How to Tell if Your Air Conditioner Is Nearing the End of Its Life

April 13th, 2015

Every machine has a lifespan, up to and including HVAC systems. No matter how well you take care of them, or what precautions you take, they will eventually break down permanently and need replacement. You probably don’t want to wait until your air conditioner dies completely to replace it, as it will leave you without a cooling system at a time that you might need it.

Continue Reading

3 Furnace Issues That You Need to Know About

April 6th, 2015

Furnaces are among the most popular heating systems in the country. This happens to make furnace malfunctions among the most numerous heating problems in the country, as well. Furnace problems tend to be progressive in nature; that is, the longer they are left alone, the worse they get.

A quick response to furnace problems is the best way to prevent costly breakdowns and the premature death of the system. With that in mind, let’s have a look at 3 common furnace issues that you should know about:

1. Delayed or Failed Ignition

When a furnace is turned on, the ignition system lights the flow of natural gas in the burner assembly. This causes the burner assembly to ignite, and the system to start. Delayed ignition is when the burner assembly refuses to light, which prevents the system from operating. This is often caused by a carbon buildup on the burner assembly, which prevents the ignition system from having access to the natural gas. When the natural gas finally does ignite, it consumes all of the excess fuel at once, causing a loud booming sound.

Failed ignition is when the actual ignition system breaks down, making it impossible for the burner assembly to light at all. This can be caused by many different factors, depending on the type of ignition system. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have your furnace checked out if it is lighting slowly or not at all.

2. No Air Flow

If there’s no air being circulated by your furnace, it probably means there’s a problem with the system’s air handler. The air handler is the motor and fan that are responsible for circulating warm air throughout the house. If the bearings in the air handler motor wear down, they will increase the amount of stress that the motor is put under during operation. If not outfitted with new bearings, the motor will overheat under the increased friction and burn itself out. If you hear a grinding sound coming from your furnace, that means the bearings in the motor need to be replaced, you should have it checked immediately.

3. Short-Cycling

If your furnace is rapidly turning on and off, then it is short-cycling. This is when the furnace gets trapped in an endless cycle of overheating and shutting down, usually because of a clogged air filter. This kind of behavior will rapidly degrade the furnace, leading to more breakdowns and an early death. If you notice your furnace doing this, shut it down immediately and call a professional.

If your furnace is having problems, call Ultimate Air Conditioning. We provide furnace repair services throughout Sarasota, FL. 

With So Many Air Conditioning Installation Options, How Do I Choose?

April 2nd, 2015

When you think of all of the air conditioners you’ve seen in the homes of your friends and neighbors, it may seem as though most air conditioners are alike. However, once you begin the process of shopping around for a new AC system, you’ll realize quickly that this is not the case. Air conditioners come in different sizes with varying efficiency ratings. You can even install a different type of air conditioning system called a heat pump, which provides both air and heat through the ducts.

When you compare prices, efficiency, lifespans, sizes, and performance, you may become overwhelmed. Speak to a technician as soon as you begin planning for new air conditioning installation in Siesta Key. Ultimate Air Conditioning can help you every step of the way, from selecting a new unit to installation to the final inspection, and maintenance later on. Here’s why choosing a professional for installation and planning is so important:

  • Sizing – You can choose the most efficient air conditioning system available on the market today, but if it’s the wrong size for your home, it cannot run as intended. When it’s oversized, it will consume far more energy than it has to. And if it’s not big enough, it will run for longer to get your home up to the proper temperature. Sizing an AC is complicated as it involves complex engineering calculations, taking into account the layout, insulation, windows, and people in your home.
  • Efficiency – A professional is best able to help you find an air conditioning system with a high efficiency rating within your budget.
  • Performance – You want an air conditioner that not only saves you money but also runs smoothly. ENERGY STAR rated AC units only receive this coveted label if they run efficiently but still live up to the high standards homeowners have come to expect. Let a professional guide you toward the most powerful and efficient system for your home and install it in such a way that it remains reliable for years to come.

When you need quality air conditioning installation service in Siesta Key, don’t leave it up to chance. Trust in the proven track record of the air conditioning experts at Ultimate Air Conditioning. Give us a call today.

How Ductwork Repair Improves Efficiency

March 25th, 2015

The ducts in your home form a path so that the air conditioned by your HVAC system can travel into your home through an enclosed space. Your air conditioner will not stop running until your home reaches the proper temperature. But if there are holes and cracks in a duct, it will take a lot longer for your air conditioner to cool your home as desired.

It can be very difficult to detect whether your ductwork is in need of repair. Unless a duct has collapsed in a visible space, it will be very difficult to tell where—or whether—a duct is leaking without the proper professional services. When you call on the duct experts at Ultimate Air Conditioning, we’ll use special equipment to determine if the amount of leakage from your ducts in Lakewood Ranch is too high. After you schedule duct repair, you’ll notice that your air conditioner (and forced-air heater) runs far more efficiently than before.

If you have a collapsed duct or if there are minor cracks along the lining of the ducts, then you’re essentially paying to cool an unconditioned space. Your air conditioner must run for a very long time to cool down your home as the cool air cannot fill the room as quickly. You may also notice warm or cool spots around the home or even poor indoor air quality as your unit sucks in debris from the attic or crawlspace.

Most homeowners notice energy savings immediately after duct repair—but only if the service is performed by a professional. Amateur duct repair is difficult, to say the least. Furthermore, professionals have the tools to find even leaks that are well hidden, and to seal out-of-reach places. They also have the proper equipment for repair. We cannot stress this enough: standard home duct tape is not suitable for duct repair. While duct tape is ideal for many home improvement and crafting projects, it is not a good sealant and may even pose a fire hazard.

Call the duct experts at Ultimate Air Conditioning and ask about our professional ductwork repair service in the Lakewood Ranch area. Our technicians have all of the proper tools to find and repair leaks big or small.

3 Signs that Air Conditioning Repair Is Urgent

March 18th, 2015

Air conditioners have many components and moving parts, all of which can encounter trouble at some point in time. Some of these parts, such as the capacitors, are rather small when compared to other larger costlier parts like the compressor. So how can you tell whether the repair is urgent or not? When is it time for air conditioning repair?

Here at Ultimate Air Conditioning, we think you should treat every AC issue as a serious problem. Big or small, your air conditioning repair need can seriously affect the performance of your system as a whole. All of the other parts struggle to compensate for the loss, which means they may begin to wear down as well. Wait too long, and you’ll have multiple costly repairs on your hands that go far beyond the original issue. Here are just some of the signs to pay attention to that indicate you need air conditioner repair in Lakewood Ranch. When you notice these and any other problems, call Ultimate Air Conditioning.

  • Strange Noises – When your car begins making unusual noises, you know that something is not quite right. It’s easy to ignore sounds that are not too annoying or bothersome to your family members. But it’s most likely a sign that there is major trouble with your AC system. A rattling noise, for example, could be compressor damage, and a buzzing noise could mean a troublesome electrical problem.
  • Short Cycling – A short cycling air conditioning system will turn on when the temperature is too high, but shut off before the room has cooled down to the proper temperature. It may start up again shortly afterwards, continuously attempting to reach the desired temperature. While it may eventually cool down the room as needed, this issue requires urgent attention. It could be something as big as compressor damage or as little as a problematic thermostat.
  • Cooling Loss – If you don’t feel enough cool air from your vents, you should first check the thermostat. If everything seems right in this area, there could be a major issue that may soon lead to a total breakdown.

Speak to the friendly professionals at Ultimate Air Conditioning and ask about our air conditioning repair service in Lakewood Ranch at the very first sign of trouble.

Preparing Your Air Conditioning for Warmer Weather

March 11th, 2015

In Siesta Key, warmer weather is already here, but there may have been few days recently when you’ve felt the need to run your air conditioning system for very long. As the heat of summer approaches, it’s time to think about getting your air conditioner back up to speed. Since we use our AC systems sparingly in the warmer months, the parts may become dirty. Furthermore, the major components probably wore down to some degree in the previous cooling season.

Taking the steps to maintain your air conditioner can help to keep it running a lot more smoothly during the spring and summer months. One of these steps is to regularly replace your air filter. A dirty air filter keeps your blower fan from efficiently moving cool air into the rooms of your home. The fan may become overworked, as may some of the other parts if they have to work too hard to compensate for this deficiency. Most experts recommend replacing the filter every 1-3 months, depending on use.

By far, the most effective way to maintain your air conditioning system is by scheduling regular maintenance with a trained technician. Technicians take every step possible to get your system back into ideal conditions so that it can run effectively during the cooler months. They will clean any dirty components that could contribute to poor efficiency, such as the coils. The indoor and outdoor coils cannot help refrigerant to release and absorb heat if they are caked with a layer of dust. The technician should also make a few adjustments, tightening electrical connections, lubricating motors, and screwing in any loose parts as needed.

Your technician will also perform a thorough inspection of your unit and let you know if anything seems off. This way, you can schedule repairs now so that you don’t have to deal with a sudden breakdown in the future. Setting aside time for a tune up and inspection can make all the difference in your home comfort, energy spending, and repair costs through the warmer weather.

Schedule an appointment with Ultimate Air Conditioning for our comprehensive air conditioning services in Siesta Key from one of our team of highly trained technicians.

The Consequences of Delaying Air Conditioning Repair

March 4th, 2015

An air conditioner can run just fine for many years without needing any repairs. But unfortunately, no air conditioning system can work correctly forever. Eventually any AC unit will need repairs. And while it may not seem like an emergency if your air conditioner is slowing in performance, we recommend scheduling repairs right away at the very first sign of trouble.

Call the experts at Ultimate Air Conditioning as soon as you notice problems with your unit. We’ve been serving the Sarasota area since 1959, and we can keep your air conditioner in top shape or help you to find a replacement if the trouble is too severe.

Why You Should Call ASAP

If the air conditioning system is not running quite as well as it once did, it may not seem like such a big deal. Waiting just a little bit longer for the room to cool down means there’s a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s nothing you can’t tough out for a little bit longer, right?

On very hot days, air conditioning repairs can seem urgent, especially when a system is entirely broken down or if you have young children or people with illnesses in the home. But on the average day, AC repair may not be as pressing. However, there’s always a chance that temperatures can spike in the coming week and you’ll be stuck without air conditioning in the sweltering heat.

Air conditioning problems will not resolve themselves. In fact, in most cases, air conditioning problems actually worsen over time. Right now, the repair may be relatively simple for a trained technician. But wait too long, and your unit may become overworked, causing other parts to fail as well.

For example, a slow air blower fan may not seem to affect your home too much right now. But when you don’t get enough airflow into your AC unit, other components are affected as well. The inside coil may begin to freeze, which means the heat exchange process is no longer effective. Furthermore, this may result in water damage. This means you’ll need a technician to make multiple repairs, whereas a simple fan motor replacement may have been sufficient weeks ago.

Call the friendly people at Ultimate Air Conditioning immediately at the first sign that you need air conditioning repair in the Sarasota area. We have years of experience and we’ll do everything you can to restore your unit to top working order.

Problems that Result from Poor Duct Design

February 25th, 2015

For something so simple, ducts actually have a huge impact on the environment in your house. Those simple hallways, no more than shaped sheet metal, tubing, or cloth, have the power to affect not only your home’s climate, but the very quality of your air as well. Unfortunately, most ducts are installed quite poorly. Let’s explore some of the problems that result from poor duct design and installation.

Massive Energy Loss

The biggest problem with poor duct installation is that it tends to leave large holes in the duct. These are often the result of sections not being connected properly, or misaligned so that there are open areas for air to slip through. While a few leaks here and there may not seem like a big deal, they are actually quite problematic. According to the US Department of Energy, the average home forced air system loses up to 30% of its output to duct leaks. That means that nearly a third of your heater or air conditioner’s energy is being wasted every time you turn it on. You’re still paying for that 30% that goes to waste, resulting in much higher heating bills than you should be paying. All of this unnecessary cost is a direct result of poorly designed and installed ducts.

Decrease in Air Quality

Ducts aren’t just important for moving the air around your house; they help to keep your air clean, as well. The air inside the average home is infested with millions of microscopic pollutants like dust, germs, pollen, and pet dander. Ducts that are properly sealed are harder for these pollutants to infiltrate. Poorly installed ducts, however, serve as both a haven and transportation network for these particles. Moisture can also infiltrate ducts much more easily if they are misaligned, promoting mold growth that can be harmful to your air quality. The best way to ensure that your ducts, and therefore your air, remain as clean as possible is to have them installed correctly the first time.

If you think you may need your ductwork replaced, call Ultimate Air Conditioning. We provide professional ductwork replacement services throughout Siesta Key.

Can I Replace My Air Conditioning System with a Heat Pump?

February 16th, 2015

You absolutely can! Heat pumps have many great qualities that set them apart from other heating systems, one of which is the ability to provide both heating and cooling functions. While most homeowners have to have a separate system for both heating and cooling, those who have heat pumps only need one. This can be a huge advantage, as it saves both space and money that would otherwise be consumed by installing an air conditioner. Let’s take a look at how exactly a heat pump can work as both a heater an air conditioner.

How a Heat Pump Works

A heat pump is actually quite similar to an air conditioner in both construction and operation. There are two primary parts of a heat pump, the inside unit and the outside unit. The inside unit is the one connected to the home’s ductwork, while the outside unit is installed up to 100ft away from the house. The two units are connected by a conduit, which allows them to exchange vital resources like power and refrigerant.

Inside each unit is a coil, which is connected to the refrigerant line. These coils are a couple of the most important parts of the system. When the heat pump is turned on, one of the coils becomes an evaporator while the other becomes a condenser. In cooling mode, the inside coil is the evaporator while the outside coil is the condenser. The inside unit evaporates refrigerant inside its coil, drawing heat from the air inside the home and into the gaseous refrigerant. The refrigerant gas then travels down the refrigerant line to the outside unit, where it is condensed back into a liquid. This releases the heat out into the air. Air conditioners operate the exact same way, not actually blowing cold air into your home so much as taking the warmth out of it.

What makes a heat pump capable of heating as well as cooling is its ability to reverse the flow of refrigerant, taking heat from outside and releasing it in the home. This is what separates it from a simple air conditioner.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of installing a heat pump, call Ultimate Air Conditioning. We provide air conditioning installation throughout Sarasota.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Ultimate Air hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.