Monthly Archives: April 2016

AC Troubleshooting: Things to Check Before Calling a Tech

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When you need relief from the heat, you need it fast. No one wants to wait around in the smoldering heat for your AC system to be fixed, but with high demand for AC professionals, you may not have a choice.

Plenty can go wrong with your AC system, but before calling in the professionals, take a look at Getzschman’s guide for things to check before calling your tech.

 

When Your AC Unit Won’t Turn On

  • Check your thermostat: Make sure your thermostat is set to cool instead of heat or being off completely. 
  • Check Your Electrical Panel: Make sure the breaker isn’t tripped. 
  • Check the Power Switch: Sounds silly, but make sure your furnace/AC unit’s power is switched on. Also, make sure to check to outdoor unit for the same thing. 
  • Check the Batteries: If none of these work, you may need to replace the batteries in your thermostat.

When Your AC Runs But Doesn’t Cool

  • Check the Filter: A dirty air filter can cause a lot more problems than you might think, and in some cases, can shut down your entire AC system! To avoid this drama and make sure your system runs smoothly, we recommend changing your filter every month. 
  • Check for Ice: Take a look at behind the front door of your unit and look for ice. If it has frozen over, turn on the fan to let it thaw out. Remember to be patient. This may take a few hours. If your system thaws and then quickly freezes up again, it may be time to call a professional. 
  • Check the Drain: Algae has a tendency to build up in the condensate drain, the plastic pipe that comes out of the side of the indoor unit. Failure to clean this regularly could result in the failure of your AC unit. 
  • Check the Outdoor Compressor: Make sure your outdoor compressor is working by turning on your AC system and listening for it to kick on. If you find the fan isn’t moving, try pressing the override button, or a reset switch if possible. If this doesn’t work you may need to clean it and try giving the fan blade a little push to get started. If all it needed was a little push, this means you have a bad capacitor that needs replacing. 

When Your AC Motor Runs But Doesn’t Blow Air

  • Check the Belt: When your motor is running, but the fan isn’t moving air, this could mean your belt is broken. The belt connects the motor and the fan, so you need to turn off this unit before opening the door to check the belt. If you have a gas unit, make sure you turn the gas off before doing the same. 
  • Check the Fan: Some fans and motors have sealed bearings that require oiling from time to time. Your problem could be that you need to lubricate the fan. If this is the case, follow the manufacturer’s directions and oil the bearings accordingly.

 

Still No Signs of Life?

Time to call your tech. Utilizing these troubleshooting tips can save time and money, but if you’ve tried everything and still have no luck, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Need some help? Visit our website to find out how Getzschman can help with all of your air conditioning needs!

 

Why Do You Need Seasonal HVAC Maintenance?

Whenever a new season rolls around, you prepare to make some changes. When winter shifts into spring, you put away your heavy jackets and thick socks. When summer transforms into fall, you dust off your boots and trade out your tank tops for longer sleeves.

You aren’t the only one who needs to evaluate the weather and make changes accordingly, though. You use different components of your HVAC unit throughout the year, but you can’t expect the unit to make the transition into a new season as smoothly as you do. In fact, your HVAC unit likely needs a little maintenance at the start of each season to get through the entire year unscathed.

Below, we’ll talk a little more about how seasonal maintenance benefits you and your HVAC unit, and then we’ll tell you what HVAC components you should take a look at depending on the season.

What Benefits Can You Get From Seasonal Tune-Ups?

It’s easy to forget about HVAC maintenance. You might get caught up in spring cleaning, summertime yard work, and winter snow shoveling to the neglect of indoor appliances. After all, usually, your air conditioner and heater both function at the flick of a switch or slide of a thermostat. You hardly have to worry about them at all.

However, when your HVAC unit does malfunction or break down, you notice the change in comfort immediately.
Unlike a weedy yard or an overstuffed garage, a broken HVAC unit quickly makes your life miserable.

Regular seasonal maintenance can help you stay comfortable in the following ways:

  • It can help you catch problems before they happen. If you only service your HVAC unit once a year (or once every few years), you likely won’t identify developing problems until they become full-fledged disasters.
  • It can make your home more energy efficient. If your unit is on top of its game, you won’t have to pay more than you have to for summer air conditioning and winter heating.
  • It extends your unit’s lifespan. Most units last for at least 10 to 15 years, but the more frequently you maintain your unit, the longer you can expect it to last.
  • It ensures your unit lasts for the entire season. If your air conditioner doesn’t work, wouldn’t you rather find out about the problem at the start of the spring rather than the middle of summer? The better (and earlier) you maintain your unit, the more comfortable you’ll be during the season.

In the long run, seasonal maintenance can ensure your unit lasts as long as possible and runs efficiently.
You’ll avoid expensive problems, save money on utility bills, and keep your home cozy year-round.

Which Maintenance Tasks Should You Perform Each Season?

In general, you should call a technician at the start of each season (or at least semi-annually, at the start of spring and fall) to handle any problems and ensure your unit runs correctly. Your technician can tighten wires and screws, test the unit’s efficiency, clean the unit, and catch problems you might not be able to identify.

Along with calling your technician, you can perform a few basic tasks to help your HVAC system help you.

Spring

Spring is the perfect time to check that your air conditioner works correctly. Most spring days are mild, but you encounter a few hot, sunny days where you’ll use the unit, which gives you time to test the unit before you assign it to full-time duty during the summer.

Take the following steps this spring:

  • Dust off your air conditioner. If you have an outdoor unit, remove the cover and clear away any debris.
  • Check for leaks.
  • Change your air conditioner’s filter.
  • Turn on the unit, adjust the thermostat, and make sure the unit blows a cool, steady stream of air.

If you identify any problems, contact your technician.

Summer

Hopefully, any problems with your unit got resolved in the spring, long before the truly hot weather hit. If so, you’ll only have to perform minimal tasks to ensure your unit stands up to summer’s heat:

  • Inspect the unit periodically to check for leaks or other problems.
  • Remove any debris (like grass clippings and leaves) that could gather around the unit.
  • Change the filter at least every three months, or change it every month if you have pets or family members with allergies.

Check up on your unit frequently to make sure it runs as efficiently as possible.

Fall

Just like tuning up your air conditioner in the spring, you should tune up your furnace in the fall with the following steps:

  • Dust off the furnace.
  • If you have a gas furnace, make sure the pilot light is lit and that you don’t have any problems with your gas lines.
  • Remove any items you might have placed around the heater. Find another place to store flammable items, and clear the area around the unit.

Since most furnaces run on gas, you should be particularly careful when performing any basic maintenance tasks on this unit.

Winter

Again, if you took care of any furnace-related problems in the fall, you probably won’t have too much to worry about this winter. Try the following tips to avoid problems:

  • Just like with your air conditioner, change your furnace filters at least every three months.
  • Make sure your air ducts are clear and clean so warm air can circulate in your house.

A technician can help you if any issues come up during the winter.

Get In Touch With Your HVAC Professional

When you have the right information, seasonal maintenance can be a breeze. Look over our checklist above and implement the simple, season-based tasks. Most importantly, contact your HVAC company to schedule seasonal maintenance and help your HVAC unit keep your home comfortable all year long.

7 Houseplants That Can Help You Breathe Easier

Did you know that indoor air is typically more polluted than outdoor air? Everyday items such as furniture, upholstery, cleaning products and even synthetic building materials can emit toxic chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde into your home. Yuck!

Luckily, the Getzschman Heating and Cooling team has an affordable and aesthetically pleasing way to combat these dangerous chemicals in your home: houseplants. Many indoor houseplants have been known to reduce certain chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and are a great alternative for purifying the air inside your home.

Check out these seven houseplants that can help you breathe easier today.

1. Aloe Vera

indoor-air-quality-houseplants-aloe-vera

This stylish succulent has been around for thousands of years and is known for the gel it produces that helps heal cuts and burns. Aside from healing skin, Aloe Vera helps clear air of formaldehyde and benzene, which can be emitted by certain paints and chemical-based cleaners in your home.

This plant is easy to grow and even easier to maintain. However, be careful: this plant is easier to overwater than underwater.

 

Related Read: Tips for Caring for Your Aloe Vera Plant

 

2. Snake Plant

snake-plant-indoor-air-quality

This plant is also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, and is also one of the hardest houseplants to kill. They are great for removing chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. These plants are typically used in bathrooms because they thrive in low light and humid conditions.

Helpful Tip: Snake plants follow the opposite process of most plants, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen at night, rather than during the day. Put one in your bedroom to give yourself a slight oxygen boost and improve your quality of sleep.

 

 

3. Gerbera Daisy

gerbera-daisy-air-quality

This beautifully colorful flower helps filter out benzene that is found in fabric inks as well as trichloroethylene which may be brought into the house with dry cleaning. These plants love lots of sunlight and well-drained soil.

Try one in your laundry room or near a sunny window in the kitchen. You can find these at most nurseries, and they come in a variety of different colors.

Related Read: Gerbera Daisy Plant Care

 

4. Peace Lily

peace-lily-indoor-air-quality

The peace lily was at the top of NASA’s list for removing formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene – the three most common VOCs. This plant is very forgiving and likes shade and weekly watering in order to bloom.

Helpful Tip: The peace lily will even tell you when it’s time to water! You’ll know it’s time when the plant begins to droop slightly.

 

5. Azalea

azalea-flower-air-quality

This vibrant flowering shrub can help reduce formaldehyde throughout your home.

Azaleas are perfect for basements because they like cool temperatures, but make sure to give them some sunlight to feed on.

These gorgeous flowers come in a variety of different colors and sizes to fit your decor. However, keep these away from small children and animals because the nectar and leaves are known to be highly poisonous.

 

6. Spider Plant

spider-plant-getzschman-air-quality

This resilient plant is great for forgetful owners who have trouble maintaining plants. The spider plant thrives in cool-to-average temperatures and with bright, indirect sunlight.

This plant battles chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. Unlike the azalea plant, this plant is considered safe for homeowners with pets and small children.

Fun Fact: Spider plants will grow flowers that eventually turn into baby spider plants, also known as spiderettes.

 

7. Chrysanthemum

chrysanthemum-mum-air-quality-getzschmanThese bright flowers are not only great for brightening your home, they also fight benzene, which is commonly found in plastics, detergent and paints throughout your home. In order for these flowers to bloom they need lots of bright light.

Chrysanthemums are also known for the wide variety of colors they come in, so pick a color that will give your home that extra pop of color you’re looking for.

Helpful Tip: When choosing chrysanthemums for indoor purposes, make sure to choose the floral variety instead of the garden variety.

 

Worried about the air quality in your home? Getzschman can help!  Find out more ways to improve your indoor air quality and visit our website to see how we can help.