Sacramento September Home Maintenance



Home Maintenance Suggestions for September in Sacramento

September marks a unique time of the year, which bids the summer goodbye in preparation for winter. As usual, you will change most of the things you do as the seasons change. Your choice of clothes, for example, will change to match every season. The same case applies to your home. While your Sacramento home is comfortable, some seasons can be unforgiving, and without proper preparation, you might find yourself in a lot of trouble. Extreme weather changes mean that some things in and around your home will have to be changed or protected. So, if you’re searching for an HVAC company near me, you’ve come to the right place. Our HVAC professionals share Sacramento September home maintenance tips to get your home in the best shape!

Change your Air Filter

Your Air filter should be changed every 30-90 days. This ensures that it is able to clean the air you breathe inside your home. During the summer season, your Sacramento AC unit was likely running most of the time. The air filter will have collected a lot of dirt and debris and will require changing to ensure that the whole system runs smoothly. 

Clear the Area around the AC unit 

It is common for vegetation to grow around your outdoor unit during the summer season. Make sure to clear at least 2 feet around the outdoor unit to ensure that it can run unobstructed. Also, make a point of collecting all debris such as fallen leaves and twigs that could find themselves inside the HVAC unit. 

Adjust your Thermostat Appropriately 

Adjust your thermostats for the coming season. You are likely to have an empty house most of the time during this season. There is no point in leaving it on if everyone will not be at home. 

We asked our friends at McQuillan Brothers, Twin Cities Heating and Cooling Company, what they recommend to optimize energy savings in your home. They suggested that the best option for your thermostat would be to find a modern programmable thermostat that allows you to control it using your smartphone. This way, you can switch it off when you are not at home and switch it back on before getting to the house. 

Get your AC tuned up at the end of the season 

While there is so much you can do to have your AC running smoothly, it helps to get a Sacramento residential AC service done by a professional. 

They have the skills and experience required to find and fix issues such as leaks, which could affect the energy consumption in your house and ultimately cost you more money. If you are looking for an AC tune-up in Sacramento before the summer ends, contact Gilmore today!

Check all your Safety Devices 

Safety is paramount for you and your family. As such, it is important to ensure that your family is kept safe by ensuring that all devices such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Replace old batteries and update all detectors according to set regulations. 

Get your Furnace Evaluated by a Sacramento HVAC Professional 

Your furnace is about to perform one of the most important tasks in your home. This might be the perfect time to get a new model if you have an older model or if you bought a new home. Newer models are more energy-efficient and will save you a lot of money in heating bills. Contact Gilmore today for any of your Sacramento HVAC needs.

Only work with Professionals 

Make sure you call a trained professional every time you need to run maintenance in your home. At Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing, we work with all our clients to prepare their houses for every season. Call us today and let us make your September great. 

 

How to Inspect an AC Drain Pan



How to Inspect an AC Drain Pan

As warm air passes over the evaporator coils in your AC, water droplets form and drip into the condensate pan located beneath the evaporator coils. This condensate then flows out through the condensate drain line. However, problems can arise when the drain pan or drain line is clogged or damaged. Your AC may turn itself off, or your property may suffer water damage as condensation accumulates underneath the AC. To prevent these problems, Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing, the best HVAC company in Sacramento, recommends that you inspect the AC drain pan frequently, as explained below.

Step 1: Turn On the AC

It is advisable to start your inspection exercise by turning the AC on for about half an hour. This is ample time for the system to work and generate a sufficient amount of condensate to reveal any anomalies in the condensate drainage system.

Folsom AC service techs recommend that you observe the area around the indoor unit of your air conditioner. If you don’t see any moisture, chances are the drain pan, and drain line is working as they should. All the same, you need to proceed with the next steps outlined below, just to perform a thorough inspection.

Step 2: Turn the AC Power Off and Remove the Access Panel

Experts at Gilmore Heating and Air strongly recommend that you turn the power to the HVAC system off so that you reduce the risk of electrical accidents occurring while you check the drain pan.

Once you have unplugged the AC, remove the access panel so that you can see the drain pan situated inside the air handler.

Note that air conditioners usually have two drain pans. One is permanently affixed to the air handler, and it is located higher up from the auxiliary one that is easy to remove. Residential AC company in Placerville recommend that you restrict your DIY efforts to the auxiliary drain pan and let an experienced professional remove and replace the permanent drain pan since you may make a mistake that could cause bigger problems in your AC.

Step 3: Inspect the Drain Pan and Line

Residential AC maintenance personnel suggest that you use a flashlight to take a close look at the drain pan and the drain line leading away from it. See whether you can spot any visible debris or accumulations, or even damage to the drain pan.

If water is backing up in the drain pan, there could be a blockage in the drain line. Clean out any debris that you see in the drain pan and in the opening of the drain line.

Step 4: Test the Drain Mechanism

Pour a continuous stream of water into the drain pan and observe how effectively that water drains away through the drain line. If it is sluggish or backs up, Tureks Plumbing Services, a Fox Valley Plumbing company, suggests that you may have a clog or blockage in the drain line.

Step 5: Repair Minor Damage to the Drain Pan

If you notice that the drain pan is leaking, use epoxy glue to plug that small crack responsible for the leak. However, if the leak is large, Folsom AC service professionals recommend that it is a lot better to replace that damaged drain pan.

Replacing the drain pan is best left to professionals. Contact Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing for expert help, especially if the permanent drain pan has a leak.

Step 6: Clean the Condensate Drain Line

Gilmore HVAC experts recommend that you clean the condensate drain line regularly in order to prevent dirt and debris from building up inside it.

Use a stiff brush to gently clean inside the drain line and remove any debris inside. You can then pour a cup of vinegar down the drain line so that any microbial growths (mold and algae, for example) can be killed before clogs develop.

In the summer, pour bleach down the condensate drain line as a way of keeping it clean. Gilmore Heating, Air and Plumbing only recommends using bleach during the summer because the constant use of the AC will generate ample quantities of condensate to wash out the bleach before it damages the drain line.

Step 7: Restore the Access Panel

Once you are satisfied with the work done in cleaning the drain line or fixing any damage to the auxiliary drain pan, restore the access panel to its position so that the air handler isn’t exposed. When everything is back in its place, residential AC maintenance personnel recommend that you power up the system and observe whether it is working well, and no condensation is accumulating beneath the air handler. If everything is as it should be, congrats!

The drain pan and drain line aren’t the only components that need regular maintenance and inspection in your HVAC system. In fact, the drain pan and drain line will have a reduced chance of developing defects if the entire HVAC system is serviced by a professional. If you haven’t had your AC system checked by a professional in a while, contact Gilmore Heating, Air, and Plumbing for a residential ac tune-up. Our experienced technicians will conduct a thorough inspection and tune-up the system so that it is back to working reliably and efficiently. Give us a call today and learn about our Sacramento AC service plans.

3 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient



Whether it’s summer or winter in Northern California, you want to save money when it comes to your HVAC costs. Being aware of a few things can help keep you warm or cool while bringing down your monthly bill. Here are three tips that we at Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ want to share with you.

1. Choose Energy Star Appliances

Replacing older equipment with more recent models can save dollars. For example, a new air conditioning unit can replace an older model and save as much as 20% to 40% on monthly utility bills. Although air conditioners are meant to last more than 10 years, newer models have better SEER ratings and are more efficient. You might consider replacing your AC if you have:

  • Unreliable system operation
  • High energy bills
  • Increasing repair costs
  • A failed unit

Whether it’s heating or air conditioning, there comes a time when getting repairs is too costly. New equipment will be more efficient. However, you should remember to size the unit correctly for ultimate efficiency. Meanwhile, regular servicing of older models will make them run more efficiently.

2. Seal the Outside of Your Home

Part of your home includes the outside outer walls, windows, ceiling, and floor. This area is called the “envelope” or “shell.” Have a skilled contractor seal and insulate the exterior to make your home more energy efficient. This could save more than $200 a year in your cooling and heating costs.

3. When Temperatures Are Mild, Use Windows and Fans

Aside from using a programmable thermostat when you are away, you can take steps to keep the air moving naturally. Open windows in spring and use ceiling fans or portable fans on warmer days. You can also consider cooking outside on hot days, using a grill to avoid heating up the interior of your kitchen.

At Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ in Placerville, CA, we specialize in heating and cooling services. Give us a call if you need service or have questions.

When Should You Schedule AC Maintenance?



Knowing that air conditioners need regular maintenance is one thing; actually setting up an appointment is another. Most experts recommend that air conditioners be checked out each spring. Annual maintenance is an important factor in keeping things running efficiently. These appointments can potentially save you money in the long run by extending the lifespan of your various components.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until Summer

With many things, people often have a tendency to wait to address something until it’s too late. In terms of air conditioner maintenance, it’s a better idea to set up a tune-up in the early spring rather than in the summer. This allows plenty of time to examine all of your parts and make sure the whole system is functioning properly before you start depending on your AC. In the hot summer, it can be difficult to go even a day without a working air conditioner.

Removing Build-Up

During the winter, things can get blown around, and you may accumulate dust, dirt, and grime on and around your air conditioner. In the spring, we’ll be able to clean everything out so that nothing gets in the way of performance. Plus, your indoor air quality will be better.

Staying Flexible

At Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ in Placerville, many of our maintenance appointments are routine, but occasionally we do find a bigger concern. In this case, we’ll need time to figure out what’s going on and resolve it. Our schedule is more open in early spring, and we’ll likely be able to handle things right away if you call during that time of year. Remember, the sooner you call about an issue, the more likely it is that you can catch it while it is still small.

Count on Us

Turn to Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ if you live in the Greater Placerville region. We’ve been serving customers since 1979, and our services include those related to heating, cooling, and plumbing. Our skilled technicians are also trained in the roofing and insulation fields. We’d be happy to help in any way whether you require an installation, repair, or service. Give us a call to arrange a convenient time for us to visit you.

3 Reasons to Hire a Professional AC Company



Many things around the house can be fixed by amateur technicians. Unfortunately, your air conditioner isn’t one of those things. You probably won’t achieve your desired results if you enlist the help of a layman or tinker with the complex unit. However, you’ll receive the turnkey solution you need when you turn to a reputable HVAC company. Here are three reasons to hire the services of an AC professional.

1. Save Money and Headaches

As soon as your air conditioner starts to break down, fixing it should be a priority because faulty AC units are inefficient and unreliable. Waiting to take action will likely give rise to unavoidable problems, such as higher energy bills and ventilation issues. By doing high-quality work on your air conditioning system, a licensed technician can protect your budget and your comfortable indoor environment.

2. Enjoy Better Air Quality and More Peace of Mind

If your air conditioner is old and suffering from general wear and tear, it’s in the right condition to further pollute your home’s atmosphere. The unit may need just a few tweaks to operate more smoothly. A shoddy job, however, can lead to more problems. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to let a professional technician take care of the maintenance tasks. At Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣, we serve property owners in Placerville. Our services are worth your while if you want your AC system to function right all year.

3. Get the Assurance You Deserve

Unlicensed contractors are a huge liability. They can sue you if they get injured while working for you. On the other hand, the seasoned technicians at reputable AC companies are licensed, insured and certified by state accrediting organizations.

Now that you have three valid reasons to turn to Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣, don’t hesitate to take action. Call us today if you need help with air conditioning, heating or plumbing. Our professionals proudly serve the Placerville region.

Tips for Healthy Indoor Air



At Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣, we dedicate much of our efforts in helping maintain the right temperature in the homes of the Sacramento area. While heating and cooling the air is important, it is also necessary to be concerned about the overall air quality in your home. Especially if there is not enough ventilation, pollutants can linger in the air, affecting your health and quality of life. Here are some thoughts about keeping pollutants to a minimum in your home.

Common Household Pollutants

Every time you enter your home, you may be tracking in a small amount of dust, dirt, and pollen from the outside. Over time, this amount grows, and irritants are stirred up as people walk around the house. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are even more serious pollutants. Many of the products we use indoors release such compounds into the air supply. The process of making a healthy stir-fry will release small amounts of cooking oil. Beauty and cleaning products also add unwanted chemicals to the air. In addition, household paints and plastics also release small amounts of VOCs as they slowly break down.

Simple Air Quality Solutions

The key to air quality is ventilation. For healthy air, you want an exchange of fresh air from the outside to replace stale air on the inside. This is especially important when you are using products that release VOCs. Make sure to use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. When possible, open a window when you are using cleaning products or other chemicals in your home.

Professional Solutions

Today, there are excellent professional options to improve the ventilation in your home. Some models can even exchange the heat between outgoing and incoming air to maximize energy efficiency. An air purifier is another option for removing VOCs that are floating in your air, eliminating them as they travel through your ductwork.

If you have questions about the air quality of your home, Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ in Placerville has the knowledgeable technicians to help you. We specialize in all aspects of home comfort and maintenance, heating, cooling, plumbing, insulation, and electrical work. We also offer home energy audits. Contact us today for more information.

HVAC vs AC



You have probably heard the acronym HVAC many times in your life. It’s likely that you have used it yourself, but do you know what it means? Some people confuse HVAC and AC. Let’s discuss what the differences are.

What Does HVAC Stand For?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. When someone says they are an HVAC technician, this means they are skilled in all of these areas, not just one. HVAC techs from Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing in Placerville, CA can fix your furnace, clean out your vents and install an air conditioner.

What Does AC Stand For?

AC stands for air conditioning. When technicians say they are repairing your AC, they are not going to clean out your vents or change the filter on your furnace. They are simply going to fix your air conditioning unit, whether that is a window unit or a central air system.

Are the Terms Interchangeable?

If you are talking about AC, you are referring to your air conditioning system only. If you use the term HVAC, you could be talking about any part of your heating, ventilation or air conditioning system. When you are talking to technicians about your problem, it is important that you use the correct terminology so that they know what type of problem they are looking for.

What About Heat Pumps?

A heat pump can occasionally cause some confusion because it both heats and cools. In this instance, it seems like you could use either the term HVAC or the term AC depending on the type of unit you are referring to. However, most HVAC technicians consider the term AC to mean systems that are made only for air conditioning rather than both heating and cooling.

We have skilled technicians ready to answer your questions and field techs who can visit your home or business to determine what is causing the problem. If you are experiencing difficulty with any part of your HVAC system, give Gilmore Heating, Air, & Plumbing a call today.

Should You Use Your AC When it’s Smoky Outside?



If you’ve so much as glanced out a window the last couple of weeks, you have likely noticed that golden-red tinge to the light that means forest fire season is here in Northern California. Not only are there dozens of fires burning in California at the moment, but firefighters in Oregon and Washington have their hands full as well. As a consequence, the entire coast is dealing with smoky, hazy air.

But the biggest concern isn’t how the air looks, but what it can do to your body.

 

Breathing smoky air produced by forest fires can be bad for your health.

According to the CDC, breathing smoky air can irritate airways, and presents a serious risk to people who:

  • Have heart or lung diseases, such as coronary artery disease or asthma.
  • Are of an advanced age, due to their increased susceptibility to heart and lung diseases.
  • Are particularly young. Children have airways that are still developing, and they actually breathe more air, proportionally speaking, than adults do. They also spend more time outdoors.

Obviously, you want to stay indoors as much as possible when air quality is particularly poor. An easy way to determine the current air quality in your area is by referring to the AirNow website, which is a service provided by the EPA.

AirNow generates air quality forecasts and current condition information for just about the entire country. The AIrNow page for your area will display the current Air Quality Index, the overall forecast for the day, and the forecast for the next day.

To briefly break down the significance of the AQI scores:

  • Good (0 to 50): The air doesn’t present any risks
  • Moderate (51 to 100): Acceptable air quality, but could cause problems for extremely sensitive persons.
  • USG (101 to 150): USG means “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” and means that people with lung disease, children, and the elderly could face health risks.
  • Unhealthy (151 to 200): This means the air presents health risks for just about everyone, and sensitive groups are at significant risk.
  • Very Unhealthy (201 to 300): Everyone is at significant risk.
  • Hazardous (301 to 500): Emergency conditions are in place, as everyone faces serious health consequences.

AirNow is a great resource for knowing how healthy it is to be outside, and whether you should remain indoors. But raises an important question:

So, it’s smart to stay indoors when the air is bad. But does running your air conditioning pose a health risk when the air is smoky?

If you’ve run the air conditioner in your car when passing by a fire—or a particularly fragrant cattle farm—it’s pretty obvious that the great outdoors can quickly contaminate the passenger compartment.

This raises a pretty logical question: If you run my home’s air conditioner when it’s smoky outside, will that bring the smoke particulates and other harmful pollution into my home? Thankfully, the answer is no. It’s safe to run your AC, regardless of the severity of forest fire pollution in your area.

While your outside unit expels a lot of hot air, that air isn’t coming from inside your home and being replaced with outside air. Air conditioners are heat exchangers. They use a closed coolant system to absorb heat from the air inside your home and then use powerful fans to push a lot of outside air over that same coolant system, suck out the heat, and then exhaust that heated air back outdoors.

At no time does outdoor air get pulled into your home. Thus, pollutants don’t have the opportunity to intrude into your home, except when you open a door or window.

Window AC units can allow some contaminants to penetrate around the sides of the unit, if it hasn’t been sealed properly. But aside from this concern, both central AC and window AC units will keep you cool without risking your health.

At Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing, we know how important it is to not only keep your family comfortable but healthy as well. If you have family members with sensitive health conditions, and you want to know what air conditioning solution is best for your family, Gilmore can help. To learn more, give us a call, or send us a message, and our AC experts will work to find a solution that works right for you!

Freon (R-22) Ban and How It Affects Your Air Conditioner



Until a few years ago, many air conditioners sold in the United States used the refrigerant chlorodifluoromethane, usually referred to “R-22.” R-22 is one of a number of gases marketed under the brand name Freon, and has been commonly used as a coolant in air conditioners, heat pumps, and other appliances.

R-22 is an extremely effective coolant, which made it popular among HVAC manufacturers for many years. However, it was discovered that its causes damage to the ozone layer, and that it is also a powerful greenhouse gas. This is why, in 1987, the United States agreed to an international accord that would call for the reduction of HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) production, beginning in 2004. R-22 is one of the products affected by this agreement.

 

Obtaining R-22 for air conditioner servicing is extremely costly, and will soon become impossible.

Enforced reduction of the use of R-22 began in 2004, and in 2010 its use was banned in new HVAC systems. However, R-22 has continued to be produced since then in order to service existing air conditioners. Soon, this will no longer be the case.

In 2015, the next step in the R-22 phaseout plan was triggered, further reducing the permitted production and import of R-22. As a consequence, prices have quadrupled. This will only get worse, as the EPA’s final phasedown schedule for R-22 indicates that production and import of the coolant will be completely banned as of 2020.

For homeowners whose air conditioners and heat pumps use R-22, this raises the question, “What are my choices?” These options can be broken down as follows:

Hold off on HVAC replacement or upgrade for a few years.

You can simply wait for a few years. However, if your cooling system requires replacement of its R-22 supply in the meantime, it may cost you dearly. We currently charge more than $600 to fully recharge an air conditioner with R-22 (plus the cost of removing contaminants from the system), and full expect this cost to rise in the future. In a few years, it may cost thousands of dollars.

Upgrade your system to use a modern coolant.

The EPA has approved several new coolants, the most popular of which is R-410A, commonly marked under the brand name Puron. However, you can’t just pour R-410A into a cooling system that uses R-22. Some of the system’s parts will have to be replaced. In addition, while your system can be adapted to work with R-410A, you likely won’t see the same level of performance as before, resulting in higher energy bills.

Replace your HVAC system with a new EPA-friendly system.

The most advisable option is to simply replace your existing air conditioner or heat pump with a new system that is designed to use R-410A, or other permitted coolants. While this is the most costly option in the short term, the simple fact is that the other two options may well cost you more in the long run, and then you’ll have to replace your system anyways!

This is why Gilmore strongly advises that you replace your air conditioner or heat pump now. Replacing your system eliminates the risk of having to pay a fortune for R-22 replacement in a few years, or paying higher energy bills for the next several years due to reduced performance.

It really is the best time to replace your HVAC system, and as a bonus, you will immediately begin to enjoy savings on your energy bill! If you’d like to learn more about how replacing your air conditioner or heat pump can save you money, call the experts at Gilmore Heating & Air!

Save $250 Off of a New Air Conditioner!

Avoid future price hikes for replacing the R-22 in your old air conditioner by upgrading your system today! Click on the image below for an easy-to-print coupon entitling you to $250 off of a new A/C system from Gilmore Heating & Air, or click on this link for a PDF with a summary of the above information, and a copy of our coupon. But don’t wait too long, this offer expires at the end of 2016!

 

Diagnosing Residential Air Conditioner Problems



Your residential air conditioning system needs periodic attention. Even so, problems can happen. Before calling for help, it’s possible to save time and money by doing some AC troubleshooting of your own.

AC Doesn’t Run

  • If your system doesn’t turn on at all, make sure it’s getting power. Check the fuse or circuit breaker. If your system has a secondary breaker near the outside unit, verify that it’s on.

Air Conditioner Turns On and Off Too Often or Not Often Enough

  • Your system cycles based on a sensor you know as the thermostat. Verify that it is set in the ‘cooling’ position. If it is located in a small, isolated room, other rooms may not cool properly. Consider moving it to a larger, more centrally located room.
  • If your system starts and stops frequently, it may be too big, or a register could be blowing on a thermostat.
  • If your system seldom cycles off, you could have low refrigerant levels or faulty relay switches.
  • Dirty filters and intakes can prevent your system from pulling in enough air to properly cool your home. Check your air filters and exchange them regularly to keep your home comfortable. Alternatively, consider upgrading to a media filter, which only requires semiannual attention.

Water Accumulating Under the AC

  • Pooling water in your AC unit’s drip pan could mean a broken condensation pump or a blocked drain line (if it’s the latter, you can try clearing the line with bleach). Either way, that water means it’s time to schedule service. You should consider installing a safety shutoff switch that will turn the unit off if drain lines back up.

AC Runs, But Doesn’t Blow Cool Air

  • If your system blows warm air, check that the outside unit is running, and that its airflow isn’t blocked by leaves or debris.
  • If the fan on the outside unit isn’t turning, turn the thermostat fan switch to the ‘off’ position. If the inside fan continues running, turn off your system breaker and schedule service. Your problem could be insufficient refrigerant. Your air conditioner is a closed system. If it’s low on refrigerant, you have a leak, which commonly occurs at valves or in the coil. Finding a leak is work for a professional.
  • If your blower motor is running but not cooling, your system is probably frozen, and needs professional attention.