Thursday, January 5, 2017

Air Conditioning Repairs in Fort Worth, Texas

If your air conditioner has recently broken and your live in Fort Worth or the surrounding areas, you are likely one of two types of people. The first type of person spends a few seconds on Google, finds a reliable and honest air conditioning repair company that can come to their house quickly, and they book the soonest appointment available. They want relief fast and they value the expertise of a professional company

The second type of person whose AC breaks will often do a bit of research before picking up the phone. If their AC is icing up on the outside, this person may spend some time on Google finding out why the unit is icing (it is most like leaking freon). Once they feel they have a good idea of the problem, if they are skilled in mechanical repairs they may attempt to repair the problem themselves. Sometimes a unit may ice up simply because the filter is too dirty and needs to be changed. Diagnosing this type of problem may save a homeowner the money they would have spent hiring a company. And different companies have a huge range of prices, even for something as small as letting you know you needed to change your AC filter. Texas Discount Air has one of the lowest service call fees in Fort Worth and they only charge $29 for the service call, and this includes diagnosing the air conditioning problem.

Once this second type of customer feels they have a good idea of the problem, they may research common prices for this type of repair, or they may even order a part in anticipation of hiring an HVAC company to install the part. However, most HVAC companies will not use parts purchased by the customer because of warranty issues. The HVAC company does not know the true age of the part, whether it is truly brand new or if it is refurbished, etc., and so if the repair fails and the part is to blame, the HVAC company and the customer are back to square one.

However, if the air conditioning company uses their own part, they will stand behind both the part and the work -- and usually a good, licensed HVAC companies will come back for free to fix a failed repair.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

What Does "Ton" Mean for Air Conditioning?

You've called out an HVAC company for an AC or heating repair, but at some point realize that the best thing to do is buy new equipment. As you look at the different types of systems you can buy, you may come across 2-ton systems, 5-ton systems, and so forth. How do you know what is right for you?

Most homeowners are familiar with the phrase "ton" when it comes to AC's but don't know much about it and this causes some confusion when it comes to getting quotes on new systems etc. When dealing with residential HVAC (HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) systems, they come in sizes from 1-Ton to 5-Ton with the average being 3.5 tons.

So what is a ton? Does this mean the system weighs 3 tons? That would be 6,000 lbs. No, what Ton basically means is the cooling capacity of the system. Its equal to the amount of heat required to melt one ton of ice in a 24 hr period. So, a one-ton AC is rated at 12,000 BTU per hour. Still a bit confusing isn't it?

So lets do it this way, 1-ton can cool a house of about 600-900 sqft out here in Texas. A 2-ton can do 900-1200, a 3-ton can do 1500-1800, a 4-ton can do 2100-2400 and a 5-ton can do 2400-3000. What about the sizes in between you may ask? They would be 2.5 ton, 3.5 ton. There is no 4.5 ton however.

If your house has a current 3.5 ton system and you are changing your system, you most likely are not going to move up to a 4 and for sure aren't going down to a 3.

95% of homes that replace their systems just exchange it with the same size. Why? Because not much has really changed. Your insulation had certain R-factors back when it was built and all that. And so you might have more heat loss now but not really enough to justify going up to a 4. Also, the house had to be designed by engineers and they did a good job when they made your house and had to get it passed by the city inspector too. That's most cases.

In the case where you feel your system has never kept up, then you might go up a half ton, etc. But biggest is not better. You can't go from a 2-ton to a 5-ton thinking this is better. If you did, your system would run too short, humidity would be brutal in your house, and the system would have many many hard starts which would hurt it. 

So what should you do when you are buying and sizing for replacement? Rule of thumb? Just get the new system the same size or .5 ton bigger. Call your local HVAC company for quotes.

Nest Thermostats

Thinking about buying a Nest Thermostat? Good idea. Here is what to expect!

The best of the best, the Nest. It used to be that if you wanted a wifi thermostat there was Nest and then nothing. Though there really were other items on the market, they were clunky and didn't perform as well or as easy as the first generation Nest. Now that wifi thermostats have been out for awhile, there are many players.

I have used every single one, but still the Nest has remained on the top of the list. Why? It is super easy to use and super easy to install. There are "better" thermostats. By that I mean that there are thermostats that have really cool functions and real techie things and sub menus. This may appeal to a small percentage of people but not to the general populace.

The Nest can best be described as being the "iphone" of Thermostats. Its just very easy to use and set up and gives people what they want, a way to control a thermostat from their phone from anywhere in the world. It also looks cool, its like a snow globe mounted on the wall. It has no buttons, no levers, nothing. You push the glass for making selections and you turn the outer rim of the snow globe to select.

A lot of people know about Nest because it was really first to market with such a cool looking design. It is now in its 4th generation and has improved the font and features. Installing is very easy as well. Just turn off the Heater, disconnect your old thermostat and match the wires up. So if your old thermostat had the red wire on the R port then put it on the R port for the Nest. If though your old one had lets say a white wire on the G port you would not then put it on the W port on the Nest. It must go where it was regardless of color. This trips people up. Just match it like for like. Then turn the heater back on and the Nest will boot up. Follow the onscreen prompts. Couldn't be easier.

However, if you are looking for an air conditioning company to install it, because it is after all a very expensive piece of equipment, then call your local HVAC company for install. Also watch this video http://youtu.be/R06I3TaDVYk

Quick list of cool features:

*Can be turned on or off or up or down from anywhere you are at via a smart phone
*Has a learning function that learns your thermostat habits and after awhile will program itself
*Has an auto away feature that will default to an energy efficient setting if it doesnt see you in the room for awhile
*Large and easy to read display that glows blue for cooling and orange for heating. It even tells you the time it will take to reach the temp you are asking for.

*I want to make a quick statement about installation. Most people think that when they install a thermostat they need to turn off the breaker to the AC (air conditioning). This is false and will cause you to blow a fuse or transformer. Your thermostat does NOT get its power from the AC. It gets its power from the Heater (Furnace or Air Handler). The AC gets its commands from there as well. So simply turn off the breaker to the Heat, Furnace, Air Handler etc and then you can mess with the thermostat wires. They are low voltage anyway and are usually safe.

*Also people think that buying a thermostat will fix their HVAC problem they are experiencing. I can tell you this is rarely, rarely, rarely the case. Your thermostat is usually tied to 1% of your systems problems.

If you want to have your Nest Thermostat installed by a fully licensed and insured air conditioning company in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas, you can call Texas Discount Air for a great price on this service.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Air Conditioning & Heating Brands

There are many different AC & Heating brands in the United States. The one most people are familiar with is Trane. This isn't because Trane is such a great brand but because it is really the only brand that advertises to the general public using commercials and print Ads. Most manufactures just choose to advertise in HVAC contractor publications.

Since you can really only get equipment installed by an EPA licensed and certified company, most AC and Heater manufacturers only market to HVAC contractors. But Trane was smart in that it went straight to the homeowners and now homeowners will often ask an HVAC company if they sell Trane. Here is the brand rankings in their order. We tool into account cost, reliability, value, ease of repair, how long they last, etc. as well as what their car equivalent would be:

#1 Rheem- Rheem is just so faithful and reliable. This brand is arguably the best of all the brands. Even if you mistreat it and don't take good care of it it will still run faithfully. It would be equivalent to the best car Honda makes. Just reliable and long running

#2 Trane-Trane advertises heavy to the general public. It is a very good brand. It consistently performs well and lasts long. Their only problem is that they have made their units so that a large portion of their parts have to be replaced with Trane parts. This frustrates repair companies and costs them more and so they pass that cost to you. Trane would be a Toyota Camry.

#3 Lennox-This is a great Texas brand. It is very easy to repair and comes with a good standard warranty. Technicians also like working on this brand. Does not have the reputation of a Trane or Rheem but is still good. Lennox would be a Ford F-150

#4 Carrier- This company invented Air Conditioning. It has a great reputation and lasts long. They have 3 names associated with their brand, Bryant, Day & Night and Carrier. Carrier was recently in the news because President-elect Trump was able to get them to keep their manufacturing in the US instead of Mexico thus saving 1,000 American jobs. Good for Trump, good for Carrier, good for America. Carrier would be a Chevy Impala.

#5 Goodman, Amana, York- Not enough bad things can be said about these brands. They are not worth the metal they were made with. Most heating and air conditioning repair technicians will tell you that you want to stay away from these brands. The question naturally comes up "Why do I see these brands at so many new homes?" This is because they are so cheap. Builders of massive developments know this and so they purchase bulk amounts. All it has to do is last for about a year until the builder is off the hook and then it is not their problem. Do not buy these brands. Do yourself a huge favor and dont use a company that sells this brand. The car this would be is a Pinto or Daewoo.

#6 Off Brands-Any brands that are not listed above are not worth even ever being considered by the homeowner. Sometimes an HVAC contractor will try and sell this to a homeowner because he got a good deal. He will tell the homeowner that its a special brand or something. DO NOT ever go with these. They usually break within a year and are impossible to get parts for. How do you know which brands I am speaking of? If it isn't one of the ones above just don't buy it.


Heater Repair Companies in Fort Worth

Heater Repair companies in Fort Worth are various sizes and various reputations. When you want a great price and great service, Texas Discount Air based out of Fort Worth will provide both.

Texas Discount Air does heating repair, AC repair, and Heat Pump repair, plus all other HVAC repairs and installations. They are very reasonable price-wise. They are licensed and insured and give expert advice.

Their phone number is 682-214-HVAC(4822). They are a 24 hour service with $49 service calls that include the diagnosis fee. Sometimes they offer specials for heating repairs that include waiving the service fee if you go with the work.

If you want to find out if a company is licensed by the state to do HVAC work, you can research every company by going to www.tdlr.texas.gov. You will see if a company has a legitimate license number issued by the state.


Why is an Air Conditioning License Necessary?

Why is an HVAC license necessary when repairing your Air Conditioning & Heating Equipment? Why does it matter if the company that I call is licensed?

While most people know that having a license matters, many people  just don't know what skilled trades require a license and which ones don't. In Texas, a license is required for air conditioning/HVAC work, plumbing, electrical, and more. All of these licenses are issued by the state licensing board. You can search any company's license status by going to www.tdlr.texas.gov. This site easily lets you see what license the company holds.

If you have a company perform work at your house that is not licensed then you have no recourse when something goes wrong. You can tell the state but the state doesn't recognize that company and so there is very little recourse.

You will see many people in Craigslist and elsewhere that advertise and will stuff like "licensed & bonded/insured". Any company, whether licensed or not, can go out tomorrow and buy liability insurance. An insurance company would be more then happy to take their money. However, when a licensed company files with the State of Texas to operate it must show the state their proof of this liability insurance or the state will not issue a license number.

There are standards that have been made that each company has to abide by and be tested by. When somebody comes to your house and has not agreed to be held to these standards then you can rest assured they will not care what happens to your equipment or y our family. The risk is all on you.

An unlicensed company will often be cheaper because it can cut corners where a real company cannot. You might be able to tolerate this in a painter but you don't want that for your comfort systems like your heater and your AC.

And you especially want someone who is licensed and knows what they are doing when it comes to system that operates on gas, like a furnace. This is where the most severe damage can arise. To avoid any problems, I recommend you perform a quick check at the TDLR website to verify a license.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Easy diagnosis Part 2

3) If you determined that it blows air and have now went outside to the AC condenser then the first thing we want to do is to verify that you have given the command to the system to cool. Make sure you are telling the Thermostat AUTO-COOL-68 degrees. I say 68 just to be sure you set it low enough for the system to come on. Wait 5. Minutes after giving this command. Some thermostats have a built in anti short cycle that wont allow it to turn the outside on if it has tried in the last 5 minutes. This is so that you dont ruin the outside by starting and stopping quickly over and over again. Once the 5 minutes is over (and believe me you want to use a timer) if the unit does not turn on then check the AC breaker. Cycle this breaker and then set another 5 minutes. What happened? If you hear the compressor running and the fan spinning then go to #4. If you hear and see the fan running but dont hear the distinct sound of the compressor OR you hear the compressor but dont see the fan motor OR you hear the system try to come on every 30 seconds or so (usually what you hear is a brief hmmmmm  chhhkk) then you most likely have a bad Capacitor. You can turn the power off and open the compartment door and see what size you need. It will be written on the capacitor. It will say something like 60/5 or 45/7.5 or 30/10 or 55/7.5 etc. These numbers are important. They are the capacitor size. The biggest number is for the starting of the compressor and the lower number is for the fan motor. Search the internet about where to get one. I wrote an article about how much to pay for the most commonair conditioning and heating repairs and capacitor replacement is a common one.

4) So both the compressor and the fan motor are on. After running for 5 minutes put your hand on the fat copper line, it will usually be insulated. Just move the insulation and put your hand on it. It should feel like a cold beer. If it does not then the most likely problem is that you have low refridgerant. This is not something that you are allowed to repair by yourself. You need somebody licensed by the EPA to handle refridgerant.

5) On the off chance that putting a new capacitor in the unit does not start the fan motor but does start the compressor then you have a bad fan motor. The easiest way to determine this before even buying the capacitor is to feel the top of the motor. You can feel it just by touching the top of the cage that the motor is attached to. When the motor is bad it will be burning hot, like hot lava hot. You will feel the heat wafting off of the unit as you walk up to it. Replace this motor. Remember to get the right size, rpm, heat value, HP, voltage etc.