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Are Freon Leaks Harmful?

Is Leaking Freon Harmful?

The good news is that there are really only two circumstances under which coming in contact with Freon may lead to serious problems. They are when someone:

  • works directly with refrigerants like Freon, whether because they work in the HVAC industry or otherwise work with products with refrigerants
  • deliberately sniffs Freon to get high; when deeply inhaled, this substance can cut off oxygen to someone’s lungs and body cells

By the time that contact with Freon turns into a situation of severe poisoning, Healthline.com lists that the following symptoms are likely to occur:

  • fluid buildup or bleeding in the lungs
  • burning sensation in the esophagus
  • vomiting up blood
  • decreased mental status
  • difficult, labored breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures

If you ever suspect that someone is in this situation, call 911 immediately or contact the Nation Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 and let them know that this may be a case of Freon poisoning.

More Typical Freon Situations

What we’ve described above are the most extreme situations that can happen when Freon is inhaled. More typically, if there is a Freon leak, someone may end up with exposure to the substance and may experience some less severe symptoms, such as the following:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • coughing
  • eye irritation
  • throat irritation
  • ear irritation

If Freon gets on someone’s skin, there can be a rash. If the Freon is liquid, it can produce symptoms of frostbite.

If you have any reason to believe that you—or someone else—has been exposed to Freon and are suffering from symptoms, get away from the area. The symptoms should go away once you’re away from the substance, and there are no known long-term effects. According to MedicalNewsToday.com, “It is not likely that a person will develop poisoning from a leaking home appliance, assuming it is in a well-ventilated area.”

What is Freon, Exactly? Why Was it Invented?

People needed a way to keep their food cool and, in the late 19th century, a certain type of refrigerators were created. Unfortunately, the cooling came about through the use of toxic gases. When methyl chloride would leak from the refrigerators, people would sometimes die as a result, and so these refrigerators were often kept outdoors.

To find a safer solution, three American companies—DuPont, Frigidaire and General Motors—collaborated. In 1928, Thomas Midgley, Jr., with the help of Charles Franklin Kettering, invented Freon. This was a much safer alternative, with a refrigerant leak no longer the potentially deadly event that it had previously been.

In fact, in 1930, Midgley presented this substance to the American Chemical Society, and he deeply inhaled some Freon and then breathed it onto a lit candle, extinguishing the flame. That showed how Freon was non-flammable (although, as later evidence showed, inhaling Freon on a regular basis can cause serious, even deadly, health consequences; it can be assumed that Midgley only did this as a demonstration).

In 1932, this “miracle” substance began to be used in home air-conditioning units. By 1935, it was used in eight million new refrigerators sold that year—an astonishing number when you consider that this was during the heart of the Great Depression. So, Freon was a significant step forward in refrigeration and air conditioning technology.

Eventually, it was discovered that the type of Freon invented by Midgley and Kettering (now referred to as R22), while a much safer refrigerant for people, was damaging the ozone layer of the environment.

(Side note: People search in Google on “Freon leak air conditioner harmful” in significant numbers. So, with the history of this substance in mind, the answer is that Freon was a much safer, non-toxic alternative for people, with an unanticipated negative impact on the environment.)

Fortunately, more eco-friendly refrigerant alternatives now exist.

Freon R22

When it was recognized that R22 was causing environmental problems, more environmentally-friendly options began being created. These refrigerants are often still referred to as Freon, no matter what their composition really is. Through 2003, some new air conditioning systems continued to be manufactured for R22 use, while others used newer, more eco-friendly options.

Effective January 1, 2020, R22 can no longer be manufactured in or imported into the United States, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, if you have an air conditioning system that uses R22, you have the rest of 2019 to have any Freon leaks fixed and the refrigerant brought back to acceptable levels.

What Happens When Freon Leaks

When air conditioning systems are installed and when they are maintained, one of the jobs of the technician is to ensure that just the right amount of refrigerant is in the system. When it operates as it should, refrigerant doesn’t need topped off, as the substance is recycled and reused. When there’s a leak, though, there’s less refrigerant available for the system to use, so it becomes less efficient.

Here are five signs that you may have a refrigerant leak.

Sign #1 Your AC System Isn’t Cooling as Well

If it takes longer for your house to become comfortable—or if, even when you turn down the temperature, it doesn’t cool down enough—then that’s a sign that you may have a leak. That’s not the only possibility, but it’s one thing that an AC technician would check.

Sign #2 Your Energy Bill is Going Up

When this happens, again, a Freon leak isn’t the only possibility, but it’s sure one of them. If you notice a spike in your bill, especially if it happened right around when you also noticed one or more of the other signs, then you should have your system checked out for a refrigerant leak.

Sign #3 You Hear Hissing Sounds

If you have refrigerant slipping through cracks in the coils of your AC system, this can make a strange hissing sound. If you hear a gurgling sound, it may mean a larger Freon leak. Although weird noises coming from your AC system can mean a variety of things, a leak is definitely one of them.

Sign #4 Your Evaporator Coil is Icy

Your evaporator coil is part of the outside portion of your AC system, part of the back section that leads into your house. If there is ice building up on this coil, or frozen condensation appears to have melted and dripped into puddles, this may indicate a leak. If your coil feels cold when you touch it, that’s another sign.

Sign #5 Something Stinks

Freon leaks can have a pretty weird smell. So, if you notice this, it makes sense to have your AC system checked.

Different Sizes of Leaks

Leaks in your AC system can be pretty small, even pinhole-size. In that case, technicians can typically spot tiny bubbles in the coils. It’s better to catch the problem when the holes are still considered “champagne leaks” than waiting until they get bigger. Bigger holes can equal bigger problems.

Charlotte Air Conditioning Repair Services

If you suspect you have a refrigerant leak, or if you’re not sure what the problem is but you know your AC system isn’t operating properly, please contact us online or call us at 704-216-4301. We’re here to help with fast, professional air conditioning repair service, available 24/7 in the greater Charlotte area.

 

Charlotte Air Conditioning Maintenance Services

 

Our trained technicians are also ready to professionally maintain your HVAC system twice a year to keep it in premium condition and to help you get the absolute most out of your system. Every spring/early summer, we will maintain your AC system—and, in the fall/early winter, we’ll do the same for your heating system.

 

If you need air conditioning maintenance services in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, contact us online or call us at 704-216-4301. If you’d like to take advantage of significant savings, then we invite you to join our Comfort Club. As a club member, you will go right to the front of the line when it’s time to receive your precision tune-up, professional cleaning, and overall rejuvenation of your air conditioning, along with an annual safety check—as well as the same type of service in the fall/early winter for your furnace.

When you regularly maintain your HVAC system, it becomes less likely that you’ll have a system breakdown. In fact, if you do have one when you’re a Comfort Club member, then you’ll get the

next six months of your membership for FREE.

 

New Air Conditioning System in Charlotte, North Carolina

 

If it’s time for you to get a new, efficient air conditioning unit, then we invite you to book your appointment today. You may want a replacement system because your old one uses R22 Freon—or you may be ready to take advantage of today’s energy-efficient models that will save you money on your energy bills.

 

We provide services throughout the entire Charlotte area—and, if you don’t see your area listed, contact us, anyhow, because our area of operation extends far beyond that of the Charlotte metro region!

Types of AC Leaks and How to Repair Them

Nobody is happy when they see that their air conditioning system is leaking and, if that’s happening to you, it could be a water leak, or it could be a refrigerant one. We’ll first go over what might be happening with a water leak and then offer info about a leak of your refrigerant.

Also note that many air conditioning systems built over the past 15 years or so don’t actually use Freon; that’s a commercial name for the refrigerant that older systems use. Today, newer models use another kind of refrigerant, although, in general conversation, people often still refer to this substance as Freon.

Now, on to information about water leaks and Freon/refrigerant ones.

AC Leak: Water

Cold refrigerant runs through an evaporator coil of your system, pulling along warm indoor air over the top of the coil. So, moisture in the air condenses and then drips off the coil and into a pan. When you’re running a central air conditioning system, there is plenty of this condensation, so water is consistently dripping into the pan. The system then directs this water outside.

Sometimes, though, you might notice that water is dripping from the system into your house. This could be a problem with a plugged drain line. Or, if you have a system that uses a condensate pump (not all of them do), then there could be a problem with the pump, causing the water to back up. Or, there might be a problem with the pan itself. Depending upon your skill at air conditioning repairs, you might be able to make some of these fixes yourself, although it’s often best to have an experienced technician diagnose and address the problem. 

AC Leak: Freon

Here, it’s important to note that your air conditioning system is designed as a closed system, which means that you don’t just top it off with more Freon if the system doesn’t seem to be cooling the house as it should. This is a different concept than when you need to fill up your car with gasoline because you’ve used it up by driving, and different from when you top off your car’s oil between your regular oil changes. 

That’s because, when an air conditioning system is working as it should, the system reuses the refrigerant—so problems with your system, such as warm air blowing instead of cool, funny noises and smells, and so forth are probably because of a leak.

Caution before we move on: One of the more typical scams in the HVAC world occurs when companies call people and offer to top off their refrigerant. That’s just not how it works. If you’re getting your HVAC system maintained every six months, then topping off Freon is not a service you need. Either you already have enough or, if there’s a problem, you need to have your system checked for leaks.

Plus, the amount of the refrigerant that should be in your air conditioning is a very specific amount and must precisely match what your manufacturer specifications say it should be. More does not equal better. It probably means “worse.”

First, we’ll take a look at the process involved in finding these kinds of leaks.

Refrigerant Leak Types

Accurately finding Freon leaks can sometimes be challenging, in part because there are several types of them. There is something called a standing leak (SL), and they are the most common. You can detect an SL when the air conditioning unit is off. 

Then there are pressure dependent leaks (PDLs), which are discovered as pressure builds up in the cooling system. Temperature dependent leaks (TDL) happen when there’s a condenser blockage, for example, or during the defrosting period or in high ambient air. These take place with expansive heat.

There’s another type, vibration dependent leaks (VDLs), that only happen when your unit is operating. For VDLs, the mechanics must be in motion for the refrigerant to leak. If, over time, the refrigerant piping rubs against other components of the system, you may end up with a vibrational dependent leak.

If there are two or more factors contributing to the leakage, then you have a combination dependent leak (CDL) on your hands. 

Finally, there are tiny leaks, known as cumulative micro-leaks (CMLs) that can form over years of operations and repairs.

Refrigerant Leak Locations

Common places for a refrigerant leak to occur in a home air conditioning system include:

  • Evaporator coil
  • Condensing coil
  • Suction line dryer
  • Accumulator

These are usually standing leaks and typically can’t be repaired. Instead, parts will likely need replaced. 

Considering Copper

The indoor coil of your air conditioning system is a copper tube; and, over time, copper can deteriorate through a process called formicary corrosion. This can happen because of pollutants in the air, which can include things like cleaning products, air fresheners, hair spray, and more. As the copper tubing is corroded, leaks can form. It may be possible to repair these leaks, but it’s usually best to have the coil replaced. Otherwise, you may be dealing with the same situation again, sooner rather than later. 

Plus, as time goes by, the copper can wear down as the refrigerant is continually circulated through pressure. The walls of the copper tubing can thin and ultimately lead to a hole and a refrigerant leak. 

Hopefully that provides information for anyone who is searching on this term or something similar: how to find Freon leak in AC unit. If, though, you’re interested in how to repair Freon leak in air conditioner or AC unit  then read on.

Repairing Freon Leaks

In general, if there is a refrigerant leak, then this is a job best left to a trained professional. This may be especially true if your leak is in your condensing or evaporator coils, or in a valve or access port. Yes, there are patching/sealing products available, but they can lead to blockages that simply make your problem worse.

Signs of a Freon leak often include:

  • Your home doesn’t cool as well, and you may find yourself turning down the thermostat more than once, trying to get the air cool enough. Your AC system might even be blowing warm arm.
  • Your energy bills are going up for reasons you can’t explain. Especially watch for spikes in your bill.
  • The system is making funny noises, maybe hissing, perhaps gurgling.
  • There is a funky smell.
  • Outside, there is ice on your evaporator coil. Or maybe there are puddles beneath it.

With refrigerant leaks, it doesn’t take much for a small problem to evolve into a bigger one, so it makes sense to call in the HVAC pros when you suspect you have this issue.

One Hour Air Conditioning Repairs in Charlotte

If you live in the greater Charlotte area, we invite you to contact our expert team for fast air conditioning repair services. You can either contact us online call 704-251-2184. This includes refrigerant leaks that are costing you more money in energy bills—while also not keeping your home cool and comfortable.

We also invite you to choose our expert team to provide regular maintenance on your HVAC system. As part of the air conditioning check in spring/early summer, we’ll make sure you don’t have any Freon leaks, and also check the rest of your system to make sure you’re getting the most you can out of your HVAC system. This includes:

  • Cleaning the condenser to ensure consistent operation
  • Checking the evaporator coil for proper function
  • Checking refrigerant line condition
  • Checking all capacitors for proper function
  • Checking all relays for proper function
  • Checking refrigerant/Freon levels
  • Lubricating motors
  • Checking amperage draw
  • Calibrating the thermostat
  • Checking and tightening electrical connections
  • Checking for proper air flow

Charlotte HVAC Replacement: Special Offer

You may have an older air conditioning system that uses R22 Freon. If so, as of January 1, 2020, this substance will not be manufactured in the United States. It won’t be able to be imported here, either. 


So, if this is your situation—or if your current system needs frequent repairs or isn’t as energy efficient as it could be—then you may be interested in our special offer. We’re offering customers in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area a 16-SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) HVAC system for the price of a 20-SEER system. Plus, we offer attractive financing options that make it easy to budget your energy-efficient HVAC system.

 

If that sounds interesting, you can either contact us online or call 704-251-2184. With new energy-efficient models, EnergyStar.gov share that you may be able to save up to 20 percent on cooling costs.  

6 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner

How to Know You’ve Reached The Tipping Point On AC Repairs

Even the most well-maintained air conditioner will reach the end of its lifecycle at some point. Like a car, there comes a time when sinking more money in for repairs each season is actually more costly than investing in a full replacement. A new unit with a manufacturer’s warranty, and in many cases attractive energy tax credits, may be the way to go. 

Here are 6 signs that it may be time for a full AC system upgrade.

  1. Frequent breakdowns. We love to see our customers, but if we are out to your house for more than just seasonal system maintenance each year due to frequent breakdowns, a replacement AC unit should be considered. We would rather see the money you do invest in your HVAC system going toward a new unit under warranty that will provide comfort in your home for much less cost and much higher energy efficiency.

 

  1. Air conditioner is more than 10 years old. Chances are if you are experiencing frequent breakdowns, your system is more than ten years old. A properly maintained air conditioner can be expected to last about 15 years. If it’s been under the care of One Hour Heating and Air, you may get a few years past the average lifecycle. If your system has been in your home for more than a decade and you haven’t done seasonal tuneups or maintenance, call us today for a comprehensive inspection to fully assess the health of your AC unit. 

 

  1. Air conditioner is inefficient. If your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it can cost you a lot of money to operate it. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is below 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit.

 

  1. You’re facing expensive repairs. This goes hand-in-hand with all the other points. If the repairs you face now are more than 20% of the cost of a new unit, and you’ve experienced other repairs within the last year or two, it makes more financial sense to replace your AC unit. Chances are the expensive repair you’re facing today will lead to another sooner rather than later. 

 

  1. Air conditioner uses R22 Freon. Freon is being phased out by the federal government in order to conserve energy nationwide. As a result, the costs of Freon are rising exponentially. If your air conditioner uses Freon, you’ll have to replace it eventually in order to switch over to the new refrigerant (R410-A). If you’re having major problems with your air conditioner, especially if they involve the need for more Freon, it’s probably a good time to replace your unit. 

 

  1. Your home isn’t comfortable. The previous five signs lead to this; do you have a hard time keeping your home cool and comfortable? The bottom line is that you are paying each month for the power to run your AC system and if it is not operating at peak efficiency, you are losing money with every utility payment. You are also losing out on the full benefit of cool, climate controlled air during the warmer months of the year. If you’ve already spent a notable amount on repairs and this has not improved your home’s comfort level, then now is the time to make a change. 

 

One Hour Heating and Air can provide a free consultation on the AC system that will work best for your home’s size and usage demands. We can also provide financing options that will make this important investment easier to handle. 

Contact us for our weekly and monthly specials

Call our 24/7 customer service line today 704-251-0610.

 

A Simple Furnace Repair Checklist You Can Do Yourself

 

Pause Before Panic; Why Your Heater Isn’t Working.

It seems to be a universal constant.

You never discover there’s an issue with your heating system or furnace until temperatures drop and you really need it to work. Then, you’re troubleshooting the problem wearing six layers of clothing, crawling around with a flashlight, and hoping any children in the house can’t hear what you’re saying under your breath.

Here is a helpful guide to know immediately if you are suffering a common (and very fixable) problem with your furnace and how to repair it.

First things first, check to see that your thermostat is working and giving accurate readings. Chances are that if your thermostat is working fine, you are experiencing a fairly common system speed bump.

 

Two questions we get most often:

Q  What’s the difference between a furnace and a heater?

A: For the purposes of this article, we use the terms interchangeably. However, “heater” is mainly a generic term for the device that heats up an environment, be it your home, or an apartment, or a business, etc.  A central “heating” system uses some form of energy combustion or release, such as provided by a furnace or furnace-boiler combination, to generate the heat that the heater distributes. A central heating system without a furnace and/or boiler would blow air, but not truly provide heat. (For most customers, it’s all merely metal boxes, pipes and wires that live in an attic, crawlspace, special closet, basement, etc.)

 

Q: My furnace is making a clicking sound when I turn it on, is that normal?

A: In most cases, yes! A slight clicking sound when you turn your heater is the spark igniter on the furnace. If the sound gets louder or happens more frequently, it could be cause for concern. Call One Hour Heating and Air’s 24/7 hotline at 704-251-0610 to schedule a comprehensive safety inspection.

 

Here is the number one thing you can do to quickly troubleshoot the cause of a non-working central air system. Check the power source!  

Central air systems are usually powered by gas, electricity, or water. Our technicians have arrived at a customer’s home many times only to discover the gas turned off for an unrelated reason or a tripped power breaker. We are always happy to help, but it can save you time and unnecessary chilly nights if you know how to check your system’s gas, electric or water supply.

When it comes to gas-powered heaters, also check the gas valve to ensure it isn’t stuck or the control board is unable to communicate. These conditions keep your heater from firing because it can’t ignite the flame. If your gas is ON and other gas-powered appliances in the home are working, a professional electrician should investigate further.

Additional reasons your heating system may not be working at all.

Unless your system pre-dates the 1990’s, it has a safety switch or “shut out”. This prevents the system from operating and causing a hazard until the problem is found and fixed.

These can include:

  • Dirty evaporator coils
  • Clogged pipes
  • Full air filters
  • Broken wires
  • Burnt control board
  • Dead blower motors

Due to the complex nature of your system’s components, it’s best to let a trained and certified technician assess and repair the problem. Call One Hour Heating and Air at 704-251-0610 and ask about our monthly system inspection specials!

If your heating system starts up, but stops mid-cycle:

This can be extremely frustrating because it makes sense that if your system starts up, it should keep on going, right? The good news is that today’s central air systems are sophisticated enough to recognize a potential hazard and shut down automatically. In many cases, simple and affordable preventive hvac maintenance will minimize or eliminate these unwanted pauses in operation.

In just one safety inspection and system tune-up, the following items can be addressed long before they cause an issue. Plus, your home will experience better energy efficiency and heating quality.

  • Motors spin without resistance
  • Burners hold fires without using excess gas
  • The furnace experiences less stress
  • There is less damage to parts such as motors and wires
  • The central air system lasts longer and works better

 

Carbon Monoxide Detection:

At One Hour Heating and Air, your family’s safety is our highest priority. Whenever we talk heating systems, we encourage all of our customers to purchase quality carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors monitor the air for deadly carbon monoxide buildup and emit an alarm if any is detected. Place the carbon monoxide detectors, very similar in size to a smoke detector, in each living area of the home and on every floor.  

 

One Hour Heating and Air offers a free carbon monoxide detector consultation with any service call. Our highly skilled technicians are standing by for all your central air system needs and if we come out for a repair, we’ll waive the trip fee!

Contact us for our weekly and monthly specials. Call our 24/7 customer service line today 704-251-0610.

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5 Benefits of Wi-Fi Thermostats

Fingertip Control from Your Smartphone Anytime, Anywhere

Once a feature for those living away from their primary homes for part of the year, Wi-Fi thermostats are now becoming a standard feature in new homes. They work the same way as many home security systems, allowing you to remotely check and change the thermostat in your home from an app on your smartphone or tablet. Upgrading to a Wi-Fi thermostat is relatively inexpensive and easy. There are dozens on the market ranging in cost from $100 to $300. They’re readily available at most major home improvement centers and from online retailers. Many people also find it’s a near effortless DIY installation, as well.

Five Benefits of Wi-Fi Thermostats:

  1. A must-have for snowbirds and travelers: If you like to escape to warmer climates when the weather turns cold, or you travel often, a Wi-Fi thermostat will give you peace of mind while you’re away. A furnace breakdown can have severe consequences for pets and plants, plus leave pipes susceptible to freezing. You don’t want to come home to devastating water damage!
  2. Programming is easy: In a smartphone driven world, these thermostats are as easy to program and monitor as just about any other app you may have on your phone or tablet. Simply download the app, enter the temperatures and times you desire, and save the settings. All set!
  3. Smart enough to adjust to your schedule:  A typical setback thermostat can’t adjust automatically if your schedule changes, but a learning Wi-Fi thermostat will. It detects when you’re home and away, learns your schedule and calculates a setback scheme to match your routine. Some learning thermostats also offer a ‘geofence’ feature that tracks the location of your smartphone and operates your setback settings based on when you enter or leave a geographic radius around your home. For example, it can crank up the heat when you’re returning from a trip and close to home.
  4. Alerts you to HVAC problems: Wi-Fi thermostats can, in some cases, monitor the health of your heating/cooling system and alert you if the efficiency drops because of a dirty air filter, clogged evaporator or condenser coils, low refrigerant charge, or other problem.
  5. Form AND function to match your style: Wi-Fi apps are all about features and personalization, and thermostats are no different. Depending on the model you buy, you can display your favorite digital photos, play your music, and even change color to match your wall paint! Some also display the outside temperature or work with multiple sensors.

 

Ready to go wireless? The next decision is professional installation or DIY.

 

Professional installation usually runs between $75 and $100 and can sometimes be combined with a scheduled seasonal inspection. It’s a pretty affordable option for most people who aren’t comfortable messing with wiring and electricity.

DIYers, who love to save every penny, go for it! If the thought of doing a little wiring doesn’t scare you away, just make sure your power is off before you begin work and double-check your wiring to ensure they don’t touch at the terminals. You don’t want to accidentally burn up a transformer or blow the circuit board’s main fuse. That would lead to a service call and repair that costs a lot more than the money you’re saving on a DIY installation.

 

A short, handy checklist:

  • Wi-Fi signal strength: To test the signal strength at the proposed Wi-Fi thermostat location, stand next to it and attempt to stream a video on your smartphone or tablet. If you can quickly stream and watch the video, you have good signal strength for the Wi-Fi thermostat.

 

  • Know your wiring situation: Safety first! Shut off power to your furnace and A/C before removing the existing thermostat from its baseplate. Two THICK wires means you probably have 220-volt electric heat, and a Wi-Fi thermostat won’t work. Two THIN 18-gauge wires means you have a low-voltage system and a Wi-Fi thermostat most likely will work.

 

  • To “C” or not to “C”, that is the question: Next, look for a wire attached to the ‘C’ terminal. A common ‘C’ wire provides a return electrical path (like a neutral in a 110-volt electrical system) so the thermostat can get power 24/7. If you don’t have a ‘C’ wire at the thermostat, you have two options: Buy a Wi-Fi thermostat that doesn’t require one (it’ll say ‘No C wire required’ in the specs) or install a four-to-five wiring adapter.

 

  • The adapter provides a ‘C’ connection using whichever wire isn’t in use at the time. Install the control box inside the furnace and connect it. Then install the diode device up at the new thermostat. Once all the wires are connected to the base plate, push the excess wires and diode inside the wall cavity.  (You can use the diagram below, but it would need to be modified as we don’t have original source permission to repurpose.)

 

NOTE  If your existing thermostat displays the outside temperature or allows you to adjust the settings on your humidifier, it’s probably a digital unit, and an analog Wi-Fi unit won’t work without professional rewiring.

 

If you have questions about Wi-Fi thermostats, we can help!

Let us provide you a FREE consultation on a Wi-Fi thermostat that’s right for you

Contact us for our weekly and monthly specials. Call our 24/7 customer service line today 704-251-0610.

 

Tips & Strategies if Your Central A/C is Blowing Hot Air

Central A/C Blowing Hot Air in Charlotte, NC?

Troubleshooting 101

Let’s say that, according to today’s weather report, the day is going to be a real scorcher, and you can already feel the mercury rising. So, you decide it’s time to turn on the A/C—but, when you do, the air that blows out is hot, making your house feel even more toasty-warm.

So, what do you do? First, don’t panic. There are a few simple things you can check that might quickly solve your problem.

  1. If, for example, this is the first time you’re turning on the air conditioning for the season, make sure that you didn’t leave your thermostat on the heat setting, or that someone else didn’t switch it to that setting without your knowledge.
  2. Make sure all settings are right where you want them to be, which includes the fan being on “auto” and your temperature setting at least five degrees below the actual temperature showing on your thermostat.
  3. Think about when you last changed your air conditioner’s filter. If it’s been a while, then there simply may not be enough cool air coming through the vents to cool down your home. If you’ve got a new filter, put it in. If not, perhaps you can clean the old filter as a temporary measure.

If any of these fixes solves your problem, great! If not, then read on.

 

Anatomy of Your Air Conditioning System

For your air conditioning system to work well, both the indoor unit and the outdoor unit must be functioning appropriately. The indoor unit contains a fan that allows cool air to be blown throughout your house, and there’s also an outside unit called a condenser that houses key components of your air conditioning system: the compressor, along with cooling fins, tubes and its own fan.

The outdoor fan cools a coolant that’s pumped to your house by the compressor. If this process doesn’t effectively take place, then the A/C system won’t lower the temperature in your home—and, if this is where the breakdown is occurring, then it may mean it’s time to clean the A/C condenser.

Before you do any condenser cleaning, make doubly sure that the electrical power is turned off. You can do this via the outdoor shutoff or, if necessary, at your main electrical panel. Your goal is to clean off the metallic blades that surround the unit, called condenser fins. These fins pull in dead grass and leaves, dandelion fluff, dust and, if you live near cottonwood trees, that cottony material that floats in the air. Any one of these can block the potential airflow of your A/C unit. (So can mice, their bedding and their droppings if they’ve cozied up in your unit for the winter!)

You may need to unscrew a metal box to get to the fins; then gently clean them with a soft brush.  Your owner’s manual should list specifics for your unit. Be careful not to bend or crush the fins. If there is damage to them, you may need repairs made.

Next, unscrew the fan to clean what you can inside the condenser’s interior. This may be a one-person job or a two-person one. In either case, you won’t be able to completely remove the fan as you clean it out.

Also check your owner’s manual to see if your unit has lubrication ports that need electric motor oil. If so, make sure you use the recommended type of oil.

After this cleaning job is complete, then your problem of A/C blowing hot air may be yesterday’s news. If not, read on!

 

Electrical Possibilities

Is everything else working well in the house, electrically speaking? Has the fuse that provides electricity to your outside unit blown? Has the circuit breaker tripped? Be sure to check for electrical issues before moving on to the rest of your troubleshooting. If this seems to be the problem, then it makes sense to call an air conditioning professional because there could be a significant electrical problem.

 

Other Possibilities

  • Your air conditioning system may need a professional to fix any leaks and add refrigerant.
  • There may be an air duct leak, and these ducts could be located in your basement, your attic, or in your walls.
  • If you’ve had your air conditioning unit for any significant length of time, it may be time to replace certain parts.
  • Your evaporator coil may need cleaned.

In each of these cases, it typically makes sense to call in professionals.

 

Other Warning Signs

Your A/C blowing hot air isn’t the only sign of an air conditioning unit in need of repair. In fact, your air conditioner could be cooling the house, but still in need of attention. Signs that indicate a need for a fix include:

  •          Strange noises coming from the system (don’t ignore these!)
  •          Odd smells from the unit 
  •          Your energy bills going up and you don’t have a reasonable explanation as to why
  •          Air temperatures in your home fluctuating or the system cycling on and off too often
  •          The airflow seems too weak
  •          You’ve noticed liquid leaks

 

To help prevent emergency repairs from needing done, we recommend that you have your HVAC system checked and maintained twice a year, once for your furnace/heating system and, the other time, your air conditioning. That way, you know that a professional technician is checking to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system every six months or so.

 

Air Conditioning Repair Services

If you’re in the Charlotte area and discover that your A/C is blowing hot air, or otherwise isn’t functioning properly, we know that you need a fix, fast, especially as hotter weather is approaching. Fortunately, One Hour Heating & Air is ready to solve your problem, and quickly. Here’s more information about our Charlotte air conditioning repair services, plus our A/C maintenance services.

To get the cool relief you need, when you need it, simply contact us online today or call 704-251-2184. We’re here to help!

 

How Important is an A/C Tune-Up This Spring?

How Important is an A/C Tune-Up This Spring?

Like an oil change and tune-up keeps your car running for many happy miles, a seasonal inspection and tune-up for your A/C system will keep it humming efficiently for years.  You don’t want to find out that your car has major engine trouble at the start of a big road trip, and you don’t want to find out your A/C is on the fritz when you try to cool your home in those early days of summer.

According to Energy Star, the average household spends $2,000 on utility costs annually, with half of that amount going to cooling and heating expenses.  In fact, build up from not cleaning your unit can reduce its efficiency by 5% each year. According to the United States Department of Energya well-maintained air conditioner should last 15-20 years, and that’s something we’ve seen personally in the field with customers who diligently service their A/C units each year.

Now is the time of year to get on our tune-up schedule. If our thorough eye does catch a needed repair, we can get it done affordably and quickly before temperatures in the Southeast get unbearable. The average cost of an A/C repair is about $500 (give or take) when a unit is not properly serviced each season. Compare that to the average cost of a service call (usually $100 or less) and the savings are clear. With One Hour, we know you work hard for every dollar, so if we do find a repair, we’ll waive the service fee. Combine this with one of our monthly specials and we’re confident you won’t find a more affordable expert to keep your family cool and comfortable this summer.

 

DIY Tip:  An easy and low-cost way for YOU to extend the life of your A/C unit is by cleaning or changing the air filters throughout your house at least every three months.

 

Here is what a comprehensive seasonal service call and tune-up with One Hour will include:

 

  1. Clean Condenser Coils
    • Even though changing the filter can prevent build-up on your condenser coils, they still accumulate dirt. We’ll professionally clean these coils during a tune-up. Dirty coils can stop the condenser from absorbing heat and cause the coil to fail prematurely.
    • You can also help minimize build-up by removing dirt, bushes, and other foliage near your condenser unit.
  2. Clean & Tighten Electrical Connections
    • We’ll look inside the electrical compartment and make sure the connections are clear of any debris that could cause the air conditioning unit to not turn on or stop working throughout the summer.
  3. Check Refrigerant Levels
    • We’ll check the Freon levels in your air conditioning unit and let you know if they are below manufacturer’s specifications.
  4. Check Contacts & Condensation Lines
    • Plugged condensation lines can cause water damage in your home. We’ll look closely to be sure this isn’t happening with your system.
  5. Check & Calibrate Thermostat
    • We’ll change your thermostat’s batteries if it has been longer than a year. Once we test and confirm your unit is cooling as efficiently as possible, we’ll calibrate the unit with the thermostat.

Other DIY tips to keep your A/C running strong:

  • Keep thermostat away from any heat sources for accurate measurements.
  • Set thermostat as high as possible. For every one degree you raise the thermostat, energy and costs decrease by about 3%.
  • Keep windows, drapes, and shades closed while the sun is out to reduce solar heat gain.

Our One Hour Heating and Air technicians are the most highly skilled in the industry and we provide a comprehensive seasonal inspection and tune-up of your home’s comfort systems with our personal guarantee that it’s done right the first time.

Call One Hour Heating and Air today to schedule your seasonal inspection and tune-up. Our certified and insured technicians are standing by for all your central air needs. If we need to do a repair, we’ll waive the trip fee!

Contact us for our weekly and monthly specials. Call our 24/7 customer service line today 704-251-0610.

 

How can you improve indoor air quality? Find helpful tips.

Oxygen is the most important nutrient we consume. In fact, when you breathe in poor-quality air, you’re starving your muscles. So how can you make sure that you are breathing the best quality air?

 

How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

Imagine yourself drawing in a lungful of fresh clean air. It’s a pretty good feeling, isn’t it?

Breathing in quality air is more than just something that makes us feel good. In fact, according to MindBodyGreen.com, “oxygen is easily the most important nutrient we consume,” something  our bodies need “every second of every day, our entire life.” If you breathe in poor-quality air, you’re actually starving your muscles.

So, what should you do? When you’re outside, you don’t necessarily have much control over air quality. It could be poor because of pollen, smog, heavy fuel usage and so forth. Fortunately, there is more you can do to improve the air quality inside your home, and this post will share helpful information on that subject.


Indoor Air Quality Levels

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three levels of danger when it comes to indoor pollution. Here they are:

 

Level 1: At this level, your home has allergens and particulates in the air, ranging from dust and pollen, to mold, fungi, mildew and more. If this is the state of your home, you and your family may be experiencing runny noses, congestion, nose and throat irrigation and more. You may be coughing, wheezing and sneezing and, if someone in your home suffers from asthma, flareups may be more common and/or more severe.

 

Level 2: At this level, your home may be polluted with allergens as well as with infectious agents, meaning bacteria and viruses that make people sick. If this is true for your home, you and your family may be experiencing sinus and other upper respiratory infections, along with throat and ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and more.

 

Level 3: By the time your indoor air quality reaches this level, the air you and your family breathes in also contains toxic compounds. Some of the more commonly-known culprits include carbon monoxide, toxic mold, and pesticides. Symptoms you may suffer include memory lapses, mild depression, lung dysfunction, blurred vision, headaches, and lethargy.

 

7 Fixes to Consider

Fast and pretty inexpensive measures you can take to protect yourself include putting carbon monoxide and radon detectors in your home. You should also regularly change the air filter in your HVAC system. Additional strategies include:

 

  • Ban smoking in your home.
  • Make sure your home is properly ventilated, including but not limited to any gas appliances.
  • Keep the humidity in your home at an acceptable level (between 30% to 60%) to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Keep windows closed when pollen levels are especially high. Also do this when pollution and/or humidity levels are high.
  • Avoid using odor-masking air fresheners and other deodorizers because they may contain toxic chemicals. If possible, store household cleaners in a garage or shed. Do the same with any other chemical products.
  • Clean and vacuum at least weekly, including the washing of bed linens and stuffed toys.
  • Have professionals clean your ducts once every three to five years.

 

It’s also important to have professionals clean your ducts to maintain good indoor air quality and also help to extend your HVAC’s lifespan as dust and grime are removed.

One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning offers three levels of duct cleaning services for Charlotte and the surrounding areas, one to fit virtually any budget. Each of them includes professional duct cleaning that is 100% guaranteed, along with related services. If you’d like to know which tier would be best for your home, please contact us online or call (704) 251-2184 today. We’ve been providing people in Charlotte and surrounding areas with quality professional service since 1971.

It’s time to clean your ducts when they look like this!