Posts

The Importance of Air Conditioning Service

We often take the air conditioning systems in our homes for granted. We turn it on and off as we please and don’t think much about it otherwise. But here is the truth. You can’t wait too long to have your AC serviced because you run the risk of having a complete breakdown. Plus, without regular servicing, your unit will produce more cold air than it should. This will use more energy per hour and won’t last nearly as long. Scheduling regular air conditioning unit servicing is necessary for safety reasons as well as cost savings. This article covers the importance of air conditioning service, unit issues, and signs it is time for an inspection.

Why is Air Conditioning Service Important?

Air conditioners should be serviced regularly to work correctly and use the right amount of energy. If your air conditioning system is not serviced regularly, you run the risk of a complete breakdown at worst. You also risk having a problem with your system that could cost a lot more than regular service. Regular inspections also keep your AC operating at peak efficiency.

Allowing an expert to inspect your unit prevents any minor problems from becoming major ones. Plus, regular servicing will help you save energy costs because the unit won’t use as much energy per hour. This should help it last much longer than if it’s not regularly maintained.

Common Air Conditioning Problems

Here are some common issues that you could experience with an AC unit if it is not serviced regularly:

-Irregular indoor air temperature

-Noisy operation

-Loss of refrigerant, which reduces cooling efficiency

-Blow-fuse or breaker trips due to overload on the electrical system

-Excessive energy consumption causing high electric bills

-The air coming out of vents feels damp or hot

-It takes a lot of time for the AC to adjust to changes in room temperature

What to Do

If you notice any of these above issues, it’s time to call a professional. The hot summer months can be brutal for many of us in California, but they don’t have to be. More often than not, when the temperature reaches a certain point, it’s not uncommon for your AC to stop working. This can lead to more severe problems, such as mold growth and water leaks.

Don’t let this happen to you! You should know that this is not normal, and there could be something wrong with your AC.

By waiting till the temperature gets higher, the chances of needing urgent repairs or replacements increase exponentially.  It’s important to understand that waiting until the hottest days of summer is not the best idea. Remember that it’s never too early to prepare, so get your AC checked now before you feel the heat!

What Does a General Inspection Entail?

Although you know your air conditioner is working, have a general AC unit inspection every few years. Why? Equipment failure can happen suddenly and at any time, and when it does, it’s typically expensive to fix. Many different things can go awry with your air conditioner. You should never take a chance on ignoring this essential maintenance check-up.

In a general AC unit inspection, an HVAC technician will visually inspect the outside of the appliance. They’ll ensure the refrigerant levels are correct and look for signs of leaks or any other malfunctions. They’ll also look for any damage to the outside of the unit and make sure all connections are secure.

The technician will check the air conditioner’s fan belt for wear and tear or anything that would cause it to break. They will also inspect the compressor for leaks, which can be dangerous because they put out a lot of heat.

The technician will check your air conditioner to see if it runs properly. They will do this by listening to the sound of the fan, which should be around 60 decibels. They will observe if there are any moving parts.

The tester will also look at the outside of the AC unit for any leaks or damage. They will also ensure there is proper insulation around all electrical components and securely attach the thermostat wire.

When your technician is finished with the outside of your air conditioner, they will do an internal inspection. They will check how well it’s running and look for any problems inside the appliance itself.

Call for an Inspection with Palo Alto Plumbing

Call today for an appointment with Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air. One of our experts will come out to perform a general AC unit inspection on your appliance. We will do all of the things noted above.

We will also check for any signs of mold or bacteria that could be growing inside the appliance. If we find any evidence of mold or bacteria, we can provide you with solutions.

One thing that could come up during a general AC unit inspection is that your air conditioner needs further servicing. We will go over the causes and your options in detail.

Why Wait?

Palo Alto Plumbing is very proud to have been the Bay Area’s top plumbing, heating, and air conditioning contractors for over 16 years. No task is too small or too large for our expert — and EPA Universal Certified — technicians. We enter every job with the mindset of meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations.

When was the last time you had your AC unit serviced? The hot summer months will be here before you know it, and winter is a great time to ensure you’re ready. Call us today, and we will get you going.

Top 7 Unethical HVAC Scams and Red Flags to Detect Them

Recently, there has been an explosion in growth in the HVAC industry, mainly because of innovative new products and emerging trends such as home automation and smart home solutions. With this growth has come a rise in the risk of Internet fraud, scamming, identity theft, and even credit card fraud. Below are seven unethical HVAC scams to be aware of. In addition, we give you red flags to look out for and tips to avoid getting caught up in HVAC scams. If you are searching the internet for HVAC companies near me and live in the Palo Alto area, Palo Alto Plumbing offers superior HVAC services. We have the best HVAC contractors in the business. Please view our contact information at the end of this article.

 

TOP 7 UNETHICAL HVAC SCAMS

  1.     Replacing parts unnecessarily

Often a technician will tell you a part needs replacing when it only needs to be repaired. In addition, they might tell you several parts need replacing at once, but that is rarely ever the case. 

  1.     Free services or massive discounts

If a solicitor offers you free service or a massive discount, there will be a catch. They will likely steer you toward buying something you don’t need, or you will suddenly need a surprise repair. Do you remember the adage, “There is no such thing as free lunch”? It applies here, too.

  1.     Upfront cash payments

No reputable company will ask you for a payment before even starting the service. There is no reason to have this policy unless they plan to take the money and run. In addition, if they insist on cash payment only, do not give in.

  1.     Calling on behalf of other companies

Scamming companies might call and say they’re calling on behalf of a larger, reputable company, when in fact they aren’t affiliated at all. If they come to your house in a vehicle with a different company name, they will likely try and scam you.

  1.     Maintenance dishonesty

This company might come to maintenance your unit during the summer and deliberately turn off your gas valve. In winter, your heat won’t turn on. They will then come out and tell you something needs replacing when it is just a simple valve switch they caused.

  1.     Overcharging

Shady HVAC companies count on you not knowing how much parts will cost. A simple scam is overcharging as much as they can for something simple.

RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

  •       Are the service providers highly recommended by friends and neighbors, and are they locals? If you’ve never heard of them before, that might be a red flag.
  •       Do they claim to be able to reduce your HVAC bills by up to 50%? This too-good-to-be-true scam will likely fool some people, but do not fall for it.
  •       Do they pressure you into giving them more personal information than you usually would?
  •       Are they secretive about their rates? They may want you to submit a card for payment first or sign something that binds you to pay before you find out how much the HVAC equipment will cost.
  •       Do they have a valid state license? States have licensed and bonded HVAC repair contractors, so make sure they do!
  •       Does the solicitor say they work for the utility company? A utility company will not call you individually to come to service your home unless you reach out to them first.

TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Below are several tips to protect yourself from falling prey to HVAC scams:

  1. Don’t deal with door-to-door salespeople. Whether the salesperson is part of a local HVAC sales company, always check their business license.
  1. Always verify any sales pitch or offer before agreeing to any purchase. Research the company and the product in question and check if other people have reported getting scammed after purchasing.
  1. Get additional quotes. When possible, ask the salesperson for a copy of their sales sheet. In addition, you should always ask another company or two for a second opinion, especially if they say you need one or more things replaced entirely and are facing a huge bill.
  1. Ask questions. It might seem simple, but ask for additional clarification if things are not adding up for you. Even if the questions seem simple to you, ask them for greater peace of mind.
  1. Read their material. Does the company have pamphlets, price sheets, or a website? View that material and see if it is clear to you. Is a lot of information missing? Does their website look legit and professional?
  1. Determine if the company has any recent complaints. It’s the nature of any business to have a few complaints, but if there are dozens of them, ask them how they resolved the issue. Also, look at the Better Business Bureau website to view any complaints filed against them.
  1. Check the phone number and address. Often, phone numbers and addresses given by companies are for legitimate businesses. Check to make sure these are tied to a business and not an individual, and check to be sure you can trace them at all.

NEED AN HONEST HVAC PROFESSIONAL?

We hope this list of clues and tips to spot an HVAC scam has been helpful. Do you need a professional HVAC companies near me to help with your HVAC system and perform honest, routine maintenance? You can always find help by searching for “HVAC companies near me,” but know that we are right here in Palo Alto and ready to help! HVAC maintenance is essential for many reasons, and you could be breathing cleaner air, saving money, and enjoying greater peace of mind with a reputable company like Palo Alto Plumbing.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH US TODAY

If you’re from Palo Alto and other nearby areas, choose Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air for HVAC companies near me. We offer a variety of routine and essential services that include 24-hour emergency HVAC calls. For fast, reliable, and honest HVAC repair and maintenance, call us at 650-405-1460 or contact us here. We look forward to hearing from you.

A Guide to Spring HVAC Maintenance

If you have an HVAC system in your home, there are a few things you should hire a professional technician to inspect at the start of each new year. After all, your HVAC needs important maintenance before every season.

Here’s a checklist that you can use in the spring to keep your HVAC up and running throughout the year. Although, be sure to keep in mind that it’s not safe for homeowners to perform most of these tasks on their own.

HVAC Maintenance

Check the Thermostat

Obviously, your thermostat is the main way you control your HVAC system. You use it to adjust your home or office to the right temperature. Whether or not you’re heating or cooling your space, this thermostat should show you an accurate indoor temperature. To test this, you can purchase another thermometer to make sure there isn’t a big difference. You can also program your thermostat to turn on and off at a certain time. Just make sure that it’s working properly.

Check the System Controls

Make sure all the controls are working correctly. The system should turn on or off when using the thermostat. If it’s not operating well, try changing the batteries in your controller. If a setting or function isn’t responding at all, you need an HVAC professional to take a closer look at it because this requires professional skills to troubleshoot.

Check All the Electrical Connections

This will require a certified HVAC technician to take a thorough look at your system. They will check the electrical connection and make sure the wires are attached to their connection points. Of course, while doing this, it’s best if they turn off the electricity that feeds directly to your HVAC. So, be prepared by knowing where the shut-off switch is. This allows them to check the wires safely, without the threat of being shocked or electrocuted.

Lubricate Moving Parts

A certified HVAC tech will also lubricate moving parts. They may use a bottle of machine oil or a specially formulated lubricant spray like WD-40. The little applicator straw will help them get into cramped areas that need extra lubrication. An HVAC tech will focus on motors that have moving parts, such as the fan axils and heating blower. It’s best to leave this job to a pro.

Change the Filters

Every HVAC system has filters that need to be changed on a regular basis. These filters trap dust and pollen that can infiltrate your home. Unfortunately, they accumulate over time, so you need to have them replaced every now and then. It also puts some extra strain on your HVAC system, causing poor airflow as a result. Spring is the perfect time to take care of this because all the plants are about to bloom and spread their pollen.

Inspect the Condensation Drain

Inspecting the condensation drain is important before cleaning it. A trained HVAC tech will remove anything that’s collected in the drain. If your drain is clogged, it can cause overflowing water, which can ruin your HVAC and cause other kinds of damage. You should have this done before spring. Trapped water may become stagnant, which means you could find yourself dealing with mold and humidity issues in your home.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Since spring is right around the corner, you’ll likely be using the air conditioner again in the coming weeks. This means that you should make sure that it’s running as efficiently as it should. Here’s what a certified HVAC tech can do to prepare your AC for warmer weather.

Clean and Adjust the Blowers

Your HVAC system should produce excellent airflow, so having the blower inspected by a specialist is a must before the weather heats up. This includes cleaning off dust or any built-up sediment that covers the parts. A professional will use a vacuum brush to get into spots where you can’t easily reach on your own. They may also use something that looks like a paint brush to sweep out the dust inside the edges of the blowers. This is a soft tool that won’t damage anything.

Check the Fluid Levels

Don’t check fluid levels on your own. The potential to leak dangerous freon/ refrigerant into the air is high and harmful. An HVAC professional will check the levels and add more if it has dropped. Having too little fluid can affect your air conditioner’s efficiency, leading to increased energy costs.

Clean Off the Coils

You need to have the coils cleaned off, too. They connect to the condenser of your air conditioner. These coils play a huge part in cooling your home, and if they are covered with dust and dirt, they won’t function properly. Even though your HVAC has a cover, outdoor air can still pass through your home, carrying all sorts of contaminants with it. A certified HVAC technician will also remove things like spider webs and debris with a clean paint brush.

Other Helpful Tips to Follow:

Turn Off Water to the Furnace Humidifier

Since you aren’t going to be using the heater function anymore you need to have the furnace’s water supply turned off. If you have an HVAC that includes this type of add on, it needs to be shut off. There will be a simple exterior valve that can be closed to keep water from getting into the humidifier itself. An HVAC professional can look this over and make sure everything is in order.

Check the HVAC for the Remaining Level

It doesn’t hurt to have a pro give your HVA equipment a once-over to see how level it’s sitting. They will inspect the ground around it for any signs of leaning or soil settling. Earthquakes can often cause the soil in your yard to settle over time and unintentionally cause your HVAC to lean very slightly.

Pour a Drain Cleaner into the Condensation Drain

A technician may also determine that it’s a good idea to pour a drain cleaner inside the drain to kill mold or mildew that grew during the winter months. Sometimes this can help control any smell coming up from the drain, which can seep into the entire HVAC system in your home.

Need an HVAC Professional?

Leave these essential HVAC maintenance tasks to a pro. If you need a professional to handle your spring maintenance, you can always seek help by searching for “HVAC companies near me.” A lot of homes have their own HVAC systems, but only a few maintain proper upkeep. This is really important for a lot of reasons. You could be breathing cleaner air, saving money, and enjoying greater peace of mind.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you’re from Palo Alto and other nearby areas, choose Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air. We offer a wide variety of essential services, including 24-hour emergency HVAC service. For fast and reliable HVAC repair and maintenance, call us at 650-405-1460. We look forward to hearing from you.