How Does Ductless Air Conditioning Work?

You may have heard about something called ductless air conditioning before, a type of central air conditioning system that does not need a duct-based ventilation network to distribute air to the rooms in a house. Ductless ACs, also known as ductless mini splits, have been used in businesses such as restaurants and hotels for years. They are now popular in homes, particularly for new housing construction and historic buildings that lack the space for ventilation systems.

So how does central air conditioning work without ducts?

Think of a ductless AC as a cross between a window unit air conditioner and a conventional central air conditioner. Like a window unit, a ductless AC blows cooled air directly into a room from an individual unit that contains an evaporator coil and a fan. But this blower connects through a power line and a refrigerant line to an outdoor condenser unit, like the ones in standard central ACs. The condenser hooks up to a set of different blowers placed around the house (usually four).

There are a number of advantages of going with a system like this. The main one is that it eliminates the pesky problems that come with ductwork. Ducts allow loss of energy along their length, especially through leaks that permit cooled air to escape before reaching the vents. Since ductless ACs blow their cooled air straight from the air handlers in the rooms, there is minimal energy loss. The absence of ducts also helps increase indoor air quality, since ductwork is a principal source of the accumulation of dust and debris.

Ductless air conditioning is also very energy efficient, since it uses less power to run the smaller fans. Since the individual blowers can be operated separately from each other, you can save additional money by shutting off the blowers in empty areas of the house.

For answers to all your questions about ductless mini splits, call the professionals at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning in Yucaipa, CA.

My Air Conditioner Is Hissing: Is That Normal?

One of the ways that malfunctioning mechanical systems give warnings to their owners that they are developing faults is through unusual noises. You know that when the engine of your car begins to make shrieking or grinding sounds that something major is wrong and the vehicle needs a visit to a mechanic. In the same way, your home’s air conditioning system can give you important omens of a coming breakdown through odd noises. One in particular to watch out for that is a bit less noticeable than some other warning sounds is hissing.

Why your air conditioner is hissing

Does that hissing sound resemble the noise of a high-pressure gas escaping from a pipe? That’s probably exactlywhat it is. An air conditioner hissing usually means that refrigerant in its gaseous state is leaking from the refrigerant lines somewhere in the system, or from loose connections to the compressor. You need to call on professional repair technicians right away to deal with this issue.

Why is this such a problem?

The refrigerant in an air conditioner does not become used up as the system operates; the charge (the level of refrigerant) will not dissipate over time as the chemical blend evaporates and condenses—provided the AC is working normally. Leaks that lower the charge will also lower the air conditioner’s ability to cool. Worse, it will cause significant damage to the compressor, which is built to use a specific charge. When the charge drops, it puts the compressor at risk of overheating.

HVAC professionals can locate where the leaks are occurring using a number of techniques and advanced equipment. Once they have found where the refrigerant is escaping, they seal up the leaks, and then recharge the refrigerant to its proper level. They also check to see if the refrigerant loss caused damage anywhere else in the system (such as in the compressor or the development of ice along the coils) and remedy the problems.

When you need fast and effective air conditioning repair—any time of the day or night—in Yucaipa, CA or the surrounding areas, call on Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning.

How a Professional HVAC Company Can Help You 12 Months a Year

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningIt’s simple to find an HVAC company in Redlands, CA when you need something like a fast air conditioning repair during the hot summer months, or maybe the occasional fix to the heating system you still have to rely on for short times.

However, there’s more an HVAC company can do for you around the year here in the Southern California deserts. A quality HVAC company, we should say—and it’s not as easy to find those. But since you’ve come to our website, you must know something about how to search for a skilled group of technicians to handle your home’s heating, cooling, and ventilation needs!

We have a long history serving the area: our grandfather started his own HVAC company back in 1936 in San Bernardino, and we’re proud of our long, family-ownership tradition. Below are ways we can be of service to you around the year, not just for AC repairs (although we’re ready 24/7 when you need those!).

Regular HVAC Maintenance

This is the big recommendation we give to all our customers: sign up for our maintenance program to take care of your AC and heater throughout the year. Maintenance means regular check-ups for your cooling and heating, along with tune-ups, adjustments, and cleanings. We’ll see you in spring to give the air conditioner a good check-up, and then we’ll come back in fall and see that your heater is going to be fine for the shorter cool season. This is an investment in both the short-term and long-term success and energy efficiency of your HVAC system.

Humidity Control

Comfort inside a house is also related to humidity levels, not only temperature. Sometimes an AC can’t deal with high humidity, and other times it might make a house too dry. Arid desert conditions can add an unpleasant edge to winter temperatures. And both low and high humidity can create health troubles. Let us assist you with balancing indoor relative humidity with our humidifier and dehumidifier services.

Keeping the Ducts Clean

Most homes have ductwork for their central AC and heating—and ducts collect dust, dander, and lint over time. Eventually, you’ll need to have your ducts professionally cleaned. Don’t fall for cold calls from people offering suspiciously low bids to clean your ductwork; these aren’t thorough or professional. Leave the job to us! If you’re unsure if you need duct cleaning this year or not, give us a call.

Better Climate Controls

We offer a range of thermostats and climate control systems that can make huge improvements in HVAC performance. It’s important that you don’t purchase thermostats online and try to install them yourself: this can potentially void HVAC equipment warranty! We’ll guide you toward an affordable and effective upgrade to your home’s climate controls.

There’s much more that our expert HVAC team can assist you with! Contact us today—you can start with arranging for regular maintenance—and we’ll see you have the finest in comfort for your house.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and Desert Communities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year!

Air Conditioning in Redlands, CA: How Leaking Refrigerant Affects your Air Conditioner

Every air conditioning system uses refrigerant. Without it, the system can’t work. The refrigerant in your system switches back and forth between gaseous and liquid states as part of the normal heating and cooling process. If there is a loss of refrigerant in your system, typically due to a leak, it can cause a number of problems.

Your AC Is a Closed System

Your air conditioner is a closed system; as such, if you are losing refrigerant, this is a sign that an existing leak needs to be found before recharging the refrigerant. Why? Adding more refrigerant does not fix the leak, and you may very well find yourself needing to recharge your refrigerant again. Therefore, it’s best to have a Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning specialist repair the leak before adding more refrigerant to your system.

How Leaking Refrigerant Affects Your AC

There are a number of ways leaky refrigerant can adversely affect your system:

  • Less efficiency
  • More wear-and-tear on your system
  • Lack of cool air
  • Stress on specific parts of your system, such as the compressor, condenser and/or evaporator
  • Potential  icing 

How does leaky refrigerant have the potential to cause these problems?

The refrigerant in your system facilitates the exchange of heat between the outdoor air and that within your home. It does this through an interchange of states between gas and liquid, but it doesn’t change states on its own – this is where the compressor, condenser and evaporator come into play. When the refrigerant is not at the correct level, each of these parts has to work harder to make the refrigerant do its job. If this happens, your system may become less efficient as it works harder, and uses more energy, to achieve the set temperature.

A second problem that can occur due to leaky refrigerant is overheating. When a part or component of your air conditioning system works too hard, it can become overheated; this, in turn, can increase the potential for stress, damage and/or breakdown.

Lastly, when refrigerant runs low, it can cause icing on the indoor evaporator coils. How? Low refrigerant may cause certain parts of the coil to be colder than others. This can create condensation on the warmer parts of the coil that can freeze into ice.

Don’t Let Leaks Go

The refrigerant in your AC system does not get used like gas in a car – ideally, it stays the same for the life of your system. If you think you may have a refrigerant leak in your air condition, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning right away – your trusted source for air conditioning services in Redlands, CA.

Common Compressor Problems in Your Air Conditioner

We live in a warm part of the country, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The winters here are very mild, but when summertime hits, watch out. Here in Beaumont, CA, air conditioning systems form the best defense against scorching temperatures, and when your air conditioner runs into problems, you need to get it fixed as quickly as possible. In particular, the compressor – which subjects refrigerant gas to heat and pressure as a key step in the refrigeration process – can create big problems when it runs into trouble. If you spot one of the common compressor problems in your air conditioner, you need to contact a service technician as quickly as possible.

Some types of compressor problems don’t actually originate in the compressor, but rather in the electrical system designed to bring power to it. Frayed wires and loose connectors can disrupt electrical flow to the compressor motor, which results in lost power or no power at all. In some cases, the compressor may appear to function as normal, but can overheat if it runs for a short period of time. The good news in this arena is that faulty electrical components are usually fairly inexpensive to fix, though only trained professionals should undertake such repairs.

More serious problems can arise with the compressor’s start capacitor, which holds an electrical charge designed to help the motor start up. If it runs into trouble, your compressor won’t start up and the entire air conditioning process will be short circuited. Even worse is a problem with the compressor motor itself. If the motor is broken, the system will shut down and you may need to buy a replacement unit to resolve the issue.

In Beaumont, CA, air conditioning systems can’t afford to be offline for even a day, and an issue with you compressor usually means that professional help is required. Common compressor problems in your air conditioner can be readily resolved by the Beaumont air conditioning service experts at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction at every turn, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

As the Summer Scorcher Arrives, Watch for Warning Signs from Your AC

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningTemperatures here in the deserts and inland areas of Southern California are already rising above 100°F during the day—and it isn’t even officially summer yet! We hope you’ve already arranged for maintenance for your air conditioning system, but don’t panic if you haven’t: it’s not too late to contact our technicians to schedule this vital service.

But even the best maintenance job can’t stop all air conditioning problems, and the intense heat we experience puts immense strain on household cooling systems that can lead to malfunctions. During these first days of scorching hot weather, pay close attention to your AC system when it’s running. If you detect signs of anything that’s out of the ordinary, you’ll be able to arrange for air conditioning repair in Indio, CA or the surrounding areas in time to prevent more expensive repairs or even a complete system breakdown during one of those sizzling 100°+ days.

A Short Guide to Early Summer Warning Signs from an AC

Here are a few of the telltale signs something is wrong with an air conditioner during the early parts of the year.

  • Ice developing along the indoor coil: If you see this, and you haven’t yet scheduled maintenance, the likely cause is a clogged air filter. Change the filter for a new one (something you’ll need to continue every 4 to 6 weeks for the rest of the season). If the coil is still developing ice, you may have leaks in the refrigerant lines, which is a serious problem that puts the entire air conditioner in jeopardy—and requires professionals to repair.
  • Hot spots around the house: You’re getting cool air in the living room, but some of the bedrooms feel warmer than they should. This might be due to poor insulation or cracks around windows. But it’s also one of the first indications an air conditioner—for a number of reasons—is losing its cooling ability. The best step is to have HVAC technicians find out what’s wrong: miscalibrated thermostat, faulty zone controls, improperly sized system, refrigerant loss, etc.
  • The AC is short cycling: Short-cycling is when an air conditioner’s compressor turns on and off rapidly over a short period, such as every fifteen minutes. If you hear the noise of the AC compressor switching on and off multiple times during an hour, something is wrong. It could be stress on the compressor, air leaking from ducts, a clogged air filter, a loss of refrigerant, dying capacitors, a thermostat reading incorrect temperatures, or a number of other issues, all of which require assistance from HVAC professionals.
  • Acrid smells from the vents: When an air conditioning system first turns on for the season, you can expect the smell of dust coming from the vents. This is just the collection of dust in the ductwork getting blown out into the air. However, if you detect a persistent acrid odor, it often means one of the motors is running hot and in danger of burning out.

You may have noticed how the symptoms above often have multiple possible causes. This is one of the reasons you must have licensed HVAC technicians on the job: they’ll know how to diagnose the problem correctly so they can make accurate repairs.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and Desert Communities.

Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Producing Sufficient Cooling?

If your home’s air conditioner has already started to run for the season, but it seems like it isn’t doing the job it should, be thankful that you’ve discovered the problem now, as opposed to running into trouble during mid-summer. You will have time to call on AC repair specialists to have the problem fixed and see that the cooling system will make it through to fall without further serious malfunctions.

For fast and effective repairs from experts, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We have served Yucaipa, CA and the Inland Empire since 1980.

Reasons your air conditioner is losing cooling power

There are many different causes for an AC that is failing to keep a home sufficiently cool. HVAC technicians will be able to work out what the specific problem is and take care of it. Below are a number of the more common reasons for an AC to suffer a decline in cooling ability.

  • Thermostat malfunction: The trouble may not lie in the AC cabinet itself, but in a thermostat that isn’t effectively reading temperatures and making the air conditioner act accordingly. Technicians can recalibrate the thermostat or fix broken connections.
  • Clogged air filter: This is something you should always check yourself, and you need to see that you have the filter either changed or cleaned (depending on the filter type) once a month during the summer season.
  • Leaking refrigerant: If you hear a hissing sound from the AC, or notice liquid pooling around the indoor unit, the system may have refrigerant escaping from its copper lines. This will impair the system and may even lead to compressor failure. Technicians must locate the leaks, seal them, and add back whatever refrigerant was lost.
  • Damaged ventilation system: If the ductwork has air leaks, your air conditioner will lose a great deal of its cooled air; sometimes 30% of it. Ductwork specialists will need to seal the air leaks to create an airtight ventilation system once more.

Unless you have professional HVAC repair training and tools, don’t try to diagnose or fix a failing system yourself. Give the professionals a call, and you should have your cool home restored in no time.

What Is a Hybrid Heating System?

Heat pumps are great systems for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being that a heat pump offers your home both heating and cooling. But there can be some concern about a heat pump’s ability to heat your home when the air temperature goes below freezing. One of the best ways to allay your concerns and continue to use a heat pump is to consider the installation of a hybrid heating system. A hybrid heating system uses a heat pump as its main source of heat, but has a gas furnace back-up for the very cold nights. To understand why you may want to consider a hybrid heating system, let’s first look at how a heat pump works.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump works by transferring heat from one location to another. Refrigerant helps facilitate this process. During the summer, the heat pumps absorbs the heat from your indoors and transfers it outside; during the winter, the heat pump absorbs the heat in the surrounding air, concentrates it, then distributes the heat to your living spaces. When the air temperature dips below 32 degrees, the amount of available heat in the air decreases, which can challenge your heat pump to provide the heating you need for your home; this is the main concern when using a heat pump as the sole means of heating your home. However, with a hybrid heating system, you don’t have to worry about losing heat when the air dips below the freezing point.

How a Hybrid System Works

In a hybrid system, your heat pump is equipped with a sensor that tells your heating system to switch to the back-up gas furnace at a set-point temperature. Typically, this set-point temperature is a few degrees above freezing. Once the outside air reaches the set-point temperature, your heating system automatically switches to the gas furnace. When the temperature rises above your set-point temperature, the system automatically switches back to the heat pump. With a hybrid heating system, you get the best of both worlds: the energy efficiency of a heat pump combined with the warm gas heat of a furnace when you need it.

If you have concerns that your heat pump may leave you chilly this winter, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts to see what a hybrid heating system in Yucaipa can do for you!

Why Install a Commercial Cooling Tower?

A cooling tower is a heat ejection device that cools water temperature and releases the removed heat straight up into the atmosphere. Some commercial cooling towers are simply immense, such as the 600-foot tall structures associated with nuclear power plants. However, you can also benefit from much smaller rooftop cooling towers, which are an extraordinarily helpful and often necessary way to remove the heat from industrial and manufacturing equipment, performing a job that a standard air conditioning system cannot.

Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning offers full services for commercial cooling towers in Yucaipa, CA. If you want to install cooling towers, we have the equipment and skill to do the job. If you need your current cooling tower repaired, give us a call. If you need maintenance to keep your cooling tower working its best, we can also handle all the work for you.

What a cooling tower can do for your business

Not every business uses a cooling tower or necessarily needs one—but for the businesses that will benefit from one, they are essential. There are many different kinds of cooling towers to fit different needs (you certainly don’t require the same kind of cooling tower for your company that a nuclear power plant uses). The two main types of cooling towers are natural draft and induced draft models. A natural draft cooling tower uses the tall chimney shape to eject heat in rising moist air. An induced draft model uses a fan that helps prevent recirculation of the hot air. There are also hybrid models known as fan-assisted natural draft cooling towers the combine both.

A cooling tower offers much lower temperature than through standard air conditioning systems, and this makes them important for businesses that use powerful heat-generating equipment, such as massive computer servers or immense industrial machines. If your company has a commercial chiller to keep equipment cooled down, a cooling tower is a vital addition to properly vent out heat. Some other operations where a commercial cooling tower is useful, and possibly mandatory, are large manufacturing planets, generator plants, chemical plants, thermal power stations, and large air conditioning and heat pump systems that must handle the needs of a building.

Because of the variety of cooling towers available for a business, you must have professionals with years of knowledge help you find the right one for your company. It must be the right size to eject the amount of heat you need and of a type that matches your business.

To get started with excellent installation of commercial cooling towers in Yucaipa, CA, give Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning a call.

Client Question: “Can I Get My AC Maintained in March?”

The spring weather starts early in Southern California. In fact, it doesn’t really ever leave. We enjoy a perpetual spring and summer season here with occasional winter-like interruptions. You do have to be prepared for those interruptions with a quality heating system, but most of your attention to your home comfort needs will go toward the air conditioner.

Professional maintenance for air conditioning systems should be done in the spring, and the earlier the better. So the simple answer to the question, “Can I get my AC maintained in March?” is “yes.” The longer answer is, “Not only can you, but you should.” March is actually an ideal time to have this job done, and below are some of the reasons why.

  • Beat out surprise heat waves: Any time in Southern California is the right time for a heat wave to hit. You don’t want your air conditioner to be caught unprepared, suffering from inefficient performance or major malfunctions when the temperature suddenly spikes past the high 80s. March maintenance will see that your AC system is in great shape for whenever the first major heat wave of 2016 arrives.
  • Give yourself time for repairs: One of the key jobs in air conditioning maintenance is to find places where the system needs to have repairs done. The HVAC technician inspects all the components of the AC to find out if there are refrigerant leaks, worn down motors, bent fan blades, or any other issue that will require professional repairs to fix. You will then have enough time to arrange for the repairs before the hot weather starts.
  • Take advantage of the “slow” season: Air conditioning and heating contractors have the lowest number of emergency service calls during this time of the year since it falls between the period of the highest and lowest temperatures. With these less busy schedules, you will have an easy time scheduling a convenient appointment for your AC maintenance.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Cathedral City, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. Contact us today to find out more about our maintenance program.

Heating and AC Trouble? It May Be Time to Replace the Ducts

Faulty ductwork can account for up to 30% of your home’s total air loss, plus serious problems with indoor air quality. However, sometimes the faults in the ductwork are too great and/or numerous to consider duct sealing or repair; in these cases, duct replacement may be necessary for your La Quinta home.

Signs You Need Replacement

Here are some signs that can indicate that it is best to replace your ductwork:

Poor Installation

Ductwork should be designed so that there are as few turns in the system as possible; the route from your HVAC system should also be as straight as possible to allow for the highest capacity of air to blow. The ductwork should also be the correct size for your HVAC unit so that the air pressure inside allows for system balance. If your ductwork is kinked (has lots of turns), is too narrow or too wide, or is simply designed poorly, replacement will most likely be needed to remedy the problems.

Mold/Mildew Growth

Mold and mildew can thrive inside ductwork because it is cool and dark, and if the ductwork is faulty, a good amount of moisture can get inside the ductwork, providing the food for the mold and mildew to grow. Mold and mildew growth on metal ductwork can be treated with sprays that can kill the biological growth, but permanently removing the spores from plastic ductwork is very hard, and might not be possible. As such, if you have a mold problem inside plastic ductwork, you’ll want to consider replacement to ensure that the problem won’t re-occur.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Damaged and/or faulty ductwork doesn’t just allow air to escape; it also acts as an open door for contaminants, pollution, moisture and other things to enter directly into your home’s air flow. If you’ve been noticing strange smells, excessive dust and dirt and greater moisture in your home, you may want to consider replacing the problem areas in your ductwork.

The skilled experts at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning have the training and expertise to replace and restore your ductwork, so if you need ductwork replacement in La Quinta.

Some Reasons Why Your Furnace Won’t Stay Lit

Not only is it irritating when your furnace won’t stay lit, it also can leave you chilly. It can be tempting to inspect your furnace yourself and maybe even try to adjust a few things to see if you can get your furnace to ignite; unless you have expert knowledge, this isn’t a good idea. Why? There are a number of reasons why your furnace won’t stay lit and unless you know what you are doing, it’s best to leave that work to an expert. The trained technicians at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning can help with any heating problem you may have, so call us today!

Reasons for Non-Ignition

Here are some reasons why your furnace won’t stay lit:

Problems with Electronic Ignition

If your furnace has an electronic ignition system, it is one of two types: intermittent pilot or hot surface ignition (HSI). Both systems use electricity, but in different ways: intermittent pilot lights a small pilot gas line with a spark; HSI ignition uses a probe that heats via electrical current. Should the electrical flow to either one of these devices fail, there will be problems with ignition. Additionally, if they are dirty – a dirty nozzle for intermittent pilot, fingerprints or dirt on the probe for HSI ignition – this can inhibit the action of the igniter.

Problems with Standing Pilot

If your furnace is a little older, you may have a standing pilot. With this kind of ignition system, the pilot is on all the time, hence the name “standing pilot”. Sometimes a draft can blow the pilot out, requiring that it be re-lit. If the pilot is constantly going out, there may be a bigger issue with the pilot, in which case you’d want to call for a technician.

Problems with Safety Mechanisms

Your furnace has a number of safety mechanisms that will kill the ignition process or shut off the burner to help prevent potentially serious problems from developing. Examples of these components are flame sensors, the thermocouple and the limit switch. Flame sensors and thermocouples can close the main gas valve if they sense there isn’t a viable pilot light, and limit switches can turn off the burner if the heat exchanger becomes too hot. Sometimes these devices can malfunction, causing problems with ignition or keeping your heater lit.

Combustion systems should be repaired only by trained technicians. If your furnace won’t stay lit, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment for heating repair in Yucaipa!

What AC Choices Are There For Installation?

When you need a new air conditioner, shopping around can be tough if you don’t know what to look for. How do you know which system will meet your cooling needs while saving you the most money? Of course, the best person to talk to about air conditioning replacement is a qualified technician with experience selecting and sizing an air conditioner to meet a customer’s needs. In the meantime, we’ve put together this list of some of the many choices for air conditioning replacement.

High-Efficiency Systems

When you replace your air conditioning system, look for a system with a high SEER as well as the ENERGY STAR label. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a calculation of how much energy an air conditioner uses to cool a space. The ENERGY STAR logo indicates that an appliance has met the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s approval, and it is only given to systems that meet high standards of performance and efficiency.

Heat Pump

A heat pump is an efficient air conditioning system with the ability to provide both heating and cooling. While most cooling systems only have the ability to pump refrigerant in one direction, absorbing heat from the indoor air and releasing it outside, a heat pump can also work in reverse, absorbing heat from the outside air and releasing it inside. Heat pumps often have high SEERs and a high HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor), a measure of a heat pump’s efficiency in the heating season. And because they work best in areas with mild winters, Palm Desert is the perfect location for a heat pump.


When a technician installs your new AC, you may also consider one of two money-saving upgrades: zone control and thermostat upgrades. A zone control system allows you and your family members to choose to set the temperature differently in certain areas of the home according to your individual preferences. A new programmable thermostat may be more accurate than your older thermostat, or you can choose to upgrade to a smart thermostat, which allows you to control your AC via the internet, even when you’re away from home.

For these options and more on air conditioning replacement in Palm Desert, call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today!

Reasons You Might Want to Replace Your AC This Fall

The Southern California heat, especially in places like the Inland Empire and Desert Communities, never completely goes away during the year. Unlike other parts of the country, where air conditioning systems will shut off and go into “hibernation” for a few months, we have to have ACs that are always ready to work when the temperature abruptly spikes.

As the year moves into the fall with some relief from the heat up ahead, you have a good opportunity to evaluate your air conditioners and decide if it’s time to have it replaced. Below we’ve listed some reasons that you may choose to have the whole air conditioner retired and a new unit put in its place:

  • Fall is a convenient time: Replacing an air conditioning system is easier in the fall, when HVAC technicians have fewer emergencies to worry about. So if the job needs doing, now is the time to do it.
  • The system is too old: How old is “too old” for an AC? It depends on the system. The average lifespan for a central air conditioner is 10 to 15 years. If your air conditioner is over 12 years and experiencing performance issues, than it’s probably time to replace it.
  • You encountered repair problems over the summer: Did it seem as if the air conditioner was fighting an uphill battle throughout the previous season, and you needed to have it repaired more than once? That’s a sign that you should investigate replacement as an option.
  • Electrical bills are rising: As an air conditioning system wears down, it will start to cost more to run. If you’ve seen a rise in bills during the last summer, even with the air conditioner receiving regular maintenance, then it’s smart to replace it with a newer, higher efficiency system.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers fast and effective air conditioning replacement in Mentone, CA. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

Ductless Mini Split Repair Issues That Need Professionals on the Job

There are many advantages to using a ductless mini split heat pump in a house: higher energy efficiency, healthier air quality, and the ability to heat and cool only the rooms that need it. And because there is no ductwork that can wear down and develop leaks, ductless systems won’t require as many repairs as standard central air conditioning.

But you can’t expect the ductless heat pump in your home to escape with no repair needs at all. There are some specific problems that these systems may encounter, and it takes trained professionals to fix them. Never try to fix a malfunctioning ductless system yourself. If you feel tempted to try to detach one of the air handlers from the wall to see if you can repair it, stop yourself and instead pick up the phone and give our team a call!

Condensate leaks behind the air handler

Here’s a problem that’s specific to a ductless mini split. The air handlers in each room can sometimes suffer damage from leaks in their condensate lines. Water then starts to build up between where the air handler attaches to the wall, and this will eventually cause the air handler to sag and possibly rip away from the wall.

Motor issues

Ductless systems contain a large number of motors running them because each air handler has its own motorized blower fan. If you notice that one of the air handlers won’t start up, or is producing lower air flow than normal, call for repairs right away.

Refrigerant line leaks

Multiple refrigerant lines lead from the outside unit of a ductless system to the air handlers. If any of these start to leak refrigerant, it will affect the whole system: reducing heating/cooling ability and eventually inflicting damage to the compressor. If you notice a drop in performance from any or all of the air handlers, have professionals on the job right away.

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

3 Things You Need to Know About Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioning

What do you know about ductless mini split air conditioning? Anything? Something? In the age of information, there is no shortage of opinions and facts available to the web-savvy consumer, but the most important features of the ductless AC should not be overlooked. In today’s post, we look closely at 3 things you should definitely know about ductless systems so that you make sure you know what your options are in the event of a new installation. Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today for excellent air conditioning services throughout the San Bernardino area.

  1. Why it doesn’t need ducts. One of the first questions we hear from owners of central air systems is wonder at the thought of how a ductless system can cool without ducts. A conventional central air system is a split system with an outdoor compressor/condenser and indoor air handler/evaporator. A ductless mini split is also “split” and has a rather conventional outdoor unit. But the major change is with the indoor unit. The indoor air handler sits directly in the living space and connects to the outdoor unit by means of a group of refrigerant, drainage, and electrical lines.
  2. Why it’s more energy efficient. The chief reason why a ductless mini split is more energy efficient is because it gets rid of the middle man. Without any ductwork to travel through, a ductless system can avoid many of the energy inefficiency problems ducts can develop such as accumulated debris and air leaks. Some ductless mini splits can have SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings nearly double that of ducted systems.
  3. Why multiple indoor units are better than one. To put it simply, a central air system without zone control gives you a one-temperature solution at best. One of the perks of having multiple indoor air handlers in your home is that separate zones can be adjusted to different temperatures. This can help you save on energy in the long-term.

At Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning, we can make sure that your new ductless mini split air conditioning in San Bernardino is installed correctly so that you can enjoy years of great cooling.

What Is an ECM Motor and How Does It Affect My Heating and Cooling?

The technology behind air conditioning and heating is always advancing. One of the main goals of new HVAC research is to find ways to increase the energy efficiency of systems. Energy savings are not only an important way for homeowners and business owners to save money, but they benefit the environment as well.

The ECM Motor

One of the major improvements for air conditioners and furnaces is something called an ECM motor, also referred to as a variable speed motor. The letters ECM stand for electronically commutated motor, which might sound a bit complex to understand. In the simplest terms, an ECM motor lowers the total electrical consumption of an AC or furnace and helps to maintain proper air flow through the system.

ECM motors contain a microprocessor, which is the key component of what makes them able to provide higher efficiency. This microprocessor controls the motor in order to regulate air flow. The rotations per minute of the motor will either ramp up or ramp down in order to keep the air flow steady. This allows for an air conditioner and heater to work at maximum efficiency: rather than the motor running the fan at the same constant high rate, it modulates to adjust for conditions, sometimes running at lower speeds and using less power than full load. On top of this significant way of saving energy, an ECM motor uses less wattage than a standard motor.

If you’re looking for new HVAC installation for your home, we strongly recommend that you pick a system with variable speed motors. Ask you installer about the option available for ECM motors.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers superb HVAC services, including high efficiency air conditioning and heating, for Palm Desert, CA. Please give our office a call for exceptional customer service.

More about AC Filters: Different Types and When to Swap Them Out

Maintaining an air conditioning system involves many different steps, and you can count on professionals to go through all of them to make certain that your AC is prepped for the intense summer weather. One of these steps is swapping out the old HVAC system air filter for a new one. During the rest of the summer, all the way until your heating maintenance in the fall, you’ll need to take care of changing the filter yourself so it doesn’t become heavily clogged with debris. If you don’t know how to do this or where the filter is located, ask your maintenance technician for assistance.

How frequently should you change the filter?

There are different types of filters for HVAC systems, and they need to be swapped out on different schedules. If you have a permanent filter on your HVAC system, it doesn’t need to be changed, but it does need routine cleaning, usually every two months. (Check on it monthly to see if it’s clogged yet.) Remove the filter and use a garden hose on low pressure to clean it out. Make sure that you allow it to dry thoroughly before replacing it, otherwise it may develop mold and bacteria. (The danger of organic growth in a permanent filter is the reason many HVAC technicians don’t recommend them. They also have less powerful filtration than temporary filters.)

Among the temporary filters available, there are two basic types: panel and pleated filters. Panel filters are usually made from fiberglass and have lower efficiency the pleated filters, but they’re inexpensive: you can find them in packs where each filter costs about a $1 each. Panel filters will start to clog quickly. During the summer, you should expect to change the filter each month.

Pleated filters are the most effective at stopping contaminants, although if you purchase one that has a very high MERV rating, such as 12 or greater, it might choke off airflow because of the tight polyester weave. With the right pleated air filter, you can expect change it only every 3 to 6 months.

Have you scheduled your air conditioning maintenance yet? There’s still time: call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning for service in Beaumont, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and Desert Communities.

Reasons to Call for Immediate Air Conditioning Repair Services

There are numerous things that can go wrong with your AC over the course of its lifespan. Most problems start small and build from there. What was originally a maintenance issue eventually becomes a major repair need. There are some problems that command your immediate attention, and it is those on which we would like to focus for today’s blog post. It’s imperative that you stop using your AC immediately if you recognize any such problems because further operation could lead to permanent system damage or even premature replacement. Make sure to hire a professional technician to work on your air conditioning system. Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning today for professional air conditioning repair services in Redlands, CA.

  • Grinding noise. You should not expect your AC to be silent. As a mechanical system, it will make some noise during operation; this is simply inevitable. On the other hand, if you hear any strange or unusually loud sounds, then it could be an indication that something is seriously wrong with your system. For instance, a grinding noise may indicate that the bearings in your blower motor have dried out, and they do not have the proper lubrication necessary for adequate performance.
  • Warm air. During the life of your system, you may find that at some point warm air comes out of the ducts instead of cool air. This is a major problem, and there’s little use in operating your AC until it’s fixed. Your outdoor unit is responsible for dissipating thermal energy, but if your compressor overheats or your condenser is caked with debris, then this heat cannot be dissipated into the outside air. Thus, the refrigerant that circulates through your evaporator is not as cool as it should be.
  • Failure to operate. If you find that your AC simply won’t turn on, then you should first check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped. You should also double-check the thermostat to see that it’s calling for cooling. If neither of those options work, then make sure you call a professional immediately so that you can get back to your cooling.

Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning for quality air conditioning repair services throughout the Redlands, CA area.

Should You Install Ductless Mini Splits for Your Home?

It’s already June, and the official start of summer is only two weeks away. The hot temperatures are going to grow even hotter… and you’ll be glad that you have an effective air conditioning system to cool down your house during the next few months.

If you’re thinking that perhaps you should have your old AC taken out and a new one put in, then you have some different choices to consider, such as special high efficiency systems. One of the options is a ductless mini split, a system that works through a series of wall-mounted air handlers that send cooled air directly into the rooms.

Below are some situations in which going with a ductless system installation is a particularly good idea:

You don’t have a central AC/or heating system

Have you been using window air conditioning units to cool down your house? Then it’s definitely time to upgrade. If you’ve been using window units because your home doesn’t have ductwork, a ductless mini split is the ideal choice. You’ll enjoy the benefits of a central air conditioning system without having to make major changes to your house. Plus, since most ductless systems are heat pumps, you’ll also have a central heating system whenever you need it.

You’re looking to save on energy bills

Along with installing a high-efficiency air conditioning system, a ductless mini split system is an excellent way to lower your energy bills. Ductless systems consume less power because they use smaller motors and fans, and they don’t gain any heat through the walls of ducts. Because the air handlers can be operated separately from each other, you’ll only need to cool down the occupied areas of your house, which will also help save energy.

You want improvement to your air quality

Ducts are a collection point for many types of air pollutants, and each time the air conditioning fan turns on, these pollutants will be blown out into a home’s air. Removing ducts from the equation means healthier air in general.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers ductless air conditioning installation in Cherry Valley, CA and through the Inland Empire and Desert Communities.