• Air Conditioning

    • What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

      Here in Houston, and throughout much of Texas, our climate region is among the hottest in the region. For that reason, Texans often need bulkier air conditioner units to handle the heat. Air conditioner units are manufactured with a tonnage rating. This tonnage rating doesn’t describe the weight of the unit itself — rather, it describes how much heat can be pulled out of a space in an hour. For example, a one-ton unit can remove 12,000 BTUs of heated air in an hour. So, what tonnage should your unit be? Well, tonnage sizes vary based on the climate in which the home resides, as well as the square footage of the space being cooled. Here in Houston, we recommend the following AC unit tonnage sizes:

      • 600 to 900 square feet: 1.5-ton AC unit
      • 901 to 1,200 square feet: 2-ton AC unit
      • 1,201 to 1500 square feet: 2.5-ton AC unit
      • 1,501 to 1,800 square feet: 3-ton AC unit
      • 1,801 to 2,100 square feet: 3.5-ton AC unit
      • 2,101 to 2,400 square feet: 4-ton AC unit
      • 2,401 to 3,000 square feet: 5-ton AC unit
    • How Do I Keep My AC Coils From Freezing?
      There are a number of techniques that you should employ to ensure that your evaporation coil doesn’t freeze throughout the warm months: First of all, be sure to have your refrigerant levels checked regularly. We recommend that you have your refrigerant checked at least once per year, and its best to check it before the hottest part of the season. In addition, you should be sure to check your air filter and to swap it out if it is covered in dust. A dusty air filter will restrict airflow into your home, choking your cooling system. Eventually, this will lead to a frozen evaporator coil. Make sure that most or all of your cold air supply vents are open within the home. If all of your vents are closed, your system won’t cool your home, and it will work overtime if your thermostat commands the unit to continually cool the house. Check your fan speed at your thermostat, and make sure that it is on high. The fan is designed to remove cool air from around the evaporator coil, pushing that air into the house. If the fan isn’t operating fast enough, condensation will accumulate, and eventually, that condensation will freeze and create a problem. Keep a clear condensation drain. Your air conditioner coil will automatically collect condensation, which is normal. However, if the condensation doesn’t have anywhere to go — i.e. your condensation drain is clogged or blocked — then the condensation can build up on your coils and freeze. If you have a window unit, you’ll have to ensure that it is installed at an appropriate angle to ensure that condensation flows away from the unit and its coil.
    • What Is An Evaporator Coil And What Does It Do?
      Your evaporator coil is the counterpart to your condenser. The evaporator coil allows the refrigerant to evaporate within the coil. The process of changing from a liquid to a gas absorbs heat from outside of the coil, leaving the air around the coil cooled. This air may then be pumped throughout your home to obtain a comfortable temperature.
    • How Can I Defrost A Frozen AC Evaporator?
      If you notice that your AC unit’s evaporator coil is frozen, then it’s best to defrost it before you operate the system again. You can shut off the breaker to your air conditioner to thaw the coil, or you can simply turn off your system at the thermostat. Your evaporator coil may take up to a day to fully defrost. Turn on the blower fan to speed up this process (just ensure that your unit isn’t set to cool your home at the same time).
    • My AC's Breaker Tripped, How Do I Reset It?
      If your air conditioner trips the breaker (a fairly common occurrence during summer, when your air conditioner can be especially active), then you’ll need to do a few things to get it back online. First, turn off the air conditioner at your thermostat — simply switch it to the off setting. Next, locate the breaker box and reset the circuit breaker for your air conditioner. Give the system 30 minutes to reset. Finally, turn on your thermostat again, and make sure that your air conditioner clicks on.
    • Why Is My AC Leaking?
      Your air conditioner will produce condensation as it runs. Fortunately, this condensation is usually guided away from your home via a drain line. However, if that drain line is clogged or dirty, then the condensation from your air conditioner may drip into your home. You’ll simply have to clean out the drain line to keep your home free from a leaky unit.
    • Why Isn't My AC Producing Cool Air?
      Your air conditioner may not be cooling your home for a variety of reasons, including all of the following: Fan operating without cooling: Often, homeowners accidentally turn the thermostat to the fan on setting, instead of the auto cool setting. Check your thermostat. It should be cooling when the temperature inside your home is above the set temperature — it shouldn’t just be turning on the AC fan alone. Dirty filter: Your AC filter is essential to keep dust from entering your home. However, a dirty filter will choke your AC system, forcing your unit to work overtime. Take a look at your filter, and swap it out for a new one if it is caked in dust. Dirty coils: Your air conditioner’s coils suck hot air out of your home and push cool air into your home. If you have dirty coils, the refrigerant won’t be able to cool your home. You can gently wash the coil of your outdoor unit with a hose if you notice that it is dirty. Broken condenser fan: Your condenser fan ensures that heat dissipates away from your AC unit and, subsequently, your home. If you have a faulty fan, then your AC won’t cool your abode. Low or leaky refrigerant: Your refrigerant is responsible for pulling heat out of the air. This cooled air is then blown throughout your home, to give it that desirable temperature. If your AC unit is low on refrigerant, or the refrigerant has leaked out, then your unit will fail to cool your home. Faulty compressor: Your compressor is responsible for pumping refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor components of your air conditioner unit. If your compressor isn’t operational, the refrigerant won’t be able to cool the air that is pumped throughout your home. Often, compressor problems mean that your outdoor unit will require replacing.
    • How Long Are Air Conditioners Supposed to Last?
      With proper maintenance, outdoor air conditioners tend to last between 10 and 15 years. Keep an eye out for signs that your air conditioner is failing, such as poor air cooling throughout your home, a unit that runs all day, or a unit that is making strange noises. All of these signs may be an indication that your air conditioner needs to be replaced.
    • How Long Should My AC Be Running Per Day?
      Ideally, your home’s air conditioner will run for about fifteen minutes at a time, and it should kick on between two and three times per hour, depending on the temperature outside. If your air conditioner is running longer than that, it may be inefficient, or it may require maintenance. If your air conditioner runs for ten minutes or fewer, then your AC may be too big, and it may be best to replace the unit for improved efficiency and a reduced cooling bill.
    • Why Does My AC Run All Day?

      If you have an air conditioner that runs all day, you’re wasting energy, and you’re not cooling your home efficiently. There are several reasons why your air conditioner may be running more often than it should. You may have an air conditioner that is too small for your home. If this is the case, you’ll notice that your home doesn’t cool well, and your air conditioner’s evaporator coil may freeze over (which damages the AC unit). You may also have poor airflow throughout your home, which may mean poor cooling throughout your spaces, which can result in a thermostat that constantly clicks on. Have your air ducts inspected if you suspect airflow may be the culprit of an overactive AC. Your air conditioner may also be low on refrigerant — the stuff that cools the evaporator coil. Look for a frozen evaporator coil, and check if there are any refrigerant leaks in your AC. Your air conditioner coils may also be dirty, which can hinder the efficiency of your machine. Finally, your home may simply be inefficient at keeping cool air in, and warm air out. Consider an inspection if you suspect that your home is losing cold air to the outdoors.