Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Category: Air Conditioning

How Dirty Filters Affect

Are you one of those homeowners who is diligent in scheduling routine air conditioning maintenance services each and every year? If so, then we applaud you. This is a responsible trait to possess, and one that is sure to help keep your air conditioning system running as effectively, efficiently, and reliably as possible. However, you must also keep in mind that routine maintenance alone is not necessarily enough to get you the cooling performance you deserve.

There is at least one major step that you should take on your own, and that is changing your air filter. No, you cannot complete a full AC tune-up on your own. However, you can change the air filter yourself, and you should be doing so as needed. This is typically required every 1 to 3 months, though a number of factors will influence how frequently your filter actually needs to be changed. So read on and learn more about how changing your air filter benefits you, including keeping air conditioning repairs in Windsor, CO at bay.

Yes, It Is That Big of a Deal

We know what some homeowners reading this are probably thinking. Really? I need to change my air filter that frequently? Is that really necessary? 

The answer is yes. It is that necessary. A dirty air filter may not seem like that big of a deal, particularly if you have not noticed a marked decline in overall indoor air quality. However, the function of this filter is not to boost indoor air quality throughout your home. Instead, it is there to protect your HVAC system itself from the various problems that may arise when pollutants like dust and dirt build up on its components.

What Kind of Problems Are We Talking About?

For starters, you are going to see a dropoff in system energy efficiency. If you are trying to cool your home in the most efficient manner possible (and why wouldn’t you?) you are definitely not going to want to keep a dirty air filter in place. That is going to make it harder for the system to force air through it, and that is going to cause the system to consume more and more energy as it tries to do its job. You’ll see this reflected in your overall energy costs.

You will also notice that you are paying more for a lesser cooling output. Your system just won’t work as well as it should if it is contending with a dirty air filter. It may even wind up short cycling, meaning that it will start up, run briefly, then cycle back down rapidly. When that happens, you are going to consume more electricity than you should have to because your system uses more energy when starting up than it does when running normally. Plus, you are putting a lot of wear and tear on the system, and the decreased airflow can cause the evaporator coil to ice up, insulating it and making the problem worse.

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

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You Delay AC RepairsChances are that if you are reading this blog, you are not an air conditioning expert. That’s why you come here for our expert advice, right? Well, many non-experts, meaning most homeowners, are a bit confused about when is the right time to schedule service with their Windsor, CO air conditioning repair specialists. Let us ask you this—when do you schedule repairs? When the AC is completely incapable of cooling your home? When it breaks down completely? If so—reconsider this course of action right now!

There are a lot of problems that may develop with your air conditioning system. Even the best ACs on the market today manufactured by the most trusted companies around are going to encounter operational problems from time to time. The best way in which to deal with those problems is to do so the moment that you notice any signs of such trouble developing. Read on to learn more about how delaying repairs will negatively affect you.

 

You’re Just Making Them Worse

Imagine if you sprained your ankle a mile or two into a marathon, and then went on to finish that long, arduous race—an immense challenge even for those participants in great shape. How do you think your ankle would fare? Sure, you’d have one heck of a story and a rightly earned sense of accomplishment. Would it be worth the damage done to your body, though?

Probably not, considering you may not want this race to be your last! The same is true of an AC that is working its way through the summer season despite being in poor working condition. Yes, it may make it through to the end. It will likely be much worse for wear as a result, however, and perhaps even damaged beyond repair.

You’re Wasting Money

Okay, so let’s say that your air conditioner is not functioning at peak performance levels, but it is still getting its job done decently in spite of the troubles that it is facing. No big deal then, right? Wrong. Why? Because it’s not just about a poor performance level, but a poor efficiency level, too.

If your air conditioner is not kept in great working condition, then it is not going to work at great efficiency levels. It is that simple. Your air conditioner does not have to break down entirely to cost you a lot of money. You’ll see that in the high cost of cooling your home with a compromised, but technically operational, system.

You’re Putting Your Comfort on the Line

Are you most likely to get sick when you’re well rested and healthy, or when you are being pulled in a million directions at once and are running yourself ragged? Obviously the latter, right? That’s much the same with your AC, which is most likely to suffer serious damages just when you need it the most!

Be sure to schedule prompt air conditioning repairs if you are serious about keeping your AC reliable. Ignoring “minor” issues will have major consequences if and when your system finally breaks down during the hottest time of the year.

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

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AC Maintenance Necessary

If you navigate around this site a bit or read through some of our previous blogs, then you will notice very quickly that we are strong advocates of annual air conditioning maintenance. Yes, annual. Yes, every single year. Why? Because there is just no better way to keep your AC working like new, without investing in a new air conditioner every year! When a professional tunes up your system annually, you will enjoy a great cooling experience.

We cannot stress that last bit enough. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. An AC tune-up is definitely worth doing, and only by scheduling this service with trained professionals can you hope for it to be done right. If you think you can read a few blog posts or watch an instructional video in order to learn how you can tune up your AC yourself, think again! This is definitely a job for air conditioning professionals in Loveland, CO.

A Waste of Money? Quite the Opposite!

It’s an argument many have made—many of whom have learned the hard way that routine AC maintenance is definitely worth the minor cost of the service! My air conditioner is fine—if it’s not broken, why fix it? There is a fundamental flaw in this logic, that flaw being that AC maintenance is not about fixing problems, but rather preventing those problems from developing in the first place.

This should be obvious, with the service being called “preventive maintenance” and all that, but some people still fail to see the connection. No, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of running into operational problems with your air conditioning system from time to time. When your system is kept in the best working condition possible, though, it is far less likely to run into such problems. That saves you money on repair costs and even a premature replacement.

You Do Want to Live Comfortably, Right?

If so, then you are definitely going to want to schedule routine air conditioning maintenance. There is a major difference between an air conditioning system that starts up when you need it and one that actually excels in its operation. If good enough is good enough for you, that’s fine. If you’re serious about living comfortably, however, you need more than a good performance.

You need a great one, and that is what routine air conditioning maintenance allows for. Only when every component of your air conditioning system is pulling its weight, from motors to fan belts and everything in between, can your system truly function at peak performance levels. Do not allow “minor” issues to cause very real problems very shortly down the road. Instead, work with our team to keep your system working properly!

With annual air conditioning maintenance, you discover problems early on so that immediate interventions can be made. You can help to extend the life of your system. You boost energy efficiency so that you can actually pay less for greater comfort. If all of this sounds good to you, and we cannot imagine why it wouldn’t, check out our maintenance program today.

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning is big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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air conditioner

When the heat of summer is at its peak, you are obviously going to want your air conditioner to be up to the challenge of cooling your home effectively and reliably. That being said, you should also realize that your air conditioner is not and should not be a freezer. If you see ice on the system, particularly on the evaporator coil in the indoor unit, your response should not be “wow, my system is really keeping things cool this year!”

The truth of the matter is that ice on your air conditioner suggests that there is a problem with your system. We’ll be discussing two such problems today. One is quite simple to resolve. It is actually one of those few air conditioning problems that you can resolve on your own. The other is much more serious, and puts your system at considerable risk. If this is the case, you’ll need air conditioning repair in Loveland, CO right away.

 

It Could Mean That You Have a Refrigerant Leak

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first and foremost. If your evaporator coil is iced over, particularly if you also notice frost or ice on the refrigerant lines themselves, then you could definitely have a refrigerant leak in your system. Refrigerant plays a vital role in the air conditioning process, so this type of leak could really spell trouble for your system—potentially very expensive trouble.

Your air conditioner doesn’t consume fuel to generate coolness in the way that a heater may consume fuel to generate heat—and it doesn’t consume refrigerant at all, period! If you have a low refrigerant charge, it means that you have a leak. It could have been improperly charged at the factory or by a technician during a dry install, but that’s far less likely.

Refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coil, which allows heat to be drawn out of the air. If there isn’t enough refrigerant, then the coil can get too cold and condensation collected on it can freeze up. Having the leak sealed and the refrigerant charged to the proper level will resolve the issue.

You May Just Need a New Filter

Before you contact us with concerns about a refrigerant leak, you should check to make sure that your air filter is not just really dirty. It sounds strange, but this could actually be the cause of a frozen evaporator coil. How? Restricted airflow.

If airflow is sufficiently restricted, the coil will get too cold as too little heat is drawn out of the air. When that happens, you guessed it: condensation freezes on the coil. This is just one of the reasons why it is so important that you keep a fresh air filter in your air conditioning system. They’re cheap, they’re easy to swap out, and they really do make a difference! Don’t let a dirty filter cause problems for you.

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

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Air Conditioning

It really does not matter if you are purchasing your first AC system for installation in a newly constructed home, or if the time has come to replace your old air conditioner. Before you buy that new system, you need to explore your air conditioning options thoroughly. There is no reason why you have to stick with what you’ve always used in the past—although there is also nothing wrong with doing so. We just want to make sure that you find the ideal system for your needs.

Homeowners throughout the area know that they can turn to us for all things air conditioning in Loveland, CO, and guidance in selecting a new system is no exception. So review this quick rundown of your options, explore our site for more details, and be sure to contact us with any questions that you may have. With our help, you’ll be cooling your home effectively, efficiently, and reliably in no time.

 

Split Central Air Conditioners

The most popular type of whole-house cooling system these days is still the split central air conditioner. It is not difficult to understand why. Split central air conditioners, when properly sized and installed, are powerful cooling systems that get the job done more effectively and efficiently than window units.

These systems evaporate refrigerant in the indoor coil, allowing them to remove heat from the air in the house. They then condense the refrigerant in the outdoor unit, releasing its heat, before repeating the process until desired temperatures are met. The cooled air is redistributed throughout the house via air ducts.

Heat Pumps

The heat pump is another split central system that uses air ducts to distribute cooled air throughout the house. In fact, in its cooling mode, the heat pump is pretty much the exact same as a central air conditioning system. So why does this get its own description? Because the heat pump can actually reverse its refrigerant cycle and, as a result, its entire mode of operation.

In the winter, a component called a reversing valve allows the refrigerant in the system to flow the opposite direction. The function of the coils is swapped. Now, refrigerant evaporates in the outdoor coil, and is condensed indoors. In between, the refrigerant is compressed to further boost its thermal energy. This allows you to transfer heat from the air outside into your home for exceptionally efficient heating.

Ductless Mini Splits

Ductless mini splits are also heat pumps. They are capable of both effective cooling and highly efficient heating thanks to the heat transfer process outlined above. So why do they get their own section? Because they refine the system further by eliminating air ducts from the equation entirely!

Individual wall-mounted blowers are responsible for air distribution, heating and cooling those areas in which they are installed. They are perfect for installation in homes without existing ductwork, and they further boost efficiency by eliminating the risk of energy loss via duct leaks.

Turn to Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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 air conditioner is only going

When your air conditioner sounds like a pavement grinder as it’s running, or if it is not starting up at all, then you are probably going to recognize that there is a problem right away. That is beneficial, as it allows you to schedule AC repair in Loveland right away. But what about those problems that are not quite so obvious? What about an air conditioner that is short cycling? Are such problems any less deserving of prompt attention?

Absolutely not! Short cycling may not be as clear-cut a problem as the aforementioned issues, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require the same swift response. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, any problem with your air conditioner is only going to get worse over time, meaning that no problem is really “minor.” Additionally, what seems to be a minor “problem” may just be a minor symptom of what is actually a serious problem. That could be the case with short cycling.

Short Cycling? What’s That?

Your air conditioner is not supposed to run non-stop. Few of us have the funds to allow for that. However, it shouldn’t be running in short bursts either, and that is basically what short cycling is. The system will start up, run briefly, then cycle down before a full cooling cycle can be completed. This is problematic for a few different reasons:

  1. It wastes energy. Starting up any system is when that system uses the most energy. By constantly restarting over and over again, a short cycling air conditioner consumes more energy and drives up its operating costs.  You’ll see this reflected in your energy bills. Unfortunately, this is not the only way in which a short cycling AC can wind up negatively affecting your finances.
  2. It increases wear and tear. Again, a system is working harder to get itself going from a cold stop than it is to keep itself running. If your air conditioner has to start again and again, it is going to incur a lot of wear and tear. That results in an increased risk of system damages, and the associated repair costs can really add up.
  3. It affects your comfort. A short cycling air conditioner just isn’t going to provide you with the level of comfort you deserve in your home. It won’t dehumidify the air as well (although keep in mind this is not an AC’s primary function, and a designated dehumidifier should be used if this is a priority) and it won’t cool your home as effectively or consistently.

What Causes Short Cycling?

A number of problems could be the underlying cause of your system’s short cycling, and that’s the point. It could be relatively simple to resolve, or it could pose a serious threat to the system. A dirty air filter may simply need to be replaced to reduce airflow and prevent overheating. That’s a task that you can handle on your own.

You may need a faulty component replaced, however, like a capacitor or even the thermostat. Again, not terribly serious, but the system will continue to suffer until you alert us to the problem and let us service the system. A refrigerant leak could also be the source. In that event, you could destroy the system by doing serious compressor damage if you ignore the problem. So play it safe, and get us on the job ASAP!

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning can handle all of your AC repair service needs. Big enough to serve, small enough to care .

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AC Problems

Okay, we will be the first to admit that today’s topic is a bit of a downer. After all, things are just starting to warm back up after another cold, lingering winter season. Why jump straight to AC problems? Well, we aren’t. And that’s the point. Today, we’re going to be talking about how you can help to avoid running into those problems. No, there are no guarantees that you’ll never need repairs—quite the opposite, actually, as eventual repairs are a certainty.

That does not mean that you just have to wait around and invite them into your life, though! So keep the following tips in mind, and we’ll help you to keep the need for AC repair in Loveland, CO at bay for as long as possible. An added benefit? These tips are not just going to minimize the risk of running into problems with your air conditioner. They’ll actually help you to enjoy a better cooling experience as well.

 

1. Change Your Air Filter

Seriously, that’s your advice? How does that prevent damage to my air conditioner? There is a common misconception regarding the standard air filters in HVAC systems that they are there to protect indoor air quality throughout the house. In truth, these filters are far too inefficient to do that. Their primary function is instead to protect your HVAC equipment itself.

When an air filter is too dirty, however, it creates a lot of airflow resistance. As a result, your HVAC system is going to wind up using more energy than it normally would in order to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout your home. In ACs and heat pumps, a dirty air filter can restrict airflow enough to lead to icing on the evaporator coil. The result? You pay more for a lesser cooling experience, while the wear and tear can cause the system to overheat and suffer operational damages.

2. Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean

Again, you may doubt the veracity of this claim. How exactly does a clean outdoor AC unit help to protect the system’s overall condition? Well, think about this—those fins on that outdoor unit are there to help the system disperse heat into the air outside. If that ability is limited,  then the system is in trouble.

Issues like grass clippings and other yard waste adhering to the case of the unit, or even branches and leaves falling into the top of the unit, can definitely take a toll over time. Every now and then, particularly after a big storm or following up your yard work, do a quick visual check of this unit. It can really pay off in the long run.

3. Schedule Routine Maintenance

Okay, if you did not see this one coming then chances are that you’re not a regular reader of our blog. We’re always advocating for routine AC maintenance. Why? Because it truly is the most effective means to protect your air conditioning system. It allows our technicians to address any existing problems, discover developing ones, and make sure your system is in the excellent condition necessary to excel in its overall performance.

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Bigger HVAC System

No, absolutely not. It is a common misconception, though. There is an idea floating around out there that when you want a job done right, you turn to the biggest, most powerful solution you can find to get it done. Just like you wouldn’t drop a huge engine into a small car or outfit a large sailboat with a bath towel on the mast, however, you shouldn’t put an inappropriately sized heating or cooling system into your home. A system that is too small may seem more obviously problematic, but too large is really no better.

Today, we are going to go over some of the reasons why oversized HVAC systems are really no good. Even if you invest in the best system on the market from one of the most trusted manufacturers in the industry, it is only going to meet, let alone exceed, your expectations if it is appropriately sized for the property in question. That is why you should work with our team—we’re one of the most trusted HVAC contrhttps://fortcollinsheating.comactors in Masonville, CO and the surrounding areas.

 

You Are Immediately Wasting Money

As you might imagine, larger HVAC systems capable of handling higher heating and cooling loads are more expensive than similar, but smaller, systems. The bigger the air conditioner or heater, the bigger the price tag. And you know what? For every bit of extra power that you invest in despite not really needing it, the bigger the mistake that you are making. Why? Because you’re throwing money right down the drain.

To determine the appropriate size of an air conditioner or heater for your home, a heating or cooling load calculation must be completed. This will tell your technician what size of AC or heater is necessary for cooling your house. It’s not just a matter of looking at square footage, either, so don’t think you can figure it out on your own. By purchasing only as much heating and/or cooling power as you need, you are making a smart investment in both your comfort and finances.

You Are Putting Your System and Your Comfort in Jeopardy

“Well, at least with an oversized system I’ll know for certain that my house will be comfortable, right?” Wrong again! Yes, an oversized air conditioner will be able to cool your home, and an oversized heater will heat it, too. But it can do so too quickly. When that happens, the system is going to wind up short cycling. It will start up, adjust temperatures too fast, and cycle back down. Then repeat the process. Over and over.

With an AC, this interruption of the regular cooling cycle means the system won’t deal with humidity as effectively as it would when running in even, regular cycles. It also means your HVAC system is going to drain energy, as it takes more of it to start a system up than to keep it running. Plus, the added strain on the system caused by all that starting and stopping increases the risks of encountering operational problems. Trust us, it is always best to make sure that your system is the right fit for your home.

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning is big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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3 Tips for a Successful AC Installation

Now that it is April, a lot of us are looking forward to the warmer weather that comes along with the summer season. It isn’t quite here yet, but you’ll be forgiven for letting your mind wander to it. After all, we did just make it through another long and cold stretch of winter. Even those of us who love the snow and winter weather the most are ready for a change of pace.

Since you are thinking about the onset of summer anyway, we figured that this is a great time to bring your attention back to your air conditioning system. You’ll be needing it soon enough. Are you thinking about scheduling an air conditioning installation in Loveland, CO this year? If so, then you want to do everything possible to ensure the installation of this system is a resounding success. Here are some tips for doing just that. Read on, and contact us with any questions you may have.

 

Work Out Your Budget Ahead of Time

For most homeowners, purchasing and installing a new whole-house cooling system represents a pretty major investment. You want to get the most for your money when investing in a new AC, but you also want to keep your expenses manageable. That is where developing a budget ahead of time really benefits you.

The more features it has and the higher its efficiency, the more expensive any air conditioning system is going to be. Now, you don’t want to go out and purchase the cheapest air conditioner that you can just because it’s cheap. By creating a budget to work within, though, you’re helping our team ensure that your money is going toward the right places for your particular goals and preferences.

Review All Available Options

Okay, so you’ve always used a central air conditioner in the past. That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to continue using a traditional split central AC. There are a lot of different systems out there, and you may find one that better suits your needs.

We install air-source heat pumps as well, for instance. We also install ductless mini split systems, which are a great way to retrofit a whole-house system into an existing property that doesn’t already have ductwork installed. We also have the expertise necessary to help you navigate this terrain in order to guarantee your 100% satisfaction with the system that you wind up with.

Schedule Your Installation with Qualified Professionals

We hope that this goes without saying, but even some “professional” outfits do not do the most professional job when it comes to installing a whole-house cooling system. This is a common project, but that doesn’t mean it is simple or minor.

Working with us means that working with experienced and professional technicians backed by a company with a well-deserved reputation for excellence. We’ll size and design your system to fit perfectly in your home, and we’ll integrate it into your property properly every step of the way. Let us know when you are ready to take your cooling experience to the next level.

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

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Saving Money

With all of the modern cooling systems and technologies that we have at our disposal in this day and age, it is easier than ever to cool our homes with greater energy efficiency. That being said, cooling your home does still come at a cost. If you have an older AC that you are not quite ready to part with, or if you are just looking to maximize your energy savings throughout this and future cooling seasons, then this post is for you. Today, we want to cover some simple ways in which you can help you unburden your AC a bit in order to scale back on your cooling costs.

These are not magical steps that are suddenly going to make your cooling bills disappear entirely, of course, and the fact of the matter is that an older or lower SEER system is still going to cost more to run than a newer, higher efficiency system. With that in mind, we invite you to put the following tips into action and to enjoy the energy savings that you deserve. Remember to give us a call if and when you require any further cooling services in Loveland, CO this summer season.

Simple Money Saving Tips

Don’t have the money, time, or desire for a brand new air conditioning system? No problem! With our help and a bit of background knowledge, you can squeeze some extra efficiency out of your current cooling system to keep more money in the account each billing cycle.

  • Use window shades or blinds to minimize direct sunlight. This will help to cut down on unwanted heat gain.
  • Keep filters and AC coils clean. Dirty filters and coils force your system to work harder than it should have to cool your home.
  • Have your system tuned and checked each year. Routine maintenance is the best way in which to protect overall energy efficiency.
  • For cooling, set your thermostat to maintain consistent temperatures (never fluctuating more than 3° to 4°). Do not turn it off when not home during the day thinking that this will save you money. It will actually cost more to bring the temperature down after getting home than if you simply maintain a set temperature.
  • When investing in new equipment, choose a contractor that will properly size your system and install it correctly. You don’t want a system that is too small and will struggle to cool your home, but an oversized system is actually no better!
  • Avoid the utility curtailment devices commonly marketed as “saver switches” or “smart thermostats” incentivized by the utility companies. These devices only help with their supply problem and will not save you money.

We hope that you found some of these tips useful and that you’ll start to see some energy savings following the implementation of these steps. If you do decide to go all out and have a brand new, highly efficient system installed, remember to schedule the service withFort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning.

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