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.

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. Harmful mold spores cause a wide range of health complications: nasal congestion, sneezing, eye and throat irritation, coughing and wheezing. In some situations, a severe mold allergic reaction can become life threatening.

UV Air Purifiers vs. Mold Spores

Mold spores are not easy to trap using filters, which is why UV air purifiers are often necessary. This type of air purifier is simple in operation: it consists of ultraviolet lights that send out a low amount of UV radiation. It’s not harmful to people or pets, but it is powerful enough to disrupt the cellular function of mold spores. The UV radiation either kills the mold spores cells outright or renders them inert and unable to reproduce.

There are numerous advantages to taking this approach with mold spores: it doesn’t place any restriction on airflow, nor does it make use of any chemical disinfectants that can lead to additional air quality issues. These UV lights must have a professional installation for them to function correctly, however.

To find out more about UV air purifiers or other indoor air quality solution installations in Fontana, CA or elsewhere in the Desert Communities and the Inland Empire, contact our specialists.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers indoor air quality as well as other comfort services. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

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.

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. Heat pumps use much less energy than other kinds of heating since they basically transfer energy from the refrigerant to the air outside: they don’t have to create any from scratch. That means that monthly heating and cooling bills tend to me much lower than they would be with other systems.
  • Versatility. Heat pumps don’t require a separate heater or air conditioner. Everything is contained in a single unit, making it versatile and simplifying your options immensely.
  • Region appropriateness. Heat pumps work best when temperatures stay about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Not so good back east, but here in Redlands, the conditions are ideal for their use.
  • Resale value. Because heat pumps are so efficient, they make an active selling point when the time comes to sell your house. In some cases, it may even be enough to offset the cost of installation, depending upon the specifics.

For more on why heat pumps are a smart choice, or to schedule an installation session, contact the Redlands heating system experts at Russell’s Heading and Air Conditioning. We understand the benefits of a good heat pump and can talk with you about your options before performing the installation with professionalism and care.  We also handle all manner of issues with heating in Redlands, from repair and maintenance calls to upgrades and new system specs. Pick up the phone and call us today to make an appointment!

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!

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. If you notice any of the following troubles, you should not wait very long for repairs. Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning as soon as you notice that you need rooftop unit repair in Yucaipa.

  • Reduced Heating and Cooling: If you notice that the level of heating and cooling in your home is not quite up to par, it may not seem to be too big a deal. However, such problems can worsen over time. It’s better to repair the unit now than to wait for the entire system to break down later on.
  • High Energy Bills: Another way to tell that your packaged unit may be in trouble is if your bills are particularly high this month. Air conditioning and heating systems may make up a hefty portion of a utility bill. So when your bills are unusually high, it’s most likely because of a worn down part that’s straining itself to get your home to the proper temperature.
  • Loud Noises: Your packaged unit is located on the rooftop, so it may be difficult to tell when it needs repair. However, you may hear sounds echo in the ducts or strange noises outside of your building. These noises may not bother the people on your property too much, but they could indicate compressor damage or another major component.

Call the experts at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning for rooftop unit repair in Yucaipa. We have extensive experience with these systems so you can count on a job well done.

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.

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.

First, let’s consider duct leaks. High pressure inside the ventilation system can lead to holes starting to appear along the ductwork, and the loss of conditioned air (either heated or cooled) through these holes means enormous energy waste. You’re paying to condition that air—but aren’t receiving any benefits from it. These holes also mean hot and cold spots around the house, and even the entrance of pollutant-filled air from between the walls and in the attic.

Second, inferior duct design is sadly a common occurrence in homes. This means ducts with too many turns and bends that place resistance against airflow, or which are badly insulated and placed in areas of the house where they can lose and gain heat. You may need to have entire duct sections replaced to get your HVAC system to a level where it is able to work its best throughout the year.

You only need to contact us, however, to get started. Our team offers duct repairreplacement, and sealing services. We’ll see you have the best ventilation system possible!

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Moreno Valley, CA and the surrounding areas. Call today for exceptional customer service.

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.

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.
  • The Dropping of the Ball in Times Square. The tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square started in 1907. It was made out of iron and wood with light bulbs located on the surface, and the ball originally “dropped” over the offices of the New York Times at One Times Square. Dick Clark famously broadcast the event every year from 1972, until his death in 2012.
  • The Rose Parade. The Tournament of Roses Parade has been held in Pasadena every year since 1890; taking advantage of California’s warm weather to present a parade of floats, bands and horses. A football game was eventually added to the festivities in 1902, when Michigan dominated Stanford’s team by a score of 49-0
  • Baby New Year. The use of a baby to signify the New Year dates back to Ancient Greece, where it symbolized the rebirth of Dionysus (the god of wine and parties). Early Christians initially resisted the pagan elements of the story, but soon came to adopt it since it matched the traditional Christmas symbol of baby Jesus in the manger. Today, people of all faiths and traditions refer to the New Year as a baby, representing new beginnings.

Whatever traditions you choose to celebrate, we here at Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning wish you the very safest and happiest of New Years. May 2014 bring you nothing but the best!

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.

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. Solstice (from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still”) is the point in orbit where the Earth’s axial tilt points toward the Sun. During the equinoxes, which occur at the start of spring (vernal equinox) and fall (autumnal equinox), the periods of day and night are the same length. During the solstices, which occur at the start of summer (June solstice) and winter (winter solstice), either day or night is at its longest period. June solstice is the longest day of the year; winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.

Occurring on the 20th or the 21st of the month (this year it falls on the 21st), winter solstice marks the official beginning of winter, but also the point at which the days start to grow longer once more. The sun, which has dropped lower in the sky since the June solstice (June 20-21) and reaches its lowest point above the horizon on noon on winter solstice, once again begins to rise.

From the earliest human prehistory, people have recognized the winter solstice as an important event in their lives. When winter survival was difficult for early human societies, the sight of the sun beginning to rise in the sky once more was a symbol of hope and a reason to celebrate.

(All of the above applies to the Northern Hemisphere of Earth. The equinoxes and solstices flip in the Southern Hemisphere. For example, in Australia, Christmas is a summer holiday.)

However you commemorate and observe this time of year, we hope you and your family have a joyful and safe season!

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

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. Refrigerant cycles through both the inside and outside portion of the AC, absorbing heat from the air in your home as a fan blows over an indoor coil and refrigerant converts into a gas. Heat is dispersed from the refrigerant as it condenses at the outdoor coil. In the winter, this system works in reverse. Refrigerant flows in the opposite direction, absorbing any heat from the outdoor air and moving it into your home. This is the distinguishing feature of a heat pump. And while a heat pump may struggle in some harsher climates, it works just as well as any other forced-air heating system here in Yucaipa.

Energy Efficiency

A key reason homeowners choose a heat pump for heating is the energy efficiency. Heat pumps are certainly efficient for cooling as well, with extremely high SEERs (seasonal energy efficiency ratios). But few systems can beat the heating efficiency of a heat pump. This is because heat pumps move heat from one place to another, which require far less energy than heat production.

Longer Lifespan

Finally, a heat pump may actually have a longer lifespan than some other types of heating and cooling systems. While a standard air conditioner tends to have a lifespan of 10-15 years, a heat pump may last longer, especially with proper care and maintenance. Be sure to change the air filter every month (more or less, depending on usage), and schedule heat pump maintenance every year. During maintenance, a technician inspects, cleans, and adjusts components of your system which can help keep it running in top shape for years to come.

Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning to hear more about your options for heating in Yucaipa.

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.
  • Reminders: We know that it’s easy to forget about heating maintenance in a place that gets as warm as the Desert Communities. A good HVAC contractor will offer a program with reminders: we will call you each fall to remind you that it’s time to schedule that important heating maintenance.
  • Noise Reduction: As a heater ages, whether a heat pump or a furnace, it will start to make more and more noise. Eventually, it can become a serious source of noise pollution and a major distraction. Even a simple loose air handler will turn into a huge racket. Regular maintenance will help keep your heater running at its quietest for most of its service life.
  • Eliminate cold spots: Uneven heating is a common problem that occurs when heaters don’t receive maintenance—and often the first warning that something is going wrong with the system.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Palm Desert, CA and the Inland Empire and Desert Communities with excellent heating system maintenance. We have more than 35 years of experience helping customer enjoy year-round comfort!

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.

  • Safety: This is the most important reason for a yearly furnace tune-up. The majority of furnaces are gas-powered (an inexpensive fuel compared to electricity) and can potentially turn hazardous if they are not looked after. A brief professional inspection each year does marvels when it comes to preserving a furnace’s safe operation. The peace of mind alone is worth the cost.
  • Efficiency: You don’t want to spend a huge chunk of money on the short period that your furnace must run during a Southern California winter. A regular furnace inspection will find where the heating system may be losing its energy efficiency and correct it so you won’t have to pay more than you need to.
  • Prevent repairs: Another expense you don’t want to incur with your furnace is for unnecessary repairs. Annual inspections prevent up to 85% of the repairs that a furnace may need—and that adds up to huge savings on repair jobs.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning provides heating maintenance in Moreno Valley, CA and throughout 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.

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.
  • Hot surface – a hot surface igniter is a small probe that heats via electric current. Once the surface of the probe reaches the right temperature, the gas flowing from the burner is ignited.

Out of the two igniters, hot surface igniters are used more commonly, but both types help reduce the energy usage of standing pilot lights.

Burner

The burner is a metal component where the air and fuel source mix, and are ignited by the igniter. The size of the burner will depend on the size of your furnace. The burner has short metal tubes through which the gas flows, and the when the gas streams are lit, they heat the heat exchanger.

Blower Fan

The blower fan is responsible for blowing the warmed air from the heat exchanger into your ductwork so that it can be distributed to your living spaces. On an upflow furnace, the blower fan is located in the bottom of the unit, and on a downflow furnace, it is located in the top part of the unit.

It is good to understand how the main components of your furnace work, but heating repairs should be left to the experts. The trained and certified technicians at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning are available around the clock, so call us today.