Blog

Vent Ice Formation: Causes and Prevention Tips

Ice formation in furnace vents can hinder the vent’s and, by extension, the furnace’s performance.

You should know why moisture sometimes freezes in the vents to prevent such occurrences.

Below are some causes and prevention measures for such ice formations.

Causes of Vent Ice 

The vent channels should allow spent gases to flow out of the house without restriction.

Anything that blocks the vent openings or pipes can interfere with this operation.

For example, ice can form on and block the vent pipes. Below are the possible causes of such ice issues.

Improper Vent Slope

The vent pipe should slope towards the furnace.

The slope is necessary to allow moisture that condenses within the pipe to flow back to the furnace.

That way, the moisture can flow into the furnace’s condensate pipe and eventually into a floor drain.

An improper pipe slope allows the moisture to stagnate and freeze within the pipe.

Lengthy Vent Pipes

An extremely lengthy vent pipe creates two problems.

First, the spent gases might not have enough pressure to flow and exit the vent pipe.

Second, the condensate might freeze before it reaches the furnace’s drain system.

Too Many Elbows

Vent elbows are necessary, but too many of them can create two major problems.

First, each elbow increases the overall length of the vent pipe.

Second, each elbow also increases the restrictions the spent gases must overcome to exit the vent pipe.

Thus, too many elbows might cause moisture to freeze before it can exit the vent.

Wrong Vent Screen

A vent screen prevents debris and pests, such as bugs, from getting into your house.

However, the wrong vent screen can create problems for the furnace’s exhaust system.

For example, fine mesh screens can trap debris and snow, providing the seeding centers for ice formation.

Vents Too Close to the Ground

Vent pipes too close to the ground create two main problems.

First, snow can accumulate and block the vents, which can cause the moisture to freeze.

Secondly, most restrictions, such as bushes, are near the ground and can clog the vents.

Debris Clogging

Debris from outside the house can also enter and clog the vent channel.

That might happen, for example, if you don’t use a vent screen or if something has damaged the vent screen.

The debris will restrict airflow out of the vents and increase the risk of freezing.

Sagging Vent Pipes

A good vent pipe should have adequate support throughout its length.

Otherwise, the pipe might sag.

The risk of sagging is high if the pipe is lengthy or a relatively weak or thin material.

The sagging will increase unnatural bends in the vent pipe and restrict exhaust flow.

As usual, restricted venting increases the risk of ice formations.

 

Prevention Tips

Professional HVAC contractors understand the significance of efficient vent systems and design them properly.

Therefore, the first tip is to use a professional contractor to design and install your entire HVAC system.

The second tip is to avoid DIY repairs or installations.

For example, contact a contractor if something damages your vent pipe and you need a replacement.

The contractor will ensure the replacement vent meets the relevant specifications.

Lastly, maintain your HVAC system.

For example, you should ensure the vent openings are always clean.

Otherwise, blockages might encourage ice formation on the openings.

Hopefully, you will use a professional HVAC contractor for all your heating needs and avoid vent or other related problems.

Chrismon Heating & Cooling has trusted heating technicians that can install and maintain your heating system.

We promise to leave you satisfied with our professionalism.

Contact us for quotes on all HVAC services you may need.

Signs Your Air Handler Needs Service

Signs Your Air Handler Needs Service

If you have a central air heating and air conditioning system, you likely have an air handler.

The air handler provides a vital function in regulating your home’s temperature.

In most homes, it connects the air conditioning unit or heat pump to the air ducts.

Then, it spreads the warmed or cooled air throughout your home.

When you have problems with your air handler, your heating and air conditioning system will not be effective.

Fortunately, a skilled HVAC technician can fix most of these issues. Here are some signs you have a problem with your air handler.

 

Condensation Problems

The air conditioning process creates condensation throughout the system, especially on humid days.

Normally, your air handler uses drain channels to direct the condensation to a pan where it evaporates.

When the system works smoothly, you should have no problems.

If your unit develops a clogged drain line, water could pool and spill out from under the unit.

Algae, dust, insects, and even rodents are some of the things that can clog the lines.

If you see a pool of water, check the lines for leaks and unclog them if possible.

If you cannot access the lines, have a professional check out the unit for you.

 

Fan Problems

The air handler’s fan does a lot of work.

The fan frequently runs off and on, even on mild days.

Over time, the fan can start to fail and break down.

Fortunately, it will likely give off some warning signs before it quits.

You may hear odd noises like squeaks and rattles.

Those sounds could indicate a worn fan bearing.

If you hear these noises, shut off the unit until you can get professional help.

 

Filter Problems

Most air handlers usually have at least one filter.

Filters are one of the most overlooked HVAC maintenance items.

When you have a clogged air handler filter, dirt can accumulate elsewhere in the unit like on the coils.

A buildup of dirt can also affect how your air conditioner or heat pumps run.

If the filter clogs too much, it could create a blockage.

When your airflow isn’t clear, your unit won’t work efficiently.

The best course of action is to either clean or change the filter.

If your filter can be cleaned, try to wipe it down about once a month during heavy use.

Otherwise, change your filter.

You may be able to change the filter yourself.

If not, have a technician change the filter with your yearly maintenance.

 

Blower Motor Problems

Your air handler has a blower motor that performs a critical function.

Without it, air would be unable to move through the rest of the HVAC system.

Unfortunately, blower motors go bad for several reasons, including electrical issues.

Some models have belts that can break.

They can also accumulate dust and moisture and blow it around the system.

When that happens, your home or business’s air quality can suffer.

Only an HVAC technician should handle these moving electrical parts.

 

Electrical Problems

Many air handler units have a control panel complete with multiple connectors and capacitors.

A problem in this area could make it look like you have an issue in another area.

A loose wire or poor connection can cause the whole unit to malfunction.

You can also have an electrical problem in another part, such as a loose wire, that could shut down the whole unit.

Like any other HVAC equipment, your air handler needs regular inspection and maintenance.

You may be able to do basic visual checks on your own, but have a professional do any work inside the unit.

If you have air handler problems, contact Chrismon Heating & Cooling for help.

We can do repairs or help set up a new system for your home or business.

 

Commercial Vs. Residential HVAC

 

HVAC systems for residential homes are markedly different from commercial systems.

 

Understand these differences when planning for HVAC installation so that you can get the right system for your property.

Below are some areas in which commercial and residential HVACs differ.

Size

Commercial HVACs usually have higher capacity than residential HVACs.

The difference makes sense since HVAC systems heat or cool larger areas than residential systems.

At the same time, HVAC capacity is usually proportional to its capacity.

Thus, commercial systems are also physically bigger than residential systems.

 

Packaging

HVAC systems exist in two main forms – packaged and split.

A packaged system integrates every major component of the HVAC in a single unit.

A split system typically separates the major components into two distinct units.

Both designs have their pros and cons.

However, a commercial HVAC is more likely to be a packaged unit than a residential one.

 

Modularity 

The need for cooling and heating in a commercial property may change over time.

For example, you may need to redesign your HVAC system if you:

  • Partition your open office into closed ones
  • Turn the storage room into an office
  • Reduce your warehouse’s square footage

Replacing your HVAC system every time your heating and cooling needs change is costly.

You don’t have to do that with commercial HVACs since they are mostly modular.

Modularity means you can reduce or expand the HVACs capacity without replacing the entire unit.

Most residential systems are not modular.

 

Noise

All HVAC systems produce some noise when running.

The electrical relays, the rotating motors, the fans, and other moving parts of HVAC contribute to their overall house.

HVAC noise depends on various factors, including make and model.

However, the bigger an HVAC system is, the noisier it’s likely to be.

Thus, commercial HVACs are generally noisier than residential ones.

 

Placement

Commercial HVAC units usually go on the rooftop.

Installers usually install residential systems:

  • In the crawlspace
  • In the basement
  • On the side of the house

For split residential systems, one unit sits inside the house and the other outside.

The rooftop makes a good installation place for commercial HVACs since:

  • The location frees up the ground space for commercial operations
  • The location minimizes HVAC noise reaching the ground or inside the property
  • The location allows for convenient maintenance and repair without interrupting workers

Most commercial buildings have flat roofs that allow easy HVAC installation and service.

Of course, you must first confirm that the roof’s structural integrity is adequate for the additional HVAC load.

 

Drainage

Both commercial and residential HVAC systems require drainage.

Drainage is necessary because the air conditioner extracts some moisture from the air during operation, and you need to drain the water safely.

However, commercial systems produce more condensation than residential systems.

The commercial systems thus require a big and complex drainage system.

For commercial systems, expect multiple pipes and pans instead of the single pans that residential systems feature.

 

Ventilation

HVAC systems require good ventilation for efficient operations.

Residential HVACs don’t require complex ventilation systems – after all, you can just open your windows and air the house.

The situation is different for commercial systems.

Some commercial properties don’t even have windows, and if they do, opening and closing them all the time might not be convenient.

Moreover, some commercial properties generate considerable exhaust.

For example, a paint manufacturing facility can produce many chemical fumes that need proper and safe ventilation.

Thus, commercial systems require carefully designed ventilation systems.

HVAC design requires skilled knowledge – knowledge that you can only get from a professional HVAC technician.

Chrismon Heating & Cooling has been active in the HVAC industry for over 20 years.

Contact us for all your heating and cooling needs and benefit from our professional services.

Bad Odors and Your Air Conditioner

Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Unit Emits Bad Odors

One important factor in your home’s indoor air quality is the way the air smells.

When you run your air conditioner, the last thing you want is a bad odor emanating from the unit.

Unpleasant odors can make your room almost uninhabitable, so you should not ignore them.

While not all odors are harmful, they are a sign your air conditioner unit needs attention.

Here are some common air conditioning smells, what causes them, and how to get rid of them.

 

Common Air Conditioner Odors and Causes

Odors may vary based on your unit. But the five types listed below are the most common ones people complain about.

 

Musty Smell

A musty smell refers to that odor that smells like wet dirt or plants.

This odor’s presence is often a sign you have moisture accumulation and mildew in your unit.

A common cause is a blocked drain.

 

Urine Smells

Urine smells may make you think an animal got into your unit.

These odors indicate the presence of bacteria on skin cells trapped in the system.

As the bacteria break down organic material, they release ammonium.

This ammonium smells like urine to the human nose.

 

Rotten Egg Smell

Anything that resembles a rotten egg smell indicates a potential dead creature in the system or just outside.

If you have a central air unit located outside, rodents may have gotten into the unit and died there, for example.

You could also have an animal trapped in your ducts.

 

Burning or Gunpowder Smell

Burning smells are often serious, especially if you also see smoke.

These odors may indicate you have an electrical problem like an exposed wire or stuck component.

Do not use your unit until you have it professionally inspected.

 

Chemical and Exhaust Smells

Chemical and exhaust smells are other signs that you may have a leak somewhere inside your heating and cooling system.

The leak could be refrigerant or even gas.

With both exhaust smells and chemical smells, keep your unit turned off until a technician can check it out.

 

Common Fixes for Some Odors

You may be able to fix some of these problems with simple maintenance.

However, some solutions require a professional touch.

Here are some ways to reduce some odors.

 

Change or Upgrade Filter

Most people can change their own air conditioner filter.

You may need to dig out your owner’s manual to find where it is and what type of filter you need.

You can also try a better quality filter and see if that works better.

 

Clean Ducts

Ducts can get dirty with dust and mildew, so they need regular maintenance.

If you keep them well-maintained, you can reduce some of these odors and improve common health problems like allergies.

 

Unblock Drain Channels

Blocked drain channels cause moisture to build up inside your unit.

This problem creates an unhealthy musty smell.

Check and clear the drain channel if you notice your unit emits these smells.

 

Check Gas Lines

Even if your unit does not use gas, you could have a leak that emits fumes into your system.

Periodically check your gas lines for leaks that emit a chemical or gas-like odor.

You may also hear the hiss of a gas leak.

Call a professional to deal with gas leaks as soon as you suspect you have one.

When hot weather strikes, you want your air conditioner to be a source of relief and comfort, not a way to stink up your home.

If easy fixes don’t change anything, and your air conditioner continues to emit bad odors, call in a professional. Chrismon Heating & Cooling can send a technician out to see why your unit emits these odors.

We can even help you install a new unit if your old one is unrepairable.

Give us a call and schedule your air conditioner service as soon as possible.

Tips to Extend the Life of Your HVAC

4 Tips to Extend the Life of Your HVAC System

 

An HVAC system is a large investment, and your furnace and air conditioner are some of the most important appliances in your home.

Naturally, you’d like to get as many years of service out of your HVAC system as possible.

Homeowners and members of the household often have a bigger impact on HVAC system life than they realize.

These tips can help you keep your central heating and air running smoothly for many years.

 

1. Reduce Heat and AC Usage

Nothing will have a bigger impact on slowing HVAC wear and tear than using the system less often.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable.

There are several ways you can supplement your heating and AC when the temperature outside is not too hot or cold.

If you’re looking to reduce AC usage, the first thing you should try is installing thick blinds or drapes to keep more of the sun’s heat outside.

You can also try to postpone cooking and using other heat-generating appliances until the evening when it’s cooler.

The best ways to supplement your furnace are with alternative heating sources such as a fireplace or by bundling up with blankets and warm clothes.

Ceiling fans can be helpful for reducing your HVAC system usage year-round.

Running fans counter-clockwise will create a cooling effect in warm weather, while running them clockwise will help to distribute heat when it’s cold.

Similarly, adding insulation to your home is a great way to reduce both your heating and cooling needs.

 

2.Maintain Adequate Airflow

Many of the maintenance tasks that homeowners can perform on their HVAC system are intended to maintain proper airflow.

This is important because restricted airflow forces the blower motor to work harder and reduces system life.

You should clean or replace your furnace filter each month to avoid an airflow bottleneck from a clogged filter.

Like the furnace filter, the outdoor condenser is important to maintaining good airflow.

Make sure the space around the condenser is free of vegetation or debris.

Make a habit of shutting off the condenser and cleaning it with a stiff brush or garden hose to prevent dirt from clogging the unit.

Additionally, inspect the exterior of the condenser for bent fins and straighten them with a butter knife or fine comb.

 

3. Set Your Thermostat to Auto

It may seem strange that a specific setting can have such an impact, but this one deserves mentioning on its own.

Most thermostats have a two-way switch labeled On and Auto that controls the behavior of the blower fan.

When the thermostat is set to On, the fan will run constantly, while Auto only allows the fan to run when the system is actively heating or cooling your home.

As you would imagine, letting the blower fan run indefinitely can wear the motor much more quickly than only using the fan occasionally.

For this reason, most HVAC contractors recommend that you strictly use the Auto setting unless you have a device such as a whole-home humidifier or purifier that benefits from a constant flow of air.

 

4. Remember Yearly Tune-Ups

No matter how dedicated you are to maintaining your HVAC system, some tasks simply must be performed by a professional.

Examples include checking and charging refrigerant levels, repairing or replacing internal components, and lubricating motors and bearings.

A yearly tune-up from an HVAC contractor is essential to ensure you get the maximum lifespan out of your furnace and air conditioner.

Maintaining your furnace and air conditioner is a wise goal that you will thank yourself for later.

Keep these tips in mind, and call us at Chrismon Heating & Cooling for all your HVAC repair and maintenance needs

Signs You Need a New HVAC

An HVAC system is a valuable asset for many homeowners. It offers thermal comfort by cooling your home during summer and heating it in winter.

However, many people don’t think about their HVAC until it breaks down, leaving them shivering in winter or sweating buckets in summer.

You don’t have to wait for the worst-case scenario.

 

 

Learn five signs that indicate you need to replace your HVAC unit.

 

1. Rising Utility Bills

During winter and summer, your HVAC works more to heat and cool your home. As a result, your utility bills may increase. However, a tremendous increase in utility
bills may indicate you need a new system. As your HVAC system ages, its efficiency decreases due to wear and tear.

When you notice an unexplained increase in your energy bills, contact an HVAC expert to check your unit to see if something is wrong. The specialist may recommend
replacing some parts or the entire system.

 

2. Recurring Repairs

Regularly maintain your HVAC to increase its lifespan, efficiency, and functionality. Also, maintenance can help you catch issues early before they escalate to
significant problems that require extensive repairs.

While your system can have a few repairs now and again, recurrent and costly repairs are not normal. When you find yourself repairing and replacing different parts
of the HVAC frequently, consider purchasing a new system. The cost of constant repairs, from the price of individual components to labor, can be more than buying a new
unit in the long run.

 

3. Increased Running Time

If you notice your HVAC starts up frequently and stays on longer, you may need a replacement. This could indicate that the system is unable to produce and circulate
air efficiently. As such, it takes more time to attain the desired temperature.

Before ordering a new unit, check the coils and blower motor. At times, if these two parts are failing, your HVAC may run for longer than usual. If these parts are
okay, then you need a new HVAC.

 

4. Older System

The lifespan of your HVAC depends on its installation and maintenance. A properly installed and maintained unit can last for more than a decade. However, an HVAC
unit becomes outdated, inefficient, and an excellent candidate for replacement after about ten years without proper care.

After a decade, HVAC units start to lose efficiency, resulting in costly repairs and skyrocketing bills. Therefore, buy a new system for increased efficiency and
energy and cost savings. New HVAC systems also come with state-of-the-art technologies that are digitized and easy to use and make your home smarter.

 

5. Unusual Noises

Most HVACs get louder with age. However, if the noises are too loud, they may signal you need a new system. Watch out for loud noises in the blower, furnace, and
outdoor unit. Also, if the HVAC produces odd noises before starting, you might need a replacement.

Some HVAC noises emanate from problems with the blower, motor, fan, and other moveable parts. Maybe a part of the HVAC is loose and needs replacement or repair.
Nonetheless, if after repair the noises persist, replace your HVAC.

Like most appliances, even the best HVACs won’t last forever. Eventually, you will need to put the old system to rest and buy a new one. Signs such as large utility
bills, frequent and costly repairs, and increased running time indicate you need a new HVAC. You reap numerous benefits from a new unit, including increased energy
efficiency, greater safety, and enhanced comfort.

Contact Chrismon Heating & Cooling for HVAC replacement and maintenance in Greensboro, NC.

We specialize in high-efficiency HVAC equipment to meet your business or home needs.

4 Reasons to Open Interior Doors When Using Your HVAC System

When using your HVAC system effectively, some seemingly innocuous things can have a significant impact on its performance.

One example of this is closing interior doors.

You may think that closing doors can help to concentrate heated and cooled air where it is needed, but, in fact, there are several downsides to
this approach.

Discover four reasons to leave interior doors open when using your HVAC system.

 

1. Increase Energy Efficiency

The energy efficiency of your furnace and air conditioner is extremely sensitive to changes in the air pressure balance in your home. When you close one of
your doors, that room becomes pressurized as your HVAC system continues to pump air into it. This pressure can force conditioned air out of any small gaps it
can find.

Conditioned air forced out of a room this way typically finds its way outside or into areas of your home where it isn’t useful, such as crawlspaces. All of
the energy that went to heating or cooling this air goes to waste, and your system will have to work harder to replace it. Furthermore, working against higher
air pressure in rooms with closed doors puts extra strain on your blower motor and causes it to use more energy.

2. Preserve Indoor Air Quality

Closing an interior door when you use your furnace or air conditioner doesn’t just create high pressure in that room. The pressure differential results in
slightly negative pressure throughout the rest of your home. This negative pressure can draw air in through any available points of entry in your home just as
high pressure forces air out.

Air that enters your home from unintended sources doesn’t pass through the furnace filter or other filtration devices in your HVAC system until it cycles
back through the return duct. This means that air that enters your home constantly due to negative pressure often contains contaminants like dust or pet dander.
Leaving doors open to maintain the correct air balance prevents reduced indoor air quality.

3. Reduce Risk of Mold Growth

Moisture from virtually any source can fuel mold infestations, including moisture in the air. Most often, mold from humid air occurs in places where this
humidity has condensed on windows, walls, and other surfaces in your home. This effect is especially pronounced in the winter as a result of the temperature
differential between your home’s interior and the outside air.

Ventilation is essential to prevent condensation from causing mold. Condensation proves more difficult to form if humid air is moving. Closing the door to a
room essentially causes all the air in the room to remain stagnant, and mold growth is more likely to occur.

4. Prevent Furnace Back Drafting

The most concerning problem that can happen due to negative air pressure is a furnace back draft. Your furnace flue plays an essential role in removing
carbon monoxide and other harmful combustion byproducts from your home. Because the furnace flue is essentially a straight path to the outdoors, negative
pressure can draw outdoor air down through it and cause fumes to back draft in your home.

Fortunately, it usually requires significant negative air pressure in your home for a backdraft to occur. It often requires several points of blocked air in
your home, such as would be present with several closed doors, blocked vents, and potential other problems such as duct blockages. Furthermore, if your furnace
flue has a flue cap, it isn’t susceptible to back drafting.

Maintaining adequate airflow throughout your home is essential for efficient furnace operation, and leaving your doors open will help. For more HVAC tips and
professional service, Chrismon Heating & Cooling is here to help!

Call us today.

Heat Exchanger Problems

Detect and Repair Heat Exchanger Problems in Your Furnace

The heat exchanger is one of the most vital parts of any oil or gas-powered furnace. Your furnace uses this key component to transfer heat from the combustion chamber to your home’s central heating ducts. So keeping your furnace’s heat exchanger in good working condition is always important.

 

Regular, professional furnace inspections and maintenance is the best way to prevent heat exchanger problems.

Unfortunately, while heat exchangers are built to last, they do suffer wear and tear over time.

Heat exchanger failure in an aging furnace can occur very suddenly and unexpectedly, and this can cause serious problems with your home’s central heating system. With that in mind, it’s never a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the most common signs of heat exchanger failure.

 

Does Your Furnace Have a Faulty Heat Exchanger?

If your furnace’s heat exchanger is damaged or doesn’t function correctly, you may notice the following problems.

 

Flickering Yellow Flames

If you look through the inspection window of a properly functioning oil or gas furnace, the flames you see will almost always be blue or white in color. However, some high-efficiency furnaces may produce a slightly yellow flame. But, in any case, the flames produced by your furnace should be steady and even, with very little visible flickering.

If you look through your inspection window and see flickering yellow or orange flames, your furnace may be suffering from a damaged heat exchanger. This occurs when a cracked heat exchanger allows air to escape from the combustion chamber, which deprives the flames of oxygen and prevents them from burning evenly.

 

Excess Soot

If a damaged heat exchanger is preventing oxygen from reaching the combustion chamber, your furnace may also start to produce large amounts of soot. These solid deposits collect on the interior surfaces of the furnace, which creates a feedback loop; as more soot accumulates, it blocks off more of the furnace’s air supply, causing even more soot to be produced.

If your furnace’s flue belches out black, sooty flames, this can be a sign of heat exchanger failure. You may also be able to see soot deposits through the combustion chamber inspection window.

 

Visible Rust and Corrosion

Soot deposits in your furnace’s flue can also prevent smoke and other byproducts from exiting the combustion chamber quickly. Once the furnace is deactivated and the chamber cools down, these byproducts can mix with liquid water from condensation, which creates an extremely acidic and highly corrosive liquid that can severely damage metal components.

The heat exchanger’s proximity to the combustion chamber makes it particularly vulnerable to corrosion. If you see any visible rust on the interior or exterior surfaces of your furnace, you can safely assume that the heat exchanger has been damaged, even if your furnace does not seem to have any other problems.

 

What Should You Do If the Heat Exchanger Is Faulty?

If you suspect that your furnace has a damaged heat exchanger, deactivate the furnace immediately. If your heat exchanger is cracked or its seals have perished, carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases can be released into your home — a problem with potentially lethal consequences.

Once you have fully deactivated your furnace, call in a professional for a full furnace inspection.

These services can detect any signs of damage to your heat exchanger, and they can even detect microscopic cracks through infrared sensing equipment.

If your furnace’s heat exchanger does turn out to be faulty, you have two options: replace the heat exchanger, or replace the furnace.

If your furnace is relatively new, a heat exchanger replacement may be your best bet, especially if your furnace is still covered under warranty. Make sure that your replacement exchanger also comes with a replacement guarantee.

However, if your furnace is older, replacing the heat exchanger may be impractical and expensive.

Many HVAC specialists might advise you to replace your furnace that is more than a decade old, even if it is functioning well.

If you have any more questions about furnace repair or the importance of regular furnace inspections, contact the HVAC experts at Chrismon Heating & Cooling.

How to Protect Your Outdoor AC Condenser

Since your outdoor condenser has constant exposure to the elements, it is — in a sense — the most vulnerable part of your air conditioner.

Understanding the potential causes of damage to your condenser is essential to prevent unexpected breakdowns and prolong the life of the unit.

 

 

Here are four tips that will help you protect your AC condenser.

 

1. Trim Foliage Around the Condenser

Airflow is a fundamental need for any air conditioning system to function efficiently. Airflow blockages in any part of the system, including the condenser, will lead to increased strain and potentially shorten its life.

Keeping a few feet of space clear around the condenser will allow it to breathe.

This includes cutting trees and trimming foliage that may grow too close to the condenser.

You have several options for landscaping around your condenser that will not block airflow.

Hedges are a popular choice, as they can easily be trimmed to the desired shape and size.

You may also choose to build a trellis or lattice around the condenser to support climbing plants.

However, keep plants that drop their leaves in the fall far from your condenser so that it does not clog with debris.

 

2. Use Shade to Prevent Overheating

The specific role of the condenser is condensing refrigerant to release heat into the outdoor air.

The cooler the air is around your condenser, the easier it can dissipate heat.

Conversely, high temperatures around the condenser force it to work harder and may lead to overheating.

Keeping your condenser out of direct sunlight will improve heat transfer and may even reduce your cooling costs.

The most proactive approach to shading your condenser is installing it in a shady area in the first place.

If this is not the case, you can add shade in other ways.

Planting trees or tall hedges on the west side of the condenser will provide it with shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Since condensers are almost always installed next to a home’s exterior, you can also consider installing an awning on the side of your home.

 

3. Learn to Identify and Repel Pests

Your condenser is not only at risk from environmental factors.

Pests can be drawn to the moisture that the condenser naturally produces and may even attempt to take shelter inside it to hide from extreme heat or cold.

Learn to spot the signs of pest activity around the condenser, such as droppings, gaps in the coils near the bottom of the unit, and chewed wires or refrigerant lines.

You can do a lot to discourage pests from attempting to house themselves inside your condenser.

Clean the unit regularly to remove droppings and traces of urine that may attract other pests, and consider using pest repellent if you find significant signs of pest activity.

Consider using decorative stones or masonry as ground cover around the condenser to deter ants and other insects.

 

4. Be Careful When Doing Yardwork

Mowing your lawn or using a leaf blower poses a risk of physical damage to your condenser.

These activities can sling small rocks and other debris that may damage the coils or break refrigerant lines if they hit the unit.

They can also throw dirt and small particles that can clog the condenser coils and block airflow.

Point leaf blowers and mower discharge chutes away from the condenser when possible.

Taking a few steps to protect your condenser can help it last just as long as the rest of your air conditioner.

For more AC maintenance tips and quality service and repairs, contact Chrismon Heating & Cooling today.

We look forward to helping you.

AC’s Impact on the Environment

How does your home’s AC system impact the environment?

Take a look at what you need to know about residential air conditioning, its impact on the environment, and ways to minimize eco-effects.

 

 

The Refrigerant

What type of refrigerant does your central air conditioner use? Every air conditioner uses refrigerant to cool. This liquid chemical absorbs the heat from the air and converts it into a gas. The AC system’s condenser compresses the gas, turns it back into a liquid, and sends it into your home again for another cycle.

If your system is older, chances are it uses HCFC-22 (also known as Freon or R-22). This hydrochlorofluorocarbon is no longer manufactured in the United States, due to the serious environmental impact it can have.

Known as an ozone-depleting substance, HCFC-22 degrades the protective layer around the planet. This allows harmful UV light in and can lead to problems ranging from skin cancer in humans to marine ecosystem damage. If you want to reduce these types of environmental effects, you may need to replace your older AC system.

Newer air conditioners use refrigerants such as R-410A. This option doesn’t have the same ozone-depleting effects as HCFC-22. To minimize the ecological impact of your home cooling system, discuss R-410A options with a qualified HVAC contractor. The professional can help you to upgrade your air conditioner to a more environmentally friendly model.

 

The Energy Usage

Even though your newer air conditioner may use R-410A, the refrigerant alone isn’t enough to make your system eco-friendly. While reducing ozone-depleting emissions is a major factor, you also need to understand how much energy your AC system uses.

The more energy your AC system uses, the more of an environmental impact it can have. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners account for six percent of total electricity use in the United States. Not only is high energy usage costly for you as the homeowner (and electric bill payer), but it can damage the environment.

Air conditioner-related energy usage releases nearly 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s air annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This greenhouse gas also contributes to ozone depletion. Couple this with issues older refrigerants (such as HCFC-22) cause and air conditioners can have a major negative impact on the environment – such as increasing climate change.

A new high-efficiency AC unit uses less energy than an older model. But this doesn’t mean your high-efficiency air conditioner will always function at its peak performance level. Clogged filters, dirty air ducts, drafty windows, poor home insulation, and other interior air leaks can force the unit to work harder.

The harder your air conditioner works, the more energy it uses – even if it’s labeled as high-efficiency.

 

The Solutions

Along with refrigerant choice, you can take other steps to reduce your AC system’s environmental impact. These include limiting energy usage and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Whether you have an older or new AC unit, a qualified HVAC professional can help you to overhaul the environmental effects of your system.

To reduce electricity usage and help the planet, maintain your air conditioner. Regularly clean or replace the filter, fill air leaks (around windows or doors), replace old drafty windows, and insulate your home. Along with these simple steps, schedule annual professional maintenance.

A clean, damage-free system will use less energy than one with significant wear and tear.

Other options, such as a programmable thermostat or high-quality filter, can also reduce the environmental impact of your air conditioner.

Do you need a new air conditioner or routine maintenance? Contact Chrismon Heating & Cooling for more
information.