Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for June, 2012

Pittsburgh Air Conditioning Guide: Cooling Coil or Evaporator Coil Diagnosis & Repair

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Inside the air handler of your Pittsburgh air conditioning system is a cooling coil or evaporator coil. From a home cooling perspective, this is where the magic happens: where the actual cooling occurs. So, if there is a problem with the cooling or evaporator coil, you will notice a decrease in the performance of your AC system.

You may notice that the air flow has slowed significantly or even stopped, even though you can hear the air handler running. You may also notice that the air isn’t as cool as it used to be or should be. Aside from having a house that is not cool enough, this can also cause problems like high electricity bills or damage to other parts of the air conditioner. Use this quick guide to start diagnosing and repairing the problem.

Diagnosis

For starters, just try to get a good look at the cooling coil. Some problems are obvious enough upon visual inspection that no further diagnostics or major repair is necessary. To inspect the cooling coil on your air conditioner, first turn off the electricity at your fuse panel or breaker box. Then, locate the access panel on the air handler that can be removed to at least partially expose the coil. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for help.

Once you are able to see the cooling coil, look for things like:

  • Dirt and debris
  • Mold
  • Staining that indicates a refrigerant leak
  • Ice or frost
  • Damaged fins on the coil

Repair

Any of these could be the culprit that is degrading the performance of your Pittsburgh  AC system. Some of these you can take care of pretty simply on your own – if there is obvious debris that you can remove safely, do so – but for most repairs you will want to call in a licensed technician. Especially if the problem is something potentially hazardous like mold growth or a refrigerant leak, you don’t want to take the risk. Let Boehmer Heating & Cooling who has technicians that are  trained in safely and effectively repairing the problem take care of it, so that your home can be comfortable again.

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The Importance of Air Conditioning Load Calculation

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

AC Size | Pitssburgh | Boehmer Heating & CoolingChoosing the right air conditioner for your space is a big decision. If you chose the wrong size AC it wont be able to cool your space properly. There are a few problems that can be caused by an oversized air conditioner. In addition to turning on and off frequently, which can wear down components, it also might have fast air flow. If the air flow is too fast, your air conditioner is unable to cool or dehumidify the air effectively, which can prevent it from keeping your home comfortable. When you are installing or replacing an air conditioning system, a professional load calculation will help you find the right size unit for your home’s needs. A good rule of thumb is to have about 20 BTU for every square food that you plan to cool at once.

Call Boehmer Heating and Cooling today for help selecting the best air conditioning option for your home. We provide air conditioning, heating, geothermal, and indoor air quality in the Pittsburgh area.

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Pittsburgh Air Conditioning Installation Tip: Why it Is Important to Examine Your Ducts

Monday, June 18th, 2012

For most homeowners the day a new air conditioner gets installed is a great one. It means you can look forward to plenty of days of cool comfort, sheltered from the blistering summer heat that would otherwise make you feel sticky and sluggish.

Before that installation can take place, however, there are many smaller tasks that must be performed. You have to do some research, shop around, consult with a Pittsburgh air conditioning contractor and finally decide on the best system for your home. Finally, you should have your ducts examined.

Your ducts are the pathway by which cooled air will be distributed through your home. Without regular maintenance, ducts are less efficient in transferring air and can cost you money, not only in electricity but in air quality control. Like any major component of your HVAC system, they need to be properly maintained to work properly.

So, you want your ducts to be in tip top shape for your new Pittsburgh AC system. Having a professional inspect them thoroughly prior to installation will identify any damage, dirt, debris, leaks, corrosion or other trouble spots that could impede your air conditioning.

This gives you the opportunity to get any of those problems fixed before the new system is installed. Plus, a professional inspection is an important part of routine duct maintenance anyway. Having it done at this juncture is easier and ensures you know will have a smooth running air conditioner for some time to come.

Having duct work in good repair is vital to the operation of your HVAC system, including the new AC system you want to install. If you are contemplating having a new air conditioning system installed or even if you are not, now is the time to call a professional for full inspection of your ductwork. Especially if you have a forced air heating system and those ducts are used year round, you want to know for a fact that they will work properly in the future, no matter what is hooked up to them. Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling to schedule your appointment today!

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

Monday, June 11th, 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 Pittsburgh air conditioning technicians to help you get your AC unit running again, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call. 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

When your Pittsburgh 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 a TOWN NAME air conditioning technician if you see physical damage to the electrical components. Never try to fix this yourself.

Sometimes when there’s extreme weather conditions in the summer, such as very high temperatures or high humidity levels, the high-pressure switch can get flipped and turn off the air conditioner. You can easily find the switch on most AC models in the compressor’s access panel. Check your owner’s manual or call us if you don’t know how to locate or reset the limit switch.

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 Boehmer Heating & Cooling, we want to be the only Pittsburgh air conditioning contractor you’ll ever need. Call us any time to get troubleshooting advice for your AC system.

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Pittsburgh Air Conditioning Tip: What to Do About Cool Spots

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Sitting on your couch watching TV should be an enjoyable experience, especially after a long day at the office. But, if your Pittsburgh air conditioner deposits an abnormally high volume of cold air directly onto your couch, making you shiver despite the 90 degree heat outside, you may have a cool spot.

Cool spots are an unfortunate side effect of modern air conditioning technology. They occur when HVAC systems are improperly sized or ductwork is improperly installed. Other factors like insulation, vent configuration or window placement can also contribute to the presence of a cool spot (and possibly some hot spots). So, what can you do about it? There are a few options, starting with a quick inspection of the space.

Checking for Common Problems

Your inspector will check a number of things. Most importantly, they’ll measure the size of your HVAC system and compare it to the dimensions and particulars of your house. Usually, in the case of cool spots, the problem is directly related to an oversized system. When it turns on, even for a few minutes, it produces more cold air than is necessary, flooding your home with cooling. The thermostat recognizes this and the system shuts off soon after turning on. As a result, you’ll feel fluctuation between cold and warm as the system fails to properly condition the space.

Modern systems are sized for your house at 100% capacity. So, when the system turns on, it should stay on for a substantial period of time, keeping your home cool. Turning off and on frequently is bad for the system and wastes energy (plus it produces those pesky cool spots). Keep in mind that hot spots can also occur if the system isn’t powerful enough.

Your inspector will also look for vent placement and duct configuration. Improper placement of vents can lead to pooling of cool air that creates cool spots. By checking for potential problems in the layout of your Pittsburgh  HVAC system, an inspector can determine if new vents or ducts are needed to solve the problem.

Fixing the Cool Spots

For now, you may just want to move to another part of the house. Cool spots rarely affect the entire space – they tend to cluster around vents and outlets and can usually be fixed by resizing or adjusting your system. However, only your Pittsburgh air conditioning contractor can tell you for sure what the best solution will be for your air conditioning issues so make sure to schedule an inspection.

Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today if you are concerned about cool spots in your home!

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Chose ENERGY STAR For Your Air Conditioning Installation

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Energy Star | Pittsburgh | Boehmer Heating and CoolingLooking to replace your air conditioning system? You should think about buying an ENERGY STAR labeled model. A high efficiency air conditioner can make a huge difference in your energy bills if you are replacing an older model. Central air conditioners need a SEER rating of at least 13 get the ENERGY STAR label, and many older systems have a SEER that is 6 or less! You can get models with a SEER of 20 or higher, so talk to professionals at Boehmer Heating and Cooling to find out what the best AC system for your home is.

Looking for more ways to save with your air conditioning system? Call Boehmer today to learn about zone control, programmable thermostats, and more advice on energy saving practices. Boehmer Heating and Cooling provides services in Pittsburgh, and the Greater Pittsburgh area.

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