Repairing vs. Replacing Your AC



Repairing vs. Replacing Your AC system

Most homeowners prefer buying things that will last for a long time in their homes. The longer the item lasts while still providing service the better. An HVAC unit is always built to last.  A typical AC unit can last from 10-15 years. However, with time, you might be faced with the dilemma of repairing or replacing it. This is usually the case when you feel that it is not providing service as expected. Given everything involved in replacing your HVAC unit, it helps to take a moment and decide whether you really want to buy a new system. Below are a number of factors from our Sacramento’s Top hvac company to consider before you make the decision of repairing vs. replacing your ac. 

Lifespan and Condition of the Unit

Chances of an AC replacement increase with time. The more you use it, the more it wears down. The system will be more likely it is to suffer from breakdowns. You might be forced to replace your AC system as the number of repairs increases with time. 

Additionally, the ENERGY STAR program by the Department of energy and the EPA recommends that AC systems that are older than 10 years be replaced. Headwaters Construction, Sacramento commercial construction company explains that this is because, with time, these systems lose their efficiency. This then leads to a rise in energy bills. 

Health and Safety Concerns

Replace your HVAC unit if your contractor says it is safer to do so. There are a number of factors that would determine whether your AC unit poses a hazard. For example, if the heat exchanger on the furnace is cracked, then it makes sense to replace the unit. A cracked heat exchanger will lead to the leakage of carbon monoxide which is highly dangerous to humans. A leaking HVAC system might also introduce humidity in the house. Humidity provides the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow within your house. 

You might also be prompted to replace the AC system if the cost of repairing to prevent potentially hazardous situations is higher than that of replacing it. 

Heating Effectiveness 

An effective HVAC unit will ensure that your home is comfortable to live in all year round. Additionally, it will guarantee that you do not waste your money. Effectiveness in an AC unit is measured by how much it is able to regulate the atmosphere in all your rooms. 

Therefore, if your AC unit is not providing enough heat for all rooms, our Sacramento HVAC company explains that it is not effective enough and might warrant an HVAC replacement. This is usually the case with older systems. This would require that you replace it with newer and more efficient systems. 

With time, also, manufacturers develop newer and more efficient systems that will reduce your energy spending. A much older system might not match up to a newer system’s efficiency. 

Recommendation by Your Contractor 

Are you still wondering whether to go for HVAC repair or replacement? How about talking to a professional? Your Sacramento HVAC contractor should be able to provide you with the right answers after examining your system. At Gilmore Heating Air Plumbing Home Services, we will offer you useful advice and provide quality ac repair, ac tune-up, and ac replacement services.

Most Common AC Problems



Most Common AC Problems

A functioning air conditioning system is one of the best things to have in a home all year round. Their invaluable benefits allow people to enjoy the best atmospheres and bring an added level of comfort in homes. Like every other appliance in your home, an AC system can encounter problems. The problems can vary and they will definitely cause a lot of inconvenience. Our Sacramento HVAC company shares a number of the most common AC problems to expect. 

Frozen Evaporator Coils 

The work of evaporator coils is to absorb heat from the atmosphere and lower room temperature. Usually, evaporator coils freeze due to a lack of system airflow caused by a faulty air handler or a closed air register. Lack of airflow on the evaporator coils will prevent it from absorbing enough heat from the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows the condensation accumulated on the coil to freeze over. 

Faulty Fan 

An AC unit normally has two fans. One fan blows cool air into your home. It is located inside while the other one blows air over the condenser coils thus directing hot air outside. If any of these fans malfunctions, then the AC unit will cease functioning properly. 

Faulty fans can be as a result of debris, especially on the outside fan, a faulty motor, insufficient lubrication, or worn belts. This, in turn, hinders the amount of air flowing in and out of your space and can lead to further damages to the central AC unit. If this is happening in your home, contact Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing immediately. 

Leaking Ducts 

There are ducts leading from the air conditioning unit and into your house through the walls. These ducts are responsible for carrying cooled air and distributing it across your entire space. However, due reasons such as interference from rodents or damages from any intense physical work happening at home, the ducts may start to leak. This leads to the cool air being deposited inside the walls instead of being driven to the rooms. Such a scenario will cause the AC unit to work harder to supply cooled air thus leading to increased energy bills. 

Clogged Drains 

Drains help remove excess water from your AC unit and expel it outside. The water comes from the humidity in the atmosphere which is converted into water before being drained outside. When an obstruction happens along these drains, mainly due to dirt and debris, the water can accumulate within the system and cause problems inside your house. 

Turek’s Plumbing, plumbing company in Appleton, WI explains that these problems can range from water leakages from the ceiling, stained ceilings, a dump-moldy smell around the house, a failing AC unit due to a triggered water safety switch, or a full condensate pan. 

Dirty Condenser Coils 

The condenser coils are found in the outdoor unit. Their work is to remove hot air from your house. Dirt on the coils caused by debris, dust, and grime will affect the condenser by reducing the amount of heat expelled from your interior. This, in turn, affects the efficiency of the whole unit making to work harder and increase the wear and tear of the unit’s parts. Sometimes, a dirty condenser can lead to a complete system failure. 

Most, if not all, HVAC problems are easily fixable. All you need is to find the right HVAC repair company to get your system running again. Call Gilmore Heating and Air for your residential ac service in Placerville and enjoy unmatched professional service. 

Is It Too Late for a Summer HVAC Tune-Up? 



Is It Too Late for a Summer HVAC Tune-Up? 

At Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing, we normally recommend that you have your HVAC system tuned up by a professional at least once each year, preferably in the spring. So, is it is too late for a Summer HVAC tune-up? Our residential ac company in Placerville believes that it is never too late. In this article, we answer frequently asked questions about annual HVAC tune-ups. 

What a Tune-Up Does for Your HVAC System

An HVAC tune-up will help your system to work properly during the remaining weeks of the summer. The modest cost that you incur to have a residential AC service Placerville technician perform the maintenance will pay off in the following ways:

  • Enhanced performance and a cooler home
  • Improved system efficiency and reduced energy bills
  • Prolonged service life of the system

It is important for you to get an HVAC tune-up now even if you don’t think you will need air conditioning for much longer. It would be very inconvenient for you to turn the unit on, only for it to malfunction at a time when you can’t quickly get an HVAC repair professional to come and fix the unit.

The Sacramento heat waves are becoming more common, so make sure your central ac is up and running before then.

Can’t I Tune It Up Myself?

HVAC professionals do not recommend an HVAC tune-up by yourself. There are some maintenance activities that require technical expertise.

For example, most Sacramento homeowners can replace clogged air filters and clean the surroundings of the external AC unit on their own. However, not many can check to see if the ac system is up to the manufacturer’s specifications. Similarly, how many Sacramento homeowners can check the refrigerant level and safely capture any excess found in the system? Our friends at McQuillan Bros, the best air conditioning company in Minnesota, recommend hiring a professional instead of trying to manage it yourself. They agree that it’ll save you time and money in the long run.

You need a residential AC tune-up professional to check your HVAC system and ensure that it can perform its best throughout the year.

How AC Repair and Maintenance Differ

Folsom AC service technicians reveal that many Sacramento homeowners aren’t sure whether to call for residential ac maintenance or residential ac repair.

If the HVAC system is exhibiting noticeable defects, such as failing to turn on or being unable to cool your home even when the AC is on, then call an HVAC professional. Our Sacramento HVAC techs will find and fix the problem in no time.

For example, the Gilmore HVAC repair technician may find that the thermostat has failed and needs to be replaced so that the system can work as expected. As you can see, AC repair is basically about fixing defects as and when they occur.

However, HVAC tune-ups consist of optimizing the performance and longevity of your system. For example, the residential AC tune-up technician from Gilmore Heating and Air may find that some electrical connections in your system are loose. He or she will tighten those connections so that the system can work without disruptions caused by electrical failures.

Similarly, the service technician may find that the moving parts in the unit need to be lubricated, and he or she will do so. In short, AC maintenance is a more proactive undertaking geared at preventing defects from developing. Once defects are observed, HVAC repair will be recommended at the end of the service call.

You can then schedule to have the technician return to perform the needed repairs and purchase the necessary replacement parts.

How Best Can I Get HVAC Maintenance?

If you aren’t sure about your HVAC tune-up at this time, we suggest that you contact Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing about our residential ac tune-up specials or for more information about our HVAC services.

Common Central AC Issues You’ll See This Summer



As the weather starts heating up in earnest this week, here at Gilmore we know that the phone calls are going to start rolling in quickly. While we love assisting our customers, we believe in saving them money whenever possible.

There are many problems that can affect air conditioners which require professional attention. However, there are some that do not. Here are the three most common AC issues that can be remedied by homeowners, without professional assistance.

Clogged HVAC Filters

Is your air conditioner not putting out much air? It might be the air filter.

Every home that has a central cooling and/or heating system has an intake air filter somewhere in the home. If you’re not sure where it is, check around your home for an especially large air vent covered by a grate that either pops out or has a couple of screws holding it in place.

In order for your air conditioner to work properly, this filter needs to be replaced regularly. That’s because the filter catches dust and other debris that originates in your home, preventing it from being sucked through the air conditioner and causing damage. Over time, this debris will build up in the filter, reducing airflow and reducing the effectiveness of your AC.

Sooner or later, the ultimate consequence of this is that your air conditioner coils will freeze up. This can cause serious damage.

If you’re feeling very little airflow from your AC, turn it off and then replace the AC filter (don’t run the AC without the filter in place!). If you see a marked improvement in performance, then the filter was likely just caked in too much dust.

If you don’t see an improvement, check the coils on your AC unit. If they’re frozen up, then you’ll need to keep your air conditioner off and allow the coils to thaw. Once the ice has melted, try running your AC. If it’s still not putting out a steady flow of cool air, then it’s time to give Gilmore a call, as either damage has been done to your AC, or something else is going on.

Tripped Electric Breakers

Air conditioners require a lot of power. If you’ve ever seen the lights dim when you plug in your vacuum cleaner or another appliance, you can understand how a single piece of equipment can tax your home’s electrical system.

This is why every home comes equipped with a breaker box (or in the case of very old homes, fuse panels). If the total electrical draw in a part of your home—such as the kitchen, living room, garage, etc.—exceeds what is safe, then the breaker will flip, cutting the power.

However, your AC system should always be on its own circuit, thus you likely won’t be able to tell that the AC has flipped a breaker. If the AC is on its own circuit (if it’s not, please contact us immediately, as this is a serious concern), all you’ll notice is that your air conditioner simply won’t turn on. If it won’t start, check the breaker for the circuit it’s on. If it has been triggered, simply reset the breaker, and you’ll be able to start your AC.

It may be necessary to avoid running other major appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, while your AC is running. However, if the breaker trips again while only the AC is running, then there may be a larger issue, such as a wiring problem. If the breaker keeps tripping, then it’s time to call Gilmore.

Dead Thermostat Battery

This is a very common issue, and probably the easiest one to fix. If the display on your thermostat is blank, and doesn’t power on or otherwise respond when you press a button, then the battery is likely dead.

If you’re using an older style LCD thermostat, then replacing the battery is very easy.

First, check around the edges of the thermostat to see if there’s a button or catch to press in order to remove the thermostat casing. If there’s no such release, then simply grasp the front of the casing firmly, and gently pull it toward you. It should pop off in your hand.

You should immediately notice a compartment with one or more batteries inserted—typically AAs, but occasionally 9 volts or other batteries are used. Remove the dead batteries, and replace them with high quality alkaline batteries (don’t use cheap “heavy duty” batteries, which have a short lifespan and tend to leak and have other issues).

The thermostat should immediately power on, and you can go ahead and replace the cover. If the thermostat still won’t turn on, then professional service is likely necessary.

If you’re using a newer style smart thermostat, such as a Nest, these use rechargeable batteries which are charged through your home wiring. If an issue arises with your smart thermostat, you’ll likely want to go ahead and give us a call.

Hopefully, this brief primer on common AC issues will help you avoid any unnecessary service calls. Here at Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing, our goal is to provide you with top notch HVAC service. If you ever have questions about your air conditioner, just give us a call at 888-868-2316, or use our site’s contact form to request an appointment.

Schedule an Air Conditioner Tune-Up



 

Air conditioners are complex pieces of equipment, which rely upon flawless operation of a large number of moving parts, as well as secondary components such as intake fans, unobstructed ductwork, and so on. The failure of one or more components, even something as simple as a blocked air filter, can result in substandard performance.

While many things can go wrong with an air conditioner, it’s easy for homeowners to know when it’s time for an AC tune-up:

  • Your air conditioner has been breaking down frequently or is unreliable.
  • Your AC usage hasn’t changed, but your power bills are going up.
  • Your AC’s repair costs have been climbing.
  • Your air conditioner simply can’t keep your home comfortable during hot summer weather.

The important thing to keep in mind is that when you notice your air conditioner isn’t operating as it should, don’t wait to call us. While your problem may not worsen for weeks or months, on the other hand it could be symptomatic of damage that will become more expensive to repair the longer you wait.

Besides, if you live anywhere in Central California, air conditioning isn’t an option. Do you really want to live in a hot house with ever-increasing power bills and no comfort to show for it?

What an air conditioner tune-up involves.

When you call Gilmore and schedule an AC checkup, your service expert will perform the following services:

  • Inspect blower wheel, compressor, evaporator coil, outdoor coil, and ductwork
  • Check supply and return air temperatures
  • Check the filters and thermostat
  • Take the amp draw of the indoor and outdoor fan motors
  • Take the amp draw of the compressor
  • Inspect refrigerant lines and measure refrigerant pressures
  • For heat pumps, check the operation of the reversing valve
  • Check the air handler and look for air leaks
  • Inspect the control boards
  • Check the compressor contactor
  • Check condensate drain lines
  • Test run capacitors
  • Check starting devices, drain pans, and fuses
  • Inspect electrical wiring
  • Check condition of compressor windings
  • Inspect breakers and service disconnect
  • Evaluate the safety of electrical connections

You may or may not know what much of the above means, but what we want you to understand is that we take the tune-up process seriously. That’s because we know how important proper AC maintenance is, and the degree to which it can improve your system’s performance.

You can contact us to learn more about our $89 residential AC Tune-Up and Freon Top-Off Special, or to go ahead and make an appointment. But don’t wait! Delaying necessary maintenance can result in expensive repairs and pricey power bills. Let the experts at Gilmore ensure that your air conditioner is running efficiently and effectively!

Freon Prices Are Soaring… And They’re Never Coming Back Down



 

Back in October of last year, we posted a blog post about the upcoming ban on R-22, better known as Freon, a refrigerant used in many older air conditioners. In the post, we discussed how an agreement made back in 1987 is pushing R-22 out of the marketplace permanently, with a final comprehensive ban taking effect in 2020.

At the time, we predicted that R-22 prices, which had already been rising, would soar over the next couple years as 2020 approached.

Well, according to news stations across the country, Freon prices are indeed soaring:

These news outlets and others are reporting ever climbing prices for the precious resource. One Wisconsin homeowner was quoted a price of $900 per bottle, while the owner of a heating and air company in North Carolina quoted a price of $800 per jug, with it costing over $2,000 to repair and fully charge a system using R-22.

Some areas have seen price increases of 300% in the last year, while a Wisconsin technician claimed a year over year cost increase of 500%.

Soon, increasingly expensive R-22 Freon will simply become impossible to find.

For those needing to have their air conditioner topped off, you’ll be happy to know that we are always offering a great deals on AC checkup and top-off services.

Frankly, the reality is that within the next three to four years, it will become impossible to recharge systems that use R-22. We simply won’t be able to acquire it anymore, once existing supplies run out. And even before then, most homeowners simply won’t be able to afford the cost of Freon, even if it is available.

If you own an air conditioner that uses R-22, it’s time to start considering installing a new air condition system that uses R-410A. If you would like to learn more about the cost of an air conditioner installation, and the benefits of purchasing a new, more efficient AC, contact the experts at Gilmore Heating Air & Solar by giving us a call at 888-868-2316, or schedule an appointment using our online system.

We know that this is a challenging time for homeowners battling rising coolant costs, but we guarantee that we will provide you with the best possible support and service.

Ways to Stay Cool Without Central AC



 

There are many days in Sacramento and much of Central California where it’s impossible to function without the use of an air conditioner. As of July 23rd, we’ve had 8 days with high temperatures above 100 degrees, and 21 out of 23 days have had highs of 90 or more.

When it’s that hot out, it’s absolutely necessary to have a functioning AC, as cracking a window is only going to make your house warmer. However, when we look to the homes of yesteryear, we find that our forebears were experts at taking advantage of cool evenings, and utilized a number of other clever innovations to keep indoor temperatures down.

Would you like to cut your cooling costs? Here are just a few ideas for decreasing your reliance on your air conditioner and reducing your electricity bills.

Create cross drafts to pump in cool evening or morning air from outside.

Have you ever walked through a home or building a felt a strong breeze flowing through? This is accomplished by creating a “cross draft.” Cross drafts are formed when two openings are created—such as with two windows, or with a window and door—that are spaced apart and align with one another.

A cross draft is great for rapidly pumping hot daytime air out of a home and replacing it with cooler evening air. If you’ve left your air conditioner off during the day, creating a cross draft is a much more cost efficient way of cooling your home off.

This is easiest to accomplish if you live in a narrow shotgun style home in which the front door aligns with a back door or bedroom window; these can be used to create a cross draft that runs through the entire home. But, any room in which a room has windows or other openings on two opposing walls can be opened up to create a cross draft.

If you have an openable skylight, use a fan to push hot air up and out.

Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, the occasional home featured a cupola, a small turret-like structure with open sides that allowed hot air to escape out the top. This effect can be recreated if you have skylights which can be opened. To maximize this effect, position a fan under it, blowing up and out the skylight. This will create a vacuum which pulls cool air in through open windows.

Make the most of your porch—overhangs help shade the front of your home.

If you ever walk through Midtown Sacramento, you’ll find many homes from the turn of the century through the ‘30s and ‘40s which feature large porches. Some homes even have porches that wrap around one or both sides.

Porches have a dual benefit. First, they create a comfortable, shaded area to sit outside when the weather is good. Secondly, the roof over a porch shades the front wall and windows of the home, reducing the amount of sunlight absorbed by the home as heat.

If your porch has minimal protection, see what options you have for installing or extending porch overhangs. You can also visit your local hardware store, which likely carries outdoor shades designed for installation on patios and porches.

Go old school with window awnings.

If you ever look at photos of apartment buildings and homes from the turn of the century, you might notice that it wasn’t unusual for windows to have awnings installed above them.

 

These fabric coverings reflected sunlight and shaded windows and the rooms they opened onto. Some homes even had awnings installed over their porches in order to maximize the cooling potential provided by the roof overhanging the porch.

We are fortunate to live in an era in which we can take technologies like air conditioning for granted. And if you live in Central California, then it’s imperative that you get your air conditioning serviced if it isn’t working correctly. That’s why Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing is here—we’re just a phone call or an email away.

But it’s also possible to stretch your cooling budget by taking advantage of some of the time-tested strategies described above. Gilmore can also help you find new opportunities to control your cooling costs, such as by installing a new energy efficient air conditioner. Give Gilmore a call, and we’ll help you find the best way to keep your home cool and comfortable this summer, without breaking the bank!

How to Stay Cool if Your AC Fails



This week we’ll see another page come off the calendar as August gives way to September. But while this may mean cool autumn weather for some areas of the country, the summer has a lot of life left in it.

According to CBS Sacramento, the temperatures over the weekend (August 26th and 27th) crushed all-time records for those dates since weather record-keeping began in Sacramento in 1877, with highs of 105 and 108 degrees. And the next few days aren’t looking to be too much of an improvement.

 

When Sacramento’s temperatures get this hot, it’s downright dangerous.

It’s deceptively easy to overheat once temperatures hit triple digits, even if you’re a longtime resident and feel that you’re used to the weather. A few extra minutes out in the sun when you’re running errands can make a big difference. And it’s in this kind of weather that aging air conditioning systems tend to break down—when they’re working at their hardest.

So, what can you do if your air conditioner fails in order to keep your family safe?

Just like in a medical emergency, you want to make sure that you have expert assistance on the way. So first, you need to call Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing immediately at 888-868-2316, or make an appointment online ASAP for air conditioner repair. When it gets this hot, we get busy, fast. You want to make sure that you get scheduled as soon as you can, so that you minimize the wait.

Once you know that you have an appointment for one of our AC technicians to come out and fix the problem, then it’s a matter of making sure that your family stays safe and comfortable.

How do you stay cool and healthy in the heat without air conditioning?

If your air conditioner has just failed and your home is currently cool, try to keep it that way. Keep windows and doors closed, and close all blinds and curtains. As long as it’s cool, stay indoors.

If your house is too warm to comfortably inhabit, make a day-trip of it. Go to the mall, your local library, or somewhere else indoors and air-conditioned. Do your best to minimize heat exposure.

If you have to head outdoors, wear a hat and sunglasses, and consider putting on sunscreen as well.

Make sure to drink lots of water. Do not wait until you’re thirsty. If you’re exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees or so, you should be drinking at least a couple glasses of water per hour.

Watch out for signs of dehydration and heat stress, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle cramping
  • Disorientation and difficulty thinking
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • A lack of sweat in high temperatures

If you start noticing these signs, you need to hydrate immediately, and then find shelter somewhere cool. If your symptoms worsen, it’s time to seek medical attention.

This time of year is very deceptive. It’s late in the year, and many of us are anticipating pumpkin spice drinks and pleasant fall weather. But you need to be on your guard, as Sacramento and surrounding areas are capable of generating dangerous 100+ degree weather as late as early October. We’re not out of the woods yet.

So if your air conditioner fails or is showing signs of failing, you need to get it repaired now. Gilmore can help. Give us a call at 888-868-2316, or send us a message using our appointment contact form!