Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Category: Air Conditioning

R-22 Refrigerant Phaseout

If you are looking for a new air conditioning installation or replavcement in Loveland, CO, then this is a post that you really need to read. Chances are that, if you’ve been shopping around for new systems, you’ve come across some variation of the phrase “R-22 phaseout,” and likely tied to the date of “January 1st, 2020.” Make no mistake about it—this phaseout is a major shakeup for the HVAC industry!

In today’s post, we’ll talk about what R-22 refrigerant is, why your system is so dependent upon refrigerant, and the wider implications of this phaseout. Again, this really is big news and will have far-reaching effects throughout the industry, so definitely contact a member of our team with any questions that you may have. As a homeowner that values your comfort, you’ll want to have a basic understanding of the issue and how it may affect you and your home.

First, What Does Refrigerant Do?

Basically, it allows you to cool your home! Air conditioners cool homes by removing heat from them. To do so, they evaporate refrigerant indoors to remove heat from the air inside. They then condense refrigerant in the air outside in order to release the heat that the refrigerant absorbed inside. The cycle continues until desired temperatures are met.

What Is R-22 Refrigerant?

R-22 was the industry standard for refrigerant up until very recently. If you’ve ever used an air conditioner in your lifetime up until very recently,  then you’ve used R-22 even if you didn’t realize it. R-22 is commonly referred to as Freon, though this is really an umbrella term only specific to R-22.

Why the Phaseout?

R-22 is being phased out due to environmental factors. Specifically, R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerant, and is a contributing factor to ozone depletion. Following the phaseout, R-410A will be the new industry standard. This is a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant, and is already used in many newer air conditioning and heat pump systems.

What Does This Mean for Me?

If you have an air conditioning system using R-22 to cool your home, don’t worry—no one is going to tell you that you have to replace that system right now. However, you do need to know that, come the phaseout date, there is a ban on the production and import of R-22 refrigerant. That means that any repairs requiring the correction of your system’s refrigerant charge will be dependent upon existing stockpiles of R-22.

Because production of the refrigerant will cease, prices are likely to go up. That means that now is a great time to make the switch to an R-410A system. If you are thinking about replacing your system anyway, then you definitely want to avoid R-22 systems. If you have a major repair coming up that you’re on the fence about, we’d advise that you really consider replacing the old system with a new model using the new standard refrigerant.

If your air conditioner is working just fine, however, then you don’t have to worry about replacing it now. Just keep in mind that, if you do run into issues in the future, the supply of R-22 may be limited and replacement is likely going to be in your best interest.

Schedule your AC services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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 Refrigerant Leaks

We’re the company that locals call when they need an HVAC company in Loveland, CO, that they know they can trust. We’ve seen and done it all when it comes to AC repairs over the years. There’s still one AC problem that can send chills down our spine—though it won’t do anything to help your AC chill your home! That problem is the refrigerant leak, and it is a very serious problem indeed.

Your air conditioner shouldn’t run out of refrigerant. It shouldn’t need a refrigerant top-off at any point. That refrigerant loop is supposed to be a closed system. Low levels typically mean that there is a leak present, and that is a job that only a trained, experienced technician can handle. We’ll find the leak, we’ll seal the leak, and we’ll make sure that your refrigerant charge is right back up to where it should be.

 

What Is the Function of Refrigerant?

Cooling your home. No, really. We’re not being snarky. Without refrigerant, your air conditioner doesn’t cool, period. And no, refrigerant isn’t some mystical fluid that remains cold at all times and allows your AC to maintain comfortable temperatures.

What refrigerant actually is is an incredibly effective heat transfer fluid. This is due in large part to the fact that it changes between liquid and gaseous states so easily. Refrigerant evaporates in your AC’s evaporator coil, which draws heat out of the air in your home. Then it is condensed in your condenser coil outdoors. That allows the heat to be released outside. The process just repeats until desired temperatures are met.

Low Charge? Big Issue

If you have a refrigerant leak, even a tiny one, your AC is going to suffer. The lower the refrigerant charge, and the more you run your system, the worse off your air conditioner is. That’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, too. Your AC won’t be as effective with a low refrigerant charge, so it is inherently going to run harder.

This leads to insufficient cooling. It drives up energy costs, as more electricity is used by your AC to achieve subpar results. Your air conditioner incurs unnecessary wear and tear, meaning that the risk of operational problems is greatly increased. It can also cause short cycling, icing on the coil that creates an insulating barrier, and a lot more.

Contact Us If You Run Into Trouble

You cannot afford to wait when it comes to resolving problems with refrigerant leaks in your air conditioning system. The longer that you do, the more likely it becomes that your system will be irrevocably damaged. An AC that is forced to run on a low refrigerant charge can suffer compressor failure, all but guaranteeing the need for replacement.

If your system isn’t cooling your home effectively, if operating costs skyrocket, or if you notice your system running in short bursts, dial our number right away. We’ll get to the bottom of the problem.

Schedule your AC services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning, the company you can trust.

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Drive Down Your Cooling

If you’re looking for a blog post that will tell you how to keep your home cool and comfortable for free, you’re going to have to keep on looking. If you find a blog post telling you how to do that, then you shouldn’t take it too seriously. Why not? Because cooling your home isn’t free. You have to pay for your comfort in the summer. That being said, there is no reason why you should be overpaying to cool your home.

In today’s post,  we are going to be covering some ways in which you can help to cool your home in a more affordable manner. Don’t worry, we’re not just going to tell you that you have to invest in an expensive new system. We can handle your AC replacement if the time is right—or any air conditioning repair in Loveland, CO, for that matter. But for now, let’s just focus on getting those cooling costs under control. 

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Okay, we did just say that you don’t have to replace your air conditioning system to get a more affordable AC experience, and that’s true. We didn’t say, however, that you shouldn’t consider replacing your thermostat. Let’s be more specific: your old manual thermostat.

The thermostat is the control with which you regulate the operation of your AC. If you have a very bare-bones thermostat, like one without programmable features, then you are really doing yourself a disservice. Upgrading to a programmable or even a smart model will help you to cool your home more affordably.

Change Your Filter

The air filter in your air conditioning system is not really there to improve indoor air quality throughout your home. It is there to protect the AC itself. If this filter gets too clogged up, then it is going to generate excessive amounts of airflow resistance. When that happens, your system is going to have to work harder than it should in order to cool your home effectively, driving up cooling costs in the process.

Trap Cool Air In

Yes, summers are hot. Many summer nights and mornings are substantially cooler than the daytime is, though. So why not give the AC a rest, throw open the windows in the evening, and close them before things get too warm again?

You can get the AC back up and running before temperatures really spike so that it won’t have to play catch up. You can also prevent heat gain through sun exposure by closing heavy blinds during the brightest part of the day.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

There is no escaping this—not on our watch! The best step you can take to keep your cooling costs in check is to schedule routine air conditioning maintenance. There is no getting around this one. Let us inspect and tune-up your air conditioner so it operates both as efficiently and reliably as possible. You and your wallet will thank us!

Schedule your AC services withFort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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The short answer to this question is really that you want to schedule air conditioning repairs the moment you notice there are problems with your air conditioner.

There are a few problems with this answer, though. You may not have the background knowledge to notice problems right away, and you may not realize that certain problems are actually that serious even when you do notice them. Today, we want to help you better understand these situations so you can take prompt action.

Air conditioning problems are only going to get worse the longer that you choose to ignore them or the longer that it takes you to realize that these problems demand your attention. Early intervention is key, so be sure to schedule air conditioning repair in Windsor, CO, with our team at the first sign of trouble. We excel in AC repairs of all kinds, and we also have the training and expertise necessary to diagnose problems accurately the first time.

Track Cooling Costs

A fairly simple way to spot potential air conditioning problems is keeping track of how much you’re paying to cool your home. If you do this throughout the cooling season, year to year, then you can have data available to compare against even early in the current season.

The cost of cooling your home is a hugely helpful performance indicator because not all problems will cause your system to break down entirely. Not all problems will cause the AC to blow warm air. However, pretty much any problem with your air conditioner will reduce its overall energy efficiency.

Compare Different Areas in Your Home

When you invest in a whole-house cooling system, you’re investing in an air conditioner that you can use to cool your entire house. That’s kind of the entire point. So it only makes sense that certain rooms being warmer than others is a sign of trouble.

If you’re perfectly comfortable in your living room, but find yourself sweating throughout the night in your bedroom, then there is definitely a problem that needs to be dealt with. It could be something as serious as a refrigerant leak impeding the cooling process and output to a relatively minor duct leak in the single section of the system that needs sealing. Whatever the case, you’ll need professional technicians to do the job right.

Listen for Sounds of Trouble

You might think that everything is relatively fine with your air conditioner so long as it is pumping out cool air. However, this is not really the case. If you hear anything unusual, or if you hear normal operating sounds that seem to be at a much louder volume than usual, you should definitely be reaching for the phone.

Loud noises might mean grinding, screeching, or clanging sounds. It may be the result of a worn belt or a loose component. There are numerous reasons why your system may suffer like this. Whatever the case, our technicians will get to the bottom of it.

Schedule your AC services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Season AC Problems

Once the warm weather finally arrives around here, we’re all pretty ready for the change of pace. Winters in Colorado can be beautiful and there’s certainly no shortage of outdoor winter sports opportunity around here. But eventually, enough is enough. Before long, though, you’ll find the heat in your home is a bit much, and you’ll turn to your air conditioning system for comfort once more. The best piece of advice we can give you to help your system succeed is to schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with our team.

But there is no such thing as a 100% reliable air conditioner. You can count on the need for air conditioning repair in Loveland, CO, at some point. When that time comes, you want to act fast. The longer you wait to schedule repairs with our team, the worse off your air conditioning system is likely to be. In today’s post, we’ll cover some issues you’ll want to address even if it’s the beginning of the season.

 

Short Cycling

Well, it’s just been lying dormant all winter. Give it some time, it’ll get back up to running speed soon. 

Do not give your short cycling air conditioner this benefit of the doubt! If you had your air conditioning system tuned up before you started using it again, then the most likely contributors to short cycling should have been addressed. Your refrigerant charge should have been checked, your air filter should have been changed, etc. If your system is still short cycling after routine maintenance, you could have an electrical issue or something else that either snuck by during your tune-up or which developed in the interim. Either way, you don’t want to go into the cooling season with an air conditioner that won’t run consistently.

Warm Air

This is something that you’ll notice as soon as you start using your air conditioner, and it’s definitely something that you want to address right away. If there is warm air coming from your vents and you just had your system tuned up, then there is a likely suspect that you don’t want to wait on repairing: leaky ducts!

If your air ducts are leaking, then they need to be professionally sealed or, depending upon the extent of the issue, replaced. Your ducts are not going to be inspected as part of a regular tune-up. If they’re pulling warm air into the system through leaks, though, you’re going to be paying more money for less comfort in your home!

Strange Sounds

Eh, the system’s cooling my house down. I can live with the weird noise. It’s barely noticeable in most of the house.

Well, if that’s your attitude, trust us, we’ll be seeing you soon! It’s definitely better to get out ahead of this particular problem. Depending upon the type of noise—screeching, whining, banging—you could be looking at anything from a worn-out belt to a loose motor mount. These problems won’t cause an immediate disruption in cooling, but they can eventually—while also doing more damage to the system.

Schedule your AC repairs with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Get That AC Ready Ahead

There are certain facts in life that are completely inarguable. We’ve got one in the HVAC world. Routine maintenance is the best way in which to keep your air conditioner working as successfully as possible. There’s just no getting around it. It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter at what heights temperatures in your area max out at. If you want to make it through the summer season comfortably, you need to schedule the maintenance that your AC demands.

If you think that this is one air conditioning service in Windsor, CO, that you can handle on your own, think again. Routine maintenance may be just that—routine—but that does not mean that it is simple. A thorough and successful tune-up is something that only a skilled professional can ensure, and you don’t want to run the risk of damaging your system or putting yourself in danger by doing the job on your own.

 

You’ll Be Saving Yourself Money

“I don’t want to spend the money on a tune-up.”

Well, that’s your decision. We want to point out how flawed the thinking with such reasoning is, however. You see, a tune-up is not free—that’s true. But a tune-up is going to save you money in the long run—and you can take that right to the bank!

When you schedule annual air conditioning maintenance, you are going to get the most efficient performance possible from your home cooling system. Over time, a poorly maintained AC is just going to cost more and more to run. So spend the money up front, and enjoy better efficiency throughout the years.

You’ll Be More Comfortable

Say, for whatever reason, you’re fine with paying more to cool your home. Are you still fine with paying more to cool your home with lesser results? Because this is going to be the reality of the situation. Simply put, there is no way that you can hope to cool your home as effectively as possible if you  do not have your air conditioner tuned up annually.

Think about it this way. Last year, you ran a marathon. Sure, it was tough, but you prepared for it and you succeeded. Does that mean that you’ll be able to go and do it again this year, without reconditioning your body for that type of feat? Of course not! You need to keep yourself in marathon shape, and the same is true of your air conditioner.

Your System Will Be More Reliable

If there’s anything worse than an under-performing air conditioner on a hot summer day, it’s got to be a broken down air conditioner on a hot summer day! If you don’t let a professional tune up your system annually, then it is not going to be reliable.

And the most likely time that a system will break down is when you need it most—because that’s when you use it most! Don’t put your comfort and your budget at risk by failing to have your AC tuned up this year.

Schedule your air conditioning maintenance with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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A quick look at the calendar will tell you we AC Replacementare well on our way toward the coldest time of the year. Right now is the perfect time to schedule your heating maintenance and—if you think your heater may not have another winter’s worth of reliable service left in it after all—your heating replacement. Does this mean you should forget all about your air conditioner until next spring, though?

Absolutely not.

If your air conditioner was struggling at the end of this past cooling system, or if you were unhappy with it or its performance for any reason, then now is a great time to schedule your air conditioning replacement, as well. And, as always, you want a trained professional on the job. While an air conditioning installation in Loveland, CO, at this point in time may seem counter-intuitive, there are plenty of reasons to have it done sooner rather than later.

There’s a Lot to Be Said for “Just Getting It Out of the Way”

If you contact us just before summer is gearing up again to replace your air conditioning system, then we are of course going to replace that air conditioning system. We’ll do it the right way, every step of the way, just as we would at any other time of the year. That being said, it may not be on as expedited a schedule as you’d like, particularly if it is in the midst of AC tune-up season.

Simply put, this is an extremely busy time for air conditioning technicians everywhere, not just those on our team. Because of this, you may have to wait longer than is ideal to have your new system put into place. Summer can come in fast and it can come in hot around here. By replacing your air conditioner now, even if you are not going to need it for a while, you can avoid the potential wait time you may face when spring is winding down.

How Great Is Your Memory?

Okay, so investing in a new air conditioning system may not be the type of thing that you’re as likely to forget about as, say, picking up milk or eggs at the market. However, you may not be quite as on top of it as you’d hope when the summer season is drawing near once more. It doesn’t matter if you forget about the AC replacement until you’re ready to fire it up for the first time, or if you just cut it a little closer to the heat than you intended due to a brief memory lapse.

When the weather does heat up, you don’t want to be scrambling to get as big of a job as a full AC replacement done in time. You want to fire up your system (after having it tuned-up,  of course) and enjoy its best performance possible. That’s what you’ll get when you schedule your AC replacement and other services with our team.

Schedule your AC services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Your air conditioner is making a weird Why Schedule AC Repairssound. Or it is starting and stopping too frequently. Or maybe it’s blowing warmer air than usual, or costing more to run. Whatever the case, there’s a problem of some kind affecting system performance.

But hey, we’re almost at the end of the 2018 cooling season. Why not just wait until the summer begins anew to have the air conditioner repaired?

Well, as it turns out, there are a whole lot of reasons.

And yes, we’re going to share a few of them.

First, however, an executive summary of what is to follow …

It is always best to schedule immediate AC repair in Loveland, CO.

If you ask us, no problem with your air conditioning system is ever truly “minor” enough to ignore. The sooner that you stop thinking of problems like that, the better off your air conditioning system.

Start Saving Money Immediately

The whole “well, my air conditioner is still working pretty well” argument really drives us nuts. Why? Because a good enough performance is not good enough, and for a few reasons.  Chief among them is the fact that we hate thinking of our customers paying too much for too little comfort. That is just what you’ll be doing if you fail to schedule your air conditioning repairs promptly, though.

Whatever the other effects that your problem has on your air conditioner may be, you can definitely count on energy efficiency suffering. It may not add up to too much right away, but even a little bit of unnecessary cost is too much for our valued customers. When we repair your system promptly, your budget reaps the benefits as well as your comfort!

Prevent Further Damage

If you sprain your ankle a mile from the marathon finish line, you may decide you’ve come too far to give up. It’s not as if you can have a doctor come out to the race and patch you up. If you do manage to finish, of course, you’re really going to feel it for a while to come.

When it comes to your AC finishing a marathon of cooling a home all summer, there’s no reason to force it across the finish line. You can easily have a technician come tend to its pain points. Scheduling prompt repairs helps limit further damages to the system.

For the Sake of Convenience

Let’s pose a question—how certain are you that you’ll remember to schedule your AC repairs before you actually need to use your system next year?

If your answer is “not very,” then have the job done now! The last thing you want is for summer to strike harder and earlier than expected when your air conditioning system isn’t prepared for it. If you get the necessary repairs out of the way now, you won’t find yourself scrambling to schedule service during our busiest time of the season.

Schedule your AC repairs with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning, the company you can trust.

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Huh, you think, taking in the scene. That’s weird. I didn’t even realize my air conditioner used water. So, should I call a plumber, or an AC technician?

First things first—stop what you’re doing!

You are right to be confused. A central air conditioning system does not use water in its cooling process. It doesn’t have a water supply line. It does not store water in a tank.

So, am I just imagining I’m seeing water around the AC unit? Because I’m definitely seeing water around the AC unit. 

This Water Surrounding My AC From

Well, no—we didn’t say that. What we are saying is that this is not exactly a water leak, at least not in the way you’re thinking of. Feeling more confused? That’s okay. Trust us, we get plenty of calls for HVAC services in Windsor, CO from homeowners in your same situation. The good news is we have answers.

First of All, What’s the Source of the Water?

If your air conditioner is not a plumbed appliance with a designated water line, then where is the water surrounding the indoor unit coming from? There are two potential answers to this question.

The first is that the water surrounding your air conditioner has just wound up there due to the AC unit being at a low point in the home. It could have come from a plumbing leak, or even from a leak in the foundation letting water in when it rains. Whatever the case, water is naturally going to follow gravity’s pull, and that means it will pool around the AC if it’s at the lowest point on the floor it is installed on.

A more likely scenario, however, is just that you’re looking at condensation. Your AC doesn’t generate cool air, remember, but instead evaporates refrigerant in order to draw heat out of the air already inside your home. As it does so, humidity is removed from the air and condensation collects on the evaporator coil. But why is that condensation winding up around the AC unit?

Condensate Drainage Issues

Your AC has a condensate drain pan and drain line, which allows for condensation to be removed from the house. If the drain pan or drain line is damaged, then leaks can develop. By adjusting the drain pan, cleaning the drain line, or replacing either component in the event of damages, you can resolve the problem.

You could also be dealing with ice melting off the evaporator coil. This could be due to a very dirty air filter restricting airflow to the point where condensation freezes on the coil. It could also be the result of a refrigerant leak, though.

If you have a refrigerant leak, failure to schedule prompt repairs could actually result in potentially irrevocable damages to your system. If your filter is not obviously dirty, but you’ve got issues with ice developing, there is no time to spare!

Schedule your AC repairs with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Why do we ask? Because a refrigerant leak is AC Leaking Refrigerantactually one of the most serious problems you can face with your air conditioning system. Not only that, but it is also one of the most common! That is a bad combination, especially when you consider that the symptoms of a refrigerant leak are not always easy to spot or accurately diagnose at first! We’re not here to alarm you, of course. Instead, we just want to make sure that you have some basic information which will help you to deal with any refrigerant leaks successfully.

Does that mean that you can fix your own refrigerant leak once you determine that this is what you are most likely dealing with? Absolutely not! Fixing a refrigerant leak is no different than almost any other AC repair in this regard. It’s a job for skilled professionals and skilled professionals only. When you suspect that you need an air conditioning repair in Loveland, CO, be it for a refrigerant leak or any other problem, remember that the pros on our team are always here for you.

 

You Are Right to Be Concerned, Considering the Function of Refrigerant

What function might that be? A pretty important one, in that the entire cooling process hinges on the refrigerant cycle! Specifically, it demands the evaporation and condensing of refrigerant.

Your air conditioner has two coils, those being the indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coil. Refrigerant evaporates in the indoor coil, which allows it to draw heat out of the air passing over it. The warmed refrigerant is pumped through the system to the condenser coil, and its heat is released into the air outside during the condensing phase of the cycle. That cycle continues until desired temperatures are met in your home—which is a much easier goal to reach when you have the right amount of refrigerant in the system.

How Can I Spot Trouble?

By knowing what to look for. Keep your senses on the alert for any of the following problems in your home.

  • A decrease in cooling output, or even warm air coming from the vents. If you don’t have enough refrigerant in the air conditioning system, then it will struggle to effectively cool air.
  • An increase in cooling costs. If you there isn’t enough refrigerant in the AC system, then it is not going to work as efficiently as it otherwise would.
  • A hissing sound coming from the system. If you have a refrigerant leak in your air conditioner, then you may hear the pressurized gas escaping from its lines in the system.
  • An icy evaporator coil or frost on the refrigerant lines. If you have a refrigerant leak in your air conditioning system, then these components can get too cold and ice up.
  • An irregular cycling pattern. Leaking refrigerant will cause the air conditioner to overheat and may force it to shut down rapidly in an act of self-preservation. Short cycling puts added strain on the system and further drives up energy costs.

Schedule your AC services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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