.

The process involves two steps. First, you will walk through a simple credit application with the technician, and once approved, Synchrony will email you a financing agreement with the payment terms you choose, for your acknowledgment. This is all handled electronically, and the entire process takes as little as ten minutes.

There is no minimum requirement for credit, so this option is not limited to new systems – it can also be used to finance those unexpected HVAC repairs.

SMUD Financing

As a registered SMUD contractor, we can assist with your application for a secured, home performance installment loan through SMUD. They offer 6.99% APR for a 10-year loan to finance your new HVAC system. In order to apply for SMUD financing, you must be a current SMUD customer with a clean payment history and have no bankruptcy or foreclosures in the past 36 months.

YGRENE

This program allows you to make energy-efficient improvements to your home using PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing.  PACE pays 100% of your project’s costs.  You repay these over a term of up to 20 years via an assessment on your property tax bill.   Approval is not based on your credit score, but rather the equity in your home. The requirements are a minimum of 15% equity in your home, no bankruptcy or foreclosures in the past 36 months, and you must be current on your mortgage and property tax. In some cases, you can get payment deferment for up to 18 months with this program.   The minimum purchase amount is $5,000.

Contact Fox Family today to get started!

Capacitors and Your HVAC System

CAPACITOR REPLACEMENT

As we approach the long hot summer, I wanted to start a series of blogs on common parts of your HVAC system that break down. I also want to share some other common parts that when installed or added on to your system will keep your family and house safer, your system running longer and more efficiently, and improve the indoor air quality so everyone in your home can breathe easier.

If your air conditioner or heater is making a buzzing or humming noise, it’s a sign that your capacitor levels are low.  They can’t provide the necessary electricity to make the HVAC system work properly.

Many times each year, I am called out to a house where the system is making a buzzing or humming noise. This makes me immediately think a motor is stuck or the capacitor for that motor has gone bad. A capacitor is a storage bucket of electrons that helps regulate the electricity going to the motor it supports; a compressor, a condenser fan motor, a furnace or air handler’s blower motor, and sometimes and inducer motor. When the capacitor gets low on charge, three things can happen. The motor can run at higher amps, causing the motor to prematurely burn out. The motor can begin to run backward.  This can cause a lot to go wrong on your AC or heating system. Lastly, the motor can just stop running altogether.

Fox Family Heating and Air can help keep an eye on your capacitor levels during our bi-annual precision tune-ups.

People ask me all the time, “How long is a capacitor supposed to last? A capacitor usually lasts five to ten years.  If you saw some of the 20 and 25-year-old capacitors found in old GE systems, you’d find them still working. There is a specifically sized capacitor for your system. It comes from the factory at that specific charge of electrons in it. The label on the capacitor will specify when that capacitor is considered below factory specs. Sometimes it’s 5%, 6% or 10%. Well, this capacitor is constantly giving itself up for the motor it supports. As your capacitor loses power little by little every year, it will finally reach its factory low point. At that point, it’s time to change your capacitor.

Changing the capacitor when it is needed will help extend the life of your heating and air conditioning system. Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning can help keep an eye on your capacitor levels by checking them out during our bi-annual precision tune-ups. Regular maintenance on your air conditioning system will not only reduce emergency service calls at the most crucial times of the year but will give you peace of mind knowing your system has been checked by a professional twice a year.

Please call Greg Fox at Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule your Precision Tune-up and see how your capacitors are performing at 916-877-1577.

One more thing:  don’t forget to change your filter every two months!

Expect Great Things at Your Fox Family Air Conditioning Tune-Up

Expect Great Things at Your Fox Family Air Conditioning Tune-Up

What Is an Air Conditioner Tune-Up, Anyway?

An air conditioning tune-up is what responsible homeowners do to maintain their home’s HVAC system.   It’s a thorough cleaning and testing of the air conditioning system, to ensure that it’ll work when you need it this summer.  We operate with the understanding that a clean system will run longer than a dirty system.  To read more about keeping your system running during the summer, check out our blog post on this topic.

Not every HVAC company in town will perform an Air conditioning tune-up.  I would say it’s because they feel they’re not very good money generators for them.  I get it, wiping down air conditioners and testing parts aren’t very exciting for some.  But I don’t think they understand the opportunity they have to create a relationship with someone and their HVAC system.

I like to develop relationships with my customers by taking care of their AC system every spring.  If we can perform an air conditioning tune-up every spring, for years and years, I know my customers will, at the very least, allow us to provide a quote for a new system when the time comes.  At the same time, our customers get to work with Sacramento’s most honest air conditioning company.  Our technicians will only bring up parts or repairs that will make the system return to factory standards, help it last longer, and make it safer for their families.

What Happens at My Air Conditoning Tune-Up?

When we are on the way, our technician will call you and let you know.  We are proud to park on the street in our bright white vans with the Fox Family logo on them.  After you open the door and allow us to come in, we usually start at the air filter and thermostat.

I like to ask if there are any areas of the house that need any attention.  Do any rooms not get the right amount of air?  Does it cool the house down to your satisfaction in the middle of summer?  Questions like this can establish how you like your system to run.  Because not every homeowner is the same, right?

Once I know what’s going on in your mind as a homeowner, we will turn on the AC system, together, at the thermostat, listen for the air to come on, and walk outside to make sure everything out there is at least running.  Now we all know the system was running when we arrived!

From here, you’ll be able to sit back and do whatever you need to do while the tech goes out and runs through a list specifically designed for your type of air conditioning system.

Step One of Your Air Conditioning Tune-Up

We usually start out at the air handler in the attic or closet.  As a responsible business owner, if the furnace is in the attic, I need my techs to get in and out quickly.  It’s hard to ask a tech to spend time cleaning a furnace in a hot attic.  The furnace gets physically cleaned during the furnace tune-up, rather than during an AC tune-up, but there are some really important things to check here, so we try to get in and get out effectively and safely.

The most important thing we’re testing is the temperature difference between your supply and return air ducts.  If it’s not where it needs to be, we have a series of checks we will do to get it right.  A quick look at the evaporator coil can make a huge difference in the comfort of your home this summer.  If it’s dirty or clogged it will make your system underperform.

As part of the AC tune-up, we also need to make sure your blower and the flywheel is clean and ready to run a lot in the coming summer months.  The tech will pour water down the drain lines to make sure the condensate drains properly.

We always offer the option of a condensate safety switch to protect your home from potential damage.  The secondary drain pan under the evaporator coil in the attic is a potential source of problems as well, so we make sure it’s ready for any emergencies.

Additionally, we’ll make sure the metering device for your refrigeration system is mounted properly while checking for any obvious refrigerant leaks in the copper tubing.  We’ll also check for proper insulation levels in your attic because it creates such an effective barrier between the hot air in the attic and the cool air you’re trying to keep in your house.  It pays to have a thick layer of insulation up there!

Step Two of the Air Conditioning Tune-Up

Once we’re done in the attic — and I really only want my techs up there maybe fifteen minutes on warmer days — we’ll head to the outdoor unit where the majority of the AC tune-up is done.  Here, we test the components inside the panel, focusing on things like your refrigerant levels to ensure your system isn’t running too long, unnecessarily.  The high and low voltage electrical running the AC needs to maintain a certain sizing, workmanship, and integrity.

Checking Items During Your AC Tune-Up

All in all, we check about 35 items on the outdoor unit and 20 items on the indoor unit.  If you happen to have a packaged unit that sits on the side of the house or even on the rooftop, we still check all 55 items.

After we check the entire AC system, we’ll let you know if there are any parts that need to be replaced.  Our trucks are stocked with almost every part you need for your AC to get back up and running properly the same day.

If your system is running well, we get right to work washing your AC.  Many air conditioning manufacturers are switching to materials like micro-channel which can’t be washed with soapy or chemical solutions, and we pay attention to things like that.  If you have a dog that runs around in your back yard, we try not to use soapy solutions that drain into the area around the AC, so your best friend doesn’t get sick.

We are so thorough cleaning the AC, it’s not uncommon to see a tech vacuuming out your AC to get rid of the sticks and other debris that can be a nuisance to a healthy air conditioner.

What’s the Benefit of an AC Tune-Up?

When the air conditioning tune-up is complete, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your system is in tip-top shape.  Making sure a professional completes these steps every year will really pay off in the later years of your HVAC system’s life.  As a technician, my 20-year-old system is so clean, it runs like a champ.  It’s old and loud, but it keeps my house cool just fine!  Even on 105-degree days.  Why?  Because I take care of it.

If you’re curious and would like to learn more about how your air conditioner works, check out my blog post on this topic.

So, give Fox Family a call here in the greater Sacramento Valley area.  We would be honored to service your HVAC system in the year ahead!

Thanks for checking in on our blog.  See you next week!

Greg

Don’t miss our video on this topic:

Yes, It’s Air Conditioning Tune-Up Season in Sacramento

It's Air Conditioning Tune-Up Season in Sacramento

Fox Family Heating and Air Begins Air Conditioning Tune-up Season in Sacramento

The weather in Sacramento is usually pretty predictable, but this year in February no one needed assistance with their heating systems.  Afternoons are beginning to reach the mid-60’s, so February is actually a great time to start thinking about your AC  tune-up.

Fox Family Heating and Air offers an air conditioning tune-up unlike the others in town. We have a piece of paper that lists everything we will be checking on your AC tune-up visit.

We start out at the thermostat and make sure it displays properly, is mounted correctly, and that you understand how to use your thermostat and are comfortable using it. We’ll check the batteries while we are there too. Some thermostats don’t have batteries and are connected through the “C” terminal. Now we’ll turn your AC on and listen. Listening to the AC system run is like music to the ears of an HVAC technician.

Next, we move on to the filter and make sure it’s clean. If you have a washable type, we’ll wash it for you and let it dry as we continue on with the air conditioning tune-up.

On we go to the air handler or furnace wherever it is in your house. It’s usually either in the garage, a closet or in the attic. Some houses have packaged units that are on the rooftop of the home, or sometimes on the ground. Either way, I’m sure you’ve seen that thing so let’s go find it. While we are here in the attic we’ll check the surroundings and ensure all the ductwork looks connected, is strapped properly, is sealed at the plenums, and delivering air to each room as designed.

We also check insulation levels out in the attic because it’s your air conditioner’s best friend when it comes to saving energy. We are looking for R-38 levels of insulation since that is the code standard set by cities and counties in the area. If you are not even close to those levels, we’ll notify you when we come back down.

Here is a list of components we check on the air handler during the AC tune-up. We clean and check all of these items (except the blower assembly and the evaporator coil.  Additional charges apply on these two items just because a good amount of labor is involved in cleaning them).  This ensures your system can run as efficiently as possible. Clean = Good!

  • Door safety switch
  • Temperature difference between return and supply air
  • Blower capacitor rating
  • Blower wheel is balanced
  • Overall blower assembly cleanliness
  • Lubricating the bearings on some blower motors that still have oil ports
  • Condensate drain lines direct water away from the HVAC unit to protect the house
  • Condensate drain slope is proper
  • Is a condensate safety switch present
  • Secondary drain pan condition (Rusted?)
  • Condensate pump if applicable
  • Evaporator coil condition
  • UV air purification system bulb
  • Refrigerant leaks at the evaporator coil
  • TXV is mounted properly

Then we head to the outdoor unit where we wash the unit from any debris that might have plugged the condenser coils over the winter. At the condenser we check and clean all of the following components:

  • Outdoor temperature
  • Your refrigerant type
  • High voltage service disconnect for proper electrical code safety
  • Tighten the lugs in the electrical disconnect
  • Ensure proper wire size to the AC
  • Max fuse rating of the outdoor condenser
  • Min circuit ampacity
  • Fuses in the service disconnect mounted properly
  • Refrigerant leaks visible around the AC
  • Proper amount of suction line insulation on refrigerant lines
  • Condenser fan FLA
  • High voltage readings at the contactor
  • Low voltage readings at the contactor
  • Compressor start assist present?
  • Electrical connections tightened
  • Compressor run amps
  • Condenser coil condition
  • Compressor capacitor condition
  • Lubricate the fan motor if applicable
  • Is the outdoor unit level?
  • Wash / wiped down the outdoor unit
  • Leaves out of the bottom of the unit

We really enjoy the opportunity to come out and take care of your HVAC system! It has always been a passion for Greg Fox to keep his clients’ systems clean and operational for the upcoming season. We actually have a club membership where we come out and give you:

  • 2 pre-paid precision HVAC tune-ups per year
  • No dispatch fee EVER!
  • 15% off all parts and labor
  • Front of the line priority service

What’s the cost for an AC tune-up membership?

It’s kind of a no-brainer to let us come out and maintain your system for just $14.95 a month or $179.40 per year. We offer it at such a low price just because we want to develop relationships with our clients so when it does come time to change your system out, you’ll choose us to do the work. Talk to your technician and see how he can help you.

Check out our video related to this topic:

Which Whole House Fan is Better, QuietCool or Triangle?

quiet cool whole house fan

What Whole House Fans Do

Are you the type of person who likes to open their windows at home?  Whole house fans are mounted in your ceiling and are used to pull cooler air from the outside of the home to the inside.  By opening your windows around the house, the whole house fan will allow air outside to come in.  This way you have fresh air coming into your home, as well as equalizing the temperatures outside and inside.

The second benefit of a whole house fan is that it cools off your attic, so the entire home can perform better, and save you energy.   Don’t confuse these with attic ventilating fans that mount on the gable vent in your attic and point outwards to vent the attic.  The difference here is, a whole house fan will complete this process much faster and probably lower the temperature in your attic more than an attic fan will.

Fox Family carries two types of whole house fans, the QuietCool brand and Triangle brand.  We love them both, but for different reasons, and people usually find themselves really liking one or the other.

QuietCool is a brand that has stormed the industry with innovative thinking and low energy usage fans.   They started up in 2003 out of Temecula, California.  Triangle Whole House Fans are the more traditional style fans.  They are a little bigger and might run at a little higher decibel rating, but they move a ton of air very quickly.  We’ll talk more about that later.

Getting straight to it, I want to point out the features of both fans, and then let you decide which one is best for your home.

QuietCool Fans

The first whole house fan I got for my home was a QuietCool whole house fan.  I was drawn to it because as an HVAC technician, I liked the idea of attaching a flexible duct to the grille that you see in the hallway and placing the fan on the other side of the 10 ft duct.  This insulates the sound of the fan.  QC offers different capacities of fans and a very useful and easy to use sizing formula featured on their website.

The formula on the QuietCool website suggests sizing a system for between 2 and 3 cubic feet per minute, or CFMs, per square ft of your home.  This means if your home is 1,000 sq ft, you’ll want a system that can move between 2,000 and 3,000 cfms of air.  You can then proceed to check out different models and find the Trident Pro 2.5 and Trident Pro 3.3, both of which will move 2,500 to 3,300 cfms of air.

The technology I like about QC fans is in the insulated damper that shuts off any access to the attic when the system is turned off.  This also prevents heat from the attic from coming into the home when the fan is turned off.

In 2011, QuietCool became the first to incorporate ECM motors with the fan.  These motors run quietly and at lower amperages than regular PSC motors.  PSC motors are the ones that you’ve seen on traditional whole house fans since the 1960’s.  They require a capacitor to run properly.  If the capacitor fails, the motor won’t work, and you’ll have to replace the capacitor before the motor will work again. ECM motors are electronically commutating motors.

QuietCool ECM Motors

A point I want to make here about speeds.  In studying the QuietCool ECM motors in the Stealth Pro line, I found that they operate better at lower fan speeds.  A case in point is with my own two-story, 2200 square ft home.  I installed the 1.5 Trident Pro in the master bedroom ceiling, near the door.

I put a 3.3 Trident Pro at the top of my stairs on the second floor.  (See the link at the end of this post to watch my installation video.)   When I turned them on for the first time, I wasn’t really happy with the volume of air it was moving.  It was nice but, I guess I was looking for more.

Since then, I always recommend to people they get the biggest one they can afford and use the 3-speed switches provided by the manufacturer and adjust the airflow accordingly.  You’ll find that the motors run more efficiently at lower speeds.  Okay, point made about QuietCool’s volume issues.  I’ve mentioned it a few times before.

Triangle Whole House Fans

When you mention traditional style whole house fans, people think about loud, whirring helicopters rumbling in their homes.  And QuietCool does a good job of making that point on their website.  But let’s look at an American classic, the CC Series of Triangle Whole House Fans.

As a technician working in hot attics, I noticed how much more air these traditional style whole house fans seemed to be moving.   In fact, we’ll turn these whole house fans on during hotter days so we can bring the temperature of the home up into the attic, which is at times 30-40 degree warmer!  And the homeowner has fresh ambient temperatures coming into the home.

The blades are larger, thicker and more durable than QuietCool’s.  The belt drive is the secret to its quiet nature.  The motor sits on top of the frame instead of near the ceiling joists.  This reduces the vibration and noise from the fan blade.  You really have to hear it to believe it.  (See the link at the end of this post to watch my installation video.)  All the noisy traditional style fans I’ve seen were old — maybe 15 years or older – some even older!

By choosing a new quality-built fan, not some big box store whole house fan, you’ll feel and hear the difference in sound and volume of air once it’s installed.  Think of these as luxury cruisers of the whole house fans.

How Much Air Do They Really Move?

QuietCool fans are sized in 1.5 for 1500 cfms, 2.5, 3.3, 4.8, 5.5, 6.0 and 7.0 models.  So, 7000 cfms is the max you can get from a QuietCool fan.  Triangle fans are sized in 24”, 30”, 36” around here.  They do have a 42” and 48” but we don’t have them around here.  The most common 36” fan moves over 9700 cfms of air, almost 3000 cfms more than QuietCool’s biggest fan.  That’s pretty impressive to me.

Where Are They Installed?

Both of these fans are ceiling mounted.  The triangle fan is mounted on top of the ceiling joist in the attic, bringing the fan blade further back to reduce noise, with no cutting involved.  The QuietCool fans can also be installed between the ceiling joists without having to cut anything.

Most people don’t create a whole new dedicated circuit for these fans, instead, it’s more typical to tie into the existing HVAC circuit for the furnace.  This is because nobody runs both the whole house fan and their furnace or air conditioner at the same time.

DIY or Contractor?

The best DIYers can install these themselves.  A little electrical knowledge about switches and proper ventilation of the attic will go a long way installing these.  Be sure to check out the card at the end of this video if you’d like to see an install.  If you do need a little more help with installing a whole house fan here in the Sacramento area, we’d love to be the company that gets to do that for you.  And if you’d like to learn more about how whole house fans work, you can also check out my post What is a Whole House Fan?

A Word About Warranties

The QuietCool Systems come with a 15-year warranty.  Triangle Whole House fans only offer a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.  So that’s kind of lopsided there.  QuietCool says they will replace any part that fails for the warranty of that system.  When I searched the website of Triangle Engineering, I couldn’t find the warranty info on the whole house fans, although they confirmed their warranty by phone.

What do you think?  Have you seen or heard these older style fans?  What do you think about them?  And what do you think about QuietCool’s fan?  Is it strong enough?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks so much for tuning in this week on our blog.  See you next week!

Don’t miss our video on this topic:

See also

Installation of a Triangle Whole House Fan
https://youtu.be/qICIrdBGIz8

Installation of a QuietCool Whole House Fan
https://youtu.be/du1K7b4gaE0

Myths About Ductless HVAC Systems

Myths About Ductless HVAC Systems

Many myths and misconceptions exist regarding ductless HVAC Systems. Read on and discover the truth about some of those myths. Fox Family Heating and Air aims to be your source of education before you consider installing a ductless HVAC system on your residential property.

Myth 1: Ductless System Heat Pumps Require More Maintenance

Some people in Sacramento think that the advanced technology from which ductless heat pumps are made makes the system more costly to maintain. The truth is that ductless HVAC systems are easier to maintain. For example, the filter can be removed easily and hosed down by you, the homeowner. This is unlike the filters in central heating and air conditioning systems that usually require regular replacement. (Depending on the make and model of your central heating and air conditioning system)

Furthermore, the indoor unit of a conventional heat pump is often located in a hard-to-reach place, such as the attic with a tight crawl space. This makes it harder (and more expensive) to access that component for routine maintenance. The components of ductless systems are within easy reach inside the building. This makes the components easier to access for maintenance work.

Myth 1 Debunked: Ductless System Heat Pumps DO NOT Require More Maintenance

Myth 2: Ductless Heat Systems Don’t Filter Air

Some Sacramento homeowners may have been held back by the misconception that ductless systems result in poor indoor air quality since they don’t filter the air passing through them.

As stated earlier, the filter of a ductless system can be removed and cleaned easily by any homeowner. Secondly, the absence of a complicated network of ducts means that ductless systems provide cleaner air since there are no corners and surfaces onto which dust and other debris can cling. You should, therefore, have no fears about installing a ductless system since you are likely to have cleaner indoor air when compared to the air provided by a ducted system. Contact a Sacramento air conditioning repair technician in case you indoor air quality issues in your home.

Myth 2 Debunked: Ductless Heat Systems Do Filter Air

Myth 3: Ductless HVAC Systems Are Only for Residential New Construction

It isn’t true that ductless system pumps are for new constructions only. In fact, their very innovation was based on the need to meet the HVAC needs of older homes or properties where it was hard to install a network of ducts. East Sacramento and Land Park are good examples of that. The minimally disruptive installation of ductless systems makes them suitable for a wide range of applications, such as retrofit installation or beefing up the air conditioning provided in the distant sections of a building having a central AC system. Many homeowners often purchase a ductless system for in-law quarters or a guest house that was not built with central heat and air.

Myth 3 Debunked: Ductless HVAC Systems Are Great for Retrofitting an older home with no central HVAC or smaller spaces like a guest house.

Myth 4: They Have a Shorter Lifespan Due to All-Year Operation

This myth may be based on the general thinking that the more you use an appliance the shorter its lifespan will be. However, experts at Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning say the longevity of any air conditioning system (ductless or central AC) depends on the quality of the unit and how well it was sized. It also depends on how it was installed and if it is maintained during its service life. The longevity of an HVAC system will, therefore, have nothing to do with its design as a ductless system or ducted/central air conditioning.

Myth 4 Debunked: Ductless HVAC Systems lifespan is relative to care, and installation quality.

Myth 5: Ductless Systems Are For Spot Heating or Cooling

This is one of the worst misconceptions about ductless heat pumps. The roots of this myth may be in the observation that some homeowners install ductless systems to heat or cool a particular room which isn’t served adequately by the central AC. For example, a garage extension may have a ductless system since the central HVAC system cannot supply sufficient heating or cooling to that modified garage. However, this doesn’t mean that ductless systems are for spot heating or cooling. They are a standalone heating or cooling system. Granted, they are not right for every home so it is important for you to consult with an HVAC Installer for the best options for your home. This post is not meant to endorse or sway you in any way towards installing a ductless mini-split system. Our goal here is to be a source of education. The best way to determine whether a Minisplit is right for you is to schedule a FREE in-home evaluation with one of our team members.

Myths and misconceptions thrive in an environment where people don’t have accurate information about something. Don’t be a victim of the myths in the discussion above. Contact Fox Family Heating and Air and we’ll be glad to answer any question that you may have about ductless system pumps or anything related to the HVAC industry.

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.

Contaminants

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 Long Should My Air Conditioner Last?

How Long Should My Air Conditioner Last? Many Sacramento homeowners are interested in knowing how long their air conditioning units will last upon installation. While there is no exact answer to that question, Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning technicians point to several factors that may affect the longevity of the AC unit. This article discusses some of those factors.

The Quality of the AC Unit

On average, air conditioning units last for about 15-years. However, this expected lifespan can vary widely based on the quality of the components which were used to manufacture a given AC unit. It is therefore important for you to select a product from a manufacturer who has a reputation for making durable equipment. Work with air conditioner replacement experts in Sacramento to identify and invest in the best brand if you want a long life from the AC installed.

Proper Sizing

AC unit durability is also affected by the appropriateness of the unit for the home or other building. Oversized units wear out sooner than correctly sized units because the oversized unit will have shorter cycle times (intervals between running and turning itself off once the desired temperature is attained).

Short cycle times strain the different components of the system, such as the compressor, in several ways. First, the energy surge during startup strains the electronics of the AC. Secondly, friction is higher during the startup period since the lubricant will have settled at the bottom of the components. Consequently, the AC will age faster if it turns on and off at shorter intervals. Undersized units also wear out quickly since they work harder to combat the heavy loads which have been imposed on them. Such threats to your investment can be avoided by hiring a heating and air conditioning company in your area to size the unit correctly before you purchase it.

Frequency of Use

Air conditioning units that are used for more months of the year wear out faster than AC units used for a shorter time each year. AC components are designed to work reliably for a given number of usage hours. Using your unit for more hours each day depletes the useful life of the unit quickly. It may, therefore, be helpful for you to restrict your use of the AC to the periods when you need it. You should also adjust the thermostat settings to a level that doesn’t strain the unit excessively. For example, don’t set the AC to cool your home to the same temperature as what you would find in a walk-in cooling unit at a mall.

The Installation Location

How the AC is installed can also affect its longevity. For instance, outdoor units that are exposed to direct sunlight will age faster than those in a shaded area. Similarly, places with contaminants, such as homes near farms where pesticides and other chemicals are used routinely, lead to faster aging of ACs. Coastal areas also pose corrosion risks to air conditioning units due to the saltwater to which the units are exposed. Always let the AC technician that you have hired in Sacramento to select the most appropriate installation location so that any environmental threats present there are minimized or avoided.

System Maintenance

Maintenance is important to air conditioner longevity. Poor maintenance, such as ignoring to provide adequate component lubrication, will result in accelerated wear of the AC. A high-quality unit will, therefore, fail prematurely if it isn’t well maintained. Conversely, a unit of lower quality may last longer if it is given the necessary preventive maintenance and it is repaired promptly before a defect affects other components. Work with Fox Family Heating and Air conditioning so that a customized maintenance schedule can be designed for the AC in your Sacramento home to avoid premature system failure.

Having a durable air conditioning unit starts by identifying the best heating and air conditioning company to size, install and maintain that air conditioning system. Talk to several air conditioner replacement professionals in Sacramento and select the best company, Fox Family Heating and Air , to trust with your investment.