Althoff Home Services Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Cooling’

3 Common Issues that Affect Air Conditioner Performance

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, there are many factors that will affect air conditioner performance. The most common issues, however, are the three “D’s” of dirt, debris, and dust. A dirty air conditioner, dirty condenser coil or clogged air filter can cause more problems than you can imagine. They also can drain your wallet by making it more expensive to operate your unit, perhaps without your knowledge. This is why it is important to be conscious of the three “D’s” that affect air conditioner performance and to proactively take steps to prevent their build up.

Debris Surrounding Outside Unit

Outside units are particularly susceptible to the three “D’s” for obvious reasons. But even here, in the Chicagoland area, steps can be taken to keep units clear and clean. It starts by simply making sure bushes and vegetation are not interfering with airflow to the unit. Your unit needs room to breathe, so it is important it can do so by minimizing debris like grass cuttings and leaves from clogging the unit. Be cautious when using a string weed trimmer near units so as not to damage electrical wiring or connections. While keeping debris away from your AC unit is an easy DIY project, further cleaning should involve a professional. Some homeowners think that simply spraying an outside unit with a hose will clean the AC unit. The fact is, this can make matters worse by driving dirt, dust, and debris further into the unit. A professional will take the cover off of the unit and carefully clean the dirty condenser coil. The condenser coil may be the most important part of your air conditioning system as it removes the warm air from your home. When dirt and debris build on, in, and around it, it inhibits its performance. In severe cases, it can lead to a breakdown of the unit. A thorough cleaning is well worth the minimal expense involved.

Dust Filled Air Filters

Most homeowners are familiar with changing air filters in their home, but many still don’t do it often enough. Filters should be changed monthly to reduce dust and keep airflow moving. This is simple and inexpensive. Again, however, a professional should be contacted to conduct a thorough cleaning of your AC. To keep your indoor and outdoor units running properly and efficiently it is best to have a spring and fall “tune-up” to not only clean your dirty air conditioner and heating system but to ensure moving parts air maintained.

Dirty Air Quality Conditions

The Chicago area has a long history of dirty air and pollution. While improved through the years, it is still a concern especially for those with asthma and those suffering from allergies. As the summer heats up, the air quality becomes increasingly a concern not only here, but elsewhere. Each and every day the EPA produces air quality reports for some 400 cities, including Chicago. This air quality not only affects the air you breathe, it impacts the dirt, debris, and dust that gets into your AC unit. This is why a fall cleaning of your HVAC system can be as important as a spring cleaning.

Routine Air Conditioner Performance Maintenance

Too often we are only reminded of the importance of routine maintenance when there is a failure. Our car breaks down, our lawn mower doesn’t start, or our AC unit stops cooling. Remember, a repair is almost always more expensive than simple maintenance. We can clean that dirty air conditioner, clean the dirty air condenser, and change that clogged air filter and show you how to achieve maximum air conditioner performance. Is it time to schedule your AC maintenance check up?

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How to Select the Correct SEER Rating for Your Residential Air Conditioner

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

When faced with replacing the air conditioner of your Chicago area home, you will likely have to make a decision on a SEER rating for your unit. The challenge is, many don’t know what a SEER rating is let alone how it is used in selecting the best system for your home. For those experienced in such matters, you can take a pass on this blog. If, however, you would like to know what a SEER rating is, how it is determined, and how to use it in the selection of the best AC unit for your space, we encourage you to read on.

What is a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”. On a simple level, a SEER rating is used to help determine the efficiency of an air conditioning unit. How a SEER rating is tabulated is a bit more complex, however. Technically, it is the cooling output that a unit or system generates during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input it consumes during that same period. An easy way to look a SEER rating is like the MPG rating on your car. The higher the mileage rating your car has, the more efficiently it uses gas. The higher your SEER rating, at least in theory, the more efficiently your AC uses electricity to cool air. Keep in mind, when choosing a car that gets the highest mileage, you may be making sacrifices in other areas like size, comfort, and power. Likewise, there are ramifications to just choosing an air conditioner based on its SEER rating.

Other Factors to Consider

Like federal mileage standards, the government also has minimum standards on SEER ratings. While there are variables according to region and size of the system, the minimum federal SEER rating a system can now generally have is 14. That number will likely continue to increase. Before you go and purchase the highest rated system you can find, however, you may first want to work on improving your home’s thermal rating. You can do this in multiple ways including:

  • Improving the insulation value of windows
  • Insulating and sealing ductwork
  • Install an attic fan
  • Improve insulation in ceilings and walls
  • Improve the radiant quality of your roofing
  • Use landscaping to increase shade on your property

You also should consider how long you may live in your home. A more efficient system will cost more so living in your home longer will produce a greater return. If you will be selling your home in a couple of years, the extra investment of a higher rated unit may not get you a return on investment.

If you are replacing an older AC unit that has an 8-10 SEER rating, you will likely be happy with what you get in a 14 SEER rated system. Many of our clients are often astonished at the difference it makes in their electric bill. When combined with some improvements in their home’s thermal rating and an even more efficient system, the results can be even more impressive. It is wise to discuss your situation with your local HVAC professional.

Contact Althoff Industries for the Advice You Need

If you are considering a new AC unit for your Chicago area home or business, we encourage you to contact us. We’ll discuss your home, lifestyle, and your expectation of your new AC system. We’ll talk about how long you may live in your home and help you select a system with the SEER rating that will give you your best ROI. You don’t have to go it alone. Get the help you need from the team who has made indoor air treatment our profession.

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14 Smart Tips to Lower Summer Cooling Bills

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Most of us in the greater Chicago area are glad to see the summer months arrive. It means the return of baseball, vacations, and trips to the beach. One thing though that summer brings that is not so welcome is the higher summer cooling bills. You are not helpless, however, in fact, far from it. From investing in solar panels to using energy saving LED lighting, there are plenty of steps you can take to be more energy efficient which in turn helps reduce summer cooling and electric bills. Here are 14 obvious, and some not-so-obvious, tips to save on your summer cooling bills.

  1. Consider a new HVAC system. We know, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. In the case of your HVAC system, however, a new high-efficiency system can actually reduce bills by 50% or more. It doesn’t take long to realize significant savings with efficiency ratings like those now available.
  2. Get rid of energy-gobbling appliances. Have a 15 or 20-year-old refrigerator in your garage for beverages? Odds are that refrigerator costs more to run over a few months than it is worth. Buy a small energy efficient dorm room size refrigerator if you need the space.
  3. Turn off fans in rooms where no one is spending time. Fans serve to move air and cool the skin. Moving the air in an empty room just isn’t an efficient use of electricity.
  4. Use room darkening blinds or curtains. You’ll be surprised at the difference window treatments can make in cooling a room, especially on westward facing windows.
  5. Switch to LED lighting. Not only does LED lighting use minimal electricity, it doesn’t give off any unnecessary additional heat into your living space. They are perhaps the most energy efficient device for your home available today.
  6. Consider how landscaping can help. A properly positioned tree can provide years of cooling shade. Bushes can deflect the heat that your outside brick may otherwise absorb. Grass disburses heat better than concrete. Landscaping is a terrific, natural way to reduce summer cooling bills.
  7. Look into solar options. You don’t have to have a solar farm built in your backyard or on your roof to take advantage of solar energy. You can start small, like with a solar water heater or outdoor lighting. As you realize savings you may be encouraged to do more!
  8. Make sure your AC units, duct work, and filters are clean. Make sure your outdoor AC unit has room to breath and is free from debris. Change filters at least every three months and have duct work cleaned annually.
  9. Have you thought about awnings? Awnings can save energy, add to the appearance of your home and create outdoor living space. Contemporary options are more appealing than ever.
  10. Be on the look out for energy thieves. We use so many electronic devices we may not even be aware they are constantly using energy. These include charging cell phones, laptops, computers, printers, electric shavers, TVs, clock radios and others. Make sure both the unit and charger is unplugged when charging is complete and unplug devices in spare rooms.
  11. Un-condition yourself. We call it air conditioning but we are really conditioning ourselves to be less resilient in uncomfortable temperatures. Make the effort to “un-condition” yourself by increasing the temp in your home or car. You do realize air conditioning wasn’t even invented until 1902 and people did live without it, right? You may not want to go to that extreme but you can increase your use of fans and use less AC.
  12. Make your HVAC system “smarter”. There are plenty of smart home devices to help you take charge of when your AC system is operating. Does it make sense to have your home cooled to 72 degrees for hour after hour when no one is home?
  13. Improve your insulation. You don’t have to go the whole house route but increase an area each year. Make sure doors and windows are sealed as are electrical sockets. Work on the area above the garage this year, in the attic next year. Just keep making progress!
  14. Price energy efficient windows. Not only can new windows save on your cooling and heating bills, but you’ll probably find they make your home quieter and more comfortable. A window and door company should be able to provide you with your approximate energy savings upon installation to help you make your decision.

It can be quite liberating to see your summer cooling bills get smaller, so get started today. If we can be of assistance, please contact us at Althoff Industries.

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3 Reasons Why a Mismatched HVAC System Costs You More Money

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

There is a reason HVAC companies refer to their equipment as a “system”. It’s because each component is designed to work in harmony to provide efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The older an HVAV system is, however, the more opportunities there are to end up with a mismatched evaporator coil and condenser. A mismatched HVAC system can often be referred to as a “Frankenstein” system because it is still operating on pieces and parts that weren’t intended to work, or certainly not work efficiently together.

A Question of Economics

For homeowners, it becomes a question of economics when looking at replacing either an air conditioning unit or a furnace. Can you replace one or the other? Yes. There are, however, a lot of reasons you shouldn’t. Here are three ones.

  1. Replacing both units at the same time will save you money long-term. What many homeowners may not realize is that if they replace only the outdoor AC unit, they’ll probably be spending money to replace the indoor unit shortly thereafter. Your HVAC company won’t have a problem with that because you, in essence, will be paying installation costs twice. In the photo used as an example, you’ll see an AC unit that was replaced just two years before the furnace. To make sure the AC unit worked with mismatched hvacthe furnace they had at the time, we had to make use of a wider coil. When we replaced the furnace, the new furnace was not as wide. This means that now the components aren’t properly matched or aligned for optimal airflow. It involved more work and added more expense. Replacing both units would ensure an efficient, dependable system that will function properly for a longer period of time.
  2. Matched systems perform better. When air conditioning units are designed, they are built to work with a matched indoor unit. This matched system works in tandem to generate optimum efficiency and ideal system performance. As mentioned, replacing an outdoor air conditioner unit without installing the matching indoor unit will work. However, you are jeopardizing the dependability of both units. This compromises your HVAC system’s efficiency, which may cost more in the long run.
  3. Efficiency ratings are based on matched systems. When you purchase a new HVAC unit, the heating and cooling efficiency ratings are based on matched system performance. That means, if you bought a condenser with an 18 SEER rating to help you save money on monthly bills, you won’t realize the full potential of those savings without the matching furnace. The wider the difference range between SEER ratings of equipment, the less efficient they will be in working together.

Another Reason Trusted, Reputable HVAC Service is Important

The issue of a mismatched evaporator coil and condenser and a mismatched HVAC system is yet another reason to perform due diligence in selecting your HVAC company. While we will do what we can to extend the life of any system, there is a time when the wiser choice is to simply replace a system.

A matched system will run more efficiently, perform better, last longer, and deliver cost savings well beyond the extra expense. To learn more, contact one of our expert HVAC technicians today! We service homeowners in the NW Chicago suburbs  and would love the opportunity to service your residential home or commercial business.

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4 Important Benefits of Air Conditioning Filter Maintenance

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

One the easiest, least expensive and most beneficial ways to keep your air conditioner humming along through the summer season is through changing the air conditioning filter and through regular air filter maintenance. Yet, it is amazing how often our HVAC technicians will see an air conditioner filter that has been ignored for far too long. Changing your air conditioner filter is particularly important if you have pets or there is a smoker in your home. Here are four benefits of air conditioning filter maintenance.

  1. Improve the life of your air conditioning unit. A dirty air conditioner filter makes it hard for your air conditioner to handle air which, in turn, causes increased wear. With regular filter maintenance, you can help your unit breathe easier and extend its life. Dirt and lack of maintenance is one of the leading causes of HVAC failure and extending the life of your unit starts with a clean air conditioner filter.
  2. Better energy efficiency. If you see your utility bills increasing and think there isn’t anything you can do about it, changing an air conditioning filter is a simple first step. Compared to the energy saved, and new air conditioning filter can more than pay for itself.
  3. Overall quality of air in your home. Your home will smell better, have less dust and even reduced allergens when you keep a clean air conditioner filter. This can actually help your family breathe and feel better. You also may find yourself dusting in your home a little less often when filters are changed regularly.
  4. Helps keep ductwork cleaner. Concerned about the build up of dust and dirt in your ductwork?. Keeping air conditioning filters clean can contribute to cleaner ductwork.

How Often Should Filters Be Changed?

So, how often should you have your air conditioner filter changed? For many, changing filters seasonally in the fall and spring seem to be the routine. For peak benefits, however, air filter maintenance should actually occur monthly. At the very least, filters should be clean or changed every three months. Thanks goodness it is an easy to accomplish, very affordable task.

Proper Maintenance of Your Entire HVAC System

Air filter maintenance and air conditioner filter changes are just a part of a complete HVAC system maintenance program that can help extend the life of your system and make sure it is operating efficiently. If it has been far too long since you have had a system tune-up, see the difference a call to Althoff Industries can make. We serve the Northwest Chicago area with superior HVAC services for families just like yours. Call us today and preserve the life of your HVAC system.

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What’s that Smell? Innocent vs. Hazardous Central Air Conditioner Vent Odors

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Just like when your Chicago area furnace kicks on for the first time in the fall, when your central air conditioning goes on for the first time in the spring, you may be welcomed with some unknown vent odors. Why does your central air conditioning smell that way? How long will the odor last and is it something that is hazardous? Here’s a look at some common vent odors you may smell from your central air conditioning unit and what they can mean.

3 Common Air Conditioning Smells and What They Mean

1. The smell of mildew – Your central air conditioning deals with a LOT of moisture. There’s the moisture in the air in the form of humidity, condensation and more. If this moisture doesn’t get drained away, it can lead to the smell of mildew. Mold and mildew could also form because your air conditioning filters are dirty, leading to vent odors. If you smell the odor of mildew, first change your vent filters. If the smell doesn’t rapidly dissipate, contact your local HVAC expert for a thorough cleaning.

2. The odor of old cigarette smoke – Your condenser coil can attract the cigarette smoke of a smoker in your house. This odor is dispersed each time the central air is operated. A coil cleaning will take care of this issue.

3. An unpleasant rotting smell – It is not uncommon in the Midwest for animals to get into an air conditioner unit and die. As the weather warms and the central air is turned on, a very unpleasant rotting odor can be detected. The only way to resolve the issue is to removed the dead animal from the A/C unit and have it cleaned.

The good news is that none of the above odors is necessarily hazardous. Unpleasant? Yes. Will you want to take corrective action to fix the smell? Absolutely. But none of these are an actual danger to the health of you or your family.

4 Potentially Hazardous Odors from your Central Air Conditioner

1. A “rotten egg” smell – While natural gas doesn’t have an odor on its own, suppliers give it a sulphuric, rotten egg smell to make it unpleasant. If you notice this smell, you may have a gas leak near one of your AC vents. You’ll want to leave the house quickly and call your local natural gas provider immediately.

2. A burning smell or that of plastic burning – This could be an indication there has been an electrical short in your system, or are experiencing a problem with an exhaust fan or compressor. Cut power to your unit and call an HVAC technician immediately.

3. A raw sewage smell – A raw sewage odor can be an indication there is a sewer leak at or near AC vents. Methane gas from sewage can be dangerous and a professional AC technician should be contacted quickly to determine the source.

4. A smell of gunpowder – This could be the result of a fan motor or circuit board burn out. Again, power should be cut and a professional HVAC technician contacted immediately.

The above smells, while not necessarily always hazardous, can potential be harmful. In each instance, a professional technician should be contacted.

Contact Althoff Industries when You Smell Strange Odors

If you experience odd odors when first turning on your air conditioner or if your air is not cooling properly when first turned on, we invite you to contact us at Althoff Industries. We proudly serve homeowners in the Northwest Chicago area suburbs with superior HVAC services, including resolving unpleasant odors. Call us and let us know about your situation – we would love to help!

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The Hidden Dangers of a Clogged Condensate Drain Line on Your AC

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

In a previous article, we discussed the importance of a good spring cleaning and tune up of home’s air condition system. We mentioned how some bargain HVAC technicians won’t even bother to take the panels off of an AC unit to clean the evaporator coil. This can ultimately defeat the original purpose of a cleaning and tune-up. Another area of concern is your condensate drain and the problems associated with a clogged condensate drain line. Once you understand the purpose of a condensate line and the problems a clogged drain or line can cause, you’ll better understand how important it is to make sure your condensate drain line is functioning properly.

What is your Condensate Drain?

If you’ve ever left a cold canned beverage on a picnic table on a hot summer day, even for just a few seconds, you’ll notice that moisture forms on the outside of the can drips down quickly to leave a water ring on the surface of the table. It’s why you probably use coasters inside your home, especially if you have wooden tables. This moisture from condensation can cause damage. Your air conditioning also produces this condensate as it cools the air through its evaporator coil. Your condensate drain is designed to provide a path to remove this moisture and dispose of it in a way that won’t cause damage to the unit or your home or property.

If you look at your AC unit, you may see a small pipe, generally made of PVC, that serves as your condensate drain. It is often located near the ground or a drain. If water is dripping from this line, that’s good news, as it is likely doing its job. The problem is, this line can get clogged, often without your knowledge. Like that cold can on a nice wood table, it can also cause some ugly, and potentially expensive problems.

The Potential Problems of a Clogged Condensate Drain Line

Your AC drain line will include a trap, not unlike the U-shaped traps under your sinks. This is to prevent unwanted air from getting into your closed AC system. This trap, along with the warm, moist air that is under most AC systems are, unfortunately, a perfect breeding ground for algae. If this algae builds undetected and unchecked, it can cause a clog in the drain line. This can back up moisture into your AC system and into the walls of your home. This, in turn, can lead to leakage and overflows which can lead to mold and even a complete system shutdown. These clogs can be disgusting and the damage significant.

Making Sure Your Condensate Drain Line Is Cleaned Properly

Quite simply, there is only one way to make sure your condensate drain line is cleaned properly. That is to have your AC unit tuned-up and cleaned each Spring from a trained, qualified, and quality technician like those at Althoff Industries. Some DIY’ers will attempt to determine if there is blockage present by pouring water down the line from the tee valve, assuming if they see or hear water coming out on the other end, the drain is clear. Sadly, this is also how some bargain HVAC technician assure themselves, and their customers, there is no blockage. But as you can see in the photos, nasty blockages can occur BEFORE the tee, at the outlet of the evaporator coil.

Why do we pay attention to something as seemingly simple as condensate drains? Because at Althoff Industries, serving the greater Chicago area, we’ve built our business by doing what we say we will do and by doing it the right way. You have a significant investment in your home and your AC unit. We have our reputation at stake. Call us for a quality AC check from the professional HVAC technicians at Althoff.

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5 Common Central Air Conditioner Repairs

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

During the course of the summer, a homeowner may encounter problems with their central air conditioner unit. Although, most air conditioner problems only require a quick A/C repair, if a homeowner lets small problems linger or does not engage in timely central air conditioner maintenance, it could lead to a hefty repair bill. To avoid the element of surprise, our team at Althoff has put together this list of common central air conditioning repair requests.

1. Broken Thermostats

A broken thermostat can prevent a central air conditioner from operating. If the unit fails to turn on or doesn’t reach the desired indoor temperature, homeowners should check to see if the thermostat is set to the correct temperature and that it is set to cooling versus heating. If the thermostat requires batteries, they should be changed. If these A/C repair tips fail to restore the function of the air conditioner, a central air conditioner maintenance call is in short order.

2. Bad Electrical Wiring

The air conditioner may have bad electrical wiring if it turns on for a few minutes then trips the circuit breaker or if the homeowner smells something hot or burning. If this is happening in your home, it is best to turn off the air conditioner at the thermostat and the electrical panel and then call a licensed HVAC contractor in Chicago for central air conditioner maintenance.

3. Unit Fails to Turn On or Cycles Frequently

If the air conditioner cycles frequently, it can leave homeowners with high energy bills and indoor air that is still too humid. This most commonly occurs when the air conditioner is too large for the square footage of the home. However, it can also occur when cool air blows directly onto the thermostat. If the vents are located near the thermostat, try closing them to see if this fixes the problem. If the unit still cycles on and off every few minutes, it is best to call a professional HVAC technician and schedule an appointment for an A/C repair in Chicago.

If the unit fails to turn on, homeowners should check the circuit breaker on the electrical panel to see if it has tripped. If it has, it may indicate an electrical problem. If the breaker is in the on position, an electrical component inside the central air conditioner may have failed.

4. The A/C Unit Blows Warm Air

If the residential air conditioner blows warm air from the vents, it may have low levels of coolant or it could be an indication that the outside condenser and coils need to be cleaned. Air conditioners need adequate levels of coolant in order to remove excess heat from the indoor air. Once that hot coolant reaches the condenser, adequate airflow around the unit is essential for dissipating the heat. Clearing any debris and cutting back plants around the condenser may restore proper function, but if it doesn’t, the homeowner will need a central air conditioner maintenance technician to diagnose and repair the problem.

5. Low Air Flow Through Register Vents

Low air flow through the register vents could indicate that the blower motor is malfunctioning or that there are cracks and gaps in the air ducts. The first step to locating this problem is by listening to the air conditioner while it operates. If there are grinding or squeaking noises, the blower may be malfunctioning, indicating the need for an A/C repair. If the blower is operating and sounds normal, the homeowner should walk through the home and examine the air conditioning vents. If some vents are blowing cold air at a normal volume and other vents have little to no air flow, it could indicate the need for an air duct repair service.

Central Air Conditioning Maintenance and Repair with Althoff

Here at Althoff, we offer affordable, timely, professional A/C repair for residential homes located throughout the NW Chicago suburbs. Our HVAC technicians are experienced and knowledgeable in repairing all sizes and brands of central air conditioning units.

To schedule a central air conditioner inspection or A/C repair service before the summer heat hits, call us at 815-455-7000

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5 Reasons Air Conditioner Maintenance Inspection Saves You Money

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

A regularly maintained air conditioner is one that is working efficiently, which in turn helps homeowners keep utility bills down. Spring is the optimal time to schedule an inspection–before the high heat of summer returns. Here are 5 ways that an annual air conditioner maintenance inspection will help keep summer cooling costs down.

1. Improve Air Conditioner Efficiency

When an air conditioner maintenance inspection is performed, a trained expert will examine and clean all the moving parts. The coils inside an A/C unit transfer heat from the refrigerant to the outside air while the fan inside the condenser helps accelerate the removal of that heat. When the coils and fan are dirty, it slows down that transfer of heat so the air conditioner must work harder to keep the home comfortable.

2. Keep Repair Bills in Check

All the parts of an air conditioner work together to cool a home. When one part fails, it can lead to increased wear and tear on other parts which will add up to costly repairs. By scheduling an air conditioner maintenance inspection in the spring–before the cooling season begins–homeowners can locate and replace failing parts before they have a chance to cause harm to the rest of the unit.

3. Prevent A/C Failure

A spring inspection will also help prevent a major repair or even a complete failure of an air conditioning system during the hottest summer days. Every inspection includes checking all major components, including refrigerant levels, to ensure proper operation. Maintaining proper refrigerant levels is essential, and many homeowners do not realize that their air conditioner is low on refrigerant before it’s too late.

A slow leak will cause a slow deterioration of the A/C unit. The early signs might be a slight increase in energy bills as the air conditioner must work harder to compensate for the low refrigerant level. As the season wears on, homeowners may begin to notice warmer air from vents or that the air conditioner seems to be running more often. If left unresolved, low refrigerant levels can cause the air conditioner to stop working altogether, or even damage the compressor motor–a very costly repair.

4. Extend the Life of Your Air Conditioner

A well-maintained A/C unit can last up to 20 years while a neglected one could fail in as little as 10 years. An annual A/C inspection will ensure that the unit is clean, that moving parts are operating correctly, and that ideal fluid levels are maintained. An air conditioner is no small investment; proper maintenance will ensure that investment is a sound one.

5. Warranty Compliance

A manufacturer’s warranty provides peace of mind for homeowners when installing a new air conditioner. However, most manufacturers require proper maintenance for that warranty to remain in effect. Plus, if there are problems with the air conditioner that are covered by the warranty, finding and resolving those problems while the A/C unit is still under warranty is essential.

Long-Term Savings with Regular A/C Inspections

Keeping an air conditioner running smoothly will not only provide homeowners with a comfortable home, but it will also help keep energy and repair bills low. We offer several options for scheduling A/C service including no-hassle memberships that include pre-scheduled inspections and a discount on covered repairs. Ready to start saving? Call Althoff Industries at 815-455-7000 today!

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6 Tips to Maintain Residential Air Conditioner Peak Performance

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Homeowners rely on their air conditioner to work reliably and efficiently all summer long, so when a unit fails, it can lead to uncomfortably living and sleeping conditions. Learn how to keep you’re A/C unit operating efficiently all summer long with these tips.

1. Keep the Heat Off the Thermostat

An air conditioner’s thermostat keeps indoor air temperature constant. It is important to note, though, that a thermostat temperature sensor is located within the thermostat. For this reason, all heat producing appliances, including lights, should be kept away from the thermostat as they lead the sensor to think it is warmer inside the home than it actually is and consequently activate the air conditioner to run. An air conditioner that runs too often, can lead to excessively high cooling bills and decrease the performance of the high efficiency A/C unit.

2. Program Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to pre-program their air conditioners, according to the time and whether it’s a weekend or weekday. According to Houselogic, homeowners could save as much as $180 a year by keeping their thermostats programmed. Energy Star recommends keeping thermostats set to 78 degrees while occupying the home, 85 degrees while everyone is at work or school and 74 degrees while sleeping.

3. Keep the Air Flowing

Air conditioners need air in order to function at their peak performance. Homeowners should regularly change or clean the a/c air filter and keep the outdoor condenser area clean and free of debris. Failure to perform these common maintenance items can dramatically reduce the performance of the home’s high efficiency A/C system.

4. Consider a Duct Inspection and Sealing

Air ducts that are leaky with holes, cracks and separated seams allow cool air out of the ducts and warm air into the ducts. This dramatically reduces A/C peak performance and may cause some rooms in the home to feel hot and stuffy. Exceptionally dirty air ducts slow the air flow and result in dirt, dust and pollen being forced airborne, which can reduce indoor comfort and create high energy bills.

5. Take Advantages of Weatherization Services

Many utility companies offer free weatherization inspections that come with detailed reports of the home’s current energy efficiency and recommendations for residential energy efficiency improvements, like sealing doors and windows and investing in a high efficiency A/C.

6. Licensed Residential HVAC Contractor Inspection

Lastly, homeowners should consider hiring a licensed residential HVAC contractor to conduct a thorough inspection. Licensed HVAC contractors are educated and trained on helping residential air conditioners maintain their peak performance and reliability. Licensed cooling technicians, can inspect all types of air conditioners, perform repairs and provide useful tips on how to achieve A/C peak performance.

For more tips on maintaining A/C peak performance or to schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment contact Althoff at 815-455-7000.

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