11 Ways to Avoid Hot and Cold Spots in Your Home

Turning on the Furnace for the First Time Each Year

Delivering the right amount of air to each room at the same time is key to being comfortable.  And not just in one or two rooms.  A properly set up HVAC system will comfort your whole home or business simultaneously.

Of course, the goal is to have the same even temperatures throughout each room so when you walk through your house, you don’t feel warmer in one room than another.  Today at Fox Family Heating and Air, we’re taking a look at 11 ways to avoid hot and cold spots in your Sacramento Valley home or business.

1. Is your system sized correctly?

First and foremost, is your system sized correctly?  This means the original installer of the system did a proper load calculation of your home.  If they didn’t, then it’s not pushing enough air to your rooms regardless of whether the rest of our checklist is perfect.

2. Return air and supply air unity

Having the right amount of return air to supply air unity means you’ll be delivering the same amount of air out of your system as you are bringing to the system.  You have a return air grille or stand where your filter goes.  That’s where the system draws its air in.  On the other side of that air handler, the system supplies your conditioned air.  Systems are designed to supply about 400 to 500 cfms of air per ton.  But if your system is breathing in enough air from the return, how is it going to supply enough air to keep your home evenly comforted?

3. Adding returns will mix hot and cold air

This brings me to the option of adding more returns to strategic rooms around your house.  That return air grille in the main hallway doesn’t have to be the only return in the home or office.  For example, master bedrooms in newer homes have a return air grille installed in them.  This mixes the air in the room so warm air in the summer gets removed from the room, while colder supply air is being delivered into the room.  You’ll really notice a difference by adding a return to these pesky rooms that are warmer or cooler than others, depending on the season.

4. Closing air registers will force hot and cold air elsewhere

Not one of my favorites, but some folks will start closing down their adjustable supply registers in various room that get too much air.  They’re hoping to force the air somewhere else in the house that isn’t getting enough air.  The only thing I don’t like about this is that those registers that you start shutting down can do a couple things.  One is really annoying and the other can actually shorten the lifespan of the system.  Closing down “strategic” registers in the home or office can make those registers start whizzing.  This makes it louder in that room because we are creating a restriction that speeds up the airflow as it leaves the supply register.

The other reason has to do with the static pressure of the system.  Much like blood flow in the body, we wouldn’t want to pinch a blood vessel in hopes to deliver more blood elsewhere right, this could cause big problems with the body.  The same goes for aerodynamics in your ductwork.

5. Change those filters to eliminate hot and cold spots

Changing your filters quarterly will not only help keep your system clean, but it will allow airflow into the system.  If the filter gets too dirty, you’re creating a restriction if the system can’t breathe in properly, it won’t be able to breathe out the appropriate amount of air.  It’s like breathing in through a straw and exhaling out of your open mouth.  Eventually you’re going to hyperventilate.  So, let’s keep those passages open so the HVAC system can eliminate hot and cold spots in your home or office.

6. Keep Heat at Bay with Window Coverings

The sun’s radiant energy can warm up a room quickly.  A room with sun-drenched walls or windows allow this heat into those rooms and will warm up more quickly.  Installing window coverings will keep this radiant heat at bay.  These come in the form of screens or tinting that can be attached to the outside of windows, or curtains and blinds affixed to the inside of the windows.  Either way you choose, you’re going to enjoy having a more comfortable room if you can reduce the chance of that heat coming in this way.

7. Electronics in Rooms will Increase Warmth

It’s so popular now to have gaming systems or high-tech computer systems in a room or office.  The heat these devices put out is enough to warm up a room, making it less comfortable than other rooms in your house.  Adding more supply air by using a larger duct will help to deliver more air to that room.  Just like I mentioned above, a better solution may be adding a return to this room as it will remove the warm air while cold air is being supplied to the room.  This will make your room more comfortable, faster.

8. Ceiling Fans will Mix Hot and Cold Air

Another way to mix the air in your room is to turn on that ceiling fan.  When it’s hot outside, have the fan blowing straight down towards the floor.  The warmer it is, the higher the fan speed should be.  Conversely, in the wintertime, turn the fan so it blows upwards.  Both ways will mix the air more effectively and make those rooms more evenly comforted.

9. Keep Hot and Cold Air Moving by Preventing Airflow Restrictions

Remove hot and cold air spots by taking a look at your ductwork.  It might be under the house or in the attic.  If you can see your ductwork, you will be able to determine if it’s delivering the air efficiently.  If the ductwork is sagging or kinked, it won’t deliver the air properly.  Each duct has a finite amount of air it can deliver appropriately.  Making sure it is installed correctly is a great way to keep your house evenly conditioned.

10. Prevent Hot and Cold Spots by Checking Insulation Levels

You can also control hot and cold spots by paying attention to insulation.  Attic insulations levels can greatly impact how quickly that hot or cold air infiltrates through the ceiling into your room.  Sometimes various service professionals will need to work up there.  In the process, they may matte down some of your insulation, making it less effective.  If there is not enough insulation over one room or the other, this will create hot or cold spots.  These reduce your comfort level in those rooms.  By blowing in some more insulation, you can make your whole house more comfortable to be in.

11. Properly Sized Ductwork Improves HVAC Efficiency

The size of your HVAC system as well as the right size duct system to deliver that air evenly are both crucial to your comfort.  This isn’t the easiest thing to figure for most DIY’ers.  An hvac professional can help you determine what size duct is needed for each room.  A system of supply and return ducts running every which way can be confusing.  Making the right decisions with your ductwork will make your HVAC system more efficient and comfortable for your home.  This will eliminate hot and cold spots in your home

Summary

Let Fox Family come out and take a look at what can be done to make your home more comfortable if you’re experiencing hot or cold spots.  Making your system as efficient and effective as possible will certainly add to your quality of life.

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

Don’t miss our videos on related topics:

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How Long Should My Central Air Conditioner Last?

Getting the Most Out of Your AC System in the Sacramento Valley

How long is your central air conditioner designed to last?  Have you ever heard of “programmed obsolescence” or “designed obsolescence?”  If you haven’t, it really plays a big factor in the way this question is answered.

How Long Should my Air Conditioner Last?

This is one of my favorite questions to answer. And it usually gets all the HVAC technicians and owners out there all stirred up.  The reason is that companies that are highly motivated by sales are going to tell you that your central air conditioner will not last as long as I’m going to tell you it will.

Air Conditioners Then and Now

I will tell you, they don’t make ‘em like they used to!  The original home air conditioning systems were built with quality parts and were extremely durable for up to 30 years.  But the industry quickly realized, just like car companies did back in the 1920s, that sales were stagnating.  It was like they were building them too well for those companies to sustain growth, and more importantly to them, become rich. Companies began making their products just a little bit less durable and instilling in the buyer the desire to own something “a little newer, a little better, a little more efficient,” and just a little sooner than necessary.

So, how long should your air conditioner last?  As with anything, the answer to that question depends heavily on how well your system has been maintained.  Rental properties are notorious for having tenants that just plain old refuse to change their air filter. So, of course, that system is a crapshoot.  Who knows, right?  It might last 10 years, it might last 20 years.

Periodic Repair and Maintenance

But if you have the system cleaned and maintained every now and then, there is no reason your system can’t last you 20 years.  True, parts will fail now and then, and everyone expects they’ll have to make certain repairs to their aging system, but if the parts are available, there’s no reason to have someone convince you to buy a new air conditioning system.

That’s just another example of planned obsolescence!  Someone putting in your head that you need a new system at 12 years is almost like being a bully.  They know more than you do about that air conditioning system, and it would be pretty easy for any “technician” in a white button-up shirt with an American flag on it to deceive you about your air conditioner.  The big companies around town are banking on it.

I live in a 21-year-old neighborhood built by, let’s call them a fictitious name like BK Homes.  The HVAC contractor who won the job to install all those units did so because it was the lowest bidder who could install them the fastest.  Those contractors aren’t putting in top of the line systems either.  They call them contractor grade HVAC systems.

It’s Your Decision

My system is 21 years old this year, and I’m going to try and make it last one more year.  A lot of us say that!  But when that system was 11 years old my compressor failed.  Well, for most people, that’s about a $2,000-$3,000 job to make that repair and refill the refrigerant.  So yes, major failures like this do happen.  Is it planned obsolescence?  Maybe. But it’s also a machine, and machines break sometimes.  I happened to know a guy (me) who could get a good deal on a compressor.  So I fixed it.  And the system has run great ever since.

The point I’m trying to get across is, it’s your decision how long you want to keep your system around.  If the parts are available, your system can be repaired.  Old systems blow cold air out of your registers the same temperature as the newer systems, but here’s where those words “planned obsolescence” come back around when the pushy sales guys start telling you you need a new air conditioner.  They’re just trying to persuade you that you need something a little newer, a little better, a little more “efficient,” and just a little sooner than necessary.

Why I would be interested in changing my air conditioner

I changed my compressor when it was 11 years old.  That was almost 10 years ago!  That air conditioner is a lot noisier now that it ever has been.  I’m kind of over it… every time it comes on and I’m out on my patio, it comes on loud and turns off loud.

If I had to complete additional major repairs like the compressor was, I would have gotten to the point that I was tired of putting money into the old system and would instead want to invest my money in a new system.

If I was leaking refrigerant every year and we could find the leak, I would want to change my system.  Not only because of the hight cost of the refrigerant, but it’s just very bad for the ozone layer to be exposed to all that chlorine, and future generations will suffer because of it.

If the system was installed wrong in the first place, it’s tough to fix that without taking everything out and putting it back together the proper way.  This could be another reason to start all over with a new system.  As an installer myself, I know how people can suffer from a system that never worked right or was too small in the first place.  The most important day of a system’s life is the day it was installed.

Reasons companies that are motivated purely by sales will advise you to get a new system

Extremely salesy companies will tell you (and you see it written in blogs all over the internet too), that if your system is over 12 years old, you need a new system.  They’ll tell you it’s not worth repairing, or the parts aren’t available, literally lying straight to your face.

They say if you’ve had the system over a decade, it’s time to replace your system. This also doesn’t compute for me.  Why?

Some of my customers have told me another company told them R-22 freon wasn’t available anymore.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes, it’s on its way out, and super salesy technicians will say big words like “Montreal Protocol” which states we have to phase out of producing R-22 by 2020, but there are also alternative refrigerants we can use for a long time, at half the price!

R407c can be used to replace the R-22 in your system.  Your experienced technician will remove the existing R-22, and without getting all technical, replace it with the new R407c refrigerant.  There are plenty of other alternative and safe refrigerants to use out there.  Just don’t let them add the alternative stuff on top of your existing R-22.  That would not be acceptable as the refrigerant needs to be either-or.

Even after they stop making R-22 freon, there will still be recycled R-22 available for years.  It might be more expensive then than it is now, but it’s still an option that you get to decide on, and not a misleading technician.

The Bottom Line

You should know the real truth about how long your central air conditioning system should last.  You can get about 20 good years out of your system as long as it was installed correctly.  And that assumes your installer followed several detailed instructions from the manufacturer.

Anyone can put a few boxes together up in your attic for a really cheap price and call it good.  And you’ll believe them too.  It’s sad because these types of companies continue to give HVAC a bad name, while companies like Fox Family are trying to lift the HVAC industry by following instructions closely so your system will last a good 20 years.  Of course, that’s with proper maintenance.

Thank so much for stopping by, and we’ll see you at my next blog.

Don’t miss our video on this topic:

What happens during an AC Tune-Up

What happens during an AC Tune-Up

[mk_page_section full_width=”true” top_shape_color=”#ffffff” top_shape_bg_color=”#ed4622″ bottom_shape_color=”#ffffff” sidebar=”sidebar-1″][vc_column][mk_padding_divider][mk_fancy_title size=”32″ font_family=”none” align=”center”]What Happens During an AC Tune-Up?[/mk_fancy_title][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1532116199453{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]What Happens During an AC Tune-Up? It is important for homeowners to know what a technician will do when he or she comes to perform an AC tune-up in Sacramento. This helps the homeowner to confirm that proper maintenance work has been done. Read on and discover some of the things you should expect when your air conditioner is tuned-up.

Tune-Up Activities on the Indoor Unit

Electrical Component Inspection and Adjustment. The technician sent by the Sacramento heating and air conditioning company will also check all the electrical components on the indoor unit before adjusting anything that needs to be adjusted. For instance, loose electrical connections will be tightened during the service call.

Thermostat Inspection and Adjustment. AC tune-ups in Sacramento also involve assessing the thermostat to confirm that it is working well. This important instrument will be recalibrated in case the performance test reveals that the thermostat was no longer taking accurate readings of the temperature within your home.

Refrigerant Checks. The AC tune-up in Sacramento will also include checking whether any refrigerant leak exists. The technician will check the level of the refrigerant and adjust it if any anomaly is discovered.

Electrical Consumption and Performance Measurements. Fox Family Heating and Air technicians also perform tests to confirm that all electrical components consume power within their design specifications and that they are still working well. For example, the motors will be tested to ascertain how much power they are drawing. Appropriate air conditioner repairs (Sacramento) will be done on defective components.

Air Filter Inspection and Cleaning. Attention is also paid to the air filter to make sure that it is still capable of doing its work. The service technician will clean the filter in case you have a reusable one. He or she may replace the old filter in case you use disposable ones.

Outdoor Unit Tune-Up Activities

Coil Inspection and Cleaning. The outdoor unit has condenser coils which help to dissipate the heat absorbed by the refrigerant as warm air from your home flows over the evaporator coils in the indoor unit. The service technician from Fox Family Heating and Air will inspect these coils and clean them so that nothing stops heat exchange from taking place effectively.

Fan Blade Checks and Adjustment. The indoor unit of your AC has fan blades which help to push the air from your home over the evaporator coils so that heat can be extracted from that air. The alignment and structural integrity will be checked and any needed adjustments will be made.

Code Violations. The service technician will check whether the outdoor unit is installed in accordance with the applicable codes of your area. For example, some jurisdictions put restrictions on how much clearance should be maintained between the outdoor unit and any nearby structure, such as the exterior wall of your home. Any debris found around the unit will also be removed so that air circulation isn’t impeded.

Lubrication of Moving Parts. Air conditioner tune-ups are incomplete if lubrication hasn’t been given attention. The moving parts can wear out quickly if they aren’t well lubricated at all times. The lubrication will, therefore, be topped up to avert this premature wear of the components.

Drain Line Inspection and Cleaning. The process of conditioning the air in your home leads to the collection of water in the drain pan. This water is taken out of the home through the drain line. Technicians from Fox Family Heating and Air will inspect the drain line for clogs, mold or other forms of damage. The drain line will then be cleaned in case it is found to be free from damage.  

The discussion above may not have provided a comprehensive list of all the tune-up activities which may be done when a licensed technician comes to your home. Ask the Fox Family Heating and Air technician to give you a copy of the checklist that he or she uses during the tune-up. You will also be given a report after the service call. Use that report to plan how to address any developing issues which have been identified.[/vc_column_text][mk_padding_divider][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/mk_page_section][mk_page_section bg_color=”#ed4622″ full_width=”true” has_top_shape_divider=”true” top_shape_color=”#ffffff” top_shape_bg_color=”#ed4622″ bottom_shape_color=”#ffffff” sidebar=”sidebar-1″][vc_column width=”2/3″][mk_padding_divider][mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h3″ color=”#ed4622″ size=”36″ force_font_size=”true” size_tablet=”20″ size_phone=”15″ line_height=”90″ font_weight=”bold” txt_transform=”capitalize” margin_bottom=”0″ font_family=”Lato” font_type=”google” align=”right” drop_shadow=”true”]Need Service? Call Now: 916-877-1577[/mk_fancy_title][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][mk_padding_divider][mk_button dimension=”flat” size=”large” align=”center” margin_right=”0″ bg_color=”#0066cc” btn_hover_txt_color=”#ed4622″]BOOK NOW[/mk_button][/vc_column][/mk_page_section]

Is an AC tune-up worth it?

Is an AC tune-up worth it?

People who have just bought their first home or have recently installed a new AC may not be certain whether it is 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 forms of debris gradually accumulate 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 avert such causes of inefficiency.

Warranty Protection

Manufacturers of air conditioning systems offer buyers warranties that have conditions. One of the common conditions is that the air conditioner must be maintained regularly (at least annually) by certified professionals. Any warranty claim made without proof that the AC was tuned-up 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 air conditioner tuned-up because that maintenance helps to enable the system to last for as long as the manufacturer intended it to. For example, Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar 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.

Eco-Friendliness

Air conditioning tune-ups have the added benefit of making your HVAC systems environmentally friendly. How does this happen? Tune-ups help to 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 have your AC tuned-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, Air Conditioning and Solar can provide AC system tune-ups to improve quality of living.

It Gives Peace of Mind

Having an air conditioning system tune-up performed helps to remove any nagging fears or concerns which you may have about your AC. That professional tune-up gives your AC a clean bill of health after any anomalies found are 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 air conditioner 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 take care of keeping 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. 

Air Conditioning Tune-Up Season in Sacramento

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

Well the weather has spoken. It is February 12th as I write this and we are in a stretch of 72-degree days. The weather in Sacramento is usually pretty predictable, but this year in February no one needs assistance with their heating systems. It’s actually a great time to start thinking about your Air Conditioner and get the old AC Tune-up again this year.

Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar offers AC Tune-ups unlike the others in town. We have a piece of paper that lists everything we will be checking on this 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 to an HVAC technician is like music to their ears.

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 AC 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) so 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 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’ system clean and operational for the upcoming season. We actually have a club membership where we come out and give you:

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

It’s kind of a no-brainer to let us come out and maintain your system for just $10.95 a month. 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.