Ask Rick

Rick’s Blog and Answers to Common Questions

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Hey Rick, what kind of questions should I ask when picking someone in Bradenton to service my air conditioning?

 

Whether your home or a commercial facility, your HVAC system represents an enormous investment in your property. When choosing who to trust with your investment and comfort, don’t just pull a name from the yellow pages. Just as you would in any job interview, ask questions before you hire a contractor.

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured? This question is purely about limiting your financial risk. Unlicensed technicians are often untrained technicians. A bonded and insured service professional ensures that, should a loss occur due to accident or negligence, your investment is safe, and you aren’t left on tap to repair damage you didn’t cause.
  • Are they professional? Professionalism goes beyond licensing. Check their online review through their website or a review site such as YELP! Watch for complaints of appointment no-shows, repeatedly late, or poor communication.
  • Will they provide you a quote and service they will stand behind? Ask up front if their “lowest price in town” includes all service fees, parts, and labor. Ask if they guarantee their work and for how long.
  • Will be they be there when you need them? Are they offering to do a job or enter into a business relationship? Are they available on an emergency basis twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?

We have completed over 1400 service orders on HVAC systems since 2009, but our real business is the service we provide to our clients. We stand behind our work because it is our best advertisement. Call us today to schedule a maintenance check-up, major repair, or installation quote. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, we believe in clear quotes up front, great communication, and five-star service!

Hey Rick, What Are Some Signs That I Need a Sarasota Heating Repair Company?

Even with Sarasota’s mild winters, a failed heating system in the middle of the coldest season can be a nightmare. The good news is that this is often preventable. Heating systems seldom fail without giving warning signs. If you respond to these warning signs, you can fix small problems before they turn into big ones. The problems below are common indicators of impending heating system failure. You should pay attention to these signs and hire a Sarasota heating repair company as soon as possible.

1. Your Utility Bill Has Increased Dramatically

Utility companies typically increase their rates gradually rather than all at once. If you see a significant spike, that usually means that there is something wrong on your end. It means that your heating system is not running efficiently and that the cost of keeping your home comfortable will continue to increase until you solve the problem.

2. There Are Cold Spots in Your Home

If your heating system seems to work better in some areas of your home than in others, there might be a problem with your ductwork. Your ducts may have leaks or a blockage. Duct problems are especially likely if the cold spots stay cold even when you crank the thermostat up.

3. Poor Air Quality

If your home is clean but the air seems hazy, this is a strong indication that something is wrong. Other indicators of poor air quality include members of the household suffering from respiratory conditions. The first step to solving this problem is to swap out your air filter. If your air quality is still poor even with a new air filter, contact a heating repair company immediately.

Dealing with small problems now can keep you from having to pay for major repairs later on. If you spot any of these issues with your heating system, contact us right away.

Rick, I Need Bradenton Heating Repair!

With your AC unit running full tilt and a hot sun above, you may be hard-pressed to give your heater the attention it deserves. Autumn is soon to be on the horizon, and the time is near to start thinking about getting your home heater up and running. With luck, you may merely have to follow some routine maintenance procedures, and you’ll be cozy and warm for the first chilly evening. Often times however, a simple dust-off won’t cut it, and you’ll find yourself scrambling at the last-minute to keep your family warm. Here are a few things to look out for to determine if you need Bradenton Heating Repair.

1. Constant “on/off” cycling

If your heater sounds like the monster in the closet from your childhood nightmares, it’s time to get it looked at. Incessant cycling could indicate a problem with the thermostat, which is rarely a fix-it-yourself solution. The inefficiency of this constant cycling will show itself when your monthly electric bill comes around.

2. Inconsistent heat levels

You’ve been to the basement four times in the past hour, checking and re-checking the thermostat. You hear the unit working, but it’s cold as ice upstairs. This is a common occurrence for many who have experienced failing heaters. From dislodged bolts to clogged filters, the possible problems are many. Have a professional take a look to determine the exact cause.

3. You’ve neglected routine maintenance

Maybe your bills have been pushing furnace maintenance to the wayside, or maybe overconfidence in your own mechanical abilities is the culprit. Whatever the case, neglecting to get your furnace properly inspected and serviced will lead to increased strain on the unit, and a shorter lifespan. If it’s been years since anyone has serviced your heater-its time.

Heating repair is always a necessity at many points in a heater’s lifespan. Problems can range from minor inconveniences to very serious, health-threatening issues. Whether the issue is with efficiency or operation, remember to take your heater’s maintenance seriously, and stick to a routine schedule. To learn more about Bradenton Heating Repair, contact us today.

Hey Rick, How Can I Make My Bradenton Air Conditioning System Last Longer?

With most home appliances, if you treat them well and maintain them, they tend to last longer. It’s no different with your Bradenton air conditioning system. If you take the time to follow some of these tips, you can be sure your central air will serve you a good long time, even here in Florida where it runs a good deal of the time.

  1. Hose it down. When leaves, mulch, dirt, and grass clippings accumulate on your outdoor unit, it has to work harder, and shortens its life span. Every once in a while, turn the power off to the system, and hose down the fins.
  2. Give it some space. Don’t plant bushes and flowers too close to the unit. If there are already some there, trim them back so they are at least 18 inches away. If they are too close, they can reduce airflow.
  3. Clean or change your filter regularly. It’s easy to do and takes just a couple of minutes. This will help your system to run more efficiently and last longer.
  4. Protect it from dogs. You know how dogs are, they love to mark their territory. But when they do it on the air conditioner, it can seriously damage it, to the point of it needing to be replaced. If you can’t stop your or your neighbor’s dog from relieving himself there, you may want to put up a little fence to keep them out.
  5. Make sure vents are open and unblocked. Sometimes things get moved around, or vents get closed when cleaning or not in use during the winter. Check all vents to make sure they are open and unobstructed.
  6. Schedule regular maintenance. Once a year, make an appointment for a qualified, professional air conditioning company to come take a look at your system. They can give it a little tune-up and check things over to make sure there isn’t anything that needs to be replaced. Sometimes little repairs can prevent a large problem and can extend the life of your system.

Homeowners cringe when they think about having to replace their air conditioning system, but the existing system can last longer if you follow these tips. For more information or to schedule a maintenance appointment, contact us.

Ask Rick: Why Does My Air Conditioning Frequently Cycle on and Off?

While your air conditioner normally cycles on and off to keep your home cooled at a desired temperature setting, the cycles should last longer than a few seconds or minutes. If this problem isn’t resolved soon, it can be very costly because it may wear out your compressor. In fact, you might want to leave your air conditioner off until you can get it repaired. Here are five possible reasons for the problem:

  • The AC low pressure control is malfunctioning. The AC low pressure control protects the compressor from pressure extremes in the refrigerant by turning the compressor off. When the AC system rapidly cycles on and off, it may indicate a worn out or defective AC low pressure control.
  • The AC system is leaking refrigerant. When your air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, it causes abnormal refrigerant pressure that can trigger the AC low pressure control to shut off the compressor. When the refrigerant pressure returns to its normal operating range, the compressor is allowed to run again. This may set up a rapid on/off AC cycling pattern. Replacing the refrigerant isn’t enough because the leak will require repair.
  • You have an oversized AC system. This means your air conditioning system is meant to cool a larger house than yours. Therefore, it cools your house faster than it should and then shuts off before the cool temperature can thoroughly penetrate into your home. This causes your home to warm up quickly, which starts the cycle over again.
  • The thermostat is too close to a cooling vent. The thermostat location should accurately represent the overall temperature of your home. When it is too close to a cooling vent, the cooling air will cause the thermostat to shut down the AC system before the rest of the house cools. The uncooled air in your home will then trigger the AC system to start again.
  • The thermostat is malfunctioning. A damaged or defective thermostat may cause rapid cycling of your air conditioning system.

If your air conditioning system rapidly cycles on and off, or you otherwise require AC repair in Bradenton FL, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Dear Rick: Why Is It Important to Change My Air Conditioning Units Filter

Dear Rick,

Recently, I was talking to a Sarasota air conditioning repair guy, and he told me one of the best things that I could do for my air conditioner was change the air filter frequently. Why is that?

Waiting to Hear

Hi Waiting to Hear,

He’s right! One of the best things you can do for your AC is to change the air filter frequently and on a regular schedule. Here are a few ways doing so benefits you and your air conditioner.

Better Air Quality in Your Home

When your air conditioner cuts on in your home, it brings in air from your home, super cools it and sends it out through the duct system back into the rooms. In the air, there are a lot of particles of dust and other types of allergens. The air filter in your unit catches those particles and keeps them from recycling inside your home. If the filter is dirty, the particles get back into your home.

Save Money on Your Utility Bills

When your filter is clogged up with trash and dirt, the dirty air gets to the engine of your air conditioner, causing the unit to run harder and most of the time, hotter. This will results in higher energy costs. An air filter costs a couple of dollars for a top-quality one. It’s one of the cheapest things you can do to save money.

Extends the Life of Your Air Conditioning Unit

When your air conditioner’s engine is forced to run hotter and harder for any length of time due to a dirty air filter or other problems, it shortens the length of the unit’s lifespan. Your air conditioner will typically last between 10 and 15 years and changing your filter regularly can help its final age come closer to the 15-year mark.

When you’re ready to get your air conditioner serviced, Nice Air LLC can help. Contact us today.

Ask Rick: Can I Put Off My AC Repair Until Next Spring?

Dear Rick,

My Sarasota AC repair guy says I need some minor repairs done and not to put it off until spring. Why can’t they wait until the spring? It’s not like I’ll be using it much longer this year.

Confused

Dear Confused,

Your AC repair guy is right to advise you to have the repairs done now instead of waiting until the spring. Here are a few things to consider.

Small Repairs Become Major Headaches

Although the air conditioning part of your HVAC system will not be running in the winter months, it does share parts with your heating system. If there’s enough overlap, the small repairs that you need now can turn into major headaches when you’re ready to have repairs done.

Rising Utility Bills

If the needed repair affects the motor of the HVAC unit at all, it might cause the engine to work harder and run hotter during the cold season while running your heater. This additional work will result in higher utility bills. Another potential problem could do with the calibration of your thermostat, which will have your HVAC unit cutting off and on more frequently while failing to get your home warm enough and keeping your utility bills high.

Lessen the Lifespan of Your HVAC System

If small problems are allowed to persist, they can begin to affect major parts of your HVAC system, such as the engine. While you can expect your air conditioner to last between 10 to 15 years, maintenance and the handling of small repairs can play a major factor in where your systems falls in that 5 year period.

At Nice Air LLC, we can help get your system in tip-top shape at a reasonable price, contact us today.

Rick, What Tricks Can I Use to Minimize My A/C Usage?

Dear Rick, My electric bill skyrocketed this summer, and I suspect my air conditioner was the biggest contributor. Do you have any thoughts on how to reduce my bill while still maintaining a cool house?

Yes! Unfortunately, the heat is just part of living in the South. There are a few strategic moves you can make to keep your home cool in spite of the rise in temperatures.

One of the best ways to decrease your power bill is to let us install a programmable thermostat. When correctly used, programmable thermostats will be able to control the temperature by decreasing the use of your HVAC system during the hottest part of the day, when you are not at home, or when you are sleeping. Some thermostats may even be controlled by an app on your smart phone, allowing you to vary the temperature remotely.

Another way to reduce your power bill is to use ceiling fans instead of moving the air in your home via your unit’s fan. Setting your fan to the “auto” position not only will reduce energy usage, it will reduce wear and tear on your system. Letting the fan inside your unit run continuously will also reduce its ability to remove humidity from your dwelling, making your living conditions even more uncomfortable.

Some of our customers assume that closing off vents to unused or seldom used rooms will increase efficiency in cooling the rest of the house. This is kind of true, but not really. If your HVAC system is sized appropriately for the flow of your house, closing off any ducts will only reduce the cooling effects of the system by creating pressure imbalances and increasing the likelihood that your air ducts may develop leaks.

For other ideas on how to reduce your HVAC system’s energy use, or if you experience problems with your system, Bradenton’s best AC repair company has qualified, friendly technicians standing at the ready to assist you.

Contact us to learn more about our free 21-point checkup!

Rick, Should I Replace Or Repair my Air Conditioning System?

Rick, what is a good rule of thumb regarding air conditioning system replacement? Should I continue to repair my old unit, or is it time for an upgrade. My unit is 12 years old.

That’s a great question. Here’s the thing: the key to getting maximum life out of an air conditioner is proper maintenance. Most air conditioning systems can last anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five years, IF they have been properly maintained. Proper maintenance includes changing the filter monthly, keeping the outside unit free from debris, routinely having your unit inspected by a professional, and keeping refrigerant at an appropriate level. If your system is requiring expensive or frequent repairs, it may be time to consider replacement before a total unit failure.

Since your system is already twelve years old, you may wish to replace your current air conditioner with a newer, more efficient model. Some of the new systems on the market are up to 60% more energy-efficient compared to those manufactured as little as ten years ago. And while the cost of purchasing a system outright or financing the purchase seems daunting to you, remember that the energy savings seen in your monthly bill will offset your financial output.

Another aspect you might wish to consider is the inconvenience caused by an unexpected breakdown. Typically, units never fail at a time when it is convenient for our customers. By taking a pro-active approach and replacing your system before it fails, you may be able to save yourself from unexpected hassle due to your unit’s sudden failure.

For more information about determining a properly sized unit for your home, or for all other Sarasota air conditioning needs, contact us!

Rick, How Should I Set My Air Conditioner’s Fan?

Rick, Can you give us relatively new home owners insight into how we should set our air conditioner? Should we use the fan’s “on” mode or the “auto” mode?

That’s a great question. First let me explain a little bit about your air conditioning system.

Your air conditioner serves two main purposes. Its main purpose is, of course, to cool your home. Its second purpose is to remove moisture from the air, thus reducing humidity and making your living environment more comfortable.

Now, common sense would tell a novice home owner that “on” is the correct setting. We want our air conditioner on, right? You turn the fan on, the cool air in your home circulates, and your house is comfortable, right? Well, not really. If you want air to move continuously throughout your house, you are better off using some good ceiling fans.

As your unit cools the air, the fan forces the cool air through your ductwork into your home. But remember that second job of your system, removing humidity? As your air is cooled, moisture collects on your cold evaporator coil. If the fan continues to run when the cooling part of your system cycles off, much of the moisture that was collected on your evaporator coil will be returned back into your home’s air. Setting your system’s fan to “auto” will allow the moisture to be removed from the home and make your home a more comfortable living environment.

Additionally, the “auto” mode will save you money by reducing your electric bill.

Congratulations on becoming a new homeowner, and let me commend you for contacting the best air conditioning repair service in Bradenton, Fl. For a free 21-point inspection of your system, or for all your other HVAC concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us!