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Air Source America Blog : Archive for January, 2015

When Is It Time for AC Replacement?

We may still be in the middle of winter, but it’s never too early to think about summer – and we all know that summer in Jacksonville means heat and humidity. Our biggest tool to combat the heat and humidity in our corner of the world is air conditioning, and if yours was on its last legs at the end of our last cooling season, it may be time to consider a replacement. Not sure if you are seeing the signs? Here are some tips from our Air Source America experts:

Constant and/or Costly Repairs

Repairs for any whole-home system can add up quickly, and your air conditioner is no exception. Did you have to make constant repairs to your AC last cooling season just to keep it running, or are you looking at a large, costly repair so that it will work this coming cooling season? If your repair costs are becoming excessive, it may be time to consider replacement.

Poor Performance

Today’s air conditioners are much more efficient than those from just 10 years ago. Additionally, the federal law changed in 2006 regarding the minimum SEER rating for all air conditioners, raising the minimum number from 10 to 13. What does this mean for you? It’s estimated that each SEER number can save you up to 10% on your annual cooling costs, so you could be losing out on significant energy savings. If last year’s energy bills from your air conditioner were the highest you’ve seen, it may be time to consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient system.

Age

The average air conditioner lasts about 10-12 years; if you have a heat pump, the average lifespan is around 20 years. As air conditioners age, the system and its components breakdown, inhibiting the air conditioner’s ability to perform as it should. While maintenance can keep your system in good working order for a long time, maintenance can’t make the system last forever. If your AC is more than 12 years old, it may be time to consider replacement.

You have time on your side, so take some of it to decide whether or not it’s time for air conditioning replacement for your Jacksonville home.

Need help with your air conditioning replacement? Call Air Source America and schedule an appointment with one of our experts today.

Jacksonville AC Repair Guide: The Indoor and Outdoor Coils

Your air conditioner contains a few key features that must be in top shape in order to operate properly. And two of the most important of these are a set of coils on the inside of your air conditioning unit and on the outside unit. Refrigerant must repeatedly convert from a liquid to a gas and back again, and these coils are key figures in this task. Learn more about the vital role of these coils and what kinds of problems may occur with them in today’s guide.

Coils Play a Vital Role in the Refrigeration Process

Refrigerant is a chemical blend used in the refrigeration process for a couple of reasons, such as its relatively low environmental impact and safety risk and its ability to evaporate and condense easily. Refrigerant starts off outside at the compressor, where it is heated and put under very high pressure. Then, refrigerant gives off heat at the condenser coil, where it condenses and gives off heat to the surrounding environment, thanks in part to a large outdoor fan. It then moves inside, where it loses some pressure at the expansion valve and cools off. At the indoor evaporator coil, it evaporates into a gas and absorbs heat to start the process all over again.

Are Your Coils Responsible for Your AC Trouble?

Because the coils are so important in the refrigeration process, they can hinder your AC’s ability to cool your home if they are at all compromised. One of the ways this can happen is if they are dirty. Refrigerant cannot efficiently do its job if the coils are dirty, and the entire system struggles to get your home to the right temperature as a result. We recommend yearly professional maintenance to clean and inspect the coils and prevent this common problem.

Another potential issue is if the indoor evaporator coil freezes. A coil can freeze for a variety of different reasons, including a clogged filter, a slow fan, or low refrigerant. What’s important to note is that it’s not enough to simply scrape off the ice. This can severely damage the evaporator coil and can harm the air handler if ice melts and leaks into the unit. Finding the source of the trouble is the best way to correct this issue.

Call the highly-trained professionals at Air Source America for quality AC repair in Jacksonville.

AC Services You May Want to Schedule Today

It may seem early in the year to begin thinking about air conditioning services, but here in Jacksonville, we never know when we’ll need the AC running at full blast. The following AC services may be useful for homeowners in Jacksonville at any time of year, especially since you never know when to expect an unseasonably hot day.

  • Air Conditioning Replacement: Although you may not use your air conditioner too much at this time of year, now is the best time to purchase a new air conditioner if you’ve been considering replacement. Replacing an air conditioner now will help you to save money later on, as it’s often less expensive to replace a functional unit than to replace one that’s broken down. Besides, if you continue to run your older air conditioner, you will probably notice high energy bills and poor performance for the rest of the cooling season. There are so many efficient options available for air conditioning today, now is the perfect time to make the switch.
  • Annual Maintenance: Scheduling maintenance every year is important in maintaining the lifespan of your unit and preventing repairs as well as keeping your unit running as efficiently as possible. And now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment, before a looming issue causes your unit to fail when you need it most. With maintenance, a technician cleans and adjusts many of the parts of your air conditioning system that may need it, and they’ll go through a complete inspection process to check for any parts that may not be working.
  • Zone Control System Installation: Zone control is an optional installation that can be added into your ducts and can help improve your daily life in a couple of ways. A zone control system is composed of controls and dampers that open and close as you adjust the temperature in a room. Each room or zone in the home has its own thermostat so everyone in the house can feel more comfortable. It can also help you to save money when you shut off the air in areas of the house that are often unoccupied.

Air Source America offers these services or more for energy efficiency and peace of mind. Call us today to schedule any AC services in Jacksonville you may need.

Air Conditioning Repair FAQ: Is It the Compressor?

The compressor in your air conditioning system is the hot shot of the system, pressurizing the refrigerant so that heat can be released in order to cool your home. The compressor is one of three major components, and if something malfunctions with the compressor, you will likely see problems develop fairly quickly. However, deciphering whether or not you have a problem with the compressor can be a challenge, particularly when you aren’t an air conditioning expert in Fernandina Beach, FL, as most homeowners aren’t, so here are some signs that your compressor may need repair:

Warm Air

A few things can cause warm air to blow into your home when you are expecting cool air, but one of those things is the compressor. For your air conditioner and compressor to work correctly, an exact amount of refrigerant is needed for operation. If a refrigerant leak develops, which is fairly common, the refrigerant level will drop and cause problems with the heat release/cooling process.

Stuttering

Are you hearing or seeing the effects of stuttering at start-up or during operation? This can indicate that a problem has developed with one of the capacitors. Your compressor has two capacitors: a start capacitor and a run capacitor. Each one helps keep the compressor operating smoothly, but stuttering either during start-up or operation means it’s time to have a professional take a look at the capacitors.

Screeching Sound

A screeching sound coming from your compressor is an indication that the internal parts of the component are under too much pressure and air is escaping from a valve. This is a potentially dangerous situation and requires immediate turn-off of the system and a professional.

Constant Tripping of Circuit Breaker

Your air conditioner has its own circuit breaker in your electrical panel; if something draws too much electricity, the circuit shuts down, cutting off all power to the air conditioner. If your compressor has wiring or other electrical problems, it may draw too much power and cause the breaker to trip.

Compressors are complex components and should only be repaired by a trained expert.

Having problems with your AC? Call Air Source America today and schedule a repair appointment with one of our experts.

The Importance of Attic Insulation

If you want to save some money on your heating and air conditioning costs every year, you may want to start by paying some attention to a rarely-used space: the attic.

Insulating the attic is one of the best things you can do for your home comfort during both the heating and cooling season. While you may have been told once before that insulation is not necessary in Florida, this is absolutely untrue. Insulation is key to preventing unwanted heat exchange in and out of your home to benefit you in the warmer seasons and in the colder months as well. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of insulation in Yulee, FL, and why the attic is an ideal place to begin.

Insulating a home involves the use of materials able to resist heat transfer to some extent. Heat moves naturally towards cooler areas, and it often refuses to let something as simple and thin as drywall get in its way. This means that heat can easily leave your house during the cooler months as it transfers to the outside, forcing your heating system to work harder, making your family less comfortable, and increasing your utilities. And in the summer, heat can move from the outside to the indoors, reducing the cooling capacity of your air conditioner and costing you quite a bit of money in energy spending. But the material used in insulation can prevent heat transfer, keep your home more comfortable, and stop your HVAC system from overheating.

The attic is a great place to start when you’re insulating a home because heat can easily buildup in the attic. In the winter, the attic is a prime location for heat to escape from the home. You may have heard that heat naturally rises, which means it moves through the attic in the winter. And in the summer, heat can collect in the attic until it transfers back into your home, even with the air conditioner running.

It’s important to always choose experts for attic insulation. The job may not be quite as simple as it sounds. Many experts prefer blown-in insulation, which requires specialized professional equipment, over standard batting. And in either case, a professional will have to know the proper methods to seal leaks and cover vents before installation.

Call Air Source America to learn how insulation in Yulee, FL can improve your quality of living.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Air Source America, Inc. hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

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