Cool Touch Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Surprise’

Air Conditioning Guide: Causes of AC Short Cycling

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Air conditioning short cycling is a common problem wherein an air conditioning unit will have either short run times or short off times.  This type of quick movement back and forth between being on and off–or rather starting and stopping rapidly–can be detrimental to the overall life of an AC unit, and is also not energy efficient.

AC short cycling can have many causes, and many fixes.

  • AC Refrigerant Leak:  There could be a refrigerant leak somewhere within the AC unit.  A temporary fix might be to add refrigerant and recharge the air conditioning unit, but long-term, a Phoenix air conditioning specialist will need to be contacted in order to find and fix the leak properly, ensuring excess money is not paid to continually add an unnecessary amount of refrigerant.
  • AC Coil Icing: This means that the evaporator coil or cooling coil has become encrusted with ice or frost and is causing the unit to malfunction by turning on and off in short bursts.  Turning off the unit completely and letting the ice melt, then checking and replacing dirty filters can oftentimes fix this problem.
  • AC is Oversized:  The amount of power needed (or the BTUs needed) to cool a space is directly proportional to the size of the space or room which is being cooled.
    • If AC short cycling has been a constant problem since day one of an AC system installation, it is entirely possible that the A/C unit is too large for the space which it is cooling.  This could mean contacting an HVAC technician to have the unit analyzed and a new, smaller unit put in.
    • If A/C short cycling is a relatively new problem, some possible causes could be: closing or opening doors which previously were not closed or opened frequently, or the addition of partitions within rooms which effectively makes the room size smaller.  This could mean simply adjusting the thermostat, or the blower fan to a lower speed to compensate for the change, or opening interior doors to increase the size of the space which is being cooled by the AC unit.
  • AC Control Board Problem:  While less likely, the problem could be in a control board or control switch which has been damaged, thus causing erratic and rapid starting and stopping cycles.  In this case an air conditioning technician would need to be contacted in order to replace the broken control switch.
  • AC Compressor Damage or Start-Up Issues:  Some AC systems have hard-starting compressors which take time to re-pressurize properly after shutting down.  If the AC system is being turned on or off manually on a frequent basis, the compressor might have a hard time restarting because the high pressure which had built up on the previous on-cycle had not had a chance to come down to normal levels again.  An easy way to diagnose this problem is if after leaving the AC unit shut off for thirty minutes, the unit works properly after being turned on again.  To help this compressor issue, an HVAC service technician can add a starter capacitor to the AC unit.

These and other AC short cycling causes can be checked, diagnosed, and fixed quite easily by an experienced HVAC professional, so call Cool Touch Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing & Electrical if you are having any problems with your Phoenix air conditioning system!

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Air Conditioning Tips: How to Troubleshoot a Failed AC Unit

Monday, April 30th, 2012

In most cases, an air conditioners in need of maintenance may be fixed by going through some troubleshooting guidelines. If you would like one of our Cave Creek air conditioning technicians to help you get your AC unit running again, give Cool Touch 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

When 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 a Cave Creek 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 Cool Touch, we want to be the only Cave Creek air conditioning contractor you’ll ever need. Call Cool Touch any time to get troubleshooting advice for your AC system.

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The Danger of Refrigerant Leaks in Phoenix

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Air conditioners in Phoenix are filled with a chemical compound called refrigerant. This substance is what allows air conditioners to remove heat from and dehumidify homes. It is a necessity, but it is also a dangerous chemical that, if released, can cause damage to the environment and pose health risks to your family.

Why Refrigerant Is Dangerous

There are many types of refrigerant but most air conditioners use either R-22 or Freon coolant – depending on their age. Newer air conditioners may use R410-A refrigerant, an environmentally safer, but still dangerous alternative.

All of these refrigerant types are chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. These chemicals are controlled substances by the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning they must be properly removed and disposed of. Because your air conditioner does not consume any of coolant in operation, it should never need to be refilled unless there is a leak. Such a leak would require immediate air conditioning repair due to the immense damage CFCs can do to the environment.

If refrigerant leaks into your home it will evaporate as a gas and is harmful to inhale, causing a variety of health problems, including nausea, headache and in extreme cases asphyxiation. This is not a common occurrence but if you suspect a leak, you should call a professional immediately to inspect your air conditioner.

Damage to Your Air Conditioner

Beyond the environmental and health issues posed by a refrigerant leak, the biggest problem you will face is damage such leaks can cause to your air conditioner. Low refrigerant levels put undue stress on your compressor and can lead to damage in almost every part of the device.

Not only that but the air conditioner won’t work as efficiently. A 10% loss in refrigerant volume can result in up to a 20% increase in electricity cost to run your air conditioner.

What to Do in the Event of a Refrigerant Leak

If you suspect a refrigerant leak in your air conditioner, take action immediately. Call Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists so we can recapture the escaped gasses and seal the leak fast. It is important not just for your safety but for the wellbeing of the environment.

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Air Conditioning Guide: The Ins and Outs of Ductless Splits Air Conditioning

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

So, it’s time to install a new air conditioner and you’re pretty sure there just isn’t enough room in the walls or ceilings to place the necessary ductwork. No problem. There is a rapidly evolving technology that allows you to have air conditioning without ductwork. It’s called mini-split ductless air conditioning and it relies on individual units placed in key locations around your house. Here’s how they work.

Multi-Zone Cooling

The first step is to install a central unit. This is your compressor and condenser and is usually placed outside like the core of a central AC system. These units range between 15,000 and 40,000 BTUs depending on how much cooling your home needs and will support up to 4 zones within your house.

Once the central unit is installed, smaller room-sized units are placed throughout your house. These units are designed for between 9,000 and 18,000 BTU spaces and are usually placed high on the wall of your room to distribute cooled air. The smaller units are connected to the main unit by refrigerant lines that are run up the side of your house (or inside if you want them out of the elements).

Because each indoor unit is individual and has its own thermostat, you save electricity by having direct control over each part of your home. In fact, the average Phoenix ductless split system uses something like 30% less electricity than a standard Phoenix air conditioning system.

Is it Right for You?

This is the most common question we hear and to be honest, it really depends on your needs. If you have a large house – we’re talking 3,000 square feet or bigger, a multi-zone ductless system may not provide enough cooling on its own. Most systems only support up to 4 individual units and therefore cannot cool massive spaces. However, if you have a smaller home, or more importantly have no space for ductwork, these systems are much more efficient than installing multiple window units.

For more information about having a mini-split ductless air conditioning system installed in your home, give Cool Touch Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing & Electrical a call today!

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AC and Energy Recovery Ventilators in Phoenix

Friday, March 16th, 2012

As a homeowner in Phoenix with an air conditioning system, you know that it costs plenty to keep your home cool and comfortable in the summer. It is an expense you are willing to pay for the comfort and overall health of your family, but if you are like most homeowners, you would do anything to lower your monthly electric bills where possible.

One way to make your air conditioning system a little more efficient is to install an energy recovery ventilator (ERV). Read on to learn what ERV is and how it works alongside your AC system to reduce energy loss and improve indoor comfort control.

What Is an ERV?

Not to be confused with a heat recovery ventilator, an ERV is a mechanical device that transfers heat and water vapor between the incoming (i.e. outside) air and outgoing air being moved by your ventilation system.

The main difference between an energy recovery ventilator and a heat recovery ventilator is that the former transfers both heat and moisture, while the latter transfers only heat.

What Does an ERV Do?

What does that transfer mean for your air conditioning system? Well, in the hot summer months, your air conditioner pulls in warm air from the outside, cools it and then blasts it into your home, while exhausting warm air to the outside.

What an ERV does is make that process a little easier for the air conditioner to handle by transferring heat from the warm air coming in to the exhaust air that the AC is blowing out of the house. The incoming air therefore has to be cooled less, which means your AC doesn’t have to work as hard, which means less electricity is used.

After adding this air conditioner installation, many users of ERV systems report that the moisture exchange also makes the air in their homes feel “fresher,” rather than the stale feel that air conditioning can sometimes produce.

So, if you would like to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of running your AC system, consider an ERV as one possible solution.  Call Cool TouchAir Conditioning & Heating Specialists with any questions.

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