Signs it’s Time for an AC Tune-Up

We’re feeling the first bits of warm, spring air which means one thing. Summer is right around the corner. We all know how bad a summer scorcher can feel. This is why we recommend staying one step ahead of the weather and scheduling an AC tune-up as soon as possible. However, some homeowners kick on their AC at the start of spring and think nothing of regular maintenance. Here are some signs it’s time for an AC tune-up.

You Feel Warm Air

Did you turn on your AC for the first time in a season and feel warm air flowing out? We don’t need to tell you this is not normal. Not only will this add unnecessary expense onto your utility bill, but it also adds extra stress to your HVAC system. And to top it all off, your home isn’t getting any cooler.

There are more than a few reasons why your AC might be blowing warm air. They range from the simple, thermostat problems or a dirty HVAC filter. To the more complex issues, think frozen evaporator coils or a refrigerant leak. Either way, it’s best to schedule a tune-up ASAP if you feel warm air coming from your vents. An HVAC professional will be able to diagnose the problem and let you know next steps.

Hearing Any Strange Sounds?

The only sound you should be hearing from your HVAC system is well, nothing beyond a slight whoosh or hum. Most modern systems are engineered to not make a lot of racket. While most noises are a flash in the pan, they go away after one or two instances. Lingering sounds are not something you should let go on for too long.

Screeching could be an indicator of a refrigerant leak, while squealing could just be from a loose belt. As with most other things, sounds can run the gamut from no big deal to major danger.

See a Sudden Spike in Utility Bills?

Most homeowners know what to expect during their yearly billing cycle. When something goes up without warning, that’s a sure sign it’s time for an AC tune-up. Yearly maintenance ensures AC efficiency. Even small things—like an overfull HVAC air filter—can cause your system to work twice as hard to produce the same amount of air. Which could make your utility bills go through the room.

There’s too Much Humidity and Moisture

Regulating humidity is an important role for any central cooling system. Your AC is built to detect and control how much humidity is in your home. It’s time to call the HVAC experts for a tune-up when your home feels a little more moist than usual.

When moisture is in your home be on the lookout for a refrigerant leak. Your AC’s evaporator coils need refrigerant to properly cool air. When they don’t receive enough refrigerant, the air will come out as only slightly cool, but very humid. A quick way to see if you may be dealing with a refrigerant leak is to look for any pooling water around your condenser.

The Airflow is Weak

Your home can’t stay cool without consistent airflow. Weak airflow happens when your air filter is too full or there are issues with your air ducts. We’ve talked about the problems that arise when you don’t regularly change your air filter. In addition to diminished air quality and higher utility bills, weak air flow is one of them. During an A-Avis tune-up, one of our HVAC experts will be sure to change your air filter and get everything working as it should.

Call A-Avis for the Best AC Tune-Up

At A-Avis, we promise the best service to our customers, no matter what. This means so much to us we have our happy money guarantee. Meaning you don’t pay until you’re completely happy. We proudly serve parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Call the number at the top of the screen or click here to request an appointment online.

What’s Included in an AC Tune-Up?

When you bring someone in your home to check your AC, you only expect the best, right? Your air conditioner is a complex system made up of two parts, the outdoor condenser and inside furnace. Believe it or not, your furnace does double duty all year. That’s why two inspections per year are critical for HVAC maintenance.

Just like our furnace tune-ups, there are 3 key parts of an AC tune-up: inspection, cleaning, and testing. Our HVAC experts conduct these in-depth tests to ensure the safety of the unit and to make sure your HVAC system is running at peak efficiency. If there are any problems with your AC system, the tech will let you know what’s going on and any suggested next steps.

Inspect:

Fan Blade for Balance

  • The fan blade is an essential part of our AC condenser. It creates air motion and is responsible for any cool air making it into your home.Anything that spins or rotates needs to be balanced. Without that balance the fan blade can’t operate properly and could potentially do serious damage to your system. For example, a fan blade that’s off balance can potentially hit and break the refrigerant line, damage aluminum parts, or fall off completely.The fan blade has weights in it. During an AC tune-up, your HVAC tech will adjust the weights as necessary to make sure the fan blade is balanced and spinning as it should.

Duct Supply and Return

  • All the air in your home needs an entry and exit point. This is where the supply and return ducts come in. Your HVAC system will pull air from the home, essentially supply the system with more air. The supply duct will guide that air to the HVAC system. After temperature treating your air, the HVAC system then returns that air to your home. This journey is made through the return vent.During a tune-up, a tech will make sure air can flow freely in the supply and return ducts.

Indoor Coil and Blower Assembly

  • Most homeowners don’t know that their furnace does a lot of work during AC season. The same system that heats your home is also responsible for cooling it. Central heating and cooling systems have two coils, one indoor and one outdoor.The indoor coil is above the furnace. Our techs will take extra care to check your indoor coil for issues and give it a nice, professional cleaning. They will also check the blower motor in your furnace.The blower motor that propels warm air through your furnace and into your home is also responsible for distributing cool air into your home. It gets checked twice per year because it’s always in use.

Bearings for Wear

  • Bearings are an important tool for keeping the fan blade balanced. These small devices allow fans and wheels to spin smoothly. Bearings essentially bear the pressure. However, they need to be checked every year. Over time and with enough use, bearings can get dirty and will need to be cleaned, oiled, and sometimes even replaced.

Electrical Connection

  • The rotating of the fan and the air compressor can cause a lot of vibrating. Over time and with enough use, this can dislodge some critical wiring. A-Avis techs are trained to fix that wiring on the spot. They will also make sure to secure electric connections and conduct a thermostat evaluation to make sure everything is working correctly.

Refrigerant line

  • You wouldn’t have cool air without refrigerant. It’s an important part of the whole system, and it’s all delivered to your condenser through one single line. During an AC tune-up, our techs will inspect the refrigerant line for any cracks or damage.

Heat Exchanger

  • Technically the heat exchanger is part of your furnace, but our techs still make sure to look it over during an AC tune-up. Our techs do this because they want to make sure the heat exchanger made it through a season of use and it’s ready for the next fall and winter. We also want to see how your heat exchanged held up during the winter. It’s something you should fix or replace long before the fall.

Clean:

Condenser Coil

  • After the initial inspections, it’s time for cleaning. Your outdoor condenser coil is open to the elements. We advise against keeping it covered, so there will be some dirt and debris hiding in there. Our techs will take out the condenser coil and give it a professional cleaning.

HVAC Air Filter

  • The biggest reason we change the air filter twice per year is because both warm and cool air go through it. Just like your furnace, it’s used throughout the entire year. After a season of use, your air filter can be full of dust, dander, dirt, and any other indoor air contaminates. For your safety, it’s important to be changed twice per year. The HVAC air filer also needs to be changed because a full filter can restrict airflow and cause unnecessary wear and tear to your system.

Condensate Drain

  • The process of taking warm air and making it cool creates a lot of condensation. Your condenser is designed to flush that condensation through a drain. Southern California winds also kick a bunch of dust and dirt into your condenser. That debris can be flushed down the condensate drain with any lingering condensation.This mixture can clog the line like a backed up sink. And just like a backed up sink, it can spill over and leak. These leaks can cause drywall and property damage. We want to do everything we can to avoid these issues.

Outside Condenser

  • One of our biggest cleaning jobs of an AC tune-up is the outside condenser. Your condenser tends to look a little worse for the wear after a season of rain and wind. During a tune-up, an A-Avis technician will use a hose to spray out and clean your entire condenser. After everything is washed down, they will apply a wax sealant. Think of it as a wash and wax you get for your car, but for your condenser.

Test and Measure:

Electrical Wiring

  • After all electrical wiring is put back into place, our techs will conduct tests to make sure everything works. As we mentioned above, if something is out of place, our techs will fix it right away.

Thermostat Evaluation

  • After checking all the wiring, the next thing our techs do is make sure the thermostat is properly communicating with the rest of your HVAC system. Think of the thermostat as the remote control of your HVAC system.Our techs will take a baseline reading of the thermostat, make sure it’s communicating correctly and make sure it’s in proper working order. We make sure all our techs have batteries so your thermostat can get some fresh juice.

Metering Services/TXV

  • TXV stands for thermal expansion belt, a small name for a small part that has a big job. The TXV, sometimes called a metering service or device, regulates how much liquid refrigerant is coming into the system at any given time.This is important because sometimes you don’t want the AC on at full blast. You’ll want a moderate temperature. The TXV will make sure your system is only getting what it needs. This saves you a lot in operation costs and it helps prolong the lifespan of your equipment. During a tune-up, our techs will make sure to test the metering service/TXV and make sure it works to our high standards.

Service Valve Operation

  • Are you familiar with the valve that’s used to test your tire’s pressure? AC units are equipped with a similar valve. Our techs test this valve because refrigerant could come leaking out of it if the valve is corroded or broken.Our techs are all equipped with electronic sniffers and soap bubbles to test the service valve. They’re looking to see if any refrigerant or gas is leaking from said valve. Fortunately, if something is wrong, our techs are outfitted with replacement valves and they will change yours on the spot, free of charge.

Safety Devices Operation

  • Over the years, HVAC systems are outfitted with new safety devices to make sure nothing goes wrong with your equipment or does harm to your home or family. One of the safety devices we check is related to the condensate drain mentioned above.Up to 5 gallons of condensation can be flushed through that line. When the line is clogged, and that condensation has nowhere to go it can just build up in your system. If there is too much water in your condenser, the system will shut itself off to prevent damage to the condenser and damage to your home. We’ll test and make sure that safety device is working.

Refrigerant Charge Evaluation

  • This evaluation makes sure the proper amount of refrigerant is being piped into the condenser. We like to compare this to blood pressure. High blood pressure can put someone at risk for a heart attack. While low blood pressure can weaken the system. We test to make sure your condenser receives the right amount of refrigerant.

Primary Motor Control Operation

  • As with most other machines, your condenser has a motor that keeps it running. And just like most other machines, that motor has a lifespan. Fortunately, it’s easy for our techs to conduct a visual inspection of the motor to see how it’s holding up.
    They look for charred surfaces and soot remnants. These are telltale signs the motor is on its way out and should be replaced. We check things like this because catching a faulty motor early in the season could potentially save someone from investing in a whole new condenser.

Fan Motor Amperage and Voltage

  • Every fan is engineered to have a specific amp and voltage average. We like to make sure everything is at the correct setting. When a fan motor is running too fast it means an equipment failure is on the horizon. Our techs are outfitted with special meters that will let them know the exact amperage and voltage of your fan motor.

Secondary Motor Control Operation

  • The secondary motor control is responsible for the electric that’s released into your condenser. It stores electricity and releases it in specific intervals. It releases the electricity in spurts to keep the fan motor spinning at a specific rate.
    If the secondary motor control isn’t working correctly, it could negatively impact the compressor and the fan. While the fan and compressor are not cheap to fix, the secondary motor control operation is. We check this because we would rather catch and fix a small problem than a have it turn into a huge issue.

Compressor Amperage Draw and Voltage

  • This is very similar to the fan motor. The compressor has specific, manufacturer provided numbers its amperage and voltage should be at. The amperage needs to be at a certain level because the electric company will charge you more when its too high. When the compressor is running more than it needs to be, it’s using a lot more energy and it’s sustaining a lot of unnecessary wear and tear.

Temperature Difference at Supply and Return

  • Finally, when everything is checked, we go start the AC system and go into the home. Our techs take temperature readings at the supply and the return vents. There is a specific temperature ratio where each of these should be. Checking the temperatures is the last step of our AC tune-up.

Want the Best AC Tune-Up in SoCal?

At A-Avis we proudly serve our Riverside and San Bernardino communities. To schedule your own AC tune-up, dial the number at the top of the screen or click here to request an appointment online.

How to Prepare Your Home for Summer

There’s nothing better than a long, warm Southern California summer. We’re already gearing up for warm summer nights even though the actual season is a few months off. You should also be getting your home ready for summer. Southern California summers can do a number to your home and garden, here are some great ways to prepare your home for summer.

Prepare Your Windows and Screens

It’s easy to lose a good amount of your treated air through small cracks in your windows. These cracks will let the heat in (or let cool air out) and drive up your utility bill. One of the best ways to prepare your home for summer is to inspect the outside of your windows. Look for small cracks that can be filled. This is also a great time to check your screens. Look for any holes or damage. Summer is a season for open windows and functional screens keep bugs out.

You’ll also want to check your windows from the inside. Open and close them a few times to make sure all parts are in good working order. Also, don’t forget to give the windows a good cleaning. You’ll want a streak-free view of summer.

Inspect Your Roof

Checking your roof is very important after the winter. Southern California winters are mild. However, they shouldn’t be dismissed. Check your roof before it gets too hot to be up there. First and foremost, make sure you feel safe scaling your roof. Call a roofing company to take a look if you are unable to do so.

Keep an eye out for any loose or missing tiles when you’re either on your roof or conducting a visual inspection from a ladder. Any holes or obvious spaces are things you’ll want to have fixed as soon as possible.

Clean out the Gutters

The rainy season down here may be short, but it sure is windy. That wind can knock lots of branches, leaves and other debris loose. Oftentimes, this mess can find its way into your gutters and downspouts.

It’s important to clean out your gutters and downspouts before the start of summer because clumps of wayward leaves and debris can be a very appealing home for bugs and other critters. Mice, squirrels, and rats can get into your attic and chew holes in your ductwork. Bugs like termites, mosquitoes, and even roaches can make a home in your gutter. Both these reasons are why you should clean your gutters before summer hits.

Keep the Bugs Out

Your gutters aren’t the only way bugs can get into your home during the summer. The three most common insects to come out during the SoCal summer are bees, wasps, ants, and mosquitoes.

One of the best ways you can prepare your home for summer is to conduct a visual inspection around the perimeter of your home. Look for any cracks or holes where bugs can get it and seal it. Also check for any areas that collect standing water. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water.

Another thing you can do is landscape with plants that repel bugs. Herbs like rosemary and lavender can keep bugs away from your home. They also smell great and can add some homegrown flair to your cooking.

Tune-Up Your AC

It gets so hot in parts of Southern California that a working AC system is essential to daily life. One of the most important things you can do to prepare your home for summer is to schedule an AC tune-up. Regular maintenance is essential for your HVAC system and home comfort levels.

During an AC tune-up, our certified technicians will disassemble every part of your outdoor condenser and give it a professional cleaning. They will also conduct maintenance checks on every part of your system, ensuring a summer full of cool air and reliable HVAC.

One of the best ways to always be prepared for tune-ups is to join our CHAMP-Rewards program. Our club service representatives will call you when it’s time for a tune-up, not the other way around. It takes the guesswork out of scheduling, and you can save a little money as well.

Prepare Your Home Ready for Summer with A-Avis

Make sure your home stays cool all summer long with A-Avis! We offer our unparalleled AC tune-ups to clients in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Meeting your HVAC expert is as simple as dialing the number at the top of the screen. Or click here to request an appointment online.

Invest in the Comfort Club for Your Spring AC Prep!

The warm weather of springs starts early in Southern California. March is the right time to schedule annual maintenance for your air conditioning system, even if spring doesn’t officially start until the end of the month. Last week was one of the warmest we’ve had in a while, and that was still in February.

There is no better time to invest in our Comfort Club, which is our prepaid maintenance plan for both air conditioning and heating in our customers’ homes. We designed the Comfort Club to ensure your HVAC system enjoys a long service life, runs into few repair issues, and works at high energy efficiency. Download and print this form to get started with Comfort Club membership, then schedule your air conditioning maintenance in Fontana, CA.
Continue reading “Invest in the Comfort Club for Your Spring AC Prep!”

Steps for Getting the AC Ready for the Heat

In our last post, we talked about the importance of signing up for our maintenance club to receive routine spring maintenance on your air conditioner. Most AC prep steps for the coming summer need to be left to the professional HVAC experts. But not all of them. You can help get your air conditioner and your house ready for when the air conditioner comes back on strong for the season.

Because we live in a warm climate, air conditioning preparation is a bit different. You probably only used the ductwork of your home occasionally over the winter on the few coldest days. Otherwise, most of the HVAC system goes unused. This can mean a decline and increase of dust buildup during the winter and a rough start for the AC in the summer. These steps can make a big difference.
Continue reading “Steps for Getting the AC Ready for the Heat”