Can an Air Conditioner Suffer from Corrosion?

April 17th, 2014

Although air conditioners remove moisture from the air during the cooling process, with the water vapor condensing along the indoor coil, homeowners usually do not think of an AC as a system that can develop rust or other kinds of corrosion. An air conditioner is constructed so that the moisture from evaporation drips down into a condensate pan and leaves the system through a drain, keeping rust damage away from the coils.

But air conditioners can develop corrosion, and from a source people often do not consider. If an AC begins to corrode, it will need repairs immediately before the corrosion grows into a serious issue. Call Ultimate Air Conditioning in Sarasota, FL for air conditioning help that will keep corrosion from ruining your pleasant spring and summer indoor temperatures.

Formicary Corrosion and Your Air Conditioner

The corrosion that can afflict an AC is call formicary corrosion. It appears in copper-based alloys, such as the refrigerant lines that run through many air conditioners. It is difficult to see this corrosion without magnification, so it will often start without people realizing that it. The early warning signs are gray, black, or blue discoloration along copper surfaces. It takes repair specialists to identify formicary corrosion.

This corrosion happens because of copper’s exposure to organic acids (formic and acetic) often found in air pollution, which can easily enter your home’s ventilation system. Most of these acids come from household products and building material. The EPA list of products that can contain organic acids include adhesives, plywood, silicone caulking, latex and oil-based paint, vinegar, cosmetics, vinyl flooring, cleaning solvents, wallpaper, particle board, and disinfectants.

Although the holes formicary corrosion creates along the copper lines of an HVAC system are small, they are enough to allow the escape of the vital refrigerant in the system. This will lead to icing along the coils and damage to the compressor, putting your cooling at risk. Repair technicians will need to fix the holes (replacement of the corroded section is usually necessary) and recharge the refrigerant.

You can help prevent formicary corrosion with increased ventilation in your house. Try to spend at least an hour or so each day with your air conditioner turned off and doors open in your home—if the outdoor temperature will permit it. You’ll save on your cooling bills and reduce the chance of corrosion on your AC.

Please take this danger to your air conditioning in Sarasota, FL seriously. Any fault in your AC’s cooling power may indicate loss of refrigerant through formicary corrosion—and you cannot easily locate this problem on your own, let alone fix it. Call for professional repair technicians. Ultimate Air Conditioning has helped people restore their ACs since 1959, so trust to our experience when your cooling is having issues.

3 Things to Check on Your Air Conditioning Before Summer Starts

April 10th, 2014

A summer in Sarasota will push your home’s air conditioning system to its limits. Making sure that your AC can handle this level of stress is crucial for a pleasant season inside your house. Before the major heat waves of summer arrive, take some time to prep your home’s cooling system. Here are three specific things you can check on your air conditioning to help see that it is able to handle another Florida summer.

If you need to have air conditioning repair in Sarasota, FL, trust to the experience of Ultimate Air Conditioning. 

Check these 3 things on your air conditioner

  1. The air filter: The air filter protects the internal components of the system from damage that might come from debris entering the return air vents. If the filter is clogged or damaged it will severely affect the air conditioner’s performance. Change out the filter for a fresh one to start the season with clean operation.
  2. The thermostat: Turn on your air conditioner and run through different settings on the thermostat. Does the air conditioner respond to the thermostat? Does the cooling power coming from the vents seem to match the thermostat’s setting? Do the fans on the AC run continually after you shut off cooling? If you notice any odd behavior, you may have a thermostat wiring or miscalibration issue. The problem could also come from the air conditioner itself. Call for repairs if you have any thermostat trouble.
  3. The outdoor unit: It’s easy to forget about the outdoor unit of a central AC and assume that it’s doing its job. However, if the outdoor cabinet doesn’t have a clear area around it, it will lose its efficiency at heat exchange (releasing heat from indoors) and possibly sustain damage. Over winter, debris, brush, and gravel can gather around the outdoor unit. Clear away any obstructions and make sure the outside half of the AC has nothing interfering with it.

Repairs and maintenance from HVAC professionals

Another important step to prepare your air conditioning system for summer is to schedule regular maintenance with an HVAC technician. This inspection and tune-up will reduce the chances of repairs in summer and keep your system working at higher efficiency. Maintenance will also catch any current repair needs so you can schedule them in time for summer.

Contact Ultimate Air Conditioning to sign up for our Ultimate Air Maintenance Agreement and give your cooling systems a great start to the summer. Remember us for air conditioning repair in Sarasota, FL whenever your AC needs it.

Should You Prepare for Summer with New AC Installation?

April 3rd, 2014

During the summer, Sarasota can experience blisteringly hot days. June and July have average highs of 90°–91°, and even the average lows hover the mid-70s. This sort of heat requires an air conditioner with the best endurance possible and the most efficient operation. Do you think your home’s AC can handle the upcoming summer? Or has the time arrived to retire the old unit and bring in a fresh system?

The answer to that question depends on a number of factors; we’ll help you sort through some of them here, but for a solid answer you’ll need to talk to experts who can analyze your current system and your home’s needs for cooling. Call Ultimate Air Conditioning, experts in air conditioning installation in Sarasota, FL since 1959, and trust to us to help you make the choice.

Why your AC may need replacement

The main reason that an air conditioner needs a good hard look to see if it should get sent out to pasture is its age. Each air conditioning unit will have a different manufacturer’s expected lifespan, but the general range is 10–14 years. Almost any AC that reaches its 15th year will begin to suffer from inefficient operation and should be replaced.

There are other signs that will help you determine that your AC has gone past its prime and is wearing down rapidly. The first will appear on your utility bill. When an air conditioning system has a failing component, you can expect to see an uptick on your bills. But if the bills escalate and do not drop because of maintenance or repairs, then it’s time to think about new installation.

Another sign is the amount of repairs you have to schedule to keep an older air conditioner going. If it takes more than $500 of professional repairs for the system to make it through a year, then it’s no longer worth keeping around, and a new installation is economically wiser.

Finally, consider your comfort level. Does your AC no longer seem to keep your home as cool as before, even with the same level of care and attention? If it’s getting older —you should schedule replacement services.

New installation is a big step, so to make sure it’s the right step, contact Ultimate Air Conditioning and we’ll send a technician to check if your current air conditioner is ready for replacement. Our installers will help you pick the best new system possible for air conditioning installation in Sarasota, FL.

Reasons Your Air Conditioning Might Be Leaking

March 27th, 2014

In addition to cooling the air in your home, your central air conditioning system also removes some moisture from the air.  As the air conditioner cools the air inside your house, moisture condenses along the coils. You have probably noticed the sound of dripping inside your air conditioner while it works to keep you cooled down, but you shouldn’t see the air conditioner actually leaking.

If you do notice liquid dripping from your air conditioner, it usually means a malfunction that requires professional repairs. Call for technicians right away to investigate and fix the problem. Ultimate Air Conditioning has helped people with air conditioning in Sarasota, FL since 1959, so put your trust in us to help stop your AC from leaking.

Why Leaks Can Occur

When you see something leak from you air conditioner, it isn’t necessarily water. However, we’ll look first at how water leaks can start.

The reason that you don’t normally see the water from condensation leaking out of an AC cabinet is that the water drips into a condensate pan, and a drain line from the pan safely removes the water so it won’t fall onto other components or out of the cabinet. However, the drain line can develop clogs from growths inside it (this is unfortunately a common occurrence in Florida) or the connection can come loose. Because the condensate pan is only a few inches deep, blockage in the drain line will rapidly cause the water to overflow the pan. Repair technicians will need to remove the pan to safely drain the water and then fix whatever is wrong with the drainage system.

The other possible source of leaking in your AC is the refrigerant. This is the chemical blend that flows through the coils and lines of the air conditioner and carries out the heat exchange, transporting heat from indoors and releasing it to the outdoors as it shifts from liquid to gas and back again. Refrigerant does not dissipate during heat exchange, but damage along the line or loose connections anywhere can cause refrigerant to begin leaking. This needs to be repaired quickly: loss of refrigerant causes damage to the compressor and will lead to the upset of the heat exchange balance. Ice will form over the evaporator coils and the AC will rapidly start to lose its cooling power. Repair technicians will need to seal the leaks and recharge the refrigerant to its proper level.

Call the trained repair staff at Ultimate Air Conditioning when you need help stopping leaks in your air conditioning in Sarasota, FL. This is an AC problem you cannot afford to ignore.

Sarasota Air Conditioning Repair: Damaged Fan Blades

March 19th, 2014

Here in Sarasota, air conditioning season is already getting underway as mild winter temperatures give way to our long, warm Florida summers. Spring makes the ideal time to plan for air conditioning repair, since you still have the flexibility to schedule it according to your timetable (as opposed to scrambling after a breakdown during the heat of summer). This is particularly true for one specific repair: damaged fan blades and the trouble they can cause.

You have a few different fans in your AC system, including the fan is responsible for blowing cool air from the air conditioning unit itself into your home. When it gets damaged, the air won’t flow as quickly into your home and the air conditioner will need to work harder in order to fulfill its duties. This harms you in the short term because it increases the monthly energy cost of cooling your home. It also harms you in the long-term because it increases wear and tear on the unit: increasing the risk of repairs and shortening the air conditioner’s lifespan over time.

The causes of the problem are myriad, but you can usually see the issue apparent on the fan itself. Damage can cause the fan blades to be bent out of shape or even broken off. Twigs and other debris can get caught in the condenser fan blade as well, causing it to seize up. You might also see damage in the fan motor, which could overload by having to compensate for the damaged fan blades.

In any case, the solution to the problem is usually replacing the fan blades before the damage costs you more money. Here in Sarasota, air conditioning repairs of this sort can be performed by the experts at Ultimate Air Conditioning. Call us today to make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

How Important are SEER and HSPF for Choosing a Heat Pump?

March 12th, 2014

Deciding to have a heat pump installed is an important step toward receiving superior indoor comfort in your home all year round. However, your choices don’t stop there: you have to find the right type and size of unit, and you’ll need to balance a number of factors to make sure you install the right heat pump for your home. One import set of criteria for heat pumps are their SEER and HSPF ratings. We’ll look at how important these are when it comes to choosing a heat pump.

You’ll need the assistance of HVAC specialists for many of the steps of choosing a heat pump. Call our staff at Ultimate Air Conditioning, where we’ve helped Sarasota, FL with heat pump repair, installation, and maintenance since 1959.

The Importance of Efficiency

SEER and HSPF measure how efficiently a heat pump uses power to run. SEER measures how much energy (measured in watt-hours) the heat pump uses to lower the indoor temperature, while HSPF measures the energy used to raise the indoor temperature. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump. Since heat pumps are more efficient at cooling than heating, SEER is a larger number than HSPF for any given unit. Heat pumps average 14–20 SEER and 9–10 HSPF.

An efficient heat pump is important if one of your goals for the installation is to lower your power bills. Even with the lower HSPF, heat pumps improve tremendously. However, the higher the SEER/HSPF, the more expensive the unit.

Although efficiency for a unit is important, it isn’t the only factor to consider. High-efficiency units cost more than standard ones, and your budget plans may work better with a unit with lower SEER/HSPF. Also, you need to make sure that you have a unit that works effectively at bringing you heating and cooling. A unit with fantastic efficiency ratings won’t bring you any comfort if it isn’t powerful enough for your home.

This is where you’ll find the work of HVAC experts invaluable. Heat pump installers know all about how to find the right sized unit to provide you with the level of comfort you want. They’ll help you weigh your budget with SEER and HSPF rating so you’ll receive the best long-term savings from your investment.

Ultimate Air Conditioning provides comprehensive services for heat pumps. We will help you select, size, and install your new system so you receive the best comfort possible. After that, we can provide you with the maintenance and heat pump repair in Sarasota, FL that will keep your system running for many years so you will get the maximum value from its efficiency.

3 Common Myths About Furnaces

March 3rd, 2014

Many homes in Sarasota rely on traditional forced-air furnaces for their heating. However, many people still cling to myths and misunderstandings about how their heating operates. As a result, they often waste money in unnecessary energy costs and may even increase the risks of a serious breakdown. Here are 3 common myths about furnaces that you should be aware of.

  • “Turning the temperature way up will heat the home more quickly.” Most furnaces have only one fan setting and very few have more than two or three at the most. That means that setting your temperature higher won’t make the house heat up any faster. All it will do is cost your heater unnecessary energy, especially if you leave the heat on after it reaches it’s normal temperature.
  • “A more efficient furnace will automatically save me money.” If you install a more efficient furnace, it will save you money provided you run it the same amount of time you ran the old one. If you use it excessively, the costs will still go up and you’ll still end up paying more than you did.
  • “There’s no need to adjust the thermostat at night or when I am away.” The cost of heating your house depends on the difference between the indoor temperature and the outdoor temperature. The lower the difference, the less energy your system is using. Because of that, it pays to set your thermostat to a lower temperature when you are away at work of home sleeping.

Understanding common myths about furnaces is key to helping yours run as efficiently as it can. You can help further by scheduling repair and maintenance sessions with the experts at Ultimate Air Conditioning. We handle all sorts of problems with heating in Sarasota, and our trained staff is dedicated to your complete satisfaction. If you experience any problems with you furnace, give us a call immediately!

Should You Bother With Heating Repair Now That the Weather’s Warmer?

February 24th, 2014

We live in Florida, which is famous for its brief, mild winters and long humid summers. In light of that, furnaces and other heating systems tend to take a back seat to air conditioning systems, and may not always receive the attention they need. We get our share of cold nights in the winter, but most people gloss over the good job our heaters do, focusing instead on the needs of their air conditioning system.  With winter coming to a close, it can be tempting to once again defer heating repair services. Should you bother with heating repair now that the weather’s warmer? In point of fact you should, and indeed now is the perfect time to take care of those heating repair questions that have been worrying you.

Obviously, pressing heating repairs need to be taken care of quickly in order to keep you unit functioning, but milder repairs can be more readily put off. Such problems can often drain energy from your heater – forcing it to work harder and costing you more money – but won’t actually stop the heater from functioning.

In those circumstances, the end of heating season is actually the ideal time to schedule repairs. You don’t need your heater for everyday use anymore, so you can schedule a time at your leisure without having to suffer through an unduly cool home. Because you’re going to go many months before using the heater again, you have the time to set a schedule that’s right for you, instead of rushing to fix a problem that needs your immediate attention. And the added time allows you to be more thorough in the process, spotting and correcting any other lingering issues, then dealing with them in one fell swoop.

Should you bother with heating repair now that the weather’s warmer? Of course you should. Even here in Sarasota, FL, heating repair needs to take place sooner or later, and the end of heating season gives you the most options in handling it. Ultimate Air Conditioning is standing by to take care of your heating repair, and we always do a thorough job no matter what the season. Call us today to make an appointment.

Reasons Your Heat Pump Keeps Shutting Off Too Soon

February 17th, 2014

A problem that can sometimes afflict heat pumps is “short-cycling.” This describes when a heat pump shuts off too early during it heating or cooling cycle before it can provide adequate temperatures. Homeowners usually notice this when the heat pump turns on and off numerous times instead of maintaining a regular temperature.

Short-cycling is not only bad for your comfort, it’s bad for your heat pump and your budget. A heat pump that short cycles will wear down faster and need repairs sooner. It will also drain extra power, since a heat pump uses the most energy when it starts up.

We’ll look at the reasons that short-cycling can occur in a heat pump and what you can do about it. If you need repairs or new heat pump installation in Sarasota, FL, call Ultimate Air Conditioning, where we have provided comfort to homeowners since 1959.

Why Short-Cycling Can Occur

A common cause for short-cycling is thermostat issues. The thermostat is responsible for sensing the temperature in a home and turning the heat pump on and off when appropriate. If the thermostat becomes miscalibrated, it will sense inaccurate temperatures, which can cause the heat pump to shut off prematurely, either in heating or cooling mode. The thermostat might also be installed in a poor location, where it’s exposed to direct sunlight or drafts, resulting in false readings that can also lead to short-cycling.

The worst-case scenario for why a heat pump might begin to short cycle is that it was incorrectly sized before it was installed. A heat pump needs to be sized for the space it is supposed to heat and cool, which usually requires a professional to perform a heat load calculation in the home and then use it to determine the amount of BTUs of heating and cooling necessary. If amateur installers put in your heat pump, there is a high chance that they installed too large a unit, which results in short cycling: the heat pump will rapidly reach the target temperature and shut off before finishing the heating cycle.

If you need repairs to your heat pump to deal with short cycling, or if the answer to the trouble is new heat pump installation in Sarasota FL, you can put your trust in Ultimate Air Conditioning for quality service.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Ultimate Air Conditioning hope you have a pleasant February 14th.