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Broken Air Conditioner? Before you call a HVAC Contractor, Try these steps first

  
  
  
  
  
air conditioner, heating and air conditioning, southern indiana heating and cooling, heating Invariably, when your air conditioning unit decides to go on the fritz, it will be on the hottest day. Before you call a residential HVAC contractor, there are a few things you can do to help you troubleshoot your system. While there are several issues that only a professional can fix, in many cases, it may just be a simple problem that's causing the malfunction, particularly if your system is newer and has not had any issues in the past.

1. Make sure the unit is turned on. Set your thermostat up high, and then turn it well below the current room temperature. Listen for the system to turn off. If it does not, there are two possibilities -- the breakers or fuses have blown, or the thermostat may not be functioning properly.

2. Check the breakers or fuses for the air conditioning unit. For a breaker box, open the panel up and check to see if any of the breakers have tripped to the "off" position. Move these back to the "on" position, and have someone else click the thermostat. If the breaker throws again while you're standing there, there may be an electrical issue with the air conditioner. If you have fuses, these will typically be located in a fuse box outside, next to the unit. Turn the fuse switch to the off position and examine the fuses. If any appear burned, or if they make a noise when you shake them, replace the fuses. Turn the switch back to the on position and then click the thermostat.

3. Check the air flow to the system. Blocked air flow is a common reason why air conditioners suddenly quit working. Go outside and check around the unit. If there are weeds or grass around it, trim these away and try the unit again.

4. Examine the unit for any visible signs of problems. If all of the above steps have failed and your unit still will not function, look for issues such as ice build-up on the indoor coil,
 leaking water from the unit, or oil that has spilled from the unit's casing. These are signs that you will need to contact a residential HVAC professional.

After you go through these troubleshooting steps, you'll need to find a residential HVAC contractor in your area.
) Check the name on your system before you begin calling. (NO,NO,NO!!!) For a great way to find a service company check out our other blog ( Characteristics of High Quality HVAC Service TechsWhile a general HVAC company can typically solve any issues you're experiencing, if your system is still under warranty, you definitely want to pick the right company so that you don't void your warranty.

Check with online review services, such as Angie's List, to get an idea of the ratings for the residential HVAC companies in your area. You can also check with the better business bureau, or ask your friends in the neighborhood who they have worked with in the past. In larger areas, you can also use your phone's Google map or places app to get reviews of local companies. These can be very useful in narrowing your search.

Keep in mind that on severely hot days or stretches where the weather is very hot, you may not be able to get a service tech out to your location immediately. If you or someone in the home has health issues that could be worsened by high temperatures, let the residential HVAC company know -- they'll make an extra effort to get you taken care of. 

Geo-what? Oh, Geothermal Heating & Cooling

  
  
  
  
  

Are you a savvy homeowner that knows what geothermal heating is? If not, don’t worry. Many homeowners do not understand the benefits of using a geothermal system to heat their home. Today, we will provide a better understanding of what geothermal is and how it can provide extremely reasonable utility bills for your home.

Geothermal heating and cooling is a process of heating and cooling a structure by using water as a medium. Most geothermal systems consist of a heat pump that uses water to gather heat in the winter and reject heat during the summer. This is accomplished by a refrigeration circuit similar to any other air conditioner or heat pump.

The simple refrigeration circuit is in the geothermal equipment, which is located inside your home, while the water is in a “loop” buried in the ground in your yard. The pipes which create the “loop” will take the water from your house, and run it under the ground where it can extract or deposit it’s heat into the earth. The process works extremely well since the earth is a constant temperature five feet below the surface.

The geothermal principal is based on the fact that water transfers heat better than air. This provides a more consistent performance during winter, and the water stays much warmer at a temperature of anywhere between thirty and fifty degrees, as opposed to the typical heat pump, which operates at a temperature between zero and twenty-five degrees. This allows for a much better production of heat by your heat pump. Plus, you have the added benefit of the geothermal system because it never has to defrost itself like a typical heat pump, therefore saving you money!

You may still have many unanswered questions about geothermal heating and cooling, so check out our pages for more information!

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Humidity. Deal with it.

  
  
  
  
  

As we discussed in our last blog post, low humidity problems are very frequent in homes, especially in the winter. The only way to remedy this situation is to add moisture to the existing air with the use of a humidifier. There are three types of humidifiers: portable, self-contained, and duct mounted (or whole house). Let’s look at each type.

Portable
This is the least expensive type of humidifer and typically serve only a small room. They must be constantly filled with water due to their limited capacity and typically have a small heat element in them with no fan assist. Portable humidifiers rely on the heat to evaporate the water into your environment.

Self-Contained
As we continue on to a typically bigger humidifier, we start to find more benefits and controls. Most self-contained humidifiers have a larger heater and fan assist which circulates the air in the room. There is also likely to be a sensor and control to limit the amount of humidity delivered to one specific area. Self-Contained units come in a variety of capacities (3-10 gallons per day) and can cover a significantly larger area than a portable unit.

Whole house
A duct mounted humidifier provides complete control of the amount of humidity in your house. There are two basic styles: evaporative and mechanical. Both types typically have humidistat controls and the ability to cycle on demand and according to the humidity sensors.

  • Evaporative Humidifiers open a solenoid to flow water across a water panel and utilize the heat from the furnace to humidify the air. The air is then blown into the house where it mixes with the less humid air resulting in a balanced indoor environment. This style of humidification can humidify a 2000 square foot house fairly easily and accurately.
  • Mechanical Humidifiers operate in a very similar way. The major difference is that there is a heating element in the water to produce steam. Additionally, there is a relay that can power on the indoor fan, providing humidity any time it is needed.

Humidity is a very necessary part of our indoor environment and is beneficial to our health. If you and your family would like to explore any of these options, Reliable Comfort, humidity experts, can help achieve the balance in your home. Give us a call today.

In our next blog, we’ll will look at the benefits of proper indoor humidity.

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