Condenser Coil – Keep it Clean!

Written by:

Mitch Apalategui

on
June 10, 2014

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCBy now, you know all about changing your air filters in your house to keep dirt out of your indoor system and helping to keep it working efficiently, but what about that part of your system that sits outside? It important to keep your condenser coil clean as well, and there are a few steps you can follow to make this happen.

  1. The first step is to clear any visible debris from the outside of the condenser. This would be debris such as grass clippings, tree trimmings, loose trash, or anything that can get stuck on the side of your condenser. Free flowing air through this coil is a very important part of the process of keeping your home cool.
  2. At this point, you should be able to visually see your condenser coil. If it appears dirty beyond just debris on the outside cage of the condenser, your next step would be to purchase a biodegradable coil cleaner that can be purchased at your local hardware store. Spray this into the outdoor coil and wait 5-10 minutes before gently spraying the coil with water from your hose. That’s it!

If these steps still do not clean your condenser coil or you do not feel comfortable with the above steps, give us a call at Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating and we can take care of it for you.

Regular maintenance is always the best way to keep repair costs at a minimum. Part of our scheduled maintenance in the Sharp Air Maintenance Program is to make sure that your condenser coil is clean, and if not we clean it as part of the Maintenance Program. Give us a call to find out more about the benefits of the Sharp Air Maintenance Program!

What’s That Smell?

Written by:
Mitch Apalategui

Sometimes you can’t blame that smell on the other person in the room, it’s the AC! While musty air conditioners are much more common in more humid climates, at times it can happen even here in the dry Phoenix heat.

So why does my AC smell? That musty smell comes from mold and bacteria that can be formed when you condensate drain line gets clogged and water sits in the drain pan of your AC for an extended period of time. First thing to do is check to see if water is in fact collecting in your drain pan. If this is the case, we have a great tip that we posted in the blog about a trick that you can do yourself to clear your condensate drains. If you don’t feel comfortable with this method, give us a call and we will send one of our highly trained service techs to take care of the issue for you.

If there is no water sitting in the drain pan causing the smell, it is also possible that strong odors such as garbage, pesticides, or tobacco smoke has permeated your evaporator coil, and that smell sticks around when you turn the AC on blowing it all over your home. If you suspect this is the case, give us a call and we can assess whether or not the smell can be cleaned out of the system.

Why is my Air Conditioner Frozen? Its 120 degrees outside!!

Written by:
Mitch Apalategui
on
September 3, 2014

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCWe get this question quite a bit here at Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating. It’s the middle of summer, the Arizona heat is beating down, and all of the sudden your air conditioning system starts pumping out warm air. After a little bit of inspection, you see ice forming on your air conditioner outside. You would think that would mean your air conditioning is working GREAT, considering its main function is to blow ICE COLD air into your home. What gives? Not to fear, Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating is hear to solve this mystery.

There are a few common issues that can cause an air conditioner to freeze up even during the hottest parts of the summer.

  • Problems with HVAC systems refrigeration. If your HVAC system has developed a refrigerant leak, this will cause pressures to drop in the evaporator coils, which allows moisture to freeze and accumulate on the coil.
  • Temperature outside. If you live in Arizona’s high country or even in Phoenix just when the temperatures start to change, night time temperatures can drop below 60 degrees. Most outdoor condensing units, especially in the valley, do not function very well below 60 degrees. If it gets too cold over night, freeze-ups can occur.
  • Insufficient Air Flow. The most preventable reason for a freeze-up is restricted air flow. Humidity will build up on the coil, causing ice to build up and shut the system down. Dirty filters are the main culprit of this, but this can also come from any other obstructions such as disconnected or undersized duct work. Other components being broken can also lead to frozen coils.

Now that we have pinpointed the issue, what can you do to fix it? Once you have found ice build up on your HVAC system, the first thing you should do is turn off the system and allow it to defrost. Once its defrosted, check to see if there are any air flow restrictions. Replace any dirty filters or clean any visible dirt or debris. Many times, this will fix the issue with no other problems. Other serious airflow problems or refrigeration leaks will require a trained technician to address the issue. Give the pros at Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating a call, and we can free your system from a block of ice and get that ice cold air back to blowing into your home!

Check those Air Filters!

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCSharp Air Conditioning & Heating recommends that you check your filter about once a month. It’s a very simple procedure and replacement filters are very reasonable. If you have any more questions please contact us and we’d be happy to send out one of our certified technicians to walk you through the process, as well as let you know about our Sharp Maintenance Program that provides you with a years supply of air filters as part of the program!

Clogged filters can result in the following:

  • Blower Motor Failure – If you have a clogged air filter, then your motor continues to work ever harder until it overheats or possibly fails. Your blower motor pushes your heated or cooled air through the ducts in your home. If the filter is clogged this becomes more challenging for your motor.
  • Compressor Failure – Clogged and dirty air filters greatly reduce airflow through your AC system. This reduction of airflow can cause ice to build up on your indoor coil and lead to compressor failure. Make sure you are changing your air filters to avoid one of the most costly repairs in the HVAC industry; compressor replacement.
  • Short-cycling – One very common problem related to a clogged air filter is called short-cycling. This basically means that your furnace/AC unit will turn off and on very frequently. When it can’t complete an entire heating or cooling cycle it causes your unit to work very inefficiently. Inefficient operation of course results in added costs and a shorter life span of your unit.

It’s a perfect time to check your air filters. Of course we think it’s important to check your filters regularly, but alas not everyone in the Phoenix area remembers to do so. Your filter stands between the dust and debris of the valley and the fragile components of your heating and air conditioning units. If your unit starts to get clogged up with dust you run the risk of poor heating, reduced efficiency and even premature failure. It’s not a particularly difficult task, but very important; take the time to change your filters.

What type of air filter should I buy?

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCThe most important piece of maintenance that a homeowner can do for their air conditioning system is to regularly change your air filters. If you have been to your local hardware store, you have seen the large amount of very different air filters available for purchase. The question now becomes, which air filter is best for me?

The answer to that question is going to vary. Do you have a lot of pets in the home? Kids? Maybe you live in a construction area with lots of dust present in the air. There are many factors that go into choosing the right type of filter. We have a general guideline that we like to follow when choosing the right type of air filter.

  1. Do not use reusable/washable filters. These types of filters are sold as a more convenient option to buying throwaway filters because “all it takes is to wash them”. In theory, this may be the case. In reality, the washable filters can cause more harm then good. To wash these filters correctly, you need to buy solutions that may contain harmful chemicals. Along with that, these filters need to be completely dry before being put back in the system, and if not completely dry these filters collect bacteria and fungus that is then released into your home. These filters also make it harder for air to pass through the system, creating more work for your system.
  2. Do use a disposable air filter. These are the types that you can find at your local hardware store. You will want to look at the MERV rating for these filters and choose one that is between 8-11. Anything higher than this is more than likely overkill and not needed for residential use. If you have an older system, an air filter with a very high MERV rating can restrict the flow of air enough that it can overwork your older system. More importantly than the rating is to regularly replace these filters. If you decide to use a cheaper fiberglass filter, you should consider replacing the filter monthly if you have pets or children in the house.

We cannot state it enough, make sure you regularly change your air filters. Not only will this keep the air you breath cleaner and reduce allergens and dust in the air, it will keep dust and dirt from building up in your air conditioning system that can decrease efficiency and damage your system.

Looking for a way to save some money on air filters? Check out our Sharp Air Maintenance Program. Along with having regularly scheduled maintenance, we provide you with a full years supply of air filters. Give us a call to find out more!

5 ways to extend the usefulness of your HVAC system

There are many ways that you can help your air conditioner run more efficiently and last a few summers longer than expected. While the typical life of an HVAC system is about 14 years, below are a few tips to help you bump that number a little higher, and get some bonus years out of your system.

  1. Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCRegularly change your filters! This might be the most basic maintenance points for homeowners. It doesn’t take too much time or effort, and can save you costly repairs down the line. When a filter gets clogged up, air flow is restricted to your system which can cause a host of issues. At Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, we recommend use throw away filters that can be found at your local hardware store, and changing them sometimes as often as once a month. We can even help you with one of these steps by providing you with a year’s supply of air filters through our Sharp Air Maintenance Program. Give us a call to find out more!
  2. Take an AC time out – Like with anything mechanical, your HVAC system will wear out more quickly if it is on at all times, day and night. Try to turn your air conditioner off if you plan to leave the house for an extended period of time. Dialing up the temperature just 5 degrees will allow your air conditioner to get a much needed break during hot parts of the day, without letting the temperature climb into the 90’s inside during the hot Arizona months.
  3. Give your outdoor unit some TLC – If you live in the Valley of the Sun, you are probably familiar with what seems like a new phenomenon… the dreaded Arizona “Haboobs”. If you are not familiar with these yet, it is basically a wall of dirt that covers everything in a fine layer of dust once the storm leaves. This includes the outdoor component of your HVAC system. While one of these storms usually wont deposit enough dirt to have an effect, the build up of a few storms and normal debris outside can build up on the condenser coil and cause problems. Every now and then, try to clear any debris that you can see, i.e. leaves, dirt, etc., even just hose down the outdoor unit. This will continue to allow airflow through the coils and keep you cooling efficiently.
  4. Check for Leaks – When we say check for leaks, we aren’t really saying to check for air leaks in the duct system. While this might be a good idea normally, checking for air leaks is something best handled for a technician that can get into the attic to check your duct work. The type of “checking for leaks” that you as a home owner can preform, is making sure there isn’t any evidence of leaking Freon at your outdoor unit. If you can see an oily substance on any of the surfaces, turn off your system and call Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating. If you system is leaking Freon, it can be a costly fix if not caught early on, and a system running without Freon can cause other damages to the system as well.
  5. Is your HVAC system draining? – Through normal operation, your HVAC system can build up condensation from cold surfaces exposed to the Arizona heat. All good operating and well maintained HVAC systems will have good drainage as well to allow this condensation to run off to the ground, or anywhere else besides in your home or back into the unit. Annual maintenance through our Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating Program can make sure your HVAC system is draining properly, saving you from costly water damages that can occur when these drains are clogged, blocked, or install improperly.