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!

Should I Buy a Programmable Thermostat?

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCMost new homes and many older homes now have programmable thermostats installed for the HVAC system. If your home still has an older system thermostat or one that does not have a programmable feature, you are missing out on added convenience, energy savings and other benefits of setting a schedule for your HVAC system to run.

Many people have a schedule that they follow everyday. We work at certain times, or can count on being out of the house at certain times. Also, when the sun goes down we may not want the house to be as cool as during the day. Without a programmable thermostat, this means remembering to change the thermostat every time there is a change. If forgotten, you run the risk of cooling an empty house, putting unneeded wear and tear on your system, as well as wasting precious energy when it is not needed. A simple switch to a programmable thermostat can help alleviate these problems and better help manage your energy costs.

Recently, there have been some very high tech introductions to the programmable thermostat realm, most notably the Nest thermostat or Lyric thermostat by Honeywell. While these are great options, they come with a high price tag. Sometimes that price tag is a little too much for a homeowner to take at one time. Not to worry! There are many affordable options for programmable thermostats that will give you the basic functionality of being able to set your HVAC system on a schedule, unlocking your energy savings potential. Give the professionals at Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating a call today, and we can walk you through your options and what best fits your household needs!

Why does my AC keep running?

During the hot Phoenix Arizona summers, most people are use to their AC running quite a bit, just to keep up with the 110+ temperatures that we experience here. While it is normal for your AC to be on more than usual when the temperature goes up outside, it shouldn’t be constantly running. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to try before giving Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating a call that can save you some time and money.

  1. Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCCheck your thermostat – One of the most avoidable issues is to check your thermostat settings. With the more basic thermostats, it can be as simple as forgetting to switch your system from “ON” to “AUTOMATIC”. Having it in the “ON” position will tell your AC system to continue running, even when it satisfies the temperature you have set on your thermostat. With the more complex thermostat options that are on the market now, yours may need a little bit more programming to be set correctly. Check with your owners’ manual, or give us a call and we can try to walk you through some troubleshooting on your thermostat.
  2. Change your filters! – Air flow restrictions caused by dirty filters can greatly affect your AC systems performance. If you AC system does not get enough air flow, it can not blow out cold air and will continue to run since it is not able to satisfy the thermostat setting. Change those filters!
  3. Dirty coils – Check to make sure there is no debris built up on your condenser outside. This is the same as a restriction for your indoor components. Restrictions can cause the system to not cooling correctly, therefore not being able to satisfy the thermostat settings leading to a constantly running AC system.

If you go through the above steps and nothing seems to work, give Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating a call and we can send a certified technician out to assess what may be wrong. Another cause of a constantly running system can be age. Your AC system may just be worn out from years of use. If this is the case, we can work with you to best determine the next steps to take in replacement.

Choosing the right size Air Conditioning System

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCThe time has come for you to upgrade, replace or just generally install a new air conditioning system. Great! Get ready for lower electricity bills in your future with a more efficient unit! A question that we regularly get pertaining installing a new system is “what size system should I get?” This is a very important question. If your new system is too small for your home, the system will continually run to keep up; resulting in high electric bills and may not be even able to cool your home at all. On the flipside, if you get a unit that is too large it will cool your home too quickly. AC systems are designed to run for periods of time, not in short bursts. Your AC system can short cycle and cause damage if it is too big for the home.

A few different factors can go into making this important decision. What is the square footage of your house? When was your house built? Do you own a single story or two-story home? How well is your home insulated? These are all important questions to have answered. At Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, we can come out to your home and provide a free estimate for the right system for you. If you are thinking about replacing your air conditioning system, give us a call today!

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!

Ductwork – The Forgotten Air Conditioning System Component

Written by:
Mitch Apalategui

on
June 2, 2014

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLC
Ductwork – The Forgotten Air Conditioning System Component

Of all of the appliances in your home it’s a safe bet that when it’s working properly, your air conditioning system does not get too much attention. Besides the outdoor portion of your system, a big reason for this is because the air conditioning system is mostly hidden in your attic, walls, etc. A major component and often-overlooked portion of your air conditioning system is the ductwork that shuttles air around your home keeping you comfortable.

It is important to make sure your ductwork is in good condition. If your ductwork has started to deteriorate or crack and develop leaks, it can lead to efficiency issues. Some rooms of your home may get proper air flow while others do not, and your air conditioning system will work overtime to try to get areas cool when all it is doing is cooling down your attic and wasting your hard earned money. Leaky ductwork can also pull particles from the attic, creating excess dust in your home.

Getting up in your attic and inspecting the ductwork on your own, especially during the summer months, is not for everyone. As part of our Sharp Air Maintenance Program, we will inspect your ductwork during our two scheduled maintenance visits to ensure that your system is operating at its peak efficiency. So stay out of the attic, and let the professionals at Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating take care of your air conditioning needs today!

Benefits of hiring an AIR CONDITIONING COMPANY

Written by:
Mitch Apalategui
on
May 21, 2014

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCThere are many companies that are “Jack of all Trades” business models. They may take care of your air conditioning, plumbing, and many other issues. Admittedly, this can be convenient for the customer. It makes life easy when you can hire one company to take care of all of your needs. What you will often find though, is that the old saying very often rings true.

Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

With the amount of technology and skill now required for everything, including your air conditioning system, we believe that having a trained technician to handle you air conditioning needs can make sure your repair or installation is done right, the first time. This saves you time and can save you money, knowing that the job was done correctly the first time instead of having multiple calls for the same issue.

A misconception of the word “specialization” is that it also means more expensive. At Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, this could not be further from the truth. You will find that our prices are among the most competitive in the Valley, while not compromising on quality. Give us a call and let us show you the benefit of specialization at an affordable price!

Should I replace or repair my heating and air conditioning system?

This is one of those questions that we get asked all the time. Should I repair my older unit, or is it time to invest in a replacement? Well unfortunately there’s not really an easy answer. You might think that we would suggest you replace your unit because we are HVAC contractor. It’s not necessarily the case though. Often times it makes sense to repair your existing unit rather than going through the expense of a replacement. Here are some guidelines that may help you with your decision:

  1. If your existing unit was manufactured more than 15-20 years ago it may be time to consider an upgrade even if it’s working currently. The advancements in technology make a new unit considerably more efficient. Your savings in utility bills will go a long way towards paying for the new unit. Plus, the sad reality is that eventually your older unit will fail. There is an expected lifespan on these, and you’re getting very close to it.
  2. If you’re looking at replacing a compressor in your AC unit that’s a substantial repair. You can think of it as replacing the engine in your car. If you really love your car you might want to replace the engine, but it will be costly and rarely as reliable as a new car. A new unit will be more reliable than replacing the compressor and once again the efficiency in design is something you should consider.

Those two situations are typically going to result in a recommendation to replace. However, there are times when the decision isn’t so easy to make.

One rule of thumb to consider is the cost of your repair and the age of your unit. Replacement should be a consideration if your unit is beyond ¾ of its life expectance and repairs will cost more than a 1/3 of a replacement. For example if your unit is 16 years old and the repair is $700-800 you might want to consider a replacement. Always keep in mind that this might be the chance to reduce your monthly utility bills with a more efficient unit.

The best option is to have one of our certified technicians come out to your home or business and assess the situation. Some 20+ year old units work fine because they’ve been maintained well. On the other hand some 10 year old units need to be replaced due to neglect. A professional knows what to look for when evaluating your equipment. Each situation is different, but Sharp Air can help you with your difficult decision.

Why is my air conditioner blowing hot air?

My air conditioner is blowing hot air… what’s going on?

Written by:Air conditioner is blowing hot air
Mitch Apalategui
on Sept. 14, 2014

Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating, LLCAnother common call we get here at Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating is someone calling in to say their air conditioner is blowing hot air. This would seem to be even worse than if it was simply not blowing any air at all, especially when its hot enough outside without a heater blowing inside too! Below are a few common reasons for this “hot problem” and what you might be able to do to fix it.

  1. A clogged air filter – We will keep saying it over and over, but clogged air filters are the number one culprits for many HVAC issues. While a dirty filter might not be the sole reason your air conditioner is blowing hot, it can be a major factor in restricting airflow. Changing your filters can be one of the easiest maintenance issues that you preform on your home, it’s all about remembering to do so. With the dust storms that we get in Phoenix and the surrounding Arizona desert, changing dirty filters should be at the top of your maintenance list. Change those filters!
  2. Check thermostat settings – Every now and then we get a call that we fix over the phone. Usually, the root of the problem is someone has unknowingly changed the settings on their thermostat. It can be as simple as forgetting to change over to “cool” in the spring, or the system may just have the fan on. Checking your thermostat settings before calling in an AC issue can save you time and hassle.
  3. Refrigerant Issues – Sometimes your system can develop a leak in the refrigerant lines, and cause a very slow leak that can reduce the amount of refrigerant in your system. Your AC system needs to have a proper “charge”, or amount, of refrigerant in the system to operate correctly. A few tell tale signs of a refrigerant leak could be ice forming anywhere on your system, or you might even see an oily substance on your outside unit. If you see any of these signs, give Sharp Air Conditioning & Heating a call, and we will send a professional out. This can usually be an inexpensive repair if your system is simply low on refrigerant.
  4. Condenser/Outdoor Unit – Another common issue that we get called out on is that it seems the inside fan is blowing but the outdoor unit, also known as a condenser, does not seem to be on. First thing to do, as a homeowner is to check to see that the unit has power, or that a breaker has not been tripped. Simply making sure the breaker is to the “ON” position can fix your issues. Another easy fix to look for is to clear debris from your condenser. If you can see dirt and leaves and other “stuff” stuck to the sides, this will restrict your system and it will have a hard time cooling. Again, with the Haboobs that we get here in Phoenix, Mesa, and the entire valley, dirt can build up very quickly, so a quick check can save you discomfort when you need the AC the most.