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Get Your AC in Shape for Summer

Get Your AC in Shape for Summer

An out of shape air conditioner can be sluggish and have a hard time keeping up in the dog days of summer.  These exercises will get your AC in tip-top shape for the summer season.  Your utility bills will be leaner while you relax in the cool comfort of your home.

 

Alan Performing AC Spring Cleaning

1) Shed unwanted dirt and debris around your outdoor coil.

When the outdoor coil is obstructed by dirt, pet hair, grass or other loose debris, airflow is restricted.  It is your air conditioner’s job to remove heat from the indoor air, transferring the heat to the air outdoors. Optimal air flow is required to achieve peak performance.  When air flow is restricted, equipment is forced to work harder, using more energy and increasing utility bills.  This can cause overheating, leading to equipment failure and costly repairs.  Your HVAC technician will clean your outdoor coil with a special cleaner that loosens and dissolves dirt and grime, then rinse throughly with water.  Any bent fins, enemies of optimal air flow, will be straightened as well.

2) Blow out your condensate line and clean that pan.

AC condensate drain pans can be a breeding ground for slime and algae.  Over time, the slime builds up and can clog the condensate drain line.  This forces the contents in the drain pan to overflow, often causing expensive damage to the ceilings and walls of your home.

During your annual AC maintenance checkup, your HVAC technician will blow out your condensate line, clean the condensate pan and inspect the primary and backup drains.  All slimy buildup will be blown out of the line and your system will be flowing freely.

3) Measure your refrigerant levels.

Your refrigerant must weigh in on target.  If refrigerant is over or under weight, cooling capacity will be reduced and run time extended, resulting in excessive wear of critical components in your unit.  Extended run time will cause bloating of your energy bills.

4) Tighten up those electrical connections.

The leading factor in residential air conditioning fires is a short circuit. A short occurs when an electrified wire touches ground. Over time, equipment vibration can cause loose connections or a break in the wire insulation. During a tune-up, your HVAC technician will check electrical connections and wires, as well as safety switches and relays to ensure proper functioning.

5) Take a look at the AC indoor coil.

The correct type and frequently changed air filter will protect the indoor coil from dust and debris.  If not well maintained, it will become dirty and will need to be professionally cleaned.  If a cleaning is necessary, it should rarely if ever have to be performed again when the correct air filter is used and regularly changed.

See our Preventative Maintenance page for a more comprehensive list of tasks performed during our Spring preventative maintenance cleaning.  If you have any questions regarding our services or to schedule a preventative maintenance appointment, call Comfort Climate Service at 251-610-2848.  We provide quality service at competitive prices, serving Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Foley and the surrounding areas in Alabama.

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Air Filters – Their Role in Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

Air Filters – Their Role in Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

Air Filters - Their Role in Reducing Indoor Air Pollution - Comfort Climate Service, Fairhope, AL

Air filters play a key role in removing pollen and allergens from the air.

The air filter on your heating and air conditioning system can play an important role in removing dust, pollen, mold and other pollutants from your indoor environment. Your choice in air filters will determine the filter’s effectiveness.  The best filter for your particular home will be one that filters out the greatest number of pollutants while still allowing adequate air flow to your system.

What do I need to consider when selecting an air filter?

All air filters are not created equal! When selecting a filter, you should consider the effectiveness of the type of filter, the filtering efficiency rating referred to as the MERV rating, as well as your specific equipment manufacturer guidelines.

 

 Air Filter Types

Panel Filters are typically made of spun fiberglass  and only trap the very largest particles.  Many home and business owners are still buying the panel filters only because they do not realize the filters are virtually ineffective and that much better options are available.

Pleated Filters are much more effective at trapping particles due to the denser material and increased surface area.  With pleated air filters, the surface area is more than doubled.  This means that there is a much greater surface area available to capture airborne particles.  Pleated filter prices are still inexpensive, even though they are a bit more expensive than the panel filter.  Like panel filters, pleated filters are disposable.  At this time, a good pleated filter is the best option for most homes.

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters seem like they would do an even better job at filtering out more particles because the material is much denser. Technically, they do; however, in residential HVAC equipment, they cause a significant decrease in air flow because the filter material is denser.  In this case, too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing.  HVAC equipment requires adequate air flow to function properly.  Although, HEPA filters may be suited for hospitals or other settings with commercial HVAC equipment, they are not recommended for use in residential HVAC systems.

Reusable Filters seem like they would be an excellent environmentally friendly choice because they reduce waste going to the landfill.  Unfortunately, consumer demand has not caused the makers to improve the existing technology.  With the large spaces between the filter material, the reusable air filters on the market are not as effective in trapping particles as their pleated counterparts.  Improvements in design are needed to make reusable filters an efficient choice.

 

 MERV Ratings

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is the standard rating system for HVAC air filters.  MERV Ratings range from 1-16.  The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient in trapping airborne particles.  General guidelines for suitable uses of filters with corresponding MERV ratings are below.

  • MERV Rating  5-8                Good for Residential
  • MERV Rating  9-12              Superior for Residential; Good for Commercial
  • MERV Rating 13-16             Hospital & Surgery

Always, refer to your HVAC manufacturer information for requirements.  Keep in mind that most residential HVAC equipment does not have enough fan or motor capacity to adequately circulate air using the highest efficiency filters.

How frequently should I change my air filter?

Inspect  your air filters regularly.  All filters will have a recommended change frequency.  This will differ depending on the brand and filter.  Use the suggested frequency as a guideline, keeping in mind that the need will vary depending on seasonal and usage factors.  We recommend that you check your filter every month to 45 days and change as needed.  Some programmable thermostats have a feature that calculates this information based on run time of the unit and will notify you when it is time to change the filter.

A clean and properly functioning quality filter will trap pollutants and improve the quality of the air that you breathe.  A  dirty filter becomes ineffective at removing air pollutants and will prevent adequate air flow to the unit, making the unit work harder to control the temperature in your environment.  When the unit has to work harder, energy costs are increased and equipment life is decreased.

For more information on heating and air conditioning topics, check out our other blog posts or follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Google+.

To schedule a repair or preventative maintenance appointment or for a free replacement equipment quote, call Comfort Climate Service at 251-610-2848.  We provide quality service at competitive prices and service the Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Foley and surrounding areas in Alabama.

Furnace Maintenance Checklist

Furnace Maintenance Checklist

It's Time for Your Furnace Cleaning with Comfort Climate Service

The heating season has finally arrived in the south.  It’s time for a comprehensive furnace inspection and tune-up by a qualified HVAC professional.  A properly maintained furnace will operate more efficiently and have a longer life span, resulting in immediate as well as long-term money savings.  Below is the Furnace Cleaning Checklist of maintenance tasks your HVAC professional should perform.

 

Furnace Cleaning & Maintenance

  • Observe operation of unit, paying close attention to operation of fans.  Loud fan operation can indicate premature bearing failure.
  • Clean flame sensor & flame igniter to remove carbon build up.
  • Inspect & clear all hoses to remove any blockages.
  • Check fan blades for dirt & buildup causing excessive unit vibration & noise.  Clean if needed.
  • Inspect blower door to ensure there is a good seal, preventing surrounding non-temperature controlled air from being drawn inside unit.
  • Check safety operation of blower door safety switch.
  • Check duct connections at unit for air loss into surrounding environment.
  • Test operation of the unit’s negative pressure safety switch.
  • Check return filter to ensure adequate airflow through return duct.
  • Clean burner rail assemble to remove carbon buildup, which can cause flame distribution to the heat exchanger.
  • Check all electrical entry points into the unit to ensure wire connectors exist & are secure.
  • Check wires & connections.  Replace any wiring showing signs of heat damage or with cracked insulation.
  • Check evaporator coil for blockage, which could prevent adequate airflow.
  • Check blower capacitor to ensure proper speed of fan motor.
  • Inspect all pipe fitting connections along gas line supply to ensure no gas leaks exist.
  • Check heat exchanger for cracks & corrosion.
  • Check combustion safety switch for proper operation.
  • Check for proper sealing at all combustion vent connections.
  • Check all duct lines for areas of collapse or excessive turns, which cause airflow restrictions.

For more expert advice about furnace maintenance, or to schedule a preventive tune-up with one of our highly qualified HVAC professionals, please contact Comfort Climate Service or call 251-610-2848.  We provide quality and prompt service in Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Foley and surrounding areas in Alabama.

We strive to help educate our customers about energy efficiency and home comfort topics with regards to Heating and Air Conditioning systems.