Category: Information Articles

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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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 January 05, 2015

It snowed in Florida for the first time in five years this January, up north in Jacksonville. The cold front from Canada had also affected cities in the central region, including Orlando, which was recently hit by wind chills.

ac maintenanceWeather experts, are saying, however, that these cold fronts will not last for long, as temperatures of as high as the 80s are expected for the rest of January and on to February. This means Orlando residents should make sure their air conditioning systems are in top shape.

Proper air conditioning maintenance is a must if you want an efficient system and avoid high energy bills. When problems do happen, do not fall into the trap of conducting DIY repairs if the case requires the knowhow of Orlando air conditioning repair experts, like those at Westbrook Service Corporation.

Troubleshooting

Certain problems may require only minor troubleshooting. For example, if your AC unit refuses to work, check the basics, like if the settings are correct, or if the system controls are in good working condition. The problem could be something as minor as a drained remote control battery.

Some malfunctions are also simple enough to fix on your own, such as replacing a burnt-out fuse, or pushing the compressor motor’s reset button back in.

Professional Repair

When you have exhausted all simple troubleshooting measures, and your unit still refuses to function well, if at all, then it’s time to call in Orlando AC repair professionals. The problem might be coming from a damaged electrical wiring or main power cord, which should be left in the hands of HVAC technicians.

Problems with the AC compressor could also be the result of fluctuating voltage over a period of time. If this is the case, the compressor may need to be replaced altogether by a professional.

If you are not getting enough cooling, the problem might be coming from insufficient power reaching the blower fans. This can happen if the wires connecting the blower motor to the electrical source are damaged. Testing with a multimeter will tell you if this is causing the problem. If the blower is getting enough power, but is still not working, the motor’s capacitor may need to be changed. Whether the solution is replacing damaged blower wires or the capacitor, rely on AC repair pros to safely and accurately do the job.

Insufficient cooling could also mean a need for coolant change, which again should be done only by a technician. Likewise, a buildup of frost around connectors, fan motors, and hoses could indicate a leak. An AC repair pro can detect the source of the leak and perform the necessary repair or replacement.

(Source: Florida’s Record Warmth Mocks Rest of Cold, Shivering U.S., Weather.com, January 4, 2015)

Posted by: Susan Rosser on October 03, 2014

Living in Florida can be difficult due to the humidity, which can make the weather seem hotter than it actually is. In such cases, the problem can easily be resolved by turning on the air conditioning. Unfortunately for many residents in Tampa Bay and Orlando who use their AC systems regularly, a recent mix-up with a local power distributor resulted in exorbitant energy bills due to errors in the billing processes. TheOrlando Sentinel reports:

Duke Energy

The majority of overcharges were for customers in the Tampa Bay area, where the issue boiled over in recent weeks, but Orlando customers also will be getting credits for what Duke has explained as “unintentionally” charging a higher rate for electricity.

Having apologized for the matter, Duke is now issuing billing credits that are averaging nearly $6 each. For those who get credits, bills will plainly state that one is being issued, spokeswoman Nicole LeBeau said.

Although the overcharge has been attributed to the installation of new energy meters, high energy bills can also indicate a problem with your AC unit. A poorly maintained unit requires more energy to run as effectively as you want it to. To resolve this problem, prompt AC repair in Orlando is required to prevent that “unexplainable” increase to your energy bill.

Fortunately, spotting a problem with your AC unit is fairly easy to do. Here are two common AC problems and how you can identify them:

Air isn’t cool enough

If the air produced by the unit isn’t cooling, your unit may be leaking refrigerant (Freon). To see if this is the case, take a spray bottle of soapy water and spray the tubes along the outer body of your unit; be sure to avoid the electrical components. If the water begins to bubble, you have a Freon leak.

Restricted air flow

In the case of restricted air flow, there may be two causes. The most common cause is blockage in the air ducts. This problem can easily be resolved by having you air ducts cleaned professionally.

Sometimes, ice forming within the unit can cause restricted air flow. You can usually notice this if water puddles form underneath the ac unit, especially if it has been turned off for an hour or two. This usually indicates a faulty evaporator coil.

In the event you notice any of these problems, be sure to call a trusted Orlando air conditioning repair contractor like Westbrook Service Corporation. Not only do prompt repairs and proper maintenance help keep your energy bills down, but they also help extend the lifespan of your unit, keeping your home cool for years to come.

(Source: Duke Energy overcharges leaves customers hot; Orlando Sentinel; September 6, 2014)

Posted by: Susan Rosser on September 17, 2014

Summer isn’t just the time for people to start flocking to nearby Disney World; it’s also the peak season for home air conditioning in Orlando, Florida. To survive this time without having to buy brand new AC units, you should know how to care for and maintain your home’s cooling systems and when needed, call for reliable air conditioning repair from Orlando professionals like the Westbrook Service Corporation. When you inspect your AC, be on the lookout for signs that you might need to recharge the coolants.

signs-you-need-an-ac-recharge

 

Coolant Refill Needs

It’s important to note that from the outset, your air conditioner’s coolant or refrigerant never goes bad over time, so you don’t have to replace or refill it because of chemical composition alone. However, there are many problems in the AC’s mechanical parts that can cause the coolant to leak such as matted coils, worn-out valves, and even poor design.

Checking the Thermostat

The first thing to inspect if you think you might need a coolant refill is the thermostat. Start by setting the temperature to 85 and wait about half an hour, then readjust it to 60 and wait for the unit to run. If the house cools efficiently, you have little to worry about; otherwise, if it takes a lot of time, there might be little coolant left to do the job properly.

Inspecting the Vents

SF Gate writer Tim Anderson mentioned that you should check up on your central AC’s vents to find out if there might be indicators of problems:

If the vents are blowing room-temperature air, or warm air, rather than cold after you clean the thermostat and reset the unit, this is a sign that your coolant might be out of charge in the air conditioner. You check this by holding your hand in front of the vents and feeling for warm air. Give the machine at least 15 minutes to see if maybe it was just residual air coming out of the vent system as it makes its way throughout your home. If the air still isn’t cold, it is a sign that you could need to call a technician for a coolant charge.

Call the Pros

If after these tips, you believe that your coolant does need refilling, call up the professionals for a final diagnosis so that they can do the work themselves. Never attempt to perform a refill on your own, as you might be voiding your warranty or risking damage to your unit. Orlando AC repair professionals are armed with the right knowledge and technology to conduct the proper interventions.

(Source: How to Know If a Central Air Conditioner Needs a Charge, SF Gate)

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