Category: Blog

common duct problems

Common Ductwork Problems

We know that your home’s ducts may not be the most glamorous or fascinating topic you want to talk about, but ductwork is more important than you may realize when it comes to the climate within your home.

You probably don’t think about them it too often, but if they get neglected, they can significantly affect your HVAC system. After all, your air conditioning unit is only as good as the ductwork it uses to distribute the cooled air.

Here’s a couple of issues that are more common than you may think and the problems that come with them!

1. Poor Duct Design

Your duct work can be affected by numerous problems, but one of the most common ones is the design of your ductwork itself.

The design or the installation can both create problems that make it difficult for your HVAC system to maintain the desired temperature in your home, due to lack of airflow in the system. This can lead to ineffective and inefficient performance from your HVAC system.

2. Leaking Ductwork

Ductwork leakage is normal, but overtime the amount of circulated air that is leaked before reaching its intended destination increases.

When more air flow comes out through leaks, the less efficient your ductwork is which affects your bill. To rectify this issue, have your ducts sealed which allows your HVAC system to do less work and save you more money.

3. Loose Registers and Grilles

The rooms throughout your home are connected to the ducts by registers and grilles. These are the grates on the floor, walls, and ceilings where the air comes out.

Loose registers and grilles can cause air leakage behind the walls of floors, causing energy inefficiencies in your system.

A couple of loose registers may not make that much of a difference, but multiple loose registers can begin to create issues. If you haven’t replaced your registers or grilles, especially in older homes, you may want to check them. This is especially important for registers and grilles on the floor in high traffic areas in your home that have a higher chance of being bumped by chairs or moving guests.

4. Dirty Ductwork

The EPA estimates that the air quality inside your home can often be much worse that the air outside your house.

When your ductwork is dirty, it makes it difficult for your HVAC to do its job and improve your air quality. Keeping your ductwork clean is crucial for healthy air quality as dirt, allergens, and other pollutants accumulate in your ductwork.

5. Non-Insulated Ductwork

Leaks aren’t the only culprit of inefficiency within your ductwork system. Ductwork without proper insulation can’t effectively regulate the high temperatures of summer and the low temperatures of winter.

Without proper insulation your ductwork system will have to work harder to regulate the temperatures inside your home which will cost you more money.

Getting Help with Ductwork

If you aren’t sure about your duct system, a good way to approach it is by symptoms. If your system is running inefficiently or your air quality is poor, reach out to an HVAC professional to take a look at your ductwork.

If you have any more questions, we would be more than happy to help address any questions or concerns you may have!

bad airflow

5 Ways to Improve Bad Airflow

If your HVAC system is having airflow problems, you probably are well aware of it. Especially in the heat of Orlando’s summer, if your A/C is not reaching all parts of your house, you’re likely experiencing some of the following:

  • Hot spots
  • Stale air in certain rooms
  • Your house isn’t cooling to the set temperature

Unfortunately, if the issue isn’t addressed, it can become even worse than physical discomfort. It can lead to your entire A/C unit needing to be replaced. To help you fix your airflow issue as well as avoid future damages, here’s 5 things you can check on your system.

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SEER ratings

What Are SEER Ratings?

SEER Ratings (Season Energy Efficiency Ratio) are the primary standard of measuring how energy efficient your cooling system is. The ratio is calculated by dividing the cooling output (measured in BTU’s or British Thermal Units) by the total electric energy input (measured in watts) during the same timeframe.

SEER Ratings are measured on a spectrum with the government now requiring a minimum SEER rating of 13-14. In the state of Florida, the minimum SEER rating is 14 due to the hotter temperatures. While many things can affect your overall energy efficiency in your home, the SEER rating is a stand-alone score attributed to your air conditioning unit or heat pump.

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How Tune-Ups Save You Money and Hassle

You may have heard of HVAC tune-ups, but you may have always written them off as just one more way you could spend money on your A/C system. How effective are they anyway? If you have doubts about the benefits of an HVAC tune-up, let us tell you why you may want to reconsider.

We find that most people don’t think they need a tune up because they aren’t familiar with all the different needs their system has. Most people, if they can remember, change the air filter every few months and call it a day. Realistically, an HVAC system needs more attention than that to run well and to run for a long time.

Compare your HVAC system to your car for example. Oil changes, tire rotation, and fluid replacement are all necessary tweaks that are needed to be checked and fixed on a regular basis in order to keep your car running at its best and increase its lifespan! An HVAC system is similar, you need to check all different areas in order to ensure that everything is running properly! Doing this will allow you to hold on to the system for a longer period of time, and get more out of it as well!

Just in case you don’t work on HVAC systems for a living, we’ve put together this simple list of reasons you might want to think about a tune-up to keep your system running well.

1) Preventing Expensive Repairs

You may have heard it said that $1 of prevention is worth $10 of solution. One of the most important reasons we recommend our Comfort Assurance Club (our regular maintenance plan) is that a little bit of money for a check up can help prevent much more severe – and expensive – damages to your system.

Our expert technicians know all of the little hoses, wires, and other confusing parts of your system and how they work. By checking up on them every 6-12 months, they can help make sure your system avoids more costly repairs that would otherwise occur without warning. If you’re curious, see what our techs will inspect and improve every time they perform routine maintenance!

2) Better Climate Control

Over time, your HVAC system will begin to lose some of its initial strength and efficiency. The result is that your system will be less effective in actually reaching your desired temperature. It will take longer, leaving you uncomfortable for what can feel like forever. Especially with the heat of summer coming, you want your HVAC system to be ready to go, not struggling to wake up like a perpetual Monday morning.

During regular maintenance, our techs make sure that your system is running as efficiently as possible. If they find any parts of your setup that are not running efficiently, they can make sure they are restored to maximum strength, helping you get the most out of your system for years to come.

3) Improving Energy Bill

A big reason some people don’t get regular maintenance done is the up-front cost to have a professional come take a look. We understand that. But what most people miss is that in these check-ups, our techs don’t just look for broken parts. They also work to make your system run as efficiently as possible.

We mentioned above that your HVAC unit will lose some of the strength and efficiency over time. The harder your HVAC has to work to reach your desired temperature, the more energy it will consume. Thankfully, our techs know just what to do to keep your unit running strong without running up a painful monthly energy bill. Over time, you will actually be SAVING money by having one of our techs look at your unit periodically to keep it as energy efficient as possible.

4) Increasing your HVAC’s Lifespan

If you want a car to last to 100,000 miles, you don’t neglect regular check-ups, right? Eventually, your unit will need to be replaced, but that day doesn’t have to be soon! For a combination of the reasons above, your HVAC system needs regular check-ups to reach its 10-15 year potential. Similar to reason #3, if you want to save money in the long run by extending your unit’s lifespan, regular maintenance is an absolute must!

So, What’s My Next Step?

For Orlando, Westbrook Service Co is the most trusted and dependable HVAC name in town. Our decades of experience and commitment to excellence provide our customers with the best service, products, and workmanship available. If you’re interested in having your HVAC unit primed for all these benefits, take a look at our Comfort Assurance Club (our regular maintenance plan) to see how you can save money and live more comfortably.

Save energy on AC bill

How to Lower Your AC Energy Bill

How Do I Lower My Summer Energy Bill?

If you’re one of the many who breaks into a cold sweat when you see your energy bill (well, maybe not that bad…), don’t worry! We have a few energy-efficient tips sure to save you some money during Orlando’s heavy summer heat. Take a look at some of our tips here, and see that dreaded energy bill start growing smaller and smaller!

1. Increase Your Thermostat a Few Degrees

When trying to lower your energy bill this summer, it may be worth allowing your home to be a few degrees warmer than you may initially prefer. It may seem obvious to some that this tactic can save you money, but not everyone realizes just how much money this can save you! For example, studies show that keeping your house at 78 degrees instead of 72 degrees can save you up to 18% off your energy consumption.

Maybe you’re someone who needs their cool, no matter what. For you, we recommend a programmable thermostat that can let your A/C system relax while you are away and work while you’re home. If you have a time you are routinely gone like when you go to work or school, you can set your thermostat to run more efficiently and then return the house to the desired temperature by the time you return. Christina Kielich, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Energy, shared that a programmable thermostat could also lower your monthly bill by up to 10%.

2. Maintain Your Cooling Systems

You may have programmable thermostat, and you may even have a high-efficiency air conditioning unit. Still, this won’t keep your system running efficiently forever. If you haven’t properly cared for your system, its performance will decrease and its repair costs will increase.

For starters, we recommend changing your system’s filter once a month, which depending on how bad your filter has gotten, can decrease your energy consumption by 5-10%.

Another idea (for those with central air conditioning) is to go through your house and make sure your vents are all open and unblocked. Dust, furniture, and other items can clog up your circulation system, causing your system to expend more energy trying to circulate air through the blocked areas.

Finally, check your outdoor unit’s surrounding area and make sure it has at least 2 feat of clearance on all sides. Plants, debris, storage, and other miscellaneous items have a way of creeping closer and closer, inhibiting sufficient airflow. Keep this area clear to help your system run efficiently.

3. Don’t Let Heat Build Up

Especially in the summer, the intensity of the heat makes it more and more difficult for your system to manage the indoor temperature. To make things more difficult, you might be making your home hotter in addition to the outdoor sun!

Believe it or not, a lot of the heat in your home doesn’t just come from the outside, but it comes from objects and activities inside your home. These objects (dishwashers, dryers, large televisions, etc.) and activities (long showers, baking and grilling, etc.) can build up the heat already in your home. But we all do these things so what’s the point?

The point is that during the day, your air conditioner is already trying to compete with the brutal Orlando sun to keep your home cool. At night, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you comfortable, and these activities like washing clothes or baking put less strain on your cooling system. The moral of the story is to try and do these activities at night to avoid additional heat build up. (And let’s be honest, taking shorter showers might save on your water bill too…)

Get a Tune-Up

Sometimes, DIY tips aren’t enough, but you don’t want to think about repairs or replacements quite yet. That’s why we offer a tune up and safety inspection for only $79 (our limited-time special price!) designed to make your system run as efficiently as possible.

These tune ups are so effective, they regularly pay for themselves in the energy savings they produce. Additionally, they can save you money and hassle in preventative maintenance. If something is about to go wrong in your system in the heat of summer, we can let you know so you don’t get stuck under Orlando’s heavy sun.

If you have anymore questions, please feel free to send us a message and we will get back to you promptly!

Replace my HVAC

When Should I Replace my HVAC System?

A quality HVAC system should last you quite a few years, but the reality is that it won’t last forever. At some point, repairs won’t be cutting it, and it’ll be time for a new system. The real question is “How do I know when?” Here’s some of the most common signs that might be telling you to replace your HVAC set up.

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Posted by: Susan Rosser on December 02, 2014

Ideally, your air conditioning unit should run as quietly as possible; however, if you’re beginning to hear a weird humming or rattling coming from your AC, then it’s high time to look into it or contact service companies that offer air conditioning repair in Orlando as soon as possible. If left unchecked, the underlying causes of these noises might worsen the condition of your AC unit, and could even come to a point when it cannot be fixed anymore.

In fact, some air conditioner problems can be determined simply by the kind of sound it makes. Michael Chase enumerated two main noises an air conditioning unit makes, which could be telltale signs of early problems and help you come up with a diagnosis.

ac repairRattling

When your air conditioning unit makes a rattling noise, there could be two sources: it might be coming from the fan or from loose screws. In the case of your fan, it needs to be clean and properly maintained at all times, and when it begins to be the source of rattling or harsh humming, it simply needs a little clean-up if it has some debris around the blades. The fan might also be loose, thus the rattling, and it simply needs to be tightened. Moreover, be wary of bent blades, which might also be the cause of rattling sounds.

With loose screws, on the other hand, simply determine which ones are problematic. The air conditioning unit usually vibrates when it starts working, causing some screws, especially the screws in panels and the mounting screws, to come loose. This problem can be easily fixed with a screwdriver.

Humming

If you hear a weird humming sound coming from your AC unit, it could either mean lack of lubrication or dirty or bent coil fins. Like any other motor, the motor in your AC unit also needs proper lubrication, which could be easily done with a little oiling. Oiling your air conditioner’s motor is usually and preferably done during the beginning of the summer.

Meanwhile, you could check your unit’s coil fins and see if it needs cleaning up. The coil fins tend to accumulate dirt over the years, and proper cleaning is imperative to keep it working. Bent coil fins, however, need a special tool called the fin comb, which is mainly used in straightening bent fins.

Should these noises persist, or should your air conditioning unit begin to show signs of malfunctioning, it’s best to seek help from companies such as Westbrook Service Corporation that offers AC repair in Orlando to prevent your unit from breaking down before the end of its predicted service life—or heaven forbid, just when you need it in the summer.

(Source: A/C & Heat Pump System Noise Diagnosis & Repair Noises: How to Diagnose Air Conditioner Compressor, Fan, Refrigerant Piping, Ductwork Noises, InspectAPedia)

Posted by: Susan Rosser on March 04, 2015

Florida is perhaps one of the worst places to be if you are allergic to pollen; the state’s many oak trees are responsible for releasing countless pollen particles that spread throughout the region during peak blooming season. Fortunately, air conditioners can be used to keep homeowners safe indoors, away from the pollen, while providing much-needed relief from the heat. Homeowners might want to keep their AC units in good shape so that when they need it for pollen season, they are prepared.

01fixing-airconditionerAn article on the Tampa Tribune’s website posted last March 12, 2015 urges locals who are sensitive to pollen to simply stay indoors to avoid any problems. Apparently, the region’s pollen count (number of grains per cubic meter of air) has reached a critical 10.5—for reference, pollen counts between 9.7 and 12 are usually considered very high. The problem is so serious that the article even recommends homeowners to turn up their air conditioning units to keep their homes comfy.

Air conditioning units can do more than just make your home’s indoor climate cooler; they can also help reduce the amount of pollen in the air. If fitted with a high-efficiency particulate accumulator (HEPA) filter, your air conditioning unit should be able to filter out pollen as it recirculates indoor air. Of course, homeowners looking to use their cooling systems a lot this season might want to have services for air conditioning repair in Orlando, such as Westbrook Service Corporation, take a look at their units for any problems.

To ensure that your air conditioning system works at maximum capacity, you should stay on top of its maintenance. The unit needs to remain clean and free from dust and other foreign objects so that it can run smoothly. Its filters will need cleaning, as well, or should be completely replaced if they are too worn. Air conditioning units that do not seem to be providing comfort or simply malfunction should be fixed immediately before pollen season goes full swing. Preferably, homeowners should leave the job to an Orlando AC repair company with the skill, experience, and tools to perform the job right.

(Source: Tampa Bay area’s pollen season in fully miserable bloom, tbo.com, Mar. 12, 2015)

 

Posted by: Susan Rosser on February 27, 2015

Known as the “Sunshine State,” the state of Florida is often described with its long summers and pristine beaches for the humid climate it has been known for. Although Florida has frequent thunderstorms, its coastal areas have warmer temperatures in summers than winters. The humid temperature can be attributed to its close proximity with the Atlantic Ocean and other inland lakes.

The hottest temperature ever recorded was at 109 degrees Fahrenheit, back in the summer of 1931. With temperatures reaching that high, you would do well to haveOrlando air conditioning repair experts to restore your home’s HVAC system to good working order and so protect you from the adverse effects of heat stroke and dehydration. Adequate ventilation at home will also provide you and your family comfort and ease amid the heated weather outdoors and stifling air indoors.

air conditioning repairBenefits of Air Conditioning at Home

Air conditioning systems are mostly used inside office buildings and large houses to prevent stale and musty odor from lingering in the air. Having this system at home could also help keep food safe for consumption, as they run the risk of spoiling in the heat. Stress and pressure at work are also reduced with sufficient frigidity while protecting computers and other machinery from overheating.

These days, households can take advantage of more eco-friendly air conditioning systems designed to prevent further global warming while giving comfort to household members. Companies like Westbrook Services Corporation fine-tune their AC’s in such a way that fresh outdoor air improves the quality of indoor air and cuts costs from energy usage. Their service providers will address all your air conditioning needs, such as preventive maintenance or AC repair in Orlando, with their own standards of energy efficiency.

Further Cost-Cutting Measures

Aside from eco-friendly air conditioners, what else can you do to cut down on energy expenditures? If you have units per room rather than a centralized system, you can try cooling just one room and gathering everyone there for relief from the heat. You should also have your system’s air filters checked and cleaned regularly, or if they’re on the decline, outright replaced. Let companies like Westbrook take care of this for you and your household will be on its way to a cooler climate when the temperatures start climbing again.

(Source: Advantages & Disadvantages of Air Conditioners. Ehow.com)

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