Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Air Conditioning Repair

AC Repairs

Has a contractor ever told you there’s a way to unlock 100% AC reliability? Because you definitely shouldn’t listen to that contractor. Modern air conditioners are very well designed and manufactured. They remain mechanical systems, though. And that means that problems will develop from time to time. So what’s a homeowner to do? Just kick back and wait for that to happen?

Not exactly.

Just because you can’t prevent every air conditioning problem doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to prevent as many as possible. How can you do that? Well, that’s the focus of today’s post! We’re not giving you DIY AC service tips, because that’s what our professional technicians are for. We do have some insights into how you can easily minimize AC repairs in Loveland, CO, though.

 

1. Change Your Air Filter

Okay, we said we weren’t giving DIY tips here. But changing your air filter is the single best way you can contribute to your air conditioner’s success on your own. The air filter in your air conditioner isn’t there to boost indoor air quality. It’s there to protect your air conditioning system itself. And, if you don’t change it regularly, you are directly contributing to its lack of success.

These filters usually need to be changed every 1-3 months. That’s much more frequently than annual maintenance (spoiler alert). If you don’t change your filter enough, it can get clogged. When it gets clogged, it creates a lot of airflow resistance. And when that happens, the strain on the system can and will lead to operational problems eventually.

2. Always, Always Hire Trained Professionals

Want to know how even a great AC can struggle to succeed? If that great AC is not installed and serviced by qualified professionals. It sounds obvious, but trust us. There are a lot of overly confident tinkerers and DIY-enthusiasts out there. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. A quality system from a great manufacturer, and in need of constant repairs.

This really starts right from the beginning. You need to know that your system is the right fit for your home. You need your duct system expertly designed to service that home. You need any repairs, when they are needed, to be done the right way. Cutting corners by working with amateurs is going to come back to bite you in the long run.

3. Maintenance. The End.

We cut right to the point on this one. If you don’t schedule yearly maintenance for your air conditioning system, you are going to run into problems at a much higher rate than you should. Your air conditioner puts in a lot of work for you. You need to show it the care that it needs to keep it functioning as reliably and efficiently as possible.

We actually offer a comprehensive maintenance plan for just this reason. Check out our video on energy savings here. To say that routine maintenance is an absolute necessity is still an understatement. It protects your comfort, it protects your system, and it protects your investment.

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

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Repairs

At the time of this writing, there is no air conditioner on the market that will start yelling out for help when trouble is brewing. That doesn’t mean that the average homeowner has no way of knowing that their AC is struggling, though. If you pay attention to what your system is telling you, and know how it’s communicating, then there are plenty of warning signs.

There is never a situation in which it will benefit you to put necessary air conditioning repairs on hold. The first sign of trouble should have you calling out to our air conditioning repair experts in Loveland.  But how do you know when this is necessary?

Today, we’ll cover 3 ways in which your air conditioner may sound the alarm that all is not well. Keep these warning signs in mind, and don’t hesitate to schedule service. A prompt, professional repair is your best bet against serious issues!

 

1. It’s Grinding Its Gears—and Yours!

We cannot stress this enough. Your air conditioner should not be developing new sounds as it gets older. If you start hearing a strange new sound coming from your AC, that means that it is time to have that sound investigated. Don’t write that new grinding, squealing, or clanking sound off as little more than a minor annoyance. That’s how it begins, but that’s not how it’ll stay.

Strange sounds could be the result of anything from loose components, to insufficient lubrication, to electrical issues. The bottom line is that a professional diagnosis is the only appropriate course of action. Don’t write something off, only to find out the hard way that it was more serious than you thought!

2. It’s Costing You an Arm and a Leg

When things really heat up and you’re running your air conditioner pretty much around the clock, it’s easy to write off high energy bills. After all, that cooling doesn’t come for free, right? Well,  that may be true—but don’t get comfortable overpaying for your comfort!

Keep an eye on how much you’re typically spending to cool your home, and definitely take note of any abnormal spikes. Again, there are a lot of different potential reasons why your system may see a drop in efficiency. You could be looking at anything from a dirty air filter (simple fix) to a refrigerant leak (the exact opposite of a simple fix). We’ll figure out precisely what’s going on.

3. It’s Just Not Getting the Job Done

Well, that’s pretty obvious. I’m not going to ignore my AC if it can’t even cool my house down. We know that this sounds obvious, but trust us—we’ve gone on a lot of calls where homeowners admit that their ACs have been underperforming for some time before calling it in.

The point is that you don’t want to wait for your air conditioner to break down entirely before you report the problem. You want to get out ahead of any problems, and that means that you want to contact us as soon as your AC starts to struggle.

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

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Refrigerant Leak

You are going to run into problems with your air conditioning system at some point. “Problems,” of course, is a very broad term. An air filter that is too dirty is a problem, but it is one that homeowners can pretty easily resolve on their own. A refrigerant leak, on the other hand, is a very serious problem. If you have any reason at all to suspect that you have a refrigerant leak, then you absolutely need to schedule professional repairs right away.

If you want the best air conditioning in Loveland, CO, then you need an air conditioner with the ideal amount of refrigerant in the system. It’s just that simple. Low refrigerant levels cause serious issues, potentially doing irreparable harm to systems. And refrigerant is not just something that you can top off,  like the gas in your car, when it runs low—because it should never run low. More on that below. Let us handle your AC service needs.

What Does Refrigerant Do?

It is not an exaggeration to say that the whole operation of your air conditioning system hinges upon the refrigerant cycle. Without refrigerant, your air conditioner simply cannot cool your house! Your air conditioner does not generate cooled air out of, well, thin air. No, it removes heat from the air that is already in your home, and then redistributes that air back throughout the house. And it does so through the evaporation and condensation of refrigerant.

As the refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, heat is drawn out of the air. That warmed refrigerant then travels outside, where it is condensed, releasing its heat into the air outdoors. This cycle continues until your desired temperatures are met throughout your home. It’s a relatively simple process in theory, but a refrigerant leak can bring everything grinding to a halt.

Your AC Does Not Consume Refrigerant

That refrigerant cycle that we discussed above does not involve the consumption of refrigerant. Instead, the cycle continues over and over again in a closed system. That means that a decreasing level of refrigerant indicates a leak. Why is that such a major problem?

  • Low refrigerant levels lead to higher energy costs, as the system must run longer and longer.
  • Eventually, the system can start to short-cycle as it overheats, running in short bursts. This further raises operating costs.
  • Additionally, the system is put under a lot of excessive strain. This increases the risk of operational problems.
  • You’re now paying more money for less cooling, while also covering repair costs that could have been avoided.
  • Eventually, the compressor can seize up. At that point, you’ll probably be looking at a whole system replacement.

If you notice that your AC keeps developing ice, that it is short cycling, or that its cooling output is decreased, then you need to contact us right away. Don’t allow a refrigerant leak to take a serious toll on your home cooling system.

Schedule your AC repairs 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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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 Refrigerant actually 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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You Delay AC Repairs Chances 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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