The phasing out of R22 Refrigerant: What You Need To Know

R22 is a refrigerant commonly known as Freon. It was and is still being used in many home and commercial air conditioning systems as a coolant; however, it is in the process of being phased out in favor of the more environmentally friendly coolant option, R410A.

Now may be the best time to consider investing in the new, more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective air conditioning systems. But first, let’s understand why.

In 1987, the United States signed an international environmental agreement, which outlined a plan to phase out the use of R22. Essentially, the provisions were to completely phase out R22 by the year 2030.

So, while we still have ten years to go until the complete phase out, there are important considerations if your air conditioning system still uses R22. Here are a few things you need to know about this phase-out as these changes take effect this year.

Since 2010, all new air conditioners and air conditioning equipment has been required to use R410A instead of R22. This was the first phase in the eventual phase out.

The second phase occurs now, in the year 2020, where R22 is now illegal to produce. What does that mean for you and your home or commercial air conditioning system? Well, you don’t necessarily have to replace your entire system right away. If it was purchased prior to the 2010 regulation, and it still uses R22, Freon, you can still use it; however, you may find it is more expensive (although not impossible) to replenish your cooling system. And, since it is now illegal to produce, the supply will become even more hard to find.

So, if you’re air conditioning system still uses R22, now is the best time to look into replacing your air conditioning system. Consider how frequently you need your current air conditioning system serviced? Depending on how often you need service, you could be throwing money away. At Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning, our team of experts can assess your needs and work with you to determine the best air conditioning system for your home or business. And, we can recommend models that are the most energy-efficient to save you time and money.

R22 will be completely phased out in just ten short years, by the year 2030. Contact Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today for a free consultation. We will evaluate your current air conditioning system and make a professional recommendation to replace it with a new air conditioner system that is ideal for your home or business.

Benefits of an Upgrade to Your Air Conditioner

If you have an air conditioner that has reached or exceeded its manufacturer’s estimated lifespan, then you should start considering replacing it. If the AC shows signs that it’s wearing down, has started to cost more and more to operate, or runs up high bills for repairs, then you should stop considering replacement and schedule it right away. Aside from avoiding breakdowns, you’ll save money with the new higher efficiency systems now available.

However, if you have a younger AC, you don’t need to replace it entirely to have better comfort, performance and efficiency. You can instead make a number of upgrades: a state-of-the-art thermostat, a new outdoor unit, or a zone control system. There are some excellent benefits from going with a number of cost-effective AC upgrades.

To find out about the available upgrades for your air conditioning system in Redlands, CA, contact the specialists at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. Since 1980, homeowners and business owners in the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities have looked to us for cooling solutions.

How AC upgrades will benefit you

  • A new thermostat… If you have a manual thermostat or an older digital model, there’s a new world open to you for better comfort and energy savings. With a programmable thermostat model, you can have your home always cooled down when you need it, such as setting the air conditioner to turn on a half hour before you come home, eliminating the need to run the system continually and waste energy. New Wi-Fi enabled thermostats go a few steps beyond this, putting the power to control your home’s temperature in your hands wherever you have Internet or Wi-Fi access. These systems also allow you the freedom to move the thermostats to different rooms in the house, helping with zone control. Speaking of which…
  • Zone control systems… This upgrade to your AC fits into the ductwork and divides your home into several “zones” that use separate temperature controls. The benefit of this is energy savings from no longer needing to cool down every room in the house at one time. You’ll have superior comfort as well, tailored for each room.
  • A new outdoor condenser… If you want a major leap in your cooling efficiency without needing to replace the whole AC system, you can choose to replace only the outdoor compressor unit. A new unit will have elevated efficiency, saving you money, and the installation will not interfere substantially with your life because most of the work takes place outside.

Keep in mind there’s a basic “upgrade” you can do each year: a maintenance visit from a professional that will prevent your AC from suffering a downgrade. During a maintenance session, you can ask your technician about recommendations for upgrades. 

Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule maintenance, as well as tips for upgrading your air conditioning in Redlands, CA.

Ways to Save Money on Air Conditioning This Summer

Summer is coming, and considering the last month we’ve had, a lot of people would argue that it’s already here. Here in San Bernardino, air conditioning systems will be called upon like never before to keep those sweltering Inland Empire temperatures at bay. Most of us have come to accept the reality that we’ll be paying higher bills this summer to keep our homes cool, but that acceptance may hide the fact that you’re paying more than you should. You can find ways to save money on air conditioning this summer, helping keep the pinch in your pocketbook to a minimum. It starts with simple steps you likely learned about in grade school: dress lightly, drink plenty of cool liquids and set your thermostat a few degrees higher than you normally would. You can make more serious inroads, however, with help from your local San Bernardino air conditioning service technician at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning.

For starters, make sure you schedule a maintenance session for your air conditioner before things go too much farther. This will clean off any dust on the interior (which lowers friction), tighten any loose bolts (which keeps components from rattling in their housings), and recharge low refrigerant (which ensures that you system can still produce cool air). To that, you can perform an energy audit on your home to find spots where it could use some care, then take steps to address any “weak points” (for instance, by adding weather stripping to cracks under doors). You should also look into more formal upgrades to your air conditioner – like zone controls that let you shut off the cool air in parts of the home you aren’t using – which can help trim costs without skimping on the cool air your need to feel comfortable.

For more ways to save money on air conditioning this summer, give the experts at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning a call. Air conditioning is going to be more important than ever this summer, but that doesn’t mean you should pay more for it than you have to. Our trained professionals are standing by to give you a hand, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Strange Noises in Your Air Conditioning

Scientists have yet to invent self-repairing air conditioners, and the ACs found in homes do not come equipped with a computer that can analysis malfunctions and correctly report any problems to their owners. When it comes to detecting that your air conditioning system has a repair need so you know to call for a professional technician, you have to use other clues. One of the most important of these is sound.

Odd noises from either the indoor or the outdoor cabinet of your AC almost always means that something is wrong with the system. Don’t ignore these warnings: call for air conditioning repair in Palm Springs, CA from Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We have more than 30 years of history taking care of the AC needs of the Desert Communities, and there isn’t a malfunction that we haven’t seen—or remedied.

What Those Noises Could Be Telling You

The odd sounds from your air conditioning could indicate problems large or small. However, small problem willbecome large problems if they are ignored, so you should call for repairs no matter what.

  • Hissing: This sound often warns that there is refrigerant escaping somewhere in the system. Low refrigerant will cause a drop in cooling, but worse, it can potentially cause damage to the compressor (leading to it overheating and burning out) and lead to ice developing across the indoor evaporator coil. Low refrigerant must be remedied as soon as possible.
  • Mechanical grinding, groaning, shrieking: These noises are often a warning of trouble with the motors, such as low lubrication or dirt on the bearings. The motors may burn-out if not attended to, which will lead to non-functioning fans or the compressor.
  • Striking and banging: This is often trouble in the blower or the outdoor fan due to damage that has bent the blades, leading to the fan striking the outer casing. If not repaired, this damage will spread to other components and lead to even large repairs.
  • Clicking at start-up: If you hear clicking noises as the air conditioner’s compressor comes on, it usually indicates that the capacitors that start the motors and keep them running are starting to fail. When capacitors fail, the motors will no longer be able to run.

Any unusual sound from an AC means that the system is wearing down someplace where it shouldn’t, and you can expect to start paying more on your electric bills until the air conditioner stops working entirely. The moment that you detect one of these noises, shut down the AC and call a skilled professional.

You can depend on the team at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning to handle any needs you have for air conditioning repairs in Palm Springs, CA. We have 24-hour emergency service available, so you don’t have to let that warning sound in your AC continue for one moment longer than necessary.

Here’s Why You Should Leave Your Air Conditioning Installation To A Professional

For homeowners throughout the Palm Springs area, air conditioning is not merely a luxury or a pleasant accessory to their homes, it’s an absolute necessity. With some of the highest temperatures in the country, residents of the area know how hot it can get during the summer, which means that their air conditioners have to work hard to combat the heat levels. Whatever type of system you have, and whatever condition it is in, it will inevitably endure significant wear and tear in this region. That’s what makes professional air conditioning installation so critical to your future comfort. If you’re in the market for a comprehensive cooling solution for your new home, or you want to replace your existing system with a highly energy efficient unit, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today. We can make sure that your air conditioning installation in Palm Springs, CA is completed professionally.

Let’s take a look at what makes installation so important:

  • Size. Perhaps more so than any other single factor, the size of your AC will continue to impact your cooling experience long after the installation is done. An overly small system suffers from high energy costs and the risk of inadequate cooling, while an overly large system suffers from short-cycling. Pro installation ensures that you have an AC that matches the size of your living space.
  • Reliability. Simply put, you need your AC to last. One of the main benefits of pro installation is that you know the job is done right, which means that you can rely on your AC to work hard for you, despite the temperature outside. Amateur and DIY installation can lead to faulty connections, which can further lead to premature breakdowns and frequent repairs down the line.
  • Quality. A new air conditioning system is a major investment of your time and resources. It’s not something you do very often, and your home’s comfort and convenience will depend upon it for years to come. High quality equipment is incredibly important to ensure a great cooling experience, but equally important is the quality of the installation itself. Only by hiring a knowledge professional can you expect great performance.

Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today for all of your air conditioning installation needs in Palm Springs, CA.

How Can I Lower My Air Conditioning Bills at the End of Summer?

We can expect to suffer from many more hot days in August through September, and even October here in the deserts of Southern California. That means plenty more work for our air conditioning systems. If you’re already tired of seeing high electrical bills this summer, there are some ways you can increase your home’s energy efficiency with your AC and cut down on costs for the rest of the season. Below are some energy-saving methods for the rest of the summer.

  • Clean/change the air filter if you haven’t already: It’s easy to forget to regularly clean or change the air filter in the HVAC system. This filter must be either swapped out or cleaned every 1 to 4 months, or clogging will force the AC to strain and begin to waste power. If you haven’t yet cleaned/changed the filter this summer, it’s probably overdue for the service.
  • Know the best energy-saving thermostat settings: When the heat rises past 100°F, you’ll be tempted crank the thermostat to as low a temperature as possible. On most thermostats, the lowest setting is 60°F, but this will create a huge amount of energy waste in your house without really giving you better comfort. Your home doesn’t get cooler any faster when the thermostat is set low; it only commits the AC to working longer. A good energy-saving setting for the thermostat during the day is 78°F. You can often reduce your air conditioning’s electrical usage by 25% thanks to maintaining higher thermostat settings.
  • Raise the thermostat temperature at night: You need less cooling during the night because your body is at rest. Set the thermostat ahead by 8°–10°F when you’re asleep. (Having a programmable thermostat will make this much easier.)
  • Replace your aging AC with a high-efficiency unit: This is the most drastic change, but if one of the reasons for your high bills is that the air conditioner is 15 to 20 years old or more, than the best choice for saving money is to replace it. A high-efficiency AC will quickly start to pay for its installation, and you’ll have many years to enjoy the benefits.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Beaumont, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

What to Do Before the Cooling Season is Over

Yucaipa air conditioning concerns go beyond simple comfort into legitimate health issues. We live in a desert, and our air conditioning systems are the first, best line of defense against scorching triple-degree temperatures. It can be tempting to breathe a sigh of relief as cooling season comes to and end: when we can turn off our air conditioners and give our electric bills a break. Before that happens, however, it pays to take a few steps to help keep your air conditioner running at its peak. Here’s what to do before cooling season is over.

  • Schedule a maintenance session with a qualified service technician. A full summer of use can result in a lot of wear and tear on your system, as parts wear down and fittings become loose. If refrigerant lines develop a leak, you could see a drop in refrigerant levels, which might lead to more serious problems later on down the line. A maintenance session can address all of those issues before the season ends, leaving your air conditioner ready to go in the spring when temperatures start to rise again.
  • Clear the outside unit of weeds and plant growth. Twigs, leaves and other detritus can cause lots of damage if they slip into your air conditioner, and summertime growth can be quite extensive at the end of the season. Do a little gardening by clearing the air conditioner unit of any nearby leaves, vines and branches. It will leave the air conditioner much less vulnerable to those sorts of problems.
  •  Consider an upgrade. You can help save energy before next summer by making alterations or upgrades to your existing unit. For example, you can replace an older thermostat with a programmable one, allowing it to turn on and off automatically when you go to work. Or you can set up a zone control system, allowing you to only cool those parts of the house you’re using. Both will save a great deal of energy, and the end of the cooling season gives you plenty of time to schedule an installation.

If you know what to do before the cooling season is over, call on Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning to help. We handle Yucaipa air conditioning issues of all varieties, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Late Season Air Conditioning Upgrades

In the California deserts, our hot season stretches far into the fall, so keeping an air conditioner in good shape is important. But perhaps you’re looking to get a bit more from your system: better quality cooling, more cost-efficient performance. Here are a few upgrades to consider installing for the late season. The Yucaipa air conditioning technicians at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning are available to perform the installations you need for an improved AC.

Programmable thermostat: One of the best investments you can make in an air conditioner is to install a programmable thermostat. If you don’t have one, you could be spending additional money on your electric bills while not getting the highest quality cooling. Programmable thermostats give you precise control over the temperature that the sliders on manual thermostats won’t allow. They also take care of reducing cooling when your home is empty, and increasing it before you return each day.

Wi-Fi-Enabled and Wireless Thermostats: This is the next step up from a programmable thermostat. Take advantage of modern wireless technology to control your air conditioner remotely—from any spot where you have smart phone coverage or a computer with Internet access. You don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving the AC on when you go to work. If you’re running late getting home, you can stop the air conditioner from switching on hours before you return.

Ductless mini splits: What if you decide the best upgrade is to upgrade the whole system? If you inherited an older AC with your home, this may be the best option. One replacement system to consider is a ductless mini split. These ACs operate with interior and exterior units just like central air conditioners, but in place of ducts, they use mounted blowers in different rooms. Ductless mini splits can remove the hassles of having ducts and also permit temperature control over individual parts of your home.

If you are in the market to upgrade your air conditioner, Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning can provide you with the know-how and skill to help. We handle the upgrades listed above, as well as all types of repairs. Our friendly technicians will perform proper installation so your upgraded air conditioning in Yucaipa does exactly what you want it to do.

My AC Is Getting Old… Is It About to Run Out of Refrigerant?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningThe question above has a number of answers, because it touches on a number of different topics when it comes to how air conditioners operate and how best to handle an air conditioner that’s been around for a couple of blistering summers out here in the Southern California deserts. There are three topics to address:

  • How old an AC need to be before it’s considered “too old.”
  • How refrigerant works.
  • Air conditioning system replacement.

Let’s take them one at a time to give you a full answer to the question in the title. If you want further assistance from specialists in air conditioning in Palm Desert, CA, you only have to give us a call.

Air Conditioning System Age

Okay, so you think your air conditioner is getting old. How many years has it been in service? The standard central air conditioner can last between 10 to 15 years. The best way to know how long your air conditioner should last is to check the warranty. If the AC is past its warranty date, it’s probably getting “too old.” If the system is costing much more to run than it used to, or if it needs more than $500 in repairs each year to keep it running, it’s also gotten too old.

The Refrigerant in Your AC

Your air conditioner should never under normal circumstances be in danger of running out of refrigerant, because refrigerant isn’t something that is used up as the system runs. No matter how much you run your air conditioner—and you’ll run it often here in the desert—it won’t take away from refrigerant. This is because refrigerant is a heat transference fluid that shifts from liquid to gaseous form to move heat from the indoors to the outdoors, and it never dissipates in this process. As long as the system doesn’t suffer malfunctions, it will retain the same amount, or charge, of refrigerant for its service life.

But… refrigerant lines can corrode and allow refrigerant to leak out of the system. An AC doesn’t have to be old to suffer from this problem, although an older unit is at a higher risk. Regular maintenance will catch if the AC is losing refrigerant so technicians can repair the air conditioning system by sealing the leaks and restoring the proper refrigerant charge.

Air Conditioning Replacement

If you’re at the point where you are worried that your air conditioning system is too old, then it’s probably the right time to have the AC replaced. And if it’s old and suffering from trouble with leaking refrigerant … it’s almost definitely time for an air conditioning replacement. Each year you continue running an over-the-hill AC, you’re at a higher risk of the system suffering a catastrophic breakdown during one of the hottest days of the year. Plus, the air conditioner will run up excessive repair costs and waste money on inefficient performance.

If you want a professional opinion about AC replacement or repairs, get in touch with us and we’ll help you toward the best solution.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call

Failed Capacitor: An AC Problem on Super Hot Days

Russell's Heating and Air Conditioning	Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningThe serious summer scorcher days are the baseline of what we expect here in the deserts of Southern California. Our air conditioners run steadily through most days, and sometimes into the nights. That amount of labor places immense strain on any air conditioning unit, which can lead to parts breaking down.

But the heat itself can have an effect on an air conditioner as well–aside from the amount of work the AC system does. One problem that our AC repair technicians encounter when the temperatures soar above 100°F is failed capacitors.

The Capacitor vs. The Heat

Capacitors are electrical components that send electrical voltage to the motors. Start capacitors get motors running, and run capacitors keep them running.

Capacitors are sensitive to high temperatures: if exposed to too much heat, a capacitor will start to lose its ability to hold an electrical charge (in other words, its capacity to hold a charge), and this leads to capacitor failure. If a start capacitor fails, a motor will not be able to start up. If a run capacitor fails, a motor will only run for brief time before shutting off.

Capacitors give off signs they’re failing. A clicking sound from an air conditioner when it starts up often indicates a dying capacitor. A hard-starting air conditioner, where the system struggles each time it starts ups, is also an indication of possible capacitor problems. (There are other causes for hard-starting, so always have technicians look into it.)

If a capacitor fails, it will need to be replaced. This is a job for professionals only: if an amateur puts in the wrong type of capacitor, it can cause serious damage to the motor.

If you need air conditioning repair in La Quinta, CA or elsewhere in the Inland Empire and Desert Communities, you can reach us 24 hours a day!

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offer fast AC repairs. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

Making the Switch to Ductless Air Conditioning

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningSpring is an excellent season to have a new air conditioning system installed for your home. If your current AC is more than 15 years old, it’s time to arrange for an air conditioning replacement in La Quinta, CA or the surrounding areas. It’s easy to have our professionals replace your current cooling system with a similar type—although the new system will probably have superior energy efficiency and more features. Fifteen years is a long time when it comes to advancing technology, and you’ll enjoy all-around better air conditioning with a new system.

However, you can also choose to have a different type of air conditioning system installed, such as a heat pump or a ductless mini split. We’re going to look at ductless air conditioning a bit closer today to see when it makes sense to switch from standard ducts to ductless.

What Ductless Air Conditioning Can Offer You

You may have already seen a ductless mini split system in operation: an air handler mounted up on a wall in a business or a home that sends cooled air directly into the space. These air handlers attach through power and refrigerant lines to an outdoor unit, and the outdoor unit can power up to four different air handlers placed around a residential or commercial space.

Using multiple air handlers rather than a single one that attaches to ducts removes the needs for ducts entirely, and can provide a number of benefits, such as improved energy efficiency. Ductwork is prone to developing leaks, which can result in a loss of up to 30% of the conditioned air inside it. A ductless system eliminates this waste possibility entirely, and further helps reduce bills because mini air handlers use much smaller motors than a single large air handler straining to send air through long lengths of ducts. Ductless mini splits also allow for zone control cooling, since each air handler can be manipulated independently of the others.

When Ductless Air Conditioning Is a Good Idea

But if your home already has an extensive set of ducts, going with a ductless cooling system can be redundant. It’s often easier to stick with a ducted system and make use of the existing ventilation network. But there are times when ductless is a better option:

  • If you are thinking about doing extensive restoration to your home, going ductless means you can freely renovate without consideration of the ductwork in place. The ducts can be easily removed.
  • For add-on rooms, ductless mini splits are a great option. You can provide cooling to the new rooms without making extensive changes to the rest of the HVAC system.
  • For a household with allergy and asthma problems, ductless is an excellent way to reduce the amount of particles blown around the air. Ducts are a significant source of dust and debris build-up.
  • You are planning to build a new house. Ductless is often the best way to go when starting from scratch.

To have all your questions answered about air conditioning replacement in general and ductless mini splits specifically, you only have to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning provides air conditioning services to the Inland Empire and Desert Communities. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

What is a High Efficiency Air Conditioner?

An air conditioner that is highly energy efficient is good for you, your family, your home and the environment. But to understand what a high efficiency air conditioner is, you first need to understand how efficiency is rated and what the ratings can mean for you and your air conditioning.

How Is Efficiency Rated?

Just as cars come with an MPG number to indicate its efficiency, so, too, does your air conditioning system. This number is known as a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) number, and it tells you how energy efficient a certain air conditioner is on a scale of 1 to 23. Today’s air conditioners have to be manufactured with a minimum SEER of 13, so that would be the baseline number at which you’d start.

Essentially, a SEER number tells you how energy efficient a specific unit will be. For instance, an air conditioner with a SEER of 14 is higher than the minimum standard, but an air conditioner with a SEER of 20 will save you a lot more energy. One item to note: having a higher SEER number doesn’t mean that a particular AC cools better or faster; it means that it uses less energy to cool your home at a specific temperature than an AC with a lower SEER would at the same temperature.

High Efficiency Air Conditioners

High efficiency air conditioners are systems with SEER ratings between 16 and 23. They are installed just like any other air conditioning system, but they use far less energy to cool your home.

Benefits of a High Efficiency System

  • Lower utility bills – it is estimated that each SEER point can save you an average of 10% per year on your utility costs. As an example, if an air conditioner with a SEER of 16 costs you $300 per year, upgrading to an AC with a SEER of 21 would cost you $150 per year.
  • Environmentally friendly – using less energy is better for the environment and leaves a smaller carbon footprint.

Still Have Questions? Call a HVAC Professional

The best way to determine if a high efficiency air conditioner is for you is to work with a trained professional. Since 1980, Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning has installed air conditioning in San Bernardino, and we can help you, too. Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation specialists.

What are the Benefits of Zone Control Systems?

Anything that can make your air conditioner more energy efficient, particularly during the height of summer, is a great thing for you, your home and your air conditioner. One way to maximize both energy efficiency and personal comfort is to add a zone control system to your air conditioning. A zone control system gives you the ultimate control over how, when, and at what temperature you cool your home, including the ability to turn off cooling to rooms that aren’t being utilized. Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning has installed many zone control systems over the years, and our customers have seen first-hand the benefits of using them.

How Does a Zone Control System Work?

The first thing to understand about a zone control system is how it works. A system of motorized dampers is installed into your ductwork. Each damper is connected to, and controlled by, its own thermostat. These thermostats are wired into a control panel that manages your entire system. Zones are defined by you and can be anything from single rooms to entire floors – the choice is yours.

What Are the Benefits of Zone Control?

  • Better energy efficiency – with a zone control system, you choose which areas of your home get cooled, when they are cooled, and to what temperatures. Most people have rooms or spaces in their homes that don’t require the constant cooling of a communal space, such as a kitchen. Having the ability to reduce the amount of cooling you use converts to less energy usage – after all, if you are cooling less, you don’t need your AC to run as much.
  • Better personal comfort – with your home divided into zones, different temperatures can be set for each zone, allowing for better comfort.
  • Less wear on your system – when you cool only what you need, your air conditioner will operate less; this helps lessen the amount of wear.

Are You Ready to Get in the Zone?

A zone control system gives you a level of control over your indoor temperature and air conditioning system you just won’t see with a single thermostat. However, installation can be complex as it involves your ductwork and electrical system, so it is best to call a professional when it comes to installation. If you are ready to gain better control over your HVAC system, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning for professional air conditioning service in Redlands.

Why a Clogged Air Conditioning Filter Is a Problem

Earlier this this week we wrote about how important it is to rely on professionals to take care of regular annual maintenance on a central air conditioning system. However, there are a few simple maintenance tasks that you must see to yourself during the rest of the summer. The most important is to regularly change (or clean) the air conditioner’s filter. Depending on the filter and how often you run the AC, the filter will need to be swapped for a fresh one ever one to three months.

What happens if you don’t change the filter and it becomes clogged with dust, lint, and other debris? A number of unfortunate things:

Reduced energy efficiency

In the desert communities of Southern California, air conditioning bills during the summer often run high. You want to avoid paying any more than you absolutely have to, which is why you must keep an eye on the filter: clogging is the fastest way to create a sharp rise in your electrical bills. The AC will need to strain harder to draw air through a congested filter, and the system will experience a rapid drop in its energy efficiency.

Unnecessary repairs

The point of the air filter is to prevent debris coming through the return vents from entering the air conditioner’s cabinets and harming components. When the filter becomes clogged, it will start to allow dust through—the filter might even start to tear open. You could wind up needing to have motors and other parts repaired because the filter was no longer able to do its job.

Ice on the evaporator coil

The evaporator coil in the interior cabinet of an air conditioner contains cold refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air to cool it down. When the flow of warm air into the cabinet is blocked because of a clogged filter, the refrigerant will remain too cold, with the result of ice forming along the coil’s surface. The more ice that appears, the less effective the air conditioner will be at cooling down the house.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Cathedral City, CA. Give our office a call for exceptional customer service and sign up for our regular maintenance program.

Some Late Summer Air Conditioning Tips

August is officially “Late Summer,” even though the season doesn’t official stop until the end of September and the heat in Southern California will continue for a bit after that. But as far as an air conditioner is concerned, it’s late in the season if it’s already built up quite a bit of wear and tear from a few months of steady work. In our desert climate, any home AC puts in a tremendous amount of labor starting in May, so by August the system might either face trouble with malfunctions or start to run inefficiently and raise electrical costs.

We have a few tips for helping your air conditioner during the dog days of summer. When you need the assistance of professionals for repairs or other air conditioning services in Cathedral City, CA, we are here 24 hours a day.

Keep up with air filter changes

Don’t get complacent about changing the air filter in your HVAC system on a regular basis simply because it’s the end of the summer. The air filter needs to be changed every 1 to 3 months (the stronger the filter, the less frequently it needs to be changed), and if you haven’t changed the filter yet this summer, it almost certainly needs to be done now. A clean filter means keeping bills under control and helping to prevent extra strain on motors that can lead to breakdowns and tripped circuit breakers.

Clean up the area around the exterior cabinet

Have you taken a look at the outside cabinet of the AC recently? If there are branches and leaves gathering around it, they can restrict the proper heat release from the unit, which will cause its efficiency to drop. Rocks and pebbles also create the potential for damage to components if they get inside the cabinet. Keep the area around the cabinet clear for at least a foot, and you may also want to wash down to the cabinet exterior.

Check on the thermostat

Proper thermostat control is a key part of controlling your air conditioning bills. (We recommend aiming for a setting of 78°F.) If the thermostat isn’t working properly, however, then it doesn’t matter how it’s set: the AC will operate at the wrong times and waste power. Make sure the thermostat has fresh batteries and check on the programming to see if the air conditioner is responding properly to it. If it isn’t, you may either need to repair/replace the thermostat or have the air conditioning system repaired. (It’s often difficult to tell when the thermostat or the AC is the source of a problem, so let HVAC technicians do the diagnosis.)

Never delay with repairs

Remember that the longer you wait to arrange to repair your AC when a problem crops up, the more expensive the eventual repair will be. You’ll also put the system at a higher risk of a major failure—usually when you need the air conditioner the most.

If you think your cooling costs are too high, we’ve also written up some tips for helping to lower them. Keep in mind that even though it’s late in the summer, you should never put off arranging for a complete air conditioning replacement if that’s the best way forward. After all, sudden heat waves can strike almost any time in the California deserts.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers air conditioning services throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

Why You Should Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance This Spring

As we move out of spring and into summer, you’re going to start using your air conditioner more and more often. That means increased stress on the system, which means a greater chance that it will develop a problem. If you want your air conditioner to make it through the summer without any major issues, the best thing to do is have some preventive maintenance conducted on it. Read on to find out why you should schedule air conditioning maintenance this spring.

Prevention vs. Cure

Everyone knows the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This applies to air conditioning repairs as well. Problems that develop in air conditioning systems are often not cheap to repair, especially if they happen to afflict a major part like the compressor. If you wait to conduct repairs until a problem presents itself, you will almost always be paying a lot more money than if you scheduled maintenance and had the problem fixed before it got out of hand.

This is especially true of spring maintenance. Problems can start forming in your air conditioning system months or even years before they begin to cause damage. Increased stress on the system tends to accelerate that process, making it more likely for problems to show up during the summer. The last thing you want is for a major problem to develop with your air conditioner right in the middle of the season when you need it the most. So, the best thing to do is to schedule preventive maintenance before summer starts.

If you haven’t scheduled spring maintenance for your air conditioning system yet this year, call Russel’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We provide air conditioning maintenance services throughout Yucaipa, CA. 

When It’s Time to Replace Your AC Rather Than Keep Repairing It

Living in the deserts of Southern California requires having the most reliable and efficient air conditioning system possible to cool down your home. A poorly-working AC will not only struggle to keep you comfortable, it will also run up enormous bills. The moment you notice that your residential air conditioner is having trouble during spring and summer weather, call professionals to repair it…

…or possibly replace it. At a certain point, this is the better option. No air conditioner lasts forever, and eventually you’ll need to schedule a new system installation. Below are some tips to tell when “replace” beats out “repair.”

The air conditioner is more than 15 years old

Most ACs today can operate for 10 to 15 years before age catches up to them and they wear down to the point where they are more likely to fail. You don’t want to have your air conditioner permanently break down on you during the sweltering heat of the summer, so if you have a system that’s over 15 years in service, it’s safer to have it replaced in spring on your own schedule—rather than arranging a replacement in the summer on an emergency schedule.

The AC needs frequent repairs

You shouldn’t need to call for air conditioning repairs more than once a year, nor should you pay more than $500 a year to keep it running. In either case, it’s a less expensive solution to replace the system and start enjoying trouble-free operation.

The air conditioner costs too much to run

During the last year or two of an AC’s lifespan, it will begin to lose it energy-efficient performance and drain more power than normal. You’ll see a rise in your bills. If repairs and maintenance can’t change this upward trend, it’s much more economical to have a new system with better energy efficiency put in.

Since 1980, Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning has offered great service in La Quinta, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and Desert Communities. Call us if you think it’s time to replace your air conditioning system.

Should I Replace an Air Conditioner That Uses R-22 Refrigerant?

You may have heard something about air conditioners that run on R-22 refrigerant, and realized that your home has one. What you probably heard was that R-22 is being phased out and it’s a good idea to have a new AC put in as a replacement before too long. These aren’t just rumors or hearsay: if you have an older air conditioner that uses R-22 refrigerant, we strongly urge you to arrange for an air conditioning replacement in Palm Springs, CA in the near future.

What Is R-22?

The earliest refrigerants used for air conditioners were toxic or flammable, but they were eventually replaced with safer chemical blends. R-22 (chlorodifluoromethane) was one of the most widespread, both for residential and commercial use. It became the most common type of refrigerant for both central air conditioners in homes and for window units. It replaced a number of known ozone-depleting blends such as CFC-11 and CFC-12.

Unfortunately, R-22 is still not ozone-depleting enough for the current standards, and it’s also a greenhouse gas with high global warming potential that’s more than 1800 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. For these reasons, global phaseout efforts started in the late 1990s to replace R-22 with an ozone-safe blend called R-410A, which also is a less powerful greenhouse gas.

The Phaseout in the U.S.

In accordance with the Montreal Protocol, the United States has started in earnest a complete phaseout of R-22 to be completed by 2020—right around the corner. The first three stages have already been reached:

  • 2004 – The U.S. reduces consumption of R-22 and all hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 35%.
  • 2010 – All U.S. manufacturers of air conditioners no longer manufacture systems that use R22. (If your current system was installed after this, then it uses R-410A or another non-ozone-depleting blend.)
  • 2015 – The consumption of R-22 and other HCFCs reduced by 90%.
  • 2020 – Phaseout completed, with no further R-22 produced to service existing systems. Only refrigerant that has been recycled and reclaimed will be allowed to be used.

What This Means for Your AC

Air conditioning system do not “use up” refrigerant as they run, so if you have an R-22 system, you theoretically shouldn’t need to worry about having to add more refrigerant. But that theoretical part is important, because leaking refrigerant is a common problem. Right now R-22 is extremely costly to purchase because so little of it is being manufactured. And in a few years, it will be almost impossible to fix an R-22 air conditioner with a leak. We encourage you to start planning to replace your aging system—and it’s probably old enough that you’d want to replace it no matter what.

With fall coming up in a couple of months and a period of cooler weather (well, cooler for where we live), we’d recommend scheduling an air conditioning replacement service with us to install an AC that uses R-410A. There are many benefits to reap from a new system, such as increased energy efficiency and fewer worries about an AC breakdown. But knowing you’ll always be able to replace the refrigerant without worry in case of a leak is one of the best benefits.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning: We’re open 24 hours to serve the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

3 Common Fan Problems

Fans aren’t the biggest components in your air conditioner, but they are important to the operation of your air conditioning. There are two fans in your system: the condenser fan in the outside unit, and the blower/air handler in the inside unit. Each of these fans helps with air flow and the heat release/cooling process in your system. Problems with fans can be fairly minor, but when one malfunctions or stops working, the effects can be seen system-wide. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact problem with a fan, so it’s important to call experts when needing repair, and Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help.

Common Fan Problems

There are a few fan issues our technicians see with relative frequency:

 Motor Issues

Each fan has a motor that operates the fan array (fan, belts, etc.). Motors can burn out, lose lubrication (especially the ball bearings), or experience damage. When the motor malfunctions, or breaks down, the fan may no longer turns as it needs to; this affects air flow and the refrigerant cycle. Some motors can be repaired, but there are times when a fan motor will need replacement.

Electrical Issues

There are a number of wires surrounding the fan and its components, including the motor. Wires can fray, corrode or disconnect, voltages can become uneven – there are a number of electrical problems that can ensue. When it comes to electrical problems with any part of your air conditioner, it’s best to hire a professional for repair as wiring can be complex.

Fan Blades

Fan blades can loosen and/or bend. While a fan can run with these issues, bent or loose fan blades can damage the parts surrounding them.

Fans aren’t the hardest components to repair, but because fan issues affect both air flow and the heat release/cooling process in your system, it’s important to have any problems repaired right away. You count on your air conditioning to keep you cool, but that won’t happen with a malfunctioning system. If you are experiencing fan problems or any other issues with your AC, schedule air conditioning repairs in Palm Desert with the people you can trust: Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning.

Air Conditioning System Shopping: 3 Features to Look Out for

In a desert town like Yucaipa, air conditioning systems are the only thing standing between us and triple-digit temperatures. A sturdy AC unit can last for a long time, but sooner or later, every air conditioning unit needs to be replaced. When AC shopping in Yucaipa, you want to make sure you get the right unit to fit your needs. Here are 3 features to look out for when determining the best air conditioner for you.

  • Energy Efficiency. AC units all have a SEER (Season Energy Effectiveness Ratio) rating, determining how efficiently they cool your home. Modern AC units feature SEER ratings of 13 or above. Older ones can drop as low as 6. The higher the rating, the more it will save you on your monthly bills. An easy shortcut is to look for units with the EnergyStar label, indicating a SEER rating of 13 or higher.
  • Size. An air conditioning unit is a little like Goldilocks. If it’s too small, it won’t cool down your whole home. If it’s too large, it will cycle on and off numerous times throughout the day, increasing wear and tear and costing you more in monthly energy bills. Have a service professional evaluate your home for square footage, sun exposure, insulation and similar factors, then recommend an air conditioning unit that is just the right size for your needs.
  • Control features. Modern air conditioners feature plenty of bells and whistles that let you exercise greater control over the way air is distributed into your home. For example, you can set up a zone control system to vary the temperature in different areas throughout your home, allowing you to cool one section of the house and leave the rest alone. Or you can install a thermostat with automatic controls that will shut itself off every morning when you go to work and turn on again ten minutes before you come home. Such options help you keep energy bills in check while providing greater flexibility in how you use your air conditioning unit.

If you’re shopping for a new air conditioning system in Yucaipa and need the help of trained AC experts, call on Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We can go over all of the options with you and then schedule air conditioning installation service with your complete satisfaction in mind. In Yucaipa, air conditioning systems are an absolute necessity. Let us help you find and install the right one.