air conditioner

Air Conditioning

What Are High-End Air Conditioners?

What Are High-End Air Conditioners?

When you’re looking for a way to combat the summer heat without having high cooling costs, look for a high-end air conditioner. Its upgraded standard features increase its energy efficiency and your comfort.The U.S. Department of Energy requires all HVAC equipment to be evaluated for energy efficiency. They measure the efficiency of central air conditioners by testing them over a simulated cooling season and measure the amount of electricity they use.The minimum stands energy efficiency rating stands at 14 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) for air conditioners in Oklahoma. A high-end A/C will have a 15 SEER rating and higher. It may also carry the familiar Energy Star logo. High-end HVAC systems do cost more initially but make up for their high price in lower energy bills and reduced maintenance costs.The features to look for in high-end air conditioners and heat pumps to look for that that increase the SEER include:

Dual-speed compressor.

Such a compressor can adjust its running speed from low to high, depending on how much cooling your home needs. The compressor uses the most electricity of any other air conditioner part. When it runs on low, it uses less power, which saves you money.

Variable-speed air handler.

A variable-speed motor in the air handler will blow the air throughout your home at different speeds based on its need for cooling. They also ramp up and slow down slowly. The longer running time distributes all the cooled air from the ductwork that would otherwise be wasted.

Zoning systems.

A zoning system lets you control the temperatures individually in each room of your home. They use dampers in the ductwork and individual thermostats so that each area of your home will be a comfortable temperature, instead of having a single thermostat setting for the entire home. Zoning eliminates hot and cold spots throughout the house.Because summers are hot and fairly long in this region, a high-end air conditioner will pay for itself in lower energy costs and greater comfort. For more information, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

Signs You're Overworking Your System

Signs You’re Overworking Your System

An overworked HVAC system will cost you in higher energy costs and repair bills. These situations might help you discover if your system is working harder and costing you more than it should.

It runs in brief spurts.

Few things harm a central air conditioner more than short running cycles. The frequent starts stress all the parts, but the compressor and the motors bear most of the burden. When A/C equipment first starts up, it requires a lot of electricity to run.

The frequent bursts of electricity wear these parts out faster. They use more energy and will fail faster. To avoid equipment that runs in short cycles, insist on having a load calculation performed on your home before you install new HVAC equipment. Oversized systems are not better when it comes to cooling and heating equipment.

Filter changes are infrequent.

Running your system with a clogged air filter will overwork it. The airflow slows through the air handler and the ductwork. As a consequence, it takes longer to cool your home, which increases the wear and tear on all its parts.

Running it with low airflow often causes the coil inside the air handler to freeze. If your system continues to run, it could burn the compressor out, which is the A/C’s most expensive part.

Your electric bills are high.

Steadily rising energy consumption often indicates an overworked system. If you’ve eliminated obvious causes like ductwork leaks or a dirty air filter, your system may be showing the signs of an overworked HVAC system.

It requires frequent repairs.

If it seems like your system needs repairing often, it may be overworked. While oversized equipment is the primary cause of system problems, the opposite might contribute as well. If it’s too small for your home, it will have to run in cycles longer than the manufacturer intended, which will shorten its lifetime.

The experts at Air Assurance can help you discover if you have an overworked HVAC system to help you avoid excessive energy and repair costs. We provide trusted HVAC services for homeowners in the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

Why Your A/C Freezes in the Summer

Why Your A/C Freezes in the Summer

While ice on a hot summer day is usually a welcome sight, an A/C freeze isn’t. Ice formation on the indoor evaporator coil of your central air conditioner can eventually turn into a solid block, obstructing all airflow through the system. This can seriously damage expensive components such as the compressor. Since the evaporator coil is sealed inside the indoor air handler, you're usually unaware that ice is accumulating. The only noticeable signs may be warm air blowing from the A/C vents, automatic system shutdowns for no apparent reason, or water pooling on the floor around the air handler when the ice melts.Here are some common causes of an A/C freeze and what may be required to resolve them:

Dirty Air Filter

As the air filter clogs, system airflow is strangled. Low airflow through the evaporator coil reduces heat extraction and causes the coil temperature to drop from normal approximately 40 degrees to below freezing. Condensation on the coil then freezes and ice accumulation begins. To prevent low airflow, replace the filter monthly during the cooling season.

Insufficient Refrigerant

When refrigerant pressure in the system drops too low, the refrigerant vapor expands excessively and actually becomes colder. This, in turn, causes the evaporator coil temperature to drop below freezing and ice to form. Low refrigerant charge is usually traceable to a leak in the system that must be pinpointed and repaired by a qualified HVAC service tech. When the refrigerant charge is returned to specs, coil temperature should stay above freezing.

Dirty Coil

Dust and dirt particulates in the system airflow gradually accumulate on the coil. This inhibits heat extraction, allowing the coil temperature to fall below 32 degrees and ice formation to begin. Since the coil is mounted inside the air handler, it’s not accessible for DIY cleaning. Coil cleaning should be performed by a qualified professional. It’s also a standard part of regular annual preventive maintenance offered by your HVAC contractor.

Don't suffer due to an A/C freeze on a hot summer's day. Contact Air Assurance for fast professional service.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

Turning on Your Air Conditioner: Steps to Take First

Turning on Your Air Conditioner: Steps to Take First

With temperatures getting warmer, it will soon be time for turning on your air conditioner. Before you do so, though, there are certain steps you should take to make sure that it’s ready. Use the following steps to prepare your air conditioner for the summer months, so that your Broken Arrow home can stay as cool as possible.

Replace the Air Filter

The air filter inside your HVAC system has a direct impact on the quality of your indoor air. It also affects how efficiently your HVAC system works. If your system has a dirty filter, it will have to run for longer periods of time and work much harder to cool your home, which increases the risk of repairs. Take time to change the air filter in your HVAC system before turning on your air conditioner for the season. Having a clean air filter helps your cooling system work as efficiently as possible.

Clean Around the Outdoor Unit

If weeds or other debris and vegetation are around your outdoor unit, they can block air from flowing out of it. This leads to excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system, which shortens its lifespan. Make sure that your outdoor unit has a clear space of about a couple of feet around it on all sides.

Check Your Thermostat

Before you use your air conditioner for the season, check the settings on your thermostat. It should be set to “auto” rather than “on,” and you should adjust the temperature as needed. Having the fan turned to “on” means that your system will run constantly. Having it on “auto” means that it will run when it needs to in order to cool your home.

Set Up Routine Maintenance

Schedule preventative maintenance for your HVAC system before you cool your home. This maintenance helps ensure that your air conditioner is in good working condition for the season.If you need maintenance for your air conditioner before you use it, please contact Air Assurance for help. We offer dependable HVAC services for homeowners in the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

How Often Should You Clean Your A/C's Condensate Drain Line?

How Often Should You Clean Your A/C's Condensate Drain Line?

Your air conditioner’s condensate drain line is a critical component on Oklahoma summer days. In addition to cooling the air inside your home, the central A/C also extracts water vapor from the air. Lots of it. On a humid day, the evaporator coil sealed inside the indoor air handler can produce many gallons of liquid condensate.If everything’s functioning correctly, condensate collected in the drip pan underneath the air handler flows into the drain line and is safely conveyed away. If a clog develops in the condensate drain line, however, the drip pan will rapidly overflow, potentially spilling gallons of water every time the air conditioner cycles on. Before the problem is even noticed, severe indoor water damage may result.

What Causes Clogs?

The typical culprit in condensate drain line clogs is algae in the drip pan. The warm, wet, dark environment inside the pan provides ideal conditions for growth of algae. Eventually, the sticky, gooey substance invades the drain line and causes a clog. Overflow quickly follows.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Clogs?

DIY prevention can help stop clogs by inhibiting algae growth. Once a month, prepare a mixture of one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water. Pour it into the wide, shallow drip pan underneath the air handler. Take the opportunity to also check out the status of the drip pan. If it’s wet, that’s normal. However, if you notice standing water, that indicates a clogged or sluggish drain line. Turn off the A/C and call a qualified HVAC service contractor.

Professional service to clear a condensate clog includes blowing out the drain line with air pressure, then cleaning and sterilizing the drip pan and drain line to eliminate residual algae. For long-term protection, time-release biocide tablets can also be placed in the drip pan to prevent recurrence of algae growth.

For professional service to resolve condensate drain line problems, contact Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning, Featured

Name That Tune: What a Humming Air Conditioner Means

Name That Tune: What a Humming Air Conditioner Means

All air conditioners make noise as they run, mainly from the blower fans and the compressors. When the dominant sound is a humming air conditioner, odds are, something isn’t working as it should. The most common problems associated with the humming sound include:

Indoor Noises

  • When you hear humming sounds from the air handler, it may be caused by a frozen motor. Some blower motors require periodic lubrication to keep their bearings turning smoothly. A lack of oil will seize the bearings and prevent the motor’s shaft from turning. It could conceivably run until it burns out.

  • Humming from the breaker box. Whenever you hear humming sounds near the circuit breaker panel, suspect a serious electrical problem and turn off the noisy breaker. If you can’t identify which, turn off the main breaker and contact a licensed electrician immediately.

Outdoors

A humming sound is much more likely to originate in the outdoor condenser and it could be coming from:

  • The compressor. This part does the heavy lifting in cooling systems and it could hum or buzz when it’s at the end of its lifetime. It could also indicate an electrical problem involving the compressor.Compressors sit on rubber isolation feet that can wear out or crack. Damaged feet can cause the compressor vibrations to amplify and cause humming sounds.

  • Frozen coil. It might seem counterintuitive, but a humming air conditioner may have a frozen coil. Coils freeze when the refrigerant level is too low or they’re too dirty. A frozen coil can do serious damage to a heat pump or A/C should the compressor continue to run.

  • Fan problems. The condenser uses a large fan to blow the heat off the hot refrigerant. There could be a problem with its motor or the fan blade, which could be loose or bent.

Whenever you hear a humming air conditioner and it’s not working as it should or the sound is isn’t part of its normal operation, contact the pros at Air Assurance to diagnose and fix it. We proudly provide HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

Frozen A/C Unit: How to Safely Defrost Your Equipment

Frozen A/C Unit: How to Safely Defrost Your Equipment

Running your air conditioner with a frozen component can seriously damage your system, but that doesn't mean you always have to wait for a technician to come and defrost your frozen A/C unit.

Start with a Gentle Approach

The safest way to defrost your air conditioner is to let nature take care of the ice. Turn off your system from the control panel, then shut off power to the system at the breaker in your home's electrical panel. Then just wait and let the ice thaw. Don't try to pry the ice off with your hands or a sharp object. You'll risk damaging the components or worse, injuring yourself.Depending on how much ice there is, it could take up to 24 hours to melt. Periodically check for standing water that might have pooled under your indoor evaporator coil and mop up any you find. If there's a lot of ice, put down some towels.

Try a Little Heat

If just a little ice has formed on your evaporator coil, you can defrost it faster using a hair dryer turned on to the lowest setting. Hold the hair dryer at least 12 inches from the coil. Too much heat can crack an evaporator coil, so use caution if you decide to go this route.After all the ice has melted, dry the system out by turning it on to "fan only" mode. This circulates air that will dry up any lingering moisture.Before you turn the system on again, though, take steps to correct the problem that caused your frozen A/C unit in the first place. That might mean replacing a dirty air filter, cleaning the evaporator coil or removing debris from the outdoor unit.If your air conditioner keeps freezing even though you're sure the components are clean, the problem could be due to a more serious issue such as a refrigerant leak or mechanical malfunction. In this case, call a technician.If you could use some help defrosting your frozen A/C unit, contact us at Air Assurance anywhere around Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Your HVAC?

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Your HVAC?

You probably have homeowner's insurance, but have you ever sat down and carefully gone over what's covered and not covered under your policy?

For instance, your home insurance likely will cover water damage to your HVAC system if the damage occurs from burst pipes or an overflowing condensate drain in the house. But if the outside unit of the air conditioner gets flooded by rising water from a nearby stream or a major storm, you could be out of luck unless you have separate flood insurance.

So what else should you know regarding what home insurance covers and doesn't cover?

Likely Covered

Here are some scenarios where home insurance is likely to pay for your claim to replace or repair your HVAC system:

Storms

Although homeowners' insurance won't cover outdoor flooding, it will usually cover damages from storms, such as a tornado or hailstorm. Also, a windstorm that hurls a tree limb into your outdoor condenser and damages it would be covered, as would an ice storm that harms the parts inside the air conditioning unit.

Theft or Vandalism

Your homeowners' insurance should cover the cost of replacement or repair if your condenser is stolen or vandalized.

Fire

In the case of a fire - from natural causes, electrical problems or from a fireplace or furnace - the homeowners' insurance policy should pay for replacing or repairing the HVAC system.

Not Covered

Here are some scenarios when your homeowner's insurance probably won't pay:

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are become more frequent in Oklahoma, and more homeowners are becoming concerned about earthquake damage to the home. Be advised your policy likely won't cover damages to the home from an earthquake, including damages to your HVAC system. You should obtain a separate policy if you are concerned about earthquake damage.

Age-Related Breakdown or General Wear

Homeowners' insurance will not cover regular wearing out of parts or breakdown as the HVAC ages and parts start to fail.

Contact your insurance provider to ensure your HVAC unit is covered in your home insurance policy. For other HVAC needs, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC and home insurance and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

Why is My Air Conditioner Tripping the Breaker?

Why is My Air Conditioner Tripping the Breaker?

Never ignore an air conditioner that’s tripping the breaker. Something, somewhere is wrong and it’s not an issue that’s likely to fix itself. A circuit breaker usually trips because of excessive current draw from a component on the circuit. Simply resetting the A/C circuit breaker, therefore, is treating the symptom instead of the cause. The result could be very expensive, permanent damage to the air conditioner.

Here are some possible reasons why an A/C is tripping the breaker:

  • Insufficient airflow. If system airflow is obstructed, the air conditioner may run virtually non-stop. In this scenario the compressor overheats and draws excessive amperage, eventually tripping the breaker. Check the system air filter and if it’s clogged with dirt, replace it. If the breaker trips again, leave it off and call your HVAC contractor.

  • Coil iced up. If the system refrigerant charge drops below specifications, condensation on the evaporator coil may freeze and form layers of ice inside the coil that eventually obstruct airflow and cause the breaker to trip. Low refrigerant charge is usually due to a leak that must be diagnosed and repaired by a qualified HVAC service technician.

  • Outdoor issues. If air vents in the outdoor half of a central air conditioner are obstructed by encroaching weeds, or the outdoor condenser coil is coated with dirt, grass clippings or other debris, proper heat dissipation may be affected. This could cause excessive current draw and trip the breaker. Professional coil cleaning and routine maintenance to keep air vents clear is the solution.

  • Weak start capacitor. The powerful motor in the compressor located in the outside unit requires a burst of electricity from a large capacitor to help start it every time the system cycles on. Over time, the start capacitor weakens and doesn’t provide adequate voltage to turn the motor. This causes the compressor to strain and draw excessive amperage, which trips the circuit breaker. A start capacitor is a component that can be replaced by an HVAC technician.

If your air conditioner’s tripping the breaker, get qualified service now and prevent costly damage. Contact the professionals at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about circuit breakers and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Air Conditioner

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If you need flexible cooling for a home addition, an infrequently-used guest room, a getaway cabin or any other space, a portable air conditioner (PAC) may be ideal. To make an informed purchasing decision, weigh these factors:

Cooling Capacity

The cooling capacity for portable air conditioners is measured in British thermal units (BTU) per hour, and a higher rating signifies more output. You'll find the BTU rating on the EnergyGuide label of each PAC, which makes it easy to compare models. Be sure to choose a capacity that corresponds to the square footage of the space you plan to cool.

Placement Limitations

Depending on the capacity of the portable A/C you choose, it will need to be plugged in to either a 115- or 230/280-volt outlet, so check that there's the right type near where you plan to use the unit. Placement of a PAC is also limited by proximity to a window for venting, since the exhaust hose is likely only seven feet long at the most.

Energy Efficiency

You'll find an Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating on the EnergyGuide label of each portable air conditioner, and the higher the rating, the more energy efficient the unit. If you want a unit that offer the greatest energy savings, look at different available models that match your budget and select the one with the highest EER rating.

Condensate Options

Portable air conditioners condense moisture out of the air as they cool, and there are a couple of choices regarding its disposal. Basic, less expensive PACs have a built-in collector pan that must be emptied regularly. There are more costly “self-evaporating” models that send the condensate out through the air exhaust hose, or recycle the liquid to cool the coils.

Noise Level

PACs are self-contained units complete with a compressor, so they're noisier than other types of A/Cs. You can find one that's less loud by comparing the manufacturer's data for decibel (dB) output on models that meet your other criteria.If you're considering purchasing a portable air conditioner and need expert advice, contact your Broken Arrow comfort pros at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about portable air conditioners and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Air Conditioning

Reasons Your Air Conditioner Isn't Turning On

Reasons Your Air Conditioner Isn't Turning On

Your air conditioner is built to last, but every now and then, a problem may arise. One of the most stressful A/C scenarios you can experience is when the unit just doesn't turn on. So what steps are in order when that happens? Read on and learn how not to panic, but see if you can resolve the issue before you have to call for help.

Why Your A/C Might Not Be Turning On

1. No power. Believe it or not, but oftentimes when HVAC businesses get calls about an A/C not working, it turns out to be simply a matter of the power or the control being off. Before you call, do the following:

  • Make sure the electricity is on in the house.

  • Make sure the breaker that controls the A/C has not flipped.

  • Make sure the unit is turned to "air conditioner" or "cool."

  • Make sure the unit is turned to auto or on. If it's on auto, turn the thermostat down a few degrees to see if it comes on.

2. Thermostat is set too high. The unit will not turn on if the thermostat is set higher than the ambient temperature. Lower it to see if the A/C comes on.

3. Thermostat isn't working. If your thermostat uses batteries and the digital window is blank, try changing the batteries. If the thermostat is wired, check the wires to make sure none are loose or frayed. It could also be that the thermostat has stopped working and needs to be replaced.

4. Air filter is dirty. Although this is less likely to cause the A/C to stop running altogether, it is possible. A dirty filter slows air flow and can cause the unit to freeze up. It may either stop cooling or stop running if this happens. Whenever you see ice on either the indoor or outdoor components, turn the A/C off and allow it to defrost before you turn it back on.

To learn more about reasons your air conditioner may not turn on, call Air Assurance, serving Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “GDJ/Pixabay”

Air Conditioning

Things to Avoid When Buying a New Air Conditioner

Things to Avoid When Buying a New Air Conditioner

When buying a new air conditioner, you obviously need to focus on buying a dependable model that won't blow your cooling bills sky high. But other considerations are important, too, including a number of things to avoid when buying a new A/C. Save a lot of time and trouble by following these tips:

Don't allow the A/C contractor to talk you into a certain capacity model without considering the unique factors of your home. A professional air conditioning installer should insist on conducting a cooling load calculation on your home. This involves taking into consideration a range of factors including your home's size and layout, amount of window coverage, energy efficiency (level of air sealing and insulation), building materials, orientation to the afternoon sun, and more. Only when they determine your home's cooling load can they recommend the right-sized A/C.

Don't accept an estimate for a new air conditioner over the phone. The contractor should insist on inspecting your home, and learning about your energy habits, past cooling bills, and other factors that may affect what sort of central A/C is right for your home.

Avoid choosing the cheapest A/C available. While the upfront cost may be affordable, you'll likely be plagued with higher monthly bills years into the future, as well as poor performance and more frequent repair bills. The A/C's service life probably will be shorter than it would have been with a better model. In areas with hot summers, it pays to invest in a higher-efficiency A/C that will provide more cooling at a lower price.

Don't forget about available rebates that might be available from the manufacturer, electric utility or HVAC contractor for purchasing a higher-efficiency air conditioner. Some years the federal government offers tax credits for high-efficiency A/Cs.

Likewise, don't neglect to consider purchasing a maintenance contract that will assure annual professional maintenance for your new air conditioner. A well-maintained A/C will deliver better cooling at a lower price for a longer period of time.

For help choosing the right air conditioner for your Broken Arrow area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about new air conditioner and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

HVAC system

Air Balancing: Everything you Need to Know

Air Balancing: Everything you Need to Know

While repairing or replacing your air conditioner and furnace can help lower your utility bills, these systems won't deliver the highest comfort and efficiency levels if airflow is poor or unbalanced. Air balancing can help you get the best performance from your HVAC system. Let's find out what it is and how it can improve your system and home.

What Is Air Balancing?

The air that passes through your HVAC equipment carries the heat or cold inside. The equipment's effectiveness depends on the volume of airflow.Air balancing involves carrying out tests and adjustments to your heating and cooling system to ensure the correct amount of air is delivered to the rooms in your home. An HVAC technician uses manometers to measure the current system pressures, hoods to get the airflow levels at each grille, and hygrometers to measure humidity and temperature.The technician compiles the test results into a report to establish your system's performance. He or she may then make changes to your vents and ducts to balance the return and supply channels.

Why Do You Need To Balance Airflow?

Improper balance in your air distribution system can make your HVAC system work harder to achieve the ideal temperatures. This may put unnecessary strain on the system and damage its parts. It may also cause premature failure of the system.Balancing the airflow in your system involves adjustment of the quantity of air flowing into each room. When this is done, your rooms will have similar temperature levels, improved humidity control, and cleaner air. You'll enjoy maximum comfort in each room, and your system's efficiency will be optimized.

Although balancing your system's airflow isn't a simple task, the energy savings and reduced system wear and tear you'll get will partially or entirely cover the costs. To learn more about air balancing, please contact Air Assurance. We've been proudly serving the Broken Arrow area for more than 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about TOPIC and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “attem/Shutterstock”

Air Conditioning

It's Almost Off Season for Your Air Conditioner. Here's How to Get it Ready

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When the sweltering Oklahoma summer finally winds down, it is time to start getting the home ready for cooler weather. At the top of your fall home maintenance list, make sure you include preparing your air conditioner for the off-season.Here is how to care for your A/C during fall and winter so it runs well next spring.

Have it Checked

Schedule a maintenance visit from your HVAC technician , who can check for any problems that might have developed over the summer. This gives you extra time to schedule repairs during the cold months when you don’t need to use the air conditioner.

Change the Filters

Leaving dirty filters in the system allows mold growth and potential airflow issues. Don’t forget to change all of the air filters. This is one of the easiest maintenance tasks for the homeowner, but it is also commonly forgotten.

Clean the Coils

Dirty coils can lead to serious problems such as frozen coils, which can cause the air conditioner to stop working. To clean the coils yourself, you will need coil cleaner and a special fin brush. Remember to turn off all power to the A/C system before doing these maintenance tasks. Alternatively, ask a technician to clean the air conditioner for you.

Clean Around the Outdoor Unit

Leaves, dirt and other debris collecting around or on top of the unit attract mold and pests, invite rust, and obstruct airflow. Turn off the air conditioner and brush away all of this debris. You can use your garden hose to rinse off excess dirt and debris as well.Rake the ground around the unit and trim all grass or bushes nearby. Fall leaves will probably continue to collect around the unit, so consider this cleanup as an ongoing task.

Cover the Outdoor Unit

Cover the outside unit with an A/C cover when it is no longer in use. This protects it from winter storms.For more about getting your home’s air conditioning system ready for the off-season, please contact us at Air Assurance today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Peggy_Marco/Pixabay”

Energy Evaluations, Featured

Back to Basics: Air Conditioner Ratings

Back to Basics: Air Conditioner Ratings

Air conditioner ratings are an essential tool when you're looking to replace your home's central cooling system. These scientific metrics measure how efficiently an A/C converts electricity into cooling. With HVAC efficiency improving exponentially in recent years, understanding air conditioner ratings is crucial in order to save energy on home cooling over the long run.

For common split-system central air conditioning systems, the most common rating is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). To calculate the SEER number, the cooling output of a central A/C is divided by the electricity that flows into it. The higher the resulting number, the more efficient the cooling. However, higher cooling efficiency doesn't come cheap. You'll pay upfront for a high-SEER air conditioning, but in the long run you will save money on lower operating costs. Plus, a system that cools your home more efficiently and quickly will be more comfortable. In general, the hotter and longer an area's cooling season, the better sense it makes to invest in a higher-efficiency A/C or heat pump.

The federal government has minimum efficiency ratings for A/Cs and heat pumps (as well as heating systems). For a split-system central air conditioner, the SEER must be at least 13 (with the minimum at SEER 14 for a split-system heat pump). The U.S. Department of Energy and EPA require a minimum SEER of 15 before split-system A/Cs and heat pumps can qualify for the coveted Energy Star.

Only 10 or 15 years ago, a central air conditioner likely only carried a 5 or 6 SEER number. This means if an old A/C is still cooling your home, you likely could save 20-40 percent on cooling costs by upgrading to an Energy Star-qualified A/C or heat pump.

The technology that enables such high cooling efficiency levels includes variable-speed blower and air handlers motors and scroll compressors that modulate the system's level of operation. You can enhance A/C efficiency yourself by weatherproofing your home – sealing air leaks and upgrading insulation.

For help selecting an energy-efficient cooling system for your Broken Arrow-area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

Air Conditioning, Featured

Troubleshooting for Air Conditioners

Troubleshooting for Air Conditioners

There are so many parts and components to your air conditioner system, you may not know how to begin to fix it should something go wrong. While most A/C problems require the expertise of your HVAC pro, there are some issues that you may troubleshoot before making the call.

Troubleshooting Tips

Is your thermostat in the "cool" position? Check one more time to make sure. If your A/C isn't powering on, check to see if a breaker has tripped inside the circuit box.One of the most basic components of your A/C, yet one of the most important, is the air filter. A clogged air filter may cause your unit to run off and on repeatedly, overheat other parts, and even cause early failure. Take a look at your filter, which is typically located behind the return grille, to see if it needs to be changed.Next on your troubleshooting list is the outdoor unit. If weeds, leaves, grass clippings, and/or other obstructions are blocking free airflow to the unit, it won't be able to cool as it should.

Professional Service

Your A/C relies on electrical parts and signals for it to operate correctly. So, if your unit isn't powering on, and the circuit breaker is fine, your HVAC pro needs to be called. Other problems that require professional diagnostics are unusual noises, such as grinding, squealing, rattling, or thumping. If your system is making any of these noises, turn it off and call your HVAC pro.There are many possible problems relating your A/C unit if it is operating but not cooling. Your HVAC pro should check the following:

  • Refrigerant charge needs to be measured to ensure optimal levels.

  • Diagnostic tests are performed on the compressor to detect faulty parts.

  • The blower motor is tested as well.

  • The drainage system and evaporator coil are inspected for obstructions that could make your system leak water.

If your air conditioner is on the fritz, don't sweat it! Contact the professionals at Air Assurance for immediate service. We've proudly served homeowners of Broken Arrow and surrounding areas for more than 30 years!

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Air Conditioning, Featured

Keep Your Air Conditioner From Freezing

Keep Your Air Conditioner From Freezing

As hot as it gets in Broken Arrow in the summertime, your air conditioner can still freeze. If it's never happened to you before, it's a good idea to know what to do, in case you can fix the problem yourself. Even if you have to call for help, you will know what to do to limit damage until a technician arrives. Knowing a bit about how a frozen air conditioner occurs can also help you prevent this happening so that you're not sweltering on a hot summer day.

Change Your Air Filter

It may just sound too simple to be true, but a dirty air filter can actually cause your air conditioner to freeze by blocking air flow. The dirt buildup on the air filter can prevent an adequate amount of air from passing over the evaporator coil, so that the condensation on the coil can freeze.If you can't remember to check and change your air filter regularly, set yourself reminders on your computer or schedule maintenance with your HVAC consultant regularly a couple of times during cooling season to make sure your A/C is running right.

Improper Refrigerant Charge

Another reason for scheduling regular maintenance is to check the refrigerant charge for proper levels. Low levels may mean you have a leak, and a low refrigerant charge can cause your A/C to freeze up.

What to Do When the A/C Freezes

If your A/C isn't cooling properly and you find ice on the evaporator coils, turn the system off. Check the filter and change it, but allow the ice to defrost before you turn it back on. (You can turn on just the fan to speed up the procedure.) As the ice melts, check the drain pan under the evaporator coil to make sure it doesn't over flow.If the system still won't cool, call a licensed HVAC company. Only licensed technicians should handle refrigerant.

To learn more about dealing with a frozen air conditioner, contact Air Assurance. We offer exceptional service and customer satisfaction in Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

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Air Conditioning, Featured

How to Increase Air Conditioner Efficiency

How to Increase Air Conditioner Efficiency | Air Assurance

A high-efficiency air conditioner keeps your home cool while at the same time using less energy and costing you less money. Over time, however, issues can develop that decrease air conditioner efficiency and drive up your cooling costs. Here are a few steps you can take to boost A/C efficiency, reduce energy usage, and trim your monthly bills.

  • Have preventive maintenance performed — A preventive maintenance check-up gives your trusted HVAC professional to opportunity to inspect your cooling system from end to end. He will make adjustments and minor repairs that will increase efficiency and performance quality. Maintenance should be done at least once a year, usually in the springtime before cooling season sets in.

  • Change air filters — Dirty, clogged air filters can restrict the air flow your cooling system needs to work properly and at its best level of efficiency. Check filter condition at least once a month. Put new, fresh filters in when the old ones get dirty.

  • Cut down on heat gain Heat gain is the accumulation of heat inside your home from external sources. These include sunshine coming through windows, heat from appliances, and heat radiating downward from a hot attic. To avoid sunshine, close drapes and curtains. Avoid running ovens and clothes dryers at the hottest times of day. Make sure your attic is well ventilated and insulated to keep it cool.

  • Use a programmable thermostat Programmable thermostats help you get the best efficiency from your air conditioner. Use pre-programmed set points to control when the air conditioner turns off and on. Program the thermostat to reduce cooling when you're not at home, such as during the workday, then automatically increase cooling to make your living spaces comfortable when you get back.

  • Seal ductwork to stop air leaks — Make sure ductwork connections are fitted tightly together and that they are sealed with mastic or metal tape.

Air Assurance is Tulsa's leading choice for professional HVAC sales, installation, maintenance, and repair. Contact us today for more information on air conditioner efficiency and how to keep your cooling system working at its best throughout the summer and beyond.

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Featured, Service & Maintenance

The Basics of Refrigerant

The Basics of Refrigerant

Many homeowners take for granted their residence's heating and cooling systems without having more than a basic idea of how they work. While a gas furnace is relatively easy to understand, systems that rely upon the refrigeration process are more complicated. Yet, understanding how your air conditioner or heat pump works to condition your home will help you troubleshoot problems in the future.

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

It's incorrect to think that an A/C cools the outside air, then draws it into the house. Air conditioners (and the cooling mode of heat pumps) actually extract heat energy from inside air, with the removal of heat resulting in cooler air. Refrigerant, a chemical formula also referred to as coolant, does the actual work of taking heat from the air, and then expelling that heat into the outside air. The ability of coolant to easily transition between a liquid and gas drives the refrigeration process.

In the most common type of air conditioner, the split system, a compressor pumps a refrigerant solution into the home, where it runs through copper coils in the air handler/evaporator unit. An expansion valve eases pressure on the liquid refrigerant, allowing it to evaporate and convert into a gas. The liquid-to-gas conversion extracts heat from air that's being blown across the evaporator coil, reducing the air temperature. A fan in the air handler (or furnace) then circulates the conditioned air throughout the house. Eventually, it's drawn back into the inside A/C unit to be cooled again.

The refrigerant, in a gaseous state, is then pumped outside to the condenser/compressor unit, where the gas is compressed and changes back to a liquid. As this happens, the stored heat in the refrigerant is released into air as it's blown across the condenser coil, and then dissipates into the outside environment. The coolant, returned to liquid stage, flows back into the house, and the process repeats.

To learn more about how your A/C or heat pump brings comfort to your Broken Arrow area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

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Featured, Humidity

Keep Cool and Reduce Humidity in Your Home With These Tips

Keep Cool and Reduce Humidity in Your Home With These Tips

The first goal of any air conditioning system is to cool the home, but that's not the only thing. Effective residential cooling also requires the ability to reduce humidity. If your home is cool but still damp and clammy, your A/C isn't doing its job. The good news is that every homeowner has available strategies to dehumidify the home. 

Dehumidification Steps for Your Home

The following are a few ways to dehumidify your home:

  • Effective ventilation: This is especially important in rooms or areas where activities add moisture to the air, such as bathrooms and the kitchen. Make sure these areas have exhaust fans that are vented to the outside. The last thing you want is for moist air to be redirected back into the house.

  • Attic ventilation: A hot, muggy attic can have a negative effect throughout the house. Make sure the attic has the right amount and type of vents, and consider an attic fan. The attic floor should be properly sealed and insulated to separate attic heat and air from the downstairs living spaces.

  • Shorter, cooler showers: Those 15-minute, steamy showers may feel good, but they add a lot of moisture to the air that can remain in the bathroom and general area for hours afterward. Along with using the bathroom exhaust fan, take shorter showers that aren't so hot. Install low-flow shower heads to reduce humidity and save water.

  • Use the A/C: Most of the time, you can better dehumidify household air with the air conditioner running than by opening windows. A well-maintained, properly sized cooling system is designed to remove moisture from indoor air.

  • Get a dehumidifier: For persistent whole-house humidity, you'll need an effective whole-house solution such as a dehumidifier that connects directly to the home's HVAC system.

For more advice on how to remove humidity from your greater Tulsa area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

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