Atlanta Air Conditioning Tips: How to Troubleshoot a Failed AC Unit

Monday, April 16th, 2012

In most cases, a failed air conditioning system may be fixed by going through some troubleshooting guidelines. If you would like one of our Atlanta air conditioning technicians to help you get your AC unit running again, give Cool Air Mechanical a call for assistance. We can also send someone to your home if we can’t get your system working again.

Here are some basic steps to try before you call for a repair.

Check All Controls and Fuses

Atlanta Air Conditioning RepairWhen your air conditioner won’t cool your home properly, always check the thermostat to see if it is on “cool” and set for the right temperature. If the air conditioner has shut down, check to make sure that the unit is receiving power by looking in the fuse box for a flipped circuit breaker and also making sure it is plugged in properly. You can also inspect the visible wires and electrical components for obvious damages. Call an Atlanta air conditioning technician if you see physical damage to the electrical components. Never try to fix this yourself.

If the weather is very hot outside, your air conditioner’s high-pressure switch can get flipped and turn your unit off. On most air conditioners the high pressure limit switch can be found on the compressor’s access panel. If you can’t find the switch or you would like someone to make sure nothing more serious is wrong with your AC, give us a call.

Check for Refrigerant Problems or Condensate Pan Leaks

Refrigerant problems caused by the wrong amount of refrigerant can keep the AC unit from cooling your home properly, and you can usually tell if there’s a refrigerant issue by looking for frost or icing on the evaporator coil. When there’s excess coil icing, it means that there isn’t enough cool air being delivered to your home. If you see thick frost on the evaporator coil, a technician will most likely need to charge the refrigerant, or there could be a leak in the refrigerant line.

Condensate leaks into the condensate pan can also cause an air conditioner to fail. The condensate drip pan is installed underneath the air handler to catch condensate leaks if the drain system gets clogged. Most of the time, a small clog in the drain line can be easily cleared. Also check the condensate switch for issues; sometimes these can be defective and cause your air conditioner to shut down.

At Cool Air Mechanical, we want to be the only Atlanta air conditioning contractor you’ll ever need. Call us any time to get troubleshooting advice for your AC system.

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Atlanta Heat Pump Repair: Reasons Your Heat Pump Can’t Maintain the Right Temperature

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

When you set your thermostat for a certain temperature, you expect that your Atlanta heat pump will either heat or cool it to that temperature, right? When you want 72 degrees, you don’t expect to have the temperature stay stuck at 70 degrees while your heat pump struggles futilely.

Sometimes heat pumps have trouble maintaining the right temperature, especially in heating mode. It’s not uncommon, and it has a number of potential causes. Run through this checklist to see if it is something you can fix yourself:

  • The outdoor unit is iced up. Running a defrost cycle can usually fix this.
  • The outdoor unit is not running at all. Sometimes this is simple enough to fix on your own. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to troubleshoot the problem.
  • Too much cold air is getting in the house for the heat pump to keep up. Make sure your doors and windows are closed to keep that valuable heat inside.
  • Your vents are closed. It may seem obviou, but problems like this can sometimes be attributed to user error. Make sure your vents are open to allow heat in.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, and it covers just those causes that you could potentially fix yourself. There are many other possible culprits out there that could be more sinister and require professional service to be properly repaired.

Some of these include:

  • The compressor is not running.
  • A compressor valve or reversing valve is faulty.
  • The thermostat is malfunctioning or needs to be recalibrated.
  • The refrigerant level is low or there is a problem with the flow of the refrigerant.
  • The heat pump needs routine maintenance.

If your heat pump is not working properly for several days, especially after you have tried some of the DIY solutions above, call Cool Air Mechanical right away. Your heat pump may need repairs before a bigger problem develops.

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Hiram Water Heater Guide: What You Need to Know About Water Heater Leaks

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

A leak in your Hiram home’s water heater can be a big or small problem depending on where the leak is, how severe it is and whether it requires repair or replacement. Here are some things you should know about water heater leaks that will help you determine who to call and how to act.

Where Is the Leak?

Step one is to determine where the water is coming from. Look for leaks around the fittings and valves attached to the device. If one of them is loose or if you see water dripping from a connection, it can probably be fixed relatively easily. However, if the leak is coming from the body of the water heater, you may have a ruptured tank which is a sure sign of a bad water heater that needs to be replaced.

Draining Your Tank

Once you identify the leak, turn off the water supply to the tank and prepare to drain it the rest of the way. You should also disconnect the power from the device. If the water heater is gas, I recommend you call a professional who is certified to work on gas appliances. For electric water heaters, you may still want a professional, but the next step here is to simply turn off the breaker to stop electricity from flowing to the device.

Drain the tank next, using the bucket to capture the water as it is released. If you have a floor drain and can angle the tank over the drain, go ahead and do that now. Once the tank is empty, it is time to tighten your fittings.

Fixing the Problem

Assuming this is a fittings or valve problem, loosen any fittings that appeared to have leaked, repair the plumbing thread and retape the pipes, finally tightening the fittings back into place. The pressure valve may need to be replaced as well – do this now if it is necessary.

Before reapplying the electricity to the water heater, reattach the water supply and turn it on to check for leaks. If it holds water, you are lucky and your water heater’s tank isn’t leaking. Reattach everything and turn it back on.

If you notice the leak continues, you should call Cool Air Mechanical as it is likely the glass inside your tank has cracked or is leaking. Most of the time, this cannot be repaired and means you need a new water heater installed.

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Centerville Gwin Water Heater Guide: What You Need to Know About Point of Use Water Heaters

Friday, February 17th, 2012

For years, most people in Centerville Gwin have used the same system to heat their water. A single tank that heats and stores water at a set temperature for whenever it is needed. That system, as well as it works, is not very efficient, and with costs for gas and oil rising so much in recent years, many people are looking for better ways to heat their water.

That’s where point of use water heating comes in. These tankless water heaters are designed to heat your water when you need it heated instead of filling a tank of 50 or 60 gallons and heating it continuously even when you don’t.

How Point of Use Water Heaters Work

A point of use water heater works by directly heating the water supply to a single fixture. So, you would install a point of use water heater on your kitchen sink and only one water supply pipe would go to that heater. When you turn on the hot water faucet, the point of use heater would turn on (using electricity) and heat your water to 170 degrees F.

These devices only work on a single fixture at a time but they are much less expensive to purchase than a whole house tankless hot water system. Additionally, you can control where hot water is available.

The Advantages of Point of Use Hot Water

A tank hot water system can cost hundreds of dollars of year extra to run, especially if your family doesn’t use much hot water. Imagine what happens if you have four children that go off to college. Your “just big enough” tank suddenly becomes way too big and your bill stays unnecessarily high.

Point of use heaters allow you to decide where hot water is available and have instantly available hot water as you need it. The cost of the units and installation is affordable for most Centerville Gwin homeowners and you don’t have to commit to a whole house system if you are not ready.

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Conley HVAC Warning: Preventing and Cleaning Up Attic Mold

Friday, January 13th, 2012

It’s a nightmare situation – going up to the attic to retrieve a box of Christmas ornaments or an old suit and finding patches of mold growing on the rafters or insulation in your Conley home. Luckily, if you act quickly enough it’s possible to not only remove that mold but to prevent it from coming back.

Getting Rid of Attic Mold

Mold removal is a tricky process, especially if it gets into the insulation or the plywood of the roof. However, if it’s a small amount of mold or if it has yet to get into the wood, cleaning and replacement of certain woods and insulation patches can get the job done. The key is to call a mold remediation firm to provide an estimate.

Why not clean up the mold yourself? Mold is a rooting spore. It may appear on surfaces, but even if properly cleaned, there may still be mold underneath the surface. This can only be removed by a professional who can perform biological tests and implement prevention tactics as the mold is removed. The real key to stopping mold in your attic is to ensure it never appears in the first place.

Attic Mold Prevention

The vast majority of attic mold problems occur because of moisture and a lack of ventilation. Many homes simply seal up the attic with insulation and ignore the space. If the attic is small and can’t be used for storage or living space especially, it’s just a liability during the summer and winter when heat enters and exits through the roof.

But, if moisture develops in the attic, either through poorly sealed windows or a leak in the roof, and there isn’t enough ventilation to keep air moving through the space, mold will grow at record speeds. Even without a leak, the warmer air in your home can produce condensation on the floorboards of the attic. It doesn’t take much moisture to produce mold, especially if there isn’t any ventilation to allow it to dissipate.

Another common problem is when the vents from your bathrooms, laundry room or garage empty directly into the attic and then have no way to exit that space. The moisture from your bathroom alone can turn your attic into a moldy nightmare.

If ventilation is your problem, there are many possible solutions. Soffit vents are recommended for air flow while an attic fan can not only vent out that moist air, but keep the attic cooler in the summer and save you money on your cooling bill.

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How to Make Your Raymond Heating System More Effective

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Everyone wants an effective heating system in Raymond – one that will provide steady, reliable heat without you having to spend hundreds of dollars each month on gas, oil or electricity. And while the best way to improve the efficiency of your heating system in most cases is to upgrade it, there are some simple things you can do around the house to boost its effectiveness. Here are some of the best:

  • Rearrange Furniture – Just having the heat on doesn’t necessarily ensure the heat entering your room is being distributed evenly. Move your furniture in such a way that there is a clear, unimpeded path from the registers and radiators to the rest of the room. Done properly, this will make it much easier to and faster to heat every room of your house.
  • Maximize Air Flow – Air flow can be maximized in a number of ways. Make sure you close any windows near a register or radiator and that you remove any large objects that might block air flow. You should also install things that can help move air like fans and always call someone in for changes to the arrangement of your vents or radiators.
  • Clean Registers or Radiators – The cleaner your radiators or dust registers are, the more efficiently they release their heat. Not only have that, but clean radiators and registers resulted in better indoor air quality. Weekly cleaning of each room’s heating source is highly recommended.
  • Install Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans switched to blow down are incredibly effective for distributing air throughout the room. This will keep push warm air down and keeps cold air up – in effect, reducing the need for constant running of your furnace.

Effective heating is important to keep your home comfortable, reduce the cost of heating and prolong the lifespan of your furnace. You should also make sure your heating system is properly maintained throughout the year. Skipping maintenance visits (which are highly recommended annually) will put unnecessary stress on your system and shorten its lifespan substantially, not to mention the decrease in efficiency when heating your home.

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