Are Air Conditioners Easier to Repair Than Heat Pumps?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Air conditioners and heat pumps are often placed together in the same category. The reason for this is that an air conditioner is a type of heat pump, and a heat pump can do the same job as an air conditioner. Essentially, a heat pump is an air conditioner that can reverse the direction it moves heat and so work at both cooling and heating a home. The two systems work through an identical process of heat exchange using the cycling of refrigerant.

There are some differences mechanically between the two—heat pumps have more components to allow them to operate in different modes—but they are much more similar than they are dissimilar. Repairs for heat pumps and air conditioners are also similar.

Which one is tougher to repair? It depends on the kind of repair, although generally the repair types are the same. However, both are difficult if not impossible to repair without the proper training and tools. Unless you are a licensed HVAC specialist, you should never attempt to open up the cabinets of an AC or heat pump and try to manage repairs on your own. Always contact professionals: you can reach Cool Air Mechanical for heat pump and air conditioning repair in Kennesaw, GA any time of the day or night.

What Are the Differences Between Heat Pump and AC Repairs?

The major way that the two systems are different from each other is the presence of a component called the reversing valve. In a heat pump, the reversing valve sits on the refrigerant line where it exits from the compressor. Depending on whether the valve is “excited” (electrically charged) or not, it will direct the refrigerant either toward the indoor coil or the outdoor coil, thus determining whether the heat pump is in heating or cooling mode. Because an air conditioner is always in cooling mode, it does not have a reversing valve. If the valve in a heat pump malfunctions, it will need replacement.

Heat pumps also have a dual set of condensate pans that drain excess moisture, one each for the inside and the outside cabinets. Air conditioners only have one condensate drain, located on the indoors. This makes heat pumps a bit more complicated to maintain and to locate repair issues, but not significantly so.

Any skilled technician who can repair a heat pump can provide repairs for an air conditioner, so make sure that you turn to the professionals whatever system you have and whatever repairs you need. Contact Cool Air Mechanical when you need heat pump or air conditioning service in Kennesaw, GA.

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How a Dirty Coil Affects Your Air Conditioner

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Central air conditioners in homes are usually “split systems”: they consist of an outside cabinet (the condenser) and an inside unit (the evaporator) which connect to each other through refrigerant and power lines. Both the evaporator and the condenser contain refrigerant coils that are essential for the process of heat exchange that makes the air conditioner work: moving heat from the inside of your home and then releasing it to the outside.

Both coils need to remain clean to effectively do their job. If either starts to develop a layer of grime or dust, it will impair the AC’s performance. For this reason, you should always have air conditioning maintenance done once a year; the technician will always check the coils to make sure they are clean, and detach and clean them if necessary.

If your AC is not cooling as well as it should, or if it’s time to schedule annual maintenance, contact Cool Air Mechanical. We offer 24-hour air conditioning repair in Duluth, GA and throughout the Greater Atlanta Area.

What Goes Wrong When a Coil Grows Dirty

The reason that the evaporator and condenser coils must remain clean is that any layer of dirt, dust, or grime will restrict the coil’s ability to either release or absorb heat, and this will unbalance the heat exchange process in the air conditioner. If the outdoor condensing coil cannot release sufficient heat from the hot refrigerant moving through it, the refrigerant will not be cool enough when it returns indoors to absorb heat.

The situation can get even worse with a dirty indoor coil. If the coil cannot absorb enough heat to warm up the refrigerant, the cold refrigerant will freeze the moisture forming along the coil. This ice will further restrict heat absorption, causing more ice to develop, eventually freezing over the entire coil and stopping heat exchange altogether. If you see ice developing along the indoor coil, call for repairs immediately: aside from a dirty coil, icing could also indicate leaking refrigerant.

To help prevent dust and dirt from reaching the coils, make sure to change the air filter indoors once a month during times when you regularly use the AC and keep the area around the outdoor cabinet clear of debris for a few feet.

Please note: you should not try to open up your air conditioner’s cabinets to access the coil yourself and clean it. To properly clean off a dirty coil requires removing the coil first, and this task you should leave to professionals. Call Cool Air Mechanical for the necessary air conditioning service in Duluth, GA you need to keep your AC running at its best: call at the first sign of trouble, any time of the day or night.

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How Air Conditioning Repair Can Improve Efficiency

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

For most homeowners, it’s important to save money wherever possible. When your AC runs into problems, you may be tempted to put off calling for air conditioning repair to save some money until the problem seems more serious. But delaying repair can cause your system to break down sooner than you’d expect. Furthermore, your damaged system will most likely add to your energy bills. Calling for air conditioning repair at the first sign of trouble can actually improve efficiency.

If your system has trouble starting up, or if you hear unusual noises from your indoor or outdoor unit, notice limited cooling, or see ice along the evaporator coil of your unit, you may be tempted to wait to schedule repairs. Sometimes, problems don’t seem urgent enough to interrupt your daily life with a service call. However, you may spend a lot more money in cooling costs than is necessary if your air conditioner needs repair.

Often, when one component of your AC system doesn’t work quite the way it should, the other components must work harder to compensate. Your system must run for a longer time period to get your home to the correct temperature. Because of this, you end up paying more for problems such as these.

  • Frozen Coil: The indoor coil is responsible for helping refrigerant to absorb heat from your home. It may become frozen if there is not enough airflow across the coil for evaporation to occur. When the coil is blocked, it cannot efficiently remove heat, which means it takes much longer to cool your home.
  • Faulty Fan Motor: The indoor and outdoor fan help to distribute air throughout the home and release heat outdoors. A faulty fan motor can prevent your home from ever reaching the correct temperature, reducing efficiency significantly.
  • Low Refrigerant: Refrigerant is vital to your air conditioner and, without the proper charge, your system is unable to efficiently remove heat from your home, which means your air conditioner runs for longer time periods.

When you call Cool Air Mechanical for air conditioning service in Dunwoody, GA, you may see lower cooling costs in the upcoming months. Call us today!

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Common Noises That Indicate a Need for Air Conditioning Repair

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Part of the soundtrack of summer is the gentle hum and whir of the fans and the compressor in a central air conditioning system. Modern manufacturers design ACs to operate with as little noise as possible, and most of the time you will pay little attention to the white noise that comes from your cooling system.

But then suddenly… clank! clang! hiss! ch-chunk! Your air conditioner starts making an odd sound you haven’t heard before. You know this can’t be right, and you make the right move: you call a professional for air conditioning repair in Roswell, GA. You can reach skilled technicians to handle this service 24/7 at Cool Air Mechanical, where we proudly serve the Greater Atlanta Area.

Here are some of the more common warning noises and what they may mean for repairs:

  • Hissing: This sound like escaping gas or liquid is probably exactly that: refrigerant, in either its liquid or gaseous state, escaping from a breach in the air conditioner. This is a serious situation, since loss of refrigerant will cause the AC to begin to lose its cooling ability. Low refrigerant will also threaten to damage the compressor and cause ice to form over the indoor coils, both situations which can lead to expensive repair needs—or even a completely broken air conditioner.
  • Clicking: This is commonly heard when an AC begins to “hard start,” struggle as it tries to turn the compressor on. The clicking sound indicates a failing capacitor, the device that transmits voltage to the motors to start and/or keep them running. The capacitor needs to be replaced before it fails or creates more stress from hard starting in the AC.
  • Shrieking, grinding: These mechanical noises often mean something is wrong with the motors: loss of lubricant, layers of dust and grime, or overheating. Without attention, this will lead to a motor burning out, in which case it will need a complete replacement.
  • Striking, slapping: Should the outdoor fan suffer from damage, its bent blades will begin to strike against the casing, causing these loud noises. If not fixed soon, the dislodged blades will cause damage throughout the cabinet.

Do not open up either cabinet of your air conditioner and attempt to diagnose the source of the sounds and fix it. ACs are complex pieces of equipment that need professionals to handle their repair work. When one of these warning sounds starts to bother the peace in your home, call Cool Air Mechanical for air conditioning service in Roswell, GA. We have many years of experience and can take care of all your AC-related needs (and your heating needs in the winter as well). Give us a call today to schedule your next service appointment.

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Is Ice on My Air Conditioning a Reason to Call for Repairs?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Ice appearing along the indoor coil of an air conditioner… that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? With all the chilly air blowing out from the vents, it makes sense that some ice might form on the system. No reason to worry…right?

No, wrong. An air conditioner should never start to develop frost anywhere along it; an AC does not produce cold; it removes heat, and ice can interfere with that action. If ice begins to appear on your air conditioner, there is a serious malfunction going on that needs immediate attention from professional technicians. Call up the specialists at Cool Air Mechanical for air conditioning repair service in Decatur, GA whenever you encounter trouble like this. Our team is ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What Ice on Your Air Conditioner May Mean

There are three common reasons that ice may begin to encrust the evaporator coil in the indoor cabinet of an AC:

  1. A clogged air filter: The air filter protects the interior of the air conditioner’s cabinet from damage, but should it become clogged it will lower airflow into the evaporator. The lack of warm indoor air crossing the cold evaporator coil will cause the coil to remain too cold, and water moisture will start to ice-over. This will block the crucial heat absorption along the coil and lead to a drop in cooling power. Change the filter once a month in summer to prevent this.
  2. Dirty coil: When dust contamination enters the cabinet, it will settle along the coil and block heat absorption. The refrigerant in the coil will remain at a lower temperature, causing moisture freezing that will continue to grow worse so more ice forms. You cannot clean the coil on your own; it requires technicians to remove it and clean it.
  3. Loss of refrigerant charge: If refrigerant starts to leak from the system, the coil will lose its heat absorption ability, once again causing a chain reaction of freezing across the evaporator coil and a decline in cooling. Low refrigerant can eventually damage the compressor, so this issue needs to be remedied immediately. Repair technicians will seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant to its proper level.

Whatever the cause for ice on your AC, have professionals look into it. You will start to feel a drop in cooling power soon, and trying to scrape the ice off not only won’t help, it might damage the coil and create refrigerant leaks.

You can reach Cool Air Mechanical any time of the day or night when you need air conditioning service in Decatur, GA that has turned a bit… too frosty. We will fix it for you fast and right. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Signs of Compressor Problems in Your Air Conditioning

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Just as you have symptoms when you are sick – a runny nose, cough, fever – so, too, does your air conditioning system. Pinpointing the source of the problem is the key to getting repairs done quickly and efficiently. You should always use a Cool Air Mechanical professional for your air conditioning repair in Atlanta, GA. Here is a short list to help you determine if it may be your compressor that isn’t working.

What Is the Compressor?

There are 3 major parts to every air conditioning system: the evaporator, condenser and the compressor. The compressor’s role in the cooling process is compressing the liquid refrigerant into gas. As such, if the compressor begins to malfunction, the heat exchange process is greatly inhibited.

Signs of Problems

  • No Cool Air
    A lack or total loss of cool air can be the first sign your compressor isn’t working well. When the compressor can’t compress and move the refrigerant along, the rest of the cooling/heat removal process breaks down.
  • It Gets Noisy
    Are you hearing a lot of noise coming from your outside unit? This may be a sign your compressor is experiencing problems. The normal sound of an air conditioning unit is a hum. If the compressor is not working properly, you may notice a hissing, clunking or rattling sound. The hissing comes from a loss of pressure in your compressor; the “noisy” sounds – rattling and clunking – could be coming from the compressor’s motor.
  • Hard Starts and Stops
    A third sign that your compressor may have a problem is when your air conditioning system struggles to turn on and off; it can also emit sputtering and jerking sounds. This happens because a system with a broken compressor cannot start or shut down properly. These are known as “hard starts.”
  • Breaker Trips
    Does the electricity to your AC keep turning off? If the compressor is working too hard, or if there is an electrical malfunction in the compressor’s motor, it can cause the breaker controlling it to turn off.

Call a Cool Air Mechanical Professional

Compressor repairs should only be handled by a Cool Air Mechanical professional. If you think you may be experiencing a problem with your air conditioner’s compressor, or are experiencing any other air conditioning problems, call Cool Air Mechanical today. We can handle your air conditioning repair in Atlanta, GA properly.

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Signs You Need to Schedule Air Conditioning Repair

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Spring has officially arrived and with it comes an increased need for air conditioning repair. Lingering issues with your A/C may have gotten worse over the winter, while those you might not be aware of will make themselves known once you put your system to daily use. An reputable AC service in Atlanta can handle most problems that crop up, but you need to be aware of an issue before you can summon a repair technician. Here are 3 signs you need to schedule air conditioning repair.

  • Warm air blowing
    If your air conditioner isn’t producing any cool air, then the problem likely lies with the refrigerant. It needs to be at a set level in order for your system to work as it should. If it’s dropping, there’s likely a leak somewhere in the system, though a lack of cool air can also stem from a faulty valve or coil.
  • Low air flow
    Sometimes, the air can be perfectly cool, but it’s not getting into your home because the flow of air is low. Low air flow can come from a problem with the fan motor, a bent or damaged fan blade, detritus getting into the mechanism, or dirt clogging an air passage somewhere.
  • Higher bills
    Sometimes, the problem doesn’t overtly manifest itself save in increased energy usage. Your air conditioner is working harder than it needs to in order to do its job, and costing you more in monthly cooling bills as a result. If you don’t address the issue, then sooner or later, a larger breakdown will occur.

Frankly, the sooner you spot the signs you need to schedule air conditioning service, the better. Here in the spring, you can schedule repairs more leisurely, without one of our patented heat waves bearing down on you. In addition, the repairs will arrive before you really have need of your air conditioner, ensuring that it won’t break down when you need it the most. Air conditioning repair in Atlanta can be performed by Cool Air Mechanical: trained experts dedicated to doing the job right the first time, every time. Call us today to make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

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Should I Wait Until Next Season to Schedule Air Conditioning Repair in Atlanta, GA?

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

During the summer in Atlanta, GA, air conditioning repair needs to happen sooner rather than later. You can’t wait on a malfunctioning unit when the temperatures and humidity are high. But what happens when autumn comes and the temperatures start to fall? You may have issues in need of addressing, but which don’t interfere with the basic functioning of your AC unit. Without the heat of July and August, you could conceivably wait until next season for repair. The question is, should you? Are you better off waiting until next summer to schedule repairs, or should you go ahead and do it as quickly as possible, just as you would in the height of summer?

In practical terms, it makes sense to schedule repairs sooner rather than later. The cool autumn temperatures mean you don’t need your AC unit up and running, which is actually the perfect time to address any ongoing problems. The service technician can ascertain the issue and schedule repairs with greater flexibility. If delays occur or additional repairs are required, they can be set up with plenty of time, and the unit can be tested and ready to go by the time air conditioner season rolls around next year.

Conversely, if you leave the repairs for another six months or more, chances are that the issue will grow worse. Dirt and dust can build up in the system as it lies, while the rains and rough weather winter can add to the wear and tear. If you need to replace a faulty component or take care of a cleaning, a delay will only exacerbate the problem, adding to the cost of a repair and allowing less time to conduct it in the bargain.

The experts at Cool Air Mechanical are available throughout the year to handle repair and replacement issues with your air conditioning. We can schedule repairs according to your needs and we serve communities throughout the greater Atlanta, GA area. Sooner is better in the air conditioning world; contact us today to schedule an appointment, and put those repair worries to rest before next season rolls around.

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Atlanta Air Conditioning Repair Guide: AC Condensate Shut-Off Switch

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Air conditioning repair in Atlanta can spell the difference between a cool, comfortable haven from the Georgia summers and a sweltering hot home. The more you understand about the various components in your air conditioning system, the better you can ascertain when there’s a problem, and the more quickly a trained professional can correct the issue. For example, take the AC condensate shut-off switch. What is it, exactly, and what kind of problems does it help alert you to?

The air conditioning unit generates condensation, which needs to be removed from the system lest it cause problems. A condensate pan collects the condensation and a drain line removes it from the air conditioning unit. In some cases, a pump helps pull the condensation away. As with any other component, these elements can all suffer damage or wear: the drain line may become clogged, the pan may be improperly installed, the pump may fail to function, etc. When that happens, condensation starts to build up, and the water level starts to rise. If it’s not dealt with, the water can overflow the pan, damaging other systems and the surrounding area.

That’s where the condensate shut-off switch comes in. It’s designed to detect rising water levels in the condensate pan, and shuts off the system before an overflow takes place. A service professional can then be called in to clean the drain line, repair or replace the pump, set the pan properly or otherwise address the issue. It’s always inconvenient when your air conditioning unit won’t turn on, but the condensate shut-off switch often spells the difference between a minor maintenance call and a more serious service call.

If your condensate shut-off switch has turned off your unit, don’t hesitate to call in the experts. Cool Air Mechanical handles air conditioning repair in Atlanta, and can send a qualified representative to your home to address your condensate shut-off switch. We’re dedicated to total customer satisfaction and can find the source of the problem instead of just correcting the symptoms.

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Damaged Air Ducts and Air Conditioning Repair in Atlanta

Monday, July 8th, 2013

When you turn on your air conditioning system, all of the cool air circulated in your home has to travel through a series of ducts. While most homeowners don’t give this system of ducts a second thought, it is actually a critical part of your comfort. Any issues with your ducts can have a serious impact on your home’s comfort and on your home’s efficiency. If you need any kind of duct or air conditioning repair in Atlanta, just call Cool Air Mechanical. Check out our quick explanation of how damaged ducts can impact your home’s air conditioning system.

Over the years your ducts can actually experience quite a lot of wear and tear. Here are a few common things that can cause your ducts to be damaged.

  • Poor installation – Probably the most common cause of duct repair is bad installation. If your ducts weren’t properly secured they can rub or chafe against a ceiling joist or brace which can wear holes into the ducts.
  • Insects and rodents – Mice, rats, ants, cockroaches and other pests can be incredibly damaging to your home’s ductwork. After you have an exterminator take care of your pest problem, you should have an HVAC professional clean and examine your ductwork.

How to Tell If You Need Duct Repair

In most homes the ductwork is installed in the ceilings or under the floor which makes it difficult to tell if there are any problems with it. But there are still a few ways that you can tell if you need duct repair:

  • Hot or cold spots – If you notice that only certain parts of your house are getting cool air from your AC it could mean that there are holes and leaks in your ducts and you need them sealed.
  • Noises – Do you hear whistling, rattling, rumbling or any noises coming from your ducts? It could mean that you have cracks in your ductwork.
  • Inefficient operation – Keep an eye on your air conditioning bills. If you notice a sudden spike in your utility bill and your AC unit is functioning normally, you might have have a problem with your air ducts.

When you need air conditioning repair in Atlanta, make sure that you work with the professionals at Cool Air Mechanical.

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