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The ROI of HVAC Maintenance: How It Adds Value to Your Property

TL;DR: Installing a new HVAC system can cost between $5,000 to $12,000, but it’s a valuable investment for homeowners. Regular maintenance, costing $75 to $200, offers significant returns in energy efficiency and property value. Energy-efficient systems with modern features like smart thermostats attract buyers and fetch higher prices. Compliance with regulations and green certifications adds to desirability. Keeping professional maintenance records and following practical tips maximize HVAC value. Regular check-ups, filter replacements, cleaning, and choosing upgrades tailored to your needs ensure optimal performance and longevity. Overall, investing in HVAC maintenance is crucial for preserving property value and ensuring comfort.

 

Installing a new HVAC system can be a significant investment and cost homeowners anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000, depending on the system’s size and complexity. Unsurprisingly, most new home buyers see great value in properties equipped with a functioning HVAC system.

However, the condition of the HVAC system is closely tied to your property’s overall value. When the HVAC system runs perfectly, it saves energy costs and makes the property more attractive to potential buyers who recognize its value. So, let’s closely examine the ROI of HVAC maintenance, how it adds value to your property, and how to keep your system in perfect shape.

Calculating the ROI of HVAC Maintenance

If you are trying to understand the return on investment (ROI) of HVAC maintenance, start by considering your initial maintenance expenses. These include regular check-ups, part replacements, and repairs to avoid other issues. That will cost you around $75 to $200. That price tag might seem like a lot at first, but you must weigh it against the savings on buffer repairs.

Savings come in several forms, notably through energy efficiency. When your system is well-maintained, it can run on less energy, meaning lower utility bills. Similarly, regular maintenance includes replacing all worn-out parts and extending the unit’s life. 

If you have an HVAC system running without issues, that can help you increase the value of your property if you ever decide to sell. Properties that have systems with environmental certifications can fetch a higher price. This increase in market appeal contributes positively to your ROI, making the investment in maintenance even more worthwhile.

Increased Property Value Through Energy Efficiency

Real estate buyers are more aware of the long-term benefits and savings of having energy-efficient features in your home. As a result, properties with modern HVAC systems often attract the attention of energy-conscious buyers. A recent study found homes with energy-efficient features sell more often and at a higher price point. 

Modern HVAC systems operate more efficiently, using less energy to heat and cool the home, translating into significant savings over time. For your HVAC to be energy efficient, it must have at least a SEER 14 rating. Modern systems use the latest technology to maintain optimal temperatures and use minimal electricity compared to outdated HVAC units. That can reduce your property’s carbon footprint, which will likely appeal to potential buyers.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Recently, Mesa, Arizona, has had issues with air quality, so you must ensure the air you breathe indoors is better quality. You can upgrade the HVAC system with high-efficiency air filters or add air purifiers to reduce the presence of pollutants and allergens. 

These pollutants are not just outdoor intruders like pollen and dust. They include indoor particles such as pet dander, household chemicals, and mold spores. Not having them in the air can help you be more healthy. 

Having your HVAC not contribute to low air quality can make your property more appealing and increase its value. Prospective buyers or tenants often look for homes that promise a healthy living space, and if their new home already has an air-purifying system, that is one less expense they have to worry about.

The Appeal of Smart HVAC Technology

Prospective homebuyers are looking for homes that are not only move-in ready but also equipped with modern conveniences that make life easier. Smart thermostats and HVAC systems offer them total control over the home’s temperature directly from their smartphone or voice-activated devices. They can even teach the system their preferences, and it can automatically adjust the settings for maximum comfort. 

Beyond comfort, these systems are also more energy-efficient, translating into potential savings on utility bills. They usually come with detailed usage reports, helping homeowners understand their energy consumption and identify further opportunities for savings.

Regulatory Compliance and HVAC Systems

You might already be aware that various regulations and standards dictate how HVAC systems should operate within homes. These rules cover everything from installation and maintenance to efficiency and emissions. Ensuring your HVAC system complies with these standards prevents potential fines and makes your home more attractive to future buyers. It’s a straightforward equation: compliance equals desirability.

Green certifications, such as Energy Star or LEED, are benchmarks of efficiency and sustainability for HVAC systems. Such certifications prove that your HVAC system effectively heats or cools your home with less energy, significantly reducing your home’s overall carbon emissions. That is a main selling point in today’s market, where energy efficiency and environmental responsibility are increasingly important to buyers.

Professional Maintenance Records as Proof of Care

When you sell your home, potential buyers want assurance they’re making a wise investment. Keep your maintenance records as proof that you’ve cared for the HVAC system, following regulatory standards and best practices for system upkeep. These records can show potential buyers that the HVAC system is in excellent condition and won’t need expensive repairs or replacements shortly after purchase.

Practical Tips for Maximizing HVAC Value

Your HVAC system can add the most sales value to your property if you inspect and maintain it regularly. Maintaining your HVAC system won’t be burdensome if you stick to a servicing schedule. Some of the things you can regularly do are:

  • Replace HVAC system filters every three months, but possibly more often if you have pets or live in a dusty area.
  • Keep the area around your outdoor units clear of debris and foliage. That allows your system to breathe easier, improving efficiency and prolonging its life.
  • The indoor unit can collect dust and other particles that affect air quality and system performance. Ensure the coils and blower components are clean, which will help your system operate more effectively.
  • Dust and debris can accumulate in your ducts over time, blocking airflow and forcing your system to work harder, which, in turn, can lead to increased energy costs and reduced system lifespan. Duct cleaning is something you should entrust to a professional, but still do often.
  • Regular professional check-ups by HVAC specialists at least once a year can help catch any potential issues before they become big problems, saving you money in the long run.

Tips on Choosing HVAC Upgrades

Energy-efficient HVAC models can be a more significant initial investment but often pay for themselves through lower utility bills. Smart thermostats are another excellent upgrade, allowing homeowners to control the heating and cooling remotely and set more efficient schedules. When selecting these upgrades, consider your home’s size, climate, and specific needs to ensure you’re making the most cost-effective decision.

Invest In HVAC Maintenance in Mesa, Arizona

Regular HVAC maintenance is a sound investment in your property’s value and your wallet. An efficient system will reduce energy costs, make your unit more long-lasting, and ensure high-level air quality. That highlights the undeniable impact that proper care and maintenance have on the value of your property.

There are more benefits than drawbacks to regular HVAC maintenance. Once you decide to ensure proper care for your HVAC system, hire the HVAC experts Semper Fi Heating & Cooling in Mesa, Arizona. Our regular maintenance service can keep your system in perfect condition for years.

We can help you with all your heating, cooling, or air quality needs. Don’t let your investment go down the drain – call us today and get your HVAC back in shape!

 

FAQ

How often should I schedule HVAC maintenance?

It’s recommended to schedule HVAC maintenance at least once a year to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Semper Fi Heating & Cooling in Mesa, Arizona, offers professional maintenance services tailored to your system’s needs. Regular check-ups by our HVAC specialists can help detect and address any issues before they escalate, saving you money in the long run.

What are the benefits of upgrading to a smart thermostat?

Upgrading to a smart thermostat offers several benefits, including increased convenience, energy savings, and improved control over your HVAC system. Semper Fi Heating & Cooling provides expert guidance on choosing and installing smart thermostats that integrate seamlessly with your heating and cooling setup. With our help, you can enjoy enhanced comfort and efficiency in your home.

How can I improve indoor air quality in my home?

Improving indoor air quality is essential for a healthy living environment. Semper Fi Heating & Cooling offers solutions such as high-efficiency air filters and air purifiers to reduce pollutants and allergens in your home. Our HVAC experts can assess your indoor air quality needs and recommend the right products to ensure clean and fresh air throughout your property.

What sets Semper Fi Heating & Cooling apart from other HVAC companies?

Semper Fi Heating & Cooling stands out for our commitment to excellence, reliability, and customer satisfaction. With years of experience serving the Mesa, Arizona, area, we have built a reputation for delivering top-notch HVAC services at competitive prices. Our team of skilled technicians is dedicated to keeping your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently, ensuring your comfort and peace of mind year-round.

How far should an AC unit be from a house?

TLDR: Proper AC unit placement is vital for energy efficiency, cost savings, and safety. Ensure the unit is at an optimal distance from walls, windows, and direct sunlight to reduce energy consumption. Minimize fire and electrical hazards by keeping it away from combustible materials and maintaining proper wiring. Maintain airflow and accessibility to prevent reduced performance and damage. Proper placement enhances comfort, efficiency, and savings in your home.

 

 

Proper AC unit placement is not only an important factor in saving energy and lowering utility costs, but it is also essential for safety purposes. Whether you are looking for the optimal distance from a wall, wiring tips to avoid fire and electrical hazards, or optimizing the AC unit performance with proper airflow and accessibility, this article will provide the answers.

The Importance of Proper AC Unit Placement

Having a properly placed air conditioning unit is an essential part of any building’s environment; it helps to keep the indoor air quality and temperature stable, and can even reduce the energy and costs associated with maintaining a comfortable climate. Proper AC unit placement is key to overall comfort, efficiency, and cost savings.

Most air conditioning units are housed in a separate unit outside the building; this makes it particularly important to make sure it is placed in a location that provides optimal cooling and efficiency. To that end, the unit should always be placed in a spot where it will not be obstructed by trees, plants, or other objects that may block airflow. Additionally, it should be away from direct sunlight and not in a direct draft where the air current may blow away the cold air before it has a chance to cool the indoors. Placing the unit where it has adequate airflow allows it to operate efficiently and prevent it from overworking and using more energy than necessary.

Different types of AC units also each have their own additional considerations regarding placement. For example, a window unit should be placed in an area with proper ventilation, away from furniture, curtains, and blinds which could block the flow of air. Similarly, a split system AC should be placed away from walls, furniture, and other objects which might get in the way of the area where the unit transfers heat from the indoors to the outdoors.

Overall, proper AC placement is an essential part of creating a comfortable indoor climate. With the right placement for the type of unit being used, you can ensure optimal efficiency, cost savings, and comfort for everyone in the building.

Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings: Finding the Optimal Distance

The Impact of AC Unit Placement on Energy Efficiency
Proper AC unit placement can significantly impact the energy efficiency of your cooling system. An AC unit that is strategically positioned can reduce energy consumption and ultimately save you money on your energy bills. Here’s how:

  • Shading and Sunlight Exposure: Placing your AC unit in direct sunlight can cause it to work harder to cool your space. This results in increased energy consumption and higher cooling costs. On the other hand, positioning the unit in a shaded area or providing external shading can reduce its workload and save energy.
  • Airflow and Obstructions: Adequate airflow around the AC unit is essential for efficient operation. Ensure there are no obstructions like tall plants, fences, or structures blocking the airflow. Proper clearance allows the unit to expel hot air more effectively and operate efficiently.
  • Distance from Windows and Doors: The proximity of your AC unit to windows and doors can impact its efficiency. Installing the unit too close to these openings may result in cool air escaping and warm air infiltrating your space. Finding the right distance can help maintain a consistent indoor temperature and reduce the workload on your AC system.

How to Determine the Optimal Distance

To find the optimal distance for your AC unit placement, consider the following steps:

  • Consult the Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Start by reviewing the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for your specific AC unit model. They often provide information on clearance requirements and ideal placement conditions.
  • Evaluate Your Property: Assess your property to identify shaded areas and potential obstructions. Aim to place the AC unit in a location where it will receive minimal direct sunlight and have ample space for airflow.
  • Seek Professional Advice: If you’re unsure about the best placement for your AC unit, consider consulting a professional HVAC technician. They can assess your property, taking into account factors like local climate conditions, and provide expert guidance on optimal placement.
  • Consider Aesthetic and Safety Concerns: While energy efficiency is important, don’t neglect aesthetic and safety considerations. Ensure the AC unit placement adheres to local building codes and regulations to maintain safety standard

Safety First: Minimizing Fire and Electrical Hazards in your Home’s AC Unit Placement

When selecting a place to install an air conditioning unit in a home, safety must be a priority. Proper placement will ensure the unit is not a fire or electrical hazard in the home. To minimize fire and electrical hazards, place the air conditioning unit away from any combustible material such as furniture, fabric, paper, or wood, and avoid positioning it too close to windows and/or doors. It is also important that you maintain at least two to three feet of space between the side of the unit and any combustible materials or walls in order for proper air flow. Additionally, do not install the unit on top of shelves, counters or furniture, as this could lead to a fire hazard.

In terms of electrical hazards, ensure that all electrical components, outlets, and wiring are up to date and functioning correctly. If the wiring will not be able to handle the voltage used, opt for a unit with a lower power consumption. The outdoor portion of the air conditioner should also be installed away from any sources of water to prevent any electrical issues stemming from potential moisture damage. Finally, in order to reduce the chance of injury, make sure the unit is firmly secured to the wall and is able to support the weight of the unit. Taking these precautions will ensure that your air conditioner is installed safely and correctly and will minimize fire and electrical hazards in your home.

Maintaining AC Unit Performance: Airflow and Accessibility

Maintaining the performance of an air conditioning (AC) unit relies heavily on maintaining air flow and accessibility. Airflow is essential for two primary reasons: efficient circulation of cooled air and the ventilation of the air conditioning unit itself. To ensure efficient circulation, focus on removing obstructions from the vicinity of the air conditioning unit that might block air flow and cause restricted air flow such as furnishings, drapes, and other obstructions. If the AC unit is wall mounted, ensure that it is mounted correctly, as an improperly mounted AC unit can lead to restricted airflow. Furthermore, maintaining airflow also involves regular filter replacement. Air filters should be inspected and replaced on a regular basis to avoid dust, dirt, and other debris from entering the AC unit and clogging the motor or causing mechanical problems. Maintaining air flow for ventilation is also important as blocking the outdoor air intake of an AC unit with junk can lead to overheating.

When it comes to accessibility, the outside AC unit should be inspected routinely on a seasonal basis and should be kept free of obstructions that might cause damage. It’s also important to ensure it is not overly cluttered with debris or surrounded by vegetation to ensure adequate performance. Furthermore, it is important to address any parts of the Ductwork that are not easily accessible—blocked ducts and filters will contribute to reduced airflow, affecting the AC’s performance. The unit should additionally be installed on an even surface. Regular maintenance and preventative care can help ensure that the AC unit retains its performance and minimizes the potential for damage.

Final Thoughts

The importance of properly placing an AC unit in a home cannot be overstated. To ensure energy efficiency and cost savings, the unit should be placed at an optimal distance from house walls, windows, and other sources of outside heat and sunlight. Furthermore, to minimize fire and electrical hazards, the unit should not be installed near flammable materials or in a dangerous, wet area. Lastly, for optimum performance, the AC unit requires adequate airflow and accessibility, thus it should not be enclosed by furniture or decorative objects. By following these guidelines, homeowners will be able to maximize the effectiveness and the safety of their AC units.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the distance between an AC unit and a house important?

The distance between an AC unit and a house is important because it ensures that the unit is installed in a location that won’t interfere with ventilation or exhaust from the house, which can lead to air quality and safety issues. Additionally, the right distance can help prevent mechanical problems with the AC unit that could arise from exposure to extreme temperatures, high winds, and other elements.

What is the optimal distance between an AC unit and a house?

The optimal distance between an AC unit and a house is at least 5 feet. This distance is necessary in order to ensure that the exhaust from the unit is not recirculated back into the house. Additionally, this distance prevents any potential noise from the unit from entering the house.

How does AC unit placement affect energy efficiency?

AC unit placement can have a direct effect on how efficiently the air conditioner operates. When an AC unit is placed in an area where there is direct sunlight or excessive wind, it requires more energy to keep the area cool. Also, if an air conditioner is not placed in a centralized area of a home, it could be using more energy to cool spaces that are farther away. Proper placement of the air conditioner can ensure better circulation, better distribution of air, and a more efficient use of energy.

What safety hazards can occur if the AC unit is too close to the house?

If an AC unit is installed too close to a house, it can create several safety hazards. These hazards include:

1. Fire Risk: The AC unit’s condenser coils can become overheated, creating a fire hazard.

2. Mold Growth: Moisture collecting on the condenser coils can cause mold growth in the unit and on nearby surfaces like windowsills and walls of the home.

3. Carbon Monoxide: If the AC unit is too close to the home, it may not have proper ventilation, leading to a buildup of carbon monoxide.

4. Pest/Insect Infestations: If the unit is too close to the house, it can become home to pests and insects that can cause further issues.

Heating & Cooling Terms You Should Know – Part 2

More heating and air conditioning phrases, words and acronyms that you may need to know.

  1. A Heat Exchanger is the part of a heating system that transfers heat to the air that circulates throughout a home. The heat exchanger is the largest component of a furnace. Over time, a heat exchanger can develop cracks, causing incomplete fuel combustion and dangerous carbon monoxide to be released into the air that is circulating in a home.
  2. HVAC is short for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It refers to a furnace, air conditioner, and some method of circulating warm and cool air throughout a house. H-VAC is the generally accepted name for the entire industry.
  3. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a rating for air filters. Air filters have tiny holes that allow air to pass through while trapping small particles in the air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes and more efficient filters.
  4. Micron is a unit of measurement. One micron is one-millionth of a meter, or 1/25,000th of an inch. Tiny particles of mold, viruses, dust and dander circulate with your home’s air. An air filter can trap these tiny one-micron particles. If allowed to circulate, the particles can have harmful effects on your health.
  5. NATE Certification (NATE) North American Technician Excellence is an industry training and testing organization that certifies that service technicians have passed rigorous testing and are certified experts in the HVAC industry. Homeowners can be comfortable knowing that NATE-certified technicians are installing and servicing the heating and cooling equipment in their homes.
  6. Particles are substances that measure less than 100 microns in diameter. Some large particles like dust and dander are visible to the naked eye. Others like bacteria and viruses can only be seen with a microscope. All particles can become airborne and sometimes cause serious health problems.
  7. Refrigerants are chemical compounds that produce a cooling effect while expanding. R22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, is still found in many home air conditioners but has been banned from new systems. R410-A refrigerant is the most common replacement for R22. It does not contain the ozone-depleting qualities of R22.
  8. A Ton is a unit of measurement of cooling capacity. One ton of air conditioning can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat in one hour. Home air conditioners or heat pumps typically come in the 2-ton to 5-ton range.
  9. A Smart Thermostat will observe the time you wake up, go to work, return home, and go to bed. Then it adjusts its settings to match your daily routine. It will even observe that your house is empty for multiple days and adjust accordingly. If your smart thermostat is online, you can tell it to warm or cool your home just before you arrive.
  10. Zoned HVAC is a heating and cooling system that can direct air to specific areas of a home. With a zoned system, it is possible to use dampers in the ductwork to customize temperature zones throughout the home.

Heating & Cooling Terms You Should Know – Part 1

At some point in a conversation between a homeowner and an HVAC service technician, a word or acronym may come up that is unfamiliar to the homeowner or is being used in an HVAC-only context. The following is a glossary of phrases, words and acronyms that may be helpful to know.

  1. Air Handler is the part of a ventilation system that draws in cool or warm air for a furnace or air conditioner to turn it into warm or cool air, respectively, and then blows it into ducts that deliver it throughout a home.
  2. BTU/BTUh is short for British Thermal Unit. One unit is the amount of heating needed to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the BTUs, the greater the heating capacity of a furnace. BTUh refers to British Thermal Units per hour.
  3. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a byproduct of burning gas that can cause serious health problems. You won’t see, smell or taste it because it is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Not much CO is produced by a gas furnace, but if the air vents are not clear, you may have CO poisoning problems. Don’t rely on carbon monoxide detectors in your home; have your furnace checked by qualified technicians regularly.
  4. CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is the measurement of how much heated or cooled air is circulating when a furnace or air conditioner is operating. A qualified HVAC technician can calculate the optimal CFM based on the size and construction of your home. An optimally sized system will keep your home comfortable and energy efficient.
  5. Condenser is the outside part of an air conditioner. The outside condenser cabinet contains the compressor coil that serves to discharge heat outside and move cool refrigerant indoors.
  6. Compressor is part of the condenser unit of a heat pump or air conditioner. The compressor circulates refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units, absorbing heat indoors, discharging it outdoors, and moving cool refrigerant back indoors.
  7. Ductwork is a system of metal ducts or synthetic tubes that, depending on the season, move warm or cool throughout your home. To keep a furnace and air conditioner operating properly and efficiently, it is important to keep ducts clean and not obstructed.
  8. Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)/Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio (SEER) are ratios that measure the cooling energy provided relative to the electrical energy used. EER provides for the highest temperature of the year while SEER calculates relative to the seasonal average. The higher the EER/SEER, the more efficient the system.
  9. Energy Star is a program from the Environmental Protection Agency to help homeowners pick the most energy-efficient HVAC systems and other major home electrical appliances. An Energy Star system indicates that the system meets or exceeds federal guidelines for energy efficiency. Energy Star-rated HVAC systems can be 40% to 50% more efficient than older non-Energy Star systems.
  10. Heat Pumps are a highly efficient alternative to conventional central heating and air conditioning systems. They work by moving heat. In summer, they remove heat from inside and discharge it outside. In winter, they draw heat from outside and circulate it inside. Contrary to common logic, there is plenty of heat outside on even the coldest days.

Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Furnace

You spent some money on repairing your furnace last year and now it isn’t working again. Should you consider a new gas furnace? Maybe a heat pump or mini split would be a better choice. You are wondering what the best way to heat your home is. What about efficiency for lower utilities, financing, air quality, discount pricing, and more? It’s your decision, but you will feel better if it is an informed decision. Heating and cooling systems have a long life expectancy. You want to make a decision that you won’t regret in a few years. You need to talk to a trusted HVAC professional like the good people at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling.

  1. Repair or replace?If your system was installed before 2006, congratulations! You have enjoyed many years of home comfort, but it is time for a replacement. Your system is very likely at the end of its operational life expectancy. It does not meet modern energy efficiency standards. The good news is that your new system is going to be more efficient and you should save on utility costs.If your system is newer than 2006, the decision is not so clear. Repair history is a factor. If you have been experiencing expensive repairs every year, replacement may be a better choice. If your system has not been getting regular preventative maintenance over the years, it may need replacement sooner. Is your system keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer? If it is not providing you a comfortable home year-round, consider replacement.
  2. What type of system?Should you stay with the gas furnace and central heating and cooling or switch to a heat pump? It is usually a little less expensive to stay with what you have. The unique size and configuration of your home matters. Local utility availability and costs are a consideration. Your HVAC professional can help you with the decision. However, the most important consideration is how happy you are with what you have.Another decision is if you should replace only the furnace or furnace and air conditioner. Furnaces have a longer life expectancy than air conditioners. If your air conditioner has been replaced in the last five to eight years, you may not need to replace both. If neither have been replaced for 20 years, then both should probably be replaced.
  3. What size for my home?The right size for an HVAC system is slightly larger than the smallest size that provides the home comfort level you are satisfied with. Too small and you will be cold in winter and hot in the summer. Too large and you will be paying for a larger system and higher utility bills. If you made an addition to your home since the current system was installed, you will need a larger system as a replacement. An HVAC professional can calculate the right size for you.
  4. Is financing available?Like Semper Fi Heating & Cooling, most HVAC companies offer quick, easy, and flexible financing options. Equipment manufacturers sometimes offer rebates. Tax credits are also available for some new equipment. HVAC companies may offer pre-season or end-of-season reduced pricing on full system replacement. Uniquely, Semper Fi Heating & Cooling offers a 20% discount to veterans, first responders, and their families.
  5. Will a new furnace be more efficient?If your system is old enough that you are considering replacement, the system you replace it with will be a higher efficiency system. Efficiency standards have evolved significantly over the past few years. You can be sure that your new system will be highly efficient.

For more information about furnace replacement, tune-ups, or other heating and cooling problems, call the expert technicians at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling at 480-616-3636.

Capacitor Confusion

What is a capacitor? What does it do? Why does it need to be replaced? Can I replace it myself? Questions, questions, and more questions. The HVAC experts at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling answer them all, and they can solve your capacitor problems.

What Is a Capacitor and What Does It Do?

A capacitor is something like a battery or power bank. It stores electrical energy until needed. When the capacitor is working properly, it gives the electrical motors in your heating and air conditioning system a jump start to get the motor turning, then drops off and allows the motor to run at low power as long as needed.

Without a capacitor, the electric motors would require inefficient high amperage until they overheat and stop entirely. When the capacitor is weak but still working, it takes longer for it to get the motor turning properly and wastes energy. Home electrical systems provide single-phase alternating current (AC) throughout homes, including to the HVAC system. The capacitor boosts the single-phase electrical current to perform like poly-phase current to get electrical motors turning almost instantly.

When and Why Does a Capacitor Need to Be Replaced?

Like most electrical and mechanical equipment, capacitors can fail over time, some sooner than others. If your heat exchanger is located in a room with bright sunlight, the capacitor may be damaged by the heat which could lead to early failure. If your capacitor has been replaced by one that is not properly sized or set for the wrong voltage, it is likely to fail.

Capacitors need to be replaced when they show signs of starting to fail. If they are allowed to completely fail, there is a strong probability that additional, more expensive system damage can occur. To test a capacitor, turn up the thermostat and stand next to the furnace to listen for the motor to start. If you hear a humming sound before the motor starts, that is probably an indication of a partially failing capacitor. If the motor does not start at all, that is a good indication that the capacitor has failed. A regular service check by professional technicians will identify the early signs of possible capacitor failure.

Can I Replace a Capacitor Myself?

Anyone can buy a new capacitor and replace the one on an HVAC air circulation blower. But it is dangerous and not as easy as it sounds. It isn’t like replacing the battery in a remote control, or even a battery in a car. We strongly recommend that you don’t try changing it yourself. There are many types of capacitors for different types of heating and cooling systems. Putting in the wrong capacitor can cause serious damage to a system. Most importantly, the partially or completely failed capacitor that you remove still holds a strong charge that can cause serious injury or start a fire.

Call Semper Fi Heating & Cooling

For more information about capacitor problems, annual preventative maintenance programs, or other heating and cooling problems, call the expert technicians at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling at 480-616-3636.

Should You Replace Both the Inside and Outside Parts of Your Air Conditioner at the Same Time?

Summer is winding down, and you may be hoping that your old air conditioner will keep working until cooler weather arrives. Even if your air conditioner is not cooling your home the way it should, waiting for cooler weather might work out, or it might not. One thing you can be certain of is that your air conditioner problems are not going to fix themselves over the winter. Waiting and hoping is not a good strategy.

Call the experts at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling to assess the problem. A minor repair might be all it takes to keep your air conditioner working well into the future. Fail to make the minor repair, and your air conditioner might not make it through the rest of summer and fall. The technicians will do everything they can to keep your system working, but sometimes replacement is more practical than repair. You may need to decide if an expensive repair on a system with significantly limited life expectancy is a good decision.

Inside, Outside, or Both

When you make the decision to replace your air conditioner, you have a second decision to make. The outside unit of your air conditioner, also called the condenser unit, is the most likely to be the first major repair to cause you to consider a replacement. The inside unit needs service and occasional repairs but generally is less expensive. If the compressor goes out on your outside unit, the cost of replacement is substantial. Should you replace the outside unit only or both inside and outside units?

Why You Should Consider Replacing Both

  1. Newer systems are more energy efficient. If you replace both units, you can expect that your new air conditioner will save you money through lower utility bills in the future.
  2. You will have a multi-year warranty on your new air conditioner. Your system will still need preventative maintenance and possibly some minor repairs, but the expensive parts will be covered by the warranty.
  3. Replacing both inside and outside units at once is significantly less expensive than replacing outside now and inside a few years in the future.
  4. Older air conditioners often contain older refrigerants, the kind that harm the atmosphere when released and possibly cause refrigerant poisoning if they leak. Newer refrigerants are better and significantly less harmful to the environment.
  5. If you replace both inside and outside units at the same time, all of the components of the system are sure to be compatible. If you replace the outside unit this year and the inside unit in five years, you may end up with a system that is not perfectly compatible. An incompatible system may not cool as well as it should and may cost more to operate.

The one or both decision is much like a decision you may have faced with your car. It is expensive to replace the engine, and if you do, you have a car with a great new engine but concern about other car parts breaking down. Replace both inside and outside, and you have a new car.

Call the experts at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling at 480-616-3636 and make an appointment to discuss the options for air conditioner replacement or repair.

Finding and Fixing a Refrigerant Leak in Your Air Conditioner

Water is a chemical compound that has the ability to change form. At low temperatures it is ice, at mid-range it is liquid, and at high temperatures it is steam. There is a different form-changing class of chemical compounds in air conditioning systems generally referred to as refrigerant. Refrigerant changes from liquid to gas and back, as it is used to cool the air in your home.

Without refrigerant, your air conditioner cannot cool the air. Not only do you need refrigerant, but within a fairly narrow range you need the right amount of refrigerant under the right amount of pressure. Your air conditioner does not consume refrigerant; it circulates the same refrigerant over and over.

Sometimes the pipes that contain the refrigerant in your air conditioning system develop leaks. In the normal course of operation, an air conditioning system can lose a small amount of refrigerant. Your HVAC technician may recommend a “top-up” of the refrigerant levels on your system as part of routine maintenance.

The Basics About Air Conditioning

The concept is simple: collect heat and take it outside, produce cool air and bring it inside, then distribute the cooled air around the inside. The actual work is a little more complicated. Heat from inside is collected from the air intake ducts throughout your home. The heat is absorbed by the refrigerant and moved outside where it is compressed, causing it to cool. Heat is discharged outside and the cooled air travels back inside where it is distributed and picks up more heat to keep the cycle going over and over.

Stand next to the outside unit and you will feel the heat being distributed outside. Stand in front of a cool air outlet inside and you will feel the cooler air coming out. Heat discharges outside, cool air is distributed inside, and the cycle is repeated over and over again.

Finding the Leak

If there is a significant refrigerant leak in your air conditioning system, you may notice symptoms like the following:

  • Ice buildup on the coils
  • Cool air coming into your home is not as cool as it should be
  • System running longer while the time between cycles is less
  • Puddles of liquid by your outside unit
  • Utility bills going up because your system is running longer
  • Unusual sounds (listen for a bubbling sound)
  • If the leak is bad enough, your air conditioner will stop cooling entirely

An air conditioner service technician has the skills and tools to measure refrigerant levels and determine if the refrigerant is so low that it is causing your system to not operate as it should.

Fixing the Leak

A big part of fixing the refrigerant level is finding the leak. The first place a technician will look is the coils; small cracks in the coils can cause slow leaks. Repairing a refrigerant leak is usually not a do-it-yourself task – call an expert technician. Technicians have specialized tools to find and repair leaks. Small cracks can be patched; multiple cracks and other signs of advanced wear might mean that new coils are needed.

Failure to repair a refrigerant leak can cause big damage to other parts of your air conditioning system. A refrigerant leak serious enough to develop obvious symptoms is in need of prompt attention.

The service technicians at Semper Fi can help you understand your options for repairs. They are dedicated to helping you get as much life out of your older system as practically possible and offer competitive, cost-effective system replacement options as needed.

Call Semper Fi at 480-616-3636 to make an appointment for a technician to check your system’s refrigerant level and add whatever is needed to get your system back to working like new at full efficiency.

All About Short Cycling

If your heating and cooling system is less than 15 years old, it is very likely that you have a high-efficiency air conditioner. As an Arizona resident, you know that even with a high-efficiency system your monthly electrical charge for air conditioning can be substantial. If your monthly electrical bill is higher than you expected, your air conditioner may not be operating as efficiently as it should. It may be something you can fix yourself, or it may be time to call a heating and cooling expert.

What Is Short Cycling?

Even on the hottest days, air conditioners do not run continuously. They operate in cycles. The cycle starts when your thermostat senses that room temperature has reached the maximum temperature setting. You hear the air conditioner turn on and begin circulating cooler air inside your home. The cycle ends when the inside temperature has been reduced by a few degrees and the air conditioner turns off and waits for the temperature to rise again before starting another cycle.

All air conditioning systems and homes are different, but the cooling cycle typically lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. If the cycle time on your system is significantly lower than that, you may be experiencing short cycling.

What Causes Short Cycling?

Following the repair technician’s No. 1 rule, always check the simplest and easiest item to fix first: the air filter. A dirty filter can prevent fresh air from getting into the system, causing it to overheat and shut down. If you are experiencing short cycles, check the filter first. If replacing the filter does not eliminate the short cycling, it is time to move to the next easiest solution: checking the outside air conditioning unit to see if it is frozen. Dirty filters or other mechanical problems can cause outside units to freeze. If frozen, turn the air conditioner off and give it time to thaw.

Another cause of short cycling could be if your system is low on refrigerant. A service technician can check and add refrigerant if necessary. If refrigerant was low, there may be a leak, and a technician can repair that as well. Was your air conditioner replaced in the winter? Cold weather makes it difficult to determine the amount of refrigerant needed. The problem may be easy for a technician to repair.

Loose or corroded electrical connections can also cause short cycling. Call an HVAC technician. If your system is oversized for your home, there is a significant risk that short cycles will develop. Energy efficiency is maximized when the unit is properly sized for the home. Too big or too small of a system will cause operational problems and reduce efficiency.

If you are experiencing short cycling, your air conditioner is not operating at peak efficiency. If your filters have been replaced and short cycling continues, check for a frozen outside unit. If you allow the frozen unit to thaw and it freezes again, then it is time to call a technician. The technicians at Semper Fi Heating & Cooling are highly qualified experts at diagnosing the problem and getting your system back to peak efficiency.

Seven Reason To Replace Rather Than Repair Your AC

It’s not a secret that air conditioning systems that are 15 years old are approaching their maximum lifespan. If your system is over 20 years old, you should not expect it to last much longer. Newer systems can be expected to have a longer lifespan than the older systems they are replacing. With regular preventative maintenance, newer systems should continue to keep you cool and comfortable for decades. Older systems are also no match for newer systems in terms of operational efficiency.

Is your system approaching or beyond the time that it needs to be replaced? Here are seven indicators that replacement may be the best option for your air conditioning system:

  1. Service History
    Has your air conditioner required expensive repairs over the past few years? If it has, you should expect repair expense to continue to increase in the future. Consider replacing it entirely. Furnaces generally last longer than air conditioners, but seriously consider replacing your furnace at the same time. Newer furnaces are more efficient, and you will save on utility costs. If you are replacing both the furnace and air conditioner at the same time, you should expect a better price than replacing them separately.
  2. Home Additions and Remodeling
    Have you added living space or made major renovations since your heating and air conditioning system was installed? Perhaps you are planning to make a new addition. Your system may not be properly sized for your home. Even without major renovations, you may have rooms that are not heating and cooling as well as they should. If your system is not sized properly for your home and it is more than 15 years old, it is definitely time to consider a replacement.
  3. Lack of Routine Maintenance
    Has your system had regular maintenance over the years? If not, arrange for a service check soon. Like the vehicle you drive, your system needs regular maintenance to keep it operating properly. Unlike the vehicle you drive, your heating and cooling system cycles off and on day and night almost every day of the year. Small problems can lead to bigger issues, and those system issues lead to total system failure. You really don’t want your system going down on a 98-degree heat alert day.
  4. Performance
    Is your system heating and cooling as it should? Is your home comfortable on the hottest days? Is it producing cold air as it should? How about the on/off cycles? Are they occurring more frequently than usual? Have your utility bills gone up more than expected? Your system should be cooling as well as it did immediately after it was installed. If it isn’t performing as it should, then maintenance is needed. Easy service repairs may not be enough. It may be time for a replacement.
  5. Moisture
    In addition to keeping your home cool, regulating indoor humidity is an important function of an air conditioner. If indoor humidity is high when it is dry outside, you may have evaporator coil problems. That may require a simple repair, or it may be a serious problem that would be better solved with a replacement.
  6. Noise and Ice
    Check the outside unit. Is it visibly frozen? Is it making loud grinding noises? What about the sound you hear inside? Has it become louder than usual? If it is noisy or icy, it needs attention quickly.
  7. Freon
    Some older air conditioners use R-22 refrigerant, sometimes known as Freon. R-22 is no longer produced in the United States. It is still available in limited quantities, but it is very expensive. If your air conditioner requires R-22, it may be best to replace the entire system instead of paying for repairs and R-22 refrigerant.
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