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.… Read more

A Closer Look at UV Air Purifiers in Allergy Season

Yesterday we wrote about the arrival of allergy season and the specific challenges we face here in Southern California this year. Because this last winter was rainier than usual, we’re going to head into spring with more pollen in the air from plant blooms—and also a higher risk of mold growth. Air filters can handle the majority of pollens (provided you have professionals ensure the right type of filter is installed), but mold spores are a different issue. We recommend that homeowners look into the installation of UV air purifiers to help with the spring allergy season.

The Dangers of Mold Spores

A high mold count during allergy season (late February to early summer) is a significant danger. Many mold spores are harmless, but you can’t depend on luck that you’ll only encounter non-toxic spores.… Read more

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.… Read more

Why Heat Pumps Are a Smart Choice

Heating in Redlands, CA is largely a winter affair, when our desert nights get cold and you want a furnace to help keep warm. In the summer, when temperatures climb into the triple digits, the focus is on air conditioning instead of heating. In light of that, heat pumps make a very smart option for homeowners in the area. The technology uses the basic system of most air conditioners to both heat and cool your home. In the summer, it brings in cold air, while in the winter, the same process creates warm air for your home. The Redlands area is an almost ideal spot to install one in your home. Here’s a brief rundown on why heat pumps are a smart choice:

  • Lower monthly bills.
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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.… Read more

When Is It Time to Repair Your Rooftop Unit?

A rooftop unit may be useful in both residential and commercial uses alike. Rooftop units combine all of the components of a heating and air conditioning unit into a single cabinet located on the rooftop, saving space so that everything is in a single location. This is convenient for a couple of other reasons as well. For one, rooftop units contain modules which means it’s easy to modify as your property goes through any changes. Furthermore, during any repair or maintenance visit, the technician does not interrupt the day to day operation of your property.

So when is it time to repair your packaged rooftop unit? Check with a technician anytime that you suspect there are problems with your rooftop unit.… Read more

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.… Read more

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.… Read more

Duct Replacement May Be What Your HVAC System Needs

Fall is an excellent time for making big changes to your HVAC system where necessary. For example, having a new heat pump or furnace put in, or arranging for the installation of air scrubbers and air purifiers that will keep the air circulating through the rooms free of harmful chemicals, viruses, and other contaminants.

But perhaps what your HVAC system really needs is to have parts of its old ductwork replaced. Not only might the ducts have suffered damage, they may have been poor quality in the first place!

The Effect of Poor Ducts on Your HVAC System

Ducts are mostly out of sight, making them easy to forget about. But ducts that are 1) damaged and leaking air, and 2) badly designed and installed are a huge impediment to keeping your home comfortable and energy bills under control.… Read more

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.
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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.
Read more

New Year’s Traditions Explained

2014 is almost upon us, and with the coming of the New Year, we thought we’d take a brief look at some of the more popular traditions associated with this holiday. It’s been around for at least 4,000 years: as long as we’ve figured out how long it takes for the seasons to come and go. Here’s a quick discussion about some of our more modern traditions and where they started:

  • Auld Lang Syne. The famous song began in Scotland, where it was published by Robert Burns in 1796.  He claims he initially heard it sung by an elderly resident of his hometown, which suggests it has traditional folk origins even before that. It became even more popular when big band leader, Guy Lombardo, started playing it every New Year’s Eve, starting in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
Read more

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.… Read more

Longer Days Ahead: Why Winter Solstice Is a Reason to Celebrate

Holiday greetings from all of us at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning!

December is a time of celebrations across the globe, despite the cold weather that affects much of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, the cold weather is one of the reasons that it is so important for people to embrace celebrations of light, color, food, and warm drinks—what better way to cheer up during a time of short days and low temperatures?

There is another reason to feel joy at the end of December, regardless of your religion or culture: an astronomical event called winter solstice.

Four astronomical markers divide the seasons on planet Earth: two solstices and two equinoxes. Equinox (a combination of the Latin words for “equal” and for “night”) is the point in Earth’s orbit when its axis is parallel to the Sun. … Read more

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.… Read more

Why Consider a Heat Pump for Heating

Both your air conditioning and heating system no longer perform the way you’d like them to. You know it’s time for replacement, but you’re not sure if you want to go through the trouble of replacing both systems. This is the situation that leads many homeowners to decide to purchase a heat pump. A heat pump is a heating and air conditioning system all in one that works perfectly in the Yucaipa weather. In fact, heat pumps are one of the most efficient types of systems available on the market today. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of using a heat pump for heating.

Optimal Performance

Heat pumps generally work like air conditioners, with both an indoor and outdoor unit.… Read more

Some Additional Benefits of Regular Heating Maintenance

Last week we wrote about how important it is that you schedule maintenance for your heating system, especially with a potentially very rainy winter ahead of us. Maintenance will help ensure that your furnace or other residential heater continues to work throughout the season with minimal repairs needs and mablog/get-ready-for-godzilla-el-nino-with-furnace-maintenance/ximum energy efficiency.

There are other reasons to make sure that you arrange for an annual heating inspection and tune-up. Some you have may not have considered before.

  • Safety: This is a particularly important advantage when it comes to gas-powered furnaces. Although gas furnaces are not inherently “dangerous” (they are built with many safety features), the best way to make sure that your natural gas furnace remains safe each winter is to have an inspection that will locate any places where trouble might be starting.
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Why a Furnace Tune-Up in Fall Is Important

We’re deep into October, and although the weather is still warm, we can expect to start running into cooler evenings in the near future. Eventually, furnaces will start firing up to provide comfort during these nights and even some of the days. If you haven’t already arranged for a fall tune-up for your furnace, we strongly recommend that you have it done during the next few weeks.

Yes, Furnace Maintenance Is an Annual Service

We understand that when you live in a place as warm as the Southern California deserts that taking care of a home heating system may not seem like that much of a priority. Air conditioners are the comfort systems that people here tend to worry about. But even though a furnace doesn’t receive the same level of workout each year as an air conditioner, it still must have an annual fall maintenance tune-up and inspection.… Read more

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.… Read more

Furnace Guide: 3 Components You Should Know

Furnaces are one of the most commonly-used heating systems, and while they are durable, it is likely that at some point your furnace will require repair. Heating systems are complex, and working with a system that uses fossil fuels requires expertise and training. Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning has offered comprehensive heating services in Yucaipa since 1980, so if you experience problems with your furnace, call us right away.

3 Main Components

Here are 3 main components of a gas furnace:

Igniter

The igniter is responsible for lighting the gas so that combustion occurs. There are two types of igniters:

  • Intermittent pilot – a small pilot gas line opens when the thermostat cues the ignition process, and an electronic spark lights the pilot.
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Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.… Read more

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.… Read more

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.… Read more

An HVAC Maintenance Plan for Business: Is It Really Worth It?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWhat’s a nightmare scenario you can imagine for your company during regular business hours? You can probably think of a few—and don’t want to—but here’s a particular one we want to draw your attention to: an AC failure on a 100°+ day. We get plenty of roasting hot summer days here, and whether you run a restaurant, a retail store, or an office space, a loss of cooling can mean a complete work shutdown.

Almost as bad as a loss of cooling when your business needs it the most is the fear that this will happen. If you don’t trust your AC to make it through the summer, you’ll be on the edge all the time. For these reasons alone, an HVAC maintenance program from commercial specialists is worth the cost.… Read more

Why Does My Heating System Smell Funny?

One of the early warning signs that a heating system needs professionals to repair it is when strange, often unpleasant smells start to come from the vents. The smell of rotten eggs, burning wires, and mold can all point to major problems. There are some odors that are only minor issues, but when you have any doubts, don’t try to fix the problem yourself! Just call our repair skilled and honest professionals to take care of the heating repairs necessary.

Some warning odors from your home’s heating system

  • Musty, moldy smells: This probably means that the air filter of the furnace or heat pump has mold developing inside it. Change out of the filter or clean it, and keep doing this once a month.
Read more

Cooling Down Weather—Is Your Home Insulation In Good Shape?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningThis has been a hot October. Air conditioners put in serious overtime deep into fall to handle the major heat waves we’ve experienced. But we’re finally getting a break, with temperatures set to drop into the high 70s. For people in other parts of the country, it may sound bizarre to hear us call this cooling down, but life is different in the Southern California deserts.

Whatever else the temperatures are like in other places, you need to be focused on your heating and cooling needs. We’ve already discussed the need for heating maintenance (yes, even here, it’s important). Today we want to address another part of your house that may need improvement to help handle the change in seasons: the insulation.… Read more

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.… Read more

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.… Read more

Advantages to Installing a Package Unit for Heating

Here in Redlands, heating services often have to handle package units, which combine traditional heaters with air conditioning systems. Heat pumps – which function as heaters in the winter and air conditioners in the summer – and similar systems make a lot of sense in desert communities like ours. If you’re looking at installing a new heating system, you might want to consider some version of a package unit. Here are some advantages to installing a package unit for heating:

  • It’s efficient. Heat pumps are prized for their ability to warm and cool the air while using much less energy (and costing much less money in monthly bills) than gas furnaces. That efficiency drops when the temperature goes below 40 degrees, but that’s not a huge concern in towns like Redlands, and if it is, you can include a smaller electric furnace as part of your package unit to make up the difference.
Read more

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome.… Read more

Get Savings When You Schedule Your Furnace Tune-Up in November

Do you find it all too easy to forget about arranging for service for your furnace during the fall? Look, we understand: when you live in a place like Southern California, which is famous for its sunny climate and mild winters, you don’t give as much thought to keeping your home warm as you do to keeping it cool.

But you still need to have the furnace inspected and tuned-up each year. You will need it at some point, and we may be in for an especially rainy winter this year. Furnaces that don’t receive annual inspections put your household at a number of risks, such as…

  • Safety hazards – Although a gas furnace is not an inherently “dangerous” heating system, any device that uses natural gas poses a possibility of carbon monoxide leaks.
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Do I Need Heating Maintenance—In the Desert? (Yes!)

To the rest of the world, Southern California is a vision of warmth. When you mention the desert areas of Southern California, places like Palm Desert, people can only imagine intense heat through most of the year, with maybe a touch cooling off to merely “very hot” during other parts of the year.

Why would a home need to have maintenance for its heating system in a place like the deserts of Southern California? There are a few reasons that, even in our hot climate, professional heating maintenance is an annual fall necessity.

Yes, it can get cool at night

During December, the days usually peak at a pleasant temperature in the high 60s or low 70s. This is ideal comfort weather for most people.… Read more

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.… Read more

What Type of Heating System Is Right for Your Home?

There’s a reason Palm Springs is a famous vacation spot, popular enough to inspire the jazz classic “Palm Springs Jump” by Slim Gaillard: beautiful warm weather around the year. But… cold weather happens, and if you want to stay comfortable during those December-through-February days when the temperature can drop to the 40s at night, you’ll need an efficient heating system. What sort of Palm Springs, CA heating installation will work best for you?

We can’t give you a direct answer to that in a blog post, because we don’t know your home’s specific needs. However, we can find out: give us a call at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning and we’ll look over which of these options (and others) will give you the comfort you need:

Heat pump: These are superb systems for a location with hot summers and mild winters, since they act as both air conditioners and heaters.… Read more

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.… Read more

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.… Read more

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.… Read more

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.).… Read more