8 Ways to Avoid a Costly AC Repair

Air conditioning repairs in Northern California can be expensive, but you can avoid a costly AC repair by being proactive with at-home and professional maintenance. Like any machine, an air conditioner has parts that wear out. However, equipment malfunctions and breakdowns are not inevitable. You can avoid calling for AC repair near you, and potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars (leaving more money in your budget), by following these tips:

1. Don’t Forget Routine Maintenance

Your air conditioner should be tuned up at least once a year. Annual maintenance is the most effective way to avoid costly AC repairs. The system should be inspected, cleaned, and, if necessary, repaired before the cooling season starts. During maintenance, a technician should:

  • Clean the evaporator and condenser coils
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Lubricate moving parts
  • Tighten electrical connections
  • Address any electrical issues
  • Look for and seal any duct leaks
  • Check the thermostat and system controls
  • Clear the condensate drain (if necessary)

2. Change the Air Filter as Recommended

A dirty or clogged air filter can reduce or block airflow. The air conditioner’s manufacturer will recommend the best interval for changing the filter. In general, an AC filter should be changed every one to three months, depending on the system and your home’s indoor air quality. Neglecting to replace the filter can reduce cooling performance, force the system to work harder, and lead to higher energy bills. Low airflow can also cause strain that damages the unit, requiring costly repairs.

3. Avoid Overusing Your Air Conditioner

The more you use your AC, the more wear and tear it will experience. Using an air conditioner less may not seem like an option during a hot summer. However, raising the thermostat by a few degrees not only saves energy but can also reduce the unit’s demand. 

How can you do this without sacrificing comfort? Running a ceiling fan can make the temperature feel 3℉ or 4℉ cooler, offsetting a slight increase in the thermostat setting. Also, turn the AC off when you go to work, leave for a vacation, or are otherwise away from home.

4. Clean Around the Outdoor Unit

Debris can restrict airflow and potentially contaminate the system, especially if it builds up around the outdoor unit. Regularly check for leaves, branches, grass, dirt, and other items around the condenser unit. Also, trim foliage back. There should be at least two feet of clearance on all sides.

When cleaning the unit, make sure it is shaded. Direct sunlight can strain the system and overheat the compressor. Additionally, make sure there’s a barrier that prevents small animals from getting into the unit.

5. Look For Dirt Inside the Unit

Your AC’s coils and fins are prone to getting dirty. If they become coated, this can interfere with heat transfer and may also damage the coils, especially if they freeze. Combined with restricted airflow, dirt can cause the system to work harder and less efficiently. The unit can even overheat and break down. 

If you have some experience, you can turn off the system, open the unit, and vacuum out excess dirt. The coils and fins can be cleaned with a soft brush. But this may require removing the fan and other components. Call a professional if you notice the unit is dirty and you haven’t cleaned it before.

6. Check the Thermostat Regularly

The thermostat is a small part of your HVAC system but can malfunction and cause numerous issues. A faulty thermostat can cause your AC to run constantly or short cycle. Avoiding these issues can prevent wear and tear that can damage your air conditioner. 

Look for changes in accuracy to determine if your thermostat needs to be checked by a professional. This can indicate an issue with placement or a low battery. A wiring problem can also affect how the thermostat works and trigger an electric shock or a fire.

7. Keep the Vents Open

Don’t close vents in unused rooms. People often do this thinking they can save energy. However, closed vents can disrupt airflow and create pressure variances that can damage your AC system. Also, make a visual note of where the vents are and avoid blocking them with storage units, furniture, or drapes.

8. Inspect the Condensate Drain for Blockages

The condensate drain is another important part of your AC system. An air conditioner collects moisture from the air, which is removed via the condensate drain. If this drain gets clogged, mold and algae can grow inside it. Water damage can occur if the drain overflows. Since unclogging the line can be a tricky process, it’s best to hire a professional for AC repair

Call Trio Heating & Air for AC Repair Near San Jose

Properly maintaining your air conditioner can avoid major repairs. Call a professional as soon as you notice any signs of trouble, such as reduced cooling performance, strange noises, weak airflow, foul odors, or higher energy bills. Our licensed technicians can diagnose and fix any problem. They’re also familiar with every type of air conditioner and AC component. If you’re dealing with any cooling issues, schedule an AC repair by calling (415) 223-5096 today.

Pros and Cons of Ductless Mini-Split ACs

A ductless mini-split AC is a reliable, efficient solution whether you’re building a new home or retrofitting an older one. It is becoming a popular air conditioning option for homeowners. Consisting of an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units, a mini-split is a flexible solution with many advantages, from personalized comfort to improved efficiency. 

Is it nearing the time for air conditioning installation or replacement in your home? Here are some pros and cons of ductless mini-split ACs to help you decide.

Pros of Ductless Mini-Split ACs

The many benefits of installing one of these systems include:

  • Simpler Installation: A ductless mini-split AC system consists of an outdoor unit, indoor air handlers, and a conduit between them. Eliminating ductwork simplifies installation. No significant home modifications are needed, except for drilling a small hole in an exterior wall for the conduit, which contains the refrigerant, drainage, and electrical lines.
  • Flexible Placement: Indoor units can be placed wherever you need cooling. They are typically installed high up on a wall, while ceiling cassettes and other space-saving options are available. Compact designs can blend in with your interior decor. No matter where you choose to install a mini-split unit, complex demolitions or renovations are avoided while floor space is preserved.
  • Zoned Temperature Control: A central HVAC system conditions all the air in your home at once. However, a ductless mini-split AC provides zone-based temperature control. Each indoor unit can be operated independently, meaning the temperature can be set per each occupant’s preferences or a building’s layout and usage. You can also keep bedrooms cooler than the living room. Units in unoccupied spaces can be turned off to save energy.
  • Increased Energy Efficiency: There’s less energy consumption for a few reasons. Mini-split ACs eliminate energy loss from ductwork, avoid cooling areas that don’t need it, and use inverters that adjust compressor speed to match specific temperature needs. Some mini-split systems also double as heat pumps, which provide heating and cooling. With a ductless system, any level of efficiency equals reduced operating costs.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: Not only do these systems avoid the buildup of dust and particulates common in ductwork, but they also have higher-quality, multi-stage filtration systems that effectively remove dust, mold, and bacteria. This is ideal for occupants with allergies or respiratory issues. Ductless mini-split ACs are effective at controlling humidity as well; by removing excess moisture, they can help prevent mold, eliminate stuffiness, and promote an overall healthier living space.
  • Quieter Performance: Other HVAC systems tend to produce more noise. However, these systems are quieter. They can operate as low as 19 decibels, or the sound level of a whisper. You don’t have to be distracted by the humming, whirring, or banging sounds that are common with ducted systems. The air handlers can also be placed farther away from the outdoor unit so the compressor’s noise and vibration won’t distract you.

Cons of Ductless Mini-Split ACs

Despite their many benefits, there can be downsides, including:

  • Higher Installation Costs: The initial cost is often higher than installing a central AC (however, it’s often offset by energy savings throughout the system’s life). Purchasing multiple indoor units can add to the expense. Furthermore, the system’s power requirements may justify electrical modifications and upgrades, while electrical connections require a qualified professional. And, depending on the system’s configuration, you may need to purchase a condensate pump.
  • Indoor Units Can Have Aesthetic Impacts: You may need to move interior decor to make room for indoor air handlers. Some people are distracted by their placement throughout their homes. Outdoor units can be bulky and obtrusive, which can be addressed with proper placement or the use of covers or panels. Your HVAC installer can provide equipment and design options that reduce the visual clutter and maximize both functionality and aesthetics.
  • Limited Capacity for Large Spaces: Compared to other air conditioners, the units are designed to cool smaller areas. Therefore, you may experience uneven cooling or a limited airflow range in a large room. Ductless mini-splits come in different sizes. Consult with your HVAC professional to determine the best system for your home.
  • Reduced Performance During Extreme Temperatures: These systems work best in moderate climates. However, in extremely hot conditions, a ductless AC’s cooling performance may be limited. Extreme cold can also cause issues; you may need a supplemental heating system if your mini-split doesn’t have a sufficient heat source.
  • Maintenance Requirements: A mini-split is efficient and versatile, but requires regular maintenance. The air filters must be changed or replaced regularly (for every air handler installed), and you should check for visible issues with equipment every three to four months. The outdoor unit must be kept unobstructed to maintain proper airflow. A technician must check refrigerant levels and ensure there are no electrical hazards. These tasks reduce the risk of breakdowns and can increase system longevity.
  • Possible Noise Concerns: The noise level of a ductless mini-split depends on the equipment model and placement. This is especially true if the outdoor unit is close to a bedroom. Some municipalities have stricter noise regulations. A professional can help address these concerns by selecting options with low-decibel ratings and cleaning the fan and motor often.

Contact Us Today

Trio Heating & Air provides ductless mini-split and other air conditioning services in and around San Jose, CA. Our experienced professionals help you find a solution that meets your cooling needs. We guarantee fast response times, high-quality service, and installation of the best products and brands in the industry. To schedule an appointment or learn more about our special offers and maintenance plan, use our online booking system or call (415) 234-4728.

 

How to Find the Right AC Unit for Your Home

To benefit from AC replacement, you must find the right AC unit for your home. It’s important to consult with an air conditioning service contractor. Whether your existing system is reaching the end of its life or is outdated, you have an opportunity to find a more energy-efficient system. However, ignoring important details or making a mistake can have costly consequences.

Finding the right AC unit requires knowing the size of the model you need. We’ll look at numerous factors related to air conditioner sizing and other variables to discuss with your HVAC contractor. 

Square Footage

Square footage isn’t the only size variable to consider when selecting an AC unit. Nonetheless, the square footage of individual rooms and your entire home is usually the first place to start. The larger your home, the more cooling capacity you need. Miscalculating capacity can mean getting too much or too little cool air and spending more on energy.

Ceiling Height

Ceiling heights aren’t included in square footage, but if your home has higher ceiling heights than average, it will require more power to be properly cooled. Ceiling height also influences air circulation. You’ll need a higher-capacity unit to counteract the accumulation of rising warmer air. Irregular airflow patterns caused by sloped or vaulted ceilings must also be considered. 

Number of Windows

It may seem less obvious, but windows have a big impact on an AC unit’s efficiency. If you have a lot of south- and west-facing windows, more sunlight causes higher heat gain, requiring a stronger AC. Other window-related AC sizing factors include:

  • Number of Windows: More windows mean more opportunities for heat gain and air leakage.
  • Age of Windows: Older windows tend to let more air seep in and are less insulated.
  • Window Coverings: Blinds, curtains, and other coverings help windows be more efficient by blocking out sunlight.

Insulation

Insulation in walls, ceilings, and attics can affect AC efficiency. Each insulating material has an R-value; the higher the number, the greater a material’s thermal resistance (ability to prevent heat transfer). Replacing old materials or filling in poorly insulated gaps or spots with high R-value insulation can reduce energy consumption.

Climate

The climate conditions in your area determine how much cooling you need. A smaller air conditioner won’t perform well in soaring summer temperatures, and if your region sees cooler summers, a larger system may not be cost-effective. Nonetheless, you must consider the temperature range throughout the year, along with typical humidity levels.

About Calculating Cooling Capacity

The capacity of an air conditioner is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The larger your home, the more BTUs you’ll need, but the requirements vary. For example, a well-insulated, shaded room generally needs 25 to 30 BTUs per square foot, but rooms with average insulation and moderate sun exposure may need 30 to 35 BTUs per square foot. However, a brightly lit room with poor insulation can require 35 to 40 BTUs per square foot.

Therefore, capacity requirements can vary significantly. Other factors that influence BTU requirements include the number of occupants, lighting fixtures, and the presence of heat-generating appliances. For a novice, working all these variables in a calculation can be overwhelming.

An HVAC professional has an easier way to perform a load calculation and find the right AC for your home. They may use formulas to input specific numbers. Or, they can use load calculation software tools that further streamline the process. This means load calculations can take less time, but this doesn’t minimize their importance at all.

About Efficiency Ratings

Every air conditioning unit has an efficiency rating on its label. You can use this to compare units and predict how a system will operate under standard conditions. Energy efficiency ratings include:

  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): This is an air conditioner’s cooling efficiency throughout a typical cooling season. Higher SEER ACs cost more upfront but consume less electricity and can save money over time.
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER): By measuring a unit’s cooling capacity under standard conditions, its EER can estimate how it will perform during peak demand and predict how it will operate during extreme temperatures.

Finding the Right Type of AC Unit

Sizing, efficiency, and other factors are heavily considered. It’s also important to consider the best type of unit. If you have a small home or a smaller room to cool, a window unit is an option. Central air conditioning systems are often used to cool entire homes; they use ducts to distribute air throughout the space. 

However, a split unit is better suited for cooling a smaller space or individual room. More advanced solutions include heat pumps (provide both heating and cooling) that are even more efficient. Another option is a mini-split; it allows you to zone your home for different levels of heating or cooling in different locations.

Additional Considerations

An AC unit must fit in the available space. If you have a small home, you may have fewer options. Also, consider the HVAC equipment you have. Does it match the AC unit you want to install? Will the new AC and your ductwork be compatible? If your ducts aren’t the appropriate length and diameter, issues with air velocity and pressure drop can affect performance and efficiency. To avoid persistent issues, you may want to consider replacing your entire HVAC system.

Contact Trio Heating & Air

In our years of serving homeowners in and around San Jose, our licensed AC technicians have installed high-efficiency cooling systems tailored to each client’s needs. We use the highest-quality products and brands and guarantee the highest quality of work. During AC replacement, our team advises you on the ideal model for your home and will remove your old unit, install the new system, and test it. To schedule air conditioning installation in Santa Clara County or San Mateo County, call (415) 223-1647 today.

 

The Effects of Faulty AC Coils

Faulty AC coils can cause serious problems, so schedule AC repair as soon as you notice something is wrong. Evaporator and condenser coils transport refrigerant so an HVAC system can collect and dissipate heat. It won’t do so effectively if the coils are damaged. Fortunately, the effects are noticeable, so you should know when to call a local AC contractor.

How Do AC Coils Work?

The evaporator and condenser coils are connected by coolant lines, which bring refrigerant to and from the condenser. A fan in the condenser unit dissipates heat from the refrigerant in the lines. The compressor then pumps the coolant back to the evaporator, where coils absorb heat and a blower pushes cool air into ducts. The coolant returns to the condenser to dissipate heat once again.

Signs You Have Faulty AC Coils

The most common effects of faulty AC coils in your home include:

  • Refrigerant Leak: A leak can occur if an object falls against the coils. The coils can also become corroded due to exposure to acidic compounds in the air. If you see a refrigerant leak, call for help right away. It can do major damage to your AC and is a toxic chemical; exposure can lead to skin and respiratory problems.
  • Environmental Damage: Coolant can harm the environment if it leaks from a damaged AC coil. It can contribute to atmospheric warming and ozone layer depletion (especially older R-22 Freon). A hissing sound from the coils means refrigerant gas is escaping.
  • Reduced Cooling Efficiency: Refrigerant enables your AC system to generate cool air. A lack of cooling is one of the leading signs of faulty AC coils. Damaged coils cannot absorb heat effectively, so the system may not cool your home, or the cooling it provides will be inconsistent. Some rooms can be much cooler than others instead of the normal uniform distribution of air.
  • A Noisy AC: Most air conditioners operate nearly silently. You should be used to the sound of the fan and airflow. If the evaporator coil is broken, you may hear a hissing or banging noise. These sounds mean refrigerant is leaking or loose or misaligned components are hitting other parts of your AC system. Ignoring any unusual noises can lead to even more significant damage.
  • Frozen Coils: Ice can form on coils due to a refrigerant leak. Low refrigerant levels reduce the amount of heat transported through the lines, cooling them enough to cause condensation to freeze (poor airflow can also do so). The ice further contributes to the problem because it insulates the refrigerant, inhibiting heat transfer. Therefore, the air in your house is not cooled.
  • Higher Energy Bills: Worn or damaged coils force your air conditioner to work harder to maintain a cool temperature. The extra work increases energy consumption. As a result, your monthly energy bills may increase suddenly or gradually without a clear reason. And, if your AC system works harder for a long period, major components can wear out, requiring costly repairs.
  • The AC Short Cycles: The air conditioner may cycle on and off frequently if the evaporator coils can’t absorb enough heat. Short cycling wastes energy and can strain the system. The extra wear and tear can lead to expensive repairs or premature system failure. Call an AC contractor near you if the unit starts to run in shorter cycles.

How Do I Protect My AC Coils?

Check the AC coils often to reduce the risk of damage. Dust, hair, grime, and dirt can build up on them over time. The longer you wait, the harder the buildup is to remove. Use an AC coil cleaner or hose off outdoor coils to prevent damage, or call a contractor for help. If the coils freeze, have them check for a leak or airflow issue and, if necessary, correct it.

What’s the Safest Coil Cleaner to Use?

Use an AC coil cleaner that’s labeled for use with your type of system. The user manual or your AC installer may recommend certain products. You can also use a mix of water and mild dish detergent, and even add a little distilled white vinegar, for effective cleaning.

Should a Faulty AC Coil Be Repaired or Replaced?

Coils may be sealed or repaired if the damage is limited to a small area. However, a leak is often caused by eroded metal and corrosion. If part of the coil is corroded, other areas are likely affected. An HVAC contractor will generally recommend replacing it, which can be less expensive than a repair and recharge.

Call Trio Heating & Air

We provide high-quality AC repair services in San Jose. If you have a faulty AC coil or any other problem, our skilled professionals find the most cost-effective, permanent solution. They promptly evaluate the effects of any problem so it can be quickly diagnosed and repaired. Our team also provides high-quality AC installation and maintenance. To learn more or schedule air conditioning services from experienced AC contractors near you, book an appointment online or call (415) 223-5096.

5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Air Conditioner

Summertime brings with it sun, fun, and, unfortunately, a high energy bill. A key player in these costs? Our air conditioning systems. However, did you know that there are ways to extend the life of your air conditioner? By implementing these strategies, you can not only ensure the longevity of your unit but also save a significant amount of money.

So, do you want to learn how to make your AC last longer? Let’s dive in.

Change The Air Filter Regularly

Dirt and debris can accumulate in your air filter over time. When the filter becomes clogged, your AC has to work harder, leading to reduced efficiency and a shortened lifespan of your AC.

Keeping the filter clean is potentially one of the simplest ways to extend the life of your air conditioner. It’s a simple step, but regularly checking and replacing your air filter can have a profound impact on the air quality in your home and the life expectancy of your AC unit.

Install a Smart Thermostat

A programmable thermostat, or better yet, a smart thermostat, can automatically adjust the temperature based on your preferences and when you’re at home. This not only maintains a consistent cool air flow but also ensures that your AC unit doesn’t have to work harder than necessary.

Pairing your air conditioning system with a smart thermostat also saves money over time as it optimizes the cooling schedule to match your lifestyle.

Ensure Proper Airflow

Proper airflow is the lifeblood of any air conditioning unit. Over time, the outdoor unit can get clogged with debris, reducing proper airflow and making your AC work harder.

Regularly inspect the area around your outdoor unit. Remove any obstructing items, such as plants or furniture, to ensure unobstructed airflow. This can be a simple yet effective step regarding how to make your AC last longer.

Regular Duct Cleaning

The ducts in your home play a vital role in delivering cool air to every room. Over time, these ducts can accumulate dust and debris, leading to poor air quality and a strain on your air conditioning system.

Consider calling our professional AC duct cleaners near San Jose, CA, for a thorough cleaning. Doing so can be one of the steps for how to make your AC last longer.

Regular Maintenance Checks

Like any other machine, regular check-ups and maintenance of your AC unit can help in identifying potential problems before they turn serious. By addressing these issues early, you can extend the lifespan of your AC.

Now that you know regular maintenance is one of the best ways to extend the life of your air conditioner, don’t wait until something goes wrong. Schedule a regular AC check-up with professionals. If you’re in need of any repairs, consider turning to experts like those at Trio Heating & Air Conditioning.

Schedule Your AC Services Today

Were you wondering how to make your AC last longer? As you can see, the key to a longer-lasting air conditioner is proactive care. Implementing these ways to extend the life of your air conditioner can significantly improve the life expectancy of your unit, provide better air quality, and even save on energy costs in the long run. Remember, it’s always better to take preventative steps now rather than dealing with costly repairs or replacements later on.

At Trio Heating & Air Conditioning, we can provide you with the services necessary to keep your AC unit functioning at its best. Whether you need routine maintenance or AC repair in San Jose, CA, we have you covered. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Why Is My Air Conditioner Blowing Warm Air?

Ever wonder why your air conditioner is blowing warm air? During the sweltering summer heat, the last thing you want is for your AC system to fail. A simple issue can transform your haven of cool comfort into a tropical nightmare, especially if your AC blows warm air instead of the chilled relief you expect. Let’s discuss some of the reasons this problem can occur and what you can do to fix it.

Potential Reasons for Your AC Blowing Warm Air

When the sizzling summer heat is at its peak, the last thing anyone would want to face is an air conditioner that blows warm air. It’s an unsettling situation that can turn any peaceful home into a sweaty turmoil. Learning why your air conditioner is blowing warm air might take some troubleshooting, but fortunately, it’s possible to get to the bottom of this issue with a little sleuthing. Let’s go over some of the most common causes for this problem in more detail below.

Thermostat Settings

Believe it or not, an incorrect thermostat setting could be why your AC blows warm air. It may seem straightforward, but ensuring your AC is set to cool and not set to auto or heat can solve the problem. If your settings are fine, then it’s time to delve deeper into the problem.

Refrigerant Leak

A common reason why an AC blows warm air is a refrigerant leak. The refrigerant levels in your air conditioning system are crucial for it to function properly. If there’s a leak, your AC will struggle to cool the air, resulting in it blowing hot air instead of the expected cooled air.

Dirty Air Filters

Your air conditioning system relies heavily on airflow to cool your space. Dirty air filters can restrict this airflow, causing the system to blow warm air. Regular cleaning or replacing the filters can prevent the AC system from blowing hot air.

Remember: routine maintenance of your HVAC system can help prevent issues like your conditioner blowing warm air. Regular checks for dirt and debris, maintaining refrigerant levels, and ensuring that your AC is set to cool, can help you avoid the predicament of your AC blowing hot air. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional technician to schedule your maintenance services.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

If your AC is still blowing warm air after checking the thermostat and filters, your next stop should be the evaporator coils. These coils can freeze if the airflow is restricted due to dirt or debris or low refrigerant levels. Frozen evaporator coils can stop your AC from properly cooling the air.

Issues With the Condenser Coil

The condenser coil, a vital part of your outdoor condensing unit, could be the culprit behind your AC’s disappointing performance. Dirt, debris, or damage can hinder its function, leading to warm air. Regular maintenance can ensure the condenser coil works effectively and your AC doesn’t blow warm air.

Steps Towards Fixing The Problem

Still wondering why your air conditioner is blowing warm air?” It’s time to consider professional help. Whether you’re dealing with a refrigerant leak, dirty air filters, or frozen evaporator coils, experts in the field can assist with fixing the problem so that your comfort can be restored.

For those looking for reliable services for air conditioning repair in San Jose, CA, the expert technicians at Trio Heating & Air Conditioning can be of assistance. We have extensive experience working with a wide range of air conditioning systems and can address the problem at the source.

Schedule Your AC Services Today!

“Why is your air conditioner blowing warm air?” is a question that no one wants to ask, especially during the scorching summer months. But with the right knowledge, regular maintenance, and quick responses, you can prevent or quickly rectify the issue.

Remember, if your AC blows warm air, it might just be a simple thermostat setting tweak, or it could be something more serious, like a refrigerant leak. Regularly replacing or cleaning your air filters and keeping an eye on the condenser coil can help avoid such problems. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to ensure your home remains your cool sanctuary even in the hottest weather.

Trio Heating & Air Conditioning offers comprehensive air conditioning services to meet your needs. Whether you need a minor repair, routine maintenance, or new AC installation in San Jose, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!